Modern Nights

Read the Explanation Here



Foreword

Okay, I've been working on these little things for the over the last 48 hours and strangley, I'm writting them like mad and the inspiration is spreading like wild fire.

So yeah, enjoy these stories. They're a little odd as they work by not really telling you everything but giving you all the information you need to figure out the truth behind them.

Hope you enjoy and with any luck, everyone (or a least someone) will figure out what's gonig on behind them.

The Good Night

It had been good night. There was simply no other way to describe the night that had transpired, there was no need for overly long and complex terms to describe it in its purest form. A Good Night.

He didn’t get out, he hadn’t for a very long time, more than most people could handle while staying sane. But one chance outing a few days ago had led him to the sweetest girl he’d ever met. Yesterday they’d arranged a date and not 20 minutes ago they were at the restaurant, getting to know each other and enjoying the pleasure of simply being with another person. She didn’t even seem to care that he was blind.

“So what do you think?” he said timidly as he opened the door to his apartment.
There was a drawn out pause as he eagerly awaited her response; he couldn’t bear to make a bad impression now.

“It’s a bit sparse” in his defence, it wasn’t exactly a negative comment. “I guess its a bit lacking in colour, but at least it looks lived in” he couldn’t see her but in her voice alone he could tell she was smiling, an honest smile.

Clearer than any seeing person could manage, he nimbly made his way past the clutter and furniture to the lounge room, “Um, would you like a seat?” his voice trembling as he made the offer.

“Thanks” came her voice from across the room. He could here each one of her feather light footsteps slowly coming closer and closer. From all the nuance sounds he could tell they were sneakers, a minor detail he couldn’t pick-up with all the noise of the outside world, but in here, he could begin building a portrait of her from the billions of sounds her body made.

Already he could tell she was a slightly taller than he was, putting her at around six foot tall maybe even taller. She couldn’t have been too large though as her footsteps didn’t make the old floorboard just past the door creak, meaning she was somewhere less than 75 kilograms; she was probably quite thin. And she was clearly wearing sneakers of some kind. “Would you like a drink?” he said, still piecing together her portrait in his mind.

With a smile still on her face she spoke, “I’d love a coffee right about now. Black with 3 sugars please” there was something about her voice that let him know she had very softly defined features; something fair and pure permeating her mind, body and soul. At least that was what his mental portrait was telling him.

Muscle memory took over as he made his way to the kitchen and started the coffee maker. It worked off of minimal moving parts, everything was automatic and only required a few choice button presses. The buttons weren’t even in Braille and he could still work it by sound and positioning alone.

The noise of the machine grinding the beans and boiling the water drowned out everything else. He couldn’t even hear her anymore, a somewhat disturbing concept. For all he knew she could be walking out of the room right now, abandoning him with a coffee in his lonely apartment.

“It’s kinda cold in here” came the reassuring voice, confirming she was still there, “Do you mind if I turn on the heating?” he nodded enthusiastically, hoping to make her feel more welcome.

It only dawned on him a second later that she probably couldn’t even see him from where she was sitting, “Uh, yeah, the thermostat’s near the door” He’d always preferred the cold, especially in his home, out habits seemed to die hard. In a few seconds he could feel his skin prickling as the temperature climbing higher. “Sorry about that and I don’t get much company”

The machine made it’s finally grinding noise and the coffee was done. In one smooth motion he took the cup and spun around to face the lounge room. He could hear her breathing now, it was slower and more drawn out than most people, she only seemed to breathe through her mouth. “Here you go”

She took the coffee without a word. He began to fear that maybe she’d only talked to him before because they were in a public place, or just out of some form of pity. Now they were alone together he starting thinking that she’d find some way to leave and never see him again. “Who’s the man in picture?” she asked him with a slightly more serious tone, hanging in her voice. “The painting on wall”

His heart sank when she mentioned it. The painting had been there for so many years he couldn’t even remember where he’d put it; nobody had ever seen it in so long. “Well, the one on the right is me, obviously…back when I could see” the sadness built up inside him as he tried to speak about it, “and, the tall, handsome blonde guy standing next to me, is my brother”

That last word hung in he air, seeming to haunt the apartment, “I didn’t know you had a brother. You…you don’t look much alike”

“We never were much alike” he sat down besides her and the lounge, “He got the looks, the charm and our mother’s love. Heck, everyone loved him” the sorrow in his voice mixed with bitterness as he spoke.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you don’t get along” there was genuine sincerity in her voice, further cementing in his mind that she was truly beautiful.

“Didn’t get along. He’s dead” he could practically see her reaction; the sudden shock, the start of tears, the lost look in her eyes. She didn’t even know him and she felt genuinely sorrow him, “Don’t feel sorrow me. He was a bastard”

He felt her hand rest on his shoulder, her soft, slender fingers forming a bond between them, “I’m so sorry. What happened? If you don’t mind my asking”

Carefully he took her hand from his shoulder and wrapped his fingers around hers, “It was just a stupid game” in his mind’s eye he could see the events replaying before him; even though he was blind he could always see it, “Everyone loved his party trick; sure it was dangerous but nobody ever seemed to care…something bad was bound to happen sooner or later. One screw up was all it took and then, he was dead, just gone like that”

The silence hung in the air before he decided to speak again, “Well, talking about my dead brother is great way to end a date huh?” he suddenly felt something soft and gentle push against his cheek; at first he couldn’t tell what it was but soon he realized that she had just kissed him. He could feel his cheeks blushing as the realization hit him. “You just kissed me” he said, dumbfounded by what just happened.

It was beyond obvious that she was smiling now, “Yeah I did”

“Why?” was all he could managed to muster in response.

“I saw the mistletoe you’ve got hanging up. It’s not Christmas but I’ll gladly make an exception” he’d never seen that mistletoe in his entire life but he knew exactly where it was.

“I leave it there as a reminder”

For Blood Or Money

The acrid smoke of a hundred mingled cigars and burnt gunpowder hung in the air. The dim ceiling lamp only highlighted the smoke further in the hot and humid cabin.

“Five hundred Kalashnikovs; child’s play by my standards” grunted the sneering dark skinned man across the table, “I’ve sold by the thousands on a weekly basis before” he chewed away on the small stick of ginger sticking out of the corner of his mouth, “Sure you don’t want anything? I’m willing to give a 10% discount with a purchase of 1’000 grenades. There’s plenty of ways you could use those to fuck with those rebels”

Across from him sat their leader, who for lack of a better term was a warlord. He’d succumb to the stereotypical image of his predecessors; a tailored suit, adorned with designer sunglasses, god watches and chains, a Desert Eagle firmly gripped in his right hand, “I am the one in charge here, and I only need 500, with that alone I will crush the scum that question me”

The sneering arms dealing shook his head at the warlord’s arrogance, “I’ve seen enough of your kind rise and fall; all of them had your level of hubris” he made no qualms about hiding his disgust, even when staring down a warlord and his twelve armed guards, “A good leader knows that he’s weak and a great leader plans ahead. At you’re current rate I’d say they’d have your head on a stick by the end of the year” with a quick flick of his wrist he pointed at the leftmost guard, “He’ll probably take your place”

In near synchronicity they all gripped their old, second hand rifles and took aim, “I would hold my tongue if I were you” the warlord’s confidence was near sickening. He exuded that disgusting aura of undeserved grandeur and power; he was weak. He’d arranged for his predecessor to be smothered in his sleep and already his own people were ready to turn on him.

“I’ve seen more people die than you’ve ever met. Been responsible for most of their deaths, and the rest couldn’t have happened without my help” he tapped the table rhythmically as he spoke, “I hacked my own brother to pieces with a sword and threw him in the river” his eyes took on an inhuman fury as he spoke, remembering the thick glistening blood on his blade, “When his son came for revenge, I pinned him to the ground and cut out his eye; I still have it as a keepsake”

He could see the first beads of sweat dripping from his clients forehead as he spoke. A few choice words and the warlord was already starting to crack, his thin veil of order and control starting to slip away, “That’s when I started in the death business” he bit straight through the stick of ginger as the passion of murder and chaos took it’s hold of him, “I could kill all of you right now, it wouldn’t be the first time”

They were all trembling now, the warlord and the guards, everyone except the man on the far left. He knew from the moment he walked in the room that he would be the one to lead, to one to overthrow the coward in the tailored suit. He’d pointed him out before with the sole purpose of cementing his position as the future leader. “You could never kill me; I have twelve men here, all willing to fight and die for me! And you are unarmed!”

“Eleven” the arms dealer said a cold fury.

“Eleven?” was all the warlord said, his fear taking a complete grip of him now. Terrified by the mystery of not knowing what was going on. One simple word throwing it all into chaos.

He locked eyes with the warlord, in a near hypnotic gaze, “That’s right, eleven, people willing to fight and die for you. One of them, is less likely to help you” he broke eye contact and gazed around the room, letting the tension build. “You’re a coward and someone in this room can smell it, and they don’t like it. And I don’t like it either”

A snide grin spread across his sneering face, making him look like an attack dog, ready to maul it’s victim, “You’re all children by my standards. I can and gladly will kill all of you before you even know what’s going on” he gave the warlord as death stare as he spoke, “I’d start with you, then get to work on the men with the rifles”
It wasn’t something any of them could explain but they all knew that every word he said was true. They were armed and outnumbered him, and yet, they all knew they were doomed; this man was a mad dog ready to tear them apart, “But I’ll cut you some slack. Kill him and you all get to live” was his final statement as he pointed at the warlord.

There was a loud crack and spray of blood. A rest mist hung in the air with the smoke and the table was smeared with brain matter streams of blood. It was the man on the left with the smoking gun; just as he’d thought. The arms dealer reached across the table and shoved the dead warlord off his seat and gestured for the man on the left to sit down, “Please, take a seat”

The man obeyed silently; the others didn’t speak but it was unofficial considered that he was now the new warlord, the unspoken law of the world. “Five hundred Kalashnikovs with a 10% discount with the purchase of 1’000 grenades; for a start. What else can I interest you in?”

“Do you have landmines?”

The Eagle And The Snake

Somewhere in cold wastes of Russia’s distant forests lies a place forgotten by man. A cold, vast feild, covered in a fine mist of snow all days of the year; a massive singular oak tree rises up to the heavens and in the field stood two men., the only men who knew of this place’s existence.

The taller of the men stood proud with his thick copper hair glistening in the last light of day as the sun slowly dipped below the mountains, “It’s that time again my old friend” he said as he looked up to the sky, seeing a final golden beam of light before the sun vanished.

The other man was shorter with a beard of yet black hair and eyes like a cold hearted snake, ready to strike out at its prey, “I guess so” he uttered with a cruel tone. He looked up to the sky as the darkness took hold of the world and the sun was gone.

Both men had gone through this so many times they’d forgotten where it had all started, they only knew that it had to continue. “I suppose all your affairs are in order?” said the taller man as he edged ever so slightly closer, leaving clear marks in the soft layers of snow as he stepped.

“They never are, you should know that by now” there was no cruelty in his voice, only apathy from repeating this ritual of theirs over and over again for so many years. “Can we just get on with it and let me be on my way?”

A cold wind swept across the field and the thin, powdery snow lifted off the ground, leaving a hanging cold of white mist around their feet, “Poetic isn’t it?” was all he said as the mist rose up to their waists and into the sky.

The shorter man shook his head glumly; there was nothing poetic about it. So many years had worn away at whatever meaning this event had. In their youth, there was meaning and purpose behind it, people everywhere would gather to watch the yearly event unfold. It was once a grand event but now, it was nothing but two stubborn old men in a lost and forgotten field.

“Well, shall we get on with it? I can see your heart isn’t in it this year” the Taller man seemed to believe that there was still something to all of this, but it was just his pride. He was always the proudest of them, he would never acknowledge his own lack of importance.

Taking another step closer, the shorter man knelt down and dragged his hands through the fine snow that covered the ground, “There’s been a lot of blood on this ground” he sunk his fingers deeper into the snow until he started to lose feeling in his fingers. Soon he reached a point where his hands couldn’t go down any further and he knew he had reached the deep, rich soil, “Just imagine how much blood has been split over these years”

Shaking his head the taller man took another step towards the now kneeling man, “You won’t convince me otherwise. It happens every year and this one is no different”

“I know… it’s just nice to think that maybe we could change” he said coldly as he pulled his numb hands from the permafrost. He turned his head skyward and saw an eagle flying overhead, “huh, now that is poetic” his voice carrying the faintest hint of amusement.

“All we’d need now is for a snake to slither out of the ground” laughed the taller man, his voice echoing through the nearby mountains along with streams of fog billowing from his mouth in the cold night air.

It wasn’t long before both of them started laughing. It was perhaps the first time this event could have been considered entertaining, at least from their prospective. Maybe after all these years of jaded apathy some hint of nostalgia had grown inside of them. “I think it’s the first time I’ve ever laughed here!” cried out the shorted man as he fell on his back from the laughter, sliding around on his back in the snow.

Taking yet another step the taller man stopped laughing and spoke in a stern tone, “I am truly sorrow, my old friend” changing course he made his way for gigantic oak tree that loomed over the scene, “It has to be this way, it always as to be this way”
He reached deep into old and broken roots of the trees and slowly pulled out the old axe, with a rusted blade and a rotten old handle. It was covered in dust, moss, snow and years upon years of bloodstains engrained in the blade.

“We meet again my sharp headed friend” mocked the shorter man as he saw the axe pulled from the roots, “You may have to turn it in one day. I don’t think it will last another winter before you’ll be forced to retire our old companion”

A stern scowl spread across the face of the taller man, “No, it will last” he worked the axe around in his hands, getting feel for the weight and shape of it. It was old and on the brink of fall collapsing; it seemed like it would crumble to dust at any second but deep down inside, he knew it never would. “It’s time”

The shorter man worked his way off his back and onto his knees once again; his breath becoming more and more shallow as he felt his heart rate starting to climb. Though the apathy overtook him during the build up, the end result always got his heart going. Meanwhile the taller man made his way over to him, the axe in hand.
Soon they were less than a foot away from each other. They short man facing the earth and tall man facing the sky. “I remember what started all of this” said the shorter man with his nervous voice trembling.

“Yes, I remember too” spoke the taller man in a proud and determined voice, “You stole one of my cows” and with that, he brought down the axe and cleft the shorter man’s head in two.

A bolt of thunder shook the earth in the distance and the first drops of rain fell onto the field, freezing as they hit the snow. “Until next year my friend”

The Musician

The sun slowly rose over the horizon casting the sky in brilliant oranges and vibrant yellows. The shimmering lights danced across the calm cool waves of the ocean, lapping against the flawless shore of the beach.

A lone man trudged across the beach, his heavy feet dragging through the sand, an old, worn out guitar in his right hand, dragging along with his feet. It didn’t take him long to reach his destination, he hadn’t been here in so long but the location was burned into his memory; he would never forget.

By the base of the cliff there stood a singular stone, jutting up from the sand. He fell to his knees and wept as he read the inscription left by his own two hands, “HERE LIES MY BELOVED: TAKEN FROM ME BY THE CRUELTY OF FATE”

He let his guitar fall to the sand as he ran his finger across the surface of the stone; the old scars around his wrists and fingers were pulled taught as he spread his fingers, they were old and torn, making look more like the stone than his own flesh and blood.

“I am so sorry” he said through his tears. He’d never been able to move on, she had been his love, his precious bride to be. But the world chose to be cruel and take everything from him, with her life being the first thing they took from him.

He’d turned his back on everything once he’d lost her; his career, his family, his religion, everything but the music. Music was the only thing that kept him going after her death, and the world even tried to take that away from him.

“You have no one to blame but yourself” came a deep voice from behind him. He instantly knew who it was. He spun around to be greeted by the tall, swarthy man with hair like obsidian and eyes so dark they looked like pits to the underworld.

The musician could feel his rage burning inside him, fuelled by the sorrow of his lost love. “You! You bastard! How dare you! How dare you!” he screamed in fury, “You’re the reason she’s dead you son of a bitch!”

The swarthy man simply shook his head, keeping his cool demeanour, “You always were a child. Looking to blame everyone but yourself” he looked out across the water, barely giving any acknowledgment, “Never occurred to you that you might actually be responsible for your own actions in life”

Trembling with anger the musician lashed out, swinging his fists like mad. The other man simply stepped out of the way and watched while he fell to the ground in a fit of screaming and tears. His fists pummelled the sand furiously, taking his anger out of the world beneath him.

“It’s not fair dammit! It’s not fucking fair!” he screamed into the sky, showing the scars around his neck as clear as day. The light of the rising sun made his tears glisten like drops of liquid gold running down his face.

With a look of thinly veiled disgust on his face, the swarthy man watched the spectacle of melodramatic screaming and crying, “It’s entirely fair, you just couldn’t accept it” he said coldly, “She’s no longer here because of you, a plain and simple fact”

He paced along the shore, letting the waves brush against his tailored shoes, “You had a chance together and you ruined it” his voice full of bile and aggression, “I gave you that chance and you threw it away. One rule, that was it, just one rule and you broke it” he kicked the sand with his feet, making sure that at least some of the spray was directed at the weeping musician, “What did you think would happen if you broke it? That nothing would happen? You’re own immaturity and arrogance took her from you, no one else is to blame”

The tears stopped flowing long enough for him speak, “I just wanted to make sure she was okay…”

“No, you just couldn’t wait. Like a child with a new toy, a toy that you broke” he spat back at him, “And what about everything that happened afterwards? Do you think none of that was your fault? You turned your back on all of us!”

“You took her from me!” cried out the musician in defiance, like a mantra he’d been repeating all his life. His justification for everything was losing her.

With a sigh, the swarthy man shook his head, “You never learn. I’ve tried so many times to help you, to bring you back to us, to make you the man you once were, but you don’t want any of that. You just want to wallow in pity, unable to admit that you have no one to blame but yourself"

He started to walk away but the musician cried out to him, “Wait!” was all he managed as he staggered back to his feet, “I’m sorry”

A faint glimmer of hope shone in the eyes of the swarthy man as he stopped in his tracks, “It’s a start” he said as he walked up to the broken heap of man on the beach, “Come on, I’ll buy you a drink”

“But I don’t drink” muttered to musician as he steadied his feet.

With a smile the swarthy man shook his head, “I know. But you should start”

The Harvest

The sun was pelting down in radiating waves of oppressive heat, cooking the Mexican soil, leaving it cracked, dry and lifeless. The vast cornfield was barren with not even the slightest hint of life in the freshly toiled fields, just dead, burnt soil.

The years had not been kind to him or his business; long ago this land was thriving and full of life, with gigantic, healthy corn as far as the eye could. But now it was just dead, they were lucky if they grew enough to sustain them till the next year, and even that was getting harder to do. He wondered where it had all gone wrong and why things had turned out this way.

Long ago the seasons were on his side, the cycle of cold and warmth, rain and drought, it all had a proper cycle to it; his very being relied on it. Now however, it was stagnant, just sitting here under a sun that had rebelled against him in a world that refused to turn.

But now was not to time to dwell on the past, now was a time to look at the future and what it could hold. “Seriously man, you have to look at it in the long term here. This place is dead, but you could still make money off it” repeated the spoiled, arrogant businessman. He’d been coming here for the last three months looking to buy the farmland from him.

He’d chased the business tycoon off for the first few days but he was relentless and continually made his way back to torment him once more. Gradually, he’d just been worn down and bothered to listen to his sales pitches and various propositions. By now, he’d been worn down to nothing, it was only his personal love of the land that kept him from selling it off for the small fortune he’d been promised.

“Come on, you are sitting on a veritable goldmine here. Why waste your days trying to grow dead corn when you could simply sell it all off and live to good life somewhere on some resort for the rest of your days?” he continued to nag at him.
By now the game was getting old and he just wanted it to be over, but it could never be that simple. He wouldn’t give up the land, but couldn’t keep it either; one way or the other, he would lose, it was just a matter of which way he’d lose.

“Okay, let me put it in perspective here for you” he continued in his grating American accent that cut through his eardrums like a rusty scalpel. The tycoon in his tacky white suit and hat made his way to the door of the house and opened it to the inhumane heat from outside, “Follow me” he practically demanded from him; ordering him around in his own house.

He grudgingly accepted and followed him to the outside world, “Fine, show me what you will” came his depressed reply as the hot air seared his face. It was always depressing to see his family land like this, once thriving and now dead, like the nuclear apocalypse had already come to him. The cycle of life, harvest and planting the seeds had come to halt, and deep down he knew it to be his fault.

They walked across what should be the cornfields, but now they were little more than dry, dusty soil with seeds planted just below the surface in some vain attempt to make them grow. Each step kicked up dust and left hanging clouds around the feet, it had already stained the tycoons white pant legs.

With gratuitous bravado the tycoon waved his arms about the air, drawing attention to vast landscape, “You see all this, empty space my friend, empty space. It’s all empty space that could be used for something greater!” his motions becoming more emphatic as he spoke; he probably thought it made his plan seem grander but in truth, it made him look more like a poorly made puppet.

With a hint of grimace in his voice, the land owner spoke, “And I suppose your grand plans far surpass my own?”

The tycoon simply grinned in his initial response, “Yes my friend, yes indeed” he laughed, baring his teeth like a vicious animal, “In all honesty, you are wasting this place, it could be so much more and I’m simply trying to make that happen. And if I can help get you a bit cash while I’m at it then all the better for both of us. Am I right?” in retrospect, baring his teeth like that while he spoke didn’t make him look like a vicious animal, it made it look like he was trying to crawl out of his skin.

In contemplation over the offer, he kicked up the dead soil around his feet and even saw a few stray corn kernels kicked up amongst it. “No” was all he could manage, “No, I won’t sell, and I never will” he’d lost, but at least he’d lost it on his own terms.

There was a sudden look of disbelief on the tycoons comical face, “No? I’m sorry, no? Like I was really asking you” a sinister look made its way across his face as he spoke, “Look buddy, I was being polite and giving you a chance, but if I really wanted, I could just take it from you and leave you with nothing!”

He was getting serious now, he could see the comical face almost as if his skin would jump off his face as he dropped the friendly facade. “The answer is still no” defiance was his option now, he’d promised himself he wouldn’t sell the land, and he wouldn’t. He was fidgeting around in his own skin now, feeling uncomfortable within in his own flesh; this tycoon made his skin feel loose, like it would break away and fall off at any moment.

“Last warning you goddamn Mexican idiot! I can take everything from you and leave you rotting under this ungodly son if I wanted! I say, fuck you! I am taking this land” with the facade now completely gone, revealing the true bastard this man was.

He plucked at the dead skin around his fingertips, “You won’t take anything from me; if anything, you’ll help me” he said as he slid the knife out of the holster from the back of his belt. It was quick motion, barely noticeable, but still deadly. Six quick stabs to the chest, around the sternum and ribcage. The tycoon fell limply and silently to soil that was just as dead as he was now.

Streams of bright crimson blood spilled out and turned his once glorious white suit red. Soon the blood was sinking into the dead soil, staining it a dark red. “It’s going to be a good harvest this year” he said as he watched the blood soak deeper and deeper into the soil, it was like rain sent from heaven, a divine gift to help the farm; he could almost see the kernels starting to grow under the earth.

With a joy he’d not felt for so long, he looked up at the once harsh sun, his skin shining gold in the light that had once burned his land. It turns out there was a way for him to win this; with blood.

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