It was raining again. Thick, heavy drops that pelted the ground like shells. Tom watched from his window, wondering what others might see if they looked in. rivulets of water ran down the glass. Samantha stirred in her sleep, a forgotten book slowly sliding down her lap; hints of a smile as she turned to face him. How he longed to wake her, to see her smile. But his hands were cold, and she was warm, under her blanket.


Down Below

Up above it was bright, but the hold was dark. Thin shafts of light fell like bars, blinding us to all else. Somewhere a chain swung like a bell, calling us to mass. Soon the sounds of the crew grew faint. The ship creaked around us, groaning like some great best stirring in its sleep. John walked on, his shadow guiding me deeper into the hold. Outside I could hear the call of gulls, but that was another world. I followed him down, uncertain where he would lead me, but certain I would never find my way back without him.


I hurried up the steps, clawing with dirty nails while sweat seeped into my eyes. “Please be there,” I whispered. A door barred my way, groaning as I forced it open, and there she was, sitting by the window, calmly staring out at a warm spring day. She turned to me, and suddenly I remembered all the dirt and blood that caked my clothes. How could I soil such a pure sight?

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Sneaking Out

Tip-toe, tip-toe.

The boards barely creaked, but still she waited, for nothing. Nothing happened, the house was quiet. She’d just raised her foot when the shadows stirred, filling the hall with wooden creaks.

A rumbling chuckle and a gruff hiss as he walked across the room. She waited, clutching her bundle as she watched his shadow grow, then finally recede. A great thump as he settled back into his chair. Static, and a brassy voice calling for attention. She hurried past, safely drowned out by the T.V.

Outside the sky was bare, stars clear as day. She stepped out, feeling the soft snow under her feet. She took one glance back, at the flickering light, the home that never was.

The wind tugged at her cloak, beckoning. She stepped out, and it was gone. Lights lined her path, other homes, other windows, but no one saw, and she did not stop.

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A short piece written as a writing exercise.

Tick, tock, the pendulum swung. All around them gears turned, and he stood still. Was he listening? Consulting some inner voice? Leather creaked as he stepped forward, shaking within his straps. Light played over his bruised flesh, highlighting the speckled web of blood underneath. What world could accept such a sight?

In his bandaged hand he held a faded page…a letter?

“My dearest William,” it read, “My latest efforts have failed. I shall not try again. This is my fate, the price of my hubris. Look upon me, and never forget what I have done.”

By the time I looked up he had already retreated into the shadows. “Mathias?”

“Good-bye-my-friend.” Soon he faded from sight; the creak of leather lost in the sound of gears.

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