Freitag, 30. September 2011


"So, how are we feeling today?"

She sighs. Always the same question to start the session. Always. And not a very good question, either. "I don't know how you are feeling, but I am fine. A little tired perhaps."

The professor smiles, but it is not honest. She knows how to read people. "The nurses report that you have made good progress. No more hallucinations? No more - visits from fairies?"

She shakes her head, then looks at her hands folded peacefully in her lap. The fabric of her skirt is worn, but she takes great pride in being neat and clean at all times. Even here. She smoothes a tiny crease in the brown cotton and raises her gaze to meet his once more. "Everything has been as ordinary as can be."

He writes something on his chart, asks a few more stupid questions. Then he stands up, signalling that their session is over. He shakes her hand. "In that case, I really do not see any reason why we should keep you here any longer."

She smiles, takes his hand, careful not to let anything show. The last rays of summer sunlight pass the trees outside the window, cross the room and paint dancing shadows on the wall. They stole a whole season from her, just because her son-in-law claimed she was crazy. Told everybody she was hallucinating and running through the wood at night, naked. She will have to have a word with her daughter. Can't let her grandchildren grow up around someone as narrow-minded as that.

The bat-like shape sitting on the branch closest to the window winks. She makes an effort not to look directly at it, so as not to let anyone see that she is SEEING. "Then, if it is okay with you, I will gather my things. When can I leave?"

"The nurses will call a cab for you, I'll hand them your discharge report. Do you want to call anyone? Family, friends?"

"No, it will be a nice surprise." Especially for that dork her daughter married. The next dark moon, he will be hers.

Dienstag, 27. September 2011

Best intentions

The big dark desk sitting at the opposite wall of the large office is meant to be intimidating, and it works just fine. If it weren't for the coffee stains on the cream-colored carpet, I might be soiling my pants at what I am about to do.

"Sir, I don't mean to be disrespectful, but... you might want to reconsider your behavior towards your employees."

He smiles, a friendly smile that is known to breed terror in everyone who has to work with him. "Why, what is wrong with that?"

"Well, Sir... I have found that my colleagues are getting restless and anxious, and they are showing stress-related behavior. The contact with our clients and their... high demands is eating away at them." That is not exactly what I want to say, but I do not know how else to paraphrase it in a polite way.

"If they are not happy working here, they can go and find another job."

"Uhm... it is not that they are not happy, but they are... changing." No, that's not the real thing, either. But I realize that my good intentions were wasted.

"Anything else you would like to say?"

"No, I guess that's it." I smile and make my way back out of the room, always keeping an eye on doors and windows. This is the top floor, and it is still peaceful, and to keep it this way for a little longer I carefully close the frosted glass door.

The two-by-four I brought up with me is still leaning against the wall, looking inconspicuous except for the small dark stain at the top. My heart is racing. It is just three sets of stairs, I tell myself, and a few steps, then you're out the door. Let the others deal with this madness on their own, and in their own way. Most likely they are still trying to find their way around fax machines and printers and computers, all the while nibbling whatever they find that contains warm blood. If it weren't for the glaring sun outside, neither the squirrels nor the weird neighbors would be safe. I worry more about the squirrels, although there is still hope they will be too fast to be caught.

The IT guy comes shambling up the stairs. He is one of the first to have mastered the way up, despite not having been infected for several hours. His lower jaw is dislocated - no, not really dislocated, it's dangling from his face by a few strands of decaying tissue. Rot seems to spread fast among them, as if moving speeds up the process with dead meat. Or maybe it's just the dead-ness mixing with all the other germs our clients drag inside from their hospital stays.

The two-by-four connects with his skull and sends him flying down the stairs. I race past the scrambling body, down to ground level, press the button and squeeze myself through the gate as it is already starting to close again. The metal bars won't hold them in forever, but nothing wrong with getting a head start.

I always suspected this job would turn everybody into office zombies.

Freitag, 23. September 2011

Beasts and shadows

You cannot outrun your shadow. No matter what you do, he is always just one step behind you. And the moment you turn around, he wins.

He tried not to look back, but he suspected they were catching up. The rustling leaves indicated that there was someone - something - behind him, and he doubted that these woods held any kind of normal life... not after what he had seen. If only he hadn't decided to hike through these parts of the mountains. If only his uncle hadn't told all these stories about how exciting backpacking was! If only... - well, there were many 'if's, but nothing that would help him now. The only way out was finding a village, with normal people and heavily armed police. And for that, he had to be faster than the ones behind him. The only way out was up the mountain.

He forced himself to move, on all four if necessary, stumbling as stones shifted under his hands and rumbled down the mountain's flank. His fingers bled. He didn't care. Pain and exhaustion formed a constant rhythm to which he moved forward. The higher he got, the more the underbursh became thin and neglected, until there were just a few branches left sticking from the dirt, not enough to hide behind and not enough to keep his chasers back. If only he could make it over the ridge... the sun started to sink behind the rocks, and he inhaled, bracing himself for one final sprint. He would be an easy target until he made it across the open space, to disappear on the other side, and he hoped that there was vegetation waiting for him to hide between.

There was no vegetation. Instead, the ground disappeared. What he had considered to be the top of the mountain was, seen from the ground beneath, a hundred feet drop, a spectacular motif for pictures. The sunlight hit him as he fell and outlined his body twisting in panic.

The creatures stopped, perplexed. They looked at each other and shook their heads sadly. These strange humans... it was not the first time that this had happened. Why would they never stay for dinner? That guy had been just on time, they had just started to gut the deer they had caught for dinner. Not a pleasant sight, sure, but not really a reason to jump off the cliff. Slowly they made their way back to their prey, tentacles gliding over the rocks with ease, leaving glistening black trails that might be blood, or might be something else.

Samstag, 10. September 2011


He eyed the girl behind the counter. "Wow, you're a fat chick!"

She smiled sweetly. "And you're only five feet tall, so what?"

[Sorry, sorry, sorry, that popped up in my head when I went running yesterday and I did not want to lose it... it may be going into one of my stories, but it made me laugh, and I wanted to share right away. (^v^) ]

Montag, 5. September 2011

The mountains of life

Only a word, and yet... it makes me feel tiny. Suddenly it is as if I could merely see the sunlight at mouth of the cave behind the teeth of which I am locked away. My self shrinks. I feel it pull at my outside, making me even smaller, trying to make me disappear. Part of me is hiding in the dark, out in plain sight. And now it dawns on me: I am making myself the victim. Breath by breath, I close the gaps between core and skin. The secret to life: Keep breathing, the pain will go away.