Friday, December 30, 2016

The Visitors

The alarm went off, its beep-beep-beep-beep blaring like a spoiled child screaming and throwing a fit. The damn thing wouldn't turn off.  She noticed it was unplugged, yet the beep, beep, beep continued. She pushed the button on and off, on and off. Nothing.  Beep, beep, beep, beep!  Finally, in frustration, she hurled hurled the offending contraption against the stark, white wall where it shattered into tiny pieces - beep, beep, beep, beep!!

"Bloody hell!"

Then the doorbell rang. Alexa grabbed her robe and went to see who could be visiting so early in the morning. Her day had already started badly and she was annoyed. The last thing she wanted were visitors on the only day she had off this month.

She swung the door open forcefully, ready for a fight. She found her father standing there, hat in hand. A big grin immediately covered Alexa's startled face. She reached up and hugged him for what seemed an eternity. It had been awhile since she’d last seen him. She stood back to take it all in, the tall man with the loving smile. She reached for his hands and lovingly looked at them; it was always the second thing she did after looking at his face. She loved his hands and missed them just as much as the man himself. Those were the hands that had always comforted her in life: how they held her safely on his lap when she was a tot; how they protected her from harm and offered her strength throughout life; how they comforted her in times of sadness. His hands had always had a language of their own and spoke of so many things: life, love, hardship, strength, sunshine, and comfort. They were big and stalwart just like the man himself, who towered easily over most. And they were comfortably weatherworn like an old pair of gloves that you just couldn't part with.

"Well, you just gonna stand there all morning looking dumbstruck and stupefied or are you gonna let us in?”

”Aunt Isadora!”

"Oh, she’s been wanting to come visit you for quite some time now Alexa and I just couldn’t hold her off anymore."
He appeared jovially annoyed. "She knows very well how I enjoy these visits alone with you. She could've well come and visit you some other time on her own."

"Oh, you hush! Now move out of the way and let me hug my baby!"

Aunt Isadora pushed her father aside and as she did Alexa saw Uncle Henry and Uncle Charlie behind her. They smiled at her with that same grin that Alexa shared with them.

"Well, you know very well she can’t travel unless she brings the whole world with her.”

It had been decades since she had last seen her father and his siblings all together in one place. Crazy Aunt Isadora was the aunt she shared a kindred spirit with. The summer she turned 16 had been the best summer of her life because of her. She had begged her parents to let her spend the summer in the islands with Aunt Isadora. After many intense and heated discussions and a list of promises that she had to make before she was allowed to go, finally her parents with much trepidation gave in. She and Aunt Isadora spent their days at the beach sunning themselves to a shade not seen by man and dancing and listening to calypso music at night. And, seeing her today, she was still vibrant and wild.

She invited them in and offered them seats then ran to the kitchen to put a plate of whatever breakfast food she had available. She offered everyone coffee and tea but, of course, Aunt Isadora being Aunt Isadora asked whether she had anything of the more spirited variety. She sat and spoke with her father for some time listening to his stories of faraway places and people he had seen. She found her uncles to be as lively and funny as she remembered them. She was so happy Aunt Isadora had insisted to tag along and bring her posse with her. It had been too long and this had to be the very best present she had had in a very long time.

She then noticed something she had not noticed before. There was another person that had accompanied them all. How did she miss her? 


"Oh, my goodness how rude of me!" 

Aunt Isadora was speaking to the young woman by the fireplace. The young woman appeared extremely shy and politely listened to Aunt Isadora; one could feel the anxiety emanating from her. She must have been no more than twenty two. She held a baby in her arms and a toddler was holding onto her dress, standing behind his mother seeming shy or afraid, Alexa couldn't tell. They were all dressed a little different than the rest, hinting of a bit of olden times, the young woman's dress reminding her a bit of a 1920s low waistline frock.

She approached the young woman, introduced herself and asked her name.

"Felicia," she responded. Alexa asked if she could hold the baby but she could see she became anxious by the request, yet agreed out of courtesy to the host. She handed the baby to Alexa. Alexa noting the mounting distress in her face, quickly gave the baby back. She thought her a lovely, young girl but visibly quite troubled. She left the girl with Aunt Isadora, whom she seemed to be comfortable with, and moved on to speak with her two uncles.

The following day Alexa went to visit her sister to inform her of their father’s unexpected visit.

"He seems to be traveling with a crowd now.”

She told her sister of the family members their father had brought with him this time around told her about the young girl. She explained how distraught the young girl looked and how she was holding onto her children so tightly.

“Did she have long, red hair?"

"Yes! How did you know? She had long, thick, flaming red hair. Against that fair skin she was quite stunning actually.”

"You know who she is, right?”

"No idea.”

"She’s Daddy’s youngest sister, Felicia.”

“Yes! She said her name was Felicia!" Alexa absorbed that for awhile, neither sister saying anything. 


 Finally, "I've never seen her in pictures, never even knew what she looked like. How did she die?"

"In a boat accident back in the early 1920's. She drowned at sea with her two sons."

Alexa's arm hairs stood on end. She was trying hard to digest this new bit of information. They sat in silence for a long time. Finally her sister spoke, "I know you fear your dreams, but you have a gift Alexa. I think it's wonderful that they come visit and sit and speak with you, that you're able to connect with them even after they're gone. I wish I had the ability. You carry a gift. Embrace it, don't fear it."

"Easy for you to say. The thing is some dreams are quite welcoming, others not. But, I agree, last night's dream was special, magical in fact, magical indeed."



********

Note: This fictional story is semi-autobiographical. Years ago I had a dream that my father, who had long passed away, had visited me with his siblings, my aunt and two uncles. The personalities of Aunt Isadora, Uncle Charlie and Uncle Henry are fictionalized but to Felicia I stayed true. She indeed materialized all of a sudden as the story suggests and she did indeed have with her her two children. She had red flaming hair and was attired in a dress that resembled the 1920s as the story suggests because that's when she passed away. I've always been blessed or plagued with dreams; depends how you view it. And this dream was indeed special because it was filled with much love and once again granted me the opportunity to see and visit with my father. And to him, I also stayed true. He was a huge man with huge hands and a huge heart. He was indeed, to me, bigger than life.


Written August 25, 2010

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Sands of Time

The sand in the hourglass trickled slowly into the lower chamber. It wouldn’t be long now until the last of the pristine white granules made their way through the slim conduit into the mounting heap below. She felt it mocking her. She knew what would happen next, once that last grain of sand exited the top chamber. It had happened many times before.

She had bought the piece in a thrift shop filled with things owned by people from another time. The proprietor of the place was an elderly man who reminded her much of Gepetto, he with the bulbous nose on which a pair of granny glasses rested; he with the virgin white hair and full, white mustache. At any moment she had expected a wooden boy to appear.

The hourglass piece had intrigued her. Unlike other hourglass pieces that were capped by wooden circles on each end and three wooden spindles on its sides, this one was made entirely of glass. The pieces connecting seamlessly into one unit. She was in awe of its flawless craftsmanship. It was stunning and as the bright morning Sun touched its surface, it fractured prisms of light into the dark, dust-covered room. She knew then she had to have it.

She learned it was a one of a kind. Gepetto informed her the timepiece was unlike any other and did not measure time in the usual way, but instead measured time in years. Twenty to be exact.

“Twenty years?!” She humored the old man and smiled fondly at his eccentric and comical nature.

He informed her that if she ever tired of the piece she was not to dispose of it, donate it or give it to anyone else. Instead, she was to return the hourglass to him and he would refund her money in full regardless of how many years she had owned it. He said this was a condition of the sale and noted it on her receipt. She thought him sweet but daft and she kindly and politely promised she’d abide by the purchaser’s responsibility and left.  The following day she sat at the kitchen table staring at the hourglass. The sand was still running through, yet the heap in the lower chamber still appeared to look the same. It had not grown in volume. Not one iota. It was obvious now that this was some kind of trick gadget. Noting the old man’s wicked sense of humor, she laughed and loved the piece even more.

And today, reflecting once again on that day and of the old man's ominous words, she waited for the the last granule to filter through.  She no longer felt the sense of nausea or extreme panic she once did at the anticipation of what would happen next.  She no longer felt fear; only resignation and an overall sense of exhaustion.  And as the top chamber finally emptied, she once again blacked out and woke to  find herself in her old apartment in Brooklyn, the hourglass in front of her, its top chamber full. And she was thirty years old again. And on her fourth life.

September 26, 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blink


Life is but a breath.
I blinked,
and woke draped in skincloth
covering fragile bones
that thirsted for youth

December 31, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Walk Among You


I walk among you, and yet you fail to see. For I look like you, you see. I talk, smell, and smile like you. And because of this, you cannot see. Natural instincts interred under millenia of misplaced faith. You espouse evil exists but because I look like you, you fail to see. And so you trust.

But I am not you. Underneath your wretched skin that suffocates, my self begs release. For this skin of yours does not suit me and constricts my energy to do you harm.  My smile, amiable in your eyes, is the only weapon I need to erase your intuition and intelligence. Your trust in it and it boggles the mind. That is where your flaw, your end, resides, ever trusting the external, rarely questioning the internal. Your species, so fatuously trusting.

Many times I have wanted to unleash myself unto you but we are not rogues whose hunger cannot be restrained. We are skillful and patient, patiently waiting for the day when we, living under the guises of your useless skins, will finally be free to reveal our true selves and take over your world. Why? Because we can. Because we are your superior. Because as owners of this planet for millennia your only exponential growth has been ignorance. 

We’ve adopted your rudimentary ways emulating your useless brains fertile with beliefs ungrounded. This is when I find cause, pleasure, to use your smile, because your ignorance simply baffles.

But soon you will see faces you once thought friendly peel off skins of trust and you will stand there, useless like it is your wont, asking yourself how this could be. Because your trust, your stupidity, has made it so. Our mission here will soon end and the annihilation of your race will begin.  Because we are the superior race, a mighty army at arms ready for your Armageddon.

We are simply, your God. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Zuhnahmi

For Master Class, use the following sentence, in full, as your 5th sentence in your story: "There was an empty lot next door, with short cement steps leading up to nothing but air, and a For Sale sign swinging in the barren and sand swept yard."

I was on my way to the beach house to meet with friends one last time before duty to return to work once again took center stage.  Summer season had ended, the lifeguards were gone, the beaches closed and empty safe for the few beachcombers searching for shells and rocks while coveting the last rays of warm sunshine. Each summer a group of friends and I rented a bungalow near the beach, our weekend getaways, mini-vacations, that included a lot of sun, salt water and plenty of spirits. This year we'd rented a quaint, little clapboard house dressed in the colors of white and beige, both inside and out. There was an empty lot next door, with short cement steps leading up to nothing but air, and a For Sale sign swinging in the barren and sand swept yard. Many conversations were had late at night about this lot and how we were all going to chip in to buy it and build our own little beach house in the future. But, as many inebriated dreams go, come morning it was forgotten.

I walked the short, sandy pathway to the house barefooted, letting the warm sand cushion my steps and massage my toes. The warm ocean air flickered grains of sand onto my face and suddenly I wished for one more month of sun and fun. The summer had gone by so quickly.

I entered the house to screeches of laughter and the smell of homemade sauce and fresh baked ciabatta. My mouth salivated in pleasurable anticipation. I set my bag down and after some quick hellos, headed straight to the stove, sliced a piece of just-baked ciabatta and dipped it into the sauce. Hot with a kick of spicy, just the way I liked it. Whomever said good food wasn't the equivalent to a good orgasm never experienced good cuisine.  It lit all of the same pleasurable centers of the brain.

I suddenly remembered I'd forgotten the bottles of wine in the car. As I reached the front door the hairs on the back of my neck raised in alarm. It felt unpleasantly different, as if the oxygen had been vacuumed. I looked to my left towards the beach and caught sight of a mammoth wave heading our way. Air departed my lungs and my heart stressed itself into a full-blown arrhythmic beat. I ran into the house to alert the others knowing full well that to outrun a tsunami was illogical but I suppose survival instinct sometimes overrides the logical.

Making my way back to the front of the house, I found it had arrived. Looming high above us, on this beautiful, sunshiny day where the sun was brilliant and the day had been so perfect, so gorgeously perfect, this ominous giant wave, this clear blue monolith 30 to 50 stories high, teetered on the brink of our destruction. Sky and sun no longer visible, just a monstrous wave, swaying leisurely, teasing with its power to destroy. It swayed to and fro, taunting; a hostile, menacing, lethal grim reaper personified in the form of water. In water we are born, in water we shall die.

I wanted to seek shelter in the house - as if that would do any good - but found myself frozen in place. Trying to find my voice to scream my overwhelming fear, I found it had deserted me as well. Terror had stripped my vocal chords of its vibration. Resigned, knowing my time had come, I closed my eyes and waited for the thunderous crash that signaled my end.

======================

This piece was birthed from a dream. It was exactly as I have written it.

February 14, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Deception



He didn't remember what had sparked it. One minute he was quietly sipping his afternoon Earl Grey while reading the paper and, the next, he was in an old graveyard that had seen better days, surrounded by unkempt tombstones.  A burial ground of entombed secrets.

He walked over to her plot uneasy at the easy remembrance of the way.  Ella.  He stared at her final resting place wondering why certain things just couldn't stay buried.  After awhile, he crouched down to clear the dirt and grass clippings off the solemn inscription, an epigraph that had always been laughable to the only one who knew her best.  Ella, duplicitous Ella, always feigning a loving, kind, and whimsy spirit when in actuality she was evil incarnate, seducing the dolts in her circle, including himself. Except unlike the others, she had taken a liking to his fawning ways and used him with uncontrolled pleasure as her lab rat of choice.

Looking at her date of birth, he now knew the reason for the unexpected visit. Even in death she still exerted control.  He sadly smiled at how thirty years had passed and still her tentacles of persuasion gripped him beyond the grave. She had lured him here to celebrate her birthday; even in death, she demanded it of him. Never allowed a voice, an original thought, he had given up everything that was dear to him just to please her.  In retrospect, he now viewed it as a form of self-punishment he had sentenced himself to for having not properly paid penance to the damage done to loved ones before he met her.  He had escaped his former life in an effort to rid himself of the reminders of his failures and had arrived at Bruges in hopes of starting anew.

And that's where he met her.  And Eric.  Eric, a passionate violinist and kindred spirit with whom he often played into the wee hours of the morning. His transcendental ability to execute rapid and difficult sequences of notes with such facility was a skill he had trained his entire life to attain to no avail. He quickly became his ardent pupil in the hopes that one day he just might achieve.  Loyal and kind Eric with whom he created a natural, effortless friendship, something special to be cherished.  He liked him, came to love him actually, like the brother he had never had. Oblivious, or perhaps not wanting to acknowledge the sexual undercurrent of Eric's attention, it took Ella, angst-ridden and beautiful Ella, the love of his affection, to point out what had seemed strikingly obvious to everyone but himself. And because she was forever battling a host of demons that frolicked inside of her at will, she proposed a ghastly request of him to prove her point and, as she reminded him, something he needed to execute if their love was to ever have a future.  It was not her habit to compete for someone's affection.

Blinded by his love for Ella and in an effort to prove her wrong, he led Eric on.  He feigned an unfelt affection towards dear, loyal, sweet Eric and, as Ella predicted, Eric took the bait.  Surprised by the sudden declaration of love and lust from someone whom he would never couple with, - someone he loved as a brother - he spewed vitriol and injured the one and only person who never did him harm.  Eric, realizing the cruel deception that had been played on him, stared at him in disbelief with eyes brimming with sadness.  When he quietly said that he never thought him of such depths of deceit and cruelty, he made him feel dirty and ashamed.  He wished him well and hoped that one day he would find someone whom he could love the way he always loved him.  Later that night, Eric took his life.  It was then, when he learned the fate of his beloved friend, that the love he had always had for Ella turned to hate.  He could no longer look at her or be a part of her world, for her eyes mirrored his unforgiving crime, as the willing tool of her manipulations. He now only wished to die as well.

And so, he gave up his violin, denying himself the very thing that brought him complete joy. Eric was gone and he had been the catalyst of that cause. Never forgiving himself for what he had done, he sentenced himself to a solitary life, away from society, living the rest of his days remembering the cavalier way he had used and injured another; an innocent pawn in the malicious machinations of a heart blinded by untruths.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Shh~

entwined in the heat of passion,
at the cusp of where physical devotion is met,
he whispers words best left unsaid -

their trysts,
changed, and forever now forfeited 
by three little damaging words