Category Archives: Pulp Fiction

Creative short stories.

Friday Fictioneers – We Were Just Children

FFbenches

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

 

Sitting behind me, as fate would have it, as you drag your finger across my back, I know it’s you.  The faintest touch of a dizzily dragging finger that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck like you knew it would.  But we were just children.

 

And you were still just a child when you passed to the other side; when you knocked on my door and asked to come back.  It was too late.  I felt a guilt it my heart I didn’t know was there, like you knew I would.  But we were just children.

 


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Chop Chop!

The date at 6.  The clock at 5.  Everyone waiting for me to arrive like festivities barred behind brittle little braces and I’m the Straw that breaks its back.  I want to be there.  I want more time with you all.  But painful is the prodding that produces this person to patiently mosey around from my private cove.  The lines on the clock face tick lines on my face, and all I hear is –

 

Chop Chop!

 

My private cove where my actions are my own and not the production of string pulls on my marionette.  My door like scissors that cut me loose into my own sanctuary.  I drop my masquerade in a jar by the door and may work on my dreams in peace.  And pieces they become for two eyes of my own for I share them with no one; not for my sake, I just wear a particular prescription.  My farsighted lenses I paint over with roses save me from the Grims that speak with no filter.  So I stay here with myself.  I lie in bed and let my aspirations float up into the ceiling fan – and pieces they become.

 

Chop Chop!

Love Letter

You’re the gravity,

That gives these words weight.

Without you, it’s just a blank slate.

 

You’re the word I can’t stop repeating,

Until it loses all meaning,

But I can’t stop from singing.

 

You’re the body I hold under the sheet,

Because when our brains turn off,

Our hearts still beat.

 

You’re the gravity,

That gives these words weight.

Without you, it’s just a blank slate.

 

You’re the one after the “To”,

Who I’m sending this love letter,

To try and make our love better.

 

Jaded Diamond

It’s been three years since they said it would be over in three months.

It’s been three years since I wasn’t warned to bear the brunt.

It’s been three years since I couldn’t munch-crunch on brunch-

Only ever wanting to confront the bunched up grunts with a punch,

And a punt in their scrunched up guts.

But I was too weak – too tamed to maim the brains I blame,

For my guts lacerated like a hollow candy-cane.

So all my aggression, depression, pressurized this compression,

That I prayed would turn my lump of coal into a diamond – that’s my confession.

Kept tryin’ to turn it into a positive,

But I’m positive – it sure was causative.

 

The result was no diamond.  I’m jaded.

My ‘care-free’ faded.  My Mr. Brightside shaded.

And to not be angry at the God who forgave me;

I hope He’ll save me from these drugs I keep taking.

‘Cuz I know that I’m destined for more than monthly injections,

For this lower intestine.

And you know I’m bestin’,

To alchemize this jade into perfection.

It’s predestined progression- not even a question of reaching succession.

I’m working to the top.

Until then- can’t stop.

Love Letters from a Teenage Manic Depressive

Sometimes I stare.  But I just can’t help myself from looking at the back of that pretty head.  And those slender arms that come to a gentle rest in front of her, dainty fingers drumming away at an invisible tune of a popular song I’ve never heard of.  She’s perfect.  Her brown hair, her turquoise shirt with all the jewelry, and jeans.  I don’t know anything about her, but she’s perfect.

It’s just this feeling I’ve got.  An instinctual calling of fate that tells me “this one”.  I can tell because my hands get sweaty.  I can tell because when she looks towards me, I get hyper-aware.  I start to feel my taste buds slide against the inside of my mouth and I can taste my early-morning saliva and lead-ridden drinking fountain water.  I have to remind myself to blink every 15 seconds or so.  I realize my foot has been tapping, and when I stop it, that potential energy builds up my anxiety.  And all this happens with her quickly turning her head to the side to adjust her hair over her shoulder.  When I pass her in the hallway, I realize the patter and rhythm to my walking until I start walking with a hobble.  My lips feel uncomfortable just sitting there and I move them around until they’re fixed into some sly smile.  But I always make sure not to show teeth- they’re not white enough.   Maybe there’s something in them.

And as much as I hear “this one” ringing through my head on repeat for hours and hours, I can’t make myself do anything.  If she was interested, I’d know, right?  But why would she?  I can smell my 3-day unwashed jeans when I sit down.  Sometimes when she sits down, I get the faint whiff of name brand dryer sheets and mall-grade perfume.  She’s perfect.  But my shirt has a hole in the collar and I could probably use a haircut.  Maybe after some new clothes and grooming I can maybe say ‘hi’.

I like to wonder what would happen if I just collapsed in the middle of everything.  Who would rush over?  Who would run away?  Who would just watch?  Who would care?  I think about this scenario constantly in many different places, with many different people, but I can’t stop myself from always picturing her to run over first and be upset.  Really, really upset.  Her eyes filled with tears, holding my lifeless body and sobbing.  It’s perfect.

Mommy Under the Bed

Copied from my post on nosleep.  


Another night of overtime.  This paycheck better be worth it.  It better be worth not seeing my wife, my kid, my home… my TV.

I got home late again.  I try to turn the key and knob so it doesn’t make any noise.  I can feel the deadbolt clunk back, I tiptoe inside, and lock the door behind me.  I quietly slip my shoes off and slink up the stairs.  It was only after I got into the bedroom and undressed that I realized my entire body had been tense since I got to the porch.  Something about being quiet tenses you up.  I slide into bed next to my wife, kiss her on the back of the head, and go to sleep.

“Daddy.”

I squeeze one eye shut and crack the other to see my son is standing next to my bed in his pajamas.  It’s still late, but he had turned the hallway light on.

“Yeah?”

“Mommy is under my bed,” he said.

“There’s a monster under your bed?” I asked, trying to wake my body up enough to be coherent.  Usually I could force some motivation, but I guess these long nights had gotten to me.

“No, Mommy,” he says.

“Mommy’s right here next to me.  Go turn the hallway light off.”

“Bu-“

“Now,” I demanded.  He scampered back out of the room and turned the light off.  As soon as it was dark again, my wife shifted comfortably back into bed.  Now that she was awake, I knew I had to get up to check on him.  I picked myself up on my elbow and sat up.  I felt incredibly weak, but I bent back over and told my wife I’d be right back.  I couldn’t see the bedroom in the dark, so I felt around until I grabbed my robe and walked to the hallway door.  My son was standing there waiting on me.

“Alright buddy, let’s go check it out.”  My eyes adjusted quickly to the darkness of the hallway, and I finally managed some energy.  I guess it was nice to see my son for the first time in a while.

We walked to his bedroom together.  I grabbed his hand, opened the door, and flipped on the lights.  I closed the door behind me to drown out some of the noise for my wife.

“Alright, buddy.  Let’s check this out.”  I knelt on the floor and bent down.  I collapsed.  My wife’s mutilated body laid twisted under the bed, her head snapped towards me and her eyes wide open.  I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t move.  But….

“Buddy, don’t look under here!”  I said, my voice rising and shaking.  I reached for her, every part of her body tense and strict.  Her skin looked dark blue.

“Daddy?!” he whimpered.  Hearing my son made me release some tension, enough for me to hear footsteps coming down the hall.

“Run and lock the door!” I told him.  He ran over and locked it, then we both scooted to the back wall and watched the doorknob jerk.

A Dim Purple

She was dancing with angels.  She twisted and twirled and laughed and laughed.  She had never felt such joy.  She grabbed an angel by the hand and continued to dance.  They spun and glided through the air effortlessly.  The angel, holding her hand, wrapped her up tight, and then spun her away.  Her grasp on his hand was gone and she was spinning uncontrollably.  Her feet then noticed the removal of ground and she began falling through white wisps of clouds, her arms held out helplessly, hoping someone would grab her hand.  After a few seconds of falling through the clouds, she dropped out into a dark purple, starless sky.  She continued to fall, staring straight up to where she had just been, until she gently rested in a large, freshly green field of grass.

She sat in the grass and looked around to inspect her surroundings.  She saw nothing but hills of bright green which greatly contrasted the dark purple sky.  Then behind her, she noticed a rabbit hopping nearer.  When it got close, she realized the rabbit was actually hopping backwards.  The rabbit hopped past her and was now face to face with the girl.

The rabbit had on blue overalls and a pair of black wire-framed glasses.  One ear was stuck straight up in the air and the other was bent about an inch above its head, the end of that ear resting against its side.  His nose twitched before he said, “It’s finally time for you to go home, back to your Father.”

The girl curiously stared at the animal, wondering what it was talking about.  Suddenly a small drop of water floated from the ground directly in front of the rabbit.  It floated up and under the rabbit’s glasses and into its eye.  As the girl was about to ask what was happening, the rabbit spoke again, “And thank you for slaying the Malignant Mangrove Snake.  He has been causing us much trouble these days.”

“But I haven’t –“

“I’m glad you have made it here safely,” interrupted the rabbit.

“I’m glad I did too,” said the girl.

“I’m glad you chose the right path,” the rabbit said as his bent ear flipped up straight and a smile ran across his mouth.  The rabbit then hopped backwards into a hole in the ground a few feet away.

The girl began walking through the meadow, trying to figure out what was going on.  She walked for what seemed like a couple miles until she spotted a large boat in the middle of the green field.  She walked up to examine it.  It was a large white steamship with two steam pipes protruding from the top.  On the side, stenciled in large black letters was the word ‘FAITH’.  She climbed on board by ascending the fish net that was hanging over the side.  She walked around the deck, inspecting the ship and then looked out across the end of the boat.  She could see an ocean off in the distance.  Between the ocean and the ship, there was a line of torn-up ground where the boat must have gone through.  She pondered how to get the boat back to the water, until suddenly, all of her hair fell out.  Each strand twirled separately down to the boat’s deck in shapes of waves and seaweed and fish.  The hair then dissolved into the deck.  The boat started to tilt.  The girl went back over to the edge of the ship.  Now instead of green grass, there was blue water.  The water swayed with the boat, not hitting it with force but gently guiding it to its destination.  The girl felt the breeze on her back, urging her towards the edge.   The roaring of waves was, she thought, the most beautiful sound in the world.  The wind blew a breeze and lifted the newly grown hair off her shoulders.

When the boat finally hit dry land, the girl climbed out and onto a barren landscape.  The ground was cracked and crushed under her every step.  She started following a narrow path, only visible because it was outlined with enormous black boulders.  The path widened into a large circle.  On the left side of the circle, there lay what appeared to be an enormous body of a snake.  And to the right of the circle, the head of the snake lay with a sword through its mouth.  The girl walked through, trying to imagine what epic battle must have taken place.

The path narrowed once again.  She followed it until she saw a gate.  The structure of the gate, which was mounted into the boulders on either side of the path, was magnificent.  It was huge and shimmering white.  She could only marvel at the construction as she walked through it.  She turned around and walked backwards to continue to admire it, and she noticed another path next to the one she had just traversed.

The other path was much wider.  There was actually grass along this path, rich and green and healthy.  She was curious as to what was at the end of that path, but decided to turn around and continue when she smelled the faint whiff of smoke.

She followed the path which now seemed monotonous: it was just a straight path marked with large black boulders, the ground still cracked under her steps.  When she looked out into the horizon, the same path she was following was mirrored back to her.  She kept walking until the landscape started to become blurry.  It started to dissolve.  A dim purple light surrounded her.  She hated the color; it reminded her of a bruise that refused to go away.  She reached out and saw her hands in front of her, and beyond that, purple.  She brought her hands back to her face to make sure this wasn’t a dream, no matter how much it looked like one.  She felt her cheeks, cold and clammy, and then grabbed at her hair to run her fingers through it.  Her hair felt unnaturally and wonderfully long and beautiful.  As she stood, hands running through her hair, it all started to fall out.  Each strand twirled separately down to the dim purple floor.  They did not fall in heaps, but rather, into shapes of stars and clouds and birds, the sun and the moon.  Each strand created its own idea of a heavenly object until the girl thought she was standing on the sky.

*                     *                     *

            The girl opened her eyes.  She could see her parents.  They looked down at her with tears in their eyes.  She could feel the strong grip of her parent’s hands on hers.  Her mother’s other hand came up and stroked the girl’s bald head.

“Everything is going to be ok, sweetie,” her mother whispered.

The girl lay confused in her hospital bed with her parents crowding over her.  The girl turned her head to the doorway where she saw two nurses coming in, one with a small tray.  After the nurses entered, a tall doctor followed.  The doctor put a hand on the girl’s mother, looked at the girl, and gave a forced smile of reassurance.  The doctor then walked over to the tray one of the nurses had brought in and picked up a syringe with a clear liquid in it.  He walked back over to the girl, grabbed her gently by the arm, and told her, “It’s going to be completely painless.”

The girl looked back over to her mother, who said, “It’s time for you to go home.”

Then the girl felt a small pinch on her arm.  Suddenly a dim purple light surrounded her.  She hated the color; it reminded her of a bruise that refused to go away.

Ship