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Sometimes I wish you were here, and other times, I’m glad you’re not. Every day is a little different and when I’m drunk, I feel like I don’t need you but those sober moments when I sit alone, getting through regular life, I wish you there. I wish I had someone. It doesn’t need to be you. You were just the one I thought who would see me for me and not who they wanted me to be. Over time, though, I saw, you needed me to be someone I’ll never be. I will tell you when you’re wrong. I’ll admit when I’m wrong, which is more often than not. I get anxious. My heart races in new situations, my mind goes crazy and my mood drops, but, I’m honest, straightforward and I don’t hide. When I’m sad, I’m sad. Mad, mad. Happy, well you get it. If you need a hand, I have two. If you need a shoulder, I have those too. I’m human and in that, I’m not perfect, I don’t pretend to be, sometimes I try to be, but in life, we fall short and I need someone who can realize that’s a part of life. Sometimes, I won’t be enough, but that’ll be okay. Life, it’s okay even when it’s not.
Imagine the sun, shining on the bluest sky with not one cloud to block out its divine light. Your standing by a palm tree, watching her eyes light up as they chase the repetitive waves. Her giggle is infectious as the waves chase her and your beautiful wife, what a sight. She takes your heart every time you glance in her direction, thinking to yourself ‘what did I do to deserve such a perfect life?’ It is everything you’ve ever wanted. All you could’ve asked for and days like this, you love to soak in. 
Now imagine a year has passed. It is again a blue sky with no clouds, but you’re at work, and they’re at home. Your wife, Ulla, is most likely watching a midday documentary with Ellie, your now five-year-old daughter. You keep working away until you take a small break and go grab a drink. Walking through the hall you catch a hint of a news report, “Breaking News, our country has been attacked. Many are thought to be dead. Over three thousand, at least, and still counting.” You pause, enter the room where eyes are glued to screen where smoke and fire billows into the air. “The country of origin is unknown, but the entire city of Pleasant is gone. It is believed one singular nuclear missile was fired into its center. Those nearer to the center of the blast radius were vaporized or killed through heat and air pressure. Thousands just outside of it are expected to die within hours to days. The radiation left around the city has required an immediate evacuation. Please tune into your local station to keep informed. If your home is in any of the locations marked in red, DO NOT go back.” You look at the screen, your stomach turns and your face runs green because the center is where your life was and now only a crater remains. Imagine that pain. Imagine what it feels to be me, Odi Artz, on the day everything I had ever wanted was taken away.
A character from my upcoming book Venu.
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The year is 2042. As a people, we are split. Some wish to slow the progress of our coming day and others relish in its arrival. Over the years, artificial wombs have been perfected and in certain sectors of the world, it is considered the safest and the only appropriate manner for birth. It is known to remove all birth defects, ailments, and imperfections in the DNA. Allowing all born an equal opportunity in life. Maia is one of the many caretakers of the hatchlings. It is through their hands that we trust their safe passage into birth, though, they can’t save them from everything. Unfortunately, it is our own people we must fear, those who oppose the advances in technology.
Today, March 25, is one of those days. A large crowd riots outside our facility. They’ve been screaming, pounding upon the doors, and breaking things all day. It is now evening, torches and blades in hand, they’ve made their way inside, and are coming toward the hives. We never expected them to want to kill these children, take lives from the innocent, but, today, their eyes run red. Death is all they see. Maia is caught in their path. The urge her to step aside, but she will not, “I will not let you kill these babies. They’ve done nothing. They are still HUMAN!”
“They are soulless! How can you protect them?” They call out to her.
“You hide behind your faith in hopes it will cover the stains on your soul, but no god can excuse your black heart. I know killing these babies is wrong and nothing you can say will make it right. You will have to take my life to take theirs.” Their rage rises more, they cut her throat in one swift swing, but they don’t notice that as her blood touches the floor, an alarm sounds, closing off all entries to hives and filling the building with a noxious gas. All who came to kill found themselves dead.
Being a frog is an enjoyable time. I hear a lot ‘eww, I would never want to be a frog.” Well, good, because I don’t want you to be one, either. I hang out by this wonderful lake all day. At night, it’s water, reflects the stars, and sometimes, I lay out in the middle of it, upon a stick or a lily pad, while those stars dance, and my goodness, it’s like I’m with them, dancing throughout the universe. If more people knew, they’d want to be frogs too, then this lake would be full. The water would never be still.
Well, today, my eyes are filled with the cherry red glow calling my name from a new bush near the north side of the waters. Over there, the grass is greener. I just can’t help myself. I must taste this berry. I jump without any haste toward this gift, every leap my mouth waters even more. Soon, I stand right before it, without pause, I rip a berry from its branch and pop it into my out. It is not sweet. It tastes nothing like I thought. It’s bitter and sour, and I feel dizzy. The world begins to spin, my focus blurs and my small heartbeat quickens, before I feel it trying to stop.
“If I must die, I wish it to be in the water.” Using what is left of my scent, I find the water and use all my strength to jump in it. It’s cool embrace washes over me. I am calm, but, I don’t die. The effects of the poison berry drift away like a bad dream, and I am thankfully left to continue my humble life as a little frog on a handsome lake.
I really wish this book would finish itself. I’ve been writing for days; my eyes are tired and my right hand is callused. The characters are running through my mind. Their lives playing like endless reels on a projection on the back of my eyelids, but, the picture just keeps repeating. It’s going nowhere. They continue to sit in this black hole of story, waiting for my words to be inked across the page.
“Well, what are you going to write?” I look behind me, and there in the corner, under the dim light, is one of the faces that I remember writing. The furrowed brow, the wrinkled cheeks, the sunken blue eyes with their hollow gaze; Katlegar.
“You have been sitting there for days, we’re still repeating. What are we going to do next?” Her voice is sweet like a songbird. I would know it anywhere, Abbey.
‘Okay,” I speak, “I’m obviously going crazy. They said this would happen if I didn’t get up and away from my writing from time to time. They would ‘lift from the pages and make their way to your living room.’ How was I supped to know that it was a truth?”
“You’re still not writing.” Katlegar teases, “You know, if it were up to me I’d like a dinosaur to bust in or an explosion that begs us outside.”
“No, don’t be silly. The sound of a parade coming down the street or maybe even looters on a rampage?” Abbey laughs.
“It can’t be those. Your story has none of those in it. Your stumbling upon an underground facility, where inside there could be treasure, aliens, military. Something. Something that’s not obvious.” I interject.
“What if inside are the bodies of 8 billion people? People from when the world had its first apocalypse?” Katlegar whispers in my ear and a chill runs down my spine. 
It is enough of a shock to open my eyes from their slumber and allowing words to flow from my fingers. ‘I am not crazy, I was only asleep.’ The thought is calming as it is realized.
We are less than a week away from fall, for those in the northern hemisphere. Each year around this time, harvest, I take note of everything I should be grateful for, everything, the good and the bad that has led to growth in spirit, self, and lively hood. As I finish the final months of this year, I will reflect on my accomplishments, my failures, and the spots where I’ll need to put in more effort. I thankful for the family I have left, the stability and comfort in my life, the adventures of this year and the opportunities I’ve been given. What are you thankful for this year?
He was so angry. Everything he touched turned to ash, not only because of his innate hate for it but because of his gift. The power of fire. Such a flame must be controlled or else it escapes, rages above the tree tops devouring the living and the dead. There are times in life that make a person angry, so sick to their stomachs, they wish not to feel it’s pain. It is in the denial of these moments that take us, prisoner, enslave us in hard labor and circle running. It is during these ordeals that he met her. The one person who could not catch flame no matter how hard he tried. 
It’s easy to push people away. Easy to bring dreams to ash, but, only some can ignite them, give them life. He was about to learn how. Though, it would take leaving behind his only known and dear friend. The fear of closeness, the fear of feeling pain will be let go. But this is where it starts, with a girl made of flame and a guy who just wants to control it.
‘I need to get away. Clear my head for minute or two, feel the rushing waters over my feet and the waterfall through my hair. How sweet I imagine the peace away from trying to be this or that or good enough.’ The thoughts pillage my mind, over and over, without succession. “I must do it now or I never will.” A magnesium starter, some paper and a pen, a box of snacks, and my lucky coin; I pack everything into a leather sack made of my most recent game kill and jump into the basket that will soon lead me into the clouds.
Air balloon, not the most advanced form of travel anymore, but, it does have a sense of light heartedness that my life is unfortunately missing. I am taken far into the sky, the stars dance around me all night, but, as the morning sun peaks above the horizon, I find myself surrounded, almost lost, inside thick never-ending clouds. Pink and orange mists fill my vision. Yet, this is all I see. There is no land, no waters, and no direction. I must land before I am taken further than the clouds, maybe even to the stars.
As I sink to whatever is below, jagged edges of rocks begin to appear, and the divine feeling within my stomach dissipates. By will the of the fates I land calmly upon the top of one of these pillars. I must climb down before I feel the ground safely beneath my feet. It is days before I reach the closest hint of civilization, though, they look at me as if they know I am from somewhere else, somewhere that’s not here. “Where is your pair?” One screams and the other looks at me dreadfully.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Take this singlet to the king and queen.”
“This is a place of pairs,” They begin looking at me disapprovingly, “You do not belong here. We are paired at birth, everything is done together. You will only mess up this flow. Take our adventures elsewhere. This is no place for you.”
I miss you. I walk by the bench, where you asked me, everyday. Its not any easier. I remember the fall leaves you made the effort to brush off before we sat. The way our breath appeared in the chill of the air and how you leaned in and whispered, "Let's do it." I turned to you, and it had begun a light snow, there you were, ring in hand. I shouldn't have loved you so much. 
You were that kind of man who other men wish they could be, the kind of person that made me wonder where in the hell I went so right. Do you remember when we met? You came in, dirty, after a hard days work, but you were drained. You heart was gone. I wanted pry, so, I came over with a beer. You smiled slightly and I decided not to ask about it, tried to take your mind off of it. I know you thought about him, that little boy, everyday. It wasn't your fault. 
You carried his ghost to the end. You know, every time you'd run into that fire, I could feel a lump just grow in my chest. It didn't go away until I heard your voice again. What I would do just to hear your voice again. Dammit babe. It wasn't even the fire. I think, maybe, I could understand that a bit better. I just can't understand this. 
We were eating out, celebrating your promotion, at one of the new places in town. Do you remember when the population was only 1000? That's when the person ran in, clearly on something. You tried. I wish you hadn't. I wish you let someone else be the hero. Just this once. 
I go through bouts of not wanting to do this without you and then thinking I can't. Sometimes life doesn't have reasons, sometimes shit just sucks.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who spent her days locked within a castle. She was free to garden sometimes but never left the surrounding walls. It was believed she could not leave and would need to be rescued, saved from the towering man inside. He was said to be at least 7ft tall, with biceps bigger than head, and hands that could squeeze a face like a watermelon. Most knights wouldn’t dare try to save this woman, giving up far before they’d start. Then, there were men like Charlemagne. He always dreamt of the day, he could run inside, his sword drawn, wind gracefully lifting his hair and save the poor damsel from her life of servitude. Her kiss as a token of appreciation soaked his mind the most, for this woman was said to be quite the beauty, breathtaking, to say the least.
Well, getting into to the castle was the easy part. Navigating its many floors was another tale. He could hear his footsteps echoing upon the large stone walls. A few times, he even imagined hearing another. When he entered the second-floor foyer, he was faced with that beautiful woman. “I am here to save you mistress from this life of captivity. Come with me before he comes and sees you are missing.”
“Oh, dear knight, I cannot for he already knows your plan. He will know immediately, that I am gone since in front of him you stand.” She answered back. He turned, seeing the looming figure, ran forward, grabbing her hand, and led her down halls and stairs, but, the man never left his heels. They are chased right into a dark room, and he heard the closed behind them. There is a chill in this pitch-black room, like the coming frost at the end of fall. The slight clinking of metal chains together and breathy shallow exhales in the room sent shivers down his spine. The young woman’s frozen hands grasped his forearm. He could feel her warm breath on the nape of his neck, a cold blade against his artery and she whispered, “I never needed saving.” The last thing he heard was her bone chilling chuckle as life slid from his body.
I remember the moment they found me. I was laying in the motionless dirt for over three millennia. They were so excited, I could hear it in their voices, the slight infliction upon words. If I am honest, I’m glad someone found me. They weren’t sure how old I was, my body is almost perfectly mummified in the vacuum of space. Who would have thought humans would ever come back to this little red planet when life has a perfect place for home on Earth? A second chance. There is nothing left for us here.
I remember being just like them, exploring our world. Every sea, I’d sail. Every tree, I’d climb. If there was a mountain I hadn’t looked off of, I’d stand on its peak and take in the wonder that laid on its face and in its shadow. We had such a world, advanced, with any want and care being offered. It was safe, so we thought. We always looked toward the goddess, Venus, for protection, knowing her love would keep us safe. We believed she always leave Mars beautiful, green, and overflowing with abundance, but, time shows all truth.
Those who came, aren’t much unlike me. They thirst for adventure, discovering new worlds, new stories and mostly, more knowledge. This thirst is greater than being withheld for fourteen days. It’s stronger than the force of gravity beckoning everything beyond the horizon into the black hole. It is, however, strange, they would return to the world we destroyed so long ago. Have they lost this knowledge? Do they no longer remember the slow agonizing dissipation of our atmosphere? We shouldn’t have used the core of our planet for energy, but, we couldn’t help ourselves. Gorging our lives with every pleasure we could. Soon, it was no longer molten, we no longer had a magnetic field, and over time, we had to leave.
We found Earth, a beautiful planet, next to one who was as radiant as the sun. Venus is a jealous god, and in her vanity, she needed to destroy all those who compare. It is clear she has turned her view toward Earth. In hopes to make it just as poisonous as her.