Andvari

Maybe it wasn’t as wonderful as he thought it was in the first place. After all, memories always seemed brighter than he remembered. Was he even remembering them correctly?

He paused, took another drag on his cigarette. What if it was already falling apart in the first place? All it needed was a catalyst to give it a slight push. To make it all happen.

The problem is, he didn’t know. All he could do was speculate. From behind rose-tinted glasses, all he saw was a loving and wonderful story that took place over two years of his life.

Was this the way things were supposed to pan out? Nobody could give him an answer. The funny thing about the future is, it hasn’t been written until it happens. Sure, you can guess at what happens – but there’s no way to tell until it comes to pass.

It’s the same dilemma as thinking that you can go back to the past to change what happens in the future. How do you know what you do will make a difference? Who’s to say that you won’t end up in a situation that’s worst than the present? Short of drastic measures like murdering somebody (then again, you’d probably end up in prison instead of being celebrated a hero) – changing the past could drastically alter the outcome of your present life.

Life isn’t linear. If something happened differently in the past, chances are you’d be sent down a completely different road in the future. Think of all the little choices you made that seemed so small back then – not opening your mouth to say hello to your current best friend, deciding to stay at home instead of going out drinking, changing flight dates because it conflicted with another date, not dressing up or looking your best on your first date. Anything and everything would change the way life played out.

Sure, you mess up at times. Looking back, it’s hard to accept some of the worst mistakes you’ve ever made in life – but there’s no going back and changing things. You’ve made your move, now deal with the consequences. The most you can do is to continue living and not let history repeat itself. It sucks, it hurts, but hey – you live and you learn. At least you’ll still have those memories. Right?

He put out his cigarette, shut his journal, packed his things and put his backpack on. He entered a date into the time machine and stepped in. The door shut itself after him.

Hidden in his alcove, the watching tortoise shed a tear. Goodbye, it whispered into the darkness.

Three Men at a Bar

“My younger brother killed himself yesterday,” said Jim as he put down his glass. Everybody fell silent – even the background music seemed to go quieter by itself. “I told him to kill himself and you know what? That son of a bitch did it. Kids these days, spending too much time in front of the computer. They don’t know what’s good for ‘em.”

Ray’s eyes widened in surprise. “No fucking way.”

“What? You know something about my brother’s death?”

“What was his name?”

“Johnny. Or Jon the Slayer, as he liked to refer to himself when he was caught up in his games.”

“My ex killed himself yesterday, and I’ve been devastated. I couldn’t pay him a visit. He told me his family was homophobic. I-” Ray broke down and started to cry. “I regretted not trying hard enough to make it work.”

“The fuck? You were dating my brother? You fucking fag!” Jim stood up, his fist raised and ready to strike.

“Now I know why he didn’t want to come out.” Ray retorted.

“My brother was not gay!”

“Stop it!” said Leonard as he stepped in between the two men. “Your brother just passed, and you’re acting like an animal in public,” he told Jim.

“It was all his fault!” yelled Jim. “If it wasn’t for this piece of shit over here, my brother probably wouldn’t be so much of a coward!”

“Hey! It wasn’t my fault that your brother loved sucking dicks. He was born that way – I didn’t make him choose his sexual preference!” snapped Ray.

“Just shut the fuck up and sit down, both of you!” interjected Leonard. He had to act fast before the previously-amicable-turned-sour conversation devolved into an all out brawl.

Jim and Ray didn’t respond. Ray was also now on his feet, staring Jim down. As if beckoning him to throw a punch.

Now the music in the bar had stopped and all eyes were on the trio.

“Are you guys going to behave properly or should I call the authorities?” the bartender’s voice boomed from across the room.

“We’re fine over here,” said Leonard as he nudged the two angry men back into their seats.

A few seconds passed and the music and chatter among the other patrons in the bar gradually resumed. It was as though everything was back to normal.

Ray and Jimmy were still fuming at each other while seated.

“Look, Jim and Ray – neither of you are to blame for what happened. You guys met tonight – there’s no need for bloodshed. Honestly, Jim, you should have told me you weren’t up for a blind date after such a tragic occasion. It would have been better if you stayed home.”

“This was the blind date?” exclaimed Jim.

“Yes, I told you that I was going to help you take your mind off things.”

“I thought we were just going for drinks!”

“And you decided to set me up with the extremely homophobic homosexual brother of my dead ex!” confronted Ray.

“How was I to know that you dated his brother?” replied Leonard. “If only you were more open with your past!”

Leonard got up from his seat.

“I’m going out for a smoke, and when I get back, I want to see you guys laughing and hanging out like best friends. Like you’ve known each other your whole lives,” he said. They remained silent as he walked out of the bar.

He stepped out into the cold night, lit up a cigarette and peered through the glass. He could now see that Jim and Ray were warming up to each other again and had started talking. Based on their body language, things were going well. It wasn’t long until they were holding hands and falling into each other’s eyes lovingly.

He smiled to himself. I guess I’m done after all. He pulled out a voice recorder and started speaking into it.

“Leonard two-three-one-seven reporting. Experiment one thousand and sixty-seven has been a failure. Despite all the different methods I’ve employed, it appears that it’s impossible to stop love from taking place. It is powerful enough to transcend both space and time. I’ve enjoyed myself in this timeline, but it’s time to go. If there’s another way to stop the relationship from happening, I haven’t found it yet. My life’s work has been ruined – all gone down the train.”

He sighed as he put the tape recorder back in his pocket. A few seconds later, his watched beep. “Message Received” was the prompt that flashed on its tiny display. He felt a tiny explosion go off in his head and his world was enveloped in darkness.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: Three guys start chatting in a bar during the lowest moment of their lives. As they exchange their life stories, they realize that they are all connected, and responsible for eachother’s misery.

The Fool

She was waiting for him to get out of his car. When he did they locked eyes. He smiled at her and she returned it. I’ve been waiting for you, her eyes seemed to say.

However her gaze immediately averted when he walked into the restaurant – as though she knew they were doing something wrong. He was here.

“I can’t talk to you.”

That’s all he needed to hear.

“I’m leaving-”

Please, don’t.”

He saw the desperation in her eyes. After a second which seemed like an eternity he made up his mind. He was done playing the fool; he walked out of the restaurant without saying goodbye. She held back a tear as he drove away.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: I give you the punctuation, you write the story.

The Perfect Crime

“Two years and not a word. I wondered if they even realized it was gone. Was my fake that good? I went into my garage, unlocked the trap door to my basement and descended the steps into it. I switched on the lights. There, in the middle of the room, was the prized Mona Lisa, resting on an easel for no one but my own eyes to see. I had pulled off the perfect crime, but there was nobody I could tell about it, or I would have been caught and sent to jail.”

“Alright, show and tell is over. It’s time for your meds,” said Francis off to the side of the podium. I stepped away from the lectern, normally reserved for bingo nights, and felt two steady arms guide me back to my seat. Though my eyesight was failing, I could see the same (old) faces, smiling at me, breaking the silence with frail clapping.

“Oceans Ninety Nine! Tell us another story!” I heard from the back of the room.
“This is only the hundredth time I’ve heard it!”

“Bah! These patronizing kids,” I thought to myself as I sipped the water through a straw placed in front of me. “They’ll never know the truth if it hit them in the face!”


Writing Prompt from Reddit: You have been striving for years to commit the elusive “Perfect Crime” for the fame of it. You steal the Mona Lisa and replace it with a fake. You leave a taunting note and wait for the panic when it is discovered. But, 2 years later, no one has noticed.

Tony hated cats

When Tony was a young boy, he used to have nightmares about a man sneaking into his room and taking his toys away. He had made sure to always go to bed hugging his favorite teddy bear, but in the dream, the teddy bear was always on the floor on the other side of the room. He’d cry and scream, and beg the man not to take his teddy bear away. But the man would never listen. He’d always make sure to grab the soft toy before exiting the room.

However, there was one night the dream didn’t play out as usual. This time, the teddy bear was still in Tony’s clutches. Thinking that the mysterious man would give up if he didn’t find the bear, Tony hid it under his blanket, away from the man. After silently combing the rest of the room and not finding the bear, instead of walking out of the room, the man looked at Tony and stepped towards him. It was as though he could sense the bear under the sheets.

“Go away!” Tony yelled at the man as he gripped the bear even tighter. He wasn’t going to lose the toy again. Not this time.

The man wordlessly continued towards the boy. And for the first time, Tony saw the face of the man, revealed by the moonlight shining through the windows of the room. Expecting the face of an adult man, Tony was horrified by what he saw – the man had the face of a cat. The fact that it wasn’t disfigured or grotesque made it much worse for Tony. He let out a scream and woke up crying. He had never felt a greater fear before in his life.

Since that nightmare, Tony decided to get rid of his teddy bear, thinking that it was a magnet for the mysterious cat-faced man. While the dreams stopped, his fear of cats and anything feline-like remained. He never looked at them the same way again.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: Wednesday Writer’s Workshop: “Thought” Verb Exercise

Bounce

“I can’t wait to see her again.” He smiled to himself.

It had been two weeks since he had last seen her. She spent the summer break at her parents’ place out of state. So he had been looking forward to this day. He kept his feet on the gas pedal as he drove towards her house. Traffic was great this evening – it was smooth all the way. Less than ten minutes after leaving his house, he was at hers.

He saw her standing outside as he parked his car. He couldn’t wait to tell her all about what had happened during his break. Elated, he hopped out of his car and dashed towards her. She had finished smoking a cigarette and was putting out the butt with her flip-flops.

“Baby!” he greeted her, arms outstretched.

While she was only dressed in a casual T-shirt and shorts, she stood radiating like a goddess under the moon light. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

A few paces from her, just out of arms reach, he saw the smile on her face straighten. Like a trampoline returning to its neutral state, it took the wind out from his step.

“I’ve put all your stuff in here,” she said as she handed him a paper bag. Then she turned and walked back into her house.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: Write either a genuinely nice story or a story that looks nice and then has an unexpected turn. Don’t let any people reading know which you wrote until the end.

Trading Lives

Another child, another wife gone. This was my fourth one, yet I was still here. It was hard to believe she was gone. It was only last week that I was holding her tightly in the hospital ward, waiting for her turn to deliver the baby. After the baby was born, she was selected to be killed. Random, they said. It sure didn’t feel like it.

We knew it was a risk before we had the child, but she wanted the experience of being a mother – even if it was only for a brief period. It was one of her goals in life. I felt somewhat happy that I helped her to accomplish her dreams, but I was miserable that I had to lose another woman in my life.

I paced the living room floor, bottle of whiskey in hand, taking a swig of it every time I felt like crying my eyes out. While I was the envy of some of my friends, I didn’t really feel like I deserved it. I mean, who would want their partners dead? I guess some of them did, but their partners didn’t want any kids so they had no way out without ending the relationship (they were cowards, but that’s another story).

I sat down and continued going through my late wife’s personal belongings. Putting away things to be kept in one box, and those to be disposed in a trash bag. It struck me as odd that she had a lot of letters and writings to God, despite her not being very religious. I don’t even remember the last time she went to church. I finished the bottle in my hand and walked to the kitchen to get myself another one.

I decided to call up my best friend on the phone. He would know what to say. I hadn’t seen him in years ever since he moved away but we kept in touch. He wanted to get away from here, to start a new life in a new country on the other side of the world. It was late at night where he was but he answered my call after two rings.

I could hear his sleepy voice on the other side of the phone.

“Hello?” he croaked.

I told him my dilemma.

“Okay,” came the reply.

“That’s it? I’ve survived four children and all you have to say is okay? Why isn’t this more surprising to you?” I said, slightly bothered by his nonchalant response.

I could hear the sigh over the phone as I pictured him swinging his feet off the side of his bed, sitting up, putting his fingers on the bridge of his nose and massaging it. It was exactly what he did when he replied, “oh dear, oh dear. You’ve been drinking again haven’t you, Yahweh?”


Writing Prompt from Reddit: In order to control population growth, every time a baby is born the government randomly selects one of the parents to be euthanized. After four children, you start to wonder why you’ve never been chosen.

In Da Club

I didn’t want to come here tonight. But my friends all told me that I’d never meet anybody if I never left my house. After paying for the entry fee, I found myself in a sea of dancing people. From the entrance all the way to the bar, this place was packed. I slowly made my way through the crowd, looking for a familiar face to latch on to. There was nobody I recognized. I decided to line up for a drink to kick-start the night. “Might as well get alcohol in my system so I can leave this place earlier,” I thought to myself.

While waiting in line, I observed the club. This place was filled with hot women. Too bad none of them would talk to me. I was a weirdo, according to my friends. They still hung out with me because deep inside, they knew I was a nice person – it just took a while for my personality to surface. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket.

“Sorry Fei, I can’t make it to the club tonight. Something came up!” said one of them.
“Yeah, me too, sorry to cancel on you last-minute!” said another one.
“What the fuck guys? I’m already here at the club, getting myself a drink, why did you not tell me earlier??”
“Something came up last-minute, I didn’t think you’d be there so early!”
“It’s already past midnight, how am I early?”
“I’ll make it up to you next time, have a good night!”
“Fuck.”

I wasn’t amused. I wasn’t sure if they had purposely abandoned me tonight or they really had other things to do. Since I had already paid the cover charge and it was almost my turn to order a drink, I decided to stay on and finish at least one drink. I ordered a pint of Stella (my favorite) and paid for it. After being told off by the bartender for standing around and blocking the drinks line, I decided to scour the bar for a place to sit.

There were no seats available. “Well done! Looks like I’ll have to finish this drink standing up,” I told myself. It was then I noticed a couple who were done drinking leave their seats to head to the dance floor. I quickly made my way past the crowd of sweaty people towards the recently vacated table.

Just as I was about to place my drink on the table, a girl swooped in from the side and placed her handbag on the table. “Urm, this seat is taken!” she yelled at me over the blaring hip hop music.

“No fucking way, I got here first, you just stole my seat from me!” I replied.

“Nuh uh, I’ve been eyeing the couple for the past half hour, if you think you’re going to take the seat from me, you’re wrong!” she stood in between me and the table, arms crossed in front of her, scowl on her face.

“Feels Bad Man,” I said. I pushed her aside and sat myself down on the seat.

“Pepe Hands,” she replied. “Look, this is my table, and you’re not getting it. I’m in heels and my feet hurt from standing. What’s your excuse?”

“Nobody told you to wear heels man. Anyway, I’m just here for a bit. Let me finish my drink and I’ll let you have the table to yourself.”

“No,” she replied. “I like to sit by myself. I hate talking to strangers.”

“I’m not even asking you to talk to me! For fuck’s sake, just let me finish this drink and I’ll be out of your way!”

She contemplated my request for a moment and reluctantly agreed. “Fine, just finish your drink and leave me the fuck alone.”

So there I sat in silence, slowly sipping my drink and staring at the girl in front of me.

“This is like 2 Girls 1 Cup,” I quipped.

“You’re disgusting, you know that?” she replied.

“Where’s your drink?” I asked her.

“I’ll get it when you’re gone.”

“What if I decide not to leave?”

“You said you would!”

“I could have lied.”

“Stop talking to me.”

“I’ll make you leave.”

“Make me.”

“Fine.”

I took out my phone and showed her the Goatse.cx website. She didn’t flinch. I showed her Tubgirl. She laughed. She loaded up a website on her phone and showed me Meatspin. “Amateur,” I told her.

“Looks like I’ve met my match,” she said as she loaded another website on her phone and showed it to me. BME Pain Olympics. I giggled and looked at her with a sly smile.

I launched my messaging app and typed in a message for her to see: “LET’S GET OUT OF HERE”

She read the message and without any hesitation, she nodded. I took her hand and we walked out of the club together. All brakes were off as soon as we stepped out into the chilly night. She pulled me in close and kissed me hard. I didn’t resist.

“What’s your name?” she asked me.
“Lemon Party,” I replied.
“I’m Blue Waffle,” she laughed.
I gave her another kiss and said, “let’s go eat some special fried rice.”


Writing Prompt from Reddit: You’re at a crowded bar and can’t get a seat, so you concoct a plan to hit on the hottest woman sitting there, hoping she’ll leave in disgust so you can take her seat.

Bucket List

“We’re not the kids we used to be.”

“You’re right. We’re not,” I replied.

I stepped into the bank through the main doors and yelled at the top of my lungs. “Everybody, get down on the ground, right now!” I quickly pulled my shirt open to reveal all the dynamite strapped around my body and raised my hand holding a detonator to show them I meant business. “Give me all your money or I’ll blow this place to the ground!”

My partner walked in after me and threw a couple of duffel bags onto the counter in front of the tellers.

“Don’t make me repeat myself! Hands behind your backs! Follow my instructions and nobody is going to get hurt.”

Nobody had to be told twice, everybody else in the bank was now lying on their front with their hands behind their backs.

“Except the tellers, please get up and fill the bags with as much money as you can.”

They complied without a word. Pleased with the situation, I smiled and lowered my hand, which was still holding on tightly to the trigger of a detonator.

You see, the thing is – I knew that today would be the day that I was going to croak. It was a given. Many people have tried changing their fates. Nobody has ever succeeded. Knowing that, I didn’t even bother. However, knowing when I was going to die, I decided to live my life very differently. I mean, I can’t say if it would have been any different if I didn’t know – after all, I only had one life. But I guess that isn’t the point – or maybe it is.

Because I knew I was going to die today, for the past year of my life I spent it accomplishing all the irrational fantasies I had on my bucket list. One of the first few things I pulled off was skydiving without a parachute. You would think that would have ended me, but nope – you can’t beat the date. So by some stroke of luck, I managed to survive. That put me into overdrive and I decided to do all the things that I was afraid of doing before. I hopped out of a car at a safari. I ran through a shooting range that had a live practice going on. I drove my car into a lake. Each time, I came out unscathed. I was living my best life.

For my final task, I decided that I was going to live out my ultimate fantasy – to pull off a bank robbery. You see, I had done my best to stay clear of the law in all my previous tasks because what use would a life of ‘immortality’ be if I was locked up behind bars? Exactly. It would have been a miserable life.

So here I stood, waiting for my money to be packed. Minutes felt like forever. I checked my watch hand – only thirty seconds to go before I met my soulmate. I wonder who she would be. Was she one of the customers on the floor? It was hard to tell, none of the people on the ground dared to look up at me. Thirty seconds passed, and the alarm on my watch rang. Just like clockwork, the bell at the entrance to the bank rang.

*ding*

In walked the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in my life.

“This must be her,” I thought to myself.

She stood still, frozen, stunned at the scene that lay in front of her.

“Wow,” she managed to whisper.

“Wow,” I said to myself.

Nimbly, she got down to her knees and lay on the ground. Her eyes met mine, and for a moment we exchanged glances. Then she never took her eyes off the tiled floor again.

“So much for meeting my soulmate.”

“Yo, I’ve got the money, let’s go!” said my partner who was now next to me with the loaded duffel bags strapped to both of his shoulders.

He rushed me out through the front doors where the getaway car was waiting at the street corner.

“Thanks a lot man,” he told me.

“Don’t sweat it,” I said. The alarm on my watch rang again. “You better make a move.”

“Tell Tort I said hi.”

“I will.”

The car shifted into gear and tore down the street. I sat down by the sidewalk and watched the car disappear in the distance. I took off the fake bomb that was strapped to my body and put the detonator down. I looked at the watch on my hand. “Any moment now.”

The alarm went off for the last time. A sudden pain shot through my body and I felt my chest tighten. I began to lose consciousness and struggled for air. Then the world around me turned black.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: Everyone is born with 3 dates on their wrist. One represents when you will accomplish your life’s goal, one is when you will meet your soulmate, and one is when you will die right down to the second. Yours are all the same day within a minute of each other.

Rhythm of the Falling Rain

The loud booming thunder, flashes in the sky and falling water set the tone for the evening. It was like any other Wednesday, minus the atrocious weather. There goes my jogging plans. He thought to himself as he slumped back into the couch in his living room. He picked up the remote control and turned on the television. News. Soap opera. Cartoon. News. Nothing tickled his fancy, and he switched it off.

He wasn’t afraid of falling sick by going out in the rain. After all, he read it up on the internet that rain causing sickness was only a myth. Neither was he worried about slipping or being hit by a car – there was a perfectly safe park opposite house where he could jog to his heart’s content. The rain was just an excuse. He was just feeling lazy.

He got up from the couch and took off his running shoes. He walked back towards the window and looked out again. The rain wasn’t letting up. He definitely wasn’t going to jog tonight. Hopefully it doesn’t cause any floods – would be a bitch to get to work. He noticed that his thoughts sounded like one-sided conversations with himself. Most of the time he’d ask rhetorical questions. Once in a while, he’d stump himself. But unlike conversations with other people, there was nobody to judge him for the words going through his mind.

I guess I’ll just call it an early night. He took off his running clothes and headed into the bathroom to wash up. It’s the perfect weather to fall asleep to anyway. He thought to himself as he pulled the blanket over his head. The falling rain was music to his ears.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: What he saw outside his window