between the trees

Golden flecks of yellow crimson and sunburst blue phase across the walls in a brilliant choreography. Every passing vehicle illuminates the room, a flash of life, but only for a moment. It’s the kind of spectacle that succeeds a nightmare.

Another car flies past, uncaring and distant, growing more so with each desperate heartbeat. This time, the fleeting light paints a dark silhouette on the wall. A monochrome specter, pirouetting through every shade of our soul.

Inhale darkness.

Our lips stretch slightly and we try to shout. Nothing.

Exhale vivacity.

This time a semi passes, and the mass grows near. It beckons us forward. No longer spectators, we become performers.

It’s the kind of demonstration that we look forward to. The one that follows a dream.



She dreamed of a checkered night sky

Full of mystery and achievement,

Darkness and light.

“Give me wonder. Take me away

From these fragile lands,

Where there are unbelievable sights

And splendor,” she wished.

“For this I will give anything,

To be among the stars and gods.”

She lay her head down and slept,

Waking the next morning blind and deaf.

A man called to her:

“I gave you what you desired;

All that is beyond these corrupted lands

Is unforgiving darkness and silence.”

Cracked laughter filled her mind,

Devouring the memories of her

True love and family.

Her mind trickled out her ears.

“At the price of your freedom,

I gave you peace.”

The girl dreamed no longer,

For her every waking moment

Was a nightmare.

We All Float On, Ch. 2


Read Ch.1 here!

“You’re getting all worked up for nothing, baby girl!” Sheila yells from behind. During my swim back to the shore, she drifts farther out. Her head is barely visible under the cool moonlight.

And she is probably right. It was more than likely the boys playing a trick on us, but what kind of friend and cousin would I be if I did not respond to such a commotion? All I need is Stephen using my ignoring their joke as an excuse to never speak to me again.

“Karl? Stephen?” I call into the dead night, slowly walking across the rugged beach.

My eyes scan the dark bank. Rotten logs and driftwood cast long shadows, connecting the obsidian water to the tree line, leading up to the forested crags we trekked to get here. A capsized white boat lies cracked down the middle farther down the beach, its resident rodent hisses at me before disappearing into its dusty den.

A short, quiet giggle comes from within the thicket and something grazes my shoulder. “Guys,” my voice is shaky, “this isn’t funny anymore. Stop with the games.” No response.

Goosebumps bubble up on my arms, making me realize I’m walking the bank nearly naked. Then I see it again, the moving shadow. This time I hear it grunt and hobble out of sight in the forest.

Soggy, hurried footsteps suddenly sound from behind me. As I try to make a run for it, the footsteps get louder and faster. The sand is getting damper as I am forced to head to the water’s edge. I blindly race down the bank, my heart in my throat. An owl nearly decapitates me as my sprint startled the giant thing. I don’t take a second to recuperate, and I continue to run for my life.

Unfortunately, the wet sand is pulling my feet down, forcing me to stop and fumble over. On the way down, I slice my leg on a sharp boulder.

I look back at my pursuer. It was Sheila. Her body was covered with mud. The only way I can tell it was Sheila was for her pink bikini. Without it, she’d appear to be a crazed, figure of dark mud and soot chasing me down. I let out an exhausted cry.

“Goddamn, girl! It’s just me! I split my foot on some glass on my way back to shore and had to crawl a lot of the way, which made me filthy dirty.” She grins, her white teeth shining through the mud. “You okay?” I take her hand and get back up on my feet.

Shaking my head, I reply, “Something’s wrong, Sheila. I can’t find them.” Tears well up in my eyes. “I can’t find them!”

Sheila planted her palms on my shoulders and shook. “That’s what I was trying to tell you! They’re back now. See?” She motions back at our little spot on the beach. Sure enough, Karl and Stephen were crouched around a furious fire roasting wienies and downing Coors.

Arm in arm, we limp back to the site. I never realized how much muscle Sheila had until now. Her sinewy body tensed against mine, making me feel like a shrimp in comparison. It is no wonder men preferred Sheila over me. All I had was brains and a somewhat slim body. She was a fucking amazon.

Only, when we get back, I realize it’s not Stephen and Karl at all; rather, it’s two scraggy old men wearing some terribly printed –

“SHIT!” The men were wearing the boys’ face! As if it were some sick and twisted Halloween trick. Blood still seeped from the flimsy flesh masks, down the imposter’s hairy chest. Their thick hands are caked in red slime.

I try to break free of Sheila’s grasp but fail, discovering that wasn’t Sheila either. In the flickering light from the fire I can see very well that it was never Sheila. This woman’s face was too round to be Sheila.

Her hot breath blistered my skin. “Why do you want to leave, puddin’? The fun’s about to start!” The men laugh as the woman thrusts my head in the sand and digs her sharp toenail in my thigh.

They pin my writhing body down and suddenly I feel a sharp pain on my head. As my eyes roll and the world turns black, I hear their maniacal guffaws. I fade into unconsciousness with their hearty bellows and putrid stench filling my senses.


The taste of his skin on my teeth had never tasted so sweet. Our bodies intertwined, my lips move from his lips to his neck. Traces of warm spice and amber invigorated my senses with each euphoric peck down his chest until I reached his puckered navel. As I reached up to grasp his nipple, our eyes met. The man’s lapis eyes glistened like the surface of a crystal clear lake on a moonlit night, and it was at that moment that I realized he didn’t just want me. He needed me, at least as much as I needed him.

He must have sensed my infatuation, because before I could whisper three delicate words, he had me pinned beneath him. His callused hands held mine to the side as we became one. Every thrust sent us closer to the threshold until finally his porcelain face tensed. If I couldn’t have heard the grandfather clock ticking from the living room, I would have swore our love had stopped time.

His masculine frame collapsed beside me, twitching ever so gently from my seductive touch. “You like that?” I whispered. No answer.

So I repeated: “Did you like that?” Not a sound came from the beautiful man who had just finished inside me.

With a flash, I turned on the bedisde lamp and frantically turned to him – his eyes were just as colorless as his skin. I had lain with a caramel king and rose with a gutted ghoul.

I wiped the tears from my face, and with them my perfectly painted beauty mask. Hours of makeup preparation for the big night was ruined, the love of my life gaped before me an awestruck, bare corpse.

“Well, shit,” I thought, sitting up on the bed, my tears chapping my cheeks. “This makes number four.” There was no way I could explain this one to the judge.