My Stories

My Stories

In the Endgame Now…

Jarrod’s Journal

This past week, I watched Avengers: Endgame, had a blast at Philly Black Pride, and inched even closer to final edits for The Auctorati. Here’s how everything went.

The Epic to End All Epics

No spoilers here.

Endgame. Oh my God. Epic isn’t even the word. It was masterful. As I’ve read recently, there were some problems, but I noticed none of it while watching. I was all-in and those three hours flew by fast in the theater. I took my ten-year-old nephew, Joey, to go watch it and we joined in the laughter and the cheers in the theater and even shed some tears. I’m such a hard-ass that I only halfway got teary, but Joey was downright bawling by the end.

I don’t think I said it any better than right here:

And I saw it on the Thursday when it first released, so I couldn’t wait to talk about this with others:

The movie definitely inspired me to go for that same level of epicness in my stories.Pangaea is just getting started, my friends. Just hang in there with me.

Philly Black Pride

Philly Black Pride was an experience as well. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am now a board member of the organization that puts on a weekend of events catering to the Black LGBTQ community. This was my first one attending as a board member, so I got a very different side than usual.
I attended a discussion about toxic masculinity, the opening event at our host hotel, Aloft Hotel, with TS Madison, my first-ever Pose-like ball, The List, which was all the way live, and ended it at a block party with friends.

Despite some hiccups, I enjoyed myself and delighted in learning about what went into Philadelphia’s Black gay pride. I have some ideas about how to make it better and I’m looking forward to discussing them with the rest of the board.

Auctorati Update

Regarding my upcoming novella, I’ve improved my manuscript to the point where I was able to delete about 99% of my editor’s sidebar comments. I’ve removed a couple chapters, added some scenes, and I’m happy with where it is right now. I just need to fine-tune a few things and then get into the next phase: proofreading, formatting, and cover art. It’s been so long since I last published that I’m a little bit out of practice, but I’m sure it will all come back to me once I get into it. Aside from that, I’m looking forward to editing a couple other stories I have left to complete and writing the next couple of big ideas.

Thanks so much for giving me your time and reading this. I’m doing my best to push out quality content, and your attention means so much to me. I won’t waste it!

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My StoriesMy Thoughts

Progress Report – What I’m Editing, Writing, and Planning

Jarrod’s Journal

I know it’s been a while since I’ve last blogged, and every time I come back to this I feel as though I’m in this cycle of getting all revved up to do all the things, but then fall short of it after one week or so. So, here I am again trying to do this. I tweeted earlier this week that I was going to keep my blog posts simple and just focus on writing progress and thoughts about some of the fantasy and sci-fi media that I’ve read, watched, played, etc. Additionally, I would like to let you all know about what happens with my journey with Philly Black Pride. If you haven’t seen any of my tweets about this, I am now part of this local organization that caters to the Black LGBTQ community with a weekend of events at the end of every April. The big event’s coming up and I will share more about that later. But for now, let’s get into what I’ve been editing, writing, and planning.

Editing The Auctorati

In an earlier draft of this post, I wrote about my progress on this project with a sullen tone, but after thinking about it, I can give myself more of a pat on the back. Despite a lot of life changes such as buying a house, renting part of it out to tenants, dealing with a lot of drama, and joining Philly Black Pride, I have been able to find time to make progress. The biggest issues I had to work on with The Auctorati were giving my characters more internal dialogue and fine-tuning a couple of characters’ motives.

It’s funny because with my first book, my sense from beta readers and editors was that I gave too much internal dialogue and description for the fantasy genre – where people typically expect a faster-moving plot. Well, I was definitely cognizant of that this time, but to the detriment of my characters and the overall feeling of the story. I feel I’ve corrected that now and I’m happily moving onto my last 48 pages of editing. I’m excited about getting this out to you all because I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback.

Writing Immortal Warriors

The title is tentative, but basically sums it up. It’s a short story about
two ancient African warriors granted the power of immortality and forced to fight each other to the death in the current day. “If they’re immortal, how can they fight each other to the death,” you say? Well, getting the gift of eternal life means that only the people with that gift can kill you. So, the danger is very real.

I don’t know where this story came from. Some critics say that short stories should encompass whole generations/lives and just show a blip in time and leave the reader with a sense of the story continuing after it ends. It still needs some editing, but I think I’ve achieved that with this one.

Planning a New Project

Lastly, I had briefly mentioned my killer android novel before, and this past week, I’ve definitely gotten a bit more detailed about how to flesh it out. I’m so excited about this! It’s much deeper than just another killer android story and I can’t wait to share it. The concept is current, controversial, and I know I can get you excited about it when I share the completed explanation. But, it’s too soon to share now. I need the idea fully fleshed out and down on paper before I get there. But trust me, if I can pull this off, it’s gonna be something special.

This month marks Camp NaNoWriMo – much like regular NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where you plow through 50,000 words in a month. I’ve join a “cabin” where you share with other writers your progress, and in usual fashion, I’ve failed. This was for this new project, but the focus on editing this book has taken precedence and I haven’t been able to write anything new. Hopefully, once editing is done and it’s in other people’s hands for proofreading, I can really get started on this.

More to Come

Make sure you pay attention to this website, my Twitter, and Instagram. I’ll be posting updates soon about everything. I’ll also write about my reactions to a movie I just finished on Netflix titled Ex Machina, as well as Philly Black Pride in two separate posts. More soon!

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My Stories

Email Exclusives: Two Short Stories On The Way

email exclusives

I’m currently in the process of completing two short stories that I will soon be ready to introduce to the world. My idea is to use these short stories as a way to whet readers’ appetites for the way that I write so they’ll be more inclined to buy my books. As of right now, I have my first book available for free as a way to garner email sign-ups, but I would like to start making more money off of that book. The best way to do that would be to write more books (something I’m also working on now), but to have Pangaea: Unsettled Land as a freebie kind of defeats the purpose of having it available on Amazon and other book outlets for a price. I’m excited about the two short stories that I’ve written. Here’s the gist of what they’re about.

What Are The Short Stories About?

The first one is called Pass It On and it’s about a man with a questionable friendship who gets his strange message written around the edge of a dollar. Here’s one of the quotes that I posted on Instagram.

As you can see, it starts to get a little intense. I’m positive that readers will like this one.

For the second one, I still haven’t settled on a final title, but it’s about a real estate agent who knowingly shows off a house that many have deemed to be haunted. I can’t reveal too much, but he does find a buyer by omitting this detail and soon finds out the truth of the story.

Different Genres

One of my worries is that neither of these stories are traditional fantasy which is closer to what Pangaea is. However, my hope is that if readers enjoy the short stories that I have to offer, they’ll be more intrigued to see what a full book from me looks like.

That being said, Pangaea: Unsettled Land will only be available for free up until I’m ready to release the short stories. So if you ever had an interest in reading Pangaea, now is the time to sign up. If you’re interested in the short stories, these two will only be available to email subscribers. Nowhere else! I’m excited to see the reaction and I know that you’ll enjoy reading.

Sign Up Now!

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My Stories

The Auctorati – A Prequel to Pangaea


*Update* This project is currently on hold. Find out why!

A lot of readers of my first book asked when or if there was going to be a sequel to Pangaea. I’m at the point now where I can say, “Yes”, but with a caveat. Before I get to continuing the story of Slade, Douglassaire, and Gisela, I felt compelled to start writing a prequel. This is a way to flesh out the story of some side characters that were introduced late in the book. I’m talking about The Auctorati.

Who are The Auctorati?

If you haven’t read Unsettled Land, I suggest you stop now and do so. But I won’t give you any spoilers here.The Auctorati are a group of bounty hunters from the Southern Third. The story I am set to tell is how they all got together in the first place.

This is an important step to take before I get into the main arc because my intention is to weave some elements from this story into the sequel. I’ve completed outlining and have already started on the first draft. I must say, I’m excited with where it’s going! I’m hoping to have it completed this year. I want to get this done so that I can quickly churn out that sequel everyone wants.

New Book Coming Soon

Pretty soon, I will reintroduce you to Libra, Kandyce, Vinzant, and Jack. You’ll learn all about what brought them together as The Auctorati.

Stay tuned!

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My Stories

Pangaea Pronunciation Key


If you ever read a fantasy novel, you know that words can sometimes look like gibberish. I wrote Pangaea: Unsettled Land to read a bit easier than what you’d normally expect, but in some cases I couldn’t help but come up with outlandish names. Sometimes when you make stuff up, crazy things come to mind. Here’s a list of some character names and terms that you may have trouble sounding out in your head. If you read the book and weren’t 100% sure you got it right, this is your way to make certain. If you’re about to start reading, use this as a guide to help get on with the story. Let me know if you think something should be here that I missed, and I’ll add it to the list. And be sure to share this, if you found it helpful.


Aeothesca – (Ay-oh-thes-kuh) | Queen of the Middle Third.

Annonymn – (An-oh-nim) | Princess of the Middle Third and Queen Aeothesca’s younger sister.

Benitez – (Ben-ee-tez) | Gisela’s last name.

Heuresyt – (Yor-eh-sit) | Douglassaire’s true last name.

Lesech – (Le-se-ch [‘ch’ as in ‘church’]) | A warrior from the Southern Third and Douglassaire’s rival.


Lusae – (Loo-say) [plural] / Lusus – (Loo-sus) [singular] | Mythical creatures with magical abilities ranging from earth, fire, water, or air.

  • Ceffyl – (Seh-fill) | A lusus that resembles a horse. Has the ability to control water.


Djed Key – (Jed Key) | A mythical sword on the isle of Ether that’s said to be the source of the world’s magic.

Elao – (Ee-lah-oh) | The god of Pangaea.

Ether – (Ee-ther) | The name of a mythical island that no one has ever seen or visited. Also the name for magic in this story.

Etherean – (Eh-thee-re-an) | A human with the power to control one of the four elements: earth, fire, water, or air.

Pangaea – (Pan-gee-ah) | The setting of this story.

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My Stories



We were supposed to meet for coffee for the first time today. I sat at a table in a small neighborhood coffee shop with my chai tea latte. It gradually lost its heat as mine rose. I pulled out my phone to check the time. Ten minutes late. No missed texts, no missed calls. Nothing. It was as if our conversations over the phone for the past week were nothing but a dream. Not in the romantic, lovesick kind of way, but just ethereal and fleeting. I didn’t even know if I was in love yet. I wouldn’t allow it. Far too often we fall in love with the idea of a person represented on a screen only to have reality come crashing through like a train upon first meeting. I didn’t take him for a flake though. That caught me by surprise.

Each sip of my drink made me feel a little bit better. I’d been through this before, so bouncing back was an art I was…well, close to mastering. I leaned back in my seat and felt myself relax. I took another look at my phone, but just before awakening the black screen I saw something in its reflection. I instantly dove under the table as I recognized the shape of a gun in the hand of a man in a black puffy coat. He was standing just outside of the window of the coffee shop as he pointed and shot three times. The window was shattered and others did the same as I did, screaming all the while. My latte was hotter than I remembered.  Most of it burned the back of my hand while small drips stung the back of my neck. I clutched at it, trying to wipe away the milky tea, but not quite in complete control of my faculties. My heart was beating rapidly and my nerves were in so much shock that my fingertips were all I could use. I didn’t know why the man had shot. I didn’t know who he was and I didn’t even know if he was still out there or inside now. But I did have the keen sense that I was his target. I reached for my phone to call the police, but the numbers were off with each touch. Eight-one-two, no, seven-three-nine, no. I couldn’t get it right. What was wrong with me?

I heard the door of the place swing open to slow, deliberate footsteps. The crunching of glass was growing closer and closer. I didn’t need to look to know who it was. That miserable sound came to halt. Then the crack of a gun exploded once and the march of glass continued. This happened again. And again.

I didn’t have much time. My rushed adrenaline caused the burn on my hand to cease having any feeling at all. I couldn’t stop my fingers from shaking, but I was determined to press the correct sequence. Nine…one…one. Yes! I did it. I held the phone up to my ear, eager to end this nightmare. It rang once. Then twice. Then again. With each long, dreadful ring my breathing got more and more shallow. How could this be? Wasn’t anybody going to pick up?

The sight of two boots stopped in front of my face, giving me a start. My phone fell from my hand as I heard my killer speak.


I looked up; the man’s features and everything around him a blur, save for the barrel of the gun in my face.

“Sorry I’m late.”


I sat up in bed and drew in a breath as if I were being introduced to air for the first time. The cool familiarity of the sheets on my legs were a comfort for which I was grateful. I turned on the lamp to my right, unable to bear anymore darkness. My breathing and my heartbeat became steady and I looked at the digital clock with its red numbers. It was two-something in the morning. I was still tired, so I slid back down, laid my head on the pillow, wrapped the arm of my boyfriend around me, and flicked off the light.

I was in total ease as I felt his strong hand rise up the back of my own, then run the length of my arm to my shoulder and stop with his fingertips on my lips. I kissed them and felt his fingers settle on the side of my neck. I took one last glance at the clock. Zero-zero-zero-zero. It didn’t register at first, but I got a sinking feeling in my stomach that grew as the numbers on the clock began to count up with the speed of a stopwatch. That feeling spiked when I felt my boyfriend’s fingers tighten around my throat. I tried to scream, but I couldn’t make a sound. And somewhere in that panic, I remembered. I didn’t have a boyfriend.

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My Stories

The Ride Home

The Ride Home

The train ride to London was anything but easy. It was my first time in Europe. I had spent the week touring the UK, seeing castles and other landmarks, and now I was on my way back to the airport to catch a flight home to the States. This week had been a dream come true. Not only did I get to see amazing sights, but I met a guy. Ian. As I sat there feeling the small bumps of the moving train, I could remember his face; big brown eyes and tight, curly black hair that framed his oval shaped head and highlighted his smooth brown skin.  His full lips seemed perpetually curled into a flirtatious smile. God, I missed those lips. Even more, I missed that husky British accent that spoke between them. But, as luck would have it, he didn’t show up for me. We made plans for dinner last night, and I waited, but he didn’t show. It’s amazing how a trip that began with such promise ended in sadness. I don’t know what caused it. I don’t know why he didn’t show, but I wish I had an answer. What stands out most is our last moment where I showed him this weird stone I found.

“Where did you get that?” he asked. We had been walking in a nearby park at night, but our steps came to a halt.

“Yesterday, when I visited Stonehenge. It was just lying on the ground. Why?”

“It’s…nothing. Nevermind.” He started our walk again.

The alarmed look on his face caught me by surprise. I’d never seen him so intense. “Are you sure? What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

I let it go, but already I could feel a change between us. A distance. It wasn’t there before, but appeared in an instant. I couldn’t help but feel punished in some way, but looking back now, I just pretended it was all in my head. “Tomorrow’s my last day. We should do something. End it off right. Dinner?”

He looked at me for five long seconds. That perpetual smile was nowhere to be found. I had grown used to an ease of action with Ian. His impulsive decisions inspired small adventures and he made room for mine with an easy, “Let’s do it!” Waiting for his answer to this question was excruciating.

“Okay,” he said.

It was emotionless, cold, and measured. I was instantly haunted. I instinctively knew I had lost him in that moment. Still, I showed up at the restaurant hoping it was just a moment of awkwardness. Boy, was I wrong.

I sat in the train looking at the stone that caused it all. It was flat and circular like a disc and its rough edge fit the palm of my hand. The surface was carved into some sort of symbol. I ran my thumb over the raised horizontal ridge with three vertical lines underneath. What was about this thing that scared Ian? I slipped the stone into my pocket, trying not to dwell on it.  I had to take a whizz. I left my backpack in the corner of the booth seat and slid into the aisle. As I walked to the bathroom, I got the distinct feeling of being watched. I lightly rested my hand against the top of each seat for balance as I moved ahead, looking back from time to time to see who’s eyes I felt. It wasn’t like me to be paranoid, but maybe this was all in my head too. I entered the bathroom to do my business and soon began to wash my hands. I welcomed the scent of soap to mask the dank sour smell of urine. My heart was still heavy and I looked in the mirror to see if my face showed my emotions. It did.

A knock sounded at the door.

“I’m in here,” I said.

A man’s voice spoke on the other side. “He wants it back.”

“What?” I thought maybe I heard him wrong. I shook the excess water off my hands and said, “I’ll be out in a second, sir.”

“The Hat Man is not pleased.”

I frowned in confusion thinking, What is he talking about? I finished drying my hands on a paper towel and opened the door, but no one was there. I took a look left and right, but all was as it had been when I walked up. Strange. As I went back down the aisle and approached my seat, I saw that my backpack had moved. It was still in the corner, but instead of facing in like I had left it, the front was facing out. I quickly sat down and unzipped everything, going through each pocket. It didn’t look like anything was taken, thank goodness. But who had been over here?

The train slowed to a stop. After this, my stop at London was next. Again, I felt I was being watched. I looked out onto the platform, but all the passengers were busy boarding. I suddenly felt the shadow of a man in the aisle next to me. I jerked my head in a start, but my alarm only increased at the sight of him. He was tall, probably around 6’5”, and skinny. He wore a long black robe almost like a priest, but the collar was black all the way around. He wore black sunglasses with small round lenses and a black fedora with a wide brim. The only thing not black about him was his ghostly pale skin.

For a moment, I couldn’t tell where his eyes were looking or if he could even use them. But as he stepped into my booth and sat across from me, I could tell his gaze never left my own. He was unnerving. I started to breathe harder and my heart began to beat faster. The man was silent the whole time. Had I even heard his footsteps? After a moment, he moved his arm and let his gloved right hand fall open on his lap. Waiting.

I stared for a moment wondering what the hell he wanted, but I ran my fingers across the ridges of the stone in my pocket and instinctively knew.

The train’s horn sounded and the rumble of the tracks began again. That’s when I heard hard footsteps coming down the aisle. Somebody was making a ruckus. I looked up when the steps got close and the sight of Ian standing there made me feel relieved, angry, and confused all at the same time.

He smiled and said “Mind if I join you?” Without waiting for my answer, he sat down next to the man in black who had not moved an inch.

“Ian? What are you doing here?”

“Shh…” he said, putting his finger to his lips. I saw a bead of water trickle down his finger and that’s when I noticed his whole left arm was drenched. He lowered his hand and let it barely touch the man next to him. The man’s open hand began to shake and his fingers curled. Ian turned to him and spoke in a low voice. “You need to go. You can make this easy or hard.”

I couldn’t pull my eyes away, but I lost the sight of them both as the train entered a tunnel and all the lights went out. I gasped and recoiled into my seat seeing only the strange man’s two glowing red eyes in front of me.

“Marcus. Marcus,” Ian whispered. “Don’t. Move.”

The man’s eyes got closer and closer until they were just inches away from my own. He screamed! It was sudden and ear-splitting, making me scream back in terror! I started to jump out of my seat, but I could feel hands wrestling with my arms for control. Outside light flooded the train and the inside lights came back on. I saw it was Ian grabbing at me and trying to get me to be quiet, but I couldn’t slow myself down. He jumped over to my side and wrapped his arms around me. “Shh. It’s okay, it’s okay.”

I calmed some, but shuddered and still fought to catch my breath. I caught the gaze of a lady in the seat across the aisle. “Is everything all right?” she asked.

Ian said, “My friend here just had a bit of a nightmare. We’re all good. Thank you.”

“Ian, what was that?” I asked, still restrained as though I were in a strait jacket. “What the hell was that?”

“It was the Hat Man.”

I shook free of his arms and turned to face him. “The Hat Man?”

“He’s the leader of a vampire coven. He must be really pissed to come out in daylight.”

“A vampire coven? What the – how – why am I the only one freaked out?”

“Nobody else heard the scream but us. The only two to see him. You’re getting off with me at the next stop.”

“What? No, I need to get home. Especially now.”

“Do you know another vampire hunter in America?”

I was taken aback by this. What could he possibly mean?

“Thought so. You’re safer with me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m a vampire hunter.”

I let out a deep sigh. I couldn’t wrap my head around anything that was going on. Maybe I really needed a strait jacket. “Ian, what’s going on?”

“You threw yourself right in the middle of a war between vampires and hunters. It’s been going on for centuries. When you showed me that stone, I thought you were one.”

“Me? A vampire. Really?”

He nodded. “I showed up to the restaurant last night, by the way.”

“Why didn’t you meet me?”

He looked me in the eye and turned away. “I was there to kill you.”

My heart sank. I was stunned.

“But I didn’t because…I just couldn’t. Part of me couldn’t believe it – that you were that evil. I had to be absolutely sure. So I followed you up to now and when I saw the Hat Man…”

“You could see I was his target.”

He nodded again. “I’m sorry.”

I wasn’t quite ready to forgive him, but I had more questions. “Why is the Hat Man after me?”

“That stone. It has the sign of the shadow coven. It’s what allows him to walk in our world.”

I pulled the stone out of my pocket and gave it another look. “Can’t I just give it back?”

“No! Sending back a coven leader is historic. It’s only ever been done twice. When one is forced back to their own world, all of their minions are sent with them. Countless lives are saved. The Hat Man is weakened. You’ve had it for two nights, now. If you can hold on to it for five more, I can send him back for good. Can you do that?”

“Why can’t you hold on to it? I don’t like it that much. Here.”

Ian back away from the stone with his hands up. “No! If I hold it, he’ll come after me and there’s no way I can sneak attack. Like right now?” He pointed to his wet arm. “That’s holy water. I can’t fight him head-on.”

“So I’m the bait.” I covered my face with my hand. “Shit. I don’t know if I can do this.”

“Hey,” Ian said as he pulled my hand down. “We’ll do this.”

Right then, I just wanted to go home, but I didn’t want to be sentenced to looking over my shoulder by ignoring this. I don’t know whether it was having Ian with me or the idea of saving others from the horror I had just experienced that pushed me into it, but I decided right then and there that I’d do it. Next stop: London.

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It was supposed to be 75 degrees that day, but the breeze from that high up chilled my body as I stood on the ledge almost ready to jump. I don’t know what the hesitation was about. I could have just jumped and it would’ve been all over. I wasn’t afraid of the pain. A fall like that would surely have been an instant death. I was holding onto something in my mind, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I went out there because I was sure that I had nothing to live for – that my life didn’t amount to anything. So why couldn’t I just take that next step?

The day was cloudy and my sneakers helped stabilize me as I looked down. I was on the 50th floor and everyone looked so small from up there. Nobody down there even noticed me. Nobody ever notices me. They’d have probably just walked over my lifeless body once I hit the ground.

That was it, I thought. I needed to be sure of my conviction. I felt I brought nothing good to the lives of those around me or to myself. I meant nothing. My hesitation had finally died down. I leaned my head against the cement wall and closed my eyes. I took another breath through my nostrils and could smell the sweetness of a coming storm. I remember hearing the sounds of the city around me. Car horns, loud voices, the faint sounds of music, the air pushing past my ears, and sirens. I wanted to take in everything I could of this world just one last time, and then let it all go.


“Seriously, Brody? A break-up text?” I yelled through my cell phone. I had just come out of Hermés with a brand new bag and I was livid. How does that happen? He completely ruined my day.

“I’m sorry,” he said

I stood on the sidewalk and had enough awareness to wait for the cars to pass before I began jaywalking across the street. “Sorry? Is that really all you have to say? I’ve been trying to reach you for the past week. You haven’t returned any of my calls and now this? What the hell?” I stepped up from the street onto the other sidewalk and stood still waiting for an answer. I deserved an answer.

“Look, I gotta go.”

“No, I gotta go. And you know what, Brody? Fuck you! You hear me? Hello?” I wanted to kill something right then. The only thing worse than being discarded like a piece of trash was not being able to get the last word. Fuck. He could’ve at least given me that.

I was so caught up in my own drama that I barely noticed the woman next to me scream. I pulled my phone away from my ear and began to feel stifled. The movement of the people around me slowed to a stop. I looked over at the woman as she raised her hand in the air and pointed up and said “Is he going to jump? I think he’s going to jump!”

I looked up and sure enough there was a man on the ledge of my apartment building. “Oh my God,” I said. My insides hollowed and the anger left me. For a moment I was numb, but as I watched the guy up there, orange t-shirt flapping in the wind, I began to feel again. Sorrow, anger, empathy…envy. I got it. While everyone else around me was probably wondering whether or not he would jump or be saved, I couldn’t help but feel like I was on my own ledge right then. Life can be horrible.

I touched the woman on the shoulder and looked into her gray eyes. She was older with wrinkles in all the right places of her face to make her look kind.  And she had a beautiful head of curly silver hair. I could see her concern and instantly tell she was good person. There were still some around. I exhaled at the thought and said, “Did you call the police?”

“Oh, my goodness, no! I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay, I got it.” I lifted my cell phone and winced at the sight of Brody’s name. He was a jerk, but I didn’t dwell on it. I dialed 9-1-1 and told them the situation.

As I waited for the sirens to arrive and the spectacle to get even greater I realized something. Life can hit you hard sometimes and you can feel like there’s no justice or reason for the bad, but there is good. If I hadn’t met this woman I would probably still be so consumed by my anger that I wouldn’t have seen the man on the ledge or make the call to the police. This good person gave me hope and now, as the sirens of the first responders grew louder, I had given hope to that man. I knew the next few weeks were gonna suck, but I also knew that I’d work through my issues because I just got a reminder: proof that good people exist. Us good guys have to stick together.

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Aw, Nuts!

aw nuts

Writers’ group prompt: (30 minutes to write) You are a figurine brought out because you symbolize a holiday or a season, and you stand for a memorable moment. What are you and why were you purchased?

When the light of day hit my face I was in awe. I’m always “in awe”. The wooden lever on my back is stuck and my mouth hasn’t closed in almost a year. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that I’m finally out of the box, just not “mouth wide open” happy. Looks can be deceiving. And I’m sure that’s what my owners are counting on when they place me on their mantle. The feathers in my hat are mostly gone and my red coat is chipped on the side showing my wooden skin. I feel so exposed. Hopefully they put me in a dark corner somewhere.

I’m only here because my owners’ kids thought I was a toy. When they bought me, they thought I was an early Christmas gift. Boy, were they wrong. My arms don’t move and I have no legs – hardly an action figure. When they found out I was too fragile to actually crack nuts as promised by the box, well… that was enough for them to forget about me.

Yeah, that’s been the pattern every year: take me out and forget about me. But I don’t forget anything. My constant look of surprise is actually quite fitting. If you saw what I saw you may never be able to close your mouth either. Lies, infidelity, arguments… this family is more nuts than I’ll ever need.

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My Stories

Back And Forth

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Nothing prepared me for what happened when I got out of bed. I woke up to the smell of bacon and the aroma of coffee. Instantly, I craved both. My eyes were heavy with sleep as I dragged my hand to the edge of my quilt. I slid the covers down and let the cool temperature of the room awaken the rest of me. One by one I pulled my legs out from hiding and swung them over the edge of the bed and prepared to stand. That was when I received the shock of my life.

My fear of falling kicked in as I felt no floor hit my feet. I noticed my error just in time to give a quick scream and turn to catch the edge of my mattress. I clung with fingers locked on loose material that would give way at any moment. Then I dared to look down. The was a floor there, but my bed was much higher than it was last night. What in the hell was going on?

I gathered myself enough to glance around at the room. The red area rug and blinds were accents to a room that I remembered. The desk by the wall across from the window was a relic I hadn’t seen since I was a boy. I looked at the bed I was holding onto and saw that I was about to fall from the top of a bunk bed. I could feel my grip slipping. When I caught the sight of a 7-year-old version of my little brother sleeping below, that was enough for me to forget about my handle on the bed. My butt pulsed with pain from its contact with the floor and the sheets I held on to traveled down on top of my head.

After I pulled the fabric from my face I held my hands up in front of my eyes. They were small. None of this made any sense.

“Boy, what are you doing?”

I looked up. It was Dad. He looked the same as always, just less grey. Time hadn’t made a huge change on him.

“Nothing,” I squeaked. I was surprised at my high voice.

He frowned and said, “Come on downstairs for breakfast,” and left.

“Okay,” I called.

Was this real? Was this even possible? I closed my eyes and chanted to myself “wake up, wake up, wake up,” but had no luck. This wasn’t a dream. Whatever this was, I knew I needed everything to get back to normal. I had to be about 8-years-old and I couldn’t imagine going back to school – to that awful place with my torturous classmates and nonchalant teachers. My real self had moved past all of that pain. I had since grown to become a completely socially inept adult, but I managed. There was no way I was going through that again.

I had to figure a way back.

My brother stirred in his covers and wiped his eyes as he sat up. He looked at me and must have seen the look on my face. “Jarrod, did the ghost get you again?”

At first I had no idea what he meant, but as I thought about it, I did remember worrying about a ghost in the room. Every night I slept in the top bunk I could feel a presence next to me. It was in the wall next to the bed. I always heard a scratching sound. Without a word I climbed to my bunk and felt along the wall for where I remember hearing that sound, then –

It was night. I fell off the side of a bed and landed on my arm. As I lifted myself off the floor I could tell I was back. I was in my own home and I was an adult again. But how? I got back onto the bed, facing the wall behind it with my knees pressed into the mattress. I leaned into the wall making sure not to touch it, and then the memories flooded back. Before I jumped into the past I was investigating a dime-sized hole in the wall where it seemed like sunlight was shining through. I had scratched at it a few times and before I knew it I fell over a bunk bed. The light was there now. I closed one eye to peek through and jumped back at the sight of my younger self climbing down the bunk bed and walking out of my old room. My little brother followed behind. This was insane. Or I was insane – I wasn’t really sure. I was so scared when I was there I thought I never wanted to go back. But I did get back safely. I contemplated boarding up the hole and never dealing with it again, but my curiosity began to get the best of me. What if I had stayed? Would it have changed anything now – the fact that I was always so lonely? I sat there on the bed in front of the hole in the wall sensing the danger in the unknown, but unable to stop my impulse to face it.

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