The Fruit

 

5194513821_95aa320926_z
Photo credit

Josh stood in the room dazed, long black hair in mats over his torn Metallica t-shirt. His fingers trembled against the fragile chain of a paper medallion in his pocket. It felt as if he had been standing there for eternity.

“It’s been 40 years, Josh.” Rebecka ran a hand through her greasy mocha curls. “Forty fucking years.

“We have to keep going.”

“Forty years.

“Have to –”

Rebecka squeezed Josh’s head between sweaty palms. Blood dripped down her nose and neck, following the curvature of her chest until disappearing in a spirit-soaked cherry blossom blouse. “Forty years,” she breathed. The blue in her eyes retreated behind a hysterical scarlet.

As Rebecka’s pulsing grasp tightened around Josh, the night gripped him further. With every breath, he felt himself fall deeper. “Please, stop,” he pleaded. His mouth was parched, fists trembling, stuck in cemented pockets. “Beck.” The echoes silenced him, forcing his eyes closed, unintelligible gargle lost among Rebecka’s maniacal chants.

Suddenly, Rebecka fell to the floor, consumed with laughter. Her fists clung to her throbbing gut. “Forty years. Forty years,” she exclaimed amid waves of frothing saliva and crimson bile. Josh lost the dilated pupils of Rebecka’s eyes in the gaping holes in the checkerboard wall, eyeing the sparkling faces that sneered beyond the bright room.

“This isn’t real!” Josh wept, brushing away slick, black tears. “Please stop.” He felt grimy fingers cover his body, razor tongues tracing the arch of his back. It would not let up.

Phantoms rose from the pyretic nightscape, empty faces stapled to crystalline medallions around the ghouls’ necks. They laced their orchid strings around Josh’s arms and legs, pulling him into the checkerboard abyss. As the boy screamed and desperately scratched the floor, gripping anything that he believed could help end his torment, the demons dragged harder, more violently, until at last he was plunged into the night — falling deeper inside Rebecka’s blighted pupils.

Blurry images flew past him and shot above into nothingness, pieces of happy memories reduced to emotionless pixels. Seconds of descent turned to a month, another year, another decade. Fragments of beautiful, winged dancers twirled around him, seeming to giggle before fading with every bit of Josh’s love, his life, his humanity.

Finally, Josh melted in the shadow, opening his eyes to face another pair of soulless pupils once again. His hands grazed a warm paper string in his front pocket.

Thirty years,” Rebecka grumbled. “It’s been 30 fucking years, Josh.”

Josh swore it had been longer.

 

Code Blue

6181221384_2fda714feb_z
Photo credit: Jacirema Ferreira

Gone are the days of courteous suits and well-mannered sprouts.

The last drop of decency rests at the bottom of a bottle,

A shallow globe of love-drunk nobodies.

 

As the surviving guardians disappear

In comatose clouds of abandonment,

We hide beneath damp cloths.

 

Chivalry is dead.

Best Friend

Their bodies danced different melodies. As Snowflake pulled away, Harry moved forward. She wanted to throw herself in a lane of oncoming traffic, while he wanted her down on the floor.

“You said you wanted to play, didn’t you?” Harry asked through ecstatic gasps. The hold he had on her tightened. “Well, now you get exactly what you asked for, girl.”

Snowflake’s doleful pleas filled the aquarium, evoking annoyed and disgusted sighs from the passersby. “God, man; can’t you take that someplace else? There are kids here,” mumbled a man clad in formal attire – nothing similar to what one would expect to see in a public aquarium.

Harry dismissed the offended gentleman, and continued thrusting himself onto the brunette beauty. He usually was not one for public displays of affection, but he felt there was a point to be made: if Snowflake was serious about her requests, she should do as she was told. It was the least she could do; after all, he was the one who fed her and gave her a place to sleep.

At one point, they caught the eye of an unsuspecting young kid who had just come from the bathroom. “What?” Harry yelled. “You ain’t ever seen a guy enforcing his dominance on his bitch?” The little guy stood there utterly confused until his mother called him back to the posse.

With a final lunge, Harry stopped and looked down at the defeated female. The flash of excitement that shone in her dark eyes had been exterminated by the one she trusted the most. She dropped her chin to the tiled floor and whimpered.

“Glad to see you finally understand my frustration, Snowflake,” he said, zipping his trousers. “Now let’s go get that ball you wanted to fetch so badly that you lost it in the otter exhibit.”

The young collie’s copper fur sparkled under the lights of the seahorse display; her happiness had returned along with a swiftly-wagging tail. She would finally get to play fetch with her master.

Flight

The dreams, they keep me grounded. Fluttering fractals of windswept memories brush against my skull, honey-dipped tongues tickling my cerebellum. Dancing strips of vivid color and imagination cast across my vision, taking me back to our first kiss, the singular jolt of energy surging from his lips to mine. In the vibrant ribbons I see his warm eyes of cinnamon and caramel. His amber scent and the salty air is overwhelming.

Remnants of our future obscure my mind in delicate, glimmering bubbles. They portray a life of sadness and depression, of sickness and death. The aftermath of a fall from great heights, a tragic loss, occupies my conscience. Finding something, anything, to hold on to, I clutch my frenzied soul. Heat rises in my neck and pierces my spinal cord. Static fills my eyes and hot tar turns my gut. Silent screams and dripping blood fill my perception. I am falling.

A nudge breaks me out of my helpless descent. “Wes, you better buckle up. Pilot says to prepare for some turbulence.” But I am too distracted to respond.

A nine-year-old me was sat in row F, casting a cold glare toward my boyfriend and I, his glassy face an untainted reflection of our ruin. I flash a modest smile at my younger counterpart just as the emergency oxygen masks suddenly drop from the plastic compartment.

Wink, Wink

Weddings are my jam, especially the lavish ones with the champagne fountains and the angelfish floral arrangements. It’s not the merry celebration of love and life that draws me to the ceremonies, though. I tried that once before, and I was absolutely miserable.

While the family and friends are busy talking about how the bride’s list of suitors is as long as her train, I roll up in my little blue shopping cart. “I’m a friend of the groom,” I say, satisfying the curious folks orbiting the dessert bar. I add, “Don’t tell him I’m here, now; I want it to be a surprise.”

Inconspicuous, I stroll to back, careful not to alert security. At the end of an ephemeral Boreas hallway stands an emotional bride, her fingers anxiously tearing holes into the bouquet stem. Only minutes remain before the bridal chorus chirps and steals away the perfect opportunity.

“Excuse me, miss,” she starts, “the room for the help is on the other side, as I’m sure you’re aware.” Flaxen locks obscure her condescending smirk.

Flashing a sneer of my own, I shove the shopping cart into the lacy maiden. “Oh, you won’t be seeing too much of me, dear,” I grumble, my hands swiping at her painted porcelain face. Ignoring the barrage of kicks in my gut, I find the treasure and liberate the thick, black jewels.

Upon the first note of the bridal chorus, I’m already outside barreling down the asphalt in a little blue shopping cart, the treasure safely snug in a satchel full of other brides’ eyelash extensions. I calculate that I have thirty minutes to grab a bite to eat, before my presence is requested at a reception in Orlando. Supposedly there will be two brides at the next gig; it’s too bad only one of them will be of any interest to me.