Stories from the Vault: Calm

A long while ago before I began writing articles, I dabbled in short stories. I recently found four of them, with the fact that I want to start writing short stories again and also the fact I’m writing a book, some TV Shows and a movie, I thought I’d share them on here.

Instead of going in chronological order, I’m starting with my favourite and then working my way down. By far my favourite was “Calm”, which I published December 13th, 2014. Enjoy!

The last of the embers settled and burnt out in the pile of ash that was once a roaring fire. The slight warmth of the air quickly dispersed and a cool breeze settled around me, the trees rustled quietly to the right of me and a flock of birds flew through the dark night sky and began to head north. I sat upright and pulled my backpack closer to me, unzipping the bag and opening it out to look through my belongings. I was hungry, I rummaged through my bag, crumpling pieces of paper and photos, making a mess inside of it.

I finally found what I was looking for, I pulled out half a bar of chocolate and my flask of whiskey. I uncapped the flask and held it up to the glimmering night sky. “To us.” I proclaimed and downed the contents of the flask, I took a piece of the chocolate, slowly slipping it into my mouth, enjoying every last bite. I packed my stuff back into my bag and looked around me. I’d picked a pretty good spot to stay for the night, the bushes and trees provided some protection and the lake was a beautiful view. I got up and gave the perimeter a closer look.

The wind ruffled the bushes and made them sway from side to side, almost as if it was putting me into a trance. I turned away from the bushes to find a shadowed figure stood at the edge of the lake. He seemed to be unarmed, but you couldn’t be too careful nowadays.

“Can I help you?” I said, I inched closer to my bag, ready to pull out the pistol I had. It only had one bullet left, but at times like these you needed to be careful.

The man walked forwards and put his arms up in surrender.

“I don’t mean any harm, I saw the fire a while ago, just wanted to know if I could tag along.”

The man came forwards, he was wearing an old leather jacket, some tatty jeans and a pair of sneakers. He had a beard and scraggy hair, but we all did out here. I was a bit nervous at first, but there was something about the man that enticed me to question him further.
“Who are you?” I asked, gesturing a seat opposite me at the campfire. He nodded in appreciation and slumped down onto the floor.

He looked up at me, pulling a fruit bar out of his pocket, he offered it to me, I declined and said I’d already eaten.

“I’m Josh, who are you?”

“Tyler, nice to meet you Josh.”

“You too, Tyler.”

We sat in silence for a moment, I heard the familiar sound of the wolves howling in the distance, it gave a sense of calm, a scarce feeling now.

“You know why I’m here, don’t you?” Josh reached into his pocket and pulled out a clump of paper.

“Yes, same as everyone.” I also pulled the crumpled pieces of paper out of my rucksack. “So what’s your plan then?” I shoved the bits of tattered paper back into the bag, zipping it up and buckling the clips back together.

“Heading north, it’s gonna get cold and there’s a few settlements near there. When it turns summer I head back down here. What about you, Tyler?” Josh brushed the hair out of his eyes and rubbed his hand over his beard.

“I dunno, I haven’t thought about it. I was gonna stick it out here but it doesn’t seem like an option now, so I’ll end up heading north too I suppose.” I surveyed the area where I’d spent the past few days of my life. For some reason, I’d made a personal connection to the bit of dirt I slept on every night. It felt peaceful.

I felt calm.


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