There is a time when a man’s fate lies in his decision not to act. A time when the intent of nothing creates an opportunity to invent a thing never before witnessed, not to be done. A creation of a future within a juvenile mind so distorted in the obligations of the logic that it surpass the achievable, the unbelievable -- the could be.
There once was a narrow void of emptiness filled with naive disregards and meaningless chatter; and so the void became crowded, and I began to dig. At the end of the vertical hole, cramped with swearwords and wrinkles, I saw the truth, and it was dark. I had made myself a grave, a cave of delusions that the chatter did not come from my mouth, wrinkles not made by my muscles. My mind was as dirty as the fingernails before me. I had replaced my emptiness with half-truths and a naive realism. I was no different from what I loathed; so I stayed in my grave and I was happy in my narrow void because it was mine.
No News Are Good News
She needed a smoke, that was the only thing that entered her mind as the doctor bluntly told her what she'd been waiting a lifetime to hear - no warning, no "we have some great news," he just threw it out there as if it didn't mean anything. "The initial testing have been positive and now we have what you might call a cure, although it doesn't heal you it will make sure you don't get any worse or will need treatments in the future."
She played interested as the doctor continued on about the technicalities, how this could work as a positive motivation for her to start eating her medicine, that it would all be over soon, that two pills would fix everything. She nodded and met their smile with one of her own. "Yes, yes," she said, "this is good news, thank you for telling me." She glanced through the window next to her, it was still raining outside.
Most people would have been overjoyed, relieved, exposed any kind of emotion, but not her. She didn't believe them. As a child the doctors had told her she would not pass the age of five; as she turned six they said she would not reach thirty; as she turned thirty, they told her she could be as old as anyone else if she worked for it - she didn't, and so - two years later they told her she had five to ten years left, if lucky.
How can anyone plan a life on death row? How can anyone feel as if they have the slightest control? And now what? As she was about to become thirty-three a cure had been found and would hit the market in two years. How could they expect her to cheer? How could she trust them enough to spread the good news that she would be okay? Of course, even if she did believe them she couldn't tell anyone since she never actually told anyone she was dying. So as she left the office she didn't make a call, she didn't send a text message, or an email, instead she went straight to the kiosk, bought a pack of Marlboro and headed back home. Death had always been her companion, the one thing she could count on, she wasn't about to let them take that away from her. She was in control.
It had taken her the entire summer to come to terms with the fact that it would all be over, and as fall came she had gone through the seven stages of grief and realised she was okay with that. In fact, she was almost glad. It had been some rough thirty years and she wasn't sure she could do thirty more. She was glad it was coming to an end. Now she had to go through all that again. It was too much for one mind. They were playing with her, toying with her reasoning - "Don't fear death but embrace life, we need you to want to live but be prepared to die, live as if you weren't dying but don't forget that you are or you will die, live, die, live, die…." - how could any of that keep a mind sane. Make up your mind! That was all that she wanted, and last summer she thought they had.
She threw the cigarette away and jumped onto the bus to find herself a seat amongst the rest. "No news are good news," her mother used to say. She had also told her that she was special, that she was sick, and that she was not like everyone else. All that was about to change, and for some reason that frightened her more than anything.
Honesty, that was the only card I had left and I had to make sure to use it wisely. He wouldn’t have another parasite clinging to his mission like some raw nugget popsy-girl with no aim or desire, a simple tag-along jumping as many planets as ships for credits worth less than the pod in my pocket. It was supposed to be a simple switch, a memory for another year, an honest thought of desire for a crate of oxygen tubes.
All her life she had believed that the universe was out to kill her and that she was a fighter in a war against an intangible enemy. Now she suddenly realised that it was in fact the opposite. She'd been trying to kill herself her entire life but for some reason the universe just wouldn't let her die.
They called him Mr Shadow. Not because they didn't know his real name, or because he was the villain of a fantasy story… No the simple reason to why he had earned such a nickname from his coworkers might have been due to his unusual way of smoothly move alongside the wall as one passed him in the hallway, looking away with his fox-bleary eyes, which in turn created a buzz of speculations and so the name was formed during one of the company's Christmas evenings on the top floor. Or, as Linda from accounting would dispute, the nickname had nothing to do with his obsession with keeping his distance, instead it had to do with his favorite corner in the basement, two doors away from the supply storage but not far enough to pass the cleaners changing area. It was common knowledge that Mr Shadow had claimed a personal spot there among the Record Office, naming the shelfs from 47B to 52F his own personal archive.
There he would linger during lunch hour, methodically double- and triple check that his inventory list was fully updated. Each box would contain a year from his life, completely stuffed with photos, journals, and personal belongings, such as his middle school lunchbox, four used erasers from his years at California State, and a set of worn shoes he was still unclear whether they came from his first and only girlfriend, or thrown away a couple of years earlier by his father. Neither really mattered since Mr Shadow had tried them on a number of times but always found them to be too uncomfortable to wear while examining the contents of his peculiar museum.
However, the programmers on the subfloor could not but agree with Linda's suggestion on the heritage of Mr Shadows name after they had visited the Record Office themselves and seen the discarded Christmas tree from the top floor. Ornaments was still clinging to its fragile and brown branches, and within a box on the shelf next to it was every single needle collected inside a glass jar. None of them had seen Mr Shadow on a Christmas celebration but then again if they had he would have been named a different name, perhaps a more cheerful one.
It wasn't until the fire, ten years after Linda had talked to the programmers about Mr Shadow, that he lost his nick-name altogether, along with the archive. These days they dare not to call him by his name, true or otherwise, afraid that he still lingers amongst the records or caressing the hallways even tighter, searching for the true villain who gave him a set of matches for his birthday.
At Christmas we gathered around the open fire to share gifts and afterwards we stripped the evergreen from ornaments and delightful sweets, and listened to the amusing crackling sound it made as it turned into ashes.
In spring, our small town would come together around a large bonfire to celebrate the end of winter. The short days would soon be longer than the dark nights, and so we held hands and watched colorful fireworks sparkle above our heads. Then we took the fire inside as we lit candles, and while we younger one's feel asleep under the table, parents and friends cheered into the night.
But as winter pass so does childhood. We don't light fires anymore, so every once in a while I light a candle on my own and gaze at the single flame in front of me dance, allowing it to warmth me like the fire used to do as it sizzle. It’s all about the sound I think to myself and close my eyes.
For She Was Blind
The grim city she occupied had finally become corrupted by its own inhabitants, restraining themselves with made-up rules. "This world has become a prison and the only way to be free is to disconnect oneself," the woman said as she gored out her eyes with a sharpened spoon. In the absurd world where the others lived, their logic made sense, but not in hers. With keen ears and muted lips she listened to neighbours tumbling down the narrow path of self-righteousness as they led her across the street.
Stop it! Finish your own sentences.
"Yes of course I tried to kill myself..."
"What made you change your mind?"
"Well, when I was worried the needle was going to leave bruises on my arms, I realised I wasn't taking it too serous..."
"It frightens me, that so much evil, pain and willingness to inflict such wounds, are within me. What if i would no longer be able to shut them in. Keep them in this place."
"That is what this place is for. That is the reason for this war. Don't be afraid to let them out. In fact you must. Don't take them with you to where you are going. Return cleansed."
"I did all that. Me."
"Another you. The skill you acquired on the other side is to be used here. If not, whats the point of everything."
"What do i bring back? What skill will i acquire from this place?"
"The things that you will need is the parts you will remember."
"You have beautiful eyes, has anyone ever told –"
She puts her finger over his lips. "You talk to much. As no one never told you that you cannot peruse a woman with words, only action."
The man leans forward and gives her a kiss.
She let's him and then pushes him away. "Good. A quick learner, I like that. Now go away."
"What do you mean?"
"Go. Off you go."
"You're a puppy and I don't sleep with puppies. I do not train them. So off you go to train with other puppies, then you may come back and perhaps you'll teach me a thing or two."
You showed me happiness, then you took it all away...
On The Hill
I saw them as distant shapes, as figurines against a white background. They made tracks but there were no one to follow them. As the brisk snow from last night melted away the footsteps would fade, and there would be no more figurines.
Some time, one of them would tumble and the others would stand on top of the hill laughing, pointing at their previous friend, not lending a hand. I kept my distance. No point to get involved in their childish games.
Instead I listened. When my toes would go numb from the cold I would make a mark on the ground with the tip of my boot, or follow my own track backwards. I played my own game, and I laughed, and I pointed, and I tumbled.
If I shattered in your hands would you hold me tight, or let me fall between your fingers.
Broken pieces on the ground, melting together to once again form what used to be me.
"If i told you that all this would be over, the war, the terror, everything, if all you had to do was tell me you love me. would you do it?"
"You know I can't say that."
"I'm not afraid of you. There's nothing you can't do to me that you haven't already done."
"I could hit you."
"I'm not afraid of pain."
"I could rape you."
"And i would make myself forget about it in the morning."
"I could scar you."
"I don't need my face to stay alive."
"How about your arm?"
"Well it has been useful but I’ll manage, I always do."
"There must be something you care about if not for yourself. What if i kill the person you love the most?"
"That would be suicide."
The fossil fuels have dried out and now independent companies fights to discover alternative energy recourses. At one of these power plants the smart and beautiful Vendela Parker works as a scientist. The task to introduce a new recourse on an upcoming science fair now lies upon her. Under time pressure and lack of ideas Vendela ventilates her frustration to her introvert but considerate co-worker Theodore Kent. Secretly infatuated with Vendela, Theodore hopes to be of assistance in order to gain her love.
Not far from the power plant Theodore lives in an old, ramshackle house with an eccentric artist and amateur fixer named Lydia. Even though his older, life-enjoying brother Joshua wants him to live downtown, Theodore would never leave his greenhouse for comfort. Fascinated about exotic biology, Theodore grows inside the greenhouse new species of predatory plants and develops them by manipulation on a cell-nucleus level. But due to his experimental manipulation an uncontrolled event takes place. An alga becomes mixed with a Venus flytrap and by accident they get knocked down into the soil.
A few days later the mixed substance has grown into a small plant. Theodore takes it as an unwanted weed and throws it into the garbage. But a seed from this new breed attaches itself to his sleeve. As he then makes his Friday traditional lunchbox of steak tartar the seed ends up inside the lunchbox.
The next day at the power plant Theodore opens the refrigerator to take out his lunch. Surprised he finds the box warm. Intrigued he and Vendela open it carefully and discover a green substance engulfing the minced meat. They understand that the heat is a result of the plants devouring process and that it might be used to produce energy. Believing they found their solution Vendela urges Theodore to help her develop this plant into a primary energy source. Together they construct a generator that surrounds the plant along with feeding it so it expands and therefore produces more energy.
In the beginning, it digests living rats but as it grows bigger larger animals is needed. As the science fair is starting Vendela leaves in order to launch their new discovery at the fair. She putts the responsible of the plants well being on Theodore’s shoulders. Of course, he gladly accepts. But as Vendela is gone the plant keeps growing and Theodore has a hard time controlling it and finding large creatures to feed it with. And one day when he comes into work he finds the plant in the middle of engulfing a co-worker.
Theodore now realises that the plant is becoming a threat but knows he must keep it alive. If not, Vendela would loose all trust in him and he would not only loose his job but her as well. He accepts what he must do in order to maintain its survival and embraces his new task. Unwilling to go as far as killing someone his first goal is the city morgue. There he seeks out a John Doe and brings it back to the lab. But as the plant rely entirely on external energy sources it needs fresh blood and meet to be able to absorb its protein and water.
Theodore then travels downtown to find a suitable object. Before long he finds a homeless man who’s willing to work for food and lures him to the power plant and into the lab. The plant then reaches for the man, gripping tight of his leg dragging him towards its green, leathery leaves, shortly engulfing him, slowly absorbing all the nutrition. As his plan worked and the plant produces even more energy from a human body Theodore sets out to find some more. But as he goes on he finds himself becoming more and more involuntary affected, resulting in an intense cold sweat and an unsound mind. But as Vendela counts on him he must continue.
Shortly Vendela returns from the science fair. As she then enters the lab, the plant reaches for her and Theodore dreads for her safety, realising he must tell her everything. Chocked by Theodore’s questionable actions and what the plant has evolved into, she urges him to destroy it. Theodore agrees and together they set out to find a way to terminate it secretly. But this appears to be easer said then done.
As the plant has grown it also seems to have become more aware of its surroundings, almost as a consciousness being it now fights back when they try to attack it. With no suggestions on how to proceed but knowing it’s far too aggressive and uncontrollable to ignore, they withdraw to Theodore’s home. But as they try to come up with a solution they learn that the board of directors, unwitting of the threat that grows nearby, has decided to display their new discovery.
The time has now run out and they have to stop this from happening before more innocent people are killed by this creature. As they run out from Theodore’s house, leaving for the power plant, Vendela notices a dead spot on his lawn. One of the sprinklers has leaked and the grass has therefore drowned. They now have the solution and all they have to do is to get to the plant before it’s too late. They shortly arrive at the display area inside the power plant. Like an old amphitheatre, rows of scientist and important sponsors watch as they haul the large plant in a glass cage to the centre. As Vendela tries to hide the reason why the plant so eagerly tries to reach the surrounding people, Theodore aims to start a fire so the sprinklers will be set off. And right before the plant succeed in grabbing one of the sponsors Theodore achieves his goal and water turns the strong plant into a squishy pulp.
Seemingly the story ends well. Their secret is safe and as a team Theodore and Vendela receive the task to develop another plant like the first. But this time they will monitor everything and exclude all predatory instincts. And as all happy endings Theodore also receives Vendela’s infatuation and their future seems happy and prosperous.
What they don’t know is that nature does not easily become tamed or controlled. Inside Theodore’s garbage can by the sidewalk the first plant he first mistook for a weed and through away has survived and grown undetected. And what started as a pleasant stroll for one of Lydia’s cats ends with a surprised attack by a green, leathery arm stretching out from the garbage can, grabbing the tiger striped cat in a swift move.