YOU ARE READING

He is breathing. His nostrils’ diameters are increasing and decreasing along with his shallow inhalations and labored exhalations. He is sitting in a room that was built by someone else a long time ago, in a house that was built by still another person. This house is located in a country, which in turn is located on this planet. Each country on this planet is made up of people whose nostril diameters are fluctuating constantly. The ones whose nostrils remain still are either burned up or put in the ground.

His body is processing the food he ate last night, and will soon complain about the fact that he’s neglected to consume more food in a timely manner. But his heart is undeterred, and pumps more oxygenated blood through his body without confirmation of more fuel-food to come.

He is alive at this moment, but just a few decades prior he was not. He doesn’t know where he was before he was alive, or where he’ll go when he stops being alive, and no one else on the planet knows either. A few of the top minds are working on solving that problem, but it doesn’t look promising.

Every part of his body is changing right now, as is everything else around him. In a short span of time, he and everything around him will be very different.

His heart beats and pumps oxygenated blood through his body at a faster or slower rate depending on what’s going on inside of his mind. This temporarily varied rate of speed doesn’t affect his body in the short term, but in the long term it will.

The planet he is on is turning very quickly in its orbit around the sun that gives it life. If it stopped making this regular orbit, he would no longer be alive, and the individual components that make up his body would be transmuted into something else.

There is an itch on his nose, which is part of a sense organ on his face. If he scratches the location of his nose that the sensation insists itches, then the sensation will go away.

Thinking about the various possibilities that might befall him after he eventually stops living bothers him sometimes, which makes it difficult for his mind to concentrate on completing tasks that will contribute to the homeostasis that his body requires.

He notices that by simply focusing on the rhythmic changes in his nostril diameter and breath intake, he can stop noticing every irrelevant thing going on around him and just be.

He is taking a deep breath, from his diaphragm.

He is alive.

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WE GOT ANOTHER ONE!

Hey there, loyal ficsters! This one’s for you: another one of my pieces was just published, which you can peruse at your leisure by going here!

I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate all of your constant support–whether it comes in the form of a like, comment, subscription, or even just a casual read. It’s stuff like that that gives a guy like me the gumption to send my work out there in the first place.

So thanks as always, and I hope you’ll raise a glass of your favorite beverage with me (with pinkies out) and internet-cheers!

Fics!

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MATTER THAT MOVES

There was water up top the quick and light cast scathing down on ankle cuts and toes splayed out and hanging. Hollow walls of stone making noises under the city screaming roses from above. And he sat there and he watched and waited and heard a voice.

“Tell me.”

He sat down in the water cold and splintered off in the distance, the tunnels going on and in. He listened a little more.

“Tell me.”

Deep below the rest of them was he, in tunnel walls and water sent miles beneath to sit and wait and listen.

“What should I tell?”

Drips from stalactites and light cast dimly, shimmered and split off the cue to just remember what it was to tell.

“What makes you?”

The droplets could have said that for all the effect and all the change and scene. A yawning buffet off the side of the chasm sent its heart outward, till the catacombs were alight with the sounds and sear.

“Me.”

That must be enough. But the stalagmites said otherwise as their calcium split round and gave off ethereal colors, shapes, and hues.

“No it doesn’t. What makes you?”

The walls sucked in their stomach and held their breath. The air hung perilously thick and gathered into moss when it got to the lungs.

“Why can’t I see you?”

“Answer.”

“Who are you?”

The walls exhaled a time and wine slipped spreading on the fountain to his right. There was no time to time.

“Matter makes me.”

“I’ve enough matter as it is. Why does your matter matter?”

He noticed the man with the trunked face sitting beside him, all smiles and gaiety and the water was drawing norm warm.

“But I’m matter that moves.”

A snort and a laugh from the trunk of the man of the tunnel of the chasm of the catacombs of the

“A neat trick. But I’ve seen it. Give us another reason.”

The trunk said another, and the colors were swooning their imbued hues beneath cavelight that drew near each eye and nose.

“I can think. And reason. And wonder. And dream.”

“And a great good it’s done your lot.”

A great good. A great good said the trunk and now he was seeing the sounds in the darkness, not wondering but knowing as they came along.

“Where am I?”

His legs were up on the ceiling of the cave, sent spiraling down and again and whoop watch your head before the rain comes again.

“I am who am.”

“Why can’t I see you?”

His eyes were in the trunk, being swirled and spun around as the void split one way and another. Branches came from the trunk that was a trunk.

“Either you’ll come back again or you’ll be gone forever. Either way you can’t stay. Either way it’ll all move on with or without you. In twenty thousand years you’ll be not even a name.”

“Then why say anything?”

The buds were up and gilded on the crest, the waves of the cave spent and washed of company. The dark voice came to resonate within the matter that moved.

“Does there have to be a reason? Tell me.”

Wilt.

“Tell me.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

Flower.

“Give yourself the reason.”

The trunk was gone, and the cave went alight and shining splendor, ripped and rapt clean from the stomached walls. The light came even there and lit up the dark voice.

“Wake up and find your way.”

“Wake up.”

“Wake up.”

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THE DAY EARTH KNEW PEACE

The day that Earth would know peace had been seen and foretold ahead of time. But true to our era, it wasn’t predicted by a religious zealot, but a scientist. It was all very simple, really, or at least according to him it was. A week from his announcement, oxygen levels in the atmosphere were set to spike for reasons that even he couldn’t understand. But this spike in oxygen content would enrich the brains of humans the world over, humans that had been conditioned to only take in 21% oxygen, and lead to such benefits as decreased stress, improved blood flow, and, the scientist prophesied, the temporary cessation of all violent and aggressive behavior.

According to him, all of our moral failings as humans had nothing to do with original sin, or damaged psyches, or mental disturbances. Everything from murder to family strife could be blamed on oxygen deficiency. His findings, he said, were conclusive, and given his standing in the scientific world (one pundit famously likened him to Tyson, Kaku, Hawking, Sagan, and Einstein all rolled into one), people believed him.

The announcement spread quickly throughout the world, variously translated and transcribed into every language, sent to every corner of the globe, till everyone was collectively awaiting The Day of Peace.

There was no special marker when the day arrived. No procession of angels in gilded chariots, no booming announcement from the heavens. The sun rose along with the people, just like any other day.

But right from the start, things had changed. Neighbors who had never even met before came out, shook hands, started talking to one another. Porches were occupied by friends and stories alike. Spontaneous block parties started springing up, without any prior planning or notice.

Reports started coming in, city by city, that the numbers for violent crime had dropped significantly, maybe even reached zero. Other reports of people the world over taking the day off to spend time with family and loved ones filtered in.

And then the reports themselves stopped coming in–newscasters began announcing on air that they had nothing to report, that they’d rather enjoy the day and go off the air than continue to peddle their heart rate-quickening stories.

Live shows went down first, then even the taped ones (commercials too), as even TV station employees decided they had better things to do. Those who had homes and food brought in those who didn’t, and those who had less took only what they needed from supermarkets, the workers there helping them load in their free groceries before taking the day off, officers refusing to arrest them before themselves going home to be with their families.

At protests and picket lines, one by one people turned away, both protesters and police alike, most of them joining together in their common humanity, sharing jokes and stories about where they grew up, what their families were like.

Soldiers threw down their arms with ease–they’d all seemed to realize the inherent pointlessness in conflict and walked away from it. Commanding officers relieved themselves of their duty just as swiftly.

Child laborers were let go, human traffickers gave up their trade. Rockets stopped falling in Gaza. Troops stopped filing into Ukraine. Drones stopped attacking their targets. Imprisoned journalists were freed.

Political prisoners were let go en masse, the exiled were allowed back into their respective homelands. North Korean labor camps were shut down, and food distributed to its people. Guantanamo Bay was vacated.

Wall Street became a ghost town. All debts were forgiven. All grievances, whether personal or international, forgiven too.

The killers stopped killing, and the haters stopped hating. All religions made their peace with one another. Massive celebrations sprang up in all the major cities, with millions of happy people cheering, and meeting, and singing, and dancing.

This went on for the rest of the day, without a single hitch anywhere. No one did anything they weren’t supposed to, without exception, and instead went out of their way to help others. To be kind to others.

But the next day eventually came. And with it, a return to the old ways. People went back to work. Crime returned. TVs came back on. Millions challenged the scientist’s claims, distraught that the effect didn’t last longer.

And so, he begrudgingly appeared on TV. Took the talk show hosts’ slamming accusations in stride, until finally one began wondering where the scientist’s evidence was, his evidence that no one had asked for before. The scientist took a moment, and a breath along with it. He calmly replied.

“Well that’s because there isn’t any.”

“Any what?”

“Any evidence.”

“What do you mean?”

A calm smile.

“I made it all up.”

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