Too scared to go out into this reality where nothing waits for a lonely soul like mine. If the wind could blow me away and if the rain could make me grow…, but I am too scared to allow it. I am taking what you are offering, but I am too much of a coward to give back. Am I a thief? Stealing your soul and your mind? An emotional vampire who will suck you dry until all that is left is a beautiful vessel? I care about you, but is that a lie? Which are the right moves to make? And if I am too scared to move, what am I waiting for? Should I set you free? I can’t. I can’t let go. If I had a fast car or a plane, I would be with you. Are you hard to find? I can’t find you in this dark and muddled sea. Just say “it’s okay” to ease my broken mind. I am in control, I know it well. Forget me not. Keep waiting!
I woke up with a racing heart and ragged breath. I looked around myself to ground my weary mind. I had that dream again. The dream in which I saw my mother get on the bus and leave me behind. Except, it wasn’t a dream; it was a memory that haunted me since I was a child.
I was a grown-up woman, doing what grown-ups do. I worked forty hours every week – sometimes more. I met friends, went for drinks or dinner with them. Occasionally, I fell in love. More often, I craved the physical connection a body could offer. A physical connection was easy to find, love – not so much.
Someone was stirring next to me, and I couldn’t remember his name. I should have felt uncomfortable, but I didn’t. Waking up next to someone I didn’t know was not uncommon for me. I would not rely on him to distract me from my childhood memories. I didn’t trust him. He didn’t feel like the protection or safety I needed; the nameless man next to me was only another warm body to make me forget the longing and the emptiness that spread through my body like cancer. The older I got, the more cells were infected. “Go back to sleep, honey,” his gravelly voice mumbled. I snorted. Those were the exact same words my mother had said before the doors of the bus closed behind her. Or was it my imagination playing tricks on me?
I pushed the duvet off my body and let my feet connect with the hardwood floor. I needed something real, something that earthed me. Goosebumps rose on my naked skin. I couldn’t say if it was the lingering memory of the reoccurring dream, or if it was the chill from the starry night sneaking in through the opened window. I decided that it didn’t matter.
There were so many little thoughts every day, and most of them didn’t matter. Once in a while, I felt as if I didn’t matter either. My weekdays were filled with responsibilities, work, and duties. There was no room for anything else. My weekends were wasted with alcohol and casual affairs who did not fill the voids I was looking to fill. I didn’t allow my mind to come to terms with old wounds. But the mind and the soul knew that I needed to take better care of myself; hence the dreams.
I was afraid to be abandoned and to be left behind. It was easier to keep everyone at arm’s length and stay distant. It was more comfortable to pretend that I was happy than to lower my masks and show the real me. In truth, I had no idea what happiness felt like. Happiness with a partner. Someone to share my life and my fears with. Once in a while, there had been someone special, but we weren’t in touch a lot anymore. Different live paths had led in different directions. And maybe my expectations were too high? All my life, I had been searching for love, for a person who made me feel safe. Perhaps I was just too blind to see him? What if I was too weak to hold on to the one who mattered most?
I took my phone from the nightstand, and the illuminated display showed the loneliness of my life. A couple of shallow notification that I wasn’t interested in; I pushed them all away with a couple of swipes.
I padded down to the bathroom to relieve my bladder and splash some water in my face, then I took my robe from the hook attached at the door and pulled it around me. I didn’t want to go back to the stranger in my bed, but I didn’t want to wake him up and throw him out in the middle of the night, either. In the living room, I sat down in my favourite chair next to the window. I could see the sparkling dots on the dark firmament.
“Are you there?” I sent a message to the person who meant more than most to me. I didn’t expect a response at this late hour; I just wanted to make sure that he would think of me when he woke up. I was about to put the phone down when it vibrated in my hand. My heart went like mad when I saw his face on the display, but I accepted the call anyway.
“Why are you still up? Bad dream?” He didn’t waste any time with pleasantries; he knew me too well. I nodded my head and added an affirmative sound.
“Are you alone?” I hated that my reply was negative, but I answered truthfully nonetheless.
“Is he asleep?”
“Yes. I am in the living room watching the stars.” I almost whispered.
“Okay.” I heard some rustling as if he was getting out of bed, footsteps followed, and then some more rustling. “I will put you on speakerphone. Just so that you know if the sound is different.” And then I heard the first chords of a piano song I wasn’t familiar with. Like a soothing blanket, it washed over me. There were no words, just music, and it was for my ears only. The sounds alleviated some of the chills from my body, and I grabbed a blanket from the couch to wrap myself in it. I nestled deep in the blanket and yawned. I was tired; it surprised me how much so. I yawned noisily again.
“Sleep tight, baby girl. I will always be there for you.” I smiled. Maybe I had found someone safe, but the thought became frayed as the music faded, and I drifted off to a dreamless sleep again. Maybe tomorrow, I would remember those words, or maybe they became a part of a distant memory too.
Read at your own discretion… This short fiction is about a suicidal person jumping off a roof. Not for the faint of heart.
I am standing on the window ledge. Outside There’s barely space for my feet. They aren’t large. It’s the sneakers which make them appear huge. Is that a stain on my Jeans? Does it make sense that I care? The wind is playing in my hair. I like that. And the wind kisses my face. It’s not cold. Not warm either. Something in between. Pleasant. I should have undressed. I should have thought about experiencing all of this naked. Naked I came into the world and naked I will leave. But I didn’t prepare this. There is no plan. The way my jacket flaps against my chest irks me. I take it off and let it glide down. I watch the black cloth as it floats down down down until it hides the gasping crowd. The people down there on the sidewalk are all looking up at me. Are they seeing me? Do they know who I am or why I am here? Are they seeing tomorrow’s headlines? I hope there aren’t any children. Parents shouldn’t gawk and watch a person jump off a roof with their children. That’s bad parenting. How will they explain to the little ones what they are witnessing when they have no idea what they are looking at?! They don’t know me and my messed up mind.
I look up into the sky. It’s grey. The clouds are moving fast. I always liked the clouds. I liked to watch them and dream myself away. Away from my life. I smile and try to touch the cotton-like clouds. But I can’t quite reach them. And yet…
I feel that I am in control. For the first time in my life. I will end here. My life, my journey – they will end here.
I can hear the wail of sirens. I can’t see them yet, but they are coming for me. Or whatever will be left of me after I landed head first on the concrete. Who are they? Firefighters? Paramedics? The police? Haha, the Police – Sting. Fields of Gold and that version Eva Cassidy sang that always chokes me up. Was her name Cassidy or Cassedy? I will look it up later. Oh right! There will be no later. I will miss Music… was my first love and it will be my last. Music of the fut-SHUT-UP!! Thoughts, shut the fuck up! This is not the time and not the place to distract me.
I check my pockets. I don’t want anything falling out and hurting my audience. Keys. Cellphone. Pen. I crouch down and put them on the ledge next to me. I get up, smile again and braid my hair. I don’t have anything to keep it together, but at least it’s not in my face anymore. I used to love the wind in my hair. Why is it irritating me right now? Maybe I should have shaved my head before coming up here, but… no. I like my hair. And I didn’t plan this. There is no plan. I run my fingers over the thick braid. My mood is shifting. From bubbly to irritated and angry.
My knees are weak. They are shaking, but it’s okay. It’s the height, I am not a fan of heights. Soon, I am going to fly. I wonder how it will feel to be weightless. Carried by the wind. That Lenny Kravitz song comes to my mind I want to get away. I wanna fly away yeah yeah… and I try to push it out of my head. I don’t want it to be my last soundtrack. Maybe ‘asleep’ by the Smiths would be good or ‘I don’t fit’ by Madrugada… I should have made a playlist before coming up here. I feel completely unprepared, and I don’t even have an appropriate song in my head. I should have planned this, but there is no plan.
I shake my head and jump. No more reason to pull off the inevitable. Goodbye, cruel world. I’m leaving you today…
I can fly, and I am screaming in ecstasy. It’s better than I thought. I’m flying without wings. Whoohoo!! I wonder if I shut my door and turned off the music. Did I lock my car and feed the cat? I should have paid my rent yesterday. I forgot. Does it still matter?
Did I call my friends and leave them notes? I didn’t. How will they remember me, and will they be sad? I know, I was rather complicated, but maybe they’ll realize that they miss me and that they loved me. I just hope that they don’t forget me. And I hope they will not talk bad about me. I should have been more approachable.
I hope I don’t make a huge mess. Poor people standing there. Oh, but what if I hit one of them when I touch the ground? Will they die too? Will that make me a murderer. I don’t want to be a murderer. Please, move!
I am hungry. I should have eaten before climbing up the stairs. Chocolate would be nice now. Or a burger. I will miss a couple of things. Pasta… mhmm…
My braid came undone, and my hair covers my face. I am still flying. But I can’t see it.
Wow, this is really happening!
It’s too fast. It’ll be over soon.
Is there life after death. I deserve a second chance.
Please don’t let it hurt
My mind is twisted. I am not sure where the idea for this came from.
This flash fiction is dedicated to Ollie. He asked for a random number between 0 and 9999. I gave him the number 5752 and received a writing prompt in return.
A Little Respect
Mark lowered his head as he pushed through the Saturday night crowd at the city park. Music was booming from the speakers, making sure that everyone was bathed in the electric sounds and showered by the strobe light. Mark made his way to the bar. He was pushed and shoved; sweaty bodies rubbed against him. He was disgusted, but his shy self let it happen with hardly any protest. He reached the bar where orders were yelled above the noise. Mark walk on, to the small space were no patrons were allowed to be. In a locker marked with his name, he put his jacket and took out a black formal vest. He ran a hand over the fabric and smiled. He put it on and did the buttons up. Mark straightened his slouch and squared his shoulders. Whenever he wore the black vest, the usually reserved and shy man turned into a powerful and respected alpha male.
He barked orders at the staff; they had once again forgotten to keep their workspace clean and the fridges stocked. They obeyed his wishes and executed his commands. No one ever tried arguing with Mark.
Mark was a big man, his white shirt was straining over his bulging muscles, and the vest empathised his slim waist. His face was handsome with high cheekbones and an accentuated jaw that was dusted in dark hair. His blue eyes were piercing and cold. He exuded power. No one would have guessed that behind this strong exterior hid an insecure man. Work-Mark was like Private-Mark’s evil twin, and he liked it that way. He loved the power to order people around and to stare patrons down.
The DJ was playing pleasant tunes tonight, and Mark was in a good mood, a little less severe than he usually was. His hips swayed while poured drinks and mixed cocktails with exotic names. A smile here and there earned him some welcome extra money, but paper slips with private phone numbers were sent to the trash cans immediately.
Commotion, not far from Mark’s post, caught his attention. He whistled through his teeth for the security team to solve the problem, but they were no there. Mark jumped across the bar, it impressed the people around, and they watched where he was going with long and sure strides.
On the dance floor, two men were fighting. There had been an altercation; both men had bloody noses, one had a cut above his eyebrow. The shorter man held a cement stone in his hand, ready to use it as a weapon. The men were panting and alert; they were prepared to continue fighting over whatever their quarrel had begun. Mark stood between them, starting them down, spreading his arms in a way that kept the men away from each other. Around them, the party-goers who had danced moments ago were focused on the scene in front of them. Mark whispered an order and waited; the tension was palpable. If the man decided to use that cement stone as a weapon, all hell would break loose, and Mark was determined to keep his shift incident-free. The hand with the stone was lowered, and the other man took a shaky breath, slumping his shoulders. He murmured an apology, which was accepted with a nod. The men glared at each other, then at Mark and left in different directions.
Mark straightened his vest and went back to the bar as if nothing had happened. He grinned and shook his head. He was determined to have a word with the security team later that night. They were supposed to keep an eye on the crowd, and they hadn’t.
Mark’s favourite Erasure song was played, and he got back into his good mood. He ordered his staff around and made sure that no one stayed thirsty in front of his part of the bar. Mark liked this life, he liked the power he had in his job, and he liked his private life too. It all came down to “a little respect.”
Sunday night. The weekend was uneventful, and I am watching reruns of the Gilmore Girls. Half a bag of chips is gone. Half a bottle of wine makes me feel comfortable and warm. There’s a knock at the door. It’s late. Dark. No moon. I wonder if I forgot a date or something, but there is nothing and no one that I remember.
Should I open the door? I’m scared, and my eyes lose focus. Something isn’t right. I was watching TV and mute the volume now. Is it too late to pretend not to be in? Did I make a lot of noise? I pull my legs closer to my chest and forget to breathe. My ears are on high alert, and in my nervousness, I bite at the skin surrounding my thumbnail. Nervous habit. Another knock and a sound is piercing the silence. Like a wail. Was that a human sound? I don’t know. Fuck! I run my hand across my face and try to think of what to do. My mind is blank. I am scared. That much, I know. I am curious, too. Who is at my door at this time of the night, and what is happening? I put my feet on the plush carpet and move in slow motion. The sound of my beating heart is annoying. I can’t hear much else. Can I move the curtain without anyone outside noticing? Maybe if I don’t breathe. My heart races, it almost hurts. My clammy, shaking hands touch the cloth, but they don’t move it. Too risky.
I look at the door. Maybe they are gone by now?
And now, curiosity wins. This is the exact moment in a horror movie where the brainless woman is killed in a surprise attack. Still, I open the door, just a crack. There isn’t anything. Just dark. Relief floods me. I feel the searing heat that kept me on my toes vanish and make room for a reassuring cold. I smile and shake my head, looking at the floor.
There’s a liquid on my doorstep. A puddle of it. But it’s dark, and I can’t see its nature. Did someone release themselves against my door? I scoff. Drunks are everywhere. The entire time I had been hunched over and tense. Now I straighten my back, and relaxed, I turn to close the door. I will make sure to lock myself in. I don’t need this excessive agitation. I push the door, but it doesn’t close. Something is preventing it. And I see what it is. A foot. A heavy boot. I panic and push harder at the wood, but the foot doesn’t budge, and the door doesn’t close. A hard shove, and I fall flat on my ass. A man enters. He’s huge. And while I try to get my feet under my body, he laughs. An evil laugh. Deep. My gaze falls to his hand. Right one. It is covered in a crimson liquid that drips on my floor. Will I be able to get those stains cleaned up again? He is wearing a black coat. Heavy. Appropriate for the fall weather. My eyes continue their journey, and they stop on his face. A scar from left to right. From the left eyebrow to the right corner of his mouth. His lips are twisted into a sneer. I have never been this scared in my life. Specks of red – maybe blood, cover his face. No visible hair, apart from the eyebrows. His eyes are dark pits staring at me.
Wide open. Horrifying. I want to say something. Beg for something, but there is no sound. I am just as mute as the TV. It is still playing. I see the colors and the play of light and dark. The stranger closes the door with the heel of his right foot. The banging noise resonates in the silence. Why do I notice these things? The blood keeps dripping onto my floor. Is it his blood? Whose blood? More importantly, is it really blood? Blood. The world keeps spinning in my head, and the many reasons why one loses blood keep my mind occupied.
There’s no rational thought in me. But I still try to move away from the intruder. My arms and legs are of no use. The more I try to move, the more my limbs refuse to cooperate. And when the man bends down over me, I freeze. I shake my head. I want to say something. Anything. Beg for my life. But someone must have stolen the words right out of my mouth. His sneer is burning itself into my brain. No one will ever find it there. His bloody hand guides my chin to look upwards. His breath doesn’t stink, and his touch isn’t cold. It’s almost gentle. I didn’t see the blade before. But I can feel its metal now. Cold a first, it warms quickly against the skin of my throat. His eyes keep mine hostage. How can someone have empty eyes like this? Ouch. It hurts. I try to take a breath, but no air fills my lungs. There’s a strange smell, and I feel so light. As if I am losing twenty-one grams. He moves closer and kisses my forehead. He whispers something. I can’t understand him. I panic and try to get away from him, but the way he is sitting over me keeps me from moving. I realize that I am being killed. No. No. I don’t want to… Curiosity killed the…
Adrian sat on the stairs in front of his house; a cigarette was dangling between his fingers. Ash was forming at the tip, glowing in the dark. He took a long drag and exhaled a cloud of smoke. He looked back into the empty house. No one was home. No ever was anymore. The situation got to him, isolation. Not so much the social distance, but the physical distance. In the distance, a dog barked, and Adrian looked up.
“I know, buddy. I know,” he sighed and flipped the butt of his cigarette away. Wiping his hands on his thighs, he got up with a grunt. Life was not waiting for anyone. Even less when most people were sitting in front of their screens, waiting for their daily distracting.
Adrian went to the kitchen, took a bottle of beer, and popped the cap with his lighter, and didn’t bother to pick it up. He set up his gear, took off his shirt, and exhaled through his mouth.
He pushed “start broadcast” and smiled. “Hi there… I am Adrian, and I am going to sing some songs for you.” He grabbed his guitar from the couch behind him and began his lifestream—the first one in April.
(My usual posts will continue…)
What a difference two years make. I just shared the letter that was never intended for your eyes. I was miserable and couldn’t understand why you weren’t there. Now I do. Once in a while, when you are unwell or need connection, you get in touch. It used to mean the world to me, my heart wouldn’t stop beating, and I would have a grin on my face that wouldn’t leave me. I tried appearing distant, but I was overeager to please you. And I did it every time. Whenever we spoke on the phone, I was exactly who you wanted me to be, and I knew what to say, which buttons to push.
At one moment in time, it became unimportant to me that I was your personal whore. My mind made you cum, that was all that mattered. It is what made and makes you come back after almost five years. You need me for your pleasure, we both know it. But things have changed. Maybe I changed? I took off my rose-tinted glasses, and I understand that I am the one holding power. What’s the worst you will do when I don’t comply? Not getting in touch? Yes, you tried that, good luck with it, it never worked well for you.
Life is weird and new for all of us these days. And I admit, I was thinking a lot about you, and I wanted to get in touch to know that you are okay. But you know what kept me from sending that message? Simple. It was the knowledge that you don’t want or need a social connection with me. You don’t need the connections of the minds, all you need is for me to help you get off. And it usually doesn’t take more than fifteen minutes for this to happen. I am good with words, we both agreed about that. I am good with you. We never agreed on that.
I am not sure how you are coping right now, you don’t let me any other space in your life than the one I have. You don’t allow me to be anything else. The thing is, I recognise my worth, and I know that there is a lot more about me than satisfying your sexual needs. I could be an almost perfect woman for you. I have my flaws, many of them. But I have a dirty mind, I am intelligent and spiritual. I am creative, and I know when to back off. I am understanding and show empathy. I am kind and generous, and I don’t brag – I am humble. I could teach you this or that.
Why this letter now? You sent your usual message a couple of days ago. I was not there. Oh, I was affected. I couldn’t sleep that night because I had the urge to reply to your message, but I didn’t. I don’t have that much restraint, though, I replied first thing in the morning, hoping that you would be asleep. No such luck, you were there right away. Making me feel wanted, but I didn’t fall for that trap. I don’t know why. I told you that I couldn’t talk to you openly and freely because of people being with me in isolation. It turned you on. To gain time, I told you that I would figure things out and that you should sleep. You obeyed. Good boy! But when you woke up, you sent a dick pic. I replied with something generic, and that was it.
It feels as if I am rejecting you, but I am a coward, I don’t want to close our door completely. If I knew how to make you see me. If I knew how to make you understand that our connection is non-existent and that you make me feel like dirt on your shoes. You know, I can handle many situations and feelings, but I can’t cope with humiliation and rejection or being ignored. They make me feel bad.
I don’t know how to go on, to be honest. I gave you all I had to offer, and you refused it – you even left me with words that ring in my mind every day. It’s a deep wound. Still raw and not completely healed. “Who cares, I don’t. I never did,” you said. In a moment of anger or being overwhelmed or intimidated, but you said it, nonetheless. And fuck me, I never forgot it, and it still hurts. But then you came back and asked for my words. You asked for a contract, and you never tire of mentioning it. To be honest, that contract is shit. It is me giving and you taking. And neither of us signed it. It is invalid.
I want to be there because I care. But I can’t give you what you want. I refuse to do it. For now. It depends if you are insistent or not. I want to be a part of your life, but it will never happen. It’s all good, no bad feelings. Not for now. I am not angry or hurt or anything. Strangely, I am passionate but also resolved. Am I over you? Did I move on?
Disregard the earlier letter, it was just to show how messed up my head was over you.
I wish you all the best dear Stranger, and I thank you. Thank you for shaping me and inspiring me to be the woman I am. Even if you don’t want me as a constant, other people love me.
I know I said that I wouldn’t write anymore. I can’t seem to respect your wishes to stay away. You hurt my feelings again. You know it well. For once, I wanted to share some happiness with you, but you didn’t want to hear it. You preferred to ask me to stay a ghost. “No real-life connection”, those were your words. I am beginning to understand your behaviour better and better. I used to call you a narcissist without fully knowing what it entails. Now I know. And I was right. The signs have been there all along. You even told me. I chose not to hear it. I wanted to save you. I wanted to be special. But I am just me. You were good at manipulating me. And I became an addict for you. You became my drug. And now that you decided that it is over, I am left wanting more. But dear stranger, this time I am aware that more will likely kill me. You know it too. But you don’t care. You never cared about me. Or maybe you did during some weak moments. You never cared about my feeling and emotions because you couldn’t feel anything. And I am angry. Fucking angry. How could you do this to me?! My love for you is killing me. Worse than heroin. Will there ever be a moment when I don’t love you? When my heart doesn’t stop beating when you chose to get in touch? It’s killing me, the way you don’t love me. This letter is written in tears and blood. Please, come save me one last time.
Around midnight, I posted a short story called Alphabet stories – Adam. This is a challenge I gave myself. It doesn’t have anything to do with AtoZ challenge that many are a part of in April. My idea came from a book my sister suggested I’d read. It’s not my cup of tea, but it gave me the inspiration for this. In the book, a man is taking a woman on ABC themed activities each weekend.
As I said, I haven’t read the book, but my idea was to write a short story every day (26 stories) with characters whose names are related to the alphabet. Maybe the stories are weaved into something big, maybe not. I am not sure yet.
The idea came late last night, I wrote, I posted and now I gave a little insight.
A song will follow shortly 🙂
He gave up running. People were trying to find shelter, but Adam walked on as if the heavy rain hadn’t drenched him to the point where he couldn’t be any wetter. His shoes made a squelching sound, and his trousers were pasted against his skin. It was just one of those days. It had started with shampoo in his eyes and coffee spilled on his tie, it went on with a lost case in court and Mandy breaking up via text message. And now, it was raining, no pouring down on him, and he had forgotten his umbrella in the elevator of his office building. Poor Adam. His emotions went on overdrive, and he began grinning. Then he chuckled, which earned him raised eyebrows from people hurrying past him. He didn’t care. It didn’t matter. If they had had a day like him, they wouldn’t be so quick to judge him. Adam broke out in hysterical laughter. He stood on the sidewalk, bent over, grabbing his knees, laughing. He was going mad. People walked around him, desperate to not look at him. And when he regained composure, he brushed tears from his eyes and straightened himself. If his life hadn’t been this sad, it would almost be funny.
Adam kept walking. He had no destination and no goal, but he kept walking. Once in a while, he laughed while he put one foot in front of the other. Step by step, he kept moving. He saw the beauty of the city in the evening. He smelled the rain and the cars and the scents emanating from the restaurants and bars. Adam’s stomach rumbled, but he ignored it. His feet took him to his final destination.
Adam stood on the bridge and look from left to right. He was invisible. The rain had let up; he shivered from the cold that was seeping into his wet clothes. Was there a way to make his life livable? He was a failure. The thought repeated in his mind. Everything he did hurt someone else. He was weak and obsolete, and maybe the world was a better place without him.
Adam put his briefcase against a lamppost and loosened his tie. He noticed the way the city lights were reflected in the river. It was romantic. Yesterday, he would have taken a picture and send it to Mandy, but things were different now. Adam put his cellphone next to the briefcase and began undoing the laces of his shoes. It was decided. He was going to jump and end his miserable existence. Adam stepped over the railing, took a deep breath – and nothing would ever be the same again.