#36 – “A FRIENDLY COMPETITION”

Short story submitted by Tyler Busse
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Nervousness began setting in as I waited for my professor. The door clicked as he walked in not making an attempt to acknowledge me. He’s been like this since I volunteered.
            “So,” I began, “What is the objective?”
“You’ll understand once you get there.” He stated.
“How will I know it’s over?”
“It will be clear once the time comes.”
“Can you tell me anything?” I asked, becoming increasingly more frustrated.
If he heard, he made no signs of it. He began performing the gestures signaling he was casting; he followed this up with a string of words.
“Thanks for your help,” I muttered.
As my professor finished the incantation, I felt myself pulled to the field. The clearing stretched in front of me for about 100 yards; it was lined with trees forming clear boundaries. My competitor stood on the other side of the clearing. Like me, he was surveying the grounds on which we were supposed to perform. Panic washed over me. Did I recognize him? He didn’t waste time as he began reciting a series of syllables in one of the ancient languages. Flowers began to rise from the ground and bloomed into beautiful shades of blues and greens all over the field. I smiled. Let’s do this.  (more…)

#33 – “THROUGH THE DEATHLY MIST”

Our hearts entwined
Your spirit mine
Merged together
Like grapes in wine

Our journey grand
Through lovers’ land
But darkness came
And took your hand

My dear, do not struggle
My mind I shall juggle
My one true love
The dark shall not smuggle

A plan I shall make
To find you and take
Back the only thing
That keeps my soul awake

I’ll brave the sharp rods
And staffs of the Gods
I’ll barter with Hades
Two forces, at odds

I’ll swim the fiery lake
Whippings I will take
Be cut, be beaten, bled
Or devoured by a snake

Through the deathly mist
I shall grab your wrist
Pull you close
And share a kiss

For every realm, it’s true
Knows of my love for you
A power so strong
Death itself cannot skew

If alas, I happen to fail
All will still be well
For I’ll stay with you, my love
Wherever you do dwell

Our world means
Very little, it seems,
Without you my dear
It’s a world of machines

If we cannot depart
We shall stay with the dark
For without you I die
Now our end is the start

Submitted by Kyle Kepner, UK

#32 – “CELIA”

Short story submitted by Katy grubb, UK
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Celia

It was now eight thirty; Danni sat hunched on the grimy little balcony, gripping a cigarette. She took another long drag, and the icy sensation engulfed her throat. Clearing her head somewhat, but failing to untangle the knot in her stomach.

It was the third day that she hadn’t been able to eat. The bowl of soup on the kitchen counter, now cold and beginning to congeal in its Styrofoam bowl, had made her heave so much that she was unable to finish it.

Sitting on the edge of the battered couch with bits of the stuffing springing out of the shredded blue and green material, Danni summoned the courage to look directly into Celia’s eyes; slate blue and glittering with malicious pleasure, that cruel mocking smile as she took another sip of whisky. The worst part of Celia always came out when she drank; it was as if a demon was unleashed. But even now Danni still looked intently at her, searching for some kindness, some trace of the girl she loved. The girl who loved her. But there was nothing. (more…)

#31 – “LOVE LIKE CIGARETTES”

Love? What is love? Like the flesh-weak heart from which it stems, it pumps, it warms, it circulates, it makes dreams real, inspires hope, moves us smiling from one day to the next, infectious, consuming, until such time the delicate mechanisms no longer work. And then they grind and shudder like a great and weary clock,
pheromones, hormones, inclinations all conspiring to end their streaming.

Love grows cold, snow and ice, the mind no longer caring, the eyes no longer seeing, blind to vivid colour and to gentle touch. Love like cigarettes enjoyed until the lungs turn black. Addictive, love as a stone weighs heavy on the chest and mind, torturing the cupid fool until his skin begins to burn and blister, backed into a corner like an animal for slaughter, afraid, unsure, not knowing what will come and remembering not what came before, thinking to himself, my harp, my wings, my fortune withers on the vine, pounds become pennies and pennies dwindle to a poverty of broken soul, my soul.

What is this clinging film that conspires with atmosphere to storm the barricades, to bring down the love-lost soldier, love-smacked, love-torn? Love like a war photo fades to sepia brown: forgotten moments, staring out of Time like so many dead men looking for their bones.

Submitted by Andrew Hinkinson