24
Jun

De novo

Colin Cox was, for all intents and purposes, an average college student. He woke in the mornings after nights of partying, head dull and aching, and dragged himself through his day. In classes, he paid little attention and spent more time drawing in the margins of his notebook, until he chimed back in for some bit of information he supposed might actually make it onto the midterm. He dated, though sparingly–pretty girls with long hair and high-waisted shorts, now that it was finally starting to get warm outside. He was, whether out with the people he called friends or bent over textbooks in the library, an everyman.

This was, for the most part, a very cheaply constructed persona. He strove for it, but it was a thin veneer over a past and current life that he made a special point to avoid discussing–it had lost him friends and girlfriends and scholarships alike. It made his girlfriends, who didn’t press too hard, think he was dark and mysterious; it made his friends, who hung around long enough, think he was reckless and wild. Really, all it was was a clever means by which he avoided scrutinization and pity, and ultimately terror.

At a young age, Colin learned all about hiding. His parents were the kind of parents who tried to dissuade you from hiding–there was no reason, you should be proud of being so unique and different, and anyway, they would love you no matter what, and that’s all that should matter! But the world, he learned, was not his parents. The world did not care about being unique and different, unless it was to the benefit of others; the world did not care how much pain it put someone through; the world, and the other children in it, didn’t care about suffering and sadness. And so, despite the doctors and the administrators and the agencies and the constant check-ins from case supervisors mandated by a federal court order that governed Colin and all people like him, he learned that simply being Colin–not unique or individual, and especially not strange or special–was the best for everyone involved, that keeping his head down and his voice low and his test scores mediocre was the best way to slip through the world unnoticed and unimportant.

20
Feb

Chimera

Tomas stared from under the shrilling engines, hat pulled tight over his ears with mufflers tightened to try and muffle the noise and save his hearing, to where Viktor was yelling at him like it mattered what he was saying. Of course neither of them could hear the other, and Tomas was no good at reading lips and they knew it, but Viktor was still yelling and looking stern, obviously trying to get Tomas out from under the engine. Tomas, though, had no intention of coming out when he was looking like that, his mechanical eye glinting and leaking a bit of oil down into the corner of his eyes; it was an unpleasant sight that made his stomach curl and tighten up almost to his throat, one that made him busy himself even further.

I can’t hear you, he said to himself, like he would out loud. Even if the engines weren’t screaming bloody murder over my head, I’ve got the hat and the muffler, and I can’t hear your raspy owl screeching, old man. Get out of my engine room before a valve blasts into your face, accidentally on purpose.

23
Sep

The Gentleman Game

by Torino Koji
illustrated by chaosraven

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/92152.html)

illustrated by chaosraven

July 4
London felt clean and old and free compared to Heidelberg and the base Patrick Carter had been living on for the past two years. He stepped out of the gate, past security, rucksack over his shoulder, and felt almost adult-like—seventeen and given nearly free reign to a city he’d never seen before, as long as he was back to his mother’s cousin’s by evening.

Continue reading “The Gentleman Game” »

22
Jun

Hey Jude

by torino koji

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/85542.html)

Hey, hey momma, said the way you move
Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove

—–

It began with a guitar riff: long and wailing and shrill, winding up and away from the speakers of the stereo, startling the cat right off the bed and out the door, and prompting Jude’s mother to come tearing into the room, screeching about how he needed to turn that terrible music down before he blew out his eardrums or they had a noise complaint or something.

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5
Mar

The World Goes On

by torino koji

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/76164.html)

Tell me about your despairs, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
— from Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese

—–

“You should come to the reunion.”

Continue reading “The World Goes On” »

5
Mar

Car Talk

by torino koji

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/76475.html)

Everything could be blamed on the Impala, even if that wasn’t true in the slightest and he knew it.

The Impala was not the Impala, but it was as close as three jobs between the two of them had managed to get that was still in their state and still running. It wasn’t a ’67—a ’69, actually, and Gerard got that God was having a laugh at both their expenses, and so did Loren, but they didn’t say anything about it—and it wasn’t black. They’d gotten it on a whim—joked about it for almost a year until one day at lunch Gerard stormed into the music hall and slapped the classifieds down onto the music stand Loren was using for his guitar tabs.

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24
Dec

The Middle Way

by Torino Koji
illustrated by chaosraven

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/66419.html)

It was dark, and the Earth said, “Sorry. Try again.”

—–

It’s the smell that does it. Week-old laundry and possibly old take-out boxes that were left out before going to work and went stale and bad in the still air of the apartment. The mattress is lumpy, the sheets starched, and there’s an underlying smell of blood and earth and motor oil. Which would be fine, except that I’m pretty sure I shut the window. Last time I checked.

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16
Oct

Synaesthesia

by Torino Koji

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/61169.html)

Once you’re dead, you’re set for life.
—Jimi Hendrix

——

Matthieu keeps a cat because it’s easier than keeping a roommate, if slightly less helpful when it comes time for bills. She’s a grouchy cat he’s had since she was a kitten, with an annoying tendency to sit behind his desk chair and demand attention, and a squeaky frog-noise of a voice. He doesn’t care much for her, but it makes him feel slightly less crazy, when he talks to her; crazy people talk to their tea kettles and the television. By talking to the cat he’s—well, not entirely sane, but definitely not crazy.

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6
Aug

Masks and Stockings

by Torino Koji

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/48664.html)

Alex, despite popular belief, did know exactly what was being said about him around school. He had come to terms with what people were saying about him when he was eight years old and the girls at school had shoved him into the bathroom; they had refused to let him leave until he admitted that his name was not Alex, it was Alyssa and one day he’d grow breasts and have pretty hips and wear dresses. He had come to terms with gossip when he’d had his first boyfriend and it had gone around school that he was on the rag within the first three days of their dating—it was his shortest-lived relationship to date.

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6
Aug

液体の説得

(Ekitai no settoku)
by Torino Koji
illustrated by chaosraven

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/56775.html)

In the six months that Yamagawa Buki had been ‘seeing’ Torisu Hanabi, he had never seen the third-year junior high student in his school uniform. He supposed it only made sense: he rarely saw Torisu-kun within school hours (generally, they met up in parks on the weekend), and when he did it was usually during his school hours, not Torisu-kun’s—which had been a shock, the first time he’d seen him at the university and nearly blown their meager cover in front of his Literature professor (Torisu-kun’s father; clearly Buki was cursed).

And while Torisu-kun was comely enough in street clothes, flashing his smile and flicking the thin wisps of his hair out of his dark eyes, he was something to behold in the dark blue uniform of his school.

Continue reading “液体の説得” »