Mark has been writing short stories since the early 1990s. His short story "The Antique" was published in the Con*Stellation newsletter in 1992. His short story "Seconds To Live" was broadcast in the Sundial Writing Contest in 1994.
I lie here, a thin layer of dust between me and eternal peace. I want to scream at anyone or anything that passes my way, but I no longer have the means. Coyotes stole that part of me long ago. As another seething hot day gives way to chill of night, my hopes of rest go unanswered. Time becomes viscous, a morass I cannot escape. I beg to be freed, freed at last from this arid hellscape, but what parts remain will not work. I wait impatiently for that moment of discovery, the moment I am uncovered, the moment justice is served.
The Antique (2024)
Author's Note: This will be an experiment in memory and writer's development. The original story was written 31 years ago, and I will be re-writing it from memory. After I submit this story, I will dig out the original 1992 manuscript and transcribe it for submission on Vocal.
- Top Story - January 2024
Part-Time LoverTop Story - January 2024
In response to your request, I have begun to contemplate the progress made since my arrival on this platform, and what the forthcoming year portends in relation to my own goals. The process of reflection brings me back to the ups and downs of story writing, the creative process that challenges me to dig a bit deeper, drive my vocabulary to expand, find new ways to forge vague, nebulous ideas into something relatable or at least entertaining. And then there is the raison d'etre
The Purpura Nubes
Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. The soft glow within tinged every wisp that passed by as the cumuli fascinated all who witnessed them, as they have since the dawn of human history. We have always been curious to the nature of these phenomena, as they seem to have a purpose unknown to us. The Romans called them purpura nubes, some claiming them to being homes to lesser gods. Some societies treated them as omens, and even built entire religions around them. The clouds seemed to defy conventional skyward behaviors, often keeping station when other clouds rushed along, storms raging. Sometimes they scooted into position, often near to events that proved momentous in the annals of history. This led philosophers over the centuries to apply anthropomorphic qualities to the nubes, believing them to be occupied by all manner of creatures, superior to Man or not.
The Cat Came Back
I have been assisting my mother for the last two years, since the death of her husband of 53 years. Every week, I go to her house, bring her groceries, do some maintenance, take her wherever she needs to go, that sort of thing. Or we might just sit around in the lounge her husband built for her in the 1980s and chat about whatever comes to mind. I've needed this time with her as much as she needs it with me. She has slowed down through the years, enough that it's now a struggle to stand and move about with her fancy stroller thingy. She has soldiered on, through grief and regret and loneliness, even expressing her surprise that she was the one who survived.
The truth is above If but you have eyes to see Remember the pen?
I don't remember how I got there, my most recent memories have gone well past the 'fuzzy' level, which added to my confused state. I looked about the scene, which appeared almost unreal as a lovely section of beach with a gentle lapping of water against the sand, sunlight seemingly coming from nowhere and everywhere at once. I tried to recall what I had been doing and where I was before this, but to no avail. What was even stranger was the fact that I felt... nothing. My bare feet felt no heat from the sand, my bare skin felt no tingling from the ultraviolet light converting skin cells, no wind in my short hair, no pain, no pleasure... just confusion.
Red Sky, Early Morning
The outside world was unknown to her, but she could see a glimpse of it through the window in his room. The small, round port hole afforded only a limited view, its triple panes protecting the interior of the captain's wardroom. She felt a trepidation at the forthcoming journey that bored into her soul. Her captain had been her lover for a time, and his ardent invitation for her to join him for the trip to the New World meant leaving home for good. Sadness mixed with exhilaration as she tried to watch as they prepared to leave their home port.