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D r e a m s  a n d  F i r e

by Rob Manning, USA

Falling away from perception. This so-called experience we share. The rain falls outside your window and the pain seems less. Your fears fade into night and you are comfortable. All we can hope for is that it will be ok in the end. This rage, this unsettled nature within my soul cries for release. I want so much to be here with you. Will it change? Will the silence deafen the screams of loneliness? Time will show us the answer. The walls we build hide us from truth. The truth we run from everyday. I awaken, cold and displeased. The brightness of reality shines through my window. Can I hide for just one more day, one more day. This bottle will sell me freedom for a price. It will cost me my inability to breathe on my own. To see you as you are. To be without. We fade into the distance and fall freely through careless adventure..
When I awake among the angels they will come to my place of rest, and weep. We will embrace and be free. I will know it is ok. To know I am not far from God. The madness is over, we are home. Please let it stay as long as I can feel.
You were broken from an early age, forced to engage in a world, which does not feel your experience. You have survived all that I have given. Those eyes, spheres of illusion and emotion, that is me. I have placed myself within you. When others left, when you felt such loss, when the pain of your soul was so great that you were beyond tears, I was there. I am still. You will know in the end.
To be the best in the world. Wanting so much to love, to be with others. To live the daily dream, which brought her through the day . Getting so close and stepping away, for what thought to be good reason. She remained apart, trying to pick the lock which led to freedom. What we do not see is, the combination is always changing. She'll try to be a friend, to make her prescence known. Though she doesn't know what her prescence brings. Fight for a life which is etched in stone. Do you believe? Can she change these crazy ways of defending the invisible. She will bring pleasure to those who want it and pain to those who need it. A lonely soul, she cries from the inside though you'll never see a tear. Times when you feel close to her, she'll pretend it is for real. My mind cannot contain the thoughts that she brings. To run is to feel freedom from hiding. We all had friends who came close. You feel the warmth like a Christmas fire with the ones you trust. A blanket covering two new lovers. To live the dream. The thoughts we keep will try to prevent the dream from becoming real. Breathe new thoughts. Sell away the tied wrists of the past, we have given you new hands.

What do you think?
by Rob Manning, USA

There is a universe of emotion flowing beneath the most sullen of exteriors. Slow and steady, the paths of communication dissipate like water in the sand.
These eyes we carry, tell tales our minds know nothing of. A human experience, unique, yet parallel to others. Product of lives years before, a reason based on survival.
I have seen the faces behind the cages. They are just like you and I. A life awaiting each and every. Tales of promises and desire keep a fire burning.
These souls cannot find a home within this place.

Aussie Fantasy
by Teniele Beech, Australia

I was on holiday. Me on holiday! I could not believe it; my friends had convinced me of some much needed time off. Sam, being the good friend she is, volunteered to come along. We had decided Australia would be a good choice to holiday; hot, sunny, and not to mention the lads over there, were defiantly hot. The place we were staying at was right on the beach in NSW, the ocean so blue and the sand oh so white, tanned bodies floated up and down the beach all day while we tried to achieve the same look on our shy white bodies.
   "Sam, pass me the eyeliner, darl" I said. Sam passed it over and I carefully proceeded to apply the pencil to my eyelids. Problem was we'd had a bit to drink and my hands were shaky. "Give it here you ejit". Sam snatched the eyeliner from my hand and told me to close my eyes, she finished off my make-up for me, and then told me to hurry up and get dressed. We were off to paint the town red, let our hair out and get totally pissed. I couldn't contain my excitement as we drove briskly through the streets of Sydney. The taxi driver dropped us off on the corner of a lively street with people milling about, chatting happily.
   "Evening Ladies" the bouncer on the door greeted us. We walked straight up to the bar and ordered two beers, then proceeded to make our way to the dance floor.
It was an extremely sexy club; the bars were sleek and stainless, the carpet a ruby red and the walls were painted a midnight blue colour with awesome lighting to match. The patrons were sexy too, girls slithered in slinky dresses on the dance floor between tall men in suits and ties. Sam and I joined the crowded dance floor and danced to the funky tunes the D.J. pumped out.
   Not long after we had arrived a couple of Aussie guys sauntered over towards were we where dancing and introduced themselves to us, Tyson and Roland I think they said there names were.
Sam seemed to take an interest in Tyson so Roland kept trying it on with me but he really just didn't take my fancy. We ended up leaving the club with them (The things we do for mates), but they'd said they knew of this cool club by the beach so we hailed a cab and set off to the new destination. I sat in the front while Sam and Tyson went for it in the back, with Roland squashed up against the door trying to make conversation with me.
The club by the beach was OK, but I wasn't in the mood for trying to look like I was having a good time with Roland. Sam and Tyson were sitting down the back on some sofa's making out, so when Roland went to get some more drinks I took my chance and left the club, taking a wander down by the water under the moonlight.

"Beautiful isn't it" came a deep handsome voice, I spun round and was face to face with the most handsomest man I'd ever met, I stumbled over my words to return a reply "ye, yea, yes it is" I managed to spit out, what was wrong with me. " You have a lovely accent where is it from" his voice was so sweet. "Oh, um I from London, how about you"?
   "I am not from here either" came his reply "So where do you come from" I asked. "Not from here" was all he offered me (not from here?) why was he so secretive and where was his accent from? Before I could speak again he asked if I would like to join him for a stroll along the beach, I didn't hesitate, I felt so comfortable with him and at ease we trundled along until he said "this is the spot" we lay down on the cool sand talking and staring at the stars.

I thought I was dreaming and before long this wonderful man took me into his arms, looked me in the eyes and pressed his luscious lips to mine, I had never been kissed like that before he pulled away but only for a second then pressed those divine lips back onto mine, my heart raced in my chest, my hands traced over his sculptured stomach and up to his neck to his dark brown locks, then over his chiselled jaw line back down to his chest.
   Who was this man unbuttoning my blouse and touching my very aroused bosoms, I didn't know but I liked it, he began to caress my neck putting tiny kisses down it, I shivered with delight a small gasp escaping my breath. Further still his kisses travelled down my body till he reached the peak of my right breast were his tongue swirled around my erect nipple. Still further his sweet mouth travelled till I felt his soft fingertips sliding down my skirt (thank god I wore my good knickers) I could feel his hot breath going down on me, his kisses caressing along the inside of my left thigh and then over to my right I gasped again.
   His fingers ran back up my body sending me into another shiver of delight, I reached for his white shirt and began unbuttoning him, it was more exciting than opening a Christmas present, and the contents was more than I ever remember asking for. I pushed him down onto the sand and traced my tongue down to his nipples, then made my way through his hard six-pack till I hand no choice but to strip him from his denim jeans, his thighs as hard as rocks, I took him in, in all his glory pleasuring him more than any other man I had known (or dreamed), he groaned with delight and begged me to stop then before I knew it he was up on his knees one hand on the small of my back the other embracing my bare breasts, his kiss tantalizing.

After what seemed like an hour he finally lay me down and entered me slowly, it was oh so soft and slow almost excruciatingly slow how I wanted him bad, our kisses became increasingly faster, but his rhythm was steady after what seemed hours the rhythm became faster our groans became louder and louder, his hands ran all over my body and down to my ass cheeks squeezing them hard then bringing himself deeper inside me, he let out a groan as I whispered for him to go faster until we could bear it no more, both coming together, I felt as if I was in a state of ecstasy our rhythm slowed then finally it ended and we lay next to each other.
   We splashed around in the water swimming together, he planted kisses all over me, we laughed and giggled like we had been lovers for years we swam some more till we came to the shore and lay down once more staring at the stars. The cool water washing up against our bodies, and then something caught my eye.

The moon shone down onto our naked bodies. Suddenly before my eyes his legs started to transform into beautiful scales up, and up they went shimmering under the moon.
   He had transformed into a merman!
   I went to speak, not quite believing what I saw, but he put a soft finger to my lips. "Sshhh" he whispered and kissed me passionately one last time, before splashing into the water. He turned and waved before disappearing, only to return to seduce yet another woman.
   I sat confused and dazed. Had it really happened at all or was it just a dream?
   I got myself together and headed back towards the club where I found Sam out the front looking for me. "Where have you been, I've been worried sick", Sam said desperately. "You wouldn't believe me", I replied, a big smile plastered all over my face. "Try Me," said Sam. "OK then, let's go home and I'll tell you all about it", I said dreamily.
   What a holiday this was turning out to be. I'd never forget it. Seems we picked the perfect place to get away and as I thought about it, it all seemed surreal and come to think of it, I never did catch his name.

Sharon Snir, Australia
Elizabeth Revell, USA
Lars Berg, Sweden