Theres a hole in my chest
Where you would fit in
If I could find you
Maybe I'd feel whole
Have I met you before?
Will I meet you soon?
Will I ever meet you?
Have I missed my chance?
I see your reflection next to mine
But when I look
No one is there
Am I going crazy?
Cause I need you
And I dont even know
Who you are
Pen to the Paper 17
“At long last!!!” I said, jumping onto stage from an unknown origin, “Thanks, Dr. Strange,” I whispered behind me. “I don’t know about you guys, but it has been a really long month. I checked three times in December to see if I actually did this challenge in December, and I checked again in January to make for absolutely positive… I did. I even checked again a second ago. I have no idea why this last month has felt so long for me, but it did.
“But enough about me, I am assuming everyone knows why I am here. To talk about War and Peace! Okay, so, there is this guy, Count Bezúkhov, and he is super sick and dying. All of his family has their undies in a bundle over who is going to get his fortune: will it be split between his two eldest children, Prince Vasíli and the eldest princess? Will it be given to that rascal son Pierre that everyone seems to dislike, but Count Bezúkhov clearly thinks differently? Or has Anna Mikháylovna convinced her son’s godfather (the count) to give her the fortune? I don’t know, I’m not done yet. All the while this is happening, you have these three girls who act seven but are around the age of thirteen who are head over heels in love with these three guys who also act seven but are supposed to be around the age of seventeen, I presume, as all three of them are about to enter into the military. One of the girls, who is twelve, kisses Nicholas, the godson of the count. Relevant to the situation? No, I was just pointing it out. That scene weirds me out. I know that it was a different time and all that, but good gracious, man. She’s twelve! Though normally they act seven, there are other times where they act forty-nine. What else…
“I have read twenty-four chapters of this immense novel. And… Wait, you guys aren’t here to hear me talk about War and Peace? Oh. Wrong crowd, I guess. Well, in that case, PEN TO THE PAPER IS BACK, BABAAAAYYYY!!!”
Love Letter Found in the Ruins of the War
I will be dead by morning, the line didn't hold. I have fifty bullets and two grenades, the last grenade will be for me.
If you are reading this letter, please take it to the name on the front of the envelope, I want her to know I did my best and didn't leave her to die. Her last known address is on there, but I think she fled to the refugee camp at Srepbo, I don’t know for sure.
The enemy pounded our positions with attack helicopters all night then flooded in like a swarm of hornets. Home field advantage should have made the difference, but it didn't. They broke through the defenses at Ludlow bridge and it was downhill from there. Know this: every one of our soldiers gave their all, nobody flinched or ran away. They died as heroes, every one. Now everyone is dead. Except me.
Outside a line of armored troop carriers rumbles past. This sniper position won't last long. With every kill shot I get vengeance for my brothers in arms who died in this stupid conflict that's all about ego and oil. When the invasion started we believed the lies about how our allies would step in and step up, but that was a fairy tale. Our little country isn't as important as we thought, I suppose. I believe this country does matter, and shortly I will die to prove this point.
This part of the letter is for the name on the front: Marie, I was a failure. I love you more than life itself and dreamt of growing old chasing the dogs in the garden and telling stories to sleepy grandchildren, but no. My sniper position is the bombed out shell of our apartment. This is where I first cooked you dinner on our second date and knew that summer night: I knew with blinding clarity that you were my star, my light in a universe filled with darkness. You are a good person and don't let anyone ever tell you you're not smart enough or good enough, but you are. I should have deserted this stupid army post long ago and come home to you. For that I will forever drown in regret. Be strong and take care of your brother. If the crazy story about god and the heavens is true, then we will meet again in the afterlife. Love forever, Ivan.
And so here we are, footsteps are getting closer. I've only got fifty bullets and there are 200 men outside. You do the math.
Sargent Ivan Duplov 02.02.21
Decades Wrapped In The Dark
Perhaps it was summer. Perhaps it was spring. But the same miasma of stinking sewage stench sauntered in here. The Suakin Island Reformatory, ah the irony of it, was neither jail nor prison. It was a place where sanity was purloined. It was the netherworld of eternal damnation. A building designed especially for those who got no bail and received no parole.
A thousand men, young, old, pickpockets, peddlers, poisoners, assassins, all incarcerated for life in solitary confinement, caged in separate boxes placed one above the other like a mucky beehive. Each cell was a hollow cube, barely four feet high; can't sit straight, can't sleep right. 115 concrete blocks, I had counted and counted and counted over again, ran around me, only to be broken by the thick metal door which had a little square with evenly placed iron bars, shut over by a wooden roll down through which they supplied two loaves of dry bread and stale water twice a day. And that too was cut off every time there was a mourning in the constabulary. A lavatory pan sat by the end of every cell, with no water supply. It didn’t matter if you hadn’t come here as a criminal, but if you go out, you sure will be one.
How many years I have been here, I did not know. How many men had died in this cell, I did not know. Standing on my knees, I clasped my hands together, praying to God, beseeching him to take my life. Sometimes I wished for these taciturn walls varnished with schadenfreude, to eat me up. Sometimes I would hold my breath and tighten the grasp on my throat, trying in vain to escape from this agony. Alone. Famished. Alive.
I lay there scratching the ground, with nothing left but my twisted spine and crooked body. Footfalls of cap-toe shoes approached. I put my hands over my ears, wringing them and hit my head on the floor. Someone had died. I pulled my hair and screamed as the sounds came closer. One day they'll come for me too, I thought, but why not today, oh why not now? The footsteps came to a momentary halt as they stopped by my cell.
I gasped, walking on my knees, inching forward to the tiny square. Jangling keys danced through the other side of the door. They only opened your door twice—once you're dead, or worse, for physical torture. The key made its way in, sliding through the door, making a total of five audible clicks. A final note of heavy clunk like a Timneh parrot rolling its tongue and mimicking the sound of a trigger on an empty gun resounded and the door was pushed open.
"Please," I cried, "I beg of you, please don't hurt me." Having lived in the darkness for many long years I couldn't open my eyes. I put my arms over my eyes, trying to block the rays of light that stampeded on me.
"Stand up, old chap," he said, hitting the ground with his truncheon. I moved my arms slightly, my palms still stretching forward in an attempt to obstruct the light. I could fathom he was a young cop, buzz cut, clean shaved, clothed in a perfectly pressed dark blue uniform. When I first came in they were in khakis. God knows when they changed it. I thrust my hands on the floor, standing on my knees and slowly placing my shins forward. As I stood up, my head hit straight on the roof and I fell on my knees again.
"Come on old chap, wake up. You’re being released! Your boy has come to pick you up," he said in a directive tone and walked into the cell, tapping my shoulder with his truncheon. This wasn’t real, I was very sure about it, but the pain in my knees argued the obverse.
"I have no son," I said, staring into his silhouette face. "I have no kids."
"Oh really?" he bent down, removing my handcuffs. “Then consider yourself lucky!”
"Water," I gasped, falling on the ground. My eyelids fluttered pushing me again into the pitch black void. He slapped my face thrice, grabbed me by the collar and shook me altogether. Muffled voices and fast-moving footsteps tried to wake me up, but in vain. The darkness could not be shaken off. And there was the pain, the pain in my bones. When they lifted me up, it ran through my whole body. My feet failed. I couldn't rear up. I couldn't move, speak, or open my eyes.
It could have been a few hours, or maybe more. When I tried to open my eyes I saw flashes of images. I could make out a burly man in his mid-forties standing in a distance talking to the young cop I first confronted.
"He was telling me he had no kids," he said to him, his eyes focused on mine.
"Ah, he's been here for a whole twenty three years. What do you expect him to remember? Did you try asking him his name? He would have probably told you he was never born!"
Chuckles followed as I turned my head, trying to decipher the place I was in. A car. A classic Chevy Kingswood.
"You ready for home, sir?" a voice asked, almost scaring the wits out of me. A friendly young man with short blonde hair, neatly gelled to give it a smooth look asked me, his head turned towards my direction, hands steady on the steering wheel. I did not know what to say. I did not know who he was. But for some reason, his face seemed vaguely familiar. I shut my eyes tight, trying to escape from this phantasmagoria. This will end soon. And I'll wake up in my hollow cube again. Scratching the metal door, counting the concrete bricks, casting about for bread crumbs, I'll be there again. Alone. Famished. And perhaps, alive.
Mitch woke, finding himself in a waiting room chair. Next to him were his allies whom included Rick, and mages Essie and Cerissa.
"It's been a while since we've been in a new story, has that Roses311Sublime guy finally started the new arc?"
"Sorry Mitch, but no." Cerissa answered sadly. "From what I understand, Roses wants to do two more stories in the Hugh vs Leftover plotline that we spun off from before resuming our true quests (shameless self promotion: https://theprose.com/book/3184/the-ultimate-hero-network-a-short-story-collection). It would appear that we are in another filler story."
"Filler again?" Rick groaned. "Roses needs to be reminded that this story isn't an anime!"
"True Rick, but we all know that Roses is a big anime fan." Essie replied reassuringly. "And besides, filler isn't a bad thing necessarily. You told me that you like some of those Naruto filler episodes."
"True, and no story can be all bad if you're in it Essie." Rick responded, not caring about being subtle about his feelings for Essie. This was only a filler story anyway. It could potentially not even be mentioned in the main canon in the long run.
"Now we figure out where we are once again." Cerissa said in an attempt to move the story forward. "At least it's not a kitchen this time."
"Oh yeah, I remember that!" Rick said excitedly. "So this story is connected with that one at least (https://theprose.com/post/441372/adventures-of-the-pirate-crew-how-did-we-get-in-this-kitchen-pen-to-the-paper-one-shot)!"
"They're all connected Rick." Mitch grinned. "Just some stories are more important than others."
"We're getting off topic guys." Cerissa said firmly, but with a kind tone all the same. "Last I remember from our last appearance in November, we were leaving Mirk's celebration of life to head back to Mitch's home to settle in, and train for our future confrontations with Petunia and Glicko. Does anyone recall if we ever made it there?"
"Definitely have no memory of that, since that hasn't been written yet. Hence, filler tale!" Rick moaned.
"It's ok Rick. Like Essie said, maybe this will be a filler tale with a Naruto quality to it." Cerissa replied. "Getting back on task, we appear to be in a waiting room of some sort. We need to find out what kind of room, and it's significance."
"Looks like a veterinarian office." Mitch chimed in. "I wonder if Roses is writing this while waiting in a veterinarian's office with a pet."
"Awwww, I hope his pet is ok!" Essie exclaimed with concern.
"It could just be a routine visit." Rick reassured his crush. "Maybe immunizations or something."
"I wonder what kind of pet it is." Cerissa pondered. "Maybe a dog, or a kitten?"
"Maybe a parrot?" Mitch mused. "I hope not though. Despite my Pirate persona from transforming, I haven't had good parrot encounters."
"So a veterinarian office." Essie interjected, now taking over Cerissa's role of getting everyone back on task. "I wonder where this story is going to go, since Roses is coming up with this on the fly."
"I'm a little worried that his turn will be coming up soon." Rick added. "That could cause the story to end."
"Yachi!" A voice called out over the intercom, as everything began to fade.
"Sounds like Roses got called, so time's up." Rick said sheepishly. "We at least learned that Roses has a pet named Yachi. I wonder if he named his pet after the Haikyu!! character."
"Too bad we didn't see any action this time." Mitch lamented. "Oh well, I'm sure we will be back soon enough, even if it is for another silly filler entry."
"Well, for what it's worth, it is always nice being with you all, even if nothing noteworthy happened today." Cerissa smiled. "See you all in a future adventure!"
The Pirate and his crew will return.... I promise! Their previous adventures can be read here: https://theprose.com/book/3137/new-adventurers-enter-the-pirate-crew
All Hail! (Pen to Paper 17)
He laid his pen upon the paper
he could no longer fight
the city outside was falling
it would be dust before the night
His head he left it hanging
as he scanned through the graphite
orders he’d been given
to stand down quite forthright
What could he have done different
been more noble of a knight?
the King had certainly trusted him
and felt him a man of certain might
But with so many fires burning
could he possibly ignite
a flame within him larger
could he burn as bright?
He raised his head just slightly
Listening for the right
sign or sound to lead him
towards which choice was right
Just then a cry arose
a woman in a plight
her echo shattered through him
and he saw in black and white
That no man would evade him
and by sun or the torch light
he would defend the people
his castle would stand despite
I Fall to pieces in the NICU
A box keeping you warm
when it should be my skin against yours.
A tube feeding you
when it should be my body doing the job.
A hospital keeping you safe
when it should be in our home in my arms.
I am so tired.
I am crushed by the weight of myself.
My bones can no longer carry their heavy burden –
grey slabs of skin,
wispy hair that must be tonne a piece
organs that are failing,
memories that are fading,
a thousand and one regrets.
soon I shall sleep,
and bury each one of them deep
within my soul so
that I may know
So that I may find
Soon, I will sleep.
I wish I could write a book
I love to read stories of far away lands and creatures that I'll only see in my head. The ways that these characters can make me feel happiness and sadness, hope and despair. Once I put those books down, I often find that I create plots in the story to keep it going. Allow the characters to live on in my head a little longer.
But what if I could create my own world. My own stories and characters. What kind of adventures would they go on? Would any reader enjoy the characters that I pluck from pieces of me? How would I even begin?
I think I would transport the audience into a mystical land. Fill the scene with memories of my favorite places in nature. The cool, crisp mornings I remember waking up against a lake during a camping trip. The way the willow trees allowed the morning sun to cascade through their leaves, onto the body of water, looking like pure magic kissed the earth. Moments like that. But I'd much rather picture it in my mind than explain it. Because how could I ever explain such a perfect moment that others will understand the ways I've felt and want to feel again?
I'd want my story to be magical and enchanting.
Have little fae creatures running around. People with wings and powers beyond the bounds of THIS world. A place where the drama that arises leads to adventures. Where the mundane tasks of this reality are nowhere to be found. A place to escape.
Maybe one day I'll start my book. With no idea as to where it goes. Just let my fingers type and maybe it'll write itself. Or maybe it'll be a hope, an ambition that dies with me. Then no one will get to travel to the fantastical lands within my mind.
My grandma says that grass won't grow in our yard and that's why she grows ferns. When I was younger I thought it was cool. I liked to grab them close to the ground and run my nails up the middle to rip off the leaves, I'd collect them in my little fist and then throw them like confetti.
That was back when there were only a few. Now they cover the whole yard fence to fence.
I used to be afraid to walk back there because I didn't know what critters had made a home in the knee high mess. The moment I found out, I understood why the grass couldn't grow.