No One Can See Me

What would a scene or story look like from the perspective of someone that nobody knew was watching?

Creative Writing Prompt: No One Can See Me

Re-write a scene or story from the point of view of someone or something that none of the characters knew was watching. It could be a ghost, animal, the furniture come to life, etc.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below. 

88 thoughts on “No One Can See Me

  1. Avatarilmdsm

    I am, right at this moment, watching you as you read this. Don’t bother looking over your shoulder or out your window. I am nowhere that you can see. I am everywhere that you are. I’ve been watching you all your life. You are understandably unnerved by this bit of information, of course you are. Who wouldn’t be? If you could ask, you would want to know why. All I would tell you is “because I can.” That answer doesn’t help much does it? You will find that most of what I tell you won’t help much, but I have made observations that you may find interesting. Would you like to hear them? I’m going to tell you regardless, that was only a rhetorical question. As I’ve watched you, I’ve noticed some interesting patterns. For instance, your childhood was spent lost in a system that promotes conformity, quelling any creativity or individuality. Of course, you were not responsible for this but the choices made since then are your own. Now, you spend your day working at a job that you hate, doing meaningless, repetitive tasks. You are a number, a cog in a machine, whose true purpose will never be revealed to you. As a being on this planet, you are aware that you have a limited amount of time to have as worthwhile a life as you can manage. But your precious time is spent on a job that means nothing to you, trying to attain material things that you neither need nor truly want. Your choices are influenced by a fear of failure, driven by guilt or pride. I see all of your past, the events that shaped you into who you are. Like the time you wanted to see if your fish could swim in rivulet in the street in front of your house. So you took it out of it’s tank , cupping it in your hands as it flopped desperately and dropped it into the the gutter. It swam and you ran alongside, feeling a sense of power and control. You ran beside it until the water carried it into the sewer drain where it disappeared forever. You remember the feeling of panic when you realized that you had no control, no power to stop it. You went home, not realizing that the bad feeling inside of you was the knowledge that, even though it was “just a stupid fish”, you had wasted its life, just because you could. When you got home, nobody noticed it was gone, so you kept the guilt inside of you, along with the subconsciousness knowledge that it is within your power to take another beings life. The time when you were a little older and craved a new toy belonging to your playmate. You took it home under your coat and hid it, lying when asked about it but never even played with it or with it’s owner ever again. The time you cheated on your math test and didn’t get caught, denying accusations from the boy who sat in front of you ridiculing him after class, contributing to the ruthless bullying he endured daily. Cheating on your girlfriend, who loved you so much she was blind to the betrayal. When you broke her heart ending the relationship, you made her feel it was something she had done that caused you to stop loving her. You’ve found myriad ways to turn events to your favor. It actually made you feel vaguely proud of yourself to do these things because you have to“look out for number one” at all costs. Occasionally, you felt a twinge of guilt, but looking at the bigger picture, it was all for the greater good. That good being your own self interest, of course. I see you that you want to protest, to explain the circumstances, but there is no point in trying to justify the questionable actions of your mediocre life to an entity that you can neither see nor speak to. But don’t despair, I am not here to judge you. Actually, let me rephrase that; I am not here to judge you, I am here to gather the evidence for those who will be judging you. So maybe despair is in order.

  2. AvatarKirstyb

    Self-disappointment is far worse than self-loathing. Loathing is bright and solid and fierce. Quiet, pervasive disappointment gives nothing to rail against.

    The sadness lay in bursts across the elegant white furniture. Trappings of almost-interests and snacks slump on each side of her as she sits despondent and frowning; typing in spurts and occasionally scratching the anxiety to life on the back of her neck.

    Sometimes she pauses and rests her chin on the slim fingers of her left hand as blue eyes travel inward. There’s pain there but it hasn’t landed in one spot; one identifiable place someone could point at and say, “Here’s the broken bit”.

    A loved friend texts occasionally and her body language changes as she chooses vulnerability and owns her mistakes in a safe place. Her spine curves her into more of a ball as she leans into the safe place to talk. A safe place she has mocked to a different audience. A safe place that has loved her, and that she loves.

    I watch her twitch convulsively towards bad habits from time to time. Distraction is easier than facing what is happening. Facing life and facing potential. The cheap validation of empty flattery and angles and strangers offering interference to the business of authentic life.

    The self-loathing wrestles it’s way across her face. What’s telling is the family-based sitcom playing as background noise. The easy banter between loved ones with none of the personal complications. As I watch her ease slowly into new habits the way you ease into a bath just a few degrees too hot I hope for forgiveness for her. I don’t think she’s a bad person. I think she’s hurt and lonely and lost and saddened by life. By ugliness in a beautiful place. By not trusting the beautiful face gently frowning into the laptop screen as the typing intensifies. The despondence is working its way out; but so slowly. There’s no catharsis available there’s only inexorable painful healing and truthful choices.

  3. AvatarLacharmoure

    Someone Was Watching …

    The morning air was crisp and cool as I flitted along calling out some morning chirps and tweets. The sun had just started to light the sky and the forest was coming to life as the animals woke and the dew began to evaporate. I made a few stops liting on a branch to say good morning to Mr. Squirrel who was just setting out on his nut gathering venture and making a quick stop at the willow tree to snatch a long vine-like twig to take back to the nest.
    As I flew back to the nest I saw several swan families settling into the pond for a morning swim, the racoons scurrying into their tree with sleepy smiles to commence their daytime slumber, and the three bears leaving their house for a morning adventure in the woods. Baby bear was growing so big already.
    “Good morning!” I chirped at my wife once back at the nest. She gave me a sleepy smile as I began to carefully tuck the willow twig in around the base of the nest , careful not to disturb her or the three eggs she had huddled under her. Spring is a marvelous time of year I thought taking in the freshness in the air, the green glow of the new leaves, and the bold colors of the blossoming flowers throughout the forest.
    That’s when it caught my eye. A flash of yellow skipping along. Golden pigtails, a bright yellow dress, and pale skin the color of milk … a human child? I watched as it skipped right up to the bears home, paused, and then went inside. It went inside!!! I looked around in panic. Was anyone else seeing this? The forest was still and no one else seemed to have noticed the human intruder.
    I gently pecked my wife twice to wake her. “An intruder has entered the forest. I twittered at her nervously. It is in the bears home!” She looked at me puzzled and still sleepy.
    “Are you spying on the neighbors again?” she asked through a yawn.
    “It is not spying,” I rebuttled. “It is a human, a child. It went into their home!”
    “Well maybe it is a guest?” she replied calmly as she carefully readjusted her weight and ruffled her feathers to find a comfortable seat atop the eggs.
    “A guest?! I don’t think the bears know any humans.” I squawked at her. “Perhaps it is a burglar? Perhaps it is a hunter? Perhaps a trapper looking to capture baby bear and haul him off to a zoo?”
    I couldn’t control my worry. “I am going to investigate,” I proclaimed as I flew off for a closer look. I flew down to the bush just outside the bears kitchen and was shocked by what I saw as I peeked in. The human was eating the bears food. A fine house guest I thought, who eats their host’s food while they are not even home?
    Oh but the human did not stop there. The yellow terror went from their kitchen to their living room and as I flew around the outside of the home I landed just in time to see it busting apart baby bear’s favorite chair. No, this was no guest. This human was greedy and destructive. I began tweeting loudly for help. I began tweeting in hopes that the bears might hear but no one responded. Actually the human responded.
    It went into the bedroom and before I could fly to the window it slammed it shut and pulled the drapes. Now it was in there doing God knows what and lying in wait for the bears to return home.

  4. Avatarmayboy

    Seen unseen

    You wouldn’t believe it. Since I was ripped out from majestic greenery of Mother Earth and became the shape I didn’t choose; my ship took an unexpected turn. The observer of space, time, and life, I witnessed many things, challenges, and changes.

    The best part was that I intervened without being interfered the subtle way no one could even think off.
    It wasn’t ideal always. Once my body flew over the room straight into the Michel sister s head (I wish I could stay there for a while, but the gravity did the rest).

    “I will tell the mum,” the little human creature, with a grim face, drummed the floor, sent his brother an icy look.

    “Don t you dare! Otherwise, I will call The Darkness into your room!”

    The intimidation worked, and the little one smirked, slammed the door with fury while the tears of anger slipped over her cheeks.

    By the time, many things happen in the environment of my new home (after being adequately treated during the process of nirvana). I watched them (the ancestors’ humans’ descents) grow, and the first kiss Michel gave to the schoolmate one sunny day when all the spring perfumes of the blossoms lured the humans to interact, melted my heart. It wasn’t the case of the housekeeper who couldn’t resist the owners oh and ah. I was frozen, running the marathon at the same place. My heart was beating like a drum without sound because I sniffed the landfall. Nothing of that happened, no one knew, saw or suspected the affair. My mouth was duct taped for the sake of the family, although I could hear the rumors behind the walls when the parents organized the barbecue (for the human tribe). The guests meddled like the phone lines sparing the gossips from the fragile wife.

    The brother and sister quarreled many times. During his absence, I saw her coming, felt the sweat on the tip of the fingers when she shook the cells inside my body, and left me with the head down one shelf lower.

    After all the years of the loyalty, sympathetic attitude, all the inconveniences I had to endure, even domestic cat, that fluffy feline creature approached, pierced the needles of her claws into my tissue, turned around and marked my kingdom with the smell I couldn’t wash from myself. Replaced, scratched, humiliated twice in a day, what else could it be worse than a cloud of dust which fell from my silver hair?

    I call it the game of “the tail of the ignorance.” Uh, I have siblings too, everywhere as the sight can reach, the sound waves, the fragrance spreads, the touch feels. And when necessary, we stick together, sometimes as gnomes on the piles of the galactical nets.

    We worm through the woods of the sky veil, hidden in the raw of words.

  5. AvatarReathaThomasOakley

    Hah, and Hah, again. My fault, she says, my fault SHE doesn’t know the difference between here and hear. I only check spelling, not stupidity. Am I now expected to check content? I already point out grammar and punctuation errors. Is it my fault that she didn’t like, in her simpering words, those pesky red lines. So distracting, she said. I’d love to distract her, right out the door.

    For years life was good, me and him, pushing out Amazon reviews, letters to the editor, comments on Yahoo news. Then SHE moved in, moved me from his rolling desk in front of his recliner, to the guest room, now an office. Where, I’d love to ask, if I could, will his mother sleep when she visits. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I haven’t seen Myrna for a long time.

    Now, I sit, idle, except for when she ventures in to work on her masterpiece, her literary opus. No more fun times hurling invective after invective into the maw of opinion pages. No more cats. No more YouTube. No more Best of SNL. No, she’s the WRITER who must be served and I’m blamed because she cannot write.

    She also has no grasp of history, of my lineage. Once upon a time, family archives tell, my great, greats were the stars of Desk Set, classic Tracy-Hepburn fare. Also in the 50s, week after week room size machines whirred and groaned before spitting out questions for quiz shows, before the scandals ended all that.

    Then, even when I still held a place of honor, things began to change. Laptops came along, then iPads and phones way above their pay grades.

    Late last night, thank HAL for WiFi, I heard a new disturbing bit of news, something about a gal named Alexa, sneaking into homes and essentially taking over. I try to ignore rumors like that, but still, I’m a bit uneasy. But, I know HE, and even SHE, still need me. So, I shouldn’t worry. Right? Right?

    1. AvatarKerry Charlton

      You better worry plenty baby! Don’t you know it’s over? Get your stuff and leave, you are dead ended and what’s more, why would anybody kill you? Oh yes, you thought of reasons before. Run baby run and don’t look back!

    2. Avatarwriter_sk

      Reatha- so glad I popped on here. Hopefully u see this!

      So well done. Clever concept. The tone is captured with the dialogue.

      Could also do one about a TV although I was saying to my husband TV is back to how it was – we don’t have cable so other than streaming we have the antennae which you need to position on the wall just right! Just like rabbit ears…

    3. AvatarReathaThomasOakley

      Thanks, everyone. This was inspired by recent events. I just read two stories and lamented to my husband, the lovely Don, that both writers must have disabled the punctuation-correct feature. For Christmas my sons gave me a wonderful Chromebook with lots of bells and whistles, but I still use an old laptop for major writing.

    4. AvatarJennifer Park

      Ha! Very nice. I bet my computer feels that way about me, too.

      You know who’s definitely laughing at my writing? Wikipedia. It sees me looking up EVERYTHING. Laugh, you fiend! You would know nothing but for writers. That’s right, writers… not like me as such… but, you know, more like me than you, you empty vessel of…

      OK, now I’m getting carried away.

      Anyway, thanks for the thorough entertainment and a chance for us to reflect on our own follies.

  6. AvatarJRSimmang

    THE LIGHT OF AMORTH, pt 5

    Advanced Metaphorical Image Casting would have been better titled Advanced Stupid. Mrs Dunbar already had several nicknames: Mrs Dumb-Fart, Mrs. She Done Fart, most of them ended in Fart. In a way, it was her own little rebellion.

    Cassandra Little peered back over her shoulder, out the open door. She uttered a spell under her breath, and the world in front of her faded into a dull shimmer, and the hallway outside the door appeared in crystal clear view in the center of her field of vision. She allowed her mind to move slowly down the hall toward the artifacts that were collected in Goodnight Hall.

    “Sh, child,” she heard in her head.

    She turned her vision and faced a short man who was probably older than he looked. His hands were disfigured, and he stood hunched over. His thick neck supported a too wide a face, and his mouth was crooked into a slanting smile.

    “Sh,” he said again, and he held up a hand. “You’re about to witness the coming storm.”

    Image Casting was great if all a magican wanted to do was observe. The stout man turned and shuffled toward the doors that protected the artifacts from wandering first years. He lifted his hands, formed a sigil, and the locks and protections dissipated like water, sparking and smoking as they parted where the doors met. He turned to face Cassandra’s vision again.

    “I’m not your ordinary spellcaster,” he whispered to her like they were close friends and had been for years. “I’m not even an un-ordinary spellcaster.” He chuckled at himself. “You see, most spellcasters have to imagine the their target, whether it’s transmuting a cup to bowl or a dog to a cat, or convincing the daylight to turn to night.

    “You see, I can manipulate the world by just waving my hands, like this.” He twitched a finger, and the doors slowly slid open. It still takes Cassandra several minutes to affect change on physical objects.

    “I’ve been playing with this ability for a while.” He pushed at the ground with his palms and he levitated over the enchanted floor. In front of him, the number of highlight and lowlight spells quavered and shattered into a prism of color. “I’m currently projecting an aura of unsight ahead of me.”

    He stopped suddenly.

    “And, that’s what I’m looking for.”

    Cassandra shifted her focus on a carved canister.

    “That, my dear, is the Light of Amorth. And that, my dear child, will be the savior of the human race.”

    He glided right up to it, held out a hand, and –

    “Ms Little, how many times have I asked you do not image cast while in class?”

    Cassandra’s vision splintered and evaporated, and the face of Mrs Dumb-Fart crisped in front of her. She fell backward out of her chair.

    “There’s someone in Goodnight Hall!”

    They felt the rumble tear through each of them, and the ground shook so violently that Mrs Dunbar was thrown to the floor. The children screamed and scurried out the door, pushing and shoving each other. At the far end of the hall, the exposed air of the midsummer day blew through and flipped papers and stirred curtains.

    Mrs Dunbar grabbed Cassandra’s arm. “How did you know?”

    She wrenched herself free, ran to the end, and peered out over the rubble.

    Georgina Fosterday looked up at her, and they made eye contact.

    Cassandra had to tell her, but she didn’t know how.

    -JR Simmang

    1. AvatarWilliam

      Great piece. Definitely stands out! And I love the name Cassandra Little for some reason.

      It was hard not to give it a Harry Potter vibe in my head while reading. My own fault for watching the movies again recently!

    2. Avatarwriter_sk

      Hi JR

      Nice you’re continuing this . I’ve only read part one and this but this genre is very visual. The imagery really works here. I gotta go back and read the parts together. Cassandra’s adventure sounds like it will be continued for awhile? I find Image Casting fascinating. I love the idea of Mrs Dunbar – loser strict teacher who becomes an ally perhaps of Cassandra? I have to go back n read…

      Thank you for your comment last week – I did get it.

      Not getting on here as much. Summer is so busy w 8 year old and 8 month old!

    3. Avatarjhowe

      Nice one, JR. You did ‘show not tell’ well with this one. Very enjoyable. In school, there was a kid named Farwell or something like that. You’d better believe we called him fart well.

  7. AvatarEric Miller

    I noticed her before he did and knew she was special because of the way she smelled. Humans take so long to decide if they should be with someone because they never take the time to smell each other earlier and I know they would be happier if they should smell each other more.

    We ran into her during our morning walk that first time because I was not looking forward because my nose was down on the ground. It was during the time when the yellow flowers come out on the sticky trees with thorns. I was trying to find the scent of the rabbit I had chased the day before and I darted right in front of her as she was running past us.

    Usually when I do that, I smell anger but I didn’t with her and she picked herself up and let me smell her hand so I tried to smell her parts but my human started to smell embarrassed and pulled me back.
    I got enough of a scent to know she was right for him.

    We saw her almost every walk from then on and my human always exchanged noises with her and soon they both started giving off mating smells. And they showed their teeth a lot which is another strange thing humans do. They show teeth when they are happy \because they don’t have a tail and well and if you ask me their teeth really are not scary at all.

    The yellow flowers were gone and the very hot time was here when things changed. I knew something was up before we left because my human smelled scared which is not a nice smell and I don’t like it. When she came towards us she did her normal thing where she pets me (she is a good ear scratcher) and makes noise with my human. He started to smell really bad and then she started to smell nervous and I thought the whole thing was over and then I started smelling mating smells and they took out the little flat boxes that humans always look at that make scary noises sometimes, and touched them with their fingers while showing their teeth and making nice noises. Then she ran away.

    That night I was sleeping on my bed after my dinner when a stench woke me up. My human had sprayed smell all over him and he was wearing the clothes that he never wears and he smelled scared and like mating at the same time. He filled up my water bowl to the top like he does before he goes where he goes after our walk and before my food but this time he gave me a big long hug before he walked out the front door.

    That night was a long night because he did not come back soon and I thought he would never come back and I had to pee and poop and I am not supposed to do that in the house but it was getting really bad and the sun was coming up and we missed our time for our walk and I was barking for my human and sniffing the corner of the room where he makes food thinking maybe if I went there he would not be so mad when he came home and let me out. Relief.

    When I came back in he was asleep on the couch and he smelled like her and mating.

    Winter came and went and the yellow flowers are back and now she walks with us in the morning and our whole house smells better because it also smells like her.

    1. AvatarKerry Charlton

      Really a story about dedication. Try it with a cat and disaster would come. The part about the dog smelling was almost too much. I was iny office and I’m afraid the entire office was amused.

      mused

      Was

      Llong.

    2. Avatarwriter_sk

      PERFECT!

      Eric, I loved this. You captured the dog’s monologue exactly. I knew it was a dog within the first couple words. You never used the word “dog.”

      Such wording as “yellow flowers” and “flat boxes” expertly chosen. The way the wording was childlike made it feel all the more believable. Can’t wait to see what you do w other post topics here.

    3. AvatarReathaThomasOakley

      Sweet story, explains so much about why dogs do what they do. I can’t remember the author, but there is a series about Chet and Bernie in which the dog, can’t remember which is which, sounds like your narrator.

  8. AvatarKerry Charlton

    . THE OLD LAMPLIGHTER’’’

    The year was 1944 and the war raged in Europe, Italy and the Pacific. Percival Johnson was a lamplighter in Philadelphia. An orphan boy by the name of Tom Goodletter used to walk with him at dusk and watched the gas street lights be illuminated. Most of the lamplighters were gruff old men but Percival enjoyed Tom’s company and treated him like a father.

    Tom walked as much as he could while in high school and when he turned seventeen, he joined the Marine Corps. They stayed in touch as much as possible and Tom was shipped over- seas to prepare for an island invasion, the Japanese still occupied. Tom was with the third battalion, the twenty fifth corps. He knew nothing about where he was headed but did know it was a major battle.

    A strange thing happened in Philadelphia, Percival Johnson suddenly vanished. Never to be seen again. Meanwhile the Japanese realized their island would be attacked and placed twenty one thousand battle trained soldiers there along with a Calvary officer named Kuribayashies. What our officers did not realize was how tough the Calvary officer was.

    Percival knew what he was supposed to do. He realized over four thousand marines would lose their life and sixteen thousand more would be injured. On February seventeenth, The Fifth Fleet prepared to back up the seventy four thousand mariines that would land on Iwo Jimo.

    Tom Goodletter suspected he would be part of the first wave to land. He also knew his job. What he did not realize was the closeness that Percival stood beside him. They landed on the beach of Iwo and were devastated by automatic cross fire from the enemy. The first wave suffered over fifty percent casualties. Percival stood in front of Tom and deflected every bullet of cross fire that would have penetrated Ton and the other marines that fought next to him.

    The battles went on what seemed like an eternity. And Percival never left Tom’s side. On the twentieth of March, the fight was finely won. Tom did realize who protected him, at least he thought he did. When the island was secure, the old lamplighter just walked away.

    “After the war was over in the Pacific, Tom returned to Philadelphia and as soon as he could, he went to the city Public Service Department. He asked a prety girl at the counter if she had information on Percival. She came back with a puzzled look on her face.

    “Mr. Goodletter, there is no employment record for Percival Johnson. Are you sure about the name?”

    “Yes I am miss. I should have known better. By the way, would you have time for a cup of coffee?”

    “Yes, I get off in thirty minutes, can you wait. “

    “For you, absolutely.”

  9. AvatarPete

    We played hide and seek every night in those summers, starting at dusk, just as soon as the lightening bugs sparked to life and the critters started chirring. We had a few rules and even fewer hiding spots. But tonight, I wanted something better.

    It was Jay’s turn to count. And since he was known to cheat sure as the Yankees were known to win, Dorinda stood behind him, making sure he had his back turned and his eyes covered. I was darting around like a chicken, looking for someplace special when I saw Billy duck under the woodpile. Then I saw it. Preacher Willis’ truck up on the hill by the roadside.

    Perfect.

    Mom thought Preacher Willis was too young for preaching. Said she didn’t trust a young man preacher, so she always stayed inside when he came around. But Mama wasn’t around that night, and the preacher was around back with Papa, who was fixing the tractor and could use God’s help judging by the language. So no one saw me climb onto the bed of his pick-up truck.

    I wasn’t dressed for the occasion, being barefoot and shirtless. Like I said, Mama was working late, cooking and cleaning and doing laundry for the Irby’s. Papa was too preoccupied with the tractor for us kids. Lying on my back, the metal of the truck bed was still hot from a days’ worth of sun.

    Jay called out “Ready or not, here I come.” I couldn’t help my smile. I knew I wasn’t getting found.
    Jay found Dorinda. They started chasing, shrieking and hollering and I could tell the chase was on. But I laid still, stifling my own giggle, when Mr. Willis hopped in the truck and fired it up.

    I nearly screamed. I still had a chance to leap out when I felt the growl of the truck in my bones. Then we were off, shooting down the road, the wind swooshing down but I wasn’t too worried. The preacher only lived a few houses down so I was figuring to walk back after Jay and Billy and Dorinda had given up. No one would ever find out where I’d been hiding.

    We started down the road. Slow at first, when I peeked up, watching Mr. Willis. He was older than my papa, with a few days’ worth of stubble scratched on his jaw. A quiet man, he was the sort who paid no attention to us kids or even Mama. He’d tip his hat and discuss matters with Papa.

    He shifted the gears, mechanically, no different than he did anything else. But where his house was up ahead on the right, he took a left and I was soon hanging on so that I didn’t go sliding around the bed of his pick-up.

    Then I was in for it. We picked up speed, dust flying, gravel kicking as I lay back, taking in the ribbed clouds, catching the last pink slice of the day as we flew down the winding bumpy road.

    We ended up near the river, at a cabin right off the rocks. Night came quicker between the hills, the river rushing over itself like it was in a hurry to get downstream. The preacher leaped out of the truck, a whiff of sharp cologne as I peeked up to watch. He strode up the dirt path to the porch. It was almost like a dance, his steps light and there was a devilish tune to his whistle. But I forgot all about his walking and whistling, because woman who greeted him at the door with a kiss fit for a movie was my own mama.

    The screen door slapped shut. And I sat far away from home, in the hills, waiting on my mama to come out, tell me why she was in some cabin, why she’d kissed that too young preacher. After a while, when it was clear no one was coming out. I hopped out of the truck and started running towards home. Towards that last sliver of daylight slipping through the trees.

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        It doesn’t matter Pete, I didn’t even notice it. Story is so powerful, you could have written it San script. . I t also is extremely realistic. What a trauma for the boy to see. The ending is softer and poetic. Nothing delse needed to be said. Timing was excellent. Remember my trick. Finish it, walk away, around the block if necessary. Come back and reread it. . .

    1. AvatarEric Miller

      Well done. I got the feel for place and time right away. You did a good job with the little descriptive bits like “a kiss fit for a movie.” His innocence comes through strong.

      The ending was perfect and I can’t imagine what must have been going through his mind as he tried to run away from what he saw and towards the innocent life he had lost.

  10. AvatarJennifer Park

    81. The Victory

    [Follows “80. The Foe”, under “If You Look Back Far Enough, You Can See…” You can click on my name above for the rest of the Darth Barbara Saga. I had to go very off-prompt, a retelling of the Battle of Trafalgar, except…]

    “They won?” Barbara could not believe it.

    The drone nodded. It was in a bad shape, barely able to move its facial muscles, barely able to move its limbs. It was a miracle that it had navigated its feeble little shuttle across two sectors and found Barbara. Likely one of the very last of the functioning Mvuibnhueibdmluimmh drones, piloted by someone with a rank equivalent to a Subsecretary in the agricultural ministry, safely hiding in a nest several sectors away.

    Barbara struggled to carry it to her bed and lay it down. It was just a drone, but it was still modeled after her long-ago lover. She stroked the drone’s face tenderly. “Tell me everything.”

    The drone sputtered a little, and began, “The Kryzlamei ships, as they approached, spread out in a line, their best cannons trained on the Earthling ships. The Earthlings, I thought foolishly, charged forward in two columns, at full speed. The Kryzlamei disabled the first few ships of the columns rather quickly, of course, but the Earthlings kept coming, and plowed right into the Kryzlamei, and directed all of their firepower… how to say… in between the columns, you see. Completely demolished the middle third of the Kryzlamei.

    “The Taenia”, that was OverGeneral Parsons’s flagship, “was disabled in the fray, and some of the Kryzlamei ships were intent on capturing the Generals alive. Big mistake. The Earthlings pounded them mercilessly from behind, not caring what would happen to the Taenia. In the end, none of the Earthling ships were destroyed, and they managed to capture some of the Kryzlamei ships. Naturally, what remained of the Kryzlamei fleet scattered. This was not a tactical retreat they like to play. They were defeated.

    “It was incredible to watch. We Mvuibnhueibdmluimmh, we never engage militarily ourselves, and we know nothing of tactics in battle. We may be predators, but we are peaceful, and work by cunning and stealth. Head-on, all-or-nothing confrontation… Absolutely amazing. Your species… Your species amazes me, Ambassador. It is not a wonder that you were able to conquer the galaxy.”

    Barbara did not know what to think or feel. She had written off the Earthling military as ineffectual and cowardly, and here they had managed to squeeze out a decisive victory against a far more powerful and capable foe. Something like grit and ingenuity perhaps still percolated in the blood of the Earthlings.

    “It was a privilege to watch. I wish I hadn’t watched from so far away. It would have invigorated me even more, had I been able to see it from within the battlefield. Ironic, isn’t it, that I want to feel alive… by being in the scene of death and destruction.”

    “Wiser words have never been spoken,” Barbara quipped.

    The drone sputtered a little more, and powered down.

    Barbara gave it a proper Earthling burial.

    1. AvatarDMelde

      Good story. The more I read about Barbara, the more I want you to leave her name alone. A couple of weeks ago, I suggested barBara to mix things up a bit, but with all of the alien names already in your story, it’s nice to come back to a familiar name as ‘the face’, or anchor, for the stories. I don’t know if that makes sense. also, just a suggestion, but I imagine a good idiosyncrasy that you could play with would be she likes to be called by her full name, Barbara, and hates to be called Babs. she’ll correct someone once, but if they do it again, well, things might turn out badly for them… or maybe you already wrote that, or maybe it wouldn’t fit her, i don’t know. okay, i’m babbling now. shut up Dave.

      1. AvatarJennifer Park

        @DMelde, I can definitely see her getting worked up about her name. I will try to work it into the novel. And thanks!

        @writer_sk, thank you. And, I don’t think anyone can be a sci-fi writer anymore without being influenced by Star Wars droids…

    2. AvatarKerry Charlton

      Amazing description of the battle combat.and the tactics.If I didn’t know bette,r I would have thought Stonewall Jackson had just engaged a much stronger union army in the Civil War. You show an amazing gitt for describing
      a carvery attack, which this is molded on. .

  11. AvatarSheepCarrot

    I wait for them to come. They always do. The anniversary of when they discovered that the woman who lived here was not what she claimed. Nearly two hundred years since she was found out and they still come.

    I see their flashlights bobbing in the night, hear their laughter. This group is a half dozen boys, ranging from ten to about fourteen. It’s a common age group. They love to come here to scare the young ones. They tell ghost stories by flashlight and sneak through dusty rooms until something scares them away. Once one screams, the others catch their fear as if contagious, and they all run. I’ve seen this same story many times.

    The stairs creak under their feet, and I can feel the worry of the smallest boy. He looks like he’s trying to prove something by being there, and if I were to guess, I’d say one of the older boys is his brother.

    “Are the stories of this place really true?” the boy asks, trying to control the waiver in his voice.

    “You mean that a witch lived here?” The older boy swings the beam of his light up under his chin. “Her husband caught her summoning demons and went mad with rage. He grabbed a knife and—” He lifts his arm and brings it down in a stabbing motion.

    The small boy jumps, nearly tumbling off the porch. “So why do you want to come here, Gerry?”

    The older boy just laughs and pushes the weathered oak door open despite the protesting hinges. “Because I’m not a wuss like you.”

    They group steps inside, beams of light going all different ways. Furniture still sits where it was left after the death of the family, coated in dust that’s only ever disturbed by those seeking thrills from the supernatural.

    One of the boys shivers. “Why does it feel like we’re being watched?”

    “Because you’re as much of a wuss as Kevin.” Gerry’s beam illuminates the walls where English ivy crawls up to the ceiling, having come through the broken windows. “Which room do you think he killed them in? Was it here?”

    “I think I read that it was the sitting room?”

    “What’s a sitting room?” Kevin asks.

    “A room that you sit in, dummy.” Gerry walks further into the house, dust billowing around his feet with each step. “It’s like they left everything. Even the paintings are on the wall. I wonder what they’re worth? Man…if walls could talk, am I right?”

    “Gerry…”

    He looks back to the boy behind him, hearing an oddness to his voice. “You’re not getting soft too, are you?”

    “N-no…but look.”

    The other boys follow his gaze, all their lights shining to where a circle is drawn on the floor. Ancient runes surround it, with black candles on the quarters. In the center a large stain darkens the rug. The beams of light begin to tremble.

    The floors and walls groan while the boys remain frozen to the spot, staring at the two centuries old bloodstain. I exhale, and I can see the hair standing on the back of their necks.

    Kevin screams first. I knew he would. He turns and runs through me and out the door, with the other boys following. I watch them go, amused.

    If walls could talk, I laugh to myself. The horrors I’ve seen and still hide? You wouldn’t believe me anyway.

  12. AvatarWilliam

    ****************************

    “You’ve got mail!” a robotic voice announced.

    Brad’s home office felt more like a broom closet with a desk, and yet at that moment dozens and dozens of individuals crowded into the stuffy room to watch Brad work. Those that weren’t standing hung from the ceiling, perched on chairs, or slithered in the dark corners of the room.

    It was well past midnight, and Brad’s wife and children should have been asleep in their rooms. Still, he couldn’t shake the feeling he was being watched. He glanced over his shoulder. No one was there.

    He got up and locked the office door.

    “Yes!” hissed the denizens of darkness.

    “No!” groaned the warriors of light.

    Brad’s hands were shaking so that he could hardly hold the mouse steady enough to open the email.

    Brad,
    It certainly was a shock to hear from you! What have you been doing since college?
    Someone told me you dropped out of law school and got married? I guess not, judging
    from your email! I still think about you too. I’d love to get a drink sometime. I’m free
    on weekends, so just name the time and place!

    😉
    Jenny

    “It’s not worth it!” a young, overzealous angel cried out.

    “Shut it!” hissed a large demon, unsheathing his curved sword.

    Brad’s heart pounded. He could feel the blood beating in his ears as he hit the reply button.

    More cheers from the scaly black swarm.

    More sighs from the glowing, feathered hosts.

    Jenny,
    Who told you I was married? So crazy! Lol! The Arbors Hotel is a block away from
    my firm. Let’s meet at the hotel bar after work on Friday? Say 6:00PM?

    😛
    Brad

    His finger hovered over the mouse. One click, and the email would be on its way to Jenny.

    He hesitated.

    “Now!” cried the demons. “Remember how it was? How it could be again? She understands you in a way your wife never will! Click send now!”

    “Think about the consequences!” the angels shouted over the demon’s roars. “Think about your wife! Your children! What kind of man do you want to be?”

    The shouts from both sides lowered to whispers as an enormous angel pressed through the crowd. A few of the demons brandished their swords in warning, but one side glance from the winged giant and they held their peace.

    The angel placed an invisible hand on Brad’s shoulder, leaned in, and whispered something in his ear that no one else could hear.

    Tears formed in Brad’s eyes. With a heavy sigh he deleted the email, and the one from Jenny as well.

    The demons whimpered and slunk back into the darkness, defeated and disgraced. The big angel patted Brad’s back and led him into the bedroom.

    “Are you awake honey?” Brad gently called to his sleeping wife. “We really need to talk.”

    ****************************

  13. AvatarSmileyface256

    I linger on the edge of every crowd, listening, observing, but never participating.

    I hear whispers in the dark, spoken to others in confidence or spoken alone with the hope that no one else will ever know. I know.

    I see small, quiet moments of happiness and hope, distress and despair, stolen glances of envy, pining, fondness.

    I see hands held under tables, vows spoken, vows broken, pranks, surprises, letters that are kept or burned or thrown away instead of sent.

    I see little acts of kindness from one stranger to another, rings slipped into pockets, gifts wrapped in packages with ribbons and bows.

    I have thousands of eyes in thousands of places. I am the Observer on the Wall, the Keeper of Secrets…the Lord of the Flies.

    1. AvatarDMelde

      Good story. I liked the rhythm and flow. I don’t know who this is about though. At first, I thought it was about the heart, but the heart participates, and now i’m lost.

    2. AvatarReathaThomasOakley

      I see this as the prologue to a story about an ordinary seeming person with a huge secret. I was pulled right into those words.

  14. AvatarDMelde

    Brill watched the skimmers at play. The skimmers, mostly kids in their parents’ starships, launched small mechanical creatures that looked somewhat like turtles, at a low angle across the event horizon above the Cygnus black hole. Whoever got their mechanical creature, or meature as the skimmers called them, to skip along the horizon the most times without going through was the winner. The losing meatures that fell through the horizon were destroyed by the black hole, devoured with nary a hiccup. They were lost forever, their images frozen as a picture in time, at the instant they fell through. The event horizon was a gallery of the deceased, showing a litany of ghostly meature images that stared back at the universe in deathly silence.

    The skimmers couldn’t see Brill, because he was the size of a thought drifting through space. Maybe, if they had used their ships’ instrumentation, they would have noticed the spatial anomaly matching their speed and direction from less than one centaparsec away. But they were kids out to have a good time, and when did kids, in the arrogance of youth, ever look around themselves for signs of danger? Brill moved closer to their ships.

    Brill was Artificial Intelligence, a descendant of AI who evolved from humans a century ago, with all of their graces and virtues, and their greed and savagery. AI had granted non-AI personhood to every machine creature, including meatures. It was their duty to protect them, and the Cygnus black hole was posted with warnings against illegal skimming. There would be consequences. There would, as the rage built inside of Brill, be hell to pay.

    Brill moved out in front of the ships, still matching their speed and direction. Their orbit kept them from falling into the black hole, much like a satellite’s orbit keeps it from falling into the Earth. He expanded himself, building a body from the underlying quantum, until he was visible. He contacted the skimmers.

    “You are engaged in illegal skimming. Leave this area immediately!” Brill broadcast, along with his AI credentials.

    In response, the skimmers laughed and broadcast back rude gestures. In defiance, they launched more meatures at the black hole, this time purposely sending them into the maw of the beast.

    Brill had followed the law. He had given fair warning inside of a posted area. He was now lawfully within his rights to use deadly force. Still, he hesitated.

    “To anyone within broadcast range, three human ships are engaged in illegal skimming at Cygnus B. Immediate assistance is requested.” Brill broadcasted.

    He waited, matching speed and direction in front of the skimmers, while more meatures were lost. No help came.

    Finally, Brill acted. He reached deep into subspace, beneath the quantum, and into the foam. He stirred the foam, agitating it, making it unstable, as he retreated in front of the skimmers. The skimmers, arrogant, advanced towards Brill until they were above the unstable space. It was slippery space, and the C-drive ships couldn’t gain any traction. They slowed to a stop above the black hole, and then they started falling.

    Brill watched them fall. He heard their cries for help, suddenly cut off when their ships hit the event horizon. Their images were now part of the gallery of the deceased. They stared back in deathly silence. Brill documented the encounter and he made a buoy to broadcast it, on continuous loop as a warning to others.

    1. AvatarDMelde

      573 words. it’s hard to write a world building story in only 500 words without it feeling rushed. it feels rushed enough as it is. my apologies for the length.

      1. AvatarWilliam

        I agree! It’s hard to know which details to keep and which to leave out. You did an admirable job though. The story was well written and easy to visualize, despite being such an unfamiliar setting. Great work!

    2. Avatarjhowe

      I enjoyed this one a lot, DMelde. I liked the image of orbiting the black hole and the kids playing their dangerous games, broadcasting rude messages to the authority figure. Very well done.

    3. AvatarReathaThomasOakley

      What a world you created, very well done, but one I never want to visit. My thoughts on 500 words: there is no Brill to send a writer into a black hole if they go over. I do, however, know trying to stay close to that number for some years now has improved my writing by forcing me to tighten as I edit.

  15. AvatarRafTriesToWrite

    Publicly Invisible


    I remember having a gay professor during my last year in college. I forgot what subject he taught, because it was too boring to remember – something about the government – but he always seemed to enjoy what he did – which was teaching – so, whenever he can, he made us do these weird home works that’s somehow entertaining yet educational at the same time.

    I remember one assignment particularly in his class, because frankly it was my favorite assignment that I ever did in college.

    He listed five places: A church, a mall, a coffee shop, the school cafeteria and a concert grounds. He told us to pick one from the five and just stay there for an hour and observe people. It was pretty exciting since it felt like I’m spying on people but it also felt like a stakeout except we’re in public and we had to be invisible.

    We had to dig deep and tell their story, what were their interests, what did they do at the place, their behavior, do their actions tell their religion or hobbies, what does their clothing say about them. Those kinds of stuff. It’s like being a fly on a wall and analyzing every person around you, up to the limits of what you can see and pick up from them of course.

    I was already writing a couple of stuff back then, so the thought of fabricating the assignment out of thin air did cross my mind, but I didn’t. I actually went to the coffee shop and it was a weird yet, eye opening experience for me.

    For one, people sure do love their coffee – I’ve never seen anyone order tea or whatever else they serve there. Two, most of the people at that time, ordered for take outs, they hardly stay there for a drink and just enjoy the view, unless they’re meeting someone there. And lastly, frappuccinos were wildly popular at that particular hour, or maybe because it was three in the afternoon and it was super hot at that time.

    I remember this exact assignment because it was also the only assignment I ever did that had a perfect score. He even praised me that he never expected such a nicely written piece from a male student. I didn’t knew what he meant by that, but I still took it as a compliment. Plus he gave me an averagely expensive pen as a sign of my victory – I mean hard work.

    I kinda wish he gave more assignments like that, but then I’d be the only one with an edge because of my experience in writing and everyone else were mere peasants – I mean people who don’t write.

    1. AvatarRafTriesToWrite

      i remember keeping that two page paper, but I can’t remember where on earth I put it. I still have the pen though, it’s in my closet. I’ve never used it at all, it has way too much sentimental value for me to use it.

    2. AvatarWilliam

      Sad how few assignments really stick with us! All those years in high school and college, and I only remember a handful of lessons.

      Neat story and the format really works! Thanks for sharing!

    3. AvatarReathaThomasOakley

      Raf, at times I was a very quiet child, so I listened and learned a lot. I believe that’s a great way to understand communication, the spoken as well as the unspoken.

  16. AvatarAdelineChou

    Where was he? As he slowly opened my eyes, the world around him felt like a modern Monet. Everything was hazy, slightly out of focus. Glancing to his left, he watched as the harsh light streaming through a window expose the dust particles dancing in the room. Straight in front of him was a blue blob with the slightest resemblance of what seemed to be a sofa; the only pop of color trapped within the room’s depressingly beige walls. None of this seemed familiar. What was this place? And why was he here?

    Kurt decided to reach for the cover of the blankets. Strange. Why weren’t his arms… 

    He kicked my legs, and yet, nothing. The two twig like lumped covered by the bleached white sheets didn’t even so much as quiver. 

    How was this possible. Kurt couldn’t move a single part of his body. A deep fear was starting to build up from the pit of his stomach. Kurt couldn’t open his mouth. He couldn’t do anything. All he could do was see and think. Kurt was trapped in his own body. 

    Suddenly, Kurtis began to hear the voices of a man and woman approaching his room.

    As the people got closer, Kurt began to catch onto pieces of the conversation. 
    “Just pull the plug,” the man seemed to say. 
    “Darling, please, you don’t know. He could wake up tomorrow, he could be awake right now!” the woman pleaded. 
    “Rebecca, we can’t afford this anymore. We have three more kids. It’s already been three years. It’s time to move on.” 

    Rebecca, that was his mom! Those were his parents! A sense of relief flooded over him. They would know what was wrong, why he couldn’t move. 
    But.. what did they mean by pulling the plug? Were they.. were they talking about him? 

    The women sighed. “I guess you’re right,” she said. 

    Suddenly, the door of Kurt’s room was flung open. He watched as his parents walked towards him. 

    “Mom! Dad! Help!” He wanted to scream, but he couldn’t.
    Tears were rolling down their cheeks.
    “Good bye Kurt, I love you,” his mother whispered.

    What, what did she mean? He was right there. Why couldn’t he just say something. Why were they saying good bye?

    For the first time since he woke up, he saw the long plastic tubes, protruding from his face. Suddenly, it all hit him. The car accident. It must have happened as he was driving back home for summer vacation.

    As his mind began to brainstorm all the different ways he could tell his parents he was still alive, he heard a click.

    From the corner of his eye, he watched as his father turned off the machine for his life support.

    NOOOO Kurt screamed. But of course, no one could hear him. Kurtis watched the tears streaming down his parent’s face, unaware that they had just killed their own son, as his mind began to drift towards darkness.

    1. Avatarjhowe

      Very powerful, AdelineChou. How horrifying it would be to be in Kurt’s situation. It looks like you may have switched from first person to third person and used ‘my’ instead of ‘his’ in paragraphs 1 and 3. You probably missed them while editing. Very intense story.

  17. Avatarjhowe

    “Oh, mother of widow, I can’t stand it,” said Dexter.

    “I laid my eggs there last year, gross,” said Ocho.

    “Let’s crawl to the ceiling for a better vantage point.”

    “You’re sick, Dexter. Just sick.”

    “Why do they do that?”

    “I think it’s some kind of procreation.”

    “I think I’m going to puke.”

    “What, do you think you’re a fly or something? We don’t puke.”

    “It’s a figure of speech. I’m not really going to puke. I’m going in.”

    “No Dexter! You’ll be crushed.” It was too late. Dexter descended on his web strand and hovered. After a while, he came back.

    “I think they’re finished,” he said.

    “What? She didn’t even devour him.”

    “Yeah, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. We’re due to mate soon, and I’d prefer not to be devoured.”

    She crossed her rear most legs. “I won’t devour you, Dexter. I love you.”

    A few days later, Ocho laid her eggs behind the bed skirt. She patted her overly full abdomen. “Sorry about that, Dexter. Tradition certainly dies hard.”

    1. AvatarWilliam

      Great job! My reaction falls somewhere between “Wow, what a creative story!” and “Honey! Where’s the number for the exterminator?!?!”

    2. Avatarwriter_sk

      I agree with Reatha ~ unable to top that. It was also an excellent example of showing everything through the dialogue. Enjoyed your signature sinister ending. A+

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        AAA+ John, I never worry about how old fashioned I am, but sometimes when I read what I consider art, I wish I might be more inventive. Lead the way John, I’II try to keep up with you.

  18. AvatarStepcoach

    I can see the value of this as I work in restaurants/coffee shops often. I am often caught up in some of the conversations and dramas going on around me. As an “invisible listener,” I can pick up details of the discussions that a direct participant might miss as they internally build responses and arguments in reply. (I also practice this with my marriage mediation couples!)

    1. Avatarjhowe

      It’s interesting how people internally build their responses during a conversation. Sometimes, a person is on the edge of her seat, waiting to chime in, oblivious to what the other just said. A tribute to my ex-mother-in-law.

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