I’ve never been what you’d call a “gamer”.
Sure, I own a console. It’s outdated by now. I like to play the odd game. But that’s about it.
I’m almost forty. Old enough now that when I was at the height of my “gaming” years, all that really entailed was getting together with friends to play Mario or Castlevania, or Excite Bike, or Punch-Out. Maybe Sonic if a friend had a Genesis, which no one does anymore.
Keeping up with the latest trends in gaming was never interesting to me. I have a lot of interests; reading, watching movies and television, listening to music. But gaming? It was never a hobby. More like a pastime.
Like most pastimes, I don’t really understand when someone makes a lifestyle out of it. Today the gaming scene isn’t aimed at the casual gamer. You get accused of being a “n00b” if you aren’t up to date on everything. It’s almost a religion.
So I leave it alone, and have been content to do so for several years now. For the most part, the gaming world has also left me in peace.
There was one time, however, when the gaming world decided not to leave me in peace.…
Grandpa was 97 years old when he passed away.
He lived far from where his three children had settled. Grandma died when I was a small child, and he ended up remarrying another woman a few years later who demanded that he move out west so that she could be nearer to her sons. She was a piece of work, was Grandma Hester. We all wondered how Grandpa could stand her. It turns out that perhaps he could not.
We’re not precisely sure when he developed dementia, but it was probably years before we noticed it. He’d tell us about people he was speaking to, or visiting with, or a trip he took. Years later, after we learned he was suffering from dementia, we’d learn that conversation, that visit or that trip never actually happened. For all we really know, any story he told us from the last decade and a half leading up to his coming back east could be a false memory. We would have no way of knowing. Hester rarely communicated with us herself.
Probably our first clue that Grandpa wasn’t himself anymore happened a few weeks after he came back east to live with my parents. Most of the family had settled in one area; my wife and I lived in the south end of our city, as did one set of cousins, but my father and his two sisters all lived in the north, within driving distance of each other.…
Melinda hated driving at night. She did her best to avoid it. Short trips to the store if she just realized she ran out of tampons or had nothing for dinner after getting home; that sort of thing happened now and then. But she did her best not to go out after dark unless someone was coming to pick her up.
So, naturally, she found herself on the longest drive of her life tonight, with no moon, few stars, swirling clouds above her, and acres of forest on either side.
As so many unpleasant things in her life, this was her father’s fault. She hadn’t seen or spoken to the bastard in fifteen years, but just after falling asleep tonight…no, that was wrong. It would be yesterday by this time. Out of the blue, her phone rang, and his voice was on the other end.
“I need you, Mellie. Please come, now.” He’d said just that, and then the line went dead.
The old ass was probably drunk, but he’d never called her before, not since she was a child and he was still trying to convince her mother to take him back. It felt like she had been dreaming; waking up to hear his voice again after all these years.…
Log of Captain Kyle Wright
June 15, 2012
Off the island of Banaba, Kiribati, South Pacific
Day 34 of my solo trip in the South Pacific. The Pony is doing nicely; she’s keeping me relatively on track as far as distance and time are concerned. Had a rough time last night, the water was a bitch. I still haven’t gotten used to sleeping with her rocking so much. Overall all systems are go and good. Managed to patch my sail when I was in port, had a local boy mend it up. Couldn’t speak a drop of English, but he understood the money quite well. Stocked up on supplies, managed to hit the jackpot on some fresh fruit. I was down to Vienna sausages and stale bread, but I think I’ve got enough to last me ‘till next port. Haven’t decided which way to go yet, north to Tarawa or keep heading east to Christmas. Either way I’m in for a ride. This solo stuff is a workout. But I’m toning up and honestly it’s not the physical part that is the hardest. The loneliness is really kicking in now. I miss watching T.V. I miss eating cheeseburgers. I miss my wife.…
Hello readers. I’m writing this because a few hours ago I woke up from a nightmare and there’s this… Really weird coincidence, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The dream was about this story I read in, I think, 2001 or maybe 2002 I can’t quite remember, on a forum I used to go to called bourftforums.net, which was a forum built around this Norwegian indie band called Bourft. Their songs were okay, but I hardly ever listened to them. I only went there because my older sister did, and I stayed because the forum itself was full of awesome people. Sadly the forum no longer exists, and I can’t find any sites that have archived it. I met most of my current friendgroup there, so it was a really big deal to me when it shut down. Anyway, I’m kinda getting off track, so back to the story.
There was this thread entitled “Campfire Stories,” where we would post whatever spooky little stories we knew. It was mostly just silly little stuff like hookhanded hitchhikers and bloody mary. One day there was a new post in the thread by this guy (or gal?) who’s username was Redgrowth. This was their first post, here in this thread, and damn did it creep me out.…
For me, life was a whirlwind of lights and smoke, music and men. I lived in a beaten up shanty close to North Edsa, crammed in a closet-like room with a bunch of other woman. We slept on mats on the dirt floor and shared the space with mange-infested dogs, flea-bitten cats and cockroaches. My wardrobe consisted mostly of skimpy skirts, tank tops and the cheapest high heels you can buy in Quiapo.
After a hard night at the bars of dancing and exposing myself, sometimes spending time in a back room with a heavily drunk man and my eyes like a dead fish staring at the ceiling, I earned enough cash to go to the thrift shop. The weather in Manila had become chilly at night, and I needed a sweater.
I took a walk down a few streets that smelled of garbage and human urine mixed with the smog from jeepneys, tricycles and trucks that never ended. It wasn’t long before I found a street lined with second-hand clothes, undoubtedly from American charities but somehow grabbed by greedy merchants looking to make extra pesos.
The sweater was like a pearl in murky waters as it lay neatly on top of a bunch of tattered, motley clothes.…
My parents died in a car crash when I was fourteen.
Don’t feel bad for me or anything. I’ve made my peace with that years ago. Life with them was never great, but I do miss them. It’s just that if they taught me one thing it’s to not sit around wallowing in self-pity.
I just wish they hadn’t sent me to live with my Aunt Louise.
Anyone have that one family member that’s just a little strange, a little cut off from the rest of the family? Aunt Louise was ours. She was also our closest living relative. Dad’s family lived on the other side of the continent. Mom’s parents were both dead and she was an only child. Aunt Louise, her mother’s sister, actually, so my great-aunt, lived just an hour from where we did.
When my folks were alive, we rarely visited Aunt Louise, and to be perfectly honest, I half expected her to refuse to take me in. I was fully prepared to become a ward of the state, or move across the country, as soon as I heard that Children and Family services had contacted her about taking me in.
But she accepted. I’m not sure how willingly, or graciously, because I wasn’t privy to the phone conversation where she agreed to take me.…
Her pale, soft hand gently brushed past my cracked lips as it slightly eased the dry flesh with a streak of warm blood. The sensation of the brief encounter lingered with my longing for it. – Ah, blood. Yes, blood still freshly stains her hand. Yet, her face refuses to show any emotion as I look at it. My eyes are even hopelessly begging. Didn’t she feel even a bit pained when she- haaah, useless thoughts. I only have a little time left. But, haha, I could’ve avoided this. I’ve known. I was not oblivious to the signs – with every smile, every treat she gave me, every revelation she shared – to a pathetic, lonely woman like me. Now, most pathetically, I sit bloodied on the floor with my back on some cold wall. I figure this is the moment to reminisce.
“See you,” I remember as her voice floated above the surrounding noise in the bus. My head was just leaning on the glass then while my eyes stared down into blank space. The motion of the bus as it left the stop changed nothing.
“May I?” rang the same voice. I felt a soft tap on my shoulder that finally made me automatically look up.…
“Charlie, I’m detective Schultz. Do you know why you’re here today, son?” The detective gestured towards the unkempt sixteen year old boy, dressed in a loose blue sweatshirt adorning several holes and baggy jeans, his shaggy hair covering his forehead. The boy looked as if he hadn’t bathed in at least a week and the odor all but confirmed it. “Do you have any idea why I brought you in today,” the detective asked again.
Charlie slouched in his chair across from his interrogator, his arms folded at his chest. He stared blankly towards the middle of the table between them. “Is that you’re question? Are you asking if I know why I’m here?”
“Yes, Charlie. I’m curious if you know why you’re sitting in this room, talking with me.” The detective lifted a cup of coffee to his mouth and sipped, then sat it back down and gestured towards a second cup that he slid in front of the boy. Charlie continued to stare blankly and the detective concluded the boy would not talk. “Charlie, do you remember the night of the fifth? What you were doing?”
Charlie grabbed the coffee that was offered to him, but instead of drinking from it, he pushed it back towards the detective.…
“Sit, Terry. We have a long summer ahead of us.” His voice seems almost to reach out and touch me as he speaks. But this is not a pleasant touch. It is a touch which turns the skin cold wherever felt, and it causes the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end.
His words seem hollow and faint, and float to my ears like a whisper. I have no proof they were ever spoken at all, save for the chill which they force down my spine.
He crawls along the floor, obscured in darkness, scraping His nails across the tile as He does so. A chair stands in the center of the room. He finds His way to the chair, and seats Himself upon it. He positions Himself facing away from me, as He always does, until I see nothing but the shadow of His back.
He first came to me years ago. How long exactly, I cannot recall. He is always with me. He lives in the painting beside my bed, you see.
Others who come here see only the portrait of a room, with dark walls and a light, tiled floor. A metal chair sits upon the floor, and save for that, the room is empty.…