Nature of Destruction
The Earth is 4.5 billion years old (assuming you hold true to science and believe in the evolution of the cosmos), and, if stretched out over a mile, then the 6,000 years of modern human history would encompass less than one-eighth of the final inch. Yet, in those six millennia, the human race has accomplished wonders unlike anything the world has ever seen… but it’s also committed acts so heinous that it makes us wonder if we truly are a benefit to this planet that we call home. How is it then, in all of the millions and billions of years of Earth’s existence, that a species of animal has arisen to cause so much strife and despair in the face of so much wonderment and ingenuity? Why are humans such a dichotomy of good and evil, of love and hate, of the simple and the complex?
The Torrent Express
My eyes flutter open, the world a blur until I rub them for a few moments. My body feels as light as the air, and I find it very disorienting. I sit up slowly and gaze around, trying to get my bearings and figure out where I am. Wherever I am, it’s moving… as the entire room undulates slowly. Tchk tchk… Tchk tchk… that’s the subtle sound I hear coming from under my feet. The sound is familiar to me, but my clouded mind can’t quite place it. The room I find myself in is quite opulent, the couch I’m sitting on and the surrounding décor all Victorian. There is another couch on the opposite wall, not more than eight feet away, and a man sits there staring at me. Not in any disdainful or questioning way, but in empathy. To either side of us, the remainder of the room is lined with dining tables. Each seat is full, and I notice that all of the people in here are in dressed in the same style as the room’s décor.
The Candle In The Window
The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. Charlotte stopped short, the sweat beading on her forehead and her breath a torrent as it rushed in and out of her chest. She could hear the voices behind her, the white men shouting their threats of rape and lynching. But those voices were hushed as she stared at the candle in the window. She found it quirky that the flame didn’t brighten the room behind it, but only sent its light as a signal to her… beckoning her.
The embers still smoldered in the fire pit, not surprising since I had only slept for a few hours. But I knew when I climbed in bed the night before that sleep would be a commodity I couldn’t afford. Hopefully, the coffee would stave off the lethargy of sleep deprivation and I could be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the arrival of the family. Today was a first, one of many firsts that we had all suffered through over the last ten years; but at least this first was a joyous, yet somber, occasion.
There weren’t always dragons in the valley. And when there were, it was never many. They usually kept to the mountain ridge on their travels, as it was the best way to survive the dragonslayers. With a sigh, Azbarruka refocused his aim on the clearing below. At the very least, they’ll scare the deer in my direction.
“Doctor Salem,” he heard Doris say, her tone frantic. “Doctor, come here immediately!” It had been an eventful day already, and the last thing Calvin needed was more drama. But there was real fear in Doris’ voice, and the compulsion to help was unavoidable. He excused himself from his patient, placing the suction tube into her mouth and pausing the plaque removal. Faster than normal, but not so fast as to cause a panic, Calvin walked swiftly the front desk. Doris stood there already looking in his direction as he appeared, and her expression was dumbfounded fear.
This is a work of fiction and is, in no way, intended to serve as a coercion to the reader to question, or change, their religious beliefs. This story also does not reflect the religious beliefs of the author. It is a story built upon the many interpretations and possibilities inherent in the history of modern monotheistic religions and serves as another avenue of "What If?" The focus of this piece is for entertainment purposes only.
The bar stank of stale cigarettes and stale beer, and it took him back to the days when his drunk of a father would drag him here because he couldn’t find a babysitter. The same peeling paint. The same decaying photographs of adult softball leagues, bowling leagues, and gun range champions. And, by the looks of it, the same drunks he remembered as a boy, now joined by their children. The Bull and The Rider was the standard trope for a low income, smalltown, midwestern drinking hole. The bartender was the same gristled and bearded blowhard, now with gray hair streaking the sides of his scalp. The waitresses were the quintessential southern cowgirls, scantily clad in bosom-bearing crop tops and Daisy Duke shorts stretched tight by the little extra weight, their hair flowing out of their cowboy hats like a blonde waterfall, and the clack of their boots letting you know exactly where they were without an upward glance.
Looking Back Through the Glass
Tony sat his laptop, confused and irritated. He hadn’t published anything for some time. Not even a short story. He leaned back in the chair at his kitchen table, the sunlight streaming in through the sliding glass door of the kitchen. Thinking back, he remembered a small article he wrote to his fellow writers about ways to avoid writer’s block, yet, here he was, suffering through it himself. The ideas he was searching for seemed trapped behind the Berlin Wall of his mind. The coffee was still hot in the cup on the table next to his computer, and on the screen was an electronic box titled ‘Document3’ on Microsoft Word. The page inside the box had a title and a single sentence, Looking Back Through the Glass and “Tony sat at his laptop, confused and irritated”.
The world was dying… Peter had no idea why, nothing seemed to make sense to him. Everything was fine, then he wakes up one morning and there was just nobody. It’s not like they just disappeared, either. No… everybody had simply turned into piles of dust. Peter remembered a movie called Night of the Comet, an old Eighties flick that his aunt loved. It was a cult classic, but he had never seen it. There was no use being a part of old people’s movie cult, it was just lame. But he couldn’t explain this. How could people just turn to dust? Peter had even looked up at the sky when the night of July 6th began, hoping to see a comet to explain the world he woke up in. Nothing… again. Surely, though, he couldn’t be the only human left alive. His thoughts had immediately turned to Alicia when he had come to some sort of terms with the situation he had found himself in. Peter had to get her, he had a ring to give her and a question to ask her. He couldn’t be sure that she had been saved from this strange fate, but he had to find out.
The Abdication of King Jeremy the Wicked
This story is inspired by the eponymous Pearl Jam hit, "Jeremy". In the song, Jeremy gets to 'speak' in class, which results in a terrible tragedy. What if Jeremy had had an advocate, somebody willing to stand by him when he was at his weakest and most vulnerable? Below is my take on how that may have happened.
The song referenced in this short story is "Seven Devils" by Florence + The Machine. The video is below. Alan was a bit late on the brakes and his Toyota pickup hit the bushes at the front of the parking spot. He couldn’t even sit up straight, all of his concentration bent on simply staying conscious. Drenched with sweat, the rash on his arms was on fire. His head was pounding. His hands were like boulders and felt swollen like red balloons. The fever had come out of nowhere, and it was a fever he hadn’t suffered from in thirty years.