It’s always about Jack.
When will you move on?
Let him go.
Forget about him.
He is not real.
The last one stops me. Makes me remember. Jack is not real. Jack is not real. Jack is not real.
This is the lie I tell myself.
Or is it the other one? The one where I tell myself Jack is real.
Sometimes I don’t even know the truth.
If I’m the only one who sees him does it make him any less real?
I know he’s there. He’s always there. He sits on the edge of my bed, his back towards me, his face stuck in a book, always reading, always focused on something else, someone else. Never me.
I’ve tried to make him turn around. It’s not a pretty thing to do. And mostly I’m ashamed of my efforts whether its because they failed or because I attempted them in the first place purely to make him turn around.
Jack mutters some random words about it not being my time, tells me to stop trying, but he won’t turn around.
Jack is the reason my parents sent me to Dr. Reynolds. Jack is the reason why Scott said this wasn’t working for him, that we wanted different things. He said he wanted a girlfriend who was present and alive and wanted to experience life, and I wanted Jack.
I could disagree. I could say it wasn’t the truth, that I wanted Scott and not Jack. In some ways I did want Scott. I wanted those things he wanted too. But when you grow up with Death sitting on the edge of your bed, it makes wanting those things a little confusing. I didn’t want to put Scott through it, through my death. It wasn’t fair to him to let him fall in love with me, make a life with me and then have Jack snatch it away when he felt like it. I kept people at arms length. It was safer that way.
Jack is the reason I don’t sleep. Jack is the reason I don’t dream. Jack is the reason I don’t live.
But Jack is not real. Jack is not real. Jack is not real.

©Danielle Tauscher, 2017

GATE (The Daily Post Prompt)

He made a choice.

Jack didn’t remember dying. He remembered the bridge and waiting for the trains to come. He remembered laughter and friends and the taste of cheap, stolen beer. He remembered her hand in his asking about the future.

He didn’t remember the moment the other one came. He was an older man, with hair like Einstein. He wore flip-flops and board shorts. His shirt had images of pineapples. Jack liked pineapples.

The man called himself, Sal. He was fast-talking, like a used car salesman from a small town. Jack didn’t understand why no one else could see Sal. Maybe he was the only one drunk off the beer.

Jack couldn’t feel her hand anymore. He reached out to touch her face but his hand went straight through her, like she was a ghost. It would take him several more attempts before he realized he was the one who was no longer solid.

His eyes searched Sal, pleading with the old, strange man for some answers. Sal only spoke in riddles about gates and choices and the end and recruits.

“There isn’t much time, kid. We need to get to the Gate,” Sal said.

Jack didn’t understand. He wanted to ask questions, but he felt lost, confused and unable to control his own body. His eyes closed. His breathing slowed.

And then they were at the ocean.

How? Jack thought. Weren’t they on a bridge just seconds ago?

“Listen, kid. This is the Gate. Here is where it happens,” Sal said.

What happens? What Gate? Jack didn’t see a gate. He saw the darkness of the water, but he did not hear the sound of waves.

“I need you to make a decision. The others will be here soon,” the old man said. “You chose to go through the Gate to whatever fate waits for you on the other side or you stay on this side and I give you a job.”

Sal said it so matter-of-factly, like it made perfect sense. Maybe it did. Maybe the choice was easier than anything else Jack ever did. He was curious about the Gate. Where did it go? And why was it kept in the ocean? He had questions. He knew he should be asking something. He needed more details, more information about the Gate and the Job. Mostly, he needed to ask why he was here.

But Jack didn’t ask questions. He watched the water. He remembered what the ocean sounded like, but did not hear it. He could not smell it. Jack knelt down in the sand. He dragged his fingertips through the sand, but felt nothing.

“Kid, do you understand what I’ve told you? You go or you stay. It’s your choice,” Sal said. Had he been talking this whole time, Jack wondered. “Hey, kid, you hear me? They’re here. What’s your decision?”

Jack saw the others walking out of the ocean.

He made a choice.

©Danielle Tauscher, 2017


This prompt is from The Daily Post: GATE

Coffee and Writing

Why am I drinking coffee at 6:00pm Sunday evening? Because I like to live on the edge. I’m a rebel! More importantly, I’m writing. Or I was until I realized it’s complete rubbish and should be burned. Dramatic? Maybe.

I’ve had this cute, contemporary young adult story brewing in my noggin for about two weeks. I knew the basic synopsis. I liked the idea. I liked the character names (the males because I didn’t know the females names until tonight). I’ve been writing down notes and ideas and scenes. This was happening.

Until it wasn’t. I drank the coffee. Coffee gives me the super powers. Licorice does too if you’re keeping track. I wrote words. It felt nice typing again. My handwriting is horrible and barely legible. As I was writing I realized that this isn’t the story I’m supposed to write. The idea is cute. I would have fun with it. However, it isn’t a story I care to write. Plus, it has zero monsters in it. Come on. That’s bogus.

So, I’m challenging myself (and you if you’d like to join me) to write a short story every week during the month of July (but starting this week because I haven’t master time-travel yet). There are no rules. A story could be 100 words or 5000 words.