My body was made of Hessian,
Burlap to many and cloth to few.
I worried as the moths woke me,
Carrying a piece of me in their mouths as food.
I could hear them nibbling, biting, devouring me.
I swung my arms, and they attached to them too.
Every effort failed and contributed to my pain.
This morning, as I looked in my broken mirror, I figured out a plan.
My face was no longer the one I loved.
It was battered, full of stuffing and full of hate.
I wanted them to die, I wanted them to glow.
So as they fluttered around my body, attached by their mouths,
I lit a match.
But their fluttering extinguished the tiny fury.
I tried again.
And then again.
It only angered them.
They had finished eating me and left me alone with my cotton insides.
I don’t know why they had not eaten all of me, but now it didn’t matter.
I couldn’t move and I couldn’t feel anything.
At this moment, not feeling anything is better than feeling everything.
Author’s Note: I’m not a poet. I dont think I’m good at poetry, I leave that for other talented people, but sometimes I write them, and when I do I usually place them with my stories because to me they are usually just quick stories in a poet’s format.
Author’s Notes: One of my first stories, and by far the most popular. It was a look at helping write dialogue. I placed third in a contest with a previous story and the biggest complaint was the flat dialogue. This story is almost all dialogue and it also helps to understand that there are two boys being interviewed before you start reading.
An excerpt from a tape recording of Martin Stevens’ interview with Dr. Henry Wurzbach.
1/20/89 9:00 A.M.”How are you doing today, Martin?” Doctor Wurzbach’s voice entered through the static.
“Good,” Martin replied.
“If you do not mind Martin, I would like to go ahead and ask about the first time you discovered your ability,” Doctor Wurzbach said with his deep calm voice.
“Sure. Like I said before, it all just kind of happened. Well, I was out with my friends. We were walking home from practice and we got to the bridge across from the park. Michael jumped on the stone wall on one side of the bridge,” he stopped.
“Go on,” Doctor Wurzbach said.
“He fell… or so I thought he did. But…” he paused again.
“But he did not?” Doctor Wurzbach filled in.
“No. I grabbed his hand and well… he… um… didn’t fall.”
“So you saved him,” Doctor Wurzbach suggested.
“Well, I didn’t think I saved him. I just thought it was… I don’t know… ”
“So did you tell anyone about this?”
“No. I thought it might have been something… I don’t know… like maybe… I don’t know I couldn’t explain it.”
“So no one knew yet? Your parents? Your brother…”
Martin interrupted, “No one knew.”
“How have you been Christopher?” Doctor Wurzbach’s voice cleared the static.
“Did you use it during your soccer games?” Doctor Wurzbach asked.
“Have you ever been punched?” Christopher asked.
“So you can see 3 seconds into the future, Martin?” Doctor Wurzbach asked.
“So you are telling me you can test me using these stopwatches,” Christopher asked.
“The bus was a mistake.”
“Why were you on the bridge Chris?”
“As the bus swerved, I saw my brother standing on the wall on the bridge. He turned around and looked straight at me. He stared into my eyes. I saw it in his eyes. He could see the future too.”
“The first thing I saw was me jumping onto the bus. I saw myself pry the door open but I had problems. So I tried it a different way. It was like I had multiple tries at everything.”
The voices faded out from the small tape recorder Doctor Henry Wurzbach held in his hand. He pulled the last tape from the recorder and lingered. He thought to himself, “I had a chance to save him,” before he tossed the last bit of evidence into the fireplace.
It’s quite strange how we met. The patter of electronic signals passing through the lines. The sound of the computer fans buzzing by my ear. The moaning of the woman I was currently having sex with. Across from us was her husband who was having sex with a much younger girl. She was closer to my age than the couple was.
We stood outside the doorway to the apartment building fully dressed. “Got a ride?” I asked her. She seemed too innocent to be meeting strangers on the internet and having sex with them. She just nodded her head no. “Neither do I,” I said and she smiled. She was quiet when I first walked in the apartment. She sat on the couch next to Greta, the married woman. Greta played with her hair as I approached them. I knew their would be another person there but I didn’t expect anyone as young or as fragile as she looked.
“Catching a bus?” I asked her. She nodded yes.
“Do you live far?” I continued to attack her with questions. She took some time to answer and she kinda wobbled her head along with her hand.
“Does that mean maybe?” The whole night I never heard her voice beside the moans that escaped her lips.
“Let’s walk,” I suggested, “I’ll walk with you.”
I didn’t really have a home. I have a friend that lets me stay at his place once a week but usually I relied on these little hook ups to keep me warm and safe. I know it’s kind of odd to think of this as safe, but it’s the only life I trust. I mean, I have sex with a stranger, then sleep in a warm bed and most of the time they offer a quick breakfast before I’m forced out. It’s better then living on the streets.
She nodded and walked down the steps and she stopped to see if I would follow. She had short black hair that hung a little below her chin. Her skin was pale and her eyes were dark almost black. “I’m not going anywhere ’till you say something to me,” I said.
She smiled and at that minute I knew I was in love. Her beauty was multiplied by her smile.
“Come,” she said.
I did. We walked through the cold grey streets watching the steam pass through the vents. After the first block I held her hand. She blushed as she accepted it. The night before as we lay on our backs, our eyes met. She seemed ashamed to make eye contact with me at first but eventually she held her gaze on me the whole time. We didn’t make love with each other but I imagined I was making love to her, not Greta. I somehow hoped she did the same.
She actually lived a lot further than I thought she did. We walked for at least an hour before I asked for a break. I reached down to my calves and rubbed them. She laughed.
“How much further is it?” I asked.
She finally said a whole sentence to me. “It’s a couple more blocks,” she said smiling. Not far from us was a playground. “Come on. I’ll push you,” I told her hinting to the swings. I tried to run but my legs hurt. I still tried and eventually I made it to the swing. She slowly walked behind me and she quietly took a seat next to me. She stared at the ground and her smile faded.
I lifted her chin with my hand and said, “I know this may seem weird, but I …”. She kissed me.
We talked for hours as I pushed her on the swing. We never brought up what happened at Greta’s apartment or that night. We never brought up previous engagements or any other encounters like that, but I did ask her if she had a boyfriend.
“No, why?” she smiled.
“Well, if the position is open, I would love to apply,” I said.
“Well … do you have a job?” she asked.
“Um, no … but I’ll get one,” I promised.
“Where do you live?” she asked, the questions were already starting to get hard.
“Um … I really don’t have a place,” I honestly answered.
“Hm …” she said, “I guess you could live with me.” I smiled and somehow that caused her to smile too.
“My name is L, it’s short for Eli,” I finally introduced myself.
“My name is Autumn,” she said as she brought her face close to mine.
“Nice to meet you …” but before I finished we were hugging while our lips and tongues danced with each other’s.
I pulled away from her and at first she seemed upset. “Wait. I didn’t finish earlier. I don’t know what it is about you. But I …” It was a tough sentence to finish. I’ve only told one other girl I loved her and she ended up telling my best friend the same thing behind my back.
Autumn stood against me and said, “I know. I … I think I love you too.”
A story from my new collection being published by Trestle Press.
Death . . . Where are you? Ariel typed into her account’s front page. One stranger was quick to respond.
UrD3vil: Here I am.
ArielSmilez1234: Who are you?
UrD3vil: Whatever you want me to be.
Ariel sat back in her chair as the screen illuminated her mind and room. Her hair was short, like her life. She blinked and wondered who this stranger was. A friend? A Creep? Death?
ArielSmilez1234: I want to know who you are? Are you from my high school?
UrD3vil: Is that where you want me to be?
The question swarmed around her mind, drilling away any conscience decision. Downstairs her parents fought. Yelling, screaming and slamming their way through her world.
UrD3vil: Okay, my name is Danny. I’m from your high school.
Key-oot name she thought to herself. She actually smiled after reading his response.
ArielSmilez1234: So, danny. Tell me more about yourself.
UrD3vil: Well, I sit two seats behind you in Algebra.
Her eyebrow raised as she began to think about who sat behind her, but she had no idea who did.
ArielSmilez1234: Are you really from my school?
UrD3vil: Brown High School, right?
He was right.
ArielSmilez1234: um, yeah. How come I don’t remember you?
UrD3vil: I’m very forgettable.
ArielSmilez1234: I didn’t mean it that way. Sorry.
UrD3vil: It’s okay. I know you mean well.
ArielSmilez1234: Oh yeah. Maybe I din’t mean well. I could be a total bitch.
UrD3vil: Were you?
ArielSmilez1234: no. Why are you talkign to me?
UrD3vil: Because you called me?
ArielSmilez1234: I din’t call you.
She looked over to her cellphone encrested with cheap plastic jewels. She didn’t call him.
ArielSmilez1234: From my phone?
UrD3vil: No. here.
She scrolled back up her message and saw the post she had entered earlier.
UrD3vil: I kinda like Danny now.
ArielSmilez1234: Wait. I don’t understand.
UrD3vil: You called me to take you away, right?
ArielSmilez1234: I didn’t mean it.
UrD3vil: But you wrote it?
ArielSmilez1234: And, i was just being . . . i dont know. Are you really from my school?
UrD3vil: You wanted me to be, so I am.
Ariel was a bit confused. Was he or wasn’t he in her class? She grabbed her cellphone and quickly thumbed a text to her friend Kelly: Who sits 2 chairs behind me in Algebra?
UrD3vil: Still there?
ArielSmilez1234: yeah, you’re kinda scaring me.
UrD3vil: Sorry. I hate it when that happens.
ArielSmilez1234: Let’s say you are death.
ArielSmilez1234: what do you want with me? And why are you chatting with me online?
UrD3vil: I want your life.
Ariel waited for a response to the second question but none came.
ArielSmilez1234: So why are you chatting with me?
UrD3vil: Because this is where you asked for me.
ArielSmilez1234: Bullshit. Then prove it.
UrD3vil: Silly, the only way to prove it would be to take your life. Are you ready?
She quickly typed her answer. Her phone vibrated, she had received a text from her mother: Out again. Food in microwave.
UrD3vil: Well, we don’t have all day.
ArielSmilez1234: I don’t want to die.
UrD3vil: Really? Then why do you cut yourself?
She felt the cut in her inner thigh throb as she read the line of text. She grabbed the ethernet cable from the wall and pulled it hard.
She felt relived. Her phone vibrated again. It was a text from Kelly: No 1 . It’s an empty chair.
UrD3vil: You still there?