Story removed at the request of the author
Past Present and Future: Part II
By Jenness Jordan
Beneath the water, Stephanie’s feet motionless and yet she found herself moving. How is this possible? She thought to herself. The curiosity did not linger in her mind or deter her focus. It felt to her that she was in a dream. Maybe this is what death looks like? She heard throughout her life that people who have had near death experiences, saw a light. Some sort of lit tunnel. Although this lit path was no tunnel, maybe this is the way her body saw it. Her emotions, her soul.
For the first time in a very long time, Stephanie was no longer afraid. No longer hopeless. This would be it. She would be leaving her life and the world that had always been so cruel to her. No more poverty. No more bullies. No more dead end jobs and dead end relationships. No more…kids. Since stepping into the lit path, Stephanie had not even thought of her kids. In this moment, she began to feel hesitant. Was she doing the right thing? If she moves forward along the lit path, what will happen to her kids?
A warm breeze surrounded her. It felt as if someone was hugging her. Other than the lit path she couldn’t see anything else, not even her own hands. Looking back towards the shores that no longer were visible. How is it possible, she thought, to be so far out into the ocean and yet still above water? What was it that just surrounded me? As the questions flooded her, so did the water. Deeper and deeper she went until she could no longer see the lit path.
Stephanie is about to embrace the waves. Allowing them to consume her when a voice whispers through salty air.
“North? Who’s there?” She inquires, seeing no one and nothing but the rising water.
A crescent moon hinting its way behind the figure of a woman embracing her child.
“Go North. All will be revealed.” The voice faded as the water dissipated from around her and she found herself closer to the shore than she was a moment ago.
“How did I get here? What just happened?” Stephanie inquired, looking around and pinching herself.
Wisps of feathers sailing in a dusk drawn sky.
Although she still couldn’t fully explain what just happened, she was curious to see where this experience would take her. There was no fear. Something inside gave her comfort and peace.
Vicki distraught over the discovery that her mysterious stranger was no stranger at all, but Duncan, and unable to figure out how he managed to do all of this to her; ran blindly out of the house and into the escape of the woods. It had been days since she last entered into the woods. Since all of the mysterious encounters began happening. What made her even want to come back here? This should have been the last place that she would’ve wanted to go.
Something was pulling her in even further. A force of some kind calling to her in a way she could not comprehend. Vicki hadn’t even thought about it when she left her house. It just happened. Nearing a clearing in the woods previously unexplored by her, she stopped near a weeping willow tree. Abstract shapes filled the pale mountain sky. The willow stood taller than any of the other nearby trees, even the great oak. Sitting under the willow tree reminded her of years past as a child. Playing hide and seek behind great soft arms of the willow at her elementary school. No matter how many times she hid there, no one ever found her.
“I don’t know what’s real anymore. I feel like I’m going crazy. Grammy, I wish you were here. My life feels out of control. Pointless and worthless. Why do you hate me so much? What have I done to deserve all of this crap?” Vicki cried out into the starlight air.
Silence. Nothing moved. The leaves did not rustle around. Twigs did not snap. It was an eerie quiet in the woods surrounding her in the willow. Time seemed a distant memory. A memory that at this moment, Vicki would do anything to forget.
For more information about Jenness Jordan, check out her site: jennessjordan. You can also reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Someone has left a window open.
By M. James MacLaren
The house is cold and damp. The hardwood floors are slick with moisture as I slowly descend the stairs to the first floor. My moccasins slide a bit with each step. I am very thirsty and cannot remember when I last had a drink.
The living room is dark as I walk through, a queer buzzing in my head trying to get my attention. Something important I have forgotten is desperately clawing its way to my consciousness. It loses its purchase and falls into the chasm of my mind. I continue to move through the house.
In the kitchen, I turn on the fluorescent bulb above the sink. It flickers and complains before coming on full, blazing angry white light into the dark space. The rosemary and thyme are dry and brittle. They crumble at my probing touch. Their flesh is devoid of all liquid.
Desiccated. The word comes to my mind as a yellow ovoid. Not the merry yellow of saffron, or the light color of daisies. It is dingy, like old acne puss left to fester. What remains after the body sends its armies against the terrorism of adolescence.
I take a clear glass with horrid pink pastel flowers silkscreened on the sides from the cabinet. The tap water is cold as I fill it once. Twice. Three times it is filled and three times I drink from it as though I were dying of thirst. Parched.
The glass is rinsed and returned to the cabinet. I turn off the angry fluorescent light, which pops tersely at me when it goes out. I wander back through the living room and return to the stairs. The buzzing has begun to crescendo and I pause. Perhaps cicadas have gotten into the house.
I turn and look into the dark living room, past the three drying corpses, one large and two small, and see the curtains billowing inward. I walk across the room and gently push them aside. I look out of the window.
He is still there. He is always there.
I close the window and latch it for good measure. The curtains are drawn and the house is silent. I stand for a moment, trying to remember something that darts away from my searching thoughts. It seemed so important a moment ago.
I shrug and turn to go back upstairs. As I reach the third stair, I remember. I turn and walk back into the living room. I place a kiss on each forehead.
“Goodnight,” I say. “Sleep well.”
Then I return to the stairs, ascend, and go to my bed. I sleep soundly now that my business is done. Now that my thirst has been slaked.
For more from M. James MacLaren, check out his website: mjamesmaclaren.com. You can also follow him on Facebook: M James MacLaren. His novelettes, Harbinger (The Hounds Part I), Chimera (The Hounds Part II), and The Cell (The Hounds Part III) are all available for Kindle through Amazon.com (links are embedded in their titles).