Friday, September 12, 2008

Art: Fish Bubbles

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Title: Flying
Genre: General
Word Count: 319
Rating: G

“Do you want to fly, baby girl?”

I remember being small when he used to ask me that; it stopped by the time I was five years old and my little sister was old enough that she got to fly instead. But I still remember, in the foggy recesses of my mind, how it felt to be swooped off the ground and held high in the air. Even from six feet up, the ground looked much smaller to my child’s eye.

He stopped doing it when I was five, but I didn’t stop wanting to fly. I always tried to get higher, to feel the wind in my hair and to feel the thrill of being that much closer to the sky. Through a childhood of Ferris wheels at the fair and swing sets at the playground, there was never any question of what I wanted to do.

I imagine that my life flashes before my eyes as I sit here in the cockpit, waiting to take off, and this is the result: a series of events that led me right here. Enlisting in the navy, technical school, the years of training and drilling—I regret none of it, even as the air around me vibrates with the tension of an oncoming battle, even as the sky fills with smoke and shouts and bombs and live fire. There won’t be anything to catch me up there, no strong arms to keep me safe if I fall, and significantly more than six feet between me and solid ground, but I am not afraid.

And then I am cleared for takeoff, starting the engine, and putting on my oxygen mask. It all happens so fast, but over the roar of the engine and the sounds of explosions in the distance, I can still hear my father’s voice in the back of my mind.

“Do you want to fly, baby girl?”

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Wedding

Title: The Wedding
Genre: General/Romance
Word Count: 900
Rating: R (for sexual content)
Disclaimer: This story is not suitable for children under the age of 17. If you are under the age of 17, please do not read this story.

The dull roar of voices echoed through the church, reaching as high as the abandoned balcony and reverberating between the ceiling and the empty benches. Three hundred people shuffled their feet, gabbed, laughed, and waited in the noisy, restless manner characteristic of large crowds for the wedding to begin. Small children craned their necks around their seated parents, trying to catch a glimpse of the bride or any sign that something would soon be happening.

At last, the first notes of Pachelbel's Canon floated out of the organ and rose to the ceiling before bursting among the rafters. Three hundred voices shushed each other, turning expectantly toward the heavy wooden doors, holding their collective breath as they waited for the groom's parents to enter the chapel signaling the beginning of the wedding.

High above the gathered crowd in the deserted, closed-off balcony, Ben and Tory took the organ music as a cue to quiet down as well, so as not to be heard by the guests. Otherwise, neither the music nor the happenings below entered the narrow consciousness of the two men. The dissonant strains of their own heavy panting drowned out the organ music, their hearts pounded in their ears, and their fingers grasped at each other's clothing as though trying to capture the electric heat that radiated between them.

Jackets and ties had long been discarded, and Ben's fingers worked frantically at the tiny buttons on Tory's tuxedo shirt. Tory's mouth seared the tender skin near Ben's ear, and then sought out his lips, which parted readily for Tory. Letting his eyes slip closed as their lips moved slowly together, their tongues tangling and teasing of their own accord, Ben tugged at the final button, pulling away with a whispered curse as he felt it pop off.

"Leave it," Tory murmured, and rolled on top of Ben, resuming their kiss with added passion.

Below, the crowd erupted with a collective "ahh" as cameras flashed. The flower girl had entered in a pink dress, dropping handfuls of rose petals in damaged clumps on the carpet and grinning at the audience, charming them. Behind her, the flower girl's sisters, aunts, and uncles began to enter the chapel in pairs, taking each step in time to the music from the organ.

Ben's cock was hard and strained against his black tuxedo pants. He reached down to unbutton his fly, but Tory stopped him. "Let me," he whispered, unhooking the fabric and drawing the zipper down. Ben arched his hips so that Tory could tug the pants down, leaving them to pool around Ben's ankles. Removing his own pants, Tory straddled Ben's thighs, arching his hips to rub their erections together as he bent to taste Ben's gasp, grazing his teeth against Ben's lower lip.

"Take me," Ben whispered, and Tory pulled away so that Ben could spread his legs, taking Tory inside the circle made by them and closed by the tuxedo trousers still around his ankles. He bent his knees to pull Tory closer, and Tory took the moment to take Ben in with his eyes, dragging his fingertips against the bones of Ben's hips. When his eyes had drunk their fill, he slid into Ben in one smooth, hard motion. Ben's eyes glazed over, but held Tory's as his hand slid down to wrap around his own erection. They began to move together in time with the beat of the organ music, swelling beneath them.

Three hundred pairs of feet shuffled as three hundred people stood. The music reached a crescendo as the bride entered, a vision in white splendor. The crystals in her hair sparkled nearly as bright as her smile as she walked down the aisle, arm linked with her father's. As her gaze rested on the altar, on the priest, she noticed the absence of her groom, and every member of the audience saw the light dim in her eyes, the smile fade from her lips. Still, her steps didn't falter as she continued faithfully to the front of the room.

Two bodies in the balcony shuddered in mutual ecstasy, a tangle of limbs and hearts, muffling their cries of passion against the lips of the other. They lay together as their breathing slowed, their hearts quieted, and sweat and semen cooled against their skin.

Down below, the organ had ground to a halt, leaving the chapel silent other than the shocked whispers of the guests and the almost audible worry of the bride, standing alone at the altar in front of hundreds of her family members and friends.

Tensing, Tory pulled back to look at Ben urgently, his dark eyes bright and sharp. "I have to go," he whispered, as Ben knew he would. Ben lay back on his elbows as Tory mopped up fluids with a wad of tissues and tugged his clothes back on. Ben watched him zip and tuck, putting his appearance to rights in a hurry. He started to stand, but Ben reached out, grasping his sleeve, stopping him.

"Don't go," Ben whispered.

Tory stooped and kissed him again, as long as he dared. "I'll be back," he promised. This time as he pulled back, Ben let his fingers slip to the floor. He watched as Tory checked his pockets for the ring and then hurried downstairs to become the husband of the woman who was waiting for him at the altar.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Uniform

Title: The Uniform
Genre: Historical
Word Count: 318
Rating: PG13 (for language and innuendo)
Disclaimer: This story may not be suitable for children under the age of 13.

Jackson snorts. “What the fuck are you wearing?” he asks, laughing.

Rick just looks at him. “Army uniform,” he says at last, unnecessarily.

It takes a moment for Jackson to understand. “No,” he says when he finally does. “What are you doing? You weren't even drafted.”

“I enlisted,” Rick says. “I ship out tomorrow morning.”

“You can't,” Jackson protests desperately, the laughter gone and his voice growing softer.

“Jackie,” Rick says quietly. Jackson doesn't like it when Rick calls him that, but he doesn't bother to protest. “The commies have already taken Russia, China, and part of Korea. You know we have to stop them in Vietnam, because if we don't, we're next.”

“I know,” Jackson says miserably. Rick reaches up and puts his hand on the nape of Jackson's neck, stroking up and down with his thumb. It gives Jackson goosebumps, but he tries to look like it doesn't affect him at all in that way.

“It won't take that long,” Rick pipes up, and it takes a moment for Jackson to recall the thread of conversation. “We'll just get in there, show them who's boss, and get out.” He glances around to make sure they won't get caught, and moves closer. “I'll be back before you know it, Jackie. I promise.”

Jackson closes his eyes, leaning into Rick's touch. “Tomorrow morning?” he whispers, once the urge to cry has passed.

Rick nods, and then clears his throat and follows with a quiet, “Yes.” He looks down at Jackson, a question hidden in his dark eyes as he waits for a reaction. Jackson opens his eyes and looks up.

“Maybe you should take off your uniform, then,” Jackson nearly whispers. “There's not enough time to clean it if it gets dirty.”

Rick nods again, and this time, Jackson thinks his eyes look a little moist.

They kiss, and then Rick starts to remove his uniform. Jackson helps.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cal and Drake

Title: Cal and Drake
Genre: YA
Word Count: 1385
Rating: PG (for language)

1. Cal doesn’t have a drivers’ license. Everyone knows this.

No one knows the true reason why he lost it. They all know the stories, but since his father is the mayor, only a few people know the real reason. They kept it pretty quiet.

All the kids at school know is that it happened the summer before junior year. Cal missed a day of school in September to go to court, and the next day, his little sister was driving him to school.

Cal’s popular. He has blond hair that hangs in his face and pale green eyes that sometimes look blue. He has dimples and a killer smile. He plays football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring. Everyone knows him. They joke with him in the hallways, pretend the accident never happened.

The cop he hit is in a wheelchair. Cal visits him every Saturday to help around the house.

2. Cal is talking to a group of friends. They’re the popular ones, all decked out in the latest fashions. The girls all wake up early to have time to expertly apply their makeup and make their hair fall in natural waves over their shoulders. The boys all say they roll out of bed and come directly to school, but leave out everything they do in between to get that trendy rumpled look.

A few kids pass by. Some of them really do roll out of bed and come directly to school, and it’s obvious. Some wear all black. They shop at Hot Topic and conform in the most socially-acceptable nonconformist style.

Cal doesn’t know any of their names. Like the other kids in his group, he turns his nose up at them. He laughs at the insults his friends throw, and mutters one of his own.

As the other kids pass by, one of them meets Cal’s gaze. His eyes are brown, his hair dyed black. He’s wearing a black trench coat and lots of black eyeliner and spiky, silver jewelry. He’s bulky under his coat, and shorter than Cal. His eyes are filled with contempt.

He’s everything Cal and his friends condemn, but his eyes burn into Cal’s memory for the rest of the day.

3. Cal never goes out after the football games. He isn’t allowed, and he doesn’t argue since he knows he deserves it.

Today the nonconformists are smoking behind the bleachers during the game. One of Cal’s friends on the football team mentions the trench coat kid’s name is Drake. He says it with contempt, following up with “I bet he thinks he’s a vampire.”

Cal agrees, making a contemptuous comment of his own that he doesn’t even remember later. But the more he thinks about it, the more he wonders whether or not he actually shares his friends’ opinion of the Goth kids. So he doesn’t think about it.

4. Cal’s friends don’t know he’s gay, or that he ran a red light when he was 16 and hit a cop. They don’t notice him staring thoughtfully at Drake’s table during chemistry one day. But Drake does.

He comes up to Cal after class, his black-ringed eyes narrowed in a deep scowl. He tells Cal to stop fucking staring at him. Cal counters by asking if Drake will put a curse on him if he doesn’t. On later reflection, Cal suspects that wasn’t the brightest thing to say at that time. He ends up getting shouted at and flipped off. He ends up shouting back a disparaging comment about Drake’s weight--which doesn’t actually bother him as much as the fact that it doesn’t actually bother him.

He notices that Drake’s face turns pink when he’s angry, but he doesn’t expect to hear what Drake says next.

“At least I can drive without paralyzing a cop.”

Drake turns on his heel, his heavy boots echoing through the nearly empty hallways. The bell rings, but for a few long minutes, all Cal can do is stare. No one is supposed to know.

5. It occurs to Cal that Drake knew who he was before he knew who Drake was. He had assumed everyone knew him for being quarterback on the football team, point guard on the basketball team, or shortstop on the baseball team. Now he isn’t so sure.

It’s not for a few days that he finally finds out. The chemistry teacher is telling who got the high scores on the last quiz. There are three names.

“Drake Lorraine” is the last one the teacher calls.

It’s the same last name as the cop’s.

6. Cal doesn’t know why he decides to go to Drake’s house on Sunday afternoon, but he finds himself standing on the front porch nonetheless. There seems to be music coming from the garage, but it’s not clear enough for Cal to make out.

Drake’s mother answers the door. She looks familiar, and it only takes a moment for Cal to realize he saw her at the trial. Now that he thinks about it, Drake was at the trial, too, but he hadn’t noticed it was him without the makeup or black clothing.

Drake’s mother recognizes Cal right away, though, and she looks confused. To her credit, though, she still lets him in and directs him to the garage where Drake and a few friends apparently are. Cal thanks her gratefully.

He is grateful, too. He knows he’s made life difficult for this woman and her family, and he’s glad she’s not going to treat him like a monster.

He knocks on the garage door, but the music is loud and no one responds. When he pushes open the door, he sees a few boys who look like Drake set up in the typical garage rock band setup. His eyes scan the players for Drake but it takes a moment to locate him.

He’s in the front. Singing. And he’s great.

Cal stares.

7. One by one, the players notice Cal and stop playing. Drake glares at him, and his voice is cold. “What are you doing here?”

“I came to talk to you,” Cal says, standing his ground even though he knows he’s in enemy territory.

Drake stares him down for what feels like an eternity before he turns to the rest of the band.

“Take ten,” he says, and crosses to where Cal is standing, pushing him back into the house. His fingernails are painted black.

“I’m sorry about your brother,” Cal says once they’re alone in what seems to be the laundry room.

“So now you know who I am, don’t you?” Drake asks, but he doesn’t seem that mad.

“Please don’t tell anyone,” Cal begs. “You’re the only one who knows.”

Drake seems to think about this for a bit before he says, “I guess. But don’t tell anyone about what you saw here either, okay? I get teased enough at school without anyone knowing about this.”

Cal’s surprised Drake forgives him so easily and says so. Not that he’s complaining.

“You help my brother every Saturday,” Drake says with a shrug. “I know you’re not really a bad guy. You’re just stupid, boring and have bad taste in friends.” He extends his hand. “Do we have a deal? I’ll keep your secret if you keep mine.”

Cal thinks people would be impressed with Drake’s singing, but he agrees to keep the secret anyway. Somehow after this, they seem to have reached a sort of truce.

8. Cal’s group passes Drake’s group in the hallways. One of Cal’s friends makes a disparaging comment and they all laugh. Cal laughs too, even though he doesn’t think it’s funny anymore. It’s important to keep up appearances. He knows Drake is doing the same.

But this time, their eyes meet and Cal can read Drake’s expression. They both secretly think high school is stupid. They both can’t wait to graduate in June.

They’ve been friends for months now, outside of school. Sometimes it surprises them how much they have in common. They can’t hang out with their friends around, but every Saturday after Cal leaves the cop’s house, he hangs out with Drake. Sometimes they see each other on Sundays after Drake’s band practices, too.

It’s just another secret.