Johnny Man (Not Boy) Part Five

“I really hope you both don’t think I wanted to do that though.” Liz says with a guilty expression.

“I know you didn’t. Please don’t feel horrible. If it wasn’t for you, Thomas and I would not be here. And who knows what they would have done to you if they found you Liz. You did some quick thinking and that is what we needed in the moment.” John reassures.

“Thank you.”

“Agreed. Sorry I am not the one with the words, but you were quite the impressive, most sneaky lady I have ever seen.” Thomas says.

“Thanks again guys. I really don’t know what we are going to do though if this place keeps getting attacked every night. I do not have enough ammo for a big fight every night.”

“We don’t. That’s why we must set traps Liz. Secure the perimeter. Intimidate. Send a message to people who want to steal from us, attack us, and not be with us: that we are a force to be reckoned with.” John declares.

They dig pits around the perimeter. Instead of creating stakes in them, they leave water and a morsel of food. The truth is, they need fighters. People who have guts but maybe lack direction. This will help create a strong community they both agree.

John comes up with a string system around the perimeter attached to bells inside the barn. He has them all labeled with numbers corresponding to a map he created of the area. He will know where an attack is coming from before the enemy even knows he exists. John has studied every inch of the landscape today. He studies everywhere to hide, run, engage or disengage. And Liz is quite impressed.

“I think you know this land better than me in one day John.”

“I know. That is the goal, haha. I can’t have you telling me where to run, while I am being shot at my dear! We all have to act independently at times.”

“Indeed we do.”

The bell rings. The one all the way on the left. John double checks the map and points.

“He’s coming from over here. If the bell rings several times, there must be more than one.”

It doesn’t ring again.

“Liz, you stay here. Thomas come with me.”

“There is only one though, John. I can handle it. Stop treating me like a baby. Thomas I am in charge, you stay here.” She says sternly.

“Okay, Liz. Come with me.” John says, trying not to argue at a crucial moment.

She grabs her submachine gun.

“I’m ready.”

John chuckles and they head in the direction of the potential enemy.

“It’s a woman, John!” Liz exclaims as they see her on the edge of the clearing. Her clothes look disheveled. She looks like she has been through something horrific.

“Stand back Liz! This could be a trap! Please stay back. Listen to me I do not have a good idea about this!”

She almost runs to her, but instead something inside of her told her to stay by John. He moves slowly towards the woman by himself. Instructs Liz to stay at least fifteen feet behind him. She follows his orders, secretly terrified inside, her heart racing more than it has ever before.

“Put your hands up slowly maim! I am just making sure this isn’t some kind of trap. If you are innocent you have nothing to worry about, my lady. And by some miracle you have found us.”

He sees three men emerge from the edge of the clearing as he moved closer to the woman.

“Please don’t kill me.” She says while in tears. “They hurt me already. Please don’t hurt me. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“Liz, get ready.” He mutters.

Her words are breaking John’s heart. He knows this could end in tragedy depending on his next move, but moves have to be made. He moves swiftly towards the woman, only a few feet away and pushes her aside to the ground. He falls to the ground himself, then starts shooting, each bullet hits each man in between the eyes. They fall like cartoon puppets, like something out of a movie he imagines because the past memories he has of war would easily make him lose his mind.

“I didn’t want to have to do that. But once again; I had to do something I didn’t want to do in life. Liz come over here and help this woman. I have a faceful of dirt right now and am tired.”

Liz is in shock. She feels she has just watched one of the best gunmen in the world protect two women from harm’s way. She grabs the woman’s arm calmly, looks her in the eyes and says:

“My dear, you cannot stay out here. We must be quiet for now. It’s going to be okay now. You found a sanctuary in the middle of chaos. It’s going to be okay.”

The women quiets her sobbing.

“Thank you. Thank you both. I don’t know what I would have done if you both hadn’t been there. They tried to use me as bait. I’ve seen so much already. I’ve seen so much already. You have no idea.”

“Shhh. It’s okay. We’ll get to the barn soon and can talk there. Just stay calm.” Liz reassures.

John doesn’t say much. He is still in shock he just killed three men and hasn’t had to do so much killing since the war. He honestly feels sort of unprepared emotionally, but knows if he were to express this to anyone, they would think of him as a weak character. So of course, he doesn’t. His heart is heavy for the unknown woman that just graced their presence as a piece of bait. He thinks: How cruel do you have to be to use someone else as bait? This is the kind of behavior which has ruined our society and caused such great conflict in the first place. He sees this as a symbolic situation; sort of beyond the situation. It makes him sad, deep down. He wants everyone to join forces together who stand for a good cause, but he also knows ultimately some people will give into fear.

 

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Miss Magic Part V

Olivia wakes up to a thunderstorm. The rain hits her air conditioner and makes a steadily annoying noise. She has gotten used to it over the years, but sometimes it is unbearable. She imagines it is some kind of beat and sits there at times writing words to it. It makes the noise less annoying and actually beneficial. She chuckles internally at how she has managed to do a lot with so little in her life. With all the annoyances in general. Big or small. How her ability to adapt to situations, seems to just be an almost ingrained genetic trait.

Her eyes look young, but brain is always alert, learning, and imaginative beyond her years. At times, she finds herself observing people more than engaging. She blames psychology. Now has ventured off into neuroscience as well, always trying to seemingly connect the dots people may not find. Most People can no longer critically think though she finds. Olivia feels lost in conversations, oftentimes afraid to share a controversial opinion.. Once in a while, she’ll encounter someone else who has read similar things though, has passion, and can engage in a conversation. But it is honestly rare. She finds herself creating characters out of all these engagements, changing the names of course, but always trying to find some kind of benefit; even if the engagement was negative.

She spent most of her day writing an outline for a story, then discovering it was pointless. So had grown used to the academic setting. It had started to condition her to treat her won writing in more of a structured way though, which went against certain natural creative abilities she possessed. This finally led to the realization she could no longer plan anything out to a T in general. Like a savage, she had to let her mind wander, be free, and just focus on maintaining passion. A difficult task when it seems the world is always trying to peel the walls back. Difficult to find a positive energy out of her life story she tries so hard to forget half of the plot to. Not out of her own regrets mostly, but other people regretting their inability eventually to actually show empathy towards the right people. Oftentimes, people are misled Olivia observes, like a herd of sheep led by the most outgoing dog. The loudest seem to prevail, but not always the loudest should be given the encouragement she feels. Sometimes the person hiding in the corner, only talking to one person, needs it the most but usually goes unnoticed.

She starts to feel edgy. This urge to call Jackie right at that moment and meet up again. It was so much fun. There is honestly, nothing she would rather be doing at that moment but trying to learn everything about her, but Olivia refrains.  She pets the cat for a moment of comfort, then retreats out alone in her typical fashion. Figuratively and literally.

She never leaves the house without matching from head to toe. Sort of this OCD thing she always had as a child as well. I guess no one called it out enough to change the behavior, but then again how is it a bad thing? She thinks. Ha ha. People take notice once in a while, then she feels the nice energy coming her way absorbs it like a chameleon.  Then back to Hermitville; her apartment again. Especially if it is winter.

She donates to literacy at the store, even though she has hardly anything herself. Sort of not caring anymore about materialistic things in certain situations. Always trying to find a way to take nothing from anything and give nothing to anything that is misleading. To her, that is the ultimate goal in life. To be able to reach the point where you desire nothing from anyone, take nothing from anyone, and be grounded entirely in as strange as it sounds; the self. If you cannot live with yourself, you cannot truly live. She thinks of this saying quite often. Has no idea where it came from, whether it be out of her own mind or something she read. Either way, it doesn’t bother her to have “credit” like some do. Everything is sort of an inspiration derived from another inspiration. Except in cases of straight imitation and depending on the context, it could be argued that person has a lack of creativity. Which can happen. Olivia was always mesmerized by Hollywood imitation, repetition, and fads in general. Not mesmerized as in buying into it, but rather amazed by how many people buy into the destructive: live fast and die young lifestyle. How some have become so ego fueled, they live in completely self perpetuated destructive cycle, and chip at everyone who actually cares with the blinders on. Such a shame, all the talent wasted on trying to stay “ahead,” no matter what the cost. Even if it seems to cost them their existence.

She often dreams of being as wealthy as those in Beverly Hills but her smile quickly fades. Imagining starving children in Venezuela seems to strike a chord. Too much suffering in the world, and not enough hope. She thinks. She can’t imagine the guilt that would come with immense wealth. Most people would jump at the chance to spoil themselves, but she would rather have animals and people around she could help. She would find a way to help others and still maintain some kind of profit margin in order to sustain it. Unfortunately, it seems most stash their money away, invest it in stocks, die without spending it, or spend it selfishly at all times. It just doesn’t make sense, she thinks. Why create a storm when you could create a rainbow?

She thought of her hometown. A man who owned a shoe factory that her Great Grandmother once worked for was quite kind to his workers. Olivia’s Great Grandmother had a mundane duty of inserting insoles into shoes. It didn’t pay much obviously, but the owner offered financing to his workers for homes. He basically built up an entire neighborhood around the plant for cheap and offered houses for an affordable price. The community had each others backs and was beautiful. The archway dedicated to him still stands. Olivia finds herself walking under it often, then looking up in awe. Still looks like it is made out of the best quality, and carved by some of the most talented of workers. She thinks Most have no idea what it really means, or probably even take notice though. Sometimes the best things are hidden in plain sight.

Her eyes are drawn to the magic kit again and away from deep thoughts. It was just sitting under the coffee table, collecting some dust. She still hadn’t fathomed the possibility she might be different. Convinced a lack of sleep at that time, caused some kind of psychosis. Blamed it directly on what she researched.

She pours a glass of wine. Finishes it rather quickly. It has been a while. She grabs the magic kit eventually.

“Geez. Just a piece of plastic from China probably. Just some toy. Some childhood token, messing with my insomniac, psychosis, infected, mind. Thanks.” She chuckles.

She puts the cards out on the table. Each one, one by one this time. Eventually they have to be placed upon the chairs as well. All fifty two of them.  We’re going to see if I am crazy. She says under her breath as if some unknown presence is there with her. Perhaps hoping there is some force therewith her. Partially tired of not having any excitement in life. She says with an exhausted sigh:

“If I am not crazy turn this Ace into an eight, please just show me if I have to be locked up behind a gate.” Then let’s out a chuckle as usual. But the chuckle didn’t last too long. She turned it over and it was now an eight. She was surrounded by a deck missing an Ace and having an extra eight. She frantically took pictures with her phone, in hopes of showing Jackie tomorrow and confirming perhaps; maybe she is losing her mind from a lack of sleep.  She drinks another glass of wine to take the edge off and dozes off, hoping to not have a nightmare about magic.

 

 

 

Miss Magic Part II

The air smelled different. Even the clouds seemed to roll in differently. She thought to herself, what the heck am I doing here? Perhaps I have ventured out too far from the nest. She imagined slowly turning back, getting back onto the plane, and back to her childhood room. She imagined lying her head upon her mother’s chest as she cried, but then the thought repulsed her. She realized there was absolutely nothing for her there. No opportunities worth fighting for. It was a depressing, but at the same time, uplifting fact.

She wasn’t like the others. Her eyes always paid attention to her surroundings. So internally exciting by all the activity, all the faces, all the lights, and all the accents. Sometimes she would go home and practice accents, attempting to pull them off in public, and realizing someone either fell for it or might have thought she needed a 5150 (mental institution). Either way, it slowly didn’t bother her what people thought. Most of the time her brain was honestly so intrigued by the behaviors of other people, she felt like an outsider, with a non-narcissistic personality disorder unlike the rest of society. She thought to herself often I sometimes wish I had a cabin, could eat beans and rice, and be left alone to write. But it seemed like the world swarmed around her, even when she barely came out into the light, either intrigued or misunderstanding her.

Settling into seeing palm trees rather than pine trees was quite the experience for her as well. Still is. But she managed to find the redwoods, which made her feel like she was Alice Wonderland as she walked through them. She always had a way of finding a balance. To her, if something made her sad, there was something else to counteract it. Always an answer with enough research and persistence.

She spent most of her undergraduate working heavily as a server, staying up late with homework, and a pot of coffee. Lack of sleep induced psychosis happened eventually and she was forced to put the books down. She often thought, I wish there were forty eight hours in a day. Can the earth’s rotation change right now, please? It always felt like there were not enough hours in a day and coffee.

At times, even in the big city, it felt lonely. She wondered if Neil Gaiman ever felt this way? Margaret Atwood, perhaps? I think so. She’d convince herself to keep researching and writing. Keep finding inspiration as well and trying to give it back in appreciation.

The struggle was real. Like when a farmer asks you if you’d like a chicken, walks over, and cuts it’s head off, real. With no family support system nearby, working as a server, and trying to compete with those who might have had a bit more support, she felt sort of silenced at times. Money equals powers but let’s be honest, some people shouldn’t have money because they are honestly irresponsible with it. She often thought, they’re so dumb, they couldn’t even hire a decent financial adviser?  Then internally laugh, trying not to look externally crazy having deep thoughts like this at the laundromat. Until one day another quirky, eccentric, character like herself walked in to the laundromat. It was as if it was going to take a couple more run intos on Sunday evening (the weirdo avoiding time) for them to talk. But finally, she spoke:

“Uh. You dropped your underwear. Sorry I noticed.”

She looks down embarrassingly. “No. Uh. Thanks for noticing. It would have been more embarrassing if anyone else came in here.”

“No problem, girl.”

“My name’s Olivia. What’s yours?”

“Jackie. They call me jackles the crazy but I just act crazy. Please don’t tell them.” And she laughs hysterically.

It was at this point in time, Olivia knew it was like all the forces in the universe, like all the particles in the air, conjoined to form a planetary like friendship bond no other binomial nomenclature could possibly come close to. But then again, anything is possible. Olivia never rules out anything in life.

 

 

 

Miss Magic

She always loved watching magicians on the television. It made life more interesting thinking about how different the world would be if everyone had magical powers. Her imagination would run wild with the possibilities. Then finally, her mother bought her a cheap magic kit for her Birthday. Nothing special. Just some some of wand, cards, and a few things she had no idea what were for exactly.

It was weeks before it happened. She was alone for a moment. Mom was outside gardening, as she played with her magic kit. She knew how to rhyme anything. Kids were quite jealous at school, watching her compose long stories with ten times their vocabulary. Something about language enticed her as a child. Having spent much of her life, shy and in thoughts, she essentially became so bored talking internally to herself, her vocabulary needed to be brushed up upon. It was almost as if it was not a choice. Isolation pushed reading and philosophical thoughts, causing her to need more and more words for expression. It came naturally, like a spring off a mountain. Nothing else in the world really did.

And then it finally happened. With a perfectly rhymed magical chant she changed a card from a two to an Ace. At first, she thought she was crazy. Perhaps delusional or hallucinating. But she laid all the cards out to discover the two she original had was missing and there was now an extra ace. Still thinking she might be crazy, she yelled to her mom as she came inside.

“Mom! Can you tell me if you see an extra ace in this deck and no two? I think this deck may be messed up.”

“It appears that way to me too. That’s odd. Well, I have to make lunch sweetie, I’ll be in the kitchen if you need anything.”

She tries to act normal as her mother turns away. She shuts the door a bit more, chants a similar chant and looks again. The card didn’t change this time. It’s frustrating but she knows something is perhaps different about this magic set or her or the world. It’s all overwhelming at first, but becomes like a great mystery she has to solve. She imagines being like Harriet the Spy, and becomes overjoyed with the endeavor. She spends the night secretly playing with the magic kit, while everyone else sleeps soundly in their ignorance, unknowing the great discovery she just unveiled.

School the next day was awful. No sleep and her mind was constantly focused upon getting back to the magic kit. With obsessive compulsive thoughts, her mind continued to indulge in what most thought was the imaginary. She could sense others would not understand this discovery, causing her to isolate even more than in previous situations.

Do you think they notice I am acting differently? She thought.

She was already quite eccentric so I guess she could blame it on even more of a transcendence into individuality. Kind of makes sense. Minds that think differently, tend to think differently about isolation than most. Tend to think of it as necessary, rather than sad.

As she opened the door, she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm that the magic kit was only ten feet away now. After an hour, it happens again. The card change. With each hour passing by, she keeps proving her own lack of insanity. She leaves for dinner, does some homework afterwards, and then is secretly back to the kit.

The years go by, she slowly sets the kit down more and more. The real world lures her in once again, and she loses interest in magic. She starts becoming fearful of the forces behind the changes, questioning their motives, and then eventually questioning her own sanity as well. But once again, she always lays out the deck and it is never right. She sees the extra cards and missing cards but cannot make sense out of it.

 Is this all I can do? Change some cards with my mind or something? This is all? What the heck am I going to use this for?

 

 

 

Invisible Cloak Date

She had never done something like this before. She just met him online through her blog, but she was instantly smitten. If her parents knew the horrific hotel she would be staying in and it’s history, they would have never let her go. So of course, she kept this hidden and convinced herself of the typical cliche “you only live once.” Deep down, she knew something could go wrong, but the thought gave her some kinda of adrenaline boost, having never done anything quite like this before.

He was tall, dark, and handsome. The kind of guy girls would chase after. (Especially if they knew what he did for a living.) She felt special knowing so much about him in such a short amount of time. He trusted her instantly, as she did him. Her heart could not bare anymore of the dating scene, and she wanted a man of his caliber.

He first told her he was a secret agent of some kind after a week. Persuaded her to never tell anyone for his own safety.   And of course, she had no friends, was sensitive, and naive. No one was around her much and she was kinda eccentric. She had a blog, liked strange music, and didn’t leave the house much at all. She was already isolated and loathing for a new life and family. He felt this from thousands of miles away.

She mentioned Harry Potter, and he mentioned having a invisible cloak. He bragged about how it made him feel invincible, superhuman, and able to scare people. This all seemed harmless to her at the time, intriguing, none the less. She imagined playing invisible tag with him, as he said he actually had two of them. There was no way she could pass up a date with a special agent.

With her bags packed, she hopped the plane, headed to California. The air was dense when she arrived, smog everywhere, but the palm trees were worth it. She couldn’t wait to check into the hotel, meet her future husband, and start sharing their unforgettable moments together. The hotel was less than inviting though. It was outdated, forgettable, and had the smell of must in the air. The hallways felt like they were closing in on you. Her money did not go far obviously. To her this was quite the expensive trip. Out there, her coin was a drop in the bucket.

She put on her eyeliner thick, straightened her hair, and made sure he would be impressed. It made up for the drably hotel room. He arrived within a few hours, with a bottle of champagne and flowers. He looked exactly like she imagined and was worth the risk. They popped the cork, began talking about life, and falling further into fascination with one another. He is convinced, this could be it. This could be the woman he waited for his whole life, in this drably hotel room ironically. They kissed for hours like teenagers in an alternate reality, when they were younger.

At some point, they began to talk about stars, how beautiful they were at night. He curled up the blanket and convinced her to go lie on the roof with him. It was the best idea anyone ever had for a first date, how could she deny him?

It was beautiful. His eyes, her eyes. His lips, her lips. All of it would not last forever. They both would never look the same as they did in that exact moment so they both treasured every second as if it was their last.

He said, “You know, I always felt invisible until now with you.”

She said, “I’ll be invisible with you forever.”

He wrapped the cloak around her, and she wrapped the cloak around him. They made love under the twilight, invisible to the world together.

The Sullen

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It just crept up on her. Like a sullen boy looking for a sullen girl. There were no words to describe it. Words were no longer easy to craft. And that, my friend, was one of the signs, she drove past, with her foot upon the accelerator.

But no, she wasn’t really wonder woman. She couldn’t just drive through all the obstacles she faced with acceleration. And that, my friend, was another sign, she again drove past. She was a little girl who thought the world was about dreams, fantasies, creativity, imagination, and boy was she wrong. She thought the world would just shed rainbows upon everyone who was deserving. But no, that’s not always the case.

Life can be difficult. Unnecessarily so. She never could see reality as clear as the others. Things can happen at any point in time that can change your perception of yourself. Nothing could have prepared her for this. No curriculum, no adopted ideology, nothing could prepare her for the obstacle she faced. And no person would want to face this. Especially unknowingly.

Perhaps, that was always the issue. She was a dreamer. And then when the dream ended, reality set in and so did the clouds. The rain seemed longer than it actually was. The days seemed longer, and the nights we riddled full of a lack of sleep that no sleep aid could fix. Her eyes would shut, but the noise never did. She thought it was normal.

Did she build this fallacy of a dream and ultimately create this depression? Or did something else? The question always plagues her but there will never be a definite answer. Realistically, the answer is both. In her eyes there are so many factors in situations, she doesn’t even want to think about the past anymore. And when she does, the most sullen of beasts grips onto her as if he will never let go, for there is too much to decipher and reflect upon.

She knows if she digs deeper, she will only discover more people just like her. And the thought, brings a cringe to her face. Just a number she thinks. Everyone of us is just a number now to them. How can you keep your sanity as a number?

How can you not be just a number, when they made you a number?

She knows the fact she even asks these questions brings her hope of escaping an ideology which has done nothing for her but help further her depressing state. A kind of institutional virus she paid to be injected with. Her own ideologies questioned, not embraced in discussion. Her papers written all over with biased red ink. If she looks over them now, it will make her even more infuriated than ever.

So much difficulty she faced, just trying to be herself in a world where acceptance is so hard to come by.

She looks outside though. The sun is still there, shining. She remembers it has always been there and always will be there probably until the day she dies, no matter what happens. She thinks, they sure as heck cannot take away the sun, so I should be okay. Some things cannot be controlled by the human hand.