we like reading fiction so please submit it
it can be anything as long as it’s not true!!
we like reading fiction so please submit it
it can be anything as long as it’s not true!!
Yesterday, in the cool and crisp morning air, I decided to start planting my spring garden, anticipation welling up in my heart of getting to see the beautiful, delicate flowers once again. Going out with just a small trowel, shovel, and some gloves, I intended to dig the holes before I had work, then plant them the next morning. Pulling on the dirt-encrusted gloves, I sat down next to my front steps and started slowly turning the earth, digging through each layer with care to be sure to not disturb the inhabitants too much.
After digging for a while, I came across the corner of what looked like an old newspaper. Curiosity piqued, I pulled it out and was immediately confronted with large, bold letters spelling out “WAR BREAKS ON THE AMERICAN DREAM”. I’d never heard of such words - war and American - so foreign with sounds that made my mouth taste foul. I knew there was an old, old civilization before ours, but it was considered to be cruel and unjust. In my world, my home for the past 27 years, the most unjust thing I had ever encountered was a squirrel digging up some of my acorns I’d planted.
My head was clouded with confusion for the rest of the day, my manner to customers at our foods store quite unlike me. After I got back home, I pulled out the folded up, slightly dirty, slightly burned newspaper and sighed, wishing I’d never found it.
submit a description of your fantasy world (realistic or not) through the eyes of someone who lives in that world.
you can submit it in list form, or paragraph, or any way you want!
it can be sad, happy, confusing, boring, neat, anything!
it’s your world!!
You pressed the small piece of paper down onto my tongue like a priest giving communion. The body of Christ. In the name of the father, son, and the holy spirit. Amen. I set it soak, and swallowed. And then, you turned into god in front of me. You could do anything, perform any miracle, commit any sin, and I would still believe in you. The walls shifted. I felt my soul lift up through my chest towards the ceiling, only to come back down again like a yo-yo. The colors were changing and the room was spinning and I love you. I sincerely love you. Thank you for showing me this side of the world.
Widened eyes, open mind, a new perception on life.
I am born again.
you rushed against the well-meaning tides every day, barely breathing, as you executed your idiosyncratic 67-year-long departure. you had intended to form some sort of belief, YOU REALLY DID, but the daily flights of stairs were distracting, and alcohol-induced fits of spirituality never stuck. your mantra mirrored your bank balance, but you never forgot her phone number.
He sent his reflection to deliver the message. He didn’t feel like confrontation today.
“Just tell her I’m tired.” He said as I blinked back, repeating the words. He ran his hand through his hair once and brought his arm back to his side, knocking the light switch on the way down. With the lights, I vanished. He looked at his phone, your message has been sent, it blinked. Technology made it so easy to avoid other people.
You can work from home today. That’s fine. The text from his boss read. He turned on the light. I returned.
“You can work from home today.” He said aloud, I joined in unison. Your message has been received. It was all too easy. Just like that he was free of obligation.
“And what will you do with your freedom, Harris?” He asked himself, I offered up no answer. That was fine, Harris didn’t know the answer himself, how in the world would his reflection know? Harris pulled a T-shirt over his thin frame, briefly sniffing the fabric to see if it passed the test. He pulled on the nearest pants he could find. He heard rustling in the kitchen, rustling he assumed was his roommate Xander. He sat back on his bed and waited until he heard the front door slam. The goal for today was no human contact. Or the least amount of human contact he could manage. Definitely no contact with people he knew.
“I formerly elect not to participate in today.” Harris said to the empty room. The empty apartment. He was hoping a breeze would dramatically rustle through the thick brick walls. Or there would be some loud gong to signify the importance of this declaration. There was nothing. Of course there was nothing. There is nothing profound about a 23 year old man standing in his cluttered bedroom declaring he wants to be antisocial. The more he thought about it, there was really nothing profound about a 23 year old man at all.
“You can stay here if you want.” Harris said to me, although he knew I didn’t like to be left behind. I felt his shoulders rise and he saw his reflection shrug. He grabbed his coat from the floor and made his way out of the apartment and down the stairs. He walked in the opposite direction to the opposite subway train than the one he would normally take to work.
Even though he was surrounded by people, he felt like he was the only person walking through the streets of Manhattan. He got on the train and took it to an unfamiliar stop, he felt like he had been on a little too long. This would do. Harris pushed his way through the turnstile and raced up the steps. Even after living in New York for five years he still got nervous taking the subway. Like someday he may get trapped down there and never see above ground again. He always raced to the top of the steps, anxiously waiting to see a glimpse of sky. It was only then that he could really breathe again. He felt like he held his breath the entire time he was underground.
As he passed shop windows Harris kept glancing at the glass, making sure I wasn’t getting into trouble. There I was, with my head slightly facing down, occasionally looking up to make sure Harris was doing all right. We both smirked. Harris walked for a what seemed like miles before finally stopping to get his bearings. He was in a part of the city that he never really went to because it wasn’t where he went to school and it wasn’t where he worked and it wasn’t where he ate and it certainly wasn’t where he got drunk. He felt content that he wouldn’t run into anyone he knew, so he ducked into a coffee shop. He went into the bathroom before ordering a drink; something his mom told him about washing his hands before consuming anything. That was her big advice when he had moved to the city.
“Should we make a game out of this?” He asked his reflection. “How about I lose a point for every time I talk to someone and I gain three points for every time I successfully avoid talking to someone while doing something that requires talking.” Without agreement from me he walked back out into the coffee shop and stood in line, wondering how he would order without talking to the barista. He would have to order something simple. The girl in front of him finished ordering and spun around to face Harris briefly before going over to the other counter to wait. She smiled as she did this and Harris felt himself wanting to say something. Instead he lowered his eyes, slightly smiling back. He felt like direct eye contact should lose him a point too, he would have to ask later.
a tired cliche, we sat together but apart.
silence is deadly but we swam through it, icy.
PLEASE WE NEED TO KEEP THIS OCEAN GOING IT’S GOING TO DRY UP SOON BECAUSE NO ONE CARES ABOUT IT
Her head rested peacefully against his chest and she lay motionless, listening to his steady heartbeat. It comforted her in knowing that his heart beat for her. Suddenly, she lifted her head and asked a question. Although easily spoken, this question meant the world. She turned to face him and quietly asked, “Tell me one thing that no one in this entire world knows about you.” He exhaled a deep breath and didn’t answer for a while. As he leaned over to answer, the moonlight in between the blinds covering the window shone through, and she was able to get a glimpse of her lover’s face. With his chocolate eyes and face flushed with love, he spoke the words that had never meant more. He whispered softly, sweetly and sincerely, “I want to be with you forever.” Her eyes widened with excitement because she too desired to stay with him forever. He was the only one she’ll ever want, and she was sure about that. Forever is a long time. It’s not every day that one can be certain about forever.
The world is turning gray. Smile.
He rolls my underwear down to my ankles in the least difficult maneuver that he can on the three-seat sofa without pushing one of us off or crushing me under his weight. Our skin sticks together from the hot, early summer humidity and heat that has produced this thick layer of sweat that blankets our bodies. We had worked up a sweat from the concert we had attended with a group of friends an hour before, dancing and singing, the friction of bodies rubbing up one another in the crowded amphitheater; a lethal combination for sweat, mixed with the summer heat.
The cicadas and crickets buzz outside for the first time that early summer night, just only a few days after my junior year of high school ending signaling the start of change, laziness, and possibility that the summer bestows on its weighted shoulders. However, the cicadas and crickets can’t drown out the noise of which our bodies make together, the heavy breathing, the sound of rhythmic kisses and touches which seem to echo out throughout the living room and entire house my sister and her roommates are occupying the duration of their junior year of college.
“They know. She knows,” I think to myself as our bodies still move in syncopation. “She is lying wide awake in her room and she knows and she is going to tell mom and she is going to stop this right now. I am in deep shit.” My mind races with the thoughts of getting caught in an act with a significantly older friend of my sister’s on top of me. He’s drunk, sloppily touching my face and kissing my neck, lacking the grace he once possessed doing these exact actions in my childhood bedroom, a few months earlier in April. However, despite these thoughts, I still continue my actions, not even hesitating our intense make out session, not pausing to question his motives or track his eyes with my fingers, making sure he’ll be sober enough to remember this moment in the future when I will try to recount these details to him and he’ll shrug it off with only a smile.
Three and a half hours from this moment I will be boarding a plane to Connecticut for three weeks. I will be leaving North Carolina behind, leaving the weight of the boy on top of me, the guilty feelings I’ll have when faced with my mother, leaving the awkward, all knowing glances of my older sister 628 miles and a few weeks behind before confronting them again. I will arrive to Connecticut with open arms from my best friend, welcoming smiles from her best friends, and history of summers past.
It is my decision to make on this couch, under this grown man that will make my own history. It is my decision to arrive in Connecticut with more than one great story to tell; it is my decision to figuratively leave my innocence behind on my sister’s borrowed couch, smelling strongly of cat hair, which is currently sticking to both of our bodies.
“You’re a virgin, aren’t you?” he asks, lifting his head up from the crook of my neck, interrupting the thoughts. I straighten my body out, trying to look as mature and un-virgin like as possible, but I know its no use. He’s seen my bedroom; my virginity is blatantly written over my pink poodle lamps and pepto bismal colored walls.
“Uhm…uh, yeah,” I say uncomfortably, trying to urge some sentences together to sound coherent, make me sound older, take away from my appearance. I am ready for this moment, he is the person I have always wanted to lose it to, he is the story I will recount to everyone the first week of college sharing our stories of firsts. I am going to lose my virginity on my sister’s couch.
That is, until he removes his boxers and I am face to face with my fate and end game for the first time that entire night. Alex is five years older than me, he is the first boy that has ever kept me around for more than a few weeks, he is the boy I think about constantly. He is a 22 year old man fucking around with a 16 year old girl who had just worried about passing 11th grade English, who, only a few days ago, got detention for the length of her skirt. The decision no longer seems like a smart one.
“Yeah, but uh, not tonight, okay?” I manage out of my mouth, stopping our hormones and minds from going any further. “I mean, I am going to be seeing you this summer, right? A bed sounds a lot better than this couch,” I say, shifting my weight, unsticking my shoulder from a section of the couch.
Alex happily obliges with a shrug, as if he has expected this answer all along or has been in this position many times before, pulling up his boxers, and rolling over onto his side falling into a slow lull on the miniscule amount of couch he can force his body onto his couch.
I won’t lose my virginity that night, I won’t change my mind, I won’t budge from my decision. And I won’t ever visit him at his house when I return from Connecticut, pushing those “what-if’s” aside the rest of the entire summer.
A few hours later, I board the plane to Connecticut, no regrets.
Where do you wanna go?
I don’t mind. Anywhere’s fine.
Yeah, it looks good to me.
There’s a family nearby, actually.
So, nothing. I’m just saying, there is.
They sit down on sand. The tide’s coming in and they take off their shoes, feel the sharp-edged corpses of molluscs prick against their feet. Behind them, Malaga yawns.
He thinks it’s beautiful. Picasso was born here. The city hums with age. Its streets are time machines, the soft sand of its beach marred by the bare feet of half a dozen empires. But what she notices is the jagged smears of industry stab into the horizon, the drab-brown beachside blocks looming over them like the shadow of her father at six-years-old.
Hey, the kid’s coming over.
He’s got a camera.
The kid grins at them.
What a little shit.
Leave him alone.
His family are already halfway up the strip. His father calls out to him in a language they don’t understand and he calls back and runs off, his camera dangling from his neck like a locket, and she feels, inexplicably, a flash of regret, even betrayal. Now they are alone.
Yeah. I told you it’s no big deal.
Yeah, okay. Okay.
They just sit there in silence for a while with their bodies touching and their toes dipped in the water a little bit. She’s looking at a flock of birds darting towards the horizon, getting smaller by the second until they’re barely shadow-specks on a film of orange cosmos, and for some reason all this just reminds her of all the empty bottles and occasional broken glass crime scenes her mother left around the house in her father’s absence.
Meanwhile he can’t stop looking at her face and admiring the smoothness of her skin, and he genuinely believes that she’s the most beautiful thing that’s ever entered his life, and the freckles on her cheeks and black rings around her eyes that she hates and tries so hard to cake in make-up only serve as a reminder of how perfect she is. And he’s not naïve by any means, he’s been around and seen the sights and loved a hundred women before her but for some reason he can’t help but feel like this was somehow meant to be, was meant to last, and a voice of something not unlike religion whispers in his ear.
The two of them sit on that beach as clouds tower over them like boogeymen and the setting sun burns their faces with the power of Hiroshima. He puts his arm around her and holds her close to him and tells her he loves her and means it, and she says the same thing but doesn’t.
Dusk takes them.
Later that night they go home and make love in the kind of silence that means a million things to a million people. Six months later she’ll be in an LA hospital holding her mother’s hand and he’ll have settled in a nice German town where all the girls are gorgeous and they’ll never speak to each other again, but for now they’re lying side by side, bodies glistening with sweat and fervour, and she falls asleep on his chest while he stares up at the ceiling thinking about Cassado’s music, and the sound of the sea washes over them both.