Short Story: Echoes of the Past

Echoes of the Past

Beep… Beep… Beep…
I sit silently beside the bed, the monotonous sound of the machine the only sound I hear, although I barely even notice the sound anymore… it’s just become a part of the background after so many hours. She stirs with a gentle moan, her hand grasping the crisp white sheets tightly, hands becoming claws in their pain. I reach out and gently remove her hand from the sheets and take it mine.
“It’s alright Grandma, I’m here.”
She moans slightly, turning her head ever so slightly, ever so slowly towards me.
“Who…?” she whispers, her voice so soft yet strained I can barely hear her.
“It’s me Grandma. Anne.”
“Anne… I don’t know an Anne…”
My heart breaks for the thousandth time. One would hope that the pain would stop, that every time she forgets my face would make it easier. I know it’s nothing personal, I know her mind is fading, lost in the shadows, but every time she gives me that look, the look that makes me feel like a stranger… my heart breaks again, and it hurts just as much as the first time.
Beep… Beep… Beep…
I watch her eyes close wearily once more, her hand still clasped in mine like a vice. I will stay here as long as it takes, watching over her: her own personal sentinel, waiting, watching, and protecting her. It won’t be long now. In my heart I know it, and part of me is relieved that she’ll finally be at peace, while the other part of me hates myself for thinking that way; she’s a vibrant being, a strong soul, if anyone should have the strength to carry on it should be her. But I know… I know that part of me is just being selfish, it’s living in denial and the guilt gnaws away at me.
“I’m thirsty…”
I reach over for the glass of water on the cabinet, and bring it to her lips. Slowly, painfully, she takes a few sips before closing her eyes again and lying back on the pillows.
Beep… Beep… Beep…
I close my eyes trying to fight off the tears that threaten to spill. I tell myself I will not cry. I must be strong, for her. I will lock that pain in a cage, deep in my heart, and it will stay there until she’s gone. I tell myself this over, and over again… but I’m only human. The tears sneak out from beneath my lids, rolling down my cheek and raining into my lap.
“Why are you crying Alice?”
My eyes flutter open in surprise, and I see her watching me, a sea of sadness in her beautiful blue eyes. It’s like looking in a mirror.
“I’m sorry Grandma, it’s nothing. Don’t worry yourself.”
She stares silently, her eyes searching my face for… something.
Beep… Beep… Beep…
“What’s wrong with your Grandma dear?”
“She’s… she’s not got long left in this world.”
She squeezes my hand and I feel another wave of tears threaten to overflow.
“Death is nothing to be afraid of my dear…” She whispers. “It takes us all eventually. I think it would be better to be free amongst the clouds of Heaven than trapped on Earth in a body that can’t do our souls justice.”
I look deep into her eyes and see the sadness in her has washed away; a calm and warm ocean blue has replaced it. I feel my lips twitch involuntarily into a small, sad smile.
“I love you Annie girl…” she squeezes my hand tightly.
“You… you remember me Grandma?”
She smiles at me, saying nothing. I know I’m just clinging to hope now. She whispers something but I can’t hear it, her voice no louder than the papers that flutter to the floor as I stand up and lean in towards her.
“I’d recognize you anywhere Annie girl…” she whispers lucidly. With a smile, her eyes flutter shut once more.
“Fly free Grandma…” I whisper as I kiss her brow.
Beep… Beep… Beeeeep…

Poem: Inspiration Never Sleeps

Inspiration Never Sleeps

Mind racing quickly,
Heart beating slow.
Sleep is the one place
I want to but can’t go.

Breathing out slowly,
Mind torn apart:
No idea how to,
Or where I should start.

Holding it inside,
Not letting it out.
Drowning in sorrow,
Worry and doubt.

Hoping exhaustion,
When my limit is passed
Will let me put my head down
And fall asleep fast.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

My fellow blogger, the talented Luvbeingadyke has nominated me for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”. I was pleasantly surprised by this: it’s really affirming to have someone consider my work worth of a mention, especially when that person is very talented in the same field as you! Check out her work here: http://inallmydykeability.wordpress.com

Rules for accepting the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

Thank you to the amazing blogger who nominated you, with a link back to their blog (above).

List the rules and display the award on your blog (here).

Share seven facts about yourself (below).

Nominate other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated (below).

Seven Facts About Me:

1: I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember; even when I was five I loved reading and writing stories. This passion turned into a career choice (when I was old enough to actually know what that meant).

2: I have intermediate level fluency is Japanese; as well as writing I want to get involved in translation. Hence the occasional translation located here on my blog.

3: I’m highly introverted; while I loved my friends and spending time with them, when push comes to shove and I need to unwind, I’d much prefer to retreat somewhere by myself and enjoy some solitude.

4: I do all my best thinking/major life decision making in one of three locations: my bed, the shower, or at night when wandering aimlessly for fresh air.

5: I’m a big fan of fantasy; writing, shows, movies and games. I’ve always had a love of these, and I suspect I always will!

6: I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and through it I escape the monotony of life constantly. I can’t count the number of series I’ve imagined myself into, and rather thoroughly at times.

7: I’m a massive animal lover; cats and dogs especially. I don’t really do the whole people thing, but if you mistreat an animal around me, so help you, you’re in for a world of pain.

My own nominations for Very Inspiring Blogger Award go to…

Wuji Seshat Nibada: http://seshatwuji.wordpress.com/

Aurakarma: <http://aurakarma.wordpress.com

Shawn L. Bird: http://shawnbird.com

Short Story: Outfoxed

Outfoxed

Gosaburo glanced nervously over his shoulder again; there was still nobody around. Good. Palms slick with sweat he grabbed several valuable looking offerings from the shrine and shoved them unceremoniously into his rucksack.
“Sorry Inari, old man: if I don’t pay off those gambling debts I’m a dead man! I can’t believe that I, Gosaburo of the East, one of the most renowned merchants this side of the capital, have been forced to resort to petty theft, from a shrine no less! Here’s hoping nobody ever finds out; so you just keep quiet!” he chuckled nervously, slapping the fox statue on the rear before securing his pack and heading back towards the town centre.

Gosaburo jumped at the sudden sound of a dog barking in the distance, glancing nervously around the shadows of the alleyway he was traversing, eyes peeled for the slightest sign of movement.
“C’mon Gosaburo: pull yourself together. Stupid dog.” he grumbled.
The sun was rapidly sinking below the horizon as he emerged from the alley, shadows steadily lengthening around him. He was so busy looking back over his shoulders that he barely avoiding walking straight into a lone woman as she was passing.
“Forgive me, ma’am!” blurted Gosaburo, stopping short as he stared at her in awe. She was stunning! Her flowing raven locks were coiled intricately above her head, exposing her pale face and neck to glow in the light of the setting sun. Gosaburo just stood stunned, admiring her beautifully narrow face with the perfect high cheekbones; there was something both bestial yet beautiful about her: Gosaburo just knew he had to have her.
“It isn’t safe for such a fine specimen of a woman such as yourself to be travelling alone at such a glorious dusk. It would be my, Gosaburo of the East’s honour, nay privilege, to escort you to my home where you simply must stay as my esteemed guest!” he flourished.
Cheeks flushed with the palest hint of red the woman bowed, moving to stand silently by Gosaburo, now grinning from ear to ear as he took her by the arm and began escorting her to his home.
“One more block and we’ll be at my beautiful manor!” bragged Gosaburo, a bounce in his step. As the couple neared his home, a dog in a nearby yard went ballistic, his howls shattering the silent. Gosaburo stopped as the woman froze in terror, desperately grasping his arm for security.
“Don’t worry m’dear; Gosaburo of the East is here to protect you.” he chortled, dragging her into his home. After removing their shoes in the entrance hall, Gosaburo led the quiet woman straight into his bedroom where he proceeded to disrobe as he turned to face her. She stood silently as he pulled her in close, slowly kissing her exposed neck as he removed her kimono, letting it drop to the floor as he pulled her down with him onto his futon. Gosaburo stopped kissing her long enough to eye her necklace, consisting of a fine silver chain with a pearl so luminescent it appeared to be glowing in the candlelight. He reach out to stroke it but the woman caught his hand in hers, pulling his arm around the small of her back, drawing his attention once again to her. Gosaburo drew her close, rolling on top of her before he entered her, grinning from ear to ear. He thrust quickly and strongly to begin with, but soon he was wheezing and his momentum slowed down. His vision started to blur and he began to panic, with everything so hazy it was impossible to tell but it looked like the woman was grinning at him.
“Something’s… wrong…” he managed to grunt before giving one final groan and collapsing on top of the motionless woman. Sliding herself out from under him, she rose from the futon and begun replacing her kimono around her naked form when she heard the front door thrown open. Eyes wide, she touched one hand to her necklace and ran to hide behind a large screen in the corner of the room as two men entered.
“Gosaburo!” growled one man as he stormed over to his unmoving form. “Gosaburo, wake u-!”
“What’s wrong?” asked the second man, removing his hood.
“He’s… dead.” the first man replied, stunned.
“Damn it! We’ll just have to take any valuables he has hidden away here and cut our losses.” growled the first man, moving over to Gosaburo’s cabinet, pulling the drawers out and emptying the contents onto the floor. “There’s nothing in here!” he screamed, throwing the emptied draw across the room, knocking the screen to the ground with a resounding crash and a terrified yelp. Glancing at each other, the two men approached the screen, one of them tossing it to the side while the other drew his knife and stopped.
“What the..!?” he gasped, as he stood and watched as a fox with what appeared to be a pearl in its mouth, darted between their legs, out the front door, and off into the night…

Poem: The Road

The Road

The road is long, the road is wide,
We ever seek the other side,
Through bramble and thicket we make our way,
Wandering aimlessly, day after day.

From the path we stumble; sometimes we lose our way,
Shadows falling hide the truth, then lead us astray.
Lost and alone we want to cry,
As time marches relentlessly by.

Our companion hounds us, a dog of black,
We soldier on, no turning back,
We wander lost, devoid of hope,
Our best friend a razor, some pills, a rope.

We need someone to guide us, take our hand,
Give us their strength, then help us stand,
Bring us from the shadow, back into the light,
Give us the courage to continue the fight.

The road is long, the road is wide,
We ever seek the other side,
Through bramble and thicket we make our way,
Wandering aimlessly, day after day.

—/—/—
I wrote this piece a few days ago to mourn the passing of one of the comic geniuses of our time: Robin Williams. His death moved me more than I ever thought a celebrity’s passing could; the world is definitely a darker place for his passing. Carpe Diem.

Short Story: Anders’ Pack

Anders’ Pack

Billowing blankets of white snow stretched as far as the eye could see; it was a marvel well worth the trek. I trudged through the snow heading back towards the village where I was staying. Soft flakes of silver floating down around me in the fading light. Breath-taking; absolutely breath-taking! Soon the falling flakes became a flurry and it became harder to see anything, aside from the majestic light on the horizon which had me mesmerized. I was so busy staring at the skyline that I didn’t see the approaching snow drift: losing my footing I slipped and tumbled down tearing a gash in my leg on a jagged rock protruding from the snow. When I finally stopped rolling, I lay crumpled in a heap, my leg bleeding profusely. It hurt too much to move let alone stand. My vision was blurring… I knew I wasn’t going to make it home. There was howl somewhere nearby; a mourning cry. I almost felt it appropriate to be the last sound I ever heard…

I came to sometime later, and found myself lying in a dark cavern. The padding of paws behind my head caught my attention: it was a wolf. I watched as it padded alongside me, stopping beside my injured leg. I screwed my eyes shut: this is it! I flinched in anticipation of the agony I was about to endure. I flinched. It was… licking my leg? I opened my eyes and stared down at it in confusion. The wolf was cleaning my wound: I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I thought maybe that was how I ended up in the cavern in the first place: had the wolf dragged me? It seemed preposterous, but I don’t know how else I could’ve ended up in there! My head was pounding and my vision swam as I blacked out again.

When I came to again I was dimly aware of something warm and soft pressed against my side: the wolf was stretched out beside me, warding off the chill. Cautiously I reached out to place my hand gently on its flank. Its head rose and turned towards me: I looked into its eyes seeing a look that, if I hadn’t been so exhausted, I would’ve sworn was compassion! It must’ve been my imagination, surely. Suddenly the wolf was on its feet, ears erect. It stood still as a statue for a moment, before bounding out into the snow leaving me alone in the cavern. Taking a deep breath I hauled myself into a sitting position and tried to focus, my vision still somewhat hazy. I knew that if I didn’t get my leg treated soon I would never make it home alive. Steadying myself on the cavern wall, I slowly pulled myself to my feet and leaned against it, breath heavy. A sudden gunshot made me jump, causing me to slip and crash back to the ground in agony. I lay unmoving, vision white from the agony searing up my leg. A whining in the cavern made me turn my head, and as my vision cleared I saw the wolf limp in, its fur matted with blood. No! It limped over to me, collapsing on the ground next to me with a pained whine.
“Looks like this could be it for both of us.” I whispered, struggling to reach out for the dying wolf. Closing my eyes, I lay back my breathing even shallower by the moment: it was just like falling asleep.
“Don’t worry Anders: I’m here!” came a familiar voice from the cavern mouth: my friend Ethan.
“No!” I mumbled as Ethan raised his rifle, aiming it at the wounded wolf beside me. Bang! The wolf gave a half yelp as the bullet struck home, before it slumped as silent as it was still. Ethan came over and pulled me to my feet, steadying me with his arm.
“The wolf… wolf was… helping me… why… why’d you…” I managed to mumble, swaying unsteadily.
“What did you say? The wolf was..? I had no idea, I’m sorry. I followed the blood through the snow, thought it had hurt you! Come on, we’ve got to get you back to town before you lose any more blood.”
With his arm around me, we began slowly making our way out when a weak, mourning howl came from the very back of the cavern. Breaking away from Ethan, I staggered along the wall towards the back of the cavern, stopping in shock. Huddled at the back of the cavern was a litter of wolf pups: this was their den! All but one of the pups was motionless, dead. The lone surviving pup whined and backed up against the wall. Lowering myself awkwardly, I held out a trembling hand toward the pup, who, after a moment’s hesitation nuzzled my hand. Reaching out I picked the pup up, holding him close to my chest.
“Anders…” Ethan mumbled, but I just shook my head and unsteadily staggered out of the cavern with his arm once again holding me up, the pup nestled against my chest. As the snow began drifting down again, the three of us trudged through the snow: together, homeward bound.

Poem: Black

Black

She walked towards him,
Her dress of sable fluttering,
Her ebon rings of onyx glittering,
Her necklace obsidian drinking in the light.
She laughed as she approached,
Her raven tresses effortlessly beautiful,
Her eyes of obsisian, traced in charcoal,
Her dusky complexion radiant.
“Why do you dress so dark?” he asked.
“Because black is just so boring.”