Tiny Stories: Name Not Nature

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

“I owe you the world’s biggest apology,” Corinne said. “For not being here when you needed me most. I was in the Dzanga-Sangha National Park. Do you know where that is? Central Africa. It’s a rainforest reserve where they have gorillas, elephants, forest buffalos and a host of other wildlife but the thing it doesn’t have are telephones or internet, so it took awhile for word to get to me. But I came as soon as I heard and what’s important is that I’m here now.”

Blue sat on the sofa, silent as stone, hugging her knees to her chest. She made no eye contact with her aunt or even acknowledged the woman’s presence.

“There’s certainly no denying that car accident dealt you a bad hand,” Corinne continued. “You lost your mom and dad and I lost my sister, but we’re still a family, you and me, and while I can never replace your parents, you’ll never be alone, even if you choose to be because I will always be around, pestering you with stories about your mom when she was your age that will knock your cotton socks off. And I hope one day you’ll tell me things about my sister that I didn’t know.”

Was there a slight head twitch? An eye movement from her niece or was it just a trick of the light? Either way, Corinne pressed on.

“And if nothing else I say sinks in, I hope this will: Blue is your name, not your nature. Inside and out, you’re the type of beautiful that lasts forever, just like your mom. So, I hope you find your way back to me through this dark cloud because I am in desperate need of a rainbow.”

Definite movement that time, as the young girl’s chin began to quiver and her eyes moistened with tears.

Corinne wrapped her arms around Blue and pulled her into an embrace. Her niece resisted at first but she refused to let go and eventually the tears came and the struggling died down.

The wall between them was still firmly in place, only a brick had come loose, and one brick might not have seemed like a great accomplishment, but it was a start.

Tiny Stories: Planting Memories

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

My memory? A sieve in which past recollections drain away into one of the many great black holes of half-forgotten yesterdays. Could it be the result of a built-in self-defense mechanism that tamps down the harmful events one never quite survives intact? Or am I simply a poor caretaker of retrospection?

I find that in order to remember a past event, I must pluck photographs from an album I do not recall assembling and fold the still images into my locks, like planting seeds in soil in hopes that these memories will take root and replace the ones that have evaporated forever.

Tiny Stories: Charcoal Heart

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

According to the superstitious urban legend passed down by fishwives, it was said that when Death first approached its victim, the person felt it in their soul in much the same manner as arthritic joints could sense a change in the weather, but such was not the case for Millie Poole.

She felt the much-feared arrival in her chest, as if her heart was a charcoal briquette coated with lighter fluid anxiously awaiting the spark of the Grim Reaper’s fiery embrace.

“That is because true love has been absent from your young heart,” said an ethereal voice, light as a feather, that tickled her ears to hear it. “But no longer, for I truly love you and the life you offer up so that I might continue my eternal existence.”

And so it was that Death came to her, but not in the foretold dread, fury or pain. Instead, it was kind and gentle and oh so sweet, and it filled the essence of her being with an amazing peace that Millie had never ever known in life.

Tiny Stories: Trading Places

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Cornelius begins spouting gibberish like a madman and before I realize that it is some sort of incantation, my consciousness, everything I am, is wrenched from my body and dumped like rubble and detritus into the sickly form of my dying enemy and for a second my view of the world, now through his cataract eyes, shifts like a lenticular optical illusion of massive chaos and the last thing I see before my vision clouds over is his crooked smile on the face that used to belong to me as I try to claw my way free before this fleshy prison becomes a corpse.

Tiny Stories: The Dominant Species

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Earth finally established communications with life from another world. Sadly, it had nothing to do with the efforts of the human race, or even involved them in any way.

An explorative extraterrestrial race of beings in search of the answers to existence, trekked across the expanse of the cosmos, when they happened upon our planet.

They visited with peaceful intentions and bearing gifts but as seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, they landed in the ocean and began negotiations to help terraform Earth to be perfect for the expansion of the dolphin species, whom they considered to be the dominant life form.

Tiny Stories: The Least of Her Habits

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Ashley stopped a complete stranger in his tracks, bummed a cigarette from his open pack without asking and steadied the man’s hand on the match to light it.

She had a way with men that allowed her to get away with things of that nature. Perhaps it was her sad beauty that made men want to save her though she was not in need of rescue, and made them want to be with her though she was quite happy being alone.

Her friend, Roy, apparently the only heterosexual man on the planet immune to her charms, watched and shook his head as she abandoned the cigarette man without so much as a by-your-leave.

“Nasty habit, that,” Roy said.

Ashley studied the cigarette in her hand.

“I commit what are universally known to be the Three Unforgivable Sins: murder, torture and abuse of human beings on a regular basis in order to draw a paycheck, so I’d say having a fucking cigarette every now and then is the least of my bad habits,” she smiled wanly, inhaled and let the smoke stream out of her nostrils in lazy snakes.

Perhaps, Roy thought, it was time to make some new friends.

Tiny Stories: When It All Boils Down

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

None of the relationships in Dana’s life, from adolescent crushes to teen dating to twenty-something romances, ever made sense. Despite the numerous times she tried to find the one who would supposedly complete her, she could never fill the hole in her life where loneliness existed.

Fed up and tired of suffering, she finally reached the point where she was prepared to give up on everything because an existence being ignored, overlooked, and invisible to love was a fate worse than death.

And as she was about to complete the act that would end all of her suffering, her phone rang. It was her father, calling out of the blue, and though she couldn’t bring herself to tell him what she was about to do, he somehow sensed something was amiss.

“Things aren’t always as difficult as they seem,” her father said. “Which is hard to see when you’re smack dab in the middle of a situation. It’s like that saying goes, you can’t see the forest for the trees. But here’s a simple truth that took me years to realize, despite intellect and education, breeding and sophistication, race, color, religious creed or gender identity, when it all boils down, people are nothing more than children wrapped in grown-up complications. True love and happiness happens when the child in you finds the child in someone else to play with.”

And somehow that simple revelation made life a little easier for Dana to bear.

Tiny Stories: I Love The Bones of You

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Aretha declared her undying love, her voice quivering with trepidation. Had she misread the signs, spoken too earnestly, too hastily? Had she forgotten herself and in a moment of childish infatuation, put the man of her dreams off her completely for making so bold an advance?

Luther’s smile was slow to unfurl and she could not decipher its meaning. Was he aware that she was on tenterhooks, awaiting his response? And if he was, did he delight in toying with her and her affections?

Finally, Luther responded by saying, “I love the bones of you,” and all her fears were instantly allayed.

And this was the truth, only, it wasn’t the complete truth. Luther actually loved Aretha as he claimed, the very bones of her, straight down to the marrow. Unfortunately, it was the only part he truly cared for.

As for the rest of his would-be paramour? Well, he would reduce that in a savory stew which he was positive his neighbors would enjoy immensely.

Tiny Stories: The Impossible Knot

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Everything she ever owned was now little more than ash and in the charred remains of her once luxurious home, time crept at its petty pace around Emmeline Massingham without ever quite touching her for she was stuck in a moment.

Her fingers, gnarled and crippled with arthritis, pinched and pulled at a ball of concentrated time, trying to unravel an impossible knot made from the ancient threads of musty eras and epochs long past.

She realized her efforts were most likely in vain but could not stop herself from attempting to reverse the merest moment of eternity’s clock and, with crochet hooks at the ready, reknit a reality in which her family had not perished in the fire.

Tiny Stories: The Scent of Her Lips

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

“Excuse me, Miss, you may think me forward but might I inquire about your lip rouge? I am familiar with its scent.”

“Oh, are you a cosmetic artisan, Sir?”

“Nothing so rousing, I assure you. I am a botanist by trade and I recognize the plant your maquillage is made from. It has hallucinogenic properties, does it not?”

“So I have been told. It also has additional medicinal and magical uses.”

“Magical uses, you say?”

“It is said that those who dabble in the arts are able to concoct a poison to protect fair young maidens from unwanted advances, but this is merely a rumor, mind you.”

“Duly noted. I shall leave you to continue your stroll in peace. Pardon the intrusion.”