Category Archives: short-stories

Perhaps The Rain 

I sat on the passenger side in the truck. The rain came down in torrents, running down the windshield. She didn’t care to use the wipers, but instead let the rivulets of rain hide the fact we were sitting alone in her boyfriend’s truck in the parking lot of his work. We’d come to pick him up so we could all grab a bite to eat once he was off for the evening, but something was different than usual. Perhaps it was the rain. Or maybe it was her perfume filling up the interior of the cab as we waited. The scent of it was sweet and inviting, and filled my mind with images of her getting ready to pick me up, walking into the spray of perfume,feeling it lightly caress her then naked body. A body I hadn’t really thought much about except in secret thoughts, though I’d always found her attractive.
She’d always been off limits. We were friends. Nothing more. She couldn’t want a boy like me when she had him, the typical college frat boy, all beer and muscles, whereas I was the thin typical geek boy girls always liked to have around as a friend and confidante. Tonight however, she was confiding something else to me and I barely heard her, as lost as I was in my own thoughts.
“Sometimes I wish I wasn’t with him,” she said. “Have you ever felt that way about someone?”
For a moment I didn’t realize there was a question there, then she leaned forward and made eye contact, which made me nervous. I hung my head slightly and wouldn’t look at her. “No, not really. Maybe once long time ago, but I haven’t had many relationships other than friendship, you know.”
She nodded and smiled. “I sometimes wonder what it would be like with someone else.”
I dared to look up. “And?” I asked, feeling there was more to her statement.
“You’ve never tried to hit on me.” It was spoken as a statement, but I felt there was a question intended.
“What?”
“In all the time we’ve known each other, you never once put a move on me. Why is that? Do you think I’m ugly or something?”
I smiled. “No, you’re not ugly.” This was a true sentiment. She was far from being unattractive. Beautiful brown eyes, high cheekbones belying a Native American heritage, long dark hair that I’d always wanted to run my fingers through. Lips, thin and moist, from her adorable habit of licking them nearly every time she spoke to me.

“You’re beautiful. You’ve always been that way.”
“Then why is this the first time you’re telling me?”
“Maybe we shouldn’t be talking about this here.” I looked up at her boyfriend’s workplace. He would be coming out soon. 
“You’re right. We shouldn’t.”
She started the truck. 
“What are you doing?” 
“We’re going someplace else.”
“You’re going to leave him here stranded?”
She seemed to think about it for a moment, then turned the engine off. She reached across me, her hand brushing against my leg on its way to the glove box. She opened the box, pulled out a sticky notepad and jotted something on it. She tore the little note off and stuck it to the steering wheel. Then she opened up her door and danced out into the rain. 
I took a quick look at the note. It read, “You never kissed me in the rain.”
I opened up the passenger door and stepped out into evening shower.
2017 Paul D Aronson. 

Piano (flash fiction, free write, whatever….)

The piano sits silent. I can’t bring myself to touch the keys, to place nimble fingers on the black and white and produce the smallest measure. I am empty, devoid of music and sound, preferring this, the beauty of the vacuum left behind by my melancholic spirit. I am but the husk of an artist, bewildered by the absence of inspirational thought, or the motivation to create something from the nothing. I long to see the notes again within my mind’s eye, fearing it is now lost, cast out into the void to be found by someone else, who will make more of it than I ever did. The hall is unoccupied, the applause a memory. The piano sits silent. Alone. 
Paul D Aronson July 2017


The Train (flash fiction?)

The elevated train goes by outside my apartment window, it’s vibration on the track stirring me from my dream. Gone are the sprawling green meadows, snow capped mountains, and clear rolling rivers. Instead I am awakened to industry, crowds, and the fact I will soon be boarding the train that will carry me through the boroughs on my way to a job behind four walls, where I never feel the sun on my face or the breeze running through my hair. 
I am sick with longing. I watch videos on YouTube of other places, views from other trains, and wish to be there in quaint villages, walking on single lane roads by farmhouses and pastures, saying hello to people I meet and their livestock, as I worry about nothing except how hard the rain is supposed to fall tomorrow. No worry about the noise from the people upstairs, deadlines from supervisors who don’t work for their promotions, or the steady vibratory hum from the train outside my window on its way to its one hundred and fifty-seven stops in the city. 
I’m twenty-nine years old. Life is not supposed to be like this. I don’t know what I expected it to be, but not this. I look at all my Facebook friends and they seem so happy, as if everything is perfect, and yet I’m here behind these dull four walls I can barely afford, being awakened by the click-clack of the train, reminding me to get up and go to a job that I hate, dodging through crowds of strangers I don’t want to know. I just wish for once that when I board the train it would take me somewhere else. Somewhere different. Somewhere more adventurous than this…
By Paul D Aronson.

Writing Prompt: Put Down That Book and Fight Me

Here we go with another writing prompt to get the creative juices flowing. Today’s task is to write a short story beginning with the phrase, Put down that book and fight me. 

If you want to participate, it’s easy. Just start writing 😉 Feel free to share what you write in the comments, or provide a link to your blog so others can see what you’ve come up with.

Have fun! 🙂

+++++++++

“Put down that book and fight me.”

The old man in his easy chair didn’t look up. “I admire your tenacity, but I truly must finish this chapter.”

“To hell with your chapter. Stand up and defend yourself.”

“Ones defense is not determined by some notion to get up from your reading chair. Now if you don’t mind, I only have a few paragraphs left and you are interrupting my solitude.”

“You can have solitude when you’re dead,” the young assassin exclaimed. To prove his point, he swished his sword back and forth as if he were cutting through the very air. 

The old man ignored him and continued to read. So intent he was on the written word, his killer could have trashed every shelf in the library and he wouldn’t have budged from the comfort of his chair. In this, the newly arrived Intruder would have to take more drastic measures with his intended target.

“I will give you to the count of five to put your book down and fight. After that, I will kill you where you sit.”

Still, the old man read on, as if the assassin’s voice was nothing but the whisp of a memory echoing in the room. He turned to the next page of his book, and continued to take in each word. A slight smile crossed his face in the same way we ourselves might exhibit when reading a particular clever passage in our favorite tome.

The killer, shuffled from one foot to another as he counted. “One…”

He waited a beat. “Two…”

The old man’s eyes glued to the page, as he nodded in satisfaction.

The killer gripped the hilt of the sword tighter. “Three…”

He took one step forward. “Four…”

A breath. He raised his sword, preparing for the deadly swing. 

Crack! An excruciating pain in his ankle. He staggered back on his other foot, looking down unbelieving at the damage. He hadn’t even seen the old man move, and yet his his leg had shot out from him in deadly precision to strike the breaking point of the killer’s ankle. The rest of him had not moved, and in fact still sat in the high backed leather chair engrossed in his book.

“Oh, you are so dead,” the assassin snarled and charged forward, his sword swinging forward in an arc towards the chair. Before he reached it however, it was flipping backwards, the old man still in it, tumbling over twice until the avid reader was buried under it.

The sword had missed its mark and struck only fabric, enraging the killer. With his good foot, he tried to sweep the chair over on its side so he could see the old man, but the chair was too big and he staggered and swayed off balance. Regaining his footing, he thrust the point of the sword through the chair. 

Thunk! The tip of the sword didn’t meet flesh and bone, but the solid wood of the floor. The old man wasn’t under the chair. 

Looking up, he spied him right away. He was standing by the fireplace. In one hand he held a hot poker, just removed from the embers. In the other, the book he had refused to put down. He raised the volume to eye level and began to read again. 

Angered to the point where the broken ankle no longer mattered, the assassin charged, the arc of his sword swishing back and forth in crisscross movements before him. 

Holding the book out at arms length, the old man brought the poker to bear, gray ash flying off its tip. Sword met poker with a clang. The metal vibrated in their hands, but neither dropped their weapon. Instead, they parried back and forth, the old man taking the lead by driving the young killer back, while the would be assassin himself couldn’t believe the elderly gentleman in coattails still had not put down the book, even while fighting.

This distraction was too much to bear, and the old man with one swift twist of the poker, disarmed his attacker. The sword flew across the room, too far away to be retrieved. With a roundhouse movement , he swept the legs out from under his younger opponent. 

The youth landed on his back hard, the breath nearly knocked out of him. The hot poker was inches from his chest as the old man leaned over him. But the victor was not gloating, nor was he even paying attention. On the contrary, he was still reading. 

He nodded his head, smiled, and put his heel upon the young man’s chest to let him know he was not to get up. He snapped the book shut. He took a deep, satisfactory breath and tossed the poker away. Leaning down, he looked in the young man’s nervous eyes.

“The true reader doesn’t allow anyone to interrupt the tale,” he said.

The fallen warrior shook his head. “I can’t believe you beat me,” he whined.

“I was finished with the chapter.”

The old man reached down with his free hand and helped his student to his feet. 

Grigori Chases Nicolai & Liliana

A/N: Ugh, the whole household has been hit with sickness, so it’s been hard to concentrate on my current project Vampire Boys, but in keeping with the vamp theme I thought I would share this piece of writing. This was an attempt to look at my short story “The Last Dark Hour” from a different angle and POV. I’m a bit uncomfortable when not writing in first person so this was a challenge for me. Now if you are familiar with “Last Dark Hour”, it featured two vampire lovers discovered by the caretaker at a cemetery. This piece is intended to take place before seeking refuge in the graveyard. Again, I’m not really sure what is to become of my short story or whether it will continue to expand or not, but this scene came to me and I had to get it out somehow. Hope you enjoy 🙂 

++++++

Benton Meyers was nearly asleep in the driver’s seat when the couple slid silently into the backseat of his cab. He barely heard them; it was only his lazily closing eye that saw the flash of shadow behind him in the seat. Startled enough to bring him to full alert, he turned in his seat to see who would slip into his cab at four am without a word.

The first one he noticed was the girl. Long dark hair framed a pale face, her complexion nearly glowing in the moonlight. Her eyes were a deep brown, in which the longer he looked at her the lighter they seemed to become. Her lips were thin, traces of red lipstick still there, but as she licked her lips, the red disappeared and he thought it could be something different than lipstick. Blood perhaps.

 He next noticed her black dress, the top cut in a low V that revealed the beginning swell of her breasts. His breath caught in his throat as he heard her companion say, “drive.”

Benton tore his gaze from the girl to see the one who had spoken. The other passenger could have passed for the girl’s brother in wardrobe alone. A black suit minus the vest, a ruffled lace shirt with the top buttons missing revealing his bare hairless chest, with remnants of deep scratches in his flesh. His eyes were not dark as hers. His were blue. And the longer Benton looked, the more they seemed to change in a kaleidoscope of color. From deep blue to cyan, to shades of the ocean and then a summer sky, his eyes never stopping in their rotation of change.

 This troubled Benton and made him uncomfortable, as if he knew something was wrong with this couple. Still taking in the man, he noticed his lips were full, and like the girl, carried a trace of red at the corners. His dark hair cropped close to his neck, framed a chiseled face as if he were a Greek statue breathed to life. Even his physique, visible beneath his attire, reminded Benton of the body and build of figures of mythology, causing him to wonder if for a second these people were real, as the girl’s form was just as perfect as his, if not infinitely more pleasant to look at.

“Drive,” the man repeated, this time with a more commanding tone, and Benton heard it echo in his head like a mantra: drive, drive, drive.

“Where to?” he stammered, feeling nervous, for he knew he didn’t have a choice. The voice told him to drive and he would have to do just that.

“Just drive,” the dark stranger commanded. “Straight ahead.”

Benton started the cab and put it in gear. Without glancing back at his passengers, he pulled away from the curb and did as he was told. Straight ahead had been the commandment and thus it would be so.

There was no traffic on the road at this hour, so he pressed the pedal to the floor and gave the cab a little gas. The tires caught pavement and squealed. The stranger issued a new command. “Not so fast. Stay under the speed limit.”

Benton let up on the gas.

“For now,” the stranger added.

The girl glanced behind the cab as if expecting someone to be following them.

“He’s there,” the man whispered to her.

“I don’t see him, Nicolai.”

“He’s there, Lily. Trust me.” He leaned forward in his seat. “Turn left here, cab driver.”

Benton turned the wheel and headed down another street. This street was just as deserted as the others. One could walk down the double yellow line for nearly a mile without seeing any cars in the road. The world seemed to be asleep at this hour.

“Here he comes,” Nicolai whispered, as a shape suddenly careened around the corner behind them. It was big and black, running on all fours. Its long snout sniffed the air and saliva dripped from its jaws. A huge wolf bounding after them at incredible speed, its eyes red and angry.

Lily nearly screamed, but Nicolai grabbed her hand. “He will not touch you, my love,” he said and kissed her lightly on her trembling lips. “Our love will always prevail.”

Lily looked lost in his eyes for a moment, as if she had descended into a pleasant dream at the sound of his voice. To an outsider, she would have seemed as if she had no control of herself like the cab driver. But she did have control. So much control in fact, the hunger for her lover, the love that overwhelmed her, threatened to wash the streets clean with unbridled passion. She was not hypnotized, or not of her own will – she was in love and trusted her soul mate with her life.

“Faster, cab driver,” Nicolai urged, and Benton surged ahead leaving the rabid wolf behind. But not for long. The wolf itself gained speed, pushing itself to the limits of the breed’s normal endurance.

“He’s going to catch us,” Lily said in a worried tone. And as if to prove her point, the wolf gained the cab and pounced onto the trunk. Its claws dug into the metal as if it were cardboard. Looking through the back window at the two passengers, it snarled viciously, a noise coming from its jaws that remarkably sounded like a curse, “Liliana.”

She screamed, and for a brief moment it appeared the wolf grinned. But brief it was. Nicolai had opened the cab door and grabbed Lily’s hand. “Let’s go!”

Yanking on her arm, he pulled her out of the cab and they tumbled into the street like a pair of rag dolls. They rolled on the pavement and in one swift motion regained their ground, the pair coming to a stand in the middle of the street.

Startled over the flight of his passengers, Benton slammed on the brakes. The wolf lost its grip and tumbled across the top of the car to land in the road. The wolf shook its head and snarled at Benton through the glass. Reaching through the driver’s window the beast raked its claws across Benton’s cheek, leaving four bloody gashes.

Benton screamed and tried to scoot across the seat away from the window. The wolf poised itself to strike again but then stopped. This was not its prey. The beast reared up on its hind legs and with its front paw wiped saliva from its cheek. It was a very human gesture. Then it straightened up as much as it could on its back legs and turned to Nicolai and Lily who still stood in the street, rooted to the spot and waiting on the wolf’s next move.

The creature laughed at them. A slow guttural sound that became more human by the second. The deep growl became a distinct human laugh and then the beast spoke to the couple.

“There will never be an escape,” it said. “I will follow you for eternity, tracking you to the end of the earth for my revenge.”

Nicolai stepped in front of Lily in a gesture to protect her. “Your misguided quarrel is with me, Grigori. Leave Liliana alone.”

“Oh, she made her quarrel, bard. Don’t you remember the hot burning ash at the castle that was to be our wedding place? I remember it well, how she sent it flying into my face.”

“The wound seems to have healed.”

“Ah, you know as well as I do that wounds heal, but pride does not. Too many times have you both trampled on my pride.”

“Pride goes before a fall, Grigori.”

He laughed. “We all fell long ago, my once and never friends. And I have chased you across continents to have my vengeance.”

“She never was yours, Grigori. And she never will be.”

“She was mine! And you took her! Bewitched her and turned her against me.”

“You’re wrong. It was you who bewitched us. It’s your own curse that lead into misery.”

The wolf, Grigori, didn’t say another word, but instead fell to all fours and snarled in anger.

Finally Liliana spoke. “You can chase us however you like, you pathetic excuse for a prince. But you will never catch us.”

“Oh my pet, I already have.”

“Then come and get me, dog face,” she spat at him in contempt.

That was enough to make the wolf lose his human voice and revert to his more animal nature. He let at an angry howl and leapt at the two lovers. Before he could bridge the distance and reach them however, they changed. In an instant, where they once stood, now were a multitude of rats. They crawled and skittered across the asphalt going in every direction, a cacophony of vermin on the run.

The wolf stopped, his eyes darting to and fro trying to determine which two rats out of the multitude was his prey. A pair of distinctive larger ones had separated themselves from the group and were heading towards a tree lined sidewalk. Grigori bolted towards them and in a flash had one in each paw.

“I told you there’s no escape,” he growled.

But no sound issued from them. It wasn’t the lovers. He held two ordinary rats in his clutches. He howled in a rage, dropping the two rats and spinning back around. Some of the rodents had escaped while he had pursued the wrong ones, and in anger he slew the remaining rats one by one, his rage growing with each death cry. For he knew Nicolai and Liliana had escaped him again.

2017 Paul D Aronson.

Doll (50 word story)

I really love doing prompts and challenges. Sometimes I just want to push myself to try and write something that is more strict and confined in its guidelines. I’m so used to stretching stories out that when 50 word challenges come along it can be quite daunting. Though the following little story wasn’t brought on by a challenge from another blog or source, I gave myself this one word prompt while working in the basement and coming across the doll illustrating this post. It belonged to my mother and I snapped up a quick shot and fed it through my photo editor. Taking a look at it later, the 50 word story began. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to post your own 50 word story  in the comments if the pic inspires you to write. Have a great Saturday and stay away from dolls, lol….
The old porcelain doll looked at me from the dresser. Her cracked amber eyes seemed to harbor evil and malice. Her tiny mouth sneered. My wife slept peacefully beside me, so I ignored the thing and tried to get some rest too. I didn’t even know we had a doll. 

Nomi (short story under 500 words)

One of my first memories is that of a garden. Not an ordinary garden mind you, but one of many vibrant colors. To my newly opened eyes it was as if the colors of the rainbow had burst forth like rain to paint the flowers that rose from the earthen bed. At first it was like a painter’s palette with no discernible shapes, and then as my eyes came into focus things became clearer: stems, blossoms, petals, blooms, and a tiny pair of hands reaching for me. She was a child, much like myself, but instead of four tiny paws, she only had two, and they were hairless with claws that were soft flesh. I made a noise as these paws touched me and took me into her embrace. It was a cooing kind of purr that came from within me and it was the only way I knew to articulate I liked this. There was something about being cradled close to her that was soothing.

My eyes found her face and I thought what a beautiful child she was. The sound from her throat and lips was like a lilting song designed to make me feel less afraid. But I wasn’t afraid of her, nor of the garden. Her face almost glowed looking into mine and as her big brown eyes dripped water I realized she was not that small but merely had been behaving that way for my benefit. Now with her watery eyes and pursed lips I saw she was not of innocence as I was, but her short life had been hard and of a sorrow that had not yet left her.

“Has your mother left you, too?” she asked.

I tried to tell her I couldn’t remember, but the only thing that came out was a soft purr that made her smile.

“Purr to you, too,” she said.

I let the girl clutch me to her and I felt an instant sense of companionship between us, as if we were long lost sisters or something.

“What should we name you?” she asked. She put one hand on her chin as if it might help her think. Finally she smiled. “I know. We’ll call you Nomi.” She lifted me up to her face and looked into my eyes. My whiskers twitched. “What do you think of that?” she asked.

“Purr,” I said, giving her a kiss on the nose. It wasn’t exactly a kiss, but more of a tap of my nose against hers, to which she giggled.

“Great! Nomi it is.”

She sat me back down on the ground. I rolled over on my back trying to scratch an itch I couldn’t reach. The girl laughed and lay down on her back in the garden too, mimicking my actions so we looked like two siblings from different mothers playing in the garden of life.
“Nomi” 2017 Paul D Aronson.