Feb 12, 2017

Two storytellers him and her

♂ - They are sitting next to each other on the bed ... no, on the couch. And there's something in front of them, it must be a TV. A film in front of them, maybe a drama?
♀ - No let's pick something else, a romantic comedy or an animation... or both.
♂ - The boy took her hand.
♀ - She slided next to him and kissed him.
♂ - Why did she do that?
♀ - Because she loved the boy.
♂ - And the boy loved the girl.
♀ - And what do boys and girls do when they are in love?
♂ - I don't know.
♀ - They began to tell each other anything and everything.
♂ - Aha I was thinking of something else. You mean, the boy told her how he fallowed her on their way to school, stalking her but never quite going next to her. The boy liked to look at her from a distance. He took care to be close to her.
♀ - And the girl told him she always knew he was behind her, and she would always wait for him to catch up after being separated by a stop light.
♂ - The boy didn't know that ... maybe if he knew he would've walked next to her.
♀ - It's fine, they walked together after he found out.
♂ - Did they talk about anything else?
♀ - Yes, the girl was curious: What did the boy write in his notebook, that he would end up tearing up pages and throwing them out the window?
♂ - The boy just wrote nonsense.
♀ - And what if she found, by chance, one of his discarded pages?
♂ - I think the boy would be embarrassed. But anyway what page did the girl find?
♀ - She pulled out a crumpled square sheet of paper and read: Sometimes when I talk to you I forget what I'm saying. I watch you speak but I can't hear you, I look at your mouth and try to read your lips but it's hopeless, if anything it's worse.
♂ - Well that was one note, I am sure the rest were shopping lists and notes for math.
♀ - The girl thought the note was very beautiful.

♂ - Did they still watch the movie? I know that's how we began.
♀ - Yes, the girl was nesting in his arms, and they started the film.
♂ - The boy pretended to be embarrassed but he liked having her next to him.
♀ - What was the movie about?
♂ - Something about a world where animals talk and their mishaps with people, I'm not sure, it's clear there were some talking animals in it. And then the two watched the movie quietly.
♀ - What do you mean quietly? just look at them laughing at that fox, she's so funny.
♂ - I think it would be better to leave them alone while they watch the movie.
♀ - Fine grumpy.

♂ - Do you think the movie finished?
♀ - Yes.
♂ - How much do you think they love each other?
♀ - What do you mean?
♂ - Well, do you think the boy managed to kiss the girl again?
♀ - Yes... and not just once.

♂ - The two were walking through the park.
♀ - And they sat their butts on the grass and watched the sky through the trees.
♂ - The boy was breaf, and asked the girl to pick out a leaf.
♀ - The girl was in no rush, so she pointed at a brush.
♂ - With or without a rhyme, the girl had to pick out a leaf this time.
♀ - Would a pine needle do? would that be a good leaf for the girl?
♂ - If she really liked it yes, the boy took a small pine branch and...
♀ - No ... wait ... no. The girl looked at all the trees around her: the proud oaks, the weeping willows, the cheerful chestnuts and from all the trees around her she chose a maple. She went to the tree and picked up a fallen leaf. The girl told the boy: Look, this is the most beautiful.
♂ - The boy took out a handkerchief and gently wrapped the leaf, then put the handkerchief in his pocket.
♀ - The girl asked him why he did that.
♂ - The boy always wanted to have the girl next to him, plus he had a leaf binder where he collected all the girls he ever kissed and he wanted to add her to the collection.
♀ - Seriously? The boy had a collection of girls?
♂ - No, it was a joke, the girl didn't take it seriously.

♂ - What else do you think they did?
♀ - I think at one point they must have fought.
♂ - Why?
♀ - I think the boy disappointed the girl. I think she was expecting more and the boy in his silent ways failed her.
♂ - Maybe it was the girl's fault, who always wanted something new, again and again, anything and everything and was never satisfied with the boy. While he was content just to be with her anyhow and anywhere.
♀ - So the boy was simply boring, that's what you mean?
♂ - Perhaps the girl just stopped loving him after a while.
♀ - No, that's not true, she loved the boy, but she wanted more from him. She wanted to have adventures, wanted to see unexpected things and go to unusual places.
♂ - And because he wasn't like that... they broke up.
♀ - Why is this a sad story?
♂ - I don't know, maybe they weren't meant to be together.
♀ - And how did it end? The girl dumped the idle boy?
♂ - I think so.

♀ - Later at school the girl pretended not to see him writing again in his notepad.
♂ - The boy waited until she went outside, and this time instead of crumpling the paper and  throwing it out the window he placed it on her desk.
♀ - The girl lifted the note and looked at it tentatively.
♂ - She opened the note and saw a red maple leaf pressed on the sheet and read the words written next to it: I love you my leaf, there won't come a day when I won't love you, where won't be a walk in the park were I don't think of you, there won't be a wind that doesn't remind me of you.
♀ - I know the girl liked it but ...
♂ - But what?
♀ - Well they broke up a couple of lines ago.
♂ - Yes, I remember.
♀ - She went to the boy with the note in her  hand and said: You know, you forgot to tell me which is your favorite leaf.
♂ - The boy pulled out his handkerchief and carefully opened it. Inside there was a fresh walnut leaf. And then he told the girl: I knew from back then that we didn't fit together, I don't think our trees grow together.
♀ - The girl grinned at the boy and replied: You should have told me, I love the smell of walnut leaves.
♂ - So now what?
♀ - The girl kissed him.
♂ - But ...
♀ - Shut up, I said they smooched, ok?
♂ - And the rest?
♀ - The rest doesn't matter, don't you see? that is true love, the rest will come by itself.

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Dec 9, 2016

Choking me

It's choking me. I know it makes no sense but I can't breathe when I think about it.
Lying down, a booger in my left nostril was bothering me. This was my upper nostril as I usually sleep on my right side. It's an important detail because the bottom nostril plugs up whenever I sleep like this. My bottom nostril gets squeezed as if someone is choking me from within and not a drop of air flows through it, but the upper nostril relaxes and lets air pass. Not now though, now there was an obstruction.
Some fucking thing made me dig after that mucus. Slowly but surely I concluded that there was something else there, something concrescent on the nasal wall, a polyp was budding inside my good nostril sealing it partially. There's nothing worse than something giving you enough air to gasp for more. And this body was plotting to strangle me inwardly. A terrible panic swept me. And the more I panicked the more blood was rushing to my head thickening my arteries. Letting in decreasingly less air. It was a vicious circle and I had to do something or else I'd die suffocated within minutes. I had to unlock the obstruction, I had to fight against this body that wants me dead.
I took a teaspoon and I dug deep into the sinuses with the narrow tail of the spoon, looking for the polyp. I found it and pushed it aside. The cold metal reduced its size but I couldn't stay with a spoon up my nose. The panic slowly eased away, I needed a solution, perhaps a pen tube. And while I was looking for a pen good enough to stick up my nose I came across the scissors. Perfect, a permanent solution.
I stuck the scissors up my nose and when I thought I found the polyp I pressed down hard. The pain hit me right in the brain, like an arrow struck my head, but that good kind of pain, when you suffer for a reason. I tried to blow out the polyp but nothing came out. I had to insist. So I stuck the scissors up my nose again and again and cut and cut until I could blow out enough of that motherfucking polyp so I could breathe. In my enthusiasm I may have nicked a vein for now unfettered streams of blood were flowing down my nose. A small price to pay for survival.
I arrived at the hospital with this bleeding problem. And the ER people bandaged me and tied me to the bed. They kept asking me "why didn't you just breathe through your mouth?". Well, I don't know, the thought simply didn't occur to me.

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Sep 25, 2016

Oblivion

In front of an old building with cracked arches and plaster embellishments, a middle-aged man sat with sunken eyes trying to figure out when would be the ideal time to enter. He waited in the door threshold looking in the tall and narrow hallway.
The man rubbed his chin while studying the solid wood doors guarding the building. The old wood was set with iron bolts that nailed brass belts. The hinges were thick as a finger and quite rusty. "Impossible to move" thought the man. A nail pricked the hard door and on it a sign hung "Police Station No. 5".

It was late and the man stepped inside shyly. He enter cautiously among the people who were coming out. Left and right plainclothes policemen were bumping into him as they hurried home. A bandaged hand slapped the bulletin board, and in the back of a semi-circular hole a woman flinched:
- Public relations ended two hours ago, she said.
The man focused on making an effort to speak, he was looking for the words that came from somewhere behind his confusion.
- My brother was kidnapped, I want to ... a small break hung between them ... make a statement.
A few minutes later the man was degrading into a police inspectors seat. The inspector raised an eyebrow to the woman that brought him.
- If this is a joke I'll have you know I could have been at home by now and this would have fallen on someone else's head tomorrow.
- You work too hard, see what happens if you stay up late, she replied.
- I understand you want to make a statement. What happened? directed the inspector towards the man.
- I'll tell you what happened but please don't interrupt me, I'll try to remember everything.
- Fine, I'm listening.
- Two weeks ago my brother came to me with one of the most bizarre problems. He told me that his wife left him. My brother's not one of these guys that joke around, he's a professor, he doesn't do that. I looked at him like a idiot because this time he really had to be joking, he didn't even have a girlfriend as far as I knew. But he continued with Sofia this and Sofia that, Sofia was apparently his wife. I didn't remember nor knew any Sofia. And he married? Why didn't I know that? I told him these things and he gave me a funny look, apparently I had forgotten, how could I be one of those people that forget? I thought he lost his marbles. I tried to reason with him but to little avail. He took me to his apartment to show me pictures of the wedding, where I had been present, allegedly. We arrived at his home but found nothing. He said things started to disappear from the apartment, at first he thought she took them when he wasn't home, but now he wasn't sure. He didn't find any pictures from the wedding, nor any pictures of the two of them together but he did pull out an old picture of a girl sitting alone on a bench. He said the girl started to behave strangely, that she spoke of a missing child and that she finally "decided to forget him". I didn't know what he meant by that. He said he looked for her at work, and spoke to friends, but nobody knew were she was and what's even more bizarre, after a while nobody even remembered her. All this seemed very dubious to me but not even two days after that he disappeared as well. I went to his apartment ... nothing, I went to his job nobody wanted to help me, so I came here. To be honest I know he wasn't kidnapped, but he's gone and I want you to find him. I want to know if he's okay.
- Ok sir ... I'll see if I can help, please stay here while I look up some details.
In this pause the man stretched a hand on the police inspector's desk and began to feel it for scribbles and scratches. These scars were collected over the decades and the wood had harden with them. The desk had iron legs and a hook on one of its legs. The inspector's desk appeared to be a former student desk with a backpack hook holder. The man continued to look around and his gaze fell on the clothes rack, it had a metal tag stamped with some letters erased by time.
The inspector came back to the table and studied his eccentric interlocutor for a few seconds and then spoke:
- Can I ask what happened to your hand?
The man flexed his hand and a moment of clarity passed over his foggy eyes.
- Nothing, I hit a door, and then he lowered his hand under the desk.
- I did a few searches and you do not have a brother. Do not have a criminal record, you are not married, you do not even have unpaid fines. Now, come to think of it, if your brother doesn't exist should I be somewhat concerned about the missing imaginary woman? Do you have anything else to tell me?
- You have to go to his apartment, a old lady who stays  opposite his apartament will remember my brother and his wife. I don't know why but she remembers.
- Is that all?
- I know it sounds strange but you gotta help me.
As he was leaving the man ran his fingers over the embossed metal label of the clothes rack, reading it with his fingertips "Rack number ... for the Municipal School ..."

The inspector decided to stretch his legs and walk to the missing brothers apartment building. The stairs at the entrance were eaten away by the rain and inside the railing swung to steps of a tenant walking up the stairs. The apartment was listed as vacant on the maintenance list. The missing brothers apartment didn't have a number but it had a footprint of a missing welcome mat in front of the door. The inspector gently tapped the neighbors door and a old lady with her hair in iron curlers replied without much enthusiasm.
- Hello, sorry to bother you, could you help me? did you see anyone enter this apartment here?
- Who? where? There are so many renters, I can't remember them all.
- Here the apartment in front of yours.
- That one? no no .
- So you didn't see anyone going in here?
- I saw that welcome mat disappear, I don't know who took your mat but it wasn't me, I've had this carpet here for 12 years, ever since ..
- No ma'am, I'm not interested in the carpet.
- Oh wait, your brother was looking for you a few days ago. He seemed worried, you shouldn't lose touch with your family, it's a pity.
- My brother?
- Yes yes, blood is thicker than water, you know what they say ...
The inspector turned around, reached into his pocket and grabbed a key without thinking about it. He tried it on the door without a number and it opened the apartment. The one bedroom studio was nearly empty. A nightstand with open drawers sat next to a bed without sheets, but there was still something here, a specific smell, something familiar. The inspector tried to find the notebook were he wrote down the strange man's address. But curiously he had lost it. Chills were running through him from head to toe as he was trying to remember the man's address, then almost by reflex he knew where to go.

The inspector found the man on a bench behind the building. The man opened his hand bandage and threw it in a trash can. The inspector saw a hypodermic needle and a few drops of blood in the middle of the rags.
- Are you sick?
- No, the pain helps me concentrate, helps me remember, that's why I pricked myself. Without it everything goes blank, I'll forget my name before the night falls.
- I don't understand, what is happening? why don't I remember you, or anything else?
- I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it's for the best.
- Why?
- I think you chose to forget, there are some things you are better off not knowing. It's much easier than you think, it's like a fog that comes for you slowly and then quickens, details are lost, then nothing.
- And if I want to know?
- There is something written on your desk, it might help you. This will be the last time we see each other. I'm tired, I can't stay awake anymore.

The inspector returned to the office but looking at the sign on the door he felt something was wrong "The City Office of Geodesy and Cartography". He entered and the woman behind a glass pane waved her eyes at him.
- The boss is looking for you.
- I had a personal matter ...
He entered the office and a bureaucrat buried in paperwork  began to apostrophize him.
- Welcome back, how many hours does it take you man? I need you to look over these 10 buildings. They're awaiting permits, so forget the coffee breaks and help me.
- Sorry I had a thing to take care off ... I'll get right on it.
He had a itchy feeling in the back of his neck that he had forgotten something, something important. But what? was he supposed to meet someone? was he looking for something? His fingers ran over the scratched surface of his desk and stopped over the words written by a child. The writing had been thickened and pushed into the wood by stronger hands: "Mama whirly and dada twirly made a girly. Please daddy come home soon ...
- Come on, man, stop day dreaming we don't have all day, his colleague poked him.
And his last thoughts evaporated as he started assessing the  certificates on his desk. 

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Jul 30, 2016

What does your blood say about you

People used to watch TV or read the morning newspaper for the horoscope, that time has passed, now for the horoscope you simply put your finger on the blood collector while you're taking a piss. And so this is the new morning routine. Horoscope? - "You might have a face to face conversation with your boss and if you have the nerve to ask for something, you'll get it, if not, he won't beg you to take it."- good , Health? - "This is not a good period for your health" - ehh bad luck. If you have enough money you will leave a drop of blood every morning in the Collector and He will dictate not only what you have to eat but also what you have to do on that day. You'd think that a beautiful and unique mirror of the human spirit such as your self would be free to do whatever he wants, unfortunately this is not true. Oh my little tender reflection on the retina, you are but an deterministic equation: genetics will crook your teeth after your 13th birthday, subtle chemical imbalances will change the way you think, bacteria will change your DNA and your leukocytes, protectors of the meat temple, will change your mood in the hopes that you will stay inside where you are all safe. O thou great and unique miracle of the world you are on a boat in a storm tossed at the mercy of circumstance. I just hope I have a paddle on this ocean.
I feel a legion of creatures curving the road I walk on. Collector: "Depression, negligence, avoid public transport, aggression, suggestion of exercise at home, day off". It's been saying the same thing for the last 3 months, I haven't yet reached the famous "code red", danger to yourself / danger to those around you. Lately I've been "recommended" the chocolate croissant and coconut milk. I know all the food is regulated and all pills are integrated, but nobody tells you exactly what you're taking with your food. By the state I'm in I guess it's a antidepressant and something for anxiety. But it may as well be something against some chronic disease that the Collector, in His eternal wisdom, decided to keep hidden from me.
Or maybe he decided I'm not fucking enough these days, but they usually put that in the water. When someone up top decides that the population is aging the city goes crazy. It's easy to see when they want some fresh blood by the number of people fucking in the parks. While your dog is trying to take a shit, a girl pulls on his tail because it excites her. I don't drink the public water, I don't wash my hands with it, I don't wash my clothes with it. Water is the emergency doping system.
My blood is thicker than usual, let's see what the Collector has to say today. I hear rumors that when the Collector decides you're too unstable or completely useless it will "recommend" you something hidden, something that can't be eaten by accident, something like poison. Perhaps it's a combination of products. How many of us escaped death because the shop didn't have cola and we took pepsi instead.
There are of course the classics: You shouldn't eat meat unless you have a streptococcus or something. You have to wait until you are sick enough to eat a nice roast beef, otherwise the antibiotics will hurt you. You're supposed to eat chicken only while growing up, no man should ever eat chicken meat after the age of 21, I haven't heard of any adult with the "recommendation" - chicken.
Ohh shit where's my "chocolate croissant and coconut milk"? You must be joking "honey 322" what in the hell kind of chemical cocktail are they making me take. I'll never find this shit at the local grocery, I have to look for a honey shop. It will take a day to find that crap, maybe this is how the Collector forces my hand to get that day off. Well blow me, I'm going to work I'll see about that honey later.

At work the air intake gauge awaits me. In the old days you would be fired if you stank of booze now they'd probably let you work with a 0 index of productivity and a null salary for the day. Pray to your God, to the Lord of pulmonary alveoli for a good amount of oxygen in your exhalation, because your day's wage depends on it. My ass, look at this fucking payroll, it's a joke. I barely get in the office and the boss is calling for me.
On his desk there is a jar of honey. Are we both so sick that we need honey?
- This is for you.
- Honey 322?
- Yes, it came in the office before you did.
- Is it something serious?
- I don't know they don't tell me these things. Now... I can't convince you to do the right thing, but I know things are going badly, I know you don't want this jar but I also know it's the only way things will get back to normal.
- And what if it's death? What if for some reason the Collector decided to kill me today?
- Then it would be for the best to die today. Tomorrow might be worse and you might hurt others.
This two eyed testicle, this piece of filth, this disgusting excuse for a human wants me to die. And he wants me to die in such a way that I won't bother him too much. He wants me to go to the bathroom and die as politely and as close to the dumpster chute as I can. Ohh O Lord, my God, my blood Collector, why didn't you sent a crowbar so I can slap his face off.
- And what if I hurt you today ... right now. What? didn't think of that?
And I fell over punching him in the head. I felt tissues under my hands crackle and pop, but through my kicking I only heard him  laughing. I stopped and he muttered a few words to me.
- Haa, I was wondering why I feel so numb, they gave me an anesthetic for this meeting. You have no choice, take the honey now and you may have a chance.

I took the jar and ran. Ok ... maybe they know. I have to calm down. Maybe they can read it in my blood. Deep breaths. They knew I would do this? My hands are shaking. They knew I would beat up my boss. I have deep cuts on my fists. They let me beat him. I'm bleeding. They knew I would run afterwards. I have to go to the hospital. They let me run. I should have drank the honey. How stupid can you be. Things can't go back to normal. And now here I am with my "honey 322" in hand. They expect me to drink it. Ohh God. They know I'll drink it. My Savior, my Collector don't kill me just yet ... 

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Jul 23, 2016

Guru

I stopped eating. At first, I have to admit I was hungry. It happened that I missed dinner coming home tired from work, I simply forgot to eat.
The next day I brushed my teeth and by the time I got to work I wasn't hungry anymore. That was the last day I was ever hungry. I opened the fridge, food on the right side food on the left, but nothing that really caught my eye so I gave up on that. I can't say that this sudden fast didn't affect me, I usually go to the bathroom regularly, but now nothing, no movement in the basement.
On the third day I got scared and heated up some soup, not because I was hungry, you understand? I was afraid because I hadn't eaten for three days. Just the smell made me nauseous, I tried a bite of bread but I spit it out, it had a moldy taste.
Not a big problem but on the morning of the 4th day I woke up with a sore throat. Nothing serious but it felt like I was rubbing sandpaper on my windpipe every time I swallowed. I had some horrible lumps and it felt I would cough up a hair ball. Four days without food ... hmm and then I remembered I had forgotten to drink water this whole time. My throat was dry as the Sahara, in a classic exaggeration. I drank a glass of water, I should remember to do that occasionally.
Five days without food, I don't feel tired, and no, I'm not hungry. I see a banana in the kitchen, it doesn't look half bad but I think it would be better to abstain. What if I never have to eat again? ... It would be great. Enlightenment begins now, just hold out for another day and then I'll get rid of this ridiculous addiction to food. Fantastic, if I can control this, what else can I do?
6th day, something strange happened, I think I made a misstep somewhere. I began to control my breathing and I can't stop now. I totally and definitively took control of my breathing, every inhalation and every exhalation requires a conscious effort. If I nod off I'm dead. I began to count them, I breathed 5628 times so far. I'll try to stay awake and get over this.
Day 7, the second day without sleep, I am not hungry, I am not sleepy, don't think I'll continue much longer with this mechanical breathing, maybe I don't need to breathe at all. At least take a break for a few minutes ... now.

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May 29, 2016

The red pestilence


The legend

A year-end party was pushing four friends into a corner looking at the rest of the class. It was the end of the school year and the four friends were smiling at each other knowingly. It was the last day before the summer break and they knew they had to do something memorable, some shenanigans that would last them all summer.

They set their eyes on the secluded girl sitting on a chair at the edge of the dance hall. And as boys are sometimes cruel for no reason they picked her, but they still didn't know how they wanted to tease her.
- We should prank her.
- Ok, but how?
- Who can convince her of the most ridiculous thing wins.
- What's wrong with you? she doesn't talk to anybody.
- Exactly.
The four elbowed each other and eventually one took towards the girl.

The girl was sitting quietly waiting for a good time to go home, when a kid with combed hair and two antennas sprouting on top of his head sat beside her. The boy bit his tongue to find some courage, and began to speak.
- How are you? Why are you sitting all alone?
- I'm not alone, I just wanted to sit down for a bit.
- I want to tell you something but you have to promise not to laugh.
- Well ok, she replied curiously.
- You see the boys over there? They told me they like you. They'll come to talk to you one by one.
- And they sent you to tell me?
- No, I told them they don't have the nerve to talk to you... and I just came over.
- Well, what should I do?
- Nothing... they'll come to you, just hear them out and remember what I said.
The boy stood up and the girl approved  somewhat confused.

The second boy, slightly hunched with a scar in his right eyebrow approached the girl. He looked back at the others and sat next to her not knowing what to say.
- Hey ... you want a soda? he finally asked.
- No thanks, I have one here.
After a few moments he looked up and she was smiling at him.
- See that elderflower lemonade? he tried again.
- Yes, didn't you bring it?
- Yea you know how we had to bring something, soda or snacks. My parents make elderflower cordial. Dad usually makes it. This time he made two, one for me and one for him. But I brought his to school.
- Is his better?
- It has alcohol in it. You should look at anybody who drinks it, they'll get red in the face and who knows maybe will see them do something stupid. I can't wait to see them get drunk.
-  But, why did you tell me?
The boy lifted a corner of his mouth.
- I had to tell someone, and I couldn't tell those three, I want to laugh at them.
The boy left and the girl poured herself half a glass of  elderflower cordial.

The third boy, a slightly nearsighted kid, approached her.
- I'll tell you something but I don't know if you're gonna believe me.
- Sure, she giggled at the boy.
- I think some of us are dead.
- What? and seeing his reddened face continued. Did you drink lemonade?
- What lemonade? no. I was thinking, we can be alive or dead but what if some of us are already dead and we don't know it.
- And who would be dead?
- It could be anyone, but think about it who looks like they might be dead? she has lots of wrinkles and she's dry as a mummy.
- Definitely the math teacher.
- Yes, the math teacher is dead and I don't think any of these skinny evil old people are still alive, it's just that nobody told them they died. It's harder to figure out who's dead from the others though.
- How can you even tell if you're dead?
- Simple, look in a mirror, I think you can see it in your reflection.
- That's for vampires... I think.
The boy shrugged.
- Don't be so sure, and walked away leaving her once again alone.
She took out a mirror and examined herself.

The fourth boy was a beautiful youngster who promised to be one of those boys that girls fall in love with quickly.
- You look like you need some air. Want to go outside?
The girl was expecting him to ask her for a dance and thus answered more that question then his.
- Yes... ok.
And so they went outside behind the school, where there were a few oak trees and a cobbled alley in the grass.
- My grandfather tells me that all men are like trees. What tree would you be? the boy asked.
- A maple with red autumn leafs, she answered.
The boy opened his shoes and stepped on the grass barefoot.
- I wish I could be a poplar sitting high, offered in return the boy.
- To catch roots and see only the sun and the earth, contemplated the girl.
- No more lessons, no more parents, no more school just sit outside and sway in the lazy wind.
- It would be nice.
- Want to try? We can take roots and stay here forever.
- Ok let's try.
The girl took off her shoes and they both stood barefoot in the grass.
- We must put our hands up in the air they'll be our branches, the boy convinced her.
And the girl stretched her hands up.
- Close your eyes and stay still, we must feel the air with our fingers and the ground with our toes, he continued.
The girl froze and the boy came close and kissed her.


The epidemic

Legend has it that four boys convinced a girl that she was a tree. As a joke, one night they wanted to see if they could make her stand like a tree. And allegedly they succeeded, she stuck her toes into the earth, and that was that, she caught roots. This girl was the first, the red pestilence had begun.
The boys left her there that night, with her hands towards the sky and her feet in the ground. They found her in the exact same position the next day. Do you know how much strength you need to keep your hands above your head for 10-12 hours? Obviously the boys got scared and vowed never to say anything to anyone.
After a while her parents found her behind the school pretending to be a tree. At first they were glad their daughter was all right, but it wasn't quite so, and when they tried to move her they realized something was wrong. She was stuck in the ground with thin veins growing like roots under her feet, her hands were stiff, but her heart continued to beat. A doctor came and decided not to move her so she wouldn't get harmed.
The four boys were the first to get infected. They hid their symptoms as long as they could, one of them had to tear something like a beanstalk each morning from his ear. Something terrible was growing inside them and it wanted earth and sunlight. While the girl was studied there in the ground the boys arrived in hospitals with the pain of sprouts poking through them searching for dirt and light. They all died one by one in horrible pain as no one dared to "plant" them.
The girl was instead left alone to become the first red tree, the first blood tree, a tree with a heart. People at that time were more curious than frightened, maybe it was a curse, perhaps a virus, something that turned you into a tree seemed like a joke.
It didn't take long and the tree became a forest. Her parents stood by her and then their acquaintances after that, thousands of people became trees, then hundreds of thousands, then millions. We know now it was because of those spores. The plant reaches a certain cycle and releases those filthy spores, and that's how we infect each other.
However I don't think it's that simple, there has to be something else, I say it's a "choice". There are as many spores in the air as dust particles and yet we aren't all trees, why? I don't think you become infected unless you really want to, just like that girl, she wanted to be a tree. It's a choice like any other, only now if you want to "kill yourself", "move on", "escape", "give up" you just plant your feet in the garden and stay there.
Some are drawn to the idea of immortality. They say they're immortal, I say they're firewood. Immortal til the first forest fire, immortal til your neighbor puts you in the stove.
People have this romantic notion about trees. But have you really looked at a tree? it's a parasitic form of life gripping the ground, just a big weed. Roots which worm themselves towards resources and branches that suffocate with darkness all things trying to grow beneath them. There is no nobility in trees it's just a bitter struggle for light.
I say we burn them.


Herbarium

- What's that on your finger?
- It's somewhat the reason I called. It's something in me, something deeply rooted.
- Fuck me, you're sick, you have the tree pestilence.
- Yes.
- How did you get it?
- I made love on the black grass and drank the sap of the red tree, how else?
- Are you crazy? You're making jokes now? people flee from the red trees like it's the black plague.
- I want it to grow in me. Today this little leaf sprouted from behind my finger nail. Look at it, it can't be eradicated by any herbicide, no animal can eat it. I share my body with it, it bears my DNA and it will make me immortal. I will become a red tree.
- It's that chick isn't it, she convinced you.
- Yes, she got infected first, and now she has white flowers on her breasts, they budded at her nipples. Thick roots flow through her hands, wood instead of muscle. And when I kiss her I can taste the spores from her mouth.
- Should I stay away from you?
- No, rest assured, spores are everywhere, I didn't get infected like that. I wanted to say her breath has a fragrance, it's sweet. Ahh ... it HURTS.
- What?
- Some roots are digging in me, looking for the ground. I called you because I can't really see, my eyes are fuzzy. That's the only thing that really scares me, that I'll probably go mad traped inside the bark: blind, deaf and dumb.
- There are pills, a treatment, you can stop this madness.
- I just called you to get me next to her. I took her somewhere nice, we used to spend our weekends there, it's not that far.
- You're crazy you planted her, you know there's no chance now. She's dead.
- She's not dead, just the opposite, she's eternal. Yesterday I sat next to her and heard her last heartbeat. I thought I had some time left, otherwise I wouldn't have come back, but as you can see I'm kinda stuck here, please help me out, I have to get there.
- I can't... even if you don't infect me, she will.
- Please, I need your help there's no one else.
- Don't you understand? even your breath can kill me. I have to go ... I'm sorry.
- We're all cursed my friend, we're already dead, nobody will escape this plague. Please, I can't leave her alone. I promised. I'm begging you.





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Apr 24, 2016

Quite late, almost early

She's sleeping next to me, I love her. Air, like warm waves, go in and out of her chest, rising lightly. Veins go across her hands like purple strings that split here and there under her transparent white skin. 
I cover her cold feet with a blanket. Her head is sunk into a pillow looking for sleep with a smile. She's laughing in her sleep next to me. She giggles and kicks, it must be a fun dream. Her feet won't stay covered for long.
Dozing she takes me in her arms, kisses me on the neck and falls back to sleep. I peal myself away and get up softly, hoping she won't miss me. I don't know if she guessed my escape but she took my pillow in her arms. I swiped a few rebel strands of hair from her face and watched her smiling at me from her slumber.
I went to the recently converted balcony/ kitchen, opened the curtain and looked at the sky. There were stars on the heaven's wallpaper and before them clouds were walking in a snail's pace, minding their own business. I sat on the small balcony bench, pressing my back against the wall. I felt a bottle of wine behind the bench, using my fingertips I managed to take it out of hiding, I opened it and let it breathe.
Insomnia must be a "she", only a "she" would keep me up at night. And so my old nocturnal friend handed me a glass of wine. I would like to read a book, see a movie, but I am not awake enough for that. All I can do is sit and lie between confused thoughts, do nothing except stall for time until morning, when I finally fall asleep.
At my second cup of wine my love appeared in the doorway.
- Did I hit you? Was I fidgety?
- Yes, but you didn't wake me.
- Can I sit with you?
She wouldn't ask this if she was really awake. I smiled and said yes. She sat in my arms and kissed me.
- Why are you awake then?
I wish I had a good answer, I tried making something up for her.
- It's a full moon outside, there's so much light.
My love looked out the window.
- She's beautiful. You woke up to look at her.
- Jealous?
- Maybe.
There's something about these night talks, they make me love her even more.
- I can't sleep without you, she says. If I don't feel you near me, I wake up.
- Sorry. I don't know what's with me, I just can't sleep.
- If you can't sleep I can't sleep, so we'll stay awake together.
And saying that she yawned almost swallowing me hole. I love her.
- I love you, I hummed.
She gives me a long kiss, hugs me and sighs.
- I love you too. I'll make some coffee and stay awake with you ... don't look at me like that, I'm serious.
She put the kettle on the stove and sat down, this time, opposite me. She was trying to find something, the certain "something" that was keeping me awake maybe a piece of lint in my eye, maybe some hidden jingle bell behind my ear. I kept silent and listened for the boiling water. I swear she fell asleep with her eyes open, staring at me. I gave her a nudge and told her the water was boiling. My love turned off the stove, filled the kettle to the brim with coffee and started lazily stirring one way and then the other. She put the kettle in front of me and then she nestled in my arms.
- I'll let it cool, she added.
Coffee fumes were coming at us like a charm from a witches cauldron.
- I wanted to ask, what were you dreaming?
- Can't remember much, except I was a child and I was running after some geese. You're laughing? Well, what do you dream about?
I tried to remember a fragment of a dream but when I turn my thoughts towards it the dream dissolved like salt in water.
- Maybe I'm dreaming of you, I replied.
- Yes you're right, I'm dreamy. But you know, you're not that real either, sitting here in the dark, a shape without contours, and I don't know, there's something else … you seem softer. Your unshaven beard usually feels like barbed-wire but now it's soft. I don't think I should drink the coffee, it's better to be a bit dazed.
- Leave it on the table, it smells good.
- I'll just sleep here with you on the bench if you don't like the bed.

She dozed off in my arms, on the horizon the first rays of light were trying to peep through. I lift her up like a child and put her to bed. I lie down beside her and let wine and weariness take effect. I love her.
- What's the time? she murmured, the trip to the bed must have awakened her.
- Quite late, almost early.

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Apr 9, 2016

Electric heart

"What can you do when you're alone? When you're alone, old and tired? When every breath is a hiss? When you near your hand to your eyes and you see you can't control it's trembling?" The old man's thoughts only found their echo in the empty apartment.
Aging hands were trying to move a small statue near the old man's eyes. It was a statue of a toppled barrel in which a man lived. The old man remembered the inscription on the pedestal "How many things of this world are not useful to me."
The old man sat alone in a quaint apartment with worn carpets, chairs which creaked at every touch and oil paintings hung slightly crooked on the walls. On one side there was a pair of horses running on an endless green field and on the other an african boy was sitting on a barren rock smiling at them. On a long wall sitting with bent boards was a bookcase. Its shelves were covered things that "did nothing", rare things collected by people who had money but little time to spend them.
The old man's favorite was a glass globe that hid a boy and a girl. You had to turn it over and the children would start playing in the snow. The globe didn't hide any other technology, it wasn't a fragrance atomizer or an air filter it was just a pretty thing with no other value. One of his prized possessions was an hourglass with rose petal sand, it didn't hide a fancy receiver for voice commands, or a panic button, it was just wood and glass. The old man would sometimes take the hourglass in his hand to feel its texture, he would gently wipe the dust off with his bare fingers.
The old man had seen them all and loved them at the time, but now all the gimmicks had begun to annoy him. Too many wires, too many batteries, too many things to recharge. The old man remembered his first computer could recharge lazily at the sun, why hadn't things progressed that way. Where were all the promises of a better world: where were the flying cars, the pills that stop aging, the doctors that could cure any disease. All these things that seemed at our fingertips, but we never managed to grab them, contemplated the old man.
His house had been invaded by technology as well, his sitting chair could change its shape for any occasion but it usually just held him like a child. Arriving in the warm embrace of the chair he turned on his decrepit projector.
- TV on … news program ...
"Suicides have become the leading cause of death for minors". A graph appeared in the air, it had the old man's birth year as the start date, since then the number of suicides had increased sharply. On a separate column the number of people who decided to stop procuring drugs for chronic diseases, and then those who refused organ transplants, all subgroups of the same suicide chart.
The old man was among those who had refused a mutagen organ transplant. The thought of an animal sharing his DNA, being born, living, and then getting sacrificed for him, scared the old man.
A psychologist emerged in the middle of the room and began to explain the causes of suicide in children.
- TV off.
Leaning on his knees he pushed with trembling hands to defeat his helplessness and get up. He felt that soon he won't be able to get up on his own. He said a silent prayer and rushed forward with everything he had, thinking that it would be better to fall on your nose than to remain immobilized in the chair. The old man knew the soft and comfortable chair weakened him, each time making it harder and harder to unravel himself from its softness.
The last push was a success and the forward momentum threw him on his feet. Where did he want to go? in a brief moment of panic he started arranging his thoughts. He forgot what he wanted to do ... what was he standing up for?
He felt his heart being aided by a small device in his chest. He had reached the age when almost every heartbeat was regulated by electrodes coming into his chest. The "dead muscles" had saved his life, they tightened around his heart helping it beat. The old man had a small hole in his chest that wires went through to the external source placed under his sternum. In time, however the alloy with bio-polymeric links no longer adhered to the surrounding aging tissue. And each time he showered the old man thought he just might see his heart through the hole.
His feet carried him to the hallway that led outside. The old man smiled, he could always trust his feet, they carried him well. Many years earlier he liked to bike all over the place but not like other the kids, in the park and back home, but far out, every time further and further, feeling the need to go far away.
Back then, as now, he didn't have a destination. He kept going straight ahead until he was too tired or the road back too long. In the doorway the old man threw his tracking bracelet, took his slippers and hit the road refreshed by the cool air.
He found himself outside his neighborhood and decided to continue. His legs were strangely reinvigorated and wanted to carry him further. He saw kids hurrying down the street, something he would have done once. He couldn't remember anyone walk faster or dive headstrong into a pedestrian crossing like he did. "Those were better times," the old man thought, now the destination wasn't the goal but the course itself.
A heavy cough made him slow down, but he didn't stop walking. The nagging cough continued until it turned into "a good cough", a cough that cleared this throat. The old man spat into a crumpled handkerchief and looked, the content had already begun to dissolve.
"Have to lift my legs" the old man said hearing his feet scrape the ground. The skin on his feet was rigid and dry, it no longer stretched it just cracked. The pain made him calm his pace.
"No, not yet." he thought.
He pressed on, leaving the pavement behind and going on the side of the road. The old man still didn't understand what he was doing here and why his legs carried him this far, perhaps too far to get back without help. Tired and remembered his soft clinging chair at home and that cut short any thought of returning home. The old man felt this was his last chance to escape. One final stroll. Now he knew ... he knew where he wanted to go ... there was a grove here somewhere. He hadn't been there for long time, many things had changed but the grove had to be there.
Trying to lift his legs up he felt his knees seize up. "Not yet" he whispered and let his feet drag. He wanted to see his forest one last time, the place he used to wander in the summer as a kid.
Under the old man's feet soft fresh spring grass appeared. The old man couldn't remember how to reach the woods, and his eyes couldn't help him, but his feet seemed to know the way, somewhere in front of him there had to be a grove. The place where he used to hang on a tree branch for hours and never get hungry or bored.
When he reached the edge of the forest, the old man opened his shirt. Sweat was running down his white chest. He looked one last time at his heart regulator and ripped it out with the last bit of strength he had. The system had a backup battery deep inside his chest, the old man still had a couple of minutes left until the "dead muscles" became inert.

He was finally here ... the place where he wanted to die. Far, far away. He leaned back against the bark of an oak tree that seemed to share his age. He looked at the sky through the branches, and he waited for his heart to beat once again on its own.


Versiunea în română: Inima Electrică
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Mar 26, 2016

Forrest Anne

A red ribbon tied carelessly to a tree branch was blowing smoothly in the wind. A few steps from there the girl whose curls were usually tied by the ribbon, was playing on the green meadow next to the old forest. A lot of eyes were watching the girl, but no human eye among them. The creatures usually indifferent to the mischief of men looked curiously at this girl and her red ribbon. 

One day the dancing and games carried the girl in the woods. A cold air greeted her entry into the forest but she entered with audacity taking with her just the ribbon tied to a stick. The forest's eyes were unhappy with the man cub, and they surrounded her at a distance. 
Finding her courage she went deeper and deeper into the forest. At first she began exploring the pathways but soon after just ignored the twisty paths and wandered among the trees. After a while she fell tired and sat down on a root while continuing to wave her red kerchief like a flag in the green forest.
A pair of eyes approached her. The girl jumped up as burned when she saw a horned figure coming out of the bushes. A roebuck stopped two steps away from her, the girl smiled and waved her ribbon as a sign of hello. 
- It's beautiful, said the roebuck.
- Yes it is. I call it "the red flame" ... wanna play with it? and she handed him the stick with the red ribbon. I think I'm lost, she continued.
The roebuck took the stick with the red cloth and suggested she follow him to the edge of the forest. Once they got there the girl gazed at him. 
-I can't leave you that, but I'll get you another tomorrow. 
- You shouldn't, answered embarrassed the roebuck.
- I'll come tomorrow! determined the girl. I just don't know if I can find you in the forest again.
- Listen to me, do not enter the forest, the forest yearlings are scared of you, looking around the roebuck continued, they don't like people, you are bad, you come with guns and hunt us. 
The girl smiled and moved her stick with the red ribbon in the deer's nose. 
- This is not a gun. Fine.. then you come to the meadow. Now it's late I have to go, but I'll see you tomorrow, okay?
The roebuck nodded his head and went back into the woods. On a branch a gray-headed woodpecker warned him:
- You shouldn't talk to her. 
- I think she was lost, replied the roebuck, you want her parents looking for her in the woods? 
The next day the girl came back with two ribbons, one red and one yellow, dancing in the wind on the hilly pasture. The roebuck saw her revolving in the forest breeze, but let her play. When the girl got tired she stretched lazily on the grass and then the roebuck came out of the growth and sat beside her.
- I thought you weren't coming, this is for you, it's a scarf and you can put it around your neck. 
- Thank you, I like it, never thought they come in more colors. 
- Yeah they do, if you want I can show you. Back home I have them in many more colors and you can pick the one you like most.
The roebuck was saddened.
- It's not a good idea, people would look funny at me. 
- Noo, look you can put the scarf on your neck and nobody will recognize you... come on.
The apprehensive roebuck followed the girl up to the outskirts of town. The first man walked past them, no reaction, the second was the same, and so on everyone passed the two ignoring them completely.
- See? what did I tell you, look I live over there. 
When they reached the courtyard, her mother came out and spoke to them.
-Anne, you're late for dinner, who's the boy?
The girl looked at the roebuck.
- This is ... Tom... a classmate. 
- Did you eat? Anne go help father set the table, come along Tom I'll set a extra plate.
- Let's eat and I'll show you the ribbons later. 
The two entered the house. The roebuck shook the father's hand and walked shyly into the living room, where the table was set. He sat down at the table and looked around. It was an old house made of oak from the old forest, and the walls were an exhibition of trophies. It was decorated with stuffed birds, heads of foxes, wild boar and mouflons, old rifles and pictures of fish caught in fishing lines. Some of the animals nailed to the walls were decorated with colorful ribbons. The roebuck looked at the girl in horror.
- Why did you bring me here?
The girl looked at the walls and then at the roebuck.
- I'm sorry, she said, but you knew you shouldn't come.
The roebuck threw the scarf from his neck. Anne's father took it off the ground calmly and spoke:
- You can eat if you want, like as a last meal, there's no hurry.
With black tears in his eyes the roebuck uttered his last words to the girl.
- I would have preferred you shoot me in the woods.
The roebuck got a spot on the wall and on his neck was hung "the red flame". As for the girl, she continues to wander through the woods with her hair in a red ribbon.


Art by Millzie
Read on youtube by Lumia
Versiunea în română: Ana in pădure
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Feb 16, 2016

Out of whimsy

Purple clouds were in the sky when our protagonist exited the building. He had his body turned to the right, looking to the right, raised his right leg to walk towards the right, but something, like a unfinished idea, a half-forgotten thought, scuffed his eyes and pushed him to the left. And on the right, in the place where our man should have walked, a flowerpot exploded on impact with the ground.
This incident left our little hero perplexed. We are going to call him Michael, because that was his name, obviously. Michael looked at the pot and had a bizarre feeling: that Death was looking at the broken pot as confused as he was. And by God, he was right... I didn't understand what happened, I usually don't show up here for no reason.
Michael continued to go to work but began to stumble, to stagger down the street, trying to avoid a fatal next step, I followed him out of curiosity.
What happened? 10 minutes ago, 10 floors above, a cleaning lady opened a window and pushed a 10 kg pot on the window sill. 10 minutes before that, a neighbor from apartment 10 told the cleaning lady to give the flowers in the hallway some fresh air. And 10 minutes before that, our protagonist  Michael, told his girlfriend in apartment 10 that plants need to breathe just like any other animal. So you see, it's not my fault, Michael sentenced himself to death this morning.
But why did he step to the left and not the right? ... I know, I know what drew his eye, it was those purple clouds. I must admit they were beautiful, but to stop death? no, nothing is that beautiful.
Now ... I don't hunt people, it was only out of whimsy that I continued to watch Michael. I fallowed him and nothing extraordinary happened. Michael didn't slip on the rails in front of a rushing tram, he wasn't hit by a car that lost its brakes, he didn't have a heart attack or anything. I'm not saying I cause these, but they do happen ... they happen more often when I'm around. Michael arrived at his job safely, turned his back to me and started working.
So I said, I'll wait til he comes out, people rarely die while working.
Even this city, Michael's city, is a very curious place, people rarely die here, can you believe that no one died on New Years in this city? not even one, day off. Sitting on my butt, contemplating on the sidewalk, I was accosted by a girl with violet eyes.
-Leave him alone.
-Excuse me... Who are you? are you sick?
It happens, dying people sometimes see me. But no, this little girl wasn't dying, this little girl with the violet eyes, was the cause of the clouds. You don't really talk about her, but if I am Death, she would certainly be Life. This snot nosed brat was helping him.
-Why are you protecting him? He should be dead, one piece of garden variety pot in the head and if I'm allowed, it was almost a suicide, a major affront to you.
The girl frowned in the most cute fashion at me and continued.
-I know that flower didn't fall to the ground by chance. There wasn't a careless hand or the wind blowing, something else moved the pot.
Then she mumbled something about the patch of withered grass beside me and I was catapulted from the world of the living. I must admit I moved the pot, but slightly, almost not at all. I want to ask you something: how many people do your think die from flower pots? too few, this job is just like any other, you have to find some humor in what you do. Anyway, all the best and see you soon.

Art by RockAngel8
Versiunea în română: Paraxenia
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