Tortured Souls

Every artist I’ve ever read – or heard – about has always been eccentric in some way or another. Some were introverts, some burdened with diseases, others broken hearts. They were all tortured or abnormal. But it all was ok, because they were artists. Being bizarre and peculiar was expected of them. I thought it might be nice to be an artist. That way, whenever someone inquired about one of my strange habits, I could just state, “Well, I’m an artist,” and they would nod their heads in a knowing way, and that would be it. No questions asked. I told Eric all this one day on the porch, while resting on the porch swing, bare feet grazing the decrepit wooden floor.

He turned away from his canvas to face me, and I noticed a smear of red paint across his chin. Somehow, he always seemed to have paint on him. Sometimes, when he would come pick me up to drive him to school, I would get in the car and his hair would still be wet from the shower and smelling of evergreen, but a flake of green paint would be stuck among his shampooed locks. My theory was that his room had so much paint in it, that some paint particles floating around in the air would just condense every now and then, and come down like snow to rest on him. That’s not scientifically possible, he would tell me, kissing my forehead in that way that I hated.

“You don’t want to be an artist,” he said dismissively, turning back to what looked like a bloody smear across the canvas.

“Why not?” I said, pulling my long legs up underneath me. I let go of the chain on the swing, taking notice of the rust stains on my hand.

“We’re tortured souls. Doomed to the fate of having the world appreciate us instead of understand us.” He stepped back from his painting, then set his paints down and plopped down onto the seat next to me, jostling the swing into motion. Sweat glistened on his forehead – from the hard work of painting, I supposed. The weather outside was nice and cool, perfect for sneaking away to the lake on the other side of the woods, like Eric and I did when he first kissed me. He had discovered the lake while searching for inspiring things to paint, and I had discovered him while looking for people to write about.

He led the way to the lake, and I awkwardly followed, my long legs getting caught in everything, leaves collecting in my tangled brown hair. The moon was reflecting off the black, smooth surface of the lake. I could feel Eric’s presence behind me and on a sudden whim, I jumped into the lake, arms and legs wildly waving about. When Eric pulled me out, he looked at me as if he were trying to read a Calculus textbook.

“I don’t understand you.” He stated simply, as if it were a fact.

“Well, I’m a writer,” I joked awkwardly, showing off my sense of humor I didn’t possess, “We’re tortured souls, doomed to the fate of having the world appreciate us instead of understand us.” For a few seconds he just looked at me. That was the first time I’d ever felt pretty.

“What are you painting?” I asked Eric, tracing rusty circles in my palm. He paused, then grinned.

“It’s a secret,” he smiled at my frown, standing up and walking over to his canvas.

“Wait, no,” I said, untangling my legs from beneath me and following him, “Now you have to tell me!” I grabbed his hand, so he couldn’t get his paintbrush. He just smiled and pressed my hand against the white backdrop, leaving a faded orange handprint.


A Trip Through Time: Weekly Post Response

This post is a response to:

It also is slightly inspired by The Great Gatsby, which I reread because of the new movie.

For the slang in this story, I used

A Trip Through Time

I walked up the steps to my house, searching my pocket for my keys with my left hand, while trying to balance my book bag on my right shoulder. Not feeling it in my left coat pocket, I shifted my bag to the other shoulder and reached into my right. Ah, there it was. I grabbed my key and stuck it into the keyhole. Suddenly, a burst of wind came out of nowhere, sneaking up my sleeves and down my neck. Shivering slightly, I turned the lock and pushed open the door.

I stepped inside, turning around quickly to shut the door behind me.

“Mom, I’m h….” My voice trailed off as I turned around. All the familiar furniture and decorations were gone. The house looked unfamiliar. For a few moments, I couldn’t even comprehend.  My book bag slowly slid from my shoulder to the floor. I just stood there with my mouth slightly parted, frowning, eyes wandering. Instead of the normal overflowing shoe basket that lay in the foyer, a long, narrow wooden bench sat there, covered in newspapers. A long, white, fur coat was tossed on top of the whole mess. Gone was the fresh coat of white paint Dad had groaned about last summer. In its place was two-toned wallpaper, a flower print on bottom and a cream color on top. I slowly walked up to it, reaching out my fingers in confused wonder and ran them along the length of the very small wall. It felt like a whole different house. What was going on? I stopped when my hand reached a picture frame hanging on the wall. Peering closely, I saw a black and white photo of a woman in a shapeless dress and hat, kicking her leg up behind her as if dancing.

I stared for a few seconds before a thought dawned on me. I took a few steps back, as if it would slow the impact. I tried to control my breathing, but my thoughts started spinning out of control. Hyperventilating slightly, I managed to grab one rational thought from the storm. I ran towards the bench and pushed the fur coat onto the floor, hands shaking, trying to grab a newspaper. I seized the first one I saw, holding it up to my face frantically. My eyes searched the page hurriedly.….date….where’s the date? Finally, down near the bottom, I found what I was searching for.

“Oh, frick,” I said, sucking in my breath, the newspaper falling from my fingers. “Frick, frick, frick.” I swallowed, trying not to pass out as I reached my hands behind me, searching for the wall. I slid down to the floor unsteadily, trembling from panic. November 2nd, 1922.

After a few seconds of untamed panic, I began to gradually regain my senses. I stood up and shook my head a little bit, trying to form a complete thought. Maybe Mom had just had one of those mid-life crises you hear about and redid the whole house to make it look like 1920s. It could happen. I swallowed, tried to breathe, and took an unsteady step towards the living room.

All of a sudden, I heard a sound at the front door. I whirled around, heart rate speeding up rapidly.

“Well, George, I am sorry to inform you, but that just simply won’t do. I’m terribly busy,” A woman’s voice floated through the door as I heard the sound of a lock clicking. Panicked, I scrambled into the nearest door, which happened to be to the hall bathroom. I barely had time to take in the old-fashioned sink and toilet, when I heard the front door open and shut.

“Virginia, now, don’t be unreasonable. I already told him that we would come.” The man called George had a very loud, commanding voice.

“No, George,” Virginia’s heels clopped across the floor, and I caught a whiff of perfume as she crossed into the living room.

“It’s a shame, then, because it’s supposed to be a real swell party,” George said, following her. I cracked the door open ever so slightly, so I could peer down the hall into the living room. I could see only the side of Virginia. She was a small woman with very short brown hair in a pixie cut. She wore a straight blue dress with many beads and sashes hanging down. She had draped herself across the couch quite dramatically, legs propped up on the table carefully. I watched her raise a cigarette slowly to her burgundy-stained lips, sucking in lazily, then slowly breathing out the smoke.

“I don’t care how ritzy his place is,” she stated, taking another drag from the cigarette, “Everyone who goes to one of his parties, comes out absolutely plastered – ”

“Butt me,” George interrupted, holding out his hand. He stood across from Virginia, leaning against the fireplace, wearing a brown suit with a high-waisted jacket and trousers. In response to this command, Virginia reached over to the table and lit another cigarette, continuing to talk.

“Why, Irene Burns went to one of his parties this past week. She walked in all dolled up, and came out completely ossified. Elizabeth said she saw her necking with that fellow – oh, what’s his name? Joseph, Joseph Brock. I’m just trying to say, once you go into a party of his, you come out with a reputation.”

“Necking?” George lifted the cigarette to his lips, then uncrossed his legs, pushing himself off the wall.

“That’s right. Now she’s stuck on him, and he wants nothing to do with her.” Virginia said haughtily as George took the seat next to her.

“And what about you, doll? Cash or check?” George reached across her, putting his cigarette out in the ash tray. Virginia’s eyes were wide as she removed hers from her mouth and blew a puff of smoke straight into his face.

“Bank’s closed, George,” She said after a pause. She lifted her legs to the floor, and tried to get up, but George’s arm was still crossed over her, touching the table. I pushed the door open another inch. They seemed to just be sitting there, staring at each other, when George abruptly bent down and pressed his mouth to hers. She resisted, ever so slightly at first with a small “Mmh!” But very soon, her arms were wrapped around his neck.

This was my shot. I carefully nudged the door open until it was wide enough for me to slip through. I popped my head out to make sure George and Virginia wouldn’t notice me. Sure enough, they seemed pretty occupied on the couch, so I tiptoed out the door, and quietly ran to the front door. Wiping my brow, I breathed a sigh of relief. I turned to open the front door, then realized my book bag was still here. Turning around, I searched the floor for where I had dropped it, but didn’t see it. Had George or Virginia noticed it? Then I saw where I had pushed the big fur coat to the floor in my search for a newspaper. Lifting it up, I picked up my book bag from underneath it.

I slid it up onto my shoulder, then reached for the doorknob. Without warning, a swift blast of cold air swooped over me, passing down the hall into the living room.

“Mm – George,” I heard Virginia’s voice say, slightly out of breath, “Did you feel that? I think the front door may be open. Is someone there?”

As George heaved himself off the couch, I quickly seized the doorknob and turned it, yanking the door open. I heard a gasp and an, “Oy!” from behind me as Virginia and George got a glimpse of me.

I stepped through the doorway and slammed it behind me, running down the steps hurriedly right into my neighbor, Mrs. Halldon, walking her dog.

“Watch where you’re going!” She snapped, pulling her scarf tighter around her wrinkly neck as her dog barked reproachfully at me.

“Sorry,” I muttered, disoriented, stepping aside as I blinked my eyes a few times. The front door to my house opened, and my mom stuck her head out.

“Linda? Was that you who just slammed this door? What are you doing? You were supposed to have come home from school ten minutes ago!” She scolded me.

“I, um, got lost,” I said, still a bit bewildered. Lost. Yeah, sure. Lost in time.

“Well, get inside.” My mother beckoned me, waving her hand. She disappeared inside, leaving the door ajar. I ascended the steps to the door, then pulled it shut behind me. For a moment, I stood there, staring at all the familiar sights – overflowing shoe basket, white walls, hardwood floors.

“What is it?” My mom asked me, frowning concernedly, wiping her hands on her apron. I shook my head, trying to clear it.

“Nothing,” I said, smiling at her. “Nothing.”

Daily Post Prompt: 3rd time’s the charm!

Thought I’d try to write a story based on the prompt. I was a bit rushed, so not my best, but hopefully you”ll like it!

A streak of sunlight slid across the cave floor, finally coming to rest on the face of a sleeping girl. Her eyes wrinkled in the bright light, but remained shut as she rolled over, mumbling incomprehensibly. The sunlight now shone on her back, covered by a long, heavy gown. It had originally been a different color, but now it was stained a dark brown from years of dirt and dust. A hand reached behind her to itch the spot where the sunlight hit. She snorted a few times in her sleep, then rolled completely out of the way of the ray of light, hitting the opposite wall of the cave.

Her dirty golden hair tumbled into her face, loose pins dangling from the knotted strands. Filth clung to her whole head, which must have once been a gorgeous color, but now was so grimy and tangled that it looked like a rat’s nest was perched on her head. Her mouth fell slightly open, a trickle of drool sliding down her chin as her face flopped onto her arm. Underneath the grime coating her face resided perfectly pale and smooth skin, covering up high cheekbones. Her eyelids were small hills sloping down to full and luscious brown eyelashes, even though dust now clung to their tips.

A dainty, slender hand stretched out from under her head, sprawled on the cave floor. Her fingernails were incrusted with dirt. Two grubby shoes lay carelessly on the cave floor, kicked off long ago in one of her fitful sleeps. Her feet were nowhere to be seen, tucked somewhere away under the many begrimed layers of her gown.

Her snores stopped abruptly as her head dropped from her arm to the rocky floor. She nodded her head uncomfortably, but did not wake. The sunlight glared through every small crack in the cave, making little dots of light shimmer on the floor. A few danced on the girl’s face, causing her to twitch. And yet still, her slumber went on interrupted.

The old witch emerged from the dark corner of the cave. Draped in heavy black robes, she smirked, satisfied with her work. A wrinkled, pockmarked hand appeared from underneath her sleeve, with gruesome, cracked, black fingernails. She snapped her fingers, creating a small ball of light. It illuminated her face in the dark cave, shadowing every blemish and wart, every yellow stain on her misshapen teeth.

She took a menacing step towards the sleeping girl, leering at her. For a few moments, she stared at the girl, her black eyes glittering with malice. Finally, she turned away and murmured a few words at the glowing ball of light. It grew bigger and bigger, until it was the size of the cave wall. The old witch took a step towards it, then took one last glance at the sleeping girl. Already two had tried, and failed, to wake her. That left only one more to go. With that, the witch stepped into the light and vanished in a flash, the light blinking out instantly. The sunlight crawling through the cracks was the only remaining light.


            The soft clip-clop of hooves carried through the thick evergreen trees.

“Williamson,” a man’s voice boomed, “Are we there yet?”

“I’m not sure, sir. The old lady’s directions weren’t too clear,” a whiny male voice responded, “But I think if we just come through here – ah, here we are.” A small, seedy-looking man with sandy, disheveled hair emerged from the trees on foot, holding apart the branches. Another man riding tall upon his horse followed through the gap in the trees. His hair was a rich brown, swept across his forehead, complementing the brown flakes in his emerald green eyes. His clothes, however, paled by comparison. He wore a simple brown tunic over dark tights, similar to those of his companion.

“Here we are, sir,” Williamson spoke, gesturing to the small mountain of rock before them.

“Williamson,” The young man on the horse said, his powerful voice ringing, “I do believe you have the wrong place. You see, this is a rock.”

“Yes, sir, I realize that,” Williamson said encouragingly. He went up to the rock and gestured to it. “The princess is behind the rock. In the cave.”

“Ah.” The young man slid off his horse and swaggered over to the wall. “But how do we get in? You see, Mother wants me to marry a princess, and I seem to be running out of options. The one in the castle already had a husband, the one in the swamp was absolutely hideous –“

“You came close with the one in Helmby, sir. You were almost past the dragon when he hit you with his tail,” Williamson offered up enthusiastically.

“Yes, yes, I know,” The young man said, running his hand over the stone wall contemplatively, “But I need to get this princess, or else Mother will be very disappointed.” He suddenly raised his large hand and knocked smartly on the wall. “Hello?” He called loudly, “Is anyone home? It is I, Edward of Winterdell, come to rescue you.” He gave a few more knocks, then sighed.

“Ah, well, perhaps we’ll have better luck next time.” He walked over to his horse, who was munching contently on the grass, and swung his right leg over.

“Wait, sir! You do remember, the princess is asleep. She is not able to wake up, and that is why she may not be able to hear you.” Williamson hurried over to Edward’s side, holding his palms up.

“Oh.” Edward coughed awkwardly into his hand, then recovered from his embarrassment, swinging himself back off his horse. “Of course I remembered, Williamson. I was only jesting.”

“Oh, well, ha ha, then sir, very amusing,” Williamson smiled and offered up his best laugh.

“It’s no time for jokes, Williamson,” Edward intoned seriously, now pacing up and down in front of the wall. “We must concentrate on the matter at hand.” He stopped walking to inspect something at the base of the rock, as Williamson babbled on the background.

“Of course, sir, I would never dare to not take your very noble, and very meaningful quest – oh, very important also, very very important – seriously. I am forever here to help and serve you. I do apologize and hope that –“

“Williamson,” Edward interrupted, studying intently something at the base of the rock. “Do come here.” Williamson immediately stopped talking and stooped down next to Edward. A small pebble lay on the ground. On it, the words Pick me up were inscribed. Both men looked at the pebble for a small while, then Williamson turned to face Edward.

“Sir, I wouldn’t –“ But Edward’s hand had already shot down to seize the pebble. The moment he did, they both heard an awful scream. Startled, the two men looked up to see a large green bird hurdling towards them. Williamson let out a high-pitched scream and Edward turned around and ran right smack into the rock. Instead of hitting it, though, he passed right through it as if it were butter.

Suddenly, it all was dark and he tripped over something and sprawled out on the ground. Groggily, he blinked a few times, trying to straighten out his senses. His eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, and his head stopped spinning. He sat himself up. In front of him lay the dirtiest princess he had ever seen. Every inch of her seemed to be covered in dirt and grime, and her mouth hung open as she snored.

Edward cringed at the sight of the dried drool on her chin. “Ew,” he muttered, standing up. Try to be a little nicer, he chided himself, Princesses are in short supply, and this one has been sleeping for some hundred or so years.

            Swallowing his disgust, he knelt over the princess. He lifted up one hand and closed her mouth. The snoring ceased. He slid the other behind her head, ignoring the coarse feeling of her hair. Taking a deep breath, he swooped down and pecked her on the lips as fast as he could.

“Whew,” He said, reaching his hand up to wipe his brow and dropping her head in the process. Her eyes shot open as her head hit the floor with a bang.

“Ow,” She moaned, lifting her hand to her head. “Ew!” She exclaimed, pulling it away quickly, eyes big at the dust clinging to her fingertips.

“I’m Ed-,” Edward started to state, but a angry cry from behind cut him off. Spinning around, he saw an ugly old witch steaming like a hot potato.

“No!” She screeched, taking a step towards them, flapping her arms like an overgrown bird. “You’ve broken my spell!” She ran towards him, squinting her eyes angrily.

“How did you know?” She shrieked, pulling on his shirt.

“Know what?” Edward asked, trying not to vomit as he stared, repulsed, at her blackened fingernails.

“That the third time was the charm!” She howled, clawing at him. “I made it so she could only wake up to the third person who kissed her! That way, after two failures, people would assume she would never wake up!”

Slowly, Edward removed her hands from him, revolted.

“I had no idea other men had tried to wake her.” He said. “We live far from most towns and no town crier is willing to walk up the mountain to our house. My assistant, Williamson, had just heard there was a princess here, so we decided to try our luck.”

“You stupid boy!” She wailed, then disappeared in a flash of smoke. Just then, the rock blocking the cave wall began to inch a tiny bit to the left. Edward whirled around, only to see Williamson’s face appear in the tiny crack.

“May we leave now, sir? This bird is very vicious.”

“Look, Williamson,” Edward gestured theatrically to the bored looking princess. “The third time was the charm!”



           The wind whipped through the wrinkles on Benny’s face as he hobbled across the parking lot, one hand on his cane, the other holding down his hat. He wore his old brown winter coat, leather gloves, a knitted scarf and a bowler hat. His clothes had begun to wear with use over the years, and ever since his wife had died, there was no one to sew up frayed ends or patch up ripped holes. A particularly large gust of wind hit Benny in the face and he staggered back a step as the top button of his coat popped off.

Blinking his dry eyes, Benny reached out to pick up the button, but it rolled out of the way. Harrumphing, he straightened himself on his cane, took a few steps and stretched his hand out again. His shaking fingers had barely grazed the button when it was pushed along the way by another burst of icy air. Benny’s hand flew up to his hat, holding it tight to his head. Muttering a few unfriendly curses, he smashed his bowler hat onto his graying head and began to limp down the street after the button.

The button was now picking up speed, rolling down the pavement over all the bumps and holes. It hit a manhole, but instead of toppling to a halt, it flew into the air and miraculously landed on the ground rolling. Faster and faster it spun down the hill, under car wheels and through pedestrian legs. It flew out of the parking lot and continued down the street, rolling right through a red light. It turned the corner, and spun right past little Jimmy’s front yard, where Jimmy himself was pulling up weeds in his meaty toddler hands.

“Hey, lookit Mommy!” Jimmy cried, pointing with a fistful of dirty snow at the lone button. By the time Jimmy’s mom looked up from her poor frozen pansies, the button had moved on.

It streaked on by the Johansson girls, who were skipping rope on the sidewalk.

“Mindy, look!” said Cindy, causing Mindy to trip over the rope.

“Hey, you did that on purpose!” Mindy cried, stomping her foot.

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

And still the button rolled on. Benny, meanwhile, had just staggered around the corner huffing and puffing, leaning heavily on his cane. He looked around and saw little Jimmy sitting in his front yard.

“You there, boy,” He said gruffly, wheezing slightly, “You seen a button?”

Little Jimmy pointed down the street wordlessly, his mouth full of icy dirt and his eyes full of wonder. Benny turned and began to falter down the street with a rigid determination.

The button had just hit a rock in the road, spinning around onto Cotton Blossom Lane, and passing the grand old home of crazy Miss Amelia Pinch. She had just hobbled outside to get the mail, clutching her robe tightly around her body and muttering incomprehensible words under her breath, when the button rolled right by her feet.

“What on earth….” her voice trailed off as she squinted off into the distance after the button.

The button rolled by Mr. Burbury, scraping ice off his car windshield, and Owen, a teenage “rebel” shoveling the driveway. It skidded past newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. McAllister, who were out for a walk in the snow, and past Lacey Hembrow, a brainy 14-year old, who pushed up her thick-rimmed glasses to squint at the button as it spun down the street. It continued rolling right between the legs of a very confused and grumpy Sonya Biscay, who bent over to look at it, and in the process, knocked a few apples out of her grocery bag.

The whole time the button was rolling on, Benny wasn’t so far behind. He had interrupted the two quarreling Johansson girls, and they both pointed him in the same direction before starting up their argument again. He stopped a cold and cross Miss Amelia Pinch right before she was about to go  inside to ask her if she had seen a button. She stared at him incredulously.

“Why of course I’ve seen a button before, you dolt! I may be old, but I’m not stupid,” she screeched before slamming her screen door shut.

He was pointed in the right direction by one pink-faced Mr. Burbury, then aided by an peevish-looking Owen. He disturbed a pair of newlyweds who weren’t so thrilled about the interruption, but were only happy to send him on his way. Lacey Hembrow gladly told him which direction she had seen a button rolling in, unlike a Miss Biscay, who glared at him and muttered something about apples.

Benny walked with a hurried, crooked gait, his breath coming out in little white clouds. Yes, there it was, he could make out a little brown circle rolling in the distance. The button was heading towards a field full of snow, where kids were currently in the midst of an early morning snowball fight. The button was going at full speed when it hit the snow, and toppled over. Suddenly, a pair of gloved hands reached down and scooped up the button along with a handful of snow. A distracted and pink-nosed ten-year-old Tommy Greene had hurriedly reached down to reload on ammunition. Packing the snow together in his hands, he ducked behind a tree.

“Wait, boy!”

At first, Tommy paid no regard to the distant yelling. But as he reared back his arm to throw, he heard the call again, but closer.

“Wait! Don’t throw!”

Tommy cautiously stepped out from behind the tree to see an old man hobbling towards him as fast as was possible. The man was leaning heavily on his cane, and clutching the top of his open coat closed. The wind had displaced his bowler hat, which now lay crookedly on his head.

“Wait!” The old man gruffly called, coughing into his sleeve. “Give me that snowball, boy.”

Tommy clutched his snowball defensively, wary of strangers. He eyed the old many for a few seconds, unsure of what to do. Then, the old man held out a shaking hand expectantly – no, beseechingly. Tommy slowly set the snowball into the man’s hand. Leaning his forearm on his cane, the old man used both his hands to squeeze the snowball, uncovering one big round brown button.

Pinching it between his thumb and forefinger, the old man held it up, and a small glimmer of satisfaction crossed his face, shining in his eyes and pulling at the corners of his mouth. Suddenly, he cleared his throat, as if he had just remembered Tommy was there.

“Chased this button all the way from Coffee Cafe parking lot,” he said brusquely, pocketing the button. “Thanks.”

And with that, he turned to go away. As he limped down the road, Tommy suddenly realized how far away the Coffee Cafe was.

“Sir!” Tommy called out, running after the old man. “Wait, sir!” The old man stopped, turning to face Tommy, who skidded to a stop. The old man stared bewilderedly at Tommy, his brow furrowed. All of a sudden, Tommy felt very intimidated by the man, but swallowing hard, he forged on.

“It’s just, well, sir – it’s a button.” Tommy said with an almost apologetic tone. The old man stared down at Tommy, uncomprehending. Tommy’s face grew red, and he looked down at the ground and cleared his throat.

“Why would you go to so much trouble for a button?” Tommy asked. The old man continued to stare at Tommy for a few more seconds, his face impassive. He then took a deep breath and shifted his weight on his cane.

“Kid,” he said, clearing his throat, “Do you know what buttons do?”

“Sure,” Tommy said, looking up at the man, “They hold things together. Like your coat or your pants.”

That’s right,” The old man said with satisfaction, “They hold things together.” There was a pause. Then, “Kid, do you ever feel like your life is falling apart?”

Tommy chewed on his lip, his brow furrowed in thought.

“Um, I guess so,” he finally answered.

“I have. And you know what you need when your life is falling apart? Buttons.” The old man sighed, shifting his weight on his cane again. His eyes took on a hardened look to them. “My wife was a button. And when my parents were alive, they were buttons. They held it all together. She held it all together. Those people are gone now. But I held onto those buttons for as long as I could.” The old man shifted his gaze back to Tommy, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the brown button. “These buttons are the only buttons I’ve got left.” He tucked it back into his pocket. “I’m not about to let them slip away so easily.”

The old man inhaled the frosty air, took one last hard long look at Tommy, then hobbled back in the direction he came. Tommy stood there for a lengthy while, staring after the man and trying to make sense of what he said. Eventually, one of his friends came up and waved his hand in front of Tommy’s face .

“Dude, you coming inside or what?”

Tommy pulled his eyes away from the road. “Hey, your jacket doesn’t have buttons,” he noted, looking at his friend’s zipper.

“Nah, man, buttons take too long. C’mon, everyone’s going inside for hot chocolate. It’s cold.” His friend shifted impatiently in the snow. Tommy looked down at his own black buttons.

“I like buttons,” he declared.

“Whatever,” His friend rolled his eyes. “I’m going inside.” He ran away and quickly disappeared through a front door. Tommy stood in the icy wind for a few more seconds, fingering his buttons, then he too, ran inside for hot chocolate.

This Doesn’t Have A Name….

This is just a little scene I wrote a while ago. Hope you like it!

The cold steel pressed against my neck and I sucked in my breath, as if somehow that would help.

“Well,” I said, my voice a whisper in the damp cellar, “are you going to kill me?” I searched his face defiantly.  “What are you waiting for?”

“Nothing,” he snarled in a bestial voice, using his elbow to shove me against the damp stone wall. He kept his knife held to my throat, and though his face remained inscrutable, his hand shook slightly.

“Then do it,” I hissed softly, “do it now, while I’m cornered. Do it while you have the chance…………….or are you such a coward that you can’t?”

His normally roguish face looked disconcerted for a minute, then he dug his elbow further into my stomach.

“I’m no coward,” he said, his voice low, barely hiding the anger underneath.

“Really?” I sneered derisively, leaning back from his knife, “I beg to differ. You’re just a coward. A coward who has the audacity to threaten and scare the woman he once loved, but he can’t kill her -”

“SHUT UP!” He roared, enraged, and his knife dug into my throat. I felt several beads of blood drip down my neck. “Inever……loved….you,” he hissed in my face irately.

“That’s a lie,” I breathed, staring into his eyes, “You loved me, and you know you did, even if you’re disgusted by the sight of me now, like I am disgusted by the sight of you.”

“You lie,” he said and made a convulsive movement with the knife, causing more blood to spill.

“Then kill me,” I whispered, keeping my voice empty, trying to withhold the enmity boiling inside me.

Perhaps it was the realization of what he was about to do, or perhaps it was just a moment of pity, but for whatever reason, the vindictive look in his eyes flickered and he lowered the knife a centimeter, hesitating. I seized my chance.

In that one moment, I grabbed his hand holding the knife. He slammed me against the wall, trying to force the knife towards me with his hands. I struggled to push him back, but it was hopeless. The knife slowly neared my face. As I attempted to push away the knife, I saw my abandoned dagger laying on the floor out of the corner of my eye.

I surreptitiously inched my foot towards it, struggling. But it was no use. He had me up against the wall. So I did the first thing that came to mind. I brought my knee up into his crotch. Hard.

“Ah,” He gasped, dropping the knife and sinking to the floor in pain, his eyes protuberant. I jumped over him, grabbed his knife, then snatched up my dagger. For a moment, I kneeled there stoically, breathing hard and staring down at him, laying on the floor in pain.

Then I jumped up, tossed my dagger in the air and caught it ostentatiously, fitting it right back into the holster at my hip. His knife in hand, I rushed over to the cellar door and pulled on the handle. It was locked. I reached for my pocket, where a cache of lock-picking tools were hidden, but out of the corner of my eye, I noticed him struggling to his feet.

My astute eyes scanned the room and I noticed a window, placed high upon the wall, almost touching the ceiling. Using my little strength left, I ran the length of the room, jumping as hard as I could. I barely grasped the ledge. My fingernails scrabbled at the dirt and stone as I tried to heave myself over the ledge. I could hear his unsteady footsteps stumbling behind me. Panic overcame my body and I pushed myself over with one final heave.

A couple of detrimental kicks and the window was open. It was a small window and my food – deprived, emaciated body just barely fit through.

I stuck my head back in, determined to fit in one last word. He glared up at me, hatred etched in every line of his face.

“You’re lucky I am not a killer,” I said, my voice cold, though I was breathing heavily, “As I’m lucky you’re not either.”

I didn’t wait for my words to sink in. I pulled my head out of the window, and sprinted into the distance, leaving behind only the memory of my enigmatic departure.


Ok, so in my Mythology class, we had to take a small section of the Iliad, and rewrite it from one of the characters point of views. I chose the part where Patroclus confronts Achilles and wrote it from his point of view. Hope you like it!

Background Info on Trojan War:

My feet felt heavy as I marched to Achilles’ tent, but I forged on, tears sliding down my cheeks. For the past few days, I had waited and prayed for Achilles to change his mind. But my prayers were in vain, for Achilles seemed determined to sulk in his tent. When Achilles had first told me that he would no longer fight, I was confused. When I learned of the reason why, I was shocked and surprised. The greatest warrior of them all, behaving like a spoiled child who’s toy had been stolen?  However, I had chosen to hope for the best, that he would come to his senses soon enough. When he remained prideful and bitter, pouting in his tent, my shock turned to disappointment, and now anger.

I reached his tent and marched in, not ashamed of my tears, for Achilles needed to see, if only a little, the damage of what he had done. Upon my entrance, Achilles turned around and his sullen face turned to one of concern.

“Patroclus, why are you crying like a little girl? Have you bad news for our Myrmidons? Or perhaps myself?” Achilles frowned, concerned and perplexed at the same time. “Is is news from Phthia? I have heard your father is still alive, and I know that mine is, for there are many Myrmidons that surround him. But if they are dead, that would explain your tears.”

When I shook my head, his frown grew, and he turned his back towards me, walking to the other side of his tent.  “Perhaps you are weeping for the Greeks,” he said, just a trace of bitterness in his voice, cleverly disguised as concern. But if anyone could see through Achilles, it was I. “Maybe it saddens you,” he continued, “that they are being slaughtered for their stupidity.” There was a pause, in which the air seemed  to thicken as Achilles’ godly face turned sour. After a moment, he shook his face slightly and turned to face me.

“But enough with these guessing games,” he said, once again looking distressed, “Tell me the reason for your tears, Patroclus.”

I sighed, my heart heavy with the worries I was so quick to get off my chest. But now, about to do so, I was having second thoughts. Tossing them aside, I bravely plunged forward.

“Achilles, you are a brave and strong warrior, by far the greatest of the Greeks, and I beg of you, please do not be angry at what I have to say.” Here I paused, and Achilles, looking wary, nodded for me to continue.

“It is the Greeks!” I cried, the words bursting out of me like a tidal wave. “I cannot take it anymore! Our best men are falling one by one – Diomedes has been hit, Odysseus and Agamemnon stabbed, and Eurypylus with an arrow in his thigh! Even right now, as we speak, healers are trying to heal their wounds!” Achilles’ face was impassive, and only darkened slightly at the sound of Agamemnon’s name. I was now pacing back and forth in distress. “And you! You – you are impossible! I pray to God I will never be as bitter as you are! You and your pride and greatness – Do you think you will be thought of as great if you just sit and watch as the Greeks are destroyed? Future generations will not pity you for your loss, rather blame you for sulking like a child! If I didn’t know that Peleus was your father and Thetis your mother, I would think that you were born from the cliffs and the gray sea, judging by your cold, hard heart!”

I took a breath, not daring to look at Achilles’ face until I was finished. “But, if you are not fighting perhaps because of some other reason, some prophecy, at least let me go out and fight. I can’t sit and watch any longer. Let me wear your armor, as so to scare away the Trojans and place hope into our soldier’s weary hearts.” I turned around to look Achilles in the eye, to show him I was serious, and, to my surprise, he didn’t look angry. His eyebrows were raised, looking almost amused, as if he couldn’t care less.

“Patroclus, I don’t know what you’re talking about. There is no prophecy keeping me from battle. But it is offensive and hurtful when a man who is my equal robs me of my prize. I won her with my own spear, she is rightfully mine, yet, because he has more power, he snatched her from my arms as if I am someone of no importance. But enough about that for now.”

Achilles began pacing back and forth. “You may wear my armor and lead the Myrmidons into battle, because the Trojans are indeed in a threatening position to our ships. It is your duty, Patroclus, to save our ships. But listen, because you must do it in the way I instruct.” He stopped pacing abruptly and strode across the room to me. Seizing my shoulders, he continued, “I want you to win me great honor and glory, so that I will receive my woman back and many other splendid gifts. So don’t even entertain the thought of taking the honor for yourself. And no victory march to Ilium, but turn back after you have saved the ships. Leave the rest to do the fighting on the plain, do you understand?”

I nodded, and Achilles let go of my shoulders, looking at me with an expression I couldn’t quite place.

“Go on,” he commanded, turning around and busying himself with something in the tent. I left his tent to go suit up. Walking away from the tent, I realized that the expression might of been pride. I entertained myself with the thought as I got ready to fight, not knowing I was heading for my own certain and dreadful death.


A long time ago, a time without music, there was a girl. The girl had no name, did not know how old she was, only knew the cold and starvation of winter. She was sleeping in a damp, and dark cave with only a candle for light and even that flickered threateningly, as if it would go out any minute. The girl was sleeping quite peacefully at the moment, not feeling the beating wind on her back or the freezing cave floor, lost in her own little world. But a far-off noise, no, noises, in the distance woke her up. It was a mixture of melody and harmony, of sadness and happiness, of memories and forgetfulness. It had a name , she was sure. But she was young  and could not remember. The only time she had heard anything like it was the memory of when she was little her mother singing her a lullaby. But that was just a memory, her mother was gone now and the time for -music, was it called?- was over. But the child, being a child, could not help wondering what the sound was.

Stumbling slightly, she got up and peered around the edge of the cave. It was snowing considerably hard now, and the girl was very cold, having only thin, singed, old rags to cover her. But still she made her way through the cold to the unyielding , mysterious sound. It got louder and louder, when suddenly, it stopped. She looked around through the falling fast snow, squinting her eyes.

“You look quite cold.” came a merry old voice from behind her. She spun around quickly, to look at a boy, younger than her she wagered. Suspiciously, she peered at him. “Come over here,” he said, and started walking towards two trees. The girl hunched herself over. She was quite cold and knew the way back to the cave, but for some reason she followed the boy. They came to a clearing with a warm, crackling fire. The ground was snow-covered, but snow was not falling on them. The young girl took no notice of this; she was entranced by the fire.

The boy sat down and begin fiddling with an- an – an object of some sort. ” Name’s Or. Yours?” And when he looked up at her, there was a twinkling of young mischief in his eyes, like he already knew the answer. Still staring at the fire, the girl shrugged. When he went back to meddling with the object, she tore away from the fire and stared at him. He looked up and asked, “You play?” Her face was twisted in confusion, and her eyes showed no understanding. She simply shook her head. “Would you like to hear some?” he asked.

The girl hesitated for a long time and it was as if time froze as she stood, contemplating her answer. The object he was holding was a brown color, the color of firewood. It was shaped a little like a pear with a very long stem, or perhaps the number eight with a one on the top. The top had a swirl or scroll, like when the villagers cat rolled up his tail, over and over. There was four strings or yarn running up and down the object, tied to both ends of the object and in the middle they rested on a little piece of wood.  He held it on his shoulder the long part in his left hand, his right holding some kind of stick with animal hair attached to both ends. Her eyes met his and the tiniest bit of a nod broke the trance. His stick met object and she was lost in a memory of sound and happiness. But it was over as soon as it started, his hands going down.

“My favorite kind of music,” he said smiling at her. And the girl remembered. She remembered, but still forgot much more. “Tell me.” The two words escaped her blue, shivering lips before she could stop them. The boy understood.” This is the bow.” he said, showing her the stick. And slowly, he showed her all the parts of the object, which was called a violin, she found out. And pretty soon, she was playing along with him. But it went far into the night, and she found herself slowly falling asleep to the merry music.

She woke up the next morning, soft snow falling around her. The fire and boy were gone, and she wondered if she had dreamed them. But when she got up, she saw a message etched into the tree. It read: Goodbye Viola. And she knew he had given her a name. Knowing and loving music, she began to make a copy of the violin out of whittled wood, but hers came out different, and eventually was called a viola. And as the age of music grew and grew, the two instruments came together and formed what was called an Orchestra.