A string of words beneath my skin sting sometimes, aching to get through;searching for some dead metaphor to rescue them.
Sometimes my words get caught up in the middle of a sentence, they demand more space; phases trying their best to pierce through each heartbeat yet meeting their fate with nothingness.
I seek for warmth in empty spaces; building my home upon withering roses I follow my mundane routine with a hollow heart and a caught up mind. My words beg for an escape and I try to hush them; promising them a dreamlike reality, I keep them quiet. First I fail as a lover, then, as a writer.
Maybe one day your familiar silhouette will sit at the end of my bed,flipping through my journal and will ask why are they all about heartbreaks. And I would say my words are stubborn, weaving the lost with intimate fingers that seek for second chances, denying its destiny.
I would always blame my words rather than blaming you for the inked bruises; for mistakes without a heartbeat weigh less than mistakes with one.
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CULT FICTIONBy Nathan Hull
The supreme almighty master or as I called him sam was having a frustrating day. I could hear his rants echoing down the halls heading towards the small room where me and 15 of his most loyal followers where eagerly awaiting his presence,
As he entered the room, he screamed at us all “Have you all payed your fees for entry into eternal bliss?!” a few of those in attendance misread his mood and cheered this outburst, A terrible mistake sam pulled his pistol from his waste and shot into the crowd instantly killing three devotees, At this the room burst into applause, sam smiled and threw his hands in the air before continuing his speech “My children it is important you pay your fees for entry into the eternal bliss, How can I pay the piper a pittance and expect gold class service as we transcend into our heavenly layer?”
It was a fair enough question and one I didn’t have an answer for so I stayed quiet, a few people raised the point that upon entering “The super happy successful road to happy success camp and cult” that our bank accounts had been drained and all our belongings destroyed, this making it very hard to pay our way into heavenly bliss.
Three more shots rang out three more bodies hit the ground “all hail Sam” I yelled caught up in the excitement. Sam stopped and addressed me directly his gun pointing in my direction “ Its Supreme almighty master one more slip of the tongue from you and ill be sending you to hell like the other ones” he gestured his gun towards the growing pile of bodies. I hung my head and offered a polite golf clap to show my humbleness and appreciation to our master.
Sam stopped and sighed, a single tear rolled down his cheek and almost sobbing he addressed us again “All I ever wanted was to send you all to eternal bliss and make enough money to own a few large mansions a couple of rolls royces and a private jet, Why is that so hard for you to all understand?” His demeanour becoming more unhinged by the second he talked on “ We started with an army of 132 loyalists and now through no fault of my own you have made me cull your numbers down to nine” he burst into tears and sat on the ground.
I slowly walked over and hugged him and gently removed the gun from his hand. BANG I shot sam in the head. This was no place for weakness we had a mission, I turned to the remaining eight and screamed “ Who wants eternal bliss! They cheered and bowed down before me. “Call me Sam I yelled with a powerful feeling that I….had just reached the realm of eternal bliss on earth.
THE LITTLE FAT MANBy Sean Conway
Fred found being on the road rough, night after night hotel after hotel blurring together in his mind like a Jackson Pollack painting. The only enjoyment he got working on the road was reading a book and munching on snacks from the vending machine.
Fred left his hotel room having finished his book and headed towards the vending machine on the next floor. In the midst of reaching for change to get a sugary treat Fred heard a soft cry for help.
Fred looked around and couldn’t see where the cries where coming from “in here, please help” the voice said, Fred looked through the glass window of the vending machine and saw a little fat man wearing a little green suit. Stuck in the row of his favourite chocolate bar.
“Please help me” the little fat man said, Fred looked around the machine and gave the machine a violent push to see if he could shake the little fat man free, but he was wedged in there tight.
“Do you have any money?” The little fat man said “if you have $2 and hit E24 on the pad, I’ll be free”. Fred’s eyes darted back and forth between the chocolate bar he so desired and the last $2 coin he had.
Fred thought for a moment and looked at the Little Fat Man “So if I save you is there some sort of reward? He asked “What do you mean?” The Little Fat Man said stunned. “Like if I save you, do I get like a pot of gold or something” Fred said “What the fuck does that mean” The Little Fat Man shouted “What, because I’m little I must be a fucking leprechaun you piece of shit” he continued “ ye wont me magical treasure do ye, Asshole” he mockingly continued in a terrible Irish accent. “Well, you’re tiny and you’re wearing a green suit, I just thought, you know what, I’m sorry” Fred responded apologetically. “Fuck you, you going to save me or not” Said the Little Fat Man.
Fred sighed knowing he would not be enjoying his chocolate tonight. Fred put his last $2 in the machine and pressed E2, but just as he was pressing 4 a Gypsy woman came screaming down the hallway. “Don’t release him” she screamed, but it was too late, the Little Fat Man dropped down with a thud, he opened the flap of the vending machine, sprouted a pair of cute little shiney wings and flew off into the darkness.
“What did you do” cried the Gypsy woman “That was the anti christ”. Fred’s jaw dropped, he thought the Little Fat Man was a leprechaun, he definitely didn’t think he was the anti christ.
“Why would you leave the anti christ in a vending machine” Fred said to the distraught Gypsy woman “WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU KEEP HIM?” she screamed.
The Gypsy Woman’s sorrow turned to rage as she stared at Fred “You must be punished for bringing the reckoning, I’ll send you somewhere even the God’s can’t find you”. The Gypsy woman pulled out a wand from her Gypsy purse and waved it in the air.
Fred awoke from his slumber in a cold sweat with fresh thoughts of his crazy nightmare. Fred reached into his pocket and pulled out his glasses only to realise that it wasn’t a nightmare, he saw the world burning and demons terrorising the wicked and the Heavens saving the pure of heart. He watched knowing he could never be saved or found, stuck behind the glass of the vending machine, in the row of his Favourite Chocolate bar.
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It was raining, in fact some might even say it was chucking it down. As if someone from above was heaving bucket after bucket of water onto the ground. It was bliss, well it was sort of bliss. Many people who traveled to the planet of Trillia went there looking for temperate weather, not whatever they were finding here today.
Walking through the cobbled streets, people bustling in and around the stands, sellers and all the plants, in order to get out of the rain. And even though she was moving quickly part of her mind was dedicated to appreciating the wildlife around her. Even though Trillia was a place of business, it was still relatively new. And therefore, it looked like it was a pop-up shop in the middle of a planet wide rainforest. But, the things here were cheap. And cheap talked, no questions asked.
As the figure wove between this and that, someone else was making their way to the center of town as well. And while one was here for safety, the other was on a mission of a very different kind.
बहुत वक़्त से सोच रहा था कि अपनी कहानियों में मृत्यु के इर्द-गिर्द का संसार बुनूँ। कितना ख़त्म हुआ है और कितना बचाकर रख पाया हूँ, इसका लेखा- जोखा कई साल खा चुका था। लिखना कभी पूरा नहीं होता… कुछ वक़्त बाद बस आपको मान लेना होता है कि यह घर अपनी सारी कहानियों के कमरे लिए पूरा है और उसे त्यागने का वक़्त आ चुका है। त्यागने के ठीक पहले, जब अंतिम बार आप उस घर को पलटकर देखते हैं तो वो मृत्यु के बजाय जीवन से भरा हुआ दिखता है। मृत्यु की तरफ़ बढता हुआ, उसके सामने समर्पित-सा और मृत्यु के बाद ख़ाली पड़े गलियारे की नमी-सा जीवन, जिसमें चलते-फिरते प्रेत-सा कोई टहलता हुआ दिखाई देने लगता है और आप पलट जाते हैं। —मानव कौल.
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Iba recostada al filo de la ventanilla con los ojos cerrados, como si buscara en cada respiración inhalar cada partícula de aire y cada sentimiento de la ciudad que tanto amaba y que, por ya casi tres meses, no había tenido oportunidad de mirar y disfrutar.
A una parte de ella le enfurecía haber perdido tiempo quejándose del tráfico, del ruido, de tanta gente siempre. Y es que nunca se había detenido a pensar que podría extrañar toda esa locura. Se arrepentía de las tardes que había preferido quedarse en casa viendo series, en lugar de pasear. Mientras el auto avanzaba, ella sentía el viento en su rostro recordando cómo había renegado de los parques de esta ciudad “solo son de concreto, no son de verdad”, pero ahora que estaba en la calle volvía a recordar caminar por sus zonas favoritas; por las estrechas aceras de la Romita y sus callecillas escondidas. Aquel bar que tanto le gustaba, y al que curiosamente había llevado siempre a todos sus novios y citas.
La ciudad era otra, y aunque llevara los ojos cerrados, lo sabía. No era el mismo ruido de siempre recorriendo la Condesa; por primera vez, en viernes por la noche, Nuevo León no estaba lleno de personas caminando, no se escuchaban los tacones de las chicas entre bares, no se sentía el alboroto afuera de los bares y las conversaciones de los grupos de personas fumando impidiendo el paso. Todo eso, de lo que se había quejado alguna vez, le hacía sonreír. Extrañaba esa ciudad, ese alboroto, pero sobre todo extrañaba sentirse libre.
El semáforo cambió a verde y ella abrió los ojos poco a poco, se incorporó en su asiento y sonrió hacia la persona que iba conduciendo, y mientras avanzaban ella volvió a sacar el brazo por la ventana ondeando la mano en el viento. Les vi alejarse poco a poco al tiempo que yo también tomaba una bocanada de aire. Y es que entre tanto agotamiento, incertidumbre y preocupación, a veces olvidamos ponerle una pausa al huracán mental y recordar que en esta pandemia estamos todas y todos juntos.
He insists on walking back home after our evening classes and I always agree happily. We alternate between exchanging popsicle-kissed wholesome smiles and deep, unfiltered conversations by the riverside; and by the time we say our goodbyes by the corner of the old town library, I would have learned about a new constellation. We would spend most of our nights roaming around the empty streets of the old town, feet stomping against the cold rainwashed concrete as the summer winds whirl past our happy silhouettes. And the mornings that followed promised laughter upon every sappy poem we read sitting against the timbered walls of old bookshops, cheeky smiles we exchange when our favourite songs suddlenly play on the radio. If my summer with you came in colours,it would definitely be yellow; happy, bright and vibrant.
But bitter end to an almost “us” embraced us that night when
the wayfarer in him longed to be elsewhere and the silent lover in me let him go oh so easily. Yellows begin turn into shades of blue. Sunshine and smiles never got along. Poetries carried pain disguised as love.
Happiness still bloomed but fits of unspoken sadness grew stronger. Walking alongside the regret of letting him go and a tiny hope to see him again, I have come a long way. Now every cloudless night, when the stars align and the moonbeam scatter across the old town, I gather all the bruised snippets of my unspoken beloved and start painting my life back to yellow.
For whenever we meet from now, know that I have never missed a day telling Orion and Lyria about you.