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) 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 […]

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 […]

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.” Hillary cradled the phone between his shoulder and ear as he dumped the rice into the water. “Jamie, what could […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]