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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Fiction: Imaginary Friends (644 words)

“I know you don’t exist,” she said simply, not looking away from her computer monitor as she typed, but still addressing the man who was resting on the edge of her desk with his back to her.

“And yet, you speak to me.” He replied glibly.

“I know you were my imaginary friend when I was really young.  Charlie.  You were my age then.  Somehow you’ve gotten older than me.  You’re probably a stress reaction following the trauma I’ve had to deal with over the past two years, some psychological desire to reclaim my past or my youthful innocence.  I could probably do some research and come up with a thousand different excuses for what you are, but I know one thing above all, you’re not real.  You don’t actually exist.  And I really can’t afford to be any crazier than I already am–so could you please go away?”

“You aren’t any crazier than you already are because you are already this level of crazy if that makes sense.  And I can’t go away. You’re telling me to, but you don’t want me to leave, so I can’t.  When we were really young you would make me disappear in the middle of arguments so that you automatically won, which I still think is incredibly unfair, but it is proof that my presence has nothing to do with my will, but entirely to do with yours.  So–if you really want me to go, make me go.”  He didn’t turn to face her, so he didn’t see her turn to look at him.  Concentrating hopefully, but secretly knowing that he was right. If she really wanted him gone, he’d already be gone.

“Well, are you still Charlie? I mean, it’s been ages, and you’ve somehow managed to age past me.  Did you change your name too?”

“I’m still Charlie if you want me to be.  Really, I’m your figment, I don’t really make choices of my own.”

“If I know you are a figment, and I know that you are completely of my own creation and not capable of forming your own opinions, then why do I keep you around?  What is your purpose?”

“You’re lonely.”  Charlie finally stepped away from the desk and turned to look at her properly. “You miss people, but you can’t bring yourself to reach out to anyone else because of your aforementioned trauma of the past couple of years.  But I never want to leave, only going when you want me to.  And as long as you are alive, I can’t die. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you remember all that from when you were a child.  And even though consciously you know that it is no longer acceptable for that kind of thing, the little part of your brain that is as crazy as you are really likes the idea, really misses the idea, and really wants me around.  So I’m here.  I can’t leave because you don’t want me to.  So, I think I’ll just have to stick around and make glib comments while you’re trying to do important things, ruin all other men for you because I’m literally part of your brain so that I will become your perfect man, and help you walk your way slowly down the path of insanity until you’ve gone so far that you have to be locked away for your own good, and potentially to get you into a sane head space so that you don’t need me anymore, and I’ll fade away into non-existence.”

She stared at him blankly for a second, before smiling. “Well, as long as we have a plan.”  She chuckled, turning to look back at her computer monitor.

“Come on now,”  He laughed, coming over to place his hands on her shoulders.  “I’m created from your imagination.  Of course, I’ve got a plan.”

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: His Woman (601 words)

He knew that he should be more concerned about this kind of thing.  He knew that just walking into his room and finding this woman waiting silently for him wasn’t normal, or necessarily sane if you wanted to get technical about it.  But at the same time, he couldn’t really be bothered.  After all, if it was insanity, well, then he’d been insane for most of his life and no one had said anything about it yet.

He didn’t know who this woman was, not really. He never thought to ask her name while he was actually in her presence.  When he was there, it didn’t really matter.  He felt safe, comfortable with her.  It was only when she left that he realized how odd meetings with her always were.

Today, she sat cross-legged on his bed, fidgeting with a loose thread in his pillow case.  When he came in, she broke into a wide grin.  The best thing about being with her was he never doubted for a second that she was glad to see him.  “Darren.” She smiled.

“Hello again.” He said quietly.  Normally, he was rather cocky in his mannerisms, putting up a brave front and what not, but if there was anyone in the world who knew his true nature, it was this woman.  There would be no fronting with her.

“I’ve missed you.” She said simply, getting up and pulling him into a hug.  He squeezed her back tightly.

“I’ve missed you too.  Things always get rather interesting after you come to visit me.”

“What can I say? I am an exciting woman.”  She took a step back so she could look him in the eye again.  “You know you like it when things get interesting.”

He smirked at her, “Oh, you have no idea what kind of comments fight to come out of my mouth when you say things like that.”

“I have some idea.” She mimicked his own smirk back at him, and then sat down at the foot of his bed.

“So—is something exciting about to happen?” Darren asked, sitting down in his desk chair.

“Oh yes.  Something you thought near impossible is about to happen.  You don’t get much more exciting than that.”

“Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?” Darren asked pragmatically.

“Depends on which way you turn your head.” She replied.  Darren nodded. It was an odd expression, but he was used to things like that from her.

“So—do you have any questions for me today? Anything I can help you with?” He asked, hoping that she might ask him a question that would help him figure out what was going to happen.

“No, no. Nothing for you today. I just wanted to visit, make sure you were still doing okay.”  She stood and walked towards where he was sitting.  She kissed him softly on the forehead, a motherly sort of action, not what he would expect from a woman who looked about his age, maybe younger now.  But then again, she’d always been that age.  He had just come to expect it.

He watched as she walked out of the room and closed the door behind her.  He jumped out of his chair and ran to the door but, just like every time before, she was nowhere in sight by the time he stuck his head out the door.

He went back in and stretched out on his bed, thinking of things he thought impossible, wondering what was about to happen. But then he sat bolt upright and groaned to himself. “I forgot to ask her name.”

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Baby Names (298 words)

“You want to call our child something utterly ridiculous don’t you?” Russell grinned at his eight month pregnant wife over an over sized bowl of his favorite stew.  Haley had been saying for months that the baby made her too hot to make the stew, so it could only mean she wanted to soften him up.

“Depends on your definition of ridiculous.” He gave her a look as he brought his spoon to his mouth. “Yes, basically.” She conceded. She brought over her naming book, with a dangerous number of post it note tags sticking out of it.  “What would you think of the name Emrys for a boy?”

“Emrys? What is that?”

“It’s a welsh name.  It’s often associated with the Merlin legends and since you won’t let me name our kid Merlin—“

“For good reason.”

“—I thought it might be an okay compromise. I like it. A lot.”

Russell took a few spoonfuls of stew to consider it. “Really? Because it seems like a name to get our son a little bit beat up on the playground.”

“You don’t think a child of ours couldn’t handle himself against some bullies?” Haley asked in her most convincing tone.

“Probably, but let’s not stack the deck against him. I think I’m going to go ahead and veto Emrys.”

“All right.”  Haley flipped through the book, occasionally looking up at Russell as he continued with his dinner, before shaking her head and returning to the book.  “What about Kevin, but with a ‘C’?”

“So he can spend his whole life saying ‘Kevin with a C’ and getting weird looks?”

“All right, point taken.”  Haley returned to her book, and Russell smiled. They’d agree on a name eventually, right? After all, they still had twenty six days or so to figure it out.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: The Family Way (Part 3) (898 words)

That was our last sister-sister bonding moment for a while.  Marta got fully immersed into her planning of the fall formal dance that was to take place at the beginning of November.  In the weeks before the dance, I got roped into a huge campus wide dilemma of someone who was breaking through the school’s “safety blocks” and downloading porn onto every available computer, and having it pop up and really inappropriate moments.  We didn’t get to really talk again properly until the night before the dance, when Marta blew off her friends to stand in the middle of our shared room, her hands firmly on her hips, muttering to herself.

“This is all she has? Really?  I mean, the girl and I shared a womb for nine months, and her fashion sense is this? I mean, honestly.”

She was looking for a reaction, so I determinedly didn’t give her one, just laid on my bed, ankles crossed, quietly reading, until she finally said, “All right. We’ll try this,” and she held out a dress that I wasn’t even aware that I owned.  It was black and skimpy, and way more Marta than Avery in almost every sense.

“I don’t know,” I protested weakly, looking over the top of my book.  This was a well-practiced routine.  Marta was always right, and I always looked amazing in a way that was strictly me and not Marta.

But I couldn’t just let her do it with ease—where was the sibling camaraderie in that?

“You don’t know, but I do. Up, up, let’s go.”  Marta put the dress down on the foot of my bed, carefully taking the book out of my hands and placing it on the bedside table. “You know, sometime, you should plan your outfit prior to the night before.”

“And deny you this opportunity?” I teased, finally picking up the dress and not even bothering to dip into the bathroom before stripping out of my pajamas and putting on the dress.  It looked good, but Marta still wrinkled her nose and shook her head, picking another unknown dress out of the closet and handing it to me.

This went on for about five or six dresses until we finally settled on one that Marta liked, and I thought didn’t reveal too much cleavage or midriff.

“Who are you going with?” I asked Marta as she put different shades of blush along my arm to test them against the color of the dress.  I knew the answer, it was always the answer, but it was some sort of respect thing that I let her tell me every time.

“Oh, just me.  Wanted to keep my dancing options open. If someone really impresses me, maybe I’ll take them to Natalie’s after party.  You are coming to Natalie’s after party right?”  Marta asked, even though she knew that answer too.

“Maybe. We’ll see.” I wasn’t.  I never was. There had been three school dances a year since we were thirteen, and I never went to Natalie’s or Ian’s or whoever was responsible for the best post dance bash. I used to enjoy the solid hours of solace, knowing for a fact that Marta wouldn’t be sneaking in until the wee hours of the morning.   These days, it was a nice chance to sneak Bradley in instead. Although, in the morning, Marta would make sure to give a casual mention of how she and Bradley both missed me at the party, and one of these days she’d have to teach me to be a night owl so I could go to those kinds of things.

“It’ll be fun.” Marta singsonged.

“Going to bed at a reasonable hour will also be fun.” I countered.

Marta waggled her eyes at me in a suggestive way, and I tried not to laugh.  “Fine. Suit yourself. I’m done with you for the night, but what time is Bradley coming to get you tomorrow?”

“Six.”

“Then, I expect your butt to be in that chair by 4:30, no ifs and or buts young lady.” Marta gave an exact replica of our father’s voice.

“Now, I know I don’t sound that gruff.”  Dad came in the room without knocking.  He’d been listening, just the way we figured he would be. “You girls excited for tomorrow?”

“Yes, sir.” We chorused.

“Marta, this party—“

“Supervised by parents who will actually be in attendance. No drugs, no drinking, just having fun.” Marta recited.

“And—“

“I can give you her mother’s number so you can call in and check.”  Natalie’s parent’s number was actually an older sister, home from college for the weekend to “babysit” while Natalie’s parents had a short second honeymoon in Cancun.  Marta had already arranged all this previously.  We were very good at what we did.

“And Avery—“

“No, I’m sure I don’t want to go. I think I’ll come back to bed, and let Marta do the partying for both of us.”

Dad leaned in and kissed us both on the top of the head.  “If you’re sure.  Good night girls.  I’ll see you in the morning for breakfast.”

“Good night, Dad.”  Dad left the room, and Marta cut me a look. I covered my mouth with my hand to prevent myself from laughing out.  Either Dad was more lenient than he let us think, or we were one of the best tag teams in the history of siblings.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: Bad (99 words)

She had warned him on the very first day met that she wasn’t a very good person.  He doubted her and said “Don’t worry, it’ll be alright.”  She accepted his nonchalant response because, well, she had warned him, and she wasn’t a very good person. Also, He would be very useful to her own interests in the long run.

So, when she back-stabbed, took bribes, and sold him up the river as soon as it as convenient for her, she didn’t even bat an eye. After all, she had warned him, and it wasn’t her fault he didn’t listen.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: First Kiss (202 words)

She remembered quite clearly their first kiss.  It was New Year’s Eve, and he had always been more firecracker than man anyways—and the excuse to hoot and holler and run about was too much for him to resist.  As the countdown from ten started up, he began to flail about so much with every number that she was pretty sure she was going to get hit in the face. But then he grabbed her gently but firmly on the cheeks, screamed “Happy New Years!” so loud that her ears rang, and kissed her fiercely on the lips.

He pulled back and smiled at her with that goofy grin of his, and she felt just a little bit dazed. She’d never been kissed like that before, in more ways than one. But then he dropped his hands from her face and ran off to kiss several other girls at the party, wishing them overly loud happy new years as well.  She smiled and turned to hug her other friends, not being one to initiate spontaneous kissing herself.

In the years to come, they’d often wonder if the other had known in the moment that that was the first kiss between a future husband and wife.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Crying (267 words)

Lily was tired, though, and compounded with frustration and the desperation to get done all that was needed, frankly, it was a little amazing that she hadn’t broken down into tears much earlier.  No one would really have been able to fault her for it.

But she held it together, remained quiet and calm and mostly in charge until she was in the relative solitude of her own bedroom.  As she burrowed in under her covers, the first sob escaped her lips, and she buried her face into her pillow to muffle the following sobs.

Even still, she felt the weight of the bed shift as someone sat down on the edge of the bed.  She felt a hand press gently between her shoulder blades. “You okay?” Benedick asked.

“Not particularly,” she said more to the pillow than to him.  Nothing else was said.  Lily just laid there and cried quietly into her pillow and Benedick sat there with his hand steady on her back.  They stayed like that until she was cried out, then she rolled over to look at him.

“I don’t know if I can do all this, Benedick,” Lily said softly, her voice level.

“Just get some sleep, we’ll talk in the morning,”  Benedick insisted gently.

“I’m so scared. What if can’t do it?”  Lily replied.

“Please, Lily, Sleep. Sleep.”  Benedick encouraged again, the edge of panic creeping into his voice.

“Don’t leave me,” Lily pleaded.

“I’m staying right here,” he reassured her, the panic gone, “I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Lily nodded, and shut her eyes, fading quickly into sleep.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Stories

 

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