Love Sucks

Photo by Katie Pearse on Unsplash
Photo by Katie Pearse on Unsplash

The depth of her sorrow submerged my soul. I saw it in her eyes, felt it in her every trembling movement.

Her head hung like a mannequin with its strings cut. There it bobbed like a buoy in an undulating ocean. How I wished to brush that curtain of long, black hair aside and lift her by the chin, tell her everything was okay.

I watched her slender fingers grapple with the hem of her skirt, like ancient ivy wringing the life out of its host. One foot tapped a rapid beat. She built to something, but what?

Time to act. What else was a lover meant to do?

“Can you tell me about it?” I asked, softly.

She shook her head, slow and purposeful.

“A drink? Food?”

Again, the same.

The direct approach was often the best. “You’re in pain.”

“Almost,” she whispered.

“Because you think I don’t love you.”

When her eyes met mine, they were no longer those of a girl, nor even a woman, but something older, feral.

“Because I know you don’t. At least, that’s what I shall tell myself until the pain erodes your memory.”

It happened all of a rush, her standing, the slash of the blade. She never blinked once.

I slumped to the ground, quite dead. All was becalmed.

It came as I would’ve hoped. I raised from myself, like souls do in the movies. In one last exhalation of self, my ghost vacated its shell, and then paused as if unsure of what direction to take. I’d been mostly good. Surely, that was enough.

I wouldn’t say she hated me, or that she was prepared to take God’s word for it, but she was ready for anything. She held the vacuum cleaner hose in one hand and set the suction to maximum with the other.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

Sandals Required

Photo by mohammad alizade on Unsplash
Photo by mohammad alizade on Unsplash

The rain came down like a broken shower in an unrelenting deluge. The world turned to one of rippling glass. I laughed for the whole world to hear.

The stoplights reflected like strawberries in a grocer’s window. I stomped and stamped until they were flat.

The red made way for an amber uncertainty that flashed a false dawn across the tarmac. The sudden gold dazzled, and I was glad of my sunglasses.

When an emerald green brilliance shooed the amber away to remind me of the land my ancestors had come from so long ago, I sang.

“Are you alright?” asked the woman in the raincoat. Her husband attempted to drag her away, but she seemed as determined as me.

“Couldn’t be better.”

She frowned at my sodden shirt, the shorts plastered to my thighs. When her eyes dropped lower still, she shook her head.

“Leave him to it,” growled her husband.

I kicked at a wet dream and smiled my richest smile.

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

I owed her something. So, I leaned in close like the lover she wished for, and I told her.

Now, when it rains, there’s two of us out splashing in our sandals. But only we know why.

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

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

Vaporous Embraces

Photo by Dmitriy Ermakov on Unsplash
Photo by Dmitriy Ermakov on Unsplash

There is an inherent need in all humans, men and women, to yearn for that tactile embrace of a loved one. There is no comfort like the comfort of another, nowhere safer than when in a lover’s arms. Whilst in those arms, the nightmares seem less real. Life shall be easier than before. This is what they tell us. A gift from our elders, if you will. We will strive for it most of our lives. Yet, it is false. There is another way. I know, though, I wish I didn’t.

When we die, we leave. Simple as. No arguments. No complaints. We are no more, lost to time and eternity’s tides. Some people say our souls, that inner self we ignore too often during life, pass to a better place, one the living shall never know. But what is that better place?

Some say fields of gold. Others claim marble towers and walls too high for birds to crest. Some say a lapping shore where one may dip their proverbial toes and know peace. A rock on an endless mountain. A cloud. The theories expand exponentially as each new generation adds to their layers.

There are even places where these souls don’t want to go. Where they are sent, not requested. Places which mire in darkness, shadows hunting in packs and alone. No one wishes their spirit, their very essence, to inhabit such hells. No one!

There is also the in-between, where those who’ve abused the eternal embrace, though, not too much, reside. They pay their penances in waiting. Simply, waiting. Grey fog whirls and swirls here. The mists form in endless walls of dew. They are quiet places, timeless. But who is to mark the passage of time if love isn’t present or remembered?

This brings me back to better places, or simply, places.

I lost her. I never thought to find her again. Yet, she has found me. Through passion and determination, my once all has returned. She has entered me. I am her limbo. I am her hell. How I hope I’m her heaven, too. Vaporous, she’s been for the longest of times. Now, I breathe her in every breath.

Vaporous embraces are the greatest of all. There is no need for flesh on flesh, for eye to eye, or more. We are one until I pass, too. And then there’ll be no I at all.

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

My Many Deaths

image courtesy Mattia Ascenzo on unsplash.com
image courtesy Mattia Ascenzo on unsplash.com

My first death hurt the most, not from the pain, but from the injustice. The second came as the biggest surprise because I was still dead from the first. A kiss spurred my third departure, a faint fluttering of the heart. My fourth death was so subtle, I didn’t realise until the fifth. There were more, many more, but death becomes as boring as life.

My deaths came in many forms, at many times and places. There was no preempting it. Experience of the thing failed to give a single heads-up. Apparently, having died a multiple and often inexplicable number of times counted for nothing. I was a duck in a pond just waiting for the sharpshooters to strike.

There were benefits to my ailment, this legacy of mind. They might not have counted for much, but for something. I grew hardened, cocooned, insulated against death. My resolve strengthened. My will hardened.

I approached my many deaths differently upon this magical realisation. I expected them, thus the events themselves became less torrid. No longer would I toss and turn at night, clutching at my heart and sweating profusely. No, sir, I was a changed man. Well, boy.

The last turned me down before I’d even opened my mouth. ‘Not you,’ she sneered. ‘Not you.’

That was the last time I died. It didn’t bother me then, as now. Although, the woman with the scythe and the ebony eyes is grinning as though it should.

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

100 Word Stories: Eternal Destructive

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash
Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

Incandescent whirls of bliss, colour, and light swept past. All that was bright in the world pulsed one last hurrah. All that was golden vanished.
Silence. Not a heartbeat. The languid cool of Forever stole across my soul. I stood small before infinity.
Forwards or back?
Choice remained. My choice. The choice. But which?
When lost in purgatory, one remembers not what was decided, nor when, only that it was.
I stepped into another world, another place, another time, and grinned.
Perhaps one more ruination? I’ll make this the last.
Like Hell! But how else does one qualify eternity’s destruction.

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

By Which I Mean Me

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

We, by which I mean me, endeavoured to do right by each other. I spoke kind words, and she shoved them down my throat. I held open the door, and she vacated it. And so on, and so forth. This was our way, use and be used.

Time was not kind to us, by which I mean me. The bruises grew larger, her rages ever greater. I grew timid, as she grew robust. And still, I did my best. Still, I tried.

She, by which I mean they, buried me one cold and windy November afternoon. It rained upturned buckets. Another man already held her umbrella.

Now there was no we, no she, just me. For the first time in forever, I was alone. Nothing lasts.

I returned from the darkness like a roosting bat, flittering around our, by which I mean her apartment, every evening after lights out. She was never alone.

Our paths crossed when she went to the toilet shortly after midnight. I held the door for her, or tried.

“Do I know you?” she sneered. “You remind me of someone I once used.”

The fact I was a ghost seemed inconsequential, her attitude unaltered. I shrugged a delicate breeze, for words were beyond me now.

She rolled her eyes and got down to business.

“Well! Don’t just stand there, pass the toilet roll,” she commanded, upon finishing.

I laughed as I flapped and flailed, unable to acquiesce to her wishes. I tried so hard. Yet, this simplest of tasks was beyond me, and so I left and never returned.

We, by which I mostly mean me, often talk of her, and if she sits there still, stinking and swearing, whilst waiting for another to service her.

The End


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.

100 Word Stories: The Jump

Photo by Yaopey Yong on Unsplash
Photo by Yaopey Yong on Unsplash

Soulless images swinging from a ledge, we perused the underworld as if a dare. A vast darkness, it swirled and roiled in endless chaos, a temptation to all we undesirables, and we were more undesirable than most.

Time meant little there. Each dusk rivalled the next for length and languor. Each splitting of the sky rendered the place more ruinous. Eternity was less a bonus than the Devil had promised.

We jumped from boredom, not shame. We plunged into His realm, as he had dropped into ours. I only hoped our son watched from heaven. Perhaps it balanced the books.


Thank you for reading
Richard

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

Sitting Without Reason

She sits at the bus stop day after day. I stand at my window, imagining her name. Rain or shine, snow or wind, it makes no difference to the girl in the little lemon dress. She waits there regardless. I watch her the same.
There are buses every fifteen minutes that lead to and from the city, but which city, I no longer recall? I’m as obsessed with her as she is with time. She’s crying today.
I pour out a coffee on this evening to chill souls. Seeing her waiting for a man who’ll never arrive has warped my mind. Today, I shall make a difference. Today, I shall do the right thing.
The door clicks shut in my wake; my eyes are already upon her. She shields her own from the steadily falling snow, invisible against her porcelain features. The coffee steams from the cup.
The distance takes an age to cover, not because of the traffic, as there is none, but from my stuttering footsteps.
“Hello,” I say when almost upon her. “I’ve brought something to warm your soul.”
The cup is offered and dropped, slipping from her fingers like a dream. This saddens me and I leave.
The next day comes, and she is gone. All I can think is, was she ever there? And, was I?

An End


Thank you for reading

Richard


Image courtesy Darren Viollet Unsplash.com

Paragraph Planet

I had a little piece of writing published today by the good folks at Paragraph Planet. My very short story ‘The Visitor’ is now live on their site and on Twitter.

For anyone who enjoys short writings, I would recommend giving it a try. The idea is to write a story or passage at exactly 75 words in length including the title. All good fun.

Paragraph Planet showcase one such work each day.


Thank you for reading
Richard

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