All posts by jtwrites

Tammy’s Golem

[WP] Golems always follow orders, they do exactly as they are told the best way they can. This golem was simply told to go pick up the laundry. If it happens to pull the mystic sword from its stone and become destined to bring peace of the kingdom on the way there, well…

“You know how golems are, Tammy,” Linda begins, “they do exactly what you tell them and to the best of their ability.”

“Relax,” Tammy replies. “I just sent him up the road to get my delicates from the laundromat. He’ll be back in a jiffy, just wait ‘n see.”

“But what if it does something terribly unexpected in the process? It could grab the wrong laundry, mistakenly draw Excalibur, or even step on the mail man!”

Suddenly, the front door swings open and a 6 ft golem walks in with a wicker basket. Tammy walks over, sifts through the basket, then turns back. “Drats. Looks like it managed to get the proper clothes and the past 25 minutes must not have been enough time to make the 8,400 mile round trip to England.

Tammy pauses, then leans back to look at the golem’s feet, finding a dark discoloration compared to the monotone gray stone that makes up the rest of its body. She moves her head from side to side as if weighing something once she sees the unopened envelope stuck to the bottom of its foot. “I suppose the jury’s still out on the mailman. Best we lay low for the next few days. You up for takeout?”

Linda’s panicked expression shifts from worry into glee as she claps and nods vigorously.

“Alright,” Tammy says, turning back to the golem. “Now run up to that Asian spot and grab us something to eat. You know the one.”

The golem trots off, slamming the door to dislodge a picture from the wall.

“Tammy!” Linda exclaims.

“What?” she replies. “It’s not like it’ll step on the mailman again.”

Don-E-Don’s Cat

Super Steve had trained for a lifetime, not to get stronger or becoming more proficient, rather the only power that he needed to grow was his power of restraint. His birth on another planet and subsequent forced relocation to Earth had manifested into some spectacular powers including super strength, speed, flight, and even laser vision. He was so strong and secure in his powers that he was not ashamed at all when it came to fighting villains in a cape and spandex.

Today is just another day of breaking up some neerdowells, when the scientific mob boss known as Donnie the Don aka Don-e-Don rises out of the top hatch of a tank, aims an unknown weapon at Super Steve, and fires.

Super Steve suffers from boredom and not just any boredom, with super powers comes super boredom. As he watches the spiraling beam leave the end of the barrel, he finally decides to take his power moderation from 0.1 to 0.15. Time slows down as he moves to pick up one civilian after another, moving them away from whatever blast radius this thing is going to have.

He empties all the rooms of the two buildings behind him and relocates the occupants a few blocks away. Maybe not all of them will have whip lash from this, he thinks as he sets the last civilian down.

Super Steve hustles back by power walking and takes his place in front of the incoming energy projectile. Well, I’ve gotta let them hit me some or they’ll just quit trying. He goes through several cheesy poses as if he were in a photo booth at the local mall, the settles on placing his foot on top of a gangster lying next to him and giving a thumbs up towards the camera-projectile.

Steve holds the grin for what he feels like was over an hour, waiting for the molasses projectile to reach him. He glances down to the gangster again and realizes that the criminal is scared, but it’s not of him.

Steve notices a purse clutched in his arm while extending the other to shield from danger. When he follows the man’s gaze, looking upward, he finds Cat Man descending from above in his flying squirrel suit. Steve tsks as he looks back down to the apparent purse snatchther that managed to earn the ire of one like Cat Man. “This is not your day, friend,” Steve says, then thumbs back up to the pouncing hero. “Do you have any idea how violent that guy is? You’d have been a lot better off if you only had to deal with–Oh Shit!” He exclaims remembering the molasses beam.

Steve reaches for Cat Man intending to shove him away as the honeyed-energy nudges the spandex covering his leaping calf.

Steve blinks and the world regains motion, but somehow seems to move faster than what should be possible. He looks down to see a giant hole in the sidewalk next to him and splattered blood from…someone, but he’s not sure who. “Geez, I hope that wasn’t–” he starts but is cut short as something strikes him in the back.

“Ow!” He yells turning back to find a thug more confused than he is. “What?…what the heck did you just hit me with?”

“Just,” the thug stammers, “just a rock, sir.”

I’ll show you a rock you little twerp, Steve thinks, charging.

But the thugs expression shifts into deeper confusion as Super Steve leans forward, beginning to move imperceptibly slow as he proceeds to make the first step forward.

“Am, I being punked?” the thug asks, turning to look for hidden cameras.

Not-so-Super Steve’s leg cramps and he straightens, tightens his butt, and grasps towards his hamstring. He begins putting fourth greater effort, hobbling towards the thug who just stands there, not sure what to do next. Steve swings his fist at him but his wrists flexes on the thug’s chin.

“Agh, what the hell man?” Steve complains, with drawing his now sprained wrist while continuing to nurse the knot in his leg muscle.

A boom happens, startling Steve as the thug suddenly turns into red confetti…or perhaps red beef stew. Steve wipes goblets of red something from his face. He chances a look behind him finding huge swaths of the nearby city wiped away, with his current street no longer recognizable.

There is blood, brick, trees, cars, an office desk, living room furniture, kitchen appliances, and a toilet…none of which is where it’s supposed to be.

“Steve,” calls a hushed whisper. Steve begins looking around, initially seeing nothing living except for a meowing cat that is sitting inside the toilet bowl for some reason.

“Steve!” he hears again and finally hobbles to a nearby embankment to find a naked man shivering and trying to cover himself.

“Hey–” Steve starts, then coughs and corrects himself. “Greetings citizens. It is not safe here so perhaps you should move along and go find some clothes.”

“It’s me,” the naked man replies. “Cat man.”

Steve is confused at first but finally catches on. “Right, right, citizen and I am the Easter Bunny. Now–“
“Steve, stop being a dumb ass,” Cat man says, raising his voice, buffering Steve and causing the few remaining nearby windows to shatter. “I can’t move,” Cat Man continues, whispering again. “You have no idea how hard it was for me to stop this close to you. Every other attempt was off by miles.”

Steve smiles and nods sympathetically. “That weapon must have switched our powers somehow,” Steve says, growing thoughtful.

“Well see if you can find it and get us out of this mess.”

Steve moves back towards the rubble as survivors and locals start coming around. After far too many hobbled steps, too much time sifting through dead ends, and expending his last nerve on a cat that can’t seem to shut up, Steve hobbles over and plucks the jingling cat out of the toilet. He looks at its collar to find a name tag: Mittens. If found, please return to Don-e-Don.

“Oh,” Steve says, making the connection. “Well that makes sense.” He chucks the cat as if bailing water from a boat.

A “rawrrreyerr,” ensues as the cat travels in a flailing arc to land on its feet and skimper away.

Steve shoves the toilet over and finds a white lab coat drenched in blood and the gray dust of brick mortar. A further search yields some electronic components. He pulls two larger parts from the pile, lifts them in the air, and brings them together to see the silhouette of an energy weapon.

“Well shit,” Steve complains tossing the components and storming off.

Desmond’s Journey

48-Hour Challenge on I found and accepted the challenge with an hour and a half remaining before the deadline. I wrote this story, then took 25 mins to figure out how to submit for the contest. I got it submitted with 9 mins remaining. The only guidance was to write a story of under 500 words while using the song Wake Me Up by Avicii as inspiration.

Desmond is excruciatingly bored, his leg bouncing under his desk as he continues to bite at the thumbnail of his paint speckled hand. His art teacher is going over theory—a complete and utterly hopeless waste of his time. It might as well be trigonometry for all the use it will have after he finishes school.

The gray hood of his jacket is pulled over his head and his sleeves are bunched up around his elbows. Various splotches of neon-orange, red, green and other colors stain his fingertips. And his jacket? It was monotone once—but that day is behind him now.

His jacket pockets are empty, but that doesn’t stop him from periodically sliding his hands inside to make sure. At some point, his accomplices had started rating him out. He didn’t know when exactly, but their jingling as he walked was probably the main cause…probably.

He had become so used to the balls jingling within the cans that he no longer noticed, instead becoming anxious when their sound was absent. If only his teachers could move past their own problems of hearing them, wouldn’t that be fantastic?

Desmond’s walking through school had led to several confiscations and imprisonments of his many, many friends. His teachers had learned to pat him down prior to his entering class, but he had learned as well. The sacrifice of those bygone friends allowed him to learn the value of leaving things outside. Then they would not be confiscated, and the teachers would not hear him as he abandoned their boring lecture.
…which just happened, by the way.

The teacher had started talking about proper form and rules…rules?! The audacity! He had never liked their rules, their coloring books that gave him boundaries to remain within. He didn’t need their approval or to be in their contests. All he needed, he thought, as he rounded the school building and knelt to grab a sack full of moral support…oh wait, he actually doesn’t need anything anymore, sighing as the jingling sack chases away his disquiet.

He finally comes to the wall he had previously chosen. Paint tops are sent tumbling as he liberates the nozzles with a flick of his thumb. The wall’s surface is was a solid off-white, and the mortar is so near flush with the brick’s surface, that he couldn’t have dreamed up a better canvas.

But Desmond knew his time was limited so he worked fast. His eyes keep returning to a clock on the wall as a corridor takes shape within his newest artwork. Several colored tops now sit on the tile floor around him, an audience watching as he finishes.

The last thing he uses is a sealant but turns to be between it and his art. Facing the can like a camera, the sack clutched in hand, he depresses the nozzle. The can drops away as the bell rings and other kids begin to file into the cafeteria. He simply turns and continues walking down the corridor.

Shadow Suggestion

[WP] You were told when you come of age, your words would have power within them. As an adult you’ve realized just how much power your casual words can have on peoples subconscious actions, almost like hypnotic orders. So you’re very careful with your choice of words when speaking.

“Geez, Aubrey,” the girls says, walking up the steps to school. “Is your wardrobe allergic to color or something?”

“Get bent, Lilly,” Aubrey replies, walking ahead of her. She gets to the top of the steps and turns back when Lilly doesn’t respond further. Ugh, what’s her deal? she thinks, seeing Lilly reach the bottom of the steps as she walks away from school.

Aubs, the Shadow Lord replies in her mind. You need to go stop her and right now!

“Hey, I’m not responsible for what she does with her time. If she wants to skip school, that’s on her.”

Uh, this time, you are responsible for what she’s doing. You just used the persuasive power on her, so she’s on her way to get bent.

Wait, what? Aubrey looks at the back Lilly as she steps off the front sidewalk and continues through the line of vehicles that are dropping off students. Several of Lilly’s friends turn to greet her, but she ignores everyone as she begins walking across the parking lot.

What he hell, Shades? You need to get me an instruction manual on this stuff!

Well, influence is part of the subtlety nature that’s associated with shadow powers. You really could have guessed that much.

“Hey, Lilly!” Aubry calls, rushing down the steps. “Wait up!” She brushes against several students who complain as they roll away from her collision with them. She steps off the sidewalk to a horn blaring as the vehicle began to roll forward.

“Screw you,” Aubrey yells at the driver, then freezes as her eyes widen. She turns back and raises her palm in a stop gesture. “Wait, forget I said that.” Her expression is one of apology as she returns to chasing Lilly.

He couldn’t hear you, Aubs. All of his windows were up and besides, you two weren’t even engaged in conversations.

How is any of that relevant, Shades? Aubrey adjusts her bag and pulls the slack out of her straps to keep it from bouncing against the small of her back.

Because you have to be in conversation to influence someone.

“Ugh,” Aubrey groans. “We’re seriously going to need to work on your communication skills after this.”

As she catches up to Lilly, she wraps an arm around her neck to slow her. “Hey, hey, Lilly. Where are you off to all of a sudden?” Lilly doesn’t respond, instead continuing to pull against Aubrey’s grasp, in the direction of the busy street ahead of them.

You have to command her, Shades says.

“Lilly, stop.” As soon as the statement leaves Aubry’s mouth, Lilly quits pulling against her.” Aubrey breathes a sigh of relief and releases the grip on her shoulder.

Ugh, you better tell her to forget everything you’ve said today.

“Why?” Aubrey asks as she notices Lilly’s face turning blue. “Oh gosh! Lilly, forget everything I said today.”

Lilly suddenly looks at Aubrey and pulls her arm away. “Ow,” she complains from Aubrey having started gripping her arm. Lilly looks at the nearby traffic and then turns to look back towards school. “What is this,” Lilly asks with an accusing glare. “Is this an abduction. Are you abducting me for one of your rituals or something? How did I even get here?”

Aubrey exhales and smiles. “Oh, thank goodness. It’s good to you have you back, Lilly.”

Lilly stares back at her without knowing how to respond. She finally shakes her head and turns to walk back to school. “You are so weird,” she says under her breath, walking away.

Lights, Camera, Ashes!

[WP] You are a scientist as well as a vampire. While researching a cure for vampirism you discover a game-changer: Iron supplements along with a normal human diet sustain vampires better than blood. You call for a press conference to announce your findings.

“Is this guy legit, Becca?” the cameraman asks his partner.

“How many times do we need to go over this, Stan?” Becca relies. “It’s Rebecca so stop trying to shorten it.”

“Whatever you say, Rebeccaroni.”

Rebecca rolls her eyes and looks around to the other news crews gathering in the Community Center. “A lot of crews sure think he’s legit. Whatever he’s announcing, it seems like he wanted to get the information out to as large an audience as possible. Even the national gang is here.”

“Well, I ain’t worried about the national blow hards. I brought Samantha along for this one,” Stan says, rubbing his camera affectionately.

“That’s your new one?”

“Seriously? You can’t tell the difference between Samantha and that previous dumpster fire that kept me company? Rachel was way less classy than my new girl.”

Rebecca shakes her head. “You’re a strange little man.”

“Greetings and thank you all for coming,” the man begins, standing at a podium that is over looking the crowd.

Rebecca gives a rolling gesture to Stan and turns back to the stage.

“I appreciate you all being able to make it out here at such a late hour,” the speaker in the white coat continues. “My name is not important, but I bring to you my fi–” He is interrupted, raising his hand in front of his face and looking towards one end of the crowd. “Please, I requested no flash photography.”

Stan is tapping the view finder and turning dials as the speaker addresses the other side of the room.

“What’s going on?” Rebecca asks in a forced whisper.

Stan shakes his head. “I’m not picking him up in the view finder for some reason.”

“Do we still have audio?”


“Well just keep rolling.”

“As I was saying,” the speaker continues. “I’ve made a discovery that will benefit all life in Earth. Human kind and animal alike. For starters, it should be said…Vampires are real and I have proof.”

A large commotion comes over the crowd and the speaker raises his hands in a calming gesture. “Please, allow me to continue for that’s not the reason for my calling this conference.”

Stan shakes his head. “Come on girl, don’t do me like this. I need this on film. He flips two more switches and turns on the cam lights, assuming it might be a lighting issue.

The speaker turns toward the light, raises a hand to shield his face, screams, then catches fire and turns to dust.

Rebecca turns back to Stan with a glare as Stan looks back and forth between the camera and the vacant podium. “Ooohhh,” Stan finally says, nodding in understanding. He taps the side of his camera as he looks back to Rebecca. “UV lamps.”

Painted Dream

[WP] Everything can be a prompt if you’re creative enough. (This wasn’t actually a published [WP]. Someone made this statement, and I responded with the story below…to help them prove their point)

…said the valet as he stepped between the reporter and the celebrity. In the midst of their interview, they begin looking back and forth between each other and the valet while internalizing the same question; Where’s security?

The valet pulls a set of keys from the breast pocket of his vest, then spins them on his index finger. The keys change in the spin, becoming a pen as he’s walking away. He raises the pin as if to sign the air but shakes his head.

He spins the pen on the top of his hand and turns his palm up as it changes again, becoming a can of spray paint. Looking at the can, he nods appreciatively, then leans over and swings his arms across his body then back out like an umpire calling a runner safe after sliding across home plate.

After the gesture, the valet now has a spray-can in each hand. Using his thumbs, he pops each lid off in turn, sending them tumbling into the air where one changes into a leaf and the other a feather, both of them getting carried away from him in an unfelt wind.

To start, the valet spays one can towards his face, causing a pair of safety goggles to form over his eyes. He shifts to the other can, spraying in an oscillating manner, and a breathing mask forms over his mouth and nose. Next, he alternates each over his body where his vest and slacks become a gray jumpsuit with rubber booties over his feet.

Safety first, he thinks, spinning the cans only to pop off a different colored top while releasing an additional feather and leaf.

He looks back at the air as he appraises something that only he can see. After playing out the image in his mind, he sets to work. He sprays each can in wild zig zagging patterns, and the paint fans forward in oscillating waves, the individual droplets drifting towards the industrial zone across the canal. The specs of paint look as if they’ll continue to drift away and apart, soon to be just another part of the city’s increasing air pollution concern.

But they don’t.

The flecks of paint begin sticking to the air as if some unseen canvas is standing between the painter and the smog engine. The paint cans twirl rapidly as leaves and feathers continue to peel up and behind the painter. After a time, the various color changes start to depict a landscape where the sky is actually blue. A variety of flowers begin to freckle the lush green meadow that emerges.

He adds various trees, a pond with a fish mid-jump, a sunrise beyond a hill, and a great white elk standing atop the mound with the sun at its back. Lastly, he pants a rope bridge from his gravel parking lot that leads over the canal.

With that done, he gives the painting a nod and turns around to find all of the leaves clustered and suspended in the air while all the feathers had formed birds that were frozen above. He spins the cans again, popping the lids off two different colors of brown. He sprays up into the leaves, moving back and forth as branches form and make connections to all the leaves. The cans trace back to the ground as the trunk takes shape and roots sink into the gravel.

Another spin and he turns the cans back on himself. The safety gear fades away as oversized glasses and a floppy sun hat take their place. A button up shirt, comfortable shorts and slip-on shoes replace the jump suit.

He flings one of the cans over his shoulder, while spinning the other. The birds behind him gain motion and the painted tree starts moving in the same unfelt wind. The other can sprays and forms a hatchet in his hand before he looks back towards his landscape with a smile.

He tosses the remaining can towards the painting and the lush landscape gains motion. The fish falls to splash back into water, the flowers sway with the grass, the tree leaves rustle, and the white elk turns his gaze towards the dreamer.

He reaches up to his hat, making sure the now felt wind doesn’t carry it away as he walks towards the sunrise. He passes into the painted place, crossing the bridge, and stopping long enough to use the hatchet to separate himself from the world he left behind.

The bridge falls away and he tosses the hatchet into the canal as the songbirds fly across to follow him. A moment later, the landscape separates into flecks of paint, moving away from each other while growing smaller. In a matter of seconds, it’s all gone.

The celebrity reaches up to rub at the back of his head before turning back to the reporter. “So are we still talking about cleaning up the city?” asks the celebrity. “Or should we talk about what just happened?”

A Pair and a Stone

“It’s been three years since we first left the village. We’ve traveled all over the world. We’ve overcome so many trials… But I’ve glimpsed into your future. And… I’m not in it.”

The penguin cast its gaze down the arrow shaft and beyond the arrowhead between him and the tiger stalking through the jungle’s undergrowth. Behind him is his life partner, holding the precious stone that he had given her so long ago. She’s clutching it tightly as her anxiety mounts with each step the tiger makes in their direction.

The arrow takes flight and sails true, sticking into the top of the tiger’s shoulder. It leaps backwards in surprise, then turns to bound away.

“Is it gone, Patrick? asks the penguin with the stone, her fins clasped over one another as if wringing her hands.

“Yeah,” he replies, lowering the bow. “We’re safe again, at least for a little while. But we need to keep moving, Penny. It’s only a matter of time before the tiger’s courage grows too large again.”

She nods, then turns to continue in the direction they had been traveling. “The new village shouldn’t be much farther, right?”

Patrick slings the bow over his back and follows after her. “We should be getting there any time now.”

She nods while continuing to walk on. “When we left the village, did you ever imagine us evading a tiger of all things? Orcas, sure. I knew to expect that. We were actually far luckier than we had any right to be.” She becomes distant as she thinks about the loved ones they had both lost.

“Tiger?” Patrick asks, looking up to the treetop canopy as a monkey leaps from one limb to another. “Not specifically, but I knew there would be danger beyond what we’d known before. But there was more hope in that unknown danger than there was in staying in a village with the knowledge that resources were running out. It was either stay and slowly die off through starvation or leave in pursuit of a new future.”

“But three years have already come and gone. I hope this village is more than just a pipe dream.”

“If it’s not, we’ll start our own village.”

Penny laughs. “With just the two of us? Are you mad?”

“I’d be mad to think I needed anyone else.”

She smiles and turns, backpedaling as she talks. “The trip has had it’s ups and down for sure. Do you remember the elephants that protected us from that pack of hyenas?”

“That’s a hard thing to forget, Penny, but I appreciate you not allowing me the opportunity.”

She smiles brighter as she recalls more. “Or how about that decaying rope bridge that we had to cross over that valley? We were soooooo high up, it was making me dizzy.”

Patrick just shakes his head, knowing that it doesn’t matter what he says, she’ll continue talking like he’s continuing the conversation. He smiles brightly as an idea occurs to him. “You know that’s not the original promise stone i gave you, right? I lost the original in a card game a few years ago.”

“And the waterfall! Oh, I just lov–wait, what was it you said?”

Patrick smiles broadly. “Just that I liked the elephants too.”

She narrows her eyes at him, suspiciously. “I thought I heard something about a promise stone?”

He looks around and past her as they are nearing a cliff. His sure grow wide as he looks past her, then points and runs. “We’re here!”

She turns to follow his excitement as he stops at the cliffs edge. Below, a giant wall wraps around an enclosed city. Plumes of smoke twist away from smoke stacks the dot the infrastructure and the sound of car horns almost be heard on the wind.

Patrick cants his head as he looks down and she walks up to stand next to him. “This is not what I was imagined,” Patrick says begrudgingly.

Penny looks down and then turns to meet his gaze. “If your future is to be down there, in that… then I can’t be in it.” She turns to walk away from the cliff.

He cants his head in the opposite direction while watching her walk away, then hastily wobbles up to walk beside her.

She looks down as his fin wraps around hers and she turns back to meet his gaze again. He takes her other fin with the stone and brings her fins together. She looks to her clasped hands and back up to him as he nods.

“I only care about one future,” he tells her. “And that one revolves around me, you, and this stone. Everything else is just filler.”

Her eyes begin to twinkle as he turns back to the jungle and looks back into the jungle. She rushes closer and loops her fin under his before looking out ahead. She smiles. “At least this time we know what dangers lie ahead of us,” she says, turning to meet his gaze. “Shall we go?”

He nods and they step back into the jungle.

Path of Shadow

[WP] You and your friend Lily, are chilling in class when all of a sudden there’s a lockdown, you hear the principal say “Attention students this is a code Black lockdown, I repeat a code Black Lockdown.” You hear someone mutter “Code Black means otherwordly entities, We’re dead!”

    “Hey, are you going to the dance next week?” Lilly asks while leaning towards the girl with the black hood. The black-hooded girl is slouching forward, crossing her arms on her desk with her chin resting on top.

    “Oh, what am I saying?” Lilly answers. “Of course, you aren’t going to the dance, Aubrey. Don’t you have to sacrifice a goat or something on Thursdays?”

    Can we punch her, Aubs? a voice asks in her mind. Please, can we punch her?

    No, Shades, Aubrey replies. There will be no punching of my classmates. We stay in enough trouble as it is.

    It’s Shadow Lord. How many times are we going to have to go over this? I know you’re doing that on purpose.

    Aubrey cuts her eyes over towards Lilly while ignoring both speakers.

    A squelch comes over the intercom followed by a stressed principal. “Attention all students and faculty members. I’m ordering a Code-Black lockdown. I repeat, Code-Black. Good luck, everyone.”

    Good luck, Aubrey thinks, raising her head from her desk. That’s new.

    A balding man seated at the teacher’s desk is rubbing the top of his scalp as he flips through a manual. He stops and reads through a page, then looks up, his square framed glasses making his eyes look abnormally large. He stares blankly for a moment, just blinking absently.

    “So what’s that mean, Mr. West?” asks a student.

    Mr. West looks around, suddenly remembering there are others present. “What’s that?,” he replies.

    “What-is-a-Code-Black?” another student asks slowly.

    “Oh, it means other-worldly creature.”

    “Shit! We’re dead.”

    “Language,” Mr. West scolds.

    Other-worldly creature, Aubry thinks. Is this because of me?

    Don’t go changing the subject, Shades replies. The Lord of Shadows would also be acceptable.

    Dude, focus! You can worry about your identity crisis later. Is this other-worldly creature here because of me?

    I swear, this is the last time I accept a binding—

    Aubrey stands abruptly, startling those around her. She pulls her hood over her eyes and her sleeves back down over her wrists. She is slinging her bag over her shoulders when Mr. West raises a finger into the air.

    “Uh, Ms. Aubrey, I think the principal wants everyone to remain in the classroom.”

    Shades, you’re going to have to show me how to use these powers. As much as I hate them, I’m not going to be the cause of my classmates getting eaten…well, except for maybe Lilly.

    Oh, now you want to know everything about the powers huh? Typical.

    Aubrey walks to the front of the class with her thumbs under her bag straps. Mr. West is still holding his finger in the air and his head is tracking Aubrey’s walk as she continues ignoring everyone.

    “Great,” Lilly declares. “Where’s the schizo heading off to?”

    Aubrey stops at the door while reaching for the light switch. She turns back, meeting Lilly’s eyes. “I’m going to tell the monsters where to find you of course.” Aubrey winks and turns off the switch.

    Her form becomes obscured, shifting into a black smoke, then passes under the door.

Worlds Apart

[WP] Your wife has been dead for the past 5 years and you’ve moved on, going on dates to try and find a new partner. Last night, however, you heard the unmistakable sound of her whispering in your ear.

    “Are you there, Drew?”
Drew cuts his eyes to the side but doesn’t otherwise respond. He’s sitting on his sofa, slouched down into the pillow tops while watching a movie.
A huge explosion displays on screen, and Drew laughs heartily.
“That didn’t sound very funny, Drew.”
Drew suddenly sits up and looks towards the kitchen. He was used to hearing her voice— rather, the memory of it, but it had never referenced something he was actively participating in. He looks behind the sofa, then in the nearby storage closet. He closes the closet door and pauses, listening.
“Drew, hunny, are you there?”
“Yes, Anna. Yeah—I’m here,” he says folding his hands together and pressing them against his mouth. “I can hear you,” he whispers.
“How are you holding up?”
He nods, sulking. “I’m good, I’m good. One day at a time, you know?” He stares up at the ceiling, not really knowing where to look. “I—I’ve missed you. It would be nice if I could see you too.”
“I’m sorry, Drew, but that’s not a good idea. You’re already refusing to let go, so seeing me isn’t going to help matters.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m fine. Really. I’ve been doing better.”
“Oh, yeah? Can you tell me a little about how that’s going?”
Drew continues to scan around at his ceiling. “Well, I’ve been going on dates.” He nods. “Yeah, I’ve had several.”
“Really? And how did that go?”
Drew shrugs. “It was fine. Just waiting for the right one, I guess.”
“So what was your last date like?”
“Uh, would that be appropriate? With you being gone and all?”
“We talked about that when we were together, Drew. Remember? We said, no matter what happens to either of us, we’ll do our best to find love again.”
Drew nods. “I remember, Anna.”
“So tell me about your date. What was her name?”
“It was Ann—er Is—abelle. Yeah, Isabelle.”
“Isabelle huh? That’s a lovely name. Anything else?”
Drew shakes his head. “Not really. Nothing happened so what’s to tell? Why do you wanna hear about that stuff anyways? Aren’t you watching?”
“Because I still care about you, Drew, and I want you to be happy. But you didn’t really go on any dates.”
Drew nods. “Sure I did. Lots of ‘em.”
“What were you watching earlier? Can you describe to me?”
“Oh, you couldn’t see? I thought maybe you were watching with me.”
“No, but I could hear the sounds of shooting and things blowing up.”
“Yeah, it’s about some special forces guys. They were raiding a compound with and are trying to take out an evil dictator.”
“And that was funny? Them blowing things up and shooting people?”
Drew shrugs. “Yeah, because they deserve it.”
“I don’t think that’s supposed to be funny, Drew. And it’s probably funny for the same reason you’re pretending to go on dates. You’re just covering everything up and refusing to see things the way they are. Laughing at explosions isn’t healthy. Surely, you can see that. You’re still stuck in denial, Drew. How long are you going to put yourself through this?”
“Well, you left! It’s your fault. All of it is!”
“Drew, it’s more complicated than that.”
“Is it? You weren’t supposed to leave me like that! We’d be together forever—we said that! Forever! And you quit!”
“If that’s what helps you cope, then sure, it’s all my fault, Drew. All of it. But does that really change anything for either of us?”
Drew sobs and shakes his head. “I just want it to all go away. I want to wake up and things go back to what they use to be. Help me—help me do that, Anna? I just want—I just want to do it all over again, to do it right this time.”
“Drew, you know that’s not possible.”
“I just—” Drew backs into a wall and slides down to his butt, his hands drooping over his knees as he stares at the floor. “I can’t do this without you, Anna.”
“Yes, you can, Drew. You always could. I never stopped believing in you. You know that right? I’ve always believed in you, but now—It’s wrong for me to keep holding onto you like this. We have to let go of one another and just appreciate what we shared. If we can’t do that, then we’ll just end up smothering each other until we’re both destroyed.”
Drew’s head raises and he brushes the top of his knuckles across the underside of his nose. “You still miss me, Anna?”
“Of course I do, Drew. Nothing’s ever going to change that. The only thing keeping me from being happy right now is knowing how miserable you are. So I can’t move on unless you do.”
“So I’m causing you grief?”
“Yes, Drew. The same way that I’m causing it for you. You have to understand though. I didn’t leave you. I’ve always been right here. I never left, but you didn’t either, did you, Drew?”
Drew stands as rays of sunshine streak across the air above him. He stands and continues looking at it, then follows to see the light coming through the wall on the other side of the dining room table.
“I haven’t been doing so well either, Drew. But I’m trying.”
“Oh yeah?” he asks as he raises his fingers to move through the sunshine. Birds can be heard beyond the wall, and he turns back to look across his den. The blinds are open on his front windows, and he sees his porch light illuminating the nighttime setting.
“I tried therapy for a while and that helped some.”
“They have therapy where you are, Anna?”
“Yes, Drew. But that didn’t do a lot for me, so I sought some questionable help elsewhere. I tried psychic readers and mediums…and you know what? It turns out that I had a knack for it, so I’ve been studying.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, Drew. It’s how I’m finally able to talk to you now…I’m a medium.”
The sunlight continues to grow from the wall and illuminates the dining room table next to him. Anna is sitting on the opposite side of him and smiling back. The view between them is streaked with light and he has to use his hand as a visor to shield the light from the wall.
“You look good, Anna.” She smiles warmly as a tear breaks into a sprint down her cheek. She nods.
“I never left you, Drew,” she says, with broken words.
“Yeah,” he says, rubbing the back of his head. “I can see that now. I—I’m sorry—about what I said earlier.”
“It’s ok.”
He puts his hand into the back of his jeans pocket and thumbs to the light from the wall. “I guess that’ll be for me then.” She nods again, unable to speak. “I’ll be seeing you, Anna.”
He steps through.