Mermaid

Last time she came to the surface, Meryl found what seemed like a man, but his fins were all divided and strange. For some reason, he’d resisted as she pulled him down beneath the waves, as though his gills worked in reverse, like a dolphin’s.

This time seemed less eventful. Though the sun was drying and oppressive, she was the only creature in its path. The way it dissolved her skin should have compelled her back home, but it felt right today, like atonement. She stuck her face out of the water, where she couldn’t breathe. The quiet desperation of it gave her a strange kind of pleasure. The sweet ennui soon turned to fascinating terror, and when it turned entirely dire, she turned her face down and swam in circles, slowly regaining herself.

Voices from the beach called out to her. They were standing, looking in her direction. They were yelling, pointing, beckoning. She swam closer to them, though she couldn’t understand them or their language or their physical form. She imagined they were looking for the man she’d found. He’d died in her arms as she tried to help him. At his last breath, he had clung to her like a lover or a remora. She had been there for him.

She let them watch the empty surface. She left them. The pressure of fathoms separated her from them, and she slipped into her cave. Water flowed through her, and with water air, and with air life. She breathed it into him. Someday he would accept.

#asphyxiation, #denial, #invasive-thoughts, #loneliness, #murder, #mythical-creatures, #obsession, #water

Relief (nurse)

Tammy took a few deep breaths before she entered room 403.

“Good evening, Mr. Cartwright,” she said business-like, as polite as she could manage given the inevitable response.

“Go fuck yourself, you fat cow. I’m in pain, give me morphine.”

She was sure he wasn’t in as much pain as he should have been. According to his chart, he was probably faking. She hoped he wasn’t. If everything he said was wrong with him was correct, he had but days to live.

“Let’s see what we can do,” she said, and took the man’s arm. He tried to pull away, but she grabbed onto his wrist and held it in place. The man was weak from all this time in bed.

Taking his blood pressure and pulse, she counted the seconds on her watch, ignoring his expletives.

“Whore! Slut! Jezebel!”

She told him to hold still. Some of his IVs were coming loose, and she didn’t want to go through the fuss of sticking him again.

He swung his free arm across the bed and with his exoskeleton hand latched onto her breast. Tammy took a step back. He’d pulled out his tubes. She’d have to fix that before she left.

Taking a pair of tourniquets, she grabbed the man by the wrists and told him in no uncertain terms that he would hold still. She tied his arms to the railing, and he soon stopped resisting. He became quiet. As Tammy squirted some saline out of a needle, she did her best to ignore the man’s arousal, an incidental medical condition. She scowled.

He would get his morphine. She stabbed him in the vein, pretending she could hurt him. He would be so easy to kill.

“Goodbye, Mr. Cartwright,” she said, pretending.

#anger, #microfiction, #misogyny, #murder, #not-murder, #paraphilia, #professionals, #resentment, #sickness, #the-fetishists

Teenager

He stared at his hands in disbelief. He hadn’t even been angry, not very. Not enough. Only a psychopath would act as he had acted, but he wasn’t a psychopath, he knew.

“The asshole had it coming,” he told himself, but he didn’t believe it. He tried again. “I didn’t have any other choice.”

The house was dark when he came home. Experience had taught him how to sneak through the back door. It made less noise than the front, and was closed off from the rest of the house.

The seventh and thirteenth steps creaked. He counted and stepped over them.

As he entered his room, he turned on the light and started to remove his shirt. The blood was his, from the struggle, but he didn’t want to explain. He didn’t have a lie prepared.

He jumped when he saw his dad sleeping in his bed. The light hadn’t stirred him, but the brief exclamation from Noel’s adrenaline-poisoned body had, and the man woke up asking questions.

“So you’re home. Where’ve you been?”

Noel’s body shook, and he shook his head. He couldn’t push his tongue against any part of his mouth. All that came out as he tried to talk was a slow stream of dribble.

His dad shushed him. “You don’t have to talk. I know. It’s okay.”

Noel looked up. He started to shake his head again, but his father went on. “Just tell me. What did you do with the body?”

Noel gasped. He wouldn’t explain. He couldn’t.

“Never mind. I’m proud of you, boy. I was a few years older than you when first took a life. You’re a man now.”

Noel nodded. He didn’t believe it yet, but he nodded.

He would be a man the rest of his life.

#male-aggression, #male-bonding, #microfiction, #murder, #rape-culture, #society, #teenager, #violence

Hero

On the one-hundred-year anniversary of the great war that nearly destroyed them, the people of Naraquaua began to wonder how long their peace would last. Two hundred years ago, a despotic ruler came to power and asserted himself as a god. Three hundred years ago, a great evil poisoned the kingdom and all its people, reducing the population to but a single quarantined settlement.

According to legend, during every calamity, a young man came of age and rose to the challenge. Each one, the hero of his generation, overcame tremendous obstacles and vanquished the threat of his day.

Issan was turning thirteen today. His parents had known since his birth that he could be the one, and so they had left him with the church. The previous heroes had been orphans raised under monastic supervision. They had been named Issan.

“One of you is probably going to face and destroy evil,” the abbot decreed. Issan looked at his peers, all named Issan, all thirteen years old today. He knew a few who wouldn’t be the hero. One Issan had bad asthma. Another was too much of a bully, needlessly cruel to those he was stronger than. He was stronger than Issan, for instance. Issan wouldn’t be surprised if that Issan became the tyrant to be overthrown.

He saw the boy glance around and snicker derisively. He was already powerful, the best at fencing and hand-to-hand combat, and he knew it. The contempt he had for the rest of them would fuel him. He would only grow stronger, unless he was stopped.

Issan picked up his sword as the group was gathered in prayer. One stab would protect everyone. No one would even know what they had avoided.

He believed in himself.

#fantasy, #legend, #microfiction, #murder, #self-fulfilling-prophecy

Donkey Kong

Although her photoshoot was only a few blocks away, Pauline was considering other routes. No, she had no good alternative. The most direct path took less than ten minutes to walk. Just getting to the nearest subway station would take longer, and due to construction, any cab would have to make a significant detour.

The construction was the problem. Perhaps she should be more accustomed to unwanted attention, but walking past those men in their hard hats had been beyond uncomfortable. Their obscenities came close to threats, but the worst were their stares. Anything they were doing stopped when she went past, just so they could ogle her in unison from their perches.

Disgusting. Pauline had an idea, though.

“Hey, mama. Why don’t you bring that sweet ass up here?”

“Okay,” she yelled back. “Where do you want me to bring it?”

She crossed the caution tape and let them stare. No one had ever encouraged them. They had no idea what to do.

She lifted her hands in mock surprise. “What’s the matter? Cat got your dicks?” Her voice lowered involuntarily as she cursed. She wasn’t used to speaking their language, but she’d made her point. They looked afraid, almost panicked.

She felt a hand grasp her shoulder. She tried to pull away, but it was strong, and it clenched around her. The thousand-pound gorilla wasn’t as shy as the men were, but what was it doing here?

It carried her and climbed. This had been a mistake, but she couldn’t have known.

“Help!” she cried, and she watched her captor throw barrels and girders at the other apes. She watched a man fall and snap his neck. They couldn’t help. Any attempt they made would result in injury or death.

“Help,” she said again, staring.

#absurd, #apes, #catcalls, #donkey-kong, #microfiction, #misogyny, #murder, #pauline, #video-games