I stood at the edge of the dimly lit room and watched as people moved about. Bodies wove together in a blob as they interacted with one another. Music filtered throughout the room the hum coursing through my entire being. No one seemed to notice me from my position next to the countertop. Honestly speaking, I didn't even know why I was near there at all. I was fairly sure that the fragrance that was dumped on me and was consequently emitted from my body would overpower the food and drinks. The intoxicating fumes wafting over and assaulting their senses. Of course, I wouldn't mind being noticed by someone, even if it was only for a few measly seconds of their time.
Yet, even still, I was mostly ignored. I swayed slightly as a breeze filtered through the stagnant air. I didn't know where it came from. It could've been from an open window, the air conditioner, or even caused by the movement of someone walking by. Whatever it was, it didn't do much to cool my surface. The heat came from within rather than from the slightly stifling room. A thin layer of liquid sat on my smooth waxy exterior and glistened in the low light. I didn't pay much attention to it and neither did others. I was certain it would go away with time.
So, I stood and continued to stand where I was for the rest of the night. Abandoned to my little area to blend in with the décor around me and blessing, or maybe cursing, people anywhere near my vicinity with my scent. And I was alright with that. It will all be over far too soon and, eventually, I will have lost my purpose.
It may seem scary,
But, in time you’ll get there.
It’s always waiting for you.
You’re never alone.
Take it slow.
There’s no need to rush.
Have no fear.
There is always hope.
Even if it seems too dark,
Know that there is light.
There is more beyond.
Don’t worry. It’s okay to go slow.
You are doing well.
Go at your own pace.
Walk your own path.
Only you can decide.
Slow down and breathe.
Take it slow, there’s always time.
Take it Slow
The vast unknown.
I’m running the distance,
Just me on my own.
Is this the way to go?
Or am I running too slow?
There is nothing more.
No sign. No hope.
I keep wandering beyond.
Can’t see two feet in front of me.
Is this all there is for me?
I keep running. That’s all I know.
Is this right?
Everyone passing me by.
Nothing looks right.
Is this what’s right for me?
Running. Always running.
Running, but not fast enough.
Watch it ignite.
We can't stop it.
Everything is wrong.
Belief made fact.
Fact is, it's all belief.
Them against us.
We fight ourselves.
Watch it burn.
We can't save it.
Everything is wrong.
The rights aren't right.
Nothing is amended.
All that is left;
Watch the ashes.
We are divided.
Everything is wrong.
Can it be righted?
There is no difference.
A matter of opinion.
It goes on...
We march on.
We continue to fight.
Can we be united?
At what cost?
Was it worth it?
History is now.
Where will we stand?
Where will we fall?
I am not white.
I am not black.
I am not a color.
I am stranded
in the middle of the pacific.
I am labeled.
I am not claimed.
I have not claimed.
Will I ever claim?
A daughter of humanity.
I came from here,
but I also came from there.
I came from nowhere.
I only exist here.
Where are you from?
But, where are you from?
Oh, I’ve been there! It was so beautiful.
That’s nice. I’ve never been there.
Why not? Aren’t you from there?
I’m from here.
But I thought you were from there?
I am from there, but I am from here.
I’ve never been there.
I am here. I am from there.
Where am I? I am nowhere.
We just exist here.
Don’t judge me. You’re the same.
Neither here nor there.
Just existing in this place.
Midnight Musings: Of Life and Death
A celebration of a life well-lived is just another saying for mourning for a life lost. None of it matters for the dead. It's all for the living. It's hard to change death. It's just as random as life. We don't get to choose whether we're born.
Death comes in many forms. It comes as age, it comes as illness, it comes as depression. You don't know when or who it'll come for next, but it'll come for us all eventually. I don't fear death; it's inevitable. I fear uncertainty. What happens next? I don't know. No one is certain. There are beliefs, but no one is sure. That terrifies me, the unknown, but what can I do about it? Nothing.
I know I'll have happy days as well as sad ones. I know I'll have moments I look back on with both pride and regret. I wish to be kind. I wish my family and friends a long and fulfilling life along with mine. In the end, I hope people celebrate and mourn me as well.
Yet I'll never know if my hope will come to fruition because I won't be here to witness the end.
The Sword of Stone
Look, I never expected my life to turn out the way it has. I was normal. I was the most normal of normal, and I was perfectly happy living my mediocre life, thank you very much. So, how in the world did I end up like this?
Let me explain. It was about three weeks ago when everything started to go downhill. It was the middle of summer and I was bored out of my mind. Most people enjoy summer vacation, but after a while, it can get a bit tedious doing nothing at all. Especially if you live in a small suburban neighborhood with nothing thing to do for miles on end. There was also the unfortunate reality that I had no one to do anything with. Parents? Out of town for work. Yes, both of them. Siblings? I don’t have the pleasure of having any. Friends? The very few I actually had were out traveling with their families and actually having fun with their life. Everyone was able to get out, except me.
I didn’t mind that they had all left for me to suffer by my lonesome. My parents worked hard to provide for me and they looked guilty as they relayed the news that they would be gone for two weeks. My mom had placed her hand on my shoulders and looked at me with eyes full of regret.
“Oh, Sam,” she started. “I’m so sorry. You’ll be in the house all by yourself!”
“Don’t worry,” I had reassured her. “I’ll be fine for a bit on my own.”
“It’s only two weeks, but I might be able to finish up early and come back sooner.”
“Mom, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. You don’t need to rush your work for me. I can take of myself.”
“I trust you not to burn the house down, Sam,” my dad quipped as my mom continued to fret about. I gave him a deadpan look to showcase how much I appreciated his lack of help in improving my mom’s frantic state. It took a bit of convincing, but in the end, I was able to convince her that I would be perfectly capable on my own with the promise to call every day or if I ever needed help.
While I was trying to send off my parents without them worrying too much about me, my friends were acting as true friends should and were laughing at my predicament. They wouldn’t have been laughing if they were also stuck at home, but they had the fortune of being out of town as well. My friends were lucky to be able to go out and travel and I accept that, but they could’ve been a little bit less smug about their departures. Commenting a simple “sucks to be you,” and texting every so often bragging about all the fun they were having at beaches and going to watch musicals on Broadway. I adore them, but I also want to throttle them sometimes. Who needs annoying siblings when you can have annoying friends instead.
Anyways, I’m getting off track. Back to the point.
So, instead of suffering through my lonely misery at home, I had the bright idea to go to a park nearby. It was a fairly small park with a questionably built wooden playscape being its main feature. For many obvious reasons, parents didn’t like their children playing on it, and the location of the park was in a fairly secluded area surrounded by thick trees. Any sane person would go to the mega-park that was only a few blocks from this one. Why go to a half-broken park that was obviously not up to safety codes when you could go to a 125-acre park with a huge playground, splash pad, skate park, dog park, basketball and volleyball courts, and its own lake for kayaking?
Apparently, I’m not sane because I thought it would be a good idea to go to the deserted and creepy park. A place that looked like a prime location to be kidnapped or the setting of a bad horror movie. Yes, I went to that very park to read a book to chase away my boredom.
I never said that I was the smartest person in the world. And it is with great regret that I must inform you that I get stupider.
I will state right here and right now that I am an idiot. I acknowledge it, and there is no reason to remind me because I am fully aware of the fact. With that out of the way, I’ll explain one of the reasons why I’m an idiot: I fell asleep.
That’s right you heard me. Me; a fifteen-year-old soon-to-be high school sophomore, fell asleep in the middle of a desolated sketchy park, in the middle of a wooded area, while reading a book. Oh, did I also mention that I went out there in the evening? No? Well, now you know. In my defense though, the sun usually sets around eight during the summer and I was fully expecting to be home before sunset.
That is if I hadn’t fallen asleep.
So, color me surprised when I woke up and there was neither hide nor hair of sunlight. The sky wasn’t even the pretty mixture of orange and pink when the sun had just set. Nope, it was pitch dark outside with the only evidence of light coming from the lone street light that sat at the entrance of the park and the full moon.
It was disorienting to wake up from an unintended nap into darkness. I bolted up from my position leaning against the aging wood of the playscape I sat in the middle of. The soft surface from years of use shifted as I moved and the rusted bolts that held the structure together creaked. The soft noise seemed to echo in the silence of the night. The only other noise was the sound of the wind shifting through the trees and the soft cooing of the animals that they held. Looking up into the sky, the pale moonlight cast a ghostly shadow across the ground.
Once I was able to grasp the situation, I wretched my phone out of my shorts pocket and tapped on the screen. 11:56 pm flashed across the screen and dread spread throughout my entire body. The first thought that ran through my mind was that I needed to get back home. The second thought was that of course, not even a kidnapper would want to come to this desolated place. I want to punch my past self for even entertaining the thought I was safe from danger in a basically abandoned park. The moment I finished thinking that thought I made my way to climb out of the wooden structure, that’s when I noticed something on the edge of my peripheral.
There standing in the middle of the light cast down by the streetlamp stood a lone figure. They were dressed in dark jeans and a simple black jacket with a hood covering their head. I found the attire odd since it was the middle of summer. I couldn’t figure out any more about this mysterious character because they were facing away from me and looking toward the empty street. But soon, I felt like they were more well equipped for the weather than I was. Sweat trickled down my back and arms only to be cooled by the wind that flowed lazily through the trees. It seemed as if the temperature had dropped 30 degrees in the span of a few moments, which should not have been possible, but apparently mother nature didn’t get that message. I watched as the figure looked out at the street. I didn’t know if they knew I was there or not. I wasn’t making much noise, but in the silence, even the smallest sound seemed to be amplified.
I just wanted to go home, but there was only one entrance to the park that wasn’t the woods and this figure was blocking it. I’m not the largest human being in the world. One of my best traits is that I’m a fast runner and that comes from the fact that I’m quite lithe in structure. The figure in the distance was about the same height as me, but even in the dark, I could tell that they were probably stronger than I was. More likely than not I would probably be the one murdered in this situation.
That is if they even had the intention to murder me. They could’ve been a completely friendly individual. However, this didn’t seem like the most optimal situation to be making a new friend. Especially when the person was just staring at the empty street near midnight.
It was while I was contemplating risking a quick run through the woods when the weirdest thing I have ever witnessed in my life happened.
Suddenly a loud sound, like a thunderclap, pierced through the night air. I shifted my head around the person and towards the street where the noise had come from. I was shocked to see that the once smooth asphalt had been cracked. I watched with mouth agape as the crumbling pieces continued to shift. I hadn’t even noticed as the figure in all-black moved from their spot grabbing a bag that sat rested against the light pole and slowly made their way towards the trees.
If I hadn’t been watching the destroyed asphalt with unadulterated shock I might have not believed what I saw. Heck, there’s still a part of me that doesn’t believe what I saw. A dark haze erupted from the newly created cracks. Its body shifted in the dust-filled air, having no definite shape. It billowed back and forth above the place it sprouted from. Soon enough the form started to solidify. It grew darker and darker as it became more defined. Even from my distance and in the faint light of the night I was able to distinguish the dark veiny wings that erupted from its back. The being wore a grotesque mask that looked as if a skeleton had been encapsulated in half-formed muscles. Its hunched figure moved slowly with long sluggish strides as if it were walking through a deep bank of mud. A reapers staff, the mark of death, materialized from its smoky body and it clutched at it with its gnarled hand.
I watched as the being lurked near the trees and as it grew closer, the grass at the edge of the curb connecting the street with the flora browned and shriveled. As if its mere presence sucked the life out of anything that lived. It reached the edge of the tree line, raised its arm into the air causing small rocks to levitate and turn into fine points. With a simple movement of its’ limb, it shot the rocks like projectiles at the few living creatures clinging to life nearby in the dense trees. It was difficult to make out exactly from my position but the sharp noise followed by squelches and the pained cries that reverberated throughout the night was enough for me to piece together the unwanted imagery. After the last rock hit a small bird trying to make its’ escape, it turned towards me. I didn’t know if I was going crazy, but it seemed as if this abomination was coming in my direction. As if it could sense that I was the closest living creature and was coming to steal my life as it did to the animals and grass before me.
I felt the ice-cold grip of fear seize my heart and found myself unable to move. In the two sockets where its eyes should’ve been only held the faint glow of blood-red light. They chilled me to the bone and promised of my end. I sat rooted in place. The breath I hadn’t known I had been holding escaped me in a sudden whoosh. This is it. My final moments in life. I was going to die alone in the dark by a random demon creature all because I was bored.
It was with great luck, or great misfortune depending on who you ask, that the creature wasn’t allowed to travel far up the pavement enough to murder me. All of a sudden the mysterious figure from earlier was standing in front of the dark being. They were now holding a long object covered in a leather sleeve in one hand and a bag slung over one shoulder. In comparison to the tall monster towering over menacingly with its scythe, the hooded figure didn’t seem like they stood much of a chance. Yet, they stood there without moving an inch. There didn’t seem to be an ounce of fear in the smaller figure. The creature stared at the other figure almost questioningly with its head tilted in consideration. Then in a single move, the creature lifted its limb and I watched as the pointed stones lifted once again and aimed at the person.
In a swift movement that I was barely able to see, the hooded figure sidestepped the barrage of stones and ripped the leather sleeve off of the object in their hand. They parried the remaining stones aimed at them and moved with an inhuman speed back towards the spotlight created by the street lamp. At first, I thought they were holding a metal pipe, but after another glance, I realized that it was a sword. Like a legit Arthurian knight of the round table type sword. It was a silver color and shone even brighter than the moonlight. As they dodged and maneuvered the creature’s advances I noticed a bright red stone in the center of the hilt. It was similar in color to the sharp red light in the creature’s eyes.
The hooded person had brought the creature into the light and it did not look any better in the light than it did shroud in the darkness. The person backed up towards the light pole and threw their bag onto the ground. When the creature finally was within range, they plunged the sword through its middle only to have it go through its mist-like body without effect. It lunged at them with claws as sharp as daggers on one hand and the scythe on the other. They swiftly moved to the side and sliced their blade through its neck, again, with no effect. It continued to move forward and slice at the person. They dodged every swipe then danced past the pole and onto the grass surrounding the perimeter of the playground. The creature followed and as it stepped onto the lively grass there was a loud hissing, and the earth beneath it withered and died leaving only a black scorched area.
The creature continued its advance on the figure but they were undeterred by its menacing approach. The figure lunged forward once again aiming for one of its blood-red eyes. This time it stumbled backward letting out a high screeched wail that made my ears pop. While the creature wailed in pain and anger the hooded figure took the opportunity and aimed a stab at its other eye before ripping the sword back once more and plunging the sharp object in the place where its heart should have been if it was alive. Each time the sword passed through it let out a horrid wail the next worse than the first. I watched as the person removed the sword then held up their left arm towards the creature. In their hand, they held a smooth clear orb I hadn’t noticed earlier. The person faced the creature with the orb and stated softly in a clear, distinctly female, voice, “I, Audree Stone, banish thee from this plane, for the harmony of life and death.”
It was a series of words I understood definition-wise, but could not wrap my head around when said in that order. It was simply incomprehensible. Yet, it seemed that was enough for the creature. Light burst from the orb and penetrated the monster and severed the body into millions of dust particles. It left behind only the swirling of its remains in the wind and a small ruby gem on the ground it once occupied. The girl, Audree, picked up the small crystal and laced it onto a cord around her neck that already contained a large selection of green, blue, and yellow crystals.
The chill that had overtaken the area had disappeared. It was only me and the girl in the hot humid night, yet not a word was shared between us. There was no way to tell if my presence was known or not. I was of the opinion that I would not mind if she hadn’t noticed me. She would definitely be capable of murdering me the same way she had offed the dark creature. So, I stayed quiet and watched as she picked up her discarded belongings then made her way over to the destroyed street. She placed her right hand onto the ground, the clear orb still clutched in her left and whispered words I could not hear. In the blink of an eye, the crumbled asphalt mended itself. I rubbed my eyes to make sure that I was really seeing that because all the stuff that happened previously wasn’t crazy enough. While I had been making sure that I was not hallucinating the girl had disappeared, leaving me alone with a scene that was exactly as it should be. No crazy demon creature. No hooded girl with a silver sword. Just me and the completely normal creepy playground and undamaged street.
I sat there for a few moments taking everything in before I shook myself out of my stupor. I checked the time once again on my phone and it read 12:03 am. Had it really only been seven minutes? It felt like it had been a lot longer than that. I made my way home quickly, not wanting to come across another demon banishment. Once I had safely got inside and locked the door I let out a shaky breath and contemplated whether everything that had happened had truly happened. The only conclusion I could reach was that if it was all real, then I was glad it was over and I was safe and sound.
Too bad that sentiment didn’t last very long…
I found a very short story that I wrote while I was in middle school. I wrote it on October 26th, 2011. I read it and I thought I'd see if I could improve on it with a little over 10 years more of knowledge and experience. I ended up changing quite a bit from the original, but the general idea is still there. I don't write a lot in fiction story format so I thought it would be good practice.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading!