Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube Follow us on Tumblr

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28
  1. #1
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default the fragmental collective

    - the fragmental collective -

    "Aime-moi Moins" 20 Minutes or Less [x]
    "And I Want You" Summer Contest 2017
    "Bonds of Friendship"
    "And I Want You, Pt. II" Summer Contest 2017
    "Bond of Friendship"
    "All Men Wish to Win" N/A [x]
    "I'm Glad We Did This" N/A [x]
    "I Wouldn't Have Minded" N/A [x]
    "A Halo, Flaring" [Vexen Award]
    Interactive Fiction/Game
    "Aime-moi Moins: To My Father" Summer Contest 2017
    "Canada Day" Summer Contest 2017
    "Spell It Out"
    "Mixed" [Demyx Award] [x]
    "The PF Kids" 101-Word Stories [x]
    "We Were Younger" N/A [x]

    I decided that instead of posting all of my short stories in their own thread, that I would make a singular thread to house them all like I see some other users having done. I'm starting by just reposting older stories I've already posted, but I'm going to start adding new stories very soon. Any comments and critiques are welcome and appreciated :3

    aime-moi moins.

    Three months after we started f*cking, Chance kissed me for the first time.

    Our first time together I kissed only the tiles of the locker room showers. Chance, the captain of our lacrosse team, pressed into me and slurred harsh in my ear. His chest fit against my back; his hands on my hips. Tiles cold. The rest of the team had left and celebrated winning the last game of the season with booze and trophies. Chance, well, he celebrated it with me. He bit my ear and told me how much he thought of me. Said he would watch me play, watch me change. Watch the way water droplets clung to my skin as I toweled off.

    "Made you shine," he said, his voice all peppermint and alcohol. He laughed and rested his face against my shoulder. "Like bronze." I could feel his grin against my skin, teeth almost cutting.

    The shower doused us, water running between our bodies and circling the drain. I closed my eyes, tried to pull away, mentally, from it all. His voice sounded distant to me even as he pressed inside. Even as I lost my virginity before I had my first real kiss.

    After, we sat on the shower room floor. Our backs rested against the dividers between showers and we stared forward and away. I tried not to look at him. The few times I did, he wasn't looking at me anyway. He had his knees up and his arms closed. Methodically he'd scratch at the side of his wrist. We didn't bother shutting the shower off and it continued to rain.

    "You, uh, you did pretty good," he stammered. "In the game, I mean. That last goal of yours." He picked at the skin around his wrist harder. "Your dad'll be proud."

    I tried to imagine what my dad would've thought if he knew about this.

    "You still won for us in the end," I said. "Without you, we wouldn't ha--"

    "We could do this, you know. Us, I mean. If you want."


    "You can't tell anyone."


    "But we could do it. Like, for real. You and me."


    "I like you, Novah."

    "Yeah, okay."

    "You want to?"


    That was how it started.
    Last edited by Audo; October 20, 2018 at 07:31 PM.

  2. #2
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: the fragmental collective

    This was originally for last year's Summer Writing Contest~
    and i want you.

    Peyton and Dejan walked along a small creek. The water nipped at their ankles as they struggled to keep their balance on the rocks. They had ditched their shoes back at the tent, not wanting to get them wet. Above, the sun filtered through the branches of the trees and danced on their skin. Dejan watched Peyton in front of him, who seemed to be taking the entire Event incredibly cavalier and calm. Inside he was on the verge of screaming and crying himself and couldn't imagine how any of them were reacting differently. Peyton was taking it all in stride and Shane looked practically giddy the morning after. Did neither of them really have any concerns? All Dejan could think about was what his family would say when he told them, if he told them. What would he even say? Was he gay? Or was this something else entirely?

    He had never thought about it before. They all knew Peyton was gay, of course. He had come out in highschool. At the time Dejan didn't think much of it. Nothing had really changed. Peyton still smiled the same, laughed the same, joked around the same. He was more vocal about guys, sure, but that never seemed to turn inward on the group itself. Shane, of course, had girlfriends all throughout highschool. Was he really gay, too? F*ck.

    Dejan wondered if Peyton thought about him like that before now. Wondered if he was thinking about him like that right this very moment. Suddenly he felt self-conscious. They were both shirtless as they walked the creek, but now Dejan was made far more aware of the slight chub around his hips and stomach and the muscles that he could see beneath Peyton's skin. He never really felt like he had to worry about how he looked, at least not in that sort of way, but now it was consuming him. What if he wasn't fit enough to be gay? Was that a thing?

    Peyton looked back at him then, concerned. "Dejan."

    Dejan forced a smile and subconsciously wrapped an arm around his stomach. "Peyton."

    "Do you want to talk about the other night?" Peyton said. "It must be on your mind."

    "Just a bit," he lied. "But I don't think I want to talk about it."

    Peyton nodded and continued to lead them down the creek. All around them the forest was alive and disinterested in whatever drama Dejan felt. The birds continued to chirp. The wind continued to blow. The ants continued to travel. None of them gave the slightest f*ck that Dejan was amid a gay crisis. Perhaps that was to give him some comfort, show him how small and insignificant he and his problems were in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps he would smile and sigh and realize how foolish he has been, how liking boys was no big deal. Perhaps. But that's not what happened.

    They reached the end of the creek, where the water met with a large rock wall. A small waterfall poured down from above, cascading down the rocks and forming the stream they had walked. Peyton gave a weak smile before removing his boxers and setting them on a nearby stone. This, too, only seemed to cause further worry in Dejan. What if his dick wasn't big enough to be gay? Was that a thing? His size had never concerned him before now. That's all he seemed to have been experiencing since it happened -- concerns, growing in his heart like weeds. He tried to remember that it didn't matter. Peyton had already seen him naked, had already seen more of him than he would ever thought imaginable, really. Dejan stripped himself of his own boxers and walked to the waterfall.

    Peyton closed his eyes and let the water fall over him, running down his chest and back and legs. Dejan followed the water's descent with his eyes and blushed when it reached his friend's crotch. It wasn't the first time that he had seen Peyton like that either, but for some reason, he could feel his cheeks burn like they never had before. Peyton seemed to notice as he let out a small chuckle before grabbing Dejan by the arm and pulling him into the water. He placed Dejan's head directly under the stream and then rubbed his hair and laughed.

    "Snap out of it," he said with a grin, letting his hands fall from Dejan's hair to his shoulders, to his arms, to his hands. He held onto Dejan's fingers, their bodies close and nearly touching. "Talk to me," he said quietly.

    Dejan's eyes closed tight. "I'm scared," he whispered.

    He could sense Peyton nodding in the way his grip swayed. "You have every right to be," he said. "This is all new to you. It is scary."

    "I just don't know what it means. What I am."

    "You're Dejan," Peyton said. "That hasn't changed. You're still my best friend. Still a ridiculous cute Indian boy who studies business. Still funny and kind and generous and caring. Still love video games and anime and slushies. Still watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine obsessively and deep down think about joining the RCMP and making it better for people like us. Still listen to 50's and 60's jazz and big band music. Still close your eyes and feel the trumpets in your blood."

    Peyton kissed Dejan on the forehead. "You're still you."

    "But how can I be? I never looked at guys like this. It never even crossed my mind as a possibility. But now I look at you and I want you. And that's terrifying." He opened his eyes and looked like he was bout to cry. "And it's not just that. I keep thinking about how much I want to hold your hand and fall asleep with our bodies touching and just, like, holding you. I really f*cking want to hold you and kiss you."

    "Then hold me," Peyton said. "Then his kiss me," he said.

    "But it can't be that simple, can it? How can I even know if this is real? What if it was just... getting caught up in the moment? And all of these other feelings are just born of me overreacting? Overanalyzing?"

    "I don't know. I don't know how you will know."

    "Well, how did you know that you were like that?"

    Peyton looked down and away, avoiding Dejan's attentive gaze. He let go of Dejan's fingers, letting his arms go slack by his slide. "I never just knew," he said. "It was never that easy. Even after I cam out, I still sometimes found myself questioning it. Maybe I'll always question it. Maybe things aren't so cut and dry." He sighed, and turned away, resting his back against the rocks. "Maybe one day I'll meet a girl and fall in love," he said. "Probably right when I feel like I finally have all of this figured out," he added with a small laugh.

    Dejan rested against the rocks beside him. Their shoulders and arms touched. "So you're saying I'll always feel like this?"

    "No," he said. "Not exactly like this. It'll get less scary. You'll feel less awful about it. You'll stop, hopefully, thinking there is something wrong with you, and you'll learn to just take it as it comes." He turned to look at Dejan, who still looked so scared and helpless. "Sexuality is a f*cking mess, Dej. And you won't ever just have it click and then that will be that. But you will always have me, and we can stumble and figure out this shit together, if you want."

    Dejan smiled and he held Peyton's hand and his heart seemed to light up.

    "So you're saying it never just hit you like, 'wow I am so f*cking gay'?" Dejan asked after a moment.

    Peyton laughed. "It did, actually, sort of. I mean, I didn't think of it like that, but after one point, it did kind of hit me. After a long time of worrying and feeling ashamed and scared and denying it. All of the sudden it twas like all the doors opened up inside me. I looked back over my life and a lot of things made more sense. Like, why I always felt warm inside when you fell asleep on my shoulder while watching episodes of 1960's Batman. Or when we covered Shane's chest in fake blood and cuts for that project. Little things like that, all throughout my life, made more sense. And I felt... happy."

    "Warm, huh?" Dejan muttered quietly.


    Dejan faced Peyton. His expression was focused and serious, even as the water sometimes forced him to close and squint his eyes. He brushed his hair back with one hand and pulled Peyton forward, slightly out of the water with the other. "Peyton," he said. "Can I kiss you right now?"

    Peyton grinned. "Always."

    Their lips met under the water and even then they could feel the fires burn inside each other. Dejan held Peyton close, their flesh against flesh, his hand firmly on his neck while another wrapped around his waist and pressed against his back. Peyton felt right in his arms, like they were two puzzle pieces finally connecting after years apart. He wondered what it would have been like if he had missed out on this feeling his entire life. This feeling where everything was warm and familiar and right. Dejan smiled against Peyton's lips, and skin. He tasted like wild berries. They stumbled back against the rock wall, water pouring over them as they continued to connect and disconnect their lips, their hands, their love.

    Eventually they broke away and rested their foreheads against each other, both of the boys all smiles and sparks.

    "Well?" Peyton asked after a moment, still breathing slightly heavy.

    "I never knew," he replied, "that I had this heat inside."

    Peyton smiled. He wrapped his arms around Dejan once more.

    And they held each other tight.

  3. #3
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: the fragmental collective

    So, "And I Want You" is kind of a short story taken from a larger novel idea I had. While the first part was somewhere in the middle of the story, this second part is kind of a hypothetical ending to the novel.
    and i want you, pt.ii

    The carnival came to their small town every summer since 1992. Shane always appreciated that about it. While each year brought unforeseen change and strife in his life -- friends moving away, people dying, parents divorcing -- he knew he could count on the carnival at the end of every summer. It was a constant in the sea of variables that was his life. Distance seemed to grow in the cracks of all of his relationships and aspirations and goals, but there would always be the carnival and the cotton candy and the ferris wheel. It kept coming back to him. He need that. He knew the others didn't get it, or, perhaps even worse, they understood it and they simply didn't agree with it anymore. Throughout highschool they would always make sure to go to the carnival every day it was here, but highschool had ended. It had ended a long time ago, it felt now. Would they even show up after everything that has happened? After all that was said and left unsaid? All those years it had never occurred to him, not really, that while the carnival would keep coming back, there was the increasingly real possibility that his friends would not. That eventually the cracks between them would expand into canyons and that would be it. The idea filled him with an immense and overwhelming sadness. He sat there, surrounded by laughing children and families and the sounds of park rides, and felt utterly alone.

    A part of him knew that it wouldn't work, that this summer wouldn't have changed anything, but he knew that he couldn't not try. Of particular insult in all of this though was the realization that the more he tried to hold on to what he used to have, the more he tired to keep their connections from tethering, the more it frayed and the more they grew apart. Had he not dreamed up this monstrous wild summer, wouldn't they still be together now? It would have been different, of course. Things would have kept changing, and maybe the distance would always be there, but maybe his friends would've remained as well. The connections would have been faint, but they would've still existed. Now he felt he was looking at nothing but frayed ends connecting his heart to nothing and to nowhere.

    He ran his hands through his short dirt-blond hair. Covered his face in his palms and tried to block out the lights and the sounds. Useless. The children didn't care about his crisis or that he still had no idea what to do with his life. That he still, after all this time, had no motivation or drive to go out and Be Something. They were too busy enjoying the moment to care about something as pointless as the future. All he had ever wanted was to go back, back to how things were, back to when him, Dejan and Peyton were inseparable. Longed to live back in the days of swimming under waterfalls, of carving their names into the sides of cliffs, of burning copies of The Catcher in the Rye. Farther back, still, to the days of sandcastles and blanket forts and making up constellations. Shane knew now that he could never go back there, and chances were, he had ruined any attempts to go there in the future. But where did that leave him now? Where could he go?

    He jumped in shock as someone whacked him the face with a bag of cotton candy. It was blue and pink and looked like clouds. Shane looked up at Peyton who let go of the bag once he was sure Shane would hold onto it. The large gash in Peyton's face that stretched from underneath his left eye almost to his ear had been stitched up with neon pink thread. The sight of it made Shane want to cry, but Peyton just smiled.

    "You're thinking way too much," Peyton said, sitting down beside him on the bench. "Way too much. You're definitely the saddest, most pathetic clown in this joint."

    "Shut up," Shane said, nudging Peyton with his shoulder. They both smiled, finally. Shane tore open the cotton candy and passed a chunk of the pink. Peyton pulled off thin strips of the wispy candy and ate it carefully. Sometimes he grimaced from the wound shifting slightly. "That's a pretty bright colour," Shane said, motioning to the stitches. They stood out bright and loud against Peyton's dark skin.

    "Deliberate," Peyton muttered between mouthfuls. "The whole experience is a part of me now. I want people to notice."

    Shane shifted in his spot and took a large chunk of blue cotton candy in his mouth to avoid having to say anything.

    "My boyfriend will notice no matter what colour it is," Peyton said quietly. "Might as well embrace it."

    The candy felt too sickly sweet on Shane's tongue, and dissolved uncomfortably in his throat. "What are you going to tell him?"

    Without a beat, Peyton responded, "The truth."


    "Everything," he said simply.

    Teens screamed as the Zipper flipped them in their air from the other side fo the parking lot.

    "I don't regret anything that happened, Shane," he said, truthfully. "I don't. I'm glad what happened that night. But if I lie about it, or try and pretend it didn't happen, then that's what it will become. A regret. A secret. Something to eat away at me."

    "And Dejan?"

    "Dejan will do what is best for Dejan, as he should. He's really scared right now -- this whole thing is new to him -- but he has his own choices to make about who and what to tell. And I don't hold that against him." Peyton put down the candy. "And you shouldn't either."

    Shane resisted the urge to grimace, but could feel his cheeks burn in shame. "I didn't--"

    "It's okay. I get it." Peyton glanced up at the ferris wheel off to their left. It moved slowly, methodically, against the summer day. "I always get you."

    They finished off the rest of the bag and tossed it in a nearby garbage can. All around them the fair was boisterous and alive. If they looked hard enough, they were sure they could see miniature versions of themselves among the children and teenagers like ghosts. Shane could be seen trying to win the giant stuffed Pikachu for Peyton at the basketball game. Dejan could be seen pulling Shane and Peyton against their will to the Zipper, only for them all to come out feeling sick. And Peyton could be seen not-so-subtly holding his friends' hands int he Gravitron. They were surrounded by reminders of the time they had shared together, the years spent feeling wild and free among the attractions. Shane so desperately still longed to be able to go back then, to sharing his first kiss with Peyton in the Haunted House while Dejan led the charge fearless in front of them, to riding the ferris wheel with Dejan and talking about their true fears, to watching the carnival light up at night underneath a blanket of constellations they made up. For a moment, Peyton did, too.

    The ferris wheel had always been one of Shane's favourite things at the carnival. So often overlooked for the flashier and more daring rides, there was something he enjoyed in the quiet solitude of the ferris wheel's permeations. Together they got into one of the seats and waited in silence until the wheel begun moving. The warmth from their touching skin balanced against the cool and pleasant wind. Shane wished for nothing more than the moment to continue on forever, for the ferris wheel to never finish circling around.

    "I hear the carnival isn't going to come back next year," Peyton said.


    "Not enough business, or something. They're going to go to Cranbrook instead. More of a draw."

    Upon seeing the look on Shane's face, Peyton slipped his hand into his friend's. He rubbed his thumb along Shane's and when Shane rested his head on his should, he rested his cheek against him. They sat there for a moment, watching the fair and the town come in and out of view. The sun was beginning to set and the sky shone in pinks and oranges. For the past ten years they had always ended their carnival days like this. Shane used to say that from so far up the future could be forgotten. Peyton would nod in agreement, but think instead of how much he wanted to travel as far as he could see up there. To keep moving forward. When they circled back to the ground, Peyton's instincts were to run and experience all that he saw.

    "Do you know what you're going to do?" Peyton asked on their second trip around and up.

    "No," Shane answered truthfully. "I really don't. I hoped I wouldn't have to know. Or at least, that something would force me down one path over another. But that didn't happen." Peyton still smelled of the forest and smoke. "I feel like I'm at a crossroads with paths leading every which way, and no idea which to choose. No drive to propel me down any of them. No motivation to move on."


    "I know. Okay, I know."

    "How many paths do you think I have? That Dejan has? You have so many choices yet choose none of them."

    "It isn't that simple."

    "I know you don't think it is," Peyton said. "But you also have the luxury of not having to have it all sorted out. You don't have to make the immediate right choice, but any choice would be better than what you're doing now. How you're feeling now. You could pretty much choose anything you wanted and even if it didn't work out, you'd be okay. You'd have a safety net. A place to come back to and a family who would support you and bail you out of whatever f*ck ups came your way."

    The sky was redder now.

    "It's just frustrating," Peyton said. "I love you, but you're stuck. And no matter what I tell you or how I try to help, you'll always be stuck. And that's what this whole summer was about, wasn't it?"

    "What do you mean?"

    "Your great plan wasn't for us to have one last summer adventure together. You weren't trying to get me and Dejan to help you move forward. What you wanted was to get us stuck. Stuck here with you so that you didn't have to move on or grow up or change."

    The needles returned in Shane's throat, but he kept silent. The ride was almost over.

    "I know the future is scary and change is scary and growing up is scary." Peyton squeezed Shane's hand tight. "But isn't staying here more scary? Isn't stagnating and rotting and dying more scary?"

    The ferris wheel slowed to a halt. The ride attendant undid the fasteners on their seat and Peyton let go of Shane's hand. He rose to his feet and looked back on his best friend.

    "Can't we go again?" Shane pleaded.

    Peyton shook his head. "Dejan is waiting." He motioned behind him where Dejan could be seen leaning against the concrete wall that bordered the area.

    "I'm not ready to leave yet."

    Peyton outstretched his hand. "C'mon, Shane," he said. His eyes were searching, hopeful, underlined by the neon pink stitches marking Shane's mistake.

    Shane knew that this would be a moment he would look back on. A moment where the crossroads were lined up clearly in front of him. Take his hand and move on, or stay behind, again.

    After a moment, Peyton withdrew his hand. His eyes were sad, disappointed. The ride attendant came up to them both, annoyed. "What's it going to be?" he asked Shane. Peyton began to walk away, back to Dejan, and Shane knew for certain this was it. He looked up at the ride attendant.

    "Just once more, please," Shane said.

    The fasteners were retightened. The ferris wheel refilled. And up Shane went. He watched as Peyton and Dejan disappeared into the distance.

    And he was alone again.

  4. #4
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: the fragmental collective

    Another old story of mine, desperately in need of a rewrite, but I thought I'd share it anyway~

    all men wish to win.

    We're driving down Westside -- bordered by one of the countless pine tree forests that infest the valley -- when I realize that I'm getting f*cked whether I like it or not. I grind my teeth against the maroon nail polish set only on my right thumb. Flakes of red land on my lips, on my pants, and I wonder why I thought nail polish was ever a good idea. His hands wring the steering wheel, a soft squeak of plastic and faux leather, and tells me that nail polish is an odd choice for such a strapping boy. The flare of my lighter is the only response I manage. Number 7 Red King Size. He rolls down my window, probably wondering how he'll explain the smell to his wife when he gets back home. He made the mistake earlier of instructing me to open his wallet for him. Two kids and a wife. One expired condom.

    Smoke drifts from my mouth and escapes through the window. I watch it leave in the rearview mirror, what little I can see. Fire bans are up, as they always are in Vesperia during the summertime. The cigarette pinched between my index and middle fingers, I scrutinize the damage it could cause. Some of the red flakes have found a new home around the filter. Squint your eyes and you could swear it was blood.

    I don't remember his name and I suppose it doesn't matter. He likely offered up a fake anyway. On the rare occasion he breaks our implicit vow of silence, he always calls me by mine. Brennan, he says, is that bleached hair? Are you excited to graduate? Brennan, what universities are you thinking of? Breathe in false platitudes, breathe out mediocrity.

    The glow of the dashboard lights cast his face in shadows. Red and green fill his features and from the right angle if you squint you could swear he looked beastly. Shadows hide the bags under his eyes. His uneven complexion is tempered with the red of the dash. Eyes are made sullen. Even the way the skin beneath his chin has begun to droop is masked and hidden away. I remember his profile pic on Grindr. False advertising.

    The end of my cigarette glows orange in the rearview mirror and I don't blame him. I know my profile will look the same in ten years as it does now. Fifteen. Twenty. It doesn't matter. For a lot of people, it's the only way to win. If these random hookups -- this memorization of the weight of strangers' bodies on top of us -- could be considered winning. We were all given shit hands, so you better f*cking be bluffing.

    Lying about all I have left.

    This isn't exactly my first time, here, now. I've been with a lot of guys like him, like me. Apparently insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. My mother thinks I'm unnatural, a disgrace, so I guess insane isn't that far off either.

    I remember them though, the weight of them. I remember the ribbed feeling of Erik's arms, scarred by self-harm. I remember the way Ben wouldn't make out with me, only pressed his chapped lips against mine again and again, never letting himself fall into the kiss. I remember how Aaron kept calling me another name when he came. A friend of his, maybe.

    Most of them have wives and families and those that don't are more f*cked up than I am anyway. But we all still do it, for the compliments, the feelings of being wanted, or maybe just for the shared misfortune of being born this way. As he parks the car off to the side of the road, blanketed by trees, I wonder if this is every gay kid's story. It feels like it.

    He turns off the ignition and he doesn't ask me how I'm feeling. I put out my cigarette on the window and wipe away the ashes with the heel of my wrist. The silence breaks when he shuts his card door behind him. I grip the handle of my door. My breath hitches in my throat and I cross the threshold. The door slams behind me.

    It's a nice night, he says.

    The trees criss-cross over the sky, but through the gaps I see the stars. After Ben and I f*cked in his tent trailer once, he unzipped the windows and let the breeze through. He pointed out what constellations we could see and taught me the stories behind them. The stars in his eyes, he looked happier than he was in the lie we spun. Only in the faint afterglow do people reveal who they truly are. Looking up at them, I wonder if one day we will be the stories behind the stars. If I'll look up and see within those constellations myself, and these men, rejected from the world, seeking home within the skies. No.

    It's just another bullshit night, I say.

    He doesn't say anything but he leans against the trunk of the car. Arms crossed. I follow him to the back and catch his expression. He must be thinking hard about something because his features have hardened: eyebrows low, eyes focused, mouth closed tight. Almost angry. At himself, maybe. I won't ever know and it isn't like it matters in the long run. I'm getting hate-f*cked either way.

    The first time these men do this they aren't really f*cking me. They are f*cking themselves, the hate they feel inside, the ostracism society imposed on them. It'd be damn near poetic if it didn't make us both feel like shit afterwards. Because that's our curse -- this is the dystopian future we're trapped in. This is the oppressive state we're stuck with, and there are no rebels to give a shit.

    I undo my belt and take off my skinny jeans. I fold them and rest them on the far side of the trunk. My t-shirt and boxer-briefs follow. Goosebumps cover my skin raw. He devours me as I stand bare and suddenly I wish I remembered his name. Callouses cover his palms and I figure he must be blue-collar in his other life. My ribs seem to fit in his palm as his thumb rubs my nipple. Squint and you could swear this was a mistake.

    He bends me over the trunk and I gasp at the temperature of the metal and the texture of the rust. After Aaron called me by the wrong name, he took me up onto his wooden shed's roof. We were both still naked and the shingles grated against our skin. He asked me if I remembered the time we drew on the roof with sidewalk chalk, if I remembered the oranges and the reds, the cheesy quotes about love that we didn't really understand. I knew he knew that I wasn't his friend, but I played along. Yes, I said, I remember. Aaron, I remember how our hands were covered in chalk dust. I remember when you took my cheek in your red dusty hands and kissed me. Yes, Aaron, I remember how I didn't run away, didn't call you a freak, didn't say you were going to hell. Of course, I remember.

    I brace myself when I hear his zipper, even though I should relax. He doesn't undress -- they rarely do the first time -- and I clench my teeth when his dick and the teeth of his zipper press into me. His middle-aged hands grab mine and he puts his weight on top of me. It hurts and I try to accommodate him but mostly I just try to breathe. As he shifts behind me, his wrists rub against the back of mine and I recognize the feeling of an improperly healed scar. The cut ran down his wrist lengthwise, almost fresh against aged-marked skin.

    After, Erik would let me trace his many scars with my fingertips. His right forearm wore them like medals, each a slightly different texture. The roughness of the scar, he explained, was determined mostly by how deep the cut. He pointed to some lighter ones, called them his oldest children. Had them when he was eight. You have to cut vertically, he said, if you really want to kill yourself. Harder to stitch up at the hospital. I asked him why he did ti and he said he was trying to figure himself out. Did he find his answer? He laughed and said, No.

    Pushing all his weight against me, he whispers in my ear. You are so beautiful, he says. And for a moment, it all seems worth it. And then the moment's gone.

    I once knew the names of all the evergreens that are playing witness to us, but I can't remember them now. Douglas, maybe. I close my eyes as he picks up speed, as he becomes more and more forceful. Whatever delusion that compliment came out of has been squandered off because I know he's f*cking himself now. F*cking the hate. He's sweating and I am sweating underneath him and the rust of the car and the teeth of his zipper are rubbing my skin raw.

    When he comes, it's with a whimper. An animal like cry that doesn't try to hide, whispered in my ear as he collapses on top of me completely. It's the most honest sound I've heard and it makes me feel like crying. So I do. We stay like that for a moment, two wounded animals in a forgotten forest. By the time he pulls out, his weight felt like a part of me. He mutters something about starting the car and all I want is for that pressure to return. To feel connected and wanted in the simplest terms. But it's gone.

    I sit on the trunk and look at the damage. Impressions are embedded into my skin from the metal and the rust. The skin is red red red but it doesn't seem to be bleeding. Behind me, I hear the failed attempts to start the engine. He turns the key over and over without change. It takes a couple more tires before he comes out of the car to face me. I move over on the trunk and he sits down beside me, hands resting on his own knees.

    The car won't start, he says.

    I figured as much, I say.

    Did I hurt you?


    You're crying.

    He points at my cheek like he's thinking about wiping the tear away but considering better. I wipe my cheek on the back of my hand and tell him I'm fine. I reach over him and grab my clothes and dig through the pockets. I light up and watch the smoke of the first exhale drift up to the constellations.

    We'll try again in a bit, he says.

    And if it doesn't work?

    We call a tow truck.

    I realize what this means for him. My mother wouldn't care if I showed up tonight or not, but how is he going to explain to his wife about the tow truck, about the car, about what he was doing in the middle of the night off Westside Road? Even if she believes whatever story he tells her, this is a small town. Word would spread, probably from the tow truck driver himself, that he was found in the woods with a teenager. Vesperia politics, really.

    He motions to my cigarette. I pass it to him. He inhales too much and starts coughing and I can't help but laugh. Laugh at this mand and his life, waiting forty-some years to have his first smoke and his first real f*ck. He nudges me with his elbow, tells me to knock it off, and I laugh harder. I only stop when I realize I'm really laughing at myself.

    I pull my phone out of my jeans. It's still open to Grindr and I consider calling the tow truck right now, getting the hell out. But I let the phone go loose in my hands and, still naked, lay down next to him on the trunk.

    Ahead of us, father into the woods, a deer walks into view. Its antlers protrude from its skull confidently. The moonlight reflects lightly on its brownish-grey coat. My hook-up starts clicking his tongue and I find myself admiring the way his features soften in the presence of deer.

    He's a beaut, he says and then click his tongue again.

    That's not really a deer call.

    Yeah, he admits, I don't really know any. It works on my cats though.

    I smirk and take another drag from my cigarette. When I was little, I say to him, me and my brother used to drive around on these roads and the ones up to Pano. We'd stop whenever we found roadkill and took photographs of them. I think what I liked most about it was just how different they all were, the way their flesh had been torn open, the difference between ribs peeking and poking out. I mean, they were mangled to all shit, but there was something beautiful about it.

    That's f*cked up, Brennan, he says.

    Yeah. I pass him the cigarette. That's why I went along with it, I say. It's the f*cked up shit that makes us human.

    You're way too young to think like that, he says.

    And you're too old to not.

    He grumbles and practically forms a fist around the cigarette as he inhales. This time is easier and he clears his throat instead of coughs. With the cig between his thumb and finger, he inspects it and I notice that the red flakes of my nail polish have moved from the filter to his lips. Before I can stop myself, I'm leaning over and wiping the flakes off his mouth with my thumb. It's more tender than it has any right to be and for a moment he looks like he's thinking about kissing me -- what would be our first -- but I retreat to my place on the trunk kiss-less.

    I turn my attention back to our animal companion. I don't know anything about deer except how they look when mangled by a truck. As I watch it eating some of the greenery, I think about how much I desire to have something I could teach him about them. Some lasting tidbit he could take away from this night but I keep coming up short. I don't know shit about deer or types of trees or local hotspots. I've lived here my entire life and have nothing to show for it, no insider knowledge, no mark I've left on the community. One of the jeers in the local paper might have been about me, but that's it.

    That, um, Deer Culling, I stumble, you care about that at all?

    He passes me the cigarette. Only in so much that I can, he says.

    Not a member of the Deer Protection Society then?

    He laughs. No, are you?

    Nah. I guess I can sympathize, but, community work isn't really my thing.

    Sympathize? With the deer?

    I watch as the deer returns into the depths of the forest. Probably to its family. One last long drag on the cigarette and then I put it out against the trunk of the car, flick the butt onto the dirt road.

    I guess I just mean that I can relate, I say, sort of.

    He doesn't say anything, but he leans back against the back of the car with me. His flannel shirt scratches my skin and I move over until our arms touch. There's a weighted warmth to his presence that smooths over the goosebumps on my naked skin and I want the moment to last -- need it to, even. It's been a long time since I've been held, but I'll take even this, this fleeting contact, since it makes me feel a little less alone.

    They're still fighting about the culling, I say. Both sides. There's a lawsuit and everything.

    He nodes. All men wish to win, he says, but few seldom do.

    I pull away from him, jump off of the trunk and onto my feet. Kicking off my sandals, I dig my toes into the cool earth. My eyes close and I try to hear all the sounds: the wind and the deer and the occasional car. Try to become a part of it but give up. Open my eyes and he's been watching me, studying me.

    One of the times I was out with my brother, I say, we were taking pictures of these two male deer that got hit. They had been pulled to the side of the road and laid side by side. It kind of looked like they were spooning. And this is stupid, but, at that time I didn't really understand that someone had cleaned them up, moved them. I was just an eight year old with a Pikachu camera. I thought they had died like that. When I looked at them, side by side, the bigger one almost holding the other one, I thought -- this is me. That's me. They's my heart behind those exposed ribs. Those flies are hovering around me, living in my stomach. It's stupid, but that's when I knew. That I wasn't like my dad or my brother. I was like those deer.

    I grabbed my boxers off of the trunk and slipped them on. Then my pants. Then my shirt.

    Anyway, the people who had moved them came up to us after we had started taking pictures. They laughed and asked if we were hungry, if that's why we were hanging around the roadkill. My brother got embarrassed, said we were doing it for an art project. He hurriedly pushed me away from the deer, and back to the car. And that was the last time we hung out like that.

    I run a hand through my bleached hair and avoid his gaze. He had been looking at me like he understood me or some shit. I didn't come here to be understood. I came here to win. To try and be held and loved and failing to do all of that. I had exposed my ribs and for what? Some stranger who, after the night was over, would go back to his wife and his children and his lie. And I still couldn't blame him. At least he still had someone who would hold him.


    I toss him my phone.

    Just take me home, I say.

    We're sitting int he back of the tow truck, side by side, fabric against fabric, and I wish I could go back. Back to before this night, before Ben and Erik and Aaron, before the fights with my mother and before my dad split. Before all the roadkill. The driver turns into Vesperia and I know I can't. I can't because I need all of this -- the compliments, the f*cking, the weighted warmth. I need need need to feel wanted and no one else wants me.

    Through the rearview mirror, the driver shoots us judging looks, my partner more so than me. A forest fire of gossip and slander begins with that fatass spark sitting in the front seat. I turn to the window and watch the perfectly lovely lawns and houses pass. All the lights are off on my street, including my own. There'll be no one wondering where I am. No worried parents clutching for a sign as the green-lit clock on the stove counts another hour.

    I tell him to stop in front of the house with the Aboriginal art in the front yard. The truck whimpers to a stop and I waste no time in leaving. I'm halfway across my lawn when another door opens and slams behind me. Sandals kicked off again, I try once more to root myself into the earth. His thick calloused hand grabs my wrist and uproots me, yanks me toward him and smothers me in his chest and arms. The buttons of his shirt push into my cheek and I mumble how I don't remember his name. I grab fists of his tacky flannel shirt and shut my eyes tight.

    Desmond, he says.

    It's nice to meet you, he says.

    I'm Brennan, I say, and it's nice to meet you, too.

    He trades off his hug and places my cold iPhone back into my hand. The truck door slams again and they pull onto the street. My feet planted among the grass, I watch as Demond leaves my sight. Shortly after, my phone goes off. The house is as good as dead when I look back to my phone. A notification from Grindr -- a request for a new hook up, just six kilometres away. My thumb hovers over the button to reply.

    And I hesitate.

  5. #5
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: the fragmental collective

    another old story that i wrote for a university assignment.

    i'm glad we did this.

    A tremble runs through the newscaster, evident only in the way her papers vibrate in her hands. She wears a wedding band and often looks beyond the camera, to the right. Somewhere off-screen, her wife must be watching, perhaps with an arm around her stomach and a fist to her lips. Beneath the newscaster a scrawl reads: STARS VANISHING FROM SKY, SCIENTISTS BAFFLED. Fourteen additional stars disappeared the previous night escalating the total to fifty-six. Domink watches the news report with his fingers pressed against the storefront window. Stench of the Food Court mingles with the noise of too many lives. Thick glass exists between the television set and the rest of them in the Bay Centre like the subtle barriers between people. It surprises no one that the end of the world began on a Monday.

    Across the mall from the Sony Store, a young couple shops for an engagement ring at Peoples. A seemingly permanent crook forms the man's lips while he observes his to-be. She hovers over the glass case inspecting each ring with hesitant eyes. He rubs her back in methodical circles. Against the apparent end, a new beginning.

    "...the stars... what if...I know think...."

    Domink strains to hear but gives up and turns to leave. The doors of the centre are covered in the faint imprints and smudges of past lives, small traces of the humanity that had come and gone. Outside, the city hangs below a monochromatic grey. Were it night and the clouds permitting, the luminous pollution drowns the remaining stars anyway. Without a way to know if the discourse about the stars is true, the crowds become even more faceless. A strict code of avoidance enacts itself; greetings give way to mumbled telephone calls and brisk apologies. A breathing world never looked so dulled.

    With his jacket clutched tight to his frame, Dominik glances to the sky as he walks block after block. The grey of the sky looks like dirty snow fallen and rested against the atmosphere -- a simple blanket prevent further insight into the world's state. Those on the street refrain from looking, from talking, from connecting, as if it will somehow keep their bubble pristine and infallible. Keep calm and carry on.

    Tourists left when the lights did. The inner harbour once thrived, but now demonstrates an absences of perseverance. Only a few stragglers remain once its lucrative nature diminished. Descending the steps, everyone can be seen: small groups and individuals splattered against the landscape by humanity's paintbrush and then forgotten. One of the groups near the stairs blast the mechanically manufactured Starscream's "Gravity in Terms of Space-Time" on an endless loop from their iPod stereo. Occasionally, hollow laughter runs with the music. Farther down the harbour's stretch, a suited young woman sits on one of the domed night-lights. She rests with her hands in her lap and traces the outline of sailboats with her eyes. Whenever the laughter reaches her, she flinches and tuckers her hair behind her ear. Toward the end of the path, a young man stands with a sign in thick black letters: FREE HUGS. Curious. Domink moves to rest ont he inviting ledge near the man.

    He wears a pair of purple low top Converse shoes with tidy ink inscriptions along the white bottoms. A maroon UVic Residency lanyard drapes from the pocket of his dark boot cut jeans; his crimson shirt bears a rainbow and hearts and the phrase I HATE MY SELF AND WANT TO DIE. A slight mocha shade to his skin, the man stares ahead. Carelessness takes refuge in his brown hair which he must've combed with his fingertips. His full-lipped mouth slightly ajar, he scans the harbour as if it's full of people. Around his wrist is a precarious bracelet made of Starburst wrappers. Sharpie and cheap poster board make up the sign he holds above his head.

    Those not suffocating in worry are too busy to care about some boy and some sign down the harbour.

    It won't work.

    "What'd you say?" He turns and loosens his grips on the sign. His arms drop a little but the sign stays upright. Pressing the board against his forehead, he peers down with a marked inattentiveness. Dominik hesitates at first, but replies.

    It won't work.

    He lets go of the sign with his left hand and scratches the back of his neck. The poster scrapes against the ground. Empty laughter from down the harbour filters through the air. "Do you go to school around here?"

    UVic. Bio Chem.

    "You any good?"

    Unlikely. What about you?


    You any good?

    He presses his tongue against the inside of his bottom lip and shakes his head before outstretching a hand. "Fidel." His hand is warm.


    Fidel drops onto the ledge beside Dominik. He rests his elbows on his knees, hunched forward as if about to whisper a secret. His fingers cut through his dark hair like sailboats on stormy waves. Slight stubble scatters across his face.

    "I've been standing here for two hours, man. Not one person." Curious warmth spreads through his expression. "That woman over there walked right past me." The woman continues to fixate on the boats along the water. "You'd think the stars going out would bring people together."

    He actually believes the stars are disappearing.

    Fidel leans back. "You don't?" Whatever warmth that filled his features leaves. He narrows his eyes. Veins of gold circle an otherwise commonplace blend of browns and greens.

    Stars are immense spheres of plasma held together by gravity. It's not strange for them to collapse. Most of the stars we see from Earth already imploded a long time ago. Supernovas and all that.

    "And all of this is just a coincidence then?"

    People like to look too deeply into shit like this. They like attributing great cosmic significance to things that don't deserve it. It doesn't look like the world is ending out there because it isn't.

    "You're not a religious man, eh?" He shifts in his spot, faint laughter forming against his lips. "Alright, Dominik. I guess that makes you the man of science."

    What does that make you?

    The corner of his eyes scrunch. He gets off the ledge and picks up the sign once more. Over his shoulder he says, "I'm the man of faith." Fidel takes his place back in the middle of the path.

    It's hard to imagine exactly what Fidel hopes to accomplish.

    Even across the distance and through the mechanical electronic music blasting from the stereo down the harbour, he hears and responds clearly. "I figure, if I can hug just one person -- one person who really needs it -- then I've done enough. I've accomplished something, as you put it. Seemed like a better way to spend my time than keep to myself."

    Out here, with the way people are -- keeping to themselves, living in their bubbles -- it will always end the same. He'll never get someone willing to hug him. Everyone is too busy being drained by their own problems, in their own social networks, in their own electronic fog. If people can't even bother to look each other in the eye, how will he manage to get someone to actually hold him and be held? Pointless.

    Fidel lets out of a laugh. The sign shakes from his body; FREE HUGS wavers in the air, cutting through the grey sheet of sky. He glances back through his narrow features and says, "It only ends once, Dominik."

    Boisterous sounds of panting, moaning and dirty talk fill Dominik's living room that night. On the laptop balancing on his right knee, grainy images of people f*cking occupy the screen. His left hand curls around his dick. In the background, on the TV in the corner of the room, the news is set to mute. NINETEEN ADDITIONAL STARS VANISH WITHOUT EXPLANATION.

    The newscaster's shoulders slump and she gazes at the camera. She doesn't seem to know how to tell the world, once more, that no one knows anything, that things can't be explained. Her wedding ring, like the stars, has disappeared. A thin band of pale skin is all that remains of a missed connection.

    A black cock ring is fastened to the male actor on the computer screen. Sweat pours from his pores as he imitates a beat much too fast with his hips. His face splotchy from the heat, he grips the female actor's breasts. She gazes at the camera through haggard eyes. Do you like that?

    Sporadically, the computer will glitch and video artifacts disrupt the scene. They paint the actors in sudden pixels of greens and blues and push flesh-tones out of frame. The action doesn't cease and the groans march through the laptop speakers. Artifacts shift, covering the entire video with an impenetrable fallacy.

    With a loud beep, the battery dies. The news ends.

    Dominik sinks against the couch cushions. With a better exhale he shuts the laptop and tosses it beside him. A pervasive emptiness overwhelms as he tucks himself back into his pants and gets off the couch and heads outside.

    A slight bite hides beneath the autumn air. The clouds clear, but only so many stars speckle the sky -- tiny lanterns breaking through the haze. Light from the street lamps wash the sky, artificially drowning out the natural. No matter how hard he tries, Dominik can't look past the photopollution to the sky that hides behind it. Across the street, the public school lays dead atop the small fenced hill. Dominik crosses the street, finds a gap in the fence and traverses the field until he reaches the school's playground. Climbing onto one of the raised platforms, he lies down, eyes to the heavens. The sky has an orange tint to it from all of the city lights. He bites his lip as he pulls out a lighter and a pack of cigarillos from his pockets and lights up. The end glows orange like the sky. Smoke rises and mingles with what stars remain. It becomes difficult to remember how many there were before this moment, before they started to blink out, which makes it impossible to know for certain: was any of this for real, or not?

    Dominik watches the smoke rise from his mouth and disperse in the harbour air. He sits on the same ledge as the day before, waiting. The harbour remains unchanged except for one thing: Fidel isn't there. Aside from him, it looks as if time hasn't passed at all, as if those nineteen stars hadn't reportedly 'disappeared' between then and now. It didn't matter; he didn't come for them.

    "Can't get enough," Fidel stands with a smirk and a sign behind Dominik. He seems to watch as the smoke trails from the end of Dominik's cigarillo before stepping closer and raising the sign high above his head. His t-shirt is black with a white old-fashioned stylized font: ELVIS IS DEAD. SINATRA IS DEAD. AND ME I FEEL ALSO NOT SO GOOD. "Don't you have school or something?"

    How's FREE HUGS going?

    Fidel doesn't look at him, instead peering over the landscape. He lowers his head only a fraction and tongues his bottom lip. "Is there something you want, Dom? I know you don't believe in this stuff, so if you're just here to--"

    It's not that.

    He turns and raises an eyebrow. The sign blends in with the opaque sky above. From certain angles it seems as if the black words floated in the sky like a command from above. "What is it then?"

    A sudden spike in nerves, Dominik takes a drag and releases the smoke as slowly as possible. Even from here, he can vaguely hear the electronica from down the harbour. He pulls in his lips.

    Do you want to hang out sometime? Get a slushie or something?

    The corners of Fidel's mouth curl. He drops his arms, the sign falling by his waist. Hazel eyes stare into Dom's. Fidel holds out a hand. "Can I?" Dominik passes him the cigarillo. As he takes the smoke in, he glances around the harbour once more. "Okay."


    "Saturday. We'll get Slushies."


    Fidel twists the handle on the Essor's slushie machine and vibrant orange slush spills into his cup. There is a slight flick movement in his wrist as he fills his cup with Orange Crush and Cream Soda. He lingers and the icy concoction forms a miniature mountain. "Thank god for bubble lids," he says. A lid and a green straw later, he is ready to seize the world -- what's left of it.

    He's wearing a pale yellow shirt with a giant pansy next to the word STRESS as he says, "Dude, who actually gets a pure Pepsi Slushie? You might as well've just bought a pop!"

    The cashier watches a with an expression that wavers between indignation and boredom. Fidel pays for both Slushies and heads for the typical Victoria conditions outside: muted.

    "I'm glad we did this," Fidel says. He perches on one of the stone ledges a small way from the gas station. His purple sneakers dangle over the edge. One line of the inscriptions running around the bottom of his shoes is names. "My family," he adds. After taking a sip of Slushie, he points to a particular name among the masses. "That's my dad." Following one more sip each, they trade Slushies. "Pepsi." He says it like the choice is incontrovertible and snatches his own Slushie back. "When my mom walked out, he didn't really know what to do. I mean, what do you tell a kid? That his mom didn't love him anymore? That she had better things to do than be there for her family? I don't blame him."

    Fidel's Slushie hangs loose in his hands. He pulls in his lips and studies the dirt on the toe of his shoes. With his free hand, he rubs the skin above his elbow on the opposite arm. His eyes search the surroundings.

    "After it all... the only thing my dad knew how to do was act like nothing had happened. He drove me out to the nearest 7/11 and he got us both the biggest Slushies they had at the time. Pretty sure they have even bigger ones now, but I haven't been to a 7/11 since." He tries to smile, as if in attempt to convince himself, but it soon fades. "We couldn't finish them. Did you know in America they call brain freeze 'ice-cream headaches'? Stupid."

    Funny to think a frozen drink could mean so much.

    Fidel gives a half-hearted chuckle. "I like to think drinking Slushies in shitty weather is something distinctively Canadian." He presses the straw against his lip in thought. "Let's have a race. Who can drink theirs first. Go."

    Icebergs grow where their brains should be.

    "Brain freeze!"

    Ice-cream headache.

    Fidel snickered. "F*ck you, man."

    The only way to tell if Fidel is actually happy is if the corners of his eyes crimp up. Any other time he would be holding something back. More and more it becomes obvious how often that is.

    Dominik places his Slushie between them on the ledge and a cigarillo between his lips. He pats his pockets for a missing lighter. Fidel holds out a lighter of his own. His fingertips kiss Dom's cheek as he steadies the boy while lighting his cigarillo with his other hand. The brief warmth vanishes.

    Back when I didn't even know what cigarillos were, I had a dad, too. This was a long time ago, back when reality didn't seem like a plague we had to bother with. We used to play in our backyard and imagined we were in a carnival -- our carnival. I was the ring leader and dad was the lion tamer and together we put on the greatest show the world had ever seen. My dad would keep the lion in its place and to the unsuspecting audience it looked like they were enemies. As the ring leader, I had to keep them believing it. I tricked them into thinking something that wasn't true, just like he tamed a beast that needed no taming. Sometimes, the animals would escape and we'd have to halt the show to catch them. This was when our talents shined the best, for we always knew just what to do.

    "What happened?" Fidel's features become more intense, focused, betraying the light-hearted shirt he wore. Above, another star dies.

    One day, it was my dad who escaped.

    Dominik blows a smoky breath and they watch as it twists and coils and disperses into the air. Silence digests them as their bones strain under the weight of the world they didn't understand. The night sky shines fewer.

    How's FREE HUGS going?

    Fidel rolls his eyes. "You ask me that a lot."

    More and more stars 'disappear'.

    "I don't know what's wrong with people. I'm there every day. Seems like the more stars gone, the more people distance themselves. Yesterday, no one even looked at me. Not even a f*cking glance. Do I look like a demon to everyone or something? I'm just a kid with a sign."

    He downs the remainder of his Slushie and jumps of the ledge. The trash can is next to the bus stop further down the street. A couple sits at the bench with an arm around each other, waiting. They take turns kissing each other on the cheek. Fidel lingers on the sight of them before changing focus.

    "What's the star count now, anyway?"

    One-hundred and eight.

    "Right. Still believe it's nothing?"

    Dominik hesitates.

    It's not nothing. It's just not something.

    "Because that makes sense." Fidel glances to his shoes and his lips quiver as if chewing on possible words. Streetlights reflect in his eyes. "Look, Dom, I'm sorry about your...." The bus pulls up. He shakes his head. "I have to go. Take it easy, okay? I'll see you next week, right?" He gives a small wave and heads on. The bus stalls for a moment before jetting down McKenzie Avenue, exhaust creeping behind.

    In the week that follows, another four-hundred and fifteen stars reportedly cease to be. When Fidel walks off the bus, it's hard to recognize him. As if each star has left him personally, he takes on a more hollowed persona than customary. A faint weakness pervades the way he walks and talks. He still dresses the same -- purple shoes, dark pants, hideously inappropriate t-shirt slogans -- but the tiredness takes hold in the way the light no longer fills his features. His eyes, with those prominent flecks of gold, now seem dulled and weary. Even the way he squeezes your shoulder now exists only as an empty gesture. Once voluminous lips now look starved. The corners of his eyes almost never scrunch. It had taken a month, but now it is clear what the end of the world looks like.

    "F*ck you, I'm just tired," he says. "I thought you didn't believe in that shit anyway, man of science. Why are you suddenly worried about the way I look?"

    Fidel's shirt is black with an orange skull and cross-bones and the text CONTINUED UNMEASURED ENDLESS DESPAIR HOWEVER ALIVE. Dominik starts to walk down the street.

    Let's just go. It's starting to get cold.

    The barren sky reflects the barren street. Families have long returned to the comfort of their homes and their beds and their nighttime stories. Streetlamps flare and the wind snakes by in a haunting calmness. Tonight, another forty-five predicted stars will leave the skies.

    Last I checked the star-count was at five-hundred and twenty-three. Still no hugs, eh?

    "I'm not going to give up, if that's what you're suggesting. I've gone to the harbour every day. Just gotta have faith."

    You go every day and no one even looks at you. What difference would a day make? Who would notice?

    "If nothing matters, there's nothing to save."

    What's that supposed to mean?

    "Well, you're a vegan, right? You could eat meat any day and no one would be able to know. No one would know a damn thing unless you wanted them to. But you don't. You don't because if those rules don't matter -- if you let yourself break them whenever you want -- then there would be no point in following them in the first place."

    Dominik scrapes his feet against the gravel.

    What are you trying to save?

    Fidel's hand is warm as he leads them to the swing-set outside the community park. The chains force dirt into his palm, onto his fingers. A few weak lights shine through murky skies like treasures in deep water. The swing-set rasps under their weight. Scent of musty over-rained grass disperses through the air. With each successful pumping of the swing, the wind embraces them like a forgotten kiss. A hint of momentary happiness rests against Fidel's lips, a quick curve to their form. Paper laughter sometimes escapes, contorting into the cold autumn.

    "How do you know the stars are just balls of plasma or whatever?" Fidel asks. Gaze pointed toward the heavens, he continues to swing.

    It's science. Everyone knows that. What else would they be?

    "I mean, have you seen the stars? Can you personally vouch for them being what everyone says they are? Maybe that isn't what a star is. Maybe we've all been tricked to believe something that isn't true." He stops swinging. His expression hardens. "You can't think that all of these stars are simply what's left of decaying lights, can you? There's no way to account for it. Over five hundred stars have been vanquished. The fault in our stars has to be something more than that."

    Fidel. Fidel. Fidel.

    He rubs his cheek with his palm, a stroke of dirt left in its wake. Despite the crystallization of their breath, it all felt so thermal. Fidel's features soften and he rests his head against the chain, eyes focused on Dom. Those familiar eyes have become the most comforting of things in their simplicity. They didn't look on with judgement or remorse. Fidel has always been seeing, not merely looking. Dominik leans forward the tiniest bit as he studies his friend.

    "Feeling like you should, Dom?" A slight lilt to his head, the chains smear grease along his cheek.

    Dominik tells himself to breathe as he turns and pretends to count the stars when actually counting heartbeats.

    What are the stars?

    It takes a moment for an answer.

    "The stars are us. They're our lights." Fidel jumps off the swing and falls to the ground in front of it. He rolls onto his back and watches what few stars manage to flint across the darkness. "I've been thinking about it more and more since we met, but what if that's it? What if the stars never were some floating balls of gas that no one has ever really seen? What if they were us? If we all have a light inside us -- a soul or whatever -- then maybe the stars are vanishing because everyone is becoming so disconnected. The lights fade. How bright can a light really be if there is no one around to see it?"

    Dominik jumps from the swing. Dampness infiltrates the ground. Whenever Fidel speaks, the scent of his breath wafts through the air. Slushies. He smells of cream soda and Febreeze. Sometimes his voice betrays him and a heightened word permeates reality -- an emphasis that reveals too much. If one connects the words and emphases there'll be no need for secrets.

    "You don't talk much about yourself. I want you to."

    Up until now, the end of the world seemed like the greatest thing to happen. We breathe all of this technological shit as if we can't exist without it. Cellphone. Facebook. Texting. Internet. Somehow becoming more connected comes at the cost of being connected. All these barriers people put up. Was it really that scary to say what you mean, to be honest about someone, to look them in the face when you tell them they matter?

    "Who matters to you, Dom?"

    The scent of Captain Black's Red cigarillos percolates. Dominik presses the filter against Fidel's lips and he draws it in. When the smoke escapes, it takes the form of a lion racing across the cold night sky.

    It's late. The buses stopped running a long time ago. If you want, you can stay over.

    Fidel closes his eyes. The swings move with the ghost of their time. Chains rustle and the swingset creaks. He breathes in careful, methodical breaths. All it will take is one brave gesture, and the distance between them will diminish. Skin on skin. Heart to heart.

    "Sure." He doesn't open his eyes, but leans towards Dom's presence. "How far is your place from here?" Moonlight paints his skin soft beige and washes away the earlier sense of fatigue. The wind has ceased. The stars have departed. Alone.

    It's down the street.

    Vintage anatomical charts and maps plaster the bedroom walls. From the computer, the song "Be Calm" by Fun overcomes the room. Fidel nodes in time with the beat while opening the blinds. The bed lies just beneath the window. After freeing the windows from their cover, Fidel rests his arms along the windowsill and peers out. Under his breath, he counts the number of stars he can still see. Two. He drops his head and shoulders and shuts his eyes. The smell of Old Spice peeks through the music. In a quick movement, he jumps off the bed and pulls of his shirt. It falls to the hardwood lifelessly. As he continues to bop his head to the music, he undoes his belt and tosses his pants aside next ot his shirt on the floor. Houndstooth boxers.

    "Dude, Marvel Comics boxers? That's awesome."

    A quiet heat rises. Fidel doesn't seem to notice and gets under the covers. He keeps his arms on top of the blanket, crossed along his chest. Above, the night sky projects into the room. The fabric feels foreign. His chest rhythmically elevates and descends. Reflections of the outside world play back against his eyes. Expression abandons his face leaving no musings as to what he is thinking. Some sort of serenity, repose. Without his identity markers, all that remains is his purest form. This is the kind of person he is. All that makes up someone's appearance deemed useless by nightfall. What's left isn't the person, but the being. Fidel doesn't have anything to hide behind, to pretend with. He is raw, real, and clear.

    The battery dies and so does the music. Near silence fills the room; the only exceptions are the distant sounds of city life and the exponential breathing side by side. Fidel closes his eyes and takes in a deep breath releasing it ever so patiently. He murmurs something about stars and about faith and about them.


    "You never told me," he whispers. His lips bend into a thin smile. "Who matters to you."

    The distance closes; his lips are chapped.

    "Dominik," he breathes.

    Fidel presses his hand against Dom's shoulder and squeezes. His eyes betray him as the corners perk up and he returns the kiss. Fingertips cut through hair and down necks. Tongues rub against each other. Stubble tickles lips.

    Fidel lets out a sharp gasp as Dom's hands slip beneath his waistband. "Your hands are so f*cking cold, man." Laughter's evident in his voice as he pulls off the remaining piece of fabric that separates them. He shivers as Dom's fingers wrap around him. Small goosebumps spread along his skin like Braille -- messages to be decoded.

    He grabs Dominik's hands and holds them to his lips. His warm breath rushes over them. Fidel kisses each palm before leaning up and kissing Dom's lips. With a quick move, Fidel rolls him onto his back, hands pinned above his head. For a moment he simply sits there, one leg on either side of the boy's hips, the thin cotton of Dominik's boxers the only thing between them. The grip on his hands loosens as he gives an unconvincing performance.

    What's wrong?

    "One of us is just going to leave as soon as the night does."

    Is that all there is?

    He bows his head, and runs his hands down Dominik's arms and against his shoulder blades. Fidel's lips unite with his and linger and then he rolls onto his side. "Do... do you think we could just sleep together?" A fragility prevails in his voice, but betrays no one. Fidel rests his head against Dominik's chest, arm around his stomach and there is the feeling that what he needs is something different from sleep. "I'm sorry," he whispers. "I just...."

    It's fine. We'll sleep and wake up and meet the daylight. The stars don't have to fall from the sky and we don't have to tumble with them and if more beyond this exists we'll know for sure.

    So they slept and dreamt.

    It's Monday. It should come as no surprise to wake up alone on a Monday. Sunlight forces into the otherwise empty room, warming lonely skin. Fidel has left and their stars already have begun to fade. In the end, it wouldn't take much to become another number on the news -- another number that goes misunderstood. Giving up seems the resolute answer. Everyone else did. They saw the difficulties in connecting during an electronic plague. Imagine a world where no one becomes vulnerable, a world where superficiality is the key to survival. Each star, each light, dies to make this new world more real. We don't need anybody.

    And yet....

    Sky blankets the harbour in commonplace grey. From the ledge overlooking the walkway, it appears that no one populates this side of Victoria. A single figure father down the line, however, stands tall with a sign high above his head. FREE HUGS. Free of music, the atmosphere radiates loneliness. There are no people walking about aimlessly, or staring out at the ocean, or taking in the scenery, the life. All that has vanished, too.

    Fidel continues to hold the sign high. It has become tattered and faded but desire holds strong. At first, he avoids meeting Dominik's gaze, avoids letting the light of their eyes meet. He looks around the harbour, the world, and lets the sign fall from his hands. "Everyone has gone away, haven't they?" His head lowers. Whatever distance that remained between them disappears; the barriers recede. The nook of his neck smells like him, smells like more than just a simple scent, but of the combination of their journey. His body is warm, arms wrapped around each other, as Dominik clings to the being known as Fidel.

  6. #6
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: the fragmental collective

    The last of the reposts! After this, nothing but new stories when updated!~

    i wouldn't have minded.

    On the anniversary of your boyfriend's death, your girlfriend craves pie. Mourning must have an expiry date, you tell yourself when you find her swaying in the kitchen to Tegan and Sara's "The Con". Latara's Pilsbury Doughboy apron swishes with her body the way it would when your mother wore it. The way it did when you tried to tell her about you and Nathaniel and the shit you did, the shit you felt. You remember how she became more interested in hoarding Woman's World coupons than listening to your confession. Remember the thick black licorice smell on your dad's dismissive grumble before he turned the television to Saturday Night Live and considered you just another throw pillow on the couch. Remember his stubble scratching your shoulder when he passed out while you watched commercial parodies for home maintenance products that you now own.

    Latara' ginger hair is pinned in a loose bun and stray strands whisk around her face as she dances to the beat. The pie cools on the stove top while she cleans up. When she notices you she brushes the hair out of her eyes with the back of her hand, smearing flour among her cheek. She smooths out the wrinkles in the apron protecting her vintage red dress and smiles into the sink.

    I made pie. The kind my mom used to make when we were little.

    You sit down at the table wearing nothing but gingham boxers and contemplate whether you should be upset she's making pie on a day like today. But you never told her what today was, so instead you fake a smile, stretch, run your fingers through your bed-head and note that the song's on repeat. The pie is burnt around the edges.

    Is it vegan?

    You had turned for her, even though your fondest memories with Nathaniel were filled with shoving sticks down snakes' throats and tearing minnows apart on camping trips.

    Of course it is.

    She sets the cooled pie on the kitchen table. Her stilettos click against the tile as she gathers two plates, forks and a pie knife. Latara hesitates before cutting the pie into two slices. You recognize the plates from the dish set you bought together when she moved in. Back when you thought you should have something that belonged to both of you.


    Your fork breaks through the dark crust with a little effort.

    You look cold, she says.

    Balancing the fork between her fingers, an elbow propped on the table, chin against the heel of her palm, she takes you in. You scratch your neck with the handle of your fork. After another bite you flash a grin. And though you try to resist it, you end up thinking about the night you came out to Latara and how the next morning there was pie then, too.

    A little, you say. I think the heat might be busted. Shivered all night.

    You could have held on tighter.

    Didn't want to wake you.

    I wouldn't have minded.

    Pie's great.

    I wouldn't have minded.

    You reach over the pie to wipe the flour off her and she burrows her cheek into your palm. When you return to your slice you make a point of eating the most charred bits.

    Maybe we should call the heat guy, you say.

    Yeah. Maybe.

    She rubs her ring finger, stopping when she sees you notice.

    Oh, I, um, I almost forgot, she says. I need you to get the groceries today. I want to make us that Coconut Curried Veggie dish and we're out of red kidney beans.


    Oh, and I'm pregnant.

    You resist spitting out the burnt pie resting on your tongue.

    What d--

    I really need those kidney beans.


    So, please, don't forget.

    She rises from her chair and brings her dishes to the sink. The water runs and runs down the drain. Her shoulders are rigid and her hands grip the counter. Rapid breathing is masked by the sound of the music and the faucet. After fixing her hair, she turns off the tap.

    Your fork scrapes the edge of the plate. You never liked the pattern.

    Eat, please, she says.

    You buy three cans of red kidney beans though the recipe calls for two. On the way home you change course to the bay next to the grocery store. While you do up the buttons on your toggle coat, you try and forget the conversation from earlier in the day -- all the talk of things you're not ready to deal with. Keeping it. Ending it. You push past it; head for the beach. The bay keeps various sea creature fixtures near the playground for children to play on: a giant blue whale, the twisted body of a green Ogopogo disappearing and reappearing through the sand, and a large red octopus with a hollowed out body for kids to sit in, perfect for hiding. Your back against the whale, you look up at the sky. Summer night sleeping on the trampoline with Nathaniel, you made up constellations together. Grinnus Major, he said. Pathway to Neverland, he said. You pull one of the cans from your bag and hurl it against the road and hope for an explosion but receive only a pathetic thud.

    You'd probably have better luck throwing it against a wall, you hear someone say.

    A boy around your age watches from inside the octopus. He peeks his head out and then dangles his feet from the octopus' opening. His short blond hair sticks to his skin and his bare chest is splattered with water.

    Bit late for a swim.

    I'm a bit of a mermaid, he says. It's never too late.

    You hear the sound of him landing on the sand while you retrieve the dented can. By the time you're back at the whale, so is he. He wears mildly dry boxers and you figure he was skinny dipping. When he smirks he does it with a tilt of his head and, in the dim light radiating from the washroom complex, you see two parallel scars stretching from under his ears to near his Adam's Apple.

    How'd you get those?

    It takes him a minute to understand.

    Ah, he says. He runs a finger along the raised flesh. Those were gills.

    Mermaid, eh? Not a merman?

    He takes the can from you and inspects the damage.

    You ever go cliff diving? He tosses the can up into the air and catches it with one hand. Again.

    You snatch the can from him mid-toss and throw it against the road. Thud.

    You remind me of my boyfriend, you say. Partly because you hope it will make him go away and partly because you want him to stay. His name was Nathaniel, you say.

    The boy picks up the can. Chucks it toward you and says, funny. That's my name, too.

    No, it's not.

    Well, what's yours?


    I had a friend named Tristan once, he says. He was kinda in love with me.

    No, you didn't.

    The problem is you don't want it enough, Nate says.

    When you look at him confused he points to the can.

    You have to f*cking want it to explode.

    They're just beans, you say.

    Where's your boyfriend, he says.

    You let the can fall into the sand. The octopus' paint is chipped and flaking away. When you grab it and climb inside, it rubs off in your palm. Nate follows you and lingers outside. What moonlight there is casts him in shadows. Looking at his silhouette, you can pretend he actually is Nathaniel and you're back before he drowned. You think about telling him about Latara, about the letters you sometimes write to him even though they'd never be sent. Instead, you ask him if he wants to go on an adventure, like before. You can't see the silhouette's reaction, but you imagine Nathaniel would smirk and tell you there were still war monuments to draw on with sidewalk chalk, and walls to graffiti literary quotes onto.

    Dude, are you okay, the silhouette says.

    I have gone cliff diving, you say.

    We could do something else, he says.

    No, we can't.

    I thought you wanted to.

    I do.

    Then what's the problem.

    You're dead, you say.

    He laughs like Nathaniel would. Am I?

    Yeah, you admit.

    All the more reason to do it, then.

    Outside the octopus you can hear the waves. It wouldn't take much to seize the extraordinary. To live fast and die young. Cliff diving, skinny dipping, taking off. The ferry runs in a couple of hours and then you and Nate could take the Trans-Canada and go anywhere. Buy a car like the one Nathaniel used to have and cling to the life you couldn't lead instead of embracing the one you did. You considered the girth of the realm of possibility as the silhouette sneaks into the octopus and kneels down close to you. His skin's frigid and wet and clammy and this isn't how you remember it. This isn't the boy who helped Woman's World coupons when your parents f*cked up. This isn't the boy you helped pick glass off of his front lawn when he threw his parents' sailing trophies through the window. This isn't the boy who told you to live fast and die young, took your hand and dived off the cliff with. This isn't the boy who never rose up out of the water.

    Nate's lips crash against yours and you feel a chill and start to shiver.

    I wouldn't have minded.

    You push the stranger off of you.

    No, you say.

    Stop, you say.

    You're not either of them, you say.

    He clenches his fists and you think you deserve it. You brace yourself for impact but when you open you eyes he is gone. You're alone in the octopus when you hear a wet explosion. You clamber out and land on the sand and the beach is empty. The can of red kidney beans lies ruptured next to the giant whale.

    It's past dinner time. Latara sits at the kitchen table, the ingredients for the Coconut Curried Veggies strewn about the counter. Her eyes are red red red but you say nothing. She looks up at you and you hope it is relief you're seeing but you aren't sure. You apologize for being late but not much else. The music has stopped and you can see the leftovers of the pie on display in the pink garbage can.

    It's almost midnight, she says.

    I know.

    We missed dinner.

    I know.

    Her bun has half-heartedly come undone and her stilettos kicked off into a corner. Wrinkles persist in her vintage dress no matter how many times she tries to smooth them out. When she catches your eye you want to tell her everything. You fell in love with your best friend when you were ten and kissed him when you were seventeen. You told your parents that you liked both girls and boys and their apathy hurt you more than if they yelled. You took a risk and went cliff diving with him and you were the only one who rose up. You want to tell her all of these things and how f*cking terrified you are -- how it was easier when the only life you could f*ck up as your own. But mostly, you want to tell her how you wouldn't have minded either.

    You don't tell her these things.

    Instead, you hold out the two cans of red kidney beans and you say, I want to help.

    Latara doesn't smile, not at first. She takes the cans and tosses an apron your way. You get started chopping the vegetables. Carrots. Broccoli. Celery. You mince the garlic while she gets the spices and condiments ready. Curry powder. Thyme. Black pepper. Salt. When you get ready to chop the onion she slips two matches between your teeth and tells you not to cry. You grin and almost choke on them and she laughs while you regain your composure. On medium heat, you saute the onions, then add the garlic, curry, thyme, pepper and salt and saute again. Then she adds the vegetable stock, rice, coconut milk and, finally, the red kidney beans. They poke through the milk and rice and mingle with the brash smell of curry. Right before you begin to stir Latara says your apron is undone. She pulls you close and ties the apron around your back.

    You wrap your arms around her and you tighten hers.

  7. #7
    Pyro with a Keyblade KingdomKey's Avatar
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: the fragmental collective

    I know I read Aime-moi moins awhile ago. I'll probably read it again later, but I have read the rest of these! If you add anything else that's new or old, I'll be more than happy to read it! :)

    I Wouldn't Have Minded

    You really should be a novelist because this felt real. I wanted it to keep going, cause I want to know what happens next, and I love stories like this that shows everyone's life is different from your own. Where Tristian is having a crisis about his girl's pregnancy and the death of his boyfriend is something that pulls at you and hooks you in. Wish there was more to read because, it was really good.

    I'm Glad We Did This

    I really love how you mixed a tiny bit of KH into this story. It fit it so extremely well. I love how Dom caved in and gave Fidel a hug after spending time with him. In a serious note, I think the world would be exactly like that, where everyone draws apart instead of facing each other cause it was easier being in a electric fog than seeing those around you. I could really see that happen.

    All Men Wish to Win

    Brennan you weren't suppose to hesitate at the end! You'll probably suffer heartache because, Desmond will probably choose his wife and daughter in the end. Seriously this makes my heart beat for him, cause you tell all of this in vivid detail. The part about the deer really got to me.

    And I Want You, PT. II

    Shane. I think I can relate to a lot right now. I hold onto the past almost as much as he does that what paths to choose are terrifying. It really is easier to not have to choose and live in the moment, but then you're wasting your time away, your youth slips away, and that's hundred times more scary. I hope Shane moves forward instead of being alone. Change is inevitable.

    And I Want You

    Peyton being a guide not only for Shane, but for Dejan as an anchor to help them through different things feels so incredibly right. I like that Peyton is open and honest and calm about Dejan going through a sexuality crisis. I like that they'll figure it out together and see where this takes them. It felt warm and fluffy.

    Aime-moi moins

    Chance comes off a tiny bit creepy admittedly after reading this a second time, but he seems scared at the same time despite falling for Novah. It's kind of fascinating to think reading this again gives me a different impression from before. BUT I like that Novah is open to the relationship, despite it needing to be a secret.
    Last edited by Cinder; October 10, 2016 at 04:34 AM.

  8. #8
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: [GAME] "A Halo, Flaring" -- NEW STORY -- { the fragmental collective }

    So, for the Vexen Award, I asked Dandelion if someone could write a story and then cite all of the research, inspirations, references etc they used for the story and he said that would be permissible so I made this. It's not a traditional short story however as it's more akin to interactive fiction. You can play the game below, I'm also going to include a transcript of the game. The whole thing takes place over text messaging. I put the whole thing together rather quickly and it's just a small little thing, but I'd love to hear some feedback on it (esp. bugs or typos!). I'm really interested in making more interactive fiction games in the future so it'd be nice to hear back. Let me know what you think!
    a halo, flaring.


    Above is a link to play the game. There is no download required or anything like that.
    You can play it completely in your browser. I don't know if it will work in every browser though.
    So far it's only tested in mobile browsers and Chrome.

    In case the game doesn't work in your browser, you can find a full transcript below.
    Keep in mind that it spoils how the game works, so it's preferable to play the game.

    Spoiler Spoiler: Full Transcript (SPOILERS) Show

    [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]
    [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]

    Last edited by Audo; April 30, 2017 at 03:09 AM.

  9. #9
    KHI Site Staff Dandelion's Avatar
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: [GAME] "A Halo, Flaring" -- NEW STORY -- { the fragmental collective }

    Oh my gooooooood.

    This was so good. I know you'd been freaking out about getting to a point where you could write easy and natural dialogue but I don't think you have to worry so much, because this was outstanding. Uuuuuugh. This was so, so good. IT WAS SO GOOD YOU GUYS. I was touched on so many levels, but it's also very you and your influences poke out and I love that

  10. #10
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: [GAME] "A Halo, Flaring" -- NEW STORY -- { the fragmental collective }

    Quote Originally Posted by Dandelion View Post
    Oh my gooooooood.

    This was so good. I know you'd been freaking out about getting to a point where you could write easy and natural dialogue but I don't think you have to worry so much, because this was outstanding. Uuuuuugh. This was so, so good. IT WAS SO GOOD YOU GUYS. I was touched on so many levels, but it's also very you and your influences poke out and I love that
    thanks tinny :3
    i'm glad you liked it so much! i was worried about how it would be perceived. i want to keep making games like this even though they take so much work lol. i'm hoping to do at least one more before the year is over, and that it will be a much bigger undertaking than this one, too.

  11. #11
    Pyro with a Keyblade KingdomKey's Avatar
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: [GAME] "A Halo, Flaring" -- NEW STORY -- { the fragmental collective }

    You paint the most vivid story with words alone. It's absolutely marvelous, Audo. And the mythology. I'm a sucker for mythology and constellations. This kind of brings tears to my eyes because, I cannot imagine what that'd be like to talk to someone who's already gone. Only for some A.I. of their former self to exist long enough to say goodbye. There was so much emotion between Grant and Oliver that I felt it in my heart, which aches for the both of them. This was both romantic, sad, and real on so many levels. Seriously, this was a pleasure to read.

  12. #12
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: [GAME] "A Halo, Flaring" -- NEW STORY -- { the fragmental collective }

    Quote Originally Posted by Cinder View Post
    You paint the most vivid story with words alone. It's absolutely marvelous, Audo. And the mythology. I'm a sucker for mythology and constellations. This kind of brings tears to my eyes because, I cannot imagine what that'd be like to talk to someone who's already gone. Only for some A.I. of their former self to exist long enough to say goodbye. There was so much emotion between Grant and Oliver that I felt it in my heart, which aches for the both of them. This was both romantic, sad, and real on so many levels. Seriously, this was a pleasure to read.
    aww thanks cinder :3
    i'm really glad you liked it. it was a mad dash to finish but i'm glad it looks like it came out well.

    as a side-note i changed the link to play the game to a new one that links to the game on

    it looked like the old one was down or something, idk. but this new one is on an actual storefront and even has a donation button and stuff, so fancy :p

  13. #13
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: the fragmental collective

    alright, my first entry in the summer writing contest. it's actually a sort of continuation of "aime-moi moins" as its the same characters from it, but later on in the story. it's probably not very good, but i really wanted to just get it done and posted and hopefully get some momentum to start tackling the other challenges, too. this is the first thing i've written in almost two months! D: but let me know what you think.

    to my father.


    I hit my boyfriend last night.

    We were arguing -- fighting, really -- and I just... hit him. Just like that. One thick thud and then he was ont he floor. And... he just... looked at me. Held his face where he was struck and just... watched me. Eyes all puffy red and full of tears.

    He sat there all crumpled up on the floor, and the first thing I thought of was Shadow. You probably don't even remember Shadow. Probably didn't even give a shit at all when you made me take him out back as a kid and point a rifle to his head. I was crying then, too, and Shadow looked up at me in just the same way. More shocked than anything. More hurt than angry. More... betrayed.

    I couldn't do it. You told me not to be such a little f*ggot. A pussy. That this is what a man had to do. When I didn't, you struck me and pulled the trigger yourself. Yelled at me all night.

    I couldn't do it then, but when my instincts kicked in last night, I did it to him. My boyfriend. This person I'm supposed to love and protect and take care of. I never wanted to become like you, but when left to my own devices, the only thing I knew was how to hurt and how to be hurt. And the saddest part of all this is that I know you are not shocked or concerned about anything I just wrote. No, the thing that disturbed you the most was not that I hurt my boyfriend, but that I have a boyfriend at all.

    You were never an idiot, growing up. You knew that how you felt was wrong, that other people didn't agree with you, that they would look down on you if you ever expressed the hate inside you. And you never did, not to them, not in front of the neighbours. F*ck, they might even think you were practically progressive, I don't know. At home, things were different though. You didn't hide a damn thing.

    It's hard to reconcile that the father who would cheer me on at all of my sports games, that would wrap me in his arms when we won, would take me out for ice cream, is the same one who would argue at the news that all the gay people should be rounded up. That they had no right to exist in public. That they should be shot or maimed. Sent to camps where they could be "fixed". The same man who would tell me how proud he is, who would exalt the values of hard work, dedication, commitment, who would talk about sticking up for others who could not stick up for themselves, was the same man who punished me for being too affectionate, too friendly, with another boy in his class, was the same man who condemned me when I cried, and hit me when I strayed too far from the "correct" role that you had decided for me.

    After years of it, you didn't even need to do it yourself anymore. You had taught me how to hate myself so well that I begun to do it for you. I became ashamed of myself, and the truth inside me. I pushed it down deeper and deeper and I lost myself so completely to it, I started to not be able to feel anything but. Just this ever present crushing and desolate shame and hate for who I was. Who I am. And it killed me but I didn't know anything else. When my boyfriend would try to hold my hand, I would pull away. When he went to kiss me, I would wonder why. Something as simple as love feeling more and more distant by the day.

    And then I hit him. Like you had hit me so many times before.

    And the shittiest f*cking thing was that it felt more natural than holding him. Than kissing him. Than loving him.

    That's what you've made me become. Just like you.

    For a long time, I thought of you as a monster. This inhumane creature, lurking in the back of my mind. Maybe it even helped me to think of you like that. This big monstrosity that I was powerless against. An evil that I was too weak to face. But it's not true, is it? You're not this f*cking myth. You're just a man. A broken, hateful man. My father. And I both love and hate you so much. But if I can't learn to stand against you, then what f*cking hope do I have to live at all?

    I'm not gonna send this letter. But one day, I will.

    And when I do finally come out...

    You will beg for my forgiveness.


  14. #14
    KHI Site Staff Dandelion's Avatar
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: To My Father - NEW STORY - [the fragmental collective]

    Yikes, that was hard to read. But because of its subject matter and how well it was written. I think dealing with the nature of abusive relationships is a hard feat, and even harder to capture the nuances of its cyclical nature, but you did it well.

  15. #15
    Pyro with a Keyblade KingdomKey's Avatar
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: the fragmental collective

    This really tore away at my heart. The amount of suffering Chance has gone through isn't something I'd wish on anyone. I do admire his determination to not let this beat him down anymore though, but to stand up for himself and against his father for the beliefs he forced upon him. Man, it's really messed up to shy away from something as simple as love. It breaks my heart quite a lot, cause human contact should be something cherished instead of shying away from like a disease. :c Anyways, this was a powerful piece. It had tons of impact. You write some of the most heart wrenching stories there is, Audo.


Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts