On Edge

by Brianna G. Harte

Walking alone, mind focused on only one thing with all else lagging, chills in the air ran wild. Her path shined in the street lights, the dampening of the grass on either side mimicking her spirits. Seven hours of frustration-ridden work and studying lay behind her.

The winds picked up around her, and a whiff of cologne infused her nose.

Maybe it’s just coming from the library and someone has just left. They’re going the other way, though, she told herself. Just make it home. A nice, cozy apartment with heat and hot cocoa.

Five more minutes and the smell didn’t go away. In fact, it seemed to get stronger. Faintly, something rattled in a bag as though tossing and turning against a solid book. She tried to ignore it, but as the sounds rang louder and the stench seemed undeniably close, this proved far more difficult to do. Gritting her teeth as she sensed a hand reaching out, she thought, I have heavy books in this bag, and I’m not afraid to –

Someone screamed.

“Jody!” She exclaimed angrily. “I could have pummeled you!”

“No kidding. Say, Lilan, could you calm down?”

They stood face to face as the book bag fell down slowly.

“Sorry, a lot has been going on lately. Exams haven’t helped.”

“What have you got going on?” Jody asked as her hands tucked into her coat pockets and face burrowed into a soft purple scarf.

Lilan thought about last night, the night before that, and essentially the whole week. She won’t be able to understand, or really want to know. It would be too much for her to process. “Oh, just a lot of work going on.”

Jody simply laughed, tossing her head of auburn hair backwards. “No way that’s true. Let me guess, boyfriend troubles?”

If only it was something so simple.

Copyright ©2016 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Please let me know in the comments if you would like read more of this story or any other short story I’m writing over the next month! Now that the semester is coming to an end soon, I’ll be able to write more, so make sure to comment!

Treasured

by Brianna G. Harte

Walking down the street, hidden in the shadows of the buildings, he guarded his cloth bag crossed over his chest. Rattling sounded with each step toward a worn-down building. His heart pumped fast as his alert eyes scanned every person in sight. Their own stares weighed him down. He held his bag tighter as his pace quickened. A man dressed in a dark hoodie sitting against a brick wall took notice and began to follow him, enthralled by the mystery of the shoulder bag. The building sighted, the man made his move and roughly tore the bag away, tearing some of the strap in the process. With his prize in his hands, the hooded one took off. The other attempted to pursue him, but found it impossible and slumped, defeated. The man ran for a few more blocks before ducking into an alleyway. A mystery was to be uncovered. What riches awaited him, he soon found out. The hooded man’s excitement transformed to confusion. He peeked out into the street he ran down, noticing the youth’s hands covering his face. Rather than pristine from washing, random black smudges ran across his hands. His clothes wore the same appearance. The hooded man looked back into the bag and nodded. With worn-down sneakers, he made his way back to the youth. Carefully, he set down the bag. A nod of understanding passed between the two before they parted, a dim light beginning to flicker amongst the shadows.

Copyright ©2016 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Finding Clarity

by Brianna G. Harte

Upon a pier

A man’s legs dangled

Over open water

Whose constant rolls

Crawled toward the shore,

Only telling their stories

Through brushes against the shore,

Rolling over wave after wave.

Successive rings given birth

Below the unmoving shoes

Clash with rolling waves

Coming in gently,

Bringing clear waters

For just one moment

To the dark surface.

Motion begins,

Never to cease like before

As the boards begin to creak

And footprints visit the shore once more.

Copyright ©2016 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

Broken, but not gone

by Brianna G. Harte

Though darkness had consumed the sky hours past, loneliness drew me to the glistening streets and the puddles huddling to the curbs. So far did the moon reside that though my heart felt empty inside, my eyes were captured by its gentle glow. She mocked me not for the distance apart from her was less than that from companionship.

As I entered an alley, tall brick buildings hid her from view. Shadows instead fell over my body the more I wandered. No longer did the pavement shine, for no light could touch its cracked surface. A voice called me forward, one riddled with pain. Although he asked for money and I had nearly none, the man let me sit against the aged wall beside him. Tattered clothes, dirty from the solemn streets, lay loose on his skinny frame. While my fleece jacket overlaying a collared shirt rubbed against his large, faux leather jacket that was three sizes, too big, he did not seem to mind.

Instead, he talked. Words from his mouth were simple, and yet they held power. The power was passion. Stories of how the city had transformed through his life ran through my mind. How it was once a booming city turned to dust over racism and roads. Sorrow took hold of his voice as he recalled friends departing, never to return. Streets of bustling traffic dissolved into empty lands. Buildings boarded up. The reputation of the city sank. No one would enter into the once proud city.

“No one here was dangerous,” he said. “And no one is. Others just don’t understand. That’s the problem when one person talks down on another, or even encourages others to have fear strike ‘em. I gotta tell you that words can do something. Tear apart. Bring up. It don’t matter. Someone’s gotta do something. I can’t. No one would listen to Ole Hal. How ‘bout you?”

At first, I was thrown back. What could I do? I couldn’t even get a relationship to work. Seconds passed. The man –  who I had never met before – his words hit me. My perspective turned 180 degrees. What if I did something, anything? Though I didn’t know him, or the town, I walked through the streets in my loneliness. The city, hollowed out and attempting to soak up anything, was not my own. But it was not bad. Perhaps these were simple words. And yet, they evolved. I recalled the people I passed by and their waves of greeting. I recalled the shops desperate to stay open, and their owners who had tried to lighten my mood. I recalled the parks and rivers that, given care that they deserved, could be beautiful. Looking at the man, I gave a simple nod.

“I will try.”

Copyright © 2016 Brianna G Harte. All rights reserved.