This is a quickie warm up I did this evening, and I liked it so much that I even made the featured image. Excuse my inexperience with this language! It might be a short little quip, but I like it all the same.
I hadn’t had a fever like this since I was a child.
I tossed and turned in bed, my throat searing with pain every time I tried to swallow. The back of my neck was soaked with sweat, and I felt as if my whole body was on fire. Every once and a while, I dramatically threw off my blankets and opened my eyes, staring up at the pitch black void above me. Within seconds, the hair on my arms would raise in protest and a shiver would run down my spine, and I would desperately grab for my blankets to encase myself in their warm safety once again, only to begin burning within moments.
She felt like she was moving like molasses.
Waking up was a slow process, with burning, dry eyes and a heavy-set mind that never quite caught up to where she was. The cellphone on the nightstand rung out with a tone that was slow at first, but picked up after a few moments, as she thought it might make the ordeal easier if she were slowly introduced to it. It wasn’t. This was the ninth time that her alarm had gone off, and now, it was time to make herself get up.
Her mouth felt like sandpaper, and the water bottle she kept nearby was useless. Still, she clumsily twisted the cap off of it and took a long, deep drink of the plastic tasting water, spilling some on her jaw and neck. She didn’t care.
It only took five minutes to go downstairs, brush her teeth, take a piss, feed the cat, and stumble back upstairs to fall back onto the bed. The blankets were already starting to cool, and she gave a deep sigh as she fought to keep her eyes open. So far, her mornings were awfully similar to the mornings of people that she knew who weren’t the same, who didn’t get it, and who weren’t quite as tired as she.
An hour passes. She’s in bed still, tapping away at her phone, eyes warm and tired, hair still evidence of her slumber, and her phone’s battery slowly being eaten away by social media. It’s nearly time for work. Getting up and getting dressed was always an ordeal in the morning, but it was an ordeal that she must suffer through each day if she were to continue living on her own. Lightheaded, she managed to get out of bed and change into her work clothes as the buzzing in her ears began to dance with her vertigo.
Work was going to be a challenge, just like it was nearly every day. On the way there, she almost felt energized, as if stepping out into the fresh air and blasting her car radio was fuel enough to keep her going through the day. It never was enough. Within five minutes of arriving at her desk at work, the warm, hazy cloud was enveloping her again, and she stared blankly at the computer screen as it booted up.
Within an hour, the painful, physical need to sleep was crawling down her back. It didn’t matter if she got four, six, eight, of twelve hours of sleep. It was always like this. This heavy, encompassing feeling never went away, and the back of her mind always ached for something lesser, somewhere warmer, and somewhere darker. She yearned for the hot silence that her mind and body craved.
Seven hours later, and it was time to go home. She had nearly fallen asleep five times. Her bed was whispering in her mind as she turned into her driveway, and practically dragging her by the wrist by the time her front door was unlocked.
It was time to eat dinner and go to bed, then do it all over again. As she dragged herself up the stairs, she felt like molasses.
There’s a certain brand of nostalgia that comes from rediscovering music from one’s teenaged years.
Cat sighed as she scrolled through the music on her old iPod from when she was in high school, trying to find something of interest. It was mostly stuff she still listened to fifteen years after she had abandoned the little device, which somehow had survived being in closed drawer for so long. Sure, she had the shuffle playlist on, but nothing she had forgotten about.
Then that one song started to play.
There’s always that one song. The one that causes butterflies to rise in your chest and your heart to feel like it weighs nothing at all. It sends shivers down your spine and makes you want to do all the things you had always wanted to do. The one that reminds you of your hopes, your dreams, and everything you’ve ever wanted to be.
Cat had a song like that.
She listened to the melody, heart beginning to thump as the sweet, soft voice of the female lead began to serenade her soul. Memories of that one girl flashed across Cat’s mind.
There was always that one girl. Everyone had one. At least, that’s what Cat had been led to believe. No, not all women have that one girl. She learned that the hard way. All the women she knew had that one guy, but never that one girl. She almost felt bad for them.
Cat’s mind wandered to all the times she had nearly clicked “looking for: Women” and all the times she slowed down as she passed by the gay bar, slowed down her scrolling when there was an ad for an LGBT meetup on Facebook, and all the times she stifled everything she had always wanted to say and hear and do and feel and believe and–
The song was over. Cat sat straight up on her bed, running her hands through her hair as the next song began to play. It meant nothing. She was nothing. Her feelings for her husband were nothing. She had known that since before he proposed. Even then, her thoughts wandered to the girl who made her latte every morning at Starbucks. Her thoughts still wander.
Maybe it was time to stop denying it, and just get the divorce already.
He stared at her as she pulled off her thin veil, her soft blue eyes glistening as she looked up at him. He had always loved how short she was. She had always loved how tall he was.
He had always loved her laugh, her smile, her body, and her gaze. He loved how she cooked, how she slept, and how she only used flower scented hygiene products. She smelled like a garden. He loved how she loved him.
She loved how he held her, how he kissed her, how he carried her, and how he cradled her. She loved how he drove, how he worked, how he read, and how he was allergic to mint and used fruity kid’s toothpaste. He always tasted so sugary.
It was only a matter of time before he knew that their child wasn’t his, as she hadn’t let him touch her for nearly a year.
Every morning, suddenly, I am awake. My hair falls in my face as I sluggishly rise from my overly pillowed bed, the warmth leaking out from my nest as soon as my feet hit the cool wooden floor. My chest feels heavy and my eyes burn from sleep. Sometimes I have an alarm to turn off, and other days I’ve woken up on my own.
Some days, I brush my teeth and comb out my hair, styling it in the same fashion as any work day. Loose around my shoulders with a plaid or solid colored headband. I apply a brown, matte lipstick and apply just enough eye makeup to hide the bags under my eyes and make it seem as if I had a good night’s rest. My cardigans always matched my headband and my skirts always had biking shorts underneath. My socks were always white, or if I was feeling daring that day, patterned with some kind of cute animal. I have an image to keep, as any accountant would.
Other days I let my body flow freely, wearing just a loose tanktop and a pair of basketball shorts around my apartment. My tattoos are exposed and my hair goes wild and unbrushed for the sake of freedom. I might be drunk by noon, and I might stay sober until the sun goes down. If it’s a special occasion, I might even order in takeout and get high until I feel sideways and don’t know which way is up.
Between my days, there’s one thing that is always consistent. The shop around the corner from my apartment complex always calls to me at the same time each day. Thirty minutes before the coffee shop closes, I stop in, either in my perfect work attire or my messy loungewear, and I see her smile and wave to me, her smile perfect and her eyes crinkling just so.
…is the urge to make story out of them. I used to keep a dream journal, but kept repeatedly losing it, or the pen, or just plain forgetting to write anything down, but I still remember some of the dreams I put in there very vividly. For a while now I’ve been working on a short story that was inspired by a dream I had, and I should be able to publish it soon. I’ve just had… some difficulty in converting the dream to something a human can understand in story format, I guess.
In the dream I was at these abandoned ruins with my mother, and the entire structure was mostly in tact but with one giant television screen on one wall inside. People were gathered around it, watching a woman who was tied up and being filmed. I think it was a stream from somewhere terrible in the deep web. I wanted to save her, so I went to the basement of the ruins and had to fight a giant skeleton to release her using only the power of music. It worked, I saved the girl, and then left the monument. Outside of it was no longer lush and green, but a desert, and also I had been transported to the year 5000. I was concerned about my own disappearance, and had to use a time traveling vibrator in order to open a portal to my best friend’s bathroom mirror and tell him what happened, and that I loved him.
…It’s not an easy dream to turn into a story, that’s for sure. But I’m working on it. Unfortunately I had to cut out the my mother, the girl, the vibrator, giant skeleton, and fighting using the power of music. As awesome as it was to dream about doing that, it’s just not going to work. However, I am making a story loosely based around the ruins or whatever, and being transported so far into the future. That’s not a huge spoiler alert.
Some people have an allure to them, an absolute chemical and social attraction that draws in even the most strong willed of minds. He had a draw like that, and each time he came back to me, my life was ruined.
We dated for two years. He taught me to play chess and I showed him all the best spots to hang out. He read philosophy notes to me over the phone while I dozed off. I drew him pictures and left cute notes in his hoodie pockets while he saved up his allowances to take me to see plays and fairs. I was so in love, and he was so in love.
It’s my birthday again.
My roommate, Joey, had practically assaulted me in order to put a stupid cardboard party hat on my head. I stood in front of the mirror, staring at it. The hat stuck out like a goddamn sore thumb compared to the rest of my look. My clothes are black, black, and you guessed it, black. I leaned in, examining my face in the mirror. I supposed it was about time to change my lip piercing to something less subtle. The stud always sort of got boring after a while, but for some reason, I always put that one in. Sighing, I figured it didn’t matter. I had work to do today. It was the only way that I could earn more time.
Let’s play spot the reference.
‘Would you like to not be alone anymore? Press ‘Yes’ to confirm companionship.exe’
The dialogue box presented itself on the wall of my bedroom. I stared at it, pondering what it could mean. In the eighteen years I’ve lived here, my house has never run a prompt like this, much less started a process to keep me from being alone.
My finger hesitated over the confirmation button. It’s been eighteen years. Why hasn’t my house run this function yet? Did it not know that I was lonely? It had learned my dislikes, my preferences, what song I want to play when I bathe, how I like my lights dimmed in the evening, and even when to turn on the sprinklers for my garden.
What kind of companionship could the house offer? If I can go without human contact for he majority of my life, I’m sure I can live the rest of it without contact as well. Still, the possibilities ran through my mind. If I wanted to be alone again, I could always tell the house to let me be alone again, right?
After a few minutes ticked by, I hit the ‘yes’ button. My curiosity had gotten the best of me, yet again. Let’s see what companionship.exe does.
Almost immediately, I could hear the supercomputer in the basement begin to whir. Electricity seemed to fill the air as companionship.exe was executed. I’ve had he house run processes this heavy before, but something seemed much different about this one. I heard a faint clanking noise from the basement, and instead of worrying, I sat down on the edge of my bed and took a deep breath.
For what seemed like an eternity, but really only was about half an hour or so, the house buzzed with life as it ran this mysterious process. Distant banging sounds rang through the house every few minutes as it put together something. From what I know about the house, I figured it was some kind of dinky robot or advanced hologram system.
What walked through my door was neither of those.
It didn’t even knock before entering. My head snapped up from my lap as I saw the being in my doorway. There was no way that he was human, since I know my house built him for me, but…
He leaned in the doorway, sunglasses on even though we were inside. He raised on hand, lazily waving at me before pushing aside some of his soft looking, platinum blonde hair.
‘Sup’ indeed. I got up, heart pounding as I made my way over to him. He didn’t seemed phased by my sudden intrusion of his personal space when I gently touched his clothes, his arms, or even ran my fingers across his cheek.
Synthetic skin overtop a metal skeleton. He felt so real. Almost human.
“What are you doing?” He stepped back, shaking his head. “At first I just wanted to see where you were going with this shit, but if I’m gonna live here with you, you can’t be fondling me all the damn time.”
Now that he’s speaking, I got a good taste of his voice. It was a sort of deep, but not quite, with a certain elegance behind it.
That night, I took my new friend outside. We sat on the fourth floor balcony, feet hanging out over the forest below us. For the first time in eighteen years, I was having a real conversation with someone.
His name is David, and his programming makes him thinks he’s human.