Fly High

We first began compiling our bucket list during the summer of seventh grade. The news of Copper’s incurable cancer had hit me like a freight train, but you always had the stronger mental fortitude, already dashing around the apartment looking for ways to cheer me up while I sniffled on the apartment floor. Copper circled us all the while, wagging his fluffy little tail unbeknownst to the whole situation.

“Hey, you know dogs are supposed to live for ten years?” I whispered, my voice hoarse and wavering. “Copper’s only two years old, but he’s already…”

“In that case,” you had stated firmly, “we’ll just have to create enough memories in his remaining days to last him a full lifetime’s worth.”

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Sliver of Eternity

      I placed my arms onto the warm sphere, feeling the rays of setting sun slowly warming my bare skin. To my left and right, many more identical rocky balls lined the edge of the plaza, forming a perfect circle. The laughs of my friends resounded from behind me, as they partook in an activity that only faintly reached my ears. Just a moment ago I was laughing and playing along with them, but it felt like the atmosphere had changed, though I couldn’t exactly place why. There wasn’t anything in particular that drew me to that plaza. But my body had moved before my mind had figured out a reason, and I found myself using up my precious free time to lie on a warm ball of rock. I didn’t mind it, for some reason.

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Beyond Recovery

The little girl squatted above the metal drain cover, squinting through the half-rusted bars into the murky darkness. Amongst the festering brown-green sludge and almost alien-looking tendrils of sinewy weeds, a light shined up at her like a glimmering beacon. You see, this girl had dropped her quarter down the drain, and she wanted to get it back.

She held no emotional attachment to the quarter, mind you. Nor was it a particularly rare coin, worth just as much as any other quarter you would find lying around. But she had tossed it around in her chubby little hands as she strolled down the sidewalk, and as it had inevitably leapt from her grasp and clattered down the asphalt into the drain, she had made up her mind to get it back. Children at that young age seem to have a habit of stubbornly clinging to their task, even if the time they end up spending is wildly disproportionate to what stands to be gained.

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He had seen her in the flower shop, and had been captivated. Immediately, his reason for being in the flower shop no longer mattered to him, nor did the vibrant flowers clutched in his hand. All he knew in that moment was that he needed to approach her.

A perfect stranger, with a slightly tilted sunhat and curly locks of brown hair. She was dressed inconspicuously, and yet had such an aura around her than people would still be compelled to look. The soft fragrance of her perfume, paired with her exquisite appearance, turned that aura incredibly sweet. So sweet, actually, that it was almost sickening. Like the dangerous allure surrounding an exotic carnivorous plant, a suffocatingly alluring purple fog. And she had captured yet another stray bug into her trap.

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Beauty and the Beast?

Adrian didn’t like middle school very much. The enormous blotchy birthmark, running down the left side of his face like some kind of blistering dark scar, certainly didn’t help his situation.

That guy. Panda. Black-eye. Beast. Though they manifested themselves in different ways, the gathered negativity of the student body always seemed to center around him. Once, on the road back home, Adrian caught a glimpse of a puddle filled with dried autumn leaves. Most were clustered together, but there was a single leaf that was caught in the whirlpool of the drain, swirling about alone, aimlessly, and without rest. Adrian felt that this basically summed up his daily school life.

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       Marlene wasn’t getting any sleep. She had tried therapeutic yoga positions, and when that hadn’t worked, resorted to sleeping pills. However, today was her fifth day in a row of chronic insomnia, and she was starting to become aware of the fact that she was taking many more doses than the recommended amount.

       As such, she dragged her weary body beneath the stiff hotel sheets, knowing that she wouldn’t get a wink of sleep. As Marlene stared up at the gloomy ceiling, she began wondering if it would be best to confront the problem at its source. Because, part of the problem was that whenever she closed her eyes, a vivid image of him would show up in full color, and her eyelids would snap right back open.

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One Shot

“Agent oh-four?”

“Yes, sir.”

That was his name, and so he stepped forward. But when he raised his gun to the struggling individual, for the first time, his finger hesitated above the trigger.

Things were different, this time. Instead of a straw-stuffed dummy, a real person lay in his line of fire. A real, human life. 

He couldn’t do it after all.


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