As the world spun around in blissful ignorance, our eyes locked. She sat on one side of the carousel, I on the other. Yet that distance may have been infinite as we moved but didn’t move. How could I forget that moment? Her green eyes sparkled like the lush meadows of a summer’s clearing after a storm. Her red hair danced in the wind, subduing even the tempest that raged around us. That was when the cables broke. She flew North and I few South. Hers was the last face I saw and mine hers. The carousel continued spinning.
Clark heard a whisper in his right ear. He had been climbing the rock-face of the Yosemite for seven days straight, hardly getting any sleep under the mountain’s shadow. With his head turned, he heard another whisper, this time from his left and a bit more coherent.
“Turn back. This is not your time.”
The mountain then rumbled as several loose rocks tumbled down the cliff side.
“No!” Clark hissed. “Not after that wench left me!”
A jostle of voices now rang between his two ears, almost making him convulse under the strain of his weight. He gasped for breath as sweat evaporated off his forehead. Then he heard it. Her voice rang from up above, beckoning him to come in jest.
Anger seethed from every pore as he tore his pickaxe into the overhanging rock. The mountain however would have none of it. The pickaxe broke off a piece that sent both Clark and the rock-face rolling. When the dust had settled, the tears of rage were no more. They found their peace in the murmurs of the cold-water stream below.
At the edge of the cosmos, a small comet impacts a planet. Deep within its nucleus, Fate preserves a relic from a distant past. Her bosom houses a patch of roses that had miraculously survived the destruction of a previous world. A lover of life had suspended the roes patch in time so that they neither bloomed nor wilted during their long flight through space.
When the denizens of the new world discovered the crash site, they also found the rose patch intact. Some who feared its unknown origins threatened to burn the ground from which it stands. Those who wished to examine its properties wanted to dissect its body pedal by pedal. Others who attributed its coming to divine providence wished to enshrine it within a receptacle for the ages.
For such reasons, the rose patch refused to bloom until one day a courageous young girl dared to approach. Recognizing it for what it was, she cusped her hands around a single bud and inhaled its scent. The warmth of her hands awakened the rosebud from its stasis and its petals opened to reveal a deepest red never before seen. Her cheeks flushed a ruddy complexion as the lover of life smiled.
Rudolph, the bulldog circled about the twenty-by-twenty fenced yard. Having been chained to a tree since birth, the yard was both his home and universe. Others who ventured close to his territory were met with streaks of vicious barks. Those who found themselves inside the yard feared for their lives.
Rudolph only had a soft spot for two things in the universe. His owner, an old lady who fed him daily, and butterflies that would flutter freely in and out of the yard. Like a child that had just learned to walk, he would prance around dancing with the butterflies before the chain would snap taut, sometimes coiling around and yanking his neck. The old lady would then have to untangle the mess before his ADD kicked in again.
So it came as a surprise that when the old lady had finally decided to enter a retirement home and Rudolph was unchained, he stopped dancing with those butterflies. In fact, he spent most of his time nuzzling the metal leash that used to collar his neck. Like a third arm that had been severed, he had tried reattaching it with his awkward paws to no avail. Tragic that the butterflies that once brought him such joy to life no longer held the same appeal.
Harry cried “But I’ll be so borrrred!!!” as his mother shook her head.
“Now now, this is punishment for losing your phone after making all those prank-calls. Go outside and play instead.”
With a sullen expression, Harry opened the front door and stepped onto the porch. Out of the corner of his eyes, a pickup truck turned the corner and pulled up along the driveway. A horrible stench followed as barrels of cow manure lined the tailgate. A window then rolled down and a redneck driver hollered “Hey boy! I’m a-lookin’ fowr ‘Jackass Hill’. Know where that there is? ”
Harry, realizing that he may have been found out, gave off the most nonchalant shrug that he could pass and said that he never heard of it. The redneck scowled, picked up his phone, and drove off.
The next morning, Harry found a nasty surprise by the front porch. A note attached read “Done called thay numbuurr agayn ayn’ someone done told me ta ship it here. Wished y’all ayy awful happy birthday too.”
Dandelion and Rose found themselves on opposite ends of a seesaw atop a sharp precipice. They were attracted to each other but neither could see, hear, nor talk; only their sense of balance gave away the other’s presence. To maintain such a relationship, both had move in harmony. If Dandelion took a step forwards, then so would Rose. If Rose doubled backwards, then so must Dandelion. Otherwise, both would fall, injure each other, and think twice about getting back on the seesaw again.
When the two first met, neither dared to make sudden movements out of fear. This would quickly change as the cold nights drew them closer to share warmth and the windy days forced them further apart for some stability. Most days however were calm and so to ease their restlessness and learn more about one another, the two took turns leading. Rose would slide forwards a meter and Dandelion would follow suit by three-quarters to maintain weight parity. Walking soon turned into hopping and then evolved into various forms of kicks, spins, turns, pivots, crosses. Many times they fell off the seesaw but every time they got right back on again. Movement itself communicated their bond and deepened their trust in each other.
Two centuries had passed since Dandelion and Rose were last seen atop that fateful seesaw that once united them in movement. Legends tell of a violent squall that had swept through the mountain side. After the storm had cleared, the seesaw atop the sharp precipice had broken cleanly in half. Some say that a disagreement had end their relationship for good; their combined weights crashing down upon two ends would have severed the seesaw. Others claim that lightning struck the seesaw, splitting it in two from divine jealousy of mortal love. Whatever the case, the bodies of Dandelion and Rose were never found but their movements could sometimes be felt today whilst engaged in dance.
The fountain of youth glistened in the night. Three gun slingers held their ground leg deep in the fountain’s waters, each waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. None of them tired as the moon and stars watched the Mexican standoff that begun at mid-day. However by morning’s dawn, all three gunmen were nowhere to be found. Only their weapons, armor, and gear sat in the puddle from where they stood.
The morning ritual commenced. Evan brushed his teeth, showered, ate a bowl of cereal, put on some clothes, and began driving to work. Along the way, he stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts, left the engine on idle, bought some coffee, and then continued his commute. Such was the routine that he had grown so accustomed to that an autopilot would be out of a job. Upon arriving on site however, two undercover officers rushed out of a vehicle and pointed their guns at him. “Put your hands up and slowly get out of the car!” they yelled. Evan, whose coffee just ran cold, blinked several times before realizing that he had driven the wrong automobile to work.
The master thief locked another door behind him, hoping to further the distance between himself, the competition, and the Minotaurs in pursuit. As he gasped for air, he could still feel the rumble of hoofs on stone reverberating through the floors and walls. “Thud, thud, thud…” The menacing sounds of harrowing screams and a certain death suffocated his lungs with dread. Such was the challenge to steal the famed Skeleton Key, the key of all keys that could open any lock in the wider world. A coveted prize worthy of one who called himself master thief indeed.
With no time to lose, the master thief advanced through the labyrinth of doors. One by one, his nimble hands picked the locks with the haste of a stenographer at an auction. The difference being that entry required a bid of one’s life with no clear insurance of a winner. Whoever said auctions were fair game never had to put their life on the line! But as the hours ticked away, progress slowed and the once murderous echoes of casualty had been replaced by a quietude of unease. The Minotaurs were listening for that next jingle. Fearing that the slightest snap of a broken pick would give a heading, the master thief could do nothing but remain still.
Morning returned with the sound of thrashing. The hunt resumed but the master thief now had second thoughts about the ordeal. Was the Skeleton Key just a legend? Would he run out of provisions before finding it? Would he find his way back to the exit? Perhaps cutting his losses would be the best course of action. As he weighed his options, the sound of doors snapping in two intensified and he choose the latter. Run and live to fight another day he thought. But just as his convictions were overturned, all the locks around him bolted shut and vanished. The sound of impending doom subsided like an apparition facing a strong wind. A realization then dawned on him. There was never a Skeleton Key to be found but always one in the making. How else could it open every lock in the world? Thus the master thief remained and trained his hands to become a master key.
The munchies gnawed on Jackson. He ran out food yesterday and hadn’t eaten since the start of the coding marathon. Sugar and caffeine just weren’t enough. Plus stormy skies had begun to creep behind his other window. A distant rumble could have been heard if not for his headphones.
As Jackson typed furiously away, racing with the keyboard against the clock, his stomach kept growling. Even his dog whimpered, sharing a bit of compassion for the hungry tummy. Finally, Jackson finished the difficult part and exclaimed “Alright, alright! Time to make a run for the burger joint”. But as he flew out of apartment complex towards the local fast food place, the down-pour hit and power went out along the entire block. Jackson ran home wet, hungry, and to a blank terminal.