Archive for November, 2013

Regenerate

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , on November 11, 2013 by bigtuna185

At the height of pain
We have the best potential
To be whole again.

Possible

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on November 6, 2013 by bigtuna185

A question of will,
Your “easier said than done”
Is rendered invalid

Capsule

Posted in Short Stories with tags , , , , , , , on November 5, 2013 by bigtuna185

Riley couldn’t sleep. This was nothing new for him though. For the past couple of months, he had been tossing and turning every night. He was restless, but he couldn’t figure out why at all. He looked over at the clock. It read 2:01 am. Right on schedule, he thought.

These were the times when he would just lay awake and think about how devoid of purpose everyone’s lives just seemed to be. What possible reasoning could there be for him of all people to have to be subjected to the cursed life of an insomniac? It would be better if he ever actually had anything to do at night, but all of his friends were so simple minded, vapid, and shallow. He could boil down their formula for fun into a predictable equation. Go out, drink heavily, vomit heavily, drink more, pass out, repeat. What was there to gain from that though? How didn’t that get boring every single night? Sure, Riley didn’t mind a drink or two every so often, but to intoxicate yourself to the point of becoming comatose? Where was the sense in that? Or maybe the whole point of it was that there wasn’t any sense to it at all. Maybe it was just that some people needed to leave behind the structured walls of logic every so often and escape into an expanding, spiraling black hole of forgetfulness. He could understand it, but he would much rather remember his pain than numb it and lose all feeling.

He stretched out his arms and legs as far as they could reach, touching the ends of each side of his bed. He rolled back his covers and walked the short distance to his window. It was pitch black outside. There would be no romantic full moon on that night. He opened his window and let the gusts of wind ripple through his disheveled blonde hair. That was always one thing that calmed him down. The feeling of an unseen force caressing and massaging his troubled head. It made him feel wanted by the world around him, like nature itself was telling him that he mattered, that he could make a difference. This was a job that once belonged to his mother, but she had died when Riley was only 5 years old. 20 years later, he was alone in his apartment, stuck at some day to day job that he didn’t even like, just barely keeping it all together. And he couldn’t sleep on top of that. He felt lost, and it was those moments in front of the breeze rolling in that he sensed his mother there with him, gently pushing him forward.

He glanced down at the street below. Nothing was moving. Nobody else seemed to have any trouble sleeping. It was only Riley, suspended in this moment in time. What was the point of it all anyway? Who was he trying to live such a crappy life for? Everyone he had once loved was either gone or had given up on him long ago. No girl could handle the assorted baggage that came along with him. His father left when he was just a baby, and both he and his mother had been an only child. How easy would it be to just climb out onto the ledge of his overpriced 10th story room and just take one step off to end it all? The only person who would even remotely care was the guy who owned the building, and that was because he just wanted to get paid! Riley’s face felt hot now, tears slowly streaming down it. His internal struggle was messing with his head and he wasn’t sure what crazy, irrational thing he would do next.

He turned his gaze skyward and looked at the place where the moon should be. Instead he only saw snickering stars, mocking him from their celestial pedestals and laughing at his pathetic life. There was a faint tracing of a circle where the earth cast a shadow across the ominous iris of the night. Riley’s eyes were fixated on that perfect non-entity. It wasn’t able to be seen unless you were focusing intently on that one spot. His eyes started to widen, and with it, so did the shadow moon. His pupils mirrored what it took in, growing larger, more murky, and lifeless. Soon, the entirety of his eyes was as black as the scene outside, and not long after that, his world went dark.

*                                                                          *                                                                            *

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRNG! BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRNG! The sound of the telephone ringing woke Riley from his slumber. His eyelids fluttered open very slowly. He felt heavy, his body not entirely responsive. It seemed as though he had slept for years. He looked at his fingers as he tried to wiggle them. They were moving, so that was a good sign. Toes were good too. The preliminary flight check was all clear. Riley attempted to get up from where he was laying. Bones and muscles creaked. One good stretch made sure that his body was still working. A twist of the back, a reach of the arms, and several *pops* later and he was as good as new. He couldn’t remember the last time that he had as good a night of sleep as that, which seemed very odd. He wondered what time it was and if he was late for work. As he glanced over at the nightstand where he kept his phone, he realized that it wasn’t there. For that matter, the nightstand wasn’t there either. In fact, nothing in the room where he was sleeping seemed to be familiar. Riley wasn’t afraid, but he was slightly disturbed. Just where was he?

It was only now that he got a really good look at his surroundings. The only light source was whatever filtered in from behind the faded green curtains.  Cardboard boxes were stacked to the ceiling full of newspapers, photo albums, fine china, and other assorted paraphernalia. Towers upon towers of lives just packed away into square receptacles, some precariously close to falling, but defying gravity with each second that they didn’t. The stories that they could tell. Riley’s bed was covered by a thick pink comforter, layered with dust and lint. The musty smell indicated that no one had been in there for quite some time. Long forgotten documents and files littered the floor. None of it seemed very neat. It looked as though whoever had packed everything away in the first place was rushed and frantic.

A muffled voice could be heard beyond the wall. The walls were thin, but not so thin that Riley could hear the words clearly. If he wanted to know what was really going on, he would have to open the door. The only problem with that was that there was a minefield of memories standing between him and the information he needed. He lightly tiptoed around the clerical skyscrapers and contorted his body so that he wouldn’t touch a single one. Just as he neared the doorknob, his elbow bumped one of the towers. It teetered and wobbled, but nothing fell except for a single picture frame. Reflexively, Riley caught it before it hit the ground. Turning it over in his hand, he could see that he recognized that picture. In fact, he knew it very well. It was the same picture that he had kept right next to his bed for the past 20 years: a rare photo of him and his mother. How did it get here, he wondered. He gripped it tightly and then reverently placed it on the bed. Now he wasn’t just disturbed that he didn’t know where he was. He was angry that someone would have the nerve to steal one of his most prized possessions, dump it in a dirty old room with dilapidated cardboard boxes, and then somehow drug him, he assumed, and abandon him. Still, he didn’t know who or what he was dealing with, so caution was his best course of action.

He moved towards the door and cracked it open, careful not to make any sudden moves. A woman’s voice floated in through the hallway beyond and in through the door. Soft and sweet, kind and concerned, it was angelic. It was a miracle. Without realizing, Riley had crouched down to the floor and was clutching his chest. He knew that voice anywhere, even though he hadn’t had much time with it. He desperately hung onto her every word as he listened to his mother have a conversation on the phone, drinking it in as though he had been wandering the desert for ages. Riley clung to this impossible oasis, thinking that it must be more like a mirage instead.

“No, I haven’t told him yet.” There was a pause as she waited for an answer from the other side. Who, Riley thought. “He’s too young to understand what’s going on, and I don’t want to upset him. I’ll wait just a bit longer.”

Long pause.

“Of course I love him, and he does deserve to know, but I think that it’s my choice when and how I tell my son about my condition.”

A short pause inquiring about the location of her son.

“He’s in his room taking a nap right now. I pulled him out of pre-school early after I came home from the doctor.”

A pause wondering about what was to become of the boy.

“I was hoping that…” she heaved a quick sob, “…that you and Dad would be able to take care of him.”

An unsure pause where the possibility of the birth father taking care of him is mentioned.

“Jeremy left, Mom. Last week. As soon as I told him he freaked out and said that he couldn’t raise a kid on his own.”

Unfortunate pause.

“He was always unsure of us from the beginning. I wouldn’t be asking you if I didn’t need you.”

Reluctant pause.

“Thank you. Take all the time you need.”

Consoling and loving pause.

“I love you too. Good bye.”

She hung up the phone slowly, and from the sound of it, just stood there for a few minutes. Riley was sitting there just trying to make sense of it all. His mother was supposed to be dead, yet here she was. He struggled to remember just what happened before he got to where he was now, but it was no use. There was a reason for him being there. Riley went through the facts. His mother was just on the phone with his grandmother, and from the sound of it, she just found out that she was dying. The son, he realized, was him, which meant that somewhere in that house was his younger self. All of these events seemed vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t exactly remember everything.

Riley seriously contemplated just running out there and giving the woman he thought that he had lost forever a hug, but he didn’t know the rules for whatever it was that got him there. If it was (and he shook his head for even thinking of this) time travel, then to disturb any sort of moment in the past could result in a drastically different future. It could have been a dream, but all of this felt way too real to just discard this experience as only that. What was he to do? Eventually, he had to try and figure out a way to get back to where he came from. The only thing he could do was to venture out of his temporary safe haven and explore. He would accept the consequences as they came.

The door swung quietly on its hinges as he walked out of the room that time forgot. Riley found himself in a long hallway, a wall on his left, and the rest of the house on his right. Stealthily, he crept forward, careful not to make any sudden moves. His heart hung in his chest. At any moment his reality could come crashing down around him. A creak of a floorboard betrayed him. He froze instantly, unsure of what to do or where to go. Footsteps approaching his position told him that he had to make a decision. Stay or hide. He dove into the room nearest to him and quickly shut it. She had definitely heard that, but it at least bought him a few seconds to come up with an explanation.

Looking around at where he was, he realized he had dove into the worst possible room. All around him, tokens of his past surrounded him. This was his childhood bedroom. Instinctively, his eyes focused on the bed, but it was empty. Odd, he thought. I guess that rules out the time travel. But it didn’t make any sense. Where was his younger self? Confusion tugged at the seams holding his fragile mind together. Riley would have liked more time to think about it, but at that moment the door swung open. This was it. He was done for. He was dumbstruck, speechless, and couldn’t think of a word to say. Before him stood such a heavenly presence. Her silky, long brown hair, her eyes an intense blue. He sat, humbled by the image of the kindest face he had ever known. She didn’t look mad, or even shocked. She stood there with this sort of half smile on her face.

“Riley,” she said in a soft, playful voice, “was that you making all that noise just now? I thought you were asleep?” If Riley wasn’t confused before, he most certainly was now. She knew it was him, but apparently to her, she could only see him as he once was: a sweet, innocent, and hopeful child. He decided to risk replying.

“I was sleeping, but I heard you talking on the phone with grandma and I got scared.” She sighed as she thought of how she could respond to something like that.

“Honey, you have nothing to worry about.”

“I don’t?”

“Not a thing. Mommy is going to be okay. And so are you.”

“Are you sure? It sounded like you were going to be going away for a long time.”

Stalling parental pause.

“It’s true, you may have to spend some time with your grandma and grandpa, but I promise, even though I may be gone for a while, I’ll never leave here.” She pointed to where his heart was beating sorrowfully in my chest.

“Never?”

“I’ll always be with you, Riley. You are the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I couldn’t have asked for a better son. Whether I’m around or not, you are meant to do great things. There’s nothing you could do that wouldn’t make me happy to be your mother.” Riley was battling to hold back his tears.

“You really mean that?”

“Absolutely. Just never forget to believe in yourself and you’ll be able to conquer the world.” She gave him a kiss on his forehead and hugged him tightly, the way that someone might if she wouldn’t be able to hug anyone in the near future. Riley returned the hug even tighter and never wanted to let go. This moment had been lost to him, to his memories, until now. As a child, he would have just taken these precious seconds for granted, but reliving them he was able to cherish the time for what it truly was. She looked down at him with her crystalline eyes and cooed, “I love you, sweetie.”

Riley buried his face in his lifegiver’s chest. “I love you too.” She got up off of his bed and rolled back the covers.

“Come on now. We should get you back to sleep, otherwise you’ll be up all night.” No, Riley screamed in his head. I need more time. I don’t want to sleep; I want to live in this moment forever. His body did not protest though. Hypnotically, he obeyed her wishes and cozied up inside of his childhood bed while she tucked him in. She started to brush her hands through his hair, smooth and gentle like a slight breeze. She hummed a little tune, an old lullaby she used to sing to him when he was a baby. Its effect had not been dampened throughout the years. He felt his eyelids start to get heavy. He tried to fight the feeling, but it was like an overpowering wave coursing through his body. As everything started going dark and the world around him began to swirl, the last image he saw before he closed his eyes was that of his divine mother, calming the tremors within his soul.

“Good night my son.”

*                                                                                  *                                                                    *

Riley’s hair rustled like thick green leaves on a cool summer night. A siren wailed softly somewhere in the distance. Footsteps paraded about to irregular rhythms all about the apartment building. The blare of morning talk shows and daybreak rituals could be heard through the thin walls. A groan escaped his mouth as he slowly arose from where he was laying in his bed. He slept for once. That was a good sign. It appeared that he was back in his normal life, but last night’s events were still vividly clear within his head. He clung to the thought like a piece of driftwood in the middle of a storm.

He waited for the usual depressing thoughts to enter his head, but something seemed different. His experience with wherever he had been taken, however he had gotten there, had given him a new perspective. His mother’s words still echoed in his head. It wasn’t that he no longer felt the urge to just give up. That was something that he feared would never go away. It was something else entirely. He felt that he had a legacy to live for now, like he owed it to his mother to do the best he possibly could with what he had been given. She had spent her life trying to make sure that his was as comfortable as possible. To throw it all away would be to disrespect the gift she had given him: a chance to do something great. He would honor her memory by fighting every day to defeat his demons wreaking havoc inside of him, to defy dark forces holding him back from achieving anything good.

The sun started to creep across his apartment floor, filling the room with warm light. Riley had a good feeling about the coming days. He knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but so long as he stayed focused on his purpose and what he loved, it would be worth the struggle. While Riley would never be rid of the shadowy voices plaguing his heart and his mind, whispering death and insisting demise, the important thing that he learned is that he had something stronger pushing back: Hope.

Logistics

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on November 2, 2013 by bigtuna185

It does not pay well
To be right when you are the
One left feeling wronged