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Guess what, guys? e4daee95d434ca9a51fdbeae4e37ceef544453f9d916a68bc6dbb42b20510aa4

After an extremely long hiatus, I swear I still actually write. It’s just all editing novels that I can’t post here.

This is a writing exercise for class to create conflict using just physical detailing. No plot, tells, or author interpretations. It’s a good exercise for people to try out… to better your writing and to stir some creativity if you’re going through some writing block.

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Dust plumed from the pile of metal debris that crumbled into itself. Chunks of cinder block and cement piled onto a large metal sheet that had snapped in half. The man ran up to it and threw all of his weight with his shoulder against the debris. He gripped the jagged end of the metal sheet, then ran his hands along it in search of a smooth handle. When no such surface revealed itself, the man grit his teeth, tightened his hold onto the sheet, and let out a deep grunt as he tried to lift the sheet with a mountain of debris piled high. It did not budge, even as he used his full strength.

He continued to try to lift it, huffing so hard that strings of saliva shot from his open mouth, hung from his lips, and stuck to his chin with warm, bubbly strings. Beads of sweat rolled down and gathered at the tip of his nose while his face turned deep pink, then red, then vibrantly red. The tendons in the front of his throat tightened and jutted out to create a deep v-shaped canyon around his Adam’s apple and the tendons of his wrist bulged and vibrated like piano strings. A deep, guttural grunt escaped his tightly clenched cheeks, and it turned into sharp wincing as the jagged edge of the metal sheet shredded the flesh of his hands in chunks held together by flaps of skin. His nose crunched upwards. His brows pinched inwards. And his entire face scrunched up with veins forming down the middle of his forehead and on each side of his neck. His vision became wavy and darkened at the corners as blood vessels popped inside of his eyes and his entire body yanked upwards and jerked to a stop over and over, but he still couldn’t lift the debris. His feet scraped at the floor until eventually he ran in place, throwing everything he had into the metal sheet, ignoring the screams around him and the scratching in his throat due to the cloud of dust and ash. Tears began to blend with the sweat that beaded on his face, soaked his shirt at his chest and armpits, and bled down his sides, turning the fabric several shades darker. Snot trailed down to his top lip, which had started to turn blue despite the redness of his veiny, glistening face. His hair was matted and dripping, and sweat poured from his brow and into his eyes, and his lashes fluttered to ease the stinging, but he couldn’t let go of the metal sheet.

Even when his arms and legs started convulsing, and his stomach sank and tucked under his ribs, jumped back out, and then sank back again with every deep rapid breath, he still did not let go, and finally he managed to raise the stack of metal debris a few inches. His eyes widened until they bulged from their sockets and his teeth bit down on his bottom lip, pressing into them so that they made a deep impression. Spit bubbles sputtered from the small gaps between his teeth, creating wet fizzling sounds as his grunting grew higher in pitch to that of a whistling whine. His teeth ground together until his knees finally buckled, and his legs gave out, and he slumped over, knocking his head on the metal sheet. He let his arms dangle at his sides loosely while blood trickled down his fingers, built up at his fingertips, then dripped to the ground beneath his knees. The dust cloud settled around him, but he could feel sandy grains on his tongue, seeping into his gums and the roof of his mouth. The man tried to spit, but the warm mix of saliva and blood and dust latched onto his lips and teeth, teetering up and down with each of his breaths that made his back rise and his spine jut out. His whole body started jolting as he released a voiceless, airy cry…

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In whirlwind circles, hand in hand with their partners, the dancers danced to the the song of violins arguing with flutes, and a heartbeat drum collaborating up with tambourines. To the untrained eye, the ballroom was chaos, but in reality, the dance floor was a perfect orchestration, the dancers the marionettes and the music the marionettist of them all. The strings that controlled every dancer lead stranger to stranger, their identities hidden under Venetian masks and their true statuses cloaked in velvet trimmed with gold. Even their hands could not tell who they were, gloved in white silk. When the music shifted, prompting everyone to find new partners, Thalia spun into the arms of a tall, strong gripped man. He wore a captain’s hat, and his cloak hung almost to the ground. His mask was matte black with red lining the holes around his eyes. His breath was hot, and smelled of red wine. Her gaze fell to his neck, and that’s when she saw it, the black tattoo of a reaper.

That is when she knew the men here were monsters. Their eyes didn’t glow in the dark, and they did indeed have reflections in the mirrors that lined the walls. Their mouths did not bare fangs, nor this their fingers house claws. These were monsters of the worst kind; ones that exist in reality, inside of men and women alike. Thalia’s eyes darted around the room, but could not distinguish monster from soon-to-be victim, not as she danced and twirled and stepped in circles. She knew in her heart two things: that blood would be spilled tonight, and that seeing the sunrise again was not in her future.

The music stopped. Chatter replaced the hum of violins and flutes. Servants dressed in black and white made their rounds with goblets of wine on silver platters. Thalia knew what this was. She’d heard of it from a survivor before. Those without the tattoo would drink the wine, and they would fall into a permanent sleep. Those that didn’t drink the wine would fall into a panic, and would meet their end by a silver blade that these monsters tucked under their cloaks near their right hands.

I can throw the wine in his face. Go for his knife. Try to fight my way out… Thalia thought to herself. Or I can be one of the lucky ones that never have to see their own blood

A servant passed by them, and her black-masked companion grabbed just one goblet from the silver platter. Her held it delicately in his silk-gloved hand, careful not to stain it the wrong shade of red. Thalia shook, unable to process her thoughts and fear, unable to decide whether to fight or surrender until the man dropped his gaze towards her and extended out his hand.

The man’s eyes twinkled a nefarious shade of black as he gave her a half-crooked smile. “Try the wine.”

Here’s another short, free flow piece of writing to keep the Halloween spirit going. Also I have been told by a fellow blog runner that if a piece of bad language to specify just in case we have younger viewership… So yeah. Language warning?

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A thick fog came without warning, as if it had bled from the Earth instead of the sky. What was once darkness and night had become blinding white. The man tried to drive on, fight through the mist, but soon he could not see even the hood of his truck. It was as if the windshield had become opaque glass. He was forced to pull over. The man kept his truck on, and turned his hazard lights on out of habit, even though he knew they would not be seen. Not five minutes ago, the man could still see the green painted mountain ahead of him, but now he could not see the trees on either side of the road. After ten minutes of sitting in the motionless truck with the heater blasting, the man reached for the back seat, grabbed his coat, slid his arms into the sleeves, and stepped out of the truck. The zipper reached his neck right as his boots met the asphalt. It did not take long for his ears to turn numb with the cold, and the tip of his nose followed shortly afterwards. He took two steps away from his truck and stop, afraid of losing sight of it forever. In vain, he tried to peer through whiteness, but could not. The air around him felt heavy. Each inhale scraped at his throat, and each exhale added to the fog.

Then he heard it in the distance. It was faint at first, but as it drew closer to him on the dark and winding road, he could hear a woman screaming. The man dropped a hand towards his pocket, towards the concealed knife clipped to his pants, but then he heard another sound, a voice.

“You can’t help her…”

The man quickly drew his knife and spun on his heals. “Who’s there?” He held the knife out at arm’s length.

“You can’t help her,” a voice in the fog whispered in a dry, airy voice.

The voice changed direction and tone. “She is not of your world.”

“Get back in the truck and return to your world,” the voice changed again, and every time it did the man turned in its direction.

The woman screamed again, still quite a ways up the road, but this time much more clearly. He could make out the exact word thrown out between shrieks of terror, “help”.

The man dropped his chin closer to his chest, defending himself against the cold and a possible attacker, and marched in the direction of her screams. He kept his knife out, but lowered it to his side. The fog grew thicker, until he could not see his own feet below him, but still he kept marching. Then the voice of the fog grew angrier. It spoke deeper now to him, ordering him to stop. When he did not stop, the fog in front of him began to swirl until it shaped into the silhouette of a man.

Staring at the fog-made specter, the man’s heart fluttered and sent him running back towards the direction of his truck, but he could not see it anymore.

“It’s too late,” the voice in the fog said. “You cannot go back. And you cannot go forward.”

“Fuck you!” the man swiped at the darkness with his knife, only to have it striped from his grasp.

The man did not look back, or try to find his weapon, he just kept running, running much farther back than he had walked forward. When he realized this, the man doubled back, and still he could not find his truck. He could only see the fog around him forming into shapes of other men, spirits of smoke leading him further into the blinding white. The road under his feet no longer existed. He ran only through clouds above the ground, and every direction he took led to nothing, nothing but white. And then he saw the figure, the face and the voice of the fog, and he froze. Without fully formed legs, the specter of fog drew nearer. The man knew that, just like the woman he’d heard, his screams would be in vain, he simply closed his eyes and let it take him, and take him it did.

As quickly as the fog appeared, it was gone, seeping back into the Earth and the trees and the mountain. The sun came out again, lighting the way to the mountain, and there was the man’s truck, abandoned on the side of the road, its paint replaced by rust and its metal frame eaten away by age. And if someone pulled to the side of the road and went for a walk by the treeline, they just might find the knife buried in the dirt, but there would never be a trace of the man.

Today we are celebrating our 100th post on this blog of ours. We’re still quite small, but we’ve definitely been growing, which is always good. For our 100th post we decided to do something a little different. All five of us, (Bree Jalique, Evan Elias, Jaden C. Kilmer, J.A. Prentice, and myself, Philip Jean Kilmer, decided to do a collaboration where we all just added one sentence to the story per round for three rounds. We all have varying styles, so this may feel a tad rough, but we (or at least I) had a lot of fun doing it. And because we are celebrating the month long event that is Halloween, we had to make this one dark. So yeah, this is dark.

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The House of Voices

As John stood there under the grey October sky, a cold wind rustling his hair, he decided that there was most definitely something very unsettling about the old building. Looking past the crumbling brick work and the flakes of peeling white paint, which were disconcerting enough in their own right, he realized that occasionally there was movement behind the shattered panes of the windows on the third floor. He could hear them faintly calling his name, their voices blending with the howl of the wind, beckoning him to cross through the threshold of the rusted iron door.

The gravel groaned beneath his weight as he walked towards the building, his heart tattooing a vicious beat in his chest as his clammy fingers curled around the knob of the door.  There was an evil here, in this place. A thing that lurked in shadows and nightmares. Perhaps that was what was making the trees rustle. Something sinister dashing through the branches.

He opened the door and stepped into the house, immediately greeted by a roar of cold air, bearing a foul, rotting stench. John shivered, zipped up his sweater, and walked inside. It was silent as he stepped through the doorway with a lighter in one hand and the other tucked safely into the pocket of his peacoat, but then a second gust of air swept across the floor, vanquishing the flame that illuminated his path as it slammed the door shut behind him, and once he stood in total darkness, he heard their voices scratching in every direction.

He’s here! A new one! A new one! Oh, how fun said the voices.

John felt the hair rise on the back of his neck, a cold shiver ran down the length of his spine as he twisted his body to the source of the voices. “I know what you are,” he said,shouting to the shifting shadows and the deep dark, “and I know how to stop you!”

He fumbled with his lighter as he felt them closing in on him, and after several flicks of his thumb a flame flicked to life, revealing one of the hideous things: a bald head; pale, grey skin like burnt charcoal; small, white eyes; a gaping mouth with tiny but jagged teeth sticking out of sickly black gums; and that was all he saw before the creature shrieked at him and the flame snuffed out again. John’s hands were slick with cold sweat as the lighter slipped from his grasp, falling to the ground with a resounding thud, and suddenly that one presence began to multiply. He felt clammy hands begin to grip onto his arms and legs, strong, bony, fingers digging into his flesh and he struggled to shake them off as he reached into his backpack.

Come play with us, John. Whatever miracle John was hoping to find in his backpack was too late coming, and the hands dragged him through the floor and into a world of whirling black- a thousand shades of night, from twilight to midnight.

The air was a heavy mist, making his every breath weigh upon his lungs like he was breathing in lead. He struggled to swim against the swirling darkness but it was no avail. John was sucked into the ether. The voices grew to a roar and his mind become not his own, but part of the house. Part of the wood and part of the walls, and part of the floor. After an eternity of falling through the empty darkness, everything came to a stop, and vibrations that he felt in the Earth led him to a window where he saw a weary girl approaching the building with a flashlight, and this made a smile crook across his face. He watched as she walked in tentatively, her hand curled tightly around her flashlight as if it was an anchor to her courage. He loomed over her and gripped her shoulder tightly, every muscle in her body tensed as he gave her a rough tug; her light rolled on the ground and just the first note of her cry tore from her lips before it was silenced.

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Here is a behind the scenes look at our centennial post:

As John stood there under the grey October sky, a cold wind rustling his hair, he decided that there was most definitely something very unsettling about the old building. (J.A. Prentice)

Looking past the crumbling brick work and the flakes of peeling white paint, which were disconcerting enough in their own right, he realized that occasionally there was movement behind the shattered panes of the windows on the third floor. (Evan Elias)

He could hear them faintly calling his name, their voices blending with the howl of the wind, beckoning him to cross through the threshold of the rusted iron door. (Philip Jean Kilmer)

The gravel groaned beneath his weight as he walked towards the iron door,his heart tattooing a vicious beat in his chest as his clammy fingers curled around the knob of the door. (Bree Jalique)

There was an evil here, in this place. A thing that lurked in shadows and nightmares. Perhaps that was what was making the trees rustle. Something sinister dashing through the branches. (Jaden C Kilmer)

He opened the door and stepped into the house, immediately greeted by a roar of cold air, bearing a foul, rotting stench. (J.A. Prentice)

John shivered, zipped up his sweatshirt, and walked inside. (Evan Elias)

It was silent as he stepped through the doorway with a lighter in one hand and the other tucked safely into the pocket of his peacoat, but then a second gust of air swept across the floor, vanquishing the flame that illuminated his path as it slammed the door shut behind him, and once he stood in total darkness, he heard their voices scratching in every direction. (Philip Jean Kilmer)

He’s here! A new one! A new one! Oh, how fun said the voices. (Jaden C Kilmer)

John felt the hair rise on the back of his neck, a cold shiver ran down the length of his spine as he twisted his body to the source of the voices. (Bree Jalique)

“I know what you are,” he said,shouting to the shifting shadows and the deep dark, “and I know how to stop you!” (J.A. Prentice)

He fumbled with his lighter as he felt them closing in on him, and after several flicks of his thumb a flame flicked to life, revealing one of the hideous things: a bald head; pale, grey skin like burnt charcoal; small, white eyes; a gaping mouth with tiny but jagged teeth sticking out of sickly black gums; and that was all he saw before the creature shrieked at him and the flame snuffed out again. (Philip Jean Kilmer)

John’s hands were slick with cold sweat as the lighter slipped from his grasp, falling to the ground with a resounding thud, and suddenly that one presence began to multiply. (Bree Jalique)

John felt clammy hands begin to grip onto his arms and legs, strong, bony, fingers digging into his flesh and he struggled to shake them off as he reached into his backpack. (Evan Elias)

Come play with us, John. Whatever miracle John was hoping to find in his backpack was too late coming, and the hands dragged him through the floor and into… (Jaden C Kilmer)

A world of whirling black- a thousand shades of night, from twilight to midnight. The air was a heavy mist, making his every breath weigh upon his lungs like he was breathing in lead. (J.A. Prentice)

He struggled to swim against the swirling darkness but it was no avail. (Evan Elias)

John was sucked into the ether. The voices grew to a roar and his mind become not his own, but part of the house. Part of the wood and part of the walls, and part of the floor. (Jaden C. Kilmer)

After an eternity of falling through the empty darkness, everything came to a stop, and vibrations that he felt in the Earth led him to a window where he saw a weary girl approaching the building with a flashlight, and this made a smile crook across his face. (Philip Jean Kilmer)

Don’t worry, Bree. The pressure is only all on you to close this out without angering all of us and our fans and the world. No pressure. lol. jk. (Philip Jean Kilmer)

Let’s all just lurk around until Bree comes by.

Sure. mind if I sing? MYYY HEARRRT IS BEEEATING FROM ME. I AM STANNNNDING ALL ALONEEE (Jaden C. Kilmer)

Just keep waiting just keep waiting what do we do we wait wait. When you WWAAAAAAAANNNNTT (Philip Jean Kilmer)

QUICK I’M THINKING OF A NUMBER BETWEEN 3 AND 5 WHAT IS IT (Jaden C. Kilmer)

3.14 obviously (Philip Jean Kilmer)

…god damn it. (Jaden C. Kilmer)

I win game? (Philip Jean Kilmer)

NO DON’T DELETE THIS JOSH I SEE U HIGHLIGHTING (Jaden C. Kilmer)

I WILL NOT BE SILENCED

oh s’all good. Crisis averted.

Fight me. I’ll crush all your dreams. Took me forever to scroll down. (Bree Jalique) 

He watched as she walked in tentatively, her hand curled tightly around her flashlight as if it was an anchor to her courage. He loomed over her and gripped her shoulder tightly, every muscle in her body tensed as he gave her a rough tug; her light rolled on the ground and just the first note of her cry tore from her lips before it silenced. (Bree Jalique)

Happy 1st of Halloween to all our followers… and yes, Halloween is a month long event, spilling over to November 1st and 2nd to include Dia de los Muertos. In honor of my favorite month and holiday, I am going to only make posts that are dark and creepy and Halloween-y (as if 6 out of my 10 posts haven’t been dark and creepy). So no more romance for a long while, at least not from me. This here is a little writing exercise I made myself do. I just free flowed, and didn’t think or edit much.

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She runs, but can never run fast enough. Her eyes scan all around her, but she cannot see through the darkness. Her chest heaves as she breathes, but she is constantly out of breath. And he is always behind her. He is around every corner, ducking next to every bush, standing just inside of every shadow. And unlike her, he can run fast enough, he can see in the dark, and he doesn’t need to breath. His flesh is dead, polished like white marble. His eyes are cold, forged of diamonds that shine with their own light. The path in front of her is endless. The cold scratches at her face and the trees snag her by the hair. The dirt clamps onto her feet, and the darkness wraps her in its crushing embrace. Still she runs with her frail legs and empty lungs. Her screams are silent. The sun is gone. There is nothingness in front of her, and oblivion behind her. Her heart isn’t strong enough to hold her, but has the might to burst from her chest. She is sprinting down a black road leading to nowhere, and always his breath crawls down her neck. Her nightmare. The only one that can take her from this place, but she doesn’t want to go. She is too afraid. She is petrified, though her legs keep moving, burning, moving. There is no end to her struggle. No end to the road, slick with rain and tears, reflecting the glow of streetlights that are non-existent. And yet, she knows this place. She knows it as home. This winding road that goes on and on with a treeline on both sides gating off the paths that don’t exist. The asphalt disappears with each of her steps. The Earth and the sky collide at the horizon behind her and erase themselves.  He will catch her. She knows this. He will catch her, and she will wake. But she is too afraid to leave the darkness. At least nothingness is not the unknown. At least he is not the unknown. He is everything. He is her mind, hidden in her eyes, and the reason her heart still runs. Forever, she will run. But he will catch her.

Another piece that started off as a school assignment. I am considering sending this in for possibly publishing, and maybe even continuing the story if the feedback on this is good.

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They sat in the grass right outside of their last class, soaking up the sun before it disappeared behind the trees while other students went about their days around them. To the left was Lena, her legs stretched out in front of her. Converse dressed her feet, dark, tight jeans hugged her legs, and a simple black hoodie formed to her body. A book occupied her hands, and a small pen stuck out between her fingers like a cigarette. To the right was Clara, sitting cross-cross with her hands in her lap. Short shorts stopped just at her thighs and knee high socks with colorful stripes clutched her calves. A pair of high top shoes covered her feet, their laces matching the brightness of her socks. Squeezing her chest was a low cut tank top with thin spaghetti straps, and over that flowed her unbuttoned, dark red cardigan. They exchanged quick glances, and then back to their readings; Lena to her book and Clara to her Kindle.

“So what are you doing tonight?” Clara asked as she blew a strand of golden hair away from her face, never looking up from the kindle.

Lena turned the page of her little book with a single finger. “Studying-”

“You of all people can afford one day of fun over studying,” Clara interrupted.

Lena shrugged, but did not rebuke Clara. “Update my journal. Netflix…”

“And chill?”

“No… just Netflix.”

Clara shut off the screen of her kindle and glared at Lena. “So the same thing you do every night. It’s friday. You need to turn up. Go meet a boy. Have some fun and do stuff and things with him.”

“You know I don’t hook up.” Lena turned the page again.

“Well you’re not exactly putting yourself out there to meet a guy.”

“I will. Just haven’t had the opportunity,” Lena explained.

“Oh please,” Clara snarked. “You wouldn’t go for it if the opportunity screamed from the heavens and landed right in your lap.”

It was then that a shadow fell across Lena’s face, consuming her until it stopped in the grass right behind her. Lena glanced up as he approached her. The man, silhouetted by the sun at first, stepped to the side, revealing a sharp but warm smile. Lena closed her little book, keeping the page marked with her finger. The sun caught her eyes at just the right angle, turning dark brown into a golden shade of caramel swirls.

“Hello, Lena,” the man said. His voice was like gravel, but smooth.

“Hi there,” Lena smiled. “Umm. I’m not sure I recognize you. I’m sorry.”

“Michael,” the man introduced himself, and then gave another sharp toothed smile.

His eyes, burning like blue flames, observed all of Lena, from her bouncing shoes, to the glimmer in her eyes, to the dark hair she’d tucked behind her ear. He tried to divert his eyes from her chest, avoiding too long a glance at her cleavage. With the sun behind him, his jacket glistened in the light like slick raven feathers.

“We have English together,” Michael explained. “Professor Clarke…”

“Oh,” Lena glanced to Clara and then back to Michael. “It’s just such a big lecture hall.”

Michael shook his head. “It’s fine. I sit a few rows behind you so you wouldn’t have been able to see me. But I’ve seen you around campus and you contribute in class quite often so yeah… I was wondering, if you’re free this weekend, if you’d like to go out with me? Coffee? Dinner? Party maybe?”

“Ummm…” Lena stared into Michael’s eyes, and could feel Clara’s burning into the side of her head. “I… actually… I’m free now if you are.”

Michael shrugged. “I am, actually.” He extended his hand out to Lena.

Quickly stuffing her book and pen into her bag, Lena took his hand and stood. She turned quickly to Clara, who flashed her a double thumbs up and mouthed “score”, and told her “talk to you later.”

Clara watched her friend walk off with Michael, and felt as if she was the one that had just scored the date. She watched, like a proud, giddy parent, until the two walked all the way down the path and out of sight, headed for the parking garage.

*

The headlight to Michael’s Dodge Challenger blinked quickly and its horn gave a sharp beep as he unlocked it with the push of a button. He escorted her to the passenger side door and opened it for her. Before she stepped into his car, she could help but notice the sleek black finish and the crimson red race stripes across the hood. When she did plop down in that leather seat, she noticed many of the same colors: deep black seats, dashboard, and stick; red speedometer and gas gauge. Michael rounded the car almost in a flash, and as soon as he sat in the car, he turned the key in the ignition. His Challenger roared to life, and its deep voice echoed throughout the parking garage.

“I’ll let the lady choose,” Michael said, one hand on the steering wheel, the other on the stick. “Fancy resturant? Or turnt club?”

Lena narrowed her eyes as she stared at Michael. “By your word choice, I think that you’re hoping I pick the club.”

“I’m fine with both.” Michael gestured with his hand on the steering wheel.

“Okay… The club,” Lena said, even though she’d never been to one, and she hardly thought of herself as a dancer.

“Excellent choice.” Michael put the car in gear, gunned the engine, and sped off.

*

The music blurred into one blaring sound. The bass thud in their chests. The lights, green, red, and blue, swirled and danced around the room along with the sea of bodies pressed almost shoulder to shoulder on the dance floor. The air carried the scent of smoke and liquor. Michael led the way through the initial crowd at the door to the bar, and the very ground under their feet shook with the music.

“What should I start you off with?” Michael asked as they took a seat in the swiveling stools.

“I’ll have whatever you’re having,” Lena replied.

“Really?” Michael’s brow raised. “I don’t go for the girly drinks.”

“I’ll match you.”

Michael nodded, and then signaled the bartender. “Can I get two shots of fireball?”

After carding the both of them, the bartender served their shots, and when he went to serve another patron, Michael gripped the bottle and asked him to leave it with him. The bartender obliged and went on his way.

Michael then turned towards Lena and raised his shot glace to face level. Lena did the same, and then they each threw back their drinks and slammed the glasses onto the counter. A few hot, cinnamon flavored drops of harsh liquor dripped to Lena’s chin as she forced down the shot. Before she could, Michael reached out and wiped away a drop with his thumb, and her lips opened to his gentle touch.

They’d taken three shots before heading to the dance floor, weaving through the dancers until they found themselves in the middle of the sea. The air in the center of the dance floor was thicker, hotter, almost tangible. They sidestepped in unison first, until the next song came on, and the current of dancers shifted, pushing them closer together. Already building a layer of sweat, they danced with no space between them.

She turned, and backed up and pressed into Michael, and together their bodies swayed until he spun her around and took hold of her by the hips. Lena’s hands found their way behind Michael’s neck, and she found herself staring up at him. It was then that Michael reached into his pocket and brought his hand up between them, producing a little baggy with two bright yellow pills.

Lena’s heart skipped a beat. “What’s that?” she muttered under the music.

Though he could not hear her, he could perfectly read her lips. He took one pill from the bag, placed it on the edge of his tongue, gave Lena a wink, and then swallowed it down. He then took the other pill out of the bag, let the bag fall to the floor, and brought his fingers to Lena’s mouth. Lena pinched her lips shut at first. But there was something about the way Michael touched her, his rough, calloused fingertips that somehow caressed her skin like the little end of a feather, that made her lips open just slightly.

The pill tasted bitter as soon as it touched her tongue, and she could feel her heartbeat speed up before it had even ventured all the way down her throat. Her taste buds tingled even after the pill was gone, reminding her of pop rocks she would eat as a child. When she looked back into Michael’s eyes, her mind began to swirl like that of the lights shining from behind Michael’s head.

*

She did not remember how, or when, but Lena suddenly found herself dancing on top of the bar counter, a bottle of Jack in one hand, Michael’s hand entwined in the other. Her hoodie was nowhere to be found. Random strangers grabbed at her legs and feet, but she didn’t care. She only took a break from her dirty dancing to reach over and pour shots into open mouths.

A hand grabbed her wrist, and suddenly she felt her feet hit the floor. Her vision blurred. She blinked slowly, and when her eyes opened, she heard the jolting smack of a fist colliding with a skull. Her eyes darted towards the commotion. Michael stood over another man, holding him up by his collar, dropping right hand bombs onto the man’s face. She saw Michael raining down punches onto this stranger, but it did not register in her head. Once her legs went numb, and her vision blurred, she forgot about him completely.

*

The hard wooden stool of the bar turned into the soft leather of Michael’s Challenger. Its seat purred against Lena’s body, trying to lull her back into darkness, but a bump in the road startled her back to her senses.

She looked out at the road, and the vast expanse of the night. The yellow lines in the black asphalt stung her eyes like lasers being shot right at her. Though her breathing was normal, she felt like her lungs were filled with helium, that her chest was floating far away from her. A tingle went through her face and fingers, and her throat felt small and clamped.  When she looked at her hands in front of her, she saw two of every finger, and it wasn’t until she really focused in that her vision corrected itself.

Lena shifted uncomfortably in her seat in an attempt to untie the knot in her stomach, and then turned to see Michael with one hand on the steering wheel, the other on the stick, and an empty bottle of Hennessy between his legs. “Where are we?”

Michael glanced at Lena briefly as he shifted gears, driving more than twenty miles above the speed limit.

“Where are we?” she repeated.

“What are you talking about?” Michael’s brows pinched together.

“Tell me where we are,” Lena demanded. “Take me home.”

“Quit acting weird. You were having fun just two seconds ago. Now finish what you were saying about that time you and Clara got lost at summer camp.” Michael’s fiery blue eyes only left the road for brief moments.

“What?” Lena muttered. “How did you know about that?”

“Because you were just telling me… and were about to get to the part where you finally found your way back again… Lena? Are you okay? Le-”

*

Lena startled back to consciousness again, this time on her knees on the cold tiles of an unfamiliar bathroom. Her face rested against the toilet seat, and vomit trickled from her mouth to the bowl. She sat there, her body covered in goose bumps, covered in nothing but a thin, black bikini that she’d never seen before. Like her hoodie before, her clothes were nowhere to be found, along with her phone, wallet, and backpack. A knot seized her insides, before she could stand, and her muscles all strained as she heaved and heaved until bile reluctantly left her stomach and fell into the toilet bowl.

There was a knock at the door. “Lena?”

Michael slowly entered the bathroom to see Lena on the floor in tears. He too was absent of his clothes, and wore only black swim trunks. Beads of water still trickled down his legs and his hair still clung to his scalp and forehead.

“What’s going on? Where are my clothes? Where is my phone. Where am I?” Lena sobbed.

“Hey hey,” Michael knelt by her side. “They’re on the bed where you left them. We’re at the motel. We’ve not been here ten minutes yet. You haven’t even joined us at the pool. So what’s wrong? You were fine five minutes ago?”

“I don’t remember five minutes ago!” she lashed out. “I want to go home.”

“Hey. Hey. Calm down. Okay.” Michael helped Lena to her feet, carrying most of her weight until she found her legs again. “I’ll take you home.”

*

Everything was dark at first. Her elbows hurt from holding up her weight as she sat forward at a diner table. Right under her face she could feel the warmth resonating from a cup of coffee, and its chocolate aroma filled her nose. Her hearing returned to her next. All around her, the clatter of plates and utensils, low chatter of weary waitresses and their customers, and shuffle of feet scratched at her ears. It was only when she removed her face from her palm that she saw the light of the diner, realized that she was back in her own clothes and wore Michael’s jacket.

“Shit…” Lena muttered, squinting at the bright light that made her splitting headache worse.

“Let me guess… you have no idea where we are?” Michael dropped his gaze to Lena.

Lena shook her head. “You said you would take me home.”

“We were headed back to campus when you said you needed to get out of the car… can’t you remember?”

“No,” Lena snapped, but did so in a hushed voice. “I have huge gaps in my memory. I don’t know how we even get from one place to another. And what I do remember is fuzzy… I don’t even know if… if you-”

“I assure you that I didn’t,” Michael cut her off.

“Well how can I be sure? I don’t trust you. And I won’t get in the car with you again. And if I suddenly say I will, assume I am not myself and don’t let me,” Lena demanded.

Michael crossed his arms. “If I was such a scum bag that I would take advantage of you when you’re drugged out, then why wouldn’t I just say sure but go back on my word-”

“Because I will go to the cops…” Lena replied. “And if I had my phone I’d call them now but I can’t seem to find it,” she said accusingly.

Michael’s brow warped. “Your phone died on the road so you put it in your bag… And before you go calling the cops for something I didn’t do…” he lifted Lena’s bag from next to him on the red seat and placed it on the table, “why don’t you read your journal? You couldn’t keep out of it pretty much every chance you got.” With his own fiery blues, he stared into Lena’s eyes. “You look a little better. Your pupils aren’t saucers anymore. See there?” Michael gestured to the glass wall of the diner. “That bus should be here any second now. Sixth stop should be the campus. Here’s some cash for it.”

Lena pulled her bag into her lap, peeked in it, and accepted the cash from Michael.

“So I assume I won’t be getting a second date.”

“No,” Lena shook her head. “What happened today wasn’t me. I don’t party. I don’t go crazy. I don’t lose control like that.”

“A little mayhem never hurt anyone…” Michael’s eyes darted out the diner towards the bus stop. “Better get out there now or you’ll miss it.”

Before she could change her mind, or allow it to slip into darkness again, Lena jumped out of her seat, threw her bag over her shoulder, and rushed out of the diner. In her hurried pace, she reached the bus just before the last person boarded. Once inside with her ticket paid for, she remembered to breathe, and let out a deep exhale. She stepped through the dim lit bus, passed men in hoodies and coughing elderly until she got to a comfortable, gumless seat in the middle. Before anyone else could, she took the seat next to the window and dropped her bag in the seat next to her.

The bus whined, and then began to pull away from the diner. The cold glass felt good to Lena’s forehead, the cold easing her headache and the vibrations soothing her mind. But she didn’t allow herself that comfort for too long before she reached into her bag and produced her journal, flipping to the last page she remembered writing. There was her writing on the very next page, and for five pages more that she didn’t remember writing. Lena returned to the first page she didn’t remember, and her brows pinched together as she focused on the sloppy penmanship.

Lesson one… don’t take random pills from hot first dates, the line read.

And if I’m reading this, odds are I still can’t remember shit. The dance floor is a little blurred, so odds are it’s gonna be completely gone later. But good thing I’m aware of the fact that I’m not able to remember what happens ten minutes later… so here is to keeping record of it all so I can look back later. You’re welcome, future me…

Another piece from another class. And a little different than what I’ve posted before.

The Day She Left

He awoke hours before the sun did. The sharp breeze rolled in through his window and brushed against his raised skin. In a hurry, he threw on warm clothes, crept down the stairs, walked five blocks, snuck into his girlfriend’s house, snuck her out of her house, walked her across the bridge, stopped at a grassy knoll in the field, and watched the sunrise paint the night sky in hues of creamy orange and crimson red.

They sat in silence, shoulder to shoulder, holding each other’s chilled hands as they passed a blunt back and fourth. It warmed their fingers when they held it, and made their mouths tingle with smoke when they sucked at its end. From afar, one could not tell who was taking a hit, for in the cold night both exhaled thick, foggy breaths. They’d glanced at one another a few times. The girl let out a slight cough and the boy flicked the end of the blunt to rid of the ashes.

She was leaving him today. They had fought it all out already. Anything that could be said had been said, including their goodbyes. All that was left was for her parents to drive her to the airport to see her off.

She was flying from Seattle to Miami, as far as she could get from him. That’s what he accused her of in one of his fits. It was in that fit that he smashed his own phone. He would have to get a new phone and a new number, and they thought it best that way. There would be no way to reconnect. No checking in on each other. No nostalgic, late night/early morning phone calls.

As the sun finished painting its canvas and started peeking over the horizon, the boy flicked away the rest of the blunt and glanced over to the girl. He studied her soft face: the lips he wouldn’t get a chance to see again, the eyes he wouldn’t be able to see again, the cheeks he wouldn’t be able to caress again.

He brushed off his bottled up feelings and stood. Once on his feet, he extended his hand to the girl. They left the grassy knoll in the field, found their way over the bridge again, snuck the girl back into her house, and when he left the boy never looked back. He simply walked in the middle of the road until he came to his own house.

The lights were on. His parents were awake. But he didn’t care.