Too Slow

Too slow
That’s what happened
Too slow
That’s the fact in my life

I hesitated
I was afraid
I didn’t want to push

So I hesitated
So I said no
That’s when I realized
That a part of me will always this
No matter the time that passes
Or how our lives may change

I was too slow
That’s what happened
I was too slow
to face my fear
Now the time has passed
I’ll smile as you fly
But I’ll always remember
That I was too afraid

Monday Short Stories: The House – Chapter 01

What if buildings had souls? What if they could tell us their stories? What then? It would be great? Wouldn’t it? To go to England and hear the tales of bygone ages. Or to hear the war stories of forts and camps. To hear how King George III plotted to rule the greatest empire. Or listen to one who witnessed Einstein genius at work?

But what if those souls witnessed terrible acts? Whose very walls were coated the blood of innocent? What if the acts we make, both innocent and evil, could change the way the building behaves? What then?

How would the buildings behave?

Would they be things of evil?

X

Two small girls slip out of a small bedroom window. The brick house is mostly dark save the living room. The flicker of white light is the hint of a television. A door opens and closes. The two girls freeze in place. After a moment, they continue to slip down the roof. They drop to the ground soundlessly. The girls keep to the shadows of a hedge until they reach the sidewalk.

They step into the light of a street lamp.

Both girls share identical small faces, slender bodies, and waist long hair. One has red hair while the other has light brown hair. Although both wear tank tops, the redhead wears a skirt. The other wears short shorts. The brunette climbs up a tree then drops two backpacks down to the second girl. Once they shoulder their packs, they begin to walk down the street.

The redhead girl glances back at the house.

“Dani? What’s wrong? Are you worried? Do you want to go back?”

“No.” She answers softly, “Let’s go.”

“Are you sure?”

She takes a deep breath, “No, Chloe. I need to do this. If I don’t do this, I am never going to be willing to venture back out.”

“Okay. Then let’s do this.”

The two girls quickly and quietly walk down the street. The air is thick with humidity and the sound of insects. The either side of the street is lined with small houses. Warm, friendly light shines out of the windows. Some are made of bricks. Others are made of siding. Street lamps stand at regular points. Young trees provide a warm, homey atmosphere.

Ten minutes later, the two girls step around the corner on Fifth and South West. Without saying a word, the children come to a stop.

There is only one lamp on this street. Its weak orange light is barely enough to shine at its base. The trees that line the street are much older and wilder than the other trees. A few houses can be seen through the thick brush. However, at the end of the street is a single house.

Three stories tall with large windows. Its front porch is lined with ornate pillars. A wide path stretches from the porch to the street. Once it was beautiful and stood with dignity. But now the paint is peeling and parts of the porch are sagging in places.

The two girls come to a stop underneath the lamp.

A few moments later, they are joined by three other teens. The biggest and largest teen flashes a smile at them. The second teen is a boy that is getting some recording gear. The second is a tall girl. All three wear letterman jackets. The weak orange light casts deep shadows.

“Hello, all of you!” The tall boy says, “Welcome to your challenge.”

“Mike.” The tall girl says, “Do we have to do this?”

“Everyone at the school has gone through it. Regardless if they are born her or not.”

“What are we doing.” Chloe says as she folds her arms, “What are we doing?”

“Fine. Anthony. You ready?”

“Almost.”

“Hurry up.”

“Hey, you are asking me to do the job of three people. Give me a second.” He lifts a camcorder fitted with an external mic and light source. “And we are ready to record.”

“Good evening! It is just past ten o’clock.” Mike says, “We are here to witness the night of terror! Where Chloe and Dani must stay the night at the old Miller’s House. Eight hours. Recording this adventure is Anthony. Who also has yet to do this.” He looks at the girls, “Are you ready?”

“Yeah.” Chloe squares her shoulders.

Dani shrugs.

“The rules are simple. One. You cannot leave the house until you can hear the town square clock. Two. You cannot call for help. Four. You can only use what you have in your bags. And lastly, you must be recording at all times.”

“Got it.” Chloe says, “We’re ready.”

“Okay then. Good luck.”

“Wait!” Chloe says, “How do we get in?”

“That is what you three need to figure out.”

The two girls look at each other and roll their eyes. The three teens head towards the house. Mike laughs while his friend glares at him.

“What?”

“This is such a stupid tradition.”

“Hey, our parents did this. Even the mayor did this.”

“Yeah…” She looks at the house, “but… something feels different now.”

“Oh, you have just been watching too many horror movies.” He grins at her, “Come on. Sonic is still open. I’ll buy you a lime aid.”

“Fine.”

To be continued…

X

Friday Thoughts: Word Choice

In today’s world, there are hundreds of words we can use. Take the word “color”. We could use the word “color” or “tone”. Or “hue”, or “light”, or “frequency”. Throw in phrases and the world start getting complicated. Each phrase is similar to the others but carries a different meaning. Telling someone to f-off or versus telling them to leave. Makes for an interesting study.

However, in today’s world word choice has become extremely important. From directing people to websites or being interviewed a job, how you say things is just as important as what you are saying. Especially when it comes to taking political stances.

What comes immediately to my mind is “Undocumented Immigrant” versus “Illegal Aliens”.

What do those two labels mean?” One inspires thoughts of people trying to make their way through life. Chasing the American dream. The other label shows the people as being squatters moving across the border. Sneaking in and evading the law because they don’t want to stop. Or simply knowing that they will be denied visas.

To some, the meaning is the same. But I disagree. How you label something sets the stage of how people hear or react. Consider what you call offspring still being carried in the womb. A fetus? A collection of cells? Or an unborn child?

For good or for ill, word choice is very important.

Choice

Here I sit
And here I wonder
Which choice
Should I make

Should I follow the path of logic
Should I follow the path of sense
Or should I go with my gut
And take a chance

But I cannot see
Where the paths will go
What will happen
If I take this path

Will my future be secure
Or will I loose what footing I have?
Will I fly in the sky
Or will I fall into the depths of failure?

Monday Stories: Red Button

A young man stands alone on a pier. His dark eyes watch the people pass before him. Some are early morning runners. Others are families enjoying the first morning of vacation. The man leans forward on the railing. The thick, gray coat snaps in the wind.

A second man joins the first.

Like the first, he wears a long coat. Unlike the younger man, he is old with long hair and a full beard. Several minutes pass with only the sound of seagulls to mark the time.

“Have you decided yet?” The older man finally asks.

“No.”

The younger man looks at the sky. He pulls out a small device. It is a small box. One side sports a single red button. The other side has a green switch. The man looks at the small item in his hand.

“Such an innocent device.”

“And that troubles you?”

“What do you want me to say?” He snaps angrily, “If I use this device, hundreds of thousands of people will drop dead. Without warning. Without any sign of foul play.”

The old man smiles weakly, “Or let them live and watch them turn. And then watch them destroy the world.”

“But it isn’t their fault.”

“But the choice still remains.”

The younger is silent for a moment, “It was easier. Before.”

“Oh?”

“Fight this group. Eliminate that enemy. Hold this stronghold. That was a lot easier.”

“You have been preparing yourself for ten years.”

“I know but it doesn’t make it any easier.”

“But that is the choice. To choose to save the majority at the price of a handful. Or to step back and not play god.”

The younger man laughs, “But if I don’t make a choice, I am still playing god.”

“Yes.”

“Is it a promise?”

The older man raises an eyebrow. The younger one inhales deeply. Slowly, the man lets the breath out slowly. He turns his attention to the harbor. A heavy tanker moves through the water. The younger man looks at the box.

“Will they turn? Possibly? When they turn, they will attack first their friends and family. Then they will attack those closest to them.”

“But I have to kill them? Why me?”

“The device is keyed to your DNA.”

“Of course it is.” He sighs, “Why wouldn’t it be.”

The man looks at the device. The green latch pulses green. The red button glows slightly. One side shuts down the devices implanted. The other triggers the devices in the body. The man rubs the thumbs on the two triggers.

 

Monday Stories: One Chance Train

A man walks alone down a quiet street. Stars twinkle overhead. The ground is damp with recent rain and fog is slowly rolling in. His stomach growls and he glances at his watch. The numbers “11:23” blink up at him. He groans and looks for someplace that is still open. He notices an old man putting away his food cart. He quickens his pace to the cart.

“Are you still open?” He asks the owner.

“Yep.” He replies with a big grin, “What would you like?”

“A hot dog please.” The man says with relief, “And a bottle of pop.”

“That will be two fifty.”

The man hands him his food and takes the money. A slight breeze ruffles their clothes. The owner takes note of the man. Deep bags hang underneath his eyes. Worry lines his eyes.

“Something troubling you, sir?”

“Life.” The man says with a chuckle. “Been doing the same thing for twenty years. You know, some days it feels like I am going nowhere fast.”

“That bad?”

“Probably not as bad as it sounds but still. Been out of college for two decades and still paying off loans. I got friends expecting their first grandkids and I’m still living alone with a cat. Not doing what I love to do. I mean. My life has got to be more than this, am I right?”

“I know what you mean!” The portly man says with a laugh, “If I had the chance, I would get on the first train out of here. Don’t care where I’m going.”

“Speaking of trains. I have to catch the late train.”

“The late train?” The man says worriedly.

“Yes? Is there something the matter?”

“Yes.” The owner glances back and forth. His brow damp with sweat, “There… there are stories I hear. About people going down there. Seeing strange things. Ghosts. People have disappeared from that station.”

“I’m sure it is just talk.” The man’s patience is running out.

“Perhaps.”

“Have a good night.”

The man turns away. He eats his food and sips his drink. A few minutes travel and he reaches the train station. It is a well lit and fairly clean facility. The man laughs to himself.

“Hello? Any ghosts there?”

His voice echoes through the station. It is then when he notices that there isn’t anyone present. There are not custodians cleaning or ticket sellers waiting. No security or late night passengers waiting. The silence begins to ground on him.

“Hello?” He calls out again.

Silence answers.

“Get it together Shane.” He mutters to himself, “Just weird timing.”

He looks up and sees a woman standing in the ticket booth. Greatly relieved, he steps up to the booth. The woman looks at him with strangely blank eyes. The only skin he can see is her hands and her face, both of which have a chalky white tone to it.

“Destination?” She asks.

“Clarksdale, please.” He places the cost of the fair in front of her.

She punches up a ticket and slides it across the countertop.

The man turns away and walks towards the train tracks. He tosses his trash in a nearby trashcan and settles in one of the benches. The silence seems almost physical.

Echoing footsteps causes him to turn his head. A smartly dressed man marches towards the train track. His eyes are full of fire and his steps full of purpose. He comes to a stop near Shane.

“Quiet night, huh?” Shane asks the other man.

“Indeed.” He replies shortly.

“Shane. Shane O’Connally.”

The gives an irritated sigh, “If you do not mind, I wish to be left alone. I had a very trying day and rather not talk.”

Shane hides a grimace and waits for the train to come.

A train whistle shatters the silence, making the man jump. He is surprised to see an ancient steam train pull into the station. It slides to a stop with metallic screeching and a hiss of white fog filling the station.

“What is this? This isn’t the midnight northbound.”

A conductor steps off the train and walks towards them. He is a small, unassuming man. Shane realizes that he is wearing a uniform that belongs in a museum for trains. Except his appears to be brand new.

“Good evening Shane. Joseph.”

The two man glance at each other before turning back to him.

“I know, I know. How do I know your name? Well. I do. Don’t ask how.” He smiles at them, “Both of you have been wanting a chance to just leave. Shane. You want to leave that dead-end call center and live an adventure. Joseph. You’ve been waiting for the chance to quit the law firm and pursue your dreams as an actor. Am I right?”

Shane stares at the small conductor.

“This is ridiculous.” Joseph exclaims, “Who are you and what game are you trying to pull?”

“No game. An opportunity. You might say, your ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity. I can’t promise you success, that you have to work for. But what I offer is the chance to chase it. You don’t like it or it doesn’t work out, you can get a train ride back. What do you say?”

Joseph snorts and takes a seat on the bench, “You are insane. And I will have no part in it.”

“Are you sure Joseph? Wasn’t it just yesterday that you told Mary that you felt like you were dying at your job? This will be your chance to live!”

 

The man fumes silently, “If you make me late for the proper train, I will sue you.”

The conductor chuckles, “What about you Shane? You want to take a chance? Leave everything behind for to chase your dreams?”

Shane’s mind rushing back and forth. Parts of his mind agree with the lawyer and that this is crazy and too good to be true. But then, what if it is true?The other part yells for him to take the chance.

“Well? What would you do?”