Warning: Depictions of self-harm. Readers discretion is advised. Harvey's music blasted from his laptop, causing everything on his desk to vibrate. His pens and keys shook against the commanding sound waves, which jumped from its epicenter like an earthquake. He had turned the basement of his rental house into a DJ club. He was surprised a neighbor hadn't come banging on his door yet with fire in their eyes, asking him to shut it. “I ain't no therapist, but ya'll got the gist!” He sang the lyrics to his song even louder. It was a Thursday evening, and tomorrow was going to be his debut as a DJ at a local bar. There was no choice but to erupt his basement into an eardrum-smashing destruction - practice was all that filled his mind. The next verse featured a harsh rap which Harvey chanted along: “Money, cash, bank, the coins are in my fanny! Ya'll fuckin' mofos want empty hands, saying love, love love!” The music then spun into a dubstep-style track for a half minute, until the next verse arrived: “Ain't no fuckas saying no to ya'll dimes, just buy them bitches before they mine! Love ain't real, ya mental shit only wants to feel-” Cling! Harvey twitched and stopped his rap abruptly, startled by the loud clang below him which pierced his ear, even through his rowdy music. He directed his gaze below the table at the source of the noise. His lucky penny, which dropped to the concrete floor of his basement thanks to the loud vibrations of his table, was finishing its twirl before flattening. Face-up was heads instead of tails. “God dammit, can't believe I lost my groove just ‘cause of a coin,” Harvey muttered, and paused his music. He bent down to pick his penny up under the table. And that's when he heard it. Not the sound of his music; not the clinging of his coin. It was a faint rumble from upstairs in the house. Harvey glanced up to the ragged ceiling of his basement, pretending to see through the wood. His own music still echoed in his ear, making it hard to tell if he was only hallucinating. He looked back at the coin, peering at its shiny heads surface. It reminded him of a certain conversation he had with his housemate, Samuel, just a few days ago. “Dude, what if I told you I'd off myself based on the flip of a coin?” Samuel asked while sipping a beer next to his friend at their dining table. “The fuck? You're messed in the head, my guy,” Harvey replied, putting his can down and raising his eyebrows to his friend's weird statement. “Then the coin better land as a tails. You gotta support me for Friday night's party, it's my DJ debut!” “Haha, true that.” Harvey's eyes glared at the penny for only another second before a dark feeling of unease filled him to the brim. Samuel had never made such a joke before during the three years he knew him. Wait, he can't be ser-! Before the thought fully passed through his mind, his body moved before his brain. Without picking the coin up, Harvey dashed down the hallway to the stairs of his basement. He leaped a few steps up and reached the first floor of his house without issue. That was when the rumbling noise from one more floor above had become real. There was shaking between the walls, yet no footsteps bounced into his ear. “Shit!” he gasped. He ran to the next staircase, and flung himself up to the top floor of his house. In front of him was the door to his housemate's room. Grabbing the doorknob, Harvey gritted his teeth when it wouldn't open. “You fucking idiot!” he screamed and clenched both his hands into stone to brace for impact, and readied the kick of his life. His body flung at the door, shoe first at the knob, and he jumped as if delivering a karate hit. Thump! He watched the knob cave into the cracked wood, until splinters emerged. Finally, on the fifth attempt - Thwack! - the knob fell through the crack of broken timber, and Harvey barged into his friend's room. He reached to the back of his pants for his pocket knife - a small Swiss Army blade which featured multiple tools - and glanced desperately around for the silent Samuel. After performing a three-sixty, his eyes landed on - The closet! Harvey gulped. With his head covered in sweat, goosebumps devouring his skin, and every limb jittering, he swung open the sliding door to Samuel's closet. “Fucking hell.” The sight of his unconscious friend, hanging on a rather thin rope tied into a noose, was almost enough to give him a heart attack. Instead, his chest sank like a ship, and his hands twitched while reaching for the rope to cut it. With every back-and-forth movement of his knife, the tears around Harvey's eyes grew. By the time his friend dropped to the floor, those tears had already trickled down his cheeks. “Wake up, please, I'm begging you!” He dragged the fainted Samuel out of the closet, laid him on his back, and began performing CPR on both his chest and his mouth. After what felt like forever, Samuel's eyes slowly opened.
The boy woke up from another awful nightmare. Bad memories from the past that he wanted to erase from his head were replayed in his dreams every night and hunted him nonstop. The boy was terrified of falling asleep. So one day he went to the witch and begged " Please get ride of all my bad memories , so that I won't ever have a nightmare again . Then I will do everything you ask." Years went by ,and the boy became an adult .He no longer had nightmares , but for some reason, he wasn't happy at all. One night a blood moon filled the sky and the witch finally showed up again to take what he had promised in return for granting his wish, and he shouted at her with so much resentment :"All my bad memories are gone but why....why can't I become happy?" Then the witch took his soul as they promised and told him :"Hurtful, painful memories , memories of deep regrets , memories of hurting others and being hurt , memories of being abandoned,only those with such memories buried in their hearts can become more stronger, more passionate and emotionally flexible and only those can attain happiness." So don't forget any of it .Remember it all and overcome it ,if you don't overcome it ,you will always be a kid whose soul never grows. NB: Based on a k-drama "Psycho but it's okay. "
So I sit, in my navy blue cap and gown, observing the torrent of cars flood the street. Our car is dull, black, and inconspicuous, just how my mom prefers it. She didn't come along, she despises crowds. My brother sits ruefully in the backseat, conned by my father's bait of ice cream afterwards. He is also graduating, and will attend my high school next year. I can't blame him for being somber; his trips and celebrations were hijacked as well. The parade feels like a sham, and so I sit, festering in a puddle of sweat, at the mercy of the sun and the driver in front of me. Many parents spared no expense - painting their windows, balloons tied to mirrors, proudly proclaiming their children's name, and future university, that is if they were ‘one of those parents'. Others proceeded with less pomp, perhaps some chalk on the windows, a flag to half-heartedly twirl. Then there were those like us. My dad breathed a sigh of relief when he saw a considerable proportion of cars barren and hollow. Passing grade. I wonder what kinds of families occupied those cars. We pulled onto the major road and the procession grinded to a halt as the leading cars pulled into the parking lot. Many families stood on the sidewalks, waving signs and hats and banners. Proud of every graduate, whether they knew them or not. Proud of their community, of their future, of who we had become… I wonder what kinds of families twirl those banners. Inching along the street, I glanced out the window in systematic intervals, deflecting eye contact with anyone I vaguely knew. A classic high school obstacle - eye contact. Catching eyes, calculating whether I knew someone enough to say hi, then waiting too long until we rudely rip our connections to shreds and walk past like strangers, even though a couple seconds ago, we hardly were. My dad waves more than me. How am I supposed to wave at someone I don't know? My brother, done sulking but still not ready to admit it, peeks his head out the window. All I can do is watch and smile listlessly. It seems like, with half the parade over, half of high school had been squandered as well. As we turned the corner onto the last stretch before the parking lot, someone caught my eye. I cried out to my English teacher, a warm, soothing, refreshing woman who I grew to love and respect over the year. She smiled a mother's smile, and I felt some baggage slip off my shoulders and sink into the car seats. In the home stretch, most of the families on the streets were taking photos of their graduates. I made the most of it, smiling, waving, doing things that came naturally to a chosen few at the beginning. Some cheerleaders performed on the side. I remember at basketball games being miffed by their chants everytime we scored. This time, I was glad they were here. At the stop before the parking lot, I noticed a rising senior, an officer of a volunteer club I was co-president of. She was our choice for president, an intelligent, charismatic, outgoing, unabashed figurehead. Everything I was not for the majority of the ‘parade'. I stuck my head out the window, inquiring across the street if she had picked a leadership team for next year. She looked away, smiled sheepishly, and congratulated me. Always an escape with her. I sat back down, mildly concerned. She would do a good job. I smiled softly, wondering if she would take the club where I could not. We zoomed into the parking lot, my dad excited by the space the car in front had finally conceded. The final turn. I held a piece of notebook paper with my name on it for my announcer. I almost already knew, but Mista Bale, my basketball coach, econ teacher - the man who had shaped me today was rocking the announcers booth. He boomed into the speakers, “My man, Pranav Mitsumurthiiii!”. My stats teacher snapped a quick photo of me, and shooed us along a line of crazy, rowdy, deafening teachers. I smiled genuinely, perhaps for the first time, as I saw them, living four years again in the 30 seconds the line lasted, until finally, suddenly, it was silent. Graduate. As we drive home, my hair, untrimmed and chaotic, finally dislodges my grad cap, shoving it to the floor between my feet as it springs upwards. I stare blankly out the window, thinking so many things and nothing at the same time. Given the circumstances, the school did a fantastic job. But the parade also represents cruelty, helplessness, regret, and for the life of me I cannot forget that. So as I see friends pile out of their cars onto the grassy fields to celebrate and commemorate, all I remember are the experiences I left behind, and the opportunities that were cruelly wrenched from my grasp. And when I finally get home and flop onto my chair, one final smile dances across my lips. I have many regrets. But we are the class of 2020, and we have become strong.
My first job was at a popular, upscale local restaurant that shall remain nameless. I had the distinct honor of greeting our guests at the door and finding suitable accommodations for their dining needs. I was a hostess. A menu and silverware slinger. The face of the business and the keeper of the wait list. While the place was classy as hell, the owners were unbearably pretentious. Designer clothes, artificial (or at the very least, enhanced) facial features, and a beyond extravagant lifestyle set these folks apart, and in their minds, high above, the majority of the business owners in our area. That mood permeated the entire place. Never mind the fact that we were in southern Oklahoma and not Beverly Hills. Never mind the fact that most of our patrons drove pick-up trucks and not BMWs. This was true of the owners, the managers, servers, cooks, host/hostesses, bussers, and perhaps most importantly, the customers. I was joined in my greeting duties by two alpha females from my school. At school, they were not extremely popular, but also not outcasts. They had an adequately sized group of friends, composed mostly of fellow athletes that they could successfully intimidate and boss around. They were abrasive, aggressive and grossly lacking in class. All of these details, however, did not prevent them from feeling superior to the common folk they were forced to walk amongst. It was as if simply being employed by this elitist establishment, simply receiving a W-2, was the only license needed to belittle and shame others. It was not attractive. Obviously, my kind heart did not last long. After parting ways with my first source of income, the rumors at school began to swirl. It was sophomore year, and I was on top of the world. I made excellent grades, participated in several extracurricular activities and was not too many rungs down on the social ladder. I was a well-behaved teenager who was terrified of the consequences of getting into any significant trouble. As such, I was surprised when I began to observe that the gossip-filled notes being passed fervently across the room from student to student managed to pass over me. I was not included in the latest buzz, and by my fellow student's reactions, I could tell it was juicy. Feeling left out, I complained to my current best friend after class. Her eyes immediately fell on her shoes, which began awkwardly shuffling weight from one to the other. She bit her lip, then cautiously raised her eyes to meet mine. “You know why they skipped you, right?” she said. “The notes are about you. Apparently, there's a rumor going around that you are pregnant and your parents made you quit your job.” I couldn't move. My stomach dropped, my heart rate increased and suddenly I was finding it difficult to find air to fill my lungs. How could anyone possibly believe this? I was sixteen years old, my own mother was currently 4 months along with my little sister! “AHA!” I thought to myself. That was it! Someone must have seen me buy a pregnancy test (for my mom) several weeks back and assumed the worst. I began to relax. Once people realized that my mom was having a baby, they would feel silly and the rumors would stop, I was sure of it. The relief was short lived, however. As I looked up, I saw a trio of fast-moving bodies coming toward me down the hallway. It was my boyfriend of 2 years, flanked by two familiar and angry alpha females. I'll save everyone here the drama of the back and forth, voices raised, he said/she said drama and just let you all know that everything turned out well in the end. I convinced my boyfriend that I was not going to be giving birth to his offspring in the coming months. My very pregnant mom came to school events frequently, showing everyone that my retorts to their claims were valid and true. There is one twist to this story, and it gives me profound joy to this very day. On the day of graduation, a little over two short years later, the sun rose and shined on my life with endless promise and possibility. Those two alpha females joined me in celebration as we walked across the stage and received our diplomas; both in their third trimester.
For the Love of Nelly Bleset. Perhaps the saddest love story ever told. Set in rural England in 1910 our tale follows the life of the local young poacher who is forced into service at the Big House in order to help his family survive poverty. There he meets the lady of his dreams, but she only has eyes for the spiteful footman, made worse by his corrupt sponsor a local Lord. World War One takes away all the men of fighting age, our young hero included. From the trenches his life at the front, letters and wounds kindle an undying passion between him and his previously unrequited lady love. This is an action packed tale, with twists of political intrigue in a backdrop of the contrast between the poverty and aristocratic realities of the time. (Available from Amazon in paperback and ebook by Kindle). 5 Stars - Highly Recommended.
Looking Forward to the Past A gripping and fast moving tale about the struggle of the common man to exist in a world gone mad at the hands of the new authoritarian state of the European Federation. Set in the green and pleasant pastures of Wales our hero and his young son are separated from his wife and herded into a containment camp created by the Federation to contain the people of the troublesome island called Britain. This is a story of pursuit, survival, wanton violence and love in a world controlled and manipulated by the corruption of political power. (Available from Amazon in paperback and ebook by Kindle). 4 Stars – Fascinating story – Graphic in places.
Terrorized. Why my father listening to classical and intellectual music blaring loud all fucking afternoon. I am trying break a stereotype of people with aspergers and autism and my father was sitting there ruining my street cred and pissing me the fuck off. I didn't want a nightmare so I finally but my motherfucking foot down and said enough or in tibetan “gakada.” I have a foot fetish... I will fine my father's toes and step on them if he does idiotic things like that. Jezz.
I thought everything is easy. I thought I can do everything. It's sad to think that some people are too judgemental, everything you do is not enough for them. I did my best but they still say something, I started to not do it and still they say something. I'm confused. I'm tormented. I'm abused. I hope that people would begin to compose what they speak before saying it. I hope that I'll carry this, I hope I will not fall down in this battle. I'm strong enough for them to break!
I still remember my mother frantically waving goodbye with both empty hands swinging in the air on the day I left her, for the last time. Life has not been the same since then. Occasionally, I hear her innocent chuckles across the halls of my house and when I follow them - helplessly detecting the source; they become distant and then finally faint. The traumatic memory has forever engraved a feeling of guilt in my heart- the guilt of not being able to protect my most prized possession. Darkness descended, the water was calm, and the moon barely visible through the cloud cover. "Son, will you come back soon?" Mother inquired hesitantly. I had joined the army a few years ago and since then, life constituted of endless travels due to my strict schedule. As I packed the last of my things, turning towards mother, I saw the worry that lurked in her blue eyes. I held her bony hands with their calligraphy of veins, and assured her that I would be back the next morning. The night came down like sheets of silver knives; blinking my eyes continuously, I made an effort to while away my fatigue and stay alert, for I was part of the battalion watch guard of the line of control. Just then, I heard briskly walking footsteps approaching towards me. "Sir! Sector 9300 is under attack! Immediate orders have been issued for Battalion 194 to change posts." As the envoy marched away, I felt sick to my stomach. A cold fear rushed through my veins. It occurred to me, that sector 194 included my own residence! Upon reaching the site, I felt a strong taste of metallic fear in my mouth for the sky was bleached white with drifts in it of what first appeared to be red smoke, but then proved to be blood red dust. Broken, shattered pieces of glass, destructed buildings and fallen trees lay amidst a mesh of blackened faces with streaks of blot clot. The streets were dark- not just dark, but pitch dark. Marching through the mist of thick grey smog, searching endlessly for my resident, I was praying and hoping that Mother would be alright. Adjusting my eyes to the gloom, I saw the figure of a woman. As I came closer, the silver splintered brown hair and velvet wrap illuminated my thoughts. Her face was barely recognizable due to the immense destruction. With eyes suffused in tears, I took off my jacket in vein and gracefully covered her body. She was gone and there would never be another like her; an overwhelming personality with a soothing spirit and a voice that could move crowds to both tears and laughter. If only I had not left her. If only I had never said goodbye.