Category: Drama

The Traveling God

A young man sat on a bench, turning to check the timetables further down the platform. He still had a good half an hour but he could not get himself to stop tapping his foot.

Past the platforms, on the far side of the station were a dozen stained glass windows, and behind the man were another twelve. He could name a few of the gods of travel depicted on them, but not all twenty-four. Religion was not his best subject, and another two had been added since he graduated. A trade hub like Fora picked up more gods than they knew what to do with, especially gods of travel. 

Fourth from the right was the one he knew best, Thera. After all, he was named after her. 

He shook his head, choked down a curse, and started to pray instead . This train hadn’t derailed in the ten years it had been in service, but how many stories could he recite on hubris? A prayer couldn’t hurt. In his head, he recited, “Thera, mother of travelers, who carries the moon gently…”

Suddenly, there was a hand on his shoulder, startling him out of his prayer, almost dropping his ticket.

Edric.

Edric stood there and said, “S-sorry for startling you. Hope…hope I’m not bothering you. Can I take this seat?”

The young man sat silent, ignoring Edric, with his stupid salt and pepper beard and calloused fingers that still felt like sandpaper on his shoulder.

(more…)

Votive

Nina flipped up the personal mirror over her seat, placed her chapstick back in the central console, and turned up the radio. The music was new, at least to her. Some band she never heard of, but honestly, pretty good. She liked how it was kind of jaunty, high energy, but without overstating itself. So much new music was trying to be more than it needed, and this, this was just something you could really lean into, follow the groove.

She reached down the side of her seat and leaned it back, pulled out her phone, and checked for updates. 

No messages for the past half hour. That was fine. No reason to get concerned.

She read Rae’s last message again. “hey mom, could you come pick me up from blue oaks? meet you at the park’s front lot, if that’s okay. love you.” 

It was probably fine, only twelve minutes since Nina texted back that she was in the lot.

She adjusted her seat back up, getting ready to pull up Rae’s contact and call her when she noticed in her side mirror that there was a thick fog rolling down the mountains. The park was named after the way the fog made the mountains, more like hills, look sort of blue instead of green. A little further south and the mountains would be described more as smoky. 

Nina looked toward her rearview. “Hope she gets here soon. Don’t want to drive through that.” She looked back down and turned just a little, just enough to get a glimpse of movement. “You sure she said she’s on her way back? You know her, she can get kind of lost in the moment.” Nina saw the girl in the back nod, her hair bobbing.

(more…)

Dragonfly: Diner

Ferg set his tray on the table, sat down, and put on his visor. The room around him was still the same, cold white walls, a white table, and a, well, it wasn’t a bad facsimile of mashed potatoes, but it still wasn’t quite past the uncanny valley. Whatever detail was missed with the meatloaf though, that little detail wrong, made it taste almost twice as good.

He sighed and took a bite. 

A prompt flashed on his visor to close his eyes. He smiled and complied. He said, “Finally.”

He opened his eyes and suddenly the room was completely different. The table was wooden, and across from him was his sister Beatrice, her hazel eyes wrinkling with her smile. “Ferg! It worked!” She took a bite of her eggs, part of a full English breakfast. 

“It’s so nice to see your face sis.” Fergie smiled and unrealized tension left his shoulders. 

(more…)

Bricked

From the window of the station Tony could just make out the outline of South America. With a nearby ding he remembered where he was standing, grabbed two coffees from the vending machine and turned around to see Lynn waving him over to talk with one of the doctors. He quickly crossed the waiting room toward his haggard wife and the well-kept Dr. Zionkowski.

As he bridged the distance, his wife motioned to the doctor. “She says she has news.”

Tony handed one of the coffees to Lynn, who just held the warm cup. He said, “How is she?”

Dr. Zionkowski lifted up the tablet to double-check her charts and then sighed deeply. “I wish I could give you better news, be more gentle. But it’s not looking good.”

Lynn mumbled, “Oh no.”

Dr. Zionkowski continued, “She…she isn’t responsive, not to sound, not to light or vibration. I fear you have only a few hours to make a decision.”

(more…)

A Better Life

Jason took another plate and stacked it on the edge of the table before picking up the whole set and walking to the sink. As he began washing the dishes, his husband spoke up.

Adam said, “Before I head out, just letting you know, I heard some scratching in the wall I think.”

“Could you get some rat traps on the way home?”

Adam stood up from the table and walked up to Jason. He wrapped his arms around him. “Sure. I could get a few from the hardware store.”

“I’ll set them up. It only seems fair if you’re getting them.”

Adam leaned in and gave Jason a quick kiss. “You’re good for me.”

Adam disentangled from his smiling husband and picked up his suitcase. “Hate to kiss and run, but I have to get going.”

“Can you take Danny with you today?”

Adam looked into the living room and saw the little troublemaker watching cartoons. He looked at his watch and then said, “It’s the exact opposite direction.”

Jason turned away from the sink and looked his husband in the eye. He stared with wide pleading eyes.

Adam broke. “Alright.” He turned back towards the kid again and said, “Alright Danny-boy. Let’s get moving! Pop has a tight schedule and I need to get your butt to school.”

(more…)

Incommon Haunts: Last Stop

Janine closed her leather jacket, trying to get herself just a little warmer. Late October wasn’t the coldest by any means, but it was a bit windy. She kept walking towards the old platform, holding a large bouquet of white lilies held together with a rubber band and wrapped in a Kroger shopping bag. She stopped for a second and looked at the Kroger bag she was carrying them in, tilted her head, and furrowed her brow. “Is this good enough? Fuck. It’s fine, no time anyway.” She stopped talking to the flowers, removed them from the bag and threw the bag in a trash can just before the stairs up the platform. 

Janine walked along the stone platform, listening to her own footsteps echo between the old train station and the apartment complex across the street. In the middle of the platform was an iron bench, recently renovated back to its original design from over 100 years ago. Janine was a sucker for art nouveau, but she could still appreciate its more art deco stylings, with its bold sharp shapes and sleek symmetry. 

She sat down on the bench and brought up one arm to rest against the back. Her flowers sat next to her. Turning towards the sign hanging just a few feet above and to the right of her, she confirmed that this was the right stop. The clock on the wall confirmed that it was the right time too. She was a few minutes early, but honestly, she was always early for these kinds of things.

Turning back forward, she jumped a little as she noticed that an older woman was sitting next to her now. The woman was wearing an old-fashioned bonnet with lace and a floor length dress. It reminded Janine of the Mennonites that would come into town to sell bread, and presumably other things. She only ever bought the bread and the pretzels.

Janine started to tap her foot and check her watch, occasionally turning towards the other woman who was sitting stone still. Janine would open her mouth, and then stop herself before looking back at her watch.  

The old woman finally seemed to shake awake and move a little. She blinked, once, twice, three times, and then yawned. She stretched and bumped into Janine. “Oh! Sorry dear, didn’t see you there.” She took a long look at Janine, starting at her eyes, following her nose, down to her mouth, then chin. “Have we met?”

(more…)

A Night To Forget

Narrow rays of light rested on Paul’s face, waking him from a deep sleep. He sat up and faced the window trying to get a read on the time of day, and then turned to the hotel’s alarm clock. Someone had unplugged it. Paul failed to repress his smile.

Paul felt a hand grasp his arm and try to pull him back to facing the bed. Under the covers rested a slightly chubby man with alabaster skin who was still trying to pull him down although Paul had turned away. 

Theon spoke. “Go back to bed. It’s much too early.”

Paul retorted, “How could you possibly know? The clock has been mysteriously disconnected from the wall. Do you have any idea of who would do such a thing?” Playfulness danced across his words as he stared into Theon’s bright green eyes. 

“The clock was still plugged in when I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.”

“It was, was it? Was it still plugged in when you got back in?” Paul’s smile turned into a smug smirk as he cornered Theon in his not-quite-lies.

Theon stared at Paul’s deep brown eyes and then his dark curly hair, basking in his light like a serpent might bask in the sun. And after a moment he spoke, “You should stay in bed longer. There are things I still want to try.”

(more…)

Paint

I have a few paintings in my living room. Each one was painted by my mother. She never went to school for art or ever made a dent in the art community, but she made a dent in me. She loved to paint figures in a variety of poses, attempting to express her mood through the figure. If she was anxious, the figure would pick at its skin. If she was joyous, the figure would dance. It was simple, yet beautiful.

She would taste the paints before using them. It didn’t matter if they were acrylic or watercolors or oil, she would touch the pad of her finger to the paint and then against her tongue. She said this would help her determine the mood of the paint. “You don’t want angry paint in a painting about sorrow,” she would say. I felt like she was doing this to tease me but she would even do this when she thought I wasn’t looking. She had to taste it each time in case the paint changed its mood, buried in her cluttered art box.

After working, after cooking dinner, after everything she did for us, all of her spare energy went toward painting. Despite that, she would just start another canvas when she was finished, if she even finished a painting. Never framed them, never hung them up.

(more…)

Dragonfly: Rescue

It had taken some time, but by now, modified versions of Maya’s hand were commonplace. When she lost her hand, almost a good decade ago, her new hand was more of an experiment than a product. She wanted something that could grasp, something that could feel. And that took trial and error. It also took money. Her payment came in the form of working on a dragonfly.

The Dragonfly Project hadn’t reached out to even the far corners of the solar system yet, so Maya was lucky and got to work in a relay floating just past Mars. Within a few years after she’d been assigned, the project sent out relays out as far as Eris. Now her relay directory had listings named after gods she most certainly never heard of.

Her hand was clamped to her work table while its inner workings were carefully placed  across the table’s surface. A spring or two had worn themselves down to useless. 

“Maybe I can get some lighter plates next holiday,” she mumbled as she screwed her pinky back into place with her good hand. The newest model weighed even less than a similar sized human hand. Maya’s, however, felt more like carrying a medicine ball at all times, one armed. 

(more…)

Somewhere Only We Knew

Katie was sitting at the bench in the bus stop close to her house. She checked her phone. No new messages, just the plans from Becca. “Hey, let’s meet at the bus stop after school. 4? It’s close to both of our places so it’s perfect.”

Katie already finished her homework, doing most of it between classes, and finishing up at home before walking to the stop. She didn’t have that far to walk, and Becca’s house was even closer to the bus stop than hers. That was part of the reason why they were going to meet there. 


Katie and Becca were close friends. They’d known each other for years. Becca learned how to bake specifically so she could make treats for Katie. Katie practiced extra hard for soccer so she could impress Becca. Becca even made a bracelet for Katie with a little soccer ball design on the wrist.

Becca was supposed to be there up to half an hour ago so they could go to their secret base. About two months ago Becca found a dried up well in the woods behind her house. When she showed Katie, Katie immediately climbed in it and started to climb down. She remembered reading that you could see the stars in the sky during a sunny day when you were in the bottom of a well.

(more…)