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 up.” 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.

A Gem Full of Living Things

She watched the horses prancing through the fields below and smiled. The sun’s rays warmed her and the breeze was barely cool enough to notice. Lunch had been a plate of carrots, potatoes, and chicken sprinkled with rosemary. Now, in the afternoon daylight, she let herself wander the hills and take in the land.

The plains were beautiful and green and the mountains beyond them were a dreamlike backdrop she once imagined could only exist in movies.

She sighed and sat down, running a hand down her dress to prevent it from bundling beneath her. Days like these made her believe this whole world was made simply to exist. No higher meaning. No explanations. A place where she could simply sit in the sage grass and look at all the wonderful things and be happy. It was all peaceful. Even the storm crawling over the mountains was beautiful.

Tonight’s Entertainment

He opened his eyes to see a bulky, metal globe floating above him. The sphere turned to reveal drawn-on eyes and a large, endless smile that filled the surface.

“Hello friend,” the metal face said, its eyes unblinking.

“Where am I?” he groaned.

“You’re in the best place this side of the universe my friend. Before it’s time, what’s your name?”

He sat up and ran a hand through his hair. His head felt heavy. “I…I don’t know. I can’t remember,” he finally answered.

“That’s too bad. I like to get people’s names, but when you forget you forget. Oh, we’re starting.” The metal head disappeared.

A roaring filled his ears as he stood up and took in his surroundings. He was in the middle of an arena. Twenty-foot walls surrounded him. Above the walls were thousands of creatures cheering and jeering. Littered among them were his own kind. A small group of which had formed near the crest of the wall farthest from him.

“Welcome,” a voice boomed over the noise, “to the one, the only, ABATTOIR!!!!” The crowd erupted. The announcer waited a moment before continuing, “Without further delay, I give you the opening round.”

The noise drowned out everything. He spun in time to see the metal face charging at him with six writhing, mechanical legs. Two of which threw him across the enclosure. He hit the ground hard. Before he could react, he was lifted off the ground and slammed against the wall. He looked up and saw the small group from his world. He could hear their curses through the din.

He looked down at the metal arm holding him against the wall. The metal sphere filled his vision. The hollow eyes and endless smile mere inches from his face.

“Goodbye, friend.”


The weight came on instantly. He felt it in his chest first like a shock-wave then as a pile of stones. Each second another solid mass of despair. His rib-cage threatened to crumble. His organs barely able to maintain shape. His entire body wanted to buckle under the weight as the moon came crashing down, smashing him into the earth until his atoms fused with the soil.

“I’m sorry,” someone said. The voice was blurry, distant, but familiar. The soft inflection indicated sincerity.

He almost didn’t hear his own voice reply. He said it without even a whisper of pain. It was instinctive, natural, a story he told himself every day.

“It’s okay. I’m fine.”