Very Short Stories 2018
Very Short Stories were originally posted on Twitter as participation in FlashDogs Very Short Story project, where a word is posted daily as prompt for a two-hundred-and-eighty character story.
Thunder stutters me awake, the loud shroud of storm-cloud sound veiling the black-bruise moon. I am checking the deadbolt three times, I am tugging the curtains tight. I have all I need. Barricade me in.
They were in love in that astonishing white silence — the new sun glowing faintly, the lull of the boulevard a char-colored blur. How strange for someone to know your innermost touch; how strange to see your light refracted again, again, again.
There is a chasm the depth of Neptune inside me, rose-dove heart beating at its core; a tiny, opaline thumb of a thing barely moulded, not yet bending. I am unpreened wings ready to thrust, waiting for a supersonic gust of that blue wind.
They’re picking at trees again, robbing root from soil. Hear the tick-tapping of claws, the high-pitched hiss like a balloon releasing air slowly through some pin pokehole. Morning will bring lifeless, wormhole cores. Get the gun. Watch your footing for snapping twigs.
I wake before you but beside you, the sunrise peering peerlessly through the dark, starkrimson and bloodied. The most intensity I have ever known is the dip of your back where the light refracts, ribbed and cranberry. The most love I’ve ever known is the moment you wake.
Behind latch and key every simpleton thinks themselves king, every genius thinks themselves an imminent martyr. Take the quixotic constellations of my eyes and burn them white and dwarven. Lop off my imploding tongue, silence my belligerent opine.
My will to live has nine lives. Write my pining on thousand shrine tags and place them between that of the common worshiper and the monk, not knowing which is which. Donate my ache between the slots of the saisen box. Ring the bell. Call the gods.
We kept dead leaves as momentos, strung them through the house, vine-like arms ignorant of winter. Their crumbling brown-green bodies glinted bits of ochre, each limp vein once an almighty tree in its own skyelly visage, each bright burst of autumnal color a dawning sun.
Observe the Flinders Rose dissected, each rising violet style a fingerprint of existence — each caper bitter in its birth, then pickled into sharp citrus capitulating to our selfish lips.
Like flies banging against the same pane, they burned malaise into religion. They worked the body mechanic, with wound spines and mouths that chimed yes and thank you and come again. Then, they unwound into one another, each sore and savored bone again innately human.
We stack card towers of organic apples to the beat of clacking metal carts in the parking lot, the November air purring with the buzz of shy snow and the city-bound electric rail. We are each a mechanic working leafy cogs, oiling for the day ahead.
My longing is an eatable thing, a hissing red smear behind the cereal and granola, ingrained in the remaining peel of wood grain laminate on the cabinet door — a bite-sized vibration of purring fur, curdling the milk, lapping between slurs.
She grasped her thumbs lilac against the leather; placed her palms against the waning control of the wheel. The dawning fog drawled its tongue along the glass of the windshield, showing a little teeth, curving into jeer.
Though their hands hung entangled, their hinged backs were inlayed with ripened levants. Each thin sensation of love a spider wisp between them clinging loosely. Each previous promise a perishing thing.
Playgrounds eventually became basement burnouts. Under the glowing arsenal of clouds in that false sky, her ever-growing insufficiency drove her to wish for musk-rose rambling, for vivid tranquility.
That is to say I will disappear. That Earth will dissect what life had not; lay each piece of me out like a fragmented flower at a children’s fair. That is to say what choice do I have but to take each morning like a welcome lover, a passing touch from them a windfall?
My gut is a cathedral for rotting things. Peel each piece of me back, a seeping predicament of chamomile and guilt. Embroider me whole with tack and twine. Speak me into existence again.
Morning breathed a debonair zephyr, secretive and well-to-do in its golden luminescence. She woke in the pit of it, knowing herself untiring but cursing each anniversary for somehow making her feel more juvenile — a salvaging coward in that fevered glare.
Look at pictures of gods and think yourself looking into a mirror; look into mirrors and think yourself god-like. Relish me as though I will all too soon be effaced in sin with your waters. Know that there is not a single word that you can drown me in.
We crawled into the tavern of stretched blanket before us, pulled taught over chairs or the reading lamp leaving a lurking yellow glow. Everything felt too hard still, so we dragged our mattresses in after us and slept like small animals, clinging to pre-dawn protection.
I stole muscles the first time my mother made the drive; clasped the glass-black, writhing tongues in my infantile palm. It wasn’t until the smell, the round mouths crowing through the mounds in the sand, that she noticed. It wasn’t until rotting that they were found.
Weeks after sprouting, the coleuses sat affixed in the warm air like unsheathed swords, their leaves pigskin rough and penned behind the barbed wire. She broke a piece of that stemming stagnancy and held it in her hammocked shirt; to hold life to know she’s living still.
She feels her heart beat through the cold brew pressed to her cold chest. The slow groan of work reverberates through her narrow bones to the marrow. She doesn’t trust naive words or tarot, won’t chance rest tonight — hopes that soon something more will be in sight.
The garish green sheen of lime-colored light illuminated her shining skin, her iridescent crescent of dentist-perfected fangs. The light flickered in time with her grinding incisors, the elongated neon bulbs hung in the cafe’s pane mangled into an insistence: “Eat here!”
They awoke in symptomatic comfort; a cold hand hanging off the bed, a foot, skin a slow-pulsing pin-pricked platform. The whole room was a sick shade of gray, television static scatting random blather into the stagnant sheets sheathing their bodies separately away.
The moonlight was yellow as a ripe pear, inscribed on the black blot of sky like a golden seal of wax hot and pouring. It let itself in through the window, paling over our skin, sinking into each acidic cough, each frail, lyrical moan, shining like something new.
Each unfettered hour was an artistic victory. They nursed each dream into a hulking thing, branching out over each roof lining the summer street, slurping up each sun ray, taking what it deserved.
In the hospital, she was a small, pleading thing — each particular split end of hair stuck frantically to skin, each open and blink just a slit glossy and black as a broken mood ring. The sting of visiting was the sitting, the vastness of it, the lack of it all.
They ran straight into the air and were caught for a second in the shrill crispness of it, electric rail behind them wailing like a swath of mermaids calling them into the winter-white guise of dying. They simply stood there, the sidewalk frozen and pink-salted ahead.
I’m erratic, trapped in my own gap of trembling teeth and tongue. I’m a sad sap of a thing, each tangle of tantrum still untwisting tacit in my blatant fragility. Leave me in the corner, belligerent and self-coddling. Lock the door once you’ve gone.
Romance me in a sanctuary of monarchs, each wing set slowly pulsing. Wrap twine around a bouquet made of me — each piece finally complementary, finally one of a whole. This world we’ve made to inhabit is nothing but safe; a rooted thing shrouded in orange glow.
In quick shifts, the car roping its way through the curves in the road began to feel like pendulum waiting, each second a small click of its bronzed tongue. On days like this, she knew she could drive to the other side of the world — it would all be the same.
I need the promise of it — the knowledge that there will always be another minute but that the minute will not always be mine. I twist the terrifying guise of dying which used to reign over me into a devilish necessity, parsimoniously piggy-banking my precious time.
She liked the pop and merge of the narrow road — each whirring bustle of tree behind her, each leaf flailing in its new wicked freedom, each freckle of hair flung into her sun-soaked cheeks by that irascible wind.
It got out of hand after he graduated. He came home with armloads of VHS tapes — old documentaries on cryptids, UFO sightings. Instead of an intermittent internet scavenger, he misstepped into obsession, olive rounds under his eyes, the question of the dawn in his hair.
I have never changed as much as the time that I aimed to asses my change. I am the pilgrimed seed pod warping into something new. The riving dirt is here before me. Lay me down. I will pierce through.
In those last afterthoughts of summer, they stood harmonious, hanging in their humorous gullibility, in their equable endurance of winter's tongue in their ears.
It’s like this — the pocket of rot under fly-trap tongue, bright garnet dusting of buck guts garnishing the highway’s side, or every other gruesome thing I thought gore-like until I saw the life in it.
After sixteen days of rain the silence it left behind felt probing. In the parking lot, she heard the whimper of the sunset, watched each cosmos stem stand titan through it all. She felt her smallness in the relief of the car wash, demanded noise and clean and now.
Watch me like a you would a spider crafting its ephemeral web over the door of a car. This body knows of the earth, knows the ubiquitous want, ignores the failure of it all. Kiss my terra-cotta lips, my neck amphora. Drink me melancholy. Pour yourself in.
Place each piece of me in a china bowl. Call me a most delicate fruit. Call me beautiful but void. Call me something used only when you're celebrating someone else. Place me behind glass so I see you eat everyday, still. Let me know of desire, of worth.
Some weeks, she makes banana bread. She waits for the blush of rot creeping up each banana, speckled and brown. For the mash inside like a baby’s cheek or a blister on the back of a heel. For the finality of pulling it, molded and worthwhile, from the oven at the end.
I’m a martyr to sorrow, watching myself wallow from six feet above the bed, skin under sheet itching —a cleat digging deep into endless white field.
The first gashes of orange morning pierce through us, through the porous air melting and specked with lint. You taste of citrus and trace your fingers through me. Rim navel. Twist and curve.
Mold me the way you would a pencil ferrule, all gnash and rasping mess of aluminum and bone. Whisper into me old languages of the body. Scrawl over me in charcoal; hold each part of me like rigid stone.
In nightmares, I drive in circles while trying to visit those I love. You could fill auditoriums with the sound of my pulse. With my breath, mistral and fierce. There, the same fallow deer, rib cage poking through. There, the same beaten mailbox. There, there, there.
I Impel through the impenetrable, impend my future whole; I speak only things that will come to be, because I will make them so.
Things didn’t feel any different. There was the slow churn of work still lurking inside her, the tart curdling of unimportance, the driving desire to make dying silver-lined and free of pining. Like time, that incessant hoarder, she needed more.
She felt misplaced, a bead off a gnawed sugar necklace; a candy carcass forgotten at a swingset or zoo. She woke to the sloshing tang of sweltering bile rising, stinking of pineapple and sick, and kicked back each minuscule pellet of pill like it was the sweetest thrill.