By Ben Van Dongen
The alarm on my watch buzzed and beeped. I had a fuzzy recollection of setting it the night before, but at six in the morning, I couldn’t figure out why. Another hour, or dozen, of sleep would have felt amazing, but I relented and got up. I had a cot in a little room of the space I’d rented a few months prior – another fuzzy decision. There weren’t any windows in the room, so I was shocked to see snow on my way to the bathroom.
The building was on a little side street – glorified alley – called Maiden Lane. The scene was undisturbed, picturesque, and unwelcome at such an early hour. I had originally thought of the space for the detective agency because it was sleazy and run down when I was a kid. I figured it would be perfect, but in the years since I’d been there, the area was transformed into a hipster’s paradise. It was a Mecca of fashionable cafes, art studios, independent designers, and boutiques. I had a year lease though, so I tried to make the best of it. (more…)
By Edele Winnie
Sherry first saw the note on her way into the laundry room. She rented one of the second floor units in an old house that had been broken up into six apartments. The units were small but nice- hard wood floors, big closets, and hot water radiator heating that really kept the place warm even in this exceptionally severe winter. She’d only been there for three months, but she liked it. Everyone was pretty quiet, all young professionals except for the old woman downstairs. She gave no trouble either- they put their rent cheques in envelopes and slid them under her door. Sherry couldn’t even remember her name.
By Edele Winnie
Are you paranoid? I’m paranoid. I was freaking born that way- so it’s not my fault. “For example– I noticed the pickup truck right away. It was one of those ones with a cab on the back. Brown, with crappy fake wood panelling. No one on my street has a pickup truck like that. There was some dude sitting in it too. Great, I thought, a new stalker after my sweet little ass. I peeked between the blinds several times. Men have this problem with me- mostly they want to have pets I think, and I’m not a tameable. To the eyes I’m a cute skinny brunette. Also, I’m kind of like a hyena. I‘ll chew your leg off and laugh about it- nothing personal, it’s just the way I am. Don’t cross hyenas, man. (more…)
Paul was more surprised by what he saw at the air field than by the appearance of Kate or the initial call that led to him going outside. A small rocket was sitting on the runway, standing almost as tall as the control tower. The tapered tip flowed into a tube shaped body, with a rounded bump in the middle and fins reaching down to the tarmac. Paul could see small structures surrounding the rocket that looked like everything it would need to actually fly. Thick tubes ran from the ship to the different structures, but he could only guess what they were for. Short buildings, that looked like quick military constructions, were in between where Paul stood and the rocket. When he and the little girl reached the edge of the field, six large men in gear that matched the girl’s, surrounded them. (more…)
The night was cold. Paul thought he knew what to expect having made it through the day, but the reality of it was frightening. He had a hard time keeping his eyes open so he busied himself with keeping the fire going as strongly as possible. The movement kept his joints from stiffening in the deadly cold.
The girl had moved and was now in the arms of the mysterious woman. Paul wasn’t sure if it was from the cold or if the girl was starting to feel more comfortable, or if in sleep she forgot where she was. He tried to figure out his own feelings about Kate. He felt a mixture of distrust and camaraderie. She was friendly and he wanted her to be genuine. Paul tried to not think about it and kept working on the fire. (more…)
by Patrick Firth
The troubles had began when James down the lane had lost his house, Douglas thought as he grabbed a cane from a small barrel by the door. James’s children had sold it right out from underneath him. Douglas spat on the welcome mat just inside the door, and then ground it out with his boot. James had worked his ass off his whole life, thirty something years at the factory, and his life was stolen by his family the minute he had trouble getting in the tub. Now he lived in some Home in Windsor. At their age, life was full of little deaths and losses. Lost friends, cars, wives. Freedom. But rest homes kill, Douglas thought. And James had received his death sentence.
Douglas had watched the new family move in. He used the binoculars that his wife, Margaret, had taken with her to Holiday Beach when she was birding, and he was not. The family, the Wheelwrights it said on their mailbox, seemed industrious enough. The mother and father anyways. They did not sit back and let the movers do it all. The boy, however, let it all pass by. (more…)
The room was cold. Paul could see his breath billow out in the air and fade away. He hadn’t been so close to the surface since the evacuation. With the sun dimming the surface was a cold inhospitable expanse. He couldn’t tell how close to the surface he actually was but the chill in the air along with the level of security in the halls told him he was closer than he would have liked. (more…)
“I lost my friend this mornin’, woke up screamin her name, She meant so much to me, I’m scared I won’t be the same” ~~ Big K.R.I.T. “The Vent”
The water runs, cold and hot together to create the perfect mixture. I can feel the tensions seize my body, the aches wreck my soul, this day has never been an easy one, it has always brought me back to that moment, the one single moment when time stopped, the lights dulled, and memories became a silent killer stalking me in my waking dreams.
I reach down and push the faucets in watching the last few drops trickle, as I slowly remove the robe that covers my body, I look down upon the gentle reminders that blanket my legs, arms, chest and each one marks a release, a memory, each one a memory of ‘Time Lost’. I lower myself into the water letting out a small yet audible moan, as I lean back drifting deeper and deeper in until my ears are submerged with the water and everything disappears, the water was there for me than as it is here for me know as the memories steal me away.
The water was my sanctuary in that moment, it was my retreat from the business I had set in motion, she was coming down, she was going to be here with me, finally a Christmas with my family. I remember the water washing over me, the goosebumps of this pending moment, I can still feel them. I tried so hard to scrub them out of my soul, but they never fade, they are just there.
I slowly pulled myself away from the safety of the water, the water never judged me, never rejected me, it was calm and there for me whenever I needed it, as I pull myself out of the tub, I don’t bother to dry off as I embark into the coldness that continued to haunt me, it wasn’t the winter crisp, it was the memories.
My skin is naked much like how I feel, as I pass through the house entering the kitchen as I am swept away once again by another sensation as my nose is filled with the smells of that fateful day, my eyes sting as I try so hard to pull myself away but to no avail my feet are planted and I am swept to yet another moment I cannot seem to outrun.
Remembering the water on that day, it was early, it was going to be special, and it was going to be forever. I wanted to loosen up as I could feel the butterflies in my stomach so overcoming with their need to spring out and just celebrate with me, I was going to do it, I was finally going to do it, what better day than Christmas Eve to pop the question, what better present could I give my beautiful ‘Tristan’ then the gift of my love for all of time.There was so much to do, I had to finish preparing dinner, and as my friends know I can’t cook at all.
I can smell the turkey it is so rich with its sweetness, as I sit there listening to the mundane Christmas music but in this moment it was beautiful, everything was beautiful, that annoying phone call from that telecommunication person was beautiful, there was nothing on earth that could steal this moment from me, the phone rang and when I saw the caller ID the smile that crossed my face… oh that smile, I can still feel it, I think it was the last smile that crossed my face.
“Why hello Beautiful,” never had that word held so much meaning then when it came from her lips, from there it was like I was a masterpiece to be looked upon with some kind of admiration, that word was so rich coming from her lips.
“What’s the matter?” she had called out.
“Oh… it’s just that no one has ever made me feel as beautiful as you do,” I paused, I wasn’t’ going to blow it so early, she would be here in a short time and then I could let go.
“You are Beauty in all shades of Red to me Mitchell,” at this I looked over towards the dining area which was covered in the red aura of Roses.
“Thank you T… I don’t know where I would be without you”
“Well Babe we’ll be together soon,” she tells me, “love you Mitch.”
I worked my way through the kitchen, slicing the turkey, making the gravy, mashing the potatoes, checking on the pumpkin pie.
Oh how my ‘T’ loved pumpkin pie. I open the oven and lean in the aroma of Cinnamon mixing with the pumpkin sends me into a tailspin.
I moved towards the dining room, looking up towards the clock, she should be here shortly, I light the candles two candles signifying our union, two candles signifying our love, they blur and bend as time passes. My mind wandered until I heard the whistle of the kettle go as I look through the steam that poured out, “Where are you ‘T’?” My vision blurs as I stared straight towards the clock, ’11:11’ I looked over towards the window to see that the sun was long gone, the darkness consumed the light, the reds were drowned in the blacks and my heart skipped.
“I love you Tristan,” Those would be the last words we spoke to one another. Those were the last words before the attack, before they came and took everything away from me. It’s funny how one can become so consumed with something so mundane like preparing dinner that they don’t even realize the world outside is being destroyed.
It was at that time when the invaders set upon the earth carving death and destruction upon every corner of this tiny planet and yet I was clueless. I was lost in my thoughts, in my love as the world outside was set on fire.
11:11, Those numbers will always be etched within my soul, those numbers, that time, this day will always consume me. Maybe that is a good thing, maybe I deserve this. What good can come from love when a simple set of numbers can destroy you.
I continue to move through the house of a thousand memories, of pain and torment, of tragedy and sorrow, then it hits me, two beading lights penetrate my eyes as flashes of metal and chaos surrounds me, to find out that way left me barren without emotions, to turn on the TV only to see flashing red lights, chaos and destruction, and there she was my beautiful ‘T’ lifeless, alone, gone.
I didn’t see the world, I didn’t see the lives lost. All I saw in that moment was my beautiful ‘T’. The world had been set on fire and for me I selfishly only saw the person I loved. Why that memory is so pronounced will haunt me forever, my heart skips at the mere thought of my beautiful flawless angel shattered, broken. Red of Blood, lifeless. They pronounced her death at 11:11 PM. The moment, the exact moment my world was consumed by darkness. The exact moment my life ended.
I come back to this place every year at this time to remember why I became what I’ve become. A Warrior, whose only destiny in life is to kill all those that took her away from me. I kneel here in this garden of memories allowing the tears to surrender to the cool night air, I grieve for her, my beautiful ‘Tristan’,
I grieve for the secrets yet to be revealed, she carried our unborn child, and I carried the proposal, the tears seem to stop, frozen by the brisk air of night. Then I feel it’s gentle kisses from the sky as I looked up and see the stars fall and I can hear her whisper to me, “I love you,” as the snow starts to fall, and it is Christmas, the day I almost had my family.
(Special Thank You to Dorrie for sharing the song that inspired me while writing this story)