All I Feel Is Pain…

All I Feel is Pain

Memories are nothing more than random bits of information processed at varies speeds. This is how I remember my childhood. It comes back to me in pieces as my head slams back into the ground. Lift and repeat. Lather, rinse, and dry. Blood runs throughout your body providing oxygen and nutrients to every cell. When blood gets into your eyes it provides nothing at all. Nothing more than pain. How does someone end up reliving all their horrible childhood memories on the cold pavement? I’m not really all that sure anymore.

Where did I go wrong? Politian’s, health-conscious assholes, leftist fascists would say it was when I smoked my first cigarette. Signed a one-way ticket to hell by today’s standards. God, would I kill for one right now. Just to feel the smoke hit the back of my throat and shoot down into my lungs would make all of this a little bit more bearable. I wonder what heroin would be like in this scenario. I wonder what food will taste like as my teeth fall to the ground. Will anything ever taste the same again or will it always taste like blood? I don’t think the iron, rust like taste will never leave my mouth. I always speak my mind maybe that’s how I ended up here. The more my head hits the ground the more I forget. In the end all we have are our memories. The good ones and the bad ones. Our memories are all we have. For some reason, the only memory that keeps popping up is the time I learned to tie my shoes. Maybe because when all is said and down here. I’ll never be able to do that again. Funny how after all of this something so significant won’t even matter. Too defiant anyway. Never really learned to tie my shoes. Found a way, but not the way I was taught. The memory still comes breaking through.

My stepmother left me in a chair all day with the same story that I could get up if I tied them the dumbass way, she showed me. With the bunny ears or something. The instructions are still lost on me, but the torture is clear. “If you tie your shoes we can go to the beach.” I used to love the beach. I used to love a lot of things. Too bad we were in the middle of fuck all Indiana where there is no such thing. She paraded around in a bathing suit and beach bag as if we would leave as soon as I miracle my shoes lace together. What kind of sick fuck does that to a child? The company you keep, I guess. Too defiant maybe that is how I ended up where I am. Too strong-willed and stubborn to tie my shoes. To listen to anyone else.

My head hurts so much that my face has gone numb. I’ve been trying to pick myself up, but my head feels as though it weighs too much. Leaning into the punches is didn’t helping any. I say lean but it is more of a sway. Confused by what it is I am even doing.  I’ve got nothing left. Everything I had was all used up before I even got here. A teacher once told me that you come into this world with nothing and you leave it with nothing. I can see her old wrinkled out face mouthing the words, but the world has gone silent. Gone away into the distance that is my existence. She was full of shit. You come into this world screaming and you leave it with pain. The constant that doesn’t let you forget. Can’t change much when your life flashes in and out of focus.

Can’t change much when you know you are going to die. Can’t take away the things that you have done as the last breath leaves. Can’t forget the time that you pissed on the street corner as the neighbor’s daughter watched. Can’t take back the punishment. The belt that struck over and over again. Not even the truth can set you free after it is all said and done. That she wanted you too. No, you are only left with the memories of a childhood you wish you could forget. Can’t change the time you climbed a tree you were told not to climb. Ended up in the hospital for not listening on that one. Should have stayed in the tree. Why didn’t I just stay in the tree? Can’t change the time you got a girl pregnant and waited in the abortion clinic waiting room. Scarred out of your mind, sad for the life you wasted, and too young to realize they are one in the same. No, none of that will ever change. Time can’t change after it is already past. Time can’t change after you’re dead. Your impressions, actions stay with those you’ve affected long after your gone. Actions speak louder than words yet the words of those around you in circle your every thought.

Don’t do this, do that, why do you got to be such a little shit, clean up your room already, have you been drinking, this is for your own good, tell me what happened, happy birthday, please take the dog out, win some and you lose some, thou shall not kill, I hate you, why couldn’t you have been better, clean your face, you disgust me, this is what you deserve, I love you. Some good and some bad they all flood in as if they should mean something, but they don’t. Is now really the time to reflect on all of this? Maybe I just wanted freedom. Maybe it was only love. Maybe it was both. I don’t know what anyone could ever want out of a world like this.

For some reason, they have stopped. Could be because I’ve stopped fighting? Maybe because they know it is already done? I can feel a smile come across my face as the hits start back up. Their anger in this world somehow more intense than my own. I want to laugh, but do I dare? I can still feel as though that all of this is some kind of prize at the end of a long game. The words aren’t clear in my head anymore. Here and gone. Trapped and freed. I feel cold yet warm. But all I really feel is pain.

Layne Ambrose

Chasing Darkness…

Things aren’t quite the way they used to be. Things change fact of life and death. Even if we can change those facts like I have. Things still very much change. I no longer know who I am or what I have become. I’m not what most people would consider normal. Most would consider me to be eccentric. They always have from every moment that I can remember. Strange not normal. Broken and not equal. Different in every sense of the word. They were right of course, but I guess chasing endless winter is not most people’s idea of a good time. Not most people’s idea of where I should be or what I should be doing. But I like the isolation, the cold, and the loneliness of it all. It helps me think and that is all they really want from me in the end. They want me to think for them. To create for them. Being out here in the nothing makes me feel more alive than a room full of people sucking up to my money. Yes, I am rich. Richer than most nations to be exact. To be fair though that isn’t saying much considering most nations didn’t go with technology. The choice was too easy to follow me, to invest in my ideas. Man is flawed in that way. Self-doubt, too easy can’t be the right way. Must resist and so they did. Investing in war and death. I shouldn’t have to tell you how that turned out. But history, stories they are summaries of things we already know.

Turns out bombs don’t feed people or build homes or take care of you when you get old. No, bombs only have one purpose and they do that function very well. But robots? My robots? They can do so much more than kill. Most nations fallen to the way side, disappeared off the map of everything including people’s minds. The advancements were swift, they were quick. I discovered a loop hole that we had missed. An easy option no one believed to exist. Greatly enhanced soldiers that feel no pain, targeting systems that can target any and everything you may desire, and a defense system so advanced that it would make nuclear war less of a fear and more of an annoyance. Whole nations wiping themselves out before the missiles even left the ground. Only took a few of these “brave and fearless leader” to wipe themselves out before all nuclear missiles were deemed obsolete. In fact, less bombs destroyed whole nations then had ever been tested in the history of any nuclear program. I didn’t just make the world better. I saved humanity and everything with it. These were only the beginnings of my ideas. Yes, my pockets were lined with dirty dollars of anyone who was willing to pay for protection. This is capitalism at its finest. This is everything that we once believed in. Things they change even if we don’t think that they can. No one notices if you stay within the lines.

What is left of Christianity would blame faith in false idols and other dated terms for what was coming. Yes, I am that old. Faith can come to us at any moment, but it cannot change in an instant. It is enduring like that. The same can’t be said for nations. Even to those who neither fear or believe in God. Faith is something else. Faith isn’t something than can be so easily pushed aside. Even the most faithless person believes in something. Something they cannot see, but swear that they can feel. The new question now became how do I get them to believe in me? The faithful fought the next wave of advancements. Pushed my patience beyond their limits. I grew bored with enhancing nations to the highest bidder. It was time to take my ideas beyond governmental and to the people. Take it beyond the surface of what I knew and go deeper. Humans are a flawed design. Boasting about how we are the greatest at everything. Spreading lies beyond the fabric of what we know to be true, but I knew with my help. I could make all our lies, all our fables, and all our faith in ourselves a reality. I knew that I could make them true.

My advancements in nano tech and hybrid parts brought the revolution to the people. Put everything in their hands to do with as they wished. So long as they paid. So long as they understood what it was, they were getting into. They didn’t, but it didn’t matter. Humans adapt to ideas they don’t understand. It is a slow process, but they accept the way things are eventually or they die off. Evolution sits as a theory, but the problem is we understand it better than we like to think. We accept it as truth even as we question its very existence. Deep down we already knew. We have always known what is that we are, where we come from, and how it will all go. There may be no all-seeing god, but something moves us to follow blindly. I would give them the means for what we have spent existence to discover. No one, not even myself can be as arrogant to not believe in a purpose. A self-fulfilling prophecy written before the beginning of time.

The fall was coming. Everything I had created was going to turn. Human history is riddle with stories similar to mine. The Roman Empire, the Chinese Dynasties, the rise of early man, and the list could follow us all the way to today. Life doesn’t stop under the wheel of change. It grows stronger. Picking up speed until we no longer understand what it is that we have created. A bump in the road, a great fall, but this one was different. This one was not like the rest. Unlike the falls of the past, the missteps that lead to something else. This one changed the game. Changed the world and the human race. We moved past everything we thought we knew with built in control. We became something greater than ourselves. The ones that were left that is. The advancements I made in human tech changed the game. We became one with the robots. Equal to my creations. Working side by side until we cleaned up everything. We needed something more though. We always need something more. We looked to the skies once again. Except this time, we knew that we were ready to face any and all challenges. No longer a dream, but the next step in our evolution. My evolution, my purpose in this world. For the first time in human history people are too busy thinking. Thinking of ways to make everything better rather than how to destroy. For the first time in human history everyone is thinking like me.

That is why I live here alone like this. To free myself from all the noise. That is why among other things I do what I do. To clear my consciousness. I feel this need to distance myself from them. I feel this over encumbering need to be as far away from them as I can. So, I can better them. So, I can better us as people. Nothing will ever stand in our way of achieving greatness ever again. We will conquer the stars as one. We will take all that is ours as one. For the first time in human existence, we all have a singular reason to flourish and all it took was me.  The weight of the world sits on my shoulders held up by the strength of so many. Change is inevitable even if nothing ever seems to change outside the lines. The wind howls outside of my cabin. A few more days left of darkness and the chase will begin again. The world advancing by the minute and my wealth grows. The owner of this world, my empire, lives in near darkness studying the sky of the lost planet no one’s even heard of yet. Trying to make sense of our new purpose in this universe and the darkness beyond.

Layne Ambrose

This fucking story… This story didn’t start out like this at all… the original draft was trash… an idea that I didn’t know was there until I looked a lot deeper… So I worked on it… worked with it… typed up the whole thing on my phone… had it all amazing… had it to a point that I thought was good… then technology and my stupidity fucked me… While trying to transfer the file from my phone to Layne’s computer… using all the great advancements that Google bestowed onto us… We lost the whole thing… didn’t save it correctly… or lost internet connection… who knows…

Back to step one… and I was fucking pissed… I’m still pissed and it has been over a week… still pissed and I have rewritten the whole thing for a second time… but it is over and done?… I just read it… why are you so pissed?… Who cares?… you are right but it doesn’t matter… We’re pissed because the story was vastly different… and how it was different I don’t know… but I know… it wasn’t sci-fi… I write by the seat of my pants… I write until it is done… I purge the thoughts and move on… then one of us takes over… so if it isn’t written down… saved somewhere… neither of us have any idea what it was that the other even said…

So… all that work… all that effort… gone in a flash… and like this character all I think about is progression… not going back… But we had to go back… We had to finish this story… redo this story… woke up today… and got it done… It isn’t that bad actually… still pretty pissed that I had to do it again… but for all I know… it might have all been for the best… destruction and loss… may have all been for the best… or maybe it wasn’t… “Faith can come to us at any moment, but it cannot change in an instant”

What I’m Made Of…

Only a Matter of Time

“Hello Liam,” I say as I enter the room. “Doctor,” he smiles in his own sinister way. “How’s everything today?” I ask him. “Oh, you know can’t really complain. Got to sleep in late, watched as the birds played in the trees while I enjoyed my very nutritious breakfast, and afterword I went for a nice walk around town,” he deadpans. “Cute, I’m sure it is easy to get around town in that straight jacket,” I say to him. “It is a tad bit constraining, but you know the ladies love a man who knows how to dress for the occasion,” he laughs. “And I’m sure the ladies love you. It is only too bad that you are a danger to yourself and everyone else,” I say as I open the file in front of me. “A danger to myself?” he gasps. “Tell me is that your medical opinion or your personal opinion? Because I will have you know that there isn’t one person out there who would back up your claim,” he shifts in his chair. “That’s because beside me there is no one left who really knows you Liam. You made sure of that didn’t you?” I ask. He tries to lean his chair back but it is bolted to the floor. “There’s no use scratching at the scars of the past now is there Doctor?”

“Unfortunately, that’s all you have any more. Tell me do you ever stop to think that may be the reason you are in here instead of out there?” I ask him. “Are you really asking me if I have time to think right now? Or are you simply trying to get through your checklist of nonsensical questions? Because I’m having a hard time telling the difference,” he fires back. I’m losing him. The nice guy, everything is a joke personality is starting to fade. I can see it in his eyes. The dark hollow orbs staring back at me. I write down my observation on the paper in front of me. “See something you like? Find something new? Care to discuss what new profound idea popped into your head?” I ignore his questions. Bait to fall into a trap. Liam likes words. Uses them to distract you, confuse you into doing exactly what he wants. A trait he must have possessed his whole life. “Stop looking at me like some sort of side show freak,” he growls. “Are you angry Liam?” I finally ask him. He tries to fake a smile but the real Liam has taken over, “No of course not.” His eyes never blink. Only if you are looking for it do you even notice that the skin around his eyes begin to tighten with every passing moment. No one the wiser would think he looks calm, cool, and collected, but I can see through his mask. He has the look of a mostly forgotten memory. “God, there is just so much of him left inside of you,” I say. The lines of his face form a most sinister smirk, “Do you mean our father?”

“Are you sure that I didn’t burn most of him out? Medically speaking.” Liam turns his head to show off his scars and what’s left of his left ear. “I’m very certain that no matter how much you hurt yourself you will always be like him,” I tell him. “Why don’t you take this straight jacket off and we can test that theory Doctor,” he says. His voice calm and his eyes like fire. “I’d prefer we didn’t. Medically speaking of course,” I smile. “I’m sure you do. Remember how you used to hide behind the living room curtains whenever he would come home? You were weak then and you are just as weak now. I never feared our father. Even as a child I could see what he was. Maybe I didn’t understand it completely but I knew what I wanted to be,” he muses. “Are you admitting that you were fully aware of your crimes?” I ask with my pen in my hand. He ignores my question. “You probably get off on the idea that your little brother is some kind of monster? But here is the thing brother. You can hide behind your little curtain. You can roam these halls pretending you are some educated healer, but we both know. I know that you aren’t. No, hidden away somewhere in that thick skull of yours he hides. It hides. You think you are better than me, but you are nothing more than the same,” he rants.

“I think that is enough for today,” I say uncomfortably. “Of course, you do. You have no back bone. Never have. You can’t accept who you really are. What we are,” he taunts. Do not give in I think to myself. Don’t listen to his false words. “I can stand up for myself just fine. I know who I am and what I am,” I tell him. “Yeah, and what is that Brother?” he asks me. “Sane, normal, a free man in this world. A man not strapped down by chains for sins committed.” I say enlighten. He looks almost bored from my words. “I pity you brother I really do. You can hide behind your curtain, your title. The idea that you are sane. Free from the evils of this family, but in reality, it is you that is in chains not me,” he taunts. “You can taunt me all you want Liam, but I am the one in control,” I say firmly. His eyes look as though they might jump from his skull, “You will never know the true meaning of control. You will never feel its true power for as long as you hide behind the curtain. Those victims as you call them were nothing more than stepping stones, martyrs to show me a better life. They showed me the truth of this world. Beyond our father. Beyond reason. So, you can judge me all you want from behind your curtain or you can join me on the other side of it.” I signal for the orderlies to come in and take him away, “This meeting has been insightful as always. Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks to do it all over again Liam.” The orderlies place his muzzle around his face and left him up from the chair. “It is only a matter of time Brother. I can see it in your eyes,” he shouts as he exits the room. “Only a matter of time.”

Layne Ambrose

Finding Peace..

Finding Peace in the Darkness

Scratching the walls with my nails. I want more. Another day or another night. I can’t resist the temptation of the kill. They said it would go away. It hasn’t. They said over time things would become normal. They haven’t. Everything they said never came true. Staring into the darkness around my bed. Dancing figures in my head. I want to kill now more than ever. Drinking a little bit more and think about something else. The thought won’t go away. What’s the difference if I do it for my country or for myself? Pacing again. Over and over with no place to go. I see them all outside my window. Staring back at me. Waiting. Always waiting. Becoming something more than myself. Twenty kills, thirty kills, they took more of me than I could ever give away. I can give it back. I know how. Ten inches made of steel. Sharpened to a point. Carve them up. Take piece by piece until nothing is left. They will never know. Scatter the pieces. Too hard to find. Too hard to prove. The feelings will subside then. Take what I’m owed. I have all the reason to do what I want. Earned my place amongst them. What’s the difference?

Scratching at the walls with my knife. I know the reason but I can’t bring myself to the cause. I’m not weak. I’m not too weak to do what I need to do. Fuck you, I’m not scared. I can do it. I know I can because I have. Over there I did whatever they told me. What needed to be done. Their eyes burned into my mind. Life slowly draining. The relief of living another day surging inside of me. I am safe. I don’t need to do this. There is no reason to kill again. The power is fleeting. Underrated as they laugh. I hear them laughing. Look at the hero with nothing. In the shadows I watch. Pissing it all away. No more wars to fight. No more battles to be won. Cutting out their tongues.  Their eyes looking back at me. Like before. Before when no one laughed. Everything is so meaning less standing in place. I need a purpose. I know my purpose. I have no purpose. Take the blade to myself. End this suffering. Take away this pain digging in my head. No, I am not weak. I am not weak.

She scratches at the walls with her nails. They never did this before. Always fought back. Not the same. Fight me I shout at her. Nothing, weak, useless she cries. Kick her in the side again. One life to live. This is how you choose to leave it. Knife pressed against her throat. Noises and no words. Aren’t they all the same? Weak. Take her apart piece by piece. Going to need rope. She won’t sit still. Won’t fight either. Barely a struggle. Just the tip. Let her know how it feels. Should have gotten a male. Spit in her face. Drag the tip across her skin. Arm swings. That’s what I need. Give me more I whisper into her ear. She shakes in fear. Hand around her throat. Enough playing. Go for the kill. My brain explodes. She goes quiet. Hacking away more and more. Take everything spread it around. Wear her blood on my skin. A war paint I don’t want to erase. Do you feel that? How does it feel? It went away. A calm wave washing over me. Peace at last. Peace at last.

Valerie Hannigan

Should have titled this PMS… See boys, try as you might, but you will never understand the true horror that it is to be a woman. So… either I do or don’t have a story this month, and that is the end of that.

Understood…
-Ambrose

As much time as you need.
-M.T.

Is it wrong… that I am turned on… right now?…
-Layne

Yes…
-Is That A Funeral?

Alone Now…

I Think We Are Alone Now

“I’m scared Chris do we really have to be here so late? Couldn’t we have come earlier in the day?” She asks pressing against me. I’m scared too, but I don’t let her know that. “Don’t be scared. I just wanted to show you around that’s all,” I tell her. “You’ve been here before this late?” She asks. “Of course, I have,” I tell her as we sneak up the dilapidated stairs. “Don’t give me that look,” I don’t even look at her, but even in the dark I can tell she has one on her face. “Well, who were you here with last time?” She asks rather loud. She stops in her tracks. “Are you serious right now?” I whisper. “I just want to know who you were here with last? What’s her name?” She asks even louder.  “I wasn’t here with only one person. My friends and I used to sneak up here all the time. I told you that before,” I whisper. The sound of shuffling feet comes from nowhere. We grab each other tight. “What was that? Is this place really haunted? Didn’t something happen in the 50’s?” she whispers in fear.

I listen for any more sounds and I don’t hear anything. I pull on her gently to continue going up the stairs, “Some people say they hear voices of past patients, but I’ve never heard anything like voices here.” We climb one more flight of stairs and I slowly open the door at the top. We sneak our way into the hallway. “Can we just go already? I don’t like it here at all. It feels really cold for some reason,” she whines. “We already climbed the stairs and the really cool stuff is up here. Stand closer to me and you will warm up. This building is super old and the insulation sucks. Imagine being one of the patients?” I ask her. She doesn’t say anything. “There are only a few things I want you to see and then we can go?” I pull on her once again. “There wasn’t anything cool you could have shown me on the first floor?” She asks in a worried voice. “No, the really good stuff is on this floor. This is where they keep some of the worst patients and the shock treatment equipment,” I can’t hide my excitement.

“I don’t think we should be messing with that stuff,” she pleads. “Oh, don’t worry no one’s around so, no one is going to care. It will be fun I promise. Plus, you admitted you wanted to see it,” I remind her. “Really starting to regret agreeing to any of this. I hope we don’t hear anything scary up here,” she says. “Why afraid you’ll scream and wake everyone up?” I ask jokingly. “Haha, like I care about that,” she says mockingly. “Well, you should,” I say in a creepy voice. “They kept some serious freaks here. Nearly anyone in this region the state thought were too broken beyond repair to put in jail,” I tell her. “Why didn’t they just kill them then?” She asks coldly. “You shouldn’t talk like that. What if you piss one of them off?” I ask. “What if I do? It’s not like they can do anything about it?” She states. “Can we just go a little bit faster? I’m only being cautious because this building is pretty old,” I tell her. “So, this place isn’t safe?” She asks surprised.

“Great so you’re putting my life at risk? This is one hell of a date,” she whines. “This is a date?” I ask confused. “Seriously?” she shakes her head. “At this rate you’d be lucky if I even admit to knowing who you are after this,” she warns. “Sorry, I thought we were only hanging out. I didn’t realize it was a date. I didn’t even think you were really that in to me,” I stop to tell her. “And if you had known?” She asks. “Well, I wouldn’t be sneaking you up here at this hour. I would have taken you to a much more romantic place then this shit hole,” I tell her. “Well how about we get out of here and do just that?” She asks staring into my eyes. I lean in to kiss her on the lips. With my eyes close I hear her words. “Do you smell that?”

I stop leaning and smell around us, “All I smell is you.” A look of horror comes across her face, “Something isn’t right. Something smells like cigarette smoke. I think someone is up here.” I put my hands on her shoulders, “Didn’t you see all that dust and ash coming up here? It has been sometime since anyone has been up here.” She starts shaking. “You shouldn’t be here,” a voice says from behind us. “What the fuck,” she screams as she runs back down the hall way. I turned to see where the voice is coming from. “There’s no one there,” I say out loud after here. “I know,” she screams behind me. “But there is no one there,” I say to myself to paralyzed to move. The smell of cigarette smoke washes over me, “I said you shouldn’t be here.” The sound of shuffling feet fills the hall way, but no one is there. “Visiting hours are between one and three. You need to leave.”

Layne Ambrose

Don’t Stand So Close To Me…

Don’t Stand So Close To Me…

I like to keep my things in jars. I have many jars all around my room. I used to as a child go out in the woods behind my house and collected bugs. I had so many in my collection. Water bugs, butterflies, lightning bugs, and all sorts of beetles. I used to watch them crawl or fly around their jars. Each one or type I guess had their own jar to call their own. Little worlds that they could live in. Live in until they died. They always died. Why did they always die on me? Everything always dies on me. Mother, sister, and the bugs. I used to label them and everything.  It would drive my mother crazy. All the jars filled with dead bugs under my bed. I couldn’t stop collecting them though. No matter how many died or how upset my mother got.

Growing older I became more and more fascinated with the bugs I kept in my jars. Though I never had the passion to really understand what it was that I was collecting. I wasn’t book smart my mother used to say. I just liked the way they looked in their jars. One day while exploring in the woods I heard this odd noise cut through the singing birds. It sounded like nothing I had ever heard in the woods before. It sounded as though a small child was crying. Was my sister lost in the woods? Over and over I heard the noise. The closer I got the louder the noise became. I knew I was on the right path. Frantically I searched for the noise until I came across a small deer. Not quite a baby but not yet an adult. It was just there lying in the open grass between some trees. It saw me before I saw it, but it kept crying. Figured it would run away when I got close enough and between me and you it tried, but the little deer had broken its leg. As I got closer it struggled to get away. Dragging the broken leg behind it. Leaving a trail of blood. I had never seen so much blood before. It looked so odd, so out of place amongst the green of the grass. I got so close to the deer that I could reach out and touch it. The cry it was making was so loud by then. The sound was almost unbearable. I studied the hurt animal as it tried to get away. I watched it for so long that after a while I couldn’t even hear the sound it was making. I couldn’t hear anything.  

It must have grown tired because after some time the deer stopped trying to get away. It laid its head down in the grass, its mouth moving, and its chest moving up and down rapidly. Cried and cried as I watched. In that moment in time, it was only me and it in the whole world. The deer’s rapid breathes become slow and shallow breathes. We locked eyes for what felt like a life time. I placed my right hand on the back of its head and it went silent. Silent like it knew what was going to happen next. I tried to make it quick. Grabbing the top of its muzzle with my left hand I gave it everything my little body had in a twist. Its neck snapped. I know I heard it or maybe I only felt it, but it wasn’t enough. Its body flopped around in the grass as I tried to hang onto its head. I tried twisting its head again, but it just kept shaking my hands lose. I could barely keep a hold of the deer. So, I jumped onto its back like anyone would I suppose and tried to wrestle it still. It was all happening so fast until everything seemed to stop around me. I was so frustrated, so angry that I lost control of everything. I seemed to have gone to another place within myself. By the time I came back to reality there I was holding this deer’s head in my hands. I no longer cared about bugs. Not when there were so many things out in the woods that needed my help and attention. I find that people are much the same as that deer or the birds or the rabbits of the world. They all need my help and attention.

M.T. Billings

What Has Been Done…

I noticed the way she looks at me again today. The look of a blank stare, but it is not a blank stare. It is as if she is trying to tell me something that words could never really say. I see it in her eyes. Those cold green eyes. They appear almost gray as though something is hidden in them. Ten years I have stared into these eyes. Ten years I have study these particular eyes. I have watched as she has gone from child to woman and it is as though nothing has ever changed. Ten years of failure. Ten years of silence. I’ve run every test possible up to this point. Everything in the book just to hear her speak. Electroshock therapy, two electrodes attached to her head and enough electrical current to wake the dead. Not a god damn peep. If it wasn’t for her pulse and her eyes, I would’ve ruled her dead years ago. I fought tooth and nail to keep her after she turned eighteen. The state told me she had served her time. I argued that she still needs to server more, but like this? Was it worth it?

Her crimes though not as extensive as the others leave a lot to the imagine nation as to why. Why a child would commit such a crime? A silent hour every week for ten years and I am not any closer to finding out the answer. Her eyes motionless as if she is trying to tell me something. Maybe it is a neurological condition? No, I’ve tested that and came up with nothing. She chooses not to say anything at all. Ten years and I have never heard her voice. Witness, the neighbors claim to have heard her scream awakening them from a dead sleep. A scream like a siren only to stop. Replaced with silence. Imagine my jealousy to these complete strangers. Her eyes tease me like a loaded gun. Her eyes so innocent, so green, could they really have comprehended what she had done? Could anyone?

Could anyone understand fully the act of killing their parents? Witness testified that she was often beaten. Appeared to have bruises, black eyes, cuts all over her body. Never enough to raise alarm, but enough to noticed. The scars though faint are still there. Proved to be self-inflicted. Even at such a young age. What all her parents had done to protect her from herself is lost to time, but what she did has been well documented. The simplest of them all murder. The more complex. The ones I want to know, to understand? Hidden behind those eyes.

How does a child carefully remove the skin of a person? Let alone their own parents? I know surgeons.  Doctors paid to be precise every day and every time. Even they do not understand how a child could be so methodic in one’s actions. A pile of skin laid on the floor as she began the real work, she had set out to do. As one police officer stated in their report, “The organs were laid out. Laid out on display like we had to do in basic training for our rifles. Laid there ready to be put back in if need be.” Their husk like bodies resting on the floor.  

No, a child could not understand what they have done? Or could they? None of it makes any sense. The answers I seek sits before me waiting to be discovered. No evil in sight only a blank stare. Yet she sits before me. A child capable of tearing apart her whole family. A child who shaped the bones of her parents to that of some kind of monster. A child who took the skin of her mother from the floor and wore it like a costume until the police arrived. What kind of evil truly lives behind those green eyes?

Valerie Hannigan

My eyes are brown just so you know and why the hell would anyone want to dress up like their mother? It is unsettling enough knowing that I am slowly becoming like her.

If It Doesn’t Kill… Then It Doesn’t Hurt?…

After so many rejections it becomes so much easier to ignore the vultures that come circling around my rotting corpse. Letter after letter. Email after email telling me they wish me well. Words copied and pasted as hollow as my soul. All of this self-mutilation for one person to just be like, “This is alright.” That’s all it takes. At least that is what they say. Who the fuck are, is this they? They never shut up like the voices inside my head. Constantly driving me into the grave.

Overnight is all that it takes and all you need is one semi-interested interest. So, I keep slamming my head. Cutting a piece of myself off little by little until there is nothing left. Then all of sudden, out of nowhere, “We’d love to work with you.” What the hell does that even mean? I’m in the business of cuts, gushing wounds, and scars. I have no prior experience in this kind of reaction. The messages come flooding in. Email after email the tides begin to change. Then the calls start coming in. “How the fuck did you get this number?” All of a sudden you are all there is. All there will ever be.

They say success goes to our heads. Not true. It is fucking bitterness. “Oh, now I’m something?” I want to scream. I want to beat the phone against the desk. “Last week I wasn’t much of anything. Last year when I was practically begging, hanging on by a lifeline, and unfortunately I wasn’t a good fit for Flowers Monthly. Now all of a sudden I am something?” It only takes one, but a thousand submissions later everyone can fuck off.

It isn’t success it is bitterness to the whole process that pushes everything along. Do you think after this sea of rejection you will be receiving anything of actual value? I mean I’m so special all of a sudden? Well here is the material I wouldn’t even put in my book. Here is the stuff I dug out of the trash after I wiped my ass with it. Keep everything. Sold out you say or getting even? Depends on what side of the screen you live on. An asshole or apathetic is up to you to decide. I have moved on. I have accepted that the vultures will take whatever of me is left. I sold my soul and I’m even more proud to admit that I don’t care. Check out my newest piece in Flowers Monthly, and don’t forget to like and subscribe. Food isn’t free and electricity isn’t cheap.

Layne Ambrose

West End Love for All the East End Girls…

“So, are we doing this or what?” He asks me for the thirteenth time in the last five minutes. “We need to do this,” he reminds me once again. “We or you need to do this?” I ask barely looking away from my phone. “I’ll slap that thing right out of your hands,” he threatens. “I’m sure you will,” I sigh but I’m not putting away my phone. “Look you need to do this. You are in a rut,” he pauses rethinking his words. “No, you are stuck in some ditch in the middle of nothing town,” he declares. Should have thought harder I think to myself. “Well, I’m not stuck anywhere. I am choosing to be in the middle of nothing town because I want to be,” I let him know. “No one chooses to be in nothing town. Someone chooses it for them or they are there by happenstance,” he tries to recover. “Fun fact I am someone and this is where I have chosen to be,” I say in an abrupt tone signaling I am done with this conversation.

“Okay fine, I need this,” he concedes. “Now will you come with me?” I shake my head no.  “I need a second you know that,” he whines. “I’m not dragging my ass across town. I’m just not,” I proclaim once again. “I’m not shitting where I eat,” he admits. “Never stopped you before. I’m pretty sure your bathroom is right next to the dining area in that trash apartment,” I joke. But then I realize what this is really about. I have the nicer apartment. What a little snake, I think to myself. “Okay, you have me there. Correction I have shit too much where I eat. Is that better,” he smiles trying to get on my good side. “Didn’t we just go out the other night?” I ask deciding on a different way to get out of this other than pointing out I am better off than him. “Yeah, but you are single now. So, we can go out more. Maybe even twice a week,” he suggests. “Twice a week?” I ask my eyes growing wide. “That’s pushing it don’t you think?”

Before I know it I am driving his ass to the other side of town to haunt the usual spots. We don’t come here much anymore and for good reason. He tries to hand me a bottle from under his jacket. “Are you kidding me right now?” I ask pissed off. “Do you have any idea how many cops are staked out on this side of town,” I bark. “That’s what makes it even more fun,” he tells me before taking a swig. I shake my head as he puts the cap back on. “Just a little pre-gaming,” he smirks putting the bottle back in his inside jacket pocket. “You need to learn to find your center without alcohol,” I tell him. “Yes, Master,” he claps his hands together and lowers his head. Not amused I keep on driving and ignoring him. “I’m seeing a lot of ladies that should be having my baby,” he quotes excited behind the glass. If he wasn’t my only friend I wouldn’t hang out with him either.

“No one should be having any of your children ever, Jackson.” That is a fact for a lifetime. “It’s lyrics to a song. I don’t literally want a child, ever,” he rolls his eyes in annoyance at my lack of excitement for this evening. “Could you imagine?” He asks staring out the window. “I mean how does someone like me, like us, not literally carve the child right out of the womb?” He ponders into his reflection. His voice turning cold as it often does at times like these. “Could you imagine how boring it would be to wait for the thing to come out? Then have to actively try to keep it alive,” he shivers. “Plenty of our kind do it all the time,” I remind him. “Yeah, because they don’t know what they are,” he says turning to me. “I take it you have decided?” I ask looking over to him. “Yeah, I think I have,” he returns his gaze to the streets. “Let’s get ourselves a pregnant one,” he grins. His sinister smile reflecting back to him in the rolled up window.

Layne Ambrose

Beyond the End…

“Despite purified air, despite not going out for months, despite no human contact in over a year, and despite a diet balanced out to be everything that my body needs. I have become sick. I have become infected with something I have to silently suffer with. Alone and isolated I lost everything and yet I still managed to pack everything for this exact scenario. I have planned every possible outcome of everything. The architect of my own demise. How could I have been so careless? They warned me long ago but I didn’t listen. I didn’t think it was possible. Chasing darkness into the night. Should have known better. Should have been better than to question the idea of immorality. I dreamed of immorality but what is it really? It is nothing more than infinite knowledge and a never-ending legacy of pain and sorrow. Threw it all away. Should have let the idea of death take over. Would I be human then if I had?

I am well suited for immorality since anything that mattered died a long time ago. I’ve given up on the idea of humanity. Become more like God than I’d like to admit. I am as if I am immortal though only time will tell how long it will last. Time and days are a human idea. Immorality and life are God ideas, but where and what are you when stuck in between the crossroads of God and man? I can create and destroy anything I wish by shaping this reality. Shaping another’s reality. I am my own God and my own savior, but will I also be my own end? The question fills my heart with no answers. The isolation proves theories I thought were only myths. There is no God greater than the sun. There is nothing beyond the stars but more darkness. There is no true meaning of life beyond the end. Not when we can control it ourselves. I’ve unleashed the end of all things to come. Now is the time for me to enjoy the end. For we are our own damn God’s.”

“End of transmission,” the computer states. “But there is no body?” A solider questions. His uniform the same as the rest. “Then we have to assume he is still out there. We must find him. As long as he lives, he holds the power to end it all,” his superior says. “So, it is true then. He is the source. He is the God of all of us?” The young solider questions. “There is no God only the devil. This man is no architect of our creation or our end,” their leader barks. “He is nothing more than a virus. A sickness we have been trained and created to get rid of. We will find him and put a stop to all of this. Now let’s move out,” he orders. 

Valerie Hannigan