Paul Garty

 

Votive Offerings

Sweet springtime scents entice, enthrall.

Last winter’s acorns, ground-fallen, abound.

Dead brown leaves clutter the forest floor.

The pungent smell of mildew wafts on a lazy breeze.

Daffodils and squaw flowers thrust through the litter

Adding dabs of greens and yellows to dreary brown hues.

 

Abruptly they came rushing and crushing through

Crisp leaves, the squirrel and his mate; twisting

Up and down, jumping around ancient

August oaks that clutch last fall’s leaves.  Carefree,

They rush about to play the sweet, seductive

Springtime ballet of catch and chase.

Are we so different?  Our ancient ancestors also swung

To this beating drum.

 

When trees were red and gold with

Dreary skies slate gray, homebound to the

Forest, I sought you stewards of the trees,

Only to find your sweet mate,

Dead, beside the road.  Standing silent I became

A tree rooted in soft, dark soil; an icy breeze

Sliced though my soul while through bough and branch a

Fleeting touch of sun, soothed my head.

 

Unexpectedly, a magical realm opened as I

Watched you roll votive acorns  purposely

One after another to her side.

Piled high, you leaned back  sitting

On your haunches over her body a

Head bowed low – as minutes passed.

The silence itself was a prayer to

The Unknown and perhaps the Unknowable.  While I

Was left to ponder – Who are we to say love

And grief are only human traits?

 

 

Categories: Thoughts | Tags: , | Comments Off on Paul Garty

Luke Marinac

Here is a submission from one of our own editors, Luke Marinac

Porthole on the Galaxy

 

I’ve spent a great deal of time in the Projection booth,

watching people, watching the screen,

through my silver porthole, while the reels click

as the projector feeds the skein of film through

the glass-plate breech between the bulb and the

bulwark, and ancient, time-tuned mechanical

thing, a series of gears and tables turning,

complex as the sexton, guiding–

 

until it tangles, comes unfurled from a single cleat unprooted,

like a tooth snapped out of its socket, then the blood-red, color-bleed

as the film tears across the sky just as the hero falls

from the cliff face or the lover’s embrace diminishes into

that one, perfect, kiss, before the cigarette burn spreads

from between their lips, till its boils, sulifane bubbling black

like pitch, till weak at the edges it tears free in two

away to purest white.

 

 

They call it a brain when film tangles into a heap on the

projection platter, an almost inseparable mess of a

thread that runs one direction, beginning to end,

and to fix it you take scissors and cut here, there,

wherever it won’t be missed, because

in 35-millimeter, one frame is a split-second,

splice it out and replace; they’ll have no idea

there was anything there in its place,

 

Lobotomies on the fly, up in my box in the sky,

surgeon spattered with flaxen shrapnel, hacking away

at the frontal cortex of what was a comedic-romance

gone awry, or action hero rescue against the odds,

the affable whimsy of a children’s story, or the

dapper mustache twitch of the comedian, fingers

drumming his lapel, in succession, five-thousand times

for five seconds you’ll never miss– snip–

 

The only reason this works is the deceit between each piece,

your brain, so full of itself, it can’t admit defeat,

replaces every other image you see with something

imagined, replete with qualities from what came before

and just a dash of your own bigotry so you miss the black

in-between, the steady flicker caught on video in television

and computer screens; half is missing for

everything you’ve ever seen.

 

the shudders flaring open and closed and you hurtle from your

seat at one million miles per hour, forward, the force of a galaxy

behind you, transferring into you its energy, more powerful

than  ten billion trillion nuclear bombs reverberating up through

the sphere and into your feet

 

And I watch from my porthole, the people

gathered in the dark to watch the screen

with the whirring and clicks of the old machine,

spooling slides and bringing alive by a trick

of the eye, something else where once there

was life;

 

When the sky was on fire, and the heavens

were strewn with diamond time-pieces, and

this vessel still crawled with many strange, half-realized things,

before the dove lost the olive branch and drown in the sea.

How long has the land been arrived at, millions

wandering uncaring, lemmings pouring into the deep?

 

But see, that too, isn’t quite true, remember half

of everything is in the black spaces in between,

because you see it was Disney,

and a producer on the phone, who got a camera

crew to crowd lemmings off a cliff for that famous

footage– do you actually believe a creature beside

ourselves would have the nerve to wander into the sea?

 

To drown for no other reason than to understand depth,

at last, the noose around our neck, the film trailing

up through the darkness, cut by shafts of the projector’s light,

anchored to the great flickering thing we tilted toward

for some many years, as it’s sinking.

 

But this isn’t about a nation addicted to screens, it’s

about me, and the spaces inbetween

us, and the places, and the people, we separate into

scenes, and our is wrong, my darling,

unseen, between us, the black flitting of the blinds,

perspective taken straight from Grillet, the jealous window,

I am me, in-between, and half of what you and I see

in missing.

 

Between us, the spaces fill up with scenes, like

you in that black dress in the doorframe, Kubric

could’nt have frames better the fame in your smile,

the length of your legs bisected by shadow as the

man in a grey suit sat smoking a cigar on the porch, and

turned to peer inside, casting his long shadow across the

vinyl siding slats, washed white, and American, in the

false lighting that created an autumn evening, produced

and directed,

 

who’s directing this thing? The dove’s gone off with the swallow,

and the ship tilts, down the downspout, pouring forth from the

machine, watching lovers overcome, again and again, I am

reminded, these are still frames, missing half of everything in between.

 

 

The copyright to this piece is held by the writer, and published with their permission. 

Categories: Thoughts | Tags: , | Comments Off on Luke Marinac

Lu

That is right.  The writers name is Lu, and here is their submission. 

 

The city of Oasis was big. They would never find her. Lisa knew this. They just  couldn’t! In her heart, Lisa knew she would die if they did and that absolutely terrified her. She had violated all the rules. Her thin fingers shook as she hurried along the alleys. The bundle of blankets in her arms squirmed a little, but she held it close.

 

Lisa was smart. It was an easy task to avoid all the street cameras. The pills had been out of her system for weeks. Their absence enhanced her senses. She no longer felt like she was walking through a fog. Snow swirled around her. The cold was chilling to her very bones, but at least she was alive. Lisa had been lucky to get out of the facility alive.

 

Every noise made her jump. There was no sign of H.I.V.E.’s Ghosts or Drones. She let a sniffle escape. Ghosts…she’d be damned if they found her. A Ghost would kill her before she could even cry out. Hell, he would probably kill the baby too. She glanced down at him.

 

Like a perfect little angel, he blinked back at her. He was so fragile. So tiny. Lisa had been a fool to give him to the company. The pills had made her do it. Now , that they were gone from her like a long ago cured illness, Lisa couldn’t have bared to leave her son in that evil place. It was too.

 

The baby cried out. He must have been cold. Quickening her pace, Lisa held him against her breast. One thing was important to her. Going to the Hell-Lands was key to their survival. There, she could get refuge from the Stargazers. H.I.V.E. couldn’t have her baby ,even if it meant living in a mutant infested Hell.

 

The city’s gate loomed in front of her. One swipe of her clearance tag and she was gone with her son. The desert could be made out in the distance. Life on the run. She could handle that. As long as Benjamin was safe. Lisa smiled. Benjamin. That was a nice name, if a little old fashion. That was his name, now.

 

Benjamin was chewing on his fingers. Lisa’s chest ached. It had been a long run there. She stopped. Her lungs were burning from the race. A little rest couldn’t hurt. Snowflakes fell gently on her sons’ face as she looked at him.

 

He never stopped amazing her. Thin blond hair stuck up all which way on his head and his eyes were a bright silver. Resting her head on his, she listened to him coo. How can he be so happy? So oblivious? The New World is falling apart and he just giggled and squealed nonsense.

 

Lisa rocked him back and forth. He needed to sleep, so he could be quiet when they pass through the gate. His light cooing quieted. Thank Honey! Then a crack echoed through the night air.

 

Lisa knew that sound. Gunshots. Whether or not they were after her,she didn’t care. Holding Benjamin closer, she started running. The gate was so close. She could make it. She cou-

 

Pain shot through her, stopping her in her tracks. “We got her ,sir.” Voices yelled behind her. Lisa fought the pain. Her baby. Benjamin. She had to get away. Freedom was beyond that gate. Another shot rang out. Pain. Agony. Something wet dampened through her blouse. She blinked as everything grew fuzzy. Taking another step, Lisa groaned. Just a little ways more..

 

“That girl just won’t give up.”

 

“Shoot her!”

 

“No..just wait.”

 

Weakness made her limps heavy. Lisa was so tired. Maybe another rest would be okay. She set Benjamin down gently. He was sound asleep, the little tyke. Before Lisa could even face the Ghosts she knew were behind her, her legs gave away. She collapsed. The ground was chilly. Oh, she was so cold. Warmth seeped from the wounds in her stomach. All she could see was her little boy. How could she had failed him like this?

 

“Now can we..?”

 

“Yes. Put her out of her misery. Take the boy.”

 

The cold muzzle of a gun was pressed to the back Lisa’s limp head. Tears rolled down her cheeks. He would be experimented on..she had failed. “Benjamin”, she whispered.

 

“Benjamin..”

 

Bang.

 

 

This copyright to this piece is held by the writer and published with their permission. 

Categories: Thoughts | Tags: , | Comments Off on Lu

John Lee

Here is another new story from one of our submitters, John Lee. 

 

A BEAUTIFUL DAY

By John Lee

The bright morning sun streams through the windows as Angie walks down the corridor, tucking in her blouse, and buttoning the final fastener. Better leave some cleavage or the girls in the steno pool might notice something…different. She smiled as she recalled his moans of ecstasy, the smile on his face, his hug and a kiss. Then he swatted her behind and threw her panties at her. Angie loves it when her boss does brunch. She loves her job, and does it with style, so she tells herself. Nothing like a good bang to start her day.

Bill peered from his cubicle at Angie, sashaying down the hall with a mischievous smirk on her face, her eyes vacant as if recalling a sun-drenched Bahamian beach. How Bill wished she were on that beach with him, sipping an ice-cold Mohito, wearing only that beautiful grin. He combed his comb-over and attempted a smile as Angie walked past, oblivious to his plight. He accidentally bumped his pencil holder as pens and his favorite Gumby eraser fell on the carpet, nearly stabbing the hapless secretary.

Angie awakened from her daydream, and frowned at her would-be Prince Charming. She put her hands on her curvaceous hips and applied her patented pout, giving Bill her Evil Eye, with one false eyelash nearly crashing to the ground.

Bill stumbled into action to clear a path for his Sleeping Beauty. His eyeglasses slipped off his misshapen nose and he crushed them under bended knee in his haste to service his goddess. As he picked up the last of his toolkit, he looked up at Angie’s rising breasts, clearly aroused as seen through her sheer top. She frowned down at her nemesis, then smiled a little. Nothing can ruin her day today.

Bill smiled back, assuming she is smiling at him. She gave him a cocky swish of her long golden hair as she glided over his prostrate body. Bill watched her bodacious ass walk down the aisle then turn left towards the secretarial section. Someday he’ll get his own secretary, just as soon as he gets that promotion he’s been waiting 10 years for. He looked at Gumby in his hand, and nods his head Yes.

Bill felt the ground shake, once, twice, three times. Earthquake? No, it felt more like 1993, only much stronger. Remember when six people died? Oh, that’s ridiculous, he tells himself. That blind Muslim preacher went to jail, and all is safe in the world. The steel core is impervious to any attack, the engineers and talking heads promised on TV.

20 seconds later, a fireball exploded next door, 80 floors above Ground Zero. Flames shoot 100 yards out the side of the steel skyscraper. Bills sees the flash from the corner of his eye, and turned slowly towards the window outside his cubicle. Black noxious smoke billowed like a forest fire from the gaping wounds of World Trade Center Tower 2. Screams emanated from the strangely empty cubicles around him, then faded to a hollow fugue.

Bill walked slowly to the window and stared mute, his mouth wide open, face expressionless, and watched the smoke rise from the flaming hole. Reaching up to rub his clean-shaven double chin, he pondered what just happened? What day is it? A nearby calendar caught his eye — the eleventh of September. Did he remember to take out the trash?

An announcement over the public address system, wah wah wah, something about staying at his desk. Let the authorities do their job. Nothing to see here. Some such garbage. Why wouldn’t he stay at his desk? He did the same in ’93 — he proudly remembered his bravery and smiles. Coworkers ran frantically to the exits. Cowards, he frowned at them with disgust. It’s just a little fire, can’t they see it’s almost out? Look over there — workers are standing in the holes, looking out — there’s nothing to fear. The firemen will have it under control in a New York Minute. You just wait and see, he nodded to his boss, running with his pants undone, tripping as he reached the elevator door. Bill turned slowly back to the compulsive view. He admired the  beautiful day, taking a deep breath of clear air-conditioned human exhaust.

Staring out the window, Bill caught a slight movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned slowly and locked his eyes on a small aircraft in the distance. That’s odd, he thinks — don’t see that every day. It turned slowly in this direction. Hmmm — that’s not the usual landing approach. He nosed against the window frame to get a better view. The jet continued its banking turn and decreased altitude, growing larger by the second. Bill felt another series of explosions rip upwards under his feet, apparently from the fire in World Trade Center Tower 2?

Seconds later a jet aircraft crashed into World Trade Center Tower 1, a dozen levels below Bill’s floor. The explosion blew out the elevator doors into the hallway, body parts severed and oozed lifelessly on the carpet. Isn’t that his boss’s head, rolling down the aisle? The head stopped short of Bill’s cubicle and stared up at him. Bill looked down at his boss. The head’s wide eyes turned and locked with Bill. The head’s lips made a movement, trying to speak. Bill bends down to her what his boss has to say. Wah wah wah, same as usual. Blood dripped out of the stump of the head’s mangled neck. The eyes faded into darkness. Bill spun with vertigo, then stumbled to the floor as he lost consciousness.

Coughing, Bill slowly opened one eye. Hey, there’s his boss. He sat up wheezing, eyes burning, an acrid smell of kerosine in the air. It was very, very hot all of a sudden. He looked over at his boss’s head again. There’s crying all around despite a ringing in his ears. Bill stood slowly and brushed his bloody hand against his white polyester shirt. Someday I’ll wear starched cotton shirts, just like my boss over there. He smiled and nods at the severed head.

Bill limped slowly to the window again, watching white-hot molten lava pouring out the sides of WTC 2, like a volcano, sparkling in the bright sunlight all the way to the ground. Black blobs fell from the broken windows in the upper floors, despite no fire visible. The black blobs strike the ground, bursting red. One, two, three, four, five…Bill stopped counting and turned to look at his cubicle. Mr. Gumby stared back at him from inside an empty coffee cup. Bill reached slowly for his cup, picked it up, and rotated it slowly to the colorful image printed on its side…a cartoon with something about Special Needs, and a door that won’t open. Bill shakes his head — he never did get that joke, but others thought it funny when they gave it to him on his 15th anniversary with The Firm. He smiled at the happy memory.

Bill walked slowly past frantic workers exiting the stairwells, pointing something about the stairs are blocked and the roof is locked. Bill looked up at the sprinkler faucets on the ceiling, dry as a bone. That’s odd, the fire alarm evacuation drills last week specifically promised that would never happen. They told us power was turned off to make sure everything was installed on the fire alarm upgrade by that company on Floor 47 — funny how that stairwell door was always locked, with loud noises banging around inside.

Bill reached the break room area, picking up a pot of warm coffee, pouring a cup, adding a non-dairy creamer. He read the label, big artificial words he cannot understand. He stirred, looking down at the spinning clouds in his coffee.

He felt a hard bump, knocking him sideways. A woman fell to the ground. She’s black, most of her clothes are torn or missing, the white skin on her arm falling off in ribbons. Bill reached down slowly to ask if she needs help. He can’t hear his own voice with that annoying ringing in his ears. The woman looked up at him. She looks a little like Angie, but different. Gone is the confident smile, replaced by an odd expression of stark raving terror. Bill knelt down and gently brushed the soot off her face, realizing yes, it is Angie.

She gestured frantically about seeing the elevator explode, then trying to go down the fire escape stairwell, only to be blocked by white-hot flames shooting molten metal, setting her on fire. She ran back up the stairs, passing others who tried to extinguish her flames as best they could, eventually reporting the roof was locked, no way out. Wah wah wah, was all Bill could hear. Damn that ringing as he shook his head and stuck a finger in his numb orifice in case something was blocking it. He stared at his bloody finger.

Bill helped Angie to her feet, staring at her naked, well-formed yet soot-covered breast. Her looked down at his feet in embarrassment. His gaze surveyed the office space, noticing a new burst of smoke coming from the stairwell core. That doesn’t smell like fire, he wonders. A white flame burst through the concrete and drywall, white-hot sparks showering onto the carpet, instantly setting ablaze. Bill grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher on the wall, but can’t make it work. The meter on top says EMPTY. He threw it down and pulled a dazed Angie away from the spreading flames.

They limpped over to a window on the opposite side of the towering inferno, where the other trapped employees gathered. Angie hugs close to Bill, who removed his shirt to cover Angie’s nakedness. Another shower of white-hot sparks burst from another nearby wall, as sounds of splitting steel occasionally ring in their ears. The intense heat from the molten metal drives them away from their safety, towards another wall bursting into metallic flames. Windows crack open and fall to the ground, as the building shifts.

As the flames approach, Bill realized what the black and red blobs were that he saw falling from in Tower 2. He wiped the soot from under Angie’s vacant eyes, stared into her beautiful face. He brushed her singed hair behind her ears, noticing her diamond earrings for the first time. He knew this was going to be a great day! Here he’s is living his daydream, just as he dreamed it would be 100s of times before. Without all the fire and brimstone, of course. He leaned forward to kiss Angie on the lips, as the flames approach. The heat is overpowering as the screams get louder. First one, then another, then another. The employees huddle towards the open doorway, frantic to escape the searing heat of Hell, jumping through the door one at a time.

Bill held Angie’s limp hand and supported her tiny waist. They stood last at the doorway, pondering their escape. Bill turned for one last look at his cubicle, but can’t see it for the smoke. He frowns at the mess they will have to clean up tomorrow. Good thing he gets paid a bonus at Christmas. He looked down at Mr. Gumby, clutched tightly in his other hand. He turned back to Angie and smiled into her horrified face. She smiles back, a little. They step through the doorway, hand in hand…

THE END

 

 

This copyright of this work is held by the writer and published with their permission.

Categories: Thoughts | Comments Off on John Lee

Fuzzy Orange

Here is a tale by Fuzzy Orange.  If you think the name is weird, well, so do I.  The story is interesting though and you should give it a read.

STUTTERING

A true to life story

By: FUZZY ORANGE

             In the late 1950’s I attended a local high school. There were almost380 students in grades nine to twelve. Mr. Kennedy, the principal, knew most the students by their names. He liked to stand in the hall while the students changed classes speaking to the students, calling them by name.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas my freshman year, we had a new boy register. His name was Dale and he didn’t talk. All of his teachers were amazed that he made really good grades but he wouldn’t say anything in class. I don’t think anyone in school had heard him speak. He just shook his head ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and for the other question he wrote the answer on a pad he carried in his shirt pocket.

Early in January Mr. Kennedy stopped me in the hall way asking me if I had any classes with Dale, the boy who didn’t talk.

”Yes sir, he is in my next class.”

“Let me give you a note for your teacher, it will excuse you and Dale from that class. Bring him to the office. Neither of you are in any trouble, make sure he knows that.”

The teacher looked at me as I came in the classroom. I handed her the note. Once she read the note she called Dale to her desk and told him he was to go with me to the principal’s office. The principal needed two young men for a few minutes.

Dale went with me to the office. Mr. Kennedy was sitting at his desk. He said, “Dale, I haven’t got to meet you yet. He stood up and stuck out his hand, “My name is Mr. Kennedy, if you have any trouble, please see me and we’ll work on the problem.”

Dale stood and shook Mr. Kennedy’s hand while shaking his head ‘yes’.

Mr. Kennedy asked, “Can you speak?”

Joe’s eyes went down to the floor and he nodded ‘yes’

“Why don’t you speak in class?”

“I…I…I…I…Stu…u…u…u…u …”

“Dale, I stutter sometimes and especially if I hear someone stutter. I never make fun of anyone. I think I may be able to help you. I have magic rocks here in this jar on my desk. Get one magic rocks and place it under your tongue. Now tell me your name, holding the rock down with your tongue.”

“My name is Dale…” he said with a surprised look on his face.

“Take four or five and if you ever need any more come to the office. I keep them here on my desk. Get as many as you need. Very few people know about our problem. I’d like to keep it that way.”

“Yes sir,” we said at the same time, “Bread and Butter.”

“That brings good luck.” I said.

Dale started talking in school and his senior year he was elective president of the Future Farmers of America chapter of our school, which meant that he was to give a speech during graduation.

When the graduation program started, Mr. Kennedy was welcoming the parents and friends to the school when he coughed. He quickly got a scared look on his face. Dale pulled up his graduation gown, reached in his pocket and handed Mr. Kennedy something.

Mr. Kennedy turned to Dale and said, “Thank you, Dale,” then started his speech again “Thank you, friends and family, for attending the graduation of the class of…”

After the graduation program I was standing next to Dale when Mr. Kennedy walked up to him and said, “How can I ever thank you?”

“Teaching me about the magic rocks is thanks enough. I started to bring only one rock but I was so nervous about the speech I was to give tonight I went to the creek this afternoon and got a pocket full of magic rocks.” He handed Mr. Kennedy a few more magic rocks.

This really happened but Dale is not the boy’s real name.

 

This story is copyrighted to the writer and is published with their permission.  

Categories: Thoughts | Comments Off on Fuzzy Orange

Daryl D Ray

Here is a fine story from writer, Daryl D Ray.  Stay tuned, more treats to come.

 

Summer of my Sixth Year

It is the summer of my sixth year. My younger brother and I are playing inside our house oblivious of a storm that’s slowly building up. Outside, the star-apple tree stands proud and tall, its branches stretch out heavenwards as if praising its Creator. It is the tree we call “our own.”

We grow up with it, and it gives us refuge in many ways. We look forward to the time of its fruition, when we can taste of its luscious fruits.  There is not much of a yard where we live. We rent the land where our house stands and only the narrow pathways leading to our house separate us from our neighbors. We are truly appreciative of   our star-apple tree; we have carefully nourished it since it was a young sapling. We have watched it steadily grow into this young promising tree through the years.  One cannot help but notice the tree among these rows of meager houses, its lush verdant limbs standing out. Tiny brown birds will oftentimes perch up on its branch on a bright breezy day and watch the green leaves break the monotony of the shiny galvanized iron roofs, reflecting the sun’s rays like big mirror sheets. The towering tree stands close to the humble outhouse and borders the weary canal, which weaves like a snake right between our modest home and the neighbor’s house.  We frequent the star-apple tree on sunny days, and we delight in its cool shade.

Once, while looking out the window, we see a streak of lightning, like a big camera flash. My brother and I abruptly stop our game. We take a peek eager to behold what will happen next.

One after another, we hear the crackles of thunder reverberating like big boulders of rocks rolling out of the sky. Dark clouds cover the skies like a swarm of locusts.  The chilly rain immediately starts its relentless heavy downpour.  The sluggish canal slowly starts to overflow with murky water and the unwelcome rubbish glides along effortlessly.  When the wind blows, the star-apple tree’s pliant body sways from side to side like a skilled Hawaiian dancer’s hips bounces back and forth.  The wind builds up its strength as though it is in competition with its previous blows. The star-apple tree is swaying its trunk reluctantly to the beat of the music of the wind.  The harsh wind is a fierce reminder of a brutal enemy.

The tree trunk moves as though it understands that it is fighting a fierce battle. We valiantly cheered for the tree’s triumph. It has weathered numerous raging storms. The rough wind is strongly determined to claim its casualty. The star-apple tree stoops closer to the ground. We cannot bear the sight of such a tragedy anymore.  Hastily, my brother and I acquire a rope. As fast as our tiny legs can carry us, we run to prevent the inevitable. We tie the rope around the star apple tree’s trunk and we pull hard against the direction the wind is blowing. When the wind blows to the right, we pull the left.  When the wind blows to the left, we pull to the right. With all our might, we provide support for the star- apple tree. As the tug of war progresses, we get exhausted. The star- apple tree is slowly losing its ground as though it loses hope of continuing the struggle: “No! Please don’t give up!”  we shout at the same time. But the tree slowly gets uprooted and its trunk starts to lie down across the canal.

Our tears flow copiously but the raindrops conceal our teardrops like a veil covering a bride’s face. We whisper our last words to the star-apple tree like lovers say their last goodbyes. My brother walks back to the house. He cannot bear to see the sight any longer. I stay and wait for a miracle to happen. Perhaps this is a ghastly nightmare and upon my waking up, the tree will be there standing once more. The water in the canal recedes and the thunder stops its boisterous laughter. Also the wind secedes as though whispering its victory. Now, the tree rests and gone with it are all its potential fruits.

One bright sunny day, I see a patch of grass growing in the place where the tree used to stand.  When my brother passed away, I looked back to our memories with our beloved tree and this brings comfort in my heart.

 

This story is copyrighted to Daryl D Ray and published with his permission.  

Categories: Thoughts | Comments Off on Daryl D Ray

Damien Thompson

Here are a nice pair of poems by Damien Thompson.  Enjoy, and remember, there is more to come.

 

Always There

 

When the sunlight fades away

And the sky turns to grey

When you’re left all alone

And can’t find your way home

I will be there

When your tears start to fall

And no one hears your cries at all

When all your walls have crumbled down

And love is lost and can’t be found

I will be there

When all your friends have turned away

And you’re feeling nothing but pain

When you feel you’ve lost all hope

And you’re at the end of your rope

I will be there

The times you’re shivering from the cold

The times you need a hand to hold

The times you need me there at night

The times you need a flame of light

The times there’s no one by your side

The times there’s no one you can find

And the times you need someone to care

I will always be there.

 

 

 

Crescent Bay

 

The pages of your saddened life

Torn apart by life

That I never saw you cry

Or knew your pain inside

A smiling child on Crescent Bay

Is how I remember you

Before you walked into the night

Before you stepped into the light,

Why couldn’t you have talked to me?

And tell me the pain you felt

The pain you hid so well

That no one ever knew you felt

Standing tall on Crescent

Is how I remember you

Before you closed your eyes

Now I’ve returned to Crescent Bay

The place your smile shined through

The place I remember you

Before you walked into the night

Before you said goodbye

That’s how I remember you

Before you took your own life.

 

These poems are copyrighted by the writer, and published with his permission. 

Categories: Thoughts | Comments Off on Damien Thompson

Ashton Bingham

Here is a brief vignette from Ashton Bingham. Please enjoy it, and stay tuned for more stories to come.

Untitled

 

Jasper stared outside the window, holding a glass of brandy in his hand. He had not had any of it. He could hear the laughter coming from the streets and see the smiles that swept throughout that small town. Jasper was envious of them. For many years he yearned for the happiness bestowed upon these strangers, fathers and sons laughing and making happy memories with each other.  He turned and looked at the writing desk where he had written his goodbyes to his family and to his betrothed. Jasper took one gulp of his brandy and walked to refill it. He sat himself at the desk. His smooth, manicured hands inked his final goodbyes on the page.

He knew his betrothed, Rebecca, would not understand the reason for such a letter when her marriage to Jasper was only days away. Rebecca was a strong willed woman and Jasper knew that as soon as she received this letter, she would come and do anything she could to find him. Rebecca was a lot like his mother in this way, the mother he never knew.

Jasper finished his letters and placed them in his breast pocket. He put on his coat and grabbed his top hat. The stairs creaked as he made his way to the front of The Lion and Sheep Inn. He pulled out the letters.

“Mr. Whitley, would you take this to the post early in the morning?”

Mr. Whitley had soft gray eyes and snow white hair. He was short, top heavy and pale.  He reached for the letter with his sausage like fingers that had not seen a moment of hard labor from the fields but small scars from where he got paper cuts that could only come from the place where he had dedicated over half of his life to. “Going somewhere?” said Mr. Whitley.

“Just out for a walk.”

“It’s nearly midnight! Why are you going out so late?”

“I just need to clear my head. You will make sure this letter is delivered?”

“I assure you sir, but why not take it to the post yourself tomorrow?”

“That’s my business Mr. Whitley. I’m sure you understand.”

“Yes, of course Mr. Carlton. Enjoy your walk and watch out for tonight, there’s supposed to be a mess of a storm.” Jasper gave a faint smile. The cool night air hit Jasper hard on his handsome face. He felt like he was the only one in town even though he was surrounded by the people of the night. He walked without making eye contact and avoided as many people as he could. He made his escape through a dark alleyway. A little girl , not more than six years with shoulder length light hair appeared from the shadows. She was covered in only a ragged looking dress and dirt all over her scrawny body. All happiness seemed to have been drained from her full cheeks as she stared at the wealthy stranger before her. A boy came up behind the little girl and placed his hand on her shoulder. Jasper could tell that this young man was her elder brother. He too was clothed in only a thin tunic and tattered brown trousers. Jasper smiled at the two children. He reached into his pocket and pulled out six pounds. He placed the coins in the hand of the little girl and closed her fist around the coins. Jasper winked at the two children. He patted the boy on the head and started walking down the alley.

Jasper let out a deep breath as if pushing all the years of disappointment, and pain from his body. The roar of thunder seemed to befall upon the town. Jasper could hear shuffling noises coming from behind. He didn’t make much of it, thinking it was the children that he had just come into contact with. He started down a narrow road leading out of the quaint town. The shuffling happened again and it was this time that Jasper realized it wasn’t the footsteps of children. He looked over his shoulder. Nothing. Cautiously, he took the dagger from his boot and kept walking, his hand firmly grasped around the leather handle. Thunderclouds crept slowly towards the town of Chatham. An eerie feeling overtook Jasper. He tried to not pay attention to it and kept walking. Jasper nearly made it to the other side when he was suddenly grabbed from behind. A stout arm was around his neck. Jasper struggled for air. Now he knew they were after him.

With all the strength he had, he elbowed the man in the stomach. He managed to break free only for a few feet when the man picked Jasper up and slammed him against the stone wall of a building. The man’s grasp was tighter now. He had leathery skin with scars all over his face. He was missing his front teeth; the rest were black. He was so evil, Jasper could almost see the fires of hell in this man’s black eyes. Jasper squirmed against the wall, his grasp still firm on the handle of his dagger. He was getting weaker and was starting to lose his grip on life. Quickly, Jasper held up the dagger and stabbed it into the man’s chest. He pushed it as far as it could go. The man let go of Jasper and fell back, his eyes wide as he hit the dirt ground. Jasper crashed to the ground and without wasting any time, he pulled his bloodied dagger out of the man’s chest and ran as fast as he could. Jasper could hear the burly man groan in agony but did not pay any more attention. He could smell a stable nearby and he looked around quickly to make sure no one was following him. He ran into the stable and untied a black horse. He calmed the horse down and mounted it. “Come on boy,” Jasper whispered. He kicked the sides of the horse and rode off. He could see a light turn on in the cottage adjacent to the stable. He knew the owner of the farm heard the noise, but Jasper did not care. He wanted to get far away from Chatham and from the dangerous men that remained in the town looking for him.

When he reached an open field, Jasper slowed the horse down. He gently rubbed its mane and dismounted. He pulled some carrots from his pocket he managed to grab while in the stable and gave it to the horse. Jasper gasped for breath and pressed his forehead against the warm neck of the gentle creature. Rain began to fall providing cool relief. He felt something ice cold on the back of his neck. Someone grasped the back of Jasper’s cravat, pulling him from the horse. He was thrown to the ground. His attacker was another large man, all of his facial features hidden by the dark. He had an accomplice next to him; a thinner man, his features seemed to be more visible by the moonlight. His electric blue eyes were the only thing Jasper could focus on.

“I believe you have something I need.” A revolver was pressed against Jasper’s neck.

“I tried honestly.”

“I don’t want to hear excuses. You were given a simple task and you failed.”

“What was I supposed to do? I tried everything!” Jasper was breathing heavily in fear that his life would be over in seconds. He heard the click of the revolver. Nothing. The gunman’s face was now visible by the moonlight. He had dark brown hair and had remains of a handsome face but some aspects were hidden by scars and bruises that would seem like they would never heal. His figure was strong and eyes piercing; he seemed to hold power of the world with every finger.

“Ever heard of Russian Roulette?”

Jasper nodded. “Yes.”

“Congratulations Jasper. You have survived your first phase. Now tell me again, where are the documents?”

“Please. I tried in vain to get them but it was impossible. How could I betray my father in such a manner? What kind of son would I be if I was the cause of his downfall? You have to understand. I know you do.”

“What do you know of me? Destroying someone close to oneself is the easiest thing to do in the world. You had an appropriate amount of time to do the task assigned to you by The Order. All you had to do was get the papers from your father and bring them to us. Being Lord Carlton’s son, I suspected you wouldn’t have a problem. But I was wrong.” The man stood up keeping the revolver pointed at Jasper. Jasper could see the slight move of the man’s finger on the trigger of the revolver.

“Wait!” the thinner man came in front of Jasper. “We can’t kill him now. I’m sure if we give him more time, he will get the papers. Just don’t kill the boy now.”

The man made a motion with his pistol for the other man to step away. “Do you remember what happened to Paul?” the man was now circling Jasper who remained on the ground. Jasper nodded slightly. “Paul was a good man Jasper. He was given a similar task but he loved his father too much and could not do what The Order asked of him. And do you know what  happened to him?”

“He doesn’t exist anymore.” Jasper whispered in reply.

The man stopped in front of Jasper. “Indeed. You two were friends, were you not?”

Jasper sat in silence. The man knelt beside him and pressed the pistol to the side of Jasper’s head. “Yes.” Jasper finally replied. “Yes we were good friends.”

The man grimaced and stood back up. “A coward just like he was.”

Three shots fired.

Copyright is held by Ashton Bingham and is published with their permission.

Categories: Thoughts | Comments Off on Ashton Bingham

Coming soon

So, the staff has begun to wrap up their selection process.  There were many excellent stories, artwork, and photos that were submitted.  We will be sharing some of those works here.  In particular, there was only so much space in the magazine, and we had some works we wanted to share that couldn’t make it in.  We will be sharing those works here on the blog, so people can see them.  Keep looking tomorrow, when the first of the stories will go up and the rest of them will be posted over the next 4 days and nights.  Till then lets start with an art piece submitted by Jordan Kintz.

 

Smirk

Categories: Thoughts | Comments Off on Coming soon

Imaginary Gardens editors meeting

2013-02-22 16.49.23

These editors look like they are hard at work. It is the end of the submissions period, but the real work is just beginning.

Categories: Thoughts | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Imaginary Gardens editors meeting