Wednesday, May 8, 2013


When does the family document the thunder? With each and every crack. The four of them--mother, father, sister, brother--sit in silence at the dining table, each with a candle in a glass enclosure before them, a small scratch pad covered in hash marks, and a new blue Bic pen.
The lightning does not faze them. Neither the static crackle as it blasts the trees around the house, nor the wind that whips through the open window and flickers the flames about the room as it musses their hair, even slows down their thundercounting.
 If they wanted to talk to each other, they would have to shout over the wind and the hail that pelts the roof and the torrents of rain that pour from the sky in a constant waterfall. But they do not talk, and show no signs of wanting to.
The water comes in with the wind but none of them are wet. None of their paper is wet. Indeed, it seems as though the water affects nothing, although it begins to pool up in the corners of the room.
The dog sits in his puddle, counting the water droplets as they roll towards him, each one meeting with a tail flick. The cat does nothing but lick its paw in an unceasing pattern.
There is neither sign of the storm's abatement nor indication that the family is aware of anything but the incessant thunder.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Once James accepted that he had no choice but to burn the books, the question became which to burn first. It wasn't that he didn't want to set flames to the collected bunch of shit that mounded up in front of him. Quite the opposite in fact, but the books were among his favorite possessions.
When the aliens had first come they had been shot at and missed by every nation on Earth. Since no one had really developed surface-to-air nukes, that's about the only thing that the collected nations of the world hadn't thrown at the large ships that had hovered over the major world capitals. When the first response to all those attacks had been a worldwide communications flood of gibberish, the first reaction was that maybe the world had won. That the alien communication systems had simply shattered under the onslaught of missile after missile.
How wrong they'd been.
A few days after the initial communications onslaught, the ships were still hovering. Then the second comms blitz, this time legible in whatever native language the reader/listener/recipient understood. It was an ultimatum. Destroy everything you own now or die.
James valued life more than his accumulated crap, so it hadn't been a tough decision, but he couldn't say the same for his next door neighbor, who was currently hanging from a tree in his front yard. James shuddered when he thought about the gunshots he'd heard, and he could only assume that Sam had killed his wife and kids before taking to the public suicide. James hadn't had the courage or emotional strength to find out for sure.
He bent down and picked up the only copy of the Bible he'd ever owned. It was a Gideon number that he'd mistakenly taken from some hotel back when he was in the Navy, and it had gone everywhere with him, even though he had never really cared for religion. It was just a collection of stories, some good, most not, that had entertained him through all these years. But this was it. He squirted the lighter fluid on it and tossed it on top of the rest of the books. He struck the match and dropped it. His entire life roared to flames and James just stood there watching, wondering.