Misinformed

“My existence is cursed and God cares not.”

Gabriel looked through the cracks in her carrier. She stroked her hair, fighting to quite the tremors already racking her body. Then time came. Light flooded Gabriel’s vision as hands groped her. Gasps intruded her mind before she steadied herself on her own two feet. Held in place by habit Gabriel looked out into a sea of faces.

“Before us stands what can only be described as a freak.” A man dressed faux-smartly in a tired suit stood only a few feet away. Maybe today would be his lucky day and her owner could finally afford a new one. “As you can plainly see, this “woman”,” He chuckled. “Is plagued by many anomalies. I would like to state that we have had this woman examined by a doctor to confirm that she is in fact female. So cast away your doubts and marvel! First, whiskers!” The man walked closer and tugged at her chin covered in dark coarse hair. “Then, the absence of nipples.” The man ran his fingers across her chest in its entirety to make certain for the crowd. It went on like that for a while longer.

Soon however a line formed. Her owner grasped the hard earned bills from hands and ushered them joyfully on. The faces passed before Gabriel one by one. Careful to keep their distance only occasionally would a daring soul lean in for a closer look.

This was her life. Declared too different for her own good Gabriel found herself a sold commodity by age ten. She was useless to her parents after all. No one would marry her and though she could just as well work, it was not her place.

Once the show finished and the last dollar made men led her into a tent to be fed and bathed. At the end of the night she lay down on a small cot and slept. She thanked her lucky stars for even that much. She met a man once lacking fingers who slept with the trash just outside his owner’s door. Much like a dog he perked up when he heard footsteps approaching.  Gabriel, accompanied by her own owner, ignored the man to the best of her abilities. He’d smiled brightly regardless and waved as she passed.

The next morning the routine began anew. It was humanity’s ultimate mercy that she even live out such an unpleasant existence. Yet if Gabriel spent any time on the matter she found a redeeming aspect to the cruelty. Barely there, maybe not at all, but it helped her find peace.

“They found the beauty in ugly.”

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Family Matters

Bob ran in the park every Saturday morning without fail. He didn’t particularly enjoy running. In fact he hated it. Still run he did, the scenery his only motivation to commitment. No, not the pretty, fragrant flowers full in bloom or the well-sculpted shrubbery lining the paths. What attracted Bob to run through the park Saturday mornings was the other visitors. During such a welcoming part of the season the grounds always seemed full to the brim with families, couples, and dogs to observe. Such a sight could not be passed up.

 

It was on one such fine day Bob’s life changed forever. Running along the same path as he always did Bob was observing a man playing fetch with his four-legged companion rather ungracefully when an elder man stepped forward to block his path. Standing firmly, ready to stop Bob if he should barrel into him, the man looked as if he’d just seen a ghost.

 

“You alright, mister?” Bob paused a few feet away, jogging in place.

 

“Bobby?” The man softly spoke.

 

“I’m sorry?” Bob craned his neck to hear.

 

“Bobby! Ma’ boy!” The man suddenly grinned, lunging forward. Taken off guard Bob found himself wrapped within the man’s strong arms.

 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Bob struggled to detached himself from the obscenely affection man.

 

“ I’ve been looking for you everywhere!” The man cried. Finally prying his fingers apart Bob all but threw the stranger away.

 

“Do I know you?” He asked, wishing he could remember his fifth grade karate lessons on self-defense.    

 

“I’m your father!” The man said happily. By then many people had drawn closer to see what all the hub-bub was about. Upon hearing this they burst into cheers. How sweet! A long-lost family reunion in the flesh! Let’s take a photo…

 

“My dad’s dead.” Bob said, more than a little put off. “Has been for five years.” 

 

The man blinked. “But that’s…”

 

“He died of cancer.” Bob stressed. “I don’t know who you are but I don’t appreciate the sick joke.”

 

The man blinked rapidly. In a flash his entire demeanor changed from needy father to distant victim. “You monster.” He hissed.   

 

“What?” Bob questioned.

 

“How dare you.” The man folded his arms crossly. “I have been searching for my son as far back as I can remember, and here you are taking advantage of that.” The crowd turned towards Bob, shock deeply felt. How could he?

 

Bob, more than a little confused, panicked. “What are you talking about? You were the one—”

 

“I hope you’re happy with yourself.” The man shoved past Bob roughly heading on his way. Everyone else left moments after, returning to their own activities a little wiser to the world and true nature of man.

 

From that day forward Bob never ran on Saturdays. Anywhere. It just wasn’t worth the personal risk to one’s reputation. 

Conspiracy

Aside

“Everything is still green. Good work. This will reflect well on your review.” I smiled down at my phone. Everything was proceeding as planned. Better than expected actually.

Within the past week the company I worked for successfully purchased several plots of land to make way for a new hotel. “Riots are sure to follow” many predicted. However we found little opposition to the proposal. The area to build on was considered by most as “No Man’s Land”. But my boss, the CEO of the company, saw something else, something more. What a space could be rather than what it was. Ultimately with the aid of some brilliant marketing from my department the city was easily won over and promised prosperity and a mass increases in revenue. Unfortunately the project put the nail in the coffin for several businesses on the block. Even a local park could not be saved from the wave of industrialization and was fated for the scrap heap.

“Quickly sir, we haven’t much time.” A man next to me whispered. I didn’t hear him of course, for my headphones where in and my music was up. That’s what you did while waiting at the station for the train to take you home. But I noticed his obvious looks.

“Can I help you?” I asked, taking one ear piece out.

“That depends. Can you help yourself?” The man asked, pulling up his coat collar to properly block his chin.

“Uh…” I trailed off and went to replace my ear bud, as set to ignore the man next to me as best I could.

“Don’t disregard me boy!” The man practically floored me with his force. “Not unless you wish to die.”

The cars arrived a moment later. I narrowed my eyes as the doors opened. “Listen buddy, there’s a police station just five minutes away from here. Find a taxi and sober up.” With that I stepped onto the rail-car swiftly, hoping to end our encounter there. The man stepped on after me.

“You fool.” He whispered. I tried turning away only to have him duck into my gaze each time. “Don’t you realize what is at stake?” It struck me then just how short the man was. I wondered if his grave tone of voice compensated for that. With a chime the doors to the car closed and we were on our way.

This was the problem with public transportation now and days. “Can’t you just leave me alone please?” I asked.

Without warning the man pulled open his oversized jacket and pulled from within a sawed off shotgun. Reeling back in surprise I landed heavily on my butt, staring up at the looming figure of a man crossed boarders. Slowly every other person on board took notice. Scrambles followed screams as the population shifted around us in alarm. Cocking the weapon in his hands he looked down on me. “Now do you get it?”

“Get what?” I panicked, struggling to put distance between us. Breathing heavily, I flung my water bottle at the stranger in a feeble attempt to chase him away. Flinching, the man turned away and discharged his gun into a nearby window. Blowing out the entire panel the compartment fell deadly silent as shock and terror gripped mother’s and son’s lungs.

“You’re crazy man!” I shouted over the sounds of roaring winds as the train rushed onward.

“Crazy? HA! That’s what they all said! But I’ll show them.” He ended in a whisper that somehow reached me. “Now where is she?”

I blinked. No. No way could this be happening. “Who?”

“Don’t play dumb with me!” The man shouted and turned his gun to my chest.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I backed farther away franticly. The man followed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” My back hit a pole and stopped.

“I know you had a hand in it. Just tell me where she is and I’ll let you live.”

“Where who is?” I screamed as the man stepped closer. I felt tears leak down my face.

“Don’t play dumb! Because of you I lost her.” The stranger’s face crumpled. “She had to leave her spot, her home, and disappeared. I want to know where you moved her.”

“I really don’t know who or what you’re talking about, but everyone that moved—” The man cocked his gun again and I faltered. Beneath my hands I felt the subway’s brakes kick in, slowing its roll. The man blinked but remained unwavering.

The doors opened slowly. On instinct everyone glanced outside to survey the new area. Unexpectedly the man’s face lit up. Dropping his gun he ran from the train. Shakily, and not without hesitation, I stood along with a few others and inched my way towards the doors.

What we saw made no sense. The man who moments before threatened my life now stood in front of a cotton candy stand and with pure, child-like glee marveled. “Oh Candy…” He mouthed to the woman who stood next to the operation. A cute woman full to the brim smiled back, her rosy cheeks glowing. They embraced to the cheers of many around me. Even those who moments before were cowering in horror bloomed beholding such a pure sight of love.

Retracting my head I calmly walked to a seat inside the compartment and sat, waiting for the train to continue on its way.

Desperate

“Why don’t you like me?” I sighed dramatically, rolling my eyes. I hated conversations like these. So why did they always seem to find me? “ I’ve tried everything,” He was saying. “ I’ve matched your ideal type five different ways and still you won’t go out with me. Why?”

“I just don’t like you.” I folded my arms.

“But why?” He asked desperately. “I have to know a specific reason. Am I too flirty? I tried to get your attention… I’m too forceful aren’t I? I can be shy.” His eyes brightened. “I can be shy and quiet and—”

“I don’t like shy guys.”

“Tell me who I should be then.” He begged. “ You’ve strung me along for who knows how long, making me try this and making me try that. I’m getting tired of waiting.”

“So I am.” I yawned.

“I can be anything you like except your boyfriend.” He spewed. “Why are you still here then? It’s because of your friends, isn’t it? You’re friends hate me so you won’t have anything to do with me, right?”

“Not at all.” I scoffed. “I’m fully capable of making my own decisions.”

“Then date me!” He yelled. I wanted to throw a chair at his face.

“Keep your voice down. Getting angry doesn’t solve anything.” I hushed.

“I really liked you.” He said, suddenly serious. Looking me up and down his eyebrows furrowed. “ I’ve given you everything and more for nothing. I’ve been a fool and that’s all. Fine then. If you don’t plan on being with me then leave.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, blinking rapidly.

“You heard me.” He said. Nodding to the door, he smiled. “Walk out that door. It’s over.”

I gasped. “It’s over? What’s “over”? There was nothing to be over to being with.” Despite my flair he continued to smile. I huffed, grabbing my purse. “Fine then. Just don’t come crawling back to me when you realize what a mistake you’ve just made.”

“If imagining that satisfies you,” He nodded. It was unnerving.

Stomping away I swung open the door and slammed it shut behind me.