Keep On Keeping On

When she danced, her world was silent.

When she danced, she felt at peace.

When she danced, her body no longer hurt.

When she danced, she held no thoughts.

When she danced, the whole world revolved.

 

“You’ll never make it.” He said. A gavel dropped in the background. “You just don’t have what it takes. You’re not good enough. Do yourself a favor,” Liz swallowed her tears. “Go back to school and find a good job. You had a good run but it was never very realistic.” With that the judge stood from the table at the front of the small studio and left, letting the door slam behind his retreating back.  

 

Breathing deeply, just as she was taught, Liz slowly lowered herself to the floor. Her world had stopped moving. Across the room her phone rang. Her mother, eager to know how the audition had fared. She was so proud. Liz continued to breathe deeply until her cell fell silent.  

 

Standing, she raised her arms and began her routine over again. Something, there had to be something she did wrong. Something she hadn’t done quiet right; the timing was off, it wasn’t quick enough, graceful enough, powerful enough. She would find and fix it. 

 

She knew she didn’t practice as diligently as she should. Others tried harder and sacrificed so much. But that would change. She knew, deep down in the very marrow of her bones, she could and would reach her dream. That stage was begging for her presence, she just hadn’t shown up yet. She was late but the event had yet to be cancelled.

 

No more distractions. Liz twirled several times. Tuck my legs in tighter and spin faster, she thought. She needed to do more than feel the rhythm. She wasn’t a social butterfly, but last week she’d left practice early for dinner and a movie with friends. Why not? She worked a day job nine to five then ran straight to scheduled (and rented) studio hours. Did she not deserve an hour here, an hour there? She didn’t want to catch that plague called exhaustion, did she? What good would that do?

 

She deserved nothing but would win everything. A change in attitude was simply in order. Staring at herself in the mirror Liz nodded once and turned away. Walking towards her bag she dug through the pockets until she found her phone. Calling her mom back she informed her not to wait on dinner. Hanging up quickly to avoid questions Liz grabbed her water bottle and swished some moisture back into her dry mouth. Putting on a completely different song, a song she’d never danced to, she began from scratch.

 

The process was hard, of course. Letting the beat slowly work itself inside she began to move this way and that. It was different, different than anything she’d ever tried. But maybe that was exactly what she needed. To change is difficult. Not to change is fatal.

 

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Liz had foolishly always thought without reason she would reach her dream easily. Obviously not. Was God testing her? To see how true she was? How strong she was?

 

Having her dream thrown back into her face only made Liz all the more determined. If she wasn’t certain before, she sure as hell was after. She would find resolve and burn a mantra into her very being. It was the only way to truly live life.   

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Bitches Be Jealous

I saw them. I saw them together.

 

There is he was, perfect in every way. I’d had my eye on him for over a year; I just hadn’t made my move yet. His hair, his fashion sense, his smile, his humor, everything about him suited me just fine. I dreamed of this boy every night, and the mere thought of him made me shiver. He was my everything.    

 

And there she was, all over him. Flipping her hair and smiling. Flawless skin and nails just begging for close-ups. She had the perfect proportions to drive anyone crazy. Popular beyond reason, she was looked upon by many as a shining example of what a woman should be. Slut. Slut slut slut!

 

I stood across the hall watching that girl, that girl!, flirt with my crush. How dare she? Didn’t she know that he was already, sort of, practically mine? Even though we weren’t officially dating or anything, he was still mine! Why couldn’t she see that? I watched as she laughed, leaning in close. She placed a hand on his shoulder and slowly traced his upper arm. I boiled over. Just because I’d never touched him like that, she thought it was ok? Everyone knew that I liked him!

 

That’s it. Shits going down. We both couldn’t chase after the same prey. Someone was going to have to die.  

 

“Jen?” Ashley walked up next to me, completely ignored in the heat of the moment. She followed my gaze and gasped. “Hey, isn’t that… and isn’t that…?”

 

“Shut up.” I said. Grabbing her face, I shoved her out of the way and walked towards the seemingly happy couple.

 

She saw me first and smirked. I bet she thought she was pretty clever. He hardly knew I existed after all; what would he know he’d missed out on if he dated her? A yard, a foot, an inch. Pulling back, I formed a fist and threw it, breaking that bitch’s perfect little nose effortlessly. She fell back against the lockers and slid down, holding her gushing mess of a face.

 

Shock crossed his face before I leaned in and kissed it, pouring in all the passion I felt for him into that one action. I enjoyed it for a moment or two. Pulling back, smiling, I licked my lips. “Call me,” I perked up and walked away, satisfied with the girl’s cries and the boy’s gasps.

 

My mother always told me to go after what I wanted wholeheartedly. I’m sure this is what she meant.   

Cell Fight

As a man openly pissed in a corner Mark sighed sadly. He did not belong here. Loneliness engulfed those thoughts along with his mind. He would not cry though. He would never cry.

Mark could do nothing of the past. It was of no use to him now. Now he must focus on the present. What was Mark going to do? He sat on the dirty wooden bench in the holding cell. One knee supported his chin as he bit his nail.

A harmless bump. That’s all it was. A man, infested by a drunken stupor most his life, stumbled as an octopus would into the very edge of Mark’s vision. Tripping over his own feet he bumped against Mark’s shoulder.

“Sorry brother,” The man stood and looked down at him through filmed eyes. “Didn’t see you there,”

“It’s alright.” Mark looked the man up and down before returning to his musing. The man continued to look down at him however.

“What’s wrong brother?” The man reached forward to grip the same shoulder he’d assaulted. “Ain’t I said sorry?” He gripped Mark’s shoulder tighter. “Why you want to ignore me like that? Think you’re too good to rise when a man such as I speaks to you?”  

Mark looked at the man with serious confusion and contempt. Why was he doing this? Any other man would have risen up and punched the offending man square in the jaw. Mark had hardly even noticed him. Why would purposefully pick a fight with someone who didn’t mean any harm? He thought he’d given him what he wanted. Apparently he wanted the opposite.

He wore a smirk on his face as he grabbed Mark by the shirt collar and hauled him to his feet. Mark didn’t fight against the pull. He really didn’t like to fight. But he supposed that, while he was here, he would have to put that personal distaste aside if he wanted to stay alive and with a shred of pride intact.

“What you going to do brother?” The waft of deprivation engulfed Mark’s senses as the man whispered closely. He glanced around. His other cell mates were not looking, not listening, but were very much paying attention. In this small of a place nothing goes unnoticed. No one rose to aid either man in their conquest. This suited both just fine.         

Without another word the man swung back to hit. Quickly, as one who has done the move before, Mark ducked out of the way, feeling the breeze over his head as a fist parted the air where his nose had been, and lurched forward, knocking the man off balance. Training kicked in and before the blink of an eye could be finished Mark had the man in a choke hold. Moments later he passed out.

A minute later a guard passed by. “What’s wrong with him?” He asked, motioning to the motionless body left lying in the middle of the floor.

Mark shrugged and the guard moved on, little concern on his face. Mark leaned back and rested his chin on his knee again. His father had always told him to make the best of any situation he found himself in.

Mark would try.  

I Need You

“Come home. I need you. Now.”

Male Version:

“Who is it Steven?” His co-worker asked. The two men sat in Steven’s office going over the schedule for the week.

Steven looked up from his phone. “It’s my wife. She just texted me.” He smiled. “She says she needs me.”

His co-worker smiled a sly smile. “You dog,” The two burst into laughter.

“Oh, you know how it is. I really am lucky she still loves a guy like me. Honestly, she can hardly keep her hands off me!” His co-worker nodded in understanding. “When I walk through the door at night I have to practically fight her off me. It’s like “Jesus woman, let me at least get my shoes off!” You know?” The two laughed again.

Sighing, he shut his phone and put it away, content to know his wife could wait until his work was done.

“Silly women.”

Female Version:

Abigail cured her husband. Why didn’t he answer her text? Hadn’t he read it? Didn’t he understand her urgency? Her need?

A robber pressed the gun harder against the back of her head. What misery. There she’d been, going about her day as usual; she’d stopped at home on her lunch to pick up some things. Standing in the bedroom she’d heard a quiet commotion downstairs. Instinctively, innocently, she’d gone to investigate. She saw the robbers before they saw her, thankfully, and she’d dashed back into the room. Shutting the door, she quickly hid in the closet. The robbers must have heard something however, for no sooner had she crouched amongst some clothes than she heard the bedroom door open.

She couldn’t call 911, they would hear her voice. Panicked, she did the next thing that came to her mind; she texted her husband. Fighting back pants of hysterics, she waited. Suddenly the closet door swung open. Looking up into the cold eyes of a man she didn’t recognize, Abigail screamed. He reached out and grabbed her by the hair. Fighting hard, she was drug out of the closet and down the stairs to the living room. Told to keep quiet, a gun was drawn.

This is about the time Abigail began to curse her husband. She watched as men stole everything. Car keys, TVs, clocks, watches, the new crock pot they’d received for Christmas, even their daughter’s piggybank. All gone. Finally, ten minutes later, she was thanked kindly for her cooperation and knocked unconscious.

A few hours later, Steven would come home to this scene, left completely surprised. Once she came to, Abigail would set about berating, both emotionally and physically, her husband for his ego. Then, much later, they would finally call the police.     

“Stupid men.”

Crash

“Are you sure this is ok?”

“Sure we’re sure.” Mike assured.

“Would we risk your life like this if we weren’t?” Michael asked.

“Yes, yes you would.” Shirley answered.

“Maybe, but all for the sake of science and glory!” Mike exclaimed as he applied more duck tape.

The three boys, ages 10, 11, and 12 respectively, known collectively as “The…”, only because the three couldn’t come to an agreement on a name (“Yet”, Michael would be quick to add) were young entrepreneurs looking to make their fortune in aviation. They were hoping to retire early and live on an island you see, and the best way for them to accomplish that was to invent a new form of transportation. Unfortunately, none had the funds to support a proper jet pack investigation, so they settled on attachable wings instead.

“But I don’t think—” Shirley started.

“We’re not paying you to think.”

“You aren’t paying me at all!”

“Hold still,” Michael adjusted the right wing, made from some random cardboard pieces and the occasional streamer. For looks.       

“Ok!” Mike took two steps back to admire his work. “I think we’re ready.”

“I’m not,” Shirley looked below. The trio stood atop a small drop off near the edge of town. The fall was only a few dozen yards really….

“Oh come on,” Michael shoved him playfully. “You volunteered, remember? Think of all that publicity you’re gonna get!”

“For dying?” Shirley panicked.   

“There is absolutely no way you could die from this height.” Mike chided. “We figured it.”

“You did?”

“Of course.” Michael dusted Shirley’s shoulders. “Now off you go.”

Tenderly, Shirley inched his way to the edge of the cliff and took one last, long look ever. “If I die,” He said, looking back. “I’m coming back and haunting you.”

“Yeah, ok, now get on with it already!” Mike said. Michael folded his arms. Both were ready to see some action.

Shirley breathed in and out, spread his arms just like Mike and Michael had shown him, and jumped. He had a strong, overwhelming sensation of falling.

Falling

F A L L I N G

F  A  L  L  I  N  G

F    A    L    L    I    N    G

Mike and Michael heard a loud THUMP! below. Glancing at each other, they quickly ran down the hill. At the very very bottom they found a pile of rubble, smoking slightly. Where the smoke came from, neither to this day could guess. They heard a low moan and rushed forward, piling a bit away here and a bit away there until they unveiled their friend.

Dazed and confused, Shirley focused his eyes on the two figures standing above him. “Am I dead?”

“I don’t think so.” Michael said.

“Oh… Let’s never do that again.” He croaked.

“Only if you don’t tell your mom.” Mike piped up. Michael elbowed him and shook his head.

Pulling their relatively uninjured friend from the crash site, the three left their invention where it lay and walked home peacefully, already discussing plans for the next weekend. 

A Day in the Life

Amber sat on the couch feeling somewhat lonesome. She watched TV and munched on some fruit flavored cereal, but wasn’t really paying attention to either. She was waiting.

Bang, bang, thud. “Good morning John,” Amber said, trying to not sound too excited at the first sign of life in the morning.

“If she asks, I’m not here.” John said urgently. Amber looked over her shoulder just in time to see John duck into a nearby storage closet, clothed in nothing but a pair of checkered boxers.

“Uh,” She managed to get out just before she heard more bangs and thuds coming down the stairs. A girl of beautiful proportions, but terrible hair and makeup, appeared.

She fixed her cross eyes on Amber. “Who are you?”

“I’m Amber,” She answered honestly. “I live here.”

“You live here…” The girl huffed and nodded. “If you see that slim ball excuse of a man who goes by the name “Bill” anytime soon, tell him he can keep it.” With that she threw her rather oversized purse over her shoulder and, head held high, exited stage right through the front door.

A moment later, after he made sure it was safe, John emerged from the closet. “Who was that?” Amber asked, amused at John’s endless antics. It kept the house interesting. “And what is it you can keep? And who’s Bill?”

“Don’t worry your little pretty brain about it.” John patted her bed head as he walked by. “Good morning Tiff,” He said distantly.

“Good morning Stud.” Amber heard Tiffany clink delicately down the steps. “It sounds like you had a good night.”

“Always.” John chuckled and headed upstairs, noisy as ever.

“Hmm,” Tiffany spotted Amber still in her pajamas and smiled. Tiffany was a peculiar sort of woman, mature well beyond her years. She took care of everyone in the house without overbearing anyone into submission. “Good morning love,” Amber felt the smile in her voice.

“Good morning Tiff,” She said back. “Do you know…?”

Tiffany sighed. “I try to stay out of that boy’s business. Honestly, it’s more of a bother that anything to concern yourself.”    

“Yeah,” Amber said absentmindedly. She’d focused in on the TV now, comforted by the movement of others in the big house. Upstairs, she heard John ram, what she could only assume, his foot into his dresser (again) and cuss loudly.

The news was on. Tiffany, serving herself her usual grapefruit, sat next to Amber on the couch to catch up on the daily grind. A new news reporter, a young boy straight from school, lectured them on the safety hazards of sink plugs.

“He’s decent.” Amber commented first.

“Talent wise or…?” Tiffany asked, coy.

“It’s too early to say talent wise, but look wise…”

“I would eat cheesecake with him.” Tiffany confessed.

Amber gasped. “Really?” She couldn’t help but pry.

“Oh yes, I think so.” She said.

“What are we talking about?” John’s head poked between the two women’s.

“Tiffany said she would eat cheesecake with him!” Amber pointed with her spoon.

“Really?” John asked, surprised.

“Well, don’t all sound the alarm at once.” Tiffany smiled and stood, exiting stage left into the kitchen.

Reaching over, John stole Amber’s half eaten bowl of cereal and drained it, following Tiffany into the kitchen. “Well,” Amber said, more to herself than anyone else. “I guess I should get dressed now.”    

Mortician

Lately, the world had been in quiet the commotion because of some very peculiar news. From somewhere deep in the south it came, and sent chills down the spines of anyone who heard it.

 

“Have you heard about the incident? Has is really begun?”

 

The incident in question was rather a strange thing. A man had been murdered, but not in any typical sense. Hardly even in an atypical sense was this man’s end. He had been eaten. Partially. Though I find it hard to believe he cared either way. The man who had done the eating was found and shot on sight by a local neighborhood watch. Illegal, maybe, but I don’t find it hard to believe no one bid for his case.    

 

What could cause a perfectly fine human being to turn towards cannibalism? While the world reeled in their fantasies and horror flicks, this possible future held little appeal to the man who dealt with the supposed “zombie”. 

 

The victim’s body was completely repulsive to behold, resulting in his family wanting a cremation. That was that. The attacker, however, apparently had no family, so was instead destined for an unmarked plot on the edge of town. But first, of course, had to come the autopsy. The Police Department was interested in what the man had “been on” when he perpetrated the act.

 

This is where our main character comes in. Daniel is his name, but from hence forth shall be referred to as Mortician, for that was after all his occupation, and the most relevant piece of information about him you will ever need to know. Put in charge of the autopsy, the Mortician felt little interest in the dead man’s case.

 

His body, dirty and riddled with bullet holes, felt like every other body to his expert hands. He operated out of sheer ritual, slicing the man clean straight up the middle. This is where things start to become interesting. The man’s internal organs had begun to decompose. But the body had only been dead a day, hadn’t it? The smell was overwhelming. Backing away the Mortician took off his mask and breathed deeply. It puzzled him. Grabbing another scalpel, he turned to face an empty examination table.

 

He blinked as his mind went blank. Next thing he was hit upside the head with a ton of bricks. Inhuman snarls filled his ears as he struggled to glimpse his attacker. It was the man, but he wasn’t a man at all.

 

His eyes turned milky white, no longer seeing, rolled around as hot moans escaped his throat. His chest, still cut open, poured out all he had to offer in terms of organ donation. Ripping at his coat, the dead man gnashed his teeth with vivaciousness until one fell out and plopped against the Mortician’s cheek.

 

The Mortician yelled and struggled, disbelief clouding his judgment. The zombie fought on however and with surprising strength broke through his victim’s defenses and bit his shoulder. Roaring in pain the Mortician took at better grip on the scalpel he still held and lashed out, planting it deep within the zombie’s jugular.

 

The creature went limp. Seizing moment the Mortician shot out from under the monster. Now, this Mortician just happened to have an axe stashed in a cabinet behind his desk. Flying to it now, he ripped open the cabinet and took the sharpened blade in hand. Behind him, he heard the zombie struggle to its feet. Turning to face his foe, the Mortician steeled himself for the kill.

 

The zombie limped closer, uttering such noises that, I can assure you, a dying moose wouldn’t dream of making. Bursting forth a war cry, the likes of which have never been heard and shall never be matched, the Mortician bravely flew forward, striking out.

 

He hit the zombie square in the face, splitting it clean in two. For good measure he struck again and again until all that was left was a scattered assortment of body parts.

 

“Oh Mr.—” Just then his assistant, a lovely young woman writing notes on a clip board, walked into the room. Before she could finish her sentence she slipped on the blood now effectively covering the majority of the floor and fell flat onto her face. Confused, she glanced up to see her boss.

 

Cover in blood and various other body fluids, the Mortician looked quite the ghastly sight. Feeling a throb in his shoulder, he looked to see it already turning a sickly grey-green around the edges of the very noticeable teeth marks.

 

“Ms. Dill,” He said, looking at his assistant. “I’m going to need you—”

 

“Need me what?” She looked wide eyes as the figure of the Mortician slowly came closer. She glimpsed his face as he shuffled under the light and screamed.