One.

“I am a box, visualize opening myself and viewing whats on the inside.”

“A box is easy to open, let the contents fall onto the ground”

“Let hate, let stress, let trauma all fall onto the ground, look at it, but do not put it back in the box.”

“Ignore the impulse to destroy the box, it is precious and fragile. Do not damage the box!”

This was my third time at the therapy centre. I was getting good at following the visualization exercises, they did it to calm me down, and if I wasn’t already meticulously calm then it would of helped. The caretaker was a young man in his early twenties. He was probably just out of tafe and was seemed interested enough in psychology to probably go to university next. He did not deserve what happened to him, nor did the last one, but until they could stop me, it would continue to happen. I was invincible and no-one even knew it yet.

You see, I am a psychopath. Emphatically aware of this, unable to stop the impulse to main and hurt, but also too aware to every get caught. They had me taking these community centers for social anxiety. It was so easy to get in, I just told my boss that I was afraid to talk to my co-workers, and that it made me stress out.

After that it was easy enough to get into their personal files, track down their address, wait 3 months for them to pass whatever files they were onto to the next person, and visit them in the night. Those were the days.

But i’m sure you don’t want to hear about that. Because this is the story of how, after thwarting the police, ASIO and other government bodies for over 9 years, I was finally apprehended and locked in jail. This is the story of the struggle between myself, the ex-boyfriend of one of my victims, and the law-makers who let it all happen.

Simulation

Taken, in chains to the small cell where we were kept before the next slaughter. I had no idea why they kept us all in cages where we could see each other, it just let us see who was going to be the first to crack and who were the ones to look out for. Most of the “gladiators” were just boys that had barely seen fourteen winters, the rest were grizzled older men who were probably sold once they could no longer handle the requirements of forced marches.

In due time we would be taken by armed roman soldiers to the center of the colosseum where a variety of weapons would be laid out. The spectators would spew in from the vomitorium and fill all the seats… every seat. This was the first sign for me that something was amiss, there was no way that not one seat was empty. This was the third time for me, so I was starting to notice the cracks. Guards with different voices but the basically the same face. Each time I had been taken to the same cell before the fight, and the same cell after the fight, but the time between the end of a fight and the start of the next seemed to be filled with nothing substantial, like its all just busy work.

One of the boys wails and shits himself. The pre-fight shits are a common occurrence, the whole place reeks of death and blood, so who in there right mind wouldn’t be scared out of their minds. I was clearly not of the right mind, because I had no fear. I was strong and I had survived this two other times. I knew the weapons and I knew the best way to survive.

I also knew that none of this was real.

The signs were there, for a keen observer. Why though were all these people being forced to kill each other, for who’s pleasure, and why did it seem to just never end?

The guards arrived, hit a switch that opened all the cell doors. With a loud thud the doors opened and one of the prisoners rushes out to escape and trips over his leg chains, and is immediately skewered with a spear. There was only one way out of this place, death or victory.

They take off our chains, and we are all led out of the dank cells and thru the portal to the arena floor. The light blinds my eyes, blinking to return my vision, the cheers of the colosseum’s crowds gives me a certain rush of adrenaline.

We are all lead into a large circle. Weapons are scattered around the central pillar and the emperor raises his hand for silence. Which is immediate.

His hand drops, the madness begins.

Rushing for the weapons I head straight for the shield and sword. Its worked for me before and i had proficiency in it. An arrow narrowly misses my shoulder, someone must of gotten there quickly. Picking up the sword and shield find my first foe, a child holding a trident that is clearly too big for him. Its gruesome but quick and he does not suffer long.

After having dispatched the child I moved onto some of the larger, slower targets. I am quick on my feet and dance around an older man with a large woodcutters ax. Slicing at his heel first, he falls and the rest is easy. I do not like to see anyone suffer and try to make it quick as possible.

Looking around, most of the prisoners are on the ground, blood mixing with the sand of the arena. Two others impale each other on each others weapons. From what I can see no-one is left. The odd’s of surviving four of these just seems too small for it to be coincidence. Cheers from the crowd is drowning out all noise and I drop my weapon.

And then it hit me.

An arrow right thru my chest.

and I saw nothing more…

 

… Fighter 14 wins, odds 7.8:1 please collect your winnings from the cashiers desk.

“I can’t believe the favourite didn’t win! I had 60 credits on him, why the hell did he drop his weapon before finishing off that kid with the bow? Just shows how no matter how good the odds are, there will always be upsets…”

“That’s why the casino always wins, the people in those simulators are so easy to manipulate and the odds always pan out for them”

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Entertain

Acceptance.

Her body swayed and undulated like a lock of hair trapped in the whirlpool of a drain.

She had the beauty of Cleopatra and the finesse of Anna Pavlova. This was something I had witnessed and seen every thursday for the past six years. Never had I thought to approach her, if I did the mirage would be broken and she would disappear into my dreams forever.

There was also the cost, this wasn’t the most expensive dance club, but a girl like her would bankrupt me. Besides, I still wore my wedding band, and I couldn’t bring myself to take it off even after all this time. Gloria was forever in my heart and no amount of time could wrest her from my thoughts.

When Gloria passed seven years ago, after a long battle with cancer, I lost the frame that holds my notion of myself together. My career seemed to slink away, friends and family drifted out of importance. I took to wandering the streets and spending hours just looking into nothingness. I would have thoughts of self-harm and spurn any social interactions for weeks at a time.

Finally, a co-worked told me I needed to move on, I rebuked him asking whether his degree in philosophy allowed him to have this epiphany. Unsurprisingly he ignored my sarcasm and suggested I start dating again.

Every date I had ended with the girl asking why I wore a wedding band. The very same co-worked that suggested I move on hassled me to take it off if I wanted a chance to get on with life and be happy. He didn’t understand that there was no going back from utopia, and I had accepted that. He took me to this bar, one thursday night to try to help me, and he did, but not in the way he intended.

Because this dancer was here. She definitely did not have the caring loving nature of Gloria, hers was the patience of a saint and she could make me smile at a moments notice. Gloria was gone, but the dancer was the spitting image of Gloria and when I come to see her every thursday night I can return to utopia if only for a brief moment in time.

And life can be worth striving for again, at least for another week.

via Daily Prompt: Undulate

Assignment

via Daily Prompt: Funnel

Steam rose from the funnel of the ship as it cut thru the water. The captain was pushing his luck again, the deadline for the shipment was in 4 hours and we still had 70 miles to go, and the ship could barely hit 18 knots on a good day. The captain would tell us this was the joy of owning a ship with character, but really he just spent all his profits on women and gambling. Though the ship was old, it has gotten us out of a lot of situations and it never seemed to fail us.The captain had started the ships schedule 3 hours late today. Most likely he had been up all night boozing and gambling but he will rant and tell us he was securing a new shipment over the radio and plotting a route late into the night.

The captain was unreliable, crude and rough as hell but he’d do anything for his crew and the loyalty of his men was reflected in this.

The ship was shaking from the effort of hitting max speed, the passengers below deck were restless and a babies cry punctures the sound of the ship struggling. Illegal trafficking of persons from Hamburg up the Elbe river to the coast was a tricky affair, but a profitable one. While the war rages to the west, refugee’s and citizens escaping the madness of the city’s would sell anything for a way out. Luckily we only had to get them to the coast by the north sea, and not further or there would definitely be trouble.

A fresh puff of steam rose again, and fresh cries were heard from below deck. In the distance an air siren pierced the air. This was something of a daily occurrence now, and there was been talk of getting out of Germany ourselves. Until the captain decides it, and while there are people still desiring to flee from Germany we will persevere. To me, the money was not important, seeing the relief on our passengers faces as we let them out at the ocean is certainly satisfying.

If we don’t make the deadline, they will all have to wait for the next boat on the coast, and who knows if they will last with the army looking for them.

In the distance, the sirens still ring, and on the planes start to fill the skies. Bombers and fighters seem to dance everywhere above us, and the booming of anti-air guns can be heard in the distance over Hamburg. Luckily we are well away from the cities and its unlikely we will get caught in anything. My main concern now is the ships rattling, the engine is working overdrive and the captain is really pushing it.

I’m going to go check on him, hopefully he knows what he is doing. Running up the stairs to the bridge, the ship rocks and I am thrown to the wall. On getting up, I open to the door to the bridge and shout out

“Captain, you can’t push her this hard!”

“She’ll hold skipper, she’ll hold”

and this was the last thing the captain ever said to me, as a bomb rocked hit the bridge and thrust me out the door.

Ringing in my ears, eyes blurry, I go to grab a nearby rail and find that I can’t. At least the pain in my shoulder stops me from reaching out. I was alive, but the ship wasn’t and I scream out “abandon ship!”

Rushing to the life boats, I pass by the cargo hold where the passengers we being transported, I can still hear the baby’s cry piercing thru the ringing in my ears. Kicking the door to the hold in, the sight before me is akin to hell itself. Water fills half hold and many lie motionless in it, the color of the water a horrible red. The baby lies above the water line and its parents are nowhere to be seen or are unidentifiable amongst the other bodies. I scoop the baby up and run back to the deck. With no-one else around, and one of the lifeboats already gone I jump into the last lifeboat and lower her down.

As the lifeboat slips away, the baby cries and I watch as the last voyage of the Lisoba.

“Interesting short story Evan, I would of liked to have seen some more historical accuracy as I doubt steam engines were in use for transport that late into the war, and you really escalated the climax a bit unnaturally, but you do certainly portray some of the horrors of world war 2. I would also expect a bit more characterization of the captain, who seems to have been given some effort to describe but is then snuffed out with only one line. Still you get a 7/10 for it”

Thank you teacher”

 

Treat

via Daily Prompt: Treat

A bell sounds, the work day commences. Three vials are dispensed from three different tubes above my cubicle. A test day. Most the time in this situation all you get is food dye in sugar water. Sometimes, and rarely, you’ll become nauseously sick. This was work, and most of the people of the robot controlled city of Bliss worked in this way, or in physical testing labs.

At least we called it work. I’d say we were closer to lab mice then humans. At least we were fed and on occasion you’d hear of someone having a positive reaction to a new drug. Something unexpected, longer lifespans, super strength or some other ability. Those few were taken away and never seen again. I imagine they were living a life of luxury among the wealthy or elite of this world.

Maybe they even had a name, and a life.

I had delayed taking a sample too long and a voice boomed over the rooms speakers

“H-17 please take a sample for testing, failure to comply will result in deletion”

They were all red, though one seemed to have a glow to it. Yep, avoid that one, it looks like death. I took the one on the left as i watched the rest of my colleagues suffering the after affects of their samples. Some sat looking at the roof, one man to my left head rolled back and foam spewed from his nostrils.

Trying not to think about it I quaffed my sample.

The affect is instantaneous; my muscles tense, heart flutters and my brain flares into life. I can see visions, worlds endlessly filling my vision. I can see myself in myself, watching myself while I observe the reactions of my self.

Seconds pass like days and nothing seems to fit anywhere anymore…

Then it finishes, I look around, the visions fade. I am back in reality…

And a bell sounds again.

 

Edward Leeming 4/01/2018

Something i found in an old scrapbook

In a town was a man, and in the man was the self. The self looked at the man, and smiled coyly, knowing full well the man could never catch the self, nor could he ever comprehend the meaning of that smile.

Before this, the self looked in a mirror, and saw the ego. The ego looked indifferently back, not caring to acknowledge or seek to understand the self. The self showed clear signs of annoyance.

Upon the pedestal, the ego looked at his kingdom. Reigning above it all and seeing all that the eyes may see. From lofty castle to lowly cavern ego could see. Beneath all this ego dared not look, for Id resides there, and where Id stays and goes, so too will chaos prosper.

Finally Id did not look nor comprehend the castles, caverns, kingdoms or mirrors of man, for Id had only desires and no object permanence. Id only saw now, and did not seek to see past now, as that was also now.

 

Edward Leeming 4/01/2018 (written at some point in my past)

New idea

It was only a narrow ledge, circled around a pit that would make the bravest man piss himself. The whole rock formation designed to intimidate those stuck on it and suffice it to say it had worked on me. The girl was on a similar ledge on the other side of this arena, and all around the crowds cheers and jeers were engulfing me.

One could say that I ended up here after a series of unfortunate coincidences, but that would be severely understating the sheer stupidity of both my decisions and actions.

First, to establish some basic narrative beginnings.

I am known as Lupid, at least to myself. If I was to describe my character it would be “the best liar in the world. Others would and have described me as an con artist, pond scum or even just plain evil. I wouldn’t say I am evil, and I would take offense to it if it wasn’t true by perspective. I am just a victim of this cities poor living conditions and a horrible urge to consume food on a semi-regular basis.

This is the harsh reality for the city of Haspen, where the one percent steals from the wages of the rest, then proceeds to use that money hire thugs to steal from each other. If you aren’t born wealthy or willing to work under them, you choose to either starve or leave.

So i steal to live, in the hopes that i can scrounge enough scratch to take the train to the next city. Its not easy to accrue wealth when you have nowhere to put it when you get it, so i do my best to hide things around. Usually a small time thief such as myself draws the line well before murder or bodily harm, we have standards after all and its not worth causing that kind of trouble for food.

But remember how I said I was the best liar in the the world? You can’t really trust a single thing I have said, especially about the lengths i would go for a warm meal.

 

So i was congealed on a park bench, starving after having not eaten for several days, watching the local amateur fight league* when i saw an easy looking mark staring absentmindedly up at the sky. The man was well dressed, wearing a suit and struggling to carry a large duffel bag. I don’t care much for the bag, but the man’s pockets looked pretty unprotected while he carried that thing. I got up and saddled my way behind him, trying to seem uninterested in him. When i got close he quickly turned around and thrust the bag at me, and ran as if his pants were full of fire ants.

I stood, confused and bewildered as a mans tooth flew past me from the nearby brawl. This was my first and only instance of reverse thievery. The bag was heavy almost non-proportional to the size of the bag. So it being so heavy I wanted to just drop it and leave, but being an entrepreneur I couldn’t pass up the chance that this thing was valuable. I dragged myself to a nearby dodgy looking crevice (I know them all!) so i could inspect what was forcibly received. I put it down next to a dumpster and was immediately filled with joy at the weight lifted from my shoulders.

As i put the bag down… it squirmed?

I opened it up and stared, aghast, into the face of a human girl bound and gagged.

 

*The amateur fight league (the AFL) originates from a charitable occurrence that used happens outside the courthouse every Wednesday. They used to give out free food as a way of pleasing the masses. This tended to result in larger and larger crowds, and as the food wasn’t unlimited, it resulted in brawls and fights that escalated every week. Eventually this was seen as an opportunity for the more corrupt in this city, and it was monetized. Now unless you are in a fighting union you tend to just have the one fight, and are later found at the bottom of a lake.

Edward Leeming 3/12/2017

Will continue this story tomorrow!

<cont>

The girl was well dressed, most likely royalty or of noble standing based on her attire, but if I were to base my impressions on her form of transport then i would have to guess a diplomat. Diplomats in this city don’t last known and kidnapping is just par for the course for them.

Having now established the terms of ownership for this bag and human child, the first priority was to consider how much money could be gotten from this turn of events. While I have never delved into the sale of humans i can’t imagine it would be difficult in this corrupt and disgusting city. Even without going to such lengths, the clothes on her back, the jewelry around her neck would be enough to cash to live easy for at least six months.

The smallest part of me was wondering why she was being carried around in a duffle bag, and a slight desire to see her safe lulled its way to the surface of my mind, but this was interrupted by my stomach trying to consume itself.

I went to lift the bag back up to my shoulder, but the weight almost immediately hit me and I had to put it down. How could this girl weigh so much and yet fit into this bag?

So my next option was to arouse her to wake, frankly it was surprising she had not already woken up considering her position.

I shook her shoulders and did my best to not look especially seedy*. I didn’t want to shout into her ear, the nearby residents would probably take this as an opportunity to be “concerned citizens” and take my prize for themselves.

After the first couple of shakes she did move a bit, rousing herself to wake.

“Oi….girl….. oi… wake up”

“Hnnnngg?”

“Wake up!”

“Unnng…. are we there yet?”

On that note she closed her eyes and seemed to go back to sleep. I shook again, this time with the desired affect of waking her up. I expected this to cause a panic in her, putting myself into that situation would certainly cause me to panic. She looked around, somewhat baffled at her surroundings, her head sticking out of her bag as if she was quite content staying in there.

 

*Though that is especially difficult. With the amount of dirt on my face and body, and with my living outside and in the sun so frequently, it is surprising that I have yet to sprout any plant based life upon my body.

-Edward Leeming 7/12/2017

To be continued!