100 Word Stories: Big Eyes and the Boy

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Her ears were bigger than her head. She wasn’t ugly, though, far from it. Her enormous, round eyes, accentuated by whiplash lashes most women would’ve killed for, drew you to her and held your view.

There were years in those eyes, generations of wisdom. They deflected from her abnormal feet and rough skin. The latter was an eyesore, as if she’d never exfoliated or moisturised. As for her nose, well… better left unsaid.

I loved Nellie more than words. I looked forward to seeing her, even if it was an annual event. Every kid did. The circus was a treat.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Closest We Came

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The closest we came to forever was the moment in which we gave up. Our breaths held and never really returned. The moment drew out to seconds, to hours, to more. Your eyes dimmed like exhausted candles. Mine were already black.

The closest we came to forgiveness was that moment we met at the wake. Dressed in black from head to toe, I barely recognised you. I said Hello and you almost said it back.

The closest we came to something was that moment when we both said, I do. I remember how it felt, not how it sounded, as those three tiny letters sunk beneath my skin and slipped off your well-oiled own.

The closest we came was closer than most but never close enough for me.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Bittersweet Departures

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash
Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

I dream of a darkness I’ll never escape. I dream of a life where there’s light. This nothingness clings like an obsidian straightjacket. It stifles me. I can barely breathe.

She appears as a comet, all flashing, dashing silver. The night peels apart before her, whereas I stand my ground. I am no hero. There’s no other choice. It’s what I always do.

She strikes like a velvet glove. The softest sparks fly. Traces of her flutter before my eyes, instants in time, forgotten memories. I taste her like blood licked from a wound. Hear her heartbeat pounding in the void. We are together again, albeit briefly.

I die each evening when sleep comes a calling, such bittersweet departures as to drown arid hearts. And I wonder: Are we both dead, or just me?


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Me I Once Was

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash
Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

Transparent times made for invisible people, and I was more invisible than most. Where others had lips, cheeks, chins and expressions, I had an outline that wavered as a golden mist. Where others had eyes, I had hollows, and it was in these where all my sorrows pooled.
To weep without salinity, tracks, or wetness, is to not weep at all, yet I did. The flow was constant and the craving for more irreversible. Perhaps this was what prompted my transition from nothing, to something, to more.
A ghost is the very personification of gone, so to make gone return, took effort. I strained every atom, recalled every memory, coalesced from that dream termed death. But return, I did.
My hands and feet came first, like an erased pencil sketch redrawn from somebody else’s perspective: I was not the me I once was. A fully formed torso and face came next; I touched them and wept some more. It was this that gave my true self away, the agony of my situation. There was still no water and no tear. When I touched at my eyes, they too were missing, my newly formed fingers passing straight into my hollow skull.
It was several days and close to midnight before I took the decision to stop trying. I hovered at the end of my once wife’s bed. She noticed.
The light flicked on before I could move, and there I was facing the mirror, or rather, most of me was. I fled.
I still haunted our old house long after Karen passed. My wife never came back. I tormented those others, then those after them, and then many more. I waited for the one who might have my eyes, but, of course, I never saw them.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Un-Blue


Photo by Silas Baisch on Unsplash

Her eyes were the colour of the open sea, transitioning from calm to storm, rippling in sargasso blue, almost indigo, deep and dark, yet tepid. This changed as she changed. Her demeanour ignited. The calm still of the soul she hid so well rippled into being. Those waters that were her eyes pulsed a cerulean mirage. She brooded. I gulped.

Seconds became minutes became more, or so it seemed, and the storm she’d often threatened whirled a maelstrom of frothing cobalt. Hurricane winds tore at her kelp fields for lashes. All the energies of all the seas manifested as a single violent ocean. She churned. I feared.

The abyssal depths had nothing on her, as she exploded in ultramarine, a devastating tsunami. The tears poured forth not from sorrow, but absolute rage. Her world was my world, one of liquid purification. She laughed as I wept, as I fell, as I dreamed a torrent of lies.

I awoke to a strange sensation of bobbing, and her calm again cyan orbs.

“Sorry,” I murmured.

“I know,” she breezed and leant in closer.

She pressed. I dipped beneath the waves. The blue faded to something darker.


The drowning didn’t kill me, just the reality of my foolishness: Her eyes had never been blue, but as black as her cold, dead heart.

The End


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Blackbird Sings

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

I wake. I weep. My blackbird alarm clock chirps all the louder, only adding to this hell. 

I dress. I fall. The belt I wrap twice about me fails to secure. Will I ever learn!

I eat. I drink. The race to the toilet is a mismatch, and I’m the loser. 

I dress… partly. For once, I use my head and don’t bother with pants. Take that fate! Yeah, take that.

I mow. I rake. Several women and a few giggling schoolgirls shout or point or scream or jeer.

I work. I slave. There’s always a distraction, but never a distraction enough. 

I avoid. I blur. My beat-up Volvo hovers on the periphery, catching the light in concave shadows and rusting browns. 

I vacate. I climb. The shower beckons a sweat-stealing pleasure. But I don’t deserve pleasure, so head to my room, instead. 

I undress. I collapse. My eyes close like shutters this evening, midnight filling the void. 

I dream. I scream. They are here, as always, unblemished by blood or glass or broken bones, or my drunken incompetence. 

I hope. I pray. Perhaps this time that blackbird named Death will let me die in peace. 

Chirrup! Chirrup! No release today. 


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Dreamer of Ruins

Photo by Alice Alinari on Unsplash

I dream of a girl with raven hair and eyes suffused with sorrow. She lies on a bed draped in lace and languor, waiting for something, anything, but not me.

The nights roll past like midnight breakers, the froth of their passing coating my dreams. I watch the moon descend into this nothingness without ever the certainty it’ll rise again. At least, I know it won’t rise for me.

A pinprick sky of dazzling gems flickers. The stars take their last hurrah. An obsidian curtain shall soon drop across them like freshly dug earth upon a grave. I set my spade aside.

There’s a man in a nightmare from which he can’t wake, where a girl in her bed dreams of the ocean, and the stars die every evening. I have the power to help one of them, but which? This uncertainty shall ruin me.

The moon rises. Wrong again.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Shivering

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash
Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

The shiver began at his navel and radiated out like a pebble tossed in a pond. Uneasy sensations swept through the boy’s torso, down his limbs to tingle his fingertips, rattle his teeth, curl his toes. Just when he thought there was nowhere else to go, the shiver shook the earth at his feet, shattering a rock as though crystal and dislodging several worms.
“Am I dead?” he asked no one in particular.
“No.” The voice came as even more of a shock than his shivering, which for now had departed.
“Then what?” he asked, undeterred.
“You are changing. You are… how does one put it politely, on the move.”
The boy hung his head as though ashamed, seeing his shiver had cracked open the ground, into which he descended. This was not a plummet by any means, rather, a falling leaf caught by a breeze.
He watched as the light of the sun he’d grown so used to shrank back into a pinprick star. This, too, soon vanished, leaving him all alone in a smothering darkness. Every sensation of movement had gone.
The boy imagined himself to have fallen asleep because he woke to a fog and his shivering having returned tenfold. His arms shook like a hummingbird’s wings. His head vibrated like a shaken cocktail mixer. A grey gloom pulsed around him as if to help, like the sponge packing around a box containing a priceless vase.
“All out of questions?” came the voice again. Definitely female, and smooth as velvet, it coerced the boy with uncomplicated kindnesses.
“No.”
“Not a one? You are an unusual young man! Most of your kind are so flummoxed all they can do is ask questions. Most of which I cannot answer,” she added, as an afterthought.
The boy placed a hand on his tummy. He grimaced and chewed his lip.
“Sure?” The voice was almost in his ear. “It is my burden to explain the unexplainable.”
“Well, I suppose there’s one thing.”
“Anything, dear boy. You shall have an eternity to dwell upon the answer, as has all mankind. For no one, not one soul, enters the realm above or below without first passing through purgatory. You might as well ask something to tide you over until you’re judged.”
The boy felt a stale wind assail his nostrils, heard the smacking of lips. It sparked something he just had to know.
“Tell me, Death, if that is who you are, was it the kippers or the eggs?”


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Of Words and Their Consequences

Photo by Trey Gibson on Unsplash
Photo by Trey Gibson on Unsplash

There was no particular difference in our styles. We wrote as we were, evil and worse. Yet, there were discrepancies. Some might have termed them oddities.

Kara had a propensity to exaggerate situations. I had an inclination to err. Only when our shared editor pointed this out did we ourselves notice.

It became a farce, our correcting each other. Soon after, it became more, each desperate to put the other right. Our editor said it didn’t matter. But it did.

I tore up all her notepads. She snapped my pencils in half. I flushed her ink down the toilet. Kara laced mine with something she ought not; she knew I sucked my pen whilst thinking.

I died on a Monday. Kara spoke at my funeral just three days later. I rose from my coffin and laughed when she said how good a husband I’d been. Our editor, now her editor, laughed too.

Kara self-published her book; it was under-appreciated by others and overrated by her. I read it over a person’s shoulder whilst haunting a toilet. Neither the manuscript nor the toilet was clean.

When Kara joined me in the afterlife, we joked about it. Our editor was now God. Neither of us liked what he had to say.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Stranger, Strangest, Strange!

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

She frowned in that way little children do, with that absolute certainty that she and not them were correct. Her brows creased to Norwegian fjords so severely as to threaten to crack her porcelain features. Her eyes narrowed. The crème de la crème, out came her tongue to blow a raspberry to wet the world. She ran.
“Come back, stranger!” roared the little boy.
Kara bolted back into the trees from which she’d emerged to a whiplashed face and thorn-tugged clothes. The boy had no such issues, for he was smaller than she. He proved faster, too.
The little boy had her by the ponytail before she’d exited the hawthorn bush. He tugged. She wailed.
There was a scuffle, a curse regarding the football shirt the little boy wore, one returned with interest about her red wellington boots — how she wished she’d worn trainers, he’d have never caught her then. And only when the two staggered from the bush and fell in the long grass did the idyllic summer return.
It was several minutes before the boy rose to his elbows and offered the first words of a truce. “You’re the strangest girl I’ve ever met.”
“My name’s Kara,” she hissed. “And I’m not.”
“Robbie,” he replied. “And you are so.”
Robbie was unsure whether the wellington that hit him square on the jaw was called Kara or the girl who tossed it? He imagined he ought to have known, but the stars in his head prevented any confirmation. So much so, that Robbie collapsed back into the grass with a thud. There, he remained.
Kara waited an appropriate amount of time before retrieving her boot; it slipped back into place with a schlep. She gave her new nemesis a kick, then a pinch to his bare arm, both to no reaction. “Hey-ho,” she mused.
Robbie remained as recumbent as an overfed sloth.


“Why did you leave him, love?”
“Why not?”
“But it sounds like he’s hurt.”
“So what? He started it.”
“It sounded very much like you did. It’s not normal to blow raspberries at someone who was just walking past.”
“Raspberry,” corrected Kara.
Her mum rolled her eyes. “Come on, you’ll have to show me where you left him. I want to make sure he’s okay.”
“He’s not okay.”
Her mum pulled the same frown Kara had.
“How’d you know?”
“The same way I knew he was going to call me names.” Her eyes widened to raging suns. “I’m strange!”

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard