amateur writer, professional screw up
under the tree
I reach up and pull a pear off the tree, I take a bite and the memories of my childhood enter my brain. I toss the pear to the side and pull out my pack of cigarettes, light one and close my eyes. The nicotine replaces the memories. I turn my back on the tree that sits on top of a small hill over looking a valley of green grass. The sun overhead is an egg yolk sitting in a pool of water. I flick ash off the cigarette and reach into my jacket to pull out a small notebook, “That’s good, I’m going to use that on my next poem; The bright yellow sun is but an egg yolk in a…” as I say the words they don’t sound the same as it did in my head. I put the notebook back into my jacket and the cigarette back to my lips.
The sound of branches breaking follow the tall man as he steps out of the forest. He looks up at the sky, snow lightly falling from grey clouds, the sun doing its best to peak through but is unable. The ground in front of him has 8 inches of fresh snow, he feels the snow easily collapse after each footstep. In his right hand he’s dragging a large bag, which he had just dug up from a spot in the woods only he knows. A spot he’s gone to thousands of times over the years, to clear his mind. He reaches down and grabs a small handful of the snow, it quickly turns dark brown from the caked on dirt from his gloves. He makes a little snowball and tosses it forward. With both gloves cleaned, he gently wipes the small amount of ice and dirt that have gathered on the eyeglass portion of his respirator. Throwing the bag awkwardly over his shoulder, he continues walking. 200 yards in front of him is a glass building, which was once used as a greenhouse but the purpose of the building is now a mausoleum. Behind the mausoleum is a farmhouse, plumes of smoke emanating from the windows along with bright flashes of light. The burning house was at one point in time the house where he grew up, happy. Happiness was all too quickly wiped away thanks to the virus, leaving nothing in its wake but death and sadness. The sound of tree branches breaking echoes in the distance behind. He doesn’t lose a beat, but he knows time isn’t on his side.
Miracle holds the heart shaped locket in her hand, she likes to look at the picture of her mom. She looks like her, her grandparents always say. She doesn’t remember anything of her mom only stories of how her mom walked across the Wasteland, ended up dying before reaching the gate, and the two men that found the pair. “You’re lucky to be alive,” her grandmother tells her everyday. The young woman, 16 years passing since she was found in the Wasteland, is very much like her mother, strong, opinionated, and hates the King. The old man has been kinder to her, since he quit drinking, but still finds reasons to hit her. Every time he slaps her she wonders if her mom was subject to a similar abuse (she was) and how she can escape it.
The air is still cold as the sun crests the horizon. Nothing in front of her except sand, and a small dirt path. A sign in the ground reads of the dangers ahead, 60 degrees celsius heat during the day leading to -10 degrees celsius at night, wasteland dogs and large insects. Anne grasps the walking stick in her hand and walks past the sign into the Wasteland. She’s been on this road before, she knows of its dangers. Nobody takes this route to the City, there’s a large river off in the distance that stretches from the small fishing village she was residing in, all the way to the City. The river is poison; sewage from the City, dead bodies of those who have fallen off the ships, it drains into a lake far enough away from the Crystal Sea. The village sits between the two, half of the village is lush and beautiful, untouched by the air of the lake. The other half, where nobody lives, but where everyone works, isn’t safe for any longer than 4 hours at a time. The two halves are separated by a large wall, to make sure the livable side remains so. Anne looks behind her one final time, she’s spent the last 7 months in this village and now she has to return to the City.
The helicopter flies above the ocean, waves gently bouncing up and down below. The cruise ship sits on the horizon along with the sun. “What do we know about the mission?” I ask the commanding officer flying the chopper. There’s four of us in the squad, thee mercenary types and me, a bioengineering student. I was told a few days ago that I’d be sent with this small group to investigate this ship that’s been seemingly abandoned.
(2015) Walking along the busy street, the sun has sank over the horizon, the towering skyscrapers along with grey clouds block out any moonlight. I have only a few destinations to get to tonight, bar, food, and ending the night at my old apartment. I had just moved out of my current place, which is why I’m walking down this street looking for a place to drink. I spot a place up ahead that seems like it could work perfect. Before I walk in I breathe in the city around me. The air is stale and the city looks grey.
A Christmas Miracle
The snowfalls softly as I walk to my car and start it. The night sky grey, lit up briefly by the few houses on the street that put lights up. Our house is one of them, red and green lights spiral around the four trees on both sides of the yard, Santa in his sleigh on the roof. Every year I like to put up as many decorations as I can, my two kids love the little wonderland it creates. The snow crunches beneath my feet as I get close to my car. I open the door and as soon as I turn it over the sound of the local Christmas station playing “Baby it’s cold outside” for the tenth time today fills the silence. My breath a mist as I sing along and turn the heat up. The song ends and next is, “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” That’s my cue to head back inside, I check my watch for the time, I still have plenty of time before I need to get to the station.
Marcus Thornwood is led into the courtroom from a door to the side, his hands are handcuffed behind his back. He’s wearing a Goodwill purchased suit that his State appointed attorney brought him at the jail earlier that morning. He’s taken to his seat by a tall man in uniform. Marcus sits next to his lawyer as soon as his cuffs are taken off, his lawyer is a run of the mill man, average looks, average intelligence, just very average. His name is Theodore Wright, and unbeknownst to Marcus this is Theodore’s first case. His face is slightly red and drops of sweat line his hairline. The prosecution is full of celebrity lawyers, Danika Andrews, a beautiful, highly intelligent lawyer, in comparison to Theodore, and next to her is Robert Newman, a man who often appears on TV commercials. Marcus only knows them from TV, not familiar with who exactly they are.
I set the $20,000 check on the kitchen counter. I sigh deeply as my wife walks through. She gives me a kiss on the check and asks what the money is for. “My boss gave it to me as a “summer bonus” but told me to take the weekend off?” I knew what he was talking about, I spend most nights and weekends helping the city police.