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Aug. 4th, 2008


Annie Makes a New Friend -- PG-13

this is a thank-you gift to those who have friended me in spite of my eternal attempts to be a wallflower and/or a professional stalker. i write slowly--i'm sorry--and so this is an older story, updated a bit to make it sound prettier and (maybe) flow better.

if the length is a problem, please feel free to let me know: i'll hide it under a link as soon as i figure out how. um...as a warning: this involves some kind of magical logic, so it's a little higher rated than what i normally do. if you don't like small children plotting to kill people, this might not be for you. personally, i think that all small children are evil, anyhow, and bent on world-domination...so, yeah.

She first met him when she was very young: a lone child, feeling very lost and forlorn, who had mistakenly been parted from her parents. It wasn’t quite nighttime when she found herself unaccompanied, but soon the shadows seeped, long and strange, through lawns and trees and concrete streets; they veiled the faces of those few stragglers who yet traversed the sidewalks, making their eyes seem too bright and their teeth too sharp as they gnawed and gnashed at the air while they talked to one another.

She cringed as they walked by her, and hunched down into herself when they paused and asked, "Are you lost?" She kept saying, "No, no, I’m waiting for somebody," and turned her head so as to avoid looking at them, hoping that they weren’t as dreadful as the monsters who devoured bad little girls’ hearts in the scary books that Mommy and Daddy would sometimes read to her on her brave days.

"Today is a brave day, too," she told herself comfortingly. "I’m being very brave--"except that she wasn’t, she realized, not even a bit. She was frightened and lonely and very, very sad; at once when she realized this, a multitude of small, self-pitying sobs broke through her throat. But as the streetlights flickered on and bathed her in sick orange, reflected shiny-bright off of her wet cheeks and hands, her sadness subsided. Boredom, instead, rooted itself in her mind; for with no-one around of whom to be fearful, she had very little to do.

The grass soon became a victim of her interest, then the little pebbles by her feet. She threw them upwards and tried to catch them; she tried to juggle, even though she’d never been taught how. Then she began to throw bigger stones, as hard and fast as she could, into the trees that lined the street. For a time, this amused her—-until, by one particular tree, something met the earth with an odd, soft thump that was quite unlike the sounds that her rocks had made.

Her boredom made her curious, and so she abandoned her safely-lit curb in order to explore the origin of that peculiar noise; but as she did so, the nearest streetlight fluttered and snapped off, and it became rather too dark to see: her foot caught in a stray root, and she tumbled to the ground. She lay there for a time and listened to her breath whisper across the grass beneath her cheek.

She wasn’t bored, not any more: the fleeting braveness that the streetlights had lent to her had gone once she fell, and she was once again frightened by the darkness. Small familiar sounds, once innocuous, were made remote and terrifying; when she heard a rustling near her sprawled left arm, she was almost too afraid to discover its origin. But she did look towards the sound, and she found that the reality was far less cruel than her imaginings.

For a small bird had made the noise—-its right wing bowed inwards at an angle that spoke of injury. Its unnatural posture fascinated her; she crept towards the bird and laid it upon her palm, fingering the bent limb so that the bird pecked at her fingers and struggled feebly to free itself. Its yellow beak and tiny claws drew blood once, twice, but she didn't flinch until a much larger pair of hands suddenly descended upon her own. And mightily she flinched, then, for she was terribly startled; those hands stole away the bird from her and cradled it, carefully avoiding the broken wing. A voice from far above her spoke: "You like to injure birds?"

"I like to hurt everything," she answered, because she wasn't quite old enough to have memorized the complicated adult scale of morality and was wholly too spoilt to empathize with a fellow creature's pain. But she had learnt some things of good and bad from her parents. Honesty she knew to be good, and so--for she always strove to be a good child--she spoke the truth. She did like to hurt things, after all.

She dared to tilt her head upwards, but she found that the motion was unnecessary, as the man next to her awkwardly knelt down so that his face was nearer to hers.

He said to her sadly, "You're a very cruel child."

She tipped her head to the side when she heard this, the movement quick and fragile like the bird that the man still held. "Is that bad?"

"I'm not sure." He sighed sadly and stood, and she scrambled to her feet, too; "This bird's not going to make it," he said. "Don't look."

Away she turned, obedient until she heard a quiet cracking sound; and then she snuck a glance at the man. At first, she couldn't see him, but then she looked to the base of the tree and saw him kneeling on the ground once more. One hand combed sleepily through the soil; the bird in the other hand was still.

"I told you not to look," he said, but he spoke without anger.

Annie walked over to him, wary of the roots this time. "I'm sorry," she said.

"For what?" he asked. He began digging more vigorously; he placed the small broken bird on the ground, next to his small pile of dirt, so that he could use both hands.

Annie didn't answer, but she sat next to him and helped him bury the bird. Her fingers were blackened with slick crumbly earth once they finished. She wiped them off on first the grass, and then her skirt, before looking at the man again.

The streetlight flickered on for a moment, and she saw that he was younger than she had first assumed; he was older than her, but not old enough to be old. Before the light died for the second time, she saw a great bruise that bloomed across his face. It was shaped rather like a hand.

He looked at her. "Come on," he said. "You shouldn't be out this late." He held out one of his large skinny hands, and, with both of her own hands, she grasped it; in some places where their skin met, she could feel strange circular marks pocking his skin. She didn't know what they were, but she didn't like them, anyhow. She pulled away from him.

He misinterpreted this action, and he laughed. "I can see why you wouldn't want to follow me—poor boy, right? It's okay, I'm one of the good guys." He paused. "Well, maybe not, but look—I can't just leave you out here—tell you what, you're lost, right? Do you know your parents' address? Number?"

"What number?" said Annie.

Telephone number, he scathingly said; but his tone became softer when Annie shied away from him. "Look, it's not that important. Don't be upset—oh, God," he said, as she began to sniffle quite pathetically, "Don't cry. Please don't cry. I'm sorry, all right? Don't cry. Here," and from his pocket, he produced a sad scrap of fabric that he offered to Annie. "It's clean, don't worry."

Annie took the handkerchief, and she said politely and automatically, "Thank you."

He patted her awkwardly on the head, and then he stood up abruptly as a pair of headlights lit his face. Annie, by now used to the cover of darkness, stared at his exposed features and saw the hand-shaped bruise again, and a split lip that she hadn't noticed before. When he squinted at the brightness and shielded his eyes with a hand, she could see the ugly black circles that had previously frightened her. At once she knew what they were, for Daddy smoked cigars often and left those same black circles in the upholstery.

She could hear Daddy, now: "Get away from her," she heard Daddy say. He sounded angry; for a moment, she was afraid he was going to scold her, but then he swept her up and carried her to the car. Annie heard Mommy's angry voice, too, but she didn't know a lot of the words that Mommy said to the boy. Whatever she said, though, caused the boy to shout back at her, using many more words that Annie didn't understand. He quieted very quickly once he realized that Annie was looking at him, and he began to walk away. Mommy still yelled after him, but he didn't turn back.

Annie wriggled and squirmed until she was no longer within Daddy's arms and ran towards the boy. She caught his rail-thin waist from behind; he stood very still as she buried her face into his back and then turned her head to speak.

"You are a good guy," she told him.

He reached a hand back to pat her head like he had done earlier, but she caught his hand in hers and held on to it. He turned to face her, his eyes and lashes made very pale by the headlights, and he smiled at her: a bitter flash of brilliance across a scarred face, and he freed his hand and walked away.

Even as the darkness ate him up, her eyes followed his departure. Then Daddy picked her up once more and buckled her into the backseat, and Mommy started to coo and cluck over her scraped knees and elbows. But Annie didn't pay any attention to Mommy or Daddy, for she could think only of the tall boy and the dead bird, and how sad the boy had looked.

He killed the bird, thought Annie suddenly. He killed the bird, and he's a good person. He killed the bird because I hurt it. Hurting is bad; he's hurting. Good people kill things that are hurting.

Her mind whorled violently and frantically sorted this new information, processed and filed it into Annie's two neat perceptions: that of the good, and that of the bad.

Annie thought again, He's hurting. She tilted her head and considered the notion. Very soon, she arrived at her conclusion.

Hurting is bad,-—but she knew this by now. So she continued, and she decided: I want to be good. For him, I'll become good.

Jan. 26th, 2008


short story - this garden that you planted


this garden that you planted

You were one who dreamt of kings and queens when you were young, fairytales spun from webs of love and happy endings that glittered, bright and gold, like stars caught in the dawn. But then you began to grow up, and you knew and feared the cruel onset of reality: the ugly seeds that would be planted in your maturing mind, the seeds that would eventually grow to be giants and would lace their toxic, twisting limbs throughout all of your carefully-constructed bridges and castles and cloudless skies. Those branches would tear your world down and apart to make way for slabs of pavement and tin houses, factories that churned out smoke and pre-ordained futures packaged in bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard boxes.

You didn’t want for your dreams to be destroyed; so you hid them away, stashed them in the secret places where no-one else could find them. You pretended that they went away for good and that you didn’t miss them at all. You didn’t cry for their loss, not even a bit—even though you wanted to when your parents put away your dolls, your pretty plastic jewels, and then tossed them out with the garbage when they thought that you weren’t looking—because you were afraid that the adults would realize your deception and take away your dreams by force. In time, you felt safer: you didn’t jump and see a test in every question, you learned to answer every inquiry of "Do you remember-?" with a short spoken, "No." The adults would shake their heads at your poor memory, but they never grew suspicious of your secrets.

Though they were often the least-suspect, the teachers were the worst of the adults; when they told their classes to write about "one memory of your childhood"--and they always did, without fail--you would have to raise your hand and tell them that you couldn’t remember anything. They would look at you strangely and say, "Surely you can remember something,"-—but no, you never could, because you knew that they didn’t want to hear of your unicorns and far-fetched adventures. Your dreams were all that you could remember of your early life; for the bad seeds were already weaving their way through your fields of memory, and you didn’t trust anything that they touched.

The path to your imaginings soon became overgrown with the roots and twining branches of the seed-trees, but you kept your dreams unsullied within their locked, dark homes. You found yourself making the journey to them less and less as the years wore on, though, because it kept getting harder for you to find your way. And eventually, even you forgot about the secret places: where they were, if they had ever even existed—the places where once-upon-a-time you had hidden away your happy endings.

Jan. 24th, 2008


short story - irony


irony (eat your heart out)

I looked at her, and my glance evolved to something else: it became a boy-meets-girl confrontation—the love-at-first-sight that you hear of in all of those stupid, sappy romance novels—in the street where the electric lights advertise for booze and music and strippers.

In truth, it was her legs that caught my eye—long under her short skirt, pale with clean muscles and a long, thin sliver of scarring down the back of the left. But she doesn’t like to hear about my attraction to her legs, so I tell her that it was the way she walked: head up, hair back, eyes looking down on the world. And when she walked proud enough, she truly could see all the world. Her height was something extraordinary; she was far taller than me, taller than most of the men on the street. And I found myself fascinated by that.

The newspaper-seller next to me noticed the direction of my gaze at some point within the eternity in which I stared, and he grinned his crooked grin and shook his head condescendingly. "Boy," he told me. "You ain’t got no chance, boy." He bowed his head conspiratorially, his grin turning sly and knowing. "But I bet you’re going to be a fool, anyhow."

"Indeed I am," I informed him. And indeed I did make a fool of myself; for she soon noticed that she had acquired a stalker, and aimed a rather fine right hook towards my nose. Not being of the athletic sort, I couldn't have dodged had I even seen it coming: it hit me quite jarringly and with a satisfying crunch. Automatically, I raised my hands to my nose—which, let it be noted, was not particularly contused, nor was it bleeding. (It was at this point in my life that I came upon a revelation: I am a pansy.)

Ignoring both my epiphany and the tears budding in my eyes, she stood there, hands fisted by her side, and looked down upon me imperiously: "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"

"Following you?" I offered weakly, still cradling my nose, then expanded, "I mean, I'm not a pervert or anything, but, ah. Oh, ouch." My fingers had touched upon a particularily tender spot. "Um. I saw you, and I saw your legs and...uh-you have nice legs, by the way, very, very nice legs-and I saw you walking, and I've a major in kinesiology, and you were walking, and...oh, God, I am a perv. No, no I'm not. I'm not. Um. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." I was babbling, I belatedly realized, and bullshitting more than I'd done since primary school. "Please don't hit me again."

Though I had spoken though my fingers for the entirety of my lame speech, she understood me. She stared for a moment before her hands relaxed, and she dryly said, "You stalk me for four blocks, and you tell me you're not a pervert."

"I am not a pervert," I insisted. My hands fell away from my face.

"I got that." But she didn't sound annoyed or angered any longer; instead, a slow smile—quite unlike the newspaper seller's—split her face. "Let's grab a cup of tea, shall we?"

She grabbed my shirtsleeve and started walking. I didn't expect the sudden movement, and so I tripped the first few steps before she adjusted her stride to match my much-shorter one. I followed her: a mere mortal trailing behind a goddess, worshipping her footsteps.

Very soon we came upon a quaint little diner; she held the door as she thrust me inside, then dragged me to the nearest booth. She collapsed into it beside me and spoke familiarly to the waiter: "Jimmy, two desert limes, thanks," and kicked her heels off. Her feet were very slender; I looked at them for a moment before she drew my attention to her words.

"I like you, so I'm going to tell you right off the bat." She raised a hand to her head, and abruptly pulled her hair off. It fell on my lap, looking for all the world like a very-furry, very-dead animal. Her voice became much lower: "My name is Joe. I'm a guy."

"Okay," I said. I fiddled awkwardly with the edges of the tablecloth.

He added, "And I'm not gay."

"That's fine," I said.

"Really?" he asked.

"Really," I answered. "That's great, really great. I'm a girl."

He gave me a strange look as he wiped the color off of his lips. I don't think that this action truly achieved the desired effect; he still looked like a woman. But his voice was pleasantly male as he politely queried, "So, are you a lesbian?"

"No,I don't think so," I said as the tea arrived. It didn't look like much; but then, tea never does. It smelled quite nice, though, despite that it was forebodingly brown. I took one sip, felt my tongue shrivel, and then emptied the entire sugar dish into my teacup. It was rather better after that.

I smiled at Joe. "This is lovely tea, by the way."

hello to myself

i'm a first time lj user, but i'm not going to introduce myself; this is really just a place where i can post things and feel accomplished. hi to anyone who's reading and thanks for visiting.

August 2008



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