Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘A Short story’

Field trip…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He knew it would be risky, but that was part of the thrill, and part of the reason he might receive a higher grade on his final.  It was an environmental class where they were studying the past, when climate change was on the brink of falling over the edge.  A time when the air was still clean enough to breath.  When people were able to survive outdoors, without wearing a monitor telling them their exposure time was up.

Things had changed rapidly, once they crossed the line.  Now the sky was dark, and things had come to a screeching halt.  Buildings were left unfinished, others shuttered, or abandoned.  There was no place to hide, no real safety to be found.

This was the legacy left to future generations by those who refused to change their behavior in the past. The name of the class was,  The Death of Nature and Beauty.

 

Photo:  Sergey Vinogradov
Unsplash

Timmy Mouse…a short story.

Timmy wasn’t like other mice.  For starters, he lived in a magical bookstore called, Sun & Moon.  It was the perfect place for a mouse like Timmy to live, since he could read and write, as well as understand any language spoken on the entire planet.  He also had one other ability and that was to turn himself into a felt toy, if a customer was near.  That came in handy more times than anyone could guess, because he had grown tired of people talking to him all day long and telling him how cute he was.  He was a grown mouse, after all, not a baby mousling.

Timmy had been born in the attic of the bookstore, and had never lived anywhere else.  His mother told him that if he stayed where he was, he would not grow old and die.  Old being relative, of course, since mice didn’t have very long life spans.  Timmy always listened to his mother, so he never left the premises.  His mother would still be with him, if it hadn’t been for the horrible accident that took her life.  But he didn’t like to dwell on that memory, because when he did, he started nibbling on the edge of pages in books that were quite ancient, and that was never good.  Nibbling on pages was a bad habit he had tried to break, but when he was stressed, he seemed to fall back into it.  It wasn’t that he was hungry, since he was well fed.  He also had a wonderful nest, so he didn’t need to add paper shreds to it, in order to be comfortable.  It’s just that sometimes, he found himself nibbling and wasn’t aware that he had started doing it.

It’s difficult being tiny in a world where there are giants.  One must always be careful not to be stepped on, or squished by being held too tightly.  Timmy worked in the shop, but mostly at night, when the giants were gone.  He loved Josie, the giant who ran the shop, and they had a good working relationship.  Toby, the cat, was very nice as well.  So all in all, life was good.  He had friends, work that he enjoyed, and a warm bed to sleep in.  Timmy was a very happy mouse.

 

Photo:  Jez Timms
Unsplash

 

 

A life…

He landed in a field.  Stunned,  obviously on a different planet, he sat there, wondering what happened.  His ship was nowhere to be seen, nor were his crew.  He checked his stats and found oxygen, water, life forms and humidity, whatever that was.

He signed, got to his feet and looked around.  He saw mountains, which made him happy, in a very small way, since they had mountains on his planet as well.  Actually, they were more like the sides of craters, since they were hit by space rocks now and then.  His visor said there was no damage to his body, but that his breathing tank would be empty in 9.600412 megatins.

He looked at the ground and saw strange things.  His planet was bare.  He ran his hand over the things around him and wondered what he would do when he ran out of air?

Strange noises came from his left and he turned toward it.  Two small beings were running toward him.

“Hi.  What happened?  Who are you?  Halloween isn’t until next month.  What’s your name?  Where do you live?  Do you want some gum?  Do you have a dog?”

He looked at the little one and shook his head?

“Do you speak english? asked the girl?  Don’t mind my brother, he never stops asking questions.  That’s not a bad thing, but he doesn’t wait for the answers, so he really doesn’t learn anything.  My name is Moonstone and this is Reed.”

He looked at the sky, amazed by the light.  It was always dark and cold, where he came from.

“Do you want to see a goat?”  asked Reed, taking his hand.  He’s cute and his name is Joeykins.  Goats are kind of hyper but he might let you pet him if you give him something to eat.”

He let himself be led by the child.

“Aren’t you hot with that thing on your head?  Can’t you breath the air?”

He checked the numbers and it looked as if he might be able to breath their air, so he did some quick calculations and decided to give it a try.  The worst thing that could happen would be that he would explode in 42.3457 megakitse.

The children brought him to a meadow where sheep and goats wandered around eating things on the ground.  He unhooked his helmet.  Held his breath and then slowly let it out.

“You okay?” asked Moonstone.

He didn’t answer, but very slowly, with his eyes closed, took a tiny breath.  Then his face squinched up into what the children thought was a smile and he made a funny sound.

“What?” asked Reed.

“I…can…breath,” he said.

“So can we,” she said.  “Everything here can breath.  If you can’t breath, you die.”

“How do you like the goats?  The special one is over there,” said Reed, pointing to a small white goatling.  He whistled and the tiny goat came trotting toward them.  He fed him a sugar cube and hugged him.  The goat grinned and head butted him, knocking him to the ground where he rolled around laughing.

“My brother is a dork, so you’ll have to excuse him.”

The man put his hand on his chest and said, “XR4760.”

“Is that your name?”

The man nodded.

“We don’t use numbers for names so how about if we call you Lester?”

The man nodded again.

In the end, they took him home, where he was welcomed, given clothes, and taught the ropes.  He was stronger than humans and that was a great help on the farm.  The children grew up and as the family aged and died, one by one, Lester, who had grown to feel, over the years, felt their loss deeply.  He stayed on the farm for many years, until he decided there was nothing left to live for.  So he gave his sheep and goats to the neighboring farms and then sat in the kitchen, which was as clean as it ever had been, and pushed a small blue button, behind his ear, which deactivated him forever.

 

 

 

Photo:  Cash Macanaya
Unsplash

Hunter Sawyer…a short story.

person wearing gray plaid notched lapel suit jacket and gray hat hiding face

Everyone called Hunter Sawyer, The Invisible Man.  Justifiably so, of course, it’s just that Hunter preferred to be addressed by his proper name.  But people rarely get what they want in life, so everyone continued to call him The Invisible Man, and that seemed to be that.  He tried not responding to those who refused to call him Hunter, but that left him practically friendless, so he finally gave in and answered to almost anything.

Becoming invisible wasn’t something Hunter learned, it was something in his genetic make-up.  In other words, he was born with it.  It was also something he couldn’t always control.

The first few times he disappeared from his crib, his parents were frantic.  It’s not as if he wasn’t there, because he was, it’s just that no one could see him.  Raising a child is hard enough, but raising a child who can disappear in front of you, is a whole different story.   Hiding the cookies and holiday gifts, was a tactical situation akin to the invasion of another country.

School was…challenging, to say the least.  Hunter often disappeared if girls looked directly at him, and he almost always disappeared during tests.  If he thought he was getting into trouble, he vanished immediately, much to the alarm of his teachers.

Eventually, he found himself in college, where he was able to put his skills to good use.  He made quite a lot of money, working for the other students.  That’s when Hunter decided to become a Private Detective.

His Bachelor’s degree was in the Occult Arts and Microbiology.  His Master’s was in Ancient Texts and Zoology.  He also studied the Human Mind, with Madam LOLA, who was originally from the Moulin Rouge area of Paris, France.  Hunter…learned a lot.

As a Private Eye, following people, and getting any information he desired, was easy.  He had years of practice, while he was in school.  Some people thought what he did wasn’t fair, but Hunter felt that he was simply using the innate skills he had been given.

As for marriage, he decided it wasn’t for him, and he certainly had no intention of ever passing on the invisibility gene to anyone else.  And while he truly wanted a dog, he felt that it would be strange if people saw the dog walking down the street by herself, the leash hanging in mid air, so he bought a parrot instead, and that satisfied his need for companionship.  He named her Feather.  Parrots can live very long time and he was quite happy about that.  Feather didn’t seem to notice when Hunter was invisible. She just flew to his shoulder and sat there looking as if she was perched in mid air.  Parrots are like that, you know.  They are magical beings who can see through veils and other things as well.

All in all, life was good and Hunter was happy.   So was the parrot.

 

 

Photo:  mahdi rezaei
Unsplash

 

 

Sylvia…a very short story.

Woman Sitting at the Table with Floral Wallpaper Background

Sylvia was not cut out to live life on a farm.  She was a city spirit, who was into fashion and excitement.  The monotonous daily grind of farm life, was killing her a little more each day.

As the light began to fade, and dinnertime  grew near, Sylvia would dress, freshen her make-up, fix her hair, and wait for him to come in from the fields and barns.   Sometimes she waited until she grew so tired, she retreated to her small room with the orange and white checkered curtains she hated so much.

He always had a list of reasons.  A cow needed something, or the dog, a lamb, a hen, or the barn itself.  She was never on his list.

Fall was coming and there was a lot to be done, so he left the house early. He didn’t come in for lunch, so the letter on the kitchen table went unread until after midnight.

He loved her, but Sylvia said not in a way that mattered.  His love never touched her, never made her laugh.  He never danced with her, or brought her flowers.  He didn’t see her, or make her feel as if she existed.  She wished him luck and a happy life…without her.

 

 

Photo:  Yaroslav Shuraev
Pexels

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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.

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

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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

 

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 Woman’s Tale…

Gothic lady in Halloween costume

“Don’t be afraid,” she whispered, staring at the startled man.  “Come closer.”

He shook his head and started to back up.

“We are the women you have forced us to become,” she said, softly.

His eyes widened.

“Are you worried?  Do you feel trapped? Cornered, with no where to run?”

He looked over his shoulder.

“You shouldn’t have come into the forest.”

“I…” he stammered.

She held up her hand.  “There’s no need for you to speak,” she said.  “We were never allowed that privilege, and you’re in our reality now.  Isn’t it beautiful here?” she asked, looking around.  Peaceful, quiet, no screaming, just birdsong and the sound of crickets.”

He felt the others behind him.

“You can’t escape.  There’s no way out.  There never was for us, you know.  We lived among you, as prisoners of war.  Hunted as prey, punished for crimes we didn’t commit.  It won’t be painless, I’m afraid.  You’ve given up any right to a painless death,” she said.

Two wolves walked up to her and she reached down to pet them.  “Life never had to be about death.  You made it that way, torturing and killing innocents.”

The wolves leaned against her.

Then she nodded and the women moved forward. Eventually the screaming stopped, and the forest was fed.

 

Photo:  Dima Valkov
Pexels

 

 

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