He stormed out of the house, slammed his car door and sped away.  It was a mistake, but it was a better mistake than staying and doing something he would regret more.  The anger burned his thoughts, clenched his jaw and urged his foot to press the pedal into the floorboards.  Cars honked and drivers yelled.  He noticed but didn’t care.  They meant nothing to him.  Only the rage mattered.  Only the fire in his heart mattered.

A small voice in his head told him he was wrong.  It told him to calm down and stop.  It whispered that she was always faithful.  But his anger found the voice and bellowed at it until it cowered and shivered in the farthest recesses of his mind.  Then, unsatisfied, his rage pursued the voice of reason, found it, and strangled it with flames until nothing but ash remained.

The driver smiled in triumph and sadness.  He’d won and lost and knew both simultaneously.  The car tore across the asphalt, leaving tread in its wake as tires sang against sharp corners and sudden halts.  The frame shuddered under the strain, moaning and groaning in protest.  It would hold together, though.  He had put it through worse before.

He’d put them all through worse before and would again.  That damn voice of reason was like a phoenix and would eventually come back stronger to soothe away his rage.  It was every bit as predictable as the fight had been.  The whole process was a cycle destined to be repeated as long as their opposites attracted and their love languages differed.  The flames eating his heart began to ebb as exhaustion crept along his nerves and dulled his senses.

Renewed honks reminded him to ease back on the gas pedal.  Using the blinker he signaled and then safely checked his blind spots and merged across the lanes of the freeway to continue on in the slow lane.  He was too tired to deal with the madness in the others.  He was too tired to give them the attention they demanded.  At the next off ramp he exited and found the surface streets that would turn him back towards home.

They would apologize, hesitantly, and they would step back into their familiar patterns.  In a day or two the chill would disappear from their home and smiles and laughter would return.  The upswing of emotions would take control and they would be happy again.  They would be.  And then one day they would fight again, because the cycle had no choice but to repeat, because that is nature and manner of love… right?

the fiction of it

gunnison day 3 028

The odd cross-hatched clouds marred the otherwise pristine sky, too thin to provide any sort of shelter from the relentless sun.  The light reflected off the snow, burning our exposed flesh despite the chill in the air, and the longer we were exposed the more likely it was that we would go blind.

In the distance we saw the unmistakeable sight of a cabin jutting out of the snow drifts.  Trudging through the deep layers we pushed on cautiously.  There was no telling what kind of reception we would receive.  The lack of smoke rising from the chimney meant the place was probably deserted for the long winter, but it was still early in the day and perhaps the fires just hadn’t been lit yet.

If nothing else, we knew would could force our way in and use the cabin as temporary shelter until we had regained enough strength to carry on.  It wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t how we wanted to act, but the days of walking and the freezing nights had put a sharp edge on our thoughts.  Survival was all that mattered.  To hell with the rest.

As we drew closer, my vision started shrinking as exhaustion, dehydration and the effects of the sun took their toll on me.  I tried to rub away the pain and damage I had done to my eyes, but my gloved hand and numbed fingers were ineffectual.  I clinched my jaw and nodded to my companions to be on guard, and then I pushed forward the last hundred feet.  Shelter and rest would be ours one way or another.

And when we were done, we would torch it, so that those who followed us wouldn’t be able to use it as we had.


My second post for this week’s Once More with Feeling picture prompt – which happens to be one of my photos.  This is a bit of flash fiction, but if you want to read the truth of this photo, you can find it here.

When I Was Young

When I was young,
And spent my days in school,
I was of two minds:
One side the good student,
The other, his alter ego.

When I was young,
I was nobody’s fool,
Always right on time,
Doing what was prudent,
Simply just playing the zero.

When I was young,
I wasn’t seen as cool,
Kept myself in line,
Shirking peer’s influence,
Hiding my other self below.

When I was young,
And free of the school’s grip,
Then the other me,
Would come out of hiding,
To paint the town in shades of red.

When I was young,
My parents would have both flipped,
If ever they’d seen,
The monster me riding,
All devil may care, as they said.

When I was young,
Through the rules’ cracks I’d slip.
I wanted to be,
Nearer to the edging,
Never thinking I could be dead.

When I was young,
I had a place and time,
To be both of me.
But now I hide again,
The half that wants to rave and rend.

When I was young,
It wasn’t hard to find,
Moments to be free,
Of the shackles of sin,
And the morals that never bend.

No longer young,
My alter ego’s mind,
Fun as it may be,
Remains hidden again,
But always there until the end.


Another Prompts for the Promptless from Rara that I couldn’t resist:

prompts for the promptless, rarasaur

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Alter Ego, in Latin, literally means “Second I” or “Second Self”.  It can refer to an opposite side to the personality within someone, or a counterpart like a trusted friend.

More info on the history of the Alter Ego, as well as alternate meanings here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alter_ego


A noise woke me from my slumber.  I call it slumber, not sleep, because I had only been dozing off and on throughout the night anyway.  We’d tried to go to bed early, tried to be good knowing the hectic days we both had ahead of us, but as is often the case: that knowing that we needed to be sleeping made it that much harder to actually sleep.

The noise had been a crashing sound.  Something in the room or the adjacent bathroom being knocked over and tumbling down to the ground.  A cascade of noises, really, with a solid thump to cap it off.  The cats, I thought as the last strings of my tentative hold on sleep were severed completely.

I checked for pressure, weight, on my feet or next to my legs and found none there.  That absence solidified the truth of the situation, the source of the noise.  Definitely the cats.  What are they doing up so early?

Maybe it’s not early?!  Panic hit me like a ton of bricks.  My chest heaved with the blow, my mind reeled, and my arms flailed towards my clock.  Am I late?  Did I sleep through my alarm?

I pulled the clock towards my face, so I could read the time without putting on my glasses.  4:38…  My sleepy brain took a moment to do the math.  I still have 22 minutes I can sleep.

I heaved myself back into a sleeping position, pulled the blankets back up under my chin and sighed heavily.  And then I stayed there, awake, listening to the cats getting into trouble, until the alarm went off and I got up to start my (now even) long(er) day.

RIP Eureka Dunes


We are gathered here today, at the foot of the Last Chance Mountains, to pay our respects to Eureka Dunes.  You were once majestic: soaring out of the valley floor.  You were once magical: mystery and adventure waited within your depths.  You enchanted us in our youth, challenged us in early adulthood, and inspired us later in life to try and stand the test of time right alongside you.  Time finally caught up with you, as it must for all of us eventually.

Though future generations will miss out on getting to enjoy all the experiences you had to offer: the educational opportunities, the frivolities you pandered in abundance, the chances to test their mettle, to grow and become more than they were when they first step foot upon your sandy reaches, we are not here to mourn you.  Rather, this is a celebration of your existence.

We will keep you alive in our hearts and minds by remembering what you meant to us, what you did for us, and what we learned from you.  Anyone who had the privilege of visiting with you at least once will have their own stories to tell, and I will encourage them to share those stories in a few moments in the comment section below.  This, however, is my story.  This is how you will always be alive for me.

My first impression of you, as we dropped into the valley and we could see you far off in the distance is that you weren’t as impressive as I had thought you would be.  The buzz words had been “tallest sand dunes in CA” and possibly “the tallest in North America.”  I had built you up in my mind and then I was unimpressed.  But, we kept driving, and driving, and driving and as we grew closer you jutted out of the valley floor to tower above everything else.  The ridges and peaks of the Last Chance Mountains still dwarfed you, but they are mountains and dwarf everything by comparison.  We arrived, set up camp, and then we were unleashed upon you.

We took our modified skateboards, with the trucks and wheels removed, and the bottoms sanded and waxes and went crawling and sprawling over the expanse of the dunes.  We walked for what seemed like forever, climbing to the peaks of the nearest ones, and sitting on our boards to slide down into the bowls and valleys usually losing control and tumbling off to slide and roll the majority of the way down.  We laughed, dusted ourselves off and continued on in search of the highest peaks, the steepest slopes, and every second of fun we could squeeze out of those moments.

Bruised, battered, weary and jubilant we returned to camp before the sun set so we could replenish our energy through food.  We sat around our little fires to keep warm and we relived the days activities, our shouts of laughter echoing back and forth off the valley walls.  We were giants among giants.  We had tested ourselves against the dunes and we had survived.

As the moon and stars came out to play and our fires sputtered out, I figured we would be headed to bed to rest up in preparation of a full day of time on the dunes the next day.  I was wrong.  Following the older scouts lead, we donned our warmest gear (boy scouts after all – we had come prepared), fired up a few lanterns, grabbed our flashlights and boards and headed back out into the dunes, into the darkness, into the night. 

The slightest breeze can send the dunes shifting, the fine sand swirling around, moving, reforming.  During the day you could see plumes of sand being sent skyward off the tallest ridges.  At night, when we could no longer rely on our sight, we could feel the ground shifting underneath our feet.  It was then when we could really understand that the dunes were alive.  It was then the magic of the dunes came out to play with us.  I was enthralled.  I was ensnared.  I was cold, and tired, and filthy, and in love.  Through the caress of the icy sand, on those moonlit nights, lost in their depth and wrapped in the adventure it offered, I knew the dunes loved me too.

I returned to their embrace every year after that while I remained a boy scout.  I went from following the elder scouts’ leads to running my own course, to be followed in return by new generations of scouts.  We explored every valley.  We climbed every peak.  We hiked around the whole expanse.  We learned and laughed and were shaped into the men we would become as we tested ourselves against the elements and the dunes.

Times have changed, as they will always do, and while the wind has yet to blow the dunes into oblivion the rules and laws have changed.  People are no longer allowed to set foot upon them so they may be preserved for future generations to see, unspoiled by our impact of trespassing across them.  I am sad that I will not get to unleash my children to roam their slopes but I will tell them my stories, I will see the shine of magic in their eyes when I do, and I will know you live yet.

That is my story of the Eureka Dunes.  Please, now, if you will, I would be honored if you would share yours…