Categories
8th Edition Short Story

For The Kids

For The Kids

Brandon Evans

At 5:45 AM thundering booms jar me awake. I roll over blinking the fog from my mind as I read the green glow of the clock.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

I realize it’s my door being pounded on. I sit up alarmed, as I wonder who would be knocking. My phone rings to life and I see that it is my brother calling. Instinctively I answer.

“Hello?” I grumble.

“Wes, wake up. Let me and the kids in. It’s freezing out here,” my brother Scott pleads.

I’m moving for my door before I even think, and find myself unbolting the lock. I swing it open as the blast of cold shocks me awake in spite of my budding hangover.

“Uncle Wesley!” squeal my niece and nephew as they spill through the door and wrap themselves around one of my legs.

“Because of the snow Dad says we get to play with you all day!”

I look up at my brother with eyes full of betrayal.

“Wes, you know I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t absolutely need it. School is closed today and I need the kids with someone I trust,” he explains. “I can’t take the day off and I know you need the money anyway.”

He stuffs a few hundred dollars in my hand. I look at my older brother and see the determination in his eyes. His mind was made up before he ever got here. I know his job in the service is important, and he knows that I’m in between jobs. I’m not sure who is doing who the favor here.

“No problem. I can take care of the munchkins today. I mean they can be pretty self sufficient,” I assure both my brother and myself.

He gives the kids a hug and tells them to look after me with a wink. If I’m ever a father I hope I’m like him. He leaves quickly and I’m left staring at Aubrey and Jackson. They size me up and I realize I’m going to need coffee.

“You two hungry?” I ask as I fill a coffee pot.

Jackson doesn’t answer, he is fixed on my Xbox but hasn’t the courage to ask. Aubrey on the other hand is full of energy. She smiles at me with gleeful eyes.

“I will have some coffee.”

“I doubt that Aub, how about some cereal?” I counter offer.

She concedes and I make the same for Jackson. I set Aubrey’s down on the table and Jackson’s on the coffee table. His eyes light up as I turn on the video games for him.

“I could use some help on my gamer score Jackson. Just don’t tell dad.”

He just snatches up the controller while Aubrey happily eats her breakfast. It occurs to me that it isn’t even 6:00 AM and these two are wide awake and beaming. I pour coffee into my mug and sit next to my eight year old niece. I take a long sip off the scalding liquid and use it to chase an aspirin.

“You seem awfully excited. You this happy to be off of school?”

“Daddy is helping Mommy be happy in heaven,” Aubrey squeals.

I nearly drop the coffee.

“What did you say?”

Jackson looks up, and in the sternest five year old voice I’ve ever heard tells his sister to hush. She blushes trying to hold her excitement back. It’s like trying to turn a river off with a sink faucet.

“It’s okay,” I nudge her. “What do you mean?”

Their mother was murdered three and a half years ago. It was a random act of violence that shocked a community. The killer was never caught, and my brother has never let it go. For a brief time he had seemed almost happy again, but lately a bitter Scott was leaking through. He had been working a lot lately, and now I finally wanted to know on what.

“Daddy says he found another bad man, and he is going to make it fair again,” she explains as she stirs her milk.

Behind me I hear gunshots as Jackson plays a violent game. I’d pause to rethink that if I wasn’t so rattled about what Aubrey had revealed. I snatch my phone and disappear into the other room. I’m frantically dialing with shaking hands. The phone rings for an eternity until Scott picks up on the other end.

“Are the kids okay?”

“They’re fine; except for they think you’re going to kill somebody. What are you doing?” I demand.

“They don’t know anything and neither should you.”

“Scott, killing somebody isn’t going to bring her back!”

“What do you know? I see her every time I look at my kids. They deserve to know that whoever took their mom away has paid for it. I’m going to make sure this time. This has to be the right guy.”

“What do you mean this time? Scott stop it. You can’t do this.” I plead.

“Take care of my kids until I get back. It will be over soon.”

The line goes dead.

Categories
8th Edition

Inner Voice–Mai Urai

inner-voice-mai-urai

Categories
8th Edition Short Story

New Rome

New Rome

Lontreal Farmer

Darius looked up at the podium with disdan. He hated the Marcus for forcing him to kill. He was tired of fighting strangers to the death for the amusement of the crowd. The opponent today was from an all-female coliseum in New Themyscira. Her long black hair and bronzed skin showed her Italian heritage. Of course, he couldn’t mention that. Italy didn’t exist. She wore the basic gladiatorial attire. He could tell that her armor was crafted for her body personally. It fit all the contours of her body. It would allow her free movement without giving up defense. He was going to have to be careful with this one. Darius himself didn’t use armor. His coliseum was not run by someone as wealthy as the owner of the New Themysciran coliseum. And he hated to have his movement restricted. The only protection Darius used was a bracer that ran the length of his right arm, a galerius for his shoulder, and a helmet that covered his face. She wore no helmet, and her hair was tied into a bun. “Prepare yourselves for the most entertaining battle in this arena sense its construction!” Marcus was giving his opening speech before the match. “How stupid is he going to feel when I refuse to fight?” Darius thought to himself. “Begin!” Marcus shouted into the mic. The crowd started cheering and stomping so loud that the two gladiators could actually feel the ground move beneath their feet. The woman started to walk towards Darius but stopped in surprise when Darius dropped his twin Gladius on the ground, and raised both hands above his head making a fist. This was the sign that a gladiator made when they refused to fight an enemy. This was considered either an insult to the gladiator’s sponsor, or the challenger and their sponsor. It had to be handled by both parties before the fight could end or continue. Marcus and Bellona both rode the floating chariots down to the arenas floor. Darius still found it weird to find advanced technology in such an ancient civilization. They both hovered in the air, out of reach of the gladiators. “What is the meaning of this?” Asked Bellona

“I refuse to fight a woman.” Darius said. Marcus chuckled, he found it very funny that this is where Darius would draw the line, and try to put his foot down. He had foreseen this and already had an answer for him. “I will handle this Bellona. Darius does not mean to insult you are your gladiators. He just doesn’t want to fight a woman. He knows very well how dangerous his opponent is. He just has some alien belief that he should not lay hands against a woman.”

“Well, that is very strange.” Said Bellona “And I don’t care if he did not mean to insult. He has. Bellona looked over at her gladiator, “Diana, I expect his blood as payment for this insult.”

“Yes my lord.” Answered Diana in a very unemotional and robotic voice. “What the hell is up with her?” Darius thought. “She hasn’t shown any sign of life sense she got here. She just stares ahead with those soulless grey eyes.”

“Diana do me a favor please”, Marcus asked in his most condescending voice he could muster, “Tell him of your life in New Themyscira.” He looked at Darius, “and after she is done remember this. I will send Valerie there if you do not win.” Marcus smiled and floated back to the podium, Bellona at his heels. Diana looked at Darius, and he saw pain in her eyes. The first sign of emotion sense he meet her. Darius was starting dread what she was going to say. “The gladiators of New Themyscira are separated into two classes. New Roman citizens, and non-citizens.” This you should already know, because we are all separated into these two categories. The New Roman citizens are made famous and rich for every battle they win. They have personal trainers and schools. They are taken care of, and they have their pick of males. Those like me, who are not citizens of New Rome are made into gladiators a different way. We are trained yes, but we are toughened by abuse rather than training. When we get there we are tied up outside of the city limits naked. Men are allowed to do whatever they want with us. If we do not make it in to the city in three days, we are never allowed back in. We are given no weapons, and are expected to survive. After that we are trained and sent in to battle.” The pain that was in her eyes at the beginning has disappeared, replaced with anger. “Once a week we are tied up out there and forced to endure it again. Once a week for the rest of our lives!” Diana fished the last part screaming, partly because the crowd was getting restless, and because of her anger. She took her spear off of her back and waited. Darius was still in his original positon. She would not attack until he had picked up his swords. Darius slowly put his hands down. He was thinking about what Marcus said. He could not allow Valerie to live through that. He crouched down and picked up his swords. The crowd started cheering again. Darius looked hard at Diana. She nodded. There would be no more words spoken until one of them was dead. Darius struck hard and fast. He swung one blade at her stomach which she blocked with the base of her spear. He used his other sword to strike at her face diagonally. She blocked that with the shaft of her spear. She was now holding her spear diagonally. Darius jumped into the air and kicked out at her with both feet. Diana flew backwards rolled and jumped to her feet. She ran at him and vertically swiped at him while he was still on the ground. Darius caught the blade of her spear with his sword. The blade was barbed, so Darius hooked his sword into the blade and using the momentum of her swipe, brought it down into the ground inches away from his face. He dropped his sword and grabbed the spear so that Diana could not easily pull it out of the ground. He pulled himself up with is left hand, and with is right he stabbed out with his sword. His blade found its mark in Diana’s gut. The entire coliseum went quiet for a few seconds, and then erupted into applause and cheer. Darius got up threw his helmet to the ground dropped down and cradled Diana’s head in his lap. “Thank you.” Diana whispered. She continued to look into his eyes as the light faded from hers. Tears started to fall from Darius’s eyes when she finally sighed her last breath. He looked up at the podium and saw that Bellona was smiling and shaking Marcus’s hand. Marcus stood up and proclaimed to the crowd. “We have only seen the first of many battles to come. New Themyscira will run a gauntlet. Darius is to face all of the Non-citizen top ranking gladiators they have, over the week. 27 women will enter this arena, to either die by his sword or bathe in his blood.” The crowd cheered even harder. “And the next match will be inside of a Bio dome, courtesy of Bellona!” The crowd was so loud now that Darius would not be able to hear himself speak. He looked down at the woman whose life he had ended, and thought about his soul. He wasn’t sure how much of it he had left, but he knew it wasn’t enough to survive killing that many women who were being treated like that. Darius decide that the time to escape was now, before he lost his humanity, and with it, Valeire.

Categories
8th Edition

Ground To Be Moved

Ground To Be Moved

 Bret Lundstrom

The undertaker is gone today

Up the hill digging graves

Someone has died?

I’m sorry to hear

As you can see

We are quite busy

The horses and hearse

Have been put to hard use

Their legs are worn

Knees sore, backs bent

Ferrying men to rest

Work to be done

Ground to be moved

How long has he sat?

A day gone and in this heat

What the world does to bodies

Come night time I’m sure

We will drop on by

Pick him up and be off

With the pine box and lantern

Many friends and family?

No? A small service then

I’m sure the reverend

Would be free for a bit

Say a few half-hearted words

And we can settle this

Man into the ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
8th Edition

Friends in Silhuett at Sunset–Devin Mitchell Durbin

friends-in-silhouette-at-sunset-devin-mitchell-durbin

Categories
8th Edition Short Story

Project X5

Project X5

Lontreal Farmer

Rachel flinched as the small rubber, rainbow colored ball flew past her face, and back into the hand of the boy behind her. “Do you mind?” Rachel turned around from the desk she was sitting at to glare at him.

Aden smiled and jumped down from the bed he was sitting on without disturbing a single sheet. “Hey, you are in my dorm room. You can’t be upset with the way I entertain myself in my own room.”

Rachel watched as he slowly paced the room. Aden was wearing his usual dark jeans and long sleeved shirt. The shirt was red with dark blue lines making the familiar plaid pattern. His boots were black leather and looked as clean as the room they were in. Rachel stood up, raised her arms above her head and arched her back like a cat. Her black blouse raised with her stretching, showing her bellybutton and milky white stomach. Her red hair ran down past her shoulders.

“I am only here because you need me to check your computer for you. I would rather be in my own room.” Rachel sat back down in the white desk chair she had been occupying for the last hour and a half. “It’s clean by the way. The Division has not hacked your computer. You shouldn’t be so careless when porting into their base. Now can you tell me what happened? Why did you leave your computer in a Division base?”

Aden looked at his phone and turned away from Rachel. “I want to wait until the newbie is here.” As Aden said this there was a soft knock at his door. Aden walked over and opened the door to short blond girl in sweats and a tank top.

“Hello Elizabeth.” Elizabeth smiled and brushed past Aden.

Turing to Rachel, Elizabeth smiled and said “Hi, my name is Elizabeth. Nice to meet you!” She held her hand out and Rachel shook it and smiled.

“My name is Rachel. How do you know each other?”

“He found me using my power to get my professor to give me a few days off.”

“So you’re a pusher.”

“I have no idea what that is.”, Elizabeth said.

Aden had been watching this conversation from the door and decided that now was the time to intervene. “How about everyone have a seat and we can explain the terms to Elizabeth. I will explain the division stuff as soon as she is caught up.” Elizabeth hopped on Aden’s bed, and Rachel sat back in the white desk chair. Aden pulled the wooden chair that is provided by the school from the corner it was occupying. “Ok first things first: let me explain what you are.”

Aden leaned back in the chair and said, “A Pusher is a telepath. They have the ability to push memories and thoughts into another person’s mind. You and Rachel are both Pushers. You both also have another ability. Rachel is also a Phaser meaning she can move through solid objects. It’s super annoying to deal with. You are also a Feeler. Feelers are like Pushers except they only deal in emotions. You are able to manipulate both thoughts and emotions.”

Aden stopped talking and looked at Rachel.

“This is a lot of exposition don’t you think?” Rachel smiled and looked aback at Elizabeth.

“Anyway, Aden is a Mover. Basically he is telekinetic. He is also a porter meaning, he can teleport long distance and short.”

“I can also teleport other objects without touching them. Watch.” Aden flicked his wrist and sent the rubber ball he was holding flying through the air straight for the wall next to his bed. Just before making contact with the wall, the ball vanished and reappeared on the other side of the room. Aden held his hand up and the ball flew back into his hand. “There are other terms and abilities, but they can be explained later. Right now I need to explain why I was running around a Division base.”

“What is the Division?” Elizabeth asked.

Rachel sighed, “The Division is a government agency that keeps track of people like us. They also try to recruit others and police us. That would be fine if they weren’t morally bankrupt. They kill any of us who show a strong ability, but won’t work for them. We have been doing our best to hide the double power thing from them. It only happens when both parents have an ability, so it’s rare at the moment.”

“Well now that we have the exposition out of the way, I can finally explain the reason for this meeting.” Aden took another breath and looked out the window. His eyes opened in surprise and he threw his arms out like he was pushing something away. There was a large crash like a car hitting a wall, then screaming. Rachel jumped up and ran to the window to see what had happened, only to get pulled away by Aden. Elizabeth was also pulled off the bed. Both girls made contact with Aden’s hands at the same time and were instantly blinded by the sunlight. Aden ported them outside in the parking lot behind his truck. “Get in and drive. The Division knows about the three of us. They had a spy on campus, someone me and Rachel trusted.” He held out his hand and his laptop appeared. “This has all of the files I was able to steal. Use it to bring down The Division so that we can all sleep better at night.”

Aden turned around and began walking towards the wrecked car. He had managed to push it away right before it had made contact with the window. It crashed into the opposite building on the other side of the parking lot. As he was getting closer, he noticed a man walking towards it as well. They saw each other at the same time and stopped. “Don’t they teach you any subtlety? Throwing a car is a bit much, don’t ya think Brian?”

Brian smiled and started rising into the air. Aden backed away, he had never seen anyone actually levitate their self. He had never tried it because he could teleport.

“Are you gonna say anything? We were friends man, was that really just a cover? Do you really not care?”

Brian got to about twenty feet in the air then flew straight for Aden. Aden shot his hand out to the left, and the car next to him was now in floating vertically in between Aden in Brian. Brain ran right through the car, his telekinetic shield making a large lens flare color when he made contact with the car. Brian went through like it was paper and rammed into Aden carrying him into the sky. He began hitting him in the stomach so that Aden would not get enough time to think and teleport himself out. Aden’s teleportation wasn’t reactionary, but his telekinesis was.

Aden used his power to push Brian, and himself, into the ground. Brian flew down but was able to regain control and landed lightly on the ground. Aden focused and levitated himself in the air. He smiled and created his own telekinetic shield. Brian was floating a few inches off the ground and watching Aden with a blank stare. It took only a second for Aden to figure out why he wasn’t attacking.

“I am not porting away from this fight. I am going to kill you and send a message to the Division.”

Brian smiled and flew at Aden while launching cars from all directions. Aden flew at Brian, and just before making contact, he vanished and reappeared underneath him. He also managed to teleport a few cars off the ground and into the air above him. Brian looked down then used his power to push Aden into the ground. He then rotated in the air so that he was facing the cars and sent them racing after Aden. Aden hit the ground hard and scattered the cars before they could land on top of him. Brian crashed into Aden on the ground and began ruthlessly punching through the shield Aden had created. Aden threw him off and began punching back with as much force as he could muster. Their telekinetically powered punches made the familiar lens flare light as they came into contact with the shields that they had placed around themselves. While they were throwing punches Brian was levitating a large truck over Aden’s head. The moment it was in place, Brian allowed Aden to knock him away and dropped the car as he went flying. Aden teleported the car before it made impact, then he teleported on top of Brian and cocked his hand back to punch him. Brian had expected this. He sent a piece of metal shaped like a spear, created from the piles of cars they had destroyed, flying for Aden from behind. The metal went through his arm and blood sprayed out and onto Brain and the ground. Brian lifted Aden up and threw him onto his back. He pulled the piece of scrap metal out of Aden’s shoulder and raised it above his heart.

“Hey!” Brian turned to see Rachel standing behind him near one of the wrecked cars. He looked into her eyes and saw them dilate, turning her eyes completely black.

“The metal is a syringe that will save you, but you have to-“Rachel flew through the air and landed on her back next to the truck she arrived in. Elizabeth was inside, she tried to open the door but Brian warped the metal around the door before she could do anything.

“Nice try Rachel, you gotta be faster than that to push me.” He began walking toward her with the scrap metal held high when he was hit with a train. The train flew at him from the left and embed itself into the asphalt. “Does that work on you?” Aden said. Aden was standing up holding his injured shoulder. “The train was probably too much.” Aden looked started walking–

“Lontreal can you tell me what started World War 1?”

Lontreal looked up from the note book he had been doodling in. “The assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand. The squabble was between small countries backed by world powers. They started fighting then basically asked their older siblings for help.”

Mr. Prahlow looked unimpressed with Lontreal’s answer. “That is correct Lontreal. Now would you mind looking up from your notebook so that I know you are paying attention please?”

“Yes sir.”

Mr. Prahlow turned back to his dry erase board and began writing about the causes of the First World War. Lontreal looked at his stick figure doodles and wondered if maybe he should start actually trying to focus in class. The bell rang and everyone started to grab their bags and head to their next class. Lontreal packed up his note book and walked out of the class room. He walked down the hall of lockers and dodged the other high school students. He stopped at the last door on the right and entered the room. He sat down and grabbed his note book to start doodling again when he noticed that all of the students were looking at their phones and no one was sitting down. The teacher, Mrs. Rathje, was even looking at her phone, one hand over her mouth and a look of horrified curiosity on her face. Lontreal walked over to the group closest to his table.

“What’s going on?” he asked Kevin.

“Dude look!” Kevin held his phone out for Lontreal to see. There was a YouTube video playing. In it there were what looked like to men on a college campus throwing cars at each other and flying around. The video ended with a train appearing out of nowhere a smashing into one of the men. Lontreal looked at his back pack that contained his doodles and stories. He walked over opened the bag, tore the pages, and threw them into recycling. He walked back to Kevin who was watching it for the seventh time. “Dude let me see that again, it looks so cool.”

Categories
8th Edition Short Story

Grandfather’s Coffee Pot

Grandfather’s Coffee Pot

Brenden Kleiboeker

“Alex, where do you want this box?” Janie struggled under the heavy set cardboard as she stepped into the threshold of her new boyfriend’s house. They have only been dating for a little over three months, but she was more than excited to help move him out of the busy downtown Chicago area to the suburbs; a perfect place to rope him into a ring and a few kids.

“Just set it down in the kitchen babe, I’ll get to it later,” he replied from behind the TV set.

Leave it to a man to have his TV set up before everything is unloaded, she thought. She set down the box with a huff, letting the box hit harder than expected, causing the contents inside to rattle. Oh shit. Janie opened the box hoping nothing was broken inside. She had already scratched his car this morning and couldn’t bear to have to break the news of two mistakes, especially when he loved that car more than her. Well, for now. Once opening the box she found a tin-rusted coffee pot sitting on top. That actually wouldn’t have been too tragic if that broke, She laughed at herself as she felt Alex come up behind her.

“Phew that was a pain in the ass, but hey now we can play Call of Duty later.” He placed a soft kiss on her cheek, trying and failing to keep as much of his sweat off of her as possible. “Oh you found the box with my Grandfather’s coffee pot.” Alex reached over Janie to pull out the rustic machine.

“You mean you meant to pack that?” She ruffled her brow then quickly smoothed out her face, feeling her reaction was too harsh.

“Are you kidding? I love this thing. I can remember sitting on my grandfather’s lap every morning during the summer weekends; the smell of the brewing coffee filling the house.” A small smile crept across Alex’s face. “But we could never sit and wait to hear the loud buzz signaling it was ready because it always brewed more than the pot could hold.”

Janie crossed her arms and listened as Alex continued.

“It was like a game to us. Who could sit the longest before going to check if it was over-flowing?” A laugh escaped his lips. “My grandfather always won though because he’d had that pot for longer than I had been alive. He’d get me all riled up, making me think I sat too long. Before I knew it I’d be on my feet, racing to the kitchen only to see the pot half full.”

“Awe babe,” Janie touched his shoulder with a sweet smile. “What a cute story, but I think the pot is outdated and kind of an eye sore.” Alex’s smile had vanished only to be replaced with an open mouth. “I mean, I don’t want you to get rid of it, but you definitely can’t use it to brew your coffee. It’s a hazard and especially if we are going to bring kids into this house.”

“How is it a haz… Did you just say kids?” The subject switched just like that. Janie’s face froze in a panic.

“No, no, no, I said cat. I can’t have my little Snuffy running around here when we stay over and have hot coffee burn him.”

“Well we won’t have to worry about that,” Alex shot back without even thinking about what he just said.

“And why is that?” Janie stared in confusion.

It was Alex’s turn to freeze, except he wasn’t as quick on his feet as his obsessive girlfriend and stumbled over his words, at a loss for a response. His head raced, but no matter what came to mind, he couldn’t think of a believable excuse to cover up the fact that he accidentally backed over Snuffy earlier that morning.

“Alex, I asked you a question.” Another small silence.

“Because babe.” He wrapped his arms around her waist, giving her lips a small kiss. “I don’t have a litter box or food bowls for him yet. We won’t have to worry about that until I am settled in and bought all the necessities for him.” Her face lit up before she leaned into his chest.

“You’re just the sweetest.” Janie’s hands slipped around his chest. “I can’t wait for what is instore for us in the future babe.”

With love pouring over her heart and filling her body, she moved onto the next box as Alex returned outside to carry the rest in. She kept help but think of how great she had it with this man she would marry, even if he didn’t know it yet. Janie placed the coffee pot on a shelf tucked away, hoping Alex would forget about it.

“Oh My God! Janie what in the hell happened to my car?!”

And with that Janie’s smile was gone, and his Grandfather’s Coffee pot was back on the countertop, set in the perfect view from any part of the kitchen.

Categories
8th Edition

Out of 202-Brenden Kleiboeker

out-of-202-brenden-kleiboeker-1

Categories
8th Edition

Die in Bloom- Haruka Kawata

die-in-bloom-haraka-kawata

Categories
8th Edition

Alone Under the Night Sky

Alone Under the Night Sky

Bret Lundstrom

A lonely horseman glanced at the last light of sunset

Beaten by a long day of riding and grinding

Swayed over a rock cliff side, legs finally off the ground

Slumped over and beaten from riding and running

His horse lay broken and gimp from riding

A constant gallop in fear of a noose

Had strained his friend

He had let him loose

Out over the plains

In fear of that noose

Spurring his sides red

With blood on his heels

He could hear the posy prey

But they scream no more

For want of blood had died

So here they lay in wait for a bit of sun

Only the moon to keep them company for the night

As well as a bit howling

Stars finally started to pierce sky

Sunlight finally leaving for the day

Constellations unknown to the horseman

Made their way across the horizon

Slowly taking their turn in the sky

Hinting at the horseman’s eye

With a slight grin playing at his cheeks

And a cold empty sense of accomplishment

His numb legs began to feel again

His horse whinnying with a shimmer of life

Rest was slightly safer now

He was free for the night

Morning would soon come for him

Along with revenge driven men

Forcing their way across the plain

For men they felt were unjustly slain

Even though he was on his back

He wasn’t in the ground