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Denial

Ellen Bergman was by anyone’s standards a woman of her era. She had her only child at an age where she was steady in her career; she was actively involved in regimenting her young son’s in the hopes structure was a crucial element in raising a child into a respectable adult. She carefully planned her own waking hours meticulously allotting sufficient time to every personal and professional priority. When she turned these energies towards choreographing “traditional” dinners for her family, she found herself surprised by just how conventional the arrangement turned out.
Her husband sat at the head of the table while she sat to one side and their son directly across from her. In between, them was an array of taking out containers. The Bergman’s hadn't put too much stock into the arcane concept of the daily family meal. Not until the recent passing of Allan Bergman. Ellen’s husband and Ethan’s father.
Allan had been buried sixteen days ago, noticeably absent from his wake and funeral…

Communications

When communicating via text, you can gauge someone's reaction to any attempt at humor you might make using this scale; one "ha" is the equivalent of a polite chuckle. It was forced and contrived. Interpret this to mean your attempt was a failure. Two "ha's" or a" haha" the chance you made this person audibly chuckle is around 50%. I know 50% amounts to either did or didn't and doesn't seem very helpful but it this can still be used as a basis to assess further reactions. Now anything more than 2 sequential "ha's" or a "hahaha" the chance you made that person laugh is probably better than three in four.

Autophagia

The maggot’s existence began as abruptly as any other organism’s tenure on earth.  The slimy, milky white infant writhed with its brethren embedded in the decomposing human flesh. Only when the body is human is it called a corpse, but the maggot holds no such concept as sanctity and simply eats the remains breaking down the biological shell that once held and animated every intangible aspect of a human being into its most basic organic components.
Like the imperceptible scavagers nurturing themselves by the billions in the rot, the maggot was born from atrophy's terminal cycle.  A single complex entity was dissolving and distributing its energies among an inconceivable variety of far simpler life forms like the eyeless maggot at the early stages of a process that inevitably will end the same as its host. A maggot is small and so is its view of the world. It can never know its place in the process of existence, an existence that arranges itself and emerges like waves being stirred …

Youthful Angst

The camp was a collection of ragged tarp huts, and tattered mud caked plastic pup tents. Like the fighters who put their stakes down in this remote part of the desert their hastily improvised base was a messy, unorganized patchwork that perfectly reflected the cohesion and unity of this armed force. Militants of every political and ideological stripe had been brought here to fight under the banner of Paul Reiser the youngest warlord to ever operate on American soil.
The temperature was topping off at 115 degrees. The fiercely engorged sun turned the desert into an inescapable oven. Shady spots were at a premium, and desperate men fought over any shadow that could provide some refuge from the flesh roasting rays.
Those squeezed out we’re like losers in a macabre game of musical chairs. They staggered around in the sand as the air gradually wrung out ever last drop from their wilting bodies. Some begged for just a moment in the shade while others deliriously dug through the rotting refu…

They Say Beauty is Fleeting

The popular night spot was a dimly lit den for hip urban youths, the self-stylized creative class. Chalkboard portraits and band stickers covered the interior and layered over physical remains of the establishment's past from when it was a working-class dive. The construction workers and tradesmen who once patronized the watering hole had been replaced by a clientele of self-proclaimed artists and musicians, a new class of bohemians who enjoyed the freedom of the lifestyle along with the security of wealth.
The bartender rang the bell and announced last call. A tattooed mob rushed the tired service workers in a desperate bid to enjoy one final libation before retiring for the night.
 Amanda was a striking young woman with fair skin and blue hair was sitting alone at a table covered in empty bottles and shot glasses. She wore a small white t-shirt that hung from her tattooed shoulders. The tattered cloth stretched down from her slender neck giving an ample view of her chest where f…

Return of the Flagellants

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The crack of the whips tore their flesh, and fresh blood oozed from the laceration refreshing the dimming coat scarlet from the crisscrossing wounds leaving behind a trail of blood that painted the bottom of the marchers' bare feet and stamped the street with crimson footprints.
Millions of people around the world drawn in by morbid curiosity watched the macabre spectacle from their computer screens. Popular live feeds were accompanied by a stream of comments from viewers in real time creating an eclectic running commentary. Innumerable yellow cartoon faces expressed disgust, sorrow, and disdainful mockery.
The modern Flagellants were a sign of the soul swallowing darkness enveloping the word. The same darkness that disfigured and deformed the people who lived in its endless depths. What began as a fringe cult with only seven members quickly swelled into a growing faith with enough adherents to make a stir with a ritual of public self-mutilation. The bloody act of penance was abh…

Foreseeing the Unintended

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Mild summer weather had brought floods of weekend tourists into the city. Swollen white clouds lazily drifted across the ocean blue sky. The rays of the gentle sun tantalized the flesh while a fresh and sporadic breeze softened the touch of the heat. The brimming sidewalks channeled currents and counter currents of pedestrians through the confines of the busy commercial district. Stylish young women carried large paper bags displaying designer logos, while their male counterparts prowled the streets wondering where these fashionable ladies might be congregating. Mothers navigated the dense crowds pushing strollers while their husbands herded the children old enough to walk on their own and listless teenagers compelled by their biological rhythms actively sought out potential mating opportunities.
None of them gave a second glance to a U-haul truck box in by the idle traffic. The driver was a 25-year-old man named, Dale. He had spent his late teen and the better part of his early 20s …

The Night Chicago Died

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The advancing army paraded through the captured neighborhoods federal forces abandoned on the fringes of the city’s borders. The conquerors were a patchwork of rebellious armed factions unified under the auspices of a common organization. The federal army the were up against enjoyed a marked advantage in firepower, but even the most cutting edge weapons in their arsenal were rendered impotent by soldiers who had no inclination to fight and die for their careerist commanders or the regime they served. Most had never really been soldiers just listless youths who sought the relative safety of the military as a provider. When the militants marched through the fire dropped on them from semi-autonomous machines that stalked the sky the divisions facing retreated behind the blast walls that surrounded the kingdom of gleaming steel towers looming at the water’s edge. Out of either fear or perhaps unspoken sympathy, many of the troopers left their government issued supplies behind for the reb…

Will Power

“Remember what it is you fight for! Remember your mothers and fathers who lived to see themselves freed from the bondage of the bourgeoisie Think of your children who were fortunate to be born at the dawn of a new and prosperous age for all! Remember after you are gone it is they who will carry the banner of socialism into….”
Despite the Commissar's best efforts to remind them of the utopian future promised to them by their leaders that always seemed to be just over the next horizon his rousing speech was devoid of all hope for the cannon fodder, he was trying to inspire. For many, the tone of his speech had an eerie familiarity. They had seen the top of the mountain, but they weren’t going to be making it to the promised land being built with their blood.
“You are just a small part of a greater whole!” The Commissar reminded them. “A body that will live on even after we’ve fallen. History has provided all of you with the unique honor to give your blood in a cause that will foreve…
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"Pandora’s box is more comparable to a Russian nesting doll. Every layer is a new temptation each with its own set of consequences each more ominous than the last."