Art and the philosophy of life

Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

The Asylum…A Short story.

Brown Brick Building Under Blue Sky

The Asylum had been deserted for many years, except for the ghosts, of course.  Spirits, who don’t cross over, seem to congregate in places like Asylum’s, if they once spent time there.   Those memories are often too intense to forget.

Naturally, the town’s folk heard the screaming, as well as the hysterical laughter that came from the building.  They listened to cries for help, the pounding on windows and walls, all of which went on day and night.  Eventually, anyone who could move away, did.

But see for yourself.  Step inside.  Don’t be afraid.  Things aren’t always what they seem to be.  Trust me, if you want to know what really happened inside this cursed place.

You see, people are gullible and to eager to believe…anything at all.  So, quite some ago, two women came up with a plan.  They wanted to provide a safe place for women who were on the run.  A place where they would not be found by those who hunted them.  When they came upon the battered and broken building, they knew they had found what they were looking for.

Carefully and quietly, they began to renovate the inside of the Asylum. The noise didn’t bother them, and they were happy when people started to relocate.

Eventually, word went through the woman’s underground, saying there was a safe place for the bruised and battered, the poverty stricken and the abused.  One by one, they came.

Women are resourceful beings.  They can do absolutely everything, and so they did.  They cooked, and sewed, they built and chopped, they turned the Asylum into a thing of beauty and comfort, while making the outside world believe the building was dangerous and haunted.

When the town finally died, the women had more freedom.  They planted flower and vegetable gardens.  They planted trees and raised chickens and goats.  They worked side by side with Nature and in time, they healed and grew strong.  Once they were no longer afraid, the women blossomed, and so did their creativity.  When two witches moved in, they spelled the Asylum and it became invisible to those who didn’t need shelter.

But don’t let me mislead you.  The building was good and truly haunted by its former inmates.  After all, Asylums were nothing more than torture chambers which were sanctioned by the masses.  This one, happened to have been filled with women who refused be broken, so when the women moved in, the ghosts were quite pleased and so was the building.  Buildings have no say as to what happens inside them, but that does’t mean they are happy with what goes on.

As time passed, the ghosts did whatever they could to be of use, joining the women in the kitchen, dancing at their parties.  It seemed as if the ghosts themselves were healing, and now and then, one of them would say goodbye, and disappear into the unknown.  Eventually, only two of the spirits remained.  They knew they should leave, but they were enjoying their lives, for the very first time.  Still, one fine sunny day, they floated among the women, blowing kisses and wiping at their dry eyes.  It was time.  The women wished them well and waved, as they faded from sight.

Over the years, the number of women living in the Asylum has barely changed.  Oh, it goes up and down, with new people coming in and others  passing on, but the Asylum remains an island of safety for women, to this very day.  It’s a place of peace and tranquility.  One just has to know how to find it.

 

 

A long story about…humans, earth, life, wings, dogs, cats, death, aliens, and some other stuff.

People stepped to the side, staring, making room for her, as she walked down the sidewalk.  Some bowed their heads, some fell to their knees, others reached out, wanting to touch her.  But she looked straight ahead, her hands balled into fists, her fury barely contained.  She heard whispering, praying, and singing.  It made her sick.  “Weaklings,” she muttered, wondering how they could even stand to look at themselves in their mirrors.

A stray dog limped toward her, wagging his tail.  She bent down and ran her hand over his back and he was instantly restored.  Once again healthy and young.  He turned and walked next to her.

Three thugs stepped in front of her.  They grinned, threatened her, and flashed their weapons.  She smiled at each one, saw the horrific things they had done, and watched, as they turned to dust.  She told the dog to be careful not to step in them because they were disgusting.  She never had a dog before, but she guessed that she had one now.  He looked at her and nodded, careful where he put his paws.

The street was becoming crowded, as more people saw her.  Sure, her lovely wings were tattered and worn, but that’s what happened to battle mages.  They got torn up.  Especially on a planet like this one, where the inhabitants were all insane.

“You know,” she said to the dog.  “I was just doing MY JOB!

The dog barked.

“You go to a planet to clean it up, but then you hit earth and there’s no end to the evil and violence.  What was I supposed to do?  What would you have done?” she asked, still moving forward.

The dog remained silent but sent her mind pictures.

“Yeah, that might have worked,” she admitted, “but I doubt it.”

A few wing feathers fell to the ground.  Several people rushed to pick them up, but they disappeared before they could touch them.

“Do you see these idiots following us?”

The dog looked behind him and moved closer to her.

“Desperate to have someone take care of them.  Refusing to take responsibility for what’s happening across this spinning rock.  They act as if they’re helpless, when, in fact, they are victims and prisoners of their own failure.  They want my feathers, as relics to be put in hermetically boxes, so they can worship them.  Why?  How needy can they be?   Have you seen what they keep on alters?  Body parts, bits of cloth.”

The dog danced by her side.

“Oh, right.  Of course, you haven’t see those things.  Dogs aren’t allowed in their holy places, even though you’re actually the perfect ones.”

The dog just kept walking.  He didn’t care about holy places or perfection.  He was just happy to be happy.

“My wings,” she said, softly.  “I can’t retract them right now.  It’s my punishment for not following orders.  Not the first time, that’s for sure.  And it won’t be the last.”

The dog growled.

“Thank you,” she said, smiling at him.  “I couldn’t agree more.  You know,” she continued, “when my wings are out, I’m not supposed to be seen by the humans. It kind of freaks them out and makes them think their gods are real.  But screw that.  I’ve been on this planet for way too long.  I’m not hiding, and if they don’t like it, they being the War Queens, they can kiss my non human….”

The dog stopped at the corner and sat down, waiting for a car to pass.  She stared at the dog, then walked into the street and turned toward the car.

“Can’t you see that this dog wants to cross the street?” she asked. The driver looked at her.  Looked at her wings, then held up his hands in surrender.  “Be happy that I’m letting you live,” she hissed.  She stood in front of the car until the dog was safely on the other side waiting for her.

Her wings brushed against buildings and lamp posts.  “I’m supposed to help this human species stop being violent.  Stop them from hating, from warring, and from killing everything.”

The dog looked down and shook his head.

“I wish they were half as smart as you are,” she said.  “If only you had opposable thumbs.”

The dog huffed, thinking that he could open dog food cans, if that were the case.

A cat looked down and saw a weird bird-like being.  A really big bird.  He licked his lips, and jumped from the windowsill he was sitting on, to the cement in front of her.

ROOOOROOOW.

“Sure, you can join us.”

The cat looked at her, at the dog, then moved to her other side. When they came to a mailbox, the cat jumped on top of it and yowled.

She turned around and saw the truly huge crowd that was following them.

“I see your point,” she said, to the cat, so she held up her hands, and the crowd quieted.

She stood on a fire hydrant, looked at the people and said, “I’m in a really BAD mood. No matter how many evil people I erase, there are always more taking their place.  I’m sick of being here, sick of you.  You’ll follow ANYONE, because you can’t think for yourselves.  You allow hateful people to tell you what to do and then you just do it, thinking that you aren’t responsible for what happens, because it wasn’t your decision. Think torture, death camps, species disappearing and all the rest.   But everything is a human decision.  THIS is your last chance.

“There are beings in the universe who could fry this planet without even working up a sweat.  Think DINOSAURS.  They eliminated them so they could put you here.  What a mistake THAT was.  See, if those smarter than you, which is almost EVERYONE, want change, they can just throw something big at this planet and your species will NEVER BE SEEN AGAIN.  You are an experiment gone wrong.  Mindless beings letting your offspring die from starvation, polluted air, lack of water, and violence.  If it were up to me, and perhaps it might be, I would say that your expiration date has expired.”

The cat hissed at the people.  The dog growled.

Her wings folded.  “Hmmm,” she said, wriggling her shoulders, as the crowd gasped.

“WAKE UP!” she yelled at them.  “THERE’S NO ONE TO SAVE YOU FROM YOURSELVES.  ONLY YOU CAN DO THAT.”

A winged being landed in front of her.

“What?” she said.

“You’ve been transferred to X46LN9.”

“Seriously?  I hate that place.  It’s too dark.”

“Yes.  Seriously.  You leave immediately.”

“I’m taking the dog and the cat.”

He scratched something on a weird bulb and said, “Done, but you can’t kill all of these people.”

“Why not?”

“Orders.”

“I’m not good at following orders,” she said, icily.

“Everyone knows that.”

“Get out of my way.”

“I can’t let you kill them.”

And then he was a pile of dust.  The crowd tried to back up, but there were too many of them.  They had trapped themselves.

She looked at them and shook her head.  “You TRAP YOURSELVES in every way possible.  I’ve been in this horrible human suit for years.  How can you stand it?  And yes, that was an act of violence, so kettle, pot, stones, glass houses, but I’m trying to help you.  Although it does seems to be a contradiction at times and yes, you can fight violence with violence, I think.   Anyway…”

A woman in the front row stepped forward.  “To answer your question, we can’t stand it.   Why do you think we kill each other?”

“That’s brilliant,” she said, staring at the woman.  “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself.  You are being driven mad by never being able to be your true selves.”

People started nodding in agreement.

“Wow,” she said, her spirits lifting.  “Thank you,” she said, to the woman still standing there.

The woman raised her hand.  “How can we fix the problem.”

“Well, aren’t you the fabulous one,” she said, pulling the cat off the mailbox and kissing her.  “You can start by telling that truth and by looking at what you really are.”

“What are we? What’s true?”

“Seriously?”

The woman nodded, and so did the people in the crowd.

“I know you’d probably like me to tell you that you are all beings of light, or lizard aliens, or even sparks of consciousness, but I would be lying to you.  The answer is simple, but difficult to understand.”

Someone in the crowd yelled, “Are you going to kill us?”

“No,” she said.  “I’m not going to kill you.  This women,” she continued, pointing at her, “has given me hope, and saved your lives.”

“I have?” asked the woman.

“Definitely,” she said, petting the cat.

“Please,” said the woman, “finish what you were saying.  What are we?”

“You are whatever you choose to be.  You can be good, or evil.  It’s up to you.  Everything is your choice.  What you are, will be reveled once you exit the human suit.  But what you can be, is up to you.  You must think for yourself and not follow those who are evil and greedy.”  Then she picked up the dog and the three of them vanished.

“You didn’t tell us what truth is,” said the woman, helplessly.

The crowd stayed where it was for awhile, those in the front passing information to those farther back, and that way, the word spread.

Suddenly she was back.  “DO NOT MAKE A RELIGION OUT OF THIS EXPERIENCE OR NOTHING WILL CHANGE.  I NEVER WANT TO SEE FLOWERS AT THIS FIRE HYDRANT, OR CHARMS, SIGNS, OR ANYTHING ELSE.  GOT IT?  RELIGION IS A CULT, EVERYTHING IS A CULT, SOME ARE SIMPLY ACCEPTABLE CULTS, SO THEY ARE CALLED SOMETHING ACCEPTABLE.  STOP BEING SHEEP.”  Then she was gone…again.

The crowd broke up and everyone went their own way, wondering how to make the world a better place.  Someone suggested that if they were better people, the world would become a better place automatically.  Some agreed, while others just wondered what they were having for dinner, and who won the baseball game.

A few people looked to the others for forgiveness, but they were told to forgive themselves and become better humans.

Finally, the street cleared and a soft rain washed the ashes of the dead bodies into the gutters that led to the sewer system.

The winged one is still traveling the universes.  But every now and then she checks in to see if it’s time to get rid of the humans.   She’s still trying to figure out how that whole violence to end violence thing works.  The cat doesn’t see a problem.  The dog, however, is concerned and still dreaming about having opposable thumbs.

 

 

Answer…a short story

white red and black textile

When she arrived at the abandoned building, she was certain she was in the wrong place.  She looked down and checked the address on the piece of paper she held tightly in her hand. The addresses matched.   She tried looking through the windows, but they were far too grimy for her to be able to see anything.  So she just stood there, thinking.

The note said that the door would be unlocked, and that she should go inside.  The answer she sought, would be on the table.  So, taking a deep breath, she pushed against the door, scraping it across the worn wooden floor until there was enough space for her to squeeze through.

Once inside, she shoved the door closed and waited for the dust to settle. Then she listened.  But apart from a few mice running in the walls, she was alone.

It was obvious that no one had been inside the room for a very long time; but still it smelled of newsprint and cigarettes, dying flowers and ink.  She told herself not to get lost in the story the room was trying to tell her.

“I’m just here for an answer,” she said, to no one in particular.  “I know you have a lot to say, but I just want to see what’s on the table.  The only thing in the room was the table.  She sighed, her shoulders sagged and the exhaustion that had been nipping at her heels for days, finally caught up to her.  “I’m kind of tired,” she whispered to the room.  “Maybe I can listen once I get the answer I’ve been looking for.  Okay?”

The room remained silent, except for the mice, and the sound of an old typewriter banging out what she thought must be a news item.  She quickly thought of carbon paper and wiped her hands on her coat.

“You’re just tired,” she told herself.  “You’re letting your imagination run away with you.  There are no phones ringing anywhere in this empty room.  No typewriters, just mice.”

It was late in the afternoon and the weak light trying to shine through the filthy glass, would soon be gone.  She looked around, dropped her bag, and reached into her pocket for the half of granola bar she had stashed there.  Now that she was finally here, she was taking her sweet time doing what she cam to do. “Coward,” she mumbled.

She ate the granola bar, or what was left of it, and crumpled the wrapper in her hand.  She put the paper back into her pocket, since there was no waste basket to be seen.

Finally, she walked to the table and stared at the old newspaper.  It was sepia in color, and fragile with age.  Carefully,  she began to unfold it.

THE ANSWER YOU SEEK
YOU WILL FIND IN THESE PAGES
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR

 She ran her hand down the page, straightening it the best she could, without tearing it, and began to scan the stories.  Page after page…nothing caught her eye, until she  finally saw her name on one of the last pages.  Her breath caught in her throat. What was her name doing in the Obituaries?

She stepped away from the table.  “I’m dead!” she chuckled, picking up her bag, pulling on the door.  “I’m DEAD,” she laughed loudly, as things fell into place, and she walked into the night.

Two fat brown mice, with tiny white wings, came out of their mouse house, and sat in the middle of the floor.

“She worked here for two years,” said the mouse.

“I remember,” said the second mouse.

“It takes some of them such a long time to realize what’s going on,” said the first mouse.

“Indeed,” said the second mouse.  “Indeed.”

 

 

 

.

A short story about things we don’t always recognize…

woman in black and white long sleeve shirt and black pants holding white ball

“What are you?” asked the little girl.

“Don’t you mean who am I?”

“No.  You don’t look like a who, you look like a what.”

He laughed. “You might be right,” he said, smiling at her.  “Don’t I look scary?”

“Are you supposed to look scary?” she asked, sitting down on the cement.

“Now that you mention it, it might depend on who’s looking at me.”

“Well, you don’t look scary to me.”

He laughed again.  “How old are you?”

“Nine.  How old are you?”

“Older than that,” he said, grinning.  “What’s your name?”

“Judy.  What’s your’s?”

“Most people call me Wolf.”

“Why?”

“I hunt.”

“Why?”

He shrugged.  “Because I’m good at it.”

She nodded.  “I’m good at drawing rainbows, but so are a lot of other kids.  I don’t really know what I’m good at forever, you know?”

“You’ll find out when you grow up a little.”

“That’s what my mom said.”

“She’s right.”

“What do you hunt?”

“Bad guys.”

“Oh, good.  I think there are too many of them, so I’m glad you’re doing something about it.”

“Are you supposed to talk to strangers?”

“No.  Absolutely not.  My mom tells me that all the time, and I hardly ever do, but I can tell that you’re okay.”

“How?”

“I just know.  You feel like yellow.  Not everyone feels that way.  Some people make me feel icky, like I want to back up and hide in my closet.”

“Maybe that’s what you’re good at,” he said.  “You can read people and know what color they are.”

“I have a cat named Sophie.  She’s really nice.  Soft and cuddly.  She sleeps with me and purrs all night.  I think she watches over me.  Cats do that, you know.”

“I do know that,” he said, nodding in agreement.

“Well, Wolf, it was nice meeting you.  You’re pretty and I like your heart.”

“It was nice meeting you as well.  You’re pretty and I like your heart too.”

“Thank you,” she said, holding out a piece of gum.  “It’s all I have, but you’ll like it.  It’s strawberry and tastes so good.  It doesn’t get hard and lumpy like some gums do.”

He took the gum, unwrapped it and popped it into his mouth.  He closed his eyes and chewed.  “You’re right,” he said.  “It’s delicious.  Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” she said, happily.  “Maybe I’ll see you again some time.”

“You will,” he said, waving to her.

Once she was gone, he opened his huge white wings and flew away.

 

Photo:  Daniel Lincoln
Unsplash

 

Cricket…a very short story

Road, Sheep, Rural, Farm, Animals

Once Cricket was captured, and saw how the other sheep were treated, she knew she didn’t want that deadly kind of life for her child, or for herself.

One day, she noticed that the gate had been left open.  She knew it might be her only chance for escape, so she told the other sheep, who continued to graze, that she was leaving, and that they could leave as well.  That way they wouldn’t be painted, tagged, thrown to the ground and sheared, or murdered for food, but they ignored her.

So she took her child, looking back only once, and headed for sweet grass and freedom.

 

Pixabay

The Grill…a short story

red and white UNKs neon sign

“You work here?” he asked, from his booth.

“No.  I just like to dress up like this and carry a pot of steaming hot coffee around with me for fun.  But give me a minute and maybe I can find someone who can help you.”

“Sorry.  No need to be sarcastic.”

“That wasn’t even close to sarcastic.  I’ve been on my feet for what seems like fifteen hours, now do you want coffee or not?”

He turned his cup right side up and pushed it toward her.

“See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?” she asked.  “Do you know what you want, or do you need a few more minutes with the menu?”

“Grilled cheese with a tomato, fries, cole slaw and blueberry pie with ice cream.”

“Excellent choices,” she said, toping off his coffee.  “I’ll be back,” she whispered, pretending to shoot him with her finger gun.

“I’ll be here.  Still hungry.”

He picked up his phone and looked at the text messages.

DID SHE RECOGNIZE YOU?

how could she she’s never seen me before

THE GRILL ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK IT IS REMEMBER THAT

you don’t have to remind me

DO YOU STILL THINK YOU CAN GRAB HER BY YOURSELF

I outweigh her by a hundred and fifty pounds

SO IS THAT A YES

yes

I HOPE YOU’RE RIGHT DON’T SCREW THIS UP YOU WON’T GET A SECOND CHANCE

He shut off his phone and played with the mustard bottle until she started putting plates down in front of him.

“How’d you find me?” she asked, pouring more coffee.

“What?”

“Oh, come on,” she laughed.  “You stand out like a man at a feminist rally.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You know exactly what I’m talking about.  How much are they paying you to bring me in?”

“Five hundred thousand.”

“Not enough.  I’m worth three times that much.”

He laughed.  “Seems like a lot to me.”

“You think too small.”

“Look who’s talking.  You’re working at this dive, probably making minimum wage and getting dollar tips.”

“It’s not like that.  See, this place,” she said, waving her arm overhead, “is a trap. A trap for people like you.  You can walk in, you just can’t walk out.  Kind of like a roach motel.”

He swallowed.  “Funny,” he mumbled, a mouth full of fries.

“Maybe. But it’s true.”

He finished his grilled cheese sandwich and started eating the pie.  “Good,” he said, nodding at his dish.

“Most people deserve a last meal,” she said, “but do hurry.  We’d like to close for the night.”

“Just come with me and I won’t have to hurt anyone,” he said.

“Don’t be silly.  You’re not going to hurt anyone.  Your food was poisoned.  Our cook is an expert when it comes to poison.  One has to have a delicate touch.”

He pushed his plate away and looked out the window.

“Looking for your ride?  Don’t bother.  Your friends went…away.  Forever,” she snickered.

“They’re DEAD?” he asked, suddenly feeling a bit off.

“Yes.  I mean they did come here of their own accord, after all.”

“You can’t just go around killing people like that,” he said, starting to slide down in his seat.

“Why not?  You do it all the time,” she said, matter of factly.  “Well, let me take your dishes away.  I think your finished,” she said, listening to the snickering in the kitchen.

His hands were around his throat, when he hit the floor.  Foam from his mouth, dribbling down the side of his face.

She put the tray of dirty dishes on the counter and then went to the door and flipped the OPEN sign to CLOSED.  Then she turned out the lights and  went into the kitchen to chat with her friends and have a nice hot cup of tea.

 

Photo:  Alex Kristanas
Unsplash

 

Do you believe? A short story.

“Do you believe in vampires?” he asked, his voice low and smokey.

“Which kind?”

“Kind?” he asked, surprised.

“Yes, Jim Butcher’s vamps, red or white, Stephanie Meyers vamps, all sparkly and brooding, Stoker’s vamps, or those weird ones with the long skinny fingers and…”

“I get it.”

“Well, you have to be specific when you ask questions like that.  You might have been asking about psychic vamps, who are just living people who love sucking the life out of others, for fun.  You know, parents, priests, bosses, even friends.”

“I just asked if you believed in them.”

“Mmmmm…I know the psychic vamps exist, that’s a no brainer.  As for the others?  Hey,” she said, snickering.  “Are you trying to look, uh, cool?  Sexy?  Enticing?”

“What?”

“Or don’t you feel well?”  she asked, frowning, moving closer.  “I have aspirin, if you want a couple,” she said, grabbing her purse.  “You do look kind of sick, now that I think about it.  I bet you have a fever,” she said, starting to reach for his face.

He closed his eyes, avoided her hand, and sighed.

She started laughing.  “OMG!  You don’t think you’re a vampire, do you?  If you do, I don’t think aspirin’s gong to help,”  she snorted.

“Enough!” he said, grabbing her and pulling her toward him.  “I AM a vampire, you stupid…”

She stuck her fangs into his neck before he saw her move.  When she was almost finished, she pulled away and smiled at him.  “Of course your a vampire, darling, anyone could see that, but you’re so Tom Cruiseish.  And it’s not nice to call women stupid.  Your manners are atrocious.  And I know it’s not often that one vampire drains another, but I heard that you have some special gifts, and I’m hoping to borrow them for awhile. In case you’re interested, you’re kind of tasty,” she grinned. “Too bad your ego got you killed,” she said, as she leaned back in, to finish her dinner.

 

Travel…a short story

black and silver round ball

“Have you been to all those places?”

“Yes,” she said.  “I have.”

“Why the different size pins?” he asked.

“Big planets and smaller ones.”

“I see.”

“Do you?”

“Yes.  Big planet, big pin.  Small planet, small pin.”

“Yes, but I admit some of the larger pins are there because I really liked the place.”

He nodded.  “What do you recommend for a first time client?”

“Definitely Planet 1377,” she said immediately.  “You’ll love it.  It’s beautiful, and everyone, no matter their origin, is polite and extremely pleasant.  There’s so much to do and see.  I suggest staying for at least three or four days.  The accommodations are varied, so you can choose a hotel room, such as those on this planet, or you can stay in a floating bee bee, which is an environment unto itself.  It’s a large bubble that is tethered to the ground, but not tight enough that you stay in one place.  It’s a lovely experience. The beds are so soft and fluffy.  I’ve stayed in a bee bee several times.  You’re high enough so you can see multiple sun rises and sets on several smaller nearby planets.  Some of them have more than one star so they can have two or three sunrises and sets a day.  And daytime lasts far longer than nighttime on 1377.  The food ranges from what you’re used to, to the exotic.  They serve stardust brokes for breakfast and they are made with real stardust.”

“So we’re literally eating sunflour?”

“Oh good one,” she laughed.  “And yes.  You are.”

“Sounds like fun.”

“It is,” she said.  “But, if you’re looking for violence, the best place to go is to Earth.  You can choose your weapons and kill anyone you like.  You can join a combat troop and go to war, you can rob and beat individual humans, you can join a religion and worship an idol, then murder and rape in his name.  Everything you need to hunt, trap and kill is there, and no one will really stop you.  Not if you are male, look a certain way, and have money, which, of course, comes with our premium package deal.”

“Can I be killed while I’m there?”

“Well, it’s always a possibility, but you’ll be well armed.  It’s the chance of being beaten or killed that makes it exciting for some people.”

“I see.”

“There’s also Sea-42, which is a water planet,”  she said, tapping a pin.  There’s no land at all.  You can stay on a large boat, or a raft built for two, or more. The choice is yours.  There are few storms, since their weather is rather mild, but oxygen levels are such that you must wear a mask the entire time you’re there, and the food isn’t very good. The entertainment is poor, to say the least.  Nothing lives in the water and it’s dark most of the time, since the planet is far away from it’s star.”

“Sounds terrible,” he said, frowning.

“I wouldn’t say it’s terrible.  I mean some people like that sort of thing.  They go back every year.  It’s just not for everyone, that’s all.  I’ll just tell you about one more, and they you can simply read about the rest in the brochures.”

“Okay,” he said.

“It’s called Versions.  It’s a small planet but most everyone adores it, because you can be any version of yourself you’d like to be.”

“I don’t understand,” he said.

“When you’re there, you can be whatever you want to be.  Not only that,  but you will excel at any of the choices you make.”

“Are you saying that my dream’s can come true on Versions?”

“Well some of them, that’s for sure.  But you can’t become a dragon or a unicorn.  It’s in their contract. And don’t even think about riding them.  Unicorn’s bite and the dragon’s can fry you, if you try.  It’s legal for them to do that. Mostly you stay yourself, and just add new skills.”

“I have a lot to think about,” he said, looking at the handful of brochures she had placed in front of him.

“You do.  Choose wisely.  But once you travel, you won’t be able to stop.  There are so many interesting things to do and see.”

“Thank  you,” he said, tapping the papers on the counter.  “I’ll think about where I want to go and let you know.”

“Our number is on the brochures.  Please call and make your reservation whenever you’re ready.  We also have people you can hire to watch your vines, or abode.”

He nodded, and turned to leave.

“Keep in mind that our tours provide everything you will need, while you’re away, even security, where appropriate.”

“I’ll see  you soon,” he said.

“Look forward to it,” she said, smiling.

He walked outside and dropped the brochures into the fire slot.  “Dragons?” he whispered to himself.  “I don’t think so.”  Then he got into his Zip and took to the air.

 

Photo:  Javier Miranda
Unsplash

 

A short story…

green pine trees on brown rock formation during daytimeshe sat in the mist
listening to the roar
of the water
feeling the spray
on her face
she closed her eyes
inhaled deeply
and became part of the forest
part of the river
the trees whispered to her
and to each other
she felt as if she had been
transported to another world
one that was peaceful
beautiful
and
wildly intelligent
the whole earth
sang to her
telling her secrets
giving her answers
she thanked them
from the bottom of her heart
but she jumped anyway

 

Photo:  Cameron Gibson
Unsplash

A VERY short story..

The little boy looked up at his mom.  “What are you?” he asked.

“I’m your mother,” she said, smiling at him.

“I know, but what ARE you really?”

“Oh that,” she said, staring at him. “I’m everything.”

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