Jay Gatsby the Great

You ever heard of him? Of course, you have, everyone supposedly did.

People say he was a friend of the Kaiser or even an assassin, along with other ideas. He was neither, however. There are a lot of stories that people have created about him, but frankly, no one knows the true him. I knew him. The real him, before the stories and the rumours.

The word love, that’s what I originally called it, but now as I have aged more and witnessed more of the world and its various cultures, I have come to realise it was more of an obsession rather than love.

Everything was for her you know. Every dollar was earned for her, and every person he cheated out of their pockets was for her. Even when he went to war, I was by his side. They called it The Great War, but nothing was great. Nothing, except him. He’d write letters starting in “To my beloved Daisy” and ending in “Forever yours” but those letters would never leave his hand. I think he just wrote the letters in a hope that it’d ease his mind like it’d somehow connect the two of them on a subconscious level.

It didn’t, it only worsened his longing for her.

I was his friend, before the fame mind you. Even during it I still classed myself as his friend, although I left him behind. I could not stay. I sometimes even question what was the “true him” but I believe that my best hope in knowing what he actually was like is to reflect upon our time together before he had that house built in West Egg. He was new money, as was everyone else living on that side of Long Island, but I saw his money as blood money. I named it that because frankly, I did not wish to know how he earned parts of his fortune. Either through black market sales or other methods, I did not wish to know.

This obsession he had with Daisy Buchanan, I told him countless times that it would prove to be his undoing. It did.

I think I was his only true friend, apart from his neighbour Nick Carroway, and would tell him, money does not buy friends or happiness. It seems I was correct. Those friends he thought he had, they did not even come to his funeral. They just vanished, as I knew all along they would. That’s what wealth does, it plagues your mind with lies and whispers.

He died alone, shot by a drunkard. His lies finally catching up to him.

I believe he deserved much better. Daisy never deserved him and his undevoted dedication towards her. I don’t think no one did. Before all of the lies, he was a great man and even after everything, I still think he was great. Perhaps his tragedy has made him even greater.

The greatest tragedy of his life was that he was driven by a wrong dream. You should never base your happiness off somebody else I religiously told him. Especially if they only love the image of you, not who you really are under all of the rich words and practised smiles, as Daisy did.

It’s been far too long since I last saw him, before his death mind you. The last time we spoke, I could see the stress was finally building upon him. When asked if he had slept recently, he smiled and shrugged. He never wished anyone to worry about him.

Maybe it was because he was used to it. I should’ve worried more. I shouldn’t blame myself though, I was not to know what would precede.

I find myself thinking of his empire, and where it will float away to now that Jays passed on. I wonder what has happened to his house also, now that it’s vacant.

I heard Nick left as well. Maybe he couldn’t live with the memories facing him every day. I know I wouldn’t be able to.

I find myself thinking more and more of Jay, his memory always in my mind. Old sport eh, that’s what he called me.I presumed it was his word for endearing somebody.

I’m glad I was one of his closest. Even if I had to leave in the end.

So back to his obsession, perhaps it was not love. Maybe it was. I am not one to judge. I just reflect. That is all he left me with in the end.

Just reflection.

 

 

 

 

The ones that came before.

I did not understand it, and frankly, no one did.

What caused the Soviets to keep their victory a mystery? They claimed Mars years before we even placed men upon the surface. Something frightened them so much that they’d rather swallow their pride, than speak about the events that proceeded.

They had won the space race. The greatest achievement in recent decades and yet, they do not speak about it.

The Soviet flag sits upon the surface of Mars, in solitude from everything, even from those that placed it within the dusty furnace of the planet’s soil.

The American crew that arrived, alongside me, touched the surface a few days ago. Ever since we arrived, something has not been right. I feel on edge, cold shivers dance upon my neck, and I have trouble sleeping. I do not know what causes me to feel the way I do, but I know that something is not right.

The only trouble we are having since arriving is interference from the storm, limiting communication with the ISS, the International Space Station, and our headquarters in New York City.

Perhaps that is why I feel uneasy, knowing that we are isolated from the rest of humanity.

Yes, that is it.

We are currently staying inside the ship, due to the storm. Just watching the crackle of the lights outside within the multicoloured sky is breathtaking. Nothing in the books I’ve read have ever captured a scene quite like this. I was in awe.

The red soil was reminiscent of the Texan soil I was so familiar with. Growing up on a farm in a small county often left me wondering about the greater world and the sky I often gazed up, I had now explored.

The other astronauts were quiet, with the interaction between us all being limited. It was unusual; we were often quite talkative on the trip here, between rest periods.

I spent the first few days just documenting data, checking various parts of the ship for operational information and staring through the window wondering why we were alone, with a flag in the distance beckoning us with its mysteries.

Between reading various novels, I brought along on the journey (Charles Dickens novels make the majority) and drinking lots of coffee due to my insomnia and nerves due to the current situation, I decided to dedicate my time to researching Soviet flight records within the reports we brought with us from headquarters.

Update:

It seems the Soviets spent the decade of the 1970’s dedicated to research of Mars and the technology needed to achieve the long distance to the planet’s surface. From 1980-1985 Soviet Union data is missing, perhaps removed from various records.

Within this period I believe the Soviets launched a shuttle into space. With the events of the Cold War escalating after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it would be the perfect time to confirm a shuttle launch due to the arisen tension being on that of military actions I theorised.

The question is, however, how were the Soviets able to place the first man-made object on the moon in 1959, but were unable to win the race to put the first man on the moon? Within 20 years it seemed they improved their technology drastically and were able to correct their loss by placing men on Mars instead. That is quite impressive but more so disturbing. If they triumphed over previous odds and advanced their technology so quickly, would they not brag? That is what frightens me.

Something terrified the Soviets incredibly that they remain silent.

I was worried I’d find out.

Update:

Another sleepless night just like the nights before. I was gripped by nightmares of strange voices calling my name and the firm feeling of being watched, followed by dark corridors and cool stones surrounding me.

I was much too tired to dedicate more research into the Soviet records. Insomnia was taking a large toll on my physical and mental well-being. I decided to try sleeping again. This time I switched the light off and placed a rag over my eyes, hoping to dim any lights that were made apparent within the room.

Update:

A high temperature, that was what I awoke with. Sweat stained my sheets, and I shivered relentlessly, unable to calm my body spasms.

I grasped the bottle next to my bed and gulped the water, feeling the cold crawl down my throat.

More nightmares.

I saw shadows of strange folk inching through the halls of the old building in which I traipsed through. They were toying with me, whispering lines in languages unknown. The house groaned, the beams on the roof creaking with every step I took. It sounded as if the very house was alive and angry at my presence.

Update:

The other astronauts mentioned nightmares as well. They all looked terrible, their eyes sunken in and often I caught them gazing through the window. Their eyes looked distant as if they were physically next to me, but mentally somewhere else. I wondered where that somewhere else was.

I was granted a few hours of sleep last night and thus felt more rejuvenated. It is a miracle the effect that sleep can have on the body. I did, however, have a dream of the groaning house again, but for reasons unknown, the house began to change into Mars. I was curious as to where these dreams were arriving from. I did not have much of a creative mind, rather that was more my brother than myself. I preferred data. It was succinct and applicable, the way I approached situations.

I, however, could not come up with a theory for this predicament.

Perhaps science could not answer all problems.

Update:

My hand was bleeding. Crimson painted my sheets, and my skin burned as if on fire. I could not rationalise this situation; something had attacked me in my sleep. Either that or I’m going batshit crazy and broke my knuckles.

I did not know what theory was better.

Update:

The Soviet flag stared at me. It intimidated me. I was angry, and I did not know why.

They told me they were upset in my dream. I wished I could stop their suffering, but alas I was forbidden to lay sight upon them.

Update:

I hadn’t seen the others in a few days. It seemed more quiet than usual. The storm began to worsen outside, the howling of the winds remained etched in my mind even in sleep.

I could barely hear myself think over the crackle of the thunder. We were running dry on food supply. I was going to write a ration table I thought, perhaps to show the others that my position was just as needed as theirs was.

Update:

Mum told me when I was little that I had to quit my small town mindset and accept others who were different to me. She said that we were all similar and aliens didn’t exist because the only aliens were folk we did not know and if we spoke to others who were different, we’d be better off.

I took her advice last night.

Update:

We spoke again. They said we would never understand them.

The ones that came before didn’t understand either.

Update:

I need to go. If I stay they will take me.

They told me they took the others.

Update:

I found God, and there are many of him.

If you are reading this, burn down your places of religion immediately.

They are coming for you. They are not happy.

This short story was influenced by a writing prompt on Reddit, in the Sub-Reddit “Writing Prompts”.

Winters Breath – Part 3

My stomach dropped at the question, and an instant feeling of nausea filled my body. I had only a few moments to answer before they realised something was not right.

“Thomas, how did she die? Where’s her brother?”

I took a deep breath and proceeded to lie through my teeth.

“We were attacked by hunters along a wooded path a few hours from town. We tried to hold our own, but with only one gun, we were soon outnumbered.”

I faked a few tears just to be sure it was believable.

“Drew got impaled by a spear and soon after, out of anger or sadness or maybe both, Martha sacrificed herself and told me to run to tell the tale. They were both heroes, especially Martha.”

Sweat ran down the back of my neck, a warm entity opposing the cold outside. The wind outside rattled against the walls of the building, shrieking at the inhabitants inside, myself included. The fire inside continued to burn, using the pages of books and rubbish as kindle.

“We will remember them and their stories. Do not forget Thomas, you were meant to survive. Their sacrifice will not be in vain.”

He continued,” But I have a question for you. Did you shake the hunters off your trail on the way here?”

“No.”

“And why not?”

“I don’t know. I was scared.”

I fidgeted, playing with my clothes. Perhaps to distract my mind from wandering thoughts. If it’s not one thing, its another. I wish things went my way at least once but alas, that would be called luck and that is something I lack dearly.

I knew I was a piece of shit, but you could not blame me. Survival is key and the state of the world in which it is, only the smart and liars survive. All the others are just awaiting their time to meet their fate. A sad truth.

The man smiled in front of me. It was colder than the ice outside.

“Thomas, what is my name?”

I thought intently. I do not recall him ever telling me his name. He just found me one day sick and knocking on his door, covered in bile and blood. From that day forward I was a member of the town.

“I do not recall. Maybe watching Martha and Drew die has caused me to forget.”

“Generalis. That’s my name. I plan to do what my name intends and protect this town.”

I was now confused and did not understand which direction he wished this conversation to continue to.

Generalis continued,” And due to my job, I have to do what is right. Sometimes even if its hard and I know will weigh upon my conscious.”

In the distance, chanting could be heard, along with the occasional sound of gunfire perpetrating the stillness.

He glanced at the two men standing near him faces covered by rags and goggles, hands upon their rifles, and nodded at each.

“He’s a murderer and a fucking liar. Bring him outside. We have some trading to do.”

To read Part 2 of Winters Breath, click here!

 

 

 

Winters Breath – Part 2

“We’re being followed,” I whispered.

Light snow began to fall, erasing any of the minimal warmth that existed previously. Ice pricked my skin repeatedly, numbing my body.

We had to continue forth and quickly. Otherwise, we would not make it. The village is on the other side of the forest, and it’s our only chance to survive the night.

“Martha keep up, please! You’re falling behind!”

A few yards behind, Martha trudged on with no purpose as shown by her slumped over shoulders. Her brother was dead, and I understood all too well what she was feeling. The loss of a loved one never failed to hurt.

I glanced around, in an almost nervous response to the situation.  The shadows of dangerous things were moving between the trees and thick undergrowth, stalking us.

I looked behind, watching Martha move more slowly than before. Maybe the cold was freezing her alive but she no longer cared. I did.

Sunlight had completely disappeared, with a thick mist forming and slithering its way throughout the forest, obscuring most details a few metres away.

The sound of my heart rattled my head, throbbing with intense pain. I could hardly hear myself think.

In the distance the sound of barking and barbaric chanting echoed, increasing in intensity.

“Hurry up, quickly! You’re going to kill us! They’ll be upon us soon! Please, Martha!” I begged, realising my next decision could prove costly.

I stumbled towards her, reaching for her arm to place over my shoulder. Her arm was freezing and her once blue eyes held no joy, only guilt. I tried to quicken the pace, but with my limited strength and the temperature against us, it would prove quite difficult.

The voices were everywhere, leaving us defenceless and shackling my courage with chains. I did not wish to die and definitely not the way in which the hunters would choose. I did not plan to become a feast for all those abominations of men.

“Martha, I’m sorry.”

I punched her in the ribs, hearing her groan and feeling the warmth of her breath as the air left her lungs.

I began to run, not daring look back. Even as I listened to the dogs dig into her.

To read Part 1 of Winters Breath click here.

 

Winter’s Breath – Part 1

The sun was dying, and we all had given up hope on trying to fix it. The land was cold, grasping life by its hand and pulling into its frozen slumber. Even the animals had gone to sleep, leaving us to starve. It was a cruel world to live in, but yet we tried to survive. We had to. When your life is in danger constantly, you would be amazed at the barbaric manners that are adopted by society. Some humans have even become the beasts that we once hunted, turning those who are weak into prey and stealing their livelihoods, leaving them to starve or even at times, using their body as food.

It had not always been this way. I remember the day I read in the newspaper that the sun had been reported to be dying and that NASA was striving to find a way to solve this issue, even if it meant relocating. It was the first day I cried.  Even the scientists gave up, and now they live with us, in this land we once called Earth, but now it is a wasteland of death and plague and lost hope.

“Martha, you don’t need to look.”

I placed my hand on her shoulder, pulling her away slowly from the grim scene. A boy laid in the snow; dark red blood trickled down the exit wound of where the bullet entered. He was only a child.

“Please, just go!” She screamed, pushing me away repeatedly until I stumbled.

“You need not be here Martha. Please, I’ll look after this.”

“Oh, so you can dig him a grave and just move on like he is nothing but a body filled with flesh. He had a life; he was my brother!” Tears poured down her face, bringing forth her details. She was beautiful and once the happiest lady I knew. Now she was just beautiful and sad, no smile ever painting her face no more.

The sky was grey, dark clouds covering the minimal sunlight with their ruggedness. The night was coming, and the hunters would follow. The weather was dropping quickly also, and if we did not find shelter, we would surely freeze or be killed and eaten. The clock was ticking.

Treasure

The treasure chest as some may call it is believed to hold as the name implies; a treasure. We spend our whole life hunting down this chest, searching for it in everything that we see, wishfully thinking that it can save us and our miseries. It’s pure is it not, or maybe it’s just the concept that’s pure but the real contents within is imperfect and cruel and hurtful. You spend so much time and effort placing your life into the pursuit of this treasure that once you find it, you give a part of yourself to it and thus become consumed by it.

You allow your emotional wellbeing to become controlled by the state of this treasure, giving it the power to shift and shape your life, your heart and your soul. By the time you’ve given yourself to this “treasure”, you’re drowning and too far from the surface.

 I’m really not sure if I want this treasure anymore.

Just a story

There were some days I could not even battle myself enough to win the battle to pull myself out of bed. Those were the most terrible of days when even the sweet melodic tunes of the birds outside my window could not even assist me in my longing to live to see another sunrise. Not every day was like this, some were better than others and some were worse. These were the days in which I found myself in the darkness of my room, curtains pulled down to hide the light from outside and The Smiths blasting out of my speakers to muffle the sound of me crying.

I wished no one to know my struggle which is why I hid within my room to limit the chance of others finding out my defeat. I only wished to get better but if truth be told I did nothing to solve my inner disease but watch and read things to lower my mood even further. I needed to get better and I believe you’re the way out of this madness. You’re the first beautiful thing that’s ever been mine and I do not wish to let you down, never would I wish to see you cry. I’ll do anything to make you smile, even at my own happiness’ expense.