Tuesday, February 02, 2016

New Short Story: My Imaginary Friend

My Imaginary Friend
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

I was not born into this world like you were.  I can’t see.  I can’t hear.  My days are spent mostly inside a room.  When it’s really hot, I know it’s winter.  When it’s cold, I know it’s summer.  When the breeze drifts through the room, it’s either spring or fall.  To me, they are both the same thing.

My mother’s introduction is the hairbrush running through my hair.  It sends shivers down my body.  When she pulls, even though I don’t think she means to, I know she’s angry or sad.  I reach for her hand, and the air between us feels like a magnet lifting a nail off the floor.  How would I know such things?  I’ve been in this room for a very long time, and I’ve had a lot of toys to play with.

My father’s introduction is both frightening and thrilling.  He would lift me up in the air, toss me as high as he could, and I would stretch my arms out, begging to fly.  He caught me every time, pushing me into his chest, feeling his heart against mine.  He loved me so much.  Maybe, he loved me more than my mother for she rarely hugged me in such a way that when she leaves the room, I always feel cold.  All I want is one more touch, but she’s the one that pulls away.  But I know it’s not my fault, and they’re trying.  They’re both trying, and so am I.

Things changed when they brought the baby home.  I don’t know if it is a boy or girl.  The face feels so small, so wrinkly.  The baby squirmed in my arms, and after a long moment, the baby was taken away.  And an absence stole across my heart, but no, I was wrong.  We were still a family plus one, but my mother’s hairbrush became random.  And my father did not toss me up like a bird as he often used to, and this room…  This room started to feel like a prison.

It was shortly after that when he arrived.  He would take my hands into his and make me clap.  He would make me clap so hard, but it was not meant to hurt me.  It was his introduction, and when my hands began to throb, he would stop.  He would sit beside me.  How would I know this?  I could feel him.

He played with my hair.  Sometimes, he made a braid.  Sometimes, he would make a ponytail.  Other times, he would run his fingers through my hair, reminding me of my mother.  I would be so absorbed with the shivers running through me that I would never see the tickle fest coming, and he would tickle me until I couldn’t breathe.  And then we would both laugh.  I was assuming that I was laughing because my face stretched wide, and the air raced into my mouth.  I could swallow the world down, but then we would grow still.  And when he leaves me, I would feel that absence once more.

Some more time passed.  A breeze entered the room.  Winter was over.  The baby would be older now.  My parents hardly came in here except to feed and change me.  Maybe, once it got warmer, they would take me outside.  I loved feeling the grass against my feet.  I loved touching the flowers, feeling the sun warm my skin, the breeze rustling through my hair.  I wanted to go outside.  I was tired of being in here, of being alone, being trapped in this room.  It was only when he visited me that I felt alive, and here he was again.

Today, he seemed more quiet.  He played with my hair for a bit.  He pulled on my cheek, making me smile.  Then, I felt his hand over mine, and he was pulling me to my feet.  At first, I wasn’t sure of what he wanted, but then I realized that he was leading me out of the room.  And I was afraid.  I refused to go, and then I felt something wet on my cheek.  Did he just kiss me?

My heart soared, and I grabbed his hand in mine.  He led me gently down the stairs.  I recognized the stairs because my parents once helped me up and down the stairs, and before I knew it, we were outside.  The sun greeted me, and I slipped away from him, enjoying the wet grass beneath my skin.  I smiled, and I twirled around and around.  I twirled around and around right into his arms, and I rested my head against his chest.  That’s when I knew, but before I could do anything, my father lifted me up off the ground like he used to.  I thought he was playing, but then I realized.  He was taking me back into the house, back into the room.  Where was my friend?  Where was he?  Was he coming with me, but I couldn’t feel him.  So, I started to cry, and my parents responded by putting me in the bed.

It was some time before he arrived again.  He sat on the bed beside me.  He knew that I knew, but it was our secret.  And I reached for him, and finally, finally I felt him touch my hand.  It’s okay, I wanted to say, but he knew.  He knew.  He was after all my imaginary friend.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Man In The Snow

The Man In The Snow
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

My friend thought she was doing me a favor.  She heard about a singles gathering upstate this weekend, and she knew that I was alone.  She wasn't.  She had already met someone, and even with my cold feet, I knew she was right for pushing me.  I hated being alone.  I wanted love.  I dreamt of love, but all my relationships were nothing more than a series of train wrecks.

Don't get me wrong.  I do miss dating, and I had no problem meeting men.  It would just always end in one of two ways.  They would destroy me, or I would destroy them.  I wish it wasn’t like that, but it always seemed to be.   After the last one, I just gave up.  I didn’t need a relationship.  I was better off alone, but I’ve been alone for a very long time now.  And I'm tired of being alone.

I got to the hotel.  I was all set to check in, but then I saw all those people.  They were all there for the singles weekend, and the knots tightened in my stomach.  I couldn't do this.  I had to get out of there, so I did.  And a few miles away, I found this cute bed and breakfast inn, and I felt safe there.  I would stay there for the next two days, and then I would go home.

For the rest of the day, I drove around.  I enjoyed the sights.  It was mostly trees, and then some residential areas.  I stopped at an Antiques place and shopped around for an hour.  When I got outside, the weather had turned, and you could smell the snow in the air.  They said that snow was a possibility, but it looked like it was going to be definite now.  So, I hurried back to the bed and breakfast inn, and just as I got in, it began to snow.

I curled up in bed with a book in my hands.  I wasn’t a big electronics reader.  I preferred the feel of paper against my skin, the smell of dust and whatever aromas had lingered in that used book store near my home.  It was a Stephen King’s novel, and it chilled me to the bone.  But I couldn't put it down, and after a period of time, I fell asleep in the bed.

The room suddenly became viciously cold.  My eyes snapped open, and the book dropped to the floor.  I sat up and found the small, square window had opened.  Little flakes of snow were escaping into the room, and I hurried over to the window.  As I slammed it closed, the paper window shade fell to the floor.  I tried to fix it, but I couldn’t.  Fuck it.  I’ll just pay for it, but only if they know.  If they don’t, maybe I won’t say anything, and the room began to warm up again.  And I returned to bed.

I sleep on my right side.  It was the only way I could sleep.  Maybe, that was because of a surgery I had a long time ago, but as I laid there on my right side, I stared out the bare window.  The wilderness was almost black, but not quite.  The snow kissed the scenery softly, bringing a smile to my face.  It was beautiful, breathtaking, and I began to doze.  As sleep tried to carry me away, that’s when I saw him.  At first, he was faint, but then as it snowed harder, his appearance hardened as well.

I sat up in bed, meeting his eerie gaze.  His eyes were dark.  They weren’t brown, but they weren’t blue either.  His skin was pale, and his hand pressed against the glass.  He mouthed something, but I couldn’t understand him.  He leaned closer, staring at me, and I knew that he wasn’t going away.  And the snow continued to fall.  It slipped through him, and a tear crystallized across his face.  And I finally crawled away from the bed and toward the window.

I gingerly opened the window, trying to send some warmth his way.  The cold struck me back, angry at the intrusion.  Why didn’t he just go inside?  I’m sure there was room.  All he had to do was walk around the corner and come inside, but then the warmth touched him.  And he retreated.  He acted like the cold, angry at the warmth if it were like a slap to the face, so I closed the window.  And he stepped closer.  We stared at each other for a long time, and then he mouthed something.  It was almost like he was saying, good-night, and I blinked.  And when I looked again, he was gone.

The next day came, and I asked the innkeeper about the strange man.  She looked at me like I was crazy, and when the snow was shoveled away, I was free to walk outside.  My car was buried, so I won't be driving today.  Instead, I walked around the small building to my window, but there were no tracks in the snow.  He was there.  I knew he had been there, but there was nothing left in the snow.

Night slowly came.  I was bored.  Maybe, I should have stayed at the hotel.  Maybe, I would have met someone, but I did meet someone.  Why did he come to me?  Did he sense my loneliness?  Why didn't he come inside?  Who was he, and what was his interest in me?

The scenery again was almost black with snow clouds painting the night sky.  Yet, no more snow.  Just a cold chill, and the room was soft and warm.  Perfect for sleep, but just as sleep arrived, so did he.  And this time, I walked right up to the window to greet him, and he smiled at that.  I opened the window again, prepared for the cold, but tonight, it did not attack.  Instead, the cold stepped back, but a sliver of arctic air reached into the room.  And I felt light headed, almost as if a ghostly hand had touched my heart, and then it passed.

A song invaded my mind.  I wanted to dance, and I did.  I swept about the small room, twirling around and around, and I closed my eyes.  And I could feel him.  His hand slipped against mine.  His chin rested upon my shoulder.  His body gently swayed with me, and my eyes remained shut, feeling the cold air against my skin like a lingering kiss.  And then the song ended, and he drew a heart on my window.  He smiled once more, and then he was gone.  And as he disappeared, I fell into bed, disappearing into the deepest sleep I had ever known.

I awoke late.  It was almost past check out.  I quickly packed and hurried outside the room.  Luckily, I didn’t miss breakfast, and when I paid for the room, I heard that song.  It was coming from a record player nearby.

“I know that song,” and the woman swiping my card froze.  “I heard it last night.”

“That‘s not possible,” and she handed the card back to me.  “My fiancée wrote that song.  It‘s his song, and I‘m just playing it now.”

“What happened to him,” I asked.

“He died,” she replied.

“How?”  She seemed annoyed at my question.  “I’m sorry, but can I ask how?”

“He got caught in a snowstorm and froze to death.”

“I’m sorry.  He was a good man,” and she stared me as I stepped away from her and walked outside.

Once outside, I prepared myself to dig out my car.  To my surprise, the car was not only dug out but cleaned off.  It looked good as new, but not everyone was that lucky.  The others were still stuck where their cars were parked, and it would take them awhile before they could escape home.  And I didn’t have to wonder or ask.  I knew who had done this, and I walked to my car.  As I got inside, I began to hum.  I hummed his song. 

An Artist Speaks Features Melissa R. Mendelson

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Poem: The Man In The Snow

The Man In The Snow
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

There’s a man outside my window.
Why he’s there?
I don’t know.
He stares at me all night.
His breath on the glass begins to glow.
He stands rigid like a statue.
He talks really low.
He’s often not there
except in the snow.
Is he watching over me?
Is he my friend or foe?
When he’s not with me,
where does he go?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Between The Lines

Between The Lines (Old Story)
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

“Morning, John.”

“Is it?  It’s hard to tell when there are no windows in the room and bright lights on the ceiling.”
The man laughed as he took off his brown overcoat and felt hat.  His black suit underneath appeared to be something a lawyer would wear, but this man was no attorney.  His bald head with the exception of brown hair on the sides and in the back gleamed from the ceiling lights as his brown eyes focused on John.  His black loafers scratched the floor as he turned to examine him.

“How are you feeling?”

“That’s redundant, isn’t it?”  The man smiled.  “Your friend enjoys using me as a piñata.”

“My friend…  Oh, you mean Teddy.  He’s not my friend.”

Moving away from him, John said, “I’m sorry, but you haven’t even told me who the hell you are.  I would also like to know why I am here.”

“You can call me Xander.”  The man stood up from the bed.  “Now, before I answer your questions, you have to answer mine.”

“Fine since I’m obviously at your mercy.”  John picked up a pillow in a white sheet from the bed and placed it behind him.

“What is the last thing you remember?”  Xander crossed his arms in front of his chest.

John looked at Xander and then at the mirror.  He tried to concentrate, to remember.  However, he drew a blank.  Only Valerie’s face stood out in his mind.  “Val.”

“Oh.  She is indeed a beautiful and talented girl but very troubled.”  Xander continued to stand by John’s bed.

“Is she why I am here?”

“In a way, but back to my questions first.  What year is it?”

“What?”  John realized that Xander was serious by the stern expression on his face.  “It’s 2001.  I remember leaving work.  It was deadline day at the newspaper.  I was driving home around three in the morning, and…”

“And…” Xander looked at him.

“Something happened.”  John looked confused.

“Would you believe me if I said that it was September 8, 2002?”  John looked shocked.  “It is.”

“It can’t be…” John looked at Xander.  “What did you do to me!”

Before Xander could react, John lunged at him.  He grabbed him by the shoulders and knocked him down to the floor.  He started to choke him when Teddy ran into the room, putting John in a chokehold.

“Let him go!”  Xander rubbed his throat as he stood up from the floor.

“But, sir…” Teddy saw the stern expression on Xander’s face.  “Yes, sir.”  He dropped John onto the floor, who gasped for air.

Xander watched Teddy leave before he leaned over John.  He touched the scars on John’s temples before looking at the bruises on his arms.  He moved away as John watched him.

“There will be no more injections.  You will get a regular meal.  When you have to go to the bathroom, knock twice on the door, and Teddy will take you.  Do you understand?”  Xander sighed as he saw tears slip down John’s face.  “In the meantime, you should be grateful to me.  I saved your life.”  He grabbed his overcoat and felt hat from the bed.  “But don’t believe me.  Instead, believe the newspaper that you worked for.”  He pulled a copy of the paper out of his overcoat and threw it at John.  “I’ll be in touch.”  He left the room.

Rising from the floor, John unfolded a copy of the Black and White Print.  He read the front page and collapsed onto the bed.  The newspaper fell from his hands as he closed his eyes.  He heard the newspaper kiss the floor as the headline flashed in his mind: Black and White News Reporter Dies In Tragic Accident.

Hours later, John was finishing a hungry man meal when Xander returned.  This time, he had a wooden chair in his hands.  John shook his head and wiped his mouth with a paper napkin.  He finished his can of soda before looking at Xander.  “I have questions for you.”

“I bet you do.”  Xander placed the chair between the bed and dresser.  “So, ask them.”  He sat down on the chair but did not take off his felt hat or overcoat.

Pushing the tray aside, John looked at Xander.  The man seemed warm, friendly, but John got the impression that underneath the man’s facade, he was really cold.  This man was no doubt involved in the government especially with the man outside referring to him as sir.  The first question, however, was to ask how he got here.

“What happened the night of the accident?”  Xander folded his hands in his lap.  “Obviously, I never died like the paper said.”

“No, you didn’t die.”  Xander stared at John.

“So, what happened?”

“Well, as your paper stated, it was a Tuesday night, your usual deadline day, and you were driving home around three o’ clock in the morning.  The roads were wet from the rain earlier that night, and as you made a sharp left turn onto the expressway, you slid across the road.  Just as you recovered, a truck rammed into the back of the car and sent you spinning into another car.”

“Now, you wouldn’t have had anything to do with that accident, would you?”

“Why would you ask such a thing?”

“I don’t know.”  John shrugged.  “Maybe, because I do remember you.  I remember seeing you with Valerie outside the newspaper office, or maybe, because I remember seeing you in the coffee shop the morning of the accident.”  John glared at Xander, who looked at him.

“We had nothing to do with that accident.”

“We?”

“You were only being watched.”

“Watched?  Why?”  Xander looked toward the mirror against the wall.  “Because of what Valerie found in my journals?”  Xander looked at him.  “That’s it, isn’t it?  That’s what led me here.”  John leaned against the wall.  “She betrayed me.”

“She was doing what she thought was right.  She was trying to help you.”

“Bullshit!”  John shook his head.  “So, how did you find her?  How did you know to find her?”

“John…”

“Was it by accident that you found her, or were you watching her too?”

“John…  Valerie came to us.”  Xander hesitated as he took off his felt hat.  “I did not tell her to leave you, but Valerie could not handle what she had read in your journals.”

“The bitch was not supposed to read it!”  John sat up in bed.  “She promised not to read it.  She promised!”

“What did you really expect, John?  Did you really think that your secret would remain hidden and the two of you would live happily ever after?  A secret like yours could never stay hidden for too long.”

John ran his fingers through his hair when he touched the scars along his temples.  He traced the lines for a few minutes.  He looked over at Xander and realized that he was tense, maybe waiting to see if he would be attacked again.  Xander’s hand was hidden under his coat and seemed to be resting on something.  “Why do I have these scars?”

“Are you ready to hear the truth?”  He studied John.  “Or should I move my chair further away from you?”

John laughed.  “I promise that I will not attack you.”  He smiled as Xander moved his chair closer to him.  “I just want the facts and only the facts.”

Xander’s face became grave.  He folded his hands in front of him and leaned closer.  He cleared his throat and looked at John.  “You almost died that night.”  He watched John but got no reaction.  “We had a car tailing you, and they witnessed everything.  Reacting quickly, we closed off the area and flew you off to an undisclosed hospital.  We kept you under the name John Doe until we knew what to do about your status.”

“My status?”

“You were in a coma.  You’ve only been out of it since the last two weeks.”  He looked down at his hands.

“Where did I die?”

“What?”  Xander realized what John had asked him.  “Oh.  You supposedly never survived the accident.  You were declared dead at the scene, and your body was brought to the morgue.”

“Wasn’t my body identified?”

“No.  Nobody identified your body.  It was put in the ground the very next day.”

John looked at the floor as he digested all that he was told.  He felt the urge to attack Xander, but he knew that he was hiding something underneath his coat.  Why else was his coat still on, and what was his hand resting on before?  Warm tears ran down his face as he looked at Xander, who only looked sympathetic.  “And the scars?”

Xander hesitated as his eyes shifted toward the mirror on the wall.  “We didn’t know if you were going to wake up, so we had tests run on you.  We wanted to have an idea about your secret, in case you did die.”  Xander leaned back in his chair.  “However, the tests showed nothing.  They only showed a normal, healthy man.”

“So, where do we go from here?”

“That’s being decided.”

“By your superiors?”  Xander looked surprised and then annoyed.  “I guess you take orders too.”

“Yeah, well, I took up enough of your time right now.  I’ll be back later to check in on you.”  Xander rose from the chair, leaving it behind.  “Is there anything that you want?  Anything you want me to bring back for you?”

“A watch.  At least, I’ll know what time and day it is.”  John laughed as Xander did, but he stopped laughing the minute the door closed behind him.  “You son of a bitch,” he muttered to himself.  “Hey!”  He jumped off the bed.  “Hey, I have to use the bathroom.”  He stood in front of the door.  “I have to use the bathroom.”  Then, he remembered and knocked twice on the door.
 
Teddy opened the door and gestured for John to follow him.  He pushed John forward as he closed the door behind him.  As Teddy trailed behind him, John took in his surroundings.  They were in a long, white hallway.  Bright lights above blinded him, and his bare feet softly echoed on the white, tiled floor.

Pausing outside the bathroom door, a familiar ring caught John’s attention.  He stood still as he tried to recognize it.  He realized that it was an elevator, and if an elevator led to this floor, that meant that there was a staircase and a possible fire escape.

“Move.”  John jumped as he felt a strong hand on his shoulder.  “Let’s go.”  He looked at Teddy.

“I need my privacy.”

“Forget it,” Teddy growled at him.

“Look, it’s embarrassing for you to watch me go.”  Teddy growled.  “Where am I going?  There are no windows or other doors in this bathroom.”  Teddy shook his head.  “I really need my privacy.  Please.”

“You have five minutes, and then I’m coming in there.  I don’t care if you still have to go because I will drag you out of there.  Got it?”  Teddy looked down at John.

“Got it.”  John entered the bathroom.

“And don’t lock the bathroom door.”  Teddy put his hand against the door just as John was closing it.

“Okay.”  John closed the door as Teddy moved his hand away from it.

After closing the door, John scanned the bathroom for anything that he could use to help him escape.   The white bathroom only had a toilet, shower, and a sink with no medicine cabinet above it.  His eyes fell on a plunger left by the toilet, but he could already imagine Teddy splintering it.  He was trapped.

Sitting on the toilet, John put his face into his hands.  He looked up at the bright ceiling and clenched his hands into fists.  His feet snapped at the tile floor below when a sound caught his attention.
Looking down at the floor, John noticed a large, white tile had slid out of place.  Bending down, he scooped it up in his hands.  His eyes ran over the square, and he noticed that the edges were sharp.
“It’s worth a try.”  John folded his hands over the tile.

A few minutes later, Teddy erupted into the bathroom.  He glared at John, who remained on the toilet with his pants around his ankles.  Shaking his head, he noticed that John was holding his stomach.

“What’s wrong,” Teddy asked.

“I don’t know.”  John grimaced as he looked at Teddy.  “It may have been those hungry man dinners, or my body is still recovering from those drugs that you were giving me.”  He grimaced in pain again.  “My stomach really hurts.”  He looked at Teddy.  “I need something.  Do you have anything?”

“No.”  Teddy frowned as he stood over John.  “Let’s go.  I’ll get you something once you’re back in your room.”

“Are you kidding me!”

“Do I look like I am kidding you?”  Teddy knelt down toward John.

John lunged upward.  His fist connected with Teddy’s jaw, and Teddy staggered backward.  He grabbed his pants with one hand as he struck Teddy again with his other hand.  As Teddy fell down to the floor, John dropped the tile next to him.  He flew out of the bathroom and ran around the corner toward where he had heard that familiar sound.  He let out a loud cry when he saw the elevator.
Entering the elevator, John fought back his tears as he hit the button for the lobby.  He fixed his pants as the elevator descended down to his destination.  He was almost there, he thought.  He was almost there.

As the doors opened, an unpleasant sight met his eyes.  He was in a basement.  Grey cinder blocks stood before him, blocking his escape.  He tried to push past them, but the elevator doors closed him back in.

Frantically pushing any button to stop the elevator from moving upward, John realized that there was no escape.  Somebody knew he was in the elevator.  Somebody was waiting for him when it stopped.  What would he do, he thought.

As the elevator doors parted, John lunged out and into the arms of two security guards.  He swung wildly and connected with one guard, who fell to the ground.  He turned to the other one and bit him on the arm.  Then, he ran, but Xander appeared before him.  He froze at the intensity of rage burning in Xander’s eyes, and a moment later, Xander shot him with his gun.

“I’m sorry, John.”  Xander lowered his gun as everything went black.

Staring up at the ceiling, John rubbed his chest.  He slowly sat up in bed as he looked at the puncture wound on his chest.  He realized that a large dart had struck him instead of a bullet.

Rage filled John as a primal scream escaped his lips.  Snapping out of bed, he grabbed the wooden chair that Xander had left in the room.  He smashed it against the mirror, and thousands of shards rained everywhere, revealing a black mirror hidden behind it.  Sensing that Xander was on the other side of that black glass, John smashed the chair again and again against it, but the chair shattered instead.

John backed away.  He stared at the floor, noticing a long shard near his feet.  He picked it up and looked up at the black glass.  He slowly raised it into the air.  Then, he placed it against his neck.

“No, John.”  Xander’s voice echoed from the black glass.   “John, don’t do it.”  John closed his eyes as a spot of blood formed under the shard.  “We are not going to kill you, so please, put the shard down!”

“Fuck you!”  John opened his eyes to glare at the black glass.  “Fuck you.”

Closing his eyes, John took in a deep breath.  The pain in his neck itched and begged to be silenced.  His hand was growing tired as the shard grew heavier.  It was now or never.

The shard splintered into a million pieces as John threw it to the ground.  Tears ran down his face.  Blood stained his neck.  John glared at the black glass in front of him.  “You win, Xander.  You win.”

Shortly afterward, Xander stood before John, who sat on the floor in the corner of the room.  He was not wearing his overcoat or felt hat.  His holster was empty.  He was only holding one of John’s journals.  “I’m sorry, John.”

“For what?”  John looked at the journal that he was holding.

“That this had to happen to you.  You didn’t have a choice, but you couldn’t run from it either.”  John’s eyes remained locked on the now open journal.   “All these people…  They were all asking for your help to save them, but you didn’t.”  Xander looked at him.

“I couldn’t.”  John closed his eyes.  “I was afraid to.”  He looked at Xander.  “So, I guess I am being punished for that.”

“Maybe.”  Xander looked at him.  “Maybe not.”  He knelt down toward John.  “If you agree to work for us, then every time you have a premonition, you can save them.”

“And what do I get out of it?”

“You can have a life again.”  Xander helped John to his feet.  “You have no reason to trust me.”  Xander hesitated.  “I also shot you.”

“Yeah.”  John rubbed his chest.

“But you would be a fool not to take the offer, John.  Work for us.  Have a life again.”

“That’s it?  Is that the best you can offer me?”

“What else can we offer you?”

“My old life, for starters.”  Xander shook his head.  “Oh, that’s right.  You took that away from me.”

“John, somebody such as yourself with a rare ability to…”

“Stop.  Just stop right there.”

“At least, take some time to consider my offer.”

“And what if I just chose to walk out of here without your offer?”

“You know very well that I can’t just let you walk out of here, and you know what the alternative is.”

“So, I have no choice really unless I play prisoner again.”

“We’re beyond that, John.  You’re going to have to make a choice.”

“You could let me go.”

“John, we can’t.”

“I said you could let me go.”  Xander looked at him.  “You know this is wrong.  You know everything that I’ve been put through is wrong.”  Xander looked toward the door.  “I was never the one who had to make a choice.  It was you.”  Xander looked at him.  “My life is in your hands, and you have to decide what to do with it.”

“It won’t be much of a life that you’ll have with always looking over your shoulder.”

“It will still be my life.”

“And John Daniels is dead as far as anyone else knows.”

“I’m not John Daniels.”  Xander looked at him.  “I’m John Doe.”

“They will find you, John.”

“Let them try.”

“And will you continue to run from yourself as well?”  John looked down at the journal in Xander’s hand.  “This is who you are no matter how much you try to deny that.  You can’t escape your destiny.”

“I understand that now.”

Xander smiled and shook his head.  He looked toward the door, knowing that Teddy was still standing guard.  “Teddy!”

Teddy entered the room.  Glaring at John, he turned his attention toward Xander.  He studied the firm expression on his face.  “We’re letting him go, sir?”

“Yes, we are, so stand down.”

“I will, but only out of respect for you, sir.”  Teddy turned to look at John.  “I hope you know the consequences that this great man will face because of this.”

Relieved, John said, “I do, and I’ll always remember this.”  He walked out of the room.

“John?”  John turned to look at Xander.  “Do you want this?”  Xander gestured to the journal that he was still holding.

John stared at the journal for a moment.  “No.”

“John?”  John turned to look at Xander again.  “You forgot this.”  Xander tossed him a silver Rolex, and John caught it.  “Teddy, make sure he gets out of the building safely, and then he is on his own.”

“Yes, sir.”  Teddy followed John out of the room.

A moment later, Xander remained in the room alone, thumbing through the journal.  He sighed and closed the book.  He looked around the room and started to leave.  Then, he paused and looked at the black glass.  He smiled.  “Good luck, John.”  He moved toward the door.  “We’ll be watching you.” 

Saturday, January 02, 2016

When I Listen To Music

When I Listen To Music
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

When I listen to music, I want to disappear.  I want to melt.  I want to feel.  I want to be alive.  As far back as I can remember, I held onto that record player, looking for that song that would awaken my heart.  Over time, I found many songs, many favorites.  Now, it’s become a search for that one song to remind me that I am still here, I’m still alive, and I melt, I fade, and I feel the Lorraine Maher’s Drowning Song.

Music will always have a place in my soul, and not just one genre.  I’ve listened to them all.  The Jazz.  The Blues.  The Orchestra.  The Rockers.  The Hard Core Heavy Metal Bangers.  I love R&B, but most Rap to me is velocious.  I like Eminem, though.  I love his passion, and now I have a new favorite, Tre Houston.  The piano sounds.  A flicker of heartbeat, and his voice erupts, emotion in turmoil thundering and rolling over every word said.  Instead of disappearing into song, I’m still.  I’m here, listening, understanding.  I’m Gone Soon, molding into the Ode to Peace, and then the music ends.  But it lingers.  It stays.  It holds, and I feel all that I cannot feel.  That is music.

And music will always find my heart.  A simple flick of the radio.  A random song like Prayer In C by Robin Schulz, Believe by Mumford & Sons, and Crystals by Of Monsters and Men.  I’m no longer caged in this real life.  I’m no longer empty.  I’m no longer a rat in a rat race, and I hurry home filled with inspiration.  I pop open the laptop, and I start to write.  I start to dream, flowing along the deep sea of poetry by Saint John and The Revelations, and the stories Take Me with No Way Home until the stories are done.  Or they take a rest as another song comes to life on my iTunes Playlist.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Channillo Series: Lizardian/Online Publications

Lizardian is only available on Channillo.com.  You have to pay for the subscription.  It's $4.99, but all subscriptions are going to The Leary Firefighters Foundation:  https://www.learyfirefighters.org/

http://channillo.com/series/lizardian/

Online Publications:

Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine:
Doll House (Short Story): 2007
Essence (Short Story): 2010
When The Dust Settles (Short Story): 2011

Gadfly Online:

2011: Passenger; No Leaders Among Men

2012: We Are The Villains Of This Story; Letters Cast Away; Leaving Nowhere Behind; After Dark: My Favorite TV Shows; My First Taste of Road Rage; Bleeding Through Reality (Let The Fiction In); Rampage; Going Haywire

2013: Living According to Tolstoy; Welcome Back to Tango of the Road Rage Drivers; When I Tried To Become A 9-1-1 Operator; Alarm Set; King of the Lonely Hill; Never in Stone; Saving Gifted Men and a Touch of Paranormal; (Alien) Baby Got Back; Glass Eyes; One Way Ticket; Friendship Rises Over The Dead Zone; Hail to the Three Kings, Baby; The Death of the State Employee; Heroes in Dark; Beyond The Spielberg Dream (My Love of Science-Fiction); A Brief Glimpse Over The Edge; Ghost in the Sands of White (For Walter White); Bye, Bye Mr. Burn Notice Spy; Simple Thoughts; Feeling Yourself Explode (My Take on Being Mad as Hell); Never Meant to Love

2014: Burning Down The Doll House; Over The Porch; Concrete Dreams; Front Page; Cruising Along Fate's Darkness; Where I Hit Record; The Trouble with Past Lives; NeedlePoint; Rhythm of Life; Checkmate; The NY State of Mind Does Not Brake For Enlightenment; You Killed Me Before; Guns Talk (A Parody of 'Little Talks' by Of Monsters and Men); Bleu Room with a Red Vase: Catching A Star At Jones Beach; Dialing The 4400 (A Parody of Adele's song, Set Fire To The Rain); 'Slip and Fall': A Review of Nick Santora's 2007 Thriller; Movies That Speak Volumes; Faded Shades of Rainbow; Remembering The Final Cut: Dedicated to Robin Williams; Don't Forget To Tip Your Cows; Lies (Parody of Sia's song, Chandelier); I Am A Clone; Here We Go Again (Another Tango Driver); Gold Beyond Blue; If Sam Axe Died; Unions; Fragments of Broken Youth; Extra, Extra; D.T.A.; Footprints in Sand; Alien Dream; Along The Rails; Cellar Dawn; Seeing Through The Facade; Blonde Android Shutdown

2015: Flirting with Revolution; Wanting to be a Cool Kid; The Silent War We Wage; Taking On The Universe; 24 Won't Come Back No More (Parody); Death Made a Pie; Spirits Among Us; Underground; Book Review: The Branches of Time; Gone Without a Trace; The Parachute Kids; The World is not Black and White; The Quiet Room; War Of My World; Remains of Peace; Carry On Winchester Sons (Parody of Kansas's 'Carry On Wayward Son'; Hanging Out in the Drive Thru (Parody of Train's Drive By Song); Book Review: Fifteen Digits; A Bitter Mockery; Blazing Eagle; Comic Book Heroes Gone Wild (Parody of Skid Row's "Youth Gone Wild"); Broken (Parody of Rihanna's "Diamonds"); The Waiting Room; What If Heaven Were Really Real?; The Tin Man's Heart; Missing Horror Movies of Days Long Ago; Iron Thorns; Gone But Not Forgotten

Mouse Tales Press:
Waiting (Short Story): 2011
Clay Pigeon (Short Story): 2012
Bittersweet Farewells (Short Story): 2013

Fiction 365:
Discussion (Short Story): 2011

Jolt Literary Journal:
One Mile Left to Go (Short Story): 2012

The Useless Degree Magazine:
Touch of Winter (Short Story): 2015

Bewildering Stories:
Summer Over The Death of My Youth (Short Story): 2015
I'm Better Off With a Cat (Flash Fiction): 2016

WildSound:

Poem: A Child's Dream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjE12-BCy0c

Porcelain Log Line: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/porcelain_by_melissa_r_mendelson.html

Glass Skies Over Home Log Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE3usyyYlCE

The Unknown Rider (Winner of Twitter Short Story Contest):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCAMLsxZzRM

Waken Dream Log Line: http://wildsoundfestivalreview.com/2015/07/12/video-pitch-for-waken-dream-novel-by-melissa-r-mendelson/

Lizardian Log Line:  http://wildsoundfestivalreview.com/2015/10/16/video-pitch-for-lizardian-novel-by-melissa-r-mendelson/

Poem: Fragments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8tsG8Vesj8

Bystander Magazine:
Glimpse Over Darkness (Poetry): 2015

Antarctica Journal

Poetry:
Shining Through The Echo (For Robin Williams);  Are We Real;  Behind The Door;  Here;  Stone Slate;  Dream Always;  The Hole Within Us;  In Shadow;  Memorial;  Scarred; The Hole Within Us; In Shadow; Memorial; Today

Art/Photography:
Farmland;  Kayaker;  Blue Surface;  Silent Post;  Who's Ready For Church;  Fog Rolling In; Manhattan (4 Photographs); Country Fair (4 Photographs); Long Beach, NY (4 Photographs); City Drive (4 Photographs)

Song Lyrics:
Remember;  Shut;  On White Wings I Fly;  Comic Book Heroes Gone Wild; Supernatural Love; I Am A Clone; I'm Not Coming Home For Christmas

Music Review: Spaceship and "Shake Time Loose"
Book Review: Lizardian
TV Review: Just Talking About Science-Fiction