Category Archives: Stories

A Life for A Life

She knew not of the many secrets that he held but she did know of hers. True to herself and her heart, she held him close to her bosom. Afraid to lose and afraid to be lost are two simple things that can throw a woman behind bars.

Sadly, she was beginning to go down that path. He had left in fear of his own mistakes. But, what he hadn’t known was that by allowing fear to wash over, he was creating the biggest mistake he had yet to make.

Now, hanging from the branch before her was a noose. She had taken all afternoon to ensure its perfection. Braiding the rope with tears of sadness and pain, it became a powerful weapon. It held her hope, her love, and hopefully soon her very life.

Taking a naked step through the dead Fall leaves that littered the floor around the tree, she made her way to the stool that rested below death’s door. With eyes dried, she calmly looked out from behind the stool, admiring the soft glow as the sun began its descent.

Certain that none would hear nor see her helpless body traverse from this life to the next, she stepped up onto the stool where the rope dangled before her. The breeze softly blew the rough threads in the air to brush against her delicate salty skin.

She trembled.

Then, a bird called out singing a gentle sweet song. Listening to the delicate melody, she attempted to cry again but nothing left her eyes.

Now was the time.

Reaching out, she grabbed hold of the noose. With one last look through death’s door, she took a ragged breath.

Upon closing her eyes, a single tear in both eyes clouded her last sight of the world around her as she leapt up to plunge her head through the ropes choking grasp.

Crack!

Thud!

A dull pain spread throughout her body. The noose didn’t catch her; instead, she landed face first on the grass below.

Looking up, she saw the wind lift the leaf litter around her and swirl it about like a tornado with her as the eye of its chaos. Confused, she searched around her for an answer. And there, lying beside her, was the branch that held the noose. It had broken off from the tree as she jumped to meet her untimely death.

Scrambling to where it lay, she picked it up and when her eyes looked through the circle of the noose, she bore an incredible sight:

There he was alive and well. Drinking away his life, he cared not for a single soul, not even his own. Then, the image changed and there she was alive and well. Raising two kids with another man, she cared for her one true secret. And as if the woman in the noose knew of her own curious eyes, she looked up at her despaired self and raised a glass in honor of her as she patted a pocket that rested atop her heart.

With one swig from her glass, the image was gone, and, once again, she was alone under the tree. The leaves had stopped and the sun was gone. All was still but her beating heart. As the night grew colder, the rhythm began to steady. Soon, she stood and in the moonlight, she went home to where a familiar stranger awaited her swift arrival.

© 2015 Jessica Santos

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Tigress

Her ears perk up. In the distance, keys jingles and clash against the metal bars. Chains rattle as footsteps approach. He wraps it around her neck careful to ensure it’s not too tight. The master would not be happy if he left a single mark upon her soft delicate skin.

Tugging on the opposite end, he pulls her onto all four. But instead of following him out, she remains. He beckons her forward with another pull. Already he knows that she’s not leaving without a fight and one of them was going to get it.

The moment he added more tension upon her chains, she bared her teeth growling. Though she is human like him, she cared not for how she should be. Weeks ago she abandoned her human being and adopted her animalistic ways. It’s the only way one can survive such turmoil.

So again he pulls, but this time she reacts. Jerking her head back, she pulls back on the chains. Prepared for her fight, he shouts for help. The others already know. Girl 2743 was a known troublemaker amongst the crew.

She never left her cage without a fight yet their Master denied such facts. He never saw her battles. All he knew was her wild behavior behind closed doors alone with him and she always bent towards his will.

One grabbed a prod and another grabbed a second chain. Slipping it over her neck, two men encouraged her forward while the third snuck behind edging her to move.

Filled with annoyance and frustration, she turned her head and eyed the first. A plan formed behind those eyes as she locked on her target.

Instantaneously, she charged forward teeth bared and nails at the ready; but she didn’t touch him. As a matter of fact, she completely halted the moment the men realized her attack.

But she never meant to hurt anyone, only rile them up. She took joy in causing them trouble and pain with their master. What other joy could she possibly obtain?

Locked away in a cage for most of the day and only called upon when the master wanted company or pleasure was a boring life to lead. She needed to find excitement, something to look forward to day after day.

Once the men moved away from her attack, she got up and willingly walked out of her imprisonment. Almost prancing by them, she had to contain her guilty pleasure because now her attention needed to shift. Now, it was all about master.

© 2015 Jessica Santos

Sunday Morning

Before she opens her eyes, she feels. A comforting warmth touches upon her back.
Absentmindedly, he strokes her waist and brings his hand to rest on the bed in front of her. Pulling her in, she is sheltered even more. A ticklish stream of hot air brushes on the nape of her neck as his snoring continues. Giggling, she gently pulls away only to be held back by his strong arms. Now stirred, he shifts and releases his old.
Opening her eyes, she turns over and faces him. She watches his sleeping face as his chest rises and falls. Lowering her eyes, she traces the markings. She can sense that he is aware but thinks little of it.
Continuing her activity, she trails her finger up to his neck where she reaches up and kisses the delicate skin. But she doesn’t stop there. Instead, she kisses him all the way up to his lips.
No longer does he rest still but eyes flutter open as he returns the favor. Giving a soft smile, he chuckles as he realizes her gaze. Wrapping his arms back around her, he pulls her head in towards his chest. Playfully, she nips his arm. He doesn’t wince or hesitate but draws her in tighter.
Protectively, he holds her and she begins to relay the night’s dreams. He says nothing but listens with attentive ears. When she speaks of a nightmare, he kisses the top of her head which elicits a smile from her. As her cheeks rise to reveal her grin, he feels the muscles against his bare chest. Satisfied, he nuzzles her in encouragement to reveal more of her night’s dreams.
Without further ado, she rambles on about a dream containing him and her happiness to be present and with him and their loving dog. Her story comes to an end, and, instead of speaking, he merely releases her and shimmies down so that he may rest his head upon her chest.
With great intent, he listens to her heart’s rhythmic beats. Idly, she runs her fingers through his hair. Toying with the strands, she smiles and tickles his ear.
Playful they are with little knowledge about time. To them, time stands still. There is no room for time in their happy little bubble. And little to his knowledge, she feels his head grow heavy upon her.
He’s drifting back asleep, but she doesn’t mind. In fact, she closes her eyes and listens to his steady breath as she soon slips away into another dream. Together, they are content, happy and at peace.
But just as quick as he was to fall asleep, he awakes again and lifts his head from her chest to her lips. Tenderly kissing her awake, he takes up her previous mission. Kisses trail up her neck and across her face. Her face lights up at the affection as she kisses his lips and whimpers at the mention of getting out of bed.
Like a puppy, she buries her head in the pillows as he begins to swing his legs off the side of the bed. Intent on staying in, she quickly covers herself with the blanket and hides deep within his scent.
Chuckling, he turns around and moves the blanket away from her torso. Then, lightly, he brushes his stubble along her skin. Instantly, she jerks away laughing. But he follows her and persists to tickle her until she has squirmed out from under the blanket.
Swiftly, he picks her up and sits her on his lap. Holding her close, he nuzzles her neck as she rubs the sleep away from her drowsy eyes. After stretching out like a cat in his arms, she peers out from behind her fingers with bright eyes. Turning her head around, she gives him a peck on the lips before leaping up and hurriedly getting dressed. He shakes his head and follows. Soon they are dressed and prepared for the day ahead. Determined they gather their things and begin to walk out the door, until they check the calendar; Sunday.
Glancing at each other, they grin as they race back to bed. All the while stripping down to their bare essentials and leaving a trail of clothes in their wake. Back in bed, they curl up in the cool sheets and resume their merry way, joyful to have the day to call their own.

© 2015 Jessica Santos

The Invisible Good

Creeping up from the basement, it sneaks around the floors of this home. Obviously knowing that it is neither welcomed nor appreciated, it stays hidden. At the slightest inclination of a sound or movement, it slithers into the shadows. It is not afraid of its captors; rather, it is afraid of the whispers.

Following its instincts, it searches for an overpowering light. Keeping to the ground and close to the walls, it moves forward. Desperate to escape yet unlike most stories it knows, there is no way out. No windows, no doors leading to the outside world and most definitely no overpowering light. Fear catches hold of its heart as it furiously moves about. Yet retaining its mind, it’s careful to not disrupt any object, even the dust balls collecting in the corners.

Footsteps approach and instead of hiding, it follows. Carefully keeping a distance yet staying close enough to hear any conversations the feet hold with another. Strange beings these feet are because when one looks up, one sees them travel high into the sky with a mixture of colors but always ending in black, brown, yellow or white. Why would one choose to end in such horribly dull colors?

It shines brighter than any other diamond and is more colorful than any rainbow. Showing off a different hue in the overpowering light but in the dark, it is neither dark nor dull. It is simply seen.

Focusing on the feet, it moves from side to side and hides whenever they stop to turn. Befriending the dust bunnies under couches, chairs and miscellaneous things that have either fallen upon the floor or have been left forgotten, it soon becomes invisible. Not only is it hard to spot, but it becomes slower and slower. Tired from the constant movement but determined to find a way out.

The feet soon stop at a wall.

Too exhausted to try hiding, it waits for the next direction but suddenly a jolt is felt. It can see the dust hover an inch above the floor before settling back down, but it remains in position. Paying attention to the dust, it did not notice the feet flying over it. Feeling the change in air above, it glanced above and darted out of the way, barely escaping certain death.

Turning to follow the feet, it becomes puzzled. Seconds before, there was dust all along the floor, but now it is spotless. What is this trickery? How can feet standing in front of a wall make such a change in so little time?

Crawling upon the floor after the feet, it looks around and notices a strange furry object in everything it saw. Stopping to look, it analyzed the furry thing and soon realized that what it was seeing was a mirror image of itself. Horrified at the dust it accumulated, it made a quick dash to try and release itself from its no longer invisible cape.

To its great happiness, when it looked back at its reflection, the swirling great mass upon it disappeared. However, now that it is cleared of all disguise, it has easily become spotted.

Massive feet stomp upon the ground and shrieks are echoed. Madly, it dashes out of the way and searches for an exit. To its surprise, there is a flashing red arrow sign marked exit directly ahead. Without thought, it takes heed and hastens forward.

As it reaches the doorway, a foot helps to quicken its departure and kicks it out the door. Flying through the air, it watches as the world around it changes and dulls. Soon it lands amongst familiar dust bunnies and abandoned items.

Slinking back to the corners, it remains close to the walls and follows them as if it has turned blind. Lame now from the kick, it sinks into depression. Why search for only an exit when one should search for better? Why fear an unknown even when it could be a great opportunity to shine? But why would one want such? Doesn’t it hold suffering and judgment?

Days and weeks pass as it ponders and wonders. What if it had fought against the shrieks? Granted it is afraid to be whispered but one can only be snickered if it allows it. One must be strong and resilient in order to survive in a higher order.

Besides, the feet only helped it achieve what it wanted. It wanted to escape so the feet led it to another dimension. In other words, it wanted to leave so it got escorted out.

Revived with a new longing, it edges forward. As if by muscle memory, it finds itself facing the strange wall once again. Awaiting for the feet, it poises ready to strike. Unsure of what to do but certain that it wants to be there and not here.

Once they arrive, it takes a moment to remove its false image before quickly pursuing the feet towards a new world. The jolt is felt, feet shuffle away, and again it is met with shock. Only this time, instead of running, it allows its colors to shine and be shown to all that look down upon it.

© 2015 Jessica Santos

No Rules, No Rights

Father kisses his only child and wife while praying to God that he may be graced with their smile once more. With one last look, he turns to leave. Boarding the train, none know of his early departure, yet Child and Mother run along the tracks. Waving and shouting with fits of love. Hoping that their words are not drowned by the steam engine’s churning wheels.

As soon as the train is nothing but a speck, the crowd parts and Mother and Child are seen smiling up at the vast blue empty sky. Please bring him home. Their arms are his shelter, his safety. Now that he has left, he must face it all for the next few years.

Time flies and Mother tends to her child. Child listens to stories of how Father is a brave man fighting for those who can’t and for those who dream. Giving others the opportunity to grow and live.

Child daydreams of the fun he has with Father. Swinging on the swings, he pushes an empty swing imaging Father is there. Laughing and prancing like nothing is wrong. Holding a fistful of air, he walks up the stairs to greet Mother.

But Mother is crying.

She holds a folded flag and a letter lies upon the floor. Tears fill the empty abyss. Mother and Child hold each other close. All the while, Child holds that fistful of air.

As the years pass, Child talks and dreams of Father.

At school, he sings the Pledge of Allegiance in hopes Father can hear him. Child’s voice can be heard amongst the others, and although many tell him to silence his words, he sings louder.

All shall hear his words but none shall see his tears.

During bed time, he reads aloud. Imagining that Father is there teaching him to read. Child struggles and fights the other kids. Most say he is troubled but mother knows. Mother sees father on the swings, by the bed, and next to her. Invisible Father is to many but to them he is present and strong.

Now in high school, no one questions Child’s strange behavior. They all believe they are permanently damaged. The loss of a loved one got to them. Keep away or else fall to their crazy.

But little do they know, love has no rules, no rights. Love is what they make it. Love is what keeps them strong.

Mother and Child grow older but never do they stop helping one another up and down hills and through various valleys. Both work hard and both still believe. The faith remains in their hearts. Father is still present, still strong.

The table is set with father at the head. Child holds his fistful of air and begins to pray. He is thankful for the meal and thankful for the love, the strength. Together they eat. Neither is alone and on Child’s big day, Child crosses his high school’s stage with diploma in hand.

He looks out at the crowd and waves to Mother, who cries happy tears, and Father’s empty seat. He sees them both standing and clapping, and, among the crowd, he hears Father shouting words of encouragement. Child soon leaves for college. After all, he got into the best.

Working harder than ever before, Child goes to class. He sees Father every morning next to his Mother. Hugging the picture, Child starts every day with a smile. No tear is shed any more, only smiles. Child knows what he must do and before long Mother saves Father and herself a seat to see Child cross the stage one last time.

Upon receiving his certificate, Child walks with Father. Hand in hand, they walk to register. Within the next few days, Child wears his uniform and salutes along side Father. In no time, Mother hugs both Father and Child. She watches as they board the train and prepare to leave. Together they depart, only this time Child returns as an honorable general with all of his badges and honors. Beaming with happiness, Child looks at the picture one last time before placing it in a box and sending it adrift. He needs no image, clothing, or scent to know that Father is always near.

© 2014 Jessica Santos