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Gustav

There once was a rather large goose named Gustav.  He lived on a very sunny pond surrounded by little houses and bushes and trees.  The pond was full of ducks and geese to keep things lively, frogs and crickets to sing all night long, and fish that liked to jump high out of the water just so that the sun would shine off their backs.  It doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Gustav’s life would have been quite perfect except for the fact that Gustav couldn’t fly, and so he was stuck on the pond forever.  You see, Gustav had been born with a bad wing.  It wouldn’t move like it was supposed to; it hung down almost to the ground, and it was a little ragged around the edges.

Gustav didn’t mind the wing terribly.  He liked the little pond and didn’t particularly want to leave and besides, if he turned just right, the loose wing blocked the wind and kept his feet warm.

The biggest problem with the wing was that it kept Gustav from really fitting in.  The other geese on the pond didn’t ever stay long.  They flew away before Gustav had even gotten to ask each member of the flock their name, and Gustav could never tag along on their winter vacations.  And to be quite honest, they weren’t very interested in Gustav either.  They kind of ignored him, all because of his silly old wing.

And Gustav didn’t quite fit in with the ducks, either.  At bathtime, they always looked like they were having so much fun and Gustav wanted to join in.  So, to get their attention and let them know what a fun-loving goose he was, Gustav would cannonball right into the middle of their bathtime party.  However, Gustav, as I said, was a rather large bird and the waves that his cannonball created half drowned most of the ducks and sent the rest of them sailing down to the other edge of the pond, where they would gather together in a tight knot and cluck at him suspiciously.

Winter time was the quietest time around the pond.  All the animals and fish and insects left or went into their burrows or deep under the water.  Each little family or flock could keep each other company, but Gustav was stuck on his own.

It wasn’t that he didn’t stay warm.  He had made himself a lovely little nest in the bushes on the far bank of the pond, and he could curl up in there amid discarded feathers and crunchy fall leaves, wrap his loose wing around his feet and sleep quite warmly and comfortably.

But he did get bored.  On a rather warm day one winter, while he was trying to amuse himself, he decided to see if he liked living in a burrow like some of the animals.  So, while his neighbor Barnaby the Badger was out collecting some extra padding for his hole, Gustav decided to crawl inside and see how he liked it.

Unfortunately, Gustav got quite stuck.  Poor Barnaby came back to goose tail feathers and wildly flapping webbed feet sticking out his front door and had to spend two hours digging Gustav out.  He didn’t get mad, but he didn’t share any of his soft moss with Gustav either.

Gustav limped his way back to his own nest and settled down to let his ruffled feathers relax.  He was feeling a little sad.  What would it take to be really, truly happy?

to be continued.

New Life, New Name (Writing prompt #5)

Lois was leaving this stupid town for good and would never look back.  This was the first day of a new life, she could choose who she wanted to be this time.

Since that day in the fourth grade she knew that one day she would leave.  A boy in her class, Thomas Lee Henry said he’d be her boyfriend if she gave him her lollipop.  She hadn’t known it was a trick, she just wanted to be accepted but the other kids laughed at her.

After both of her her parents died of drug overdoses Lois was raised by her grandmother.  Gran was a good woman and she made sure that Lois always had food to eat and clothes to wear.  Gran never talked much, even when Lois would press her for information about her son, Lois’s Dad. 

The town was so small you could get the gossip on anyone just by going to the market.  You can imagine that Lois’s story dominated the talking circles.  The whole lot of them can rot in hell she thought as she packed her car up bound for some place far, far away from this hell hole.

She’d been saving the money she earned from babysitting, doing yard work and errands for people around town.  Focused and determined, she poured her hurt and anger into this plan. 

Finding a cheap hotel along the route, she took a break so she could get some food, rest and gas.  Looking over the menu at a local diner one of the desserts popped out to her, “Chocolate Charm”.  

She giggled, her new name presented itself like it’d been waiting for her.  With enough money to last her a few months, a new name, and a new life ahead, she felt unstoppable, free and finally able to live the life she’d dreamed about for so many years.

A few weeks went by, she’d found a place to live and a place to work in a big city.  No longer living in a small pond, she could hide amongst the masses of people.

She’d settled on a story to tell people if they asked about her background.  Her parents had died overseas while working as missionaries, so she was raised in a small orphanage where they mistreated the children.  When she was old enough, she escaped the orphanage, heading as far away from the place as she could. 

Charm Reardan  knew that she’d finally broken the barrier of her past and made a fresh start.  She had a new job, a new place to live and a new name.

She was sitting in a coffee shop planning her new life, pleased that she was finally free. 

A man walked in, looked at her very intently and smiled.  Later, he walked over to Charm to introduce himself.  She was friendly with him and they had a nice conversation.  He asked for her number.  Charm never dated much, she was too focused on her goal of getting away from town.

The idea made her nervous, she had sworn to herself that she would never tell anyone about her past.  The real story.  They began dating very casually, dinners here and lunch there.

Little did she know that out of all the places in the world she could have met someone, he was born and raised in the town she’d just left.

Love

He said that he would love me forever, but he never said that it would be hard.    When a guy says something like that, you assume that it’s effortless and easy and free and that love means never having to try.  Some of the romance eroded away every time he said “I love you” when I knew he was angry, or sad, or indifferent.

And I… resented it.  It wasn’t love.  It was a forced expression of something that he didn’t feel.  He was duped.  Isn’t love meant to be a feeling?  A driving force that carries you along – not something that you must carry?

That’s what I wanted to believe love was.  I wanted his whole heart and devotion without him having to try.  I wanted him to feel an ocean of emotion every time he saw my face.  And so I said goodbye.  I said it wasn’t working.  I said all of those forced things that you express when it isn’t what you really feel.

Later I knew that it was I who was hollow.  I believed in something that didn’t belong to me.  What I had made love out to be – what I thought I wanted to believe in – was something I was subjected to, that I could not control.  It made me vulnerable, and lonely, and uncertain.  It became my slavedriver and it ruled my life.  I wasn’t free to make decisions about relationships or about feelings.  The duped one was me.

And I was alone.

Could Have Been

In the morning, when she first peaked out of her eyelids, she thought it would be a good day. When her eyes would only open a tiny bit wider, the heavy weight on her chest grew heavier and heavier and she remembered. Oh, yes. I’m in hell.

Without looking, without getting up, without trying to move at all, she recalled what had happened. Why she was here. Her wrists were sore from hours in restraints. Her veins felt tingly from the new medications coursing through her body. Her brain felt fuzzy and completely sharp at the same time. She felt like she could fight her way out of the room and the building. She didn’t move.

She closed her eyes. A car wreck. Broken ribs. Fractured jaw. Smashed knee. Swollen face. Everything hurt. She remembered the turn. The slick road. Checking her speed. The split decision to use the rain to slide off into the trees and creek. She thought she had been going fast enough. She thought she had been high enough. She thought she would hit a tree with enough force. But, she hadn’t. Being busted up from head to toe was bad enough, but the fact that she was still alive burned like fire.

The Wrong House

“His face haunts me to this day.” These words were written on a cocktail napkin in purple ink. I stared, mesmerized by the droplets of blood that stained the suicide note. The old lady, missing the right side of her head, was slumped over the desk. What the hell have I gotten myself into? I was a semi-professional thief, and this had looked like an easy score. One old lady. No family. No problems.

A gold watch caught my eye. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I slipped the watch off her wrist and pocketed it. I hesitated at the nine-millimeter berretta. I had a pistol; I didn’t need her suicide weapon.

This was going to be easier than I thought. I walked down the hallway and into the kitchen. I grabbed a Pepsi from the fridge and took a sip. Damn, that tasted good.

AGHHHHH!

I dropped the Pepsi and fell to my knees at the sound of the scream. What the hell was that? Reaching under my shirt, I slipped the Glock out of my waistband.

AGHHHHH!

Damnit, someone else must be in the house. I crawled across the ceramic tiles, stopped at the edge of the island bar and peeked around the corner. Nothing moved. I crept to the hallway wall, stood up and risked another peek. The only light shone from the room where the dead woman was. Run like hell, man. Can’t, damnit, I gotta pay rent with this score. 

I turned into the hallway, pistol leading the way. I slid against the wall and stopped at the edge of the room. No distorted light shown or any other indication that someone was in the room.

 I jumped into the doorway. My eyes caught some movement, and I yelled, “Freeze, mother fucker!” A translucent figure floated in front of the old lady. He cocked his head to the side and showed a mouthful of black teeth. I squeezed off three shots. The first one busted out the window behind him, and the following two caught the dead woman in the back. What the hell?

His laugh echoed throughout the room. I spun out the doorway and ran to the end of the hall. Dropping down to one knee, I aimed the pistol at the doorway. What the hell you gonna shoot, dumbass? Your last bullets went through the dude. I laid the gun down on the tile then wracked my brain for an idea. How do you fight a damn ghost?

If that priest from the exorcist was here, I bet he’d know. Wait a second, that’s it. I need a Bible. Maybe if I hit him with a Bible, some type of supernatural energy would release and take out the damn thing.

The figure floated into the hallway, looked around, and spotted my position. His eyes glowed bright green. Where the hell would she have a Bible? Old people usually kept an oversized Bible on the coffee table in their living room. That’s exactly what I needed, the bigger the better. I dove across the hallway, rolled, and popped up like a fucking gymnast. Frantically, I searched the room. Damnit, where is it? I saw the Bible on top of the entertainment center, next to the television.

 Hands grabbed my neck, jerking me away from the Bible. I reached out behind me and came up with nothing but air. Fighting for breath, I grasped the side of the entertainment center, and attempted to pull myself out of Ghost-man’s death grip. I couldn’t loosen his hold. Allowing my body to go slightly limp, I planted my feet on the floor and bent my knees then shoved off with all my strength pulling on the entertainment center at the same time. He lost his grip, and I crashed to the floor. Dazed and gasping for breath, I looked up in time to see the fifty-two inch flat screen slam into my face.

I opened my eyes and immediately closed them. Why me, God? Opening them back up, I stared into the faces of two ghosts. One held a can of gasoline, and an old lady flicked a lighter. A heavy chain pinned my body against the trunk of a tree. I struggled against the chains as the recently deceased woman floated toward me, but they had bound well. She leaned over and lit the bottom of my Levis. As the flames spread up my body, I glanced at my murderer and damned if she wasn’t laughing at me.

 

Yesterday and today’s daily 500 minus 250 I edited.

“His face haunts me to this day.” The words were written on a cocktail napkin in purple ink. I stared, mesmerized by the droplets of blood that stained the suicide note. The old lady, missing the right side of her head, was slumped over the desk. What the hell have I gotten myself into? I was a semi-professional thief, and this had looked like an easy score. One old lady. No family. No problems.

A gold watch caught my eye. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I slipped the watch off her wrist and pocketed it. I hesitated at the nine-millimeter berretta. I had a pistol; I didn’t need her suicide weapon.

This was going to be easier than I thought. I walked down the hallway and into the kitchen. I grabbed a Pepsi from the fridge and took a sip. Damn, that tasted good.

AGHHHHH!

I dropped the Pepsi and fell to my knees at the sound of the scream. What the hell was that? Reaching under my shirt, I slipped the Glock out of my waistband.

AGHHHHH!

Damnit, someone else must be in the house. I crawled across the ceramic tiles, stopped at the edge of the island bar and peeked around the corner. Nothing moved. I crept to the hallway wall, stood up and risked another peek. The only light shone from the room where the dead woman was. Run like hell, man. Can’t, damnit, I gotta pay rent with this score. 

I turned into the hallway, pistol leading the way. I slid against the wall and stopped at the edge of the room. No distorted light shown or any other indication that someone was in the room.

 I jumped into the doorway. My eyes caught some movement, and I yelled, “Freeze, mother fucker!” A translucent figure floated in front of the old lady. He cocked his head to the side and showed a mouthful of black teeth. I squeezed off three shots. The first one busted out the window behind him, and the following two caught the dead woman in the back. What the hell?

His laugh echoed throughout the room. I spun out the doorway and ran to the end of the hall. Dropping down to one knee, I aimed the pistol at the doorway. What the hell you gonna shoot, dumbass? Your last bullets went through the dude. I laid the gun down on the tile then wracked my brain for an idea. How do you fight a damn ghost?

If that priest from the exorcist was here, I bet he’d know. Wait a second, that’s it. I need a Bible. Maybe if I hit him with a Bible, some type of supernatural energy would release and take out the damn thing.

The figure floated into the hallway, looked around, and spotted my position. His eyes glowed bright green. Where the hell would she have a Bible? Old people usually kept an oversized Bible on the coffee table in their living room. That’s exactly what I needed, the bigger the better. I dove across the hallway, rolled, and popped up like a fucking gymnast. Frantically, I searched the room. Damnit, where is it? I saw the Bible on top of the entertainment center, next to the television.

 Hands grabbed my neck, jerking me away from the Bible. I reached out behind me and came up with nothing but air. Fighting for breath, I grasped the side of the entertainment center, and attempted to pull myself out of Ghost-man’s death grip. I couldn’t loosen his hold. Allowing my body to go slightly limp, I planted my feet on the floor and bent my knees then shoved off with all my strength pulling on the entertainment center at the same time. He lost his grip, and I crashed to the floor. Dazed and gasping for breath, I looked up in time to see the fifty-two inch flat screen slam into my face.

I opened my eyes and immediately closed them. Why me, God? Opening them back up, I stared into the faces of two ghosts. One held a can of gasoline, and an old lady flicked a lighter. A heavy chain pinned my body against the trunk of a tree. I struggled against the chains as the recently deceased woman floated toward me, but they had bound well. She leaned over and lit the bottom of my Levis. As the flames spread up my body, I glanced at my murderer and damned if she wasn’t laughing at me.

 

Waiting Room

I sit and I write.

Yet it will never be right.

 

Look away from the light,

it’s not quite.

 

I toss and I turn,

I yearn. 

 

For what I ask,

is it that I am supposed to LEARN?

 

Tired of the deal,

turning and turning but not the one

behind the wheel.

 

Stop your judgement,

stop your machine,

stop doing what you’ve always done.