So Many Left

I’ve decided, to start off January, that I will write once a day, every day. I found some prompts, made a list, and I’m slowly checking them off. They might be terrible, they might be nothing but pure drabble, but they are something. So here’s January 4th’s, So Many Left. It might not be good, but I liked it.

Scattered across the ground, in small piles of forgotten letters, discarded objects, baubles that once shone; these mementos of a life long past, they glitter in the haze of remembering. She sat there, staring at the items strewn across the room, a lifetime of items.
So many left, she thought, picking through the nearest pile. So many dreams, memories, tokens of a life she remembered in flickering dreams.
Behind her, three boxes. Keep, Give, Toss. A life, boiled down to three boxes.
“How’s it going, kid?”
She turned around, still crouched on the ground, a letter clutched in her hand. “It’s going.”
“There’s a lot of things.”
“So many left.” She sighed, standing and stretching, staring. “How did you do it, dad? When you left.”
“Same way you’re doing, kid. Keep. Give. Toss.”
“Does it ever get easier?”
“Does life? Dinner’s in twenty. I’ll yell.”
She waited for the footsteps to leave before turning back to the room, staring at it for all its worth. The pale walls, the faded spots where pictures hung, nail holes and tape holding the room together.
“There’s so many left!” she cried, head falling on the table.
“So many left?”
She raised her head, eyes too haunted for an eight-year-old. “So. Many. Left.”
“I don’t think that’s correct English there, kid.”
“I don’t care. There’s just so many.”
“Of what?”
“Of Everything.” She dropped her head back to the table. “So many math problems, rules, people, cookies…”
“Cookies?”
“Too many cookies means I can’t eat them all.”
The chair slid out from across from her, and her father sat down. “Well, I guess we’ll just have to fix that.”
She wiped at her eyes, expecting tears, finding dry eyes. “There’s always so many left, isn’t there.” She turned back to the room and the piles, picking through the pieces and filling boxes. “I guess I’ll just have to fix that.”

Malaphor

“We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it!” he yelled, arm thrust into the air. His outfit
was a mix of colors that assaulted the eyes; a deep purple cape that billowed in the air behind him, clinging periwinkle tights, neon orange shorts, blazing pink ‘M’ off-center on his chest. The crowd surged around him, screaming as he marched forward. “We can no longer ride the fence! We cannot sit around here any longer, pretending all is fine while we secretly cry over lost time!”
I watched from the roof of a building overlooking the street they had started to march on
and rolled my eyes. Out of all the villains I had faced, Malaphor was the worst. Annoying,
idiotic, and harmless, the worst crime he ever committed was insulting the English language. But this, this was different. Not only was he convincing the town to follow his crazy ideas, but he was creating public panic.
I dropped from the roof, landing in perfect superhero pose, one hand pressed into the
ground, one knee down with the other near my chin. No one noticed me; I stood and waited untilthe crowd had passed far enough so that I had to yell to be heard. “Malaphor!”
Though they were loud and angry, my voice carried, the one superpower I had. Everyone
turned, staring at me. In my ripped t-shirt and red flannel tied around my waist, torn tights underneath jean shorts, black hair dyed with blue streaks, I didn’t look the hero. He laughed. “Have I caught your attention? Are you going to join us?”
“Are we really going to listen to a man who mixes idioms without issue? Are we going to
follow the anger of a man whose only goal is to confuse and incite issue? Do we not have
enough common sense to follow our own ideas and our own minds? Or is this what we choose to follow? An idiot?”
“Just fly the nest already. You’re clearly off your deck.”
“Are you… are you serious?” I watched as the crowd started to look confused, glancing
between the two of us. “This is a man who clearly has no grasp of even the most common of phrases. I mean… come on!”
“Don’t listen to her. All she’s saying is straight from the grapevine, not true in any sense.
Everything I say is as clear as a bird.”
And the crowd came towards me, shaking their heads, hands dropping to their sides as
the anger melts into disappointment. They walk past, ignoring me as they always do once my job is done. Once they return to their homes, their jobs, their lives, I step towards him. “You’re done, Malaphor. And I’m done dealing with you.”
“Oh, so you’re finally using your own superpower for yourself? Just because you call
yourself Common Sense doesn’t make you the cream of the castle.”
“Do you do this on purpose? What is the point of all this? I honestly want to know.”
“It’s irritating, isn’t it?”
“Uh, yeah. Completely. You’re the worst villain I’ve ever come across.”
“Good.” He jumped back, the widest smile on his face. “Well, we’ll see each other soon.
You keep feeling like you’re on top of the moon. But I’ll be there to bring you back down, until you’re cowarding in the bathroom.”
I step towards him, fists clenched. “Tread lightly.”
“Why? Am I on dangerous waters?”
I rarely fight my villains, usually resorting to words and, of course, common sense. But I
punched him right in his wide mouth. It felt satisfying, it really did.
He wiped the blood from his chin. “Did your power fail you? Did I find your
kryptonite?”
“Get out of here before I stop being nice.”
“This is nice?”
I punched him again, blackening his eye. “We’re done here.”
I watch from the shadows, the invisible man in the crowd, listening for those who need
help the most. I wait for the moment to be the voice of wisdom, the devil’s advocate for idiotic situations. The world lacks common sense, and I will provide it. When the world remembers I exist, I will be no longer needed. Until then, I will be there.

Creative Expressions

I found a prompt yesterday, and it read “You die. As you go up to paradise, you notice it seems to be in ruins. Then you find the corpse of God.” I found in on Pintrest, so I’m not sure who to credit it to, but the concept intrigued me. A lot. So I thought I’d post what came out of this prompt, in the hopes of some constructive criticism, or even your own answers to the prompt. I’d love to read them. Anyways. Here it is.


I thought death would be peaceful. Life had been a chore, a daily fight to live. It’s not as if I wanted to die. I just didn’t want to live any longer, not in that hell. Days upon days of pain, of drugs, of not knowing how things will be mere hours from now, it all creates a cycle of torture in which the only relief is death or life.

I could feel my body giving out. Breath started to get harder to find, minutes blended into hours, until I couldn’t be sure when I was. And they were all there, waiting, watching, mourning already, even though they tried their damndest to make sure I didn’t see. But I did. When you’re stuck in a bed, you can’t help but see.

They let my friends see me one last time. I’m glad they did, but I almost wish they didn’t. We were at the age of invincibility. To see me dying, well, it shattered the illusion of safety and promise they held around their lives. It broke them. I watched it break them.

One of the nurses helped me write my letters. She picked me out beautiful stationary, bought it with her own money, cream paper with a simple metallic navy border on the front. Every lucid moment was spent writing my goodbyes, to my parents, to my friends, to the nurses and teachers I had remembered. The hardest was the one to my brother. He’s only seven. He shouldn’t have to lose me yet.

So, yes, I thought death would be peaceful. That I would just drift away into nothingness. That there would be no pain. But there’s always pain. There’s the pain in blinking, knowing that this might be the last time your eyes open, that the last thing you saw would be your final vision. There’s pain in tears, in the too-tight grasp of a hand in yours. Pain in the way he fought to keep his eyes open, even though it was way past his bedtime, even though it was way past my time.

And then your eyes close one last time. Breathing starts to falter, hitch, fade into a final exhale. You would think that, once the eyes close, that’s it. But I hung on, blind yet feeling, struggling for each pitiful breath, hearing their sobs ripping out their lungs. I wanted to cry out, tell them I was still here, but even a single breath was difficult. And yet I lingered on.

A part of me hoped someone would beckon me into the beyond. That I would see my grandmother, holding out her hand, or my uncle that I barely knew. Maybe an angel, or a figure in white. Death himself, robe and all. A part of me hoped there was nothing, just blackness, a darkness that ate away consciousness, pain.

A final breath caught in my throat and faded, and I did as well. It is almost like floating, the experience, rising from your body as if on a wind. I hovered, watching my mother collapse onto me, my father face the wall, my brother stirring and crying out.

And then the world rushed past me, as if I was sucked through a tube, flashes of my life flickering past. My cat nuzzling my palm, my grandmother cutting off the edge of the cookie dough tube for me to eat, holding my brother for the first time, all pleasant images to whisk me away. And I felt myself crying, trying to reach out to the images, trying to look up and look away. The memories rushed by quicker, time convoluted and images scattered, no rhyme or reason to their organization, until they faded into a pleasant white that grew blinding, until ground was beneath me.

And here I am, standing before the gates of heaven. Though I’m not sure if I want to go in. They’re open, you see, and there’s no one around. They’re resting on a broken hinge. And the welcome desk is covered in blood. I didn’t know angels could bleed.