prompt: asphalt, thunderstorm, chocolate

Rain hit the asphalt in an unrelenting staccato rhythm that meant many things, but mostly it meant Francine would be late. Again. Marc let the curtain fall over the window as he retreated back into the living room in defeat. 

It’d been so long since he’d last seen her chocolate eyes. 

From his well worn spot on the couch, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, allowing himself a brief moment to remember the way her eyes would lighten to amber under the afternoon sun. Recalling the memory was simple enough, but the onslaught of emotions that accompanied it had never been easy for Marc to bear. 

Instead, he opened his eyes again, fixed them on the television, and waited. 

Warmth in the Storm

Over the ocean, in the far off distance, lightning lit up a gray cloud. Anthony shifted on the blanket next to Dean, not quite ready to go inside from their impromptu picnic just yet. The wind picked up and made him curl further into the warmth of Dean’s arm, where it was wrapped around Anthony’s waist.

The crashing of the ocean broke against the sand in front of them, the sunset they’d come out to watch had long since fallen over the horizon, just leaving the faint dusk light and the dancing of lightning. Anthony knew they’d need to go inside soon, that the wind would bring the cloud to shore and with it the oncoming storm.

Dean’s lips brushed across Anthony’s hair, another bolt making him gasp against the dark strands. “We should go inside soon,” Dean whispered between breaking waves.

“We should.” Anthony’s hand hit the box of chocolate at his side and Anthony reached for a piece, holding it up for Dean. Warmth from Dean’s lips wrapped around his fingers, cutting off the chill of the wind.

Dean swiped his tongue against Anthony’s fingertip before pulling back. “Maybe five more minutes,” he said, before another bolt of lightning cut across the sky, this time followed by thunder. “Or maybe three.”

Unconcerned, Anthony hummed, content to sit on this blanket in the sand, under the warmth of Dean’s arms, long after the storm rolled in.

Come Whatever

They’d said goodbye a hundred times already, but Greg knew he’d say it as many times as Jack wanted.

Greg walked the path along the side of the football field, behind the bleachers and down the row of trees that separated the school grounds from the lake. There was only one tree with a trunk thick enough to lean against, and that was where he was heading.

It seemed as if no one else was around, the rest of their graduating class out on the front lawn, where the rows of fold-out chairs and the stage were set up for graduation. But he knew he wouldn’t be alone back here. Not today, when the clock was ticking and they were both due on planes in opposite direction in a day’s time. And this was the last time they’d be on their high school campus together.

Continue reading “Come Whatever”

Nah Nah Naan

“What do you mean you’ve never had curry before?” Jane stirred the pot, in more ways than one. “Do you only eat fried food that’s the color of beige?”

 

Charles gaped. “That’s pretty limiting. I eat lots of things!”

 

“Name me something you’ve eaten in the past week that contained a spice other than salt or pepper.”

 

“Hey!” Charles crossed his arms and leaned against Jane’s kitchen counter. He spun at the spice rack instead of answering and Jane wondered if he knew how much any of them could add to a meal. “I don’t cook much.”

 

“Nay.” She pointed the cooking spoon at her friend. “You don’t cook at all.”

 

“Well…that’s true.”

 

Jane sighed, turning back to the curry and using her hand to waft its smell to her nose. “This may cause some irreparable damage to our friendship.”

 

“The fact that I haven’t had curry?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well, you’re about to remedy that so…” Charles smiled, wide and contagious, and Jane had to look away or else she’d return it.

 

“It’s always up to me to better you.” The scent of coriander and cumin filled Jane’s small kitchen. “Grab the basket of naan. This is almost done.”

 

“Nah, nah?” Charles questioned, looking around the room. “What’s that?”

 

Jane switched off the stovetop and blew her bangs with an exasperated breath. “It’s literally the only thing in the room in a basket.”

 

Charles smirked. “I’m obviously kidding. I know what a basket is.”

 

“You’ve never had curry before! How am I supposed to know what you do and do not know? Just grab the basket you basket case. I’m about to open your culinary horizons.”

 

—-
Words: Curry/Basket/Irreparable

James and the Tiny Prince

The fabric caught on the callouses of his hand but James didn’t care, he just scrubbed harder. He wanted to look perfect, needed to look perfect; and he wouldn’t let the smell of bleach distract him. The prince was coming and James couldn’t help bouncing his feet as he stood by the sink.

When the white shirt was clean, or as clean as a farmer mid-season could make it, he pinned it to the line and rushed back inside. His wood cabin was small, but tidy, and he could offer the prince variety of cushions to sit upon. As he patted a gold and red one, a flush grew in his cheeks. He hoped they weren’t too big for his majesty.

The sun fell over the horizon, the colors of sunset shining into the cabin through the window. He was almost out of time.

James was panting by the time he made it back outside, the shirt damp as he slid it on. And then he was standing at attention by his front door, his farm on display and his house tidy. James knew there were better, more affluent subjects in the prince’s kingdom, but he chose James and who was James to question it?

The trumpets were the first thing he heard, followed by the rolling carriage wheels. The carriage was large, larger than James’ cushions, so some of the stress eased from his shoulders.

The carriage came to a stop. A man hopped from the front with another brass instrument. “Presenting!” He blew into the horn. “His royal highness.”

When the door opened, James fell to the ground. A sign of respect, to lower himself under the prince. Above he heard the sticky steps as the prince hopped down, made his way to James.

“Rise,” the prince said.

James did, grasping the princes hand to place a kiss on the slimy, suction cupped skin. “Ribbet,” James saluted.

“Ribbet.”

The Other Side

It was windy on the other side. With each step, Val’s hair whipped around her head, lashing at her cheeks and neck.

“Just another three steps,” the voice in her head said. It was a deep voice, a male voice. The timbre was one she had heard before but could not place. “Through the mirror and you’ll be free.”

And a part of her knew it was a trap. Following a voice that had no body, one that had called to her as she sat curled in a ball by her bed, crying. Her mother had warned her not to follow the voices as she was carted off to the asylum. Yet here she was, following

The wind picked up again, pushing her forward, spinning around her so that it became hard to grasp any of it for a single inhale.

She looked back and Val had expected to see her room, the bed she’d had since she was a child, but all she saw was a field of green grass.

And she knew she had made a mistake.

Lost in a Cave

“Merlin’s beard!”

“Yes?” The man grasped at his mane of white, wispy hair. He pulled it to his eye for inspection. “What about it?”

My gaze was not the only one that moved towards him. I was the only one that stepped forward and asked the question we were all thinking. We were a lost tour group in a cave and there was a man perched behind the railing with a tall, triangular hat and billowing robes.

“Is your name Merlin?” I ask.

The man pulled a twisted pipe out of his chest pocket. “Sometimes.”

“Can you help us get out of here?”

He kicked away from the cavern and in two long paces he was leaning against the railing that kept us from the cave’s natural terrors. He leaned over so our eyes met. I wondered, briefly, if he was one of those terrors.

“How old are you?” he asked, instead of answering my question.

“What does that matter?”

“You’re tiny, are you an undeveloped human or have I been here for longer than I thought?”

“I’m not undeveloped, or whatever, I’m twelve!”

“Well, that explains it them.”

I wanted to kick him, but kicking people was not the way to get what I wanted. “We need help.”

“So you’ve said,” his eyes narrowed, he blew a tendril of smoke into the space between us. “You’re very brave for asking.”

I step back. “Why? Are you dangerous?”

“Sometimes,” he winked then put his pipe back in his pocket and pulled out a long, long, wand, far too long to fit in a pocket. “But I will help you.”

With a flick of his wand, the cave around us fell away. I flinched at the light, hand rising to my eye in instinct. When I lowered it, he was gone.

It Began

It began with a whisper. Sweet nothings breathed in my ear, their meaning sent goosebumps down my neck. I pulled you closer and whispered the words back. We made love.

It ended with a gasp. Your admission told to my face, the weight of your eyes buckled my knees. I pushed you away and screamed admissions of my own. We scorched earth.

It changed with a heartbeat. Proof of our love growing inside, the life of our child transformed my mind. I paved you a path and sobbed tears of joy. We made amends.

It transformed with a cry. The birth of a person, our tangible connection entered the world. I pressed you into my soul and made a small family. We lived life.

Bartering Life

Hello lovely readers!

My story Bartering Life was selected for the Spring Issue of Sleet Magazine. Go check it out!

It starts out as a large bag of other people’s garbage, meticulously found over a week’s time. It is then sorted between plastics and other. The other he trades to Tim for chicken meat. The plastic is further sorted between color and clear for washing, but first he has to give two sacs to Nijari to access her water source.

Then, the washing begins. His soggy hands crack and bleed due to years of overuse, a cost of business that stings as he dips them once again in soap.

Finish here!

 

Failure to Steep

He improperly steeps my tea. His lips form into a distracted smile as he hands me the mug but I know, it’s a power play.

He must have a reason – this man wouldn’t intentionally fail such a task. He’s British, he knows how to steep tea. He wants to see if I’ll say something. Will I?

I haven’t seen this man, this former lover, this former teacher, this former idol, for almost a decade.

He fails to steep my tea. I put it on the table, unable to play his games.

~~~

I cannot stop staring at her knees. Skin as pale as I remember, looks as soft – crap, when did I put the tea bag in? It’s distracting; the slightest movement sends her scent my way. My hands shake as I hand her the tea – I cannot remember what type it is, let alone how long I let it steep.