Today, Part 4

Today, I lived so vividly the memories still bounce wordlessly from cell to cell, laughing, dancing, yelling for my attention.  Today, my heart thrummed happily in my chest, each beat reminding me why I love this world and everyone in it so very much.  Today, there was no time for nostalgia or regret–only peace.  Peace and laughter.

I loved today.

 

Millie

Novel Excerpt: Livy’s Dream

This is an excerpt from the first draft of my novel (which does not yet have a title).  Enjoy.


LIVY’S DREAM

By: Millie

The man on the opposite side of the compartment had resumed his reading and the woman was still sleeping peacefully away.  Livy settled back, breathing deeply for the first time since she and Elizabeth said their good-by’s.  How nice, she thought.  How sweet.  I rather like it here.

Livy’s eyes began to close and soon she was inches away from sleep, eagerly awaiting.  In the final moments before she drifted away, she remembered something.  It was really important, and it was really urgent, but it slipped from her head before she could properly remember it.

In her dream, her mother was sitting in her tangerine convertible.  Her lips were painted so beautifully—she must have spent hours before the mirror to get them just right—and they smiled brightly as Livy approached the vehicle.  A pair of large sunglasses rested gently on her nose and cloaked any and all evidence of her eyes.  Livy frowned when she couldn’t see them.

“Mama, I can’t see your eyes,” she said, opening the passenger door and climbing into the seat.

Her mother shrugged.  “They’re working fine for me!”

“But I want to see them,” Livy said.  “I haven’t for such a long time.”

Her mother sighed and looked down at the floor of the car.  She stayed there for a long while, her right foot dancing off and on the gas pedal but never pushing it down.

“I don’t have any idea where I’m taking this car,” her mother realized, her lips falling open in shock as she turned to Livy.

“Don’t you have a map?” Livy asked.

Her mother shook her head.  “I was hoping…You would.”

“Nope,” Livy said.  She bit her lip.  “I’m afraid we’re both in trouble.”

Her mother’s lips curved into a delicious grin and she threw her head back in laughter.  “Oh, you funny girl!” she cried.  She reached a hand out to pinch Livy’s shoulder hard.

“Ow!” Livy cried, and her mother withdrew her hand, returning it to the steering wheel.

“Well, I hope you’re ready for a scrumptious adventure,” her mother said.  “Ready?”

Livy nodded vigorously, and her mother stomped on the gas pedal with what looked like incredible force.  The convertible careened forward with a nauseating screech, and soon they were driving up the driveway with enough speed to make the nearby trees look like blurs of green in Livy’s periphery.

“Stop!”  Livy screamed.  They were drawing closer and closer to the house with every second.  “Stop the car!  We’re gonna crash!”

Livy looked frantically over at her mother, who was wielding the steering wheel with a malicious smile and paying no heed to her daughter’s concerned words.  Livy turned back to the ever-approaching house, her heart pounding and eyes watering.  “No!  Stop!  Stop the car!  Mama, stop the car!  Stop!”

Livy gasped as she opened her eyes, lifting her head from the train seat.  Clair was looking down at her with an expression of worry and Fabian was still reading his newspaper.  “Are you alright?” he asked.

Livy blinked slowly, sitting up.  “Y—Yes, I’m fine,” she said.  Her heart was still beating rapidly in her chest.  “Just a nightmare.”

Clair nodded and turned back to look at the sleeping woman.  Livy turned away and looked out the window, watching the fields of grey stone and silver water rush past.  So much for the trees.

Before she could stop herself she was crying again, her fingers running over the spot on her shoulder where her mother had so harshly pinched her in her dream.

 

Last Man Left On Earth

By: Millie

“Noma, this is Markson.  Do you copy?”

Static.  Buzz.

“Copy that, Markson.  How are you feeling?”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.

“I feel dizzy.”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.

“Dizzy how?”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.

“Just sort of foggy, like waking up from a dream.”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.

“Interesting analysis.  Any pain?”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.

“Not as of yet.  Should I be expecting any?”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.

“We haven’t tested this on any other human subject, we have no way of knowing.”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.

“I know that.  Don’t you have any extra information?…You’re not the one on a dead planet.”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.  Sigh.

“Our animal subjects have displayed signs of anxiety and irritability at about the five minute mark.  How long has it been in your system?”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.  Sigh.  Bite.

“About…Three and a half minutes.”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.  Sigh.  Bite.  Blink.

“Any pain?”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.  Sigh.  Bite.  Blink.  Wince.

“You already asked me that.”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.  Sigh.  Bite.  Blink.  Wince.  Grasp.

“I know.  With this medication, things…Happen…Very quickly.”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.  Sigh.  Bite.  Blink.  Wince.  Grasp.  Clench.

“Well, I’m fine…Wait…I…”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.  Sigh.  Bite.  Blink.  Wince.  Grasp.  Clench.  Hit.

“What is it?  …  Markson, what happened?  …  Markson, this is Noma.  Do you copy?  …  Markson, this is Noma.  Do you copy?”

Static.  Buzz.  Click.  Pop.  Spark.  Step.  Crunch.  Coo.  Whistle.  Sigh.  Bite.  Blink.  Wince.  Grasp.  Clench.  Hit.  Stuck.

“Markson, this is Noma.  Do you copy?”

STahTIc.  Buzzzzclick.  POP.  SsssssspAURk.  Step-crUnscH.  WhistlesighbiteblinkwincegraspclenchHITsssssssstuck NO.

“Markson, this is Noma.  Do you copy?”

StaticbuzzclickpopsparkstepcrunchcoowhistlesighbiteblinkwincegraspclenchhitstuckNO gone.

Gone.

Gone.

Gone.

“Markson, this is Noma.  Do you copy?”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Gone.

15 Joyful Things

By: Millie

  1. Your favorite song comes on the radio
  2. You see the one you love after a long absence
  3. A complete stranger smiles hesitantly at you
  4. Someone laughs, and it sounds like music
  5. You touch the pillow-soft black fur of a 10-week old kitten
  6. A phone conversation between you and your best friend accidentally lasts 5 hours because neither of you want to hang up
  7. You live out a day full of real and honest fun
  8. You and a friend make new private jokes
  9. You have a squirt gun fight with someone you love on a miserably hot summer day
  10. Someone gives you a clamshell of cake
  11. Someone tells you you’re never a waste of time
  12. “Thank you.”
  13. “I do.”
  14. Two wine glasses gently collide and make a soft “clink”
  15. A baby smiles

Marlena, Your Majesty: Part 1

By: Millie

It was the glow of the lamp that softened her resolve.  Or maybe it was the sheets.  Yes, it was the sheets, those impossibly soft, warm crimson sheets.  They glowed under the lamp’s light, just as she did.

It wasn’t a bedroom, really.  It wasn’t even really a room.  Clothes lay haphazardly on the floor, having been recently discarded.  They formed pathways and misshapen piles of fabric where tired feet had sloppily sauntered through them in the journey to get to the bed.  Burnt-out stubs of candles were fused to the night stand, leaving hard, yellow wax over the mahogany wood.  At least fifteen glasses, all of different sizes, sat on the table in the middle of the room.  They each contained varying amounts of water.  Crumpled sheets of paper decorated the floor alongside the wrinkled clothes, lines of smudged ink still visible through the crinkles.  To the side of the room, a beige fainting couch sat, hardly disturbed aside from a large and rather noticeable coffee stain in the middle of the cushion.

No, it wasn’t a room.  Anyone who entered could see it wasn’t a room at all.  The sheets were too tangled, the scent too warm.  It was too familiar, too personal.  It wasn’t a room—it was a home.

Her quivering toes dug into the mattress at the foot of the bed.  Her legs, soft and luminous under the warm lamplight, shook at the knees, which she clutched with surprisingly muscular arms.  Her hands were knotted into each other, so tight her knuckles shone white.  Her chest heaved and her lip shook.

Footsteps.

Foot

Step

Foot

Step

Foot

Step

And then…

The woman’s eyes closed, she took a deep breath, and quietly muttered a question into the air, which hung before her for a moment.  She waited, smiled, and solemnly nodded.  When she looked up, tears fell from her eyes.

The door before her had fourteen locks on it, but she knew, just this once, they wouldn’t be enough.  She heard them click, one by one, all fourteen of them.  Then the door opened.

“It’s been a while.”

She couldn’t see his face, but the deep baritone of his voice gave him away.  The lamp beside her flickered out, leaving the room in darkness.  “You don’t have to do that, you know,” she whispered.

She heard the floorboards groan as he took a step forward.  “I’m trying to be nice,” he said softly.  “That’s the best I can do.”  She felt the hot palms of his hands rest on her cold feet, and she shuddered.  “I’m sorry they did this to you.”

“I’m sorry they made you do it.”

The air hung with nothing but darkness until the lamp fluttered back to life, and all she could see was his face.  “I’m not going to let them get away with this,” he said, and she could see in his eyes that he was telling the truth.

“Thank you,” she said.  Her chapped lips curved into a forced half-smile.

He stepped back.  “Now get up,” he instructed.

She did as he said, quietly moving from her perch on the bed and anxiously standing before him on weak legs, fear ever-present in her eyes.  Biting his lip and staring at her with a glassy glare of regret, he slowly pulled a syringe from his belt, removing the cap and gesturing for her arm.  Her head snapped up, a new, almost feral look in her eyes.  “No,” she pleaded.  “No, not again.”

Turning abruptly, she started towards the door, nervous sweat gleaming on her forehead.  He raced after her and had swiftly captured her wrist in his grasp before she had even made it past the threshold.

“Please,” she begged.  “It’s bad enough as it is, don’t make it worse.”

He winced at her words as he deliberately rolled up her sleeve, but didn’t reply.  Pulling her closer to him, he quickly plunged the needle into her forearm.  “I’m sorry,” he said as she let out a sharp cry of pain.  He pushed down on the syringe until the deep purple liquid was completely dispensed.  He withdrew the needle, carelessly dropping it to the floor.  “It’s protocol.”

She felt her eyes grow heavy.  She lurched forward, holding onto his arms for support, carefully calculating his expression.  He was sad.  Sad and…Afraid?  Anxious?  No.

No.

No.

He wasn’t…

Blink

Fall

Lurch

He was never afraid.

He was…

Blink

Tumble

Hands

Tears

Hands

Tears

I’m sorry

It’s protocol

Excited.

Day 1: Why?

 

Why start this website?  It’s simple.

As humans, we are living in one of the most confusing times our species has ever endured.  Opinions have never been more diverse, tragedies more documented, or lives more mourned.  Everyone has, to some extent, been witness to demoralizing, traumatizing, and altogether awful things–be it on the news, the Internet, or in our own lives.  I am no different.

However, we have also seen a great many beautiful things.  We have seen the sun rise and set.  We have traced constellations through midnight skies.  We have held babies, hugged elders, and grown plants.  We have loved truly and deeply and we have done everything possible to make that love known to the world.  There is good within us, there is joy; and while that joy persists we have nothing to fear.

 

So I am starting this website with the hope that I will help you realize humanity.  I hope that through my stories and through my art, you will realize the strength, the power, and the love that humanity is capable of.  I hope you will realize that you, as a human, are capable of that, too.

Philosophy aside, I do hope you enjoy my work.  I have worked quite diligently at it and I love sharing it with you.

Many thanks,

Millie