Jan and I got there seconds after it happened. People were still shouting with surprise and dismay. The body lay in tatters on the tracks.
“Oh God,” Jan whispered. “That poor man.”
“What happened?” I asked the guy next to me.
“Suicide,” the guy said. “He hopped off the platform right when the train was coming by.”
“Christ,” I muttered. I wondered what our options were. There’d obviously be a delay while the police and paramedics attended to the scene. From the looks of it, Jan and I were going to be late for our friends’ wedding in New York that evening; people were already scooping up the remaining taxis to take to their destinations. It looked like we’d be stuck there for a while. Continue reading “The Incident at the Train Station”
It was just too awful. Too unbelievable. People would think I got scared and made something up because I was a kid at the time and that’s what kids do. Everyone knows he had a few too many beers while he and I were fishing. Everyone knows fell out of the boat and drowned when the weather got bad and the water got rough. Everyone knows I couldn’t pilot the thing by myself and it went into the rocks. That’s what I told the police and that’s what they believed. Didn’t matter that they never found the body. Fishermen go missing all the time. Their bodies don’t get found, either. The current around here sweeps everything away. Blood included. Continue reading “Uncle Liam”
My sunflower seeds started talking to me last month. I couldn’t believe it; I’d been lonely for such a long time. It felt good to have friends. I bet it was my mom who asked them to keep me company. I miss her terribly.
The clearest memory I have of Mom was when she told me that all the beauty in the world grows from something small. I was helping her in the garden, and we’d just planted sunflowers. My favorite. A couple days later, she showed me the tiny, burgeoning sprouts that would eventually become the towering, yellow flowers I loved so much. She repeated what she told me about beauty. I remember being amazed. I’d wake up every morning and head outside and check their progress. Each time, they were a little bit bigger. Continue reading “Sprouts”
Something’s living under my teeth. Whenever I chew, it screams. I had to stop eating. Now I blend everything up and drink it so I don’t have to hear the sound anymore. Brushing my teeth is out. More screaming; bloodcurdling shrieks stopping only when I don’t apply pressure. Even when I sleep, if my mouth closes and my teeth click together, my ears are pierced with the sounds of agony. Continue reading “Under My Teeth”
“No,” I insisted. “Absolutely and unequivocally. No.”
I studied his face. It looked like he was prepared to accept what I was saying, but somewhere in his eyes I saw what I’d been hoping for. Something I barely wanted to admit, but nonetheless what I wanted most of all: he understood that behind my protestations was a plea to be convinced.
He opened his mouth and I studied his tongue. It was pink and firm and marked with tastebuds. The sheen of saliva on the muscle was both inviting and repelling; I loved how it felt inside me. I enjoyed the sensations it produced. But it left things behind. When he pulled away, I would feel the air on the wetness it deposited. It was cold. Discomforting.
I met his mouth with mine and let his tongue slip between my lips. It brushed against my own and I tasted his saliva. His mouth was still salty and slightly bitter from our earlier acts together. Not altogether unpleasant, but still noteworthy. I assumed mine tasted similar. Continue reading “Tiptoeing the Line of Consent”
We weren’t allowed to leave our home; the suited men were everywhere and kept insisting it was for our own safety. They wouldn’t give us a hint about what was going on.
Being right across the street, I stayed glued to my front window. It was fascinating at first. Then interesting. Then tedious. Still, I felt like I had to keep watching. There was something going on in there and I needed to know what. Nothing on television gave any indication something was wrong. Our cell phones had no service. It was as if the signals were being blocked.
Toward the end of the first day, I’d started to feel a surprising amount of apprehension. My wife, too. It felt as if we were about to receive terrible news, despite not having any reason to. Continue reading “Last Weekend”
It’s almost impossible to sleep when there’s a cricket in your room. I know. I’ve tried. The constant chirping as the bug seeks out some nonexistent mate is enough to drive you crazy. And I’ll admit: for a time, I may have lapsed into a mental state that wasn’t the healthiest for me. It would happen to anyone under those conditions.
I went a good two weeks without sleeping more than 10 minutes a night. The sound was constant and inescapable. I did some searches online and was told I could buy a lizard who’d eat the thing and end my torment. I let three of them loose before I went to work and never saw them again. The chirping continued unabated. Continue reading “Endless Chirping”