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Written by Stormlight in portal Fiction

The Flood

The boy awoke to the sound of rain as it pelted the roof of the workshop. There was a howling in the air as winds battered the walls. The door to the building rattled back and forth on its weathered hinges and the boy prayed that it would hold for the night. He shivered and squirmed deeper into his nest of blankets and rags, scrounging for the remnants of warmth within them. He opened his eyes, though it served little purpose. It was still nighttime and the night was always darker than any shadows or voids he could possibly dream of. Opened or closed, he was blind to the world.

During the day, he had found dried, crusted cloths stained black with oil hidden inside one of the large metal cabinets. He used the cloths and twigs he had gathered from outside and built a tiny fire using one of his matches. He had watched the thin wisps of smoke rise and seep through the vents mounted high on the walls and eventually fell asleep to the sound of the crackling flames.

The fire had died some hours ago and now he sat in the cold and the quiet. It was so dark that he could barely see his hand when held inches from his face. The outlines of cabinets, shelves, tools and the husk of an old car could barely be seen, fuzzy and not quite there as if some glaucoma had dimmed what little of the world remained.

The sound of the rain and wind outside had grown violent with the booms of thunder claps as if God himself had come to rage upon the ashes and wash them all away.

With the fire gone, the cold clawed at his skin. The boy curled into a ball and pulled the rags tightly over him. His cheeks and hands were raw and the back of his throat burned with every breath. With no fire, he feared he might die.

He began to hum a tune to himself, although where he had heard it and what the lyrics were, he did not know. It always calmed him. It was the only song he knew and it reminded him of different days – better days. Ones he wished he could grab the memory of and relive.

An hour passed and still the boy lay wide awake, shivering in the cold. He could feel hunger rising within, biting him with the teeth of a starved beast. He had bottled water and cans of old soda, but no food left. He could go many hours without food these days, but it had now been a full day since he last ate. The taste of the canned broth still rested on his tongue and his stomach groaned in remembrance of it. The pain of hunger was something he had grown accustomed to, but it was often still enough to keep him awake at night and even when he slept through it the hunger visited him in dreams.

The rain continued to fall. Sometimes the sound of it would lull him to sleep, but on nights where the storms were especially bad, on nights like this, he’d lie huddled in a corner, frightened that it would slip under the door and drown him and everything else in the room. It could rain for days. The world would flood and overnight it would transform itself into an impassable bog of sludge and black ice. The boy couldn’t even drink from the puddles because it would burn his throat whenever he tried, as if the sky had cried acid.

When it last rained, the boy had been trapped inside an abandoned block of flats. The rain had fallen for only three days, but he remained stranded for an entire week as the water gradually dissipated enough for him to move on. He had survived on what little food and drink he had left, and on the rats that scurried up and down the halls.

The boy hoped the rain would stop soon. There weren't any rats here. Only strange tools and metal cabinets.

Again, he hummed the tune he didn’t know. The nameless song that so often replaced the grey of the world with colour. He hummed it to the dark of the night and to himself and hoped that one day it would hum back.

He closed his eyes and tried to think of the better days. He sang the tune in his head and tried to remember the words. He tried to ignore his hunger; he tried to ignore that he was cold and alone in a world of no one and he tried his best not to cry.

The earth shook with thunder once again and he felt an icy wetness seep into his blankets as the room began to flood.

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Written by Stormlight in portal Fiction
The Flood
The boy awoke to the sound of rain as it pelted the roof of the workshop. There was a howling in the air as winds battered the walls. The door to the building rattled back and forth on its weathered hinges and the boy prayed that it would hold for the night. He shivered and squirmed deeper into his nest of blankets and rags, scrounging for the remnants of warmth within them. He opened his eyes, though it served little purpose. It was still nighttime and the night was always darker than any shadows or voids he could possibly dream of. Opened or closed, he was blind to the world.

During the day, he had found dried, crusted cloths stained black with oil hidden inside one of the large metal cabinets. He used the cloths and twigs he had gathered from outside and built a tiny fire using one of his matches. He had watched the thin wisps of smoke rise and seep through the vents mounted high on the walls and eventually fell asleep to the sound of the crackling flames.

The fire had died some hours ago and now he sat in the cold and the quiet. It was so dark that he could barely see his hand when held inches from his face. The outlines of cabinets, shelves, tools and the husk of an old car could barely be seen, fuzzy and not quite there as if some glaucoma had dimmed what little of the world remained.

The sound of the rain and wind outside had grown violent with the booms of thunder claps as if God himself had come to rage upon the ashes and wash them all away.

With the fire gone, the cold clawed at his skin. The boy curled into a ball and pulled the rags tightly over him. His cheeks and hands were raw and the back of his throat burned with every breath. With no fire, he feared he might die.

He began to hum a tune to himself, although where he had heard it and what the lyrics were, he did not know. It always calmed him. It was the only song he knew and it reminded him of different days – better days. Ones he wished he could grab the memory of and relive.

An hour passed and still the boy lay wide awake, shivering in the cold. He could feel hunger rising within, biting him with the teeth of a starved beast. He had bottled water and cans of old soda, but no food left. He could go many hours without food these days, but it had now been a full day since he last ate. The taste of the canned broth still rested on his tongue and his stomach groaned in remembrance of it. The pain of hunger was something he had grown accustomed to, but it was often still enough to keep him awake at night and even when he slept through it the hunger visited him in dreams.

The rain continued to fall. Sometimes the sound of it would lull him to sleep, but on nights where the storms were especially bad, on nights like this, he’d lie huddled in a corner, frightened that it would slip under the door and drown him and everything else in the room. It could rain for days. The world would flood and overnight it would transform itself into an impassable bog of sludge and black ice. The boy couldn’t even drink from the puddles because it would burn his throat whenever he tried, as if the sky had cried acid.

When it last rained, the boy had been trapped inside an abandoned block of flats. The rain had fallen for only three days, but he remained stranded for an entire week as the water gradually dissipated enough for him to move on. He had survived on what little food and drink he had left, and on the rats that scurried up and down the halls.

The boy hoped the rain would stop soon. There weren't any rats here. Only strange tools and metal cabinets.

Again, he hummed the tune he didn’t know. The nameless song that so often replaced the grey of the world with colour. He hummed it to the dark of the night and to himself and hoped that one day it would hum back.

He closed his eyes and tried to think of the better days. He sang the tune in his head and tried to remember the words. He tried to ignore his hunger; he tried to ignore that he was cold and alone in a world of no one and he tried his best not to cry.

The earth shook with thunder once again and he felt an icy wetness seep into his blankets as the room began to flood.
#scifi  #fiction  #shortstory  #postapocalypse 
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Write a short story with only five sentences, and each sentence must have only five words.
Written by justaperson in portal Fiction

I am alone by myself.

The memories haunt me continuously.

Screams and torture haunt them.

Knives bloodied, blood pumping out,

bodies scattered around the ground.

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Write a short story with only five sentences, and each sentence must have only five words.
Written by justaperson in portal Fiction
I am alone by myself.
The memories haunt me continuously.
Screams and torture haunt them.
Knives bloodied, blood pumping out,
bodies scattered around the ground.
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Write a short story with only five sentences, and each sentence must have only five words.
Written by TheJeffKaminski in portal Fiction

The Real End.

We had survived the apocalypse.

We had held humanity together.

We had begun to rebuild.

But the world truly ended.

When the TP was depleted.

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Write a short story with only five sentences, and each sentence must have only five words.
Written by TheJeffKaminski in portal Fiction
The Real End.
We had survived the apocalypse.
We had held humanity together.
We had begun to rebuild.
But the world truly ended.
When the TP was depleted.
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Written by chainedinshadow in portal Fiction

Short Story

The light is hard, cold.

Jessi doesn't know to leave.

Screams echo around her ears.

She's confused, alone, and afraid.

There's no one to help.

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Written by chainedinshadow in portal Fiction
Short Story
The light is hard, cold.
Jessi doesn't know to leave.
Screams echo around her ears.
She's confused, alone, and afraid.
There's no one to help.
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Write a short story where someone finally takes a stand against a bully, without the use of violence.
Written by Estril in portal Fiction

March

They were the queens of the fourth grade. They did what they wanted, and no one said anything about it.

Their favourite pastime happened to be humiliating me. I must admit, they were pretty good at it. They did it in intricate ways that wouldn't be as obvious as name-calling or leave a mark like hitting would. They would invite me to hide and seek, and then never come seek. They would ask me questions and then twist my answers so that it suddenly sounded stupid and embarrassing. They would challenge me to climb to a high place, promising to help me down, and then run away leaving me there.

Their every word, every action and facial expression, was designed to underline to me that I'm not wanted there.

The school yard was divided into areas. There was the place where the jungle gym was, another where several different types of hopscotch grids were painted. Way in the back of the yard was a running track and a football field. My place was the one by the bike racks, close to the stairs, in a shadowy cranny so that the other kids wouldn't notice me when they walked by.

That day the other kids were jumping rope close to my shadows. The queen of the queens was an expert. She could do the double rope in a super fast pace. I really wanted to try as well although I knew I wasn't good at it. It looked like fun and I couldn't play it by myself. I knew I had to brave going there among the other children if I wanted to play.

They said I'd need to be swinging the rope first before it would be my turn. I stood at the other end of the rope and looked at the other children having fun. My turn didn't come during that fifteen minute recess, or during the next. Finally, in the afternoon, they let me try jumping. I had a chance to make one or two jumps before they loosened the rope so that it would swing unevenly. The rope hit my legs, stopping abruptly, meaning my turn was over. It was clear they weren't going to give me another chance.

I sulked to the shadows of my hiding place and curled on top of a concrete box with a metal lid, where I often sat when I wanted to be alone. Disappointment, anger and humiliation burned behind my eyes. I wasn't going to cry, not so that they would see it, so I hid my face to my sleeves. There was still some ten minutes of recess left. I wondered if the redness of my eyes might disappear by the time we would return to class.

“Hey there”, I heard a voice saying. I lifted my eyes carefully, only peeking over my arms. It was a girl from sixth grade. I wasn't sure what her name was.

She placed a hand on my shoulder. “What is it?”

I fought the tears and failed. With the tears came the words, pouring out of me in globs between snotty sobs, revealing all the pain and unfairness I felt. The older girl listened with a serious expression. When I finished my story she told me to wait for a moment and ran away.

The metal lid underneath me felt cold. I wondered what just happened. Terror started to grow in me. What was that sixth grader going to do? Had I gotten myself in trouble? Or would she just leave me there waiting until I would feel abandoned and crushed like I had felt so many times before?

Only a couple of minutes later she came back with half a dozen friends. She smiled to me reassuringly as she grabbed my arm to the crook of hers. One of her friends took my other arm, and the rest of them settled to each side, forming a wide row of sixth grade girls linked to each other by their arms, with me in the middle.

They took me on a march around the yard, the other girls keeping their heads high and chests out. As we passed my classmates they started chanting “we won't dodge, we won't dodge”, and made sure that the queens would have to step aside to avoid being overrun. We went around the whole yard like this, past the jungle gym, over the hopscotch grids, into the football field, all around until the bell rang. The girls escorted me to class and the one who had found me winked at me encouragingly.

I reached the class a little bit late. The teacher scolded me and the queens muttered something insulting while showing extremely sour faces. I didn't care. I had friends in high places now, and that was surely going to help. But that wasn't even the best part.

Someone had cared enough to stand up for me. I mattered.

I teared up again, but for very different reasons.

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Write a short story where someone finally takes a stand against a bully, without the use of violence.
Written by Estril in portal Fiction
March
They were the queens of the fourth grade. They did what they wanted, and no one said anything about it.

Their favourite pastime happened to be humiliating me. I must admit, they were pretty good at it. They did it in intricate ways that wouldn't be as obvious as name-calling or leave a mark like hitting would. They would invite me to hide and seek, and then never come seek. They would ask me questions and then twist my answers so that it suddenly sounded stupid and embarrassing. They would challenge me to climb to a high place, promising to help me down, and then run away leaving me there.

Their every word, every action and facial expression, was designed to underline to me that I'm not wanted there.

The school yard was divided into areas. There was the place where the jungle gym was, another where several different types of hopscotch grids were painted. Way in the back of the yard was a running track and a football field. My place was the one by the bike racks, close to the stairs, in a shadowy cranny so that the other kids wouldn't notice me when they walked by.

That day the other kids were jumping rope close to my shadows. The queen of the queens was an expert. She could do the double rope in a super fast pace. I really wanted to try as well although I knew I wasn't good at it. It looked like fun and I couldn't play it by myself. I knew I had to brave going there among the other children if I wanted to play.

They said I'd need to be swinging the rope first before it would be my turn. I stood at the other end of the rope and looked at the other children having fun. My turn didn't come during that fifteen minute recess, or during the next. Finally, in the afternoon, they let me try jumping. I had a chance to make one or two jumps before they loosened the rope so that it would swing unevenly. The rope hit my legs, stopping abruptly, meaning my turn was over. It was clear they weren't going to give me another chance.

I sulked to the shadows of my hiding place and curled on top of a concrete box with a metal lid, where I often sat when I wanted to be alone. Disappointment, anger and humiliation burned behind my eyes. I wasn't going to cry, not so that they would see it, so I hid my face to my sleeves. There was still some ten minutes of recess left. I wondered if the redness of my eyes might disappear by the time we would return to class.

“Hey there”, I heard a voice saying. I lifted my eyes carefully, only peeking over my arms. It was a girl from sixth grade. I wasn't sure what her name was.

She placed a hand on my shoulder. “What is it?”

I fought the tears and failed. With the tears came the words, pouring out of me in globs between snotty sobs, revealing all the pain and unfairness I felt. The older girl listened with a serious expression. When I finished my story she told me to wait for a moment and ran away.

The metal lid underneath me felt cold. I wondered what just happened. Terror started to grow in me. What was that sixth grader going to do? Had I gotten myself in trouble? Or would she just leave me there waiting until I would feel abandoned and crushed like I had felt so many times before?

Only a couple of minutes later she came back with half a dozen friends. She smiled to me reassuringly as she grabbed my arm to the crook of hers. One of her friends took my other arm, and the rest of them settled to each side, forming a wide row of sixth grade girls linked to each other by their arms, with me in the middle.

They took me on a march around the yard, the other girls keeping their heads high and chests out. As we passed my classmates they started chanting “we won't dodge, we won't dodge”, and made sure that the queens would have to step aside to avoid being overrun. We went around the whole yard like this, past the jungle gym, over the hopscotch grids, into the football field, all around until the bell rang. The girls escorted me to class and the one who had found me winked at me encouragingly.

I reached the class a little bit late. The teacher scolded me and the queens muttered something insulting while showing extremely sour faces. I didn't care. I had friends in high places now, and that was surely going to help. But that wasn't even the best part.

Someone had cared enough to stand up for me. I mattered.

I teared up again, but for very different reasons.
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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 NiiaFalls in portal Fiction

DOC MARTINS

I.

Laverne's a feminist

A dyke, Tommy says.

She's been one ever since

she cut off her long, brown hair.

I'm glad she did it though

because she and Tommy

used to have something going,

and everybody said Tommy only liked me

'cuz my hair is long and brown

like hers was. But now mine is a lot longer, but not as wavy.

She's not very popular

anymore. The guys

on the team barely speak to her

anymore, except to say hi

when they pass her in the halls.

Laverne's a feminist.

A butch, that's what Tommy calls her.

but I don't understand why

just because she's a butch/dyke

she has to wear those skanky

combat boots. Nobody wears combat boots

anymore. She used to have such nice clothes.

I always used to see her at the mall. But

I never spoke to her because I thought

she was jealous of me because I got

her old boyfriend, even though she dumped

him. I would have said hi or something

if I had known she was a feminist

all along. But I barely see her now

because she's always hopping in cabs going

downtown or, when she's here, she's reading outside

by the big tree, or in the computer room

on the fourth floor, typing up

a response to a school newspaper article

or helping Annie write her formal

letter of complaint about Mr. Hodges.

She says he touched her, but Tommy

says she's full of crap, I told Annie

that I wouldn't mind Mr. Hodges touching me,

seeing how he's so cute, but she got sort of

mad at me. I guess she doesn't think

he's cute. But I don't care if she hates me

because she sits with the losers at lunch so

she can't do anything

to me.

Laverne sits all by herself because

she's a feminist. Tommy says she's a nobody

now but I've caught him looking at her

out of the corner of his eye. But that's

okay because he already asked me to

Prom. Tommy said Laverne would probably

bring another girl, or not come at all, but

I think she should come. I mean, even if

she's not pretty anymore and nobody talks

to her, she still goes to our

school.

II.

"So how do you feel about Elvis?" Isa said. I had been so intent on figuring out if there were freckles under Alice's caked, white make-up that I didn't realize they had stopped ignoring me. I hoped very much that I looked pensive. Or, at the very least, mildly tormented. I turned my head to gaze out the window. There, a mohair sweater on a leash slowly squatted next to a frozen flower bed.

"What do you mean?" I furrowed my brow.

"What did I say?"

"...'So how do you feel about Elvis?' "

"Exactly."

They looked like freckles, gently splashed across the bridge of her nose.

The sweater was relentlessly releasing turds of steaming shit onto the salt sprinkled sidewalk. I sighed. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

Alice took my hand. I looked up from my cup to her quiet face. She was a life-size black and white photograph, her black hair clinging to her black, clotted lipstick. Her lacquered nails dug kindly into my skin.

"Do you love him?" She implored. She made it sound so easy.

I first saw them frolicking on Columbia's wrought iron gate. One climbed to the top and stood triumphantly. Her black hair whipped wildly in the wind and her white nightie clung to her slight frame like a flag wrapped around its pole. An M-4 bus interrupted my gaze as it stopped in front of the window, kneeling to let gravity pull the elderly onto Broadway.

They walked into my video store holding hands. Alice grazed demurely in the porno section while Isa confronted me.

"Got Beach Blanket Bingo?" I guessed that being a high school student made me unworthy of a complete sentence."Yup." I murmured, distracted by her hair. It was red, but not a kosher shade of red. Very "I Love Lucy" colored; recently so, based on the streaks of orange that tinted her temples and neck. There was a pink barrette holding the side, matching the pink towel she wore with a kilt pin and belted with a knotted tartan shirt. Isa didn't have any eyebrows; her aquamarine eyes stood out like those of a blinking, dirty doll, whose grayish skin no longer holds such whimsical embellishments as rosy cheeks and baby eyebrows. Her eyes were circled by thick streaks of kohl like mistakes on an in-class essay .

"Where is it?"

"Second aisle. Bottom shelf on the left side."

Alice walked over to the counter, chanting a soft mantra.

"Annette and Frankie and Annette and Frankie and Annette and Frankie and Annette and Frankie and-" her voice halted as her eyes met mine.

"You're pretty," she said flatly. "What's your name?"

I could barely respond before she asked me more questions. How old are you? Sixteen. Where do you go to school? Stuyvesant. Do you have a boyfriend? No. Do you drink coffee? No. What about tea? I like tea. With milk.

Isa held Alice's waist and moved her out of the store. I managed a glimpse of the backs of Alice's black boots before everything became Isa's thick, furry legs and fluffy skirt. Annette and Frankie and Laverne and Annette and Frankie and Laverne and Annette. Bells, hung from the door like mistletoe, somberly rolled over and played dead.

When we finally decided to hang, they picked the grayest coffee shop on Bleeker Street. I guess that's what cool women who go to Barnard do. But I didn't go to Barnard. I didn't have ashes to flick into the bottom of my coffee cup. I didn't even try to put out the citronella candle with my hand. And I didn't know much about Gothicism nor Haiku poems.

"We're a dying breed." Isa said, sucking gruffly on her Camel. "The last of the true glamour-girl-lesbian-Renaissance womyn." Alice smiled, showing blackened, yellowed teeth.

"Bisexual," she corrected shyly.

"I believe in Elvis," Isa whispered. "I fucking love him." She pushed her chair back and exited to the LADIES room.

Alice dropped a quarter in the jukebox at our table. Jailhouse Rock filled the small space between us. The sweaterdog’s shit was still smoldering on the corner.

"Laverne, will you let me kiss you?" Alice asked, nudging her chair closer, to within a few inches of mine. Her skin looked like my grandmother's attic in the pale, Sunday sun, covered peacefully with a fine layer of fuzzy dust. Her almond eyes were fixed intently on my lips.

"Here?" I asked. She nodded. I swallowed hard. There was a couple at the next table. A man and a woman. More people dotted the counter stools.

She tilted my chin with her black tipped index finger. Inhale, two, three.

"...I have a boyfriend?" I asked instead of asserted. Exhale, two three. She just shook her head and slowly came closer and closer.

Her lips felt like childhood. I could feel my own quivering. Her breath dusted my upper

lip and faded. Gentle. I stretched my face forward, then recoiled. My first kiss. From a girl. A womyn. I wasn't sure if that was gross, probably because it felt so kind. So immaculate.

She thanked me then excused herself to go to the LADIES room.

They walked back to the booth, arm in arm. They were too engrossed in their conversation to acknowledge me. The waitress brought two more espressos and one tea with milk.

Isa glared at Alice accusatorially. I went to the bathroom to wipe off the remains of the clotted, black kiss.

"So, did you start wearing Doc Martens because you were a feminist, or did you become a feminist so you could start wearing Doc Martens?"

"Shut up, LISA." Alice said. With a sneer, she became very ugly, a contorted manga character. Alice took my hand across the table in a kind show of support. There was no tablecloth. Alice squeezed.

They walked me to the 2 train. Isa just rolled her eyes as Alice leaned over the turnstile to kiss me on the forehead. I stuffed my hands in my overalls pocket, still clutching Alice's phone number.

"Fuckin' dyke." A group of boys giggled on the bench behind me.

I hope she calls me. I really hope she does.

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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 NiiaFalls in portal Fiction
DOC MARTINS
I.
Laverne's a feminist
A dyke, Tommy says.
She's been one ever since
she cut off her long, brown hair.
I'm glad she did it though
because she and Tommy
used to have something going,
and everybody said Tommy only liked me
'cuz my hair is long and brown
like hers was. But now mine is a lot longer, but not as wavy.
She's not very popular
anymore. The guys
on the team barely speak to her
anymore, except to say hi
when they pass her in the halls.

Laverne's a feminist.
A butch, that's what Tommy calls her.
but I don't understand why
just because she's a butch/dyke
she has to wear those skanky
combat boots. Nobody wears combat boots
anymore. She used to have such nice clothes.
I always used to see her at the mall. But
I never spoke to her because I thought
she was jealous of me because I got
her old boyfriend, even though she dumped
him. I would have said hi or something
if I had known she was a feminist
all along. But I barely see her now
because she's always hopping in cabs going
downtown or, when she's here, she's reading outside
by the big tree, or in the computer room
on the fourth floor, typing up
a response to a school newspaper article
or helping Annie write her formal
letter of complaint about Mr. Hodges.
She says he touched her, but Tommy
says she's full of crap, I told Annie
that I wouldn't mind Mr. Hodges touching me,
seeing how he's so cute, but she got sort of
mad at me. I guess she doesn't think
he's cute. But I don't care if she hates me
because she sits with the losers at lunch so
she can't do anything
to me.

Laverne sits all by herself because
she's a feminist. Tommy says she's a nobody
now but I've caught him looking at her
out of the corner of his eye. But that's
okay because he already asked me to
Prom. Tommy said Laverne would probably
bring another girl, or not come at all, but
I think she should come. I mean, even if
she's not pretty anymore and nobody talks
to her, she still goes to our
school.

II.
"So how do you feel about Elvis?" Isa said. I had been so intent on figuring out if there were freckles under Alice's caked, white make-up that I didn't realize they had stopped ignoring me. I hoped very much that I looked pensive. Or, at the very least, mildly tormented. I turned my head to gaze out the window. There, a mohair sweater on a leash slowly squatted next to a frozen flower bed.
"What do you mean?" I furrowed my brow.
"What did I say?"
"...'So how do you feel about Elvis?' "
"Exactly."
They looked like freckles, gently splashed across the bridge of her nose.

The sweater was relentlessly releasing turds of steaming shit onto the salt sprinkled sidewalk. I sighed. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

Alice took my hand. I looked up from my cup to her quiet face. She was a life-size black and white photograph, her black hair clinging to her black, clotted lipstick. Her lacquered nails dug kindly into my skin.
"Do you love him?" She implored. She made it sound so easy.

I first saw them frolicking on Columbia's wrought iron gate. One climbed to the top and stood triumphantly. Her black hair whipped wildly in the wind and her white nightie clung to her slight frame like a flag wrapped around its pole. An M-4 bus interrupted my gaze as it stopped in front of the window, kneeling to let gravity pull the elderly onto Broadway.

They walked into my video store holding hands. Alice grazed demurely in the porno section while Isa confronted me.
"Got Beach Blanket Bingo?" I guessed that being a high school student made me unworthy of a complete sentence."Yup." I murmured, distracted by her hair. It was red, but not a kosher shade of red. Very "I Love Lucy" colored; recently so, based on the streaks of orange that tinted her temples and neck. There was a pink barrette holding the side, matching the pink towel she wore with a kilt pin and belted with a knotted tartan shirt. Isa didn't have any eyebrows; her aquamarine eyes stood out like those of a blinking, dirty doll, whose grayish skin no longer holds such whimsical embellishments as rosy cheeks and baby eyebrows. Her eyes were circled by thick streaks of kohl like mistakes on an in-class essay .

"Where is it?"
"Second aisle. Bottom shelf on the left side."
Alice walked over to the counter, chanting a soft mantra.
"Annette and Frankie and Annette and Frankie and Annette and Frankie and Annette and Frankie and-" her voice halted as her eyes met mine.
"You're pretty," she said flatly. "What's your name?"
I could barely respond before she asked me more questions. How old are you? Sixteen. Where do you go to school? Stuyvesant. Do you have a boyfriend? No. Do you drink coffee? No. What about tea? I like tea. With milk.

Isa held Alice's waist and moved her out of the store. I managed a glimpse of the backs of Alice's black boots before everything became Isa's thick, furry legs and fluffy skirt. Annette and Frankie and Laverne and Annette and Frankie and Laverne and Annette. Bells, hung from the door like mistletoe, somberly rolled over and played dead.

When we finally decided to hang, they picked the grayest coffee shop on Bleeker Street. I guess that's what cool women who go to Barnard do. But I didn't go to Barnard. I didn't have ashes to flick into the bottom of my coffee cup. I didn't even try to put out the citronella candle with my hand. And I didn't know much about Gothicism nor Haiku poems.

"We're a dying breed." Isa said, sucking gruffly on her Camel. "The last of the true glamour-girl-lesbian-Renaissance womyn." Alice smiled, showing blackened, yellowed teeth.
"Bisexual," she corrected shyly.

"I believe in Elvis," Isa whispered. "I fucking love him." She pushed her chair back and exited to the LADIES room.
Alice dropped a quarter in the jukebox at our table. Jailhouse Rock filled the small space between us. The sweaterdog’s shit was still smoldering on the corner.

"Laverne, will you let me kiss you?" Alice asked, nudging her chair closer, to within a few inches of mine. Her skin looked like my grandmother's attic in the pale, Sunday sun, covered peacefully with a fine layer of fuzzy dust. Her almond eyes were fixed intently on my lips.
"Here?" I asked. She nodded. I swallowed hard. There was a couple at the next table. A man and a woman. More people dotted the counter stools.
She tilted my chin with her black tipped index finger. Inhale, two, three.
"...I have a boyfriend?" I asked instead of asserted. Exhale, two three. She just shook her head and slowly came closer and closer.

Her lips felt like childhood. I could feel my own quivering. Her breath dusted my upper
lip and faded. Gentle. I stretched my face forward, then recoiled. My first kiss. From a girl. A womyn. I wasn't sure if that was gross, probably because it felt so kind. So immaculate.

She thanked me then excused herself to go to the LADIES room.
They walked back to the booth, arm in arm. They were too engrossed in their conversation to acknowledge me. The waitress brought two more espressos and one tea with milk.

Isa glared at Alice accusatorially. I went to the bathroom to wipe off the remains of the clotted, black kiss.

"So, did you start wearing Doc Martens because you were a feminist, or did you become a feminist so you could start wearing Doc Martens?"
"Shut up, LISA." Alice said. With a sneer, she became very ugly, a contorted manga character. Alice took my hand across the table in a kind show of support. There was no tablecloth. Alice squeezed.

They walked me to the 2 train. Isa just rolled her eyes as Alice leaned over the turnstile to kiss me on the forehead. I stuffed my hands in my overalls pocket, still clutching Alice's phone number.

"Fuckin' dyke." A group of boys giggled on the bench behind me.
I hope she calls me. I really hope she does.

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SafeHaven

Dr. Hortence Took is a therapist on SafeHaven, an online therapy platform, and her newest patient has a guilty conscience, a dark secret, and a dangerous intent. Episodes 1 to 7 of my serial chat story "SafeHaven" are all available on the Hooked app.

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Written by diffdelusions in portal Fiction
SafeHaven
Dr. Hortence Took is a therapist on SafeHaven, an online therapy platform, and her newest patient has a guilty conscience, a dark secret, and a dangerous intent. Episodes 1 to 7 of my serial chat story "SafeHaven" are all available on the Hooked app.
#fiction  #suspense  #therapy  #chatstories 
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Written by SelfTitled in portal Fiction

Antebellum.

Hamlet was cutting himself. Horatio knew it without even having to look for himself. The frequent trips to the bathroom, the loose bandages, long sleeves, and flinch at every motion towards his arms was evidence enough.

He wanted to say something about it, he truly did, but Horatio was the type of friend that was meant to be seen, not heard. Although Hamlet didn't care about anything Horatio said to him, but the masses did. Hamlet was an idol-- a role model. He was to make his own choices with no judgement from others. He was unworthy of criticism because he was never meant to have it.

It was when Horatio and Hamlet were cooped up in Hamlet's room working on their AP Psych homework Hamlet said, "I'm cutting."

Horatio tried to be surprised, but he was a horrible liar. Hamlet noticed and chuckled at him, but it was devoid of proper humor. "I see you're not surprised. Always the perceptive one, Horatio."

The younger of the two didn't know how to respond, so instead he asked, "Why are you doing this?"

Hamlet chewed on his lip in thought for a long minute. "I don't know," he admitted.

"Does it feel good?" Horatio asked, almost instantly. Hamlet didn't need to think about it. He shook his head.

"No," he said, "it's horrid."

"Then why are you doing this?" Horatio repeated, looking straight up at Hamlet who hadn't bothered to look up from his textbook.

"Because I want it to feel good." Hamlet shut his textbook, stood up from his bed, and left the room for the bathroom without another word.

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Antebellum.
Hamlet was cutting himself. Horatio knew it without even having to look for himself. The frequent trips to the bathroom, the loose bandages, long sleeves, and flinch at every motion towards his arms was evidence enough.

He wanted to say something about it, he truly did, but Horatio was the type of friend that was meant to be seen, not heard. Although Hamlet didn't care about anything Horatio said to him, but the masses did. Hamlet was an idol-- a role model. He was to make his own choices with no judgement from others. He was unworthy of criticism because he was never meant to have it.

It was when Horatio and Hamlet were cooped up in Hamlet's room working on their AP Psych homework Hamlet said, "I'm cutting."

Horatio tried to be surprised, but he was a horrible liar. Hamlet noticed and chuckled at him, but it was devoid of proper humor. "I see you're not surprised. Always the perceptive one, Horatio."

The younger of the two didn't know how to respond, so instead he asked, "Why are you doing this?"

Hamlet chewed on his lip in thought for a long minute. "I don't know," he admitted.

"Does it feel good?" Horatio asked, almost instantly. Hamlet didn't need to think about it. He shook his head.

"No," he said, "it's horrid."

"Then why are you doing this?" Horatio repeated, looking straight up at Hamlet who hadn't bothered to look up from his textbook.

"Because I want it to feel good." Hamlet shut his textbook, stood up from his bed, and left the room for the bathroom without another word.
#shakespeare  #hamlet  #tryingsomethingnew  #Modernized  #GayHamlet 
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Written by MikeRich15 in portal Fiction

Alternate histories: The Last Transmission of Apollo 11

“What is that?”

As the world looked on, those were the last words spoken by the crew of Apollo 11.

Or so I thought.

Commander Grace, our greatest astronaut, was renowned for her ability to remain freakishly calm under any type of situation imaginable. Stone Cold Grace: she was the epitome of stoic, a natural leader who inspired a nation to build towards the stars.

So when she spoke those words, unmistakably afraid, the world was scared. I remember sitting in front of the television when it happened. My father was a retired NASA administrator, and I will never forget the look of fear etched into his face as the signal from the moon went dark. The phone rang twenty seconds after. I watched as his face swam with a torrent of emotions; fear, anger, denial, resignation. Then he simply said “I understand” and hung up. After hugging my mother and I, he walked out the door and for the next twenty years hardly ever left his office at NASA.

Not surprising, then, when I did everything I could to make sure I followed in his footsteps. I studied, trained, neglected myself socially, all to ensure I got up there.

To the darkness.

There were thousands of us. The last transmission from Commander Grace influenced an entire generation of astronauts. We all wanted to know what made Stone Cold Grace afraid. I saw so many burn out of the program. The nation's best and brightest reduced to a quibbling pile of frayed nerves and broken bodies. I lost friends, lovers. But the call of the darkness was too enticing.

When I got the call, the one I had been waiting for ever since the Last Transmission darkened the world, I considered myself lucky. Fortunate. I had been chosen to represent the entire human race in our quest to bring those brave souls back home.

I learned all too quickly that bringing the crew of Apollo 11 back was the company line, fed to the masses to instill a sense of national pride. To get investors to sign the cheques.

I had seen my Father a handful of times since the Last Transmission. My memories of him during those years are fleeting: glimpses of his harried face through the crack of my bedroom door when he thought I was asleep, his cracked hands running through his thinning hair as he and my mother argued in the kitchen. He was a ghost. I had an idea of who he was, but the reality of him slipped through my fingers like sand.

When they brought me into NASA, I was called straight into his office. We stood there looking at each other in silence for what felt like a lifetime, the years of pain and neglect hanging in the air between us. I wanted to rage, to scream, to beat upon his chest while begging for answers. Where had he been? What was said to him on that phone call that threw him into the back hole?

I could tell he was conflicted. Torn between the man loyal to NASA, to the nation, and the man who cradled my screaming body in his hands when I was born. My father.

He was the first to speak.

“Please son, sit down”.

*Son*. Despite my resentment, it was all I could do to run into his arms.

As I sat down in front of his desk, he hesitated for a moment. I saw then in his eyes the toll his burdens had taken on him. The strong, virile man I remembered had been reduced to a withered, strung out shell. There had been whispers of NASA’s failures after Apollo 11, but like Commander Grace, the ill-fated space program had been on radio silence, buried in a shroud of secrecy as the world continued to wonder what had happened on the moon that day. Were those failures because of my Father? What had he and NASA been doing all this time?

He shook his head and it broke the trance between us. He gathered his breath and began the conversation that would forever change my life.

“You have been selected as the Commander for Apollo 19.” Gone was any hint of fatherly tenderness. Here before me was the man of NASA, the man who had walked out of the house and out of my life. I struggled not to break down under the knowledge that there had been seven secret Apollo missions.

“What the world knows as ‘The Last Transmission’ from Commander Grace was incomplete. For reasons that will soon become apparent, NASA cut off the public broadcast two minutes before Commander Grace's final moments.” Here he stops, and takes a deep breath. I am trying to quell the millions of questions burning through my brain.

“I have sat in this chair seven times telling every Commander that came before what I am telling you, and seven times I have been wrong. We are under the strictest possible orders not to show you those last two minutes. No human being other than myself and the group of people working on Apollo 11 has ever seen it. I would be dragged in front of a wall and shot if they knew what I was about to do. But you are not like the other Commanders. They failed because they didn't *know*. Their bodies litter the surface of our moon because they didn't *see*. You are my son, and you will not die like the others.”

Before I could say anything, he reached down and pressed a button on one of the many remotes littering his desk. A projector slid down from the ceiling. He handed me a pair of headphones. As I placed them over my ears a overwhelming sense of dread poured down my back and sent a shiver throughout my body. I knew whatever I was about to see would change me forever. I looked to my Father. He nodded and placed a hand on my shoulder.

It was a small comfort.

The screaming. That is what I remember most as I sit here, strapped in beside the world's greatest soldiers. Whatever sickness I felt when we heard the fear in Stone Cold Grace's voice was nothing compared to the sickly wet sound of her screams. What we face now, on that lunar surface, is something the world is not ready for. As I look out into the darkness, I wonder upon the horrors and weep. Wish me well, dear Father, and pray if I don't come back, nothing else does.

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Written by MikeRich15 in portal Fiction
Alternate histories: The Last Transmission of Apollo 11
“What is that?”

As the world looked on, those were the last words spoken by the crew of Apollo 11.

Or so I thought.

Commander Grace, our greatest astronaut, was renowned for her ability to remain freakishly calm under any type of situation imaginable. Stone Cold Grace: she was the epitome of stoic, a natural leader who inspired a nation to build towards the stars.

So when she spoke those words, unmistakably afraid, the world was scared. I remember sitting in front of the television when it happened. My father was a retired NASA administrator, and I will never forget the look of fear etched into his face as the signal from the moon went dark. The phone rang twenty seconds after. I watched as his face swam with a torrent of emotions; fear, anger, denial, resignation. Then he simply said “I understand” and hung up. After hugging my mother and I, he walked out the door and for the next twenty years hardly ever left his office at NASA.

Not surprising, then, when I did everything I could to make sure I followed in his footsteps. I studied, trained, neglected myself socially, all to ensure I got up there.

To the darkness.

There were thousands of us. The last transmission from Commander Grace influenced an entire generation of astronauts. We all wanted to know what made Stone Cold Grace afraid. I saw so many burn out of the program. The nation's best and brightest reduced to a quibbling pile of frayed nerves and broken bodies. I lost friends, lovers. But the call of the darkness was too enticing.

When I got the call, the one I had been waiting for ever since the Last Transmission darkened the world, I considered myself lucky. Fortunate. I had been chosen to represent the entire human race in our quest to bring those brave souls back home.

I learned all too quickly that bringing the crew of Apollo 11 back was the company line, fed to the masses to instill a sense of national pride. To get investors to sign the cheques.

I had seen my Father a handful of times since the Last Transmission. My memories of him during those years are fleeting: glimpses of his harried face through the crack of my bedroom door when he thought I was asleep, his cracked hands running through his thinning hair as he and my mother argued in the kitchen. He was a ghost. I had an idea of who he was, but the reality of him slipped through my fingers like sand.

When they brought me into NASA, I was called straight into his office. We stood there looking at each other in silence for what felt like a lifetime, the years of pain and neglect hanging in the air between us. I wanted to rage, to scream, to beat upon his chest while begging for answers. Where had he been? What was said to him on that phone call that threw him into the back hole?

I could tell he was conflicted. Torn between the man loyal to NASA, to the nation, and the man who cradled my screaming body in his hands when I was born. My father.

He was the first to speak.

“Please son, sit down”.

*Son*. Despite my resentment, it was all I could do to run into his arms.

As I sat down in front of his desk, he hesitated for a moment. I saw then in his eyes the toll his burdens had taken on him. The strong, virile man I remembered had been reduced to a withered, strung out shell. There had been whispers of NASA’s failures after Apollo 11, but like Commander Grace, the ill-fated space program had been on radio silence, buried in a shroud of secrecy as the world continued to wonder what had happened on the moon that day. Were those failures because of my Father? What had he and NASA been doing all this time?

He shook his head and it broke the trance between us. He gathered his breath and began the conversation that would forever change my life.

“You have been selected as the Commander for Apollo 19.” Gone was any hint of fatherly tenderness. Here before me was the man of NASA, the man who had walked out of the house and out of my life. I struggled not to break down under the knowledge that there had been seven secret Apollo missions.

“What the world knows as ‘The Last Transmission’ from Commander Grace was incomplete. For reasons that will soon become apparent, NASA cut off the public broadcast two minutes before Commander Grace's final moments.” Here he stops, and takes a deep breath. I am trying to quell the millions of questions burning through my brain.

“I have sat in this chair seven times telling every Commander that came before what I am telling you, and seven times I have been wrong. We are under the strictest possible orders not to show you those last two minutes. No human being other than myself and the group of people working on Apollo 11 has ever seen it. I would be dragged in front of a wall and shot if they knew what I was about to do. But you are not like the other Commanders. They failed because they didn't *know*. Their bodies litter the surface of our moon because they didn't *see*. You are my son, and you will not die like the others.”

Before I could say anything, he reached down and pressed a button on one of the many remotes littering his desk. A projector slid down from the ceiling. He handed me a pair of headphones. As I placed them over my ears a overwhelming sense of dread poured down my back and sent a shiver throughout my body. I knew whatever I was about to see would change me forever. I looked to my Father. He nodded and placed a hand on my shoulder.

It was a small comfort.

The screaming. That is what I remember most as I sit here, strapped in beside the world's greatest soldiers. Whatever sickness I felt when we heard the fear in Stone Cold Grace's voice was nothing compared to the sickly wet sound of her screams. What we face now, on that lunar surface, is something the world is not ready for. As I look out into the darkness, I wonder upon the horrors and weep. Wish me well, dear Father, and pray if I don't come back, nothing else does.
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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 Hugo_Cloyd in portal Fiction

The Affair

It was just another PowerPoint presentation; a task with a tight deadline. Perhaps he would scribble it down on a to-do list, or type “How to write a Eulogy” in the search bar. His chest would deflate slightly when wikihow popped up at the top of the search results. Oh, look, he might think, they even provide examples.

Three days later, six young men bore the coffin down a gravel path, under the meager morning rays of a pale winter sun. He stood at the sidelines, listening to the crunch of rubber soles on fine gravel. They laid his brother to rest in the small chapel, open-casket. He kept his distance, watching her hunched form. A few rebellious strands of gold slipped from the elegant knot at the base of her neck, veiling the pinched expression of not-quite-grief as she leant closer. Three small figures clung to her legs. She made no move to protect her young brood from the sight of their father’s sewn eyelids. Young children didn’t believe in the intangible.

After a few moments, he walked towards the casket, stopped, and rested a hand on her shoulder. She glanced up, and, quick as lighting, looked to the ground. He watched her go.

A moment passed. He sighed and turned back towards the bier, observing the waxen, sunken face of his brother. It had taken two weeks to get him back. God knows how they’d masked the smell. He thought he felt something flicker in his chest, but then it was gone, and he looked 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 Hugo_Cloyd in portal Fiction
The Affair
It was just another PowerPoint presentation; a task with a tight deadline. Perhaps he would scribble it down on a to-do list, or type “How to write a Eulogy” in the search bar. His chest would deflate slightly when wikihow popped up at the top of the search results. Oh, look, he might think, they even provide examples.
Three days later, six young men bore the coffin down a gravel path, under the meager morning rays of a pale winter sun. He stood at the sidelines, listening to the crunch of rubber soles on fine gravel. They laid his brother to rest in the small chapel, open-casket. He kept his distance, watching her hunched form. A few rebellious strands of gold slipped from the elegant knot at the base of her neck, veiling the pinched expression of not-quite-grief as she leant closer. Three small figures clung to her legs. She made no move to protect her young brood from the sight of their father’s sewn eyelids. Young children didn’t believe in the intangible.
After a few moments, he walked towards the casket, stopped, and rested a hand on her shoulder. She glanced up, and, quick as lighting, looked to the ground. He watched her go.
A moment passed. He sighed and turned back towards the bier, observing the waxen, sunken face of his brother. It had taken two weeks to get him back. God knows how they’d masked the smell. He thought he felt something flicker in his chest, but then it was gone, and he looked away.



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