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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by Shannonmarie in portal Fiction

Coffee and Croissants

There she was - dressed in the darkest haze of shadows, with strands laced among her cheeks. She came here for her, but would soon find she was here for them. Her name was Cece; her father gave her the nick-name when she was a baby. He was the typical drunk, loved his family but never showed it. The absent kind. She still loved him. He was all she had left. Cece's mom passed away while hiking; the doctors said it was a heart condition. She did have her art though, her one true love.

Today was her interview. It was the day she was waiting for. Would Ms. Reynolds enjoy her art? Would she hate it? Cece couldn't wait to find out. She scurried into her red slacks, black slinky tee, and her favorite black blazer. It was a tad too warm for the blazer, but that didn't matter. 

Cece began to draw when she was young. She had constant nightmares about the Asylum down the street from where she grew up - the Klein asylum. Her dad would often go on intoxicated rampages about the people there and how they were ruining society. Cece found that the Asylum began to inspire her passion of art. The characters in her dreams always ended up on her paper. Now she just needed to show the rest of the world.

"One more block down" she frantically called to the driver. The building looked as she imagined. It wasn't very modern: red brick layered the bottom to the top, small windows dressed each floor, ignoring any perceivable pattern, and an old mail room was visible through the clear glass door. She dropped her half-eaten croissant and still full cup of coffee in the trash. She lived on coffee and croissants. She rode the elevator with excitement but apprehension. Was this her debut? 

She opened her portfolio slowly for one last glance. When she lifted her eyes, Ms. Reynolds stood in front of her outside the elevator door. Cece just knew it was her.

"Nice to meet you Cece, I'm Ms. Reynolds. Glad you found it ok."

"The pleasure is mine!" Cece shook her hand with delight. 

The office was dank, something felt quite eerie, but rather interesting. She felt passion spark within her. Cece showed her portfolio to Ms. Reynolds and patiently waited to see her expression. She stopped at one of Cece's favorites. It was a charcoal sketch of a man with a sword through chest; his chest made of stone and snakes. Cece drew it after one nightmare and it became a part of her soul, as odd as that sounds. 

There was always a constant character though in her dreams. He was an older man: he wore glasses, had a rusty-red beard, and very pale skin. He always looked suspicious. Cece was scared of him and never actually drew him.

"Well Cece you have the job!"

What....she didn't know what to say.

"You mean, your hiring me? Really?"

"Yes, sort of like giving you your first assignment and we'll take it from there."

"Wow. Thank you!" She was so happy she wanted to hug Ms. Reynolds, but of course she restrained herself.

"I want you to visit the Klein Asylum and meet with the patients. Get some inspiration for our gallery opening. The patients are all agreeable to your visit and excited to talk and share with you. Just keep a journal and let your creativity flow. We will need five pieces created with a small excerpt on each patient, with their permission of course."

Uh... "Really the Klein Asylum?" Cece was obviously hesitant.

"Yes Cece I believe you have what we are looking for."

Just like that Cece was off to the Klein Asylum for her tour. She was welcomed by Mary, the head nurse. From there Cece felt comfortable but stressed. As if she knew why to expect but had no recollection of meeting anyone here before. Cece was shown each dark-lit room along side Mary and met several unique patients. Some appearing normal but when triggered, became completely different individuals. Some were sad. Some were lonely. Some just wanted to die but weren't granted that right. 

Cece always wanted a sibling. She felt lonely often and used her dolls to keep her entertained. Her mom was kind, but couldn't relate well to Cece. Plus, she let her drunk husband call the shots. Cece hated that. On the most lonely nights, a nightmare would be coming. She always left her pencils and paints next to her bed incase she needed them right away.

The tour was coming to an end. She then heard a voice shout her name from upstairs, a familiar voice. She slowly walked upstairs, escorted by Mary. 

"Hi Cece are you ready to paint?"

It was the man in her nightmares: he wore glasses, had a rusty-red beard, and very pale skin. Cece thought she was just having another nightmare; she tensed up and couldnt speak. His name was Mr. Frederick and he was the head Psychiatrist at the Asylum. Cece sat down next to him, as if someone else controlled her body now. He handed her some pastel oil paints and smiled. He placed his hand on her thigh. Cece's temperature dropped lower. She thought his was part of the assignment; perhaps, a test. She began to draw and blocked out the touch of his hand on her red-covered thigh. A few seconds later, she looked down and noticed her pants were no longer the shade of red she slipped on this morning. No black blazer in sight. All she saw was blue. Her hair longer than it was this morning. Cece began to feel the heat come back to her. 

"What the fuck is going on! Get your dirty hands off me!"

"Cece it's okay it's me, Mr. Frederick."

"What the fuck! Is this a test?"

"No tests sweetheart, we are just drawing today..."

She glanced around the art room and realized only her art covered the walls. Smack in the center was her favorite piece; it was a man with a sword through his chest- his chest made of stone and snakes. 

She began to have a flash-back. She had been here before.

"Cece you're okay, it's just a bad day. You're home at Klein."

"Are you fucking crazy, you were just trying to fuck me or something a minute ago!"

"Cece your father was molesting you since you were a child and you have been in and out of hospitals since for depression and PTSD. I touch your leg sometimes because you only draw with physical contact. We have been decreasing that each month your here."

"He never molested me! You are though!" The nurses came up and closed the door so the other patients didn't hear. I saw they had a syringe in heir pocket.

"Cece you were pregnant with your fathers child at eighteen and your mom didn't believe you. You miscarried in your second trimester. I have touched you to help you stay creative and to cope. I know it's not right as a doctor but it was the only way you would keep expressing yourself. I never raped you or made you perform anything on me." Just like that, memories flooded her vision.

She asked "how long have I been here?"

"Since you were eighteen. About seven years."

"Are my parents alive?"

"Your mom passed away several years ago in a car accident. You like to envision her hiking and usually cope with her passing by remembering her that way, being in nature. Your dad, I'm sorry to say, was killed in prison a few weeks ago. We have not yet been able to process his passing, but we will with time..."

Her head dropped. She felt confused but remembered it all now. The truth was now reality.

"But what about Ms. Reynolds? The interview?"

"You often have dreams of showing your art to the world and opening a gallery. These are thoughts we encourage and this room has become your studio."

It was then I heard my favorite voice shout up, it was Mary. "It's time for coffee and croissants everyone!"

9
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Juice
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by Shannonmarie in portal Fiction
Coffee and Croissants
There she was - dressed in the darkest haze of shadows, with strands laced among her cheeks. She came here for her, but would soon find she was here for them. Her name was Cece; her father gave her the nick-name when she was a baby. He was the typical drunk, loved his family but never showed it. The absent kind. She still loved him. He was all she had left. Cece's mom passed away while hiking; the doctors said it was a heart condition. She did have her art though, her one true love.

Today was her interview. It was the day she was waiting for. Would Ms. Reynolds enjoy her art? Would she hate it? Cece couldn't wait to find out. She scurried into her red slacks, black slinky tee, and her favorite black blazer. It was a tad too warm for the blazer, but that didn't matter. 

Cece began to draw when she was young. She had constant nightmares about the Asylum down the street from where she grew up - the Klein asylum. Her dad would often go on intoxicated rampages about the people there and how they were ruining society. Cece found that the Asylum began to inspire her passion of art. The characters in her dreams always ended up on her paper. Now she just needed to show the rest of the world.

"One more block down" she frantically called to the driver. The building looked as she imagined. It wasn't very modern: red brick layered the bottom to the top, small windows dressed each floor, ignoring any perceivable pattern, and an old mail room was visible through the clear glass door. She dropped her half-eaten croissant and still full cup of coffee in the trash. She lived on coffee and croissants. She rode the elevator with excitement but apprehension. Was this her debut? 

She opened her portfolio slowly for one last glance. When she lifted her eyes, Ms. Reynolds stood in front of her outside the elevator door. Cece just knew it was her.
"Nice to meet you Cece, I'm Ms. Reynolds. Glad you found it ok."
"The pleasure is mine!" Cece shook her hand with delight. 

The office was dank, something felt quite eerie, but rather interesting. She felt passion spark within her. Cece showed her portfolio to Ms. Reynolds and patiently waited to see her expression. She stopped at one of Cece's favorites. It was a charcoal sketch of a man with a sword through chest; his chest made of stone and snakes. Cece drew it after one nightmare and it became a part of her soul, as odd as that sounds. 

There was always a constant character though in her dreams. He was an older man: he wore glasses, had a rusty-red beard, and very pale skin. He always looked suspicious. Cece was scared of him and never actually drew him.

"Well Cece you have the job!"
What....she didn't know what to say.
"You mean, your hiring me? Really?"
"Yes, sort of like giving you your first assignment and we'll take it from there."
"Wow. Thank you!" She was so happy she wanted to hug Ms. Reynolds, but of course she restrained herself.
"I want you to visit the Klein Asylum and meet with the patients. Get some inspiration for our gallery opening. The patients are all agreeable to your visit and excited to talk and share with you. Just keep a journal and let your creativity flow. We will need five pieces created with a small excerpt on each patient, with their permission of course."
Uh... "Really the Klein Asylum?" Cece was obviously hesitant.
"Yes Cece I believe you have what we are looking for."

Just like that Cece was off to the Klein Asylum for her tour. She was welcomed by Mary, the head nurse. From there Cece felt comfortable but stressed. As if she knew why to expect but had no recollection of meeting anyone here before. Cece was shown each dark-lit room along side Mary and met several unique patients. Some appearing normal but when triggered, became completely different individuals. Some were sad. Some were lonely. Some just wanted to die but weren't granted that right. 

Cece always wanted a sibling. She felt lonely often and used her dolls to keep her entertained. Her mom was kind, but couldn't relate well to Cece. Plus, she let her drunk husband call the shots. Cece hated that. On the most lonely nights, a nightmare would be coming. She always left her pencils and paints next to her bed incase she needed them right away.

The tour was coming to an end. She then heard a voice shout her name from upstairs, a familiar voice. She slowly walked upstairs, escorted by Mary. 
"Hi Cece are you ready to paint?"
It was the man in her nightmares: he wore glasses, had a rusty-red beard, and very pale skin. Cece thought she was just having another nightmare; she tensed up and couldnt speak. His name was Mr. Frederick and he was the head Psychiatrist at the Asylum. Cece sat down next to him, as if someone else controlled her body now. He handed her some pastel oil paints and smiled. He placed his hand on her thigh. Cece's temperature dropped lower. She thought his was part of the assignment; perhaps, a test. She began to draw and blocked out the touch of his hand on her red-covered thigh. A few seconds later, she looked down and noticed her pants were no longer the shade of red she slipped on this morning. No black blazer in sight. All she saw was blue. Her hair longer than it was this morning. Cece began to feel the heat come back to her. 
"What the fuck is going on! Get your dirty hands off me!"
"Cece it's okay it's me, Mr. Frederick."
"What the fuck! Is this a test?"
"No tests sweetheart, we are just drawing today..."
She glanced around the art room and realized only her art covered the walls. Smack in the center was her favorite piece; it was a man with a sword through his chest- his chest made of stone and snakes. 
She began to have a flash-back. She had been here before.
"Cece you're okay, it's just a bad day. You're home at Klein."
"Are you fucking crazy, you were just trying to fuck me or something a minute ago!"
"Cece your father was molesting you since you were a child and you have been in and out of hospitals since for depression and PTSD. I touch your leg sometimes because you only draw with physical contact. We have been decreasing that each month your here."
"He never molested me! You are though!" The nurses came up and closed the door so the other patients didn't hear. I saw they had a syringe in heir pocket.
"Cece you were pregnant with your fathers child at eighteen and your mom didn't believe you. You miscarried in your second trimester. I have touched you to help you stay creative and to cope. I know it's not right as a doctor but it was the only way you would keep expressing yourself. I never raped you or made you perform anything on me." Just like that, memories flooded her vision.
She asked "how long have I been here?"
"Since you were eighteen. About seven years."
"Are my parents alive?"
"Your mom passed away several years ago in a car accident. You like to envision her hiking and usually cope with her passing by remembering her that way, being in nature. Your dad, I'm sorry to say, was killed in prison a few weeks ago. We have not yet been able to process his passing, but we will with time..."
Her head dropped. She felt confused but remembered it all now. The truth was now reality.
"But what about Ms. Reynolds? The interview?"
"You often have dreams of showing your art to the world and opening a gallery. These are thoughts we encourage and this room has become your studio."
It was then I heard my favorite voice shout up, it was Mary. "It's time for coffee and croissants everyone!"

9
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Juice
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by Jjautry in portal Fiction

More Than Two Broken Hearts

There was the flash of a child's smile. A single candle flickering madly atop a snow-white cake. A flurry of golden leaves sent flying into the air by small bare feet. The tiny fingers of an infant held gently in the palm of a woman. The woman looked up, her silver eyes full of warmth and love, meeting his gaze. A fragile smile crossed her lips. The sun danced with the blonde strands of her hair and autumn went on peacefully behind her. Then there was darkness, pitch-black.

Eyes open, he found himself staring up at the ceiling fan. He watched the blades turn slowly, steadily eating away at his sanity, making him aware of his boredom. Blinking away the traces of his waking dream, he stretched slowly on the couch and turned to face the window. Across from him, staring wistfully out the window was his love. Dead-eyed and just as bored as him, she gave no sign of acknowledging him. He could feel a sensation of bitterness and sour hatred building up within him. It took every bit of his strength to resist his face contorting into a virulent grimace. Immediately denying the anger, he felt emptiness inside of him and he curled up tighter on the couch. He had to say something, anything, but no words came to mind so he stared absentmindedly down at the floor.

"Why?" the sound resonated within the lonely walls of the house and seemed to surprise them both.

What he thought had been a whisper in his head was a dangerous word he had uttered out into the hostile, open air. Fearfully, he looked at the woman and awaited her reaction. There was little to nothing to read in those wide, astonished eyes for a while but there quickly came a flash flood of anger. And he could feel himself responding likewise, his lip curling up and his brow heavy with rage.

He repeated the question, less apologetically this time, "Why?"

She couldn't answer him, but her lip tightened and her muscles tensed, her eyes locked on his, cold and deadly.

He could feel the tears welling up within his soul, but he pushed them down and leaped off of the couch, pointing an accusing finger at his partner.

"We were supposed to protect her!" he snarled.

His wife jumped up defensively and clenched her fist, still unable to respond but no apology written in her eyes.

"We gave her a promise and you took that away!"

Trembling, nails digging into her palms, his wife averted her gaze and stared indignantly at the ground.

"So, dammit, tell me why!"

"I was scared." finally came the simple reply.

Shocked to her a response, he stared at her, stupefied.

"I was scared, okay?" she held herself in trembling arms, biting her lip, avoiding his burning gaze.

"I was here for you." his voice broke and was barely above a whisper. "What more did you want from me?"

She looked up at him, thrown off by the hurt she heard in his words.

"We spent years planning and this is what you decide to do? It was our job to bring her into the world!"

There was only silence to greet him.

He gritted his teeth and turned away from her. His feet were leading him to the door and he didn't resist. His hands on the knob, he felt a heavy weight dragging at his arm and tears falling on his bare hands.

Sandy hair in a mess, pale gray eyes wild and chaotic, she held his hand firmly in her grip.

He snatched his arm away from her, narrowing his eyes at her.

"I don't know who you are anymore."

He opened the door and left, nothing hindered him any further and despite the pain in his chest, he felt a sigh of relief deep within him.

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by Jjautry in portal Fiction
More Than Two Broken Hearts
There was the flash of a child's smile. A single candle flickering madly atop a snow-white cake. A flurry of golden leaves sent flying into the air by small bare feet. The tiny fingers of an infant held gently in the palm of a woman. The woman looked up, her silver eyes full of warmth and love, meeting his gaze. A fragile smile crossed her lips. The sun danced with the blonde strands of her hair and autumn went on peacefully behind her. Then there was darkness, pitch-black.
Eyes open, he found himself staring up at the ceiling fan. He watched the blades turn slowly, steadily eating away at his sanity, making him aware of his boredom. Blinking away the traces of his waking dream, he stretched slowly on the couch and turned to face the window. Across from him, staring wistfully out the window was his love. Dead-eyed and just as bored as him, she gave no sign of acknowledging him. He could feel a sensation of bitterness and sour hatred building up within him. It took every bit of his strength to resist his face contorting into a virulent grimace. Immediately denying the anger, he felt emptiness inside of him and he curled up tighter on the couch. He had to say something, anything, but no words came to mind so he stared absentmindedly down at the floor.
"Why?" the sound resonated within the lonely walls of the house and seemed to surprise them both.
What he thought had been a whisper in his head was a dangerous word he had uttered out into the hostile, open air. Fearfully, he looked at the woman and awaited her reaction. There was little to nothing to read in those wide, astonished eyes for a while but there quickly came a flash flood of anger. And he could feel himself responding likewise, his lip curling up and his brow heavy with rage.
He repeated the question, less apologetically this time, "Why?"
She couldn't answer him, but her lip tightened and her muscles tensed, her eyes locked on his, cold and deadly.
He could feel the tears welling up within his soul, but he pushed them down and leaped off of the couch, pointing an accusing finger at his partner.
"We were supposed to protect her!" he snarled.
His wife jumped up defensively and clenched her fist, still unable to respond but no apology written in her eyes.
"We gave her a promise and you took that away!"
Trembling, nails digging into her palms, his wife averted her gaze and stared indignantly at the ground.
"So, dammit, tell me why!"
"I was scared." finally came the simple reply.
Shocked to her a response, he stared at her, stupefied.
"I was scared, okay?" she held herself in trembling arms, biting her lip, avoiding his burning gaze.
"I was here for you." his voice broke and was barely above a whisper. "What more did you want from me?"
She looked up at him, thrown off by the hurt she heard in his words.
"We spent years planning and this is what you decide to do? It was our job to bring her into the world!"
There was only silence to greet him.
He gritted his teeth and turned away from her. His feet were leading him to the door and he didn't resist. His hands on the knob, he felt a heavy weight dragging at his arm and tears falling on his bare hands.
Sandy hair in a mess, pale gray eyes wild and chaotic, she held his hand firmly in her grip.
He snatched his arm away from her, narrowing his eyes at her.
"I don't know who you are anymore."
He opened the door and left, nothing hindered him any further and despite the pain in his chest, he felt a sigh of relief deep within him.
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by chainedinshadow in portal Fiction

Sharing the Pain

"I didn't want to be here, I didn't ask to do this," Rachel said, looking away from Will.

"I know," he soothed her, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. "I know you didn't. I didn't either, but I didn't have a choice. We were brought here for a reason."

She leaned her head on his shoulder. "I know, Will, but..."

"There aren't any buts about it, Rachel. We don't have a choice."

She looked away from him, tears clouding her eyes as she thought of everything she'd left behind--the friends, the family, the security, the love, the carelessness...

Will hugged her tighter, trying to comfort her, but for once, it didn't work. She was just as worried and sad as ever.

"Rachel, what I can I say to make you feel better?" he muttered.

"I've been told you bear your sorrows alone," she said softly. "That's what I've done."

Will brushed the hair out of her eyes and then gently took her chin and moved her face so she had to look him in the eyes. "Remember a few months after we were married, and my father died?"

Rachel nodded, mutely.

"I couldn't have made it through that without you. I talked to you about how I felt, and you sympathized. If I hadn't of shared my feelings, I don't know what would have happened to me. It made all the difference in the world to know that someone felt the same way I did," he finished.

He searched her eyes.

"Do you understand?" he asked.

She nodded, and looked away.

The sun sunk below the horizon, but neither of them moved for a long time after that. Finally, once the moon was full and overhead, they got quietly to their feet and walked away.

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by chainedinshadow in portal Fiction
Sharing the Pain
"I didn't want to be here, I didn't ask to do this," Rachel said, looking away from Will.
"I know," he soothed her, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. "I know you didn't. I didn't either, but I didn't have a choice. We were brought here for a reason."
She leaned her head on his shoulder. "I know, Will, but..."
"There aren't any buts about it, Rachel. We don't have a choice."
She looked away from him, tears clouding her eyes as she thought of everything she'd left behind--the friends, the family, the security, the love, the carelessness...
Will hugged her tighter, trying to comfort her, but for once, it didn't work. She was just as worried and sad as ever.
"Rachel, what I can I say to make you feel better?" he muttered.
"I've been told you bear your sorrows alone," she said softly. "That's what I've done."
Will brushed the hair out of her eyes and then gently took her chin and moved her face so she had to look him in the eyes. "Remember a few months after we were married, and my father died?"
Rachel nodded, mutely.
"I couldn't have made it through that without you. I talked to you about how I felt, and you sympathized. If I hadn't of shared my feelings, I don't know what would have happened to me. It made all the difference in the world to know that someone felt the same way I did," he finished.
He searched her eyes.
"Do you understand?" he asked.
She nodded, and looked away.
The sun sunk below the horizon, but neither of them moved for a long time after that. Finally, once the moon was full and overhead, they got quietly to their feet and walked away.
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by HermitThrush in portal Fiction

In the Blood

Harry sighed as he drove the car into the garage. Home, finally. No more long hours of asking people if they'd tried rebooting their computer, or watching their confusion when the problem disappeared as soon as he walked in the room. Though Ms. Newton's computer actually was on the fritz; it had been an engaging two hours of getting the firewall to behave. But now he could spend time with his daughter Elizabeth. Since Patty was visiting her parents, the two of them planned a night of pizza, video games, and absolutely atrocious horror movies.

Harry's parental instincts went to Defcon 1 as soon as he saw Elizabeth. She was sitting at the table, pale, wrapped in a blanket, staring straight at the wall. She didn't even turn as he came in the room.

"Sweetie, what's wrong? Are you OK?" Harry set his bag on the floor and pulled up a chair next to her. 

Elizabeth kept staring, but held out her arm. Harry gasped; there was an enormous cut across her skin. He decided she must be in shock. "What happened? Wait here, I'll grab the gauze." He glanced around the table and grabbed an unused napkin left over from breakfast. "Here, hold this on it until I get back. Put pressure on it to stop the bleeding."

"It's not bleeding." Her voice broke, and Elizabeth finally turned toward him. Tears hung perilously at the corners of her eyes. "I was going to do all that, but it's not bleeding."

Harry looked closer. The cut was pretty bad; he could see where the skin was forced apart. It wasn't especially deep, but it was long, more than enough to be dripping blood. He couldn't see a single drop.

He gagged, but quickly pushed down his feelings. If that was his reaction, Elizabeth needed him to be strong. "I'll get the gauze anyway. We don't want it to get infected." He squeezed her hand. "I'll just be a second." Harry ran to the closet and grabbed the first aid kit. Soon Elizabeth's arm was wrapped in white cloth.

Harry put his arm around his daughter's shoulders. "Can you tell me what happened yet?"

Elizabeth broke down in sobs, then used the napkin to dry her tears. Her body jerked up and down as she suppressed her crying, and then she swallowed. Finally she met her father's eyes and nodded.

"I was walking back from the bus stop when I heard shouting. I went to see what was going on, and--" Elizabeth paused, swallowed, and took a deep breath. "There were two guys. They had knives and they were shouting at a third guy that he must have more money. I screamed, but that just got their attention--"

Harry swore and stood up. "Where are they? They did this? When I find them I am going to feed them their own--"

"Dad, wait!" More tears ran down her cheeks. "Let me finish."

Harry clenched his hands into fists, but sat back down. He would hear the rest of the story, then go take care of those punks.

"I got scared and tried to run but one of them grazed my arm. Then... then..." Elizabeth started sobbing again.

Harry's fingers gripped the edge of his seat so hard he half expected it to break. It took more willpower than he knew he had not to hunt them down right then and there.

Elizabeth started breathing loudly, fast at first but then slow. Her voice was tense, a side effect of the control she forced herself to have. "Then I started bleeding, but it didn't stay. The blood just kind of dissolved, and then the bleeding stopped."

Harry felt his face contort in confusion. The conversation made less sense the longer it went on. "Your blood... it... what?"

Elizabeth hesitated. "It kind of... disappeared into a little orange cloud?" She dissolved into simultaneous laughter and tears as she rested her head on the table. "I didn't think it could get any crazier until I said that out loud."

Harry's anger was quickly changing into worry. What in the blazes was happening here?

"I saw it and the guys saw it, and it was so weird we kind of just stared for a second. Next thing I knew this... it kind of looked like orange light... came out of nowhere. It threw them against the wall, hard. One of them ran, but the other one didn't look too good. He was bleeding, and..." Elizabeth hid her face in her hands and squeezed her eyes shut. "I was too scared to see if he was alive. I ran home and that's when I realized I wasn't bleeding anymore."

Harry pulled in Elizabeth for a hug. Maybe she was crazy, he didn't know. All he knew was his daughter needed him. "It's going to be OK. I'll take care of whatever it is. And I can make sure you never see those guys again."

Elizabeth squeezed him and cried. "What's going on? Am I some kind of monster now? Am I even alive? What happens if I ever get cut again? What if everyone around me gets hurt if I get hurt?"

Harry kept holding her. "You're not a monster. You're my daughter. I don't know about the other questions but we'll get through this. OK? You're safe now."

Elizabeth nodded and straightened. They both stared as the white cloth on her arm began to stain red.

Elizabeth broke down laughing again. "Well, that's one question."

Later they found out that the guy in the alley got picked up and taken to the hospital, then arrested after his accomplice ratted him out. Though the police were a bit dubious at first, what with the raving about how he had to go straight because of a sign from God. The initial victim coming forward clinched it. Elizabeth was relieved that he had the tact not to mention her.

A week later, she cut her finger on a can in the recycling. She held her breath and waited. Blood oozed out of the cut and began to drip on the floor. Elizabeth exhaled, then went to get a bandage.

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by HermitThrush in portal Fiction
In the Blood
Harry sighed as he drove the car into the garage. Home, finally. No more long hours of asking people if they'd tried rebooting their computer, or watching their confusion when the problem disappeared as soon as he walked in the room. Though Ms. Newton's computer actually was on the fritz; it had been an engaging two hours of getting the firewall to behave. But now he could spend time with his daughter Elizabeth. Since Patty was visiting her parents, the two of them planned a night of pizza, video games, and absolutely atrocious horror movies.

Harry's parental instincts went to Defcon 1 as soon as he saw Elizabeth. She was sitting at the table, pale, wrapped in a blanket, staring straight at the wall. She didn't even turn as he came in the room.

"Sweetie, what's wrong? Are you OK?" Harry set his bag on the floor and pulled up a chair next to her. 

Elizabeth kept staring, but held out her arm. Harry gasped; there was an enormous cut across her skin. He decided she must be in shock. "What happened? Wait here, I'll grab the gauze." He glanced around the table and grabbed an unused napkin left over from breakfast. "Here, hold this on it until I get back. Put pressure on it to stop the bleeding."

"It's not bleeding." Her voice broke, and Elizabeth finally turned toward him. Tears hung perilously at the corners of her eyes. "I was going to do all that, but it's not bleeding."

Harry looked closer. The cut was pretty bad; he could see where the skin was forced apart. It wasn't especially deep, but it was long, more than enough to be dripping blood. He couldn't see a single drop.

He gagged, but quickly pushed down his feelings. If that was his reaction, Elizabeth needed him to be strong. "I'll get the gauze anyway. We don't want it to get infected." He squeezed her hand. "I'll just be a second." Harry ran to the closet and grabbed the first aid kit. Soon Elizabeth's arm was wrapped in white cloth.

Harry put his arm around his daughter's shoulders. "Can you tell me what happened yet?"

Elizabeth broke down in sobs, then used the napkin to dry her tears. Her body jerked up and down as she suppressed her crying, and then she swallowed. Finally she met her father's eyes and nodded.

"I was walking back from the bus stop when I heard shouting. I went to see what was going on, and--" Elizabeth paused, swallowed, and took a deep breath. "There were two guys. They had knives and they were shouting at a third guy that he must have more money. I screamed, but that just got their attention--"

Harry swore and stood up. "Where are they? They did this? When I find them I am going to feed them their own--"

"Dad, wait!" More tears ran down her cheeks. "Let me finish."

Harry clenched his hands into fists, but sat back down. He would hear the rest of the story, then go take care of those punks.

"I got scared and tried to run but one of them grazed my arm. Then... then..." Elizabeth started sobbing again.

Harry's fingers gripped the edge of his seat so hard he half expected it to break. It took more willpower than he knew he had not to hunt them down right then and there.

Elizabeth started breathing loudly, fast at first but then slow. Her voice was tense, a side effect of the control she forced herself to have. "Then I started bleeding, but it didn't stay. The blood just kind of dissolved, and then the bleeding stopped."

Harry felt his face contort in confusion. The conversation made less sense the longer it went on. "Your blood... it... what?"

Elizabeth hesitated. "It kind of... disappeared into a little orange cloud?" She dissolved into simultaneous laughter and tears as she rested her head on the table. "I didn't think it could get any crazier until I said that out loud."

Harry's anger was quickly changing into worry. What in the blazes was happening here?

"I saw it and the guys saw it, and it was so weird we kind of just stared for a second. Next thing I knew this... it kind of looked like orange light... came out of nowhere. It threw them against the wall, hard. One of them ran, but the other one didn't look too good. He was bleeding, and..." Elizabeth hid her face in her hands and squeezed her eyes shut. "I was too scared to see if he was alive. I ran home and that's when I realized I wasn't bleeding anymore."

Harry pulled in Elizabeth for a hug. Maybe she was crazy, he didn't know. All he knew was his daughter needed him. "It's going to be OK. I'll take care of whatever it is. And I can make sure you never see those guys again."

Elizabeth squeezed him and cried. "What's going on? Am I some kind of monster now? Am I even alive? What happens if I ever get cut again? What if everyone around me gets hurt if I get hurt?"

Harry kept holding her. "You're not a monster. You're my daughter. I don't know about the other questions but we'll get through this. OK? You're safe now."

Elizabeth nodded and straightened. They both stared as the white cloth on her arm began to stain red.

Elizabeth broke down laughing again. "Well, that's one question."

Later they found out that the guy in the alley got picked up and taken to the hospital, then arrested after his accomplice ratted him out. Though the police were a bit dubious at first, what with the raving about how he had to go straight because of a sign from God. The initial victim coming forward clinched it. Elizabeth was relieved that he had the tact not to mention her.

A week later, she cut her finger on a can in the recycling. She held her breath and waited. Blood oozed out of the cut and began to drip on the floor. Elizabeth exhaled, then went to get a bandage.

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by ruffmiriam in portal Fiction

In the Balance

Darya woke up suddenly. The room's walls were white. There were no windows. There was only the wan light from a single exposed light bulb casting shadows into the cramped corners. She was curled in a ball in one of those corners, and now she began to extend her limbs, one by one, noting the cramping in each as if they had been in their positions for quite some time. She sat up. The short white gown barely reached her knees, leaving her lower body exposed.

She looked around the room. There was nothing of note, just four white walls and mouldering shadows. Her belly felt as empty as the room she occupied, and her mouth was dry. How long had she been here, wherever here was? Where had she been before? She couldn't remember.

A noise suddenly broke into her reverie. She swiveled her head around the cramped quarters, looking for the sound. There, on the opposite wall. A door suddenly appeared and pushed itself open. There was only darkness beyond. Darya was on the verge of getting up and investigating when a figure appeared in the doorway, filling it from top to bottom. It was draped in a long black gown that hid its hands and feet. A cowl covered its head. As it entered the room, the door swung shut with a loud clang, and the wall went back to being a wall.

Darya's dry mouth grew even drier. She tried to force out words, questions, but nothing came. The figure approached her. It waved its hand, and a chair appeared in front of it, as black as it was. The figure moved around the chair and sat down.

"Wh-- Who are you?" Darya finally choked out. "Where am I, and how did I get here?"

The figure was silent.

"Answer me." The words came out as both demand and desperation.

The figure raised one of its arms, revealing the tips of bony fingers. A gold-colored scale appeared in its hand, its trays evenly balanced. It still said nothing.

Fear washed over Darya as she sat there, leaving her feeling more exposed than just from the gown's short length. Nothing seemed real. Nothing made sense. Where was she? Who was this person before her? And why couldn't she remember what had happened to bring her here?

The figure raised its other hand, and a scythe appeared. The cowl fell back from its face, revealing a bony skull, its eye sockets deep and dark and empty. A figure without a soul. Darya screamed. The figure didn't react - just waited for her to be silent as she backed even farther into the corner.

"Now," the figure said, its voice deep and resonant and completely devoid of any emotion. "Tell me about the worthiness of your life so I may judge."

And Death laughed.

#surreal #fantasy #horror #challenge #flashfiction #prose

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by ruffmiriam in portal Fiction
In the Balance
Darya woke up suddenly. The room's walls were white. There were no windows. There was only the wan light from a single exposed light bulb casting shadows into the cramped corners. She was curled in a ball in one of those corners, and now she began to extend her limbs, one by one, noting the cramping in each as if they had been in their positions for quite some time. She sat up. The short white gown barely reached her knees, leaving her lower body exposed.

She looked around the room. There was nothing of note, just four white walls and mouldering shadows. Her belly felt as empty as the room she occupied, and her mouth was dry. How long had she been here, wherever here was? Where had she been before? She couldn't remember.

A noise suddenly broke into her reverie. She swiveled her head around the cramped quarters, looking for the sound. There, on the opposite wall. A door suddenly appeared and pushed itself open. There was only darkness beyond. Darya was on the verge of getting up and investigating when a figure appeared in the doorway, filling it from top to bottom. It was draped in a long black gown that hid its hands and feet. A cowl covered its head. As it entered the room, the door swung shut with a loud clang, and the wall went back to being a wall.

Darya's dry mouth grew even drier. She tried to force out words, questions, but nothing came. The figure approached her. It waved its hand, and a chair appeared in front of it, as black as it was. The figure moved around the chair and sat down.

"Wh-- Who are you?" Darya finally choked out. "Where am I, and how did I get here?"

The figure was silent.

"Answer me." The words came out as both demand and desperation.

The figure raised one of its arms, revealing the tips of bony fingers. A gold-colored scale appeared in its hand, its trays evenly balanced. It still said nothing.

Fear washed over Darya as she sat there, leaving her feeling more exposed than just from the gown's short length. Nothing seemed real. Nothing made sense. Where was she? Who was this person before her? And why couldn't she remember what had happened to bring her here?

The figure raised its other hand, and a scythe appeared. The cowl fell back from its face, revealing a bony skull, its eye sockets deep and dark and empty. A figure without a soul. Darya screamed. The figure didn't react - just waited for her to be silent as she backed even farther into the corner.

"Now," the figure said, its voice deep and resonant and completely devoid of any emotion. "Tell me about the worthiness of your life so I may judge."

And Death laughed.

#surreal #fantasy #horror #challenge #flashfiction #prose

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by B27321 in portal Fiction

Shepard of Man

As the

Sun

Rises

In This

Valley

of the

Damned

I Question

Why

None

of you

Stand

Great

Men

&

Noble

Houses

Warriors

of the

Land

You Leave

a Lonely

Shepard

Boy

to Go

Where

None

Dare

To Protect

the Sheep

That are

Man

#B27321

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by B27321 in portal Fiction
Shepard of Man
As the
Sun
Rises
In This
Valley
of the
Damned
I Question
Why
None
of you
Stand
Great
Men
&
Noble
Houses
Warriors
of the
Land
You Leave
a Lonely
Shepard
Boy
to Go
Where
None
Dare
To Protect
the Sheep
That are
Man
#B27321
#fantasy  #adventure  #poetry  #mystery  #lyrics 
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by ValerieKCHN in portal Fiction

The Voice

The Voice woke me from an uneasy sleep. My heart was torn as I slept in my bed. My young daughter sleeping soundly close to me. I hadn't seen her in weeks, I had been hours away at the hospital with my sick baby boy. Now I felt I should still be there, but there are things here at home that had to be done and Jaymie needed me too. Jeff seemed stable and his father was there. I would be back later today, but still I was uncomfortable.

The Voice was dark and demonic. I tried to tell myself that it was a bad dream that awoken me. But I knew it was my ears that heard it and not my mind. I checked on my lil girl, I hadn't woke her. Her sweet little face peaceful in sleep. She deserved some peace after this month of hell. Staying with friends and grandparents, it had to be so rough on her, not understanding what was going on. She was only six and we tried to protect her from some of the reality. Jeff had been her constant companion and her best friend. How do you tell her that even if he lived he would never be the same.

The words from that voice would haunt me for an eternity. Spoken with demonic glee "bye bye Jeffy, you are dead!" I thought of trying to reach the hospital or my husband but it was early morning hours. I was just nervous about being away from him, right? I lay there trying to go back to sleep. Fading in and out until the phone rang. My husband. He had died. My Jeffrey was dead.

The Voice has done exactly what it wanted. It haunted me. For Twenty two years it has tormented me. I could never understand the meaning of the Voice. It wasn't God's voice with a warning. I have never heard His voice as some people do. I believe He does speak out loud to people at times. But this was no Godly voice. This was definitely a Demon. But my baby is safe. He was pure and I KNOW he is with God. So what joy would satan have at his death.

I went to sleep last night, afraid. This is the anniversary and the voice still scared me.

But I slept. And this morning I woke with the answer. And it was so simple. Twenty-two years of torment, and it was so simple. It was Satan's voice. He was saying goodbye to my son because he could no longer torture him. He couldn't make his body deform itself any longer. He couldn't make him scream out for hours at a time. God had taken him home. Satan in all his power couldn't touch him again. But he used that voice to still have me. Today I say "Go to Hell! you have no more power over me"

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by ValerieKCHN in portal Fiction
The Voice
The Voice woke me from an uneasy sleep. My heart was torn as I slept in my bed. My young daughter sleeping soundly close to me. I hadn't seen her in weeks, I had been hours away at the hospital with my sick baby boy. Now I felt I should still be there, but there are things here at home that had to be done and Jaymie needed me too. Jeff seemed stable and his father was there. I would be back later today, but still I was uncomfortable.
The Voice was dark and demonic. I tried to tell myself that it was a bad dream that awoken me. But I knew it was my ears that heard it and not my mind. I checked on my lil girl, I hadn't woke her. Her sweet little face peaceful in sleep. She deserved some peace after this month of hell. Staying with friends and grandparents, it had to be so rough on her, not understanding what was going on. She was only six and we tried to protect her from some of the reality. Jeff had been her constant companion and her best friend. How do you tell her that even if he lived he would never be the same.
The words from that voice would haunt me for an eternity. Spoken with demonic glee "bye bye Jeffy, you are dead!" I thought of trying to reach the hospital or my husband but it was early morning hours. I was just nervous about being away from him, right? I lay there trying to go back to sleep. Fading in and out until the phone rang. My husband. He had died. My Jeffrey was dead.
The Voice has done exactly what it wanted. It haunted me. For Twenty two years it has tormented me. I could never understand the meaning of the Voice. It wasn't God's voice with a warning. I have never heard His voice as some people do. I believe He does speak out loud to people at times. But this was no Godly voice. This was definitely a Demon. But my baby is safe. He was pure and I KNOW he is with God. So what joy would satan have at his death.
I went to sleep last night, afraid. This is the anniversary and the voice still scared me.
But I slept. And this morning I woke with the answer. And it was so simple. Twenty-two years of torment, and it was so simple. It was Satan's voice. He was saying goodbye to my son because he could no longer torture him. He couldn't make his body deform itself any longer. He couldn't make him scream out for hours at a time. God had taken him home. Satan in all his power couldn't touch him again. But he used that voice to still have me. Today I say "Go to Hell! you have no more power over me"
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by casteleijn in portal Fiction

Mudfish

The city pulls me in as I flop around like a mudfish without my protective mucus in the growing sun. I lie flat on my stomach and am puzzled. The graffiti on the side of the transformer house puzzles me: “Jail.” Why am I even here?

I just came from the forest. I know that I never was doubtful, it taught me that. I know I remember the things I recognize, I know I dream my comparisons, I know life is not real. I know everything just happens. Yet here I am staring at this.

So I get up and cross the road. My bare feet on the black cold asphalt is a shrill contrast to the desert sand I left before I entered the forest. Before I entered the city. Yet it does not speak to me. It is as dead as the sky.

In the bus stop sits a young woman. Her white dreadlocks are tied in a bun on her head, a piece of metal through the top of her nose. She smokes a cigarette while her eyes dart over the concrete in front of her. In her frailty lies strength; she was broken before. She fixed it herself. She knows that my lingering stare is on her, yet she does not heed me. A tremor filled with noise and dark smoke propels a tin box alongside us. So much traffic at such an early hour. I shudder. I made the forest my own, the city will take me if I do not learn fast.

“What does that mean?”

The girl ignores my question.

“What does that mean?”

She looks up with a short glance. She squints against the bright light and follows my pointing finger. She shrugs.

“Why is that a Jail?”

She tilts her head now, hails the next bus while she gets up and flicks her cigarette in the street. When she passes me she whispers my first lesson.

“You know nothing of the wizards, go back from where you came.”

Before I can reply I am alone. At least in the forest I learned how to connect. Here is nothing to connect with. So I walk to the transformation house. It drew me in, it has to mean something. The large wooden box in front of it can open. I check its content and it is filled with tiny stones. Then I circle the building. Each side is marked with white words: Jail. Then I am back at the box. My corner of my eye catches movement. A man walks from some apartments to the bus stop through a small wooded area straight towards me. He is fox like, silent he moves.

“Hey, why is there no door in this building?” It really makes me wonder.

The man looks at me. My heart skips a beat as a deep vibration moves through my belly. Yellow are his eyes, his tongue forked, tattoos display his affiliations on his neck. He spits once in the sand. I expect a snake to sprout from the mixture, yet nothing happens. If he is a guard he is doing his job well.

“What do you think?”

“I do not know. That is why I am asking you.”

“Listen here old man, if you cannot figure out what this building is, then who would know?”

The way he says ‘you’ annoys me immensely. 

“Hey, the way you…” Already gone. What kind of trickery is this? I decide to find out from where he came, so I walk through the bushes away from the transformation house to stumble on a school’s playground just next to the apartment blocks. Some kids are dancing in a circle and singing a song.


“Wizards with fame, fallen angels some man say.
 Cloaked among people their works collide 
with the resurrection of mystics in men. 
“Ah”, would the philosopher say, 'is that not the burden of men', 
but no one knows how the wizards play…”

A rather elaborate song for young kids I do think, so I move to the teacher to comment just that, when she herds the kids in quickly. I look behind me. Is the weather turning? Am I being chased by a lion? I press on.

“Please, we have been over this before, you frighten the children.” The young woman looks at me with concern and a bit of fright.

I am flabbergasted. I walk back slowly with my mouth open. A mudfish on land way too long. Why is the air thicker here than in the forest? Why does it feel hotter here than among the seas of sand, where even I could pet a lion’s mane?

I trod and trample a small plant in the bush. Trickles of tiny droplets fall of the leaves all around me. This Amputee part of the forest is trying to talk to me. Whispers of steel, fragments of stone, a hint of smoke and fire. Dreams of older days. I back up until I hit the transformer house. Out of breath I wait until the sun sinks lower. Then footsteps in the dirt. Soft, with trepidation they come up to me and softly pass me. Snake man is going home. How many lizards did he kill today? I really do not know.

Then a hand on my shoulder. The white witch returned, her eyes kind, her lips hard. Ice all the way through. She offers me water. That’s it! I forgot to drink.

“I am sorry I am a burden.” Why I mumble this I do not know. Yesterday I ran from the forest all the way to the city. With strong legs and hard muscles. How is today so long?

“Here take this, hold on to it! Now touch the walls old man, feel the hard stone. Think and then leave the city.”

So full of hate she is, yet there rings truth in her words. Magic trickles under this building. I feel it, there is an earthly glow impossible not to notice. I feel stupid. Now I see, why not earlier? Water flows from the forest to the desert, but it all starts here.

“Look old fool!” She is really going at it now, the ice-witch. Why have metal in her nose if she is not scared for flying objects?

Before me a door that was never there before. Heavy steel set in stone. I can almost imagine the smoke, the flames, but then I open it. I step inside. Or did she push me?

Inside one fluorescent light hums visibility. The ceiling is blackened. The floor is sand, nothing here but me. I look around the four walls. I count them over and over again. Four, four four four. On each wall one written word.

“Trapped.”

Then I remember I am the old fool, the druid who entered the city. Twenty-one wizards with fame played this trick. Now they are gone or old and demented. I will sit here long forgotten.

Wait! She gave me something. In my hand a spray can of ‘Redwood red’. The bitch. Here now I spray my story, fellow druids! Head my warning: “never visit the city!”

- END

(c) Casteleijn MG. 2015-2017

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by casteleijn in portal Fiction
Mudfish
The city pulls me in as I flop around like a mudfish without my protective mucus in the growing sun. I lie flat on my stomach and am puzzled. The graffiti on the side of the transformer house puzzles me: “Jail.” Why am I even here?

I just came from the forest. I know that I never was doubtful, it taught me that. I know I remember the things I recognize, I know I dream my comparisons, I know life is not real. I know everything just happens. Yet here I am staring at this.

So I get up and cross the road. My bare feet on the black cold asphalt is a shrill contrast to the desert sand I left before I entered the forest. Before I entered the city. Yet it does not speak to me. It is as dead as the sky.

In the bus stop sits a young woman. Her white dreadlocks are tied in a bun on her head, a piece of metal through the top of her nose. She smokes a cigarette while her eyes dart over the concrete in front of her. In her frailty lies strength; she was broken before. She fixed it herself. She knows that my lingering stare is on her, yet she does not heed me. A tremor filled with noise and dark smoke propels a tin box alongside us. So much traffic at such an early hour. I shudder. I made the forest my own, the city will take me if I do not learn fast.

“What does that mean?”

The girl ignores my question.

“What does that mean?”

She looks up with a short glance. She squints against the bright light and follows my pointing finger. She shrugs.

“Why is that a Jail?”

She tilts her head now, hails the next bus while she gets up and flicks her cigarette in the street. When she passes me she whispers my first lesson.

“You know nothing of the wizards, go back from where you came.”

Before I can reply I am alone. At least in the forest I learned how to connect. Here is nothing to connect with. So I walk to the transformation house. It drew me in, it has to mean something. The large wooden box in front of it can open. I check its content and it is filled with tiny stones. Then I circle the building. Each side is marked with white words: Jail. Then I am back at the box. My corner of my eye catches movement. A man walks from some apartments to the bus stop through a small wooded area straight towards me. He is fox like, silent he moves.

“Hey, why is there no door in this building?” It really makes me wonder.

The man looks at me. My heart skips a beat as a deep vibration moves through my belly. Yellow are his eyes, his tongue forked, tattoos display his affiliations on his neck. He spits once in the sand. I expect a snake to sprout from the mixture, yet nothing happens. If he is a guard he is doing his job well.

“What do you think?”

“I do not know. That is why I am asking you.”

“Listen here old man, if you cannot figure out what this building is, then who would know?”

The way he says ‘you’ annoys me immensely. 

“Hey, the way you…” Already gone. What kind of trickery is this? I decide to find out from where he came, so I walk through the bushes away from the transformation house to stumble on a school’s playground just next to the apartment blocks. Some kids are dancing in a circle and singing a song.


“Wizards with fame, fallen angels some man say.
 Cloaked among people their works collide 
with the resurrection of mystics in men. 
“Ah”, would the philosopher say, 'is that not the burden of men', 
but no one knows how the wizards play…”

A rather elaborate song for young kids I do think, so I move to the teacher to comment just that, when she herds the kids in quickly. I look behind me. Is the weather turning? Am I being chased by a lion? I press on.

“Please, we have been over this before, you frighten the children.” The young woman looks at me with concern and a bit of fright.

I am flabbergasted. I walk back slowly with my mouth open. A mudfish on land way too long. Why is the air thicker here than in the forest? Why does it feel hotter here than among the seas of sand, where even I could pet a lion’s mane?

I trod and trample a small plant in the bush. Trickles of tiny droplets fall of the leaves all around me. This Amputee part of the forest is trying to talk to me. Whispers of steel, fragments of stone, a hint of smoke and fire. Dreams of older days. I back up until I hit the transformer house. Out of breath I wait until the sun sinks lower. Then footsteps in the dirt. Soft, with trepidation they come up to me and softly pass me. Snake man is going home. How many lizards did he kill today? I really do not know.

Then a hand on my shoulder. The white witch returned, her eyes kind, her lips hard. Ice all the way through. She offers me water. That’s it! I forgot to drink.

“I am sorry I am a burden.” Why I mumble this I do not know. Yesterday I ran from the forest all the way to the city. With strong legs and hard muscles. How is today so long?

“Here take this, hold on to it! Now touch the walls old man, feel the hard stone. Think and then leave the city.”

So full of hate she is, yet there rings truth in her words. Magic trickles under this building. I feel it, there is an earthly glow impossible not to notice. I feel stupid. Now I see, why not earlier? Water flows from the forest to the desert, but it all starts here.

“Look old fool!” She is really going at it now, the ice-witch. Why have metal in her nose if she is not scared for flying objects?

Before me a door that was never there before. Heavy steel set in stone. I can almost imagine the smoke, the flames, but then I open it. I step inside. Or did she push me?
Inside one fluorescent light hums visibility. The ceiling is blackened. The floor is sand, nothing here but me. I look around the four walls. I count them over and over again. Four, four four four. On each wall one written word.

“Trapped.”

Then I remember I am the old fool, the druid who entered the city. Twenty-one wizards with fame played this trick. Now they are gone or old and demented. I will sit here long forgotten.

Wait! She gave me something. In my hand a spray can of ‘Redwood red’. The bitch. Here now I spray my story, fellow druids! Head my warning: “never visit the city!”

- END

(c) Casteleijn MG. 2015-2017
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Fiction

Reality

It is the ninth and the rent is due. I have no way of paying it.  I lie on my couch and stare at the walls.  Maybe I will be told I have been approved and the mail will confirm it.  I wait for the mail.  This is not my apartment, my mind tells me.  Apartments are for people who can pay.

There is nobody left to turn to. I have exhausted all avenues of help. I have not worked in a year.  I have used up my state disability payments.  I am going to lose my home.  It is not my home anymore, I remind myself. Apartments are for people who can pay.

Last month the church paid my rent.  It is the last time, they told me.  I said I understood.  I was sure that any day now I'd be approved for federal disability.  It never came.  Now the rent is past due and I have nothing to say to the landlord.

Months ago before the church helped I tried to sleep under a tree to see how it felt.  It wasn't that bad, I think.  Of course it hadn't rained.  I could stand to be homeless if it didn't rain.

I come to a decision.  I call my landlord.  "I have no money coming in and no source of income, I might as well come by Monday and surrender the keys," I say.  I have a plan.  I plan to be homeless.

I gather together three days of clothes in a trash bag.  I throw out all my toiletries in the bathroom and save one roll of toilet paper.  I abandon all my pins, all my ties, all my books.  The books get to me.  I leave them boxed.  I cannot throw out my books.  

For the rest, I reflect that soldiers live out of a duffel bag and think nothing much of it.  Man up, I think.  I put my electronics in a gym bag and give it to a friend with my birth certificate.  I call a friend from church.  He will help me cart my stuffs to Goodwill.

My suits, my tuxedo I put in a suitcase for donation.  The massive L desk I was given by  a boss, I leave.  It takes two truckloads by itself.  I throw away everything in the desk.   I throw away the harddrives I was saving from my old computers.  I have no way to safeguard them.

I start stacking stuff outside for my neighbors to keep.  My mountain bike that I kept since 1995 is snatched up.  Some things I thought had real value are left.  Nobody wants the executive wooden office chair my boss gave me with the desk.  I resign it to Goodwill.

My friend comes to help my pack my donations.  He is shocked to hear I have nowhere to go.  He takes me to lunch and begs me to call my folks.  I do not want to call them.  By now I want to be homeless, where I belong.

I call my parents.  They say they can take me for a week.  My friend buys me a bus ticket.  He is relieved I will not live on the street.  I say I am too.  But I am thinking it is just for a week.  I think I belong in the gutter.

That was two months ago.  My parents say I can be a help to them.  I try to keep a low profile in their complex, because it is technically age restricted.  The management says I can stay because I am disabled and helping my father.  But everyone I meet and talk to gets around to asking how long I'm going to be here.  They want it restricted.

I have no income and no car, and when I check online there are no affordable apartments in California anymore.  I have been back to follow up on my disability.  I told everyone I wanted to move back, and I did, but not at those prices.  There are very cheap trailers for rent out here within 3 miles, so maybe I'll end my days in a desert lot in a trailer.

I swim everyday at least once, and write online, and let myself forget that I don't fit in anywhere.  I guess that is coping.

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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by ArmandChascour in portal Fiction
Reality
It is the ninth and the rent is due. I have no way of paying it.  I lie on my couch and stare at the walls.  Maybe I will be told I have been approved and the mail will confirm it.  I wait for the mail.  This is not my apartment, my mind tells me.  Apartments are for people who can pay.

There is nobody left to turn to. I have exhausted all avenues of help. I have not worked in a year.  I have used up my state disability payments.  I am going to lose my home.  It is not my home anymore, I remind myself. Apartments are for people who can pay.

Last month the church paid my rent.  It is the last time, they told me.  I said I understood.  I was sure that any day now I'd be approved for federal disability.  It never came.  Now the rent is past due and I have nothing to say to the landlord.

Months ago before the church helped I tried to sleep under a tree to see how it felt.  It wasn't that bad, I think.  Of course it hadn't rained.  I could stand to be homeless if it didn't rain.

I come to a decision.  I call my landlord.  "I have no money coming in and no source of income, I might as well come by Monday and surrender the keys," I say.  I have a plan.  I plan to be homeless.

I gather together three days of clothes in a trash bag.  I throw out all my toiletries in the bathroom and save one roll of toilet paper.  I abandon all my pins, all my ties, all my books.  The books get to me.  I leave them boxed.  I cannot throw out my books.  

For the rest, I reflect that soldiers live out of a duffel bag and think nothing much of it.  Man up, I think.  I put my electronics in a gym bag and give it to a friend with my birth certificate.  I call a friend from church.  He will help me cart my stuffs to Goodwill.

My suits, my tuxedo I put in a suitcase for donation.  The massive L desk I was given by  a boss, I leave.  It takes two truckloads by itself.  I throw away everything in the desk.   I throw away the harddrives I was saving from my old computers.  I have no way to safeguard them.

I start stacking stuff outside for my neighbors to keep.  My mountain bike that I kept since 1995 is snatched up.  Some things I thought had real value are left.  Nobody wants the executive wooden office chair my boss gave me with the desk.  I resign it to Goodwill.

My friend comes to help my pack my donations.  He is shocked to hear I have nowhere to go.  He takes me to lunch and begs me to call my folks.  I do not want to call them.  By now I want to be homeless, where I belong.

I call my parents.  They say they can take me for a week.  My friend buys me a bus ticket.  He is relieved I will not live on the street.  I say I am too.  But I am thinking it is just for a week.  I think I belong in the gutter.

That was two months ago.  My parents say I can be a help to them.  I try to keep a low profile in their complex, because it is technically age restricted.  The management says I can stay because I am disabled and helping my father.  But everyone I meet and talk to gets around to asking how long I'm going to be here.  They want it restricted.

I have no income and no car, and when I check online there are no affordable apartments in California anymore.  I have been back to follow up on my disability.  I told everyone I wanted to move back, and I did, but not at those prices.  There are very cheap trailers for rent out here within 3 miles, so maybe I'll end my days in a desert lot in a trailer.

I swim everyday at least once, and write online, and let myself forget that I don't fit in anywhere.  I guess that is coping.
9
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by luvtoread_21 in portal Fiction

Little Fiona

I knew death was inevitable. It will happen to me and everyone around me.

But I never expected my little sister to die before me.

At first, I thought it was a dream. I still think that I'm in a dream. One day, I'll wake up.

Little Fiona will be jumping on my bed, shouting for me to wake up and play with her.

One day, I'll be happy again.

The thing is, it didn't feel like losing someone. It felt numb. I wouldn't say painless, what with all those tears rolling down my cheeks. But it felt surreal. And I'll never forget this feeling. The feeling of grief and such sadness that maybe someday, I'll have to experience again.

Her room stands still in the particles of dust laid by the sunlight peering through the windows. White sheets were draped over everything. It was my only proof to myself that she was gone and this was real.

Every night, I strip the white sheets that covers her bed, and sleep on the white puffy mattress of hers. Believing that the next day, I will be with her.

I'm holding onto the strings of hope.

But they are fraying so quickly.

I still remember the funeral for her. The day we both wrote our wills together. Our wishes for our family and our friends. Except, she would be the only one dying soon. But, it's not true. She isn't dead. I won't believe it.

I will never believe it. 

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Donate coins to luvtoread_21.
Juice
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To celebrate the release of my new book, I am inviting you all to participate in a contest. The concept: Explore a person's struggle to come to terms with a strange, sinister, or surreal reality. This is a broad theme to encourage you to be as creative as you choose. Flash and full length stories welcome in horror, fantasy, surreal, or any hybrid genres. The only rule: Prose fiction only. Three winners will be chosen, who will receive 2000, 1000, or 500 coins + a signed copy of my collection.
Written by luvtoread_21 in portal Fiction
Little Fiona
I knew death was inevitable. It will happen to me and everyone around me.
But I never expected my little sister to die before me.

At first, I thought it was a dream. I still think that I'm in a dream. One day, I'll wake up.
Little Fiona will be jumping on my bed, shouting for me to wake up and play with her.
One day, I'll be happy again.

The thing is, it didn't feel like losing someone. It felt numb. I wouldn't say painless, what with all those tears rolling down my cheeks. But it felt surreal. And I'll never forget this feeling. The feeling of grief and such sadness that maybe someday, I'll have to experience again.

Her room stands still in the particles of dust laid by the sunlight peering through the windows. White sheets were draped over everything. It was my only proof to myself that she was gone and this was real.

Every night, I strip the white sheets that covers her bed, and sleep on the white puffy mattress of hers. Believing that the next day, I will be with her.
I'm holding onto the strings of hope.
But they are fraying so quickly.

I still remember the funeral for her. The day we both wrote our wills together. Our wishes for our family and our friends. Except, she would be the only one dying soon. But, it's not true. She isn't dead. I won't believe it.
I will never believe it. 
12
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2
Juice
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