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Fille disparue

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Cards on the Table

The body slumped - first to its knees, then a growing puddle on the ground. It. Not her. Not her.

"Sorry, Mil," he whispered. The body was still gasping. Still blinking. Almost confused. Definitely Shocked. Alive, but not for long. Not her. It.

He turned away. He didn't have any more reasons to be afraid. "I was quicker. Smarter. Better."

The body rasped out blood-soaked words, too much punctured air to be comprehended. He got it.

"Hey," he called, hand on the door. "You were right. I promise; I'll do this the right way."

The body hit the floor. The door opened. It closed. He drew a smoke, fingers fumbling.

"You cheated," she whispered. She. Another she, but not her. She'd never be her.

"Everybody cheats at this game," he answered. "That's the only way to win." He lit up.

"So now what?" she asked.

"Now? I play fair. This isn't the kind of game you win." She. Her. The ever-after her knew better.

He knocked a little ash loose. He watched the embers fall. "I just want to lose with dignity."

She. The second she, never her, nodded. "We all make our compromises."

The gun pressed into his back. He closed his eyes and smiled.

Prompt: From wonderfulwritingprompts

#49: Dialogue
  • Use this exchange in your story or poem:
  • "You cheated."
  • "Everyone cheats at this game, that's the only way to win."

Just a little style practice.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, feedback, and some decent exposure.

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Skewed Dogma by richard lynn livesay

 the dark sky rumbled

climbing the underbelly                                               

of purgatory’s stained stairs

 

my reality splintered

reaching the end of what I knew

before being inverted to meta-neutrinos

 

magic toads presented

copies of Sumerian cuneiform

introducing King Gilgamesh, I read,

 

after Ishtar was rejected by Gilgamesh

the Bull of heaven appeared and

the king’s friend, Enkidu was mortally injured

 

collapsing on steep the steps, I saw

an angel named Lucifer come near

talking to the image of Zoroaster

 

blood of negativity dripped down the steps

and we fell into the lower bowels of the earth

screaming people were trying to eat my feet

 

then I saw Gabriel helping Enkidu crawl out                                 

followed in light, joining them on jagged rocks                                 

we passed through a golden portal surrounded

 

by thousands of poets in flight marking a path

and the poets chanted, the vibration carried us

on toward, but the earth had been shattered

 

desolate and unforgiving in its total destruction

but there in the clouds was the plain of heaven

No, the poets had created an alternate world

 

From within the hearts and minds, it became

And the hallowed mansions were shared

The inner manifestations reflected glory

 

And we lived in peace and love, sharing

Knowing that all contained the spirit of creation

Awaiting our positive energy to produce miracles.

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Oh, Paris!

            Lindsey Grant locked the door behind her to her Paris apartment and leaned against it, sighing heavily. She had just received her tenth letter from her overbearing mother. The tenth in a month. She called home back to New York once a week. Paris was the place to go in the nineteen-fifties, that’s what they all said. “Go to Paris, meet a handsome young man, fall in love,” her uncle had said as though it were so simple, such an easy dream. “They call it that you know; the City of Love. La Ville Lumiére.” He was so excited by the idea that she had not the heart to tell him that lumiére meant ‘light’ in French. Her doting uncle insisted though that she go, and paid for the whole trip.

 

            Putting away her groceries, she tried not to think of what the letter her mother sent her would say. She would mention Michael, mention how sorry he was, how much he missed her, how she should reconsider. Was it wrong of her to be furious that she had caught him kissing another woman? Of course not, she told herself! But her mother was hopelessly old-fashioned, and Michael Horn was a fabulously wealthy businessman.

Of course, Lindsey thought, marry an unfaithful, handsome, rich man, keep the house and raise the children and never say anything at all, never want for anything more than money and security. “You’re reaching for the moon,” her mother would said, “and you won’t be young and pretty much longer. You’re almost thirty!” As if twenty-seven were old and she were halfway in the grave! And Michael… he may have been handsome, but she had always known in the back of her mind that there was something wrong. It was in his eyes; they were empty. She understood that her mother worried; Lindsey’s father had died when she was very young, and her mother had a hard life, raising a daughter with only her much-older brother for help. And Lindsey’s uncle had only become wealthy in the last ten years. Money had been a constant worry, second only to their security.

 

She pushed all this out of her mind as she glanced through her bedroom and out of the window to see it raining. Foolish as it was, she loved when it rained in Paris. Everyone always said that, but she truly did. The soft glow of street lamps filtered in through the grey evening into her window and she decided to go out to the café and just sit for a while and enjoy the quiet. It felt good to be alone, in Paris to her. It felt good to be away from her mother and her friends who all treated her like someone damaged. She hardly cared for Michael; it was easy to get over someone when it happened like that.

And yet, as calming as it was to be alone, she thought as she walked the cobbled streets, umbrella in hand, her heels clicking, even the splendor and beauty of Paris could not replace that hollow space in her chest. It was the space that swelled at night, when she lay in bed alone. It was the ache that surrounded it when she saw two lovers kissing in the street, or on a park bench. Paris could not replace that longing in her hands when she saw two people walking down the street, holding on to each other as if they were all that kept them anchored to life.

 

Still, she was in Paris, and if there was any place to be lonely, it was there. She rounded a corner and saw the most curious thing from the corner of her eye, snatching her out of her thoughts. A man in a suit with an umbrella was walking behind her. She had no reason to think anything of it, but something about him simply caught her eye. He was wearing a brown suit and carrying an umbrella. Looking across the street, she saw another man, this one in a grey suit, also with an umbrella. Her uncle, a war veteran and perhaps a tad paranoid from his time in the Pacific, had always told her to be careful. “The world isn’t as safe as it once was,” he said. “There’s bad men out there.” Something about these men told her they were bad men. And they were watching her.

She had made eye contact with the one across the street and he had immediately looked away. This was most unusual. She did not boast, but Lindsey knew herself to be an attractive woman, one most men took at least an extra moment to take in before looking away, but he had done so immediately, and without so much as a smile. He had even looked ill-tempered upon seeing her.

Don’t be silly, she told herself as she came in view of the café, the windows a great yellow light against the dull grey. There were people in there, warm and cozy and quietly murmuring to one another. If these men were indeed following her, they wouldn’t dare follow her inside. The man across the street had disappeared, getting into a cab and driving away after she spotted him and this dispelled her fears. She glanced behind her and saw the umbrella of the brown-suited man turning out of sight down an alley. Nothing to worry about, she told herself.

 

Lindsey sat in a corner booth, sipping her coffee and nibbling an apple tart. She had been there only five minutes, letting the warmth soak into her cold body, when another man in a suit approached her. It was too much coincidence for one night, which meant it was no coincidence at all to her. Yet he was different than the two she had spotted before. His black hair was slightly ruffled, like his suit and he was clean-shaven; the other two had mustaches which, if anything, made them seem even more forbidding than their expressions let on. This man was younger, too. He might have been even younger than Lindsey. There were no lines in his face as he smiled, and yet there was something in his eyes… something that made her think of steel, yet at the same time, of the sky. They were beautifully blue-gray.

 

“Bonjour, mademoiselle. Parlez-vous anglais?” he asked. His accent was Parisian, as though he were a native. She looked around quickly and saw no one else suspicious in the café. No one besides this man.

“Yes, what is it you want?” she said. He looked taken aback. He frowned, hands in his pockets.

“Well, to ask you your name of course, and if I may be so lucky as to join you? Unless of course mademoiselle is expecting someone. I shouldn’t be surprised,” he said with a sly smile. He had a very handsome smile, she noticed. And while it did not strike her as a sincere one, there was something about him that made him seem familiar, as though they had met before. His English held a decidedly East Coast American accent, articulate but relaxed, confident. There was something even flippant in the way he hunched his shoulders, leaning back slightly, not as a lazy man slouches but as a man who knows how to handle himself stands supposedly relaxed, but tensed and ready for trouble. Yes, Lindsey thought, he looked like a man ready for trouble in his black suit and tie, hands in his pants pockets. She decided she liked him.

 

“Lindsey,” she said, “Lindsey Grant. And you may.” He sighed, still smiling.

“I was afraid you’d say that. Miss Grant, I…” he faltered, glancing around at the entrance to the café. And then she saw the most peculiar look in his eyes. It was guilt. It suddenly etched itself across his whole face, his eyes pleading with her to believe what he was about to say. “Miss Grant, I know you have no reason to trust me, but I must ask you to come with me. You see, I’m Lindsay Grant, and I’m afraid there’s been a very unfortunate misunderstanding.” Her eyes widened.

“What kind of misunderstanding?” she asked. He glanced again to the street outside. She followed his eyes and saw two men in suits approaching, both with umbrellas. Both had their hands inside their coats.

“Now’s not the time. Again, I can give you no reason to trust me, except to tell you that I will do everything in my power to take care of you. But please, you must come with me. Now! Please Miss, we’re in danger.” Her heartbeat quickened as she stared into his blue eyes, those impossibly grey-blue eyes. She had been right; those men had been following her. But why?! Who were they? Who was this other Lindsay Grant? There was no time! The men outside were crossing the street and she understood that they must get away. “Please Miss,” he said again, reaching into his own coat, his eyes pleading with her. Somehow suddenly she knew he held a gun and that so did those men outside and that he was one of the good guys.

“Yes,” she said breathlessly, and he took her hand and took her away.    

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Night and Day

I jumped out of bed at midnight. My heart was beating so fast that I thought I felt it pound out of my chest. I threw my blanket aside and walked out of my room very vaguely. Thoughts were racing about in my mind and my legs felt weak.

"Where am I?" I thought and walked out of the house.

My mind was confused. Why was I in a house I had never been to? How did I even get there? The air was chilly and the moon; a waning crescent. I walked through the unknown neighbourhood to a faintly familiar street. Towards the place I had spent every living moment of my life in. The Club.

The Club was the place that carved me into the present detailed sculpture I am. I was brought up by my father after my mother divorced him when I was seven. Once each new day struck, he would be gone. I peeked out of my thin bed sheet which barely seemed to insulate me, and watched him go. Such a gem of a person. He worked all night to earn some notes for the house to run. Later on I figured that he gambled. He gambled all night and slept during the day. while I attended school. He had lied to me all the way. I was offended. How could he do such a thing of throwing his money into an unknown pit? But before I could interrogate, he died. His drunk brain lost control and fell into a trench and lay there until dawn when it gave way a stench of blood and absinthe. My life was fragmented and was unable to regenerate. Just eleven years of my life I had lived, barely spending time with either of my parents. All I remember about my mother is that she was accused of molesting somebody which my parents never disclosed. I didn't want to go back to her. I was clear. I had nothing but a one-bedroom flat in Brooklyn and a yearly school fee of six grand. What was I to do? That is the moment I went to my sculptor. The Club.

I shook cocktails every night and attended school during the day. I did that for 5 years until I graduated. I wasn't  bright student at all. Hardworking; but forgetful. Many days in my life were and still go on as a blur. Sometimes weeks.

I never went to college. I gambled.

Today I just sat at the bar and ordered a beer. The bartender seemed to be new. He asked me for my Identity card and I flung towards him out of sheer annoyance.

"Tim Harvey. Four days to eighteen eh?" he began in his heavy cockney accent,"How often do you come 'ere?" he continued as he passed me my pint. 

"Almost everyday since eleven," I mumbled as I took my first swig. "Shook cocktails and now I gamble."

"And durin' the day?"

"Oh I don't know. They're always a blur."

I sat there watching people all night. I acted as if I was born that day. Then the same thoughts began to run through my head as they do every night. I wake up confused. I always leave a house at night. The same house. They same thought of me not knowing why I'm there. Me, never bothering to ask as my mind was always racing. I hardly ever remember what happens during the day, which is a shame. I know there is a reason. It remains under the sheet. Never bothering to come out into the cold. Yet again, I wake up in the same house. Today, I had to ask.

I walked out of The Club and sat into a car as I always did. I had duplicated the keys a long time ago so I never fall into trouble for rash driving. I drove down the road when suddenly....the old man was under my car.  Now, myself, Tim Harvey was in trouble. 

I ran with all my might to find that unknown street from where I had come and threw my keys away. I heard someone calling out, but then was lucky enough to hear that he was calling another chap called John. I always hated that name. Never would even fake my name to that. A single drop of sweat glided fearfully down my temple.As for the rest of the night; I slept behind a wall. 

I blinked twice and had no clue of where I was. Was I behind a wall? What on earth was I doing here? It would take me no lesser than an hour to reach home. And now I would be late to college! Mother and Father are not going to take any excuses. I am doomed today. Or maybe for the rest of my life. I wave my hand up in the air and push myself into a cab. The driver looks at me with a quizzical look. He immediately stops the cab and asks me,"Whats your name?"

"John Denton," I reply' still drowned in my thoughts,"Why do you ask?"

"Last night an accident took place on block three. I thought your face matched to that guy in the newspaper," he starts as he boots the car engine. But it's pretty obvious I am proved wrong. I mean look at you! Nothing compared to the scowl he wore and the rough voice that old chap described." he said choosing his words very carefully,"Tim Harvey. Yup. That's his name. Where did you say again? 5th Avenue is it?" he continued changing the topic. 

"Yes," I said vaguely and swam away into my galaxy of thoughts...

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Somewhere

"You are late."

"I tried to get here as soon as I could, what is it?"

"You are late."

"I know, I tried to get here as soon as I could haven't I just told you that?"

"You are late."

"I am sorry."

"Sorry- five letters- one for each finger, amazing how humans could come up with such words for such great offenses."

"What is wrong Diana?"

"You are late."

"I said I am sorry! Now can we get past this and tell me what was so urgent that I had to leave the office, navigate traffic, pass a red light, almost run over a cat and sweat like a maniac just to get here!"

"You are late Bryson."

"Aarrghhhh! You know what? Go to hell Diana. I am tired."

"You are late."

"Would you just speak up? I don't have time for this. SPEAK! "

"I lost our baby..."

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inspira’s lair

 

*

Dive deeply 

into the melody

to find inspira’s lair  

where she rests cradled 

behind lush wafting leaves 

brushing past your face, tickling ears 

body hovering, buoyed 

by a feathered mind  

shades protecting your eyes

two closed, third open

low riding to your highness  

vying for her favor 

that she may point her elusive

and enigmatic smile

your way.

*

6/13

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i wrote a poem about shoelaces 
but it got lost.

i don’t remember what it was about, 
but there was a tsunami that crashed 
into me and took out the power station 
at the end of the road so the lights 
went out and i couldn’t see what i was 
writing so i made light for myself 

so i lit the paper on fire and finished it 
before the paper burned to the words 

and i’ll go to sleep now but when i wake up 
at seven in the morning, i’ll slip into my skin 
and put on the mask with the smile and 
try to remember what 

i was saying 
about my 
shoelaces.

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The old man and the sixpence

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