23 November, 2005

The Dread

22 November, 2005

He & She

07 November, 2005

The Walk


In the coming weeks I will post illustrations to accompany the stories already posted. After this, all new story posts will include an illustration.

29 October, 2005

Mike and Aisha

I made it! He threw himself onto the seat out of breath and pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. Just a quick SMS and everything will be running as planned… What?… Where did I put his number? Under Eddy? I thought I saved the number!… Wait a minute… maybe I can remember it… 0172... 75949... 45... Or was it 54? No matter. I'll try it with 45 and if that doesn't work, then with 54...

That guy looks sweet. If he would just stop playing around with his cell phone and look at me. Hello, you hot guy, here I am, look at me!… Oh, my stupid cell phone! I hate it when people call me in public, probably my mother… An SMS? Who could it be? "Caught train. On my way." Huh? Someone must have made a mistake. Delete or answer? Why not, actually? "I'm on my way, too" OK, back to my beau.

Why is she looking at me like that? I hate it when people stare… I'm saved, my cell phone, Eddy for sure, so the number was right after all… What? Huh? He's on his way, too? Going where? I thought we'd meet at his place?…

I think he's shy, the way he keeps avoiding my glance. But I'll get you yet, before your stop, my darling… Oh not again… "I thought we'd meet at your place?" That lost soul again… We'll get to the bottom of this in a moment…

Thank god for cell phones. At least she's not staring at me anymore… It's Eddy again… What? Who I am? So it was the wrong number. Should I answer? What the hell. At least I'll be busy and won't have to notice her staring at me…

Oh, damn, he got another message. Oh the way he sinks his head concentrating, he looks even better, with those long eyelashes… heavenly… Shit! My cell phone again… "My name's Mike and you?" Yeah, with a name like that no wonder you keep dialing wrong numbers…

Well, if it's a girl, maybe I can make a little game out of it, maybe she's really sweet, who knows? Aha, the answer… Yes, I knew it! Aisha, if she isn't pretty as sin with a name like that!…

He smiled! I think I'm about to fall in love! Should I say something to him? That cell phone again… Sure, sure, I know I have a beautiful name, but I don't want anything to do with Mikes, so just keep quiet…
Now where is her answer? Two whole stops and she's silent… Stop staring at me you stupid goose! It's getting on my nerves, what happened to Aisha?…

Why is he so nervous? Did he notice that I've been watching him the whole time. I've got to talk to him! I have to!… What should I say? Hi? No, that's stupid… Hey, how ya doin? That's even worse… Oh man, I thought if I didn't answer this Mike would leave me alone… Sure, as if I want to meet every creep dialing a wrong number…

She's still not answering… I won't give up. I have her number. I'll take it as a challenge, yeah… I'll find a way to meet her…

Two more stops and I have to get off! Courage Aisha! Talk to him…

Finally, next stop and I‘m out. Then I'll be free of those staring eyes. How can she stare at me so boldly? One more SMS to Aisha. I'm not giving up, you beauty…

I think he's going to get off. Now or never…

- Hey,… how are you!…

He didn't even hear me… Too late… I screwed it up… Farewell my lovely… Oh man, this stupid Mike just won't give up… "F*** off" - that must have been clear enough.

24 October, 2005


I love this city! She leaned on his shoulder and watched the houses streaming by the window. Bricks, cement, glass, iron… everything clearly ordered, the pulsating traffic of the streets enclosing it all… I can live again. He thought of the little cottage they had to leave behind. On the lolling fields, the wide horizon, the straight line tying the solid ground under their feet to the dreamy heaven above. And in the middle of it all their tiny, warm home, their sanctuary, in which she with her feet on the ground, and he with his head in the clouds can feel at home. Our happiness knew no bounds! It was good to feel her head on his shoulder, her nearness, her warmth, and to dream of someday returning. This acceleration, this life and this energy of eternal movement, my elixir of life! Just the opposite of that unbearable silence, the emptiness as far as one can see, that we had to live with for so long. We were cut off from the world there, from people, from real life, as in a lethargic sleep. If he hadn't received that offer from the university, she would very likely have left him, but now the city, the people, the culture, the life on the pulse of time, a modern apartment in the middle of the city, so many possibilities… There must be a way to escape all this! He searched for her glance. Why can't I just look into her eyes forever and forget for always the picture of the metropolis that painfully cuts into my pupils, the noise that stabs into my eardrums? I don't want to go back to that sterile apartment! The apartment with the white, glassed in stairwell, the noise proof windows, an advantage he could appreciate, but not the picture they presented him, one that awoke the strong desire to pull the curtains shut. I don't want to spend the rest of my life behind closed curtains! My contract will expire in a year, then we can return and everything will be as it was before, the long walks, quiet evenings in front of the fireplace, cuddling up close, drinking hot chocolate. They would surely have a dog again. She had a hard time coming to terms with Napoleon's death, and here in the city they couldn't keep a dog. One more year. He saw her reflection in the glass window. Hopefully they'll extend his contract. The dean hinted at it the other night at dinner at the Cheré Pieré. She can't go back. Not to that wasteland, those hour long walks, those boring evenings in front of the fireplace and those incessant hot chocolates that made her sick every time. Surely he'd want to have a dog again. She'd been so relieved when Napoleon had ended it for her by running in front of that car. No, no way did she ever want to return… He looked at her as she raised her gaze to meet his. After all those years her big eyes still looked so mysterious and indecipherable, but trustworthy. Out of their glass-green depths he found the belief in himself and on her never-ending love to him. "Are you happy?" he asked her softly. "Yes, I'm happy," she answered him smiling and turned her gaze to the city streaming by the window, "I love this city."

19 October, 2005

The Dread

He'd planned everything with the utmost care, bought the ticket, checked the schedule, prepared a printout with the travel instructions, telling him at which station he'd have to transfer from the street car to the subway. At breakfast he'd drank herbal tea instead of coffee, left his apartment on time, without having to rush, made his connection; he felt good, it was peaceful and relaxed. He boarded and sat at an empty seat by the window. That was important, extremely important! Without a window seat his entire travel preparations would have been for nothing. But now he sat there, the street car pulled away and he glued his eyes to the glass - just don't look at the people, always look at the window, regardless of what happens, do not look at anyone! Listen to the announcements naming the stops: five stops and he would have to transfer; trees, clouds, houses, no people, no people! At the first stop, by all means keep the eyes closed to avoid looking at the people getting on. Stay calm, everything will be all right; he'd thought of everything, planned everything!

He noticed that someone had seated themselves next to him - now don't fall into a panic - he pressed his long, thin body onto the cold hull of the vehicle - no people!

"Excuse me," a chubby hand tugged at his sleeve. "How many stops is it to the main station?" Ignore her, just don't acknowledge her and under no circumstances look at her, don't look! "Hello?" the tugging became more insistent. "I asked you something." His limbs stiffened; he rigidly held his gaze on the scratches of the window glass. "Hallo?" The face belonging to the chubby hand forced itself between him and the glass, "are you all right?"

Help! His eyes searched for a new anchor, something inanimate. No face, no! The palm of the chubby hand moved back and forth in front of his eyes. "Hello? Is everything okay? You look so pale." He had lost, he could no longer avoid the round face. It had already begun, this time with the nose. The nostrils moved slowly upwards, the bridge of the nose became wider, the shrinking eyes sank deeper into the rosy skin that grew rougher by the second, as a light, white fuzz began to form - it was the face of a sow that no longer spoke to him but grunted. If she weren't so loud the others might not notice. He didn't dare turn around. I can't cause any more damage, he thought, and started visibly as a young woman with a child on her arm sat quietly down in the seat opposite him and the grunting sow. No! It was too late to look away. The arms of the child suddenly grew longer, hairier. A long, furry tail snaked its way out of his pants. The little monkey cheerfully climbed all over his mother, whose hair meanwhile spread across her face. Now her jaw jutted out towards him and swelled wider. Her no longer human, fur-covered arm secured the climbing creature from a fall.

How many stops must I go on? Two? Three? No, I can't stay here that long, I must get out immediately! Before the others notice. Before I've done any more damage. He began with uncertain steps to move towards the exit. He tripped over a snake, fell against the horns of a mountain goat and was barely able to duck as a peregrine falcon swooped directly over him. So it's gotten worse. Now he no longer had to look at them. It was enough to be in the same room with them… Leave, fast! He pulled the emergency brake. The street car braked jerkily and came suddenly to a screeching halt, at which he forced the doors apart and sprang out.

"I knew something was wrong with him. He was suspicious right from the start. Do you happen to know how many stops it is to the main station?" the chubby woman asked.

"Two more. But it'll be a while before they can start after that emergency brake was pulled," the young mother answered cordially as her child climbed into the now empty seat by the window.

14 October, 2005

He & She

He was a slim, adroitly dressed man of middle age. Perhaps fifty, perhaps a few years older. His shortly cut gray hair didn't fit well with the smooth, unwrinkled expression that he now interrupted with a pair of somewhat square-edged, darkly-framed reading glasses. From his sporty backpack - actually a leather attaché case would have gone better with the gray suit - he extracted a book rich in pages, enclosed in a black leather case. James Joyce. Ulysses. But she didn't know that yet. All she saw were the well-groomed and tender hands holding the book leather, thinking about her own short and chewed-up fingernails always bearing the brunt when she became nervous or hectic, something that happened all too often, as her hands, which she tried now to hide beneath her threadbare carrying bag, revealed.

He hadn't yet turned to his book. To avoid looking immediately at the girl sitting across from him, he glanced out the window. Slowly his glance shifted from the dirty and scratched window glass to the chin-length, somewhat unruly hair of the girl, or was it perhaps a young woman? Out of the depths of her chestnut-brown hair shone two, perhaps three gray hairs. She might be twenty or even thirty. Read the book, read the book, his thoughts repeated. He stared at the letters that somehow wouldn't form themselves into comprehensible words or coherent sentences. They represented black forms endeavoring to hide the whiteness of the pages, but without success. The brightness of the paper's surface dominated the foreground as the black, dissolving forms lost themselves ever more. He removed his reading glasses and glanced up - without the glasses he could see her face clearly and distinctly, the somewhat roundish form hidden partly by the strains of inconsistently falling hair. The clearly denoted mouth, full but somewhat pale, as if the red that had surely been there once had been sucked out by someone's kiss. Had he just thought about kissing? The book, the book, hurry, read…

She wondered what kind of a book he would read with such distraction and inattention. The leather case hid the cover - the bookmark, a small publisher's brochure depicting James Joyce. No, it couldn't be that easy. That would be banal. Or was it that easy? Could he really be reading that book? If he actually were reading Ulysses then he wouldn't read it that way, in the train, looking up every two minutes. She tried to tear her attention from the book and his hands which cradled it, and turn her attention to his person as a whole. But she couldn't. The thought of those hands touching her, the way they touched that book in this moment, would not let her go. Look out the window!

Why did she turn around? Now he could only see her lips from the side, their fullness no longer visible, his eyes no longer able to follow their contour. He turned back to his book and succeeded in reading another page, turned to the next page.

He moved his hand! Why did I have to look away? Now it will be two whole pages before he turns the page again, and by that time I'll surely have to get off. I hope he doesn't leave before me. I couldn't stand the empty seat.

The new page could not compete with her lips. She turned again and is looking at - the floor? Or is she maybe looking at him? The book slid to the empty seat next to him and fell from the leather case. So it was Ulysses. As he groped for the fallen book, returned it to its case, placed the case back on his lap, and searched for the missing page, she stared at him as if to impress for all time the light, flowing and simultaneously subdued motion in her memory, and satiate herself on it. Yes, she did look at me! Her lips parted slightly, as if she wanted to say something, but had lost the power to speak. He sensed a strong desire to touch those lips with his index finger, to slowly and carefully glide it across the rosy surface. Unconsciously he raised the index finger.

He's looking at me! Does he know I've been staring at his hands this entire time? So what if he does! She raised her glance. For one moment they looked in each other's eyes. The next stop was announced.

He closed the leather case and packed it into his backpack, she allowed her bag to slide from her lap and stood up. It was obvious that they would both leave at the same time. The train stopped, both arose and came to the exit. The door opened, the people - he and she among them - streamed out. Without looking back he went along the platform to the left. She stepped off to the right side. The doors closed noisily and the train rolled away past the people, he and she among them, both moving ever further away from each other.

09 October, 2005

The Walk

She closed her eyes. The train rocked and the morning sun warmed her through the window glass. The aroma of coffee met her nose, even though the coffee she held in her hands was everything but aromatic. It was the idea of good coffee that excited her senses.

Now she strolls through the castle park, stepping lightly over the soft ground. She breathes deeply and the tender aroma of coffee blends with the sharp odor of fallen vegetation flooding the park in the dampness of early morning, before the late-summer rays of sunlight, aided by their ally, causing with its light breath the leaves to dance, smuggle themselves through the thick crowns of the century-old oaks.

She draws in the energy of the nature surrounding her, the oxygen which the plants release from themselves, that byproduct of their life-giving relationship with the light of the sun. It floods through her body, presses into her, causes each of her cells to pulse, giving birth to a feeling of absolute and infinite energy. She tears her mouth open wide, as if to scream, and swallows the tiny, unseen particles with her ovally formed lips.

“Stop it” - the light resistance of the wind tears her out of her inner ecstasy. The flow of energy slows. The pulse becomes a slight shudder. The cool, airy breath of the wind that climbs over her arms to her neck emits a pleasant, exhilarating warmth, like the touch of a tender hand of someone dear. She closes her eyes to surrender unconditionally to the feeling of complete security. But the cool breeze weakens, the air around her becomes increasingly heavy, suffocating. The round, light particles of oxygen combine in a fateful liaison with the carbonmonoxyde. She glances to all sides: people, cars, the city - she has left the park.

The feeling that accompanies the separation with a lover overcame her suddenly… She opened the eyes.

“Were you having a nice dream?” –she hadn’t as yet noticed the man who now smiled at her. “Yes, I was.” - glance to the window. She’d missed her stop… “Thanks to you I’ve missed my stop. It was so lovely, watching you dream.” he said, smiling at her.