Longing

A short story by Jill Zero

 

You’re the first thing my mind recalls when I wake up and the last thing it pauses when I fade into sleep. I’ve never held you, nor have I truly possessed you in any way. At least not yet.

Right now you’re only a longing I can’t extinguish, existing as an idea. I ache for a day when the emotions unchain and release my love for you into the world, raw and vulnerable and powerful. So much is at stake.

I’m unable to confess how enamored I’ve become because others wouldn’t understand. How could they fathom the concept of pouring my heart and soul and aura into something so fragile, so delicate? Especially since you’re incapable of reciprocating what I feel. But that doesn’t stop me from wishing I could see my name on you, written for all to see, etched into your foundation. I’d press you against my chest and revel in the fact you’re mine, and I’d never take you for granted or cast you aside.

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Uncertainty

A short story by Jill Zero

 

My heart drums inside my chest with a desperate prisoner’s determination, each beat a frantic question.

Where do I go from here? Is anyone willing to assist me? What if I choose the wrong door? How do I figure this out? Hello? Are you listening? PAY ATTENTION TO ME!

Eventually, the pummeling impacts my breathing pattern; I press my right hand to the skin and bone above my heart, aiming to force it back if it bursts forth. It’s no use. My pulse rebels whenever it likes: a fact I should be well aware of by now.

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I’m Halloween, and I Deserve Some Damn Respect!

Hi, ladies and gents. I thought long and hard about writing this piece because I didn’t want to piss anyone off, but I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of being treated like a second-rate holiday. No longer will I stand aside and let other holidays soak up all the glory.

I’m Halloween, and I deserve some damn respect around here.

I’m tired of Christmas invading my month. She already gets 2 months to celebrate, with her foliage decorations and the same ten carols on repeat in every store, so why does she need to stick her big nose into October, too? It’s bullshit. October is my territory. But you know what? She doesn’t even annoy me as much as some of these other holidays, like Columbus Day or George Washington’s birthday. What do they have that I don’t have? Why do I always get the shaft? And why are people always so critical of me?

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Alive?

By Jill Zero

The wall outside the library is my favorite spot to smoke cigarettes. I like the coolness of the brick, which seeps through my shirt onto the surface of my skin, and I savor the rough texture against my fidgeting fingertips. It’s a silly privilege to lean there alone. No one bothers me. My mind drains the drivel and focuses solely on things that matter, such as senses and stars and solitude. Fine details manifest more rapidly when they’re unhindered by distractions.

Tonight is unfortunately not free from distractions, however. A group of people scatters and lines the sidewalk, fresh from the sports bar across the street. Two couples lean on each other in an attempt to disguise their level of drunk – unconvincingly, I might add – and one woman leads them beneath the streetlights like a pied piper who’s never worn three-inch platform heels. Her shiny silver shoes clomp and clack and bend her ankles at unsightly angles. I watch her with a sort of disgusted curiosity, wondering how she’s remained upright for half a dozen steps and estimating how many more steps it will take her to remove them and walk barefoot instead.

Ten, tops.

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A Navigator’s Guide to the Abyss

By Jill Zero

It’s impossible to see clearly in the abyss. Darkness swallows everything it touches. Once, there might have been crevices and crooks to grip. Once, a path may have emerged from the depths.

No longer.

Pitch blackness now consumes the light as if driven by insatiable hunger, the byproduct of heavy thoughts and broken dreams. The feeling is maddening to all who begin the decent; a complete lack of light will send the senses into a terror spiral quicker than anyone could imagine. I know the sensation well because I’ve been there before, thus earning my self-proclaimed navigator title.

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Letterbound

By Jill Zero

     He stood outside of the brown tri-level, motionless except for the slight tremble in his hand as he read the letter he’d been putting off reading for what felt like an eternity. His eyes grazed the page in silence and processed the words in a cavern he didn’t know existed within his brain. He reluctantly wrapped his mind around the well-chosen words as if they’d vanish from the page once he’d understood them. Funny, he thought, how much power words had after etched into physical form, and even when their authors had disappeared or had long been rotting in the ground. It was funny how specific passages leapt out faster than the others, too.

     You’re selfish.

     Deep down, he knew he should have read it sooner. The potential message had careened back and forth in his unstable subconscious for months, taunting him and haunting him and dripping with the thing he resented most – loneliness. But loneliness threatened to permeate his shell prior to receiving the letter in the first place. He wasn’t used to that. Some days it became so heavy that he swore it almost spawned within him, and he let it eat him alive. Then he finally gave in and dug out the letter from its hiding place.

     Letting go had never come easily to Frederick. And the letter was a one-way ticket to letting go.

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Dark Matters

By Jill Zero

     My dreams used to rebel with technicolor and holograms. Prisms exploded with hues I’d never seen before and the spectrum of light showed its face instead of remaining trapped inside of glass prisons.

     When I closed my eyes, I saw cartoon worlds where colors strayed out of the lines and no task was impossible. I saw snow-capped mountains unlimited by restrictions of reality and upside down rainbows like gemstone-studded smiles and creatures that never existed. I saw myself in violet and turquoise with sprigs of harvest orange and gold dotting the horizon. Reality was of no consequence when I escaped to said worlds, and time hid until I allowed it to emerge.

     But that was before my heart stopped. I haven’t dreamed in five years.

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