Little Suzy {ANEWSIN VOL. 14 — Jason Garden}

Little Suzy had a puppy
He went by the name Zeke.

Whenever she closed her eyes
She swears that he could speak.

She discovered that her makeup
slowly made mer blind.

Her eyes looked classy but
the results put her in a bind.

She started loosing her friends
but Zeke kept her life fun.

Up until the day when he told
her to kill everyone.

She kept herself in solitude
fearing what she could do.

Then one day she raised a hammer
and turned Zeke’s head to goo.

Locked In {ANEWSIN VOL. 13 — Jason Garden}

Edited by Luka Riot

“Hello?!”

George screamed into the abyss in front of him. There was an echo, but it was very distant. There was no light; George could not even see his hands in front of his face.

He had no memory of how he ended up being in this place. He was not hurt, so he was not shoved violently down a hole. There was no noticeable smell, so he could not gather hints from that sense. There was only a faint breeze that seemed to come from everywhere.

It was like he was in total sensory isolation. He tried to scream again.

“Hello!”

There was no response. He was alone.

George was not sure how long he had been in that place, but he was starting to get more and more panicked as time went on. 

He did not even have a cell phone on him to check the time. He only guessed that he would not get signal in this place to use it for other reasons.

Suddenly, murmurs. Whispers and hushed voices seemed to be carried throughout the air around him.

“Hey!” George screamed. “Who’s there? Please notice me!”

He no longer cared where he was. He just wanted, or needed, to be noticed. He was alone: trapped in a void away from everything and everyone. A simple “hello” would raise his spirits high. He would then know that he was actually part of the reality around him.

George decided to do a body check, finally. He knew that his eyes, throat, and ears were all intact. He lifted what he was sure would have been an arm, and that felt right. Torso and legs seemed to be in a working order, of sorts. He was going off of feel. There was always a chance that he was impaled and just not feeling the pain for some reason.

The voices were getting louder. Regardless of how scared he was, at least he was warm. Kind of. He was actually more apathetic towards his body temperature, but he was convinced that was because he was a decent temperature.

Suddenly, everything happened.

A feeling of disorientation. There were no motion blurs or sudden visual jolts, just a feeling of complete disassociation with his body. He watched as his eyes opened, and was immediately blinded by the light. Then, figures stood all around him, looking down with faces of excitement and joy.

He was in a hospital. He had been stuck in his head, only mildly aware that there was a world around him. He could account for about an hour, voices made him aware that it had been weeks.

George was frightened. He hurt. His back and his head felt like they had been ripped open and sewn back together several times.

He was naked, but under several sheets. He was still having a hard time figuring out exactly who was around him, but he was sure there were at least five people above him. All the people-shaped outlines looming over his face. Drops of water caressed his brow.

Where was he? Where had he been? What happened to him just before he found himself in that cave?

Slowly, he put his hand on his head.
Slowly, he sat up in bed.
Slowly, he started to lose consciousness again.

Quickly, the shadows of people ran to his aid. Quickly, a code blue was announced overhead. Quickly, he stopped feeling any sort of discomfort.

Another figure was added to the pantheon. This figure was carrying two rectangular shapes in their hands. The figure slammed their might into George, forcing the two shapes into his chest. There was a loud sound, and George felt a surge flow into his chest.

Everything then came to focus. His vision, his hearing, and his breathing all coalesced into what would be described as normal. The figures were no longer just that, they were doctors, nurses, and friends. Sadly, George saw no family in the group. That is when he started to figure out what happened.

He had fallen over in pain almost a month ago. His chest was tight, and the pain caused him to lose conciseness. He could only assume, but he felt confident in assuming that it was a heart attack. He did not dare to assume what caused it, however certain he might think that he is.

The rectangles were defibrillators. His heart had started to palpitate again, and they were used to put everything back on an appropriate rhythm. George started to wonder who or what dictated “appropriate” but was also sure that now was not the time to ask those around him.

Now, George was back. Finally, he was back. He expected an onslaught of questions, but none were asked before everyone had left the room. Now, he was left alone with just one of the figures from earlier. Now, he could tell that it was a doctor. She was probably the doctor who had been with him since moment one.

His chest still hurt, and there was a distinct smell of burnt flesh and hair in the air. Probably due to the event that saved his life. Again.

George wondered if he had ever been pronounced dead during this whole ordeal. He had died once as a younger man: he had been struck by a car and doctors were very unsure if he would pull through. To say that he would get to the age of 30 would just be irresponsible of the medical community, but to say that he had no chance was just as arrogant. To dismiss the abilities of everyone who was trying to save his life the first time was naive. George and his family took great pride in him walking out of the hospital that day.

Even George, through his clouded judgement and uncertainty as to what exactly is going on, was not sure if today would have the same outcome as before. At least that time he still had his wits about him. He could feel himself forgetting his family, friends, and sense of self.

You’re Terrible {ANEWSIN VOL.12 — Jason Garden}

\\A conversation between two writers named Jerome and Kelsey. They are sitting in a mall food court with only soft drinks in front of them. \\

Jerome
Hey. Kelsey. Did you read over the rough copy of that story I sent over a few weeks ago?

Kelsey
Yeah. I did.

Jerome
Verdict?

Kelsey
It’s fuckin’ terrible.

Jerome
What’s wrong with it?

Kelsey
You try to write dialog and maybe shouldn’t. People don’t talk that way.

Jerome
What do you mean?

Kelsey
It’s stilted. Awkward. Like, consider these line:

A man steps forward. “You know that this is how we make our living. We need any sort of identification to prove we killed the right group. Now, hurry your smoke, Skylar. We gotta go.”

“Fuck you, Steve.” Skylar proclaims under her breath.

Does something feel, off, about that exchange?

Jerome
Yep.

Kelsey
What do you mean “Yep”? Do you do it on purpose?

Jerome
Depends on the situation I’m writing. Most people—

Kelsey
It should always be fluid. Otherwise it’s not natural.

Jerome
When do you ever—

Kelsey
What I find helpful is actually have a person read out loud with you to bounce the conversation back and forth.

Jerome
Okay, but that—

Kelsey
Otherwise, you run the risk of things sounding manufactured, or worse: meandering.

Jerome
So, do you think that I should always do that?

Kelsey
Why not?

Jerome
I sometimes don’t have someone to “run lines” with me. I try to read things out loud, but I don’t—

Kelsey
…don’t what? Know where to put inflection?

Jerome
—I was going to say that I don’t know how to cut myself off. I can’t seem to create the awkward that is actual conversation.

Kelsey
Then don’t cut yourself off.

Jerome
Do you realize how hard it is to create a natural conversation without cutoff’s and awkward pausing?

Kelsey
What?

Jerome
It’s very rare to have a conversation flow in real life where no one stammers or cuts someone off.

Kelsey
We’re doing just fine.

Jerome
You cut me off at least twice so far in this friendly banter that we’re having now.

Kelsey
You call this friendly banter?

Jerome
What?

Kelsey
I fucking hate your writing. It’s depressing. It’s morose. The ending is always left in space. Your language is too complicated for some.

Jerome
So, you’re saying that I should just stop?

Kelsey
NO! I’m saying that you should just get better. You seem to have written yourself into a corner where you don’t seem to grow or change. 

Your best work was a few stories ago, and you are just stagnating. Your last piece was, in your own words, similar to what you would have written in high school. And your best work is not even that good.

Jerome
So, what you’re saying is: you do like my early work?

Kelsey
No. I’m saying that you seem to think you’re okay at this. Why keep beating your head against the wall?

Jerome
… because I have to?

Kelsey
Have to? Or want to?

Jerome
Both.

Kelsey
How can it be both?

Jerome
Simple. I write for me, and the ten or so people that think my writing is worth their time.

Kelsey
Okay, but how—

Jerome
I write because I can’t draw, I can’t play drums how I used to, I can’t sing… so what other artistic thing am I doing to do?

Kelsey
So, you’re admitting that you just do this as a kind of masturbation?

Jerome
No, you pretentious prick!

Kelsey
Then why do you do this?

Jerome
Because, unlike what you say, I don’t think I suck. I have points on society that I want, or need, to make. I have opinions that I want to share. I want to challenge the ideas of spirituality, religion, and life. 

I don’t want to lay my opinions bare, because I have nothing more grandiose than ideas. Those ideas, however, do make some decent short stories.

Kelsey
So, why make them public?

Jerome
What do you mean?

Kelsey
If you are doing it for you, why infest the world with your drivel?

Jerome
Why not?

Kelsey
Because you’re fucking terrible.

//long, awkward pause

Kelsey
You read my latest book, right?

Jerome
I understand it’s merit, but it’s not my cup-o-tea.

Kelsey
What do you mean? It’s got love, death, suspense, death…

Jerome
Yeah. But not my kind of thing.

Kelsey
What do you mean?

Jerome
I’m not going to dunk on it. Just leave it at “it’s not my cup-o-tea”.

Kelsey
There’s ‘dunking’ angles?

Jerome
Drop it—

Kelsey
I didn’t think there were dunking angles…?

Jerome
KELSEY (awkward pause)

Jerome
Thank you. Can we get off the topic now? What are you working on next?

Kelsey
I’m working on a young-adult novel about a boy and a girl in high school

Jerome (under breath)
original.

Kelsey
What was that?

Jerome
Nothing. Don’t worry about—

Kelsey
—it? You just want me to drop this line of inquiry and pretend you didn’t say something?

Jerome
Why are you pushing this? I want to just drop the conversation and move on.

Kelsey
TELL ME

Jerome
No.

Kelsey
C’mon!

Jerome
Fine. You asked for this.

Kelsey
Fuckin’ finally! Thank you!

Jerome
You’re terrible. I hate your writing. You’re stories have nothing original to offer. You’re dialect is pedestrian at best. In fact, you probably don’t understand that line. You probably don’t see anything wrong with that way of doing things. You probably think it’s all fine as long as people buy into your shit, but you do NOTHING to hold yourself up to a test of time. Fuck: in five years, your books will be in a discount bin.

\\Kelsey abruptly leaves, knocking her chair into seats behind her. Jerome continues to sit, starring at his half-full cup\\

Kelsey
Fuck you. You’re a waste.

This was an attempt at something different. I have ideas to continue it, maybe write a full scene…

I have to thank Bekki, Jacob and Casey for direction.

No, I will probably never make this anything more than text. I’m not a director. Hell, I am barely a writer, but I thought I would try my hand at script writing for fun.

SUPPORT ME ON PATREON TO GET THESE EARLY!

I would like to take this moment to highlight that I released another book! Well, it’s a re-edit of You’re Not Dead, but it includes a large collection of other stuff! It’s now over 200 pages!

Any Patreon who donates any amount of money gets their name in the ‘thank you’ section!

foam {ANEWSIN VOL.11 — Jason Garden}

Edited by Luka Riot

“Come in! Find a seat, or wheel yours in. Whichever works better for you!” 

A woman stands at the head of a rectangular room, beckoning ten or so people to enter. They are all gathered for a meeting to divulge stories and dreams pertaining to seizures. They enter the room one by one, apologizing for brushing against other bodies.

It is a diverse group. Two of them look to be in their early twenties but have no relation to one another. Three look like ex-junkies, with unwashed hair and clothing. One younger girl who is probably around ten finds a seat between two people who one would assume are her parents. Two people in wheelchairs, one is being propelled by a nurse. The other is completely alone and seems despondent. Finally, the last one to enter the room is a flustered looking woman who stumbled in by accident.

It only takes a minute and everyone finds a spot.

“Great! Everyone seems to be comfortable. There is coffee available at the back. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the budget for snacks this week. We’re working on that!” The woman at the front speaks with grace and warmth. “I am Amanda, and everyone in this circle is a peer! By that, I mean that everyone here fights with some form of epilepsy. Some self-inflicted, some not. Life is interesting!”

“Life is a bitch, you mean.” The gentleman in the wheelchair who propelled himself in utters under his breath, with little regard to who hears him.

Amanda’s demeanour does not falter. If anything, she speaks with a heightened determination to sound less patriotic. “To start, I would ask for someone to share why they are epileptic and how that has shaped their existence. How life has been an adventure, and I don’t want to hear a bunch of you looking for pity!”

Awkward murmurs flit around the room.

Amanda looks concerned. This is not the environment that she wanted to have.

“Okay… let’s start with names, then. As I stated, I’m Amanda! Let’s go left. Your turn!”

“Fine.” One of the ‘ex-junkies’ stands. He does not look thrilled to be there.

“I’m Stan. I was drunk, fell down stairs, and now here I am. O’course, there’s a lot more. What you need to know is that I am Stan, and I am here because I was told I need to socialize more.”

With that note, he abruptly sat back down and turned his head to the right. His gaze almost challenged the person next to him to one up him in some way. 

Then, another one of the ex-junkies looked at him with tears in their eyes. “So, you got minor brain damage?”

“Yep. I worked, had a family, dealt with life. The main reason I ended up where I am is because I couldn’t stay conscious through the day. My work decided to relieve me of my position under guise that I wasn’t doing my job anymore. Not because of my injury ‘cause that would be illegal.” His voice cracked. “I was driven out legally. The government jumped in where they could, but I still make half of what I used to.”

Stan fell apart, putting his face deep into his hands. No sound emanated from him, but it was clear from his jumping shoulders that he was crying hard.

“Okay, Stan. This is a safe place, don’t push yourself too much if you can’t.” Amanda stated. She tried so hard to sound delicate. “Thank you for sharing, Stan. That story was heartbreaking and very honest. Who’s next?”

The capable boy in the wheelchair extends his arm while looking at the ground. Amanda realized that he had not even said good morning to anyone around him, and he looks like he came completely alone. Amanda worries, without real reason, that he is alone.

He cleared his throat. “Hello. I am James. I got sick. The result was my brain swelled. It damaged my brain stem. The damage scarred parts of the grey matter.” The group started to murmur with questions and disbelief. “My epilepsy wasn’t even noticed for four years. I passed out and fell out of my chair in front of, who is now, my wife and mother-in-law. They called an ambulance and it was determined to be a seizure.”

“It wasn’t for another few months that the diagnosis came through that I was epileptic. It explains why I failed out of school so tremendously only a year earlier. It explains why I would get so exhausted at times even after I had a solid ten hours of sleep. There was one situation where I remember leaving a classroom, then I am in a wing of the school five minuets away from where I should have been with someone pushing me without permission.” James started to get frantic.

“Here I was, in an apartment that I was living in with the woman of my dreams. All of a sudden, I wasn’t just paraplegic, but epileptic? How was this never caught prior? Why was this ignored for years? Why the f—“

James cleared his throat. “Sorry. Got a bit non-plussed there.” He then wheeled further into the space he made for himself in the circle.

The room goes quiet for a moment. Then, Amanda stands up.

“Thank you, James. That sounds very frustrating. Who’s next?”

“Excuse me!” James shouts from the place is resides in. “Why must you sound so dismissive?”

Amanda looks horrified that someone spoke out against her, regardless of what was said. “You were done, so I’m just moving things along here!”

“You still don’t have to patronize what I said. It came off as dismissive and belittling! How would you like it if you had a bad day and I just responded with ‘who’s next?’ Would that not frustrate the hell out of you? There is a right way and wrong way to go on to the next person.” James was furious. The faces around the room were a mixture of agreement and shock. It was clear that some people saw absolutely nothing wrong with the way Amanda had handled the situation. Some of the other patrons, however, looked just as upset as James was displaying.

“Fuck this and fuck you. I’m going to leave. I’m going to the coffee place down the road, if anyone cares to join me?” James declared to the room. He really seemed like he cared little if he sat alone for the next several hours, or if he made a room full of new friends.

Check out my other works. PLEASE consider supporting me on Patreon.

Epic {ANEWSIN VOL.10 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

Michael was having a normal day.

He had to work at his retail job for eight hours: so his break was dealing with his girlfriend at the house, texting him constantly about how useless he was. To top off his fantastic day, his band was without a concert for the next few weeks.

…it sounds, when written down, worse than he believed it to be…

He enjoyed his life. This is where he was happy, and he felt accomplished to have two albums out in his early twenties. The slacker life suited him just fine.

His store was on the main road in the city he resided in. He worked full-time in a music store. He got to pretend that people know more about music than him, meanwhile he was secretly judging them and their choices. It was separate from the local mall, but its proximity makes it easy to run up to the ‘building full of shit-no-one-needs’ for a bad meal of fast food. He made this run often. It was cheap, and only tasted a bit of failure and hate. If he made good time, he could get the fresh fries!

Today was different.

He peered into a store where his friend worked to see if he could bother them. He was confronted by the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Her eyes cut through the miasma of bodies and clothing. He was stunned into shock-induced stillness.

“Hey Mike, good to see you!” The vixen raised a hand to wave coyly, as if she knew who he was, but was unsure if she was right. Knowing his name was the easy part for most. He did not know why.

Michael was tripped up, but was still able to reply with a friendly wave. His eyes darted around the strangely shaped store to see if his friend was there for a social bumper.

“Oi! Mike! How ya doin’ ya ol’ so and so!” clamoured Jake. Mike felt better.

“Jake! What’s up?” He pretended that he missed the siren’s call and headed right for Jake.

“Dude, who the fuck is that and how do we know each other?” Michael keeps his voice as low as he could. “Do we know each other?” His tone was serious, despite the smile he kept on his face to erase suspicion.

“You fool. That’s Mary! You guys hung out at that ska show the other day.” Jake picked up on Michael’s body language and kept smiling as well. His tone, however, conveyed a guise of disbelief and disgust.

Mary was making sure a pile of shirts were in order.

“Dude. She’s fucking beautiful. How the fuck do I not remember her? Was I drunk?” Michael asked, dropping the bravado charade and allowing the frown he was concealing to come through.

Jake looked angry, but kept his calm. “No. You are just an idiot.” He then walked away. “Hey! Mary! Go say hi to Mike!”

Mary gestured that she will when she was done cleaning the stack of shirts she was fiddling with. Michael looked for anything sharp or heavy to throw at Jake. He had hoped to get a little background. He was truly disturbed that he had forgotten someone so beautiful. He was also upset with himself that he was betrothed to another.

It’s not cheating if there is no physical contact. If it’s nothing but a fantasy with a girl you will probably never see again. Nah. She’s probably super stupid or something. Why else would I forget a face like that?

Mary launched into conversation quickly. She was working, after all: customer service made you become social. “How are you, Mike? It’s good to see ya again!”

Michael hated that he did not remember her. She had the biggest blue eyes, and a small scar under her right eye that just added to the mystery of her aura. Her voice was high and small to match her stature. Her hair was long and blonde. Her perfume was strong but not overwhelming.

You’re dating someone, you fool! Just say hello and walk away. Do NOT get her number. Do NOT compliment her. And, for Christ sake, do NOT invite her out for coffee.

Mary carried on the conversation, ignoring the fact that Michael had not said two words. She’s fucking good at her job! Mike thought to himself

“I’m done at 4. Want to go to that cafe that just opened downtown? It’s a bit far from my house, but that coffee chain that’s closer to mine has no idea how to brew coffee.” Mary asked while starting on another stack of shirts.

“YES!” Michael blurted out before even thinking about the ramifications of what was going on. “I have wanted to go to that place for the last little bit, finally I have an excuse!”

(SHOEHORN IN HONESTY, MIKE)

“My girlfriend keeps saying that we’ll go, but we never do. She also says that my band doesn’t suck, but every time we have a show, she has to work. Mysterious, right? Like, if you don’t like it, that’s fine. You need to stab someone before fixing the issue. If you never stab in the first place, it’s just hiding your end. They know. Of course, I’m ‘they’ in this poorly conceived metaphor.”

The words spilled unceremoniously out of Mike’s mouth before he could think about them. He almost wanted to hand Mary a raft to keep afloat of all the ridiculous things he said.

…a good portion of that didn’t even make sense… Mike thought to himself before Mary could reply. He wanted to hide.

“Wow. Bit of a ramble there. You okay?” Mary still had a smile on her face, but it was more the ‘customer service grin’ as opposed to a human emotion at this point.

Michael sighed. “Yeah. I’m fine. Just had a rough couple of days.”

Mary’s posture softened. “Well, let’s do coffee and you can tell me all about it.”

On that note, a customer walked up and whisked Mary away before Michael could reject the offer.

“I’ll be right there, sir! Mike, we’ll talk soon.”

She turns to look at Michael one last time before walking away. “If it means anything, I really like your band. Different for around here. It’s a nice change of pace.” Then, she vanished behind a stack of merchandise.

Fuck you. Thinks Michael. Of course, the world hands me perfection while I have too many demons to deal with as is.

“So Mike, do you work today?” Jake asks, seeming to appear from the racks of clothing. He startled Michael, who had long since assumed that Jake was off doing his job.

“Yeah. I go back in about thirty minutes or so. Just taking a break from my customers to see yours.” Michael tries his best not to look rattled by the sudden human in his vicinity. “Do you care to join me for a smoke outside?”

“HAH!” Jake replies, his volume far too inappropriate for the surroundings. “Dude: last thing I need is another session of you pining over some girl that you have met at the wrong time and everything is out to get you blah blah blah..”

“I can’t decide whether or not I feel hurt by said implication.” Michael bowed his head in despair. Half as a joke, half in earnest. Was he that predictable?

“Thinking about how predictable you are, aren’t you?” Jake pokes the bear. “I also bet that you are going to get a coffee, have a smoke, then head back into work.”

Michael stands still for a moment, face emotionless.

“Jake:” Michael pulls out a cigarette and starts heading for the entrance of the store. “Fuck yourself.”

He pats Jake on the back as he heads past him. He was too focused on the fact that he accidentally got a coffee… not date… later that week. The concept was almost too much to handle, and Michael felt guilty about the whole idea.

You know; Michael thinks to himself. If I actually felt like this was a bad move, I would just leave my girlfriend. He puts the cigarette in his mouth to hold it until he got out of the building.

If I was a good person, I would probably realize that I am shooting myself in the foot. I would probably realize that this is a bad move.

Something different for everyone. Much less depressing and dystopian. This story is dedicated to my best friend, Shannon. Check out my other works. PLEASE consider supporting me on Patreon.

Jeremy {ANEWSIN VOL. 9 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

Jeremy rolls over in bed, legs and arms sore. His head still misty from his day prior. The sun has started rolling its beams of light through the window. His blinds do little against the cascade of morning light.

His dog, Tidus, barks and whimpers at the foot of the bed. Tidus is making it very clear that he wants to go outside, and requires someone with thumbs to make that a reality. Jeremy, however, refuses to donate his thumbs. This is a day that he wants little to do with.

The night before had been busy. Jeremy was in charge of making sure that business went well in his department. His department, in this instance, was being a decoy. The plots were not nefarious, or he did not think so. He was to distract onlookers, security, and anyone else who would otherwise tamper with what the event planner was concocting in the background. Usually, it was just harmless tagging or some superficial defacing of a government monument.

Last night was different.

The original plan, from what Jeremy was told, was to simply tag a wall. Victimless crime, more or less. The wall in question was erected to celebrate the corporation coming to power over the citizens in the area. The actual takeover was quiet, and the corporation did little to be considered corrupt. Their intentions actually seemed to be for the greater good, and most people were happy.

Keyword: most.

The economy was swapped from a monetary focus to that of a point-based system. If you had x-amount of points, you were just given things to keep your life at a certain comfort. You could work your way up to a higher echelon, but it was very easy to falter. To make it less fair, faltering could be against your will.

Disability, mental health, and region swapping. These were just three ways that things could turn in a heart beat. If you were walking down the street, and were stricken down by something resulting in a broken back, you would go onto some sort of recovery program set up by the state. If you were high in the ranks of society, you could expect a shift in your day-to-day, but that is about it. If, God forbid, you were in the lower tier, you could assume that everything you knew or held dear would come crashing down around you. Not only would you lose everything that made you feel human, but you would actually be forced to depend on things that are in place to hinder progression.

So, what was Jeremy doing? He was working with a group that wanted to raise awareness of the practice of this corporation. He was to run interference with the forces that would stop any sort of progress the rest of the group would be making with the wall. He was told that they were just spray painting and generally defacing the exterior which points towards the masses. He was to ride his wheelchair up and down the street, asking for help opening doors and crossing roads. The kinds of things that people assumed that people needed when they were as broken as he appeared to be.

His evening was going well, until he heard the blasts.

Two explosions rang out over the otherwise calm night. Jeremy was not harmed by debris flying through the air, nor by any glass erupting from storefronts. It was the cascade of panicked humans who forgot any compassion and pushed him out of the way. He hit the ground, his chair one full metre from his body. It had fallen onto the side, which made it cumbersome to right. All of this would have been a non-issue if it happened in the safety of Jeremy’s house; streets being pounded by hundreds of people is hard to prepare for.

No one offered to help him. It took the better part of an hour to right himself, and that was after many failed attempts.

That was a brief overview of what Jeremy had to deal with last night. Today was a new day, but that fact does not mend his sore muscles. Mend his joints from the forces they were not used to. Mend his already fragile ego from feeling dejected and used.

Tidus barks, and pulls Jeremy out of the fog his mind was in. Jeremy needed to let the dog out. In that moment he figured that keeping his head to one plan at a time was better than circling a drain of remembrance and rerouting. What was done is done, and no matter his roll, he could not change a thing.

Jeremy transferred into his wheelchair and rolled towards the patio door, all the while making sure that Tidus is behind him. He opened the door for the dog, who thanks him with a playful snort in his direction. Closing the door, Jeremy lazily rolled towards the kitchen. Coffee is the only thing that he craves. He places the cup under a filter and drains water through the beans. The whole process takes about five minuets, in which time Tidus makes it clear that he is ready to come inside.

He places the mug full of the hot coffee between his knees and rolls over to open the door. As expected, he is greeted by the big, slobbering face of his best friend. Less expected was the bullet travelling right over the head of Tidus and between the eyes of Jeremy. It appears that he was marked – that he was made the scape-goat for the entire operation.

The coffee cup crashes to the concrete and brown liquid graces his spokes. Tidus gets upset and ducks his head down as he scampered away.

The Above {ANEWSIN VOL. 8 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

“Why must we do this?”

A skinny girl stands smoking a cigarette in the midst of a collection of carnage. Machines pick through the gore, collecting as many valuables as they could.

A man steps forward. “You know that this is how we make our living. We need any sort of identification to prove we killed the right group. Now, hurry your smoke, Skylar. We gotta go.”

“Fuck you, Steve.” Skylar proclaims under her breath.

Several corpses litter the street around her. The smell of decay fills the air. Skylar takes one more deep drag of her cigarette and lets the smoke slowly leave her mouth. The cloud just hovered around her lips as there was no wind to replace the air.

The smell was putrid: flesh and steel flood the ground where the two stand, and it is not shielded by the elements. The area is bathed in the sun, and the temperature is sitting at a balmy 40 Celsius. Carnage as far as the eye could see.

Their job was simple. They just had to collect any valuables they could find. May that be rare metals, jewelry, or small electronics. Cellphones are the best find, as they contain a trace of gold. It wasn’t much, but it could be just enough to make the week affordable.

“I need a fuckin’ shower.” Skylar proclaims as she flicks the smouldering end of her cigarette off to the side, narrowly avoiding a machine picking over remnants of a cadaver. “Hopefully, the smell of the soap will clean the stench from my mind.”

Steve laughs. “How poetic of you! Soap. D’ya think we can afford soap? I dunno ‘bout you, but I can barely afford the water for a shower.”

Just then, an explosion behind a wall shakes the ground.

“Do you think they know we’re here? That sounded a bit too chaotic to just be construction.” Skylar asks, her expression showing mild fear.

This was the life they half chose to lead. The masses were forced underground decades ago, and a handful of people were chosen to be scavengers, looking through rubble. The corporations still feud over bits of what remains on the mainland, trying to get their hands on materials to manufacture things to sell to people so they can remain dependent on the corporations, so the corporations can exploit the masses and rape the lands they once inhabited. 

“The bombs sound close. Too close. We need to bail.” Steve is now right behind Skylar as he calmly exclaims this.

Skylar lets out a slight chuckle as her face softens. “You read my mind.” She pulls out a pad from her bra and pushes a button on the face of the device.

A small flying ship comes to their location. It has only two seats, and the full span of the wings is only five meters. The two get on and it leaps into the air. It doesn’t generate much air, yet moves with great power and speed. Skylar gets behind the steering wheel and Steve, in the passenger seat, keeps his eyes out towards the horizon.

“Did you collect anything?” Steve asks his comrade. “Your pack looks rather empty.”

“Sight can be an illusion. Size means little in this game, you know that.” Skylar takes her right arm and tosses a small satchel towards Steve. Inside is two rings and a cell phone. “We’re set for a bit, anyway. What did you find?”

“Some small stuff, but nothing this classy!” Steve’s tone is quite jovial. “We’re set for almost a month, even if we get half market value for this stuff!”

Steve puts the salvage into a bucket under the seat he is in. It clangs against a few other things that the two got from a previous venture. By Steve’s observation, they have the bucket half full.

The two of them soar through the air for a bit, keeping their elevation roughly a kilometer above the ground. They only remain at that height for a couple of minutes before Skylar suddenly drops altitude.

“I fucking hate this part.”

They enter a small cave, barely enough for their vessel to get through. It is far from well maintained. They ride the small entrance tunnel for at least an hour.

“Are the walls closing in around me, or am I just loosing it?” Skylar asks.

“You know you’re fine. You’ve done this a million times” Steve replies, sounding exhausted.

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Alone. {ANEWSIN VOL. 7 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

Another day, all alone.

He looks out the window as the sun slowly peeks over the horizon. No one is anywhere near him, and no one has been for a very long time. He is alone.

He has been alone for what feels like months.

There are two kinds of people. The decent people in the cities, and those who are in solitary and are forced to live that way because of how they have been in the past. They have been rude or violent. Even just inappropriate thoughts are enough to hide someone away from the rest of society. Those in cities are surrounded by others like them. It is all sorted by an algorithm, and the results are just accepted. Why wouldn’t they be?

He pours his coffee and prepares to eat his first meal of the day, like he always does. The windows are without blinds. The walls of civilization are kilometres away from his residence, so it is fair to think that no one would be looking in. So, imagine his shock when he looked outside to realize that there is a new house that he has never seen.

At least he was wearing pants today.

Not too far away sits a small, red brick, single floor, rather shabby looking house. He cannot make out if anyone is there right now, but it is close enough to hinder his view of the sun rising over the chicken wire of the city.

The house is situated perfectly as so trees do not block the view.

Whoever the owner is, they saw it fit to get window dressings. Probably to block the sun. Or the wind as most of the windows seem to have holes in the glass due to rocks being projected through them.

He puts on a thin top. He has a quick shower, then figures that it would be in his best interest to say hello.

Once he is ready, he makes the venture out to the new arrival. His stride did not hide the frustration and mild curiosity he felt. The distance is far from great, but it still takes him the better part of an hour.

The wall still stands a great pillar of truth and testament to everything he gave up for the solitude he was given. The cinder blocks remind him that he is guarded from all that it contains.

A batted young girl meets him part way to the house.

“Hello, there!” She yells. Her voice cuts sharply above the noise of silence that steeps the land. “Where the fuck am I?”

He laughs. “Nowhere and everywhere. I’ve been here forever, and you probably will be, as well.” Being lost is standard.

He now knows that there is no danger, he turns to head back towards his sanctuary. The dirt of the ground spins with his heel. That is to be the only mark left between the two houses, he thinks. He doesn’t want friends. He doesn’t want to be bothered. He just wants to open a beer and read things on the screen. All of his needs are taken care of in this place, and he has just enough entertainment to ignore just how incredibly crushing the isolation is.

“Where are you going?” The girl screams after him. “I have questions!”

“I don’t care. You’ll understand soon enough.” He replies, looking over his shoulder just long enough to make sure the girl heard him. He hoped that his body language would emphasize just how sure he was in his answer.

“Can I come over, then? I have things that I need answers!.” She continues to plead with him as he ventures further and farther away. “Please?”

He ignores her pleads. She’ll figure things out or disappear in a week. He thinks to himself. He has been in this area long enough to know how the process goes.

He gets back to his front door when he notices that he is not alone. The girl followed him. Her eyes are full of tears and her hair is full of blood. She is skinny and frail. This is the closest he has been to another being in a very long time.

“At least let me use your water. My place hasn’t been connected to the system as of yet, and I am a fucking wreck. This blood? Not sure where it came from. This place? I don’t remember how I got here.” Her voice strains in her frantic attempt to get everything said. She clearly was in shock.

She extended a hand. “Please.” She murmured between sobs. “I don’t know where I am or why I am here.”

“Fine. Come this way.” He felt he had no choice but to at least pretend to show compassion. “Do you like coffee? I was about to make another pot.”

“Yes. And thank you.” She replied, smiling for the first time since she had seen him. “We don’t need to talk anymore. Unless you want to. God knows I can talk a lot. Especially if I was asked not to talk or I feel the other person doesn’t want me to. But seriously, just let me know if you want me to be quiet, I can do that. I can I can…”

He puts his face into his hand and lets out a massive sigh.

“Don’t make me regret this.” He barks in her direction, then continues his stroll towards his residence. His direction lead right to the path me made lined with old broken brick that he found in his journeys around the land. He was proud of it.

“Bree.”

The girl exclaimed what he assumed was her name rather unceremoniously.

“It was awkward to me that we haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Bree. No one cares what it’s short for. Least of all me.” Bree then started to follow. “What are you called?”

“Keven.” he says with a tone of confusion. He never thought that he would be in a position again where he needed to introduce himself. “I’d appreciate it if you stopped ruining everything.”

A miasma of awkward tension levitated above the two for a moment. Keven never stopped walking, but Bree stumbled for a moment.

“Why do you hate me?” Bree asked. Her voice was audibly choked up.

“I don’t. I just haven’t seen other people in a very long time” Kevin replied without looking to see Bree’s face. He had a feeling that her eyes would break his rugged disposition.

Bree started to raise her voice “But what about–“

“–I could have left you at the hovel you called home for-who-knows-how-long. I could have waited for you to give up then raided you for everything you have. Be happy I was in a good mood today.” Keven made sure his words were deliberate in their dictation. He wanted her to stop. He wanted her to realize that they were alone. They will always be alone. That things will go his way or she will be left behind.

If Keven had bothered to look over, he would have noticed that Bree had stopped in her tracks.

“Where is someone else to talk to?” Her voice quivers as she forces the words.

“There is no one else.” Keven screamed. “Why do I have to keep telling you this? We’re alone. We will be left alone for a long time.”

Bree fell to the ground and started shaking.

“Get up. There is no point in crying.” Keven’s demeanour started to soften. He felt bad for the girl. Yes, this place was his dream. That’s just it, though. It is his dream, and his alone. If he was left to his devices for the remainder of time, he would be okay with that. He was well aware that he was one of a few who would enjoy that.

Bree looked up. She wasn’t crying, but she was in the throws of diabolical laughter.

“So, why do you hate me?” Bree asked slowly between uncontrolled breathing. “Why do you have this urge to be nice yet still chastise me?” Her voice became louder as she regained control. “What made you think I needed to be saved?” Her voice was slowly increasing in volume.

“How is your day, now?” She almost shouted as she lunged. Keven did not see her pick up a shard of glass, but he did feel it enter his neck.

“You sad, pathetic, fool.” Bree chortled as Keven’s blood mixed with his sad attempts at breathing. She had pierced his wind pipe. He knew he was going to die.

Keven brought his hands to his neck trying to stop the bleeding. Sounds of Bree cackling in the distance as she continued up the path towards his sactuary.

She gave no reason. Keven’s dying thoughts was him trying to figure out if she had actually only been in the wastes a few days, or if she had done this before. Bree’s lack of confirmation of the kill was enough for him to consider this is far from her first time doing this.

Keven’s last thought was simply Why? He felt his body growing colder with every passing moment. Even his blood was getting colder.

Martha {ANEWSIN VOL. 6 — Jason Garden}

The journey continues into the cold, empty void of space. Martha’s voyage takes her far beyond the scope of what we have explored.

She leaves another mark faintly with a pencil on the metal of the cockpit wall. One for every 24 hours she is contained in this cage.

Space is a horrible place to be left alone. She started this voyage in hopes of finding someone, or something. When traveling at 95 percent the speed of light with no objects nearby, one loses track of everything: speed, direction, purpose and reason. Her metal sarcophagus continues to drift through the great beyond.

“Just remember that your mission is knowledge for the masses. Not recognition. Not praise. ‘The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.’ You can do this.” Martha keeps repeating this to herself under her breath. She is alone with her thoughts. It would cost the agency too much to send anyone else on such a journey.

Recon and Discovery. That was her only criteria for the mission. She knew that it sounded too easy to be a good thing. One would imagine that sitting in front of flashing lights and knobs for hours would be the furthest thing from mentally taxing, but that is far from the case. There are times when she cannot remember not staring at them. There is a disconnection between reality and dreams. Just the other day, for instance, she saw everything go wrong: lights lit up warning of hull breaches and oxygen leaks. It was just a dream. She awoke to a completely ordinary spread in front of her.

Martha took this position with the promise of discovery, she took the job in spite of her dreams of reading over ancient texts discussing the possibilities of dragons. She wanted to better everyone, or at least she thought she did. She had to keep reminding herself that this was all to better the human race.

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding. You’re a fucking hero.” She was starting to question her beliefs.

It was clear at one time why she took this torch. She wanted to find something new in this vast universe. She could not believe that we are all alone. It would not make sense. She has been in the metal sarcophagus for over 100,000 hours so far, and found nothing. To assume that she would find the same in the next 100,000 hours is insanity.

She wasn’t expecting something as advanced as the human race. The idea of a civilization as developed as us in the same ways seems arrogant. The only way that could be possible is if there was some sort of agreement that we would remain ignorant on purpose, because we are a snapshot of evolution. She could not fathom that to be true for this long, unless it hasn’t been long in the grand scheme of everything.

We are just arrogant enough to think 300,000 or so years is impressive. Martha dwells on her view of the situation and realizes the irony in her declaration of arrogance.

Just then, the console lights start flashing. It is just like in her dreams. Martha feels the surge of sweat beads pouring from her brow as she scrambles to react to every warning. Then, something she was not expecting: the front window opens slowly to reveal a launch command centre.

“Martha.” A man with a name tag that reads Jacob is speaking loudly to get her attention. “Martha, you’re okay.”

The lights are bright. She is in a large metal panel room. For a moment, she wonders if this is what happens after death. Martha is faced with her own mortality for the first time that she can remember.

“Okay, she’s not calming down. We need a debriefing team here on the…” Jacob was mid sentence when Martha’s brain shut down.

When she comes to, Martha is in some sort of hospital room with only “Jacob” by her side, sitting on a white stool.

“What happened?” Martha massages her face with her hands. “Where am I?”

“That was a simulation, Martha.” Jacob starts to talk disregarding her condition. “That was the seventh one that you have been a part of. We tried something different, remember? The last one was too muddled with delusions flashing back to prior events, so you went into this with your mind blanked.” Jacob’s voice is calm and he is doing everything he can to be deliberate with his words.

“Why would I agree to that? None of this makes sense, and it seems unnecessary.” Martha could feel rage building inside of her. She felt as if she has been tricked. She felt like this “trial” was just a financial burden on the agency, and a mental burden on her.

Jacob did not say a word and swiftly pulled a recorder from his pocket and pressed play.

“This is Martha. I understand that my mind will be cleared in hopes of bettering the practice. This recording is to be presented to me if I question the practice when I wake up.”

“That was you just the other day.” Jacob said with a slight of empathy in his voice. “The idea was yours. We all thought it brilliant! We did see the flaws, however. So we asked you to make this tape to prove the procedure to yourself in the event you would need to.”

Martha leaned back into the pillow and locked her eyes to the ceiling.
“If we’re done for now, I’d like to sleep.”

“Of course.” Jacob got out of the chair, nodded his head, and turned towards the door. He stopped. “I just want to tell you, because you may not remember me saying it before, but I am honoured to be working with you.”

Jacob shut the door behind him. Martha’s head started to fill with ideas and worries that were not answered so far.

I know of this time, but is this the first time? How many times have I been in through that procedure? What is the mission even about?

Martha’s eyes welled with tears as she thought of the most daunting of all of the ideas.

Did any of that happen? Or was I just told that it happened?

I am proud to announce that this was edited by the amazing Luka Riot! Because of fantastic donors over at Patreon, I am able to employ her for ansP editing. I hope her and I work together for a long time.

Sophie {ANEWSIN VOL.3 — JASON GARDEN}

“It just happened.”

Sophie’s brown eyes were dry but she still looked like she could cry at any moment.

“I was twenty three. I didn’t want to have a child, but I wasn’t against the whole concept.” She took a long drink from the glass of water in front of her.

“My boyfriend and I lived in a decent studio apartment. Yeah: it was a rental. It was our place, though. We spent days- maybe even weeks- making space for the new arrival. We couldn’t afford it- we knew that- but we were going to try. We were excited to try. We were together. We were happy. I thought we were happy…”

Sophie trailed off. Her eyes started to drift around the corners of the rather empty room. It just contained the table she was sitting at, the detective, a mirror, and a door. She did not know what she was doing there or why they wanted to know what drove her to the breaking point.

Her breaking point.

That time when everyone died around her.

She just knew that she had much to say.

“The child contracted something. It was coughing all the time and seemed distant.”

It was at this point that Sophie started to look visibly upset.

“Again: I didn’t want- that thing- my child to grow up around there. My boyfriend and I found that apartment decent, but it was far from suitable for a child. It was up a story, above a store. Fuck sakes: the shop below was a Goddamned head-shop!” Sophie was becoming more frantic as she continued the story. Her eyes were no longer dry, but she also did not look as if she was going to cry. She was upset. Her fists had balled so tightly that her nails had started digging into her palms.

“I cried for a very long time. I was destroyed for days. The child died. My boyfriend left me for a whore. My mother died. It probably was not in that order but I will be damned if I can remember the order of things, let alone the time between events.” She released her fingers from her hands long enough to take a drink of water to sooth her throat. If she actually yelled instead of trying to keep herself reserved, her voice would not have given out quickly.

“So yeah: the child died only a few days after coming home. The doctors didn’t say shit when I spoke up. I cried. Not because of the death. I wasn’t too attached yet. I know they say that carrying a child for nine months bonds the unborn to the mother, or something like that. I was numb. I didn’t know who that thing was. I barely even realized that it was mine, it died so fast. So, no: the death didn’t fuck me up too much.” A smirk appeared on Sophies face for the first time since she entered the room. “I cried because that’s what everyone wanted. I cried because I was supposed to.”

The detective, who found himself entranced by Sophie’s story, finally spoke up.

“…do you feel like that lead to you killing four people with that knife, then?”

Sophie laughed harder than was appropriate for the situation.

“Fuck no!”

“Then why would you tell me about that?” The detective was astounded by how frank her response was. “We have footage of you stabbing four patrons of a bar who were out for a smoke. They were all in their late 30’s, of average health and status, so we cannot figure out the motive. We have looked at this from every angle!”

The detective wiped a beed of sweat from his brow. This interrogation was taking place in the hottest room in the precinct, and he was started to feel his everything give up and give in.

“Just tell me what I need so we can leave this forsaken place and you can go back to your cell.” The detective was done with this emotional rollercoaster and he was too warm to sit here much longer.

Sophie smiled keeping her lips sealed to hide her perfect teeth. “There was no motivation to do it. Well, I guess there was: I wanted to do it. I wanted to know what taking a life felt like instead of having life taken from me.” She followed up her statement with a hearty laugh. “Can I smoke in here? I need a cigarette.”

The detective felt played. He had a very hard time believing that someone just wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.

“Go nuts.” the detective said. He gives her one of his last cigarettes from his pack. She put it in her mouth, and the detective lights a match and puts the flame next to the tobacco and lights it for her.

Sophie takes a deep drag and sighs. “Reliving all of that is better than sex. I haven’t talked about that kid dying since it happened five years ago. Don’t really need to.”

The detective cannot decide what he finds more disturbing: the complete disregard for guilt over killing four people, or the detachment from her own child.

“I noticed that you never specify gender. Why is that?” the detective just craved answers. He had a small family back home: a husband, and a beautiful boy. He could not fathom why she refused to recognize anything about the child.

“Why?” Sophie asks, sounding very curious. “The baby wasn’t part of my life for long enough to even care.”

Astonished, the detective retreated back into the comfort of things he could understand. “Fine. Why the stabbing, though? They were from out of town, so it is unlikely personal. Why, then? We can’t figure it out. I cannot figure it out!”

“They asked me to.” Replied Sophie, her tone was hollow and cold. There was not even a hint of self-assurance in her voice. She was convinced they asked.

Just then, the door burst open, disrupting the peace and quiet.

“Okay, detective. I’m Sophie’s lawyer, Jenny Silvana. She doesn’t have to answer more of your questions, and we ask for a moment to get everything squared away.”

The detective looked defeated. “Fine. I’ll be just down the hall, please let me know when I can re-enter.”

He grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair as he got up. He stormed out, mildly frustrated. He was sure that he could have gotten the full story eventually, but the law is the law. The detective left the room and their eyes followed him to the door as he left.

In the hall, he shut the interrogation room door and knocked on another wood door right next to it. A large man swung it open, letting it hit the wall. He was clearly frustrated.

“Fred!” The detective’s voice was stern. “I know you’re frustrated, but you know that we can’t do anything. Calm down!”

“I know. Just… FUCK! It felt so close to getting a full confession!” Fred screamed, his face red and sweat pouring off his brow. “I just wanted to sleep tonight.”

“I know. Again, you know we can’t do anything in those situations. We might even get a decent deal at the end of everything. We can’t risk ruining the case, though.” The detective tried to sooth the large man with his tone. He remained calm and kept his volume low to direct the mood to a calmer place.

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