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She thought that the sensation of the migraine was like someone taking tweezers, and slowly pulling out the veins in her head, one by one, like someone pulling out unneeded threads from an old sweater. If she lay very, very, still, she could almost hear each one as it snapped off, leaving her face without a scaffolding. She thought about how her face would look, slowly crumpling under the weight of her skin, without anything to keep it up, kind of like one of those dried apple face dolls that sat on the shelf behind her dead grandmotherís kitchen sink.
I tried to tell everyone that I wasnít the same as they were, that there was something about me that was different. They didnít believe me. I tried to tell myself that I didnít care, that it didnít matter to me what they thought. But it did matter. Not because they didnít believe me I was different, but because they didnít believe me at all. So when they look at me and smile, and whisper about my eccentricities, I know they donít believe me. And it shouldnít matter to me what they think. But it does. And I hate it.
When wrapping up the bones of your latest victim, remember to do it correctly.
First, they should be sorted by size, so to ensure that the packages are neat and uniform.
Alternate the way they lay, so that you do not have one very bulky end and one small end.
Be sure that you do not put so many in each package that it is awkward to carry.
Small bones should be tightly packed together to ensure you do not have a package that will rip open when picked up.
You have thirty minutes to complete this final.
The idea of crossing the river presented him with a unique challenge. He couldnít just walk across as that would raise too many questions regarding his lineage. Swimming was out of the question, because even with his extraordinary abilities he had never learned how to swim. Finally, he settled for hopping from one rock to the next until he made it across. He figured that since people would be busy laughing, no one would notice if sometimes his foot was partially on the water and partially on a rock. That way, there was no risk of falling in and drowning.
The blood bond between them was a symbiotic relationship. Although she shut him out of her mind when she chose, he taught her how to grow and master her powers. In return he had a - mostly - willing source of blood, and the challenge of attempting - and failing - to control her mind. The sex, when they had it, was amazing, and shared blood heightened the orgasms. There were times she hated him, wished he didnít exist, but those times were never in bed, and never when they sat, feet hanging off the cliff, watching the city down below.
Supposedly he wrote the book, but in reality it was his computer. The writer would sit for hours at his desk, and pound out a few sentences that may or may not have made sense. Meanwhile heíd be getting drunk, beer by beer, until finally heíd stagger to bed.
The computer had fallen in love with the heroine of the novel, created back when the writer had been mostly sober. Night by night the computer wrote the story, and in the mornings, hung over and forgetful, the writer would read, and be pleased with, what heíd written the night before.
Yeah, I took the path of least resistance. Why? It was easier of course. Sure, I thought it couldnít make much of a difference, I mean, come on, how often does it really turn out to be the wrong way to go? Iíve never had a problem with that before. Itís not fair, Iím the good guy, and everyone takes shortcuts, right? So itís really not that much of a stretch to say anyone would have made the same choice. But now, here I am, a frog, and Iíll be damned if I can figure out what to do next.
She imagined catching him as he climbed off his bike in front of the restaurant. Keyed and buzzing from the ride, running her fingers through his hair would be all it would take to set him off.
In the alcove around the corner from the restaurant, away from the street, sheíd brace herself against the walls as his knee supported her from behind, his hand down the front of her pants, fingers rolling in slippery rhythm. Sheíd grind down frantically, riding his fingers, hearing his growls as he slapped his other hand over her mouth to muffle her ragged panting.
It sat in the snow, catching the flakes between webbed fingers, because they melted more slowly there. It examined the points on every tiny crystal, clearly visible in its multifaceted eyes. It had never seen snow, never felt cold. It came from a land of warmth, of sun, its skin was designed to keep it cool.
Here though, where it crash-landed, its skin was no help. The ship had done what it could, ejected its pilot clear of the burning ship. The ship could not save it though; its blood slowly crystallized as it gazed at the flakes in wonder.
The rings left by your coffee cups are still on my window ledge. I told you not to set them there, but inevitably, when we lay in bed, you had that cup of coffee beside you. Strong and black you said, the only way to drink it. Even sometime now I think I smell it, early in the morning, when the automatic pot used to start brewing.
I wonder, when does memory start to fade? When will I stop smelling coffee? When will the dent on your side of the bed even out? Still, I will leave the coffee rings.
Today I was tracing the rings your coffee mug left on the window ledge. I used to tell you not to set it there, that the landlord would be pissed when I moved out. But you
to have your morning coffee or you wouldnít wake up.
Some days I think I hear the timer start, and smell it begin to brew. But then I wake all the way up, and remember.
I wonder; when does memory begin to fade? Is it when my window ledge is white again? Perhaps, but I canít bring myself to bleach the rings.
Please let me watch the water, let me slide into the ripples. I want to try and touch the drops that spray around when I throw a rock, I want to roll into the little waves that lap the shore. I want to fly from the cliff, delve into the cool water. I want to feel it roll over my naked body.
Let me walk into it, I want it to fill me. I want to meld into the coolness that tempts me. I want to make love to it, I want it to be the last thing I see.
Beautiful flower, the dance of the dreams, smiles of the seasons. I follow the images that dance, the lack of rest tormenting me. I watch the man in the moon, I watch the lady of the see. I crave the blankness of sleep, but not as much I crave the lack of dreams that I will never find. The dreams they follow me, they become the images I see during the day. They all begins to blur into one another, they begin to become one whirling circle, one revolving circle that becomes the spinning wallpaper to my world.
Her hands trace down my body, starting with the lips. She run her fingers over them, touching their parted space, then move up to my cheekbones. Over the eyelids, soft as snow, up over my brow, her lips leaving butterfly kisses on my chest. Over the curve of the ear, thumb caressing my temples, fingers sliding down my neck. Her lips suckle the underside of my throat as her hands encircle it, then slide up to my scalp to massage, up to the top of my head where the soft spot was, then, with strong fingers, she moves back down.
As his hands slide over my collarbone, rubbing his thumb over the ridges, he kisses my closed eyes with his lips. As his hands slide down my spine, he feels each one separately, individually, tracing every ridge and knot, as if they were pearls. He presses under my shoulder blades, not hard enough to cause pain, but enough I know he is there. Gently he digs his nails into my flesh, dragging them down my back, kissing his way down my arm as he does. At my waist he holds me, pulls me towards him, kisses my lips, nuzzles me.
She moves her mouth to my neck again, as her hands sweep up my sides. Over my shoulders, running her hands down my arms. Dropping a quick kiss on my collarbone, she traces the veins in my arm with her lips, kissing the pale blue lines, sucking, licking as she moves. Her hand on my other arm moves down until she is holding my hand, caressing the back of it with her thumb. Then her mouth moves down to the fingers, and she is sucking, nursing from my fingers, licking them, as if hungry for what I can give her.
With one last suck he abandons my fingers and moves to my thighs. Lightly he drags his nails down the calves, sending shivers up my spine, until he reaches my feet. Once there he rises up to a sitting position, and takes my left foot in his hands. With strong thumbs he rubs, using his palms and fingers to massage it. I rise to my elbows to watch him, his long eyelashes looking down as he focuses on his task. When my foot feels soft as jelly, he moves on to the next, looking at me from under his lashes.
When she finishes massaging my feet, she works her way up my ankles, kissing and nibbling as she moves up my leg. Her other hand is rougher now, dragging her nails so they create little furrows in my skin. As she slides up to my knees her breasts press into my legs. She wraps her legs underneath my knees and bends them, then uses her hips to press them into a fully bent position. She straddles my feet, as she pushes them into a bent position, legs splayed on either side, the moisture of her body trickling onto my arches.
From that position he reaches around my knees to grasp my sides, to kneed my belly, to run his fingers down my hips. His eyes are steady on mine, and they have turned the dark almost-brown green, slightly filmed over, that they always do when we fuck. He kisses my knees again, then spreads them and releases my feet from underneath him. He draws his nails down the inside of my thighs as I spasm, then moves his mouth, up, between my legs. His tongue is hot, and the way it moves says he will not control himself much longer.
Every time he takes a walk he counts the squares in the pavement that he trods on. He plants his foot directly in the middle of each one, careful that it does not touch a crack. Heís had a lot of practice at this, and he manages to look like he is walking normally, albeit with an awkward gait. Every once in a while though, he comes across a place where the pavement is too cracked to even tiptoe across, and this necessitates a leap into the street, where he will walk until he can step back onto the sidewalk.
Oh hi, I didnít see you there. Come on in, I was just, um, looking over the newspaper. Did you see the headlines today?
No, no I didnít hear about that.
Oh really? No, I didnít read Ė
What? No, Iím sorry, Iím just distracted. Iím sorry, Iím having a bad day.
Nothing major, donít worry.
Yeah, Iím sure.
No, itís just Ė
Well, I heard from my doctor this morning.
No, itís not really good. Apparently it has spread to my spinal cord.
I guess Iím handling it ok.
I just keep wondering what it will feel like to die.
Exhaustion rips at me, tearing little pieces out of my psyche. After days of stress, broken up nights, and time spent bleary-eyed at the computer, I feel like a well-aged piece of Swiss cheese. Except the cheese is better with the holes, and age. I, I become fractured, my mind begins to crumble. Like a house made of blocks, that slowly is weakened as brick by brick are removed, until it is threatening to fall to pieces. The house can be shored up again with new bricks, as my mind is eventually patched. But will it be the same one?
He traced the veins in his hands with red ink. Once he had marked them all, he moved on to his wrists, and then up his arms.
I sat across the room and watched him, the smoky haze blurring my vision. When he reached his elbow he switched the pen to his other hand and started on the other one.
ďWhy are you doing that?Ē I asked.
For a long while he didnít look up, didnít acknowledge my question. Then he looked up with a fleeting smile.
ďHow else will I to learn to know every inch of my body?Ē
I mean daaaamn boy? How the hell did you get yourself in that mess? Melissaís a good girl, you know that! All you had to do was treat her good. She looked up to you - god only knows why - you got your sex, and she even cleaned your pigsty apartment. What more do you want? All the guys were jealous of you Ė hell, Iím sure most of them are planning how theyíll pick her up now. Why the hell did you try and pull the whole ďwrong holeĒ shit? You lost out man, big time, you fucked up.
Carefully she made her way down the stairs. They were getting harder to see, so even though she knew their shape by heart, she had to strain to make out any possible obstructions that might be in her way. Such as a wet, slippery leaf, a sock dropped by a neighbor coming back from doing laundry, or the stray cat that hung out on the steps. She liked the cat actually, she had been feeding it for about a year and a half. But now she always worried that she might trip over it as she made her way down.
I often wonder if I cut open a cross-section of your skull, what I would find. I wonder if your crazy thoughts have changed the color of your brain, if rather than red blood and grey matter, you have chartreuse wandering through your veins, if the matter has developed stripes. I wonder if the shape has changed, if your struggles to understand the world through the lens of your illness has made it contort into a different form.
Sometimes I wish I could see what you see. But, I think Iíd take the cowardís way out if offered the chance.
They laugh at the woman on the street, the one with the weepy eyes and the layers of ragtag clothes. They make fun of her milky irises, and the way that she sits there on a crate in the snow, hand out for change. I used to laugh too, until one day I saw her in a different through anotherís eyes.
A girl came out of the coffee shop, carrying a large steaming drink. She knelt in front of the old woman, took her blue hands in her own and wrapped them around the cup as she talked to her.
Her knees must have been wet as long as she knelt in the snow. When the womanís hands had apparently warmed, the girl took the cup away and set it at the ground at the old womanís feet. Then she took off her own gloves and pulled them on the womanís now warm hands. Picking back up the cup, she gave it to the old woman, and with another word walked away, hands tucked into her pockets.
I looked back at the street woman, and saw she was crying. No one else on the street seemed to notice, or care.
More free writing:
Little scraps of paper falling from the sky, like little snowflake on a winterís day. A shredded note, that held a loverís kiss, ripped into pieces by an angry hand. Left to fly out of the train window, open only a sliver, to fall into the empty fields. Some are taken by a passing bird, some by scavenging field mice. A few shreds end up riding in a tumbleweed, and moving far beyond their sowing place. The rest rot, and dissolve into the dirt. Pounding rains, then driving snow, erase the only tangible memory of their words.
Tomorrow is my last entry for this monthís 100 words. This has been an amazing experiment, quite a different exercise than last monthís exercise, National Novel Writing Month, which I succeeded in. The ability to turn out a short complete clip in 100 words is a challenge, and one that a few years ago I had no idea how to turn out.
Next month I am turning my attention back to finishing my current novel, as well as finishing revising and submitting some current short stories. Perhaps in February I will be back to attempt this exercise again.
Next year, this time, will be ten years from 1999. The Y2K bug, the terror-filled predictions of the end of the world, the bets on the failure of the entire computer system. Stockpiling food and water, making paper copies of everything electronic, spending the last few minutes in breathless, excited, terror. Then, the anti-climax.
This time, ten years later, after the quiet new year of 2000, I wonder if anyone will pay attention to the year 2010. To me, the progression of new decade, in a brand new millennium, is thrilling. But then, that is why I am a writer.
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