Category Archives: short stories

Through the Hole

The sky was a canvas of orange, red and yellow, stretching across the horizon. A halo formed around his head from the setting sunlight. Seeing him this way, speeded the throb of my heart. There were few sights that dizzied me—he was one of them. His hooded eyes and dimples that showed with his smile weakened more than the fatigue of skipping breakfast and lunch, two terrible habits I struggled to rid myself of. Between his physical charm, his intellect was his real draw, I’d followed from the University to the wilderness. His charisma and talk of urban legends and cryptozoology might have cost him his job but I didn’t care if the rest of the world viewed him as a lunatic.

“Just 5 more miles,” he hollered as he strode ten steps ahead. I followed behind him, admiring each step his muscled legs took to further us to our destination. Soon we’d have our names recorded in journals and new articles as well as books, documentaries and movies would flood the world about our discovery. Finally, those who had mocked the authenticity of hunting creatures that failed to fall into the taxonomy categories within science would marvel.

“Is that the spot?” I shouted at him as we drew closer to a large hole in the earth. It appeared to be an endless pool of darkness.

“Yes, they say the treasure was cast down here. He hunched down beside the hole and shouted into it. His voice echoed back, bouncing off the walls of the vertical cave. He inhaled and exhaled, the aroma of soil mixed with the rich pigments of.

A shrill scream escaped his lips, jolting me from my daze of, watching him. His head turned around so fast that I thought his neck would snap, and his eyes, nose and mouth were oozing of red rivers.

“Professor?” I backed away from him as he stood up, stalking closer to me. The blood flowing from every orifice was staining his dress shirt.

“You’ve always been my favorite pupil, Ida,” he said. His once gentle voice was guttural like he suffered from a bad cold.

“What happened to you?”

“What happened to me?” He chuckled, clutching his stomach. “I never felt so alive. You should experience the gift this discovery has brought me. When he laughed, his once rounded teeth were sharper and jagged like a mouth of daggers. “You should experience the gift this discovery has brought me.” When he laughed, his once rounded teeth were sharper and jagged like a mouth of daggers.

“No!” I backed away as he walked closer, gripping both my shoulders.

“You will experience the rebirth!” He dug his sharpened nails into my shoulders and I yowled as they pierced my skin. I wiggled free and turned to dash away, but he gripped the fabric of my jacket and cast me backward and I flew backward falling into the hole.

It was hard to resist the stiffening my body responded with but I feared fractioning a bone. Before I could hit the floor, a blast of light blinded me as an erruption of roars and growls exploded in my ears.

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Insolvent

Warren’s hands shook as he gripped a cardboard sign. The arthritis in his hands was worsening with as he neared forty.

An attractive woman with shoulder length black hair wearing a fitted white blouse and black pencil skirt was swishing his way. By the ease of her stride, he doubted she saw him yet. Most people, let alone women were appalled by him. No income, home or resources but the clothes on his back and the few items he managed to gather in his backpack. For an ex-convict who was constantly denied work, he wondered what the point of life was but to survive. His heart still beat but he felt like he had died the day he was caught with twenty pounds of marijuana. That possession charge was the death of his dream. Warren’s body odor from sweat and the garbage he often dug in for his next meal or to construct a new sign didn’t help his overall appearance.

When the woman’s head turned to him, her nose wrinkled and she shot him a glare.

Get a job, bum!” she hollered, dunking her hot coffee on him. He didn’t know what stung worse her insolence or the hot liquid on his already irritated skin. He wiped the coffee off his face. The writing on his sign was smeared and fading like his hope.

Glass Prisoner

The hard metallic arms of tweezers enclosed around the shell of a tiny beetle. He shivered from the sensation of the cold metal on his shell, trying to wiggle himself free. Beetle didn’t dart fast enough as the cruel crane squeezed and swept him up, suspending him in midair. A curious set of brown eyes studied his black glossy exterior.

“Beautiful!” a boy said, grinning wide, displaying his braces and dropping Beetle into a jar. Beetle bounced off the glass surface, and planted his four feet on the edge, scrambling his way to the top of the jar. He collided with a round plastic barrier, imprisoning him.

The bumping and shaking of being lifted and carried worsened his pulsing headache. Who was this monsters and why did it take pleasure in capturing him?

His nausea ceased when the jar was set down on a bookshelf. The giant figure departed, leaving him alone in a glass prison. Beside him outside the walls of the jar were several books with pictures of insects. Coleoptera one of the books read as it displayed pictures of several other species of beetles. One picture of a black beetle on the cover looked as if it could be his twin. Seeing another insect in his likeness brought him relief in this strange place. He longed to squeeze through the barrier and interact with his fellow beetle. But his mental ease was short lived with the pound of heavy feet as an even greater threat entered the room.

“Stupid bug!” a husky male voice hollered. Into the room, a stocky boy ran. He was far more of a monstrosity than the first boy who had a lanky frame. This boy had a large face and tiny gray eyes that darted.

He grabbed the jar, shaking it. Beetle did his best to plant his legs on the surface of the jar, but the force of movement was greater than he could withstand and he flew around the jar like a ping pong ball.

“I don’t see why my brother loves to collect bugs!” The lid of the jar pulled open and beetle rushed to the top to escape, but the large hand covered his escape. He darted back down the jar to dodge his hand. “Come on, buggy don’t you want to play!”

“What are you doing?” a familiar voice said. Beetle glanced to see the first boy entering. The hand drew back.

“Just getting ready to kill your bug friend, loser!”

“Get out, Carl!” he said glaring at his brother. The two stared at one another without speaking then finally the second monster left. The lid of the jar enclosed, and the exhausted beetle shut his eyes to rest.

Time

Oh future, where are you? Who are you? Why are you ever changing? What factors am I partaking in that will lead me to you? You are always on the run, fleeting no matter how clever, well planned I am. You are always one step ahead. Oh, why do I spend time obsessing over you when in reality we will never catch each other even on my death bed there is eternity, which I cannot fathom because its outside the parameters of time. Then there is you past, you always catch up to me, you always follow me. It seems you define me. I can’t ignore you and pretend you never happened, but what good is that? If it were not for your occurrence, who would I be now? Sometimes you’re my best friend that makes me content, then you are my enemy, reminding me of what I could have been? But is that really so or do I take you for granted since I believe everything happens for a reason. Then present you are by far the most complex and trickiest. You get neglected and ignored, pushed to the side and taken for granted. Who are you? Who am I? We are always together we are soul mates until the day I leave this earth. Its like a marriage to death do us part . Through my trials and errors you are always there as a reminder time hasn’t stopped and life goes on. You are my mirror. Where I go you are there whether I want to face you or not. We are one. You sometimes feel like a gift and other times a curse, but either way like a film I’m watching for the first time you bring out all my emotions and deepest thoughts. We aspire and grow by the second. Time is a conundrum that is overlooked, misunderstood and taken for granted. Its not linear.

 

The Cab Ride Part II: The Interrogation

“We made it.” I smiled at her.

“Thanks.” Her mouth curved into a grin for the first time.

“You’re welcome, and good luck…?” I paused as I realized I hadn’t bothered to learn her name.

“Angel,” she said, closing the door behind her. I watched her plod away, and I wondered what would become of her. Just as my hand reached for the gear shift, the screech of tires caused my eyes to tear upwards.

A car with tinted windows was right beside her. She didn’t seem to notice as she meandered along with headphones in her ears. The windows of the car rolled down, revealing a group of masked men with guns drawn. A cry rose in my throat as the sound of gun shots led to her collapse.

The car sped away, and hot tears filled my eyes as I rushed out of the cab and took her limp body into my arms. There was no response as she bled out. My head dropped as I muttered.

“You were almost free.”

A breeze rippled my copper waves, and even with the bomber jacket I wore I shivered as the smell of burnt tires filled my nostrils. Sirens wailed with me as a swarm of police cars encircled the crime scene.

A soft hand enclosed around my broad shoulder and I lifted my head to see a female police officer dangling her badge in my face.

“Horus Isles, I’m officer Mays and you are under arrest for the murder of Angel Rogers.”

“What?” I shook my head, confused as tears streamed down my pudgy face.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have read to you?”

“Yes,” I nodded as she handcuffed and ushered me to the back of a police car.

As I sat there, my eyes met the officer May’s hazel eyes. Her lips pressed into a tight line, and I tore my eyes away from hers.

* * *

When we arrived at the police station, I was taken in for questioning. They asked if I wanted to make a phone call, but I declined, figuring just like I had managed to talk myself out of trouble for rigging poker games with weighted dice, I could do so here.

I clasped my hands on the table as I sat across from officer Mays. Now that I directly faced her, I could see the bags under her eyes. Based on her sallow complexion and wild dark, hair, it looked like she hadn’t had a decent sleep in weeks. If I selected my words carefully could work to my advantage.

“Horus, what was your relation to Angel?” she said.

“I was her cab driver,” I answered.

“If you were only her cab driver then why were you clutching her corpse?”

“I panicked. The poor girl was alive one minute and dead the next. She just wanted to clean up her life, and these heartless thugs killed her.”

“Clean up her life?” She narrowed her eyes.

“She was a drug dealer”

“Is there more?”

“What more do you expect me to know?”

“How about her connection to Paradise Road?”

“What the hell is that?” I scratched my sweaty forehead.

“A drug ring stemming from the dark net,” she said. I leaned back in my chair, causing a creak and folded my droopy eyelids shut, as I pondered on what all she had spoken.

“She said she had been a drug dealer for five years, and wanted out.”

“Why now? Officer May’s voice dropped a few octaves.

“She was tired of the lifestyle”

“It’s strange Angel would tell a complete stranger so much information if she was on the run. Don’t you think Mr. Isles?” officer Mays folded her wide arms over her chest.

“I guess she had to get it off her chest somehow,” I sighed.

“What happened with the criminals that killed her?”

“When I dropped her off, a black car full of masked men pulled up, shot her and sped off.

“How many of them were there?” “I don’t know; I’d say about four.”

“What type of car were they driving?”

“A Ford Focus.”

“When you were driving Angel, were you under the impression she was being followed.” She leaned forward.

“She seemed paranoid when she got in the cab.”

“How so?”

“She kept glancing behind her as if she were waiting on someone.”

“Did she tell you someone was expecting her?” “No, she said she was supposed to deliver six pounds of cocaine”

“Very odd, there were no drugs on her when we searched her possessions”

“That’s what she told me, at least,” I rubbed neck.

“If she wanted out, why didn’t she go to the police?”

“A state trooper pulled me over for driving with my fuel door open, and I advised her to tell him about her situation, but she refused.” My voice cracked, as another whimper burst from my lips.

“Did she say why she refused to get help if she were in such danger?”

“She said something along the lines of “the less I talk the safer I am.” I brushed a tear from my lazy eye.

“That’s unfortunate. Well, Mr. Isles, I’m sorry you were caught in the middle of such a horrific event. You’re free to go,” officer Mays said, staring at me as I stood.

“Thank you officer Mays, and I hope you find whatever scumbag did that to that poor girl.”

“Likewise, have a good evening,” she grinned, then instructed another officer to escort me out. From a distance, I could overhear officer Mays speaking to another officer.

“You really think he’s innocent?” a male voice asked Mays.

“He seemed sincere enough, but the forensic evidence will tell the story.”

“I don’t trust the guy.” he said. Mays chuckled.

“Most cab drivers are oddballs.”

Their voices grew faint as I breathed in the evening autumn air and the pink sunset captured my eyes. Everything that occurred in the past couple of hours raced through my mind: Angel, her killers, and the police. In a matter of seconds, I had been thrust into the middle of a crime scene.

I smirked to myself, as I slipped my hand into my faded jean pocket, retrieving my keys. One of my old weighted dice rolled onto the dusty pavement. It was never my intent for Angel to die, but when she failed to deliver for Paradise Road-the website I founded. Her fate was sealed the minute she opened her mouth. The hit I ordered on her didn’t go according to plan. My henchmen acted faster than I anticipated leaving a trail I was unsure I’d be able to dodge. I would’ve been better driving away, but it was too late for regrets. For now, I’d enjoy my last days cruising the crowded streets as an unassuming cab driver.

Burning Fields

A breeze gusts over the rows of empty fields lined with untrimmed grass obstructing his path. He plows through until a light comes into view. Burning bright consuming the village he once called home leaving it in charred ruins. From afar, he sees the outline of an army of mighty men brandishing swords and breast plates pillaging the remains. He pivots around sprinting away, but the edge of blade meets his chin. His eyes move upwards to meet the face of a man glaring.

“There will be no survivors.”

Blubber

My tummy rumbled as I dashed to the wooden table beneath the cool shade. Mother had packed lunch for our day at the zoo. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Although I wasn’t a fan of jelly, in that moment it would satisfy my hunger. I took a seat banging my knees together. She withdrew a container with five sandwiches, and handed one to each of my siblings.

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http://observationdeck.kinja.com/friday-night-dinner-challenge-1703219901

 

As I removed the crust from the sandwich, the vibrant feathers of a peacock arrested me. The beautiful birds were the only animals the zoo allowed to walk freely, and they had taken note of us lunching.

A stray bird broke from the group and waddled closer to us. Glancing around, to see who was watching I scooped up a piece of crust and tossed it to the bird. It pecked at the grassy knoll with delight.

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https://www.pinterest.de/explore/information-about-peacock/

 

“You shouldn’t be feeding the peacocks,” my mother scolded.

“I know, but they are so cute,” I said.

“Just because they are cute doesn’t mean they aren’t harmful.”

“I guess,” I sighed. If she turned her head I planned to cast another crumb or two to the bird.

Fifteen minutes later we stretched our legs and arose to continue exploring the Henry Doorly Zoo.  We hadn’t made it to my favorite part yet. The penguins. When was old enough to work, I hoped to get my dream job at the zoo.

“I can’t wait until we see the polar bears,” my little sister said.

“I know, Isa but the penguins are cooler.” I laughed. Isa folded her tiny arms over her chest and my younger brother Tony chuckled at what I had said.

“What’s so good about birds that can’t fly,” she said.

“That’s what makes them so special.”

“Whatever.” She shook her head.

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https://patch.com/new-jersey/westorange/vet-njs-turtle-back-zoo-will-help-protect-sea-lions-california

        Blaring music interrupted our exchange and my two brothers scurried ahead to see what all the commotion was about. Isa and I followed behind them wedging through the throng of onlookers gathered around the sea lion complex.

“It looks like they’re having a show,” my older brother, Nate said.

“Yay!” Tony cheered.

“Good thing we are just in time,” my mother said. Her phone rang, and she walked away to take the call.

Down below a young woman with a whistle directed a group of sea lions. Some would balance a ball on the tip of their noses or do a flip for a treat. The sun glistened against their rubbery flesh. They had a slight odor to them like all of the other animals. One stood out from the rest as he shifted his weight, flopping behind the others. I’d seen him before and he grew to an object of my laughter. I had nicknamed him fatso, and watching him filled me with joy.

Without a second thought, I pointed at him and shouted. “Look at fatso!” He meandered along. My younger siblings joined in the jeering of the animal. I nearly collapsed from chuckling so hard.

“You all should be ashamed of yourselves,” an older woman grumbled. I ignored whoever made the remark continuing to snicker, but Nate gripped my shoulder.

“Dani, you made that woman cry,” he interrupted my merriment.

“Who?” I asked confused.

“The woman behind you,” he said. I swiveled around to see a large woman with tears gathered in her eyes. Her face was bright red as she stared directly at us. Another woman placed her hand on her back, but she pulled away. “She thinks you were calling her fatso.” My brother said.

“I’m sorry I was talking about the sea lion,” I shouted at the two women. Both women seemed unmoved by the apology. The crying woman rushed away, unable to contain the whimper that broke from her lips. The woman with her rushed after her, and turned and shook her head at us before catching up to her.

I cast my eyes to the ground as the pain on the woman’s face was etched in my mind. Who thought a silly nickname could do so much damage. Although, the name fatso was never meant for her it still had ruined her day.

The sea lion show was coming to an end and people were starting to leave, and now I no longer found calling the heavy sea lion fatso amusing.

“Mom” I darted over to her just as she was getting off the phone.

“What is it Dannie?”

“I did something awful today,” I looked down at my tennis shoes.
“Awful like what?”

“I made a woman cry.”
“How so?”

“I was making fun of a sea lion and this lady overheard us and thought it was about her.”

“Did you apologize?”

“Yes, but she ran away.”
“I’m sorry that happened, but you can’t change the past.”
“I feel so cruel”

“Dannie, rather than focusing on the past, the best thing you can do is be better person from now on.”

“How?”

“By being thinking about the impact your words can have on others,” She said, patting my shoulder.

“You’re right,” I smiled, as I saw that day different than I had before. While, I wished I could take back what I had done from then on I would consider the feelings of others when I spoke.