Retro Thursday 5-6-2021

 BY ATHLING2001

How Do you Kill a Monster without Becoming One….

———-

It ain’t easy.  That much is for sure.  Been a long time since I killed anything but back in the day….. yeah…. back in the day…..

It came for me when I was 15.  Thought I was tough then, I did.  Big swagger as I walked down the street.   Tough words.  Angry words.  Ugly words.  Funny how when you’re young you think those things make you tough.  Don’t take me wrong.  I was a scrapper.  I’d been in any number of street fights.  All my life.  Thought that made me tough, too.  How little I knew.

It came on a Monday.  I was home.  Had to be.  My little sister was there.  Didn’t like to leave her alone at night.  Not if I could help it.  We had day-old hot dogs for dinner.  A dented can of baked beans.  Marshmellow fluff. 

Lived in a series of rooms. Used to be offices when the building was a warehouse. One central room with a hotplate, couple broke-back chairs. A table. A radio. Another room with two mattresses on the floor. A bathroom that worked. Barely. But enough for water to clean and cook. I’d installed locks on the doors. Kept us safe so far. Then again, I wasn’t asleep yet.

Been years now. Too many. Never did find my little sister. I looked for her sometimes. All the times. That face in the crowd. A voice across a street. A dream of before I’d become a monster. But now… now I am old. Haven’t killed in years.

Weren’t killing that’d made me a monster. No. Abandoning her did. Ran when the Government people finally tracked us down. Gonna take us into the system. Foster homes. Schools. The ‘right’ life. Couldn’t take that. And so I ran.

She screamed. Begged. Tears. Never did forget that. Never did forget the sound of tears. Sound rang in my ears the rest of my days. Still there now. But it’s gonna be gone soon.

Soon. Another breath. Two. Another tear. I’ll no longer be a monster.

Question Of The Week 5-5-2021

If you could only have one book for the rest of your life, which would it be?

This is a hard question because as soon as I list one book, I know multiple others will come to mind, each one dear and worthy in its own right. The first book that always comes to mind is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. However, after more thought, I have to say The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I don’t know how many times I have read The Little Prince, but it makes me cry every single time. It also always reminds me of the important things in life.

If you haven’t read The Little Prince, I whole-heartedly recommend it.

Friday Fictioneers 4-30-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

They sat amid the devastation, oblivious. If not oblivious, at least resigned. The flood waters lay flat, motionless. Behind them, well, there used to be a house.

“Funny,” the first said, “how these daman chairs are bout the only thing to survive.”

“Yeah, funny,” agreed the second, dead-pan.

“Indestructible less you sit in them wrong.”

“Ah huh.”

“Think FEMA will get their tails in gear this time?”

“Nope.”

“You’re right. Probably not. Still……” And he was silent for a long moment. “There is always tomorrow.”

Retro Tuesday 4-20-2021

Do we leave a bit of ourselves behind in everything we touch, be it pencils, paper, a tree, a chair or even a moment of the day? A place where we’ve been, where the past and present and future collide? When I go somewhere, I can often feel the deep connection to the past. To the people who lived and loved there, to history going back hundreds or thousands of years.

The truth is, we probably do. We are all connected after all, down on the tiniest level, all made of the same stuff. You and I and the table and chair, the flowers in the garden, dogs, horses, everything in this entire world is connected at its tiniest points.

I once read that the breath I am taking now might once have been Lincoln’s. Or Cleopatra’s. King Arthur’s. Moses’. Or Joey’s down the street.

What an awesome thought that I breathe the same air as everybody who came before. That something of their lives remains and will always remain. For me, for my kids, my great-great-great-great grand-kids. (Supposing I have grand-kids at all.) That in their lives, they may breath the same breath which I am breathing now.

So do we leave something of ourselves on everything we touch? Of course we do. Nothing is ever created or destroyed. Just because we can’t always see it, or feel it, doesn’t mean it is not there.

I have my grandmother’s yarn basket in my bedroom and every time I see it, I think of her. Of the part of her which made that basket special to her and now, to me. If only a memory, she is there and isn’t that leaving something behind?

We all die sometime; there is no stopping that truth. But we aren’t gone because so much of us remains in everything which we touched with our lives. I like to think of my kids saving something of mine, whether a picture, a piece of jewelry, a dish or one of my model horses, something important to me, thus making it important to them. Something I have touched, something upon which I have left part of myself.

The past isn’t really past at all, not when everything we touch, everything we cherish, contains little part of us for all eternity.

Response JSW 4-19-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

I lay on the table, oblivious to anything around me. Eyes finally closed. Distant sounds of the sea rolling towards me.

I almost drowned when I was five. My older brother dared me to keep wading out into the surf, further and further until there was no sand beneath my feet.

Then the bad things started. I wasn’t the bad things, but they said they were inside me so I guess they must have been. I don’t remember, but they must have been. The nightmares never left, so they must have been.

I knew he was here, watching me drown.

I drifted further, floating now on the swells, feeling the salt in my veins pulling me down. Past the breakers. Floating out to sea.

To sea. See.

I could finally see. Floating. Drowning in the soft warm rush of waves of darkness.

Warden: “Time of Death. 12:01”

Retro Tuesday – Anger is Just Sad’s Bodyguard 3-30-2021

 BY ATHLING2001

Anger is just sad’s bodyguard.

When I first read the quote above, I had no clue what it meant. I couldn’t form the words into any semblance of understanding. Then it hit me and I understood with every fiber of my being.  Like a bodyguard protecting a client, we hide our sadness behind anger.   Anger is our shield to protect us from exposing our emotions to the world.

So much of the world lives on the edge between sadness and happiness.  The cars and houses and huge TV’s don’t bring the happiness expected.  Instead, sadness settles deep inside, a loss we might not even understand.  Because we won’t – or aren’t able – to admit the sadness at the center of our supposed ‘search for happiness,’ we pretend the sadness isn’t there.  We get angry at the people, events, politicians, (add your own favorites) we ‘think’ are keeping us from the happiness we deserve.

The truth is, we aren’t entitled to ‘happiness’ just because we exist. Every one of us is responsible for tearing down our own shield of anger and confronting the reality of life. Is all the anger in the world just hiding sadness over lives failing to fulfilled our own expected potential?

I lash out when I’m sad, trying to avoid some issue in my life.  I don’t like feeling out-of-control. The funny thing is, I know I’m hiding but I can’t help myself.  It’s easier to blame the world than to admit to the sadness settled inside me. It takes me a few hours, or days, to talk myself around to admitting the sadness hiding behind my armor.

If I am sad over a bill, with no clue where to find the money to pay,  I get angry. If only I had a better paying job; didn’t have to support my (adult) kids; if my mortgage company hadn’t screwed over some perceived slight.  You get the picture.

We all struggle with these feeling ever day. It’s the ostrich head in the sand syndrome.  If I don’t acknowledge the problem, it just might go away. I might win the lottery (if I played) or I might find a fortune in my attic (fat chance). Or I might just wind my way around to acknowledging my anger and deal with the problem head-on.  It doesn’t matter if I come up with an acceptable solution – such as where to get the money – I’ve confronted the issue.  That alone given me the peace needed to calmly and logically deal with the problem.

What if we could strip away the anger of the world, banish every shred guarding the sadness of an entire planet? What would be left for every man, woman and child?  Sadness. And then what if we acknowledged the sadness, every one of us on the entire planet. What if nobody felt out-of-control?

What would our planet look like then?

Response – JSW 2-22-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“That’s what they all say.”

He didn’t look over, wasn’t anything more over there to see than in front of himself. Mud, mud and more mud. He lived in a suit of mud.

“So who is the enemy now?”

Daniel looked up, across the calm office to the man sitting behind the desk. He thought they were supposed to come out from behind the desk to seem more open, more approachable, more friendly, but what did he know? He looked at his hands as if the answers lay somewhere in the creases in his palms, but all he could see was the mud.

“What do you see?”

“Mud.” He gave the same answer everytime. Nobody believed him about the mud, how they’d lived in it and breathed in it and died in it as the battle wove all around them. Different mud different times. Same story.

His socks had rotted away and now they were mud. His pants, his coat, his rifle…. all mud. The trench sank deeper and deeper into the mud. They wallowed to their groins in mud.

“What is beyond the mud?”

Daniel looked at him for a moment, head cocked, jerking once. “Mud.”

It was all mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud. Squishy. Crawley. Madding mud.

“It would help if you could wipe the mud away and see what is beyond.”

“There is no wiping away the mud,” he said with a shake of his head to dismiss the distant toll of bells. “The world is mud.”

The therapist sat in silence for a moment, looking at him. Daniel looked back, eyes tracing the mud along the man’s trousers and cuff, coating his desk and living on the wall beyond like a shroud.

The therapist tapped a finger on his notebook, glanced at his watch. His muddy watch. “We’ll take this up again next time.”

Careful not to slip on the mud, Daniel rose, flicking away mud oozing down his sleeves, onto the chair and the floor and the world. He squished out without speaking because if he opened his mouth, the mud would fill him, too. The enemy crawling inside.

The therapist went home and had a nice dinner with his wife and friends.

Daniel drowned.