Nell Iris


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#SuperShort

I Declare Paint War

“Bye-bye, Clara! Come back soon!” I called after my niece as my sister Jenny buckled her into the car.

“Bye, Uncle Joe.” Clara leaned out and waved at me. Her little heart-shaped face was set in a happy grin and streaked in all colors of the rainbow after our afternoon finger painting session. She also had a bright pink strand in her blond hair. Lucky for me, I’d bought water soluble colors.

I exchanged goodbyes with my sister and remained on the porch—waving after the car until it was out of sight—before returning inside to take care of the cleanup. My T-shirt had handprints all over it made by a mischievous four-year-old and I grabbed the neck and pulled it off. My pants followed, and I was in the middle of scrubbing red spots off the floor in my boxer briefs when the door opened and my fiancé got home from work.

“Honey, I’m hooooome.” A giggle followed the greeting. Ben loved ridiculing old gender stereotypes and couldn’t help laughing at himself when he did. He’d be tickled when he found me on all fours in the kitchen.

“In here,” I hollered and as predicted he burst out laughing when he saw me and the state of our kitchen.

“Oh Em Gee, Joe. Did you forget to give Miss Clara paper to use for her art?”

With a final scrub, the floor was restored to its original state and I jumped to my feet. “No. But I had to go to the bathroom. I swear I was only gone for two minutes.”

“Mhm. She’s quick,” he said and his eyes twinkled with mirth.

“That she is.” I threw the dishrag in the sink. “Hey, where’s my kiss?” I dried off my hands on a paper towel as I pursed my lips.

“Joooeee,” he whined. “You’re all covered in paint.”

“I’ll keep my hands on the back.” I made a show of holding them up first and then clasping them behind my back. My fingers brushed against an open container of finger paint on the table.

“You have a blue handprint on your cheek. Looks like you’ve been slapped by a smurf.”

I chuckled. “Don’t rub against it and you’ll be fine.”

“You promise?”

“Mhm,” I said and nodded, doing my best to keep a straight face.

“All right,” he sighed and took a small step forward. He leaned his upper body toward me, but tried keeping his distance. He pursed his lips and closed his eyes and I took what he offered. His lips were soft and warm against mine and we both hummed in happiness.

I let myself enjoy it for a second before I dipped my fingers in the paint, lifted my hand quickly, and drew a line over his cheek. He squeaked and jumped back, slapping his palm to the paint, smearing the yellow color, and I collapsed into fits of laughter.

“You promised,” he said as he tried to scrub away the paint but only succeeding in spreading it out more.

“You forgot to check if I had crossed my fingers.” I waggled my eyebrows at him.

“You…you…” Quick as a weasel, he darted around me and grabbed another container. Before I had time to react, I had a wide green line from my nipple all the way to my belly button.

My eyes flitted between my painted chest and his gloating face. “You’re even quicker than Clara,” I said, snatched a paint container, dipped my finger in it and poked his nose, making it bright blue.

He narrowed his eyes. “Are you declaring war, sir?” he asked with his hands on his hips and a defiant look on his face.

“I do believe I am, Mr. Collins,” I replied and swiped my blue finger over his eyebrow.

He held up both his hands and said, “Stop!”

I faltered in my planned attack on his other eyebrow and pulled back. He held up his right index finger and when he was sure I was waiting, he quickly stripped out of his clothes and threw them out of the kitchen. Then he armed himself with two paint containers: the yellow and the green.

In response, I snagged the red to accompany the blue I was already holding.

“Ready, sir?” he asked.

“Ready, Mr. Collins.” I widened my stance and rolled my shoulders.

“Oorah,” he yelled, jumped forward, and the battle was on.

Skärmavbild 2017-11-17 kl. 22.17.13

Inspirational picture found on Instagram. 

 

 

 

 

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Screenshot_20171108-211101
Inspirational image found on Instagram.

Morning Dance

We were running late. For some unknown reason, neither of our alarms had gone off that morning and I woke up forty-five minutes before work started. My loud cursing awoke Elijah, who elbowed his way past me into the tub. I growled in his direction and had to splash off in the sink since there was no way I would have time for a shower after he finished.

I pulled on my pants with one hand and brushed my teeth with the other. A quick glance in the mirror told me I was presentable enough for work—aside from the sour I overslept-expression on my face that I needed to work on.

While Elijah got dressed and fussed with his hair, I made coffee, fixed a couple sad sandwiches for lunch—PBJ, what are we? Five?—and rushed around in a frenzy trying to find my shoes that seemed to have gone missing since last night. I found them halfway under the couch where I’d kicked them off yesterday after curling up next to Elijah, doing my damnedest not to poop my pants while we watched Stranger Things on Netflix.

As I’d finished pouring coffee for the both of us in travel mugs, Elijah stepped out of the bedroom, looking rosy-cheeked and perky as if he’d had all the time in the world to get ready this morning. Ugh, that man didn’t know the meaning of the word “hurry.” Yet he always managed to be on time somehow, while looking spotless and freaking adorable. If he hadn’t been the love of my life, I would have been annoyed.

“Let’s go.” I hustled us both out the door and kept my pace slightly below jogging as we made our way to work. Elijah walked a few steps behind me, whistling happily, and I swore to God if there’d been roses along the way, he would have stopped and smelled them.

When we came to the fork in the path where we would part ways, I waited for him and handed over the tote bag with his coffee and sandwich. I gave him a little wave, and turned to go as I threw a quick, “See you after work,” over my shoulder.

“Gabe!” he called after me.

I whirled around and hiked up an eyebrow. “What?”

Stepping closer, he coaxed the tote out of my hand and put both of them down on the ground. Then he held out his hand, smiled, and said, “Dance with me.”

“Here? Now?” I squeaked. “I’ll be late for work.”

He didn’t say anything, just waited for me to make up my mind. I really should go. I hated being late, my boss hated when I was late, and the universe was, in general, a better place when everyone was on time.

But I’d never been able to say no to his beautiful brown eyes, and against better judgment, I lay my hand in his, and let myself be pulled close to his body. I threw my arm around his neck as he started humming a melody I didn’t recognize—probably because he was so tone-deaf he couldn’t sing in tune even if his life depended on it—and we waited a heartbeat before taking our first dance steps.

People stared at us where we danced in the middle of a sidewalk, but gave us space to do our thing. I followed his lead as he shuffled us around the imaginary dance floor. My poor stressed heart slowed down, and the frown I’d worn since I woke up disappeared. Soon we were grinning at each other like loons.

After a couple rounds, he tightened his grip on my waist, waggled his eyebrows, and dipped me backward, old Hollywood-style. He held me in place for several seconds, eliciting a happy laugh from me, and his eyes brightened at the sound.

When he straightened me up again, I hugged him. Hard.

Elijah squeezed me before letting me go. He picked up our totes and handed me mine with smiling eyes that melted my heart so badly I feared it would pour out of my body. He gave me a warm kiss on my cheek and whispered, “Have a great day at work, honey.” Then he waved and walked away.

I stayed for another second or two, watching his retreating back before taking the path leading to my workplace. I smiled broadly at everyone while I tried to whistle the tune we’d just danced to.

Today was going to be a fantastic day.


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#SuperShort

Don’t eat the bunnies

“Jonah, where are you?” I called as I approached the trunk of a fallen tree—his favorite spot in the forest behind our house. There was no sign of him. I glanced at my watch and squished my eyebrows together. Tilting my head back, I let out a yell. “We’re gonna be late.”

The sound of a breaking branch reached me, followed by rustling vegetation and running paws. A second later, a big wolf appeared in the clearing, leaped up on the trunk, and climbed to the top. It didn’t stop until it was directly above me. The sun illuminated its thick fur, making it glitter and shine in the light. It was breathtaking.

I looked up as it lowered its head, stretched out its tongue, and licked me, drenching my face with saliva.

“Yuck,” I laughed and scrunched up my nose. “Cut it out.” I reached up and scratched behind its ear. “You know I prefer real kisses.”

The wolf jumped down and landed gracefully next to me. He swept his tongue over my hand before he started shifting in front of my eyes. His form elongated, stretched, and grew, and soon he’d shed his wolf persona and stood before me in his human form. My darling Jonah. Naked as the day he was born and more magnificent than anyone I’d ever met.

I wiped my face clean of his slobber and he laughed, a joyous sound that bounced between the birches. He flung his strong arms around my waist, lifted me as if I weighed little more than a feather, and spun me around. His exhilaration rubbed off on me and I laughed with him. I wound my arms around his shoulders and buried my nose in the crook of his neck. Taking a deep breath, I shuddered. I adored his scent after a shift. He smelled of dew drops. Of pale green tender leaves and the earth itself.

“Did you have a good run?” I mumbled into his skin.

“I did.” He started walking back home with me still in his arms, and I hooked my legs around his hips.

“You didn’t eat the bunnies, I hope.”

Jonah chuckled. “No, my love, I didn’t eat the bunnies. You told me not to.”

I rewarded him by kissing his neck. By running my fingers down his spine, and rubbing my groin against his abs. He growled at me as if he hadn’t left his wolf behind completely. “Stop that if you don’t want to be late.”

“Being on time is overrated,” I said and crushed my mouth against his.

When we showed up on my mom’s doorstep two hours later, she didn’t agree.

Inspirational picture found on Instagram. 

Skärmavbild 2017-10-30 kl. 00.27.09

That was my first foray into the paranormal. Did you like it? 😁

 


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79a9d6490ea88bd2d06c113202ddc971Inspirational picture borrowed from Pinterest. Source

Angel and Firebird

It’s the middle of the night, and I wake up with his image burned into my retinas, like always when I’ve dreamt about him. In my dreams, he’s smiling at me, with eyes sparklier than sapphires and the rye blond hair messed up and adorable. All I want to do is reach out and take the hand he holds out for me. Follow him wherever he wants to go.

My angel.

I roll over on my stomach and bury my wet cheeks in the pillow and inhale, as if hoping his scent will still linger after all this time. I remind my foolish heart that it’s impossible and it cracks open in my chest and poisons my bloodstream with sorrow.

Five years ago today, I lost him forever. My soul mate, best friend, my reason for living. When he was taken away from me, he brought all my joy with him and I don’t think I’ve smiled once since.

I will never forget that day. It was his twentieth birthday and our hometown arranged its first ever Pride parade. We were planning to attend. Of course, we were; we were young and in love and wanted to scream it from the rooftops to anyone willing to listen.

I wore a rainbow T-shirt, but he was much braver and threw off his top and put on a pair of angel wings. “You always say I’m your angel,” he said, and my heart swelled so much I was afraid it would burst out of my chest. He was more beautiful than ever and I wanted to drag him back home and run my hands all over his silky smooth chest and make love to him while he wore his wings.

I didn’t. Maybe my life would be different if I had.

Throwing off the covers, I stumble into the bathroom and splash cold water on my face. I stare at myself in the mirror. My eyes are dull and puffy and I’m so pale I’m almost translucent. A ghost would look tanned next to me. Even my hair has lost its will to live and hangs listlessly over my forehead.

I won’t be able to go back to sleep, so I pull on a pair of sweatpants so worn they might disintegrate any second. They used to belong to him, and I feel closer to him when I wear them. I won’t ever throw them away.

I refuse to listen to everyone saying I need to move on and get rid of his stuff. Just the thought of it gives me a panic attack. I don’t have them nearly as frequently these days as I did in the beginning, but trying to imagine our place without his things is a sure way of triggering one.

“No,” I say out loud to the shadows lurking in the corner of our empty apartment. My apartment. Whatever.

The vivid image of him lingering in my brain erases the lines between reality and dream. I know it’s my place now. I do. I can even go full days without thinking about him. And then he shows up when I sleep. Sometimes he seems so real I can almost feel him spoon me in our bed. My bed.

I shake my head, trying to get rid of the cobwebs cluttering my mind. Grabbing his favorite throw blanket, I carry it to the living room and dump it on the couch before continuing to the kitchenette where I chug down a bottle of water. I dry my mouth with the back of my hand and stare out the window. It’s pitch black outside but sounds of people moving around outside in the hallway drift in through my front door. I scrunch my eyebrows together and glance at the clock on the wall. Three thirty. Are the neighbors having a party again?

A loud banging on my door, followed by a panicked “Fire!” makes me jump and my heart speeds up. “You in there, Phoenix? Get out, get out.” Hasty steps disappear from our apartment and the procedure is repeated next door.

The damned fire alarm must be broken again, but I’m frozen to the floor.

“Move, dammit,” I mutter and force my feet to walk to to the bedroom to get my phone and wallet. I grab a hoodie and hurry to the door. The stink of smoke finds its way into our home and I cough. As I reach for the handle, I remember something.

The photo album! I can’t leave without my pictures of him.

I run back to the living room to grab my most precious possession and press it tightly against my chest. I squeeze my eyes shut for a second, gathering courage…and I see him.

He’s reaching out his arm to me. Beckoning me to come to him with his index finger. Fly to me, Firebird, he laughs.

I’d forgotten he used to call me that. How he used to say my name was perfect because my hair looked like a raging fire.

I open my eyes, but he lingers. I hesitate. If I stay, I can finally be with him again.

My gaze flits between his blanket on the couch and the door. The echo of my neighbor’s frightened “Get out, get out” rings in my mind, but his voice is clearer. Closer. As if he’s standing next to me, whispering in my ears.

Thick smoke wells through the gaps around the door, and the window for me to escape narrows. It’s now or never. Muted sirens approach in the distance. Help is on the way.

I love you forever, Firebird.

Filled with a calm I haven’t felt in years, I walk over to the couch and curl into a ball underneath his blanket. It’s the same color blue as his eyes, and maybe, just maybe, if I try hard enough, I can evoke his scent. It was rainy days in spring, laughter, and love.

More than anything, it was love.

A cough racks my chest and it’s getting harder to breathe.

I close my eyes.

His last moments on earth was a wonderful summer day, and we walked the Pride parade hand in hand. Everyone looked at him and his snow-white wings and I was so proud that he’d chosen me. That he loved me. He turned his head and smiled at me. The sun shone brightly in the sky, creating a halo around his head. For the longest time, I thought it had been a sign. That maybe God called my angel home, that he was too good for this world.

Our perfect day was destroyed when we were on our way home late the same evening and five people jumped us. They screamed obscenities at us. Rained punches on us. Kicked us. A boot to my stomach made me bend over and puke my guts out. The last thing I remember is my angel grabbing my hand. His lips moved, but even though I couldn’t hear his voice I knew what he was saying. I love you forever, Firebird. Again and again, until darkness overtook my world never to leave again.

When I woke up, he was dead.

I’m getting drowsy. Every breath is like inhaling fire and my eyes water. Is it the smoke or tears for him?

“I love you, my angel,” I mumble. I drift away.

When I open my eyes, he’s there. Just as I remember him. His smile is blinding and his eyes shiny with happiness and he’s wearing his wings.

“I’ve missed you so much, Firebird,” he says and cups my face with long, bony fingers. He feels so real. Like he’s actually here this time.

I lean closer to him. I’m desperate to feel his lips against mine. “I thought I’d never see you again,” I whisper as tears spill down my cheeks.

He wipes them away with his thumbs. “I’ve been waiting for you.” His words are balm to my wounded soul and I can breathe again. The darkness that has filled my chest for so long is gone, replaced with his light. His love.

“Don’t ever leave me again,” I plead.

“Never,” he promises, surges forward, and kisses me.


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Will and Noah’s first Valentine’s Day

Will wanted everything to be perfect for his and Noah’s first Valentine’s Day. He’d been planning for weeks, trying to decide whether to take his boyfriend out or have a quiet—and hopefully sexy—dinner at home. When he’d decided on the latter, the question of what to eat was easy. Will had made meticulous plans and even consulted his sister to get the details right.

And then everything was almost ruined because Noah had to work late to cover for someone who had managed to get himself fired. But after some cajoling, and with a promise of a stellar blowjob, Will had convinced him to come over directly after the shift ended. Ten minutes ago he’d gotten a text saying Noah was on his way.

He made a final check to make sure everything was ready. The food he’d picked up at their favorite Italian restaurant was keeping warm in the oven. The place was spotless, the candles were lit, and the table looked nice and romantic. Except…the roses?

He frowned. The roses might be too much. He wasn’t a flowery kind of guy and neither was Noah, but his sister had insisted there had to be roses on Valentine’s. With thoughtful steps he walked over to the table, reached out with a careful finger and caressed the fiery red petals. The flowers were beautiful, but he wanted the evening to be about them. He didn’t want it to be a tired old cliché that anyone could have given to Noah.

As he stood there, swirling his thick finger around a rose bud, he had an idea. He grabbed the bouquet, turned on his heel and sprinted into the bedroom. He glanced at the dark green bedding and the low light as he passed by, wanting to make sure everything was still perfect. Then he continued to the ensuite bathroom.

He gingerly gripped the stems, pulled the flowers out of the vase, and emptied the water in the sink. He snatched a towel from the warming rack and put the roses on it. With swift movements, he patted the stems to get rid of any excess water.

“Oh God, what if they’ve got thorns? Please don’t let them have thorns!” he muttered, but he didn’t have enough time to make a thorough inspection because he could hear a key in the door, and Noah letting himself in.

He flicked open the button of his jeans that Noah always said made his butt look delicious, and wiggled out of them. His t-shirt was unceremoniously pulled over his head and thrown in a heap on the floor next to the jeans. He cursed himself for not choosing sexier underwear, but it was too late to do anything about it now.

“Will?”

“In the bedroom!” He grabbed a couple of the roses and frantically started to execute his idea as he heard Noah toss his keys on the side table and kick off his shoes. He hurried, Noah was approaching fast, but Will managed to finish in time. He pushed the discarded clothes out of sight with his foot and leaned against the doorframe, trying his best to act casual as he waited for Noah to find him.

Noah was busy unzipping his hoodie as he walked into the bedroom so he didn’t see Will at first. “That was a fucking long shif—“ Noah’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open when he caught sight of Will, who was trying his hardest not to fidget. His mouth was suddenly dry and he swallowed. What if Noah thought the idea was ridiculous?

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Noah.” Will’s voice was trembling and uncertain, but his courage returned when he saw Noah licking his lips.

“You have flowers in your briefs,” Noah rasped, and his gaze swept over Will’s body, zooming in on the the roses—thankfully without thorns— Will had shoved into the waistband of his tighty whities.

“I do.” Will’s face split in a wide smile. “Sarah said roses were required on Valentine’s.”

“I don’t think that was what she meant.” He took a step closer and Will could see his Adam’s apple bobbing. Noah cleared his throat, but his voice was still hoarse as he continued, “But it’s very creative.”

“Yeah?” Will pushed his hips forward and winked. He groaned to himself. He’d never winked before in his life, but the heat in Noah’s eyes was intoxicating. “You like it?”

Noah didn’t answer. Instead he closed the distance between them with a couple quick steps, cupped Will’s face with warm hands, and kissed him with such intensity Will’s toes curled.

Will took that as a yes.

will-wearing-the-valentines-roses

Inspirational picture found here.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!


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#SuperShort

I love to write. You already know about The Locked Room and the short story I wrote, but I also have another WIP (currently on hold) and I’m plotting another story. And if that wasn’t enough I write this blog, my own personal blog (in Swedish for my family and friends), and I write a lot of poetry. 

And sometimes I write these super short stories, with 1000 words or less, just to practice. To hone my craft and get better. So today I thought I’d publish one of those super shorts here for you to read. 

It’s inspired by this picture: (source)

building-bridges


Tearing down walls

 

The first rays of the rising sun woke me up. The light pierced my eyes and it took me awhile to adjust, to be able to focus my gaze on him. I blinked and watched as the light of dawn danced on his dark skin, painting him golden brown. He looked relaxed; sleep had smoothed the deep furrows usually marring his handsome face. As if he’s finally found peace from whatever was bothering him.

But all was not right. I glanced down and saw the wall of blankets between us. Every night was the same, his blanket and sometimes even pillows ended up between us. Kept me away from him. I swallowed around a lump in my throat. Why did he do it? Was being close to me so repulsive to him these days?

My fingers itched to touch him. Instead, I captured my hands between my naked thighs, not knowing if my touch would be welcome anymore. Tears welled up in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks, blurring the image of him. Distorting his features, his sharp cheekbones, and the full lips I ached to kiss.

“When did you stop loving me?” I whispered.

He opened his eyes, his eyelids were heavy and sluggish and his coffee eyes full of sadness and fatigue.

 “I didn’t.” His voice was raw and pained. “I still love you,” he whispered.

I gasped at his words. They didn’t make sense; all his actions lately had told me otherwise. But I wanted to believe him.

“What happened to us?”

For months I’d tried to figure out why we’d drifted apart. Why our passion and togetherness were replaced with this void where we’re only existing side by side? When had loving kisses turned into a stiff back turned to me in the night?

What had I done to push him away?

He hadn’t been willing to talk and I hadn’t been able to come up with an answer by myself. I had been drifting in a sea of bewilderment for the longest time. I still was.

He reached out and cupped my bearded cheek with a calloused palm, using the pad of his thumb to wipe away the wetness leaking from my eyes. I closed my eyes and reveled in his touch, loving the feeling of warmth radiating from his hand. Hoping it would thaw my frozen soul.

I felt him shift on the bed and my heart fluttered at the thought of him climbing over the wall of blankets to lie next to me. When he tangled his legs with mine a loud sob escaped me. I didn’t dare to open my eyes; I was afraid all this would be a dream.

 “I’m sorry.” His voice was a trembling whisper, but it gave me the courage to finally open my eyes and look at him. “I never meant to shut you out.”

I moved closer, desperate to kiss him but not brave enough to take the final step. I reached over the blanket wall and put a tentative hand on his trim waist. He whimpered. It was just a hint of a noise, but it was enough to let me know my touch would be welcome. I leaned closer and only hesitated for a fraction of a second before finally pressing my lips against his.

 “I love you, I love you,” he sobbed against my mouth and my heart almost broke. “Please forgive me.”

“Of course,” I whispered. “Just don’t shut me out again.”

“I swear.”

He let go of me and grabbed the blankets between us, pulled at them and kicked them until they ended up on the floor. With the barrier gone, he scrambled close and threw his arms around me as I tugged him close. We clung to each other, holding each other so tight not even air could fit between us.

And finally, he started talking. “It’s my family…”

I knew this moment in the early morning light wasn’t enough to fix all that was broken, but I was willing to fight tooth and nail for us as long as he talked to me.

As long as I knew he still loved me.