For the Greater Good!

So this one is based on the idea of “For the Greater Good.” It’s dark, and somewhat violent. See end notes and tags for more warnings. I am running a little light on saved content. Starting in the new year I am switching the short stories to biweekly posting for my own sanity. I may end of doing the same for microfiction, but the six sentence stories will remain weekly

How did it come to this? He thought, as he lay gasping for breath. He was so cold, and he realized with a start that the warmth seeping up from below him was a pool of his own blood.

Karl had grown up in the poor part of town. He learned young that things like laws only applied to people like him. The rich, the powerful, they could bend the world to their will. Money passing into the right hands changed the course of investigation, and Karl watched the man who murdered his mother walk away with a slap on the wrist.

In another life, he would have called that man father, but in this one he had no proof and so he remained destitute. Orphaned at 12, the victim of violent crime, and a little on the homely side, he was never at the top of any lists to be adopted.

He walked out of the group home at 18 with 200$ to his name, most of which he had pick-pocketed, and a small suitcase of hand me down clothes. With no references, and no address, legitimate jobs weren’t an option. He was one of the lucky ones, he found a place, a crew that would take him on, and kept him from freezing to death come winter.

He wasn’t much to look at, but Karl could tell a story. His mother had called it his gift. So he told the other boys in the crew a tale of a better life. All they had to do was make things change, make people see what was going on right in front of them.

At first the boys laughed, and Narry, the leader of their band of misfits did too. As long as Karl paid his portion of the tax, he was allowed to say what he wanted. The older boys always thought he was ridiculous, but the younger ones, the new ones, they looked up to him. He took care of them, and always told them there was room to do better.

It took eight years, but after Narry moved on, and Karl stepped into his place. A year later he had collected enough to get buy him and his friends a home. He used the tax he collected to pay the mortgage, to fix it up. He got them clothes, food, and schooling. The degrees earned translated into jobs, which meant that they left the home, physically that is. They never stopped being his boys.

It was a surprise just short of his 40th when he was interviewed on his work turning lives around, running what they called a halfway house. He tried to explain that wasn’t what he was doing, it wasn’t a noble endeavor, but they ate it up. Soon he was being invited to run for city council; being told the world needed people like him. His boys lobbied for him, voted for him.

They helped him carry out his good work, as they changed the world, one political office at a time. He expanded the house, made more of them, helped more boys like him get a good start. When he was high enough up, he could finally see his world start to take shape. Him and his boys did what had to be done. Years on the streets had made them used to doing the hard work, the dirty jobs, what needed to be done, but others were too lazy, or too selfish to do.

There were those who opposed him. People never did like change, but he knew that it had to be done. It was necessary, after all for the greater good sometimes a few had to suffer. He tried to make sure that didn’t happen though; he tried to bring them all into his new world.

It ended, in a flash, with a bang, and he lay here gasping for breath. It wouldn’t matter now, if they tried to undo what he had done. It couldn’t be unwritten, people had changed and adapted to this new way of life. For all the opposition’s objections, their declarations that they would fix things, he knew they wouldn’t. Not really. So his life’s work would endure, in spite of their efforts. Karl, a man who was willing to die for the world he believed in, finally did so.

Cara flinched at the knock at the door, and her and her brothers were ushered into the living room, and into the crawlspace below the coffee table. The light from between the boards was covered by a thick rug their father shifted over the floor above them, and they were plunged into darkness. They stayed there silent, and listened to their mother answer the door. What she said was indecipherable, but they heard the door close and lock. Then a gasp from her father, and a loud cry from their mother.

What had happened, had something gone wrong? Then the rug lifted, the crawlspace opened and she flinched back into the darkness. Had they found her?
Her Father’s hands pulled her out and into a hug and ask she looked at him she could see he was crying.

Her Mother was crying as well, and stood clutching a newspaper. Cara ran to her. “Mama, whats wrong?”

Her mother held out the paper, and Cara read. “WAR IS OVER” Karl Leads Dead”

She blinked in shock, and read it again, out loud this time for her brothers that were pestering her. She continued,

“Karl Leads, who claimed political power 12 years ago, was finally killed by a sniper in a joint mission of Allied and Royal special forces. With the death of their leader, the great army has conceded defeat on several fronts and offered their unconditional surrender.

Leads, who initially ran for office on a platform of social change was responsible for the deaths of 2.3 million citizens, accounting for approximately 20% of the continents overall population, and 80% of it’s wealth.

It was only two years ago when this conflict spread beyond the borders of the small country of Blarnia, but in those intervening years approximately 17 additional countries were seized. While today marks the first day of freedom for 18 countries, and over 10 million people, it will be a long hard recovery for many. Even so we will mark today as Liberation day in honor of the sacrifice of the men and women who died ensuring the freedom of the all, and stopping this tyrant before he could go any further. Happy Liberation day!”

Okay, so warnings, Genocide, War Crimes, End Justifies the Means ideology.I always wanted to write something from the POV of the villian. I think this would have had to be a novel to truly do it justice, but as it is, I hope you get a taste into the other side of the story.

The Grand Canyon

This is a short story based on a prompt someone shared that went something like “If heartbreak creates a hole in your heart, describe the grand canyon.”

This is one of the pieces I am not happy with. I feel like its a summary of a longer work, and I can’t quite get past that feeling. I decided to post it anyways. You might notice that as a running theme, but I think sometimes writer’s get so worried about something being perfect that they don’t share it, and as you can imagine, it makes it pretty impossible to get any feedback that way. Maybe, at some point this will become something more, but for now, I am letting it go and moving on.

He thought he knew what it meant to be in love, to have his heart broken.

He had been dumped before. There was Ally back in high school, who was his first love. They were both going away to different colleges and she was not interested in long distance. He thought then that he would never get over it. He did.

Then he met Carol in college. She was his everything, and in comparison he realized that what he had with Ally was small, a crack, this here was heartbreak. Two years of devotion, and she said they had chemistry, but that was it. They were too similar, too driven, too uninterested in making time for the other to be anything more then friends. She was just distant at first, but after two long years, they had made it back to being friends.

There were a lot of people after Carol. His sister younger Lanie claimed the reason Carol hadn’t worked out was that she was a rebound. His older sister Betty said that while Lanie was correct, until he learned to be happy alone he wouldn’t be happy with someone else.

He took the combination of these pieces of advice and came to the conclusion that the solution to his issues lay in some casual sex. Okay, a lot of casual sex, with a lot of people, and some dates. When the dates left it felt less like a heart break and more like a paper cut. It didn’t really help him get over Carol, but he learned a lot about himself. He knew what he wanted out of a relationship, and that really. That he wanted more than just sex; he wanted a relationship.

He knew though that his masters wouldn’t leave him time to do one justice, and the last thing his GPA needed was another heartbreak induced crash, and soo he tried to do what Betty had said, and work on himself. That was when he ran into William.

Literally in this case. He wasn’t looking where he was going, then he looked up, got blinded by the sunlight and ran into William so hard he actually fell backward onto the ground. Most people would have been pissed to have been body checked by a stranger, but not William. William didn’t ask what he was thinking, or why he couldn’t look where he was going.

William looked down at him, golden hair literally glowing in a white halo of sunlight like a fucking angel and asked. “Are you alright?”

He of course was utterly useless, jabbered a bit, stood up too fast and almost fell back over. William caught him, like the knight in shining armor, rescuing him from distress. After that, they were inseparable. He tried to ignore his feelings for William, just stay friends, but the day William leaned over and kissed him… It was the best day of his life, the day everything changed.

It was little things that changed, t he not being alone in the morning, or at night. The way William took charge and picked out his clothing, and his food. The way William forced him to try new things, places, hobbies getting him out of his comfort zone. The way William got jealous when he spent time with other people, it made him feel wanted. William made him a better person, and he made William his whole world. It was a year and a half of bliss that he rode until he and William graduated from their respective programs. Then it was over.

There wasn’t a fight, or even an argument. There was no lead up, problems, anything. It was just over. William was saying goodbye as if the last two years hadn’t happened. William had found a job and was moving across the country, that simple,. There was no consideration for a boyfriend, even though he himself didn’t have a job yet. If William had asked him he would have moved; he would have done anything for William. That was the worst part, the indifference. The way William took him by the chin, and said, “It was a college thing sweetheart, and college is over. There is so much more out there for both of us. We have choices now.” Thats what killed him really, that he had chosen William, and William had seen him as a lack of better options.

What he learned from William was that heartbreak wasn’t the word for this. That other people filled your heart up, and when they left they took that part back with them, With Carol it felt like a break, but with William he felt the grand canyon formed between the parts of his heart and he ached. He didn’t get out of bed for days, and it was Carol of all people that helped him through it.

Carol who found him the psychiatrist. Carol who took him to the appointments, and held him as he cried after. Carol that took him to the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions that made him a little fuzzy, but able to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It was all Carol.

He finally understood what his older sister had meant, that he needed to be happy with himself before he could be happy with someone else. It took a few years, but eventually he was content. He had a job, an apartment, a life that was sufficient. Then he met Elijah.

He was more than a little gun shy when Elijah kissed him, and unlike William Elijah backed off, became his friend. A real friend, a distinction he had learned in the intervening years. With Elijah he was allowed to have other friends. There was no upset, no jealously when he talked to Carol or spent time with his family.

It took another three years before he could trust it, trust himself. The feeling he got when he was with Elijah, his Eli. It was less intense than what he felt with William, but at the same time deeper, wider, more. He was a stuttering mess the day he asked Eli to go to dinner with him, and he wasn’t very clear at the reasoning. After all, it was halfway through the meal when Eli suddenly looked around the restaurant and back at him and asked, sounding a little bewildered. “Is this a date?” He had tried to backtrack, but he gave it away, and to his astonishment Eli was okay with it.

After that they went on dates now and then. Occasional dates turned to dating, turned to engagement, and to a wedding, and now he was here. Looking down at the bundle in his arms, and knowing. This was it; this was love. All consuming, all encompassing, the kind of love that would kill him if he lost it. It wasn’t something as paltry as the grand canyon, it was the whole world holding a single one of his fingers clasped in her tiny fist.

In a single moment his whole life changed, and now he knew all the pain he been though before was getting him ready for this, and he was so glad that he’d made it long enough to learn the true meaning of love.

Tantrum in Aisle Three

This was written for the girlontheedge prompt Handle, to which I wrote a six sentence story about someone flying off the handle and wrote Karen with a twist, going a little more into the psyche of the character, and allude to something more being at play.

It was as if I was outside myself, watching this snarling screaming wretch of a person humiliate herself as she berated the poor innocent shop girl.

I knew I had completely flown off the handle, and yet I was unable to stop as if there was something else in that body making it move as I simply observed.

It wasn’t the first time this had happened, and I was beginning to suspect that I was in fact possessed, after all there was no better explanation for this, this complete loss of control.

The small voice in the back of my mind  that whispered an alternative was squashed under the intensity of my belief,  and the words of my diagnosis were dismissed as  mere drivel.

I fell back into myself and gathered what was left of my dignity as I loudly declared that I would never step foot in this establishment again, and I accepted the cheers of nearby patrons as support for my actions.

I sat in the car, gasping for breath, and with a sinking feeling in my stomach wondered what I would tell my husband about why I had been gone for two hours and yet come home without a single package to show for it…

Infinite Regrets

Ok, so after some evaluation I decided to keep this a little more vague. It’s what I would call an urban fantasy, with something very old looking back to how it got to where it is now, downtown in a major city people watching. Its a little sad, and a bit depressing, but kind of how I imagine immortality of a sort would turn out eventually. See the end of the piece for more notes

I watch the humans walk by. They are all in such a hurry. So much to do, so little time. I can barely remember having that sense of urgency, it was such a long time ago.

There were many of us then, we shifted shape and became like the others of the time. The great, so-called terrible lizards. When they faltered, our magic saw us through the disaster. It was not the first such disaster my kind had seen, but it was the first I had borne witness to. I saw friends fall, and though I have made many since, I never again let myself care so deeply for another that was not my own kind.

As I see the humans scurry, I remember the first of them.

I personally wrote them off early. Of all those that rose up from the ashes these were not what I had expected to inherit the earth. They were far too self centered, I had supposed, but they were craftier than I had given them credit for. I decided to do as many of my kind did when there when change was unpalatable, and so I slept.

When I finally returned from my long nap in the north, I found that they had changed the very landscape to their will. While they did not bear magic, they made up for it with ingenuity that I could only dream of. It took me months to find another of my kind, and they had nothing but horror to tell me. While I had been sleeping it seemed that our kind had dwindled rather than flourished.

We had gone from thousands, not to hundreds, but straight to tens. Less than 100 of us left in all, maybe more slumbering, and then the road builders fell. The land plunged into darkness, and we became the villain, rather than the adviser. They hunted us, and though we had magic, we had our weaknesses, and they used them well. They killed us as we slept in our caves. They skulked in at night, and put spears in the softness of our bellies, the one place we could not protect no matter how much we shifted. They used a powder, made from flowers that makes us sneeze, to reveal those who were pretending to be human. It was a massacre, justified as self defense and the recovery of stolen wealth. As if any of us would have hoarded the low quality wares that the humans called treasure.

My greatest regret is my own cowardice in the face of the attacks. I begged the others to make the same flight, as I myself returned to the north to sleep again. The humans lived such short lives, and so had such short memories. If we slept, when we awoke we would become myth, like the old gods they once worshipped. If they were even still around when we awoke.

In the end it worked. Well it did not entirely, as the humans still existed. They were the ones that awoke me further north than I had expected them to be able to survive. I shifted to their form, and pretended to have gotten separated from my own party. Feigning sickness from the cold got me out of answering questions until I knew what I should say.

When the thing they called a helicopter came to evacuate me, I knew that things were going to be very different. We flew to what they called an airport, then they transported me to a plane, and then we were landing in what they were calling a city. There were more people here than I had ever seen before, and they called this one small.

I feigned memory loss, and was diagnosed with “amnesia”. I learned of the world, technology, and the internet. I spent years searching, but I have long suspected I am the last of my kind. They call us legends, myths, and I wonder what I should do. While they lived four times longer than they once did, humans are to my kind, as the mayfly is to them.

So now I sit in a cafe, with this delight they call coffee watching them live out their lives. I pass my days trying to decide what appeals life holds for me. Do I let myself surrender to the ravages of time, try and live a life here and help them, or do I simply sleep again?

Eventually I tried to help, but they did not want to be helped. And I could not allow myself to succumb to time, apparently I didn’t have it in me to let go so easily. Thus, my  decision was made for me, and now I am back in the north, deeper in a cavern than I have ever been. I let myself sleep and I dream of a better world to greet me when I awaken.

This is based on a random prompt I saw once on the internet asking about the life of the last surviving dragon. It’s a little strange, and not super happy, given that the dragon’s entire species has died out, but its a look on how that could have happened. Has a little info on the life of dragons, and kind of teases at a greater overall world, and if you are a fan of dinosaurs teases them at the beginning. May develop it more later. Would love to hear any feedback on it.