Shaken

He felt the ground rolling under his feet, and stopped moving. He held his breath. A few seconds passed by. Nothing. His imagination had tricked him. The ground rolled again, this time stronger and faster. Oh shit. This is real. He froze, unable to think, panic rising within him so fast he found it hard to breathe. He looked around him. People ran around, screaming. Earthquake! Earthquake! They shouted. Buildings started shaking. Noise overpowered everything else. Trees swayed dangerously on the sidewalks. Cars crashed into to each other, drivers distracted by their utter panic.

He ran for cover. Not knowing, not thinking, not seeing anything, as his instincts took over. He saw a nearby bench and jumped behind it, holding the back of his head with his hands to protect from falling debris. He realized that he wasn’t alone. A young woman lay in front of him, her head plastered to the ground. Her shoulders shook with fear. He wanted to reach out and rest his hand on her shoulder, but this would scare her off, so he did nothing. He watched her in silence. She appeared unaware of his presence.

The earthquake ended. He was safe. The girl stayed on the ground, her trembling decreased. He sat up and stared at her. She stood up.

“Oh!”

He grimaced, feeling guilty that he had not alerted her to his presence earlier. “Hi,” he said in a low voice.

“Hi.”

“Are you okay?”

She nodded.

“Everything’s fine. It’s over.”

“Yes,” she hesitated, “yes, I’m glad.”

She turned around and walked away.

He stared after her. Everything’s fine, it’s over. Over. Those words reverberated in his head. He wished he hadn’t said them. He longed for the shaking, the rumble of the Earth, the feeling of impending doom that drove every other thought out of his mind, the eerie peace that had come to him when he thought he would die. How strange.

Black Holes

Mowing through food like its nothing
Sucking in everything that comes into its path
Its gaping maw swallows you whole
And there’s no escape
Toxic, cancerous, destructive
A repellant force
You can’t fight against
You can’t stop it
You stand there helpless
As it slowly drains your energy
Kills you from the inside out
Sucks your life force
And then
Finally
In the end
It swallows your rotting carcass whole

Stranger Than Fiction (A short short story)

He was tall, broad-shouldered, and struggled to fit through the doorway. He walked in, hesitating with each step, and took his hat off. With a nod of his head, he took his trench coat off as well and handed it to me. I smiled at him, suppressing my discomfort. I hadn’t had to do business with detectives before, so this was all new to me. I didn’t know what to say or how to act. I felt his eyes upon me, knowing he noticed my every quirk and feeling inadequate because of it. He lit up a cigarette, asking me if I minded. I shook my head, when I really wanted to laugh. Either I was dreaming this whole thing up or I’d been dropped into a black and white Humphrey Bogart movie from the forties. His dark eyes glanced my way with suspicion, as if he had read my thoughts. I tried not to stare at him. His handsome yet intimidating presence was hard to ignore.

He cleared his throat and started asking me questions. No small talk, no hello and how are you, he went right down to business. No fuss, no muss, just the facts, ma’am, as Dickens would say. I don’t know why, but I found that disappointing. I liked chit chat. I wanted to get to know people I met on a daily basis, even jaded detectives that looked like an unholy hybrid of Phillip Marlowe and James Bond.

That’s not to say I wanted him to flatter me, but a little friendliness could have gone a long way. I had just lost my sister to a murder, after all. I gave him what he wanted: the facts. He wrote it all down in his little notebook, his eyes glued to the pages the whole time. He didn’t look up, didn’t give me any acknowledgement at all. I felt a rush of embarrassment. His coldness unnerved me, and I wanted him to leave. I froze up just by standing near him.

The funny thing was, even though he refused to look at me and said nothing as I yammered on about what had happened to my sister, I felt like he was aware of everything I did and everything I felt, like he was staring up at me from beneath his hooded eyelids. He could see me, without looking. This made no sense at all, I knew that, but it was how I felt at the time. I never would have imagined, that day, what came next. I never would have guessed that cold, rigid man was my future husband, and the love of my life. Had it been a novel, I would have cackled at how unrealistic it was. It’s true, you know, what they say. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

The Movies

Take me to the movies
Where we’ll have loads of fun
Forget about our daily lives
And get swept up into stories
Worlds we’ll never know
People we’d like to meet
On the screen
Our other selves sit back and watch
While our alternate lives play out before us
And when it is over
When the credits roll
And we stand up from our seats
We have smiles on our faces

Cherished Memories

His voice reminds me of a moonlit garden in summer
Flowers and fragrances contained within the gentle breeze
Under the stars we sway in each others arms
The musical notes hover over us, frozen in place,
Like photographs of a lost time
And when I hear the sounds of trumpets
I think back on those endless days and nights
And tears come unbidden to my eyes

Hero Worship

Fantasy is a potent drug
We reach for the ideal
We wish for perfection
We put our peers on pedestals
And call them heroes
We close our eyes with blinders
Stick our fingers in our ears
But when our heroes fall short
When they show their very real humanity
The curtain is lifted
And we toss tomatoes at them in rage
How dare they fool us, we cry
When we only have ourselves to blame
For putting them on an impossible pedestal to begin with