Saturday, July 21, 2012

Up In Flames

Gertrude and Hope gathered firewood as the sky turned a darker shade of blue, signaling sunset in the coming minutes. As Hope cradled the family of sticks in the basket of her extended forearms, Gertrude questioned why she was not shaken from the sight of her husband’s soon to be rotting skeleton.

“Well, for one, I don’t believe you. Second, I don’t believe it is Matthew, that’s not possible, and thirdly you’re not going to scare me into replacing you in this hell hole that you call home, Gertie.”

Gertrude looked on in disbelief after referring to her as ‘Gertie.’ She dropped the wood and allowed them to roll beyond her bare feet. Stepping over the scattered lumber, she stared at her youthful face.

“Why would you call me that? What do you know?”

“Excuse me?” she asked. “I didn’t mean anything by it, it was just a nickname.”

Gertrude turned her back to her and began gathering the wood once again.

“Do not call me that again. I’m not joking.”

Hope rolled her eyes at her snide comment and waited impatiently for her to finish her task. Once the wood was in her hands again, she led the way back to the cave. The visibility of their shadows decreased along with the sunlight, and by the time they arrived it was pitch black. Gertrude told her to sit tight as she grabbed a lantern from the side of the opening.

Matthew’s struggle was still ongoing, as Hope could hear her husband growing more and more frustrated with being left alone for over an hour. His grunts could clearly be heard to Hope, but it was unclear whether Gertrude was simply ignoring them or her hearing was deteriorating from old age.

With the branches still in hand, she walked over to the elderly woman and asked her where to leave them.

“Inside, place them in the fire pit.”

Hope did as she was told and dropped them within the circle of rocks that held the ash from a previous fire. She then walked over to her husband and sat to the left of his face with her legs folded.

“She will remove the spell if you cooperate. She didn’t hurt me. Her name is Gertrude and she seems like a sweet lady, she’s just tired of living this way. I think we should help her.”

 “Help her? She’s a fucking psycho,” he shot back at her, “she dragged me and you both to this place without regard for our lives and now you want to help her?”

“She didn’t hurt either of us, we’re still alive. Why don’t you ever believe in me? I trust her and I think you should too.”

“Oh, so you go for a nature walk and suddenly you have matching best friend forever rings?”

“That’s not what I said, you fucker,” sending a slap to the top of his head, “listen to me. Even if you don’t trust her, you have to trust me. Do you want to sit here paralyzed for the rest of your life? You need to trust her and not fake it. She’ll know.”

Gertrude stepped through the entrance and wasn’t the least bit shocked to see them talking. She placed a small velvet bag next to the wood that she dumped on the dirt ground beneath her.  Rubbing two sticks together like a boy scout in training until a spark arose and flames burst throughout the cavity, she clutched the bag in her hand and slithered her way over to Hope and Matthew.

“I’m gonna tell you the same thing I told her,” with her raspy voice cracking mid-sentence, “if you try to turn on me, you’ll be right back in the predicament you’re in now. If cooperating is a problem then you can lay there and rot.”

Matthew reluctantly agreed, which resulted in a variation of the same chant she performed on Hope just an hour ago. As he sat up, he realized that he was doing so too quickly and was told to take it easy by his wife. He laid back down on his back and sat up with ease, taking a deep breath before scooting closer to the fire for warmth.

“You’re getting it,” Gertrude spoke, “stay there.” She gestured to Hope to do the same. “I am going to show you something that you need to see.”

She reached into the bag and pinched a bit of blue dust between her fingers and sprinkled it atop the dancing flames. Standing aside it, she stuck her arms out and possessed the fire. Visions of a young Gertrude and a clean shaven older man with white hair and an old tuxedo sitting in a room were seen within the flare.

The room had a dozen clocks on the wall, all different designs, and the monotonous tick-tocking was heard across the bowels of the cave.

“Gertrude, you were born to do this. You know how to survive off of the land, you excel at hunting. That’s what the training was about. You were the star student since day one, and now I present you with the opportunity to save the world. You will be given the gift of eternal life for as long as you need it. Until you find a replacement or you just want to stop, but please note that if you choose to give up your position, the rest of us go along with you.”

“I understand.”

“This is a big responsibility, do you understand?”

“I do.”

“Come with me, I have to show you what you must do.”

He took her to a back room and flipped the switch on the wall before they both walked in.

“Sit down and lift up the sleeve of your shirt.”

The older gentleman reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a small black box. Clicking the latches open, he pulled out a needle and kneeled down beside her.

“You’re going to feel a tingling sensation once I inject you. It’s nothing to worry about, but you will have to do continuous doses throughout your stay. We’ll fill you in on that once you get there.”

He injected her and her face tensed up at the tingling he told her she would feel.

“There’s something else you should know. Any time you feel a semblance of the ground move, there are visitors. You can either leave them be or convince them to replace you. It is of utmost importance that you choose wisely, just as we have with you.”

“Where will I be staying?”

“Jared will fill you in with the rest. It’s time for you to begin your new life. I wish you the best of luck, Gertrude. Thank you for your upcoming sacrifices. I will ensure that your name live on forever in the name of humanity.”

Gertrude fell backwards and landed on her back, unconscious. The act of showing them this vision had obviously taken a lot out of her.

The ground began to tremble, causing Matthew and Hope to look at each other, questioning what to do next.

“You heard the man, “Matthew said, “let’s see who came to visit us.”

Friday, July 20, 2012


The look in their eyes screamed of despair as this woman who could best described as a witch continued her demonic chanting. Matthew tried to nudge his wife to get her attention but soon realized that they were placed under a spell of paralysis. While he was attempting to find a way to break the spell, she began whining and wincing, trying to get her attention.

She laughed off her attempts and saw through her charade, she stepped over to her and asked whether she was questioning her intelligence or not. 

“No, I would never think of doing such a thing,” she snapped back, “you only kidnapped me and my husband, tossed us in a cave to rot and cast some sort of fucked up spell on the both of us, but no, I’d never dream of insulting you.”

She heard a giggle coming from her husband after taking a quick glance in his direction, which put a silent smile on her face. The fact that she strong armed laughter from him in such a tense situation helped ease her stress. As Matthew looked on, noticing the woman becoming increasingly frustrated at how uncooperative she was being, he knew there’d be an opportunity to turn the tables on her.

Before he could spring the first part of his plan in action, she got on all fours and crawled towards them, looking down at the couple, face to face. With one eye fixed on Hope and the other settled on Matthew, she let them know a piece of her intentions.

“I want you to know why I’m here and why you must stay with me. We must protect this place, it is vital to do so. It’s not a job for one person and I’ve done it this way for far too long. I’m too old for this,” she said with a whimper, acknowledging her inevitable descent from her once youthful grace.

“Doesn’t seem like you’re struggling that hard, lady. You dragged me through the woods like you were Paul Bunyan, now you’re getting too old?”

“Do not call me lady, show some respect,” she lashed at him, “and yes, I am getting too old for this. Physical strength only accounts for a smidgen of what I do. The outside world, where you’re from, depends on me to do what I do. So like I said, show some respect.”

She got on her knees and then to her feet, striding over to a pit of ashes inside a circle of rocks that she set up long ago. She pointed to Hope and asked if she could trust her were she to relinquish the paralysis that was restraining her from the neck down.

“I need some help gathering firewood. If you can’t promise you won’t try to flee, I’ll just do it myself.”

Hope looked to her husband for guidance, and when he shook his head no, she did the exact opposite and agreed to her terms.

“I’ll help you.”

Grabbing the green book of spells from the table, she recited another chant and instructed Hope to wiggle her toes. Matthew looked on in frustration, knowing that his wife would be able to roam free while he would remain sequestered in the damp cave. He let his displeasure known by voicing a grunt as his wife made her way to her feet.

She followed her out of the entrance and into the baking sunlight, attempting to spark conversation while they searched for sufficient branches and logs.

“So how’d you end up here?”

“Same way you did. I won’t tell you any more, you will see it all for yourself.”

“What’s that mean?”

“In due time you will see exactly what I mean but now I have a question for you.”

“Alright, shoot.”

“Why do you stay?”

“Excuse me?”

“With him, why do you stay?”

She looked at her with disbelief oozing from her pours, “You don’t know him like I do. You don’t know what we’ve been through together.”

“Oh, but I do,” she corrected her as they slithered their way through an upcoming collection of thin bamboo. “Enough of this, you’ll see it all later on. Come. We’re close.”

Hope questioned what they were really doing out here.

“I told you, we’re grabbing firewood.”

“There’s plenty of it right here, “ she said while looking down at the sticks at their feet.

“Yes, but that is for later. Follow me or I’m dragging you back to the cave.”

“Before we continue, I’m growing tired of thinking of you as a nameless old woman. Can we put a name to your face, please?”

“Does my name really matter to you?”

“It does. It’s important to me.”

The woman thought it over before surrendering to the question.

“Gertrude. Now let’s go.”

“You look like a Gertrude. I could have guessed that.”

“Well, maybe you should have,” she said, becoming increasingly annoyed with each piece of dialogue. She held the brush open for Hope to pass through first. As she stepped out of the shade provided by natures sprawling children, she was in awe at the sheer beauty of the waterfall up ahead of her.

“What a beautiful sight, thank you for showing this to me.”

“This is not why I brought you here. This is.”

She ventured over to a patch of dirt, low on vegetation and any form of green life.

“Go on, a little behind there,” Gertrude instructed. 

As Hope peered beyond the lifeless ground and around a tree, she saw a skeleton resting in the dirt.

“Why’d you bring me here? Who is this?”

Gertrude stepped forward and looked her in the eye.

“Your husband.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In The Cafe (Co-written by Ella Thomas)

I told the taxi driver to stay parked in front of the post office before I slammed the door shut. The fare was ridiculous, so I guess you could say I was doing myself a disservice by making the bill double, but I didn’t have a choice. Glenn was using my car for a stakeout and the office wasn’t exactly in walking distance. As I pulled the smooth metal handle on the glass door, I held it open for a blonde woman and her daughter to step through before I entered. She thanked me for being a gentleman and I insisted it wasn’t a big deal.

As I stepped into the main corridor, it amazed me to this day just how beautiful it was on the inside. Marble pillars holding up the ceiling shouldn’t have been wasted on a post office. I thought to myself that this place would be perfect to house a museum. The security guard, Roman,  greeted me the same way he had every week since he started working here. The badge on his jet black uniform was crooked, but he was too involved with the world inside of his phone to notice.

“You gotta put the phone down, Roman. It’s rotting your brain.”

He looked up at me with a smirk on his face, “Ha, yeah but it’s so addicting! You don’t have one?”

“Of course not, I barely like talking to people as is, why would I want them to contact me at any moment?”

He shrugged his shoulders and disregarded my comment as I fiddled around with the contents in my pocket. Pushing aside the slim wad of money to finger the key for my P.O. Box, I walked over to box number 154. I slid my key into the lock and turned until I heard a click, and pulled it open. The usual array of obligations rested inside, but behind them laid a package. As I reached for and grabbed the package I walked over to a marble platform and placed it on top.

With the key still in my hand, I used it to cut through the plastic tape to see what was in the box. Inside was a mirror with a small post it note attached.

“I want to see you. Meet me at the Brightmore Café tonight at 7. I don’t like to ask twice, I detest having to beg.”

I relinquished a small laugh to myself before pocketing the mirror and note, acknowledging Roman before I left. He wished me a good day as I walked through the corridor. I liked Roman, even though he was a pea brained imbecile who allowed technology to consume his mind.

The Arabian cab driver complained when I approached the vehicle, citing the heat as one of the many reasons he was miserable. As beads of sweat manifested on his forehead, I slapped the roof of the taxi and told him I would no longer need his services. I handed him a 50 and when he reached for change, I told him not to bother. He adjusted his Mets cap before pulling away.

As I strolled down the crowded streets of Yonkers, I couldn’t help but wonder who sent me this package. The package was without a return address, so that removed one of my leads right off the bat. The contents of it made me lean towards the sender being a female, which didn’t really add up to me. Interaction with the opposite sex was at an all-time low, so maybe I should step into the café with my guard up.

A car horn disrupted my train of thought, beeping at a pedestrian too busy on his iPhone to care of his own wellbeing. I shook my head and carried on, just blocks away from the Brightmore Café. As I crossed the street safely, the sunlight beaming down and onto a skyscraper nearly blinded me, the reflection causing me to squint into the distance.

I approached the coffee shop with loads of questions tumbling around in my head. I took a deep breath and stepped through the entrance, which sent a “ding!” throughout the store to alert the workers of a customer. I perused the setup, looking for a woman sitting alone.

Directly in front of me sat a couple sharing a bagel. I doubt she’d come here with another so it couldn’t have been her. Then a woman caught my eye. A young woman, barely in her twenties, sitting crouched up with her legs against the table, notepad resting on her knee with the end of a pen just grazing her lips. She looked up at me. I walked towards her to share her presence. She was wearing a pink Hollister low cut top and an even lower cut pair of white silk shorts.

“Are you James?” she asked me.

“I am. And you are?” She offered her hand and I took it in my own, kissing it with a soft touch, marveling at her natural beauty. If she wore make-up, it wasn’t much. Her blonde hair extended further than her shoulders, and her face was relatively small. She resembled a Hollywood starlet who refused to come to mind. Finally, before giving her hand back to her, I took a quick glance at her eyes. Her pale baby blue eyes spoke stories, novels of a Hell that she’d only dare share with her coveted readers. I couldn’t begin to fathom what she had been through.

“My name is Ella Thomas and I’ve aspired to meet you for as long as I can remember. This is a dream come true,” she said, gushing, “I’ve imagined this day many times. You’re one of the few who writes what they live. I admire that.”

I scooted my way into the seat across from her, questioning what she knew and how she knew it.

“Let’s not get into details. I have friends in high places and that’s all that matters. “

“Yeah? You make it seem like I haven’t heard about you.”

“Oh,” she shot back, “I know you have. Which makes me question why you’d even show up tonight. I wasn’t expecting you.”

Finally, he cut to the chase, “I don’t really care what you were expecting,” he remarked before calling the bartender over to their table. I came to the conclusion that she chose this café above the others because this was one of the few that actually served alcohol. It was a fact that they didn’t opt to hide, either. Calligraphy painted over a green backdrop read, “We proudly serve alcohol.” The lighting was dim, creating a night time setting even though it was still early evening. The brick walls were a nice touch and complimented the scenery very well.

The bartender slumbered over to us and asked what I’d like.

“Give me the house vodka and Sprite, and whatever the lady wants.”
The bearded, slender bartender looked in her direction. She scratched her chin while choosing her drink, ultimately on a scotch with a water.  Before she could proceed forward, the barkeep approached them both with their requested drinks and asked if they needed anything else. They both shoed him away, resulting in a simultaneous smile from the both of them.

She spoke again, “can we get down to business now?”

“Shoot,” he said, while taking a sip of his mixed drink.

She pointed to a man sitting at the bar, donning a leather jacket and sunglasses. “Wanna see me work? Let’s see if you can handle being a witness to what I do. I ask you to just sit back and enjoy,” she said with a rye smile.

“Wanna join me outside for a cigarette? I’m not really comfortable discussing this in here. At least outside we can create our own privacy.”

James studied her eyes and quickly picked up on the fact that she took it the wrong way, but he couldn’t bring himself to fault her for it. Beyond her beautiful eyes resided a damaged ice queen. Her blonde hair surrendered to the flow of the air conditioning, basking around in its continuous flow. I followed her out the door, marveling at her tremendous backside, knowing there was nothing I could possibly do with her.

She led the way and sparked her cigarette first in the parking lot before passing the lighter to me. Before I could exhale my first drag, I asked her what she sought me out for.

“Because we have a kinship. We are both killers. Are we to avoid that fact?”

“Avoid it? You haven’t a clue as to who I am, let alone what I do.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” she snapped back.” What if I knew the real you? The one who maims and murders, but for a good cause? That’s where you and I are alike. That’s when I gained such an interest in you. I want to know more.”

I sighed at the harsh reality that somebody knew my truth, but felt as if I could trust her.

“So why do you do what you do?” I asked before putting the butt to my lips.

She flicked hers before answering, “Men are pigs. Groomed, made this way. Their way of thinking is instilled in their brains since birth, they’re all the same.”

I shook my head in agreement, billowing out a cloud of smoke that the wind swept away within seconds.

“The guy inside, you taking him home tonight?”

“I’d planned on it, but only if you watch. I have a room at the Mariott in Manhattan. Here’s a spare key,” Ella said before placing it in my palm, “Meet me there as soon as I have my claws in him.”

I thought about her proposition, but she tossed her remaining stick away as she walked towards the door. I again played follow the leader and sat at the table we called our own while she moved next to the man in the leather jacket.
“Hiya,” she chirped and as the man turned to face her, I could see a look of sudden sexual hunger flash across his face.
“Well, if you aren’t the prettiest piece of blonde cake I have seen all day. Can I get you a drink?”
“You can get me…” she began, pausing to bite at the side of her lip, “A scotch please, kind sir.”
“Please and sir, even. Looks to die for and you still have manners,” the man said as he turned his stool toward her, his hand casually brushing her leg. As she made no move to stop his advance and indeed, gave him a warm sexy smile, he put his palm on her knee and leaned closer to her. “You smell wonderful.”
“Thank you, sir,” she whispered, taking a sip of the drink as he ran his hand along the inside of her leg.
“Your skin is amazing,” he said, making no pretense to hide his desire, pushing his thumb under the silk shorts.
While he stared at her exposed flesh, she turned her head to give a quick nod to James, as she was now quite sure she set the hook deep enough.
“Listen, I’ve been walking around this city all day. Is there any chance you might be so kind as to give me a massage? I’d be mighty grateful, sir,” she said, her voice bringing a smile to his face.
“How grateful?” he said, leaning quite close to her.
She pressed her mouth against his ear and whispered, “Sir, you can do whatever you want to me. All. Night. Long.”
The man didn’t waste another moment, pulled a twenty out of his pocket and threw it on the bar. He jumped from the stool and offered his hand to Ella. I couldn’t help but smile at her brutal efficiency as the man led her from the bar less than ten minutes after she had approached him.

Less than thirty minutes passed before her hotel room door was nudged open lightly. This guy could barely contain himself, already kissing and caressing before they were even through the doorway. Ella stopped and smiled before I made my presence known.


He staggered back, shock overcoming him. “Who in the fuck are you? Ella, get him outta here, there’s some creep in your room. Call security.”

As I sat in the darkened corner with the lights off, I laughed at her response.

“I’m fairly sure the only creep in this room is you. He isn’t going anywhere. He is going to watch. Either you deal with that or leave. If you are not leaving, come here.”

She sat down on the bed and leaned back, waiting for him to join her. I put my elbows on my knees, holding my head in my hands as he slowly approached. Reading his body language, I could tell that he was uncomfortable with the situation but wouldn’t let it get in the way of getting his piece. He draped his jacket over the edge of the bed, close to where Ella’s purse rested on the floor.

He grabbed her face and kissed her lips roughly, his breathing getting a heavy as he climbed on top of her. Getting a bit more aggressive with each passing second, he ripped her shorts down and pinned her arms back. I could tell Ella didn’t like where this was headed, but I knew she was fully capable of taking care of herself.

“What about the massage?” she said.

“Fuck the massage, did you really think that’s what we were going to do?”

As he unzipped his pants and stroked himself, Ella took the opportunity to attempt an escape, but he dug his fingers into her shoulders and pushed her onto the bed like a ragdoll, her back making a thud against the headboard. She tried to roll away from him, but he pinned her to the bed, stomach against the sheets and in an instant, forced himself into her. As she let out a yelp of pain, I rose up from the chair and tossed it aside, crashing it against the lavish flower patterned carpet.

“That’s enough, get out of here. I mean it, go.”

The man’s stature alone was intimidating, and his reaction even more so. He chuckled at my order and told me he’d leave when he was done.

I grabbed the medium sized hunting knife from the sheath wrapped around my right leg and stuck it into his back. I was not sure if he was dead after the first strike, but he toppled onto Ella. She asked for my help to get him off her, so I tossed him off of her and onto the floor below where it made a huge crash.

She threw her arms around my neck and thanked me for my help before asking me for one more thing. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a knife of similar size to the one I had used and put it on the bed.

“I’m gonna need you to lift him and put him back on the bed.”

“Oh come on! What for?”

“Would it make for much of a story if I told you why? Just do it.”

A deep sigh exited my lips as I bent down to lift him. He must have been at least two hundred and fifty pounds. I struggled to place him where she wanted him, but saw her request through.

“Now what?”

“Now you hold his head for me so I can slit his throat.”

I was confused. “Ella, he’s dying, if not dead already. There is no need.”

“You’re right, but he deserves for me to slice him for what he did. So hold his head up for me.”

Again, I did what she told me and held his head up so she could get a clean cut. A once white tee turned crimson as she slid the knife across his throat, slowly collecting in small puddles on the bed.

“James,” she said as the man expired in her arms.

“Yeah, Ella?” I sat across from her with the corpse in between us.

“Will you just hold me?”

Without hesitation, I rolled the man off the bed, leading to another thump echoing across the room. I embraced her small, slender physique, my hands sliding under her shirt and cupping her small firm breasts as I held her tightly in a pool of his blood. She turned her head to look into my eyes and I knew we’d be the perfect couple. The perfect killing couple.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Orchid

She awoke from the nap that she didn’t intend to take, rushing to the window to see blue skies and orchids sprouting from the sharp grass outside. A sense of bewilderment overcame her, knowing that she fell asleep to a world resembling a shaken snow globe, yet awoke to a picturesque summer morning. Hope frantically made her way to the door and swung it open to find an old woman standing before her.

Her grey hair barely grazed her neck and her wrinkles resembled a beach after the waves had their way with the sand that lay in front of it.

“Come with me. Your husband is in trouble. I found him half a mile north, suffering from the cold weather.”

She looked back at her, disbelief painting her face.

“Who are you and what happened to Matthew?”

“He is fine now, but he needs you more than ever. I took him in and have been nursing him all night. He asked about you and told me where to find you. Now come, we must go.”

Hope thought it over for a second or two before abrasively denying her command.

“No,” she said with a hint of rebellion in her tone, “I won’t go with you. Who’s to say that you’re even telling the truth? You come across a single woman in a cabin, of course you’re gonna assume that I have a husband. I’m sorry but I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.”

Hope clutched the handle to the door and began to slam it shut, but before she could, she felt the brute strength of this woman stopping her force. The grey haired woman pushed the door back, resulting in Hope ending up on the floor, unconscious after banging her head on the lavish coffee table provided by the resort.

In the same way she dragged Matthew through the white, fluffy chasm, she treated Hope with similar regard. As she stepped out of the doorway with Hope’s legs in her palms, she stopped to pluck an orchid from the miniature garden directly outside of the window. Hope struggled to wake up from her state of lethargy, turning her head back and forth as If she was dreaming. She mouthed the words, “Matthew, no, I’m coming for you.”

Dust kicked up behind her as she was pulled by her ankles at the will of this abnormally strong woman. With the orchid resting between her teeth, beads of sweat began to fall from her brow, lending dampness to the otherwise sun scorched land under her feet. As she rested to take a breather, she scanned the cloudless skies above and saw a trio of cardinals in flight. The red birds made their way to the pavement and strolled towards the woman, who had relinquished the grip of Hope’s feet.

As the woman approached the three birds, she was puzzled by the fact that they were receptive to her presence. She ripped the orchid from her teeth and tossed it besides Hope’s face with no regard as to where it landed. While the cardinals pecked the dirt, she reached out and snatched one by the throat, snapping its neck instantly.

The other two flew away as the elderly woman looked up to the sky and smiled to the God’s up above, thanking them for this gift that was bestowed upon her. As she kissed the bird, she placed it inside of her cleavage inside of the black v-neck shirt she donned.

“This is magical. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.”

The cave was only two hundred yards away, but she regretted not bringing a bottle of water with her for the trip. She underestimated the heat, and she knew that if she didn’t haste her way back it would be a decision she’d eternally regret. Her wrinkled fingertips clutched the flower and placed it directly beside the deceased bird. She concluded that dragging this woman was no longer a viable option, and picked her up over her shoulders and carried her to the cave.

Before sliding the rock concealing the inside of it, she tossed her to the ground like a package of unmixed cement. Once the light entered the opening, she rolled her inside. A chill was in the air due to no sunlight entering the shelter for over a day, so she didn’t bother closing it off.

Matthew and Hope still lay unconscious, side by side as she removed both items from her shirt. Placing them on a table that housed the mixture she had concocted for Matthew, she ventured over to Hope and put the orchid in her left hand before folding both hands over her chest. She then walked over to Matthew and did the same, but with the bird instead.

Standing over two of them, she grabbed a green book from the aforementioned table. A demonic chant that she read from the book echoed throughout the quarters.

“Sa-may-lek-heim, Pol-ayno-la-shay, let them be forever united, as one,” she repeated a dozen times. Their eyes opened simultaneously, and stared at each other, uncertain of what had happened to them.

“What the fuck have you done to us?!,” Matthew shrieked.

The woman giggled and stepped over them and said, “Fear not, my son. You have been given the gift of eternal life. You shall not ever leave this place. All three of us are now one, stuck here until the end of time. It’s about time I got some company.”

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Wrinkle In Time

The wind was whistling around him and slapping him at a relentless pace. It began to chafe away at his nose and lips as he trekked forth. He lifted his hand over his mouth and sighed as he looked ahead of him to see that this storm was not slowing down in the least. He stuck his right hand into the pocket of his thin jacket and pulled out a small bottle of McCormick vodka. As he twisted the cap off and took a considerable gulp, he heard heavy footsteps approaching behind him.

Matthew turned around to see nothing to match the sounds he thought he heard. He shrugged it off and continued through the snowy abyss. Wiping his lips clean of the crust that had built up from the wind, he again heard massive footprints. He dropped the bottle into the snow and, as he turned his body around to face this anonymous source, he thought he was envisioning a mirage.

An old woman, wrinkled from her forehead to her chin stepped towards him. She stopped as she met with him face to face, and pointed her cane directly to his face.

“You. You know what you’ve done, don’t you? The misery you’ve caused just by being who you are? Come with me.”

“No,” he said defiantly, “I will not go with you. You think a couple words are gonna make me trust you? Get the fuck outta here.”

“As you wish,” she said as she disappeared where she stood, dissipating into a cloud of blue dust. Matthew ran his hands down his forehead over his eyes, shaking his head to determine whether what he saw was true to life. With the bottle of vodka still in his hand, he took another sip before dropping to his knees, laughing in the face of the storm that threatened his life. The skin that lay beneath his thin cotton jacket offered no protection from the fierce predicament he found himself in. He imagined that this must be what the ice age felt like, lonely and cold, awaiting the final kiss from the reaper’s lips.

Matthew began to dig a hole to crawl in to with hopes of sheltering himself from the cold. Using his bare hands until they turned a dark shade of pink, he shoveled the snow in various directions around him. He reached into his coat to take another sip of the bottle, and let out a regretful, “fuck” upon realizing that it was no longer in his possession.

He had a decision to make, and not much time to make it in. He figured that if he were to dig up the bottle, it would provide body warmth and prove to be more beneficial than the potential tomb he was digging. On the flip side, he knew from his father’s experience in the armed forces that you could survive the intense weather with the proper preparation.

Matthew sat down on the cold, wet ground and folded his legs Indian style while pounding his fist into the snow. He shouted at the sky and damned whichever God may have wished this to be. He got up out of his crouch and again tossed away the snow without gloves on. As he continued to dig away, he looked around to see the mountain of snow that he had brushed aside.

Either a big chunk of time passed while he attempted to burrow his way to the now missing vodka, or there was more snow than he initially thought. No matter the scenario, he determined it was high time for a breather. He wrapped his arms around his head and curled into the fetal position, attempting to thwart off Mother Nature’s vicious side.

Suddenly, the wind calmed, the wintery mix stopped swirling, and the snow melted from under him. As winter evaporated and gave birth to the summer scene that he left behind from the previous night’s rest, he heard a voice behind him. The old woman approached him, baring a wooden club that shined once the light touched it. Before he could ask what she wanted this time, he was cracked in the head with the slab of wood and dragged across the dirt.

The woman reached a cave and rolled him inside before entering it herself. She stood over him and clutched a wooden bowl and mixed a concoction of paste and water with a brown wooden spoon. She dumped a bit of water on his face to bring him back to consciousness. He gasped and wiped his eyes before looking in hers.

“Where am I?” he asked her, still groggy from the blow to the head.

She laughed before answering him.

“Exactly where you should be, my child.”