Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Sands of Time

The sand in the hourglass trickled slowly into the lower chamber. It wouldn’t be long now until the last of the pristine white granules made their way through the slim conduit into the mounting heap below. She felt it mocking her. She knew what would happen next, once that last grain of sand exited the top chamber. It had happened many times before.

She had bought the piece in a thrift shop filled with things owned by people from another time. The proprietor of the place was an elderly man who reminded her much of Gepetto, he with the bulbous nose on which a pair of granny glasses rested; he with the virgin white hair and full, white mustache. At any moment she had expected a wooden boy to appear.

The hourglass piece had intrigued her. Unlike other hourglass pieces that were capped by wooden circles on each end and three wooden spindles on its sides, this one was made entirely of glass. The pieces connecting seamlessly into one unit. She was in awe of its flawless craftsmanship. It was stunning and as the bright morning Sun touched its surface, it fractured prisms of light into the dark, dust-covered room. She knew then she had to have it.

She learned it was a one of a kind. Gepetto informed her the timepiece was unlike any other and did not measure time in the usual way, but instead measured time in years. Twenty to be exact.

“Twenty years?!” She humored the old man and smiled fondly at his eccentric and comical nature.

He informed her that if she ever tired of the piece she was not to dispose of it, donate it or give it to anyone else. Instead, she was to return the hourglass to him and he would refund her money in full regardless of how many years she had owned it. He said this was a condition of the sale and noted it on her receipt. She thought him sweet but daft and she kindly and politely promised she’d abide by the purchaser’s responsibility and left.  The following day she sat at the kitchen table staring at the hourglass. The sand was still running through yet the heap in the lower chamber still appeared to look the same. It had not grown in volume. Not one iota. It was obvious now that this was some kind of trick gadget. Noting the old man’s wicked sense of humor, she laughed and loved the piece even more.

And today, reflecting once again on that day and of the old man's ominous words, she waited for the the last granule to filter through.  She no longer felt the sense of nausea or extreme panic she once did at the anticipation of what would happen next.  She no longer felt fear; only resignation and an overall sense of exhaustion.  And as the top chamber finally emptied, she once again blacked out and woke to  find herself in her old apartment in Brooklyn, the hourglass in front of her, its top chamber full. And she  was thirty years old again. And on her fourth life.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Life is but a breath.
I blinked,
and woke draped in skincloth
covering fragile bones
that thirsted for youth

December 31, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Walk Among You

I walk among you, and yet you fail to see. For I look like you; I talk, smell, and smile like you. And because of this, you cannot see. Natural instincts interred under millenia of misplaced faith. You espouse evil exists but because I look like you, you fail to see. And so you trust.

But I am not you. Underneath your wretched skin that suffocates, my self begs release. For this skin of yours does not suit me and constricts my energy to do you harm.  My smile, amiable in your eyes, is the only weapon I need to blur your intuition and intelligence. Your trust in my charming smile boggles the mind. That is where your flaw - your end - resides, ever trusting the external, rarely questioning the internal; your species, so fatuously trusting.

Many times I have wanted to unleash myself unto you but we are not rogues whose hunger cannot be restrained. We are skillful and patient, patiently waiting for the day when we, living under the guises of your useless skins, will finally be free to reveal our true selves and take over your world. Why? Because we can. Because we are superior. Because as owners of this planet for millennia your only exponential growth has been ignorance. 

We’ve adopted your rudimentary ways emulating your useless brains fertile with beliefs ungrounded. This is when I find cause, pleasure, to use your smile, because your ignorance simply baffles.

But soon you will see faces you once thought friendly peel off skins of trust and you will stand there, useless like it is your wont, asking yourself how this could be.  Because your trust, your stupidity, has made it so. Our mission here will soon end and the annihilation of your race will begin.  Because we are the superior race, a mighty army at arms ready for your Armageddon. We are simply, your God. 

Friday, February 14, 2014


For Master Class, use the following sentence, in full, as your 5th sentence in your story: "There was an empty lot next door, with short cement steps leading up to nothing but air, and a For Sale sign swinging in the barren and sand swept yard."

I was on my way to the beach house to meet with friends one last time before duty to return to work once again took center stage.  Summer season had ended, the lifeguards were gone, the beaches closed and empty, safe for the few beachcombers searching for shells and rocks while coveting the last rays of warm sunshine. Each summer, a group of friends and I rented a bungalow near the beach, our weekend getaways, mini-vacations, that included a lot of sun, salt water and plenty of spirits. This year we'd rented a quaint, little clapboard house dressed in the colors of white and beige, both inside and out. There was an empty lot next door, with short cement steps leading up to nothing but air, and a For Sale sign swinging in the barren and sand swept yard. Many conversations were had late at night about this lot and how we were all going to chip in to buy it and build our own little beach house in the future. But, as many inebriated dreams go, come morning it was forgotten.

I walked the short, sandy pathway to the house barefooted, letting the warm sand cushion my steps and massage my toes. The warm ocean air flickered grains of sand onto my face and suddenly I wished for one more month.

I entered the house to screeches of laughter and the smell of sauce and fresh baked ciabatta. My mouth salivated in pleasurable anticipation. I set my bag down and with quick hellos, headed to the stove and broke a piece of just-baked ciabatta and dipped it into the sauce. Hot with a kick of spicy, just the way I liked it. Whomever said good food wasn't equivalent to a good orgasm never experienced good cuisine.  It lit all of the same pleasurable centers of the brain.

I suddenly remembered I'd forgotten the bottles of wine in the car. As I reached the front door the hairs on the back of my neck raised in alarm. The air felt unpleasantly different, as if the oxygen had been vacuumed. I looked to my left towards the beach and caught sight of a mammoth wave heading our way. Air departed my lungs and my heart panicked into an abnormal arrhythmic beat. I quickly ran into the house to alert the others knowing full well that to outrun a tsunami was illogical but I suppose survival instinct sometimes overrides the logical.

Making my way back to the front of the house, I found it had arrived. Looming high above us, on this beautiful, sunshiny day where the sun was brilliant and the day had been so perfect, so gorgeously perfect, this ominous giant wave, this clear blue monolith 30 to 50 stories high, teetered on the brink of our destruction. Sky and sun no longer visible, just a monstrous wave, swaying leisurely, teasing with its power to destroy. It swayed to and fro, taunting; a hostile, menacing, lethal grim reaper personified in the form of water. In water we are born, in water we shall die.

I wanted to seek shelter in the house - as if that would do any good - but found myself frozen in place. Trying to find my voice to scream my overwhelming fear, I found it had deserted me as well. Terror had stripped my vocal chords of vibration. Resigned, knowing my time had come, I closed my eyes and waited for the thunderous crash that signaled my end.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


He didn't remember what had sparked it. One minute he was quietly sipping his afternoon Earl Grey while reading the paper and, the next, he was in an old graveyard that had seen better days, surrounded by unkempt tombstones.  A burial ground of entombed secrets never revealed.

He walked over to her plot uneasy at the easy remembrance of the way.  Ella.  He stared at her final resting place wondering why certain things just couldn't stay buried.  After awhile, he crouched down to clear the dirt and grass clippings off the solemn inscription, an epigraph that had always been laughable to the only one who knew her best.  Ella, duplicitous Ella, always feigning a loving, kind, and whimsy spirit when in actuality she was evil incarnate, seducing the dolts in her circle, including himself. Except unlike the others, she had taken a liking to his fawning ways and used him with uncontrolled pleasure as her lab rat of choice.

Looking at her date of birth, he now knew the reason for the unexpected visit.  Even in death she still exerted control.  He sadly smiled at how thirty years had passed and still her tentacles of persuasion gripped him beyond the grave.  She had lured him here to celebrate her birthday; even in death, she demanded it of him. Never allowed a voice, an original thought, he had given up everything that was dear to him just to please her.  In retrospect, he now viewed it as a form of self-punishment he had sentenced himself to for having not properly paid penance to the damage done to loved ones before he met her.  He had escaped his former life in an effort to rid himself of the reminders of his failures and had arrived at Bruges in hopes of starting anew.

And that's where he met her.  And Eric.  Eric, a passionate violinist and kindred spirit with whom he often played into the wee hours of the morning. His transcendental ability to execute rapid and difficult sequences of notes with such facility was a skill he had trained his entire life to attain to no avail; he quickly became his ardent pupil in the hopes that one day he just might achieve.  Loyal and kind Eric with whom he created a natural, effortless friendship, something special to be cherished.  He liked him, came to love him actually, like the brother he had never had.  Oblivious, or perhaps not wanting to acknowledge the sexual undercurrent of Eric's attention, it took Ella, angst-ridden and beautiful, ephemeral Ella, the love of his affection, to point out what had seemed strikingly obvious to everyone but himself. And because she was forever battling a host of demons that frolicked with her emotions at will, she proposed a ghastly request of him to prove her point and, as she reminded him, something he needed to execute if their love was to ever have a future.  It was not her habit to compete for someone's affection.

Blinded by his love for Ella and in an effort to prove her wrong, he led Eric on.  He feigned an unfelt affection towards dear, loyal, sweet Eric and, as Ella predicted, Eric took the bait.  Surprised by the sudden declaration of love and lust from someone whom he would never couple with, - someone he loved as a brother - he spewed vitriol and injured the one and only person who never did him harm.  Eric, realizing the cruel deception that had been played on him, stared at him in disbelief with eyes brimming with sadness.  When he quietly said that he never thought him of such depths of deceit and cruelty, he made him feel dirty and ashamed.  He wished him well and hoped that one day he would find someone whom he could love the way he always loved him.  Later that night, Eric took his life.  It was then, when he learned the fate of his beloved friend, that the love he had always had for Ella turned to hate.  He could no longer look at her or be a part of her world, for her eyes mirrored his unforgiving crime, as the willing tool of her manipulations, he now only wished to die as well.

And so, he gave up his violin, denying himself the very thing that brought him and Eric complete joy. Eric was gone and he had been the catalyst of that cause. Never forgiving himself for what he had done, he sentenced himself to a solitary life, away from society, living the rest of his days remembering the cavalier way he had used and injured another; an innocent pawn in the malicious machinations of a heart blinded by untruths.

Monday, February 10, 2014


For Trifecta Writing Challenge: to create a 33 word post about a love gone wrong without using the following words: love, sad, tears, wept, heart and pain.

entwined in the heat of passion,
at the cusp of where physical devotion is met,
he whispers words best left unsaid -

their trysts,
changed, and forever now forfeited 
by three little damaging words 

Saturday, February 8, 2014


For Master Class , a new prompt site I've just found.  This is my first post for the site.  The prompt is: "He was the only one left to fulfill that contract and try to justify the labor and the harshness and the mistakes of his parents’ lives, and that responsibility was so clearly his, was so great an obligation, that it made unimportant and unreal the sight of the motley collection of pall-bearers staggering under the weight of his father’s body, and the back door of the hearse closing quietly upon the casket and the flowers,which can be used in whole, or in part, or merely as an inspiration.  I chose to use as much of it as possible within the story.

And, for Magpie Tales


He’d never been a fan. Actually, saying he wasn’t a fan was offensive.  His father’s trade was inhumane and there were laws against it, but he got away with it because, as he learned early in life, money could buy anyone, for the right price.  And so, his father had eyes everywhere whose job was to keep his business safe and unknown; and, he had foot soldiers that did the dirty work so he never had to be bothered with the abominable details.  

He grew up watching young girls come into his home - girls who had just celebrated their 12th birthday - to train to become lifelong slaves and concubines to ones who would be willing to pay the price.  Yeah, slavery wasn’t abolished in 1865, it just went underground and today the faces were of different color and ethnicity.  Yeah, involuntary servitude was alive and well in his quiet little town in the middle of Nowhere, U.S.A., where none were the wiser.  His father was a smart man and knew his type of business required an Americana fa├žade, a moral cover that would be impossible to attain in a metropolis where any form of activity, regardless of how well you kept it undercover, would be found by the nosey and ambitious that littered the streets like feral animals in search of survival. 

Yes, this had been his life and, in a sense, he had been a slave as well.  He was forced to keep quiet and never speak against the organization because, blood or not, he too might meet a fatal end. Not by his father’s hands, of course, but by one of his henchmen.  In his house, money was the God he prayed to and obeyed. 

But then Alena happened.  She had come into the family at the age of 11 and had been trained to be his father's house maid and  concubine.  He had fallen in love with the waif-like Alena with the soulful blue eyes; Alena, who would frolic and play with him when his father was not around; Alena, the one that he comforted to appease the tragedy of what was her life on those brief moments  when they were alone; Alena, the one who would tickle the ivories of the piano with her bare feet and giggle with wild abandon.  

He had approached his father and said he would pay for her freedom but, unfortunately, his money held no equity in his plea.  His father merely laughed at him and called him a dunce, “why pay for something you can have for free? Haven’t you learned anything I’ve taught you?

So angry at himself for having failed her, having begged him, that afterwards he drove to the nearest bar to imbibe and quell the demons that held the face of the one that sired him.  He hated him, his lifestyle, his immorality and lack of compassion, and on the fourth scotch he vowed to get Alena’s release one way or another.  Running away was not an option; they would eventually be found.  His father was powerful and did not take to traitors lightly.  No, he wasn’t running away.  That wasn’t his style anyway.  He wanted a more permanent solution, one that would free not only Alena, but all the other slaves that his father and his ilk owned. 

The following day, sober and still filled with the blinding rage of taking his father down, he promised himself he would go the police station and commit his father's crime.  For full cooperation he would ask for his freedom in return; he did not want to be  charged as an accessory, even though he was never a participant.  But there was no proof that he was; or, wasn't.  He knew they would never believe his innocence and so needed to go to them with concrete proof of his father's crimes as collateral.  He knew his father's organization to be so expansive and lucrative that his request would be easily met. He was not the dunce his father believed him to be; he knew the names of all the eyes and foot soldiers within the organization and the families that owned slaves.  His father kept meticulous records inside his safe in the bedroom.  And as of tomorrow he would finally free Alena from a life of indentured servitude and they could be free to move elsewhere and marry.  But today, he would have to find a way to get inside the safe and steal the records.  

But, as luck would have it, his father would get away with the crime.  He'd never see the inside of a jail.  That night, in the middle of dinner, as he was laughing at him for asking for Alena's freedom, he began to choke on a piece of sirloin.  His son, filled with the anger of injustice and inhumanity of his father’s crimes, watched calmly as his father died violently, never bothering to stand up and aid in his survival. When his father finally expired, he arose and made the requisite phone calls to the ambulance and police. He went to his father’s safe and retrieved the books.  The slaves would be now be freed.  And as the only one left to fulfill the contracts and justify the labor and harshness and mistakes his father made, the responsibility was now so clearly his, was so great an obligation, that he vowed to never rest into all those who committed the crimes would be put behind bars and all the slaves be freed and recompensed.  

And today, seeing the sight of the motley collection of pall-bearers staggering under the weight of his father’s body, and watching the back door of the hearse closing quietly upon the casket and the flowers, he smiled.  At last, he and Alena were free.  One evil spirit less in the world. One who would be buried today and immediately forgotten.