I promised myself I wouldn’t let her words affect my life but quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to keep that promise. They echo in my mind with every step.

“We are special.”

Every family thinks that, right? It doesn’t mean anything; just a simple sentence to make us feel not-so-simple.

But then it became inescapable.

Even as I sit in this room, in front of the computer, with my hands on the keyboard. I hear the conversations from next door, I smell the frying lunch meat from down the block. We are special, we are animalis.

My mother was right.

I can’t sit here anymore, surrounded by the suffocating scent of human sweat and the blinding modern art that flickers on and off throughout the day. Everyone else sees electric green – I see gamma rays. The door slams shut behind me and even the breath of fresh air turns my stomach.

After she told me the truth, I had cursed her. I refused to believe, sent her away from me and my family. The last time I saw her was with tears in her eyes, trying so hard to get me to understand.

Now, she’s gone and it is too late. All I have are questions.

“Hey!” A stranger’s voice bellows in me ear as I slip onto the busy sidewalk. Downtown is no quieter than my office, no less intense, but at least here I can walk. “Lady, slow down!”

I ignore him and keep moving forward. His smell trips my steps though, it’s a mix of sandalwood and familiarity. I think about stopping but the warnings against curiosity ring in my mind. Instead, I increase my pace to a light jog.

The man is faster. At the next block a hand locks around my forearm, pulling me to the side. Some passersby give us an odd glance but I shake them away. He has me now and my curiosity will win.

Plus, animalis means that my claws can descend at any moment.

“I was hoping I’d find you,” he says. His eyes hold mine, silent and waiting.
I watch as his pupils shrink, transforming from a circle to a single line. I know that line, I’ve seen it in the mirror. “You have questions.”

I nod.

“We are special.”

I nod. I’ve accepted it, now.

“I have answers.”


“Teddy,” Linda demanded.

“What?” My half-packed suitcase lay open on the bed next to it my three year old, who kept trying to sneak her teddy bear inside its leather confines. “There’s no room, Linda. In my suitcase and on the ship.”


“We can’t put you in the spacecraft?”

“Why not?”

“Because then I’ll never see you again.”

Linda’s eyes widened. “No!”


The three year old preceded to think, “What about teddy?”

“You don’t want teddy to stay with you?”

“No. With you. So you remember me.”

“I don’t need a teddy bear to remember you.”

“So space remembers me!”

A chuckle escaped me and Linda knew she won.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Simply the Best.” – NASA is building a new Voyager spacecraft that will carry the best of modern human culture. What belongs onboard?

Kiss the Sky

“I want to kiss the sky!”

“Honey,” Amber paused mid-step, catching her breath. “You’re not supposed to take that song literally.”

Charles ran back from where he led the hike, humming Purple Haze as he circled his parents. Amber envied his energy.

“What does it mean then, mom?

She met her husband’s gaze. The corner of his mouth twitched into a smile. “Go on, Am, explain to our son the deep meaning behind Jimmy Hendrix’s most infamous song.”

She snorted a laugh. “Nope. You’re right Charles, It’s about kissing the sky.”

“No it’s not! You’re lying!”

Amber sighed, grabbing her husband’s hand. They broke into a run, so close to the peak of the mountain. Their sunrise hike almost complete. She used to have the same energy levels as her son and willed her legs to remember that fact.

Her husband laughed next to her, pulling away. He lifted Charles up and tucked the boy under his arm. Charles squealed in delight.

“Almost there!” Amber led the hike now, cheeks flushed. The early morning had provided enough light to let them climb up the mountainside but only now had the sun begun its rise along the horizon.

“I want to kiss the sky!” Charles repeated from his father’s hold. “I want to kiss the sky!”

The boy kicked and kicked until his father let him go. Then he rushed to the edge of the mountain, blowing kisses towards the clouds. The golden rays framed her husband and son, washing her little family in a glow.

Her husband approached, arms wrapping around her torso as he started to kiss along her neck. He whispered in her ear, “You know what I’m thinking?”

Amber shook her head.

He released her, quietly sneaking back behind Charles. He perched behind the boy and waited a moment before attacking with wet, sloppy, noises.

Charles screeched, “Dad! What are you doing?”

“Forgot the sky. Excuse me while I kiss the son!”

They both dissolved into a heap of laughter and kisses as the sun rose over a new day.




The gold means nothing without you here. ‘You’ could be anyone: a lover, a parent, a pet. He lost the will to care about the source of his attention and affection. Not all the gold in the world can buy genuine love.

He sailed into this cave alone and he will sail out quite the same.

“You will be my friend, now.” He told a piece of gold.

Rough stone scrapped where the soles of his shoes wore thin. He’d be able to buy new ones soon, and he tried to let that thought excite him forward, excite him enough to leave the cave and its vast treasures.

Except, he knew he couldn’t take it all. “My new friends, why should I abandon thee?”

The piles of gold were large and endless, towering over him and nearly touching the upper curve of the cave.

The man bent over, untying the laces of his leather shoes and placing them in the boat. He then walked over to the piles of gold, let the cool metal press between his toes. It had been so long since something touched him as sweetly, so long since something this beautiful gave him attention.

He could sail out of this cave with a bag full of treasure and change his life forever.

Instead, he turned to the gold and with a childlike glee he never experienced as a child, he leapt off the balls of his feet and into the treasure.

He could leave tomorrow, too.

Character: Adventuring Sailor
Theme: Rags to riches

Written for last week’s Flash!Friday

Exploited Hand

“Stage right!”
All John wanted was to help his son with his debut theater performance. Somehow that translated into building a stage…in a blizzard.
“Where?” John asked. “I don’t know anything about theater.”
“Over there, guy.” The director pointed to his left.
The pain in John’s shoulder sang as he lowered the wood.
“Go get the rest, guy.”
John’s teeth clenched, the vein on his forehead throbbing each time the director spoke.
“Guy, we don’t have all day.”
John kicked up snow as he spun on his heel; he had enough. His body felt hot despite the cold and he growled as he eyed the man. “I have a name!”

The lone protester

Photo Credit: Dan Phiffer via CC.

Written for last week’s Micro Bookend’s – where they supply the first and last word and you fill in the rest.



Model number 2468: sent to watch you.
New design, easily camouflaged; no one will notice the norm.
So I sit, watch, and report back.

Edit: This piece received an Honorable Mention 😀

Judges Thoughts:

“This one made me stop, re-read, and laugh. I enjoyed the break from the typical sweeping, melodic prose for an entirely different take on the image prompt. And beyond that, it was crafted well – enough so to make me really pause and think about who the narrator might be reporting back to.”

Ballooned Happiness

The wood creaked under my weight as I stepped further into the room. I knew those shoes, I had bought them for his birthday; I knew that wrinkled shirt, I had washed it many times. I knew him, he was my lover.

I just want you to be happy.

And I tried to explain to him that I won’t always be happy, that it didn’t quite work that way – that I didn’t quite work that way. I won’t always be happy and that was okay. More than that, I don’t rely on others for my happiness. Yes, even him.

I saw the confusion in his eyes, then. Now, I only see his torso and his legs.

I had told him once, years ago, that balloons made me happy. I liked them from beginning to end. From inflating them, to helium sounds, to flying high into the sky. I liked popping them and bouncing them. Balloons fly and I help them with that flight.

He wanted me happy. A simple request that’s not so simple when the mind can run and twist things into demons. Yet he tried, he appeased, he indulged.

I reached out and ran my hand along the top of the balloon. “What did you do to yourself?”

He didn’t reply, couldn’t reply. Instead, he clapped his hands and let evermore balloons fly from his grasp.

- Julia Anna

Games We Play

Crossed Fingers II

I am your toy. You lend me out; make me dance for your amusement. You set me up to fail then delight in punishing my failure. You are my ever-unfaithful Mistress.

I love you.

So, I dance your dance, I play your games. The truth is complicated.

Your breath heaves from behind the camera. I watch it with delight as my lips press against this woman, this friend of yours, this plaything. You stand so close, close enough that you know my eyes will draw towards you – that’s what you want, you want to loosen my leash only to tighten it back up again.

Her breath catches in our kiss, or maybe she feels you on the nape of her neck. She clutches me closer, I let her. My eyes stay glued to you.

When you move us to the bedroom, I almost reach out for you. Almost. But I know my place, I know my purpose. I exist so your smirk can curl into something darker. I am your toy. I love you. The truth is complicated.

Use this four word phrase in any part of your story:

“The truth is complicated

Image credit: Crossed Fingers II by Katie Tegtmeyer flickr CC 2.0

Judges notes:

Games We Play by A S Gardana: A dark poetic dance that almost, almost feels like it’s delineating the relationship between property and owner, puppet and puppet-master. “I am your toy.” Wow, so heavy, deep, and thought-provoking.