In the DarkNickel and Torn stared through their infrared binoculars at the apartment building below them.
"Can you see him yet, Dad?"
Nickel shook his head.
"Me neither." She kept scanning the building.
Violete tied one more knot in the rope at his waist and cast it down the side of the building. Only a hundred and fifty feet to the ground. Only twenty feet to the target.
He slipped over the edge of the roof and showed up as a red blob on Nickel's and Torn's binoculars. He hated being the distraction.
Two stories down from the roof, he pulled the propped open window out and tossed in the lit Molotov Cocktail.
He ran the line down to the ground, quickly pulling the excess rope back down after him. No evidence. He wasn't going to be the reason their job screwed up. Stowing his gear in his bag, he took off down the street, nearly invisible, unless you knew he was there.
Torn stared hungrily at the flames building in the apartment across the street. Soon they'd be big enough that panic would start.
Spinning in PlaceRunning through the maze, I thought I could see the end of the tunnel. The mythological white light. I turned every corner, running into dead ends and turning back around, not even knowing which paths I had been on before already.
At some point gravity was reversed and I ran across the ceiling, trailing behind a green faerie of some sort, staring out at the horizon for the white light again. Can-can girls began to dance on the sidelines and their own rendition of "A Diamond is a Girls
Best Friend" echoed through the maze.
I fell into a pile of leaves and rolled onto a beach filled with glass pock-marks. I slid into a small tunnel filled with crystal structures and rainbow refraction blinding my eyes. A sudden fall jolted me out of my daydream and onto the floor of my psychologist's office.
He leveled his gaze at me. The furniture was pushed back.
"You had a seizure."
I nodded, staring blankly at the ceiling.
"Preceded by a panic attack."
I nodded again, the rectangular-tiled dro
Coming HomeHe took off his cap and rubbed his hair back. Replacing his cap, he glanced out the window. Far below the sparse clouds and not far forward, grey speckled green in a jagged line showed the end of the blue-grey expanse.
He took a deep breath.
Two years, four months, and ten days since he had last set foot on Canadian soil. This was the first time he'd seen the country in all that time.
He reached into his pocket, pulling out the well-worn photo folder. He smiled slightly at the two year old picture of his wife and daughter. He kissed the picture and went back to staring at the approaching landmass.
Two years, four months, what had he missed?
She was turning 5 in a couple months. Would she even remember him?
The pilot came over the loudspeaker announcing landing in CFB Trenton in an hour.
. . .
The plane touched down and he was suddenly nervous. He stood up, grabbing his rucksack from below his seat. He followed his mates down the ramp and into the terminal.
The crowd spread out, looking
Flying SparksHe shook his wand, purple sparks flying from the end and landing painfully on his tail. The sparks danced in a noisy crescendo, and there was suddenly the smell of something burning. He dropped the wand. "Shit, shit, shit!"
Grabbing hold of his tail, he attempted to douse the flames. When the flames started to spread to his hands, he reached for the nearest liquid in a panic and doused the entire mess. When the water hit his wand, it fizzled and sparked, turning black. He picked it up. "Third one this week," he said to himself. "What's the master going to say this time?"
He placed the wand beside a bookshelf, perhaps hoping it wouldn't be so obvious. Maybe not everyone had heard the sound. For now, the mouse busied itself with an ointment for the burn. He was just finishing wrapping a bandage around his left paw when the door banged open.
"What was that infernal racket!?" The newcomer's voice was deafening, causing the mouse to shrink back.
"Nothing, it's fine, I just..." the mo
That TiltThe whole world felt like it was tilting, spinning even. The clouds drifted past and the trees swayed in the breeze. I knew the sensation came from lying on my back on the hill, but I reveled in it. It was a feeling of semi-weightlessness, of uncontrolled movement.
I blinked and it was gone. The whole feeling, just vanished. It made me sad, even though I knew this would happen eventually.
I rolled onto my knees and picked up my water bottle. I sighed, drinking, wishing these warm, listless summer days would last.
"Cameron!" The call came from the house, from Mom.
I sighed and stood, calling back, "Coming!" Just because she called me, doesn't mean I had to move with any great speed. I wandered through the field, soaking in as much of the sun as I could.
I opened the front door to a blast of air conditioning and a scream. The kids were up from their nap. Mom was trying to cook dinner and they were underfoot. Back to work. Back to rounding up the kids and attempting to get them to use up
ColdI allowed myself one last look back. My footsteps were dark and meandering in the foot deep snow.
I shivered and shrugged my bag a little higher on my shoulders. The first snowflakes started to fall as I turned back to my trail. The street was dark, most of the lamps were off. I guess they didn't expect much foot traffic after 2am.
I could have stayed, I guess, but it just didn't feel right, not after that.
It was so still, just my footsteps crunching in the new snow to break the silence.
Painting HappinessThe familiar click of the can as I shook it reassured me. A smooth blue line followed the curve that I wanted as I knelt in the gravel. A few more shakes and my masterpiece was complete.
The first light of dawn was peeking over the treetops and I heard a jogger singing off tune and approaching down the trail. I quickly stowed my cans and ran a last sweep to make sure I was done.
I hid behind a bush as the jogger rounded the last bend. The look on her face as she stopped dead in her tracks was worth it. I took off for home, there was not much time left to sneak in and grab my school bag.
It wasn't that I hated school, or even the other students. I was actually pretty good, B+ average in AP classes. I was just so, well, alone. It felt like no one ever saw me.
The last thought was reiterated as someone shouldered me as I walked down the hall. I rubbed my shoulder as I turned into my first class.
The teachers didn't even really pay much attention to me, not that that really mattered. Only
The VillageHe let out a sigh and heaved his pack a little higher on his shoulders. One last drive, hopefully. He turned off the dirt road down a worn dirt driveway. The corn was taller than him, almost ready for harvest.
At the end of the drive, the farm house seemed almost like no one had lived in it in years. He glanced back, confirming that the corn was there. He shrugged and knocked on the half-rotted door.
"Hello?" a voice called from inside. "Come on in, don't move so good no more."
"Hi," he called, pushing the door open and stepping inside. "I'm sorry to inconvenience you, sir, but I'm in a bit of a pinch, might I share a meal?"
"Ya come a week early, lad," the man said. "Don't got much ta share till harvest."
He nodded, glancing around, looking for the old man, between collapsing walls and furnature. "Fair nuff, sir.
"Fair nuff, sir. Might you be able to point me in the right direction?"
An armchair creaked with movement as the old man shifted. "Lad, ya come a long way for naught," he sai