Chess

Ana loved to watch the sunset from her bayside window, loved to look above and see the sky swirl into an orange-purple haze. Even now as the late afternoon perpetuated into a dark dusk, she could feel the warm and lasting kiss of sunlight against her skin. The sound of the sea always sang to her as she laid and stared at the wall. Each evening she took time to close her eyes and listen to the relentless crash of the waves against the shore. Yet her serenity failed to last at the hollow and haunting call of crow over the sea. She could feel her peace retreat like the tide as the blackbird emerged from the sky. Yet her eyes could not peel away from the paper clutched between its talons.

With the evening breeze pushing against its back, the crow was ushered towards her window in mere moments. No longer did Ana hear the relentless flap of its wings as it cocked its head and cawed. Any other day she would have smiled, approached the bird with open arms and retrieved whatever it had brought her. But today she dreaded to read the note between its talons. Was it her father bidding her his final farewell? Four years ago he had disappeared across the sea without a word. For four years she received nothing but trinkets.

The last time she enjoyed his company was the day before he departed. Ana’s father was a fanatic when it came to chess. Day in day out, they spent their time staring at a board, anticipating each other’s next move. She could still remember him lounging on the porch, bathing in the sun and waiting for her to move her pawn. They never ended her game. One moment he was there, smiling and waiting for her decision and the next he was gone.

Ana did not know what to expect as she managed to take a step closer. The Crow once again cocked its head and cawed, leaning forwards at her approach. Her touch was gentle as she reached for its foot and carefully unwrapped the scrolled note from its talons. As a child, she had been taught how to handle birds from every corner of the globe. They came in every color and every size, yet her father’s interests fixated on the crow. Even years later, Ana’s skill did not waver as she gave the bird a soothing pat on the head.

“Now go” She spoke, turning her shoulder dismissively. The crow cawed one last time before disappearing into the darkness. Ana was left with the scrolled paper in her fingers, palms sweaty despite the cool breeze blowing through her open window. She unrolled it with care, worried the fine paper would fall apart if she touched it the wrong way. She could smell the sea, the fish and the salt and even the scraggly crow. The handwriting was messy, undoubtedly written by the hand of her father. Still, she spelled out the words in her mind.

         Checkmate

 

Stranger Poem

This month’s poetry prompt for our writers is to write a poem about someone you will never meet. Let your creativity run free! The poem doesn’t need to rhyme and has a minimum of 4 lines. Be sure to check out what BUHS has to offer!

The Note

This month’s prompt for our creative writers is to write a story on the following: The crow visited everyday, bringing tiny shiny trinkets. But today, he had brought a note instead. The story’s minimum word count is 250 words. Please check out what BUHS’s writers have to offer!

The New Guy

    There was gossip around the office about the new temp. Some said he was short and tubby, his hair slicked back to reveal fat Korean features. I couldn’t say they were true until he fell face first into my cubicle, spilling hot coffee across my new pants. I was not sure which was more vexing, the warm liquid burning my legs or the highly dangerous ‘man’ struggling to get up from the floor. I was the least bit surprised to discover that this short, Korean-looking temp managed to rank higher in hostility than my husband, a retired marine corp.

     For the days that followed, I was convinced that my mind was playing tricks on me. How could such a small, seemingly un-intelligent and physically unfit man be so dangerous? The idea was ludicrous from the perspective of a woman that had encountered many dangerous people in her life. For the weeks that followed, I found myself observing him from the break room as if waiting for him to commit a crazy act of violence. Yet he acted like any other reserved guy would, quiet and rarely social discounting his occasional Korean curses. For the longest time, I was perplexed by the entire situation, puzzled by how such a man could be so threatening. This continued until I arrived home from a long day of work months later to see a certain Korean man broadcasted throughout the news.  

    The new temp we came to call Kim had been gone the last week on his ‘vacation’ to a family cabin. Some could say it was me being merely superstitious, but the man all over the news looked remarkably like Kim. For the longest time I sat, perplexed into the front of the television, convinced that the man threatening millions of people was an identical twin of Kim. But that theory soon proved to be invalid as weeks passed without Kim returning. His presence seemed to no longer matter, the months wearing away the short tubby figure from each of our minds. I soon came to forget about the small man that somehow came to be so dangerous.

The Mysterious and Dangerous Ten

“This is the third time this week that I’ve found you napping at your desk!”

The sound of your boss’s yell makes you jump and almost fall out of your chair. Your posture straightens and you return your gaze to the blank computer screen, trying to internally deny that you had dozed off once again. You refuse to look at him.

“If I find you like this again, you’ll be kicked to the curb! Do you hear?!” Your boss marches away, his hands clenched so tightly that his knuckles turn white with tension. Rolling your eyes, you resume to your original position, your fingers tapping the arm-rest as you sigh with annoyance.  

You’ve worked at the Amazon help center for almost 6 months now and you’re amazed that you haven’t been fired yet. Not only has your boss caught you messing around three times this week, but has caught you a total of thirty-two times in the past four months. You’ve counted because it’s the only amusing part about your job. Serving at the local coffee shop a few blocks away had paid your bills, but it had been shut down by the health department because of a rat infestation. You miss your old job, but only because you had an even better game to play there. In fact, it’s a game that no one else can play…

Ever since you can remember, you’ve had this amazing ability to tell if someone is dangerous. You don’t know why or how, but whenever you are face to face with someone, you can see a small dial above their head. Over the years, you’ve learned that it’s a danger meter, with one being harmless and ten being deadly. You’ve never actually met anyone who was a ten, but your father used to be an eight. As a child, he would get drunk and get angry at the smallest things and would then take it out on you or your mother, who was a meager two at best. When you were sixteen, you got your job as a waitress. Unlike basically anyone who has to work in the restaurant business, being a waitress became a fun game for you because you would try and guess people’s number before you served them and then see the actual number.

But now, you work in a tiny cubicle with the same boring people every day and see only three’s and four’s over people’s heads. One person ticks at a four or a five every now and then, but not enough to worry you. 

You lift your arms over your head and stretch as far as you can from head to toe before sitting up and looking around. Everyone else is working hard at their desks, answering phone calls and explaining why their order hasn’t arrived for several weeks.

Why do people do this job willingly?  You take a quick look at the clock across the room. It reads 1:17. Great, still over three more hours before I can leave…

Your eyes naturally glance towards the glass door as someone opens it. As they walk in, you’re no longer able to breathe.

A tall, muscular man walks in, wearing a decent shirt and a pair of nicely fitted jeans. His chocolate brown hair reaches his wide, muscular shoulders. Your eyes somehow meet his and you instantly feel panic. His stunning green eyes pierce right through, but his eyes have no light in them, making them almost seemed brown. You rip your gaze from his and look above his head.

He reads a ten.

*****

A few hours pass, and you are still shaken by the strange man that you saw. For almost half an hour, he was in your boss’s office, and now he is sitting two cubicles away from you, calmly answering phone calls and paying no attention to you or to anyone else. You can’t get over his number, and you wonder if he’s actually some weird alien to get a full on ten.

Finally, the clock across the room reads four-thirty, and you start shutting down your computer and grabbing your backpack to head back to your apartment. You start to notice, however, that the mysterious man is starting to leave as well. You slow down your pace and wait for him to leave before you get out of your cubicle. The moment the door closes, you quickly but discreetly follow him out of the building.

Once you’re outside, you look down both ends of the street, and you spot him already a few hundred yards away. You take a few steps in his direction and see him turn into an alleyway.

Great, a dark alleyway. Following him sounds like a great idea, right?

You wring the straps of your backpack, your whole body tensing up.

What if he’s a serial killer? I don’t wanna be his next victim!

You look around and see a few people wandering down the street.

Well, if I scream, people will hear me… and there’s the pepper spray in my bag. 

You force your feet to move and you walk uncomfortably but sternly, wanting to come off as tough if he comes at you.

You slow down your pace as you make your way into the grim, trash-covered alley, looking for any signs of him. You’re about a few feet in when you decide that he’s gone. But when you turn around, you come face to face with those same cold, green eyes.

“Why are you following me?” he asks, his voice just as cold as his eyes. You swallow painfully, a large lump forming in your throat.

“I-I wasn’t following you,” you stammer, your hands growing sweaty as you grip the thick straps of your backpack. You can feel your stance weaken and your knees start to shake. He takes a few steps towards you, his eyes glinting with what you think is excitement. You mirror him and take a step back, but you hit the cold brick of the wall. Bile rises in your throat as you begin regretting your decisions. This guy’s dangerous, Y/N, get the heck away from him, NOW!

“Really?” he chuckles, his smile twisted and the ten looming above his head. “Now that’s not what it seemed like.” Before you can even respond, he lunges at you, his hands wrapping around your throat. Your mouth opens, but no sound comes out. Your heart races in your chest and the tears start to drip down your face. His gaze pierces yours, his eyes seeming to be the only thing visible.

“Let me ask you again, why were you following me?” His grip tightens, and you struggle for air, the tears dripping into your open, silent mouth.

I’m going to die…

You squeeze your eyes closed, praying that he’ll just end you as quickly as possible.

“Sam, stop!”

The voice is as clear as a bell through all the chaos, and it causes the man to loosen his grip. He doesn’t let go, but it’s enough for you to regain your breath. His head turns towards the voice that just possibly saved your life.

Your head spins and you can’t make out his face, nor his words as he speaks to your about-to-be killer who you now know has a name. You have black spots in your vision, and you feel that if Sam did let you go, you would just collapse.

Finally, you feel him release his grip fully, and your legs buckle just as you predicted. But instead of falling to the ground, a pair of strong arms catches you and holds you up.

“Easy, easy.” You hear the person whisper, their voice rough yet kind. You slowly plant your feet on the ground, your breathes staggered. You don’t rip your gaze from Sam – if you need to give a description to the police, you want it to be as clear as possible. 

“Are you okay?” he asks. You can’t speak yet, so you just simply nod. You are able to sit down on the ground but next to the wall so you can lean against it. The person who saved you looks almost nothing like Sam, his hair is short and messy. He has green eyes, but they have the light in them that Sam lacks. You look upwards and see an eight hovering over his head.

Why is he less dangerous than the other one?

“She was following me, Dean,” Sam growls, his eyes just as dark as before, “what was I supposed to do?”

“She’s not a demon, Sam! She would have attacked you when you lunged at her!” You feel uncontrollable tears fall down your cheeks again.

Demon? What are they talking about?!

“Well, I wasn’t taking any chance,” Sam retorts, a smile tugging again at his lips, but it was nowhere near endearing.

The man now known as Dean returns his attention to you, concern and pain written across his face. “I know you don’t trust us, but we need to take you somewhere safe, okay?”

You stare at them, completely confused. If you make a run for it, they’ll catch you, and if you fight, they’ll easily take you down… you have no other options at this point.

“Okay,” you croak out, your voice scratchy and weak. Dean nods and lifts you to your feet. He wraps your arm around his neck and shoots the other man a scowl as he helps you down the alley to their car, a sleek, glossy Impala. He helps you into the back and takes the driver’s seat while Sam takes the passenger side.

Dean turns the ignition on and looks at you in the mirror. “By the way, I’m Dean Winchester. I’m sorry for my brother,” he gestures to the other man, who stares blankly ahead through the windshield, “ It’s a long story that I’ll tell you on the way.”

Opposites Poem

This month’s poetry prompt for our writers is to write a poem that starts with one word and ends with the opposite. Like truth ends with lies or up ends with down and so on! The poem doesn’t need to rhyme and has a minimum of 4 lines. Be sure to check out what BUHS has to offer!

Dangerous New Guy

This month’s prompt for our creative writers is to write a story from the point of view of someone who can “see” how dangerous someone is with a number scale of 1-10 above their heads. An infant would be a one while a trained soldier would score a seven. Your character is a regular office worker and one day, they notice that the new reserved guy at work has a 10 above his head. The story’s minimum word count is 250 words. Please check out what BUHS’s writers have to offer!

Color Poem

Sorrow and despair
Can be expressed in its various hues
But sadness it is not limited to
Serenity also can come through
Waves crashing on the shore
Bear this color evermore
High alpine lakes in spring
Accent the peaks as sapphire bling
Polor bears lounging on a shaft of sunrise
So high up in the fair skys
Do ask you to surmise
What color do I speak of
Don’t use your eyes
-Sierra Burror
(It’s blue)