Better

Hello. Here is a link.

Better

It is a story with some inconsistencies. I’m not quite satisfied with it, and I keep changing it. Sorry for the ambiguity.

-MWA

(And if someone can tell me how to post Twine stories natively in WordPress, I want to hear that explanation)

#artist, #better-2, #inconsistent, #interactive-fiction-2, #long, #pit, #self-loathing, #stories-in-parts

God

Just as he said the word “darkness,” the power went out. His parishioners called it a miracle. Reverend Gupton was grateful for the vote of confidence, but he found it hard to believe that God would waste a miracle on such measly punctuation.

God, however, knew that such a petty miracle would throw him off Her scent. For years, the Reverend Gupton had had been drawing attention to Her work, even though She did everything in her power to assert Her non-existence.

In his next sermon, She flooded the bathroom. He was talking about Moses in the desert. The church considered it another miracle anyway, and attendance soared.

For the next few Sundays, anytime he mentioned evil, or demons, or anything regarding the nether world, She sent sun through the windows, into Rev. Gupton’s face. He held his hand to the light.

“It’s just coincidence,” he said eventually, from the pulpit. “God isn’t trying to impress any of us. If anything, He wants us to focus on what’s in front of us, not on lofty possibilities.”

She didn’t disagree with his point. He was entirely correct about her and her views. However, putting her intentions out like that made her feel incredibly self-conscious. Not to mention, he was robbing people of their own insights.

She rearranged a few trees so that the light gave him the appearance of horns. A few concerned gasps drew attention to the sight, and the shadow moved with him.

“For the last time,” he said, “this isn’t God. God doesn’t exist!”

She turned her attention away from the preacher, just as She hoped he’d do it return. It’s hard to be yourself while anyone’s watching.

#agoraphobia, #blasphemy, #god-is-love, #microfiction, #pascals-other-wager, #pascals-wager, #social-anxiety, #social-phobia, #theology

Baby

Her first few memories were of love. As soon as light hit her face, she was held in her mother’s arms. She had milk and a merciful touch across her body.

Later, she woke up in a room that was apart from everything. She looked up, the only direction her head was facing, and saw monsters, flying things that made no effort, and she had no power to get away. Someone had fenced her in when she wasn’t looking, and she screamed. Her mother came running that first time. She had milk and comfort.

Subsequently, Farah cried again, and she found that each time she raised her voice, her mother was by her side. The pauses were longer, and she felt less and less love, but her mother was always in reach.

Until once, her father came, and he did not have the same comfort. She kept screaming until her mother joined him, but she didn’t stay. Her mother came and screamed too, and she could not provide her mother with comfort or milk or any of the good things.

Farah was suddenly embarrassed that she had caused her mother such distress. The next time her diaper filled, she felt the sensation and decided it wasn’t so bad, not so bad as an upset mother. And crying did nothing on its own. She was hungry, but that discomfort was not so bad as the anger she had seen in her source, so she waited. Her mother would feed her, change her, clothe her, at a more convenient time.

Farah waited. Her mother came eventually. She picked up her daughter and hugged her tightly, and set her back in the cradle. Farah went to sleep. Her mother was happy, and that made her happy.

#baby, #children, #considerate, #discomfort, #empathy, #microfiction

Robustness (part 5)

Leslie was not attractive. He didn’t want to objectify her in any specific way, but she was ugly, no question. Whatever part of him made inventory of physical characteristics and analyzed the data worked automatically. The conclusion was in his favor. The great worry he’d had was that she would trigger the hormonal crazy part of him that had been his personality at twenty, and because she wasn’t attractive, she was safe.

He had not yet started a conversation, or alerted her to his presence. The sculpture in the center of the square was a good enough hiding place for him to catch his breath. It was cube-shaped, on its corner. It represented modernism. His own place in the metaphor seemed less clear, though he supposed if he was hiding behind modernism, it would be some statement on self-awareness in media, or perhaps how modern art obfuscates more than it elucidates.

Leslie hadn’t seen him yet. She was smoking a cigarette, as was her custom, and he watched her take deep tar-filled breaths through her drooping beak. Though she wasn’t wearing a watch, she looked at her wrist several times while he watched. The twilight suited her, especially with the cigarette. She was like a Hopper, or a Norman Rockwell on an off-day.

She was waiting for him. He couldn’t believe she wanted to see him.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’m not attracted to you anymore.”

She put out her cigarette. “Hi. I was never attracted to you in the first place.”

She hugged him like a belt. He didn’t know what to say. He never knew what to say. He was glad to see her.

#awkward, #fiction-in-parts, #idiot, #male-gaze, #misogyny, #reunion, #self-awareness, #self-deception, #self-loathing, #selfishness, #stalker

Invalid

No hope of recovery meant that he didn’t have to worry anymore about the sorts of calamities that other people face. He would have no relationships. He would never have a job again, and though money was an issue, he wouldn’t have to worry about it. No one could move him from the house.

“Get up!” his brother shouted. “I know you can. You don’t fool me for a minute.”

Reggie made a sincere attempt. He held the walker with both hands and threw himself off the bed. He had no muscles, and the effort was extreme. When he collapsed in a pile of skin, his brother scoffed.

“You need to exercise more,” he said.

Reggie did his best to nod as he was lifted over the bedpan. Because his brother seemed particularly miffed, he wanted to finish quickly, but he had no control over his body.

Most of an hour later, something finally fell out of him, and he tried to apologize for taking so long.

“What’s that? Speak up.”

Reggie couldn’t raise his jaw once it had fallen.

“Why are you even alive? If you don’t die or stop faking soon, I may have to finish the job myself.” He threw Reggie back into his bed without pulling up the pajama bottoms. The blankets were on the floor.

He would never have to do his own taxes. He would never have to choose between his family and his career. Never would he have to stand in line at the DMV.

#family, #helpless, #optimism, #pitilessness, #sickness, #uncomfortable

Robustness (part 4)

Ezekiel was waiting in the subterrain for a subway train. He fudded the phrase as he said it, and repeated it several times until all the syllables were clear. Someone saw him muttering and made a face. He nodded in her direction until she turned her head and ran away. Had he won?

Though he wasn’t sure what he was waiting for or where he was going, he was confident he would find out. He wasn’t aimless and he wasn’t a vagrant, so he had a reason for being here. In his backpack, he had a notebook, most of which was blank, but a few pages in the beginning had some phone numbers and comments. Leslie was circled, whatever that meant.

Perhaps he should call her, but he didn’t want to talk. The thought of hearing his own voice was too much to bear. Besides, the fact that she was circled meant that he had probably called her already. Maybe she was waiting for him somewhere.

He picked up a discarded matchbook. It had one match left. He put it in his backpack.

Among the odds and ends he had collected included a glow-in-the-dark rubber ball, a Nintendo DS Lite with a brain training game, a self-published book of poetry he would never read by an acquaintance he hated, and a 0.22 automatic pistol, a gun that could shoot things, automatically.

He closed his backpack quickly. Wherever the gun had come from, it was in his possession, and there had to be a reason for it. He felt vaguely threatened. The underground air was stifling, and he couldn’t bear it. He went up the broken escalator to the street.

Leslie was waiting in a nearby square, next to a cube. He was glad he didn’t shoot her.

#automatic-life, #backwards-life, #guns, #idiot, #inventory, #misogyny, #not-misogyny, #uncertainty

Sabbatical (balloons)

Most of the other parents dropped off their kids and left, but Harold was determined to be fun. After ten years in a company that offered no satisfaction, he had taken time off to meet his 7-year-old for the first time. Josie’s parents were good hosts, and they wanted him to feel welcome, though he had no reason to stay. They gave him a reason.

“Why don’t you blow up some of these balloons?”

His daughter had already run off to play, and though he wanted to spend time with her, that would come. Right now, he just had to be available. He thanked Josie’s parents, and started on the pile.

The balloons were small and stiff. He put one in his mouth and tried to blow, but he wasn’t expecting so much resistance. Josie’s mom laughed at him. “No, you’ve got to pull at it a little.” She grabbed one and massaged it in her hand, stretching it in repetitive motions forward and back. Harold watched her with great fascination.

He mirrored her motions. As she brought the latex to her mouth, he paused. She filled the balloon in one continuous contorted breath. When she removed it from her lips, she gasped as air slid back into her. She tied the balloon off in one smooth gesture. She hadn’t overfilled it. The balloon was comfortable, not overstretched, and still retained a healthy areola. “Now you try.”

His balloon looked just like hers. He grabbed it with both hands and rubbed his fingers across the top. He made a slight moan, he hoped a subtle one.

Josie’s mom smiled, as if at a joke. Josie’s dad looked at him. His daughter and friends looked at him.

He coughed. “Excuse me.” He would meet his daughter eventually. Maybe after prom.

#balloons, #closeted, #paraphilia, #secrets, #the-fetishists, #workaholic