Misc

Tug of War

When I was seven years old my family took a trip to see one of my mom’s great aunts that she hadn’t seen since she was a little girl. It was a two thousand mile identity crisis. Unsure about her future, she made a desperate attempt to find out who she was by “getting in touch from where she came from”. The trip would have passed through my life like a specter had it not been for my father’s suggestion that we spend an afternoon at the beach.

I did not understand my father’s enthusiasm for this little adventure, but was grateful for any opportunity to escape my great-great aunt’s cat fortress. As I crested the small hill that obscured the water from where we parked I froze. In my head I had pictured a larger version of the lake we went to with our neighbors back in Nevada. This was not just bigger. It was wholly different.

The water spread out before me like a tangible twin of the sky. This body compelled my attention. I was in the presence of greatness and suddenly felt very small and wholly insignificant. I wanted so badly to touch every piece of it, but the magnificence of what lay before me cast out any doubt that I might be worthy to feel a single drop on my skin.

It took an hour before those feelings began to subside. I would not go within ten feet of the water’s edge. My family laughed and joked that I was afraid. They were right, but it was not the simple fear they assumed me to have.

When I first approached the water, I came with the awe it was worthy of. I closed my eyes and let the waves whisper to my toes. Entering deeper I learned one of the great secrets of my life. Wave after wave drifted toward the shore with the gentle rhythm of a pulse. They could be seen and felt. Anticipated. But the great waters carried another kind of wave.

The sun, the birds, and the air I took for granted were ripped from my life as the undertow grabbed me and pulled me into the darkness. Salt stabbed my eyes as I was tossed to and fro. Fear and awe swirled inside me as the tug of war between the light and the depths commenced. I was ripped free of any hold the light held on me and swallowed in the grasp of the water. Then, having proved it’s might, I was released.

Freedom became something new to me. At first, I didn’t know what to do with it. Then, as my lungs started to burn, I remembered the light. I clawed up from the deep with all my strength and when I broke the surface the air welcomed me as a mother does a lost son. I rested in that embrace, but could not shake the effect of being so completely held by the waters below.

Later, sitting on my towel and staring at where the sky kissed the water, I still felt the tug of war.

Copyright © 2012 Adam Drake

Another Day

The dream world Josias had found refuge in was sent fleeing by the arrival of a sound that did not belong there. His dark eyes slid beneath their lids, the only movement he allowed himself, as he waited to hear what had set off his internal security system. Each muscle in his small body tensed, ready to strike or flee depending on what news his ears delivered.

The light scratching resumed a few meters away. Josias relaxed slightly. It was just a rat and if he was quick enough, it would also be breakfast. He opened his eyes and let them adjust to the pre-dawn darkness. Though he could not see it yet, the crumpling of trash told him the rat was moving closer. (more…)

All I Wanted

I almost killed him. And I could have done it. I’ve got a hundr… sixty pounds on the little twerp. His big blue eyes were locked onto me until I couldn’t take it anymore.

“What are you looking at Thane?”

His little smile was the kind of evil that is so far from good it doesn’t even know that it’s evil.

“Mrs. Owens, your arms jiggle like the Jell-O mom makes for Halloween. I like Jell-O!”

What would the sentence be for killing a five year old? Life in prison certainly, but would they give me the chair? When I pictured the jury filled with women in their thirties I almost convinced myself I could get away with it. But then I remembered that it wasn’t him I wanted to kill. (more…)

Watching

The room seemed to transform from an oasis of air conditioning to a fiery furnace as soon as the words left Senator Corbin’s mouth and by the look on the Chairman’s face, Robert Corbin was one of the three Hebrew boys. The deep oak paneling of the Committee for Commerce, Science, and Transportation meeting room suddenly felt like being trapped in a jail of wood. And the smell of fire was near.

(more…)

The Prison

I pulled the prisoner through the damp hallway ignoring the intermittent cries of pain from my grip that had clamped around her bicep. When her feet began to drag my grip would tighten spurring them into a half-hearted shuffle. Her questioning eyes clung to each empty cell we passed, but I had a special place in mind for this one.

I drug the condemned deeper into the darkness until we reached the last cell. After opening the door I threw her in with all my might. She tumbled like a rag doll and lay unmoving against the back wall that stopped her roll. Her long brown hair covered the bruises that I had left on her face. Only the rise and fall of her tattered black shirt gave an indication of life.

(more…)

Middle-man

Author’s Note: Each week I write for you, the reader. Forgive me, but this one is for me.

“This can’t be right…”

As Dave studied the lush landscape through the spots on his windshield he quickly concluded that he had made an error somewhere along the way.

From a young age Dave had come to acknowledge certain facts about his life. He would never be the biggest or strongest. The things that fascinated all the “cool” people held no interest for him. But Dave had two things that very few people could match, an insatiable curiosity that drove him to learn everything he could about subjects that piqued his interest and a deep hatred for being wrong.  This combination was strong enough to key to his rapid rise at Unified Solutions, the top engineering firm in the state, despite his deficiency of social skills. (more…)

You Have 48 Hours (Cont.)

This is part two of an invitation for reader participation in one of my stories. You can read part 1 here. I tried to follow one of the ideas given, but as my first grade art teacher no doubt remembers, I was never good at staying inside the lines. 😉

Zane’s hand reached out of it’s own accord and plucked it off the table. The blank card felt expensive as it rested heavily between his fingers. He flipped the card around to see and address printed in pink letters with an all-too familiar dolphin leaping out of imaginary water beneath the text.

A smile split Zane’s lips. As a lover of puzzles he knew immediately that he could not resist investigating. It would not take much effort to reschedule his plans for the day. Doing laundry and taking a nap before the game came on would have to wait until Sunday. (more…)

You Have 48 Hours

Author’s Note: Over the past few months I have had a few requests that, although slightly different, suggested various forms of reader participation so this week I thought I would give it a try. The following is the beginning of a story. I will leave the ending up to you. You can share your thoughts and ideas for what happens next by commenting and I will take one or more of them to finish the story. Let the fun begin.

“Maybe it’s just brown. Everything seems like it’s brown nowadays…”

Zane’s eyes wandered around the interior of the coffee shop as his mind searched for the best answer. “Love” was the first thought that popped up but was immediately followed by the image of his cat Whiskers. It was a noble idea, but hardly accurate if a cat was the primary source of love in his life. He pondered the word “Boring” for a minute, but rejected it knowing it would leave him melancholy for the next few days.

The article that had sent him on this thought adventure still filled the screen of his laptop. Bold letters along the top asked “Is Life That Simple?” The author believed that if a person could find a core idea around which their life rotated, they could find happiness. It highlighted a recent poll that had asked people describe their life in a single word. “Exciting”, “Love”, and “Fun” were the top three answers. (more…)

The General

“Sir?”

“Come in Captain.”

Removing his cap, Captain Tanner Shipley pulled aside the tent flap and entered the world of green and brown that some of the men called the turtle shell. General Saunders sat behind an Army issue desk studying the latest maps. All that could be seen of hard-nosed commander was his closely cropped silver hair.

“Sir, your requisition has come to my attention.”

General Saunders looked up for the first time and adjusted his spectacles to see his visitor more clearly. He waited silently for the Captain to continue.

“There appears to be a… oversight in the request.” (more…)

Fear Itself

The high-pitched scratch of chalk assaulted DeMarcus’ ears as Mr. Wainright finished writing the quote on the blackboard.

 

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

 

DeMarcus was well acquainted with fear. His education on the subject began with the first steps of his life. Though his understanding was shallow in theory, life in the Bronx provided depth in experience. Sleep was elusive without the echo of gunshots off the crowded stacks of high-rises and sirens fading into the night. Silence always struck a much deeper note of fear in the concrete jungle.

(more…)