Leviathans in the Living Room

“Leviathan straight ahead! Charge!”

“We can’t charge, Linus, we’re in sailboats.”

Linus stepped one of his untied sneakers onto couch’s armrest. “Maybe your sailboat can’t charge, but I’m going to flatten them!”

Margaret plucked her thumb from her mouth. “So there is more than one Leviathan?”

The boy sighed, a deep, exasperated sigh that he had learned from their father. “They travel in packs. It’s their strategy. One will hiss and scare us and the other can use its tentacle to grab our spears. ”

Margaret stood on the recliner, balancing her weight as it shook under her feet. After a count of three she jumped from the recliner to the sofa that Linus captained. The recliner wobbled after Margaret, sending a spray of imaginary water over the hilt and onto Linus’ face.

“Hey! We need an army, not a single ship,” he said as he wiped the water off his forehead.

“But I’m scared,” Margaret admitted.

“Well I’ll be dogged if we don’t get this monster!”

“Dogged? Do you want me to get Chuck?”

“We don’t need a chihuahua, Mar! Just grab a spear. It’s coming!”

Linus threw an imaginary spear at the ottoman.

“Did you get it?” Margaret asked.

“We have to hit it with more frequency,” Linus yelled over his shoulder.

Margaret looked around. “Where do I find frequency?”

Linus rolled his eyes, swaying on the arm of the couch from the waves. “Are you trying to annoy me to death?”

Margaret laughed. “If I wanted that, I’d just knock you off the sailboat. Aren’t we under attack?”

“Yes! Now throw the spear.”

The siblings threw their spears towards the pack of Leviathan’s that inhabited the living room rug. After a moment Linus covered his ears and screamed.

“What is it?” Margaret asked, taking careful steps towards her brother.

“The roar of the Leviathan, they make ears ring.”

Margaret immediately covered her own ears as if she too was experiencing tinnitus.

Their eyes met. “The last roar before their final attack.”

Margaret nodded at her brother’s solemn words before grabbing the invisible spear and throwing it towards the rug. “I got it!”

“You did?”

“Look at all its innards falling out.”

Linus, not to be outdone by his sister, threw another spear. He cheered after a moment.

“Mar! We did it!”

They hugged in the middle of the sailboat, swaying back and forth on the couch because of the waves. Linus pulled back. “Now you stay here, I have to swim out there and get their intestines before the blood coagulates.”

Margaret looked towards the bathroom, confused again. “You want me to go get the Colgate?”

Linus groaned and jumped off the couch. Splash!

Wordle asked for a story that included ten of the following words:

Flatten;  CephalicCoagulate; Innards; Frequency; Hiss; Tinnitus; Spear; Spray; Radial;  Leviathan; Dogged

The Choreographer

- wallpaperswide.com

One, two, three. One, two, three.

She went through the steps in her mind. The light and smoke tricking her eyes so the vapor danced her choreography. She ordered water because whiskey would dilute her imagination but lit up another, another in a long chain, and let the smoke flutter in and out of beat.

One, two, three. One, two, three.

Her exhale turned gracefully into a pirouette. A partner came with her next breath, lifting up the dancing wisp and placing it gently on the wood. The condensation caught in the light, setting the stage and waiting for another wisp of smoke to dance along the bar-top.

One, two, three. One, two, three.

The world of her mind, the beats and steps, played before her as the deafening applause from the theater beyond the bar erupts. Through the doors her previous hallucinations possessed human form with every twirl and leap. But she preferred the smoke.

One, two, three. One, two, three.

Brother’s Keeper

“Hurry up!” James yells over his shoulder. He’s struggling to get his twin to follow him down the path; Gary was always such a scared-y cat.

Through the fog, he cannot see his brother. He can only hear the rustling of leaves and Gary’s incessant sniffling.  Even after ten years, James finds it unbelievable that they even came from the same fertilized egg. His “older” brother was both scared of everything and a walking allergy machine.

The snap of a stick echoes throughout the woods as Gary makes his way through the fog.  James can see the dark silhouette of his twin now.  He taps his foot, bored now and sick of waiting.

To his right, he sees a large tree. It is definitely wide enough to conceal him and with a wicked smile he decides to hide behind it. He picks at the bark and waits.

“James?” His brother is near and his voice is trembling. James mentally counts as the forest quiets around them: the birds evening chirp disappears; the predators of the woods are hidden from view, watching the two human boys.

James doesn’t have a plan, he hardly ever does. He only knows that he wants to see his twin flail and fall onto the leaves, wants to watch as he stumbles back and shrieks. He wants to kick Gary while he’s down then run up the path leaving him all alone on the foggy path.

This anger towards his brother isn’t new – if anything it’s the most consistent feeling he’s ever experienced.

A snap of a stick from the other side of the tree trunk and it’s the cue James needs to move.  In a single jump he’s in front of his brother with a roar. As if in slow motion, Gary’s face twists in fear. The shriek James expected follows but so does something he wasn’t expecting – his twin swinging his arm around, punching on instinct.

Time speeds up and James realizes that he is the one the floor, leaves crinkling under his jeans as his hands come up to cradle his face.

Gary is on his knees then, carefully trying to inspect the damage. James waits for a mocking laugh that never comes.

- Oer Wout

Photo Challenge #64, Pathway, June 09, 2015

Brother’s Ashes

The ink of my tattoo contains my brother’s ashes.

In death he is set free.

Sitting on the bench we used to share, I look over the water and miss him.

In death he is set free.

Living was difficult for him: his friends abandoned him; our family shamed him.

In death he is set free.

Yet now I am left alone.

He is free and I am lost.

Inspired by the below photo for MindLoveMisery’s Photo Challenge #62, Birds & Cages

- Paulix8

– Paulix8

Sibling Sprint

“Slacker!” She yells from across the field. Yes, my little sister was outpacing me on the track…again.

I inhale before cracking my knuckles, shaking the tension out of my hands. I need to catch up, need to beat this squirt who thinks she can be my verbally abusive trainer just because I am a little overweight.

But, it is hot. My stomach cramps and exhaustion cloys at my gut. With every step forward, my body aches. My sister is now at the finish line laughing. The only small mercy is that my flushed skin prevents the world from witnessing my embarrassment.

I may puke.

In fact, I am going to puke.

My sneakers skid on the track as I reverse in the direction of a hose I remember seeing a couple strides back. The pewter nozzle shoots out cool, amazing, gloriously refreshing water.

My brat of a sister shows up moments later, stepping in a way that blocks me from the sun. She’s already in her jeans and her eyebrow judges me enough that I don’t need to look at the rest of her face. I want to tweak the nozzle and leave her like a bedraggled wet dog, just to shut up her judgmental face – she still hasn’t said a word, though.

She is browsing her phone instead.

“You did better,” she tells the screen.

“Shut up.”

Wordle #62 – Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem. The words can appear in an alternate form:

Tweak; Cloy; Jeans; Browse; Reverse; Pewter; Nozzle; Bedraggled; Stria (a slight or narrow furrow, ridge, stripe, or streak, especially one of number inparallel arrangement:); Truculent (fierce; cruel; savagely brutal); Knuckles; Slack;

Heels and Taboos

“Sexual acts are usually more shocking because of taboos and have nothing to do with the experience level of the person.” I’m sick of her voice, the know-it-all tone that won’t accept criticism or contradiction.  She will only wait, for a moment, for my agreeing nod.

I’m not sure what will happen if the nod never comes, but I’m sure I won’t like it.

She made me leave my shoes on the side of the road, my red penny loafers Nan had bought me for my sixteenth birthday. She told me only children wore heels that short and she didn’t associate with children. She forced me to leave them next to the shoe store and blow three months allowance on uncomfortable tall heels instead.

My heels click along the cobblestone carefully now. I balance listening to her and not catching the heels in a crack of the sidewalk. It’s difficult.

She, on the other hand, floats along, continuing her comments like they are gospel. “So it doesn’t really matter if you’re a virgin as long as you do something daring.”

My ankle curls, soft skin scrapes the cobblestone. I wince but barely pause in my stride to adjust the heel. She wouldn’t wait for me anyway, probably.  “What do you mean daring?”

She looks back at me then and I cheer inwardly that she did not witness my near fall; I am floating now too, just as cool and calm. But her eyebrows rise at my question and I feel like I’m sinking below them, a shame rides up my spine that I cannot explain.

My face must be as red as my abandoned penny loafers.

“You know,” she manages to make the whisper ring along the street. “Mouth and butt stuff.”

I have no idea what she was talking about but an image of Jimmy Chen holding a stick and poking my backside comes to mind. “Right…”

According to her dramatic sigh, my uncertainty must be transparent. “Oh come on, Jamie. You’re so…. bawdy.”

That word does not mean what she thinks it means. Words are my thing, and if anything, she’s the vulgar one, talking about butts and mouths right outside the shops.

Her hair whips around like a shampoo commercial as she turns away from me to continue down the sidewalk. She was wrong about something and it thrills me. I almost call her out on it but then I notice the boy inside one of the shops rubberneck her as we walk by.

I want to be rubbernecked. I want to be a cool sixteen year old that knows what taboos are and how they relate to Jimmy Chen, I want to be bawdy and have hair like a shampoo commercial; so, I nod and continue to follow her along, heels clicking.

This piece was inspired by two separate challenges. The first is #FinishThatThought and the second was from over at Mindlovemisery’snagerie,Photo Challenge #61, Red – to use this image as inspiration for a poem or short-story:

Photo Credits: Zvaella

Voices Within

Writing Prompt #107 “Passenger”

“Do it,” It whispers with a voice only I can hear. A pain like nails digs into the space behind my eyes; I bend over with a searing headache.

“W-why?” I manage through clenched teeth.

“Because you want to. You know you do.”  The thing inside me turns into anger.  Anger alleviates the headache by burning it away.  I lift my head as the heat boils within.  “You see them there with their smiles, their easy life of friendships and boring. You can burn it to the ground.”

I look at the student body from my corner in the cafeteria, where no one bothers to glance at me, not even to bully. I am invisible.

“You don’t have to be.”  The voice sears through my veins and creates burning images featuring my lunchroom peers.

I take a deep breath.

Then another.

Holding it in like it said on the internet: 6 seconds inhale, 6 seconds hold, 6 seconds release. 666.

The burning turns into a ball, coalesced in the center of my chest.  It is bright, so bright in my mind’s eye. I wonder how no one else can see.

With the exhale comes calm. With the calmness comes another voice, a softer one.  “They’re just living, each of them, trying their best to muddle along their adolescence.”

The words cause the tension in my shoulders to release, words like a melody, carrying peace.  The peace brings empathy.

I turn back to my lunch.

Daddy Starring as Hero

“Please, please, please!” My daughter begged through her sobs. “We need to save him!”

A bubble of snot formed under her tiny nose. It wasn’t long ago that the bubble would have distracted her from her sobs and thwarted the panic that filled her brown eyes.  But now, at seven, she is not as easily distracted. And why should she be? Her best friend is missing. Froggie is gone forever, according to my baby girl.

I picked her up into my arms, even though her mother and I had already weaned her off being carried. Her red face twisted with the sorrow of a child whose whole world revolved around a single toy and then lost that toy. Her face still fit into the crook of my neck, it was warm and wet and I rubbed my hand along her back. It didn’t stop the sobs.

“Calm down for a moment sweetie so you can tell me where you left Froggie.”

“I don’t know!” She sobbed. Her fists moved to her eyes and I had to readjust her weight as she flailed. “One moment it was in my bicycle basket and the next – “

Another sob ripped from her throat.

“It will be okay, honey. We’ll retrace your steps.”

She inhaled a breath and the air wedged in her throat, forcing her to cough out more sobs.

The area my daughter is allowed to ride her bike is limited, only around the block. So while carrying her, I walked down the driveway and onto the street.

“Froggie must be scared.” My sweet girl whispered into my neck. “It’s so dark and what if a fox comes?”

The sun was only starting to set. There were no predators in the area but still I reassured her. “We’ll find him before anything happens.”

It took another ten minutes to turn the corner of our block and see, sitting in the middle of the street, as if waiting for my baby girl to come and claim him: Froggie, still smiling.

“Daddy! You’ve saved him.”

She hugged me hard then, as hard as a seven year old could hug and for a moment I didn’t want to let her go. “You helped, Sweetie.”

“Let me down, let me down!” She wiggled her way out of my arms and ran towards her plastic smiling friend. For a moment I wondered if that would be the last time I would carry my not-so-little-girl. Inexplicably, tears sprung to my eyes as I watched her run.

“Froggie! Froggie” She hugged the toy close to her chest. “We saved you!”

Written for Tale Weaver #13 – Heroes


Photo Credit: Mandy Smith