Helbereth's Short Shorts

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Helbereth
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Helbereth's Short Shorts

Post by Helbereth » Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:56 pm

Contained within are a series of brief stories I've generated, and continue to create. This used to be a post containing just one one-shot story, but I decided to harvest it along with my replies to salvage this thread.

The original work was "My Angel", and all the replies (not my own) on the first page are related to it. All the stories through "Lilly Remembers" were added on 11/13/2012. The majority are only around 400 words in length, so they're quick reads.
Last edited by Helbereth on Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:06 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: My Angel (one-shot)

Post by Scissorlips » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:24 am

I liked this piece, the subtext of Hisao and Hanako getting the "good end" in the game, then running into new, adult problems later in their life and not necessarily keeping their good end status is intriguing. I honestly thought the narrator was going to be some vague character who's real identity didn't matter, but it wasn't an unpleasant surprise to find out it was Hisao. I can see what you mean with the gritty, noir-like feel, I think your narrator's bitter, broken voice fit the tone pretty well. You took a good end, turned it into a bad end, and then turned it into a good end again, and I really like that, not just because it ended on an uplifting note but because of the execution as well. I'd be interested in seeing similar stories for the other girls, if you ever had the inclination to do something like that.
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Re: My Angel

Post by Helbereth » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:41 am

Index
My Angel

As the street lights slowly passed by, illuminating the inside of my cab like a slow-motion theater, I let my thoughts drift back to the years I spent as an important man. Living the high life and having the world in the palm of my hand was a distant memory, but a pleasant one – and a bitter one. I would have been the first billionaire in my family, but it turned out to be a terrible lie. It was that same old, sad story; markets changed, stocks fell, and I squandered what I had left with lawsuits, alcohol and reckless abandon. After years of loyal, backhanded, cutthroat service, rising near the top of my corrupt industry, I was an aimless drifter and a hopeless drunk, out on the streets and forgotten; doomed to dwell in darkness until Death saw fit to claim my wracked body.

But that changed. Someone found my sorry form lying in the street one frigid winter night, and I was saved from that fate worse than death. My guardian angel sailed down from heaven, and plucked me off the street, speaking comforting words and smiling. At first, I thought she was the hand of Satan himself, sent in a comforting form to drag me down into the darkest pit of hell – where I belonged. The look of her nearly set me to screaming, addled as I was, but I lacked the energy; so I stared wide-eyed and agape at nothing in particular as she gathered me up and put an arm under mine, steadying my drunken stupor and walking me through the bitter cold air into shelter.

As I lay on a cot, I heard her sweet voice explaining how she had found me nearly dead and frightfully cold, lying behind a dumpster, and couldn't leave me there. I remember smiling at the sound of her voice, and that's when I knew she'd been sent by heaven -God himself, maybe, if he existed- to save my sorry existence and offer a second chance to a two-bit crook. The social worker thanked my beautiful angel and I heard her whisper an apology for the late hour, and then she was gone; back up to heaven to sing with the choir and pray for my recovery. I was touched, then I passed out.

I never even caught her name.

I lay on that cot for nearly three days before I had the strength enough to stand, and since then I've been walking on my own. The sound of my angel's sweet voice echoing in my foggy memory pushing me forward, telling me to live and be good. The way I figured it, if heaven saw fit to send such a vivacious seraph to redeem me of and set me upon some righteous path, I was going to listen. I kept her voice close to my heart, and the single image of her beautiful face in my mind, and it made the hours of driving melt into a serene bliss.

A light in the city, another car passing in the night, beamed through the windshield and I averted my eyes for a moment. Quickly looking back, I nearly had a heart attack seeing a woman standing in the middle of the road. My teeth clenched, I slammed on the brakes, praying the snowy road is kind and lets the wheels grip true. The car sputtered and twisted on the slippery road, letting out a horrible screeching wail, and I felt my heart leaping into my throat as I closed my eyes. I began to mumble a prayer, knowing the only thing that could possibly stop the car was my angel. My taxi shuddered and slowed, and I saw the image of my angel flash in front of me, her beautiful face upturned in the most content of smiles.

Finally, the skidding ended and the car came to a stop, but my eyes were still slammed shut as I silently cursed myself for losing my attention. The clamor of the idling engine was all I could hear, rattling and shaking like it always did, as I stood with my foot on the floor brake, and my hand wrapped around the emergency brake. My heart thumped against my chest and I started to notice the sweat on my brow, even in the cold of the night. My heart raced and I felt pain shoot down my left arm, but it dissipated as my breathing slowed. Slowly, I sat back down, relaxing my white-knuckled grip, but remaining fearful of opening my eyes.

Then I heard a voice.

It was my angel's voice, but it wasn't in my head anymore. I heard it coming from somewhere, but I was too fearful to open my eyes and look. I could feel tears welling up, and I bowed my head feeling ashamed, anguished, terrified and hopeless.

There was a tapping on my window, and I was filled with dread. I recalled the years I spent as a corporate stooge and felt the guilt for a thousand broken homes left in my wake. The truth of my past fell in on me like a terrible tsunami and I began to cry, no longer able to hold back the tears. They flowed like an avalanche, pummeling me into deeper despair. The image of my angel faded from my mind, abandoning me as I gave in to the hopelessness; as I decided I was ready to accept death for what I had done – for what I had allowed to happen.

I felt a cold rush of air as my door swung open and someone's cold, dainty hands reached for my shoulder, then my face. I kept my head bowed in shame, unable to look into whatever stranger's eyes had thought to pity this awful wretch.

Then I heard my angel's voice again.

Closer than before, I felt its dulcet tone sweep over me and I withered at the sound. Her words were foreign and I felt my heart sink. Surely my angel would have spoken to me such that I could understand. Was I condemned to forever hear her voice but never understand her words – was that to be my special hell? Steeling myself, I finally opened my eyes and tried to focus through the mist, but what I see disturbs me even more. I blinked and looked again, and nearly screamed in fear as my angel looked in on me through the door.

Why is she here? Doesn't she know what I have done?

I looked away, ashamed, but I listened as she spoke, and suddenly her words became familiar. Her sing-song tone was jilted and accompanied by an occasional stutter, but the words she spoke were honest and kind, just as I had remembered. I turned back and smiled at seeing my angel's beautiful face. This time I saw her through sober eyes, and I felt strength -and lucidity- return to my ailing body – my broken mind. In that moment, I was granted the power to lean forward and inspect the front of my cab.

There was nothing there.

No stricken woman laid there, only a patch of thrown snow and my headlights boring a hole through the darkened street. I smiled and leaned back, suddenly overwhelmed with serenity. My angel had saved me again; descending from heaven to turn the wheel of fate back just enough to let my taxi stop short of ending another innocent's life.

And now she was asking a question.

“Hisao,” she said, and I felt lighter than air. Hearing my name pass through her lips made me feel as though I had already touched heaven. “Hisao, are you alright?” she asked, and I smiled again at hearing her sing-song tone.

Recognition suddenly hit me, and I felt a moment of clarity even more powerful than at the shelter. I focused my gaze upon her and felt the world slipping away as I absorbed the look of my angel's smiling countenance. The wintry garb she wore was puffy and darkly colored. The plush hat on her head was folded up, and her long hair cascaded like a purple waterfall from around its edges. Her rounded, smiling face was cloaked on one side by a carefully draped shock of hair, and her pale skin was rosy from the cold. Her sparkling eye -the one I could see- was reflecting the lamp-light; and within that deep, purple well, I saw nothing but love -and concern. I felt cold and warm at the same time as I remembered my angel's name and it slowly passed through my lips for the first time in fifteen years, “Hanako?”

She smiled, and I nearly passed out from shock. The clouds in my head pushed back and I recalled those years-gone-by when I was still a happy teenager – before I became a monster. Before I sat on a golden throne and lorded over an army of yes-men and toothy-grinned fools, slowly twisting myself into a miserly, miserable wretch. A boy and a girl in love without a care in the world except what the future might bring. My tears flooded forth as I felt Hanako -my angel, my Hanako- touching my cheek and speaking my name like she had in those years long passed.

She leaned in and kissed my cheek, but I turned away. The memory of our years rushing back to my addled mind, I remembered what I had done to her. I had turned our happy lives into an endless, desperate and futile search for material wealth and power. My avarice had been unmatched, my prowess was superior and I was a vicious, coiling snake ready to strike anything that considered challenging me. Hanako had born the brunt of my assault, feeling the lash of my tongue and the threat of my hand -never striking- recoiling into our house and retreating to darkened rooms, avoiding her awful husband.

I remember my hatred when an old friend escorted her away, and the darkness I slipped into – a cold, black well of despair and doubt I had wallowed in since. I never wanted her back in my life again, for fear of finally destroying that which I loved so much; and as she hugged my sorry form, I felt terrified. Of all the people I had hurt in my climb to the top, and my inevitable downfall, my poor Hanako had been the most devastated, and I could not bear seeing her go through that again. I didn't deserve her.

I start to speak, but she pressed forward, enveloping me in a deep kiss, breaking my concentration. My senses blurred and I felt my heart racing as my memories continued to whirl and my consciousness drove deep into my past – our past. In that moment I was transported through time, back to a warm summer street, outside a little tea shop where she gave me her first gift. Innocent and honest, we confessed our love in that place, truly for the first time, and I was there once again. I felt the warm breeze again, smelled the pastries and the fresh-cut grass again, I heard the hushed voices again, tasted her strawberry lipstick again and saw the careless young lovers we had once been, wrapped in an honest embrace. I wanted to live in that moment forever, for in that moment I felt nothing but serenity – and hope.

I felt freed.

When she leaned away, her eyes were closed and I could see tears running down her cheeks. The infectious, honest smile she wore spread to my lips, and I felt the fear leave me; sailing somewhere into the wintry night sky, replaced by an overwhelming feeling of joy. She giggled and cooed, and I felt my heart leap. She whispered forgiveness, and I was impassioned. My angel, my Hanako, she had come to save me – again. Lifting me from an icy death; delivering me to warmth. Stepping into the street; risking her life to save mine. My guardian angel. I could no longer hold back my elation, and I wrapped my arms around her, sighing contentedly, feeling her warmth again. Our fates entwined once more, I leaned in and kissed her more deeply and passionately than ever before; feeling that warm summer day the moment our lips met, and every time after.

My angel, my Hanako.

Index
Last edited by Helbereth on Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:41 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: My Angel (one-shot)

Post by Guest » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:59 am

I really enjoyed reading this, although I admit I was thinking 'Jigoro and Shizune's mum' throughout the whole thing, until the end.

Good job :D

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Re: My Angel (one-shot)

Post by Oddball » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:25 am

Guest wrote:I really enjoyed reading this, although I admit I was thinking 'Jigoro and Shizune's mum' throughout the whole thing, until the end.
That was my thought as well.
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Re: My Angel (one-shot)

Post by Hoitash » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:39 am

I inspired someone's writing?

Well, my work here is done... for now (smoke bomb.)

Nice read, glad inspiration struck you and not a nearby frog :)
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Shopping With Shizune

Post by Helbereth » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:45 am

Index
Shopping with Shizune

We only have a few minutes left before the store closes, but Shizune insists on haggling with the shopkeeper over the price of a winter coat. Watching from a table of sweaters nearby, I can't help but laugh at the man's tired wince as Misha's translation beats into his eardrums. For my part, I've learned that it's best to avoid getting involved when Shizune goes on a tirade; it never really ends well.

So far she has him talked down to 1500 yen, which is a fair discount from the starting 2200, but the competitive glint hasn't left her eyes. Signing rapidly, her hands cut the air like knives driving the poor man to flinch; an action he repeats when Misha voices the words.

"1500 is ridiculous; it's not even quality fabric~!"

Misha's translations still don't quite carry the right amount force, but she makes up for it with volume.

“1400 is as low as I'll go,” he replies, rubbing his temple, “I have to close the shop soon so... please.”

Shizune has been taking advantage of his desire to go home for the day.

After Misha relays his offer, Shizune ponders her answer for a moment, dramatically adjusting her glasses in the process. The cat-like grin plays across her lips as she nods curtly, and the shopkeeper audibly sighs in defeat. They exchange the bills and Misha picks up the bags while Shizune parades over to take my arm, casting me a devious smirk.

[Proud of yourself?] I sign, shaking my head slightly.

[Mostly,] she replies, heaving a sharp sigh, [I could have gotten another hundred off, but I saw you getting frustrated.]

[I don't want to miss the bus,] I retort, pointing out at the busy sidewalk, [the next one is a full hour later.]

“Hicchan~!” Misha booms, swinging the bags in her arms, “aren't you gonna carry these for us?”

Looking down at Shizune's hand, carefully wrapped around my elbow, I sigh, “I think she's planning to keep my hands occupied.”

After Misha translates, Shizune turns a coy grin at me and raises an eyebrow; it's a look I've seen before, one that has lewd implications. Turning us away, she signs quickly so Misha can't see, [Not just your hands.]

Maybe I should be used to it by now, but I can't stop the flush of red from reaching my cheeks. Sometimes I think she does this on purpose.
Last edited by Helbereth on Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:41 am, edited 3 times in total.

random

Re: My Angel (one-shot)

Post by random » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:48 pm

If they were married ... and evidently still harbor feelings for him ... how come Hanako just dropped him off somewhere instead of ... you know

Plus nearly getting run over and she smiles in the path of death and asked him if HE is alright?

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Kenji's Conspiratorial Detention

Post by Helbereth » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:12 pm

Index
Kenji's Conspiratorial Detention

The fate of all humankind hangs in the balance, but, in my ignorance, the world has to wait for its hero; I'm in detention. It's a conspiracy. That unassuming teacher of mine is apparently a more formidable opponent than I suspected; I'll never underestimate her again.

The room is quiet apart from the scratching noise from her pencil brushing across the note; no doubt a triumphant message about my capture. For whatever reason, that amazonian bimbo is here too, though it's apparent from her posture that she's not going to tell anyone why. Staring off at nothing in particular, she sits in her seat with that crooked smile -or maybe it's a frown, I can't really tell- leafing through a brail text so quietly I can only assume it's so she can listen for my movements.

Joke's on her; I'm not moving!

Like a cat crouched in the brush, ready to pounce on a passing defenseless animal, I sit with my hands perched on the desk letting my eyes do the looking - for what they're worth. One of the windows is open, allowing a gentle breeze to fill the room. It smells of freshly cut grass, but it may as well be sulfur and ash. The clock on the wall slowly, silently, counts down my sentence; thirty seconds remain.

"Mister Setou, you can go," Miyagi says suddenly.

If not for my keen awareness, I might leap out of my seat immediately, but, suspecting a trick, I keep my place. Miyagi is on my list of tricky bitches now, and I'm not about to let her get the upper hand.

"Go," she repeats, "I have things to discuss with Miss Satou."

A secret meeting? No wonder she wants me to leave.

Turning my head slowly, I catch a glimpse of her grinning, blond cohort giggling lightly. It sounds like a death knell to my keen ears.

"Unless you want to stay and help with planning the festival?" Miyagi inquires; it's some kind of test.

Trapped between the possibility of uncovering information on the vast feminist conspiracy and potentially finding myself a hapless stooge to their designs, I heave a resigned sigh and stand; Kenji Setou is nobody's stooge. Striding toward the door, I try to think of something clever to say -something to disrupt their plans in some way- but nothing pertinent comes to mind. Instead I step out into the hall and begin walking stealthily back toward my dorm.

Perhaps someday I'll find someone who can infiltrate their meetings, but, for now, I just want a pizza.
Last edited by Helbereth on Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: My Angel (one-shot)

Post by LOL WUT » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:50 am

THESE FEELS! WHY DO I ALWAYS GET THESE FEELS!?
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Re: My Angel (one-shot)

Post by Keneshiro » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:50 pm

I enjoyed the pacing and the feel of the narration. In the story, it appears that Hisao made it big and through that lost Hanako and is probably, slowly going in sane. Did I get that bit right? =P
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Yuuko's Hectic Sunday

Post by Helbereth » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:20 pm

Index
Yuuko's Hectic Sunday

Sunday mornings are always hectic, but this is becoming ridiculous. Usually the Shanghai is nice and peaceful, but, with the festival up at the school and the crowd it brings, I've been on my feet running around for two hours straight.

I haven't had this much to do, or this much I could possibly screw up, in months. All the booths are filled with people -few I really recognize- and most of the dining room is crowded with parents visiting for the weekend.

I need this job.

Carrying hot tea across the empty room is usually enough of a clumsy chore, but having to step around and under all these people is making my head spin. Of course, the moment I start thinking clumsy thoughts, my feet decide to catch on someone's foot and I nearly stumble; the tea pot isn't so lucky.

Watching it crash to the floor, spilling its contents across the tiles, I have to cover my mouth to prevent the stream of profanity from leaving my lips. The crowd goes from idle chatter to a roar of gasps, followed by more than a few laughs.

Embarrassed beyond the ability to speak, I duck down and grab the pot, nearly burning my hand on the side as I throw myself into a series of apologetic bows and shuffle toward the back room for some towels.

Steadying myself on the wall once I've gotten through the door, I take a deep breath. As I'm pulling down a pair of towels, the door behind me creaks, and I nearly jump when a gruff voice says soothingly, "Yuuko, are you alright?"

Turning, I recognize Akio Mutou immediately. He comes in here on most Sundays on his way to visit his brother, and we've talked a bit about my aspirations, but he's never seemed particularly interested.

"I'll be fine," I respond, offering another apologetic bow, "it's my job."

"Here," he says, reaching for the towels in my hand, "I'll go clean up that mess while-"

"No!" I retort, "I couldn't let you-"

"It's fine, you handle the customers; this place is a zoo." He gestures toward the door, taking the towels from my hand. "Besides, I owe you for listening to me drone on about my brother."

Usually, I wouldn't dare accept help from someone with my work -certainly not a teacher- but his determined look tells me I wouldn't be doing anyone any favors by arguing. "Okay," I say meekly.

"Don't try to hold the weight of the world," he says as I step through the door, "especially not when you have willing friends."

It's corny and probably not entirely true, but I smile anyway. Feeling overwhelmed most of the time is just something I'm used to, but sometimes I really wish he were right.

Maybe he is...
Last edited by Helbereth on Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: My Angel (one-shot)

Post by Total Destruction » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:53 pm

How the hell didn't I read this one before. I gotta be the least observant man alive.

It's pretty killer. I think I could get used to Katawa Shoujo as a nasty, pulp fiction noir story.

"She was a pushy dame, but she had a case, and a set of drills like none I'd ever seen."

*cue slow, wailing saxophone*
... Danger.

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Mutou Has A Smoke Break

Post by Helbereth » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:33 am

Index
Mutou Has A Smoke Break

Grading tests is something I usually enjoy doing, but, with the days getting shorter and my finding myself staying until after dark on most evenings, I've grown weary of the monotony. At this time every night, I find myself headed out to the school roof, cigarettes in hand; if I were a man of faith, I might call this a ritual.

Cool night air rolls across the rooftop on a gentle November breeze as I step out onto the gravel-laden rooftop. Nightfall comes earlier and earlier this time of year, but that isn't about to stop me from spending ten minutes in nicotine bliss. Actually, with the city lights so far away, I ought to bring my telescope out here some nights; the view is fantastic.

This evening, however, I'm not expecting the door to open as I light my first cigarette. The students usually don't come up here this late at night, so I'm hardly surprised to see Miss Miyagi huddling under her sweater as she steps out into the moonlight.

Standing as I am, shadowed under the edge of the building, I don't think she can see me apart from the burning red tip of my cigarette. Lifting it to take another drag, I see her jump slightly and let out a nervous laugh.

"Akio, you scared me!" she scolds, offering a delightfully curled lip instead of a pointed finger; she's not used to the cold.

"Sorry," I reply, stepping out from beneath the shadow. "Out for a walk?" I inquire, looking her over, "usually don't see you up here."

"Needed some air," she replies, "you wouldn't believe some of the things my students write in their essays."

"Oh, I think I'd believe it," I retort with a cheerful laugh.

"Any chance I could steal one of those?" she asks, lofting a hand to indicate my cigarette.

"You don't smoke."

"Not anymore."

"I shouldn't get you started again."

"Just give me one!" her tone shifts from slightly annoyed to curt, "I need to relax!"

"Okay, okay," I reply, shaking my head as I delve into my pack.

Taking the cigarette from my hand, she leans against the wall and sighs, "Sorry, it's not you," she scoffs, "it's those damn kids! I swear they're trying to give me a coronary!"

"Calm down," I advise, "here."

Cupping the end with my hand, I flick my lighter and hold it for her to catch a light. Taking a long drag, she doesn't even cough at all as she breathes it in and slowly blows out a stream of smoke into the wind. Huddling her arms again, she closes her eyes and falls silent.

Leaning back against the wall, I take another drag and stare up at the star-field. Miyagi stays for a few minutes longer, then stomps the cigarette out and heads for the door. Watching her go, I wonder if I may have inadvertently caused her to start smoking again, but it's hardly my place to judge her.

I really should quit...

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Walking With Miki

Post by Helbereth » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:50 am

Index
Walking with Miki

Takashi needs to die.

Whatever the hell was I thinking, listening to advice from that pretentious twerp was definitely a mistake. Maybe it's not really his fault, but after spending half this evening apologizing for being so stupid, I need someone to blame.

She's still here, though; that might be a good sign.

Then again, I can tell from the look on her face she hates being out here in the middle of the city. Maybe I should have thought of that, but I barely knew how to ask her out, never mind contemplate the destination. When Takashi suggested taking Suzu to the movies, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable solution.

Soldiering on, I find her grip on my hand tightening as we approach the crosswalk. Whether it's because she's scared or because of the company, I'm not really sure; I'd like to think it's because she likes me, but I'm not about to assume anything. The constant stream of gibberish I've been spewing since we stepped off the bus probably isn't helping, but this whole situation is entirely uncomfortable; I just wish I could think of something interesting to say.

When I step off the curb, I feel Suzu hesitating and I stop my inane babble to look back. Now she's making that adorable pout I can't seem to get enough of, looking between me and the line of cars backed up down the busy street.

“Hey, c'mon,” I try prompting, but she doesn't budge.

Great job, Miki, you've made her go catatonic.

“Promise you won't let go!” she whispers hoarsely, her meek voice filled with frustration.

The suddenness of her statement, and the wispy stare she sets on me makes it hard to reply, but I muster the courage to reassure her, “I'm not going anywhere without you.”

In my confused state, I try holding up my other hand to give her a thumbs up, but I end up just grinning like an idiot. After a tense moment, she begins to follow tentatively, pulling my arm around hers and averting her eyes from the drivers waiting for us to cross.

I'm gonna take her grip as a good sign.

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