Monday Stories: The Crescent Moon

The winter night settles in the forest. The only sounds that can be heard are the whistle of the wind and the hoot of an owl in the distance. Snow lies unbroken beneath barren trees. Far above the silent forest are empty skies.

The moon passes overhead as the night grows in the same silent way.

The crunch of snow echoes through the forest.

An old man wanders through the empty woods. His hair is old and gray. His flesh is tanned by years of being in the sun. But is scarred by many battles. He pauses at the base of a tree. His gray eyes search the woods.

“I know you’re here.” He calls out into the night. “I know what you’ve done.”

Silence greets him.

“I can smell you.” He draws out a small stone and tosses into the snow.

It sinks out of sight.

“Now come out.”

Minutes tick by before he hears the snow shifts. Snow shifts and part of the earth rises, revealing a black hole. A young man emerges. His hair is black and his eyes green. Though his skin is not as weather beaten, his flesh is already layered with scars.

“What is your name?”

The man narrows his eyes, “How did you find me?”

“I followed your trail.”

He chuckles, “Hoping to cut in on the action?”

“Not at all. I was hoping to offer you a different path.” The older man glances towards the hole in the ground, “Though I must ask, is she still alive?”

“For now. And what path are you talking about?”

“Your life. Your choices are leading you down a shadowy path. I am here to offer you a better path to follow.”

The younger man laughs, “A better path? Ha! You are old and out of date. This is the way things work now.” His eyes narrow, “We hunt. We kill. We mate. We hold the power. We do what we will.”

The man stifles a frustrated sigh, “Why do you think this?”

“Because we have the right to live as we will. What right do they have to order us about? We are oppressed and we shall have our right.”

“By hunting them? By terrifying them every day? Keeping them up at night? Never knowing if their child will be gone or their livelihood destroyed?”

“What do I care? They held us beneath them. Hunted. Killed for sport. I’m, we’re, just equalizing things. Having our rights restored.”

“By oppressing the oppressors? That changes nothing. Only the roles.”

“Listen, Old Man, half of the problem is that you started this? With your own actions and wars, you destroyed what little you had. My generation is simply doing the best we can to fix it.”

“By twisting and turning things around?” The man growls, “You have shouted and screamed for equality and rights but you go about and doing the same thing.”

“Because we are tired. Tired of being treated second class citizens. Tired of being judged on our appearances.” He stalks towards the old man, “Tired of all those humans looking down on us. Their money and their power. Denying us rights they have.”

“What rights? You can own a home, property, get married, and move around freely! What more do you want from them?”

“I want their power.” He snarls, “We want their powers and their positions! They have reigned over us for three hundred years! Being handed their elite status without working! How is that right? How is being born into money and influence giving them a better start in life.” The younger man laughs, “We’re just wanting to make things fair.”

“You do realize that each of their generations worked hard to give the next generation a better position? That it took hundreds of generations to get to where they are. Hours of work and thousands of sacrifices.”

“It doesn’t matter.” He comes to a stop. “You are here to stop me. Aren’t you?”

“As I said, I am here to offer you another choice.”

“And if I don’t want that choice.”

“Then I will stop you.”

He snarls, “Then you’re a fool. And a traitor.”

“I have already walked your path. I know where it ends.”

“You don’t know anything. You are part of the old vanguard. The generation, the so called greatest generation, and you produced some of the most wicked individuals ever.”

“Well, one that title belongs to a select group. Not the entire group. Second, we earned that title by rising up and defeating those wicked ones.”

“You have destroyed us. We are merely working to undo your mistakes and making this a better place to live in.”

“By causing destruction. By causing pain?”

“Enough. If you won’t support us then you are just as bad as all of them!”

He snarls and his flesh begins to twist and turn. Black hair extends out of his flesh. His bones grow longer and warp. His nails extend and curve into long claws. His faces stretch and become wolf-like. His teeth extends and curves. Where a young man stood three minutes before, now a tall beast stands. Long hair shifts in the air.

“Please don’t.” He sighs, “A battle can be easily avoided. Simply let her go.”

“Please.” He finishes changing, “We are what we are. We were born to battle. We have always battle. We will always battle.”

“You may be the sum of your past but your past does not define you.”

“Come.” He snarls, his voice deep and echoing strangely, “There is only one rule to follow. Battle.”

“No. I cannot.”

“Why?”

“Because you have terrorized this town long enough. You have left a trail of blood and bodies. I cannot let this stand.”

He chuckles, “Too bad you haven’t transformed yet. It takes time to transform.”

He lunges across the distance.

The old man twists out of the way. As he dodges the younger man’s attack with ease. Turning to face the other as he skids to a stop, the old man turns and twists into his own wolf-form.

They are an odd contrast. Where the younger man has black hair with white fur in front covering his chest. The older has dark gray fur.

“What do you expect to do? Stop me?” The younger man growls, “You don’t have the strength or the stamina for battle. So why even try?”

“Because I must. Because there is no one else so I must take action.”

“Then you shall die tonight!”

“And if I die, I die. The question is this. Will you die with me tonight?”

With twin snarls, they leap across the empty space. Claws reaching and jaws open wide. The younger baying for blood. The older howling his battle cry. The two of them clash. Snow swirls as they claw at one another. Their teeth and claws tear into each other flesh. The snow turns red with their blood.

They part after an exchange a furious round of blows.

The younger man chuckles as he surveys the damage their fight had wrought. Three trees have been knocked to the ground. Another three have chunks missing from their trunks. The snow has been kicked aside. A ring of blood divides the snow from the earth.

The young man has deep scars across his chest and stomach. His left-hand hangs limply. The older sinks to a knee. His back is torn and blood flows freely down his face. He clutches a deep wound on just above his heart.

“What now?” The younger man wheezes, “Will you give up?”

“I cannot.” The older man struggles to his feet.

With a snarl, they lunge at one another.

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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.