Charlotte’s baby spiders. A whirlwind of sand. The field was blanketed with them this spring, so many waiting wishes. She closed her eyes, concentrated fully, sucked in a deep breath and blew, scattering endless spores from the dandelion’s fuzzy crown. She slowly opened her eyes and was very thrilled to see that she had succeeded. It was simple enough. She just wanted things to be ok again, like they used to be. Before her life had gradually imploded the year before. She wanted the broken pieces of herself and her life to suddenly heal. Watching a shattering vase in rewind. Continue reading →
It had seemed strange at first, of course. But now that the ratio of cephalophores to those with their heads still attached was roughly even, he scarcely noticed it anymore. They were just more bored New Yorkers, standing in line impatiently at the bank, making too much noise in the house across the street.
Then, one day, that all changed.
As the years passed, he remembered it like one would remember a car accident. Her glittering smile was the fragments of a shattered windshield scattered across black pavement, and nothing would ever be the same for him again. He had passed so many sleepless nights wondering how his life would be different if they had not crossed paths that day. He would have been saved from all the pain, but he could no longer imagine his life without her. She had been filling it up for so long, even if what she’d been filling it up with was the emotional equivalent of a full-body cast. Continue reading →
It was startlingly red, the red of blood dripping down a gashed leg, as it sank lower, the horizon pulling it towards its unavoidable nightly demise. It scattered that same red and golden yellow and orange in the sky around it, a temperamental painter, as stars that had been waiting in the wings began to show their faces in the vast expanse of the rest of the sky. The sun was pulling all light down with it, letting the day crash and burn in anger at being kicked out in favor of that laughable moon, a hollow facsimile of itself. Continue reading →
Just another show, always the same. Different towns, different slack-jawed rubes crunching peanuts and candy apples and watching you from the seats, but always the same routine. The scenery was different but the night itself never was. He could jump a month into the future or past and it would be just like tonight.
Xavier sat on his unicycle and pedaled himself out to the center of the ring, five clubs and his lucky Zippo engraved with a tiger in his oversized hands. The ringmaster was announcing him, but the words just washed over him like the faceless hum of the crowd. He pasted on his most brilliant fake smile as he lit the clubs and then began his juggling routine, riding smoothly around the ring as the flaming clubs circled in front of him. All of it—the cheers and applause, the music, his legs pumping the pedals, the work of keeping the clubs in the air—was just a haze. Continue reading →
She tossed her bouquet of daisies into the water, watching the ripples radiating from it as it drifted away. She had already tossed another handful onto his casket, but she thought it was only right to only bring them to the place where life had left him. She wondered what he had been thinking as the water pushed into his lungs. She wondered what it was like to hurt so much you thought that was the right thing. The daisies gently bobbed. Then, just like that, she felt a cool, unseen but solid hand in hers. She was not afraid. Continue reading →
In her dream, she was in Cajun country. There was a river where crawfish were being pulled up, and there was a bar at the bottom. She dove down, holding her breath, seeing all the strange personalities in the crystal-clear water. She saw a man smoking, and that confused her most of all. She wanted to stay, shoot pool, order a drink, but after just a few moments she had to grasp for the surface, clinging to the dock and gasping for breath. She wanted to ask the people to tell her their stories. But the river swallowed her words. Continue reading →
He had come to visit his friend’s farm in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York just for a change of scenery, really. The hectic pace of New York City was starting to bear down on him too overwhelmingly, to the point that working on his latest novel just resulted in endless frustration. He felt like his brain was in some kind of vise, being slowly squeezed until he couldn’t think at all. The constant hum of activity outside his Brooklyn apartment, usually comfortable, almost soothing, now just seemed maddening. Continue reading →
She careened down the hill, feet over head, feet over head, pulled into a tight ball of grass stains and denim and purple poodle barrettes.
She giggled as she came to a gentle stop on the fluffy grass below. She cartwheeled across the meadow and finally tumbled to the ground under a maple tree.
I know all this, because I was watching her. I was sitting on my porch, watching her, and trying to remember.
It had been a good thirty years since I’d done any somersaulting. Or any skipping or hairbraiding or make-believe, for that matter. “Unless you count making believe that my life is actually worth living,” I said softly to myself with an ironic laugh. Continue reading →
He leaned against the bus window, his breath visible on the cold glass. It was one of those early November twilights that pricks everyone with its cold but does not yet carry the threat of snow. Across the river, he could see the early darkness wrapping around and clinging to the buildings of the Manhattan skyline.
He sighed. The bus swung around a corner and came to a standstill. Startled, he realized that this was his stop. He knew he really should get off because he was running late already, but somehow he could not bring himself to do it. A moment passed and the bus pulled away. Continue reading →