Monday, February 20, 2017

2nd New Short Story: The Wall

The Wall
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
The Wall.  The Wall was not made of stone.  It was not made of brick or wood.  It was as if someone had just switched on a vacuum, creating a void that inhaled anything, anyone in its path.  It didn’t matter if you were friend or foe.  Once in the void, there was no escape, and they had promised to release us.  That promise was a very long time ago.
In the beginning, the void was not so crowded.  Now, there was hardly any room to breathe.  Bodies constantly banged against another, but they hardly fell down.  They struggled to grip whatever invisible walls surrounded us, walls as black as night, and I cannot remember seeing daylight.  The skeletons have become dust underneath our feet.  A head went rolling past like a bowling ball struggling to knock down its pins but failing miserably before being swallowed by the darkness, and a child’s cry was like a siren in here.  My heart broke as many did for a child should not be here, but the Wall did not differentiate.
   I don’t know why I bother, but I keep myself moving, pushing through this endless sea of misery.  So many voices.  So many arguments.  So much confusion, and so much violence.  I find some that truly belong here, but the rest…  They’re just like me.  We have lost our ability to tell the difference between friend and foe, and when the truth comes out, it’s always too late.  So, we the pay the price for that failure, and I will spend the rest of my days here locked in-between.  But why should I suffer?  When will they release us, but the horror of that truth has already cut into me.  They can’t or won’t.  They feel safer keeping us all locked away, and for that, the future will suffer.
Maybe, there is a better way, but nobody has found it yet.  Maybe, there’s no money in it.  When did our veins become green?  The dollar is king, and I could use a burger.  When was the last time I enjoyed food?  When was the last time that I even slept?  If there was a hell, it would be in here, drowning in a dark and cold abyss, strangled by an endless sea of bodies rocked and broken by this world, and the children huddled at our feet, looking up in desperation that they want replaced with hope.  But Hope’s gone, silenced by Pandora’s Box, and all the evil locked inside now reigns.  We live in a very cruel and dark place, and maybe this Wall keeps the monsters at bay.  Or maybe we are the monsters desperate to escape.  I can’t tell anymore.  I’ve been here for too time, and still the Wall remains.  And more are consumed with each and every day.  Why am I here?  Why me?  I want to go home.  I want to live.  Are these words of innocence or monstrosity in disguise?  I can’t tell.  Neither can they, so they just continue to Wall us up inside.  And like those before me, I too will fall, and when I do, I will become nothing more than dust, a head to roam across the dark abyss because they can’t tell friend from foe.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Short Story: The Fate of the World

The Fate of the World
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
It felt like night time.  It was hard to tell without a window in the room.  The last time there was a window in this room, they didn’t take a shot at him.  They gave him a Molotov cocktail and turned the last few years of his term into an inferno, engulfing more than his legacy.  Then, we became the men behind the wall.  If they didn’t see us, maybe they would be quiet, confined to whatever decisions were made to ensure the future, but the future would never be for them.  It would always be against them, but that is how this world is run.  And now I am forced to play their enemy.
The new lottery shortly came out after Vietnam.  That war did so much damage, and we were never the same.  We would never be the same, and some brainiac designed that atrocity.  It would always be a male.  The age range began at forty and ended at seventy-five.  He had to have a family, leverage to be used against him, and some families have been wiped out.  Mine have already been sequestered, and if I was lucky, I would see them after the four years.  But I wouldn’t be safe.  My name was out there.  They knew who I was, and I would be a wanted man.  And for me to see my family again, it would probably be in a pine box.  Why did I have to score so high on the intelligence part?  If you scored low, some were able to weasel out of it, but if you scored high like me, then one way or another, they would be coming for you.  And now it was my turn, and I wanted to escape.  But there was only one door in and out of this place, and on the other side were heavily armed guards.  And they were not my secret service, and a bullet would find a way into the hearts of those I loved dear.  And they were most notorious for killing the children first.
The meals arrived three times a day.  The first would be at eight a.m.  The second at 1 p.m.  The last at seven p.m.  This was the only way I learned to tell time.  Those that arrived with my meals were forbidden to talk to me.  Sometimes, I caught their eyes.  Sometimes, their mouths opened as if to say something, but then they would look around the room in a wild fear as if we were being watched.  Were we being watched, and one of them showed me kindness.  And that one was soon taken to the farm, replaced by another drone.
Henry always arrived in a black suit, white shirt and red tie.  His hair was slicked back, and his shoes were flat and shiny.  This man never smiled a day in his life.  His eyes were as cold as the lump in his chest, and he always carried a manila folder with him.  Sometimes to my relief, it would be the small stuff, things that I might be good at resolving, but lately, those folders were getting larger and larger.  What the hell was happening to the world outside?
“A Russian submarine,” I gasped as another folder obliterated my desk.  “On our territory?”  Why was I even asking?  The facts were right here, all stuffed inside like a Thanksgiving turkey, and its stuffing was nuclear.  Jesus Christ.  If this went south, I would be responsible for World War Three.  “I can’t sign off on this,” I finally said, pushing my chair away from my desk and facing the man that mirrored death himself.
“You don’t have a choice,” his voice stung like a scorpion’s stinger.  “Sign the document.”
“If this goes south, I don’t want to be the one responsible.”  He dropped the pen into my lap.  He may as well as have just asked me to cut my wrist and sign in blood.  “No,” I said as I tossed the pen back into the mess left scattered on my desk.  “People could die.”
“People will die.”  He pulled out his cell phone and let it dangle in front of me.  “Last chance.  Sign.”
“No,” I yelled at him, but he didn’t even flinch.  The son of a bitch just smiled, and I knew who he was calling.
“Kill the daughter,” he said.
“Henry.”
“Wait,” he ordered to the man on the other end of the phone.  “Yes?”
“Please.  Please, don’t do this.”
“Shoot her,” and I could hear my wife scream on the other end of the phone.  “Now, the son.”
“Okay!  Okay.  I’m signing.  You want it in blood?”
“That’s not necessary,” and he ripped the document from my hands and stormed away.
“You forgot the folder.”
“No, sir.  I didn’t,” and he exited the room.
My wife’s screams exploded in my mind.  I could see her cradling our baby girl in her arms.  I could see my daughter’s blood, her innocence spill out across the floor.  I didn’t want her dead.  I didn’t want any of this, but that document…  That document could take away so many lives.  It could take away everything, and if anyone survived, they would know who was responsible.  And when released from this room, this place in four years, I would never be safe.  I wouldn’t even enjoy one taste of freedom before a bullet hit home.
  The next day came.  Breakfast didn’t.  It was hard to tell the time now.  Did something go wrong?  It was quiet outside.  Too quiet.  Have the rioters finally gone home?  The knot in my gut told me different.  They were dead.  They were all dead, and it was my fault.  I should have been willing to sacrifice my family and myself for the fate of the world, but I couldn’t do it.  I had to hope that war would never arrive at my doorstep, but it did.  And once blood was in the water, our enemies, my enemies would never be satiated until the end.
To my surprise, the door was unlocked.  It took a few deep breaths before I could open it, and those men that had waited outside armed to the teeth were lying in heaps of blood and bone.  Why was I not dead?  What were they waiting for?  Were they baiting me to come out and think that it was safe, and part of me wanted to retreat back into the room.  But I had to know.  Was I responsible for this, and what would wait for me beyond these walls?
The EXIT was just up ahead.  My footsteps quickened along the red soaked floors.  My hands shook.  My heart was ready to break, and my breath sliced down my throat.  Just another step.  Just another step, and then I was outside.  And the sunlight blinded me.
My hand slowly lowered away from my face.  Their shadows were many, a dark sea spilling out around me.  The sound of guns locking on target was deafening.  My eyes moved from the broken pavement up to the sky, and their flag waved back.  Our enemy, my enemy had claimed my home, and my body ignited into a million bullet holes.  But I never felt the ground.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Movie Review: The 9th Life of Louis Drax

Movie Review: The 9th Life of Louis Drax
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
They say that a mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Yet, we waste ours on mindless television, mediocre tasks at work, mind-numbing commutes, listening to endless babble on the radio, and by day’s end, our minds are screaming to be switched off.  Try to think tomorrow, if your mind’s not gone yet, and with the uncertainty and fear that now surrounds us in today’s world, who even wants to think about it?  It’s better to have the Ostrich Syndrome, where we stick our heads in the ground and think of nothing but dirt.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and if we could just stop for one moment, just one moment, maybe we would realize how intricate and secretive our minds really are with a labyrinth of fiction and imagination waiting to unfold and swallow us whole.  But do we need to die first to discover what truly lies inside?
In Stephen King’s book, Dreamcatcher, there is mention of a room with file cabinets cluttered with the thoughts and memories that we keep inside.  Most of our minds probably mirror a lawyer’s office with a cascade of papers flowing everywhere, but what if we could organize our minds?  What if we could tuck away our deepest, darkest secrets and lock them in a drawer, where nobody could access them?  Would we forget that it was there, or would a time come, where we would have to face the ugly truth, a truth that could set us free and finally end the nightmare?
We are not Professor X, no matter how much we want to be, and we’ll never be Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy.  Maybe, we’re Algernon, struggling to grasp what lies within reach, but the mind is its own machine.  It could splinter into a thousand thoughts, creating an alternate Identity, or it could devise its own escape as if trapped in a mortuary drawer like in the movie, The Jacket with Adrien Brody.  The mind is its own beast, and the illusion is that we think that we can control it.  But when our guard is down, it is the mind’s subconscious arm that picks us back up and leads us around and around as if we are searching for something, but we never know what that is.  We may never know what that is unless we find the drawer, where our mind has locked it away.  And it will always haunt us because we can feel the wheels of our mind turning, trying to tell us something, but are we listening?  What if it is not our own mind reaching out to us?  What if it is someone else, someone that feels safer in hiding but yet wants to be heard?
There are many horrors that lie deep within the mind, but what if they are merely shadows of what we cannot see in the real world like a soft beauty concealing a cold heart?  A tragic loss buried beneath a vicious crime?  An expectancy of life surpassing its expiration?  These horrors are nothing more than a heavy book waiting to fall and crush those below, but still we look because the darkness is looking back.  And despite its monstrous, black form, we realize something.  We realize that the darkness has a human heart, and its heart bleeds as if cut in two.  But we cannot stay locked away in a cave far from the world and forget all that we are.  We have to let go, no matter how hard the struggle.  We have to stop hiding and allow our minds to surface to try again, to live again, and that is the challenge.  That is the challenge for Louis Drax, and it is his story, his ninth life that makes us realize how fragile life really is and how the mind will always survive.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

2nd New Poem: Lingering Sand

Lingering Sand
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

I knew what waited under the sheet, 
and still I pulled the sheet away, 
revealing a large, monstrous hour glass. 
And its sand rained forth through the cracks 
on both sides of the glass. 
I couldn’t stop it. 
All I could do was watch my time 
pour onto the floor.  

New Poem: Jagged

Jagged
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

My throat is tight 
like swallowing jagged pieces of glass, 
cutting deep into my skin, 
threatening to cut off my oxygen, 
but it is really the media maniacal frenzy 
that refuses to fall silent 
but speak in venomous tongues 
feeding the frenzy of uncertainty 
that drowns us in frustration and fear. 
Why won’t you be quiet 
instead of shoving endless bullshit 
down my throat? 
Yes, we have lost. 
We have lost more than possibly imagined, 
and we are locked in protest. 
But those words are choked, 
and we are disquieted. 
We will speak, 
and our words will fall on deaf ears. 
It’s the great pumpkin that grins
a horrifying grin, 
and its sickly insides seep into alternate facts. 
Would you like a slice of pumpkin pie 
to soothe your wounds, 
coat your throat, 
and suffocate all that bile 
churning and boiling up inside? 
Its sweetness is beyond pure sugar 
for its taste will surely eradicate, 
and you will try to breathe. 
You will try to swallow. 
You will try to speak, 
but our voices have been cut 
by broken pieces of glass.  

Saturday, February 04, 2017