Soft fur wraps around warm flesh, smooth and dappled in orange and white. The reflection of light glints of the edge, like dawn rising over a land of animal fur.
It twitches, the softness swishing through the air, moving gentle currents, and its ears prick to attention. It paws the(more) ground, soft pad and sharp claws running along crunching leaves and grainy soil. They are warm. It is the height of midday. It smells of loam. (less)
Her pulse races like every tick of the panting clock, running the home stretch. Darkness closes in the corners of her vision. Breath is tight.
No more time. In those last few seconds she rushes, as if going overtime was an option, as if she could squeeze in a(more) little extra into a space that doesn't exist, pushed into the fabric of existence.
Her blood pulses, tactile, just under her skin. Her heart pounds, almost painful. Her lungs gasp.
No more time.
As if her hands were full of air, she gestures desperately. But air is weightless, and there is nothing she can do. Like active emptiness. Helplessness.
Her breathing slows as her eyes turn warm and watery. It feels as if the force of pain is pushing her backwards by her heart. her shoulders fold and she bows her head, grimacing in a pain that knows no comfort.
She could have helped.
But now, it's simply too late. (less)
It had been a slow year, when time staggered by in drips and drabs, sometimes entire dollops and then nothing at all. it pushed forward across barriers of glue and rock. Plodding. One step. Another. A breather. Time to move again. Heave.
(more) It had been a slow year, when time had gently floated by, engraved in the flow of the sunflower in the breeze, scarred into the soft glow of sun on the skin. Deep, wide breaths encapsulated the freedom of relaxation.
In twilight, the darkening air settles like mist across the cooling ground. Stars slowly unveil their brightness and shine down. Dull green leaves rustle, the fingertips of larger trees with their roots firmly planted deep below.
Rubber and leather squeak against pavement and a low murmur of squeaking, beeping,(more) high-pitched car horns as the world settles down for the evening.
In twilight, night approaches, but day has not said it's final goodbye, lingering, while the darkness waits, eager but patient. It knows its time will come.
In twilight, paper bags whistle along, ducking close to the ground where the wind has picked them up after cruel abandonment by a lunching toddler. A homeless woman snatches them, pads them on top of her old newspapers and hopes the temperature will remain gentle while preparing as best she can for the worst.
In twilight the world hangs in the balance between dark and light.
In twilight, things are changing. Writhing. blossoming. Sneaking around behind the scene, or desperately running for that last past, the clicks of her keyboard still running through the lawyer's mind as it turns to her dinner, the pizza which is all she has time to make before getting back to work.
In twilight, the night approaches. Owls blink in their nests and night creatures stir in their dens, preparing for wakefulness.
The air is cooling, and possibilities are open.
Do you want to be adored?|
To you feel that creeping itch between your shoulder blades,
that empty hollow just beneath your rib cage?
Are you looking for flowers, a poem, a smile, eye contact only?
Are you lonely?
Scared of that void inside. As if you are(more) empty. As if you are invisible.
You want to exist.
More, you want to do good.
You want to know you help.
And if you're ignored,
If you're not adored,
How can you?
or do you want to be adored,
insecure, masking the pain with glamour and glitz
Like a blitz of lies and bullying,
lowering others in a doomed attempt to raise yourself,
do you want to be adored,
but ignore others who have the same desperate contemplation?
Or do you not want to be adored,
but be adoring.
love those who need it. Those lost souls and scared stares, that gaze of fear as if no one cares. You want to reach out, to help. To say, "Yes, I adore you. Yes, you matter. Please, be." (less)
Whatever happens, know that once, I cared.
I really did.
It happened so slowly.
I thought I hated you.
Or rather, I thought I was ambivalent.
You were to have no role in my life.
And then you were called away.
Called to fight.
Your life was on the line.
And I realised that I did care.
I realised I care because you care for me with your every action.
That your life itself is one large act of caring,
That your life is at risk so that mine may be secure.
Even though you don't know me.
Even though you have never seen me,
and I now see you only as a crowd, pixelated faces on a video published from the front lines,
or rather, just behind them.
Where I wish you would be safe.
Where I pray you will be safe.
Which you must leave in order to make us all safe.
And I just want you to know, whatever happens,
This is not in vain.
None of us will ever be the same.
But we can live with that.
Because we care.
Because we live.
I'll be here.
And so will we all.
And so will you.
And so I say,
The dust falls on the road, tiny motes that cling to everything and unite as a messy, irritating whole. It refuses to leave, refuses to budge, digs itself deep into every fold of clothing and skin, coats your mouth, your lips, your eyelids.
The dust swirls in the wind(more) that brings no relief from a heatwave.
The dust carries with it tales from countries far-flung and far gone, distant in more ways than one.
It carries stories, scars, trials, hopes, dreams, fruition.
Spread far and wide, the dust regathers.
Settles to stay on your skin.
Across the aons, the centuries, the kilometres and millimetres, you can never truly say where it has been.
But you *can* say that it has been gathered in.
And it's here to stay.
That grimy irritating dust, that persistent, pervasive, enduring dust.
The dust that will not give up and will not give in.
It has gathered.
You have entered it's space.
And the dust has ganged up on you.
Gathered. Dust. (less)
If only I could take a stand.
Injustices around to force my hand.
But the blandness of desperation, the safety of inaction catches me unawares. Or aware. It's hard to tell.
When the smell of fear seeps into my nose, to my brain, do morals stand in vain? Gone,(more) like a train hurrying away into the far distance.
If only I could speak up. Too meek like bleating sheep, I weep on the inside but turn a blind eye. The fear. The indecision, the precision of a bully's hurtful words, falling on another. Not I. My thoughts fly on biding their time, the right moment to step in, the timing of rightness taking its time.
If only I could do something as he cowers to the ground, but are my fears so unfounded.
The years weigh heavy upon me and it seems like I'm desolate, empty of emotion and yet full of it.
I step forward. Deep breaths propelling me onward. We are otherwise alone.
A glimmer of hope, hesitation in the other.
This bravery was not in vain as a bully hurries on, head down. And the dejected walks on but I am crowned, my own enemy gone as I fought myself to act strong.
As only I could. (less)
Bright blue eyes.
Delicate curls of brunette hair dangling over the ears. A smile, so bright, so inexplicably cheerful.
I watch her from a distance, from the coffee shop on the corner with it's broken chairs. I can't imagine her sitting in a shop like this. She's too free,(more) to happy.
I don't know what lies beneath those eyes. That smile, those curls. What secrets unfurl in the darkness, the friendlessness, the imperfections of impregnable castles built to keep everyone out.
The morning of bloodred light and harsh colours. Of a mother gone, mourning, feelings bleeding into endless sorrow.
Tomorrow I will go up to her.
I will ask.
Who are you?
We all have secrets
She looks so happy.
So do I.
Life does not work that way.
The sway of tides and time drag back the curtains of carelessness and innocence.
We're all scarred.
I want to know her story.
Be her friend.
Know how she smiles.
Give her someone to cry with as I need to cry.
For I sit in this lonely coffee shop.
With the broken chairs.
Dirty tables and cracked cups.
She struts down the road like a queen.
But where has she been? (less)
Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the floor. Cracked, spilling frothy brown liquid amongst the shards of sharp glass. A few drunkards still stumble among the ruins, though the party was over hours ago, their skin ripped and bleeding in odd places, on the palms of their hands, the soles(more) of their feet, their knees, some bleed from their heads, even. Some don't bleed at all, just lay there, staring sightlessly at the dark ceiling.
Party, I said. More like brawl.
It started innocently enough. They always do. A group of friends, alcohol, a pleasant summers night. Somehow it turned into....this.
I turn aside, trying desperately not to show that I'm about to retch. It would not do my blue uniform proud to vomit at the first sign of violence, and I've only worn it for a week. How did a rookie cop end up on *this* job anyway?
My superior signals me to start making arrests. The drunkards are terrifying, but I must be a cop. No. I AM a cop. This is what I joined the force for. Better I clean up this mess than an innocent, a child stumble into it.
I pull a set of handcuffs off my belt, begin walking forward.
"Not quite, Rookie!" a voice calls. I look over at my superior, who is holding out thick gloves and a hessian sack. She gives me a kindly smile, the type with that rough cop edge to it.
"Clean up the larger shards, keep an eye out for approaching drunks but don't engage them. We're waiting for back up, but we can at least make this place a little easier to deal with."
I take the equipment, somewhat relieved. Those drunkards must be brought to justice. For now, I have ninety-nine broken bottles to clean up. (less)
Whoever thought a snowman could be warm and fuzzy?
Made of ice cold and poky sticks, it melts in the sun a few hours later, breaking the proud hearts of small children.
The carrot nose is edible, definitely. But a baked or boiled carrot would droop off the head(more) and fall splattered to the ground.
Now the scarf, that could be considered warm and fuzzy. But that's just not viable, coated in snow and out in the elements.
No, there's a secret to snowmen.
They raise their eyes and arms upward in hope,
They may melt, they may disappear, they may break small hearts.
But they create warm fuzzy memories, memories spent with family and friends in the cold, cold snow.
Memories that can last a lifetime. Memories that could save a life, a friendship, a family.
Which is why I say to you, snowmen and irrevocably, incontrovertibly, warm and fuzzy. (less)
Red eyes squashed under lurking brows of blackness. Skin like pitch, smooth as butter and twice as evil. A voluminous cloak of the same midnight shade, billowing majestically among the furnaces of an eternal blacksmith.
Pounding. Pounding. Pounding.
(more) The ring of sword on anvil, the scrape of steel on steel, the hiss of heat extinguished. The incessant tap, tap, tap of delicate shoes pacing. Pacing.
Breaths come and go in a rasp of bone and lung, rising and falling like a bellows, gasping in the fog and smoke of hell. Red flickering splays everything in a tangled light, bright, then gone in a moment, then bright again, then gone.
Lost souls hover on the outskirts, eyes wide, terrified, skeletal fingers clutching at desperately thin hands, arms, souls.
The devil strides back and forth, never speaking a word, just watching. Waiting. Pacing.
The fires burn, no cries are heard in the perpetual dim and flickering lights of hell. (less)
The wind snatches at locks of hair, throwing them back into my face with malicious intent. My eyes stream with tears but I force my tired feet to keep pounding at the hard cement pathway, force my sweat-streaked arms to keep pumping, force salty oxygen through my lungs in(more) gasping hiccups of breath. In. Out. In. Out.
I dodge through crowds of beach-goers, barely registering their growls before I’m gone. My muscles burn, my heart is pounding like a frenzied bongo drum. I can’t bear to think of what might happen if I miss the bus. If it’s too slow. If I miss him by just a few minutes. I shove all thoughts from my mind, tucking back loose strands of hair, taking deep breaths of the fresh ocean air. Then I put my head down and run.
The pavement beneath my feet blurs into a smooth streakiness of light and the occasional oblivious toddler. I dodge, tiny purple jacket receding from my vision until I’m left with nothing but the pounding rhythm of life. In. Out. In. Out. I risk a glance ahead, towards the bus wending its way nearer. I can make it.
As the blood rushes through my veins, I have never felt so awake, so alive, so strong. The distance disappears, as I draw closer, closer, cement turning to tussocky grass beneath until just ahead the bus wheezes to a stop.
I’ve got this.
Searing pain burns up my leg and cry out as I crash to the ground, ankle twisted beneath me. The agony does not come close to my dagger in my heart as the bus pulls away. I lunge forward, cry out, but it is gone. I am too late. I’ve missed him. I am unforgivable.
you have up to 300 words. what will you say?The crashing ring of swords echoed throughout the arena, then they slithered apart as the combatants danced backwards, puffs of sand rising to coat their armour from foot to knee. They swung at each other again, ducking, rising to meet the(more) blade, spinning and swirling in a maelstrom of limbs and thunderous movement.
'Aren't they just something?'
Nathaniel leant forward so far over the railing that he could easily overbalance and join his heroes in the dust. Only, without a sword and without his pride.
"Sure," I said, straightening my long white glovesand smoothing down my silken skirt. "If you like to see people whack each other."
He turned from the combat for a moment, eyes wide in scandalous shock. "Excuse me! Those are our Knight Protectors! They fight with perfect skill and control, they do not 'whack'."
I gave my annoying laugh, waving my hand back towards the arena. He turned back to watch, tension obvious in the line of his body as he hunched over. Boys.
Still, there *was* a definite grace to their movements. One I almost wished I could match, had I the time to perfect such a skill.
I must have been staring blankly, because Nathaniel tapped me on the arm, a wicked grin plastered over his face.
"What's the look for, you think they're attractive or something?"
I huffed. "Absolutely not. They're ugly sweaty men who should be doing something far more useful than trying to kill each other!"
"So what is it then?" Nathaniel said, that glint in his eye. "You want to be brave and noble too?"
That was too close to the truth.
I reached over and shoved. He tipped like a fallen goblet, then rolled over to glare up at me (less)