Archive for short fiction

Snow

Posted in Uncategorized, writing with tags , , on January 20, 2016 by originalalchemist

It is weird how different two days can be. I walked outside yesterday to a heavy snowfall. It hid the sun behind a quiet gray blanket. Big, cotton candy flakes hit the ground in muted puffs. It was nice, and it was peaceful. Even in the city. For a little while the snow covered up all the nastiness that filled the streets, and everything was pure again. White, clean powder radiated a soothing stillness in the otherwise busy minds of the city folk. It seemed like it was Mother Nature’s hint at us to slow down, and so we did.
Each one going home to whomever they had. Sharing hugs and kisses under blanket forts as we lined up a movie to watch or show to binge. Just like that we had stopped the hustle and bustle. We were quiet and content just like the icy smoothness of the fresh snow, and just happy to be still. Happy to be innocent.
Then, the morning came. Jobs demanded attendance,and rush hour roared to life. Now the snow was no longer a bringer of peace, but an inconvenient annoyance to our busy lives. We forged our ways out into it. Clumping the powder into heaps, big trucks cleared a messy path in the briefly calm roads. We left those we sought comfort with. Leaving them as dirtied snow that lined the streets. Once white and pure, but now gray and thought of as a burden we abandoned our snow fort companions. As we went out again and sought more green.
Today is sunny, and warmer than yesterday. The snow is melting, and I am alone in this dizzying world. It is not quiet out here, nor is it peaceful. No, all that has been replaced by us and our noisy business. I find it odd though, that today is nearly twenty degrees warmer,and yet it feels much colder than yesterday.

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The Chest

Posted in romance, writing with tags , , , on July 28, 2014 by originalalchemist

The Chest

I could never understand her fascination with old things. She had fancy names for useless items such as antique or heirloom. I preferred to think of them as old pieces of shit. It didn’t matter though, because whatever made Erin happy also made me happy. Her smile was worth the endless hours at garage sales and pointless eBay bidding wars. I didn’t even bother to bat an eye at the décor shift of our bedroom. At least not until a rather large and old looking chest occupied the former home of my sleek and minimalist IKEA dresser.
“Erin?” I began, puzzled by this monstrosity that obviously wouldn’t be accommodating my 42” flat panel. “What happened to my dresser?”
“Oh isn’t it great?” she responded not even bothering to come out of the bathroom.
“Well it’s certainly different. Where’d my TV go? Don’t tell me my clothes are in that thing.”
Erin leaned out of the bathroom with her robe barely making it to her shoulders. She was toweling her hair with mischievous eyes, and suddenly I knew I had no hope of being upset, much less protesting the new addition.
“Easy Ben. Your clothes are still in that boring dresser. It’s just down the hall in your study. And I had the TV installed on the wall in the basement. Thought it would help complete your man cave.” She began to saunter over towards me with the smile of an excitable child as she pulled a tarnished key out of the pocket of her robe. “I was waiting for you to get home to open it. It is a survivor of a fire in this grand hotel in Istanbul. Isn’t it great? It’s a relic from Turkey during the First World War. It was there when my Great Grandmother was. I only paid…”
“Don’t. I don’t even want to know.”
“Well ok then, let’s see what’s inside. It’s been hard to wait for you to get home. I’m really excited about this piece. I feel like it has such history and a great story.”
Piece, that was another favored word of hers to describe a recent overpayment for used up rubbish. Erin squeezed between me and the chest backing into me with her body. Her lush raven hair smelled of intoxicating honey vanilla something or other and I couldn’t help sinking my face gently into it. My smile growing as she delicately guided the key into the time worn hole. I placed a hand on hers as she turned the key. The lock unlatched with a clumsy thunk, and Erin pulled the doors apart. A warm earthy smell wafted out and over us.
“Oh…” Erin stammered. The opened doors revealed five separate shelves equally spaced apart. On the middle shelf sat an antique ring. Erin stood motionless staring at the piece of jewelry. The setting was antique, but the Princess cut diamond was new. I reached around her and picked up the ring.
“You know it took some serious doing to get to this,” I began to explain. “Your Great Grandmother was a bit of a roaming soul after that war. With some help from your mother I found this. It is the same setting your Great Grandfather got her before he left to fight in that war. The diamond was rather small and I figured I could add something to it. This here chest was in the hotel he proposed to her in. I bought it awhile back and put it up on that antiques site you love. I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist and I wasn’t going to sell to anybody but you. ”
Erin turned to me with the biggest smile I’d ever seen and I knew all my work was worth it. She balanced on her toes and gave me a big kiss bustling with excitement.
“You went through all that trouble?! Oh my gosh you’re the best Ben!” she was nearly squealing. “You’re the best husband in the history of the world!”
I enveloped her in my arms looking at the left door of the chest that still hung open. There was a fresh inscription on the inside that I was going to let her discover later. It read:
Of all the history in the world, ours will always be my favorite. Happy Tenth Anniversary. I love you. -Ben

A Writer’s Digest prompt and my story

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 29, 2014 by originalalchemist

I actually just did my first Writer’s Digest writing prompt. I thought maybe you’d like to see. The prompt is as follows:

The snow is coming down and school has been canceled. Your brother, who has an important government job, has asked you to watch his kids during the day so he can go to work. While watching his kids, they reveal something top secret about your brother’s job—and it’s something, for the sake of your family, that you need to stop. 500 words or fewer. (I exceeded this limit)

Here is my story!

FOR THE KIDS

At 5:45 AM thundering booms jar me awake. I roll over blinking the fog from my mind as I read the green glow of the clock.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

I realize it’s my door being pounded on. I sit up alarmed, as I wonder who would be knocking. My phone rings to life and I see that it is my brother calling. Instinctively I answer.

“Hello?” I grumble.

“Wes, wake up. Let me and the kids in. It’s freezing out here,” my brother Scott pleads.

I’m moving for my door before I even think, and find myself unbolting the lock. I swing it open as the blast of cold shocks me awake in spite of my budding hangover.

“Uncle Wesley!” squeal my niece and nephew as they spill through the door and each wraps themselves around one of my legs.

“Because of the snow Dad says we get to play with you all day!”

I look up at my brother with eyes full of betrayal.

“Wes, you know I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t absolutely need it. School is closed today and I need the kids with someone I trust,” he explains. “I can’t take the day off and I know you need the money anyway.”

He stuffs a few hundred dollars in my hand. I look at my older brother and see the determination in his eyes. His mind was made up before he ever got here. I know his job in the service is important, and he knows that I’m in between jobs. I’m not sure who is doing who the favor here.

“No problem. I can take care of the munchkins today. I mean they can be pretty self sufficient,” I assure both my brother and myself.

He gives the kids a hug and tells them to look after me with a wink. If I’m ever a father I hope I’m like him. He leaves quickly and I’m left staring at Aubrey and Jackson. They size me up and I realize I’m going to need coffee.

“You two hungry?” I ask as I fill a coffee pot.

Jackson doesn’t answer, he is fixed on my Xbox but hasn’t the courage to ask. Aubrey on the other hand is full of energy. She smiles at me with gleeful eyes.

“I will have some coffee.”

“I doubt that Aub, how about some cereal?” I counter offer.

She concedes and I make the same for Jackson. I set Aubrey’s down on the table and Jackson’s on the coffee table. His eyes light up as I turn on the video games for him.

“I could use some help on my gamer score Jackson. Just don’t tell dad.”

He just snatches up the controller while Aubrey happily eats her breakfast. It occurs to me that it isn’t even 6:00 AM and these two are wide awake and beaming. I pour coffee into my mug and sit next to my eight year old niece. I take a long sip off the scalding liquid and use it to chase an aspirin.

“You seem awfully excited. You this happy to be off of school?”

“Daddy is helping Mommy be happy in heaven,” Aubrey squeals.

I nearly drop the coffee.

“What did you say?”

Jackson looks up, and in the sternest five year old voice I’ve ever heard tells his sister to hush. She blushes trying to hold her excitement back. It’s like trying to turn a river off with a sink faucet.

“It’s okay,” I nudge her. “What do you mean?”

Their mother was murdered three and a half years ago. It was a random act of violence that shocked a community. The killer was never caught, and my brother has never let it go. For a brief time he had seemed almost happy again, but lately a bitter Scott was leaking through. He had been working a lot lately, and now I finally wanted to know on what.

“Daddy says he found another bad man, and he is going to make it fair again,” she explains as she stirs her milk.

Behind me I hear gunshots as Jackson plays a violent game. I’d pause to rethink that if I wasn’t so rattled about what Aubrey had revealed. I snatch my phone and disappear into the other room. I’m frantically dialing with shaking hands. The phone rings for an eternity until Scott picks up on the other end.

“Are the kids okay?”

“They’re fine; except for they think you’re going to kill somebody. What are you doing?” I demand.

“They don’t know anything and neither should you.”

“Scott, killing somebody isn’t going to bring her back!”

“What do you know? I see her every time I look at my kids. They deserve to know that whoever took their mom away has paid for it. I’m going to make sure this time. This has to be the right guy.”

“What do you mean this time? Scott stop it. You can’t do this.” I plead.

“Take care of my kids until I get back. It will be over soon.”

The line goes dead.

Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it. Leave me some comments to let me know what you thought or how I could improve!