Fairytales

 

“Do you believe in fairytales?” You asked him, letting your head rest on his shoulder. God, he felt good. It felt good; your head was meant to lie, right there, on him.
“Only women believe in fairytales.”
“Only women believe in fairytales…yes…but who writes them?”
It is women who want love, and men who understand it.
It is women who believe in fairytales, and men who write them.
It is women who want to be a man’s last love, and men who want to be a woman’s first true romance.
Women and men and all the words they use to get what they want.
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but it’s words that break a heart…

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The Traveler

Disclaimer: This short story (technically not a short story) is a part of a new project of mine, called God, The Devil, and a Man walk into a bar.

Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Antonio Machado

The traveler sat down on a sand dune and saw nothing. He heard nothing. He feared the worst. He had reached a truly godforsaken place: a vast, mournful pan of emptiness where anything sentient resented anything else that was alive. Every sun-scoured scrap of fauna had barbs, hooks or thorns, every animal had poison, paw or claw. Scorpions scuttled and snakes hissed and slithered while they went about their grisly business of survival. Even sand was an enemy. It burned his feet raw, it stinged his eyes and acted as a surrogate for pain.

His skin felt like scraped by sandpaper, his tongue was cloven to the roof of his mouth. His eyes felt like they’d melted into the back of his mind, making everything seem mirage-like. He knew he was alone, abandoned, and doomed. A colorless heat haze had blurred out the background and his vision had become myopic.

Yet, through the silence, through the nothing, something throbbed, something gleamed. Continue reading

On a winter’s day

It was the third time she was asking me to come by her place. I did not want to see her, but I have always felt… inadequate when refusing people. It feels wrong, that’s all. Nevertheless, I told her that I didn’t have the money to pay for the cab fare to her place. No other means of transportation. It was in the dead of winter, I couldn’t just walk ten miles. She said she’d pay my cab fare.

“Just give me a ring when you get there and I’ll come down,” she said.

I feel I should apologize. This isn’t one of those stories where something extraordinary happens. The kind of things that are stranger than life itself. No. I am sorry. Also, there’s not even the kind of dialogue that would make you smile because it was just that clever. No witty remarks, no sarcastic comebacks. I haven’t been blessed with remarkable people in my life, so my stories tend to be about folks who aren’t good at conversation. Continue reading

Dome: Episode One

A heartbreaking portrayal of ambition, betrayal, and intrigue, Dome is a serialized Science-Fiction Thriller that tells the story of a small group of people who try to figure out the reason behind the construction of this dome-city in the center of the world’s harshest continent.

Prologue

For a man who knows that our worst nightmares are about to come true, Jack Riddell has no trouble sleeping at night. “It is said that Caesar wept when he found out about Pompey’s death.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” the host of the show, a woman in her mid-thirties, asks. For the last hour or so, the richest man in the world has avoided giving her a straight answer.

Jack laughs. “A man’s character is determined by how he reacts in the face of adversity. By how strong his enemies are.” Ignoring the dumbfounded expression of the host, he adds, “I believe people should realize Dome is a simple reminder that we can fight against insurmountable odds and win.” Continue reading

The Sea

Beautiful butterfly. So precious, so fragile. Its wings colored in orange, red, white and black. With a determination worthy of heroes, the little creature kept flapping its wings, flying with the strong wind that blew from the sea.

Charaxes brutus natalensis. A species that didn’t belong on that continent. But that was a miracle no one noticed. How it got there, a question no one bothered to ask.

Ships were coming to port. The sky had turned grey, covered with a curtain of angry clouds and a bizarre tension hovered in the air, making the sailors nervous. It was going to start raining soon. The old ones could feel it in their rattling bones. Continue reading

A Sad, Sad Symphony

Old Francisc Goyer had been working on his symphony for too long to even remember. It was supposed to be his masterpiece, his magnum opus. At times he was afraid, and with some reason, that he might never finish it.
But that night he had a dream: instruments being played by angels. Such a profound mastery hid beneath their long, white as marble fingers that he began to scribble notes on a piece of paper, his hand trembling under the weight of such a clear and extraordinary vision. Inside his head, the instruments kept playing in a miraculous way that couldn’t be explained, but couldn’t be denied either.
It was real. The music was coming from somewhere far, far away; a muffled concoction of sounds. And Francisc feared to do anything other than write. He was afraid to light a cigarette or even drink a glass of water. The symphony could dissolve into the stifled air of the living room, and all would be lost. Continue reading

Crossroads

His chest felt heavy, his legs tired. Dead leaves rustled under his feet. Nailed to the sky, the moon’s sardonic smile quivered among a cluster of cold stars. His body just a coffin for his soul, Robert seemed to take every footstep with infinite precaution, as if fearing that the dirt road would swallow his feet.

On each side, pine trees stood tall. Ancient guardians.

“Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of-” he tried to recite, but was interrupted by hounds barking somewhere in the distance. Long, reverberating shivers of sounds that seemed to had spawned from hell itself bashed against his ears. His black skin glistened with sweat; droplets shuddered down from his hairline to his eyebrows, down his temples. The skin of his neck burned, hot. His eyes glimmered in the dark void, hopelessly trying to peer through that endless ocean of fear and agony. He pressed the guitar to his chest, his long arms forming a desperate embrace around the black wood. The sharp smell of lacquer flooded his nose.

Robert was so young. He would have liked to believe that all this was just the terrible lethargy of a nightmare, but it wasn’t because he could smell the fresh and clean scent the trees around him emanated.

 

When he reached the spot where the road that led to Dockery Plantation and the one that led to Clarksdale met, he sighed. A small lamp hung from a wooden street sign, and a bench overlooked both roads. He turned around – a sinuous and dark pathway slowly dissolved into the night.

He stood there for a long time. Then he began to stagger his way toward the bench.

With his guitar resting in his lap, he took a deep breath, the cool air making its way down his throat with a prolonged hiss, and then he began to sing a lullaby, his hands drumming on the guitar. Above, a comet was cutting through the black sky like a knife, its bluish tail shining bright.

His singing was cut short by hounds barking. He gulped. His heart throbbing inside his chest, he rummaged through his mind for a bit of clarity, for a bit of strength, but couldn’t find any. It was as if someone was walking toward him, a vague perception hinted by the shadows that danced on the ground around him. His body froze as he could now clearly hear footsteps, growing stronger and stronger. A gust of wind rattled all the ghosts that resided inside his soul. Twigs fluttered spasmodically and screeched as if possessed by a demon.

“Where are the others?” A deep voice killed the silence and shattered into a million pieces inside his head. Robert closed his eyes. His shoulders shuddered. This was all just a dream.

When he opened them, he saw a puny man sitting beside him on the bench. The man’s eyes were a strange grey, a color he had seen many times before in his nightmare. He wore a black trench coat that came all the way down to his knees.

“Where are the others?” the man repeated, staring intensely back at Robert.

“What others?”

A frown flickered across the man’s pale face. “Others. Like you. There should have been more tonight.”

Robert rubbed the sweat off his eyebrows and forehead.

The man leaned forward and fixed his gaze on Robert’s eyes. Deep wrinkles traversed his forehead. He caressed his chin with his tiny fingers.

“Can you see my soul?” Words struggled to come out of Robert’s mouth.

The man didn’t bother to answer. He pointed toward the guitar. “This is what you want?”

Robert nodded.

The man took the guitar from his shaking hands and placed it on his lap. A lifetime of agony passed between two heartbeats. The man tuned the guitar with care, and then he began to play. His hands were performing such an intricate choreography, making the chords cry underneath his small, white as bone fingers that a tear formed in the corner of Robert’s eye and lingered there for a moment.

As the painful melody sent ripples through the night, the man stared hollowly at the dirt road that stretched toward Clarksdale. A long time passed, with Robert hopelessly rubbing life back into his arms and shoulders.

Then the song stopped. The man glanced at Robert with his ash colored eyes and smiled.

“Thank you,” Robert whispered as the man handed him the guitar back. “How’s this going to…” he muttered, his fingers caressing the chords. A sharp pain pierced through his fingers and travelled upward through every fiber of his body. His soul fell into a deep abyss, and his heart began to boil inside his chest. He felt that he couldn’t breathe, that air couldn’t make its way down to his lungs. He closed his eyes and began to play vividly, his hands shaking in despair. Soon the fire in his body and limps dissolved, and he opened his eyes, his eyes as black as tar – they were void of any light. Empty and cold.

The other man stood on the street a few feet away from him, with his hands tucked in his pockets. “What’s your name?” he asked and grinned, revealing yellow, crooked teeth. His grey eyes shone bright.

A faint breeze quivered around their bodies. The two dirt roads that collided underneath their feet glowed in the shy light of the lamp. A weak heartbeat tried to keep an empty body alive.

And the black man said, “Robert, sir. Robert Johnson.”

***

This short story is a part of The Writer. Find out more here.