Payment Failed

This 100 word micro-fiction story was a submission to the NYC Midnight writing contest. The prompts were as followed: genre: horror, action: making a down payment, needed word: piece.

Unfortunately the story didn’t rank in the winning top fifteen, but it still felt worthy of being read.

A funny bit of information about myself: I grew up loving horror (Stephen King for example), and any media that had a surreal, supernatural, or unexplainable plot (House of Leaves/Mark Z. Danielewski for example). These days, I find myself mostly avoiding reading horror (though House of Leaves remains my favorite book) and practically never writing it. With that being said, I felt pretty good about the end product, even if it pushed me outside of my comfort zone with the genre and content I wrote. With that, below is “Payment Failed.”

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Years ago, at Dominion’s Conception Superstore, we sold our innocence to afford the down payment we made on Ayanna’s life subscription.

Today, Dominion returned with a gavel-like knocking as Ayanna played blissfully in the garden.

Their associate beamed. “Good day. I’m Reaper. I’m here to repossess the child due to subscription payment failure.”

“Please. No.”

“Request denied. Payment failure limit reached.”

I hadn’t heard Ayanna come inside. She handed me a Chrysanthemum. Reaper smiled down at her.

“Excellent. She will be recycled piece by piece to fuel our workers.” As they departed, he yelled: “Please remember to rate your purchase!”

To Shelve the Book

To shelve a book: like the end of a chapter in your own story.

To give the guiding words of another a home, until it is asked again to tell its story or bestow its wisdom.

To add another layer to the horizontal linear palette of colors which make up the painting of a library.

To say: “Thank you friend; for the conversation, the companionship, the stories, and the memories.”

Sadness: because the abyss-like ink, and the fine fibered paper, and the whisper of flipping pages, and the symphony which they all combined to conduct shall be put to rest; at least until the next time.

The victory of completion: because you absorbed, and savored, and pondered every word of a long wondered about thought that an author put on a piece of paper; because you watched a story unfold; because you learned a deep truth about yourself or those around you.

The displacement of time’s footprint, when the bones of the book nudge aside collected layers of dust as you push ever so gently, the new tenant of this sliver of long unoccupied space into position.

To see it from across the room, and ache for it’s old companionship; clamoring to again fall into the depths of color, and shape, and weight, and word which compose it.

To wake up one day, and say: “Hello friend” as it resides again in your hand. It answers back with a crack of it’s spine: “Come in, have a cup of coffee. Let’s catch up, it has been too long.”