Gary opened the new deck of cards and enjoyed the feel of the linen finish. Eight riffle shuffles or so later he fanned the cards back out and noticed all the suits were still in order. Gary laughed at his luck and began shuffling again. Once again after doing about eight shuffles he looked, and the deck was still in order. Gary couldn’t believe this. He tried a third time, with the same result. He began to think somehow time was on repeat. He began planning how he could use his new found skill.
He did a Google search on the odds of this happening. It was one out of ten to the sixty-eighth power. That was as many atoms as there are in the known universe. Gary was so excited. He was a unicorn, a magical leprechaun, a force of nature. He then kept reading. There have been many cases of this happening, especially if you suck at shuffling.
Gary put the cards away and picked up a pair of dice. He always enjoyed playing with dice anyway. He rolled them three times and rolled double sizes each time. He threw the dice in the trash and walked away.
The attempts to slay the beast had been futile at best. This time Michael was more confident. He had found a new weapon that felt good in his grip. He had watched YouTube videos on how others thought the beast could be slain. Numerous blog posts were read, and Michael had even asked his followers on twitter, #howToSlayTheBeast. Through a thoughtful ten minutes of pondering, Michael knew he had the answer and set out to finish his quest.
Soon he was knee deep in the swamp and wondering why he was even there. It seemed impossible, red spraying everywhere off his weapon, but the beast didn’t yield. It bashed Michael to and fro, never giving him purchase. Soon Michael was covered as much in red as the beast was. “I’ going to die here,” Michael thought, but still he battled.
Days seem to pass when he finally found some sort of ending. Michael put away his red pen and looked at what had been his first draft, knowing once he made those changes he would be in a new place. He would have the legendary second draft. The battle would go one, but this time he would persevere. Carpe calamum!
I wanted so much to be able to see you over there with an Olympic gold around your neck, and here we are. It had cost me a lot of time, sleepless nights, and money helping you get that medal. I went to so many practices, had countless sleepless nights due to my nerves waiting for you to preform, and then the trials.
Well we both know how you did at the Olympic trials. I could not believe everything we had gone through imploded in that moment. I knew your life was over when you didn’t make the team. I couldn’t see you go through the rest of your life knowing you had missed your destiny so early. How many years you would have to watch others achieving your dream?
That’s why I found this gold medal. Yeah it cost me a couple of grand having that guys steal it from the German bobsledder, but it was so worth it. Especially seeing it wrapped around your neck as you sway in the breeze. I figured it was the best way to summarize your life. Now you will be even more memorable than if you had won it on your own.
The corpse of the barn lay upon the snow swept field, its sun bleached bones exposed to the elements. Carter shrugged off his backpack and gently sat down in the snow. He stared at the remains and wondered when the farmer had given up on the land upon which the barn sat, or had the farmer been committed back to the fertile soil and no one new had picked up the calling.
Carter pulled out his sketch pad and removed his gloves. He began drawing, using his snow pants encased legs as a cushioned desk. The cold wind attacked his fingers, causing them to both ache and become frustratingly numb. This made Carter smile. It helped him capture the barn in its death throes. Soon Carter had to admit that was as much as he could do in these conditions and he put away his picture. With one look around, he tried to capture the rest of scene for adding to his picture back in his warm studio. Mission accomplished, he began snow shoeing home. This physical workout had turned into a mental one as well, and that warmed Carter’s heart. Now just if his fingers would do the same.
Dried out memories rolled across my barren mindscape as I searched for a landmark, something to show me the way. Anxiety caused dust devils to swirl and dance, obscuring the horizon and leaving me feeling disoriented.
I began to stumble along the dusty surface of my thoughts, but every time I thought I had found something familiar, I had only wandered right back to where I had started. The sameness of my mind was foreign and scary.
Disembodied voices shouted all around me, but every time I tried to focus on them, they faded to echoes.
I tried to cry out, but only a shriveled inhuman cry escaped my parched lips. I slumped to the ground, closed my eyes, and cried myself to sleep.
“I’m sorry,” the nurse said. “George isn’t having a good day.”
Nancy looked at her father as tears escaped from his closed eyes and drifted down the deep wrinkles embedded in his cheeks. She gently whipped some of the tears away and gave him a light kiss.
“Dad doesn’t have many good days anymore,” she said with her voice breaking a little. “But I still love him.”
I finally felt comfort and smiled as I dreamed.
The waves ran onto the shore, advancing the front line, and establishing a beachhead under the watchful eye of the old man who was beaming in his full glory. Inch by inch, soaking the ground with their being, they advanced. Alas, after reaching a high point, the water retreated mere hours later, fleeing from the unseen enemy, morale broken. Wave after wave of reinforcements ran into the remnants that had been holding their ground, but those remnants were now fleeing back into the depths. This caused the reinforcements to crash helplessly short of the position the waves had previously attained, giving up precious territory that had been taken at considerable cost. The remainder of those that had taken the beach rested, their souls released to the sky to be born again in the heavens above. The retreat continued until the old man once again rallied his troops, hurling them towards the shore anew. Wave after wave poured their being into retaking what had been lost, the battle not finished. Over and over the battle was waged, but till this day no victor has been anointed, and the many tears shed for the fallen is why the ocean is so salty.
Margret meandered down the hallway, not looking at anyone in particular, but trying to memorize how each face perceived her. Her sudden head swings tried to take it all in, documenting for her future self how others looked into her eyes. Couldn’t they see it? It was right in front of them, but the pity she saw in those that would look into her eyes was so shallow that they would never find the depths where she hid her soul. Margret wished she could just scream, but she knew no words would come out. Everyone knew that about her. Just when it was about to get too painful to bear, Christopher came around the corner. He placed his muscular arm around her and began to guide her back to her room. She began to cry silently as always. Chris leaned in close. “It’ll be okay,” he said to everyone watching the spectacle. Soon they were back to her room, and Chris picked Margret up and placed her on her bed. “It’ll be all better in a bit,” he said as he closed her door, staying in her room. Margret tried to scream, but her voice betrayed her, just like Chris.