Demons

She didn’t remember inventing them. They were just there, in the blue darkness. The invisible one talked, the other was silent. She named them Pan and Xan.brown_lady_lg
“They’re demons,” she said.
Her mother told her father, “They’re just imaginary friends.”
“If a demon gets inside you, it makes you evil,” her brother said.
They weren’t inside her. They lurked. At night Pan whispered to her, teaching her their strange language. When she went down the dark hallway, she could see Xan waiting for her at the stairs.
An adult now, she still sees Xan’s shadow. Pan whispers, we’re always here.

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Who are you writing for?

book openThere are about half a million books (titles) published each year in the English speaking world. That may be a conservative figure. It’s hard to find numbers on how many books people actually buy. Why that should be a secret, I do not know. I think we can assume that it’s a big number.

Dax wonders, “How many of those books sold are actually read?”

It’s hard to get numbers on specific categories of books, but it appears that non-fiction titles sell better than fiction. The reason non-fiction books sell well is because they don’t make people feel guilty. If you buy a novel, it sits around waiting for a reading mood to strike you. Then you have to read it in order, from beginning to end. Why buy something that’s going to needle your conscious every time you see it?

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The Oracle Has Moved

He was sure that she was lying, so when she left to buy more wine, he began going through her drawers. In the back of the kitchen drawer he found a postcard dated March 17, 2004.
It read:
oracle“Notice: the Oracle has moved. It can now be found only by those who are not looking for it. All other rules still apply. The Oracle does not accept checks or credit. Cash buys answers only to money questions. Those seeking answers to life must bring their most precious thing. Without payment, there can be no answers. The future has a price.”

Book Report

“It’s my favorite,” she said, handing him the battered paperback. She didn’t ask, but he knew he was supposed to read it.

“Thanks.” He didn’t know what to say. Books were things he rarely thought about. He didn’t have a favorite.

The book stayed on the kitchen table for a few days. Then he moved it to the top of his dresser. Every morning he looked at it and thought, I need to read this. It made him feel guilty.

book_stackFinally she asked.

“Amazing,” he replied. “Can’t stop thinking about it.”

She smiled. “Do you want to read the sequel?”

Bottles

wine_bottles_230_zkhShe looked into the recycling bin and counted.

I’m not al alcoholic, she thought. Alcoholics pass out. They lose their jobs. They forget things. Besides, wine is good for you. She’d heard that once, something like that.

Two bottles in the fridge. Tonight she would make the chicken dish that used a half-cup of white wine. If he asked, she could say, “There wasn’t much in the bottle. I drank the rest.” In the morning she would have a headache, but a headache isn’t a hangover.

Before he got home, she moved half of the bottles into the trash.

Ghost

ghost alleyI saw a ghost today. I was walking up High Street, towards the Blue Moon Café and Wine Shop, when out of the corner of my eye I saw someone hoist himself out of a dumpster in the alley between 15th and 16th Streets. When he hit the pavement, I saw that he had scored several bagels, which he stuffed into the pockets of his gray hoody. I didn’t recognize him at first, but something about the way he swung his legs over the side of the dumpster, the way he landed – something arrested my attention. I stopped and watched, holding my breath. After concealing his prize, he turned and began to walk towards me. He had a limp, I noticed. He was a good ten yards away from me, and it was getting dark, but I suddenly knew who it was.

He looked right at me. Narrow face, red-rimmed eyes, wild, dirty hair and a week’s growth of beard. Our gazes met and we stared at one another for a moment. Then he turned and limped away.

I hadn’t said a word to him. When someone has been dead for over ten years, there isn’t much to say.

Northern Girls

toilet-roll-300x300We lie in the back of the car and play submarine.  Jamie has a periscope made out of mirrors and a milk carton. We take turns using it to see out of the back window.  No one comes.  There is nothing to look at.

“Want to see something?” Jamie asks.

I follow him over to his house, upstairs to Chuckie’s room. There is a small cage on the desk, full of wood shavings. Jamie reaches into the cage and picks up a handful of small pink things.  When he holds out his hand to me I see that they are baby rats —hairless, their eyes shut tight.  “He named it Mickey, but then it had babies.” The baby rats writhe, but make no sounds.  They look like fat pink worms, wiggling around in his palm.  I extend my finger, feel a rubbery body.  None of them is bigger than my pinkie. More

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