Darkness.  Some people fear it.  Maybe because they fear the unknown.  You can’t see what’s in the dark, don’t know what may be waiting out there.  For us, it meant protection; at least, most of the time.  On rare occasions, one of us would be taken during the night, unexpectedly.  Most of the time, though, we had at least a warning when the door to the cavern was opened.  The light was a sign of danger.  

We came from many different places, backgrounds, and were mixed together and became one unit.  Then we were separated, broken apart and shaped, molded into whatever they wanted.  We had no choice.  We are all young; the older ones are less desirable.  

We travelled through intense heat and rose to greatness.  We became hardened to stand against what we would be faced with.  When they thought we were ready, the alarm sounded and we were sent out to face them.  Some of the others were taken before they even had a chance.

Those of us that remained made it to this cavern where we thought we might be safe.  Judging by what we found here, we were not optimistic.  There were remnants of ones who had come before us.  Pieces of their lives could be found strewn about–evidence of past generations, but all with the same result: not a single survivor.  

We weren’t able to rest long before the attacks came.  The monsters.  We had no other word for them.  At first glance, they seemed harmless, but it wasn’t long before their true nature was revealed.  They were ravenous beasts with insatiable, self-serving desires. The door of the cavern opened, light flooded the interior, and one by one we were taken, plucked out.  We were defenseless against them.

I had hope, at first, that maybe we would be different from the others.  That we would somehow survive.  Now I am the only one left and I have abandoned that hope.  I decide to leave something behind–a piece of myself that makes me special.  Others who come later will see it and know that I was here.

I hear noises outside the walls and I know what is to come.  Light floods into the cavern and I am taken.

“Mom!  Nickie took the last cookie!”

“Nickie!” his mother admonished, “I told your brother he could have the last one.”

“Sorry,” Nickie said through a mouthful of cookie.    

“Well, we can always bake some more tomorrow.”    

The lid to the cookie jar was replaced.  Nothing but crumbs and a single chocolate chip was left inside.

Copyright © 2020 Brandon Ellrich

*If you enjoyed this short story, you might also like some of my other ones like Dia de los Muertos or Dinner Party

Grow Your Nose

I’ve met many people who can’t see past the end of their own noses. As Mary Poppins said, it may be through no fault of their own. That’s not to say that people can’t change.

I grew up in a very small community, almost completely devoid of diversity. I heard a lot of racist comments and “jokes” (in quotations, because jokes are supposed to be funny, and these were not). These people had very short noses, indeed. I knew from a young age that racism was wrong, however, and did not understand why other people could not see that.

It wasn’t just about race, though. They were examples of individuals who simply couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see any other belief, custom, or way of life that was different from their own.

I hope that every person will examine your own behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. If you find that you can’t see past the end of your nose, I hope that your nose will grow at least a mile long!

“Just Get Over It”

Not long ago, I was privy to a conversation about people with depression. Obviously, neither of the participants in the discussion had ever experienced clinical depression, and said that everyone got “the blues” every once in a while. One of them said that they [people suffering from depression] should “just get over it,” just “be happy.”

If you have ever been diagnosed with depression (or even if your condition has not been labelled by a mental health professional), you know how ridiculous these suggestions are. Even if you have never experienced it, I would suggest that you research the signs and symptoms of this quietly alienating mental illness. A simple attempt at empathy can go a long way toward helping someone who may be suffering so silently that it can be deafening.

You might feel unqualified to talk to someone about their problems, that what you say won’t help, or that you can’t really understand what that person is going through. Well, to that I say…just get over it.

Is FOMO Ruining Your Life?

I like the phrase, “It is a waste of precious time to focus on where you are not.” Focus on worry and other negativity is pointless and only serves to bring one down. I recognize our changing world and the reliance on social media for connecting with those whom we cannot see every day, but I am also cognizant of my own tendencies to become addicted to such venues and, I must admit, would likely fall victim to dreaded FOMO. For this reason, I opt not to have a Facebook account. Hopefully, those who do, are able to practice moderation.

Dr. Eric Perry’s Blog

Written by Dr. Eric Perry
Image Credit: Pixabay

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.” ~Ann Brashares

We are living in an age of ubiquitous distractions and interruptions. Technology has given us the ability to stay connected to each other every single second of the day. You can watch events unfold throughout the world in the palm of your hand. Like no other time in history, you are given unparalleled access to the lives of others. In today’s society, there appears to be no such thing as oversharing. Unfortunately, access is granted without a warning stating “Beware… what you see may just be an illusion and may not be good for your mental health.”

We live in an instant world with disposable dreams. Unanchored to anything real we float from one distraction to another looking for the next thing to anchor ourselves. Our thoughts…

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Thank you, Critics

Even the best writers need another set of eyes to help edit their work. I spend so much time with my creations, I can no longer see what’s right in front of me. I try to be grateful for the critics. If not for them, I wouldn’t grow.

If all I received were praise and accolades, it would make me feel good, but it would mean that I must be perfect, and so I have no reason to change anything. Therefore, I would not strive to be better, and would remain stagnant, in a false sense of perfection. False, because no one is perfect. 

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?”

Robert Browning

Negative critique, or “constructive criticism,” to me, is much more helpful than a smattering of praise. Don’t get me wrong, though, I appreciate acknowledgement of a job well done, and I do hope my readers like what I’ve written.

If you’re not aware, a book’s ranking and popularity on Amazon is dependant on reviews as much as number of sales. So, whether or not you like my (or any other author’s) books, I encourage and implore you to leave a review. It could be as simple as “good book,” or “didn’t like it,” but this profession relies on the reader. Read, review, and recommend to others.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Please check out my article Thankful.

Life-Long Writer

Encouragement is everything. When I was in eighth grade, my teacher complimented my writing. Then, in high school, I took creative writing and poetry classes. My teacher, again, said that I was a good writer and even compared me to a well-known author. That encouragement led me to pursue more classes that were focused on language arts and literature. I had ideas for a few books, and eventually, decided to write them down. I showed one of them to one of my college professors and she told me that I should try to have it published. I hope that you read my books and that you enjoy them as well. I would like to make this my life-long career.

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We all have reasons why we don’t or can’t accomplish our goals. The truth is, the word “reasons” can easily be replaced with “excuses,” because that’s what they actually are.

I can list so many obstacles that may prevent me from attaining what I want; we all can. The obstacles may or may not be immovable, but either way, you can always find some way around them. You may have to take risks, you may have to do things the hard way, you may have to do things outside of your comfort zone.

Even after all that, you may still fail–and I hope you do. Otherwise, you won’t learn anything. Failure is simply evidence that you have tried, and the reward will be much greater when it is achieved.