And what better way to celebrate than with a writing contest!!
Contest opens on Saturday (1/21) at 9:00am. Closes Sunday (1/22) at 6:00pm. All times are Eastern Shark Time.
Write a story in 100 words or fewer. Post the story in the comments column of this blog post. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan, delete your entry and post again.
Use the following words in your story:
The prize is a GREAT one: a copy of PURGATORY CHASM (of course!) AND a copy of THE WHOLE LIE the next Conway Sax book. You want to win this, yes you do!
If you have questions, tweet to me @janet_reid
Contest now closed!
I have read Slaves Of New York, watched the film. The times, they are a changing. I feel like Eleanor. I’m not red but, whilst my girlfriend has her high powered job, I do laundry (fold press fold), clean, brush the cats, make food, write stories and dream of freedom. I’m not in NYC, I’m in gay Paree. I don’t speak French and bridge the cultural chasm. I go to the Louvre, Shakespeare & Co (to browse old bent books when it’s not busy) and the Polidor. I never go to the Eiffel Tower, too many tourists. So much chaos.
The man stood over the rocky desert chasm and fumbled with the map, trying to fold it back into shape. “Fishsticks,” he muttered into the wind. Mashing everything together, he tossed it over the edge where it briefly caught a thermal like a poorly constructed vulture, then plunged downwards into an awkward spiral. He remembered the name of the nearest town printed next to the thin blue vein of road. ‘Chaos.’ Perfect.
He turned to leave and glanced down. One of her red high heels, like a bent horseshoe, was precariously balanced on a sandstone ledge far below.
Red smoothed out a fold in her wolfskin cloak. Couldn’t sport a bent ear in front of clients.
She peered into the chasm and clucked her tongue. Chaos. The cottage below was surrounded by broken chairs and scattered crockey. A rumbling snore rolled up the rock walls and shook the trees. Red scowled.
“Goldilocks,” she confirmed, looking sternly at the anxious bears. “You should have called me sooner. I charge a basket of cookies per day and safe passage to Grandmother’s house after dark. Plus expenses.”
Mama Bear nodded rapidly, blinking back tears. Red smiled inwardly. No wolf chow tonight.
“The inner city has nothing on us. Red on red is far more passionate,” said Soaring Eagle as he laid the squaw down.
The dusky-skinned woman stared up at him, unblinking. He caressed her cheek with the back of his hand. A deep breath sighed between her lips as a tear trickled.
“We all cry. Chaos reigns supreme.” He glanced down Bent Road, stretching into infinity. “Our God is never the last to fold.”
“When I die, I’m hoping for Purgatory.” He wiped the bloody knife on her skirt and shrugged. “Chasm of Hell is probably all I will get.”
I watch my children sleep. What seems like a simple truth eludes so many. A chasm from their own truth and the real world truth That is: There is nothing in this world that I will not stop if it means to harm my children. I will never fold.
I met a man once who told me the secret to life was nothing. It was just life.
Now. Father of three, living in a world of greed, chaos and cynicism. He’s still bent. The secret of life is sleeping in my three small beds. One, which is race car red.
“The town comes alive at night,” she’d told him. Edgar had thought she’d meant that figuratively. The shifting began at sunset, a blazing red that welcomed the chaos with a wink. Streets moved, bridges bent, walls folded. It was a new town after the shifting; someone unfamiliar with the changes could get lost in the unexpected dead-ends, the switchbacks to nowhere.
Edgar knew what the town was trying to hide: The book. He’d followed the trail of clues to Purgatory Street, but where Purgatory once lay, now there was only a chasm. Edgar had to go to Purgatory Chasm.
He sits on the sofa, head bent to one side as he pretends to listen to me. I pluck at the sleeve of my red sweater and the chasm between us widens.
“Are you even listening to me?” I ask.
He picks up the remote and changes the channel. My love for him folds in on itself, becoming smaller and smaller with each passing moment. I miss the early days between us – time passing in laughter, youthful chaos and the tangle of sheets. This is the end, but neither of us will admit it.
We don’t love each other anymore.
With my head bent into December rain, I'm walking down 57th Street through the chaos of suicide pedestrians and murderous umbrellas. I tip into a pub filled with red eyed Scrooges and elbow my way to the bar. I fold a fifty length-wise so I'll get the bartender's attention quick. I get my pint before everyone.
Some sap with jutted out lip and a chasm between his front teeth, gives me the evil eye. He's pissed because I took the express. He'd better learn how to order a drink in this town or he'll die of thirst.
She stared through the fold in time, watching the elemental chaos churn. “I’m supposed to use that? And survive?”
Tracker chuckled. “I do it. Every day.”
The power roiled and popped in its chasm, wisps of sulfur swirling into the air. “I’m red with envy,” she muttered.
“It’s all about how you think of it,” Tracker relented. “A particular bent of mind, if you will.” He thrust his hand into the turbid atmosphere. A bubble of chaos drifted towards them. “See? Not so scary. A week, and you’ll have the trick.”
Or be dead. “Suppose we’d better get started, then.”
Red emerged from the chasm of chaos, bent from the fold of time. Looking at David, Edward wondered how it was that Red had survived. As the last to emerge, Lori and Steve paused in the middle of the road, realizing that even though Red made it through, maybe Leonard had not.
“We shall all cry, if we never see Leonard again,” Lori said.
There on the faded white line an ethereal mist hovered.
“Is it him,” raising her face to heaven, “please God, release him from purgatory.”
From the mist a form appeared, smooth skinned and wet, a megalodon.
“Don’t tell me it’s CHAOS again.”
“It’s CHAOS, Mr. Smart.”
“I asked you not to tell me that. And call me Maxwell.”
“I miss the Red Menace. Why’d Russia have to get peaceful?”
“It’s still kind of bent over there. And the awfullest apples got folded into CHAOS.”
“Well, that’s something. Continuity of evil.”
“You don’t like convenient cracks or confusing chasms to cushion the consequences of continuous catastrophe?”
“I miss Agent 99. How old are you, kid? Never mind. I’ll be under the cone of silence.”
Jessica and Tyler watched in shock as buildings fell around them, the dust red in the sunset’s last light, thrown up from the destruction of the city. They saw the metal frames fold in half, bent as they were swallowed by the great chasm that opened from deep in the earth. They were safe for now, but soon the chaos of the city would reach the rooftop of their apartment building where they stood.
Jess squeezed Tyler‘s hand. They would have to run. They had to stay safe from the darkness that was coming, before it swallowed them, too.
Red Fold, from Bent Chasm, WY, leaves chaos wherever he goes. Love 'em and leave 'em was his MO. So, Nick, Turbo, Conway and Henri combined forces to stop the hitchhiker from leaving broken hearts in his wake. Nick brought a Glock, Turbo was the muscle, Conway was transportation, and Henri was the brains. Cuckolded husbands cheered as they tailed Red from county to county. They had Red surrounded out on the prairie in a Motel 6 when Celia cruises up in a battered red truck. She points a rifle at Red and says, "Sometimes killing is the kindest way."
Captain Boris Slorg glanced at the flashing red light on his navigation belt, and saw there was a chasm in the space/time fabric. Funny, the way chaos theory had predicted that. Slorg bent over the edge of the known universe, and carefully knitted a fold of dark matter over the gap, hoping to create a shortcut to Betelgeuse. He tried the new pathway, and wound up on the L train to Williamsburg. Embarrassed by his foolish error, Slorg wished he could vanish into a black hole.
Edgar stared at the mess he made. Monitors blinked red, announcing the chaos in Detroit’s airspace. His colleagues in the tower bent over their own screens screaming at baffled pilots to dive, bank, and circle.
Just yesterday, he sat in his kitchen with Kate already knowing that the chasm between them was unbridgeable. She was going home to Brooklyn.
Edgar slid his eyes from Kate’s blip at the screen’s center to a folded photo on the next desk. A baby glommed spaghetti. He found Kate’s pilot on the radio. The narrow path out of the maze was to the south.
A red, rawness is what he spied when lifting the fold of her skin, just one bit of flab within the swathe that covered her body. He tried not to shudder from the odor that wafted into his nose, causing him to quickly straighten from his bent position to escape it. He was a professional. And yet, some chasms proved too wide.
Looking away from the flab and gazing longingly on the beautiful chaos of design on her partner’s skin, he said regretfully, “I’m sorry, I’m not the tattoo artist for you and your Marky Mark plane hero design.”
The ambulance left the police station. No sirens. Twenty years on the job and murder is still nothing but heartache and paperwork.
Unfolding a blank report, I bent over my old typewriter.
The punks were at the west desk. The old biddy at the east. Both were filing complaints.
She crowed about foiling a car theft.
Across the chasm, the hoods had red-ass about someone pulling a gun and chasing them away from their car.
I hit the “return” key. One section to go.
Conclusions: The old lady was a faster draw and a better shot.
I stare at the folding chair with the bent legs and traces of duct tape, pretending to worry. Detective Grady watches me with narrowed eyes. God knows what Kyle’s doing.
“You know what happened here,” Grady says. Not a question, so I don’t answer.
That is a question, so I respond. I shrug.
Technically my shrug’s the truth. I don’t know where Red is, just that he’s gone. Gone like the chaos and destruction that followed him here and engulfed us both, pushing me into a chasm of bitter darkness.
I hope Kyle hides the body well.
Our tangled limbs poke out from under the red and green mountains of torn paper. I think Ellie actually managed to fold herself into that box, which is just impressive.
Mom’s laughing. On the stairs, Dad finds a better view of the controlled chaos that is the living room. He’s bent over the railing, leaning into the chasm with his camera.
I thought everything had changed. That we couldn’t get it all back after what happened. But burrowed in the remainders of the morning, I finally realize that there are some things that can never be altered.
The Great White Shark was what the guys at 40 Division, called Red Harrington.
Solving murders fast was chaos but the guys called it a record, things continued to get better for him his promotion as the new Staff Inspector, within the Homicide Squad. His father was bent on him becoming a police officer their relationship dwindled because of his choice. Toronto, he called his home for the past twenty years, at times it felt like a fierce chasm that dragged people into the deep depths of crime. Red fold this round of poker dished out a few hundred bucks.
No amount of training or preparation could have lessened the mind-numbing chaos that unfolded at the exposure of the deep red chasm.
Some of the girls dropped in mid-sentence like calls in a dead zone. The blood-curdling screams and outcries could have raised an undead Lord. Even Karena, the pack leader who had seen such shocking images before, almost vomited at the gruesome display below.
Unheedful of the skittish women, the plumber bent down to look under the sink.
The slumber party had been forever tainted.
She stared at the words on the screen with reddened eyes, trying to make sense of the chaos.
With every attempt, the chasm between her careful schemes and reality grew. Maybe she should fold, pack it in, admit defeat.
She usually reveled in the twists and turns of creating new personas, of manipulating emotions and events to her own ends . . . but this was less heaven than purgatory.
With a sigh, she leaned back, wincing as she straightened her bent shoulders.
Writing a novel was so much easier than writing a 100-word story!
She swam in the red folds of the evening gown, the color lighting up her body as she moved slick as an eel through the crowd. The music swelled in time with her body.
The musicians plucked their violins for her, I’m sure.
My mouth watered. I swallowed. I was a deep chasm filling with desire, and the color of that desire was red.
She danced up to me, opening her mouth to speak. She bent close to my ear. Closer. She smelled so sweet, like chaos.
“Take me home,” she whispered.
In a shopping bag. In pieces.
A crippled old priest abruptly wakes up at home in Italy, blood red hands staining his bed. In the chaos of his dream he had been a killer in New York City, his plunging knife creating a chasm in the soft flesh of a helpless infant’s chest.
Hell bent on releasing himself from his nightmares in which he is a paralyzed holy man, Charles Gourd reaches into the fold of his jacket and feels for his blade, all the while scanning the streets of Manhattan for his next victim. The vision of being a crippled priest had driven him mad.
When Chaos changed his name from Percival, he’d envisioned more respect from his peers. His boss, Big Red, didn’t get that memo. Chaos had to finish folding the parachute for tomorrow’s chasm jump; otherwise, his ass was canned. No matter how much his daredevil mother complained, he wasn’t getting his job back.
Morning arrived without the sun’s glow, a bad omen for sure. Chaos’s mom, Judy Parsnips, ignored his reservations, and readied her dirt bike. She hit the plywood ramp at sixty-two, not sixty-eight. Paramedics found her bent at enough angles to nauseate a geometry teacher.
Her chute never opened.
Chaos. Everyone was screaming except me. I stood silent, white knuckles still fixed on Peter's camera.
“Take my picture,” he'd said, and headed toward the bent little cedar which clung defiantly to the outcrop. He ducked the safety rail, didn't think twice. Through the pinhole aperture I watched him stumble, saw his leg fold beneath him. The flat sole of his shoe lost purchase on the crumbling red shale.
I didn't even cry out as he slipped backward into the chasm. He tumbled end over end and I just stood there, rooted and silent as the cedar.
I pushed open the familiar red door of the betting shop.
"The last time," I told myself as I stood in line. I re-read my tip. Ten-to-one odds. I pulled out my bill fold—the last remains of the empty chasm that is my bank account.
"You're bent on self-destruction," my wife had told me when she walked out. Ten-to-one odds on fixing the chaos of my life.
"The last time," I muttered, approaching the counter.
"Which horse, Steve?" said the bookie.
"The two-thirty," I said pushing the last of my savings toward him. "All that on The Last Time."
The shepherd herds the fold where lurks a smirking wolf. The dog dons woolen white. Hunger snarling upon his lips betrays him, incites the chaos of bleating and bleeding.
A lamb is bent and red beside the wolf, who lies—sought, caught, shot—beneath the chasm of his opened skull.
Honesty closed her fingers over the magic ring. The blood red stone felt warm in her small hand. She bent down and picked up the paper the gypsy had dropped.
Beware. Use with caution, may cause chaos.
Honesty made a fold in the note, held it over the candle and watched the cautionary words burn away. The gypsy promised that whoever put the ring on their finger would instantly disappear into a black chasm. The door to their room in Seven Dials opened and a bear-sized man with meaty fists entered.
"I have a gift for you, husband," she said.
“Ten-fold vengeance!” cries the crowd.
For months the papers were filled with distant news of enemy nations. Sad, but remote. Empires old and new pushing colors around the map.
Last week I woke to a radio full of Sunday chaos. Since that infamous day my sleepless eyes, red as the flames of burning ships, betray the chasm in my heart. My husband’s joining the millions bent on victory.
My iron hisses over his white shirts. Soon he won’t need them.
I can’t sit quietly like Penelope awaiting Ulysses.
Mother says ladies don’t work in bomber factories. What does she know?
He bent over the toilet. It started coming back to him. The gay bar. Asshole Bobby thinking it funny taking him. He stood. looked in the mirror. Red veins spun through his eyes like webs. His mouth tasted like it had been used as a fold for sheep. The chasm between his butt cheeks felt squishy. "I don't have a rainbow-colored toothbrush," he mumbled, his mind in chaos. Someone hummed "Oh What a Night" then knocked on the door and asked, "You okay in there, Lover?" in a voice that sounded a hell of a lot like Sam Elliot.
“Her skin was like a smooth runway for my hands, her legs silhouetted against each fold of the blood red silk beneath. Knees bent, her toes tangled in the sheet as I lifted her torso slightly from the bed. I drank in her smile, my nose kissed by the scent of vanilla lotion. As I plunged into her chasm of pleasure, we twisted and rolled and rocked in a chaos of emotion and ecstasy.”
“Nice. And then?” Walter was on the edge of his seat.
“Then she popped,” Dan shrugged. “I gotta stop buying my love dolls on eBay.”
"That depends on what you want in return," she said.
"I like big returns on my investments, if you get my meaning," he whispered. Extracting several bills from his wallet, he placed them onto the table in front of her. "What do I get for that?"
She smiled seductively. "You'll see..." The fold of her low-cut collar caught his attention as she bent toward him, providing an excellent view of the chasm between her breasts.
Ignoring the chaos unfolding around them, she kissed him on the lips. "For luck," she said.
"Thirty-two, red!" announced the roulette croupier.
The place is in chaos - zombies everywhere - hanging from trees, hiding behind crap strewn about. Punch to the throat here, kick to the balls there and soon they're lying bent at odd angles.
I'm tossing them off the cliff when I see her. Zombie women - my one weakness. Arms folded under her rotting breasts, red lips moaning. It's a trap. I'm next to a fucking chasm and she's trudging toward me and I can't move. Blood's rushing from my head. She's gonna push me down.
I'm still frozen as a decaying foot smacks me across the face.
The manager of the Paradise
Motel drives a new car and compulsively
sweeps the parking lot each night. Bill roams the hallways;
a skinny man, walking fast, herky-jerky. Scrounging
for cigarette butts. Vince stands
in his doorway, a chasm, and
says, “These drugs are killing me.”
I patrol the Paradise Motel with blinders on;
a bent harness pinches my ribcage.
A pale-faced young woman’s
asleep, sitting upright, in a Nougahyde
chair in the chaos of the parking lot.
They’re completely conspicuous,
as unobtrusive as the blood-red
neon sign that shouts vacancyvacancyvacancy;
these questions of sanity that trouble
an indifferent world.
I spent all day Saturday nursing her back from the chasm. I mean, I knew it was only temporary. It’s not like she was going to hop up Monday morning and jump right back into the chaos of her job. But it was a reprieve. Brief, but a reprieve.
The fold of the blanket covered most of her face from the late afternoon sunlight, but I could tell her skin was still red with fever. She would not last much longer. I bent down and kissed her brow, brushing back her hair one last time. And then I left.
You're going to make me count to 100? Okay, but ALL of the keywords are going into ONE sentence.
The Oracle told me to kill the king. The RED FOLD of CHAOS BENT the night sky into a CHASM of unfamiliar dreams as I committed the act of murder.
The kingdom began to crumble. The people, in their trust, made me their new leader.
Now, I am king. "I am the Oracle!" I watch. I wait. Who will be the next Oracle?
The chasm stretched out before me; a wide open expanse of red clay. The chaos I was leaving behind made the desolation in this place that much more prominent. Hundreds of people all scrambling over one another; all scrambling to escape. All scrambling to survive.
Well, survive I did, through the plague that swept through our village, the bent eradication techniques attempted afterwards, all of it, and I will survive this too dammit. Nothing’s going to stop me from making it to my destination, my haven, even if I must cross this hell to get there. I will not fold.
Clara remembered her daddy trying to yodel as they drove from northeast Texas to Little Rock. Her little brother would fold across the seat and slap sticky fingers across Daddy’s mouth.
Their mama sat in the passenger seat, a chasm away, arms crossed as tight as the white strings on her faded red Keds.
Clara liked the chaos, and the yodeling. Daddy’s voice in their speeding-down-the-road Buick was different from Daddy’s voice when he came home from his hot, dirty job each afternoon.
Even now, Daddy’s voice teased her memory. Oh, Lord, did Daddy have a bent for yodeling!
As Juliana slipped under the blanket’s red fold, her phone buzzed. Eric. With a sigh, she picked up.
“Sorry about dinner,” he said. “I’m working late.”
“Again?” In the heavy silence that followed, she could feel his disapproval. She was too clingy. Insecure. She should get a life.
“I can’t leave. Work’s crazy right now. Total chaos.”
Uh huh. The lies cut a deep chasm between them. Like the Grand Canyon, she thought. Uncrossable. Unforgiveable.
Juliana hung up. She bent over the toilet, stomach heaving. Nine weeks along—and it wasn’t his.
She had to tell him. But when?
The Chasm swirled past me. Their chatter was the entire here and now, but it was not so difficult to think of it as the chatter of past centuries. My orbs shine brilliant as it is zoomed passed me last night to awaken me by its presents once again I smile and went back to sleep. I then felt a deep, steep-sided opening in the earth's surface; an abyss or gorge open under my bed. Then sudden interruption of continuity; a gap with firer flames shot up surrounding my bed on all sides. A pronounced difference of opinion, I feel Aim in bowels of Hell.
The people were wisps of memory are her to great me.
Chaos was all around her, but Polly ignored it."Get me to the front," she muttered.
Still she dared not celebrate when she got there, she focused only on where she was going. She leaned forward, eyes on the deep chasm that spanned before her.
Even though she was riding hard she had enough sense to kept her arms in a loose fold. She knew it would minimize the hard jolts.
And then too soon, as though time had played a trick on her, she was grabbing the red bar, stretching out her bent legs.
"Best ride ever!" she shrieked.
The youngest bent to straighten the Leader’s head on the red pillow, the nurse having fled hours before. His neck was bent—-folded, even-—at such a sharp angle as to be suspect in the wet rattles clacking from his throat.
“The death rattle,” the oldest explained. “That won’t help.”
Outside, across the chasm of the courtyard and beyond the palace wall, the crowd had gathered, as in the earlier chaos of the square. They chanted. They shrieked.
“Better,” the youngest said, “to die an old man in his bed than at their hands.”
“And of us?” asked the oldest.
On a side note, if Matthew Masucci does not win with his entry, then I will assume all contests rigged and include a bribe with my next entry.
My father warned me not to marry a woman smarter and more attractive than myself.
Celeste was both. So, I ignored her dalliances. Work stole me for months of her time. Who cared it was hours for me? She was the best space-fold calculator in the galaxy. And freakin’ gorgeous…
Now I faced a blank chasm where light itself fell off the horizon. She’d found the perfect murder weapon. Chaos screwed with bent space—the slightest miscalculation landed you light years from the red dwarf you intended. No crime to err. No one to blame but myself.
In the fold of a bent old oak tree deep in Magical Chasm, tucked cozily away from the Scary Bears, lived a whole chaos of fuzzy red squirrels. Daily they would chatter and frolic through the hollow tubes in the branches, sending each other nuts and berries through the tubes so that the Scary Bears couldn’t eat their treats. The Bears wanted the treats, so they tried to plug up the tubes, but the squirrels just dug more. So the Bears smashed the tree with a rock.
Moral: Don’t Dick around with the MPAA
The man balled up in the bed, mouth gaping. He was silent as he groped for a fold in the sheets. In his endeavor to grip onto the folds he found the red-stained spot. Into the silent chasm the man squealed.
The woman dismissed the man's newfound horror and focused on the stained underwear and clothing. She frowned at the little cash she scrounged from the drawers and purse that laid on the dresser. After grabbing the crumpled dollars and bent coins the woman fluttered downstairs into the chaos of the city streets. She had tampons to buy.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Cole. I do appreciate it :)
Claire attended her first funeral yesterday. A classmate’s father had died, and she really wanted to go. Partly out of respect, and partly out of curiosity. Her own grandma is terminally ill, so Claire knows another funeral looms in her near future.
The kids at school have discussed death all week, frightening Claire with stories of hell and chaos and some dark chasm. But the minister compared death to a shelter; a safe, protected fold for weary, tired souls. Claire cried till her eyes were red, but when I bent over to hug her, she said she wasn’t afraid anymore.
One definition of red is: any of the various colors resembling the color of blood. That's exactly how Davis summed up the room, red. Completely red. He stared down through the ragged hole in the floor of the room above the crime scene. There was something very strange about the way everything in the room bent around the shape of the chasm in the floor below. He couldn't fold his head around the chaos. He squinted the black void out of focus, the shape was strangely familiar.
“Where are the bodies? All that blood and no bodies?”
Then, another explosion rocked the hotel.
She places a red book on top of her tower. Her bunker is complete. The library security guard wipes the sweat of his mustache to stave her smell: garbage and cigarette smoke. Her head snaps up. She points a yellow finger at him. “You’re one of them! Perpetuating chaos, bent to throw me into a chasm!” He kicks over the books and steps in. “I’m with you. Let’s go out and get ‘em.” Outside the sliding doors, she’s tackled by uniformed men in starched suits. She stares up at him, eyes red, and streaked with dirty tears. His heart folds.
A one woman RED light district
Burning CHASM on the stage
She'll have you FOLD under her will
Like a badly dog eared page
BENT before the CHAOS
A single note and you'll be caught
Your blood is burning but you're learning not to give up all you've got.
The petals of the flower fold inward,
protecting it, keeping it
Safe amidst the chaos of war.
As men slash at each other with knives
the flower feeds on life, on blood—
In the distance: cries of sorrow,
women bent over
the bodies of the ones they love.
A chasm between dead and not dead.
Nothing can quite cause chaos like zombies from space.
Bent on global domination, the streets ran red with blood as the zombies brought us into their fold bite by bite. This is how Toucan-Spam and I found ourselves trapped in the chasm between hardly living and undead. He was a rather funny looking fella with a penchant for Spam and Cheerios that made his farts extra special. With the hoard bearin' down on us, the fog of his flatulence thick, and years of just me and him hangin' like a death sentence, I remember thinking zombies ain't so bad
She knew he had a bent for creating chaos among the women. But she was smarter then the others. Right? Wrong. How foolish she had been. Now with eyes rimmed red, and swollen from tears, there was nothing left for her to do but fold herself into the chasm that once held her heart.
A pressed red rose petal, brown and friable, clung to the fold of the worn valentine. I caressed it once more for luck and slipped the card into my pocket. My heart stuttered, remembering the chasm the sender had carved into it sixty years ago. I pushed the memory aside, straightened my bowtie, and made my way down the hall.
The nurse's aide offered an encouraging smile as he guided me to the table. Amidst the dining room chaos, I bent down on crepitant knees in front of my first love.
"Marry me," I said.
And, this time, she did.
“Who invented the fork?” Red asked around a bite of zucchini. “And don’t you dare say, ‘Sir Reginald of Fork.’”
Jean bent over his plate, studying the chasm where the braised salmon once rested. He blinked then wiped his mouth with the fold of his napkin.
“Sir Gustav of Cheddar?”
Red rolled her eyes. “The Dark Ages were chaos, but you’d think someone would remember who invented such an important instrument.”
“Important?” Jean replied. “It’s useful, but it’s no spork.”
“Yes, half spoon, half fork.”
Red snorted. “And who invented that culinary wonder?”
“Sir Reginald of Spork?”
The shop was a mass of bargain hunters, all bent on getting the best deal. Elbows, handbags, and obscenities flew in every direction.
One woman stood in the middle of the crowd, chasms away in thought, with fresh cigarette folded between her lips.
She calmly lit the cigarette, flicked the match into a pile torn paper, and turned to admire a pair of red heels.
Soon the screaming began.
In the chaos that followed, no one noticed the woman in red heels pull a cigarette from her pocket and slip into a shop that sold handbags.
Shutters and windows lay bent, broken at misshapen angles, abandoned doorways bespoke a loneliness as can only be brought down by death. The wind that blew through the empty house shrieked in mock tribute to the lives cruelly snuffed out, while a clock, curiously the only unbroken thing inside, ticked away in a grim monotone, mute witness to the mad chaos that had unfolded. Dying firelight flickered red, reflecting the blood splashed tableau.
That yawning chasm between his present and his violence-streaked past seemed to be growing wider by the second.
He was home finally. Or well, what remained of it.
They came to the eighteenth, level. Two good drives. A red flag beckoned, which meant back of the green. The green itself was invisible, set down in a fold of the Berkshire Hills. Eight iron. Jack's ball made the green, but Tom was nearer the hole. Jack bent over his putt, but was interrupted by a herd of deer stampeding across the course, causing chaos and confusion. Jack kept his composure and made the putt; Tom followed and missed. The result opened up a yawning chasm at the top of the PGA order of merit.
She leaned against the car like she was just through polishing it with her ass. Her mouth hung open as she looked at me. It was a poor imitation of sensuousness. Maybe she was breathless from her work on the car. Her bloodshot eyes matched the red of the paintwork.
“After a chasm?”
“A what?” Traffic noise dulled her voice.
“Orgasm? You mean orgasm?”
She nodded. A fold of skin hung loose on her neck.
I bent forward and opened my car door.
“Please,” she said.
“Sorry,” I said.
I already had enough chaos in my life.
“Damn floppy-eared punks! They’re all dirty reds!” Bill frowned. “They’d steal your best friend and leave a bent -” He searched for an appropriate word.
“Looks like a bent soup can, Bill.”
“What do you know?! Okay, so it’s a soup can. But it’s meant as a chaos-causing insult. I refuse to give in to-”
“Pouting? Give into it, Bill. You’re good at it.”
“There’s a vast chasm between French Alpines and those lop-eared Nubians. I’m a gentleman. They’re not.”
“You’re a goat.”
“Never mind that. Help me fold this note. We’ll see who comes out on top this time!”
The medical examiner withdrew his hand from the red chasm across her chest. He remained kneeling before the body, tuning out the chaos of the crime, until a swirl of motion from the crowd caught his eye.
A young detective appeared. He bent under the yellow caution tape and approached, his face intent, weary. From his pocket he pulled a handkerchief, began to fold it, then thought better of it and wadded it against his nose.
The doctor stood and removed his glove. "I believe I know what killed her."
"She died of a broken heart."
The morning started in chaos. An opportunistic shot took their sentry. It had been an ugly kill - a shoulder-wound blossomed in angry red, whipping him off the raised platform and into the man-made chasm that separated them from the townsfolk across the plains.
Johann lit a cigarette, bent match in the fold of the matchbook - a singlehanded strike taught to him twenty years ago when being cool was the most important thing in the world - and sighed. In this war of defense and attrition it was only a matter of time.
The sun continued its slow rise.
Chuck Daniels’ day began with promise. First, his editor cut the story he wrote on substandard NYC eateries, entitled “Culinary Chasm,” to make room for “When Restaurants Attack,” a wildly speculative article on how al-Qaeda has infiltrated the local food scene, hoping to wreak chaos and death through poisoned produce. Next, he discovered some delinquent bent the antenna on his 1973 Gremlin, rendering his AM radio useless. Then he came home to find his clothes neatly folded on the steps outside the apartment he, until that moment, shared with his girlfriend. What’s worse, he’s developed a suspicious red rash…..
In the red room where Samantha said mirrors stole souls from the unwary, Derek looked at his twisted, bent reflection in the spiderweb of glass clinging to the wall. One eye pushed up, the other to the right, he smiled and reveled in the distorted image his violence invoked. He turned. Samantha lay in the fold of the door frame, her limbs askew among the chaos of blood and torn clothing, a testament to her failure, a chasm of misunderstanding, Derek took a long, calming breath.
“You should have known, I have no soul to steal.”
The mother-in-law looked across to Jerry and spat a wad of tobacco juice on the floor.
The dark loogie found a crack in the wood, sliding eagerly into a small chasm of gum and chew.
No, Miss Bea, I ain’t Canadian, I just don’t like these cards.”
Jerry placed the frayed cards on the felt top.
“Don’t make me go all physco red on you, y’hear? Play the hand.”
Knowing he was in trouble of the *El Grande* kind, Umberto bent to watch Jerry.
If he lost these last bitcoins, there’d be some serious chaos.
A trace of red in the corner of your lip. The shade I wore every performance for the last seven years. I felt rage fold into a singularity, a chasm of clarity where I saw your ambition like a pool on whose surface our friendship stirred no chaos. I bent toward you and the light, to reflect you in my eye—the mirror in which you stood and lied: "I won't go to the theater. I won't try out for your part." The role I'm now too old, and you the right age, to play.
No escape from the depths of an afternoon reality chasm, stuck in constipated thought mode.
Without GPS, I lose direction in a dark hallway and pass out from a dank downward shift of bad karma air. I awaken on the floor, choking on a lungful of past regrets, time shoved into a pocket and then forgotten.
On my feet again and then I’m off-kilter, a misstep on warped floorboards installed by Mental Chaos, a carpenter with bent nails and red swollen thumbs.
I stumble into a dimensional fold, a time-loop wormhole. No escape from the depths ...
With crusted lips the old man blew on the embers trying to create red life in the dying fire.Outside wind howled and branches beat against his house.Under the sound of the wind was a persistent tapping, tapping at his door.
"Damn bird," he muttered. With bent arthritic fingers he made a fold and a slip-knot in heavy twine.He opened the door quickly, slipped the twine over the neck of the bird and pulled.But the strong bird flew, with the old man dangling,as the two entered the chasm and chaos of never more.
My left leg was bent at a 45° angle, and I was staring at a red chasm where my normally linear femur usually was. My right leg was completely folded beneath me. I'm sure the pain was excruciating. But it was lost in the ensuing chaos which had swallowed us all up. The attack sequence had begun, and my fellow patrons were suffering similar fates. First, there was 3-D. Then there was Smell-O-Vision. But I predict that this latest cinematic “experience,” Pain-O-Rama, is not going to catch on.
And to think I paid an extra 10 bucks for this.
It’s an old, sad story.
He talked. I’m sure the words made sense outside but inside was nothing but chaos.
Nothing else I heard made sense. I watched my reflection in the mirror.
I bent over, picked up and folded the shirt from the basket.
It was red. Like the hair of the woman he would go to after he left.
My heart ripped open to show a black churning chasm.
Someday it would stop. Like his words. Like his love.
I bent and picked up another shirt to fold.
He was gone.
It was truly the end.
Toss me body off the mountain into the chasm. Say something foul about me before me pirate guts paint the rocks red! These be the wishes of your loving father, Arrrchibald!
“Always a force of chaos,” said the sheriff. “Whaddaya gonna do?”
“Fold the will back up, bury him like a normal person?”
“We already agreed.”
They walked to the pickup’s bed. The sheriff put an eyepatch on the body. Paul bent over the corpse, pressed a saw below the knee, and asked, “You think Dad’ll be the first CPA buried with a peg leg?”
“Just start sawing, brother.”
Stephanie looks confused; dull eyes, mashed nose, mouth agape, filthy teeth… she insults my senses. Ethan’s spine just lost a battle against an electric saw. In this chaos, I’m bent over tearing at flesh with a blade and plucking muscles out of the chasm that Steph’s carpal bones created. Her blood, no longer red liquid, flakes off as dark powder into a pile of her own remnants. The room is loud, noxious, and chock full of dismembered bodies. At noon, I fold Steph’s limb onto itself and leave the classroom for lunch.
Chaos reigned under the red-stained sky. I bent down at edge of the torn and crumbling dead-end road, and peered into the chasm. I hoped to find some trace of the bustling town that used to lie just a few yards farther up the road--a few yards that didn't exist anymore. Survivors swarmed from the fringes of the crater. They fled from the fold in the ground that once was their home but now was their purgatory. I could only stand and watch.
Air hot, as though from an oven, the Australian sky glowed as the morning unfolded toward the terracotta earth. The sun swept over Uluru and the sandstone blazed red, lit up like I hadn’t known rock could. "Ayers Rock,” the white surveyor proclaimed to his fold in 1873, pounding a signpost into the desert sand. But Aboriginals, children of this ancient land, say the gods reached down ten thousand years before and drew Uluru out of a chasm, bent it backwards, up towards them in the heavens. “Chaos? Humans? Only fleeting. But Uluru’s eternal,” the guide says, mopping sweat ineffectually.
CC crying behind the gym, during Winter Formal, was a shock. A door slammed. I stashed my bottle, stowed it behind a bin and looked for an exit.
Drama! CC found her Brad deep in anyone’s Ginny. It was all chaos and replaced clothes. In her character assassination, CC blasted them with two-barrel insults. After that, I didn’t expect her sobs.
My intentions were good-enough when I put my hand on her red, satin-covered shoulder.
There was a chasm between my act and her interpretation. “Sorry, CC. It’s Reid.”
Precision-perfect, CC kicked me. I folded bent and double.
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