Category Archives: Short Fiction

Rehab

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The piercing light of the morning crept through the polyester, moth-eaten curtains inside the motel 8. The pastel paint above the chipped plastic trim, wheezed periodically down the four walls. All was quiet and still, save for the soft rattle of the air conditioner as it struggled to dispense a minimal amount of cool air throughout the meager room. It stank of
alcohol and stomach acid.

A groan disrupted the stale atmosphere as wrinkled cotton sheets morphed and churned atop the sagging mattress; a skeletal hand, wrist, forearm, and lastly, sunken feminine shoulders, sluggishly emerged.

“Get up and get dressed,” a gruff voice announced, “You reek, and you’ve been here too long.”

The small figure curled inward in a tight clump, warping the stained sheets around her waning frame like a second skin. She wanted a fix…and for that damn man to go away if he wasn’t going to offer her one.

“Did you hear me?”

The sheets, so tightly stuck around the huddled woman, were suddenly wrenched out from under her, sending the tiny body tumbling off the mattress with a squeak and a resounding thud.

A burst of laughter erupted from the man presently hovering above the shoddy bed as a nest of dark matted hair peaked over the fraying edge.

Settling himself on the rim of the bed, the lanky man struck a match and chuckled. “You look like shit
Amy.” The dilapidated springs croaked out in protest under his weight as he lifted the small flame to the dangling cigarette between his cracked lips. “You really need to go to rehab.”

The taunt in his tone was unmistakable, and severely unwanted as far as Amy was concerned. She rolled her hidden eyes in contempt.

As if sensing her response, another spout of his boisterous amusement perturbed the silence, and drilled agonizingly into Amy’s skull. She lifted her sallow face from the tattered floral cloth, sneering up at her tormentor in defiance.

“Not a fuckin’ chance.”

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Innocent Witness

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“What do you mean you can’t refund this?!” a raspy and clearly irritated voice startles the young man
meandering through the aisle of men’s “popular” jeans these days. Cocking his head in the direction of the commotion, Conner makes out a woman clad in a deep burgundy blouse, and black fitted slacks leaning over the return counter more than necessary. The mousey teenage associate looks petrified. Poor kid.

“I—I’m sorry miss but i-it’s just as the receipt s-states: y-you must return the i-item w-within 15 days of the p-purchase, s-so…” The boy visibly gulps, and fidgets with his glasses as his eyes avoid the penetrating gaze from the taller woman confronting him.

“Oh? And I am just supposed to be able to read—what is this, like 3-point font on this damn thing?! What person can honestly read this shit?!”

“I am sorry—“

“Yeah I’m sure you are! This is bull!” The woman’s hand forcibly strikes the counter with a resounding smack. The boy jumps back in surprise. Conner flinches slightly before chuckling, a clearly amused grin pulling at his lips. What a firecracker! The kid looks like he wet himself!

Noticing the unknown audience, the flustered woman turned sharply, “And what the hell are you looking at?!”

And just like that, the show’s over. Like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Conner blushes furiously before averting his eyes. He yanks a random pair of jeans from a rack, and darts for the nearest fitting room, bumping into an elderly man with a muffled apology. Conner has never been more embarrassed in his life.

The Letter

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Sending a letter to you—who would have thought such a simple act of walking to the mailbox and depositing a scrap of parchment would be so difficult. As I look out across the lawn, gazing at the lonely dented destination for my last letter—the last connection to you I will allow. It has to be.

“The last time was the last time.” I repeat this like a sacred mantra, until I am sure I can literally see the words
fleeting across the sky.

Breathing in deeply, I unlatch the front door, step out onto a creaking porch and slowly descend the steps before soft blue grass caresses the soles of my feet; a small comfort. The sun on my back is heavy. The letter addressed to you, the letter meant to keep you away forever, is pressed tightly against my chest. I am halfway to the burgundy box. I force myself not to look away, to focus on my task; the old wooden post only a few feet from me now.

For a moment I have this intense urge to rip up this letter, forget I had ever written it, and continue dreaming of you as I desperately want you to be. Not the person you tend to be; the kind that drowns people like me—weak, hopelessly loyal, romantic fools attracted to the wild storm. And you are such an elegant hurricane…

My fingers pull open the aged mail carrier, flakes of paint flitting away as I do so. I stare at the emptiness within.

“It’s so beautiful here”, a familiar voice says behind me.

I flinch, lungs frozen, as my twenty-year old, supposedly healthy body is stricken with a severe case of paralysis. I can sense her smiling that golden smile I have come to know, that I have come to love.

I feel a hand lingering on my lower back; casual, comforting, as if it has belonged there for years. Before I am able to form a coherent thought, I turn around; now face to face with the subject of my affection, dejection, and recipient of the letter loosely held in my hand, now hanging limply at my side.

I never thought I’d find her here again; all flannel and cotton, and so exquisitely beautiful. And she’s looking at me, straight to center; no room at all for any other thought. I know I don’t want this. I swear I don’t want this. There’s a reason not to want this, but somehow I’ve forgotten.

She wraps her arms around me, and her lips are on mine. I can smell her fresh shampoo; strawberries. The letter falls to the ground.

You are stranger in the form of a lover. Your words are like the rain; a beautiful sound, and I can’t seem to tear myself away from it.

The Free-Write Exercise

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Sitting in this cold computer lab is odd to say the least. The crisp perfect screens glare rigidly at me; none would dare to have a catawampus stare in this room. Even from the corner of my eye, I can feel them criticizing me. I never thought I would attribute a DELL computer of being pompous, but this one before me sure emits that feeling. Personally, I am not inspired by sitting in this frigid and rather grey room, and sadly I do not feel like writing either.

I wish I had remembered my ipod. I could really benefit from some musical inspiration right about now. Please Lord, give me just a few melodies to fill my tendril covered head with something since it seems that I cannot. I wish I
had an exciting idea to write about. All I am accomplishing is a hefty written complaint of being bored for pity’s sake. I
can hear my fellow class-mates pounding their fingers into the keyboard with impressive speed. It seems their frantic need to release some inner struggle is spurned on by some dictatorial force I obviously lack. Who knows, they could be
in the throes of constructing literary gold.

Knowing I am a creative bore deflates my ego a bit. I’d like to believe I was more innovative when it comes to writing but honestly, I am not. If I were to ever produce an original piece worth some merit, it would undoubtedly be a complete fluke. On top of that, there is a high probability that it wouldn’t even be truly original because realistically, everything has been “done” before by some long deceased bloke.

In the miniscule chance I do harvest a touch of brilliance, I am certain some stranger out there would nonchalantly say to me, “They did that on the Simpson’s.” And within an hour of that statement, I would most likely be
approached by a few stiff suits from FOX who would astutely inform me of my severe copywriting infringement and their intent to sue me for “all-I-am-worth” (which is a pathetic $400), or some other strange scenario along those lines.

Perhaps I am simply a lost cause. Perhaps this course is a fruitless venture. Perhaps I am just the derelict of my creative writing class—after all, someone has to be.

End.

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Gravel against my cheek—digging, intruding, scraping away at my wounded bones. Blood. The metallic taste taints my tongue, and I grimace. I’m seething, and I believe if I could breathe, my breath would light ablaze with flame. Boorish arms seize my own, contorting them hysterically behind me.

This is frantic madness; they’ve become monsters.

White fire surges down my spine, scorching through every branching vein, and electrocuting nerve after painful nerve which restrains me here. A low growl escapes my throat, and I am feral. If they only knew what was coming. If they only knew!

“Listen to me—AGH!” A weathered boot forcibly nails me to the ground below. The pressure is unrelenting. My rib cage is an obese, pampered tick ready to burst beneath the dense weight.

“I am trying to help you!” Sneers are my only response, and I hear the blackness of a dying world. I know my feverish voice is lost in the prevailing static, but I must make them understand.

“Please, you don’t have to be this way!”

Crimson streaks adorn the earth in all her mangled glory. Is this what they have become? Is this all they have to offer?!

The degenerate rock against my cheek provokes the straining beast in my chest, blinding everything. And I am consumed by it all. I lie under the dominion of an ignorant foe as the earth begins to churn, and roar. Ghosts with teeth; they are black ghosts with white teeth.

The soil beneath me yields—and I am falling beside fiends. It has begun.

Therapy 101

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Noah clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth as he turned the door knob and entered the quiet waiting room. This simple act put him at ease as he leisurely strolled inside, taking note of the two other occupants with a faint nod in their direction before lowering himself into a comfortable arm chair. Daddy surely spared no expense on this guy, he mused, casually picking up a lonely magazine.

The door which he himself had previously closed, opened slowly as he assumed without paying much attention to the new roommate, another “patient” proceeded inside and took refuge in another cushy arm chair in front of him. As he pretended to skim the flakey articles within, he couldn’t keep his eyes from wandering over the crisp text to the newcomer. Much to his delight, two lithe bronzed legs folded casually over one another in a similar chair to his, called beautifully to his imagination as he began to entertain the idea of how those legs could be put to better use; preferably straddling his lap as his slightly calloused hands wander up over her—

“Better than any of that photo-shop crap in that thing, am I right?”

Turning his head, Noah glanced in the direction of the meddlesome voice; his calculating eyes settling on a chuckling middle-aged man with deep wrinkles seated behind him. Acknowledging the gentleman’s expensive Armani suit, shaven jaw, and the playful yet perverse smirk on the trim man’s face, Noah knew he had been caught, but as usual, felt no shame in the act. He responded with a sly grin of his own before returning his eager gaze to the “magazine.”