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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 212 (May 5-12). Stories. Topic: Insomnia.

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message 1: by M (new)

M | 11011 comments You have until May 12 to post a story, and May 13-14 we’ll vote for which one we thought was best.

Please post directly into the topic and not a link. Please don’t use a story previously used in this group.

Your story should be between 300 and 3,500 words long.

REMEMBER! A short story is not merely a scene. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

This week’s topic is: Insomnia.

The rules are pretty loose. You could write a story about anything that has to do with the subject. I do not care, but it must relate to the story somehow.

Have fun!

Thank you to Martin for the topic!

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you, M! :)

message 3: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Thanks, Martin, for this wonderful topic! It just so happens I have a story that fits this prompt like a glove! It's called "Plucking Action" and it goes like this:


Dominick Easton, Creepy Massage Therapist
Felicia Kaufman, Nervous Customer

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Felicia’s stress caused her to lose several days of sleep.

SYNOPSIS: Felicia is new in town and wants a chair massage to relieve the stress of moving into her new apartment. She meets Dominick and is immediately creeped out by his “gross” features and “freaky” mannerisms. She does her best to maintain her cool during this massage session.

message 4: by Nadia (new)

Nadia | 690 comments “After Hours”
By Nadia Belisle

I looked at my digital watch for the millionth time, waiting mindlessly, for I knew not what. As the clock flipped to show that another hour had passed, I gave up my game of twiddling my thumbs. I had been up for three days with naught but a few precious moments of respite, I had only a few more hours to wait, but my eyes were getting heavy. Suddenly I heard the sound of a gun firing. I shot up and ran towards the disturbance. Tripping over something in the darkness of the warehouse, I decided that it would be sagacious to slow down and formulate a plan.
I worked as a private investigator. My most resent client, the owner of the warehouse which I was staking out, wanted me to track down a competitor and get rid of him. Okay, so maybe I lied earlier, I’m not a PI, I’m an assassin. But anyways, it just so happened that I tracked the guy to right here, my clients warehouse. The question was why, but, as I had learned early on in the business, shoot first; asks questions later.
I rounded the corner with my gun ready to fire. Nothing. I mean seriously, the room was totally empty. I took a step inside to see what was going on. After making a full perimeter check, I found that there was no other door besides the one which I had entered by.
The door clanged shut behind me, just as a whirled around, I heard the lock click into place. I was stuck.

Rule number one of the assassin trade, never let anyone trick you. I wanted to punch myself, I was such an idiot. When throwing myself at the door proved futile, I resigned myself to this fate. Anyway, at least I was dying in the line of duty, there’s not much else a girl can ask for in life. Or rather death.

By the time my watch read 6am, that if I got out of this alive, I would sleep for the next year. The room was dark and I hated note knowing what was, if there was anything, in there with me. I kept imaging that I heard another persons breath, a one point I even felt hot air on the back of my neck. It was just my imagination, it had to be. A clearly audible crackling noise made itself heard from the other side of the room. I held my breath. It sounded like a radio of some sort. A masculine voice, contorted by the poor quality of the speakers, blared out
“Good morning.” The words were anything but cheery, unfortunately for them, I wasn’t in the best mood either.
“If you don’t let me out of here, I will find a way to come back from the dead and destroy everything that you love, by tearing it into a million pieces!” I yelled, hoping that, whoever my captor was would realize the mistake he had made by trapping me.
“Did you really think that that would work?” he laughed, clearly unperturbed, “Let us cut to the chase. Who do you work for?” I told him, I really had nothing to hide. That is, beside the twelve murder charges. He growled like some sort of animal, “No. Who do you really work for?” Okay, so maybe I knew what this weirdo wanted to know. But there sure as the ground I was standing on, wasn’t any way I was going to tell him.
“Look, buddy,” I made my way towards the source of the noise, “I don’t know what your talking about, and if I am not out of here in five minutes, I going to blow this place to like a popsicle stand. Savvy? “ There was no response. I looked at my watch. My head was pounding from fatigue. Honestly, death was sounding pretty good right now. The minutes lulled by in the fashion that they always do when you wish that they would just speed up. After a seeming eternity; five minutes passed by, according to my watch. I pulled out the bundle of dynamite that I always kept with me. I had enough to blow this entire warehouse to smithereens. With out second thought, I lit the fuse. “I guess I’ll be getting that nice long vacation now.” I said suddenly regretting my decision. This was it the end. I was going to die, and now, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

message 5: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Plucking Action
GENRE: Modern Drama
RATING: PG for mild language and frightening moments

Felicia Kaufman was so tired she couldn’t sleep. It sounded like an oxymoron on the surface, but considering she spent the last three days moving furniture and boxes into her new apartment with very little rest, it made perfect sense. Sometimes she’d lie awake in bed for five hours straight before giving up and making a pot of coffee. Something needed to be done about this.

After a Google search turned up the name of Dominick Easton, Licensed Massage Therapist, Felicia thought this was her gateway to dreamland. She didn’t even bother getting prepped to see him. She still had messy black hair, purple bags under her blue eyes, and loosing clothing that made her look the part of a tired woman.

She was able to drive to the massage clinic no problem, but once she got inside, she saw decorations that made her feel like she did fall asleep, but into a nightmare. One side of the reception area wall was covered in various creepy masks from the child’s putty face from Pink Floyd the Wall to the sheep face warn by WWE’s ultra-freaky cult follower Erick Rowan.

The opposite wall was covered in various music posters of the heavy metal genre from All That Remains’ skull and guns design to Disturbed’s skeleton and ghost picture to the screaming bloody face from Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

This was the exact opposite of what was to be expected from a place that prided itself on relaxing massages. Dominick Easton, the owner of this voodoo-like establishment, was no less creepy than his decorations. He had white puffy horseshoe hair, a long and scraggly beard that measured down to his chest, tall and spiky eyebrows, and hands that were so huge they could rip a phone book in half.

Dominick smiled a friendly, yet unsettling smile at Felicia and said, “Hi there! You must be Miss Kaufman. I’m Dr. Easton and I’ll be performing your massage today. You can call me Dominick if you prefer that over Dr. Easton.”

Felicia was so creeped out that she just stood still while her eyes wandered from decoration to decoration. Dominick snapped his chubby fingers and she was out of her trance instantly. She said, “I’m sorry about that.”

The freakish therapist waved her off and said, “That’s quite alright. Why don’t we come on back to my office so we can get you all fixed up. You look like hell.”

The ironic statement caused Felicia to look around the room and sarcastically say, “You don’t say.”

In spite of the awkward introductions, the two went back to Dominick’s dimly lit office, where Felicia couldn’t see a damn thing except for the candlelight surrounding the massage chair. If she wasn’t freaked out before by what she saw in the waiting room, she was now that the unknown awaited her.

Dominick put a friendly hand on her back and she nearly jumped out of her skin. The massage therapist said, “Those muscles aren’t going to relax themselves.” with a joyful grin.

Felicia slowly made her way over to the massage chair and sat down before burying her frightened visage into the face pillow. Her eyes remained wide open with bloodshot red features as Dominick blew into his hands and rubbed them together. His patient was expecting to be strangled right then and there, or maybe even raped.

But when the massage finally happened, relaxation was all Felicia Kaufman felt. Her shoulders were being squeezed with gentle giant strength and her spine was being rubbed with the tips of Dominick Easton’s thumbs. No massage from a creepy old man could possibly feel this good, right? But Felicia wasn’t fooling anybody. Her eyes went from as big as saucers to feeling like there were little weights holding her lids shut.

The nervous feeling in her stomach subsided as the squeezing proceeded. Dominick worked on her arms, legs, back, neck, and even scratched her head with those yellow nails of his. At this point, it didn’t matter what color his fingernails were as long as they were scratching the tension Felicia kept in her scalp. Waves of pleasure roared throughout her body. And then, she could be heard snoring like a lawnmower.

It must have been hours before she finally woke up, but in any event, it was the best sleep she had ever gotten in the past three days. Felicia woke up and stretched her arms out. She was so relaxed that nothing could put her back into a frightened shock like she was in before.

She stepped over the candles and made her way toward the closed door. When she gingerly got there, she made a mistake that could have possibly cost her all the relaxation she felt. She flicked on the lights and saw even more hideous decorations that couldn’t be seen underneath the dim lights.

On the north wall were three evilly grinning golden masks guarding a large key underneath them. In Mario Brothers 2 lingo, these masks were called Phantos. On the adjacent wall were even more masks, but this time of Pink Floyd putty faces with the two circles for the eyes and one circle for the mouth. And then on the final wall, there was a Five Finger Death Punch poster of their album The Way of the Fist, where a demon with a skeleton face chewing on brass knuckles was staring menacingly into the audience.

With just one flick of the light switch, Felicia Kaufman went from heavenly and peaceful to full on panic attack. Her heart was racing at 200 beats per minute, her flesh was cold and wet, and she was screaming so loudly that if it wasn’t for the locked door, people halfway across the street would have heard her.

Felicia pounded on the door and wrenched at the handle as she screamed, “Let me out of here! Please! Let me out of here! I don’t want to be here anymore! Please! Somebody help me!” She continued pounding the door and even threw an ineffective kick that sent her backwards into the lit candles.

The flames engulfed the massage chair and now Felicia was locked in a room with a blazing inferno ready to consume her to ashes. She could do nothing but huddle on the floor and cry her eyes out. She was completely resigned to her fate as a pile of black dust.

And then the unthinkable happened. Dominick came bursting through the door with a fire extinguisher in hand and blasted the flames in white powder. Within seconds the flame was out and his massage chair was covered in ashes and dust. The massage chair was replaceable, but customers were not.

The creepy massage therapist showed his true colors when he knelt down beside the crying Felicia and rubbed her shoulders to try and calm her down. He said, “I’m so sorry, Miss Kaufman. I’m truly sorry. This has never happened to one of my customers before. No more candles.”

Felicia shot her head up and yelled, “Candles?! Your only problem was candles?! Look around your office! You’ve got disgusting shit mounted on the walls and all you’re worried about is the goddamn candles?!”

Dominick hugged the crying woman tightly and said, “If it means you’ll come back for another massage, I’ll take down the decorations. I only had them up because Halloween is coming up soon. I was going to give out free candy to all of my patients. But seeing as how my office almost burned down…again, I’m sorry Felicia.”

The leaky eyed lady was getting calmer and calmer as the embrace lasted. Since Dominick was starting to get back on a winning streak with his new customer, he said, “I know this won’t mean anything to you right now, but this massage and the next one you come in for will be free of charge.”

Felicia snorted salty liquids up her nose before asking, “Is it really Halloween already? God, I didn’t even notice. I’ve been so stressed out with my new job that I guess I forgot it happened. Everything went by so quickly.”

The warmhearted massage therapist smiled at his patient and said, “That’s why you need a massage.”

The two of them hugged each other until Felicia fell back asleep. By the time she awakened several hours later, she saw that Dominick stayed true to his word and took down his Halloween decorations. Aside from waking up after the massage, this was truly the best sleep she had gotten in the past three days.

message 6: by Nadia (new)

Nadia | 690 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Plucking Action
GENRE: Modern Drama
RATING: PG for mild language and frightening moments

Felicia Kaufman was so tired she couldn’t sleep. It sound..."

That was really good, Garrison. Your imagery was amazing :)

message 7: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Thanks, Nadia! I'm glad you liked it. :)

message 8: by Nadia (new)

Nadia | 690 comments Garrison wrote: "Thanks, Nadia! I'm glad you liked it. :)"

Your welcome. Did you read mine? If so, can you give me any critique? I need all the help that I can get.

message 9: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Yes, I did read yours. I'm not very good at giving critique, but from what I've seen, you have a few grammatical errors to contend with. If you fix those up, you can have a top-notch story in only a few words. :)

message 10: by Nadia (new)

Nadia | 690 comments Garrison wrote: "Yes, I did read yours. I'm not very good at giving critique, but from what I've seen, you have a few grammatical errors to contend with. If you fix those up, you can have a top-notch story in only ..."

Okay. Thankyou!

message 11: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments You're welcome, Nadia. :)

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Nadia, your story is a fun read but I'm not sure if you meant it to be that way. Though you didn't describe what your character is wearing, I imagined her wearing a scarf and high heels :) Like Garrison, I'm not really good at giving feedback, but let me try: Put dialogues in separate paragraphs to avoid confusion and to make it clear who's speaking.

message 13: by Tristin (new)

Tristin Speed (fullthrottle) | 7 comments Sleepless: the story of a scizophrenic insomniac and his best friend.

“no! No! NOOO!!!” I yelled leaping out of bed. Sunlight streamed in through my window blinding my eyes. I groaned audibly, waking up arguing with myself was never a good way to start the day. Now standing on two feet I trudged to the bathroom sniffing my armpits and yawning along the way. My outfit had miracoulously changed since id gone to bed last night. Not that I gave much thought to what I wore. Just lately it had proven to be a good indicator. See I wasn't exactly on good terms with myself lately and that had proven to complicate things in the wee hours after I went to sleep. I wasn't exactly your average seventeen year old male teenager, but then again if I was I wouldn't feel the need to give you this confession now would I? I rifled through my dresser drawer for something mostly clean and threw it on while brushing my teeth. I was in something of a predicament. I was a diagnosed scizophrenic undiagnosed insomniac, those two proved to be a deadly combination. I called the other guy carl for lack of a better name. He was... well... he was a piece of work if you know what I mean- and not the good kind.

“hiya peter!” I slammed my locker door shut just as my friend and fellow closet science geek trotted up to me. He flicked his longish black hair out of his eyes with a swift twitch of his neck and hoisted his backpack up his left shoulder.
“tony. Whats up?” I smiled tightly while setting off for third hour. Tony trotted beside me his shorter legs struggling to keep up with my long strides. He wore his classic AC/DC baggy tee, black cargo pants and skateboarder sneakers though he hadn't been on a board since he'd ripsticked and faceplanted in the concrete outside his driveway.
“gas prices man.” he replied. “you all-right dude?” I shrugged offhandedly.
“i think carls at it again.”
“oh man. Bummer. What this time?” don't let Tony's skateboarder indifference fool you, hes just as geeky as the rest of us. For him his skateboarder apparel and drawling speech is like camo. We closet geeks are famous for our camo, mine is more jockish. Tightly cut brown hair that spikes a little in the front, athletic logo tee-shirt, and nikes.
“not sure yet. Guess ill find out soon enough.” we ducked into miss barkers and took our seats just as the bell rang.
“my place four?” I mouthed turning around in my seat to gesture to tony two rows behind one to the left. He nodded just before I turned back around. We were working on our latest invention. If we didn't kill ourselves this one might just take off. Besides experimenting with old car parts, batteries and other assorted junk, tony and I had made some tiny inventions. Wed used a battery powered electric dora toothbrush and a few other supplies to create a little robot that flew like a helicopter. Wed used electrolicized water to power a golf carts engine. We were working on something that'd actually take US off the ground this time.
“...was a very influential person in the lives of many americans...” I tuned back in to miss barkers speech halfheartedly. History was not my forte.

Three weeks ago the first major outbreak had occurred. The following morning I had awoken reeking of smoke and ash with a pounding headache. The staticy news on my radio alarm clock had reported a house fire on a secluded property. I remembered the place we'd driven by it enough times. It was just off the highway falling apart at the seams, it needed a lighter taken to it if you asked me. The news reported that the authoritys would release more details on the arsonist shortly. It had in fact been started with a chemical. Still that was just a coincidence. But the coincidences kept happening, first it was that, then I woke up bruised and beaten and heard news of an assualt on greene street. An unidentified perpetrator had attacked a group of people supposedly to take their valaubles. He was stopped by one of them. The two got into a nasty battle ending with the perp slinking away he had never been caught. Every morning I dreaded the news coming on. Knowing it would only tell me what id done during the night. I took pills for my insomnia hoping maybe id stay asleep, I took pills for my scizophrenia hoping carl would just stay inside. But when I woke up the next morning covered in another mans blood or ash from a building id burnt down I knew it hadn't worked.

“AFTER YOU YOU BASTARD! DIE ALREADY!” four fifteen sharp found me and tony in my basement screaming at each other with game controllers in our hands. The couch stood forlornly behind us. It was never used once we really got playing one of us would leap off of it in the excitememt of the moment screaming obscenities at our opponent while blasting them with our favorite weapon. Halo three baby. Even the best of us, and by that I mean tony and myself, need a break from inventing.
“ha!” I grinned after blasting tonys character to high heaven and watching him respawn.
“ugh, I swear you switched the controls on this remote.” he grumbled since it was five to zero.
“you tired of getting your ass whooped or you wanna play a different game?” I asked pausing halo and flipping through my stack of assorted brands of video games. Tony sighed flopping down onto the couch.
“eh I dunno, shouldnt we work on the engine a little bit more dude?”
“yeah...” I set down the games and flipped off the tv. “but i'm still mad at it.” I admitted flopping down on the couch boredly.
“hmm,” tony considered he had that lost expression in his eyes he got when doing something complicated in his head. He was muttering indistinguishable phrases under his breath when he suddenly leapt up and raced towards the stairs.
“where are you going?!” I asked in surprise following him through the house and to the garage with no reply.
“problem is, it overheats, explodes, or simply doesn't provide any power at all.” tony was explaining himself mostly to himself I just happened to be intruding on his conversation, and they called ME the scizophrenic. Well scizophrenic by night anyways.
“if we can get the fuse to take the full load of the other battery wed supply more power not only to the engines but the fan, problem is it cant take it. I'm following you tonight.” the last part he threw in just like more of his thinking out loud so when what he'd said registered I looked up in shock.
“”what?” my mouth was half agape, my mind racing.
“i'm rewiring some of the circuitry because the fuse cant take the load...” he explained with a confused expression on his features at having to explain his mutterings to me.
“no no, the part about you following me. You're kidding right?”
“nope. Dude, if you get in trouble again I need to know whats going on. This could solve some serious mysteries we've been wondering about.” he removed the half hearted shell wed installed over the guts of our soon to be masterpiece and bent down over it with his tools. In moments wires were splayed and parts were carefully removed.
“you cant follow me. I don't know what carl is like. the c panel is showing serious signs of overheating do we still have that remote controller from the monster truck? I could use some of the circuitry in that...” I gingerly lifted a fan belt out of the mess and set it aside.
“ill stake out tonight, once carl leaves... ill be ready for him. Dude! Where'd you put the fan blades?! Oh thanks. Sweet this s going to be a-mazing!”

I yawned my jaw cracking loudly. Peter had gone to bed a few hours ago but carl would be up shortly. Dude was about the worst insomniac i'd ever seen. I flipped my camera on record.
“and now I will bravely go where no man has gone before to solve the greatest mystery of all time,” my face was lit up eerily in the light of the flash. I walked backwards towards peters room and pushed the ajar door pen with my foot. Still whispering monologues for the benefit of my soon to be audience. This would get trillions of hits on youtube. Id be signing autographs by tomorrow.
“this is a man known as peter tracer. Looks like a regular high-school senior right?” I panned the camera over to where peters sleeping form haphazardly sprawled across the bed. His mouth was open in a drawling snore so I zoomed in to see the moisture pooling out of his agape mouth onto his pillow. Then I panned back to me.
“guess again,” I hissed ominously. “by day normal teen, by night. da- da-da...” as I made epic noises I panned to him then swiftly did a close up on my face that I hope looked as scary as I intended it to. “they call it carl!” I whisper screamed. “i am currently in uncharted territory. This beast comes out by night and wreaks havoc on the world. Tonight ill be your tour guide as we follow peters insomniac other half into the great unknown. So sit tight, grab your popcorn, and prepare for the scariest night of your life.” I flipped the camera off. No use monologuing for hours while waiting for carl to get his insomniac ass up. I crouched down in the closet and pulled a five hour energy out of my pocket. I'd need caffeine to stay awake. Don't judge me.

I jolted awake sometime later when I heard movement in the bedroom beyond. Peering out through the slanted slats in the closet door I saw peter- or carl I guess. He was hurredly shoving things into a backpack. I wondered how long id been out. After a moment he slung his backpack over his shoulder and slipped out the window. I scrambled to my feet and flipped on my camera again.
“i have just witnessed carl making his great escape. If all goes well this will be posted on youtube by tomorrow... if not... you know whats happened to me...” I affected a somber expression as I ducked out the window.
“i have just a few words to say to all those I love.” I took a deep breath seeing carl disappear around the corner as I continued to film my speech.
“well since there's nobody that fits that description- SCREW YOU SUCKERS!” I panned the camera forward and tried to keep my footsteps as silent as possible as I jogged in the direction carl had disappeared to.
“it seems our quarry is on a mission.” looking through the camras night vision made this whole thing more freaky feeling. I saw carl just ahead he was scaling the side of a brick warehouse. Groaning to myself about how out of shape I was I pressed against the adjoining building to film him undetected.
“oh god, dude im filming spiderman.” I groaned aloud tilting the camera further up just as he topped the wall. I sprinted- or as well as I sprint, which is more of a slow jog around the building looking for another way up.
“bingo baby.” id found a fire escape. A rickety spider-looking metal structure that in other conditions you wouldn't be able to pay me to put my pinky toe on, but with the camera still rolling I couldn't show too much of my scaredy cat side. I looped the camera strap around my neck and paused the recording as I climbed.

message 14: by Tristin (last edited May 08, 2014 10:47AM) (new)

Tristin Speed (fullthrottle) | 7 comments sleepless: part 2
“hey sweetheart.” I smiled as I ducked inside the window.
“couldn't sleep?” rita glanced up at me smiling knowingly.
“neither can you apparently.” I sat down beside her against the cold cement wall of the abandoned shell of a warehouse.
“yeah. But I knew youd be here.” I released a sigh kissing her soft lips tenderly and wrapping an arm around her.
“you do your rounds babe?” she asked twisting a police radio around in her hands.
“ugh, not so much. I figured if I came here first wed do them together.” she was staring at me. Head leaned back brown hair falling away from her face like a curly bouncy veil that was now revealing the show- her forgotten smile and vivid green eyes. In the moonlight they sparkled like pure emeralds sinking to the bottom of the ocean floor.
“get any calls?” I gestured at the radio in her hnds. Wondering what she was thinking.
“not yet. Still waiting.”
“good. That means we have a little time.” I smiled mischievously pressing my lips over hers.

panting I paused a moment to catch my breath. Following carl along the rooftops of buildings wasnt exactly working for me.
“whoo-wee.” I breathed out sharply straightened and swiping the back of my hand against my forehead. “note to self: work out more and get buff.” carl had just ducked inside the top floor window of the next building a few minutes ago. By now we were far from peters home and the neighborhood was swiftly going downhill. This didn't look good for him. I took another deep breath and flipped the camera back on.
“okay guys, after following carl all around high heaven -for those of you just joining us carl is peters insomniac other half- its finally come to the moment of truth. For those of you brave enough to still be with me, this is the moment you've been waiting for.” keeping the camera rolling I gingerly crossed the wooden plank that served as a teetery bridge and hopped onto the next building. Carl had made it look easy swooping into the window. From my vantage point he'd been graceful and in control, for regular non- other half-ey humans though its much more of a trick. Much grunting wheezing and sweating later I was sitting on the window ledge peering inside.

“there's somebody out there.” I hissed straightening. Every muscle suddenly tensed. I saw a figure shakily cross the plank that adjoined the two buildings.
“”what the hell?” rita muttered hurriedly throwing her clothes on. “you got a stalker mark?” she asked as we both darted out of the room and further into the warehouse depths.
“god I hope not. Probably some idiot punk kid thinks hes a news reporter.” I groaned audibly flipping on my flashlight and bouncing the white light off the walls. Though Rita and I frequented this warehouse a lot wed never gone too far into it. Never had much of a reason to. In this part of town you don't want to do more exploring than you have to. This same warehouse could be used by several gangs that neither of us had a desire to run into. I heard the voice of the idiot behind us just as I followed rita into a room. We pressed up against the wall listening as his indistinct voice became clearer.
“... whatever happens next I just want to say thankyou to all my faithful viewers on this death defying journey. Will carl be the mass murdering serial killer? The night stalker? Or just a regular insomniac kid?” he was just beyond our doorway now when his footsteps halted. His voice lowered.
“stay tuned to find out.” I heard the distinct whir of gears as the camera retracted inside itself. Now or never. I leapt out in one swift movement grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and slamming him back against the wall.
“what are you doing here?!” I demanded in a low threatening hiss.

“dude! Dude! I surrender!” I extended my hands outwards. “its okay carl.” behind his leering face I saw a figure approach. And boy was she HOT.
“stop drooling and answer the question bitch.” hot girl ordered staring daggers at me. I gulped.
“um ugh can you repeat the question?” I hated how my voice came out sort of squeaky. Carl released his hold on me and let me drop but still kept a wary eye anticipating my every move.
“what. Are. You. Doing. Here?” Carl ground out. Now four eyes were staring daggers at me as if the death defying situation id been through hadn't been enough o make a man choke.
“I'm here to interview you.” my hand rubbed the back of my neck where the fabric had chafed.
“who sent you?” hot girl demanded.
“he did.” I gestured at Carl who was in fact living up to or theories about him. “well uh I guess his other half.” oh boy I guess I had a lot of explaining to do.

By the time daylight broke and they were still -surprisingly- here their expressions looked just as unconvinced as ever. When id first spit out the truth Carl looked ready to blow my brains to high heaven or maybe that was just my overactive imagination. But once id convinced them to hear me out the story sounded pretty crazy. Nonetheless I showed them the tape, I explained to them about peter, the other dude living in Carl's body who just so happened to be my best and just about only friend. Rita suggested I take a drug or alcohol test, then she suggested I fly a kite off the roof, when that plan didn't take she just wanted answers. She fired questions at me like a cop. Seeing if id slip up. When I didn't and when they were satisfied I couldn't be lying there was no other answer except that I must be telling the truth. That broached the question what to do about it. Carl didn't kill people he saved them. He'd rescued several people out of a burning house few weeks back, he'd helped even more people who were attacked on the streets by gang members, he'd even rescued a kid and a mom out of a car accident crash where the engine exploded minutes after getting them out of it. He was like a superhero. A sleepless superhero. My you-tube video was going to be a hit! My dreams of Signing autographs turned into fantasies of being on talk shows. Maybe even Ellen's. She was freakin awesome! I could only dream of being on the Ellen show.
“so you guys gonna do some cool superhero shit tonight?” I asked excitedly. To my mind I reminded myself of the kid at the candy store. 'Maybe tone down the giddiness a bit buddy?' I reminded myself. mark, as I learned Carl went by shared a look with Rita.
“we were actually waiting for a call when you burst in. lotta nights we do rounds but sometimes we wait to hear news of catastrophes.” mark shrugged.
“you should go home kid.” Rita told me. “if we get a call it could get ugly.” I glanced out the window.
“its nearly morning now.” I told them gesturing at the rising sun. “and I gotta-” I froze. “OH SHIT! I GOTTA GET TO SCHOOL! DUDE! WERE MISSING SCHOOL!”

in the end, sleepless superhero or not, peter was still peter, closet geek and all around goober. Learning the truth didn't change him- it just released a certain weight of his shoulders. The weight of the worry that had accumulated over the weeks thinking he was a serial killer. As the years wore on though mark was gradually lost. We never did see Rita again. Maybe she moved, maybe she was an other half as well. An insomniac living by the moonlight. Whatever the case these days mark and rita have both disappeared lost forever to the night. I never did post the video on you-tube. Maybe somethings are better kept just for yourself or maybe I just didn't think anyone would believe the truth. All that matters is that I knew and id never forget.

-critism and comments welcome

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Here is my submission for the short story topic: Insomnia. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

COUNTING SHEEP by Melissa Andres
Word Count: 410

Three. Four. Five.

She watched the fluffy white sheep jump over the rickety wooden fence and scamper off into the green, green field. The sleeping pills weren't working. Counting sheep was always an option.

They're so fluffy, she thought to herself. Reminds me of the cotton candy we got at the fair last summer. Except the cotton candy was pink.

Six. Seven. Eight.

Pink was Hannah's favorite color. She just had to have a pink dress with a matching pink bow for her dark blonde hair this Easter. She probably had fifty or sixty bows already.

Sixty. Sixty-one. Sixty-two. No, that wasn't right. Where was she again?

She was in bed. Trying to sleep. She heard the slow steady breathing coming from her husband Easton as he slept beside her. Easton could sleep through anything. He always slept through Hannah's crying and midnight feedings when she was a baby.

Nine. Ten. Eleven. Okay, the sheep were back on track.

Danny had broken a piece of his train track that went with his plastic train set. He was obsessed with trains! She had never seen a six-year-old so focused on one particular thing!

Twelve, thirteen, fourteen.

Wow! Fourteen. She couldn't believe that her niece Nora would be fourteen-years-old next week. What in the world could she get her? Teenagers were so into technology these days.

Fifteen. Sixteen. Seventeen.

Oh my goodness! She had completely forgotten that her parents' anniversary was on the seventeenth. How many years had they been married now? Thirty-four or thirty-five?

Thirty-six. Thirty-seven. Thirty-eight. Wait, wait. The numbers were off again.

Hannah was doing so well with learning her numbers. She was going to breeze through kindergarten when the time came.

Time? Time? Propping herself up on one elbow, she squinted at the red numerals on the digital clock across the room. 2:25 a.m. and she was STILL awake.

Pounding the middle of her pillow, she lay her head back down, sighed deeply and began to watch the sheep in her mind's eye once again.

Easton Marshall cinched his robe tightly about his waist and shook his head to remove the cobwebs.

"Not again," he grumbled. Shuffling to the kitchen, he craved the smell and taste of hot coffee yet a different smell assaulted his senses.

"Sharon, what are you doing, honey?" The clock on the microwave stated 3:10 a.m.

"I got so tired of counting those damn sheep! Would you like a lamb chop?"

message 16: by Nadia (new)

Nadia | 690 comments Hi Melissa, I can't stop laughing. I do the same thing when I cannot sleep!

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Haha! I'm so glad you liked it, Nadia! I had dealt with insomnia off and on and I just cannot get my brain to shut off! I think of anything and everything imaginable!! :) It's nuts!

message 18: by Melanie (last edited May 08, 2014 07:36PM) (new)

Melanie (melanienmo) | 34 comments It
By Melanie
605 words
~Critiques Appreciated~

I can feel it watching me. I know that it’s there because I can smell its breath. I can feel its heartbeat. It shakes my bed. I try not to move.

I don’t want it to know that I’m awake. If it knows that I’m awake, I’m sure it will kill me.

I can’t see it though, without rolling over and exposing myself. I don’t think that I could roll over if I tried. I feel like a butterfly, captured and pinned to a board. I feel exposed. Under scrutiny.

I’ve only seen it once. A few days ago. I didn’t shut the closet tight enough. Why didn’t I shut the damn closet?!

At 1:54 in the morning, the creak of the door woke me. It’s only a draft, I thought. But after a moment, I realized that there was no draft. The room was stiflingly hot, so hot that I couldn’t breathe. So hot and muggy that I definitely needed to kick the covers off. So I did. I let my feet dangle off the bed. My skinny white legs looked bright in the dark room. I fell back onto my pillows and was out in seconds.

I woke up to a shooting pain in my right foot. Something had latched on to it. I gasped and yanked it forcefully back on to the bed. When I mustered up the courage, I glanced at the edge of the bed.


I scrambled to the edge, looking for something that would explain what pulled on my leg. Nothing. Just a rumpled black blanket lying there on the floor. I didn’t usually sleep with a blanket, but sometimes my mother lays one over me while I’m sleeping. My left hand stretched out to pick it up. That’s when it lunged out. A prickly hand shot up and grabbed my face. The monster’s teeth looked like needles dripping with blood and its breath smelled like hot rotten meat. It had no eyes, but I could feel it stare into the darkest parts of my mind. My heart flipped and I slapped the side of it with my hand to get free. I felt a chunk of blonde hair get ripped from my scalp and I tried to scream. No sound came out. While it was distracted, I quickly gathered the blankets around me and formed an impenetrable barrier around myself, breathing heavy and crying hard. I could feel its presence then just on the outer ring of my force field.

Who am I supposed to tell this to? I fear that they will tell me that It’s just a nightmare. Only I will know that It is not.

Now, I sleep at school.
During playtime I sneak away to the washroom and get a nap in. My teachers have called my parents a few times, chastising me for sleeping during math class. But I’m far less afraid of an after-school penalty hall than the monster in my closet. So, I continue to sleep at school. And I pretend to sleep at home.

Because if it knows that I’m awake, I’m sure it will kill me.

And if I scream, that will bring my parents in here. That’s what it wants, I’m positive. It wants my parents because they are grown and meaty and seasoned with age. I’m sure that it doesn’t get to eat grown people very often. The thought of watching them be butchered in front of me makes my blood turn to poison.

I will not let that happen.

I will not let it know that I’m awake.

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Yay martin!

message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Garrison, you surprised me with your story! I like your descriptions and pacing :)

message 21: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Thanks, Leslie! That's sweet of you! :)

message 22: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments I just now noticed something. I have a character this week named Dominick Easton and Melissa has one named Easton Marshall. I love it when these coincidences happen! ^_^

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh my goodness! I am so sorry, Garrison!! I have been trying to read the poems/stories posted right before I vote and I had not read yours before I wrote and posted mine! I hope you didn't think that I "stole" your name! Not my intention at all! It was sheer coincidence for sure! I was just trying to think of a different and more original name. Let's just say that great minds think alike! Maybe I should start reading others stories BEFORE I write my own! Haha!

message 24: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments It's quite alright, Melissa. Like I said, I love it when these coincidences happen. :)

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Haha! It's a small world when two writers select the same name! Thanks for being so cool! :-)

message 26: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments You're welcome. :)

message 27: by Rachel (last edited May 11, 2014 05:35AM) (new)

Rachel Heinen | 134 comments Title: Becoming Safe
Word Count: 3172

Sometimes life just sucks. Most people just grit their teeth and push through. They keep all their emotions in and only tell people close to them. That’s what I do. Some people, though, feel the need to tell the world when their lives sucks. Some of them hit a wall or scream in a pillow. The real bad ones are the ones that hurt whoevers nearest. You don’t even have to do anything or say anything. They will hurt you regardless of what you say. Sometimes what they do is small and other times it’s big. Regardless of size it almost always hurts.

I have a brother, Kal. Most of the time Kal is nice and well-tempered. Sometimes, he decides I did something wrong or said something he didn’t like. I don’t know if you would call it abuse. All I know is it hurts and usually leaves a mark. When he doesn’t leave a mark, he yells enough that I have a permanent, emotional scar.

I remember the first time it happened. It was seven years ago. I was seven and Kal was nine. He was supposed to me babysitting me, but he became distracted by his video games. I wanted to give my dolls a bath, so I went upstairs to get a bowl. I got down my moms favorite bowl and I filled it to the top with water. The bowl was too heavy with all the water. I spilled some water as I walked. It got all over my hands. The bowl slipped right out of my hands and crashed on to the floor. Kal heard the crash and ran to see what happened. His face was red with anger when he found me. He screamed at me and then he grabbed a piece bowl. He cut my arm with it. Blood gushed from the wound. I looked up at Kal and he was weirdly calm as he stared at my bleeding arm. He calmly helped me wash the wound and clean the glass up. He, then, told me to tell mom that I slipped on the water and cut my arm on the glass. I did what he told me to do. Kal was praised at how well he handled the situation and I was grounded for using the bowl. I still have scar from the cut and I will always remember Kal’s face.

Now, I just try to keep Kal happy. If he’s happy he won’t hurt me. Sometimes keeping him happy is like trying to walk on eggshells without making a noise. Whenever I fail the task I get a new scar to add to my collection. In summer I almost always wear long sleeves. I have convinced all my friends that I don’t like swimming. It’s hard to live with Kal, but in the end of the day I know he doesn’t want to hurt me. He just can’t always control his emotions. Lately I feel like he’s been hitting me for no reason at all. I haven’t wore short sleeves in six months.

That is why when I get dressed, this morning, I pull on long sleeves and long pants. It’s supposed to be eighty degrees today. I ride to school with Kal. He’s in a bad mood this morning. I try to stay quiet on the ride, but apparently my silence annoys him. When we get to school he grabs my arm before I can escape the car. He grips it in a iron hold. I can tell this isn’t going to be a nice conversation.

“Kal, pleases, not here.” I beg, looking around desperately for some reason he can’t do it. The parking lot is deserted though. No one to rescue me.

Kal pulls out a lighter and yanks my sleeve up. He’s still gripping my arm painfully hard. He flicks the lighter on. The light is a pleasant yellow. He moves my arm over the light. Tears start falling from my eyes. I try to keep them silent as he runs the lighter all over my skin. Eventually the pain becomes too much and a whimper escapes my lips. He stops realizing how bad it’s hurting me. I hurtle out of the car and grab my backpack.

“I’m sorry, Axella.” Kal whispers seconds before I slam the door and run to the school bathroom.

When I get to the bathroom I wash my burns. They burn like no other. The skin didn’t break. That’s good, I think. I splash some cold water on my face. I hope I don’t look like I’ve been crying. I run all the way to class and make it to my seat, next to my best friend, Bryant, right before the bell rings.

“Hey, Axella.” he says cheerfully.

“Hey, Bry.” I reply impassively.

“Are you okay?” he asks. Bryant knows me so well.

“Fine.” I lie.

“How dare you lie to me. What happened?”

“It’s nothing.”

“There you go, lying again.”

“Bryant.” I say. Using his full name may as well be illegal to him.

“Fine. I’ll be quiet.” he says.

The rest of the school day is a blur. I can’t seem to concentrate on any of my classes. All I can think of is Kal. He didn’t even have a reason to hurt me this morning. Usually, he at least has a reason.

Bry spends the day trying to cheer me up. I’m so distant all day that Bry eventually gives up. After school I remember I forgot to turn my english paper in. Mr. Swindle will be so mad if I don’t do it. I also remember that if I’m not at the car right after school, Kal gets very mad. I decide that my english grade is more important than my well being. I run all the way to the car after I turn my paper in. It doesn’t matter though, because I’m still late.

“What took so long?” he asks in an eerily calm voice.

“I had to turn a paper in to Mr. Swindle.” I reply.

“You couldn’t hurry? You know I like to leave school before the onslaught of cars. Now we have to wait.”

“I’m sorry, Kal.”

“You’re sorry.” he says and pulls out the lighter again. “Well, since we have to wait.”

“Not again.” I whisper disbelievingly.

“It’s your own fault, Axella.” he says and grabs my arm.

He does the same thing he did this morning. Except this time he doesn’t stop when I whimper. He keeps going and he smiles. I rip my arm away and I jump out of the car.

“I’ll find another ride home!” I yell as I run back into the school. I run to the bathroom and catch my breath before I call Bryant.

“Hey, Bry. Can I have a ride home?” I ask into the cell phone.

“What about Kal?” he asks.

“He left me, because I took too long.” I say

“Okay. I’ll be in the front of the school in five minutes.” he says and hangs up before I can reply.

I take my five minutes to wash my face and gather my wits. If I get into that car, Bry is going to know something is up. I’m going to have to be fine to fool him. After I feel a little better I walk to the front of the school. Bry is already waiting for me.

“Hey.” he says as I jump into his car.

“Hey.” I say turning to look out the window. I can’t let Bry see my face. He will know if he sees me.

“Are you okay?” he asks.

“Fine.” I lie, again.

“You’ve been lying to me all day.” he says.

“It’s nothing, Bry.”

“Look at me, Axella.” he commands. I can feel his pleading eyes without looking. I give into his command. I look right at him.

“You’ve been crying.” he states.

“No, I haven’t.” I say trying to look away from him. He grabs my chin so I have to look into his eyes.

“Why do you keep lying? It’s me, Axella. I’m your best friend. What would be so bad that you can’t even tell me?”

“I have to, Bry. I’m sorry.”

“Show me your arms.”


“I don’t know much, but I do know that where depressed people hurt themselves, most of the time.”

“I’m not depressed.”

“Then you shouldn’t have problem showing me.” he says and grabs my arm. He’s so gentle as he pulls up my sleeve. He gasp at my old scars and fresh injuries.

“What happened” he says as he runs his hand over my injuries.

“Kal happened.” I say and then I tell him everything. It feels so good to let go of the story. He hugs me as cry.

“Axella, you’ve got to tell someone.” he says into my ear as I cry.

I pull away from. “Bry, I can’t tell anyone. He’s my brother. I can’t betray him.”

“Axella, he beats you. He betrays you everyday. You can betray him. He needs help.”

“Bry, please, don’t tell anyone.” I beg.

“I can’t let you stay with him. He could hurt you worse. I’ve got to tell.”

“No, Bry, please. It will kill my parents to find out about this. I can’t hurt them like this. Kal’s moving out in like two months. I can survive until then.” I sob.

“Fine, but I’m driving you to school from now on.” he says with a pained look on his face.

“Thank you.” I cry.

Bryant drives me home and gives me a big hug before he lets me out of the car.

“Stay safe.” he whispers into my ear.

“I’ll try.” I whisper back.

I walk into the house and I immediately know that staying is going to be impossible. As soon as I walk into the house Kal is on me.

“You inconsiderate little girl! First you make me wait for you after school and then you run away without taking my ride! You are so ungrateful and stupid!” he screams at me.

“I’m sorry, Kal-” I start.

“I’m sorry Kal” he imitates, “That’s all I ever hear from you. You want to know what I think. You like making me mad. Don’t you? You’re testing me. I don’t care if I fail this test. I/m going to teach you a well-deserved lesson.”

At that he punches me in the stomach. The air is knocked right out of me. I can’t breathe. He punches me again. I collapse on to the floor. Tears fall from my eyes and onto the carpet. He keeps kicking me up and down my spine. Then it stops. I think that Kal has stopped. All of sudden there’s another kick. This one is to my head. Pain erupts all over me. It envelops me until I sink into a world of blackness.

When I wake up I’m laying on a hospital bed. Tubes are sticking out of me uncomfortably. I resist the urge to rip them out. Kal is outside the room talking to mom and dad. The doctor comes in.

“Hey, sweety. How are you doing?” he asks.

“Fine. Can I leave?” I say while sitting up.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to stay here all night. We have to make sure that head of yours is all right.”

I sigh and lean back into the bed. The doctor leaves and my family comes in. All of them have a fake smile plastered on their faces.

“Hi, babe. How are you doing?” my mom asks.

“I’m fine. I’d be better if I could leave.” I tell her.

“Oh, sweetheart. It could be worse. If Kal hadn’t have found you there on the floor, you could be dead. You should be happy to have such an awesome, big brother.” she says.

“That’s me, so lucky.” I say sarcastically. The sarcasm is lost on my family. Kal gives me a smug look.

“There are some officers outside. They want to help find who did this. Is it okay if they come in?” my dad asks me.

“Yeah, dad, send them in.”

My dad leaves and comes back accompanied by two officers. Both of them are male. One has blonde hair. His name tag says F. Gordon. The other has dark brown. His name tag says A. Walker.

“Excuse me, Kal, Mr. and Mrs. Charles, but my partner and I would like to talk to Axella alone.” Gordon says.

My dad looks ready to argue, but I stop him.

“It’s okay, dad. Go.”

My family leaves me and I can breathe again.

“Okay, Axella. Can you tell us who attacked you?” Gordon asks.

“No.” I say blatantly. Gordon and Walker exchange a glance.

“Look, Axella. There is evidence that this wasn’t a one time thing. Are you being abused?” Walker asks.

“I’m not being abused.”

“That’s what the evidence points to.” Gordon argues.

“Well, the evidence is wrong.” I insist.

“Hold out your arms for me.” Walker commands.


“Please.” Walker continues.

I comply. I feel so bare without something to cover them up.

“Some is hurting you. He burnt you. He cut you. And he hit you.” Walker points to injury as he speaks, “Regardless of what he’s doing, you protect him. He left you beaten on the floor for you brother to find. You’ve got to tell us who he is . We just want to help you, Axella. Help up, help you.”

“I can’t tell you.”

“Why?” Gordon asks.

“It will hurt my parents, if I tell you. He can hurt me, but he will not hurt them.”

“If you tell me who it is, we can protect your family.” Gordon says.

“You can’t guard against emotional scarring. The knowledge of who is doing this will scar them forever.”

message 28: by Rachel (last edited May 10, 2014 04:34PM) (new)

Rachel Heinen | 134 comments Becoming Safe (continued)

“They wouldn’t want you to be taking the blow for them.” Gordon says.

“Well, it’s not their choice is it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go take a walk.” I precede to rip out all of the tubes. That sets of a chorus of alarms. I run out the door. My family tries to stop me, but I keep going until I’m safely outside. I pull out my phone and call Bry. He answers on the first ring.

“Where are you, Axella?” he answers the phone.

“I’m at St. Anne’s Hospital.” I reply.

“I’m coming.” he hangs up.

I see him pull into the parking lot fifteen minutes later. He runs to me and hugs me.

“What happened?” he asks.

“Kal was about what happened after school. When I got home he taught me a lesson.”

“This is all my fault. I never should’ve let you go back there alone.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“It is. Has Kal done anything since you’ve been here?”

“No, he wouldn’t risk it while mom and dad are around. Not to mention the cops.”

“Good, cops. Did they talk to you?”

“Yeah, but I didn’t tell them anything. They know I’ve been abused.”

“If Kal does one more thing, I’m telling.”


All of a sudden Gordon and Walker walk up.

“Care to introduce us, Axella.” Gordon asks.

“Gordon, Walker, this is my best friend, Bryant.” I reply reluctantly.

“Hi, Bryant.” Gordon says, “You better go back inside, Axella. Your parents are going to completely go insane.”

“Fine. Come on, Bry.” I start to walk back inside.

“Actually, I was thinking Bryant might want to go on a walk with us. We have a few questions to ask you.” Gordon says. Walker puts his arm around Bryant and walks him in the opposite direction.

“Bye, Axella. We’ll be in touch.” Gordon says.

I go back in the hospital. I tell my family I’m tired and they should go home. They reluctantly leave. That night I don’t sleep. It’s like I have a random case of insomnia. I lay in the uncomfortable bed and worry about everything. What if Bry told the police? What if Kal doesn’t leave for college? What if? What if? What if?

In the morning I leave the hospital and convince my parents to take me to school. They grudgingly let me. The day of school is perfectly normal. Just what I need, normalcy. The normalcy is broken when my phone buzzes during last hour. It’s a message from Kal.

-Meet me in the computer lab after school.


I reply.

“Do you need a ride home?” Bryant asks me.

“I have to me Kal in the computer lab, so probably not.”

“I’ll come with you and then I can give you a ride home.”

“Okay, but wait outside.”

“Fine. I’ll wait right here.” he says standing next to the door.

I walk in. Kal is waiting for me.

“Axella. Did you tell the police?” he says creepily.

“No, of course not, Kal”

“Liar!” he screams. I jump.

“You are a little liar and without you there will be no witnesses.” He says smiling. Then he pulls out a knife.

“Kal, I’m your sister. You don’t want to do this.” I beg

“Oh, I do. You’ve been a pain in my ass since you were born. It will be a relief when you are gone. I will finally be free.” he says still smiling.

“No!” I scream. “You will not do this.”

He attacks me. I dodge and the knife hits my arm.

“Help!” I scream.

He me in a choke hole. All of sudden the door swings open and Gordon and Walker run in guns blazing.

“Let go of Axella, Kal.” Gordon says sternly.

“No. This is the answers” Kal insists and then he starts cutting my neck.

Then the gun goes off. The pressure to my neck disappears. There is a loud thump behind me. I turn to see Kal on the floor. Blood is seeping out of his head.

“Kal! Kal! No, no, no! You can’t be dead! I endured you for seven years! You were supposed to grow up and get better!” I scream and sob. Gordon grabs my arms and pulls me out of the room. I collapse onto the floor in the hallway.

All of sudden, Bryant is next to me. He hugs me. I feel lighter. Bryant helps me stand and he walks me to the ambulance. He holds my hand while they clean me up. I can’t sleep that night. Bryant stays with me. Bryant how Gordon and Walker found me.

“I called them, Axella. As soon as you went into that room I knew something was wrong. They gave me their number yesterday. I called them as soon as you went in. I’m sorry.” he tells me.

“Why are you sorry, Bry? You saved my life. I could never be mad about that.”

“Axella, I think I love you. I’ve loved you a long time, now that I think about it.” Bryant says to me.

“I think I love you, too, Bryant.”

Bryant kisses me and for once in my life I feel completely safe.

message 29: by [deleted user] (last edited May 19, 2014 07:43PM) (new)

© My Insomnia
I throw my cigarette from the balcony to the macadam in the empty lot beside the apartment complex; the refulgent sparks are like gung ho children, interjecting in slews, defying the wind's sleight of hand - a pitter patter toward the play ground of cars, and fences, and pine trees - the sparks twaddle unbroken in the same direction - oblivious to the smoke I have inhaled - the me who sent them - the blooming plumes I have exhaled, waved away. The staggered vision of one who has strained too many Mexican margaritas on a Saturday - alone.
Mass in the morning. We will eventually sip a tribute to Bull's blood, offered up by madam Mithra some time ago, and eat a cake like some white sea shell with little birds inside I saw on a table at June's house that will make us feel either big or small. Our host - whose Latin name "host" means victim - is a piece of cracker - the line to the priest hosts - who are like Welsh rabbits - at the end of a line - the holding pattern – walking the line is like a dark fall down a rabbit hole; it's our sublime holism.
The womb of mother, or "Matrix" is gnostic. The word matrix in the dictionary has an entry as large as my priests’ Hosts. Theirs is larger than ours. Mother Mary is not toxic like the maze of a week - Sunday to Sunday, another dark line to Sunday, but like the definition of Matrix related to geology, the week is like a rock - with a crystal - my Sunday - my pebble, or my fossil, enclosed in it.
The host; Monday’s security blanket; I am preempted to account for the swallow of Bull shit – my father’s quip – from yesterday’s feast – to the God inside who concurrently - asks me to abide in such rituals. I tell Him the week is a seed case and Sunday I get to indulge in rituals that are not inhibited by alcohol and nicotine. The insomnia I suffer I gurgle in the box on Saturday’s; maybe the devil is keeping me up after all. I gush my sins; I tell all. I recover momentarily when the priest conveys his all forgiving Love, and reminds me that Jesus was the renegade who renounced all shame, and sin. I am hopeful that after mass, or after Monday – I will live a life of repaired of the dictum of It – that makes me want to know the Father.
Tuesdays are a bother. A few more days until my swell; Tuesday is like the Islam axom that forbids women and men from approaching a shrine. The moslems say black dogs rid households of evil; I dreamt recently that my cousin’s black lab lay dead on the corner of a bar I visited when she and I stopped talking. The shadows started occurring after that. But Tuesdays, there’s a whole few days I can get away with – pouring Scotch down my throat – tacking my hands in the “I don’t know” position, that can also be seen as Father’s receiving gestures.
Wednesdays are a dreamworld. I do not sleep at all anymore, so I read to get away. When I was a child, one Wednesday I remember, the madhouse classroom was a seller’s market – goods like knowledge was scarce among the colors and shapes of people’s faces – and the sounds of people’s voices; the stock was in the sea of desks, the school of fish, the waves of the moment. The price of paying attention to what was happening on the board was high. I would have to be a dolphin and leap over all that mattered; those being configurations and noises. I did not feel like a dolphin. I felt like a sculpture, a statue, like the contemporary ones in Grenada, under sea; I weighed 15 tons and could only move to ridge my front teeth together. The pain had no boundary. My will was the only thing keeping me from gnashing my teeth into particles. And the fear kept me doing it.
Thursdays are thanksgivings. The week almost over, I can prepare for repentance. In the third grade, on a Thursday, Heather my friend told me that babies were born from people’s noses and ears. Later that year, on Easter, I learned that the Lily sent God’s semen through Gabriel’s hand into Mary’s ear, and produced Jesus.
(Thursday has been omitted because of content.)
This Friday I pulled the word Freyja from my angel deck cards, and went outside to look at an overglazed moon that shown like Freyia’s skin – within reach of the hand’s of men for decades. I have been thinking of getting a tattoo; a lycenean lynx; or my own face with a red bandana over my head. I do not want to sleep with people anymore. I would have been a nun, but the Sister Gerandine told me that women with debt could not become sisters. I wrote the sister back with a quote from a Nabakov poem: “Dove droppings on your monument” then. Friday I sit with my bible, smoke cigarettes, and dream of sleep. The old Christian monks did not like Friday because the day was inclined to promote female divinity, and therefore deemed unlucky. I was born on Friday the 13th, - a sacred day and a sacred number – still is in France and Italy.
I am happy to wash clothes today, Saturday, before I go to confession. I have started noticing saliva dripping from the corners of my mouth, and I am incontinent a little in the morning. I can wash clothes though and keep a clean house. My mad plight to disappear into the hands of God on Sunday makes me want the Bull to drive straight at me. I want to hear Gold, and I have. I want to see angels, and I have. I want to learn Greek, and stay in love with God. God is magic, both dark and bright. There are no boundaries to access pleasure and pain. Tonight the sparks fly like rushed children who want to take in everything. The sparks stammer. The sparks halt. The sparks say something is amiss. Maybe I should quit smoking, and thrust mistletoe at my addictions like Hod, the Norse God who killed a savior – young and bold. Hocus Pocus used to be a phrase in latin: Hoc est corpus meum, and means “this is my body.” I am told to see Magic. But the black dog is dead. So I pray for deliverance from everything unsacred. The savior - is ourselves. Save me from ignorance; save me from stealth; save me from intolerance. I will quit smoking tomorrow, and burn like candles and incense at church. There is a holy ghost there, and the white dove is - not a victim hopefully, but a wheel of fortune. Flying in circles around our hurt.~:)

message 30: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Heinen | 134 comments Claire wrote: "Rachel,

I found several typos, but not many. I was a little confused about how old the characters were. At the beginning of the story, Axella was 7 and Kal was 9. As the plot progressed, I figu..."

At the beginning she talks about the first time he abused her and she is seven. Kal is nine. During the main part of story they are both teenagers. Sorry about the typos. I reread it and try to find them.

message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Claire wrote: "Cat,

You have an exquisite use of imagery and description. I liked your use of metaphors.

However, my question is, where is the climax? Something big should happen. Maybe God could get angry a..."

:) Thank you for your notes~Claire. This is just the first edit, and let me tell you: I have read very little about writing fiction. Good reads is a good place to practice though - and start things. Thanks again for your words!

message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Claire wrote: "No problem. :-) Fiction writing can be an odd ball of wax at times. I haven't written many fiction stories either, but I believe short stories are a great place to start before really diving int..."
ooooh~ So happy to go here. :) Thanks again~...

message 33: by Nadia (new)

Nadia | 690 comments Thanks, Robyn!

message 34: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Thanks, Robyn! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

message 35: by Gerardo (last edited May 12, 2014 10:47PM) (new)

Gerardo | 222 comments Here is a little something I wrote last minute. If you choose to read, constructive critiques are welcome.

"Mr. Midnight"

The clock strikes 10:00. Outside my home, rain is falling, hail too. The wind is screaming and scratching at the windows. I busy myself with a book and some hot coffee. I occupy my mind with the words of Ray Bradbury. He brings me happiness, youthful joy and a feeling of comfort. It is all I can do when before Mr. Midnight comes knocking at my door.

Mr. Midnight is not a friend. Mr. Midnight is emptiness. He can create fire out of water, a blade from a flower; he is a sorcerer of the worst kind. When the smell of fear is thick, Mr. Midnight will arrive. When loneliness and sadness are present, so is he. He will show up during the day when the mood is right, and he will leave behind his scars. He never waits for an invite and asks for no goodbyes. Mr. Midnight is not a friend.

My reading has been sparse. The coffee calms me for a short spell before my hands begin to shake and my throat reaches out for something more. My head is throbbing and my legs begin to feel weak. I take a few deep breaths and close my eyes seeking meditation. In the darkness of my vision, I can read the words that he has written in my brain. I can smell his presence. It is a dreary and addicting smell. I fight and break my concentration. The clock has reached 11:00, and I sense that Mr. Midnight is looking to arrive early.

He did not always come for me. I remember that there were years of my childhood that I did not know him. In my youth, I was athletic and powerful, and focused on attaining my goals. Mr. Midnight came some time in my early college career. He was not as vicious then, but more playful and friendly. He was more friend than foe. That changed.

My first marriage brought upon more responsibility. More focus on life, career, and happiness. Mr. Midnight was not seen for the first years of my wedded bliss. He was scarce and sought out others. My writing career had been steady and successful. During the late hours of work at my typewriter, Mr. Midnight began to make his presence known again.

His form was never the same. He could be a soothing smell or a sad movie; a memorable song or a happy occasion. He could be the hot beam of sunlight on a summer day in Milwaukee, or the dark solitude of the Wisconsin winter. Mr. Midnight had no preference, he would do what it took to engulf me and make me his own. It was the winter of 2001 when he began to win the late evening battles.

My books had sold, and I was working on a new collection of short stories. Mr. Midnight helped at first, but soon, I began to learn that Mr. Midnight’s motives were selfish. He had no remorse if I missed a night’s writing. He drained me of ideas and motivation. Each night I began work only to lose a battle to him and my skill was dying.

My wife left me later that year. My publisher dropped the book and me. Mr. Midnight still came when he wanted. Sometimes I let him in, but if I refused, he would force his way in. He would bring me gifts. He would bring me pride and cheeriness for a short period. But he would leave behind nothing but despair and destruction.

The clock is nearing 11:45 and I feel that he is within reach. I pour myself another mug of coffee. It tastes of good memories and joyful banter. Its smooth, almost too smooth. I take another sip. The warm liquid cascades down my throat and soothes my loneliness. It slows the twitching of my hands, stops the throbbing of my head, and my knees begin to regain their strength. I drink more coffee and watch the rain dissipate. Perhaps, Mr. Midnight won’t be coming tonight. Perhaps, I won’t lose any sleep. The coffee sits warmly in my hand and I strut around my apartment. I feel a need to busy myself, socialize with others and smoke a few cigarettes. I never smoke, only when I…drink. The mug of coffee is empty. It stinks of bourbon and Mr. Midnight. He arrived earlier than anticipated.

I open my eyes and see that the rain has returned. The clock reads noon. Mr. Midnight is gone. My front door is ripped from the hinges. Pictures and glasses are shattered and strewn about the room. I feel pain in my head again. My mouth tastes of smoke. My clothes are soaked with sweat, or, possibly urine. A bottle of Knob Creek lays, empty and defeated, next to my blood covered arm. My wallet is empty and my face is throbbing. I look in the mirror and see a deep scratch around my neck; a sting in my back indicates scarring as well. A swell is forming around my right eye and I notice a chip in my tooth.

My car sits unlocked and the driver’s side door is open. I'm missing my keys. A wretched stench of vomit emanates from the car. Thick, pink and red clumps of stomach waste lay against the car seat, steering wheel, and on the windows. I can’t recall where I drove. I shake my head in shame and let out a desperate chuckle. Mr. Midnight always wins.

message 36: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (melanienmo) | 34 comments Robyn wrote: "Just got an idea and whipped something out - hope it's not too painful to read...."

Robyn, there's no need to change your piece because of what I'm about to say. I hate when people pressure me to change my actualy story. Keep in mind this is really just a statement of my opinion, not of any flaw in your writing or anything:
I really enjoyed the idea of the mc being forced to be alone while everyone around him/her was sleeping. I really loved your story up until the end, when the Martians came into play. It took the genre of the story (for me, anyway) from being sort of a horror/survival story and made it a bit more... silly? That's not the right word, but I think that you can understand what I mean. Maybe the alien language was too much for me. Seriously though, great story, especially for just being thrown together like you said.

message 37: by Gerardo (new)

Gerardo | 222 comments Garrison - Very good description and a nice rise in suspense. I feel the ending was slightly abrupt and some trimming of words could be done. You write that he was "no less creepy" at one point. I think simply putting he was creepy would suffice. Great job this week and your consistency continues to amaze me.

message 38: by Gerardo (new)

Gerardo | 222 comments Tristan - I very much enjoyed the surprise ending and the story was compelling. It will benefit from some editing and chopping away of unnecessary words to make it flow better.

Melissa - You did a great job at establishing the atmosphere and feeling if the main character. It flows well and is very enjoyable.

Melanie - I liked your story and the way you expressed the fear within the narrator. It is a great example of how a short story should be set up and completed.

Robyn- I enjoyed your story as well. I felt that perhaps the narrator was under the influence of some heavy meds and was hallucinating the spaceship and "aliens" when they were actually humans and he was rising from his clouded thoughts and coming back to the real world, hence, the broken and slurred English spoken by the aliens. If I'm way wrong I still think you did a fine job.

Rachel - Very interesting take. Fear and abuse are always heavy topics to write on. You did great!

Nadia - Your story was an exciting and enjoyable read as well. I was uncertain about the ending, perhaps the narrator could escape and go on to "just another days work"

Great stories all around group! Cheers!

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you, Gary! I really appreciate your kind words! :-)

message 40: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments I appreciate the wonderful feedback, Gary. :)

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