Standing outside my uncle’s apartment in the city I could see lights and shadows coming from two of the third story windows. A man appeared pulling the curtain open at one of the windows and I quickly pulled back into the darkness. Uncle had inherited the apartment from his brother my deceased father. He never believed the wild stories, but had somehow held onto the apartment out of some sense of loyalty. After his divorce uncle moved into the apartment and had all of father's belongings stored in the second bedroom. It was there that I had been born and lived until my mother left me and my father. She had had enough of his rantings concerning the stories he told me as a child then later as young man.

I waited for hours before stepping out from my hiding place in the dark alley across the street. A car pulled up and two men stepped from the doorway of the building. One went straight away into the car while the other remained on the steps. He looked the street over. What was he searching for? The second man slowly walked down the steps and entered the car and they drove off. In a u-turn the flash of the headlights nearly caught me as I quickly backed away. They were gone.

A fog rolled in and engulfed the car as a light rain began to fall. The distortions reflected in the puddles that gathered beneath my feet from the oily pavement sent eerie feelings up my spine. I stepped from them as if frightened of some malevolence that lurked within and made my way across the street. Entering the building, I cautiously took the stairwell up to my uncle’s floor. I could hear the sounds of the inhabitants as they were going about the end of their day. Had I remained at home after mother left I too quite possibly would be settling in for the night. Instead here I was looking down the hall leading to an address I had long not been to and hoped not to ever see again. From where I stood I could see the door to my uncle’s apartment had been left opened. Moments later, as I stood holding the door frame I looked quietly for any signs of movement. After I was sure no one was there I stepped in and closed the door. The blinking red glow from that damned neon light filled the apartment as it had always done. I had not taken note of the disheveled appearance of the living room or the rest of the apartment. Uncle was not tidy fellow. For most part the apartment remained as it had when I lived here with my parents. I took a couple of steps and nearly tripped over what was left of my uncle. My heart began to race as the room was flooded by the red glow revealing more and more of my uncles tortured body.  There he lay naked face down in a pool of blood surrounded by photographs of scantly clothed boys. He was dead and I was next.



Alia went her usual way home. As she looked towards the hill behind her home, she could see that the surrounding trees had changed hue. They seemed darker than usual and this intrigued her. It is like collaging, she thought of the color change. As she turned the corner of her house, she could see that the wall was different as with the grassy hill that rose between the wall and her home. The colors seem wrong, she thought as the roofs of the neighboring houses appeared briefly through the swaying trees. She made her way towards the hilltop and rock wall briefly looking back at her home. She was never to go beyond the wall. It was forbidden by her parents. Though it seemed strange to her, considering she was so small and the wall was so very high she never gave it a second thought as she walked up the hillside ever nearing the wall.

As she was about to touch the wall she heard a muffled cry. A sound like no other. She had been told that sometimes sounds of human voice could be heard in the breeze. She had never heard a human before, but she knew no other creature in her world made that sound. What else could it be? Her curiosity pulled her in as she began to touch the stone in the wall. Passing her hand over the surface of the wall, she felt every bump, nook and cranny. A sensation went through her as a glimmer of light shot up from the behind the wall. Jumping back, she ran down the hill and into her mother’s arms.

“What is the matter child?” asked her frightened mother. She had been waiting for Alia and had just appeared at the door to look down the path leading back into town. “Where have you been?”

Her mother saw the expression in her child’s face and held back from questioning her any further. She brushed Alia off and sent her to wash for supper. From her room she could see the spot where she had stood. There near the base of the wall, where she had placed her hand now was a crack.

UNTITLED: James Michaels HS 257


The Gulf Stream had diverted away from the eastern coast of what once was the United States causing drastic new weather patterns throughout the temperate regions of the globe. Most of the world’s coastal cities now under hundreds of feet of water sent millions of refugees inland. The Gulf of Mexico stretched inland up the Mississippi valley connecting with the southern tip of Lake Michigan dividing what once was the North American continent.

He placed the note back in between the bottom flaps of the box, gathered the other items, and placed them inside. How he thought the rest of the day on how his mother believed that he and sister were together.

“Oh sis,” he whispered as a knock came upon the door.
James jumped up as a voice called out, “James Michaels?”

“Yes,” he answered as he opened the door.

The man was tall and wore the uniform of a protectorate. His insignia was of the third level. An assistant magistrate, thought James inviting him in.

“We are here about the box,” said the man as he looked around spotting the box by the cot.

James thought of the ‘we’ as well as the note. He needed to relax. The magistrate assistant walked over to the box and glance down at the contents within.

“Everything seems to be in order.” Said the man as two others entered the room.

Not to worry, thought James, level threes. Just watch dogs. Dad called them rent-a-pigs.

The assistant magistrate turned and walked out followed by the two other men. No good bye. No reason for their visit. Then just before James was to close the door, another man appeared. Somewhat shorter than the others he hurried quietly pushing his way in, closed the door and gestured to James to remain silent.

James had not had visitors in months possibly since he arrived at the holding station. Now he had had two visits and the new stranger was now eyeing the box.

“Can I help you,” he asked of the stranger whom seemed uninterested in except the box.

The stranger shushed him and placed an ear upon the door. James watched as the stranger pulled his coat open and sat on the cot beside the box. James could see the badly worn remains of a uniform of sorts. Possibly old military, he thought. His father worked with the military at one time.

“I am a friend of your fathers,” he explained, “I knew they would contact you and your sister.” He removed his glasses pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and looked about the room. “Where is your sister?” he asked wiping his glasses with the handkerchief.
“She is gone.”

“Those bastards!” The stranger dropped his head, paused for a moment and replaced the handkerchief. Looking back at the box he asked, “Did they send it?”

“I believe—it came from my parents,” James responded then added, “Well at least I hope so.”

James was not giving up any information to the stranger. He knew not of him or his reason for being there. One thing was for sure James thought, he has some idea of where or what happened to his sister.

“Do you know where Becky is?”

“Not sure. She could be anywhere by now.”

“Why are you here?” James moved towards the box, “and what do you know about my family,” as he turned and approach the stranger?

The stranger pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. Upon it, James could see a list of sorts with lines drawn through several of the items. Turning the paper over the stranger began to write. James walked over to his cot and sat. The stranger followed almost instantly and handed him the paper with the list. There on the paper written by the stranger, ‘James Michaels, HS 257 South Central Region,’ and out of focus just off the edge of the paper on the floor was the box. Lifting his head slightly he brought the writing on the box into focus.

“You sent the box,” he exclaimed grabbing the stranger by the shoulders. The stranger grunted, pulled away slightly and fell upon the wall.

James stepped back and held off as the stranger regained his balance.

“I know you must be filled with many questions but you must be patient,” he adjusted his coat and walked towards the door. “It is late. I’ll be missed.”

“Say nothing,” said the stranger as James remembered about the note. “What is it,” he asked.

James looked into the stranger’s eyes.

“I miss my family.”

“We all do.”

With that, the stranger peered out into the corridor and left in the same manner as he arrived.

James slid his cot in front of the door as he done when he and his sister were together. There on the floor was the piece of paper with his name on it. He picked it up and read what the stranger had written once more. Turning it over he could clearly make out the list he saw earlier. On it names, some with a line written through them. Reading down he came upon the name R Michaels with a line through it.

Sitting quietly he thought of how the stranger moved about the room. “It has to be Becky. Why else would that man have come here?”

The vibration of his door by the first warning told him it was five minutes to eight. Next, the lights flickered twice for those rendered deaf after long exposure to the machines. “Oh sis,” he sighed.

With that, James walked over to his cot, pulled the single sheet down, laid down and tried to sleep as the eight o’clock alarm sounded. Tuch to consider, he thought as images of a life long gone filled his mind and heart, let us see what tomorrow brings?