Tag Archives: fantasy

Tired Fantasy

I threw the covers off my sweaty body in a fit of discomfort, but I still felt a warm tickle along my skin. It was clear to me now that I wouldn’t sleep tonight.

With care not to wake my girlfriend, I crawled out of bed and grabbed my cigarettes from the nightstand. I cringed at the sound of the door to our room squeaking open. But the gentle breaths of my love assured me that I had not woken her.

I stepped out onto the back porch and flicked my lighter. I got a taste of butane with my first puff, but it went to the back of my mind as a wave of endorphins suffocated my thoughts.

I sat for a moment, enjoying the simple pleasures of a calm night. But was interrupted by the clanging of our garbage cans to the side of the house.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I stamped out my ashes to investigate. My socks were soaked as soon as they glided through the dew touched grass. Each step became slightly more burdensome and muddy.

Rounding the corner, my eyes darted around the trash cans. Wondering what had caused such a racket. But nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

“Hey you!” A high pitch voice squeaked. “Human! Over here!”

I had a hard time placing the source of the words until I looked down.

“Yeah you!” A small man about two inches tall, dressed in a bright yellow toga hailed me with a frantic wave. He had a rotten apple core in his hand like an oversized scepter. “Come closer so I don’t have to yell!”

I overcame my nerves and decided to do as he said. Kneeling with my ear hovering over his tiny body, I awaited his response.

“Good! Good!” The little man seemed pleased, and tossed the apple core over his shoulder. “My name is Grayson, and I’m on a quest! The Tomato Kingdom is sick and it is up to me to find a cure! And to do that I have journeyed to the world of the humans to ask for their help!”

I turned my head to see him smiling at me sheepishly. It took a few moments for me to realize that he was talking about me.

“Oh! Um- What is it you need help with?” I asked.

“My people are in trouble! No matter how hard they try, the people of the Tomato Kingdom can’t sleep on their own! Is there any medicine in the human world for this ailment?”

I laughed to myself. He sure picked the wrong guy to ask.

“Listen Grayson. If I knew the secret to a good night’s sleep, I’d be in my bed right now.”

The little man looked disappointed. He kicked a pebble along the ground and shrugged his shoulders. Grayson picked up the apple core once again and slung it over his shoulder.

“Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to make a few hundred trips for rotten fruit.”

His last statement sparked my curiosity.

“Wait, you need food now?”

“Yeah. We discovered that a cure for insomnia is to eat to the point of bliss. Not that a dumb human like yourself would understand, but- Consuming that much food triggers a serotonin release in our brains. Only problem is that there isn’t that much food left in our reserves. We’re all going to starve unless we can start getting to sleep without eating more food than we can manage. That’s why I was hoping you humans had a drug to help us out.”

I snapped my fingers in a moment of clarity. Of course! I always fell soundly asleep after an afternoon at an all-you-can-eat buffet! Beaming down at the little guy, I scooped him in a cupped hand. He seemed uneasy with being carried.

“I’ll do you one better! We’re going to the Walmart down the road! It’s going to blow your mind. Seriously.”

Grayson seemed confused, but excited at my burst of optimism. He pumped his fist in the air.

“TO WALMART!!” He cried triumphantly.

It crossed my mind as I skipped to the store in my pajamas with a two inch tall man in my palm that I might be dreaming. But I didn’t mind. Either way I would wake up tomorrow morning well rested.

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Sound

Our ship lapped against the waves. Evening light shimmered against the broken ripples. I stood at the bow and looked out at the spit of land ahead of us. A haunting sound wafted over the water, admired by myself as well as the growing crowd of enraptured shipmen. Although the noise was certainly tempting me towards it, I had enough willpower to resist the tug.

The noise had started when the sun began to touch the horizon one month ago. Weak men living in the coastal towns stopped in their daily tasks and headed out to sea. Those without boats began walking into the water. They did not stop until they had disappeared under the deep blue tides. It was not long before the lords of Saltonport rallied their soldiers to silence the threat.

As we neared the island, I began to notice several small fishing crafts dotting the coves and beaches. No doubt citizens trying to get closer to the source of the heavenly sound.

“Alright men! Keep yer wits about you!”

We scrambled the rowboats and inched toward shore.

I stepped onto the sand with a heavily armored boot, and immediately began sinking into the tidal sediments. I drew my sword and held my shield close as I followed the captain into the dense brush standing like a wall at the edge of the beach. He used his heavy steel axe to hack away at the vegetation, joined by others to form a path into the jungle. We were not scared of what we might find. The sublime sound enticed us further.

As we made our way forward, we began encountering strange objects scattered on the tropical floor. I spied a shiny metal fragment in the grass, and flipped in with my sword. On the other side, a pattern of tiny cubes spotted the metal like boils. A feeling of dread began to rise in the pit of my stomach. Something about the pattern unsettling in how deeply unfamiliar it was.

We reached a clearing, and our marching pace increased. Several other soldiers had discovered strange objects and were visibly nervous as they advanced. However, our captain was unfazed. He led us onward with a dutiful vigor. Closer to the epicenter of the beautiful sound. Curiously though, it never seemed to get louder as we neared its location. It had a constant, everlasting quality.

At last light we came upon a collection of massive grey rocks standing imposingly above the grass. The crickets were chirping frantically as if to warn us about what we would find.

Our formation broke as we made our way through the thin crevices between the boulders. My armor scraped against the rocks as I scooted past. The noise did of steel on stone did not bother me, the pleasant music seemed to echo to a powerful effect between the rocks. I breathed a sigh of relief when I wriggled free from their clutches. Only to find myself dumbfounded by what I saw.

A metal cube with shining green lights lay half sunk into the earth. Burn marks and deep gouges into its side looked recent. The colored lights pulsed to the sound of the heavenly noise. Bearded men frolicked naked around it, paying me and my comrades no mind as we shuffled closer. I could sense the uneasiness among the troops. It was not long before the captain had scrambled through the towering rocks.

“Good God!” The captain looked over the thing with amazement. “This is truly a marvelous relic!”

We shoved the naked men aside so that he could move forward.

“This material,” He ran his fingers along the smooth side of the cube. “I have seen nothing like it in all my years!”

At his touch, the melody stopped. The naked men screamed in anguish, covering their ears as if they had heard something blasphemous.

“MAKE IT STOP!” They wailed with bloodcurdling desperation.

I pitied these men for a moment, thinking them mad. But then I began to hear it too. A faint screeching that compounded quickly into a cacophony of pain. I clawed at my ears. The sound was torture.

“TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!” The naked men commanded. A singleminded fear shook in their eyes and they plugged their ears.

We did not hesitate to strip down to the nude. Not even the captain protested.

Shortly after the last soldier had dropped his trousers the noise ceased. Replaced again by the pleasant sound.

“You’ll learn to love it.” An unkempt man stated bluntly. “Don’t try to escape, or it will do that again.”

 

I was surprised at how quickly my spirit was broken. It seemed that on the island, the divine sound was present at all times of the day, not longer confined to the evening. After a couple weeks I found myself dancing around the sunken cube. It was precious to me, my sole source of pleasure in the world. We still hungered, but we soon found that the cube provided. Every day, more people would squeeze through the rocks. We let the strong men join us. The weak, women and children were felled with our swords and axes. We required their corpses for sustenance.

The people coming seemed to get more and more exotic as the months went on, it appeared that the cube was now drawing in people from all corners of the world.

It made me unexplainably happy to think of all the people who could hear the sound. That angelic, glorious sound.

I would see them soon.

My Fort in the Woods

I had known the fairy tales about kids being abandoned in the woods since I could read. Though I never would have thought it’d happen to me. But here I was with a clothes filled backpack slung over my shoulder, standing by a deteriorated asphalt road. My stepfather’s station wagon sped away into the fog, flicking drops of water as the wheels spun out.

I flipped my red hoodie over my head and tugged on the strings as hard as I could. Anything to protect my face from the stinging morning cold.

My stepfather would pull stunts like this pretty often. Whenever him and my mom got into a big fight he’d take it out on me. He’d usually cool off after a night of drinking and screwing hookers with Jimbo, his wingman. My stepdad always said that every man needs a wingman, no matter the situation. I had to be careful when I came back home, if Jimbo was there I would get a beating from both of them. So I usually just stayed out two or three nights to be sure I was in the clear.

I shuffled further into the forest. Dew dropped ferns brushed by jeans, leaving dark streaks. I couldn’t afford to get wet. I had learned the hard way how cold it got when the sun set.

I wandered around until I spotted an arrow carved into a pine. Suddenly all the trees had arrows of some kind depicted in their bark.

All roads lead to Rome

I followed the arrows to my sanctuary. Over the years I had perfected my wooded fortress. Walls made of pallets, tires, and scrap metal. And a slanted roof covered in a blue tarp. It was functional, and chic. I brushed my fingers along its perimeter as I circled toward the main entrance.

My heart dropped a beat when I heard movement coming from inside. The shifting, crackling noise of a person walking on plastic. I froze in my tracks. Too scared to breathe.

“Aye! Ooose out there?!” A gruff voice shot out from the fort.

Another voice whispered sharply.

I did not respond. Instinctually, I took a step back. I must have landed my foot on the only patch of dry leaves in the forest, because the instant I shifted my weight they crunched with no regard for the tense situation I was in.

The next few minutes happened faster than most moments. The man rushed out of my building with a yellow boxcutter squeezed inside a closed fist. He had a scraggly beard and bloodshot eyes. Surgical tubing coiled loosely around his left arm. He was junkie, and he was fucked up.

“Whattter, eh. Whaterrr you doing here kidoo?” The man slurred his speech periodically and swooned his head while talking.

“I uh, built this fort for when my stepdad kicks me out.” I grinned sheepishly.

The man glared at me, and then exploded into a fit of unprovoked fury.

“YOU CAN’T TELL MEEEE…” He took a mighty breath of air. “TO LEAVE!!!”

He began lucidly waving the boxcutter around in a figure eight. I threw my hands up and showed him my palms.

“I don’t want any trouble now.” I slowly took two steps back. “I just want to be on my way! I’ll risk the beating, I just want to go home.”

The junkie’s right eye twitched. He arched his back, and displayed a putrid smile.

“Naaa whyyy are yaa goin home? Don’t you wannnnna play for a bit?” He waved his box cutter vertically, as if imagining caressing it up and down the length of my body. “Commmon now.”

I realized then that he would not let me leave. I had to run, else I would be found next week with a slit throat, face-first in a drainage ditch. I needed to move faster than the man could react. I dug my heels into the soft soil. I would spin around on the count of three. Then break into a sprint until I hit the road again.

One

Two

Three

I hadn’t counted on his friend sneaking up behind me.