Tag Archives: death

Thinker Ants (revision)

Once upon a time, a worker ant was ordered to bring good things back to its colony. While going for a walk one day, the ant saw a dead caterpillar. It was much too big to bring back, so the ant chewed off a piece of the caterpillar to bring some food back to his queen. The ant had seen living caterpillars before, and it began to wonder about death.

“What is death?” the little ant wondered. “What would it be like? What happens after?”

On his way back home, the ant came across a large anteater. It was stomping around, waving its elephantine truck through the air.

“Hey!” the ant chirped. “What’s death like?”

The anteater stopped and blinked at the little ant. “Why? Would you like to find out?”

“I’m just curious,” said the little ant, peering out from below a piece of what was once a caterpillar.

The anteater paused for a moment, confused by the little ant. “Death isn’t something you should go around asking about, you know?”

“I’m a worker ant. It’s my job to bring back things to the nest.”

The anteater sighed. “Including death?”

“I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s good.”

“If that’s what you want,” the anteater shrugged. He followed the little ant back to its nest and licked all the little ants up.

The End.

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Filed under Flash Fiction

Unique Rabbit (Revision)

Had that dream for the thousandth time. Ice cold sweats and the hangover hits my brain like a sack full of babies hitting the pavement. Left the T.V. on the Playboy channel. It’s in black and white. Just to look classy, I guess. They’re both wearing hats like in Casablanca, but that’s about all they’re wearing. Porn directors try too hard nowadays. Why even bother?

I shovel in a handful of Lady Scout cookies from the side of my bed—peanut butter today. Breakfast of champs. I bought a hundred boxes of them from Vanessa a couple years back and still have a whole closet full. She wanted to win some day camp trip or some damn thing so she could go with her friends. The cookies are all I have left of her now. The movie doesn’t turn me on at all but I knuckle off a load anyway. Makes my headache worse but I ignore it. For a second, I think I may be the only man on Earth who’s snacked on Lady Scout cookies and yanked it before getting out of bed. But there’s probably a whole mess of jerk wads like me. It’s a depressing thought. I cram a handful more cookies in my mouth before getting out of bed.

The mattress squeals and I slowly stumble over to the fridge to get some milk to wash it down. Out of milk. Lucky me.

First day back at work after my transfer. Mouth feels sticky. Chief jumps out of nowhere like one of those long-armed monkeys and claps me on the back.

“You look like Hell, Jack.”

“You’re not the prettiest guy either, Chief.” He laughs nervously. The guy’s scared of me. I punched out the chief at my old station the day after I got off personal leave. He told me it was illegal to have a rabbit doll hanging from the windshield of my squad car—obstructing vision while driving or some B.S. I stopped paying attention after he told me to take off the rabbit. That was Vanessa’s plush doll and he knew it. He had the right hook coming. Maybe not the kick in the ribs, but he was out cold by then anyway. In my defense, he was kind of a dick. Still, it could be that I needed those anger management classes.

Been working almost thirty years on the force so they let me off with a transfer to some shitty station all the way across the state, far enough from Brooklyn not to give anyone grief. I took everything with me, even the cookies.

When I was transferred, I pretty much lost all my seniority. I mean, I have it for retirement ‘n all, but I can’t be caught spraying the toilet seat or they’ll can my ass for good.

My new partner’s name is Charley. He’s a squirrelly kid with big messed up teeth (don’t they have a dental plan in this precinct?). I like to take naps on patrol but the guy never shuts up. I think they put me with him just for a lark, but I should feel lucky to still have a job. Yeah, I’m a lucky guy.

“Hey, Jack! I got a good one today,” Charley tells me as we crouch into the cruiser.

“Not today, Charley.”

“How do you catch a unique rabbit?”

“Charley, I’m about three seconds from—”

“Unique up on it!”

I died a little inside. Charley kept yapping.

“How do you catch a tame rabbit?”

“I don’t know, Charley? With a pistol?”

“The tame way! Unique up on it!” Every day with this shit. Charley’s the kind of guy that sends you forwarded messages with pictures of adorable kittens. His parents probably said “H. E. Double Hockey stick” when they were angry instead of throwing an empty beer bottle at his head. No one can stand him, but I don’t think he notices. I think he might be retarded.

“My aunt used to tell me that one.”

“Just ‘cause you had a traumatic childhood, Charles, doesn’t mean you got to lay it on the rest of us.”

“Shut up, Jack!” he sulked, then laughed.

“Just drive, you mook.” The quiet sound of the engine kicking is usually the highlight of my day.

I manage some shut-eye for a while, but I have this recurring nightmare I’ve been having for several days now. There’s this big shadow just taking my Vanessa and violating her and she screams and I want to tear this guy apart limb from limb but I can’t move. I reach my hands out but it’s like I’m chained to something. So I snarl and cry my damn eyes out until he pulls out a knife and that’s when I wake up. That’s when I always wake up, as if the first part wasn’t horrible enough. Never told my shrink about it. She’d probably just give me more pills to swallow.

I’m sweating through my shirt, breathing like a chain-smoking pitbull. Charley’s staring right at me.

“Jack, are you all right? You were rolling around in your seat. Did you have a bad dream? My dog does that sometimes when she’s dreaming about chasing small animals.”

“You got a green light!” I snap. “Look at the road, not me! Ya weirdo…” While Charles is stomping the gas, I wipe the sweat off my face. I hate those damn dreams, but I’m almost glad for them, too. They remind me of her, what she sounded like, and what happened to her. I don’t want my memories of her to fade in a drunken haze like I did with her mother after cancer slit her throat. And I don’t ever want to forgive that man, either. I want to remember. I have to.

Charley’s glancing at me again. I must have looked scary or something because his eyes are stapled to the pavement ahead of the car. Well, at least he’s paying attention to the road now. The pedestrians are always ridiculous around here. I look back at the road and I can see what looks like Vanessa stepping out in front of the car. Probably the DTs. Just as I squeeze my eyes shut to make her go away, the car screeches to a stop. The shoulder strap almost knocks the wind right out my chest.

“I almost hit that girl!” Charley cries, opening the door without even checking for oncoming traffic. The way we’re positioned has us jackknifed across both lanes.

“What girl?” I snap, opening the passenger side.

Charley is helping a young girl up from the street and apologizing about a hundred different ways. She has a jPod plugged into her ear and she dropped her phone on the street (no wonder she didn’t see the car coming). When she pushes the hair back from her eyes, though, I can feel my balls almost suck back into my stomach. She’d be fifteen by now, the same age as this girl. The same dark hair. The same freckles on her face. The same mole above her collar bone. She even has the same huffy motions when she’s mad.

I’m almost afraid. I saw Vanessa’s body the night she was murder. I ran through the barricade when I overheard it my be her. And it was—I’m sure it was. I know what my shrink would say. I used to see Vanessa all the time and she’d say I was “projecting my desires.” But this is different. This isn’t the profile of some girl walking around a corner. I mean to ask the girl if she’s okay. Instead it comes out as “Are you Vanessa?”

Charley and the girl both give me weird looks. I’m even more certain now. Vanessa gave me those same looks all the time, like I was some crazy old man and she must have been swapped at birth with another kid. “Vanessa? Is that you?”

“Get off of me!” the girl shouts, kicking me, but I’m already hugging her and sobbing like an infant.

Charley is trying to pry me off. There’s a crowd gathering. “Jack, get a hold of yourself.” I’ve seen scenes like these on T.V. where the guy’s finally cracked, so I take another look to be sure. She’s still my beautiful, big-nosed Vanessa with the dark eyes like her mother. But she looks scared as a skinned hare, so I let her go.

“You don’t recognize me? Vanessa, it’s Daddy.” Maybe my memory’s just gone to Hell. Maybe I don’t know what’s real anymore.

“Charley, I’m gonna take this girl in the car. We have to fill out some paperwork.”

“We don’t have to do that, Jack. Are you hurt, miss?”

“No, we do. Remember, code 802?”

Charley screws up his squirrelly little face trying to think. “…a cat in the road?”

“I’m fine! I’m just going to go home.” The girl wiggles her hand in the air and turns to go. Not again. I grab her other arm, trailing behind like a tail. She pulls and hollers, and I grab her other arm.

“Jack! Just let the girl go!”

“Get in the car, Charley.” Vanessa makes a small kick at my shin. My grip on her arms must be hurting her, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let go this time.

“Jack, I need you to calm down and let the girl go. We’ll talk about this later. I won’t tell the chief on you or nothing. Okay?” He smiles and nods like a dashboard bobble head.

“Get in the damn car, Charley!” I can see people gathering around in the corner of my eyes. They’re probably thinking police brutality, the way the girl is screaming. Someone is holding up his cell phone, probably taking video.

“All right, but I’m calling this in to the chief.” My asshole jumps into my stomach. I pull out my sidearm. “Get in the back, Charley. You too, Vanessa!”

Charley does what he’s told. Vanessa struggles a bit, but I manage to push her into the back of the squad car, holding her head to make sure she doesn’t hit it going in.

I start driving to the sounds of a sobbing girl. Vanessa sounds a little different from what I remember, but that’s probably puberty. Charley wastes his energy reassuring her, then me. I spend a few stoplights sweating over where to go now that I’m a kidnapper. I pull off onto the 40 going east.

“Where is he taking us?” the girl asks. She’s afraid, and reasonably so, but it’s good to hear that she’s not crying. Makes my stomach rot to hear my girl cry like that.

“I don’t know. Jack, where are we headed?” Charley’s back to being Charley, now that I don’t have a gun pointed at him. “Back to Brooklyn. Maybe she’ll remember who she was.”

“My name’s Madison. I don’t know a Vanessa.”

“CAR 67. CAR 67. WHERE ARE YOU? WE’RE GETTING REPORTS ABOUT A POLICE OFFICER PULLING OUT HIS PISTOL ON 34TH. CHARLEY. JACK! RADIO BACK AND RETURN TO HQ IMMEDIATELY.”

I pick up the radio but the girl starts screaming and bawling as soon as I do. Lying to HQ wouldn’t buy me any more time if they can hear her screaming. I click it off. They’ll be trying to track me soon if people are calling in about my exploits downtown. What am I doing? My parents must have shaken me like a pinball machine when I was a baby.

“I’m sure we can work something out with the chief. I mean, you’re a cop and it was mistaken identity. You won’t press charges, will you, Madison?” Dear God. He thinks I’m some sort of psychopath or something.

“No. I won’t. Just let me go home.”

“How old are you, Madison?” I ask gently.

“…fifteen,” she sniffles.

Same age. Same looks. By all rights, this “Madison” is my daughter.

“Then it doesn’t matter whether you want to press charges. You’re a minor, so your parents are my judge, jury, and executioner.”

“That doesn’t seem very fair. I’m the one being kidnapped,” Madison says.

“Kidnapped? No. No. Look, we just need to get to a doctor I know. He can do a blood test to tell if you’re Vanessa’s twin or if you have amnesia or something. It’s the only other explanation I can think of. Maybe I’m your real Daddy. Don’t you want to know if you’re my daughter? Don’t you want to know if you had a sister?”

“I don’t think I do. You said that she was dead. I mean, it doesn’t seem like there’s any point.”

“But she’d be your sister. I mean, don’t you want to know?”

“I’m sorry. I just want to go home. I want to go back to my family. My real father is probably worried sick about me.” The car is quiet for a few minutes until Charley opens his yap.

“Hey, Madison. Want to hear a joke?”

“Charley!” I snap. “The girl doesn’t want to hear your stupid jokes!”

“Why did the woman divorce the grape?”

I growl in frustration, swerving around all the slow cars that drive five miles per hour trying not to get a ticket around the squad car.

“I don’t know. Why?”

“She was tired of raisin kids.” Madison doesn’t laugh or say anything about how lame the joke is. She just sits there in the back and I can almost hear her thinking it over. What’s there to think over a joke that stupid?

“That’s pretty harsh. So, she didn’t like the kids just because of the way they looked?” She’s taking this way too seriously.

“No. It’s just a joke—a play on words.” Charley reassures her.

“I mean, she’s tired of having kids who are raisins so now she’s going to just abandon her family?”

“I don’t know… I never thought about that. Jack, what do you think?”

“Don’t give two shits. Just you and Vanessa keep quiet. I’m gonna call my doctor friend on the cell phone.”

“My name’s not Vanessa. It’s Madison.”

I try calling but it’s his voicemail prattling on about appointments. I throw the phone in the empty passenger side. Am I going crazy? Is this girl even here? No, she’s got to be. I have to be sane. Maybe she is a twin sister that my wife gave up. They say everybody’s got a double somewhere in the world. Or did that rapist murdering fuck not really kill Vanessa? Maybe she has amnesia from the trauma? But then whose body did I see? Somebody else’s. Must’ve been. I mean, that body was almost beyond recognition. Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe forensics made a mistake.

“Jack! Sirens!” Charley shouts. Not that I’m complaining about the warning, but whose side is this numbnuts on? Does he really think I’m gonna pull over? I turn on my own sirens and step on the gas. Maybe they’re not coming after me. I click the radio…

“…67! PULL OVER! REPEAT…”

…so much for that.

I feel refreshed, gunning it past the cars as they make room for us, at least until I reach a barricade of squad cars at the tollbooths—toll roads bust my balls every time. I hammer on the breaks, and I can feel the tires on the right side leave the ground and crash back down to the earth.

I unbuckle my seatbelt and raise my hands in the air until officers raid the car, pulling me out on the hot pavement to feel me up a while until they’ve got my gun and they’re satisfied that I’m not keeping C-4 tucked under my balls.

Charley’s getting the pat down, too, though not nearly as rough. Madison’s standing there, looking every bit like my sweet Vanessa. She tries to smile at me, I think, but all it looks like is pity.

In spite of myself, I’m a little relieved. I don’t know who this girl is. I really want to know. But even if she’s not my daughter, she’s still alive and okay. Maybe better than she was with me. I can see a sliver of the moon even in the middle of the day, the taste of peanut butter in my mouth. Vanessa was always such a forward, rational thinker (she got that from her mother). She was always telling me to let things go.

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Filed under Session XXIV, Short Story

Dead Silent

After everything that happened, after all the shooting and bleeding and running in fear, we all had one collective thought: is it dead?

Its elephantine feet which had crushed through our friends bones now rested gently on the floor. Its face, previously a shrieking mess of teeth and blood, was not draped quietly against the wall. A thin trail of blood ran from the its mandibles. In its tentacles, the writhing muscles now lay flaccid and still; and the stinger venom, once beading out poison that they’d seen boil out a man’s insides before the thing’s neck split in half to display more even more mouths used to consume larger prey. All of these things were still and quiet.

“Is… is it dead?” Nadia whispered.

Bill raised his sidearm and fired into its face, causing the creature to write in pain. Its mandibles opened to show its six rows of hundreds of teeth. Its feet and tentacles shot out and dug into the wall. Its wings enveloped the entire hallways, while its stinger raised to the ceiling. Bill continued to fire into it head until the gun clicked. The creature collapsed again.

“Probably is now.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII

Ghost Whisper

“I want to eat you,” she whispered.

At first, Jose was excited, but then he realized he was alone in the room.

“Hello?” he asked, but the only light in the room was from his laptop. He muted his computer. Maybe it was one of those stupid annoying ads that starts talking to you from out of nowhere.

“I want to eat you,” the voice whispered again.

That was definitely coming from somewhere in the room. Jose looked around, in his closet and under his bed. He put his ear to the air vent.

“Jose,” a soft wind blew into his ear. Jose jumped up and bumped into something. He turned around and screamed like a little girl, his arms and legs kicking out. He smashed back into the wall, gasping for breath at the strange thing in the room. It was a person… with a sheet over her head.

“Inez? Is that you? You scared the shit outta me, girl.”

“N-nn,” the girl in the ghost costume shook her head. “My name’s Dina.”

Jose reached to pull off the sheet on her head. His hand went through her body. “What the Hell?”

“I’m a ghost.”

Jose shook his head. “You’re a hologram or something. Somebody’s playing a prank on me big-time.”

“No. I assure  you, I’m a ghost.”

“Well, ghost. Take off the damn sheet so I can see your face.”

“It’s not a sheet! This is what ghosts look like! I’m in purgatory! It’s not like I can keep my human form, jackass!”

Jose paused for a moment. “Suppose  you’re telling me the truth. What the Hell are you haunting me for?”

“I already told you.” A slit opened in the sheet’s face, exposing a wide, empty smile. “I want to eat you, Jose. I wasn’t fucking around with you, man.”

Dina’s formless body enveloped Jose. Her wide, empty smile crunched own on Jose’s skull, taking off his entire head above the jaw. Her ghostly appendages turned Jose’s body upside-down over her head to shower in the blood spritzing out of his throat. She squeezed him, juicing his body for all that he had. The blood ran over and through her spectral form. She shuddered in excitement.

“Nnnn. Oh, that’s good, Jose. So good. Thank you.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII

Sacrifice

Ginny and I killed our baby today. I wasn’t there, but I was in the waiting room, pacing around. It never existed, not really, but I don’t think that’s what really grips my insides and shakes them around. No, it’s what that child could have been. It was a clean slate, an innocent. But at the same time, I keep thinking, she can always make another someday. That one will be a clean slate, too. So, really, it’s a blessing and a curse for the child to be created so innocent. Really, we should all just be born adults, jaded and no longer hungry for the world. Maybe that would be a kinder fate than bringing a child into a society where innocence is a commodity.

But maybe I’m overthinking this. Like I said, it wasn’t the death that bothered me. Instead, what bothered me the most was the image of that child I created in my head. She was a girl. I don’t know why, but this bothered me the most. She liked dresses and dolls and her daddy. She hated broccoli but loved strawberry and chocolate ice cream mixed together.

It was those thoughts that broke me. If Ginny wasn’t there, in need of support, I would have torn everyone apart outside with their signs and their empty words. Who are they? They didn’t lose a daughter today. They don’t matter. All that matters is there was a fetus who could have been a girl who could have loved ice cream.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII

Glitterdust

You are in a deep, dark forest. The animals cautiously surround your group. They are not used to seeing people and you may be the only humans to enter so deep inside and live to tell the tale. You cut through the overgrown brush and come across the moss-side of a rock. The illustrious ranger, Darkfang, remembers from his experience tracking that the moss always points north. However, underneath the moss is also a cluster of tiny mushrooms. The mushrooms sparkle with intensity, as if warning you of some impending danger.

Darkfang fails his spot check and you and Alastair both fail your will saves. You are encased in a cloud of sparkling glitter, spewed out from the tiny mushrooms. It gets in your clothes and your eyelashes. You’re both sparkling  so intensely that you can’t even see anything at all. You both count your blessings that there’s nobody here to see how gay you look. You fail your spot check again and are surprised as suddenly, a swarm of tiny magic missiles fly at your sparkly bodies. A swarm of pixies fly at you with daggers drawn, whooping high-pitched little war cries.

Roll for initiative.

The pixies surprise you a second time as you are too sparkly to notice anything but the blood oozing from your magic missile wounds. The pixies stab at you, their little daggers coated now in your blood and glitter. You try to counter-attack with your own weapons, but you are blinded from the glitter clinging thickly to your eyelashes, so much so that you look like bioluminescent drag queens. The pixies flutter out of the way of your attacks and then move in for the kill. As the swarm of pixies wrestle you to the ground, the last and only thing you see is the sparkle of glitterdust.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXI

Snow Fairy

I’m Kip. I’m a snow fairy. Pleased ta meetcha. Ya know? I never met a real live person before. I’m kind of slow for a snow fairy. Usually when I get to the person, he’s already all frozen and dead. Yeaaah. Iz kind uv a bummer, ya know?

Bein’ a snow fairy ain’t all snowflakes and frostbite, tho! Sometimes we got ta flutter one way and then bam! Yer all flutterin’ the next way! It’s rough, y’know? No staw-bility! I tell ya, it’s no blanket of fresh powder. Sumtimes, yeah, I wish I was a water fairy, drippin’ offa a fresh juicy strawbirry. Oooh! Makes me wanna eat one right now. Well, I mean I’ve heard they’re good. From, y’know… sources. Hey, I know water fairies! Every spring, we switch shifts. My buddy’s always tellin’ me how awesome spring is. But it’s cool. I like the cold and dead people an’ stuff. Strawberries prolly taste like snot, ennyways. Yeah… prolly.

 

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XX