Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Telepathy Bombs

Telepathy bomb causes the near extinction of the human race.

If there had been any journalists left behind (who cared), or news organizations left in tact after the bombs went off, that's what the headline might have read.  But I'm not much of a writer, so that's what you get.  Hell, at this point, we don't need journalists OR the news.  We just listen, and there it is.

Apparently it takes a pretty strong mind to shut out the incessant noise of another person's brain, let alone the rest of the world's collective brains.  Those who slaved away in their hot yoga classes benefited, as did much of the Eastern world.  Various other people escaped the bombs with a terrible head ache and an instinctual ability to stop listening/seeing/whatevering. It took some time, and a lot of advil, but we managed.

I'm no scientist, so even with the vague knowledge I have of what happened that day, I can't explain it very well in writing.  It was a form of chemical warfare; I know that much.  It was intended to be something beneficial for humanity.  No idea who thought it'd be a noble act to bomb the world with a barely-tested formula, but it happened, and I had other things to worry about.  

Bombs were 'dropped' all over the world, and the condition is highly contagious.  There are a few people left who aren't infected, but they've holed themselves away somewhere.  In mountains, underground.  We try not to know, but we have a general idea.  They don't broadcast their thoughts like we do, uncontrollably, but if we listen for them, we hear their silent pleading to be left alone.  So we leave them alone as best we can.

And that's the problem, really.  Most of the population went insane when they couldn't stop hearing thoughts, or seeing images.  The survivors learned how to stop listening, but we're pretty sure we never learned how to stop broadcasting.  

At first, survivors converged to the same locations to be together.  But we quickly discovered that knowing what someone thinks about you, if they know you, is really hard to handle.  The brutal honesty that you weren't used to having someone else hear, that was all out on the table.  Even if you didn't Listen to them... the temptation was always there.  Many people drifted apart, content to seek communication telepathically if they were so inclined.

Sex sure became interesting, though.  There were even a few of us who'd become pregnant since the incident... we wondered, what would happen to the babies?  Would they be Listening in the womb?  Be born full of the knowledge of the world?  How awful.

Language isn't a barrier anymore, either, because if we can't understand the language, we can understand the conjured images pretty well.

Which is how we understood what the Valn were trying to communicate when they showed up.  When we saw their ships in the sky, we all Listened, excitedly chattering at each other about the event.  We tried to send them images of doves, olive branches, other stupid images of peace. It figures that the first time we'd come into contact with an alien race, it'd be because we were the loud, shitty neighbors.  They politely asked us to shut up and stop polluting the universe with our incessant squawking. We hadn't even considered that anyone else could hear us.  Humans really are inconsiderate assholes.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Real Life Slenderman

For the love of God, 13-year-old-me, don't take that fucking book you found in the woods. Just because it's dirty and appears abandoned doesn't mean it doesn't belong to someone.

So I have a bunch of superpowers. No big deal. I hate calling them that even; they're not super. They have unfortunate side effects or consequences, and although I can do some cool shit, it doesn't always end well for me or for other people. Like the teleporting thing. Really, it's just like when you watch a video of some professional gymnast doing something insane, and you think, "how can that be a real thing he/she is doing?". It's like that, only I haven't run into anyone else yet who can do what I can. And what I can do is cooler than pole vaulting. And seriously, what the shit is the point of a pommel horse?

My abilities don't work on whatever's been following me around since I was 13. Time to get serious, folks. I don't take much seriously, but this guy... he's no laughing matter. He hasn't gotten close to me yet, or spoken to me, but I figure it's only a matter of time. He gets a little closer every year.

The book's cover was nondescript. Black with some silver script on it. Well, the silver was pretty dirty, so it was more like grey script. I didn't recognize the words, and I couldn't see the picture that used to be on the front. I cracked the book open, and there was nothing inside it. I thought hey, maybe this would make a cool gift for Amanda. She was some gothy chick I had a thing for when I was 13; no idea why I thought black lipstick was hot. That's another thing, 13-year-old-me; goth girls aren't any more interesting or deep than girls who don't pretend to worship Satan.

So I took the book with me. That night, I saw him. In the distance. I looked outside my window into the woods outside my kitchen. About as far on the horizon as I could see, there was this guy in a suit. I couldn't see his face. I would say his face was blurry, but he was just too far away for me to make out any details. There was absolutely nothing normal about a guy standing in the woods wearing a suit, since there was nothing in that direction for miles. Since I had a giant pair of balls when I was 13 (I'm not going to lie; they've since shrunk down to a more normal level), I stormed out of the house, thinking I could confront him. He was gone.

I've only seen him a few times per year, but like I said, he appears a little closer every year I see him. I've tried teleporting to him; no dice. When I appear where he stood, he appears just as far away as he had been before I moved. I've tried reading his mind; it's as effective as reading the mind of someone's bowl of cereal. And a lot less delicious than cereal, I'd bet. When I was 15, I put the book back where I found it. When I was 16, I tried to find it again to light it on fire, or rip the pages out, or... whatever. Get rid of the fucking thing. Apologize to the guy. But the book was gone.

I'm not sure what'll happen when we finally meet. But I'm willing to bet it won't be a cool fight scene like in the movies. More likely, I'll shit my pants and die in a heap of shame. My mom always told me to wear clean underwear in case I got into an accident, but I bet she didn't consider the scenario in which a real life slenderman was going to scare me to death.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A New Storylet...

This will be brief!

I was emailed by the CEO of, and it was suggested that I start posting over there.  So, I have! The site is set up to be pretty... vain.  But only if you let it.  So I'm choosing instead to use all of the prompts as small writing exercises.  I was going to tackle it with many types of stories and many voices, but I'm finding myself fall into one voice.

This is where I've started writing.  I will probably post some stories from this blog, and cross post back to here with random things I write over there.  If you're interested in reading it, or just making your own, you should definitely check it out!

Friday, September 21, 2012

And Then I Waited

The love of my life reincarnated a few days short of our fifth anniversary.  We hadn't gotten around to the wedding part yet, because we weren't in a hurry.  It was nearing his 31st birthday, and had just passed my 30th.

I say reincarnated.  He died; but I think his spirit, his soul, his whatever, immediately returned.  If you're sitting in a room with just one other person, and they get up and walk out of the room, it's obvious to you, right?  That's exactly how it felt when Grayson passed away.  It was as though a part of him got up and left the room, left the serene half-smile on his old body's face as his grip on my hand slackened.  

He'd been in the hospital for over a week with some sort of fever he couldn't shake.  He hadn't even felt out of sorts until he'd collapsed upon our kitchen floor, in the middle of making dinner with me.  Just the day before he died, my best friend Alice was admitted to the hospital to give birth to her first child.  It's almost too much for a person to take, moving back and forth between happy expectancy to fear and a rapidly diminishing hope.

I didn't grieve the way maybe I should have, since that "he just got up and left" feeling persisted.  As the nurses rushed into the room, I followed the feeling out of it.  I immediately lost whatever trail I'd been on, and burst into tears in the hallway. More nurses rushed in the general direction of Alice's room, so I followed them for a distraction.  I couldn't bring myself to be happy about the new baby, but at least I could pretend for a few minutes.

When I passed the threshold of Alice's room, I was overwhelmed with the sense that Grayson was standing near me.  I looked down to see the wailing baby in her arms, who had abruptly ceased crying as soon as I showed up.  My friend looked so exhausted, so happy, and a little out of it.  She'd opted for a drug-free birth until the contractions started, then quickly changed her mind.

"What's his name?"  I asked her.  She looked down at her new son.
"We're going to call him Alex."  Alex and Alice.  Well, that would never be confusing.

Grayson's funeral, every day leading up to it, and a few days after it, felt like a dream to me.  I cried until I couldn't cry anymore, and then I manged to find a new reserve of tears and kept going.  I found myself drawn to visiting Alice, her husband Nathan, and their new baby.  She returned home, both mother and son with a clean bill of health.  The nursery was painted with the browns and greens of a forest.  I knew Alex would grow up well-loved, and I was both hesitant and delighted when Alice asked me to be his godmother.   I didn't know what implications that would hold for later, but it at least allowed me to stay close to the family and watch him grow up.

I babysat him when both Alice and Nate had to work to support their house payments, car, and baby.  I lived only a few blocks away, so it was never an inconvenience for me.  I picked him up from school for a few years, listening to his incessant and excited babble about stars, oceans, other kids, and bugs.  He loved playing with bugs. 

I listened to his awkward and clumsy stories about girls he had crushes on at school, and strangely enough, had to resist the feelings of jealousy that crept up inside me.  I was a middle aged woman, for god's sake!  I couldn't think of a more inappropriate feeling to have.  

I alternated between deep depression, and joy that Alex-Grayson was growing up in such a blessed home.  Alice started getting worried.  It's been 10 years; isn't that long enough to grieve and move on?  Shouldn't I be finding someone else to be with?  I told her I was happy, and she let it go.  I don't think she ever believed me when I said it. 

When her son turned 16, he started becoming moody.  He'd lash out at his parents, especially his mother, and occasionally me.  I had a hard time scolding him like an obnoxious teenager instead of treating him like an adult I'd fallen in love with just over two decades previous.  As he grew older, I found he was more and more like the Grayson I remembered.  

I never told anyone about the situation.  Who'd believe me? It would sound like the death of my boyfriend had broken some tenuous hold I had on reality.  Sometimes, I even doubted myself.  Deep in the night, with one half of my bed remaining cold, I wondered if I'd just talked myself into believing in reincarnation to comfort myself.  Surely Grayson hadn't just disappeared into the ether.  Surely, the only reason I found myself impatiently waiting for some sort of milestone in Alex's life was because he was actually someone I'd known before he was born.  I rejected the advances of other men, I craved contact with someone and had nothing.  I was waiting and suffering for something that was pathetic at best, and insane at worst.    

Alex kept growing.  Went to college, where I could no longer really keep an eye on him without actually stalking him.  Alice found me in his room once while he was away, looking through his things to see if he kept a journal.  She joked with me about it, but was uncomfortable with me after that.  She was a little more wary when I was around.  Nate hadn't changed.   Alex wrote me letters as if I were his best friend, telling me he missed my advice, and my cooking.  He talked to me about women he was having trouble with, and said he felt like he was missing something.  I couldn't tell him that he was missing me.  

I went to his college graduation, him 22 and me a ripe old age of 52.  The age he should have been, had he not been taken away from me.  What if he never remembered who he'd been?  What if he never remembered me the way he should have?  I tried to fill my life with new hobbies and my work, but even more so now that Alex was grown up, I found myself distracted. Impatient.  Was I waiting for nothing?

We lost touch for a few years, then.  I could no longer have children, and I was opening myself up to the idea of attempting to find someone.  He no longer sought my advice, and had been with someone for at least three years.  I was lonely.  Terribly lonely.  The pain of losing Grayson the first time around really hit me then, because I'd finally let go of the hope that I'd meet with him again in my lifetime.  I sobbed myself to sleep on a nightly basis.  Alice and I no longer spoke, and Nate and I were barely more than casually friendly with each other.  Other friends of mine suggested I get an animal, that it would cheer me up.  So I did; a cat and a dog who managed to get along well enough to share my couch with me.  

At 61, I couldn't get out and do as many of the things I used to love.  I could still work in the garden, but I couldn't go hiking nearly as often.  I did a little bit of traveling, but was mostly content to do old lady things.  Knitting, reading, baking.  I knew that I could have done more with my life, I could have let Grayson go and moved on.  Anyone who reads this story might call me foolish.  I waited for love... for nothing.  But I had no regrets; I'd never desperately wanted kids, and the pets were handfuls enough.  I'd learned bits and pieces of other languages to utilize when I'd gone traveling.  And ultimately, I liked to think I helped raise Alex to be a good man.  

My doorbell rang.  It was just a few days into autumn, and the light coming through the windows was golden and low in the sky.  My house smelled like apple cider and hopefully not like old ladies.  I'd always made a point to make sure I never smelled like an 'old person'.  When I opened the door, I nearly dropped the mug I'd been holding.  Instead, I just splashed drops of hot cider all over my shirt.  

"Alex!"  He regarded me seriously, and didn't smile even after I reached out to hug him.  "What's wrong?  Is everything okay?"  I asked, concerned.  I hadn't heard from him in years.  He looked at me, into me, and through me.  

"Natalie.  I know who you are, and I'm so, so sorry."  Without hesitating, he leaned down and pressed his lips against mine.  31 years of waiting disappeared in that instant.  I'd lost valuable time, but he'd found me again.  The wait was over.