Fin

Well readers, if you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t posted in a few days. Having just finished school, I’m rather burnt out, and need a break! The site has been fun, and may resume in the future. For now, though, it’s time for a rest. I hope you’ve enjoyed these 3 years of stories; I hope you explore the archives for some of the oldies, and do comment on your favourites!

And so, in a classic ending…

Fin…?

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The Face

It was the face that drove Christian mad.

He sat at his desk every day, plugging away at the boss’s mistakes, correcting minor errors in accounting, grammar, overall business strategy…and every day, he looked up from his computer to see the face winking at him.

No one could tell him where the boss acquired the painting. It was a grotesque representation of the human ideal: one eye was open, dark lines of fatigue under it; the other eye winked, as if the face were sharing a secret joke or suggesting a forbidden rendez-vous. It had full lips and pronounced lines under its nose. The face was a close-up, no forehead or chin visible.

It was, in effect, unnerving, and every day Christian had to work under its suggestion.

It was unsurprising, then, when, without warning, Christian stood, ripped the framed artwork off the wall, smashed it on the ground, stomped on it three times, then walked out, never to be seen in the office again.

His boss replaced the print with another, and put a request in to hire yet another new assistant.

Elegant Surroundings

“Elegant surroundings will soon be yours,” the fortuneteller said.

“What’s that mean?” James asked. “I don’t get it.”

“It is not for me to explain your fortune, merely to relay it to you.”

“What? Yes it is! That’s what I paid you for, to tell me what my future is!”

“That’s what I’ve done. You may interpret as you will, but elegant surroundings will soon be yours.” The old woman threw a cloth over her crystal ball and sat back.

“So, like, I’ll visit the queen? Or I’ll inherit a nice house? What?”

“That is all I can say.”

James sat back in his chair and scratched at his arm. He glared across the short table, intent now on waiting this out. The fortuneteller took out a deck of cards and began shuffling. They sat for some minutes, the fortuneteller shuffling, James just staring at her.

Finally, James stood. “Look, any hint at all? Can you give me anything?”

“I can tell you nothing, but that – ”

“Yeah yeah. ‘Elegant surroundings will soon be mine.’ Thanks for ripping me off. Fuck you.”

He walked out of the tent. He caught a glimpse of a man holding a fine rug, only to have that rug thrown over his head, his world darkened. He was trussed up and thrown over a shoulder, unable to fight back. The fortuneteller chuckled to herself, waiting for her next client.

Apples in the Dark

Pulling open the door, Erin looked down the rickety wooden steps descending into darkness.

“If I’m going to die somewhere, it will be on these steps,” she said to the air. “It’s like a freaking horror movie.”

She lowered herself to the first step, the wood beneath her sagging under her tiny frame. The next step, and she heard a groan and a crack. She hurried down the rest of the steps to the landing, the gloom accepting her. She flung her hand up, desperately seeking the chain for the light bulb that she knew hung somewhere here. Finally she hit it, grasped, and pulled the chain.

The basement was illuminated, walls and walls of bookcases, stacked with apples. Erin walked forward to the closest, a red delicious, and picked it up. She returned to the landing, clicked off the light, and made her way cautiously back up the steps. Behind her, an apple fell on the floor.

Seeking Nirvana

Oliver poked the old man twice, just to be sure.

The man sat on a bench, staring straight ahead at the grass across the path. He was not moving, he was not acting or reacting. He just sat, staring.

Oliver held his hand under the old man’s nose to feel a warm breeze emanating from it. Not dead then, Oliver thought. Just not moving.

Unsure what else to do, Oliver flagged down a passing police officer, who passed his hand in front of the old man’s eyes, snapped his fingers, poked and prodded, but all to no avail. The old man sat and stared at the grass.

A crowd gathered around, drawn by two men jabbing and yelling at another. The old man sat, a study in still life. It wasn’t until the ambulance arrived and paramedics attempted to cart him away that the old man relaxed his gaze and looked at them all.

“I was attempting to find nirvana, you blithering idiots. Now leave me be, I was almost there.”

The crowd dispersed, and a new one formed a few hours later.

Crystal Medicine

“Sweetheart, I want you to be happy.”

“This is hardly the way to go about it.”

Dan lay on the bed, his mouth pried open, while Jenna straddled his chest holding crystal over his forehead. The crystal was suspended on a chain, and swung gently from side to side, now in circles, now slowing, now faster. It came to a dangerous point, and he couldn’t help but watch that point and worry about his eyes.

“This isn’t going to help. I need to go to the doctor,” Dan said.

“No honey, it’s just bad energy. I’ll clear it up, your earache will go away, and you’ll be right as rain.”

“I hate the rain.”

“Shush.”

“Listen,” Dan said with a sigh, “as soon as you finish, I’m going to get some antibiotics. I know this is an ear infection. I got them all the time as a kid. If I don’t get it treated, I’ll be deaf, is that what you want?”

“Shush. Let the crystal do its work.”

Dan pursed his lips, then cringed as Jenna released the bit of the chain, bringing the point closer to his eye.

“Can you at least be more careful with that thing?”

“I’m a professional. Now, again, shush.”

When she finished her swinging, Dan sat up, threw his legs over the edge, and said, “Okay, I’m going to go…uh, get groceries. I’ll be back in an hour or two.”

“Okay, make sure you get some chicken!” Jenna called from the bathroom.

“Sure hun,” he said, walking out the door.

Feline Utopia

The cat was nobody’s cat. A stray that wandered the streets, having escaped the clutches of a rather unpleasant human, it had the collar and registration information needed to roam free without being accosted by other people.

It had found an ideal home, as well. The dumpsters behind the fish and chips place were a constant trove of delicious, if somewhat unhealthy, food, and the cat lived like a King in its palace of trash cans. Granted, the winter was a bit cold, but the owner of the fish and chips place had spotted his new neighbour, and in deference to the cat’s services warding off rodents, built it a small home. Nothing much – a few pieces of plywood nailed together – but it was enough to keep the cat warm and sheltered.

Two years later, the own had to build the cat a new home, larger this time, as the cat was having trouble squeezing through the doors. Two years after that, another home, even larger.

The cat, meanwhile, was having difficulty breathing, and moving, as its girth expanded beyond a reasonable state. Its stomach brushed along the ground, in part due to its size and in part due to the inadequate strength of the cat’s legs.

Finally the cat stopped moving; the owner of the fish and chips place was kind enough to place the leftovers right outside the cat’s door anyway, so it could just loll in its cavern (which it was now to big to exit anyway) and lick at the fried chunks to its heart’s content, at least until the mice got to it.

Mirror Mirror

His best friend was a mirror.

He didn’t know why he had such trouble finding other friends. I am, after all, gorgeous, he thought. He looked at himself every morning and every evening, and carried a small mirror around with him (NOT a compact, of course, just a small mirror) to admire himself through the day.

He made sure to point out his chiseled jaw line to everyone he met. He enjoyed describing, in detail, the shape of his own eyebrows, their curve up to a slight point before they fell down again just to the corner of his eyelid. Indeed, they were groomed to fit the exact length of his eyes.

Anyone who complained about their lack of exercise in his presence, he graced with his own daily regimen at the gym. He gave them in depth advice on how to achieve the six-pack he lifted his shirt to show, and how to sculpt their biceps into a veritable gun show.

But still, people seemed to avoid him. He knew it was out of envy. But the mirror could never be envious. It merely offered him the chance to reflect on his own beauty, for which he was quite content.

Gift Plant

Larry arrived home to a plant on his doorstop.

There was no information, no card, nothing with the plant. Just a little green thing with a single yellow flower in a clay pot, sitting in front of the door, covering the “m” in “Welcome”. The flower looked like it was past its prime, likely because of the dry soil in which the plant sat.

Larry unlocked his door and picked up the pot. He brought it inside, kicked off his shoes, and took the sad little thing to the sink. He turned on the tap, leaving it to run while he took off his coat and set his briefcase down in its usual place, just beside the door.

When he returned to the kitchen, the plant was drowning. He stopped the water and let it sit, dripping into the sink, the flower still shrunken and shriveled, and now tilted to the side.

An hour later, once the dripping had stopped, he picked up his new plant and set it on the back patio to enjoy the sunshine.

Four weeks later, the plant still sat there, dry again, the flower gone, and the greenery browning.

Let Them Win

The worst gift Michaela ever received was when her brother let her win.

Michael was three years older than his sister, and so had three more years’ experience from which to draw. While this would mean little when they were older, as children it meant she could never win at chess. Often their games would end with shouting, and occasionally with a fistfight.

When Michaela wanted to play on her birthday, though, Michael decided, in a fit of misplaced kindheartedness, to let her win. He made a series of bad moves, such that she had him in checkmate in under ten minutes.

Michaela knew he had let her win, though; the falsity of the victory made her more incensed, and she flipped the game over, scattering the pieces. She refused to come out of her room for the rest of the day. She did not play chess with him again for eight years, all because he had let her win in such an ignominious way.

Michaela spent so long fuming and reading chess tactics, though, that when they finally played again, Michael could not beat her. She won every game for the next two years, until she, in either kindness or vengeance, let him win on his twentieth birthday. Michael walked away in rage.