Shell Shock

The war is far from over. Each day
awakens another demon. To say
that life is a breeze must be a lie.
It is hard to stay positive when
you know, you too, will someday
die. All we can do is try to stay
sane. There is a war inside all
of our brains. There is some sun,
but mostly rain. Life can be fun
if we decide to run before father
time tucks us in. What we lose
in things is gained in wisdom.
When the dust settles, we will
see that past souls have risen.
The war is far from over, yet
the score is far from set. Bet
on yourself and don’t give up.
When feeling shell shocked, be
the rock that does not stop
staying on top. Win the battle
today. Strap on your saddle.
Ride closer to the finish line.
When the war is finally over,
our mission will be complete.
That’s when we will be okay.
That’s when we will feel peace.

Gone

Trapped under the door, I did my best to push it off me. The weight pushing down on the door was too powerful, so my attempts were unsuccessful. After several hours and several brief naps, I was able to push the door off of me. Dusty and dirty, I pat my clothes, creating clouds of filth. I walk through the door frame and look back at the defeated door. Curious to what knocked down the door with such force, I continued limping forward. I look to my left and see claw marks etched into the wall. There were toughs of hair and streaks of blood clearly visible to the naked eye outlining the marks. I was not sure if the blood came from me or the creature that tried eating me. I scanned my body and I was unscathed: only a few scratches.

What the hell was that? Many thoughts bounced inside my throbbing skull. I made it through the mess and stepped outside, making my way to the front porch. I expand my sight, open my eyes wide, and fixate on two broken trees. It looks like Godzilla came with a big ax and chopped them down. After further inspection, I notice a string of giant footsteps. I walk toward the trees and stumble into a small hole. I quickly realized I was standing inside just one footprint of this creature. I stick my finger in the muddy print and stare at it as if I knew what I was looking for. I head back inside for the night.

I never mind being alone but to have my life ripped away from me was unexpected, to say the least. It started the day the meteor came falling from the sky. No one saw it coming. Out of nowhere, a small planet-sized meteor came and smashed the entire state of Idaho. Shortly after, people in neighboring states went missing. It was not long after that my life changed for the worst. I was living a relatively normal life; I had a family, a job, and a future planned. It’s been a year since I have seen anyone. Every night following the meteoric crash, I would hear hoots and howls. I had many sleepless nights wondering where my family went. Wondering didn’t get me answers. Now was the time for action; I remembered the scratch marks, large footprints, and broken trees and knew danger was near and very real. I just wasn’t sure what the danger was.

The sun comes up, and I rise to my feet. With my minor limp, I drag my left foot with each step. Looking out the front window, I notice that a few more trees were knocked down, and there were twice as many footprints. Fortunately, my truck was untouched. I hobble in and drive to the nearest city: Seattle.

The freeways were completely empty. It looks like the cars on the freeway took the role of being claw machine prizes. 150 miles later and still no cars or humans. As I pull off the freeway and into Seattle, the first thing I noticed was that the Space Needle looked like a titanium candle. Large flames were kissing the sky.

I get out of my car and hobble closer to the center of town. The closer I got to the Space Needle, the sicker I felt. I look around and see empty streets and vacant stores. I take one step into the flaming needle and step in toxic sludge. I try to lift my foot up, but can’t. My shoe is glued to the floor. I look up and see pieces of rubble fall down. A large beam almost hits me, as I unstick my foot and roll away. I was out just as fast as I was in. I get up, look behind me and see the Space Needle collapse. Green sludge oozes out the sides of the structure. A piece of radio-active slime lands on my lip. Against my better judgment, I lick my lips. My tongue slowly retreats in my mouth. My lips close, and my pupils expand to the size of a dime. I have to get to my truck.

Back in my truck, I grip the steering wheel with all my might. The veins in my arms become visible. A few more veins make an appearance on my forehead. Blazing down the freeway, I shift my focus to 400 meters in front of me. A colossal figure takes one step and clears the width of the freeway. I look up and see that it has human-like features. It’s almost as if a human adopted the size of King Kong, except this creature, was covered in green slime. The truck hit maximum speed. A minute passes and I slam the gas pedal to the floor to get a closer look. I parallel park beside the creature’s left foot. It matches the size of the footprint found at my house. Surely, this was the creature that attacked me the other day. With the truck in park, I foolishly step outside to get a better look. I look up and see the large gargantuan hovering over me, with its face leaning into mine. Shaking in my boots, I do my best to stay still, in fear of causing discomfort. It feels as if an eternity passes. The timid creature lowers down, scoops me up, and raises me to its face. I am the size of its nose, so I was afraid of getting inhaled. The creature let out an audible grunt. I look deep into its eyes and see a large, slimy tear fall from its enormous eyes.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

The monster’s head shakes side to side and points to the collapsed Space Needle. Its eyes told me that something was wrong.

I extend my hand and stroke its large nose, “It will be okay. If you help me, then I will help you!”

The monster shook its head up and down in agreement. It lowers me down, and I enter my truck. I notice that my skin is starting to glow. I look in the rearview mirror and see that I was changing. Buttons started popping off my shirt as my body started growing rapidly. Within a few seconds, the truck I’m in explodes off of me. Not before long, I was standing eye to eye with the creature that was just holding me. I lost my ability to speak. I tilt my head at the creature and reveal my palms in frustration. The creature shrugs its shoulders. I became the creature I feared and hated. How did this happen? It taps its wrist indicating something about time. After tapping a few times, the creature points up to the sky. I look up and see a flaming ball coming right at us. The closer it got, the blurrier my vision became. In a flash, life left me; I saw nothing but white.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP

“Sir, are you okay?” A faint voice said.

I open my eyes and see an elderly nurse feeling my right wrist. I am in a hospital bed of some sort; I can’t recall what led me here.

“Sir, you had another episode. You locked yourself in your room and said there was a big creature coming after you. We had to break the door down and sedate you because you were uncontrollable. You did suffer some minor injuries” the voice rings through my ears.

With a question written on my face, I ask, “What do you mean I had an episode? Where am I?”

The nurse grabs my hand and looks directly into my eyes, “Sir, you are home. You are at Meadowhill Psyche Ward. You have been here for over 10 years. Well, since your family dropped you off.”

“M- My family? Do you know where they are? I need to save them from the creature!” were the words rolling off my lips.

The nurse shook her head in slight disappointment. Without answering or skipping a beat, she grabs a pill bottle from the cupboard, takes a few pills out, and puts them in my hand, “Here. Take these. They will make you feel better.”

I swallow the pills without conflict, close my eyes and drift away. Just like that, I was under a door again, the same place I started.

Hurt

Many hurt, but they keep
moving. They keep going.
Monsters lurk without
many knowing. Battles
are fought in silence.
Wars are won without
violence. Hurt riddles
the bones inside our
bodies. The hurt stays
close to remind all
that even the strong
fall. Hurt and pain:
it’s all the same. Rain
or shine, be glad that
another day came.
With all due respect,
we all hurt, in one way
or another. Don’t let
the hurt cut into your
joy. The hurt and pain
may never go away;
give yourself a break –
protect the happiness
the hurt wants to take.


Raise the Bar

Try to face challenges
that bring your best
self out. Walk away
from the path that was
once your past. Reach
for the stars you seek.
Raise the bar and see
life from the highest
valley. Be better than
you were yesterday.
Don’t run in place.
Find strength to go
against the grain
despite the pain.
Feel peace at last.
Enjoy what you have
before it becomes
a part of your past.
It’s not too late. Raise
the bar if you can
and find a place you
would want to land.

Because

Because of my past, I see
a world unique to me.
Because of my experience,
I have seen life from
the other side of the fence.
Because of the times I hurt,
I learned to be aware: alert.
Because of the times of joy,
I rebuild people, places,
and hope once destroyed.
Because of the past pain,
I learned to train my brain,
and welcome pouring rain.
Because of the steep slope,
I found new ways to cope.
Because of the challenge,
I have found my balance.
Because of people like you,
I know to push on through.