It’s Dangerous to Go Alone

I was certain it was a dream. Everything was blocky, monochromatic, and nothing seemed in focus. I entered a cave to find carefully stacked pixels forming the vague image of an old man. He gifted me a sword and offered no instruction, but I knew what I had to do. I scoured the world, defeated monsters, and eventually achieved my fate. She was safe, which meant I could rest.

I believed I would wake to familiar surroundings, but I was wrong. Instead I woke to a woman’s voice calling for help. My body was slightly recognizable, the landscapes more defined, but again I was tasked with a heavy burden. Weeks passed without rest until I completed my task. I had saved a kingdom, and my reward was another nightmare.

My eyes opened to the insistent nagging of a fairy who had found her way into my home. She bid me to follow her where I learned once again I was fated to save a world in danger. Something in me wanted to forego this responsibility, but my nature prevailed.

My travels revealed my fate to be the eternal struggle between three forces. The evil strength of a monster, the wisdom of a goddess, and myself. Each part woven together into the fabric of destiny. My eyes opened time and time again to complete a task that tested the limits of my strength. I would never know peace.

Through each resurrection I realized I was not alone. She was always with me. The goddess who took up arms beside me to battle the demon. I do not know how many lives I have lived, nor which memories are real, but knowing I will always find her when I wake up is enough. For her, I will never stop fighting.

Former Strangers

The rattling faded away into nothing as Gerard finished his third drink. He’d never been fond of traveling, but he found the train entirely tolerable with a tumbler of whiskey. It helped him relax and let his worries fade away as well.

Gerard preferred to travel in solitude. He’d found an empty cabin and pulled out a book to distract him further. The luxury of his loneliness was lost when a woman entered his cabin. He was miffed she hadn’t asked his permission but didn’t want to invite conversation so remained silent. He stole glances from behind his book. She paid no attention to him and he began to resent silence.

“Who are you?” he finally asked, putting his book down.

She smiled. For better or worse, Gerard found himself smiling back. Silence was no longer an option, and he was surprised to find he preferred it that way.

Phantom Queen

Three young women stood watching the sea. Footsteps too far to hear alerted them of a man approaching. Their wait was at an end. They all turned in unison and walked toward the small cottage they would call home for today. Two of the women turned toward the third and merged with her, disappearing like ghosts into the earth. The lone woman kept walking toward the cottage. Each step she took aged her until she was grey and slow. Hours passed before the young man came into view.

“Hello Madame,” he called as he approached, his leather armor defining his muscles more than hiding them. A long spear lay strapped across his back. The smile on his face dispelled any intimidation his figure would have normally held.

She stopped milking her cow and turned toward him in crafted surprise. This was the first time he had recognized her after many attempts to capture his attention. “Oh, hello young man. You must be weary to have come all this way. Please, have some bainne. There is too much for just me.”

He approached and graciously accepted the offer. He drank three full glasses of the fresh milk.

“Thank you for your kindness. This will help my strength in future battles.”

“You shall be the strongest warrior,” she said knowing the truth of her words.

“Alas, I cannot stay to enjoy a proper exchanging of words. Please accept my deepest apologies.” He bowed to her.

“No need for such formalities. Young men are naturally making use of their constant vigor, as they should before age strips it of them.”

The young warrior continued his path and the old woman watched him go until he was lost to the horizon. Then her body burst into a murder of crows scattering across the sky.

Living Space

“She lived here?” Jen asked as she waded through piles of miscellaneous junk. Piles of clothes, stacks of papers, a table covered in old toys and broken gadgets.

The room smelled of cat piss and dust, as if the door hadn’t been opened in decades. The carpet was stained and torn. The floorboards were showing in one corner, which Greg avoided for fear of falling through the rotted wood.

“It would be easier to just burn this place down,” he said.

“We need to find at least a few reminders of her. The rest can be trashed.”

Reminders. That was why they were there. To find an untarnished object to induce memories. Good memories of his mother. Before she moved here. Back when she smiled and he would visit her. Back to good times.

“I can’t believe this is how she ended.” His voice caught as the guilt set in.

1440 Minutes

Everyone wondered where Matthew’s ideas came from. He always answered as if he didn’t know himself, and there was some truth in that answer. The part he always omitted was something he didn’t think anyone would believe. He never understood it well enough to explain it in detail.

Matthew only knew they came at night like spiders through the window climbing up to whisper in his ear. He would sit down at midnight, every night, and write the words as they came to him. The quicker the words came, the faster he would write, and every night the words would halt at 1:00am.

What Matthew didn’t know was his ideas originated in his blood. He didn’t know it takes one minute for blood to fully circulate throughout the body. He never knew that in his right femoral bone marrow, a new white blood cell was created every day, at 11:59pm.