Friday Fictioneers- South Side

Photo prompt courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

100 words


When I was fourteen years old they finished construction of the Bay street bridge. It connected the north and south sides of Mindenville.

I had many fond memories crossing that bridge to see Betty, my girlfriend since middle school. She lived on the south side of town.

Its funny how fast things fall apart.

Heroin hit Mindenville hard in 1994. Soon after Betty stopped going to school. More often than not, I would find her under that bridge.

When she died I left Mindenville.

I pass through sometimes on business.

I always spit out the window when I cross the bridge.


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Legacy

I had been walking for almost 40 minutes down Bowery with my eyes glued to my phone screen. A native New Yorker would have been there already, but I opted to tread cautiously. I did not want to risk getting hit by a car before being able to complete my pilgrimage.

As I approached the black awning I tried to picture the city in the 70’s. A stark contrast to the clean, gentrified street I found myself on. I pictured a crowd of misfits, banding together in the night, drawn to this place because of it’s dirty, raw energy.

It’s a high end clothing store now.

The only real thing left is writing on the concrete just outside the threshold of the door. It sits there like a grave. Punk is dead.

CBGB ’73

Victim of the Times

When I stepped out of the time machine, I was excited to see how much things had changed. When I had entered the time machine, things I didn’t understand scared me. I would act irrationally and violently. That’s why I had to travel through time. Maybe things would make sense now. I always believed that the future would be bright.

I swung the sack holding my things over my shoulder and held a thumb stretched out to the road.

A passing semi truck squealed to a stop. That was fast. The door flew open and a stout man hopped out onto the dirt beside the road.

“It’ll be good to have some company! I’ll take you out Atlanta-way if that’s where you’re headed.” He gestured for me to follow him.

I nodded and made my way to the truck. Once I had climbed in, the man turned the engine and pulled back onto the road.

The cab of the truck was grimy, but comfortable. Blankets, spent cigarettes, and leftover Chinese takeout was strewn about carelessly.

“So where exactly are you headed?” The driver asked.

My brain knew the words to say, but I was too entranced to answer. He held a small black box in his right hand which he waved around as he talked. The flat face of the box displayed a picture of a woman smiling and a digital clock showing the time of day.

“Excuse me sir,” I asked. “What is that thing in your hand?”

The man looked puzzled.

“This?” He held up the small black box. “This is my phone.”

The box confused me. Made me feel uncomfortable in a way that made my skin crawl. It was unnatural. What was this feeling? Was this the future?

A catatonic fear permeated my body, I could not shake the feeling of being lost.

The man reached over to put his hand on my shoulder.

“Hey are you okay?”

It was a big mistake on his part.

I grabbed for the nearest object and stabbed it into his throat.

The man let go of the wheel and fumbled his fingers around his neck, trying to pull out the chopstick lodged into his windpipe. The blood made it too slippery to remove before we made impact with another car.

It was a head on collision. Luckily I had been in the larger vehicle. I survived. The truck driver and the family in the other car did not.

I was sentenced to 25 years to life. Maybe the next time I step out of the time machine things will make sense.

The future will be bright.

Ancient History

“Class turn to page 476 in your textbook.”

The children groaned and rolled their eyes. I could tell by the level of exasperation that they were eager to get to lunch.

“Now class, this is important. We need to learn about the past so that we can learn from it!” I boomed in a deep voice, reigning in the class. “Enya, why don’t you start us off?”

The little girl sighed and put her finger to the page as she read aloud, following each word.

“The United States was an empire from the 19th-21st centuries. It formed on July 4th, 1776 in Philadelphia, Penn.. Penn.”

“Pennsylvania.” I corrected with a nod. “You’re doing great, keep reading!”

“It aggressively expanded to occupy a good part of the North American continent. The United States would go on to fight against and alongside European Empires in two world wars. During the Cold War it faced off with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and emerged victorious as the world’s sole superpower.”

I snapped my fingers. “Alright good job Enya. By the way socialist is a big word! I’m impressed! Lerd can you pick up where she left off?”

“Okay teacher. Ummm.” Lerd scratched his head and waved his finger around until he found a place to settle it and moved it as he spoke.

“The United States could attribute much of it’s power to the vast amounts of natural resources at its disposal. In the year 2024 they began to tap into geothermal energy on a large scale. A geologic survey revealed that the days of the empire were numbered.”

I held up my hand in a gesture for him to stop. There was silence in the classroom.

“Does anyone know what they found?” I asked.

A girl named Kat in a pink dress threw her hand up in excitement.

“Yes, Kat?”

“A volcano!” She beamed.

“Yes that’s right. A supervolcano! They called it the Yellowstone Caldera. When it blew in 2026, the United States was obliterated. But not before sending a craft into space. Do you know who was in that ship?”

“Grandpa!” Kat squealed.

Murmuring commenced between students. And a flurry of eager hands flew up with burning questions.

“Now now,” I held my hands up to diffuse the tension that had built. “It’s time for lunch. I’ll answer any questions when we come back from the mess hall.”

The children looked frustrated as they rummaged through their bags for their lunch boxes and stood in line for the air lock release.

Disappearing Act

Seven.

Eight.

Nine.

Ten…

I release my breath and a wave of bittersweet endorphins muddle my brain. My fingers dance restlessly on the hardwood table. This is a weekly occurrence for me now.

Only one more month. Just have to push through. 

School is all I’ve ever known and come December I will be graduated with a degree. Ready for the world’s open embrace- or lack thereof.

Nothing much will change, I’ll still have my same internship. I still have another 6 months on my lease. So why is it so scary? What is so unknown?

I have a theory- For my whole life I’ve had a purpose. To learn. Come December that goes away. And I am scared that in that little window of time without a purpose. The few months after school but before my career, I will lose myself.

I’m the first of this generation to graduate college. I really want this, I’m scared I won’t make it. I am so close, but I can feel myself wearing out. My end goal is an end to what I know and a plunge into the unknown. Who knows where life will take me?

All I know is that if I stumble I will eat myself alive.

Life’s a Beach

GAME OVER

The words filled the screen in an imposing red font. I tossed my controller onto the couch and sighed in frustration.

“What is it like to die in real life?”

Tiamat glanced up from his magazine flicked a forked tongue at me before responding with a sassy quip.

“Well, would you like to find out? I can kill you pretty quick.”

I chuckled, letting the implications slide off my back. I reasserted my question.

“I’d rather you just tell me. I mean, you’re a demon you’ve probably been to hell. What’s it like?”

Tiamat closed his reading material and set it down gingerly on the coffee table. Then he stood and removed his beanie to reveal his stubby horns. Most likely for dramatic effect.

“Imagine this- you’re at a beautiful beach but you forgot to bring sandals. As you walk to the water the sand burns your feet, its really painful. And no matter how much you walk you never seem to get any closer to the water. The whole time you’re thinking about how nice it would be if you could just reach it.”

I winced at the visualization in my mind. In video games I died so often. But it never really carried any weight with me. I wondered if my avatar went to hell for all the fucked up things I made him do.

“So that’s hell?” I asked.

“Nah that’s life, hell is making the same trek but you forgot your bathing suit and your legs have been chopped off.”

“Oh I see.” I gasped in understanding. “Life’s a beach and then you die, only to find yourself on another beach.”

Tiamat threw his beanie back on and nodded in agreement.

I tossed him the controller.

“Wanna see if you can beat my score?”

“Sure man.”


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Friday Fictioneers- Iris

Photo prompt courtesy of Roger Bultot

100 words


What separates museum curators from the exhibits?

I ask myself that every day as I clock in.

We’re both stuck in this place for people to gawk at.

The only difference is that I am only here a few hours out of the day.

I get to taste the outside world before voluntarily heading back to my prison.

They stay here forever, oblivious to the outside.

Often I am jealous of them, because they can’t look through the skylight at the world they are missing.

When we die, I hope that there is no afterlife.

I’d rather be an exhibit.


Thanks for reading guys. If you enjoyed, please take a look at the other takes on the photo prompt as well! Just follow the link below! 

Atomic Stories and Lovecraftian Writings.