Did Someone Request A Bedtime Story?

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Once upon a time there was a little girl with pink hair. I know, I know, you are thinking her name starts with an A or a V, but you would be wrong. You’re thinking of a grownup with delightful childlike qualities. This story is about a little girl, remember? ANYWAY! The little girl’s name was LuLu.

LuLu was a most adorable child. Her face was round. Her eyes were wide, blue and ringed with marvelously thick lashes. She had incorrigible dimples! She wore her rosey hair high in two soft puffs tied with rainbow ribbons. Always hoping to find a nice, splashy puddle, LuLu never went outside without her lavender overcoat and her favorite leopard print galoshes.

LuLu liked to go outside, but it didn’t happen very often. She was too sleepy. Everytime she even thought about going outside she would burp loudly and start to nod off. While other little girls tried to go to sleep and failed, she wanted to stay awake but couldn’t keep her lids up. Sometimes, LuLu even fell asleep while holding her mouth open for her mother, who helped her brush her teeth every night, “Lulu,”she would scold as she flossed the little bits of meat from between the bicuspids on the inner row, clucking, “Tsk. You shouldn’t eat so much, especially so close to bed. You are eating us out of house and home! We can’t keep a cook and the school says you won’t be able to come back if you can’t learn to control yourself.”

LuLu snapped back to consciousness with a snort and spit out her toothpaste.

But Mama! I love school! And I excel at naptime!

“LuLu, none of the other students can take a nap with you! According to their parents, most of them can’t sleep at night either. We are having quite a time smoothing things over. We may have to homeschool you. IF we can find a tutor who is willing. Really, LuLu, I don’t know what we are going to do with you.”

LuLu pouted. She was even more adorable when she pouted. Her pink pom poms drooped. “But Mom.”

Her mother extended an arm, handing LuLu her pajamas. They had a funny print on them; crocodiles with bowler hats, penguins doing penguiny things, robots eating ice cream cones and of course, rainbows!

LuLu gave her mother a goodnight kiss and let herself be tucked in tightly. The light was turned out and she heard the latch click, firmly securing the door. Her mother told her this was for her own good. LuLu sometimes walked in her sleep and wandered off looking for food in the middle of the night. Through the heavy wood she heard her mother sigh, “I know you try to get along with others, LuLu, but your classmates are all terrified of you!”

I know, Mother.” LuLu answered solemnly, while in the dark she smiled, all four rows softly luminescent, “But I can’t help it. They are delicious!”


*I scribbled this out quickly, for my friend, A, also known as Victoria Victrola, who also suffers from insomnia ,because she requested a bedtime story. She didn’t specify if she wanted one to make her sleepy or to keep her awake. Oh well. This is a silly little tale, so I hope that does the trick.

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The Holding

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This little paragraph has been sitting around for awhile as you can see. I wrote along with the previous post for something that inevitably I didn’t use it in. Also, like the previous piece, it feels as if it could work in poem format. I’m not sure I am ready to do that though. It could certainly be read with the cadence of a poem so I think I shall mark it as both, for now, And reserve the right to do something else with it one day. I did like the idea.
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Found on Pintrest. I think this is called, Final Resting Place by Miro Johannes


I sit, not silent as the grave, for I am the grave. I am cavernous earth waiting to cradle your flesh, bones and finally your dust. I have lessons for your soul. I have messages from your ancestors and your ancestors’ ancestors! I prepare to listen to the weeping, the remembering and then, the forgetting. I wait to sing you into the great unknowing with the silent music that only angels, oaks and stone markers dance to in their perfect stillness. I sit waiting to hold you. Waiting to bear witness. Waiting to absorb your story into all the stories that have come before.
 
– LM 2013

Censored

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Here is another snippet from the larger piece I am working on which at the moment I am calling, The Misterious. At this point it is not necessary to read these in any sort of order, but if you go to the menu bar at the left and click on stories, you will find a tab that gives you all the posts related to this story. Sometimes deciding what to post is tricky because at some point, things I would rather leave out now will be plugged in later. For one, the place I am writing about, I think I intend to base on a real place, but I want to leave that out now.  Just think of it as a journal of sorts written by a person in a place that may or may not exist as we would know it. Okay. I am explaining too much. Enjoy!

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CENSORED


Despite being physically isolated, we do get physical things from the outside world and communication isn’t completely cut off. It’s just spotty. As I write this, I’m not sure that anyone out there will ever read it. Getting through to someone via the phone or internet is an unpredictable venture and once you do get signals you can’t count on them to go as far as you would like. You can get on the internet but you can’t see everything. Strangely enough, you can almost always get communication within the city itself, just try to reach anywhere outside and success is a toss up. There’s no explanation or even acknowledgement of this. When you try to talk to anyone from out there about the weird things going on in here or if you ask, what the heck is happening where they are, the connection drops or you get interference. I suppose it’s a bit like what people have dealt with for years in countries where the government controls everything. There’s no, “access denied message” or warning. What you are looking for is simply not there.

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It would be nice to find out something tangible. Coming up on two years and I still don’t know who’s in charge out there, why we’re stuck here or whether that weirdness is really anything to be concerned about. After all, it hasn’t made me sick. I think I’m still sane. I haven’t seen zombies or anyone with an arm growing out of their forehead. Then again, I stay the hell away from that part of town! Why take chances?

Today, I talked to Quinn. Quinn was lucky enough to be visiting family down south when the barricades went up. I say, lucky, assuming that things aren’t as screwy out there as they are in here. But I don’t know because every time we try to talk about it; static. This time, he was trying to ask me questions and the line kept cutting in and out. When we discussed more benign topics, however,  we heard each other perfectly.

Quinn has two cats, Beans and Lucy. For all practical purposes, they’re my cats now. Lucy, a small black ball of plushness is ancient. Lately, she seems to be failing and I don’t know whether it’s time to tell him or if I should just avoid giving him something to fret about that he can’t control. Quinn is not generally a worrier, but I am sure this situation tests that enviable trait. I am not even sure we have a veterinarian here anymore to take her to, but I am searching. The city is so empty now. I told Quinn I had loaded up some photos to my web page, but he said that parts of my posts were just blurred out. He didn’t see any photos.  Owl can see them. I can see them. But outside, they are out of focus. Owl says he is working on a way to circumvent this. I’m not tech savvy enough to begin to think about how to do that. I probably shouldn’t mention this. Will they, whoever they are, be watching us now?

tumblr_inline_nm0avoT28s1smxh5i_500It’s strange. It’s frustrating. Still, I take what I can get. It’s good to talk to Quinn. It’s nice to hear his voice. There is comfort in the connection. Even if it is censored, it’s grounding. I suspect the news is edited, but it brings a sense of normalcy. Though I can’t find everything, I’m able to boot up my computer to search the web for information and giggles much the same as before. For now, some things remain hidden. I hope they won’t always be that way. While I generally enjoy a bit of mystery, being left entirely in the dark is wearing thin. I have no idea if my words will find their way out. I just write because it seems someone should be keeping a record of this. Even my trivial words feel weighty, like evidence of my existence. We are here, those of us left behind. We matter.

For now, we live indefinitely in a figurative bubble. Sometimes I like to pretend that I am actually alone, that there is no other human living within the miles of rectangles that dot the landscape. I think about what it must have been like when this place was untouched by humans, primordial and blanketed with trees. I wonder if the trees will someday find a way to reclaim the territory; libraries, houses, schools and supermarkets buried like ancient temples under the roots of the jungle. I tell myself that I am the last human on earth. Sometimes, I even think I would be fine if that were true. It’s a peaceful place to go in my head, but in reality, I’m glad for the connection, any connection. I am here. You still see me. I see you. We are separated but not alone.

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The Moonlight

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I’ve been posting a lot of poems of late and people have been asking for story bits. This is one of my favorite little pieces of writing. I admit, I am ridiculously fond of it. I haven’t decided if it’s a “fragmeant” that I may develop further or if it’s complete as is. “The Moonlight” is only a working title. I’m not quite sure what to call it. Ideas?

A magical thing doesn’t lose its usefulness if it changes its state.

PhotographerThe moonbeams scattered everywhere, fractured light spilling all over the carpet!

“Oh no!” the Sunny Marmalade Cat cried out softly, “You’ve broken them! Every single one!” He tried to sweep them into a pile with his tail but they began to degrade into a shimmering powder, transforming into a dancing puddle of light. Bits of silver stuck to his fur like beads of mercury and scattered as he flicked his tail, vexed.

“Oh Dear!” the Asynchronous Clock ticked nervously.”Oh Dear. Oh Dear. Oh Dear. What shall we do now?” And though she tried to keep her hands from moving, they clicked into place, striking the hour and she began to chime!

This caused the Good Mourning Dove to coo and cluck and leave a little icing on the edge of the window sill.

Everyone froze, poised to flee at the sound of a breath or a step, but all remained still.

The Midnight Velvet Cat hissed for attention and once she had it she pushed at the remains of the moonlight with her paw. “We have to be moving, now! We mustn’t let ourselves be discovered. But we can’t leave this here. They will never understand.”

The Good Mourning Dove pecked at the silvery soot with his beak. It was very cold and left a slightly uncomfortable tingling sensation. He shuffled away mumbling, “Well isn’t it useless now? If they find it, they’ll have no idea what it is. In the daylight it will look less like diamonds and more like dust, won’t it?”

The Midnight Coal Cat fixed her great green eyes on the bird and shook her head gently. “No. That will not do and it wouldn’t be safe. They might not know what it is but they will know that it doesn’t belong here either.

A magical thing doesn’t lose its usefulness if it changes its state. We just don’t know what its new purpose will be! We brought it here and we must take it with us. We have to figure out a way to transport it.”

The dove pecked at the curtains thoughtfully, walked the length of the ledge and back, opened and closed his beak a few times. Suddenly he exclaimed, “I have an idea!” Then he hopped off the ledge and disappeared into the night. When he returned a few moments later, the Hopeful Little Dog, who had been diligently keeping watch appeared next to him.

“How can I help?” she panted eagerly. Then she noticed. “Is that? Oh no! How? Oh nevermind, what are we going too…O-oh, I’ve got it!”

And, in a blink she had gobbled up every last bit of moonlight, licking the floor and even the Sunny Marmalade Cat’s tail just to be certain of her thoroughness.

The Asynchronous Clock could not resist, “Good…. Dog!” she ticked happily.

“So it’s true,” the Sunny Marmalade Cat said wryly, “A dog really will eat anything without checking to see if it’s food first.”

The Midnight Coal Cat batted the orange cat’s pink nose with a cushiony paw. “It’s time for gratitude, not jokes.” she chided and rubbed against the Hopeful Little Dog in appreciation causing the her to wag her curly nub of a tail furiously. She wanted desperately to bark her excitement but she held it back. She was chilled and tingly inside, full of energy yet somewhere deep within was a new calm center. It was a little like the time she had chewed wild peppermint as a pup but without the strong flavor and much, much colder.

The little party made their way over the window sill and back outside, quickly navigating the garden path and the meadow. They made it into the woods without further incident. As they moved farther away from the treeline into the dense forest, it became much harder to see the path. They debated the lost time of waiting for daylight against the possibility of missing a marker, getting lost or hurt in the darkness.

The Hopeful Little dog paced back and forth, her blue eye glimmering faintly, her brown eye virtually invisible in the murkiness, just like the Midnight Velvet Cat. Suddenly, she stopped, looked straight ahead and opened her mouth. Light spilled out illuminating the path.

“Well that settles that.” said the Midnight Coal cat. “Purrfect!”

And they all started down the newly moonlit path, suddenly feeling much more optimistic.

But they were not alone and despite their combined, superior senses they did not seem to register it. Surely they would have perceived fear or predatory focus, but lacking that simply assumed they were hearing and smelling a mere resident of the forest busy with it’s nocturnal habits. Maybe, the magic was working and they did not sense me. All the same, I held back, keeping as much distance as I could without losing them. Walking so slowly and quietly tensed my legs and they started to ache.

If only I could be an owl, I thought. I could glide above them on wings of whisper quiet. I could rest up when I got ahead of them, up in high branches, seeing them perfectly with my spectacular night vision. And I could easily make out every word of their conversation. As long as it served me, I would so like to be an owl!

And I was.

-LM 2015/2016

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Ghost Town

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(At this point it is not necessary to read these in any particular order)

I’ve been on a roll of late posting a lot of things that aren’t stories or even bits of stories. I have been writing fiction, I just haven’t been posting it. I suppose if I ever get in the habit of posting daily or a few times a week with regularity, more will get here.

This is the first thing I’ve posted from a longer work that has been percolating for awhile. I have decided that I need to do some research on things like climate change, natural disasters, geography, politics and economics, among other things before I flesh it out in any serious way, not because I am going to need them all that much in the story, but because I personally want the foundation to build it on. I guess it’s sort of SciFi, maybe more speculative fiction. I’m vacillating between it taken place somewhere that exists now vs somewhere completely imaginary. Oh, it’s a hot mess that wants to come out!

Anyway, the title for working purposes only, is, The Misterious, so that’s what it will be tagged as when I post other fragmeants of it! I’m not entirely happy with this bit, but it wanted out of my head desperately so, here ya go:

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GHOST TOWN

I try to time my late night ramblings so that I will have the lowest chance of running into another soul. If I head out too early in the morning I’ll likely catch maintenence, blowing off the sidewalks, cleaning the glass and storefront trims, watering plants  or hosing off the benches. Sometimes during the day or early in the evening  I’ll see a lone vehicle or run into an actual human being on the street or sweeping their porch. Too early in the late evening and you might run into a PigBot, have to explain yourself or worse. Too late in the late evening and you might run into a wild animal you can’t handle or the Red Eyes. Jimmy likes to call them the Cylons. That makes me laugh.

The perfect time for me is the middle of the night. Lights might still be on in some of the buildings. I make a game of guessing which yellow squares of light are actually occupied and which simply had lights on when the inhabitants left, with no reason to suspect  they wouldn’t return. Building lights are mostly on automatic, but individual apartments and houses are more intriguing puzzles. For weeks, after it happened, my attention was fixed on a large television screen visible through an upper window in a building about a block from my place. It must have been set on a timer as  it came on early every evening and shut off at one every morning. I walked past the apartment building it sat in nearly every day. It’s my habit to scan windows, doors and porches in particular.  One day, I could see it was gone. Presumably, a neighbor finally decided they might as well have it.


There are small clues. Sometimes bulbs will burn out and you know there is no one living there because once they go dark, they stay that way. Keep watching and more lights in the same place will go out and stay out one by one. On the floor below the place with the TV is another apartment that caught my eye.  It has four long curtains, knotted at the bottom which make striking silhouettes at night. I assumed it was unoccupied, especially after one evening seeing the window was dark. I assumed the light had gone out. But the next day I  looked up to  realize someone had merely closed all the drapes. A few days later, I noticed they were knotted up again. Hello neighbor! Were you hiding your new TV?

When I decide to stay somewhere else for a few days or head up to The Bunker, I always set lights and things that make sound on varying timers. Owl showed me how to rig up some techy things that sound like conversation, cooking sounds, a dog. So far, no one has broken into my place, only another neighbor would be a likely burglar anyway and they all know I’m here, but I have gone many places I did not belong. That concept is slippery for me though. I’m not sure it’s breaking and entering or stealing when the likelihood is, no one’s coming back.

In the middle of the night benches look inviting, yet eerie. I find myself wanting to sit on them, but at the last second, I balk, feeling like an intruder.  A presence is there, the heavy presence of nothing.  It’s become a ghost town, except that it isn’t. I think everyone has to leave for a place to become a ghost town; population zero, only ghosts. Our populace has been dramatically reduced, but people still occupy the buildings. They live, but they aren’t really living. How do you get up and go to work when you can’t leave the city or your job in the city no longer exists? Few of us know what to do with ourselves. We shuffle about this place that isn’t  an actual ghost town. The city is a shell, populated by shadows of lives that once vibrantly filled it. We are the ghosts.

It should creep me out walking around my neighborhood in the wee hours thinking about this stuff. But the buildings in daylight are much more disturbing. They all look abandoned so of course, you can just feel someone watching. You squint at the squares of grey and you think you see a shadow staring back. The emptiness is pronounced. The loneliness is oppressive. At night, it’s peaceful, a perfect stillness. All I can hear are the sounds of water, wind and night birds. Sometimes I even hear the occasional car. It’s not that different from the way it was before. I’m lulled by the comfort of warmly lit apartments, the illusion of life. I can almost forget.

Almost.

The Flower and the Boot

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And the flower looked up, her petals curled in puzzlement and dismay
Why? Why did you step on me, good sir?
I opened all my petals for you.
I gave to you my sweetest and most pleasing fragrance
I tilted my face to greet you as if you were the sun
I wilted a little each time you stepped away,
Only a little so you’d know you were missed
Not so much you’d think I couldn’t bloom without you

There was a time you couldn’t get enough of me
My lushness and my nectar
My unique design
I only wanted to make you happy
And now you’ve crushed me
I may never recover
The least you could do is tell me why you’ve injured me so

The man stood silent
His face blank as a moonless sky
I am finished with you, he said bluntly
I still want you to like me
I’d even like you to bloom for me
And to turn your face in my direction
But I don’t want you

I don’t want to feed and water you
Or to take any responsibility
I just like knowing you are still there
For me
I don’t know how to leave anything better off than when I found it
And though I’ve said it wouldn’t bother me,
I don’t really want you turning your face toward anybody else

He examined his boot
And besides, he whispered
Though I strive to be compassionate
I’ve always been careless
So cut me some slack little flower
Can’t you see I’m doing my best?
Can’t you see I’m busy doing things
with my life?
Can’t you see I’m busy looking outward for inner happiness?

The flower drooped
But her petals bristled with anger
No, she said
That’s not good enough
I deserve better than that

He considers her reaction
And does not like it
This flower he no longer wants
But cares so much about
Refusing to be compliant
She won’t accept rejection
Won’t go away AND stay as he wishes

He glares at her, indignant
I don’t have time for this, he pronounces
And his boot comes down again

As she cringes , still defiant
The wind catches the little flower
And she dances away just in time
Her petals ringing like truthful bells
Telling all his stories
Sending them off on the wind
Even if she doesn’t recover
He won’t get away with it
Not completely
The wind will tell

Still, as she blows away
A soft, sweet fragrance lingers
And she turns her best face to him
Decorated with dewdrops that travel slowly ‘cross it
And drop to the ground behind her
Leaving a trail that he might follow
With his heart instead of his boots

LM 2014/2016

Over The Edge

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Sometimes I write pieces that could become a fleshed out story, become part of another story or just remain a fragment, a piece of a story that is a story itself. A piece of writing feels complete as incomplete, like a teaser for the imagination or just a peek into another world, a glimpse of someone else’s’ experience.Often when I write, I am perfectly ok if i write a few paragraphs and leave things hanging. After all, life is like this more often than not. We meet interesting people, we have friends who are going through a rough time and they slip in and out of our lives for various reasons. We find ourselves wondering later, “I wonder what happened to so and so? I hope that thing they were going through turned out all right.” I used to think this was just a terrible thing for a writer to do and that I must be a real freak. Then I discovered, Kelly Link, a fabulous writer that very often leaves the reader hanging, and I didn’t feel like such an aberration.

So, I am just warning you, gentle readers that this is one of THOSE fragmeantz. it’s not very long so perhaps you won’t get invested. I have been on the fence since I wrote it. Is it complete though it seems incomplete? Is it a metaphor? Is it a story to be continued?

I actually do know where this story is heading. If I want to continue it, it waits. What do you think? Should I continue?

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Over The Edge

I stood at the edge and imagined EVERYTHING.

I went over all the possible scenarios in my head.

I made it day. I made it night. I moved ahead a year. I made it five, ten, an eternity.

I even removed myself from the equation, in my head, made myself moot. I know that sounds ridiculous because without me, none of this would have happened. It’s not like an alternative life would have taken my place and followed the footsteps I had never made. Even if I disappeared today it wouldn’t fix things. The world would still be hanging on a hinge with nothing to be done about it. Not that I could figure anyway. Not without help.

So then, that was it. There was nothing left to do but jump.

The map had said that height was merely an illusion. That flailing through the air was like splashing around a pond in summer as long as your leap was one of faith. Faith was something I was short on these days and I was terrified of heights.

I knelt down and rummaged through my bag until I found, the book. I leafed through it until I found the map one last time. It could be a complete fabrication, the hallucinatory imaginings of a wizard who’d smoked too much leaf mold. If I didn’t jump I wouldn’t know. And it wouldn’t be long until I was discovered. Damn it! I had to move quickly!

I tucked the book back down in the bag, dug out my flask and took a sip, letting the whiskey burn it’s way down my throat. It served me less as liquid courage and more as a reminder to my blood to start flowing through my limbs again. I had been standing in one place too long.

Suddenly my ears caught noises from further down the mountain. It was time to do this or give up. I knew too well what giving up meant so I quickly tucked everything back in the pack, secured all the compartments and strapped it on tight.

A few yards away, my horse was grazing. Sorry, my friend, you’ve got to come too. I hope I’m not going to kill us both with this crazy plan. She nuzzled me. At least someone trusts me, I thought and swung myself up onto her back as quietly as possible. Now, how to get her to leap off a cliff without her balking or making a fuss? I decided riding wasn’t feasible. Instead I dropped to the ground again, untied the scarf from my hip and made her a blindfold. One blind horse, docile as you please, one terrified human with probable assassins at her back.

“Ok. Girl. We are taking a walk,” I whispered. And with that we walked to the edge, I closed my eyes and stepped off, yanking the reins hard.