Somewhere Else

Location set. 

***

The sun shines bright. The day is warm. The breeze comforting and filled with the flavors of late summer. Maybe noon at a table in the middle of a grassy yard sounds harsh, but summer was ending and its a perfect place to collect a little sun, spend time with new friends,  listening to kids play and lawn mowers churn angry.

***

Target marked.

***

Sara and Dan did not know the MacLeans well, but when invited they accepted happily.

Deanna was dark and willowy and Sara knew Dan found that attractive, which was fine it proved he was still alive, which after twenty five years of marriage feeling alive is a good thing.

Mark was dark also, but in a mysterious, dangerous way. When he was around Sara could taste his presence like salt on the air.

***

Awaiting final orders.

***

The two couples sit and drink cheap Merlot and talk about the weather.

Small meaningless talk really and Sara begins wondering what that buzzing sound is before never wondering anything again.

***

Mission accomplished.

Looking for Someplace Better

A suicidal Thomas Scanlen scrapes a bit more rock from the initials he works into the soft moss covered stone. Next to his giant T.S. is an ancient bit of writing that could be Latin and next to it a bit of Celt.

Satisfied he turns and faces the roar of water behind him. They say it goes down forever, that there is no bottom, that time stops inside the vortices of cold grey water. None who have jumped in have ever come back, no clues, only rumors of a different place.

With nothing left Thomas dives in.

Immediately he is forced into a fast moving swirl of water, his lungs burn for air and death reaches out a cold skeletal hand to pull him into the abyss.

With the last possible moment of life remaining he flies through a surface of barren rock and lands with a painful plop.

He turns over and sees a million rocky chunks in place of a moon dotting an upper atmosphere on fire.

Different? yes. Better? No.

 

 

 

 

First Sarge

At one time he was powerful with muscle and strength. He wore stripes on his collar and soldiers cowered when he walked by. Now that is all gone, he is a mere shadow of his former self. A man with disappointments and a life almost done.

He has a place he likes.

A bench on the shore of American Lake.

He sits there now and looks across the water and wonders how he could of done things different and been one of those people with a big house and a boat on the dock.

He worked hard. He has rough hands from soldiering. He is stooped through the abuse he levied on his body.

What more could he have done?

He rolls a bit of bugle in a wrap and tries to not let the answer hit him all at once.

Maybe his life was hard. Maybe he spent more time in the jungle then he should have. Maybe he was proud of the necklace of ears he’d show off to new privates. Maybe he could do more pushups at fifty then any eighteen year old fresh faced boot. Maybe he was the best soldier that ever lived in the history of boots and infantry and god on high.

But he was a shit husband and an even worse father.

He lights his rollie. Takes a sharp painful drag and coughs. His time is coming. He knows that. Back in prison when be was waiting for his sentence to be over he thought death would never take him, but now it is and fast.

His only regret is they won’t answer his calls.

He doesn’t blame them. They have families now of their own. They have him as a model of what not to do.

Don’t hit your wife.

Don’t hit your kids.

Don’t drink to being black out drunk and wonder if the charges were true for the rest of your life where the end is spent homeless in the V.A. with the constant agony of if the end should come naturally or at the end of a rope.

He pulls the cigarette out of his mouth to flip off some loose ash and sees the foot of the smoke is soaked with blood.

He tosses it away and starts rolling another one.

Maybe tomorrow he will know for sure. Now he is just going to smoke, be decides.

Smoke and die slow.

 


first sarge

Art by: Scott Johnson

On a Battlefield

Elizabeth is dead. There was no other thing this could be. She remembers what was. The moment past. She was in the heat of battle, thrusting her sword through the abdomen of a hookman and the next she was bathed in this white light. The smell of death and blood soaked sod, the excrement of the dying and heady pulse of her own adrenaline still fresh in her nostrils, but the fear was gone. The fear that fed her fight. The fear that made her step beyond the line and blindly attack foe after foe. The fear that swung her blade over and over again marveling at the ease of bone cleaved from bone, the orgasmic spurt of arterial blood as she ended life after life. With no fear to keep her fist clasped around the hilt of her weapon she feels her grip loosen and the blade fall away. She watches it fall, disappearing into the white endless mist. Next she shakes loose her gloves and unites her breastplate and with each and every article of war that touches her body falling free she feels ever more weightless. Almost naked she feels light as air. Her hand grips her undergarment, a thin rough cotton slip. As she pulls on it to lift it over her head she suddenly feels the pull of gravity. It’s crushing. She falls fast. The battlefield approaches. She sees fighting. She hears the clang of steel on steel. The scream of injury and death. Then her body laying on top of her last kill. A spear jutting from her back. A priest hovers near his mouth works the words of his God and then she crashes into her body. With a gasp all the pains of her life return.

 


elizabeth_28small_version29

 

 

Art:

Elizabeth

by:  Dave Paget


 

What’s Up With Ceres

“Damn it Bob, why didn’t you flip the power switch? Now they keep sending that satellite around to focus on us.”

“Phill please, there are two hundred thousand workers here trying to get a job done. By the time they send anyone to look, our mission will be over anyway. I’m too busy to lose power every time that probe does a flyby. That Earth species is so primitive they probably imagine anything but life could make this amount of light. For fuck sake most of their population is locked in endless wars hating and killing each other to even give a shit. Don’t you have mining drones to repair? Be mission oriented and stop worrying about those terrestrially stuck monkeys.”

A Delusion

You know how things go. You see the way people think. You feel their feelings. You can use this innate ability deep within your soul to see everything, the future, the past, intentions, emotions.

You know all answers.

You decide there is only one reason all this is possible.

You must be God.

You walk into the street.

You see the car coming.

You feel the shock of the driver. For a moment you become the driver.

You feel both impacts, your’s as the two tons of Detroit steel runs you over and his, the man behind the wheel as he drives into your one-hundred and sixty pound frame, denting his bumper and ruining his day.

Good news though, you are not God, just a crazy person who was desperately in need of psychiatric care, the bad news is none of that matters anymore, because you are dead.

Depressive Disorder

The black abyss opens its gaping eye. The movement is sudden. From grey blur to living thing in only a single moment.

In the dry rustle of its raised lid the taste of oblivion is had. Oblivion fills the mouth with the bitter, endless void of death. Even through the world around. A world filled with glory and every variance of chaos, and all its possibilities of beauty, colors and happiness, the abyss sits just beyond, reminding one of the nothing that waits the completion of every task and achievement, of every breath taken, of every footstep.

The abyss is a reminder there is a meaninglessness in death that removes all meaning from life.

It gives sadness. It takes desire. Neither can be removed or returned.

When the black abyss closes its eye again, the world is left just a bit more bleak and difficult to endure.

 


 

ausonia-23-fff

Art by:

Francesco Ciampi


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