On A Small House (Free … Poetry?)

On A Small House

A.J. Brown

The storm rages outside.
Lightning flashes,
Thunder rolls,
Rain pelts down on the small house.

Trees bend with the wind.
With candles in each room
Their flames flickering high
Casting shadows of dancing people along the walls,
The child lies in bed.
He stares at the window
With blanket tucked beneath his chin.
He holds the stuffed doggie tight to his chest
And the lightning flashes,
The thunder rolls,
Rain pelts down on the small house.

Shadows flicker in the room,
The tree outlined by the streaks in the sky,
He shivers as a cold finger tickles his spine.
A fan on the dresser
Blows the curtains about
They sway away from the window and lay back into place.
He clutches the doggie and whispers,
“It will go away.”
The lightning flashes,
And the thunder rolls,
The rain pelts down on the small house.

His eyes catch blinding streaks in the night sky
Through the light blue curtains.
Tree branches stretch like fingers
Reaching for him,
Grasping for him.
And the doggie is held tighter.
His eyes grow wide as the curtain lifts upward.
And the lightning flashes,
The thunder rolls,
Rain pelts down on the small house.

He stares at the window
Two eyes stare back.
The child stifles a scream,
Or it catches in his throat.
He pulls the blanket over his nose
Hiding all but his eyes.
The fan flips off as the power dies
And the curtain lays flat against the window.
The lightning flashes,
The thunder rolls,
Rain pelts down on the small house.

A head appears behind the curtain,
On the other side of the window.
A shadow, that’s all,
Is what he tells himself.
Then comes the scratching.
Scritch, scritch,
Scratch, scratch,

The boy’s heart skips a beat,
Then another.
And he watches the window
Waiting for
The lighting to crash
And the thunder to roll,
As the rain pelts down on the small house.
A sound, like glass tinkling on the floor
Fills the room.
The curtain billows inward
In front of the broken window.
Cool air enters the room
And the rain becomes loud.
He hears the steady
Clink, clink, clink
Of raindrops on a piece of broken glass.
The lightning flashes,
The thunder rolls,
Rain pelts down on the small house.

A hand reaches in
Boney and pale,
Fingers like knifes with sharp pointy tips.
He pulls his legs to his chest
And he screams.
“Go away!”
The hand retracts
As the lightning flashes
The thunder rolls,
And rain pelts down on the small house.

Daddy comes into the room.
His savior arrives.
He picks the little boy up
Holds him in his arms,
“All is okay, little one.”
The boy looks at the window
As the light flashes across the sky
The head slinks into the darkness
And the lightning quells,
The thunder quiets,
And the rain slowly ceases

The boy lies back in bed,
Grabs the doggie and holds it tight.
Daddy leaves and the boy smiles
“I told you he would go away.”
And somewhere in the distance
The lightning flashes
The thunder rolls
And rain pelts down on a small house.

__________

Poems are a fun way to make you think of your word usage. Each poem has its own meter, whether it rhymes or not. Your choice of words is crucial to a smooth, lyrical poem. So often when I wrote poetry, I had the most difficult time actually making it smooth, making it sing. So, when I succeed, I am usually ecstatic.

This poem is about every child’s fear, both of storms and of the dark. I wanted to capture the raw emotion of a young boy on a dark and stormy night after his imagination has gotten the best of him. Was there a shadow lurking outside his window? Was there a hand reaching through broken glass to get him? Was there even a broken window, or was it all the boy’s imagination. I’ll never tell because, at the end of the day, the ending will always be left to interpretation.

I hope this poem didn’t bore you and that you enjoyed it. If you did, will you, please, like this post, comment on it and share it to your social media. I greatly appreciate it.

A.J.

 

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$2.00

Befallen(Free Fiction)

Befallen

A.J. Brown

The fall from the heavens are a mighty rush, air pulling and tearing, bits and pieces of droplets sheering away as the gray mass tumbles to the ground. Water pellets shaped like tear drops spill from crying clouds, an exhilaration coursing through them as the world grows nearer.  

The first few thousand are silent in descent.  t is the spattering against earth that sends their cries back up to the sky, to the ears of the angels and clouds and stars and their brothers and sisters that fall along with them.  

To bursts on hardtop or leaves or to blend into the ocean, ponds, rivers and lakes is their destiny—an accepted fate of a doomed creation. But, the screams … the screams of the befallen, their pained impact, rattles those still in descent, sending fear into unseen hearts, unnerving unknown bravado. Cries of ‘no, no, no’ echo among their number but there is no way to stop the free fall.

rain-455124_1920The world awaits, absorbs the pelting as each drop shatters on contact, soaking into the ground or mixing with dead rain pellets. Cold bodies on human skin, wiped away into nothingness. Oxygen uses their remains to form rust on metallic surfaces. Some of them cling to limbs and bars and bumpers, their lives almost over.

When the sun comes out the mourning begins. Steaming souls rise with hisses, their broken remains falling up instead of down, back to the heavens where another downpour will send them to another collision with an unforgiving world. Those left behind soak into dirt or evaporate off of leaves and other hard surfaces or are tamped down by towels, lives forever extinguished. And in the heavens the clouds and angels and stars all cry … and the rain falls again.

Listen closely to the roar of the rains, to the fear in their hearts as they tremble in flight and die in violence, some to rise again while others are forever gone, souls of the dead never to be remembered, banished from the heavens to the earth below.

__________

Have you ever listened to the rain? Sure, you hear it when it strikes the ground or trees or the roof, but have you listened? When it storms, the rain sounds like a stampede. When it drizzles it’s the rat-a-tat of a drummer in a marching band. It’s not a splat or a plop. It’s louder. like a scream silenced suddenly. That’s what this story is: a scream silenced suddenly. 

I wrote this one evening after sitting on the porch during a storm. I sat in the chair from beginning to end, from the first drop that hit the ground to the last one. It was an odd symphony of sounds, one I likened to screams and bodies breaking.

I hope you enjoyed Befallen, and please, like, share and comment. I appreciate it.

A.J. 

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If you’d like to donate a couple of bucks to a working author, it would be greatly appreciated.

$2.00

I Asked For Your Company (Free Fiction)

I Asked For Your Company

A.J. Brown

 

I asked for your company.

It was dark beyond the window to my right. I hate the dark, the feeling that there is always something lurking in the blackness of night. The lights of the train station were dim, at best, but at times, nonexistent. The rain outside beat against the roof of the car and tap-tapped against the windows like tiny pebbles. Taped to the walls near the door were pictures, drawings, I guess done by little children with big imaginations. One was of a series of hearts and a music box that could have been playing a love song.

My skin itched from fear. My nerves burned as if on fire. 

From my seat near the door of the train car, I saw you. Dark hair, cut short, a mole on your left earlobe. Sad eyes surrounded by bruised hollows, small nose, thin lips, a scar on your right cheek, put there by someone who didn’t think you were special or of any consequence. You were soaked from head to toe, as if you had just come out of the rain, much like I had. You looked lonely and downtrodden, as if you were running away from something … or someone. There was something familiar about you, something that felt like kinship, but I couldn’t place it.

You stared at me without seeing me, your eyes hauntingly distant. At that moment I thought I could love you forever if you would just speak to me, just say ‘Hello.’

“Stay here with me,” I whispered. You opened your mouth and spoke words I could not here over the steady drumming of rain all around us. You could have said anything. I asked you to repeat it, but I think you said something else instead. I know not what that was.

I asked for your company and you made no move to give it to me.

I reached for you when the train began to move, needing the touch of someone to allay my fears. My heart lifted into my throat. My stomach flipped several times. You put a hand out, fingers up, as if to stop me. You didn’t quite touch my fingers, but it was clear you didn’t want anyone touching you, least of all, me. I dropped my hand back into my lap and clutched at the small bag there, the one with the bare necessities to get me through with life. You lowered your hand as well, but I couldn’t see if there was anything in your lap.

You stared at me, unflinching as the world passed by us in the dim, almost brown color of the car’s ceiling lights. Outside, the rain pelted the glass and the clouds hid the moon and the stars from our view. Water seeped in through the windows and trailed down the walls like tears.

“They say the world is going to flood,” I said, hoping for conversation. I knew the topic was depressing, but ‘How’s the weather?’ sounded lame when I considered it had been raining for nearly two weeks.

You didn’t respond. I think I angered or upset you when I reached for your hand. I didn’t mean to. It’s just … it’s just … I was scared. I just needed comfort. 

Water rose along the rails outside the car. It splashed along the sides and sprayed outward as the car picked up speed. It flowed in through the windows, some of them cracked in places.

I Asked For Your CompanyI asked for your company as the dim lights on the car flickered. I looked up, as did you, to assure myself they were still on. The sound of water filled my ears and I tried to talk to you again, but I couldn’t hear my own voice inside my head, much less when I spoke. You looked much the same, eyes big and fearful, trying to speak but your voice carrying nowhere beyond your throat. 

The train slowed, as if it struck an embankment along a river. Then it stopped. The lights flickered again, then went out entirely. 

I asked for your company as water came in through the cracks in the doorway and the windows all around us, slowly at first, then faster, faster, faster. 

We stood, yes, you and I, and ran for the door. I bumped my hip on the side of one seat and my feet came from beneath me. I tumbled to the floor and slid a foot or two before my shoulder struck the edge of one seat. 

“Don’t leave me,” I yelled as I reached for you, but I couldn’t see you anywhere. 

As water filled the car, I struggled to my feet, slipping once and falling back in headfirst. I swallowed water. I came up, my mouth open and searching for air. 

“Help me! Don’t leave me!”

I got to my feet, maybe with your help, maybe not. I do not know, but when I stood, there you were, soaked from head to toe along with me. You stared, wild-eyed and terrified, but said nothing. 

The water rose above my thighs and I waded toward the door. You did the same but  you were so far away. Somehow we met there all the same, but … but somehow, you had gotten out and stood on the other side. The door was closed, as were the windows, yet we stood on opposite sides of the door.

I placed my hand to the glass. You did the same, this time not pulling away but reaching for me. Our hands seemed a perfect fit, a perfect match.

We both slapped at the door’s window. My fear of drowning kicked in, and from the expression on your face as you beat on the window right along with me, you had the same fear. I didn’t understand this at first. You were outside the car. You could swim to safety or climb on top of the train. Then I realized you weren’t scared for yourself, but for me. 

“Please …”

I asked for your company when I was afraid and you stayed with me as the water rose above my waist. Your eyes grew wide and we must have had the same thought because I swung my fist as hard as I could at the glass door. You did the same. My knuckles split. So did the glass.

The weight of the water pushing on the window collapsed the cracked glass in on me. As I was shoved backward and carried to the back of the car on an icy cold wave, I saw you being pulled away, in the opposite direction. I screamed. I think you did, too.

I sunk beneath the water, the train car no longer a way to safety but soon to be a tomb. The drawing of the heart picture floated by me before it was sucked away, possibly on a current that would lead out to sea.

As the water filled the car well over my head, I lost you forever. I asked for your company and you stayed. 

AJB

__________

This was originally supposed to be a story for Stitched Smile Saturdays. The featured image was the actual prompt. After I completed the story, I realized I was nearly 300 words over the 1000 word limit. Even after culling back as many words as I could, I was still nearly 200 words over the limit. Instead of posting it to the SSS blog, I decided to hold it for later. I consider this later.

(If you enjoyed I Asked For Your Company, please share on your social media pages and help me spread my stories around the world. Thank you!)

 

Poor Dead Fred

I haven’t written anything in days. It’s not that I have had no ideas—I have plenty. I either haven’t felt well or have been tired or both. Then there is this little factor called time. I don’t always have time to put words on documents, and sometimes when I do, other things pop up. It is called life, and life often demands our attention and demands we stop our daydreaming and word-scaping. Oh the demands of reality sucketh dry the mind and energy it takes to sit and type. And don’t think sitting and typing is doing nothing. It is exhaustive work, even if it looks like it isn’t.

What I have a desire to do is tell the story my mind conjured up about a poor, ruined baseball, one that had clearly been ran over by a large lawn mower (and certainly not the push kind you walk behind).

The Girl and I sometimes go walking out at the baseball field behind the local middle school. I usually get this request to do so later in the evening, meaning we either can’t go for a walk because it is almost dark out or we can go for a walk, but a brief one. On Friday it conveniently rained and looked as if it would storm, dampening our chances of going for a walk.

A little after six, I knocked on The Girl’s bedroom door, opened it to see her sitting, cross-legged on her bed. I said, ‘Hey, do you want to go walking?’ That’s not entirely accurate. I said, ‘You wanna go walkin’?’

She shrugged and said, ‘Sure.’

‘It’s been raining,’ I said.

‘It’s just water,’ she responded.

Off we went.

Her assessment of it’s just water stayed that way and we ended up not needing the two towels I took with us, you know, just in case, it’s just water turned into it’s just a lot of water.

DSCN2605The baseball park was deserted, except for one black Grand Am sitting near the restrooms at the parking lot. We made our first lap around the track, talking about boys and other things, but mostly boys. It rained on us, but not much. Off in the distance, the clouds gave way to blue skies.

To give you a little ground work, the track we walk on is black and rubbery. I believe it to be one of those tracks made out of recycled tires. I could be wrong. In fact, I am probably wrong. The track itself circles the parking lot and the batting cages before passing through a stretch of trees. It opens up at the back end of the ballpark where the furthest of the five fields resides. It passes the Tee Ball field before entering another smaller stretch of trees, and then circles around the playground, before ending up back where we started. As you can see, it is an endless loop.

As we passed the furthest of the five fields, I looked toward the muddy ground, the grass soaked through. A trough of water ran just on this side of the fence, ending near the Tee Ball field. On the other side of this trough was a baseball. For those who don’t know, when I see an errant baseball on the ground, and there is no one there to claim it as theirs, I pick it up and add it to my collection. On this first time around the field, I left the baseball where it sat.

We made another lap around the track, this time talking about boys and other stuff, but mostly boys. The second time we passed the ball, I said, ‘Hold on a second.’ I hopped the watery trough. Thankfully, my foot did not slide and I didn’t sprawl on the ground, either landing on my butt in the pooled water, or face first in the wet grass. I plucked the ball from its spot on the ground. It was soaked through, as I thought it would be. What I hadn’t expected was to see where the strings had split and where the rawhide had been torn. Clearly, the baseball had been  struck by the sharp blades of a lawnmower.

I hopped back over the water trough. This time, my heel caught the soft part of the ground and almost sank in. I pulled my foot free, leaving behind a slight smudge of mud on the heel. Back on the track, The Girl and I continued our walk, me letting my fingers roll the ruined baseball over and over in my palm, she talking about boys and other things, but mostly boys. Every once in a while I would glance at the ball. Some of the twine had been torn loose when it had been struck by the lawnmower. The rawhide looked like puckered skin after a knife had sliced through it. In a way, I guess a knife had done its handy work on the ball.

We finished our walk and went back to the car. Fortunately for us we got back in when we did. It went from it’s just rain to someone opened the floodgates. I held the ball a little longer, looking at it. ‘Poor dead baseball,’ I said and set it in the cup holder in the center console. The Girl looked at me like I was nuts, but shouldn’t she be used to this by now?

It was a short trip home, one where we talked about boys, among other things, but mostly boys. Once home, I grabbed the ball, hurried to the front door not really trying to dodge rain drops, but not wanting to get soaked either. I unlocked the door and went inside. I looked at the ball one more time before setting it on the entertainment center right next to the DVR.

I sat to read, but my mind kept wondering back to the baseball I had found, to its flayed rawhide, split strings and ruined insides. Poor dead baseball, I told myself again.

As the night went on I kept going back to the ball, thinking of the many ways it had been used before it got shredded by the lawnmower. Then I thought of its horrific ending. He had probably been laying in the grass, minding his own business, maybe even basking in the sun, working on his tan. Or he may have been sleeping. Then he probably heard the heavy rumble of the riding lawnmower (because that is the type they use at the ballpark). The baseball probably tried to roll away, but found he couldn’t, not without the stimulus of someone picking him up and tossing him. I imagine there was a scream as the sunny world he had been laying in was suddenly dark, and then the blade struck him, shooting him out the side. He probably flew through the air at a high rate of speed, before landing near the fence where I found him. And there the ball lay unnoticed by the monster that had dispatched of him mercilessly. How many people passed him by? How many folks just thought he was a ruined baseball and not worthy of their time? How many kids walked by him, maybe even picked him up, thinking they had a ball to play with, just to see his ruin exterior and drop him back to the ground?

Poor dead baseball.

Two days have passed since we brought the tattered thing home. It has sat on the entertainment center, ‘drying out.’ That sounds so creepy, when you consider how my mind conjured up this inanimate object’s death.

Here I sit, typing these words, the baseball off to my right. I paused midway through this piece and grabbed a pencil. Taking the baseball in hand, I did what I felt came naturally. Then I grabbed Cate’s Sharpies and went to town.

I now call this baseball Dead Fred. I may also have a new hobby for my baseball collection. Time will tell.

Thank you all for reading. I hope you have a great day. Until we meet again, my friends, be kind on one another.

A.J.