apart

He ran his hands along the fabric of their existence, caressing the invisible strings that connected all things and sending reverberating melodies strumming before him.  He smiled, sad and euphoric.  The song was beautiful, the song of life, of connectivity, but he would never get to share it with anyone else.  Long had he traveled the world looking for someone like him, someone who could see the threads of life, the connections and interdependencies, and had never met anyone who could see as he did.  The magic of who he was did little to quell the loneliness.

He stood apart, disconnected from the grid.  He could walk through it, manipulate it, and, with a brush of his hand, send a thousand songs cascading forward, but he was not a part of it.  In all his wandering, he was the only living thing he had come across that was not intertwined with the rest of the grid.

When he had been young, he had tried to tell his parents and friends about what he was seeing.  They all just said he had a vivid imagination.  When he got older he considered trying to bring it up again but had grown less naïve in the intervening years and was loathe to risk being labelled as something he was not or being drugged into conformity.  As lonely as it was to be the only thing set apart from the rest of the world, he didn’t want to give that up, didn’t want to lose his unique view.  Not to say that the world wasn’t beautiful for everyone else as well but getting to see how all things were joined and hearing the music that came with those connections must, absolutely must, enhance the experience of that beauty.

odds are

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The gods lit the heavens ablaze and dragged their bloody fallen across the sky in retreat.  They had fought.  They had tried.  They had hoped to make a difference, but in the end they had to admit defeat and relinquish the world to the mortals.

They would hide away, mostly forgotten, until the fools who rose to power below ended up sacrificing all of humanity in their pursuits of greed and cowardice.  The gods, those who had survived, had only to wait and eventually the earth would be theirs to shape again.  They would regret those of their own they had sacrificed and those of the mortals who they had tried to save.

Fueled by anger and grief they would forge a better world.  It wasn’t the first time they’d had to start over, and it likely wouldn’t be the last.  Each time the new was better than the old had been, so there was hope one time they would get it right.  They had as much time as they needed, so the odds were in their favor.

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Anyone up for a flash fiction challenge?  Steal this picture and write something of your own to go with it.  No word limits.  No genre demands.  Go where the inspiration takes you.

slip off the edge of the world

They sparkle in the intermittent rushing lights, shining like a million fires before being swallowed over and over by the darkness.  And then the lights spread across them again, as they had countless times before, but rather than standing still to absorb and reflect, they surge forward in dance.  The pressure was more than they could withstand and, once freed from their moors, they speed in all directions to slip off the edges of their world.  They weren’t falling and their existence wasn’t ending.  Their purpose, their path, is shooting from one life to another.

Once they have been swallowed by nothingness, they are no less dazzling in their beauty and significance; they have just passed beyond the sight of this world so they can be enjoyed by others.

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Image Credit: Kenneth Brandon

It is both humbling and awe inspiring to realize how many worlds are constantly spinning around us, just out of our view and understanding.  We stand in the middle of a raging storm of possibilities swallowing our missed opportunities and scorned decisions.  We stand under a bright sun of endless warming hope for all the things we can become.  We are alone, tired, and scared.  We are constantly uplifted in embraces by all the selves we’ve ever been and ever could be.

The water droplets, the morning’s dew, continue to flash erratically on my windshield like the stars above, collecting the light of oncoming traffic and sending it spiraling into the unseen worlds that surround my journey into the day.

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Image Credit: Sami Sarkis

cleansing flame

“What are you doing?”

Joe peered quizzically over Anton’s shoulder and watched, transfixed by fascination and fear, as his friend sparked the lighter into life.  The small yellow flame held steady, held the power to set them free, and held the capacity to imprison them forever.  Neither wondered how something so small could irrevocably change the world.  They too were small and knew they had the same possibility within them.

“Thinking about starting a fire,” Anton finally answered.  The words were passionless but his eyes danced with pain.

Joe looked from his friend to the flame and back again, “Why?”

Anton shrugged and snapped the lighter shut with a well practiced flick of his wrist.  “No reason in particular,” he muttered and looked into Joe’s face to see if his friend was going to read more of it than he should.  Anton didn’t need another lecture from his parents.  Not that day.  Not ever again.

He felt Joe’s eyes slide away, sheepish and dull.  It wasn’t what he wanted to see, but it was better than the fear that might have been there.

“Come on,” Anton jumped up, “let’s go climb the slide tower at the park.”

Joe perked up, relieved, and nodded in smiling assent, “Okay.”

The two kids raced down the block, their steps ringing in echoes on the suburban street.  Anton slipped the lighter into his backpocket for later.  Joe tried to push the whole thing from his mind, but would never forget the pain he’d seen in his friend’s eyes.

It hadn’t just been Anton’s pain there.  It had been the whole world’s.  The starving.  The dying.  The bullied and abused.  The hurt.  The sick.  Anton felt it all and couldn’t process it, couldn’t handle the darker truths of the world.  Joe knew it was only a matter of time before the lighter sparked again, found a fuel, and unleashed Anton’s desire to see the world burn.

Joe didn’t understand completely.  He didn’t feel like his friend did.  The darkness didn’t eat at his soul.  But, he did know that sometimes, like a forest fire, you need to raze what is existing to make room for change, for new life, for something better.

The thoughts clung to him, burned him, even as he smiled and laughed and screamed as he and his friend romped around the park.

under attack

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Image Credit: Helen Boyd

A golden day, full of the hopes and dreams of lives yet to be lived, stretched out before me.  Surveying the beautiful and vibrant hues, edging on brilliance, I knew with a unquestionable certainty that anything was possible.  It wasn’t the first time I’d felt that way, but with each passing year, weighed down by the responsibilities of living, the moments grew further and further apart.

I ran my hands through the outstretched offshoots of the tall grasses and felt the pull of the stems against my legs, holding me there, urging me to slow down, enjoy, just be: calm, quiet, present, aware.  I watched the ripples tremble away from my passing.  I watched the golds pulse in the valley below, responding to the gentle changes of light as time marched forward on the steady beat of my relaxed heart.  My eyes cast ahead to a stain of blue in the distance, a smudge on the pristine visage and a respite from the intensity of the color onslaught.

I was under attack.  The beauty of the moment was fighting to win my heart, conquer my mind, devour my soul.  Should I have resisted?  How could I if I had even wanted to?  Who has the power to withstand the world’s magnificence when it chooses to unleash its chaos?

I sighed.  I surrendered to the scenery.  I gave myself to the moment and let go of all that had laid claim to me before.  I became one with the golden day.

The world sighed too and happily took me into its victorious embrace.

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What do you see when you look at the picture?  What do you feel?  Write it up, and link it to this week’s Once More With Feeling prompt.