Over the years, I have written a number of short stories. For every one that is written to completion there are about five that don’t make it past the first paragraph. Here are a few of my failed attempts.
He had killed hundreds of thousands of men on the battlefield, but he could not control his bladder.
The three ghost ninjas appeared before him.
“Names we unleash upon your substance. I is Mekaky. This are Nojo, ain’t Mitserugi.”
“Greet to you as well.”
The nameless man stood alone in a seemingly endless desert. A gray haze smothered the heavens, which made it impossible to separate the earth from sky in the distant horizon because everything came together. He circled around himself to find nothing. If he walked in any direction it would surely be the start of an eternal journey from nowhere to nowhere. So he sat down and thought to himself.
In the midst of over twelve billion spirits he proclaimed his undying love to her. Of course this was preposterous since they would someday be sent to Earth as infants, and the odds of reaching maturity and joining as lovers was minuscule. Not only would they have to be sent around the same time period, but they would also have to find one another. It is like choosing one grain of salt, tossing it into the middle of the ocean, and then hoping to find it again. That is the reason why she told him to forget it.
It really wasn’t even a question, he would pick non-existence over eternal life on this planet in a heartbeat.
He turned the light off and closed his eyes in order to visualize a space beyond his normal perception. All he knew was limited vision, standard vision, and the time had come to see if his mind could really create anything new. Sure, it could recycle any experience in just about any way, but what about something truly original? His English professor had said, “We’re nothing more than filters of the world”, and since those words first entered his head, Tom felt unsettled.
In the beginning, there was nothing, a void. But, Tom thought, isn’t a void something? He wanted to leave thoughts of this nature behind, but they always stuck close. It only made sense to begin with nothing, or at least darkness without form.
“I remember the moment I realized that I wasn’t the center of everything,” he said.
Cindy was desperate for a man, but this guy wasn’t on the same plane.
“I was riding in the back seat of my parent’s car. It was raining. I don’t remember where we were going, but I guess that’s not important.” Her eye began to twitch. The food had not come yet. “I looked out the window at all of these cars at a four-way intersection. All of those people in all of those cars, and I didn’t know any of them.” She faked an interest. It wouldn’t be the last time. “I suppose it was at that moment that it hit me hard. If there are all of these people in the world, and they are all heading in different directions for different reasons, than the world is more than myself. People exist without knowing who I am, and I exist without knowing them.”
Tom glanced at the couple sitting in the restaurant as he walked by himself. It must have been just warm enough for rain. His jacket seemed designed to absorb moisture. This suffering is temporary and necessary. They can’t all be sunny days. Tom reassured himself of this truth many times during his walk.
Two young boys sat on their windowsill in order to watch the poor people get wet. It was more of an unchecked curiosity than a twisted pleasure.
“You know when you go to bed and you get that falling feeling?”
“Yeah, I know the feeling. It’s crazy.”
“My brother says you die for a split second when that happens.”
“No way. I don’t believe you.”
“Fine, but it’s true.”
The boys saw an ambulance splash a man on the side of the road when it tore through a puddle.
“Save him,” the dieing woman begged.
“We’re going to save both of you,” the paramedic replied.
The bullet had missed the unborn child, but it had pierced her stomach. Acid had already begun to eat away at her insides.
“You have, you have to save him.” Her voice was weakening.
“You need to save your energy.”
The woman reached out with her right hand and caressed his cheek. The paramedic didn’t make any effort to stop her.
“He’s special. Save him.”
A brilliant scientist discovered the secrets of time travel. Of course, the moment it happened, the entire universe ceased to exist: past, present, and future. The reason for this is that his discovery would inevitably lead to a time paradox, which shatters the perfect balance of existence. Fortunately for the scientist everything went back to normal after 500 trillion years of nothingness when the universe realized that if nothing ever existed then the scientist couldn’t have caused a time paradox in the first place.
His spirit looked out toward a strange world. Billions had already passed through the thin veil, but he didn’t care much for the numbers. What mattered more than statistics was his own well-being. Once a spirit entered the living realm, all freedom would dissolve. He knew this. They all knew. The last great test awaited him. One lifetime to find himself, and her.
The old nurse stood by herself in a sterile room watching the snow accumulate. She worried about her son. He commuted out of the city around this time. Not that he had a history of accidents. He was a responsible driver. But it didn’t help that every reckless driver ended up in her hospital. Sometimes she had to remind herself that most of the world wasn’t on the edge of death. At least not yet.