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Really, the title is self-explanatory. Post short stories that you have written or are in the process of working on. They can be stand-alone or they can be part of a string of related stories. Any and all critiques/comments should be made in a separate thread - if I or anyone else makes one - or via PM. That's all... I'll start it off with a short story about a fictional nation intervening in a civil war on a war-torn, third world island nation. The story will likely change perspectives with each addition in an attempt to show different angles of the battle throughout its happenings. It's chalked full of some cliched names and military jargon, but to be fair this was one of my earlier works.


Sunrise over Sheshna


Sheshna, Kustania

Lieutenant Howard Vasquez, Aerial Drop Shock Troopers (Alpha Team)

18 March 2012


Before the war, Sheshna was a sprawling city full of activity and Kustania culture. Markets lined and crowded the unpaved streets to offer homemade fabrics or foods that ranged from fresh produce to small livestock. The city was also generally clean in terms of pollution as the people found life to be a luxury without car traffic; instead, people used bikes and prevented congestion between market shacks. Although the outskirts of the city were atrocious in terms of living conditions, people found a way to live happily. Hastily made and run-down playgrounds still provided a play space for young children to play soccer or their own versions of cricket in. The people of Sheshna, Kustania received international sympathy for what they lived through every day, but they loved every bit of it.


That all changed when the Kustanian Revolutionary Army charged into Sheshna and pushed the government forces out. The attack came without much warning as the Kustanian Guard assured civilians that they had beaten back the main force, although what they had only encountered were probe attacks. Sporadic firefights consumed women, children, and elders, leaving devastating civilian casualties, and congesting the streets with bodies. Even though the international community regarded the suburbs as run-down neighborhoods prior to the conflict, the battle left thousands homeless as their homes made of weak materials and mud fell in the initial days of the war. The battle was devastating and left in the KRA in the driver’s seat in the Kustanian Civil War.


Staff Sergeant Howard Vasquez sat comfortably on the edge of the helicopter's door as the cool, spring breeze fluttered past his legs. He hung on only by some netting on the interior of the SH-28 as he gazed towards Sheshna. Normally, the lack of electricity in the city would make it impossible to see in the night, but the rampant fires from the previous battle illuminated the city from miles off coast. The pilots chattered in the cockpit. Most likely talking with the fleet, Vasquez thought. Carrying his gaze over to Fire Team Alpha that accompanied him in the helicopter, he shouted over the rotors, “Check your weapons and ammo. We don’t want to be caught in a situation where you can’t fire back.” He repeated this over the radio to the three other fire teams flying in adjacent helicopters.


After three or so more minutes of flight, the trio of helicopters landed on what Hierarchy called “Base Hill,” a large, rocky hill that overlooked the southernmost suburbs of Sheshna. The helicopters lifted off and flew back to the fleet on the same path they took in. On the ground, Vasquez rallied up the three fire teams: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. In a hushed tone, he whispered, “You all know the deal. We are here to kill Kali Amahad. He’s a brutal, manipulative son of a bitch. When you get him in your sights, shoot him. Now we’re too large to move as a single force, so we’re going to split up.” Vasquez retrieved a map of Sheshna. A soldier illuminated the map with a flashlight as Vasquez pointed to certain locations on the map with his laser pointer. “Alpha and Bravo, you will maneuver down the middle of the suburbs in two separate formations; Charlie and Delta will navigate along the left and right flanks. Alpha, you have the pleasure of running with me. We’ll all meet up at the strip club on the Central Strip, where constant UAV recon has confirmed Amahad is still hiding at.”


Plumes of dirt and dust shot up from underneath their boots as the team paced themselves to the intricate hand gestures of Vasquez. Alpha truly did benefit from Vasquez’s presence. A wise, battle-hardened soldier, Vasquez knew his way around a battlefield. His ability to navigate an enemy base while remaining undetected made his skills invaluable. Having performed in operations across the globe as an Aerial Drop Shock Trooper, Hierarchy handpicked him to lead the operation in Sheshna. A silenced AR5R2 with a 4x scope was his weapon of choice, with a silenced SG2 combat shotgun being used as his secondary specifically for this mission. As the other three teams departed, Vasquez rallied Alpha and began a light sprint down the hill and into the tattered neighborhood ahead of them.





Sheshna, Kustania

Lieutenant Howard Vasquez, Aerial Drop Shock Troopers (Alpha Team)

18 March 2012


The shuffling of their boots traversed through a sea of rubble and decaying flesh. Only when they had reached an intersection of multiple streets did they pause to rest and reflect over the reality of conflict. The den of deceit - a layover place for the unsatiable desire of men - layed a block away. Kamahad, the denmaster, would soon have his hospitality put to the test before rifles and shotguns. Vasquez led the team into a brutalized coffee shop that was lucky to be standing after the battle. With most of the walls porous with bullet holes and the structure constantly creaking, it was hardly a great place to be resting in. KRA patrols became more frequent as the teams encroached closer to the strip club. Alpha was getting tired of having to stop constantly under Vasquez’s orders, with one soldier remarking, “Staff Sergeant, we could have been there by now. What’s up with our break?”


“There’s another patrol coming. This patrol isn’t something we can really pass in front of without them spotting us and compromising the mission. I’m counting four trucks and at least thirty infantry; they’re moving slowly but it’s too late to move now. We have to wait this one out.” Vasquez had a hint of dismay in his voice. “Parker, radio into the other squads and tell them we will be late. There’s too much at the stake to risk compromising this mission and losing the ability to decapitate the KRA before the war starts.”




It took a while, but the convoy passed. Alpha survived a few scares when KRA regulars about walked into the shop, only to turn around when they didn’t immediately see anything. The convoy was well down the road when Vasquez ordered the squad to advance into the sprawling, but heavily damaged, International Suite: a very famous, fancy hotel that played host to many foreign executives or politicians. They moved their way up to the second floor and took shelter in a corner suite. Offering a perspective over the intersection and the strip club, the room was an ideal place to set up. Parker moved to the window with his suppressed AR5R2 DMR and set the bipods on the window edge. When the team was set up to defend the room from any KRA incursions, Vasquez called into the other teams.


“Bravo, Charlie, are you in position for sniper coverage over the strip club?”


“Bravo is in position overlooking the northern escape.”


“Ditto for Charlie. We’ve got this western escape covered up.”


“Delta, are you in position?”


“Roger that, Staff Sergeant. Moving to breach the strip club now.”





Sheshna, Kustania

Private James Parker, Aerial Drop Shock Troopers (Alpha Team)

18 March 2012


James Parker knelt at the window, looking through the sniper optic on his rifle to examine Delta Team as they stacked up along the exterior wall of the strip club. They moved with quickness and precision after a breaching charge tore through the doors of the club. Gun shots rang over the radio as Delta maneuvered through the building, clearing out every room in order to ensure the squad killed Kamahad. A few minutes later, a voice came over the radio. “No sign of Kamahad, but the rear door is open. He’s likely running.”


“Roger that, out,” Vasquez responded. “Parker, he’s on the run! Check your sectors and shoot anything you see!”


Parker’s alertness shot up at that moment when he saw silhouettes charging down the alley to the right of the building. As they breached the sidewalk, the fire from a burning trashcan illuminated the corner enough to reveal one of the men to be Kali Kamahad. Without hesitation, Parker pressed hard on the trigger and put several bullets through the militant leader’s chest and one through his head. Delta came from the rear and killed off the remnants of the group as they rushed to Kamahad’s dead body.


“Hierarchy, this is Outlaw 1-1. Kamahad is down. I repeat, Kamahad is down. Send in the helis before the entire KRA moves in on us, out.”


“Roger that Outlaw 1-1. Great work today. Falcons are en route to your position now, out.”


“Roger that Hierarchy.” Vasquez called into all teams. “We’re moving back to the extraction point. Great fucking work today, Outlaw. I’ll be sure to let you chumps polish my shoes later as a reward.”

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Not mine, but this is probably the saddest, shortest, "story" I've read:


"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

- Ernest Hemingway

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Private James Leboff


I sat on the side of the Blackhawk as it soared forward, my legs rocking back and forth as the wind had its way with them. The smell of burning ruble filled the air and the smoke columns besieged the sky around me. I shouldered my assault rifle and checked my bullets and my safety to make sure everything was in order. It had been drilled into my head that if I didn’t do this, I would probably die in the first firefight I was in. The helicopter tilted a bit to the starboard side, giving me an unhindered panoramic of the city and its, in my opinion, pathetic skyline. It was a third world country – I know – but come the fuck on… I could make a better city than that piece of shit with my little brother’s Legos.


As I gazed at the city, I couldn’t help but feel anxious. We were nearing the docks situated just outside the city, but I felt like I was being pushed further away. I know that sounds like I’m trying to be deep or something, but I’m not. I suppose it could have that anxious feeling that you get before you do something really important… I doubt it, really. I wasn’t excited; I was flat out scared shitless. I had prepared for months… no, years… and I still wasn’t ready to go into a fucking warzone against retarded black people whose only food probably came from eating rats they found scouring the sewers (if this shithole even had sewers). They probably couldn’t hold their guns correctly. Hell, maybe they were like stereotypical black militants from the movies I always see. Still, I couldn’t keep my head straight. I had prepared for a moment like this (literally this exact moment… we had exercises to prepare us for Sheshna specifically), and I couldn’t bring myself to reality.


I guess I blanked out a bit, because the next thing I knew my sergeant was screaming his lungs out at me as bullets raced above my head. No one had been hit, but fucking Christ they had a lot of guns up there. I don’t think it was realistically possible for me to poke my head out without a fifty cal’ machine gun blasting my brains to slimy pink liquid. Fuck, just what I need… more things to worry about WHILE I’M FUCKING BEING SHOT AT! Maybe I should have shot my mind out right there, because I think that was a greater enemy to me than the Skinnies (what we called the Kustanians who held guns… an accurate name considering the fattest person in that country was probably like ninety pounds or something). Yet, I kept my cool… or I appeared to. My sergeant nabbed the radio from Rob, honestly a cool guy and the communications guy that came with us. About a minute later, an Osprey gunship made a pass and fired its guns into the stories. Some of the buildings were honestly so weak that they crumbled right there… I couldn’t keep myself from laughing. How fucking pathetic. I realize that thing has a big-ass gun, but come the fuck on. Maybe we could drop a bomb in the middle of the town and all the buildings would fall. Boom. Problem solved, and we don’t have to fight for this shithole.


It took about half an hour to clean up the stragglers in that line of buildings, but we secured the docks. We were the first wave of the attack; after us came the mechanized and armored forces who needed us to secure a footing in order to land. Just as they arrived, a few jets flew over and dropped some bombs onto this mountain – I think it was kalled Klurana by the Skinnies – that rested behind the city. It was kind of sad – not pathetic like I thought the country was, honestly. Such a beautiful mountain, with its snow-covered peak and its daunting summit… and we were bombing it. Seriously, I think those explosions wiped out half of the face. The Skinnies had to have had a munitions dump or Triple A emplacement up there. Still, I couldn’t help but notice that we were blowing up the only good thing about this God-forsaken shithole.


My platoon was granted a break, considering we had to fight our way through probably a hundred Skinnies armed to the teeth with RPKs and RPGs. Yeah, the Osprey did a lot of the work, but those guys have it easy. They can pop in and out… maybe there’s a threat to being shot down by a Skinny with an RPG (not really maybe that’s probably the most real threat they faced in that shithole), but they got to tear into the Skinnies like it was a fucking shooting gallery. I downed six or seven Skinnies who were too retarded to realize that they would still be living if they knew what the concept of cover was. Maybe my worries about this fight were just my head over thinking things. I don’t really know… I can’t remember my thought processes that day much until a few hours down the road. What I do remember is the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen… watching the sun peak over the tip of Mount Klurana.

Edited by Vikingfan465

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Good stuff Viking :clap:

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Gracias... btw scratch the no comments in this thread rule... the only way this will get any posts is if people are allowed to critique here (even that probably won't get much but meh).

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PFC Donald Hues


The LAV-25 came to a roaring stop after we had exited the LCAC. All of us inside jutted forward a bit, but it wasn’t anything that we weren’t used to. The rear hatch slowly fell to the ground, the mechanical whine of such a process kind of hurting my ears. The sun was just cresting over this huge mountain – I forget what it was called over there. It may still be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The rays of light seemed to disperse the smoke as its rays engulfed all of the earth I could see until the curvature of the globe blinded me. Warm beams reflected off my face as I shut my eyes to let the warmth have its way with my skin, walking to the slow pace established by my sergeant as we crept towards the outer ring of the city. I do remember seeing this odd fellow sitting just outside of the city. He looked quite infuriated, but he kept looking up at the sun. Holding the same weapon as me, I couldn’t help but feel that maybe God was telling me that I would encounter this man again. Strange – I know – that I would think something like similar guns would intertwine us, but God does work in mysterious ways. We approached the city center and as I looked back, the man was looking away from the sun into his helmet. Maybe he had a loved one. I can’t remember what he told me.


As we entered the first line of buildings, a combination of a new angle of elevation toward the sun and our proximity to some taller buildings blotted out the sun. The darkness seemed oddly fitting, almost as if it was meant for me to do something about it, brighten it up. Bleh; my religious side always took over when I had time to think. I knew what my purpose was there: carry the banner of my nation proudly and be the patriot that my country needed. Approaching a rather wide street that was littered with burning cars and decaying bodies (presumably of civilians, unfortunately), I noticed the sun peaking over the mountain once again. It was ten in the morning, so it made sense that the sun was on the rise. I just wish that I had a camera there to capture that moment; the sun’s rays extended pass a crucifix standing erect on top of a church – the only building intact. As fate would dictate, I was to secure this church. The second wave had extended a little bit into the city, but apparently, this specific area was causing a lot of trouble.


We ducked down as we ran at three-fourths speed toward the church, our guns shouldered, and our eyes scanning. We held our ground for a brief moment as a gun truck passed in front of the church, by now about a hundred yards away. When it finally passed, we moved forward and crept up to the church’s doors. We could hear the distinct Kustanian language being shouted across the room inside, and then we heard a scream. Planting a breaching charge, we busted into the church to find dead – even skinned – bodies hanging from the low rafters. A few militiamen stood dumbfounded as we breached the room; the bodies did not dislodge my focus as I downed each of the four militants with one shot each. At the altar, where one of the guards had previously stood, there was a girl. Her eyes streamed rivers of tears and her gentle whimper echoed throughout the room. I attempted to approach her, but my sudden movement made her scream again; she could not have been older than twelve years old, and she was all alone. I assured her in English, not knowing if she spoke it, that everything was fine. Walking up the shallow incline to the tabernacle, I noticed that she was without pants on; in fact, it was the same case for the guard. I was shocked! How could this happen in one of God’s houses? I nearly fainted from the realization, but I recovered after sitting down.


After organizing a pick-up for the girl and the thirty-four other girls being imprisoned in the basement below, we advanced in the direction we saw the gun truck from earlier advancing. As we moved down the road, the noticeable pop of light mortars flooded the air. The same gun truck from earlier was resting outside of a small coffee shop. It was actually quite a nice place from the outside. Boasting a blatant Western design, I could assume that we were in the “financial” district of the city. That actually made sense, considering that there was a very luxurious executive suite and a high-end gentlemen’s club just two blocks down from the shop. Following our orders, we popped into the alley corridor the mortars were in and neutralized them. Although we were certain this helped, when we returned to FOB Alpha (at the docks) they were reporting that it was still a painful crawl to even reach the center of the city.


I still to this day cannot get the image of that girl out of my head. I can’t forget her cry, nor her soft whimper as the innocence left her body. I can’t forget the relief of the young girls when we rescued them from the church. I can’t forget the stench of the church-turned-slaughterhouse and the slaughtered nuns whom I presumed lived at the church. I forgot to mention them, didn’t I? It was a damning site; I believe they were too raped. My life has been scarred since I entered that church. I will never again be able to return to the naiveté of my youth. When I breached those doors, I crossed the path from ignorance to reality – a reality I still to this day struggle to accept. I encountered some pretty bad things later on in the day, but nothing in my life will ever restore the part of me I lost in that church.

Edited by Vikingfan465

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Short story centered on a hockey game, though it's not really about hockey. ;)


It's extremely long, so I'll use spoiler tags. For those who have the time to read, enjoy.



The Sin Bin


Hockey is a game of mistakes, of penalties. Any player who commits a penalty must serve time in the penalty box, affectionately dubbed the “sin bin.” The penalty does not end until the set time is completed or the opposing team scores a goal. In either case, all penalties end eventually; all players escape the sin bin. Exactly how they spend their time inside is entirely up to them.


An intramural game was well underway, into the third period, but temporarily stopped due to a penalty call. To the fans overlooking center ice, an endless sequence of objection became clearer and clearer as the player in question was guided towards the penalty box. By the time the door to the sin bin opened, his groans had materialized into discernable language.


“Just tell me what I did! Just tell me! You know you made a bad call. Just admit it! Just admit you blew it and I can live with it!” The volunteer referee slammed the door shut and skated away, seemingly unaffected. “Can’t make that call, ref! Can’t make that call. I need to be out on the ice helping my team score! Talk about uncalled for. Christ.”


Carter. Left winger. The goal scorer. Two minutes, boarding.


He looked up at the scoreboard, though he needed no reminder. His team was winning 4-1 with 4:50 remaining in the third period. Victory was less than five minutes away.


“All right,” Carter said to himself, “maybe we’re not in too bad of shape right now. But I still need to be out there helping my team score, not serving time on some bullshit call!” Carter never gave a thought to what his penalty box conversations with himself looked like to anyone on the outside. His habit of literally thinking aloud seemed socially awkward just about everywhere else, but the sin bin seemed the perfect place for it. The fans likely never minded. Most of them were just passersby. Few had any vested interest in the outcome of the game; they just wanted to see good hockey. And besides, the inescapable truth was that there was no alternative; there was seldom anybody else to talk to in the sin bin.


Carter watched from the limits of the penalty box as play resumed on the ice. His penalty time slowly ticked down from two minutes as his teammates, wearing white jerseys with Bob’s Car Care & Maintenance logos on the back, set up their penalty kill and the players in black jerseys (with a logo that Carter hadn’t inspected) set up their power play.


He had just gotten his boarding penalty out of his head when the whistle blew and play stopped. A few moments later, the door to the sin bin opened once more, and Carter had to comprehend the fact that he was about to scoot over. A player with imposing muscle tone and towering shoulders forced himself into the box and shut the door as hard as he could behind him.


“Fucking refs trying to make it a game. I’m tired of this shit.”


Matthews. Defenseman. Grinder. Two minutes, cross-checking.


“I didn’t think I’d be joined so soon,” said Carter.


“Fucking bullshit, man,” said Matthews.


The conversation paused as the game resumed with 4:40 remaining.


“I figured one penalty wasn’t a big deal since we’ve got a three-goal lead,” said Carter, “but now that we’re down two guys I’m a little concerned. What’d they get you for?”




“Ah, that’s always a tricky one. Ref have a bad angle?”


“No, I cross-checked the hell out of the guy, but it’s what needed to be done. God damn refs don’t understand what it’s really like to play a hockey game. Give a little here, take a little there. They just don’t get it. Assholes just want to pick up their check and go home.”


“They’re volunteer refs.”


“I don’t give a shit.”


“…Okay, so hold on. They caught you cross-checking? Caught in the act. So what’s the problem?”


“Don’t fuck with me, Carter. You know how it goes.”


“Look, I realize that this penalty is against our team, but—”


“It’s not a question of whether I did anything.”


“Yes it is. When—”


“You’re missing the point.”


“I get your point. It’s just wrong.”


“God damn it, Carter, just shut the hell up. Go score a goal or something.”


“Well I’d very much like to but I’m trapped inside this fucking box!”


“You and me both, asshole.”


The unmistakable sound of a goal horn rang throughout the arena and turned both men’s heads to the left, where the guys in black shirts were celebrating.


“Shit,” said Carter as he stood up, “4-2.” He let himself out and skated back to the bench, his penalty now over. Matthews watched as Carter received a heavy dose of verbal discipline from their coach.


“Yeah, go score a goal, asshole,” said Matthews. “Damn weirdo. Think you’re gonna tell me about hockey.” He glanced up at the scoreboard as the lights changed the opposing team’s score from a 1 to a 2. The clock showed 4:10 left to play.


Matthews reclined in the box and tried his best to relax. He took off his helmet, stroked his hair, and took deep breaths. He barely noticed when play started and then stopped again but was suddenly shot back into full awareness as a cursing skater stormed into the box, hurling his gloves and stick in Matthews’ direction.


“Fucking bullshit, ref! Open your fucking eyes, man!”


Ramsey. The enforcer. Tough guy. Four minutes, slashing.


He entered the box but neglected to sit down even though Matthews had already slid to the far side of the wooden bench to make plenty of room and then some. Ramsey kept his attention on the referee who had ushered him into the box.


“Yeah, yeah, yeah, tell me all about it, asshole. I know a good eye doctor; he can hook you up. You fucking blind? This is bullshit, man!”


After a moment, Ramsey apparently saw it reasonable to sit down, but just a split-second later, an opposing player went out of his way to tap his stick on the glass separating the penalty box from the rest of the rink as he glided past. Ramsey sprang up and lunged at the glass.


“You want some too, you piece of shit?”


“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Matthews jumped up in a feeble effort to keep Ramsey in the box and prevent a total brawl.


“Yeah, skate away, asshole!”

Matthews backed off and both players sat back down. “You really should chill out, Ramsey. You’ll live longer.”


“We only play two games a week.”


“Yeah, I’d like to see you on an off day.”


“Double minor for slashing. You gotta be fucking kidding me.”


“Double minor? I’m jealous. Guy drew blood?”


“Yeah, from his own stick.”


“Oh, so he—”


“Fucking ref, though. He decides not to call it when I got blatantly hooked, then decides to ring me up for retaliation.”


“Gotta love refs. See everything, call what they want.”


“Yeah, and it really fucking sucks because I got a double minor with exactly four minutes to go.”


Both men looked up at the scoreboard. Play had resumed a few moments earlier and the clock was ticking down as the opposing team continued their power play. 3:52, 3:51, 3:50…


“Damn,” said Matthews. “Double minor with four to go. You better hope they score.”


Ramsey inched his head sideways and gave his teammate a stare that announced his every intention to murder him on the spot with no fear of consequence. Matthews began his defense immediately, though his throat was suddenly dry.


“I meant that like as a—”


“Yeah, whatever.”


The two sat and watched play go up and down the ice for a while. After Matthews deemed it safe to speak again, he said, “I still can’t believe they got me for cross-checking. This late in the game.”


“It’s a fucking joke.”


“It is a fucking joke. That’s what I’m saying.”


“It’s a fucking joke that this game is going down to the wire and I’m stuck in here. Trapped. Nowhere to go, no end in sight. Total horse shit.”




“That fucking ref. I’m gonna spit on him next time he skates by.”


“Yeah, that’ll make an impression.”


“Shut the hell up, Matthews.”


“Look, I’m just being realistic here. You’re already serving a double minor for slashing. You want to add a minor for spitting on top of that?”


“Fuck you.”


Matthews turned his attention back to the game, still up and down the ice as the black jerseys failed to get their power play set up. Matthews found that watching the game was actually quite effective in making the time go faster. Ramsey was still fuming but he blocked him out best he could. As the game clock passed 3:00 with the score still 4-2, Matthews tightened his helmet strap. Only twenty seconds remaining on his penalty.


“Just a heads up, Ramsey, but I’m outta here in a few—”


A high-pitched whistle put a stop to Matthews’ sentence and the hockey game at hand. Unsure what had happened, he decided to finish his request to leave the box when the door to the sin bin opened once again, and a skater drastically smaller than either player already in the box eased his way in. He took a seat in between the two so that the three together filled out the entire length of the bench, pad-to-pad, shoulder-to-shoulder.


Richards. Right winger. Playmaker. Two minutes, tripping.


All three teammates sat through painfully awkward seconds as none could find anything to say, though Richards was apparently not seeking any, his head bowed in silence. His eyes were either closed or deeply focused on the dirty floor of the penalty box, littered with water and saliva puddles. Matthews opened his mouth, but any sound he might have made was drowned out by the goal horn ringing again. All three looked to the left end of the ice and saw their fears confirmed by a group of black jerseys in celebration.


“Dammit,” said Matthews. “Only needed five more seconds.” The clock read 2:45, and the score was now 4-3. Matthews exited the box without another word. The two remaining sinners spaced out.


“What’d the assholes get you for?” asked Ramsey.


“Tripping,” said Richards, keeping his head bowed and talking to the floor.


“Fucking assholes. It’s getting ridiculous.”


“They got me.”




“I tripped a guy. Refs saw it. Now I have to serve two minutes for it.”


“I don’t get it.”


The goal horn sounded. Ramsey and Richards looked up in utter disbelief. The game was now tied 4-4 with 2:30 to play. No sound was made in the sin bin. The most pressing thing that came across Ramsey’s mind he kept to himself: at least the first part of his double minor was over. He would be free with thirty seconds left in the game, if the black jerseys didn’t score before that.


After play resumed, Ramsey spoke up again. “So, let’s recap here. The game was 4-1 with about five minutes left. Out of reach. In the bag. Then all of a sudden the refs call a penalty, then another, then another, and then another until the game’s all tied up and it’s exciting again. Admirable, guys, fucking admirable. The NHL would be proud. Sign up now while your resume looks good.”


As the seconds ticked down, Ramsey viewed what he could from the penalty box: his team was down two men, but they were holding strong. The penalty kill was preventing any quality shots, and the white jerseys were clearing every rebound they got. Finally the black jerseys got a good shot off, but it wouldn’t go, and the rebound came to Grimes’ stick. He iced the puck. 2:01, 2:00, 1:59…


Line change. Carter came on for Grimes, Allen for Markakis, Ellerbe for Matthews. The other team skated the puck across center ice as Ramsey’s eyes were fixated upon the action. He cheered on his defense as they set up the penalty kill again; Richards was apparently still deep in thought. They passed around the perimeter, waiting for a good shot, taking time. They tried to pass it in close, but Ellerbe intercepted it. Passed to Allen. Cleared. 1:38, 1:37, 1:36…


Not cleared far enough for a line change. The defense set up again as the puck re-entered their zone. Ramsey found himself standing, unable to sit and watch his team cling to a tie, the last remains of their stronghold that had slipped away so suddenly and furiously.


Soon enough, the PA announcer indicated one minute of play remaining. Ramsey’s eyes found the side of the scoreboard, which showed that Richards’ penalty was three seconds away from expiring.


Richards suddenly shot upright and opened the door. He jetted out of the box, out of confinement, and by his own admission was instantly free from it, from any and all of its burdens.


Fresh from the penalty box, Richards was alone at center ice. Allen had the puck and looked to ice it but found Richards at the last second. The pass darted through a defender’s legs and squarely onto Richards’ stick.


“Go, go, go!” Ramsey cried from the penalty box as Richards skated in on a breakaway. Forehand, backhand, forehand, backhand. Ten feet from the goalie he made his move. Faked a shot high. Deked to the right. Tapped the puck with enormous subtlety. The goaltender shifted his body to his left to block a backhand shot that would never come. The red lamp lit before he noticed the puck had slid under his pad. Richards raised his arm in the air.


The arena erupted with cheers, both from the bench of players wearing white and from the fans, indifferent to the game’s outcome and excited at the breakaway goal. Ramsey performed an awkward impromptu dance routine inside the penalty box. Richards kept his arm in the air as Allen, Carter, and Ellerbe mugged him in celebration. The four broke off and looked at the scoreboard, which confirmed the 5-4 score with 0:45 left to play. Meanwhile, Ramsey collected his gear and readied himself; he had but fifteen seconds left to serve.


After the celebration died down, play resumed. As the game clock ticked down from forty-five seconds, Ramsey’s penalty time ticked down from fifteen. He watched his team set up the penalty kill, still down one man. All the action was deep in the zone; Ramsey checked the referees: all were focusing on that end of the ice. Nobody was watching the penalty box or the game clock. He monitored the timer on his penalty and checked the refs again. Just as the clock ticked from 0:07 to 0:06, Ramsey darted out towards his teammates, the door to the sin bin closing behind him.



Edited by SteVo
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Taylor Rolfen


We had just returned from a gun-run down by the docks, and I was feeling pretty damn tired. I guess it was the stress of the situation, or maybe that the explosions in the morning abruptly woke me up, but I just was not in the mood. That didn’t matter at all. We were pretty much the X factor here… we could cause a shitton of damage and haul around a good amount of soldiers… I forget how many to be exact. That’s what the higher ups told me, at least. I suppose it’s possible that they just wanted to pick my spirits up… hell, it’s even possible that they tell that to the cook. “Your cooking is the X-factor in this fight. Your chum feeds our troops and gives them the energy we need to fight.” I think they would say something like that. Hierarchy was comprised of a bunch of pretentious douchebags who treated us all like pawns. Shit… now I’m sounding like my dad.


I don’t even think we had been back for ten minutes before they had us prepped to leave again. I sat at my gun as soldiers piled into the back. It wasn’t too crowded, but I felt a bit awkward considering I had never met these guys before in my life. There were only like twenty of them. I can only remember a few of their names from the conversations I overheard. There was this talkative guy… I think they called him Ice (I don’t know why)… who just wouldn’t shut up. I was thinking to myself, “Jesus Christ… this guy is about to go into a fucking warzone and he can’t think of anything other than fucking his girlfriend back home?” That guy annoyed me to high hell, but their sergeant seemed like a respectable guy. I forget his name, but he had the authority to snap the chatters back into place. All senseless memories of them… but I didn’t have much to write about today. I guess I’ll just sum up my thoughts in one last paragraph before I bore myself writing this.


Looking back on this day, I can't help but feel bad for those poor people... no one deserves to live in a shithole like that. I sometimes wonder if it was better or worse before the Skinnies came in. I keep hearing rumors about this just about a mile in from the beach that was virtually a slaughterhouse. How the hell the guys that took that place could hold their chum in is beyond me. I probably would have died from puking my guts out. There was a bright side, though… and that’s not a pun (you will get that after you read the next sentence). The sunrise at least looked nice. I’m actually understanding when I say that. The sun looked amazing. I’m not great at describing things in detail, but the light reflecting off of the rooftops made it look like this place was once a paradise. If I have anything nice to say about this war to my parents, it will only be about the sun as it rose over the mountain.

Edited by Vikingfan465

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That was probably better than any book i've read in a while. Lol.



Very interesting

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Once upon a time there was a cat. His name was Pierce. He lost all 9 of his lives and went to purr-gatory. The End.

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This one I wrote several years ago but revised this past year. It seems to be a common favorite among my friends. It looks long but it's quick read, and I'll check out the other pieces and offer commentary. I love that this thread actually got going.


The Last Cowboy


Cigarette smoke hung in the air as Jake looked around, appalled by a lifestyle that involved nightly visits to a small town dive. On his left was a local drunk, so damn burnt out that he couldn’t carry a conversation; On his right was Warren, the owner, nothing short of a chimney when it came to his cigarettes and temper. Across the bar the banker finished his Diet Coke and left, the door slamming behind him. A waft of autumn air chilled the back of Jake’s neck before the warmth of the room returned. He noticed the absurd lightness of the bottle in his left hand and ordered a new Coors. Buzzing already, he’d been there since four when it started drizzling outside. A meteorologist on the bar’s TV forecasted a night of steady rain and scattered storms. At the same time, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Cedar County.


The barmaid set a fresh bottle on a coaster. “When’d you start drinkin’ Coors?” He shrugged. “That’ll be two seventy-five,” she said.


He smirked. “Come on, Steph. You say it like I don’t usually pay up.”


“I’ve been out with you enough times to know how you handle your money.”


He held the bottle up, playfully tipping it in her direction. “I have a memory, you know. You had fun.” He pulled a five out of his wallet and set it on the counter. “Keep it.”


Before she could reply, the jukebox started up. Bass thumps and computerized perrcussion filled the room. Jake grabbed the remote sitting by the till, and pressed the “skip” button. The song stopped playing, and each set of eyes in the room turned to Jake. A young man in a Hollister shirt glared at him. “The fuck did you stop my song for?”


“Deal with it,” Jake said as he returned the glare. He watched as the young man considered furthering the confrontation, then decide against it and sit down. The bar returned to smoky silence.


Jake grabbed his beer and took a long drink, closing his bloodshot eyes. When he opened them, Steph took the remote and set it under the bar. “Jake,” she said, impatiently. Her long red hair and slender frame were captivating, as they’d always been. “I know you don’t like that kind of music, but you gotta take it with a grain of salt.”


“You hear that fuckin’ song he tried to play?” He put his beer down as her hazel eyes glared into his own. “Alright. It’s been a rough week.” He paused. “I can’t get in the field.”


“I know it’s been raining,” she said. “Just keep your head up. Harvest’ll start up again before you know it.” She smiled. “Thanks for stopping to see Tiffany today. She don’t know, yet, but I want to wait ‘til she can understand.”


“If you don’t tell her now, don't you think she’ll just figure it out when she gets older?”


“She doesn’t need to know yet. It’ll make her curious.”


“Alright.” He took a drink. “Thanks for talkin’. “He put the beer down and stood up. “Bring her out to the farm, sometime. I don’t care when.” He looked away from her as another patron came through the front door. “She can ride in the tractor with me for awhile. I did as a kid, I’d like to do the same for my own.”


“I’ll think about it.” She walked away as a crack sounded on the pool table. Jake looked down the neck of his bottle before getting up and walking around the bar. He walked past the pool table, making his way to the jukebox. He pulled a single out and decided to play a tune by his favorite artist, Jamey Johnson. Bright yellow letters read “That Lonesome Song” as the song started to play.


That morning sun made its way through the windshield of my Chevrolet. Whiskey eyes and ashtray breath, on a chert rock gravel road.


He turned to the pool table. Gary and Tony, his former classmates, were re-racking after a miscue on the break. Jake watched as Tony took the cue ball to the other end of the table and slammed it onto the felt. Jake balled his fists and walked over to the men, stumbling when he ran his foot into a chair at an empty table. “You still don’t know any better than to slam the ball on the table?”

They looked at him in surprise. “What the hell does it matter, Jake?”


What the hell did I do last night? That’s the story of my life. Like tryin’ to remember words to a song nobody wrote.


Come on, man. You’re three sheets to the wind,” Tony said.


Jake took a deep breath. “Every time you slam that damn ball on the table, you dent the slate. So every time you miss a shot and blame the table roll, it’s your own fuckin’ fault.” He walked over and picked out a cue. “I’ll play you for the table.”


The men looked at each other. Tony sat down on a bar stool as Gary said, “What for? We ain’t done nothin’ wrong.”


“You that worried I’ll beat you?” He put his quarters on the table. “Which of you shitheads is it gonna be?”


Tony got off his bar stool and Gary handed him a cue. “Alright. I’ll take you on.”


It’s a south bound train. It’s a whistle in the wind. Ain’t no one that’ll care where I been. I’m hummin’ on that lonesome song again.


Jake racked it up. Tony broke. He sank one on the break and called a solid and put it in a side pocket. He missed his second shot.


Jake almost lost his balance on the floor mat as he walked around the table. He approached the cue ball, seeing his nine close to the bumper by a side pocket. He wound back and hit the cue ball and it barely grazed the side of the nine, but it was enough for it to bank off the bumper and roll into the side pocket on the opposite side of the table.


“Hell of a shot,” Tony said. “Get him a beer for that one, Gary. Tell Steph to put it on my tab.”


Jake walked to the other side of the table, sunk his second shot and took the beer from Tony, forgetting about the half empty bottle he’d left on the bar. He scanned the table, blinking repeatedly as his focus blurred. He knew he’d have to slow down sooner or later, but just as the rain poured outside--constant, persistent, seemingly endless and unavoidable--he wasn’t sure if the beers would stop before closing time. “Can you boys give me a minute?”


“Yeah, we’ll grab a sixer for the ditch,” Tony said.


Jake got up after a bit and missed his third shot, then Gary sank another of his own. The game went back and forth with each man sinking a ball here and there. Both played defensive pool, rarely leaving a decent shot for their opponent. Jake was still the superior player, up by three balls. He sank his last stripe on a straight shot and looked at the eight ball. It was five inches from the left side pocket. He lined up from the corner and lightly hit the cue ball. It rolled over and knocked the eight in, stopping on a dime. He extended for a handshake. “Good game, man.”


“Yeah, it was,” said Tony as he put his cue in the rack. He looked up at a TV as Gary handed him an unopened beer. “ But I’m surprised to see that you’re still drinkin’ so much, Jake. Ain’t it about time you backed off a bit?”


Jake had no answer for him, so he put his own cue away.


“It was the same five years ago, man,” Gary said. You’d stumble outta here like old Ray over there. Christ, if I’d been smart, I’d have bet on you killin’ a bottle of Windsor a night back then.” He put on his coat and walked out the door, Tony a few short steps behind him.


Jake took a deep breath and had to stop himself from following them out the door. “Steph!” He looked at her as she turned around.


Warren got up from the bar. “You can’t stay if you’ll do shit like that,” he said. “I rarely get this many customers during the week. Don’t send them outta here.”


Jake sat down at the empty table with the chair he’d kicked. “I’m sorry, Warren. I’ll buy a round for the place.” Warren tried to tell him that it wasn’t necessary, but Jake did it anyway. He returned to the jukebox and began searching for a song to pick. “That Lonesome Song” had been over for almost ten minutes.


The night progressed with no further incident. It was getting late for a farmer on a weekday. The ten o’clock news had finished, forecasting more rain for the coming days. Jake decided he’d close down the bar with the local drunks, but unlike most of them he’d still be getting up in the morning before

they remembered their own names.


The door opened, and Jake felt the cool breeze on his neck again. He didn’t bother checking who entered, but he didn’t have to wait long to find out. Two men walked to the other side of the horseshoe bar. They were each wearing a cowboy hat, pearl snaps, tombstone-sized belt buckles, and cowboy boots. This wouldn’t have been an issue for Jake, but there were no imperfections. A Brad Paisley concert had happened that night in Grand Forks, and it looked like these two had walked straight out of a western store and to the concert--Not a scuff on the boots, tear in the jeans, stain on the shirts, or frayed edge on the hats. It was mockery.


Jake had to control himself. Both men were drunk and obnoxious, louder than anybody else in the bar talking about the numbers they’d picked up and how they were real farm boys. They were abusing the image that Jake was born into, the image that he adored. He’d laughed off such men before, but it was the wrong night, at the wrong time, and the two men were in the wrong place.



If the rain would end, so could Jake’s harvest season.


But it wouldn’t. Every other day, water would appear between his pinto bean rows. Every week the river would rise and ravage the line fences of his pasture, where his cattle needed a month more to graze. The rain had also prevented him from hauling all his bales. They sat in highway ditches, alfalfa fields, and on the stubble of the wheat he’d managed to thrash. The workload piled up as water covered the flat North Dakota land. He’d spent the whole summer spending and spending, as farmers do. Fix machinery here. Spray for weeds there. He was behind, and he needed that bean row payday.


At the moment, he was fixing his chisel-plow. Each shank had to be rotated so he’d be able to tear up all the wheat stubble when the fields dried up. Arlen, his hired man, had put new shanks on three weeks ago. Each had two bolts and nuts and Arlen had used bolts that were a half inch too long. Threads stuck out well past each nut and the rocky ground had stripped the threads on nearly every bolt. Jake had to use his hacksaw or the acetylene torch to remove most of the shanks before he could rotate them, turning a half hour job into three grueling hours.


“Why didn’t you call me?” he’d asked.


Arlen stood there, unfazed--far from worried about a potential tongue lashing. Jake knew this, that Arlen felt like a friend instead of an employee, that nine out of ten fuck ups on his part would be overlooked because of his loyalty. “I guess I figured I’d change them the next time and do all the work, which you normally let me do because you’re in the bean fields. I had no idea we’d get this much rain.”


“Don’t do that again. Always use the right parts,” Jake said, with a touch of resentment in his voice to get Arlen’s attention. His employee looked away at that moment, away at the western horizon which was as grey as it was that morning, though the sun was setting behind it.


The next morning he was on his way into town for some parts. Jake’s old Ford was a hand me down. The 1975 model had been in his family as long as he remembered. When his father died, he had to replace the clutch, but otherwise liked the truck as it was--rust in the wheel wells, dents in the door, a small crack in the side window, and a front bumper indented by two night time highway deer. Under the hood, the truck was damn near perfect. They’d overhauled it in 1999 and it’d been Jake’s primary vehicle since then. He maintained it as a mother nurtures a child, with care and vigilance. He rode it hard some weekends, but otherwise the most he ever did was speed like all hell on parts runs, like the one he’d been on at that moment, having realized that Arlen’s mistake was partly due to his low stock of nuts and bolts. He looked out the windshield and had to brake as a car pulled out in front of him. He heard an odd sound when he first touched the pedal. She’s talking to me again, whining about something, he thought. The truck began to slow as he felt the brakes give way and had to push the pedal to the floor to come to a stop. He got out and popped the hood, praying it was just a blown brake line, but discovered that his calipers had come apart.


He slammed the hood shut and walked to the back of the truck. He opened the tailgate and grabbed the crow bar in the box. He swung it up into the air and brought it down hard on the end-gate. It barely made a dent. He hit it again.


An hour later, the truck was in the local shop and already being attended to. In a town of twelve hundred, farm related vehicles got the nod, no matter who was in line, and Jake had no doubt that Tim, the mechanic, could take care of the problem by sometime the next morning.


He was a block away from his destination, a two story house with new vinyl siding and steel roofing, offset by old wood frame windows and hollow doors. As he stepped into the front yard, a wave of blond hair whipped past the picture window and the door flew open.


“Jake!” hollered Tiffany as she ran up to him.


He picked her up and said, “How are you doing, kiddo?”


“Really really good!” said Tiffany.


“Well, I’m glad to hear that. What’s got you so happy?”


“Let me show you,” she said.


He set her back down and she ran up to the house as Steph came out the door. “What’s going on?” she asked


“Just thought I’d drop by. I came in to drop the old Ford off to get the brakes fixed. Arlen’s headed into town to get me.”


“Well, thanks for stopping by. Tiffany loves to see you,” said Steph, smiling.


“I know.” He gave her a hug. “I see you’re getting the place fixed up. That second job must be paying off,” he said as a man came out the door. They were polar opposites, Jake in his work clothes and the man in his sweats.


The man approached, reached out his hand and said, “You must be Jake.”


“Yeah,” Jake said, shaking his hand, noticing that it was smooth and soft, the hand of a desk jockey. “You are?”




“Nice to meet you.”


You, too,” Dylan said before kissing Steph and walking away.


Long seconds passed before Steph sighed, ready to break the silence. “Dylan’s from Fargo,” she said. “He’s an architect. His company is called Phoenix.”


Tiffany stumbled back out the door with a big brown teddy bear that was as tall as she was at five years old. “Jake! Did you meet Dylan?”


“I did,” Jake began. “How do you like him?”


“I like him a lot,” answered Tiffany. “He got me this Teddy Bear!”


“Well, if you like him, I like him,” said Jake, closing his eyes and hugging his daughter.



“Jake, what's wrong?" Steph asked.


“Nothing, I’m fine," he uttered as his breathing quickened. He stood up and walked away from the bar. At the jukebox, he extended a shaking hand and put in another dollar. He selected “The Last Cowboy," another song by Jamey Johnson. He walked back to the bar without filling his remaining credits. He took

a seat and contemplated another drink. He’d lost count an hour earlier.


An old pickup truck means you’re down on your luck, anymore. And boots and straw hats are just a thing of the past, anymore.


The imitation cowboys were ordering more drinks. Their words were sloppy and hard to understand. Jake could see that Steph was having a hard time taking their orders. He heard her start simple. She asked them their names. The one in blue was Todd, the one in red was Tucker.


“Twins?" Jake asked, interrupting.


And ever since Waylon, I can’t find no one to buy into sad country songs.


The men looked at him curiously. “No, just good friends,” said Todd.


“Them are some goofy fuckin' names." Jake feigned a drink from his empty bottle.


Tell me who’s gonna ride us away when the last cowboy is gone.


“Jake,” Steph whispered. He looked at her and she mouthed the word “stop.”


“What do you boys do?”


“We farm,” said Tucker.


“Where at?”


“By…uh…Lankin.” Jake could see the discomfort in Todd’s eyes. He was on to them, and they knew it.


“If you’re farmers, why aren’t there any scuffs in your boots?” Jake lifted his own into the air, revealing countless scuffs and scratches in the leather. He pointed at his torn jeans and ragged shirt. “You don’t farm without roughin’ your clothes up a bit.”


“Look, man,” said Tucker. “We’re just trying to have fun.”


“You two should leave and find a place to change.” Jake set his bottle on the bar and gave them a stern look.


Tell me who’s gonna ride them away when the last cowboy is gone.


Jake watched Tucker nearly fall to the floor as the man slid off of his seat. “Fuck you. We’ll stay here and do what we want.” He stood there, swaying, clearly unable to handle his liquor.


“Your choice, boys,” said Jake. He got up from his own bar stool. His song was ending.


Does everything good have to change til the last cowboy is gone?


Apparently the men liked their odds two-on-one. Jake stepped to his left as Todd threw the first punch. Jake wound up and his fist crashed into the man’s nose, sending Todd to his knees. Jake saw Tucker advancing and brought his foot into the air, driving his boot into the man’s stomach. He watched Tucker fall and vomit on to the rough tile floor. Jake took some ragged breaths and straightened, turning away from the smell.


He saw that Todd was back on his feet, a pool stick in hand.


Jake glared at Todd and pointed at him, daring him to swing the pool stick. Blood poured from Todd’s nose and onto his too perfect snap-on western shirt. He advanced, and Jake stepped back. He watched Todd raise the stick into the air. Jake grabbed a bar stool, lifted it above his head, and used the seat to break the momentum of Todd’s swing, which snapped the stick in two. Jake tossed the stool aside and ripped the jagged pool stick out of Todd’s hands. He shoved the man into the bar, wound up, and threw a punch that sent Todd to the floor a second time. Jake placed his boot on the man’s chest, pinning him on his back.


“You done?”


“Yeah,” gasped Todd. “Yeah…We’ll go.” He was breathing heavily through the blood pouring out of his nostrils.


Jake went down on a knee and used his index finger to jab the man in the chest. “I ever see you in here again, the same thing’ll happen.” He waited for his words to sink in. “If you want to pretend to be a farmboys, you take it somewhere else.” He stood back up. Todd and Tucker collected themselves, their things, and left. The door closed and the room was silent.


Jake walked over to the jukebox for the third time, noticed his unused credits, and selected Jamey Johnson’s “Playin’ the Part.” The outlaw’s voice filled the bar once more.


“And you think you should see our daughter more often.” Jake turned around to see Steph with her arms crossed and the same look of disappointment she always gave him.


“Come on, Steph” he said. “I’ve just had too many. That’s all.”


“Yeah, but you’ve said that too many times, Jake.” She started wiping the counter where Todd’s blood covered hands had been a minute before when he paid his tab. “You’re this big fuckin’ ox with a drinking problem. How the hell could I trust you at home?”


“I don’t always get like this.”


“Nobody should get like this!” she said, harsher than she meant to and he saw a lack of regret on her face. “You’ve no place in a young girl’s life. Twenty-five or five.” Those words had already hit home when she said, “Don’t come by again, not for awhile. I don’t want to see you.”


Warren opened the front door when she was finished, but before Jake walked out he took one of the wet rags from behind the bar and wiped up the blood on the floor.


Jake left the bar as he’d left Steph’s house several years ago. Alone, drunk, both righteous and regretful, an internal struggle between defiance and guilt. He walked down Main street in light rain, making his way to the hotel a block down where he checked in, entered the room he’d rented far too many times when he’d been too worried to drive the three miles home, vomited in the bathroom, damn near swallowed the novelty mouthwash in a hurry to get the taste of supper out of his mouth, and passed out on the dingy, lumpy bed.


He awoke in the morning to his cell phone’s alarm, thirsty as all hell with a headache that’d put most men down for the day, but he didn’t have that option. What he had was beans he couldn’t cut through the mud, cattle he couldn’t feed until the hay fields and ditches were dry enough to haul bales, and a daughter who knew his name, but had no idea that she could call him "daddy."

Edited by BwareDWare94

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Massive gravedig. I had to write a short story for an English class and I'm pretty satisfied with how it turned out.


Synopsis: A young man explores his past to better understand his present.


Feel free to read:




Disclaimer: There are some unpleasant scenes but I don't imagine they'll be an issue for anyone here. There are a few people I suspected as being SJWs in my class and they didn't bat an eye to them. This is FICTION, not based on my own life.

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