Lies, Loss, and Justice

Lies, Loss, and Justice

Two Page Love Story by G. Z. Kieft

I don’t suppose there’s any real truth to the stories they tell you as a kid: I mean, there’s no Santa, no tooth fairy, no monsters under your bed and broccoli doesn’t taste good. They’re all lies, ergo, our parents are liars. So what do we do, now that we are grown adults and we have the same responsibility to lie to our kids about the world? What kind of bullshit do I make up for no explainable reason? The answer? Every single piece of bullshit ever.

My daughter, Lilith, is tucked in under the blankets and her little mouth stretches as wide as it can under the pressure of a yawn. She has bright green eyes, like emeralds, and she looks at me with that sleepy daze of trust you notice in little puppies and kittens. Her blonde hair is sprawled out over the pillow like a wild, golden octopus, and I push the remaining strands from her cheek back and tuck them behind her little ears. I’m sitting next to her tiny little body in my work clothes, endeared to be in her presence. But this particular instance wasn’t like the other nights I put Lilith to bed. She seemed to be preoccupied and bothered by something.
“You okay?” I ask her.
She looks me right in the eyes, fearless. She contemplates the way only a kid can, with her lips pursed to the side and her tender complexion strewn with compassionate concern for her father. Then, deciding on something, she sighs with heavy burden.
“Dad,” She says, very grown-up like. “You don’t know where mother is.”
Somehow I knew this was coming. I raise my eyebrow and grin uncomfortably. “Why do you think that?” I ask.
“You always tell me something different every night, and honestly, it just doesn’t add up.”
I could tell how difficult it was for her to confront me about this. She wanted the truth, not another fairytale.
“All right,” I nod. “All right, you got me.”
Lilith seems shocked by my confirmation of her suspicion. “Where is she?”
“You want the truth right? The honest truth, every little detail?”
“Yes.” Lilith eagerly sits upright. “Yes, please.”

All right. A long time ago, in a little town far away from here called New York, your mom was a barten… or rather, a princess in a little pub downtown. She was very popular amongst the men there, and every prince and king came from all over the world to ask for her hand in marriage. But your mom, Camilla, she refused every single man. You know why? Because she was taken; by yours truly. I had proposed to her with some crappy, thrift shop… I mean, with a beautiful eight-carat diamond ring, which I had found in the high cliffs of northern Russia during a mining excavation. We were very happy together. The only thing: there was an evil witch who controlled a small part of Camilla’s brain. She was born like that, and sometimes, during really rough days, Camilla would lose control and the evil witch would take over, and Camilla would do something mean or foolish. But it didn’t matter; because when I was around I was always able to help her regain control. One day, I came to the bar in New York after my job, which was to slay dragons, and I surprised Camilla. Little did I know, she had an even bigger surprise for me: she was pregnant! With you, no less: the brightest, most beautiful angel ever. Your mom and I celebrated that night on the rooftop of my castle, cuddled up under a blanket and watching the dim lights of the stars. Nine months later, you entered our life and your mom quit her job as princess and began working from home as an online sales consultant – her dream job! We moved away from New York Town and came here, instead, to raise you peacefully. But a few months later, I came home from my job as dragon slayer, only to find that your mother was missing, and so were you! I was really scared at that point. I called upon my knights at the police station to help me find you, and I discovered the king of the knights had kidnapped both of you! My very own king, betrayed me! I flew to this evil king’s castle upon the back of an eagle, and when I arrived I was met with reporters, hundreds of them! Their magic flash powers were intended to blind me, but with my sword I cut through them all and arrived at the entrance of the castle, where a giant statue with a scale stood. Her name was Justice, but she wasn’t really justice, only pretending to be. I fought justice for thirteen months, but every time I cut off one of her arms, more lawyers came along, and with their magic, they regrew her limbs. The fight was hopeless, and after thirteen months, I was bloodied and defeated. It seemed I had lost to the Justice system, and I would never, ever steal you and Camilla back. But just when I thought I had lost all hope, one lawyer turned on his kind and joined my side, driven by compassion and understanding. He helped me recover and continued the fight. See, because your mother was struggling with mind control from the evil witch, many times she couldn’t quite think straight. Usually she was the most peaceful, beautiful woman, but the witch switched her button and in this particular instance, Camilla accidentally hurt another person really badly. So the evil king, in fear of the evil witch, locked up Camilla in a white prison to be with other people under the mind control of the witch. And unfortunately, killing dragons didn’t give me enough money to take care of you alone, so the evil king thought he had to take you and take care of you by kidnapping you from me. But with the lawyer at my side (and a new job as an assistant at the lawyer’s law firm) I was able to incapacitate Justice long enough to sneak into the castle. I found you, just a little bundle barely a year old, and I was able to steal you back.

“So…” Lilith mumbles. “Mom is locked up?”
I nod, fighting the burning sensation in my eyes as tears struggle to trickle down my cheek.
“I miss her too.” Lilith nods, slipping out of her blanket and clambering on top of my lap. I wrap my arms around her and squeeze her familiar, small body.
“I miss her so much.” I whisper into her hair. My shoulders shake over her, and her tiny hands grip my shirt tightly. “I miss her so much Lilith.”
“I know.” She comforts. “Me too.”
We participate in a long span of silence before Lilith breaks it again.
“Why did you lie to me before?”
I wipe my wet face with my sleeves, avoiding her gaze. “Camilla begged me never to tell you. To never tell you the truth.”
“Why?” Lilith asks.
“She was embarrassed. She feels like her mind control is her fault.”
I wait, my hands trembling as I try to stabilize them on my lap. It’s been six years since Lilith was able to hold her mother the way she holds me.

“You know, Lil.” I said, pre-emptively nodding. “We can visit her.”

Kissing Molly

Kissing Molly

Two Page Love Story by G. Z. Kieft

There aren’t many rules in life. I didn’t realize that until I saw her – that every “unchangeable” aspect in our lives is just a work of fiction. I used to believe that I was who I was, and that meant I talked to the people I was supposed to talk to; cried over the people I was supposed to cry over; and loved the people I was supposed to love.

But as I was sipping away at the contents of a red solo cup at some frat bro’s party, she walked in, and like a clasp of thunder in a cloudless sky: she changed everything. I was drawn to her. To her style, with her infinity scarf tucked into her jacket and her boots and thigh high socks. I was drawn to the golden curls that ringed around her smooth cheeks. I was drawn to her cherry lips, her frail neck and slender shoulders. But more importantly, I was drawn to her eyes and what was behind them. A sense of belonging. A determined conception of happiness.

I saw her at a few more parties, in passing mostly. I never quite collected the courage to talk to her. I drowned my insecurities in cheap beer and source-less shots, eyeing her from a distance as some new guy stuck his tongue down her throat every night. She deserved better – I felt like I ought to tell her. That was my responsibility, right?

One night, as busy chatter caused by lost inhibitions overcast some Lil Wayne song and I took my familiar place in the corner of the party, I saw her enter.
“Molly!” Some guy with a beer gut called her over.
I eyed her as she unbuttoned her thick coat. Her long legs took large, confident strides to him.
“I won three games of beer pong!” The guy bragged. He was genuinely proud of himself.
“Great.” Molly smiled.
Nobody else noticed, but I did. I always did. That smile was plastered on, like papier-mâché on that otherwise perfect face. That smile didn’t belong with those sad, misguided eyes.
“Well?” The guy continued. “Do I get a kiss?”
Molly chuckled and shook her head. “I don’t think Dan would like to hear you ask that.”
Dan was her boyfriend-kinda-thing.
“No, I mean on my dick!” The guy laughed. His friends laughed too. Everybody laughed, and nobody cared about little old Molly and her loss of self worth as it was wrung from her body like water from a dirty, used old rag.
Nobody cared, except for me, and quite honestly I had enough. I don’t know what was different that night from others – maybe I had had one too many drinks and I, too, had finally lost my inhibitions. Maybe there’s an internal bullshit meter that had finally filled up. Maybe I was just finally doing what I should’ve done for weeks, the right thing. I don’t know. All I know is that I marched right up to that guy, and channeling my inner Pacquiao, I jabbed him right in the jaw and sent him staggering back to trip over the beer pong table. He fell; the beerpong table was knocked over; and the whole party roared with cheers and laughter. I felt victorious. I felt like David, standing over Goliath.

That’s when the crowd quieted, and one man brought me back to reality.
“Knocked out by a girl!”

That’s right. I wasn’t David standing over Goliath. I was Dana, and I was a full-fledged girl, with a vagina and all.

My eyes flashed to Molly, and she smiled at me. She looked at me acceptingly, with a real smile. I smiled at her back, but I couldn’t help but feel reality nagging at my fantastical notions. Without a word, I left the scene and walked out back, where the party took a more mellow shape with pot smokers and sleepers (the latter of which had several dicks and mustaches drawn on their faces). I crawled up beside the pool, pulling my knees close into my chest and resting my chin on them. What was I going to do? What did all this mean? What about the two boyfriends I had in middle school? I liked them, didn’t I?

“Thank you.” Her voice felt the way a kiss feels on the back of your neck.
Molly took a seat next to me. She had taken off her socks and rolled up her jeans so she could wade her feet in the icy cold pool water.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Molly continued. She never took her eyes off of me.
“I’m sorry.” I said, a bit offended. “Someone had to. I’m so sick of that guy.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you did.” Molly chuckled. There was a brief pause before she cocked her head to the side. “Why did you do it?”
I sighed. This is the part where you’re supposed to confess all your feelings. I was so bad at this stuff.
“I’ve noticed you before, you know.” Molly pressed. “I know you look at me.”
“What?”
“I know how you look at me.”
“Whoa, what?” I scooted away from her. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Molly shrugged and looked at her feet in the water. “I don’t know.”
So much of me wanted to fight her about this. To tell her she was wrong. To protect my pride as a straight woman. What was she accusing me of? What was she expecting me to say?
What did she want me to say?
“I’ve always wanted a boyfriend who would stand up for me.” Molly said as she dazed out at her own reflection.
“Well, I’m not a boy.” I scoffed.
“Yeah.” Molly sounded disappointed. “You would’ve made a good boyfriend.”
I was all twisted inside. Embarrassed, annoyed, excited and nervous. I knew so little about myself. I knew so little about her. The only thing I did know was what I wanted, and yet that was the one thing far more absurd that any of it.
“Maybe in a next life.” Molly concluded.
“You know,” I snapped, and Molly looked at me. “There aren’t many rules in life, Mol. I never knew that. I always thought you are who you are and you’re supposed to talk to the people you’re supposed to talk to and fuck the people you’re supposed to fuck. But it’s not true. There’s only one rule that matters, and that’s the rule of happiness. It’s the rule of doing what you’d like. The rule of taking what you want. It’s the rule of not caring how the world looks at you if you act out and do something that it doesn’t want from you. The only thing that matters is that the smile on your face matches the smile in your eyes, and that you never, ever settle for what other people expect out of you.”

I could barely finish my sentence before Molly leaned in, wrapped her slender fingers around my neck and planted her cherry lips on mine.

I was kissing Molly.

“What It Means To Soulmate” Excerpt

“What It Means To Soulmate” is the working title of my first novel. I’ve been working on this book for a year, and I’m still working on it, but every day I’m getting closer to finishing it. I decided I am finally ready to share my characters with the rest of the world, so here’s a short excerpt.


See, sometimes pain is so concurrent you lose track of it. You gain a new baseline and pain is your default; like an old wound on your lips that can never heal because every time you talk or smile or cry it opens right back up. You never quite forget that you have it, but you ignore it; you live with it. Life seems fine and you continue to live without questioning it, until you take a sip of lemonade and your lips feel like they catch on fire.

Lemonade. That’s what she was. Sharp, sweet, cleansing. The moment she entered my life she disinfected my entire being. It’s weird when you don’t care about anything and somebody like her comes along. Every fiber in your body is conditioned to ignore her and the countless possibilities that come with her, but your heart tugs at you – tearing at your routine and your depression and your disbelief and forcing you – making you react to her. Act upon her. Suddenly you need her. Suddenly you need to marry her, to love her, to make love to her. Ten seconds in and nothing else in my life mattered. I knew every detail on her body before I even knew her name; the freckles on her chest, which formed little triangles; the curve of her lips, so perfect you’d think anything that came from them was angelical; her eyes, gold and green, insightful and understanding; her curving frame; the straps of her ivory bra showing under her black shirt; the pattern of fingerprints on her apron; the smell of coffee from her work mixed with the scent of sweet candy from her perfume; and her voice…

A tornado seemed to tear by me as she spoke, twirling through the shop as it exposed little gaps in reality, scratching away images and molecules and replacing them with letters and words. My entire being jumped into existence, my heart pounded out of my chest and I could see it floating in the coffee shop, peacefully for a moment, before the shop shredded in front of my eyes, tiles flying up from the floor and bursting into flame mid-air. The ceiling fell to pieces around me and the walls collapsed. People exploded into ash and wisped away with the strong winds and the earth trembled. I flinched and struggled under the pressure, and behind my forearm, which I had propped up to block the wind, I spied massive buildings spire up from the ground. Rustic, Italian, brick-built structures reminiscent of old Florence, they Lego-blocked their way into existence and the clear, unpolluted skies bore down on me. I was nearly knocked down by my change of scenery when the winds relaxed suddenly and a serene silence became me. My ears still rang with the horrible transition of space and time and I breathed apprehensively. Slowly, I lowered my arm to look at what just happened… What just happened? I twirled around myself and saw that I existed instantaneously in renaissance-era Italy, on a bridge overlooking a large river than ran under little boats and flocking birds. Sunset blasted my vision and I turned away to shield my eyes and was left to study the ornate bridge, which looked like a tunnel and housed homes and little shops.

The Ponte Vecchio. I recognized it from the Google images I had seen of it. Vines grew over at least forty percent of the stone here, and as I looked up I noticed groups of people bustling past me – some stern and determined, but many more joyful or laughing or being rowdy. I felt the silky shirt I wore, and when I peeked down I noticed I fit in perfectly with the other tights-wearing, floofy shirted dorks here. My concern with reality faded as I wondered where the crowds were heading, but just as I was about to turn my head to follow them, I caught sight of her. Her perfectly flawless skin was entirely visible under her hair, which sat neatly strung back; and her plump, pink lips were drawn in a frustrated purse. Her gold and green eyes seemed to inhale the sun and shine it back out twice as bright and magnificent. When she saw me, our gaze locked. My heart bounded high into my chest with excitement, and I studied her calm, sharp features carefully for signs of a similar reaction. But she maintained her cool discouragingly, and as she approached me she looked away and finally she passed me. I watched her hips sway from side to side, causing her long black dress to dance at her heels. She wore a pair of dangerously high heels and they clicked playfully over the stone street. I was almost too focused on her to notice the horde of teenage Italians following her with catcalls and whistles and jokes. Everything in the language sounded romantic, though.

I took no time to wonder what was going on and instead I followed the crowds over the bridge, hurrying to try and catch up with her. I pushed past people and ran through streets, trailing a dress which I thought was hers and by the time the sun had fallen entirely, I had arrived at the popular destination: a large square filled with lights that displayed fires and various performers dancing and prancing about. Everyone pulled a mask out from his or her person and I recognized I had walked right into the center of a masquerade ball, a highly anticlimactic realization given that I had also just walked right into the verification of my insanity. Something about her, though, kept me distracted. I was very aware of the limits of reality and the obvious flaws that it left this occurrence with, but… feeling the soft, summer, southern-European breeze dance over my skin and smelling the freshly grilled fish dishes and hearing the clusterfuck of voices and music and ruckus made everything so believable. So realistic. I could almost imagine that I, myself, was a young Italian teenager at the heels of a lover, seeking adventure and passion and freedom in a suppressing catholic society. I waddled through the crowds a bit brain dead and numb, subconsciously still seeking her while at the same time entirely lost and mesmerized in the actions of a pair of athletic acrobats performing feats I didn’t imagine were possible without magic. As I passed them I came across two pairs of twins juggling several objects caught on fire and further along still stood a group of promiscuous prostitutes. But nowhere could I spy a pair of golden-green eyes under a mask, and I worried that I had tracked her incorrectly. Feeling defeated, I found a seat on a little white bench wrought out of iron and wood and absorbed my surroundings. The voice in my head questioning my experience slowly whittled away, leaving only a sense of belonging and home and a feeling of familiarity. Where before there were faces of strangers I now saw distant neighbors and acquaintances. Where I heard the quick rattle of foreign language now became understandable sentence structures and relatable voices. I looked up at the clear, night sky and could even tell what the names of the constellations were. What I didn’t know was where that girl was, but even that would soon alter for me.


“What It Means To Soulmate” is a romantic adventure following Alex, a writer who lives in his parents’ basement struggling with depression and addictive tendencies in an attempt to finish his first novel. But when Alex stops in a coffee shop and meets Olivia, he travels back in time and experiences love, adventure and hardships more intense than anything he has ever written. Now it’s up to Alex to bring his experiences back to the real world and win the heart of the one girl he has been after this entire time.

Copyright © 2014 By G. Z. Kieft
All rights reserved.

The Lights In The Sky, Part 2

The Lights In The Sky, 2

A children’s epic by G. Z. Kieft

(Read Part 1 here)

Oliver and Faye,

Set out on their journey,
Installing new light bulbs,
And elating much worry.

They passed through their castle
And comforted guards,
They passed through the markets,
And comforted hearts.

 
They even stopped at the theatre,
A place supposed to be dark and smug,
And set up floating light bulbs,
Tied to itty-bitty acting bugs.

Slowly but surely,
They lit the whole town,
Replacing a smile,
For each person’s old frown.

But rest they could not,
Their main task still at hand,
They packed up their stuff,
And headed into wild lands.

First came the forests,
With creaking old branches,
Blinking wide eyes,
Shot them shadowy glances.

Second up,
Were high peaks filled with snow,
Their toes quickly froze,
The way winds here would blow.

Into the caves of abandoned miners,
Who once picked away at gems and diamonds,
Now all they heard were droplets and drips,
A threat to their torch would it extinguish.

After the caves,
A new town appeared,
No lights shined here either,
Just as Oliver had feared.

“Can’t we just go on and find dad and mom?”
Faye whispered desperately into his arm.
“My young girl, I know that you long,
But if we can do good, than good must be done.”

Slowly but surely,
They lit the whole town,
Replacing a smile
For each person’s old frown.

One person came up,
Once they were done,
His face had been stricken,
With fear of someone.

“Sir, and miss,
I have some new news,”
“Tell us,” Oliver beckoned,
“And be quick, and true.”

“This town had been shining,
For ages long,
But yesterday morning,
A Witch came along.”

“Just as I feared,”
Oliver nodded,
He thanked the Samaritan,
And on they trotted.

What was the reason,
What will had this Witch?
That she would spite towns,
Cities, and villages.

Only one way to discover,
Her plot and her plans,
First find where she’s hiding,
Then find her demands.

To Be Continued…

Better To Have Never Loved At All

Better To Have Never Loved At All

Two Page Love Story by G. Z. Kieft

 

The salty winds dance on my skin and the setting sun scares my eyes away: I hold them shut tight and clench my teeth together in frustration. My fingers sit curled up into fists and my blood boils with agitation. I want to hurt something. I have been punching waves and kicking sand into my own eyes all afternoon, which, obviously upset me even more. Now, as the sun threatens to leave me just as everyone else has, I sit with nothing but anger and the incapability to do anything about it and I am lost.
See, I’m cursed.
When I was a young boy, my friend and I snuck out of our house one night. I’ll never forget the scent of gasoline and burnt rubber from the asphalt, accompanied with the prickling sense of sweat rubbing between skin and grass stained shirts. We jumped fences and hedges between neighboring gardens and giggled with anticipation as we approached our disturbed goal: break into Marley Higginson’s house. Mrs. Higginson was an old lady – probably the oldest thing in our neighborhood, and, in our opinion the oldest thing in existence – who always spat words in weird languages at us as we played on her sidewalk. She always shook her bony little fingers and threatened us with words we didn’t understand, and for us kids, this perfectly casted her as a witch. My friend (Max) and I, we were the brave ones. We always stood there, laughing tauntingly as her old lips struggled to comply to her twisted brain. We promised our friends that one day, we would break into her house and officially expose her as a witch. Tonight was that ‘one day’.
We didn’t really believe she was a witch, of course. We knew witches didn’t exist. But what did exist was adrenaline, and for boys, living in the safe, suburban streets of Vancouver meant it wasn’t exactly easy to find anything adrenaline worthy. I remember distinctly: we arrived into her yard and fear suddenly replaced my bravery. Her garden was bare and ugly, like a little desert in the middle of a beautiful, flourishing city. Max had said something like, “Come on, let’s go”. At this moment, he seemed a hundred times braver than me, and I became forced to expand my own bravado. We had watched some videos online on how to pick locks, so naturally we were experts, but when we tried to pick the lock on her door it wouldn’t budge.
“Must be witchcraft.” Max had chuckled excitedly.
“Yeah.” I agreed enthusiastically.
It wasn’t witchcraft. I knew that. I assumed Max did too, but he was beginning to worry me. Did he know there was no such thing as a witch? Did he realize we were just breaking into an old woman’s house?
“I’ve got an idea.” Max said.
I remember the look in his eyes. Hungry, full of life and energy. It had scared me.
“Max, let’s just go.” I had said. “Let’s regroup and do this another night.”
But Max had already picked up a rock, and before I had any chance to stop him, he chucked it at the window and it cleared a hole straight through. We watched in anticipation until the hole cracked off like a spider web and soon the entire window shattered.
“Max!” I scolded in a whisper.
“Shh.” He hushed, and disappointment crossed his gaze to me. “I thought we were in this together?”
But before I could even respond, an alarm went off. We both jumped, startled, and booked it over her fence together. That’s when it happened. As we struggled over the fence, I peeked back over shoulder and saw, to my horrible surprise, that the old lady was looking at us out of her window. And she mouthed – so clearly that I could read her lips – she mouthed: You will never live this down.
For a long time Max and I laughed about this event, and soon we forgot about it. Then May 1st, 1996 came along, and Max was killed in a car accident. I remember standing at his grave, holding a bouquet of flowers, staring at his name on the tomb and feeling so out of place without him. The next year, June 2nd of 1997, my mother died of a heart attack. July 3rd, 1998, my dad was shot during a gas station robbery. My wife, Celeste, died during childbirth August 4th, 1999, and my son lasted only five days before complications took him from me too. Today was September 5th, 2000, and I was still alive. I had nobody left – nobody to be taken away from me, and yet I was forced to live on. All day I had walked in front of traffic, under ladders, through dangerous neighborhoods and literally carried a sign saying, “kill me”. I threatened a police officer, but he only laughed me off and left me. I tried to overdose with medicine and accidentally dropped the bottle of pills into the toilet. I tried to find a gun store but I guess we don’t have any in Vancouver, or the ones we did have were closed today. I had no idea how difficult it was to die. Then it occurred to me, as I sat staring into the horrible, unchanged sun, that I was cursed. That old lady, she was a witch, and I was cursed.
And so here I am. What am I supposed to do then? I can’t live with myself, but I cannot seem to die, no matter how hard I try.
“Nice sign.” The voice comes from my right, and when I look over the sun illuminates a young, pale face with thick lips and long eyelashes. The woman seems amused, but I just ignore her and return my face to the salty wind.
“You want to die?” She asks.
“More than anything.”
She asks me why, and I monotonously explain my depressing scenario. During this time she invites herself to take a seat next to me. When I finish, she shrugs.
“And this makes your cursed?” She reiterates.
I sigh. “Obviously.”
“I don’t know.” She shrugs. “A hundred-fifty thousand people die every day. You only knew five of those. Do you mourn the other thousands of people that have died since then?”
“No.” I say.
“So you’re not upset that they died, you’re just upset that you loved them.”
I think for a moment. “No.”
“So if you’re not upset that they died, and you’re not upset that you loved them, then…”
“I am upset that they died.”
“You’re upset that you lost them.” She says, a bit sternly. “But that’s just you. You look at it like you lost five people, but you have to look at it like you got to love five people, so deeply and so passionately, that you will never, ever forget them. Only you got to know those people the way you did.”
She pauses and stares me right in the eyes. Then, she says kindly, “It is better to have loved and lost.”