51 Weymouth Drive

Something happened in there, long time ago, before you were born. Not gonna tell you what, not even when you're older.

Nobody would buy it after that. Nobody would buy the other houses in the row, either, after everyone moved out. They were torn down, those other houses, but no one would touch this one, not even to end it.

Forest grew right up to the house, because nobody would come around to clear it. But as soon as it got there, it started to pull away, recoil. The roots of the trees pulled the earth with them as they went. Only the vines'll touch it. Maybe they're too dumb, maybe they just don't care. Maybe the vines are the forest's way of protecting itself, squeeze the place until it crumbles to pieces. Hope so.

Don't go in. Boy, look at me. Not even on a dare. Not even then.

Public Enemy Number One

"What'll you have, sweetie?"

"Coffee." He ran a hand through his hair. "And maybe some pie?"

She brought him the cup and saucer, pushed over the caddy containing packets of sugar and cream. A police car pulled up outside while she poured, then another, and then two more. She finally noticed the pistol in his belt. "They here for you?"

He looked over his shoulder. "Yeah."

"I've got a daughter."

"You got a back door?"

"They'll have the back covered too."

"It's for you." He tore open a sugar packet. "Go on. But bring me that piece of pie first."

Zombie Drabble #427 "On The Street Where You Live"

There's a wood-panel station wagon with the front end up on the grass in Mr. Carey's yard, with one broken window where they'd finally forced their way through to get to eat some lady who'd spent seven hours in terror. There's papers — school papers, loose-leaf — blowing around in little tempests impatient for the rain to weld them to the concrete. There's blue and red glass in shards, down by the stop sign, from a police cruiser that didn't stay long. There's most of a body on the sidewalk over by the mailboxes.

There's an umbrella, ruined yesterday by unexceptional wind.

I Am Whatever You Say I Am

"Where's he got to now," she panted before again calling out, "Harry!"

"What about over there?"

"Where?"

"The clown-face thing. What is that, a casino? I mean, look at it, maybe he thought it was an arcade or—"

"What are you talking about, John?"

"Right there, are you blind? The big clown face with the lights. If I was six, I'd totally see that and want to go in."

She glared at him like he was out of his mind. "There's no clown face, John, no lights. It's a warehouse. It's boarded up. I can't believe you're making jokes right now." She hurried off, looking around as she went. "Harry!"

He closed his eyes, opened them. The face remained an enticing beacon in the hazy boardwalk night. "He's in there. I'll bet anything he's in there. I'd bet anything." He checked for his wallet before walking towards the open mouth.

Creation

Life's easy. You just need the right ingredients in the right proportions under the right conditions.

It's what you do after the primordial soup is brewed that's difficult. Because it's got a mind of its own, that slime, or it soon will, and maybe it doesn't appreciate you like you think it should. Maybe it decides your rules don't make sense, or that they're cruel, or that you don't exist at all. And then do you play the vengeful god, or do you let it go, move on, start over with some other lightning in some other bottle?

I never let it last long enough for that to be an issue: I'm the chef, not the restaurateur. Culture is somebody else's problem.

I like that first moment, that crossing of that line between something and someone. I can't get enough. And good thing, because it's gonna be a long universe.

It's The Thought That Counts

She didn't talk. The only sound was the the rain pelting the street and the parked cars and the canvas awnings. He waited as long as he could before speaking. "I could make a run for it, bring the car around and—"

"Nooo…" He interpreted her tone: I'm still exasperated at you, but you don't have to do that.

He'd left the umbrellas in the car, and the restaurant was her old favorite as opposed to her new favorite, and he hadn't remembered the song that was playing when they met. "Okay."

Eventually she reached out and held his hand.

With Eyes Wide Open

She explained the risks and rewards. She warned of the pain. She was completely up-front, completely above-board. I still went for it. There was something about her eyes that distracted, something assuaging and alluring, something full of promises about protection and sex.

I know I should have said 'no', that I shouldn't be here, that I should have gone home and gone to bed and thanked my lucky stars and maybe said as much of a prayer as I could remember from when I was a boy. But she's so beautiful.

She's so beautiful, but her hands are so cold

Western Exposure

She'd come from Houston to pack the house, to send her mother's things away in a truck to where they needn't be looked at or thought of. She'd come to wipe the dust and grime and hair and rat shit from the cold hardwood floors. She'd come to switch off the lights and unscrew the bulbs and throw the breakers. She'd come to lock the front door behind her and walk away once and for all.

Now, standing at the window, she felt like she was still twelve, and wondered if she'd dreamed all the growing up and moving out.

Georgia In The Afternoon

Steal away unnoticed from familiar company. Toe off your house slippers and sneak up the back stairs to the attic. Frustrate the ambitions of floorboards made creaky by age and recalcitrant damp. Turn the latch and push the skylight open and watch oak leaves and fir needles and dust fall past you like the ghost of autumn rushing to escape the harsh glare of day.

Lay across the dry patch of floor, with the light spilling across your skin, as if waiting for death or a lover. Close your eyes and feel only.

Reach out and grab the clouds for your pillow. Reach up and take the sun and put it in your mouth and chew and swallow, stoking flames already beginning their burn inside you. Wait to be freed from all restraint by time and custom.

Do not come when called for supper; go only when the light dies.

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