Category: 1000 Words

Elevation

I’ve had this ability for as long as I can remember. Jason calls it the elevation but I just call it upgrade. At first, we messed around with elevating all kinds of stuff, but it turns out that people get quite suspicious when your mini-van suddenly turns into a Ferrari. As I grew up, I realised I could do so much more than just upgrade things. I could repair them, copy them, downgrade them; I could even delete them.

Contrary to Jason, I believed it was in my best interest to keep my powers on the down low. Of course, I used them, what’s the point in having them if you didn’t? I just didn’t want to draw attention to myself; I didn’t think I can elevate my way out of jail.

But as all stories go, there was a turning point, and it came in the form of Janet Lily Sullivan. She was a decent looking lady with an alright figure. She worked in accounting, a couple of desks from my little office in HR. We first met at the company’s Christmas party; she would be my third girlfriend, and as fate would have it, my last.

We started dating quite a while after that; Jane (or Lily as she liked to be called) had such a bright personality. She made the every day seemed extraordinary; she made my life have a purpose.

It wasn’t a while later that she happened to overhear Jason talking about the elevation. She asked me and I couldn’t help but tell her the truth. After all, I thought she was different; I figured she was special.

It didn’t take long before Lily started changing. She wanted my gifts to be even more unique; according to her, I could just elevate them anytime I wanted. Soon, even the best gifts couldn’t sate her and even then she still wanted more.

It had been three weeks of her constantly begging me to upgrade her; I had told her, no, but she kept on and I finally gave way. It only took a few seconds, but it would change the rest of my life.

For the first time in a long time, she was happy; she was more beautiful, more fit, more everything that she had ever been and for a while, it was just fine. But of course, the questions came. What exercise did you do? Who does your hair? Did you get plastic surgery?

Tired of all the inquisition she finally let it slip, and that’s when it all began. Her story spiralled onto the internet; she even got appearances on shows. Meanwhile, I hadn’t gone to work in weeks; paparazzi had flooded my doors.

I managed to escape my house, living on the run. All this time she was becoming even more and more famous. It took me three weeks to track her down, and I did something I had never done before: I downgraded her.

So that’s my story, now I’m here under this bridge. Police have been looking for me for a while now; apparently what I did was illegal. Maybe I should just end it; maybe it was never a good idea in the first place. The only person that would miss me if I died was probably Jason, the only person who still cared. But I’m sure that he would live a much better life if I weren’t around. And so I reached for the top of my head, just under downgrade and I pressed…

 


In response to Everything has a small arrow and the word “upgrade” over it. Press it and you can upgrade the item into a better verison. You’ve used the abikity sparingly, new phones, better cars, however today you made the ultimate mistake. You pressed the button over a person from Writing Prompts.


 

Between The Flames And The Void

My mouth was dry. My lack of water intake combined the week-old chips that I ate earlier lead to a very itchy throat. The fact that I was surrounded by flames didn’t help much either. Smoke rises from what used to be my favourite coffee table; now mere lumps of firewood. In the corner, my wife’s favourite plant is set alight and I can’t help be glad I won’t be nagged anymore on the overgrown weed.

All around me cherished memories burn to the ground but I don’t have time to think. If I didn’t act quickly I would lose my most cherished memory; my son. He wasn’t downstairs, I had sent him to his room before the failure that is my wife’s cooking burnt the kitchen. I assured her we would laugh about it one day while I ushered her to safety and promised to get James.

Rushing up the stairs, I quickly got the the first floor of our two storey apartment. I made a sharp right towards the end of the hallway. The blue door was left open; James was not in the room. i checked under the bed, in the wardrobe and everywhere a ten year-old could hide. Knowing James he must have seen the fire and hid but where? I moved out of the room and into the corridors. Quickly I began ransacking each room; nothing. I was about to start the last one when I heard my wife calling my name.

I quickly rush to the window to check if she’s ok and I see Clarissa holding our little James in her hands. Her eyes, as well as mine, are full of tears and I can’t help but smile; not all of my memories are gone. I turn back around only to find the stairs gone. In their place, a sweltering wall of fire. I reroute towards the fire-escape at the other side but my path is blocked as well; the irony is not lost on me, just not appreciated.

I stumble on the floor; my head feels numb probably due to the lack of oxygen. I take a deep breath of smoke-filled air while I still can, I doubt it would get cleaner any time soon. I make my way, albeit shakily, to my only path of escape; the window. Ordinarily I would consider any person who thought of jumping out of a five storey building insane. I always wondered why people caught in fires never just braved through the fire instead of jumping out of the buildings. Now that I’m in the same situation I could understand the mentality.

I stare out of the window once more, considering my options. Either I stayed where I was and became a roasted ginger, in more ways than one, or I jumped out and became a red headed pancake. Neither of the options seemed pleasant but I doubted the jump would feel as painful as being burnt alive so I jump.

A mixture of emotions come running at me all at once. Fear, sadness, anxiety. Some say that your life flashes before your eyes as you die. The only thing I saw was the last 15 minutes of my life. James was angry because I wasn’t spending enough time with him. “What would happen if you were gone” he said, tears falling from his soft brown eyes. I assured him that I would always be with him but he wasn’t convinced. I sent him to his room because I was too tired and busy at the time. If I had known. The irony of these situations is that we always think we would do better if we could see the future but no one really can. And Dave Bonsky, a 30 year old man, is only realising this as he falls head first to the ground.

But I come to another realisation; I don’t want to die. I don’t want my last moments with my son to be some cruel irony. I don’t want to be lost to time just yet. I want to be there. And as the ground rushes upwards I hope, I hope that I can begin anew.



The Icognito Writer

Masks: Part 1

It was a cold day out, the clouds hung overhead. They looked like widows at a funeral; dark and prepared to burst at any moment. Collins took the brown coat today; they leather was faded, like many things in his life. The bus stop wasn’t far but Collins still walked briskly, he preferred not to be out in the open for too long. Collins took a right at Clarksons Avenue; boycotting the park. It was a longer route but it provided some shade, shade form the ever present eyes.

One of those eyes materialised in front of him in the form of an elderly man; walking cane in hand. The man, as old people often do, was moving at quite a leisurely place; that is to say he would lose a race against a snail. Collins crossed to the other side of the street; he didn’t want to cross paths with the man. Old people were very chatty and Collins feared that if he ventured too near, he too would be a victim of their mundane chit-chat.

As Collins turned the corner he heard a fragile voice behind him; a voice which meant that he was caught.

“Hello? Young man?”

Collins hesitated; should he ignore the old man and proceed onwards? Collins decided to push on but it was too late; the man had caught up.

“Hello there. Would you be so kind as to help an old man in need?”

“No problem,” Collins said as he turned around, hiding the scowl on his face. “It would be my pleasure.”

Collins took a closer look at the elderly man; he was not just your average everyday grandpa. He was wearing plain beige shorts; the quarter-length kind. His sandals were those brown ones made of comfy leather. Though he was wearing knee-high socks, his massive calves were still visible making the word Monday seem longer than it actually was.

Attached to his shorts was a pair of suspenders; classy. The entire get-up was completed with a red and blue checkered shirt which barely hid his well-defined muscles. Of course Collins couldn’t forget about the cane; it was made of wood with a nice lion’s head on top. Collins was bewildered; while the man’s outfit looked like things you could get at a dollar store, the man himself was clearly well built.

The man looked quite young; about 147 years old. His hair was mostly blond with the occasional streaks of old man grey. He was quite tall as well even though his back was bent. Collins imagined that the man would be much taller than him if he stood up straight. It was as if a white Dwayne Johnson suddenly became old and had a poor taste in style. Collins was so busy in analysing the man that he barely heard the question.

“…get to the station? Young man?”

“Sorry sir,” Collins said recovering his senses, “I was so busy appreciating your sense of style that I got lost in the moment.”

The old man laughed. “Don’t tell anyone,” he whispered, “but I got most of these at a sale for only 2 dollars each. Well the cane was 3 but still a bargain.”

Collins smiled, he was slightly off with his prediction.

“Anyways, what did you need help with sir?”

“No need to be so formal, I ain’t that old. Just call me Todd.”

“Well Todd, what can I help you with?”

“I’m trying to get to a nearby bus station but I’ve forgotten the way, old age and stuff like that. So if you’d be so kind as to direct me to Clocksworth, I’ll be much obliged.”

Collins fake smiled disappeared for just an instant. While it wasn’t far from here, Clocksworth was still a complicated place to get to; the old man would get lost if Collins simply gave him the directions, not that he cared. The problem was that Clocksworth was the station that Collins was going to. He thought of giving Todd the directions and going the other way but he didn’t have time; he was about to be late for work.

“What a coincidence; I was on my way to Clocksworth as well. If you don’t mind I would love to walk with you to the bus station.” The words flowed out of his mouth like honey; sweet and pleasant. Though Collins hated his job, he had the ability to sweet talk; that’s how he got his current job after all.

The walk to the station was quite tedious, at least for Collins. He had to put up with tons of questions, facts and “back in my days” that the old man posed all the while giving appropriate feedback when necessary. Collins wished that he was deaf; that way he wouldn’t have to put up with the man’s incessant talking.

When they finally got to the station, Collins took advantage of the large crowd and used it to split up. Within seconds he was at his bus stop waiting; he had five minutes left. Collins hated waiting at the stop; the air was filled with the scent of coffee, smokes and last night’s take out. Not to mention the badly done scrambled eggs and toast; the smell was so thick you could almost taste it.

Collins had considered moving to somewhere far more remote, but they didn’t pay as much. He figured he would just stay here for some years while he climbed the business ladder only to have an early retirement and an eternity of piece. He would probably move to a place with no humans around, like the bottom of the ocean or Australia.

The bus managed to come on time for once; a truly outstanding feat. Collins entered as quickly as possible, he was looking for a seat near the front; if he sat at the back he would be plagued by all sorts of questionable odours. Luckily for him, he found a seat right behind the driver. Hugging his briefcase, Collins sat down and prayed to survive the oncoming travel.

It was a long ten minute drive to Kingston. Many strange creatures boarded the bus on the way. One such creature was an alien covered in ink markings from head to toe, another had some sort of weird head ornament. The most infuriating of all as this creature whose body was so weirdly balanced that he had to wear his trousers where others would put their knee pads. Collins wondered why none of these people were being sent back into space.


 

The Coffeehouse

Tristan settled down in his usual spot; the third chair to the left from the right back corner. There he could see most of the people in the run down coffeehouse. The walls were moulding; their colours have long since faded. The chairs and tables creaked, threatening to break if you looked at them the wrong way. Damp air and the smell of cocoa filled the room; permeating through its very pores. Despite its appearances, Jameson’s served the best coffee, and almost everyone knew it. Men and women bustled through the door like sheep in a herd. Some had just finished their graveyard shifts and were heading home to rest while others were on their way to work; refuelling for the day ahead.

Most of the customers were regulars; just like Tristan. He sipped his coffee as he watched Nelson get two flat whites. He must have a rough day ahead; Nelson was more of a hot chocolate kind of guy. Rita was on the counters today, the 20-something Latino didn’t speak that much English; just enough to take orders and count cash. As usual, she was helped by Jason; a twenty-five-year-old body builder had been trying to get in Rita’s pants for as long as Tristan can remember. Since Jason was here, B.D was probably in the back making coffee. Despite being twenty-seven, B.D was often mistaken for a teen. His slender legs and arms were often mismatched with his big head. B.D was the sole reason that Jason still worked at Jackson’s. If not for his talents in the arts of coffee making, Jason would have been fired long ago for his advances on all living females. Too bad B.D had to be friends with the meat for brains.

Occasionally Tristan liked to take his mind off the coffee shop and turn his attention to the passersby outside. Men in their business suits, women wearing blouses and heels. One man was wearing such a ridiculous outfit that it reminded him of Sherlock Holmes except dressed in pink. Tristan liked to take a good look at their faces, watching their expressions as they moved through the crowds. Each one was unique but lost among a sea of suits and ties, of blouses and skirts. It was getting quite late (for this time of day), and Tristan was about to go back to his coffee when something caught his eye.

Out of the window, among a sea of black and white was a woman in a pale blue dress. She had black hair detailed with blue highlights and was wearing blue shoes, the same light blue as her dress. She walked into the coffeehouse; it was not as busy, but there still was a queue. Tristan stood up; he was running late. Not that he had anywhere to go to, but he was usually back at his flat at this time. As he passed the counter, he got a much better look at the lady in blue. Her eyes were blue, not the light blue of her dress but a deeper, darker blue – the colour of a stormy sea. She was wearing penguin socks which seemed out of place but fitted her in a weird way. Tristan passed by and went out the door.

Sure the lady wasn’t gorgeous, but she certainly was easy on the eyes. And maybe she was a bit weird for dressing in all blue, but Tristan had been wearing all black as well. But the most important thing was that Tristan was an observer, not a person to be observed. He had watched many relationships start in that coffeehouse and many more end. After all, Tristan was merely a no name reporter, trying to fulfil his dreams of writing a novel. Why should we waste his time on something that didn’t have that much hope? Why should he take a chance?


Tristan found himself back at the coffee shop; his feet had dragged him there. He scoured the room looking for the lady in blue, hoping that she had not already left. Luckily for him, she was still in the shop; on the third chair to the left from the right back corner. Tristan thought it must have been some kind of sign, that this was going to fail horribly but he braved on. Straightening his jacket he walked up to the table, thinking of what he might say. As he approached her, his mind went blank, and he said the first thing that came to his mind.

“You’re in my seat.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m sorry, it’s not every day you get up to find an angel dressed in blue on your seat”, Tristan said.

She laughed; a small, quirky laugh. “Forgive me, it’s not every day you get called an angel.”

“Well I am curious about one thing, is there a reason you angels dress in all blue?” Tristan asked as he took a seat.

“It’s to blend in with the clear blue sky you see.”

“Interesting, so angels operate using camouflage, this is what you would call a scientific breakthrough,” Tristan said with a small chuckle.

“It would seem so” she replied, taking a small sip from her coffee as she did so.

“Pardon me, it appears that you’re not ordering any coffee? Do you not like this coffeehouse?” she asked.

“I quite enjoy Jackson’s coffee; it’s one of the best in the state if not the entire country. In fact, I had just finished my own; a Mocha with extra milk and extra sugar.”

“No way,” she exclaimed,”That’s exactly what I’m having now.”

“But I doubt you know the professional way to take a Mocha.”

“You think an angel can’t make a Mocha? Well, I’ll tell you my secret; you add extra milk to give it that flavour.”

“And extra cream to give it that taste” Tristan replied.

“One spoon of sugar isn’t enough,” the angel said.

“And three spoons are too many.”

“And you mustn’t forget the chocolate sprinkles,” they both exclaimed before bursting into laughter.

Tristan was the first one to regain his senses, “Well it has been fun talking to you … hmm…. I just realised that I haven’t asked you for your name yet. What do I call you except angel or lady in blue?”

“Angel is just fine, but if you must know, the name’s Rebecca, Rebecca Collins but you can call me Bec. And you are?”

“Tristan Stands but most people just call me Trist.”

“Well Trist its been a pleasure meeting you. If I may ask, what do you do?”

“I’m a reporter, though not a very good one. I work for NAZ, just by the docks. Though my secret dream is to become a writer.”

“You work for NAZ?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s amazing!” Bec exclaimed.

“How so?” Trist asked, genuinely puzzled.

“I just got transferred here, I work at NDC over on the west coast and just got a promotion. So I’ll be here for a while working with some guys from NAZ while we discuss some projects.”

“Interesting, and if I may ask, what kind of projects?”

“Well, I’m a photographer and graphic designer so I’m in charge of the covers of some of our prints. The boys upstairs want to start a new magazine in collaboration with the guys at your company.”

“Isn’t that the new fashion magazine everyone’s talking about?”

“That’s the one. Anyhow, I was tasked with helping them so here I am.”

“Well, that’s a cool story, guess we’ll be seeing a lot of each other around then,” Tristan said as he got up to leave. It was becoming clear to him that Bec was way out of his league and he was a guy who knew when to quit.

“Are you going anywhere?” Bec asked, her voice a bit soft.

“Nowhere in particular, it’s just that you seem very busy and I wouldn’t want to take up any more of your time.”

Tristan put on his coat, he knew that things would end this way, but at least he tried. He put himself out there and now it was back to writing pages upon pages about all the silly little things that happened in this town.

“Wait!”

Tristan turned around to see Bec packing her stuff. Even when she was hurrying, she was still a sight to behold.

“Actually, my team hasn’t come in, and I haven’t been formally introduced yet, so I’m quite lost. If it isn’t too much of a bother, would you like to show me around?” she asked, her voice incredibly soft.

Ordinarily, Trist would have said no, he didn’t see much of a future between him and Bec, but she did make him feel something he hadn’t felt in a long time; hopeful.

“Sure, today’s my day off so I could be your tour guide. You’ll have to forgive me, though, I more of a shut in myself.”

“So you’re a vampire huh? I wonder what people would think when they see a vampire and an angel walking together.”

Tristan laughed, “Who says a vampire and an angel can’t be friends?”

Bec sulked for a moment before turning and giving Trist a kiss on the cheek. It wasn’t a long kiss but it was long enough to be awkward.

“Who says they can’t be more than friends?” she asked shyly.


Back in the coffeehouse, Jackson watched as an angel and a vampire walked down the street holding hands. He had seen Trist often come to his coffee shop, often when he was down. The wannabe writer had so many great stories, but he just didn’t know how to start them. All he needed was a good intro, and after all, all good stories start with a cup of coffee.