James Babbs – fiction

Sometimes Softly Singing


There’s a crack running across the ceiling between the kitchen and the living room.  The crack has been up there for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes, the crack in the ceiling looks like a mouth.  A mouth wanting to scream but the mouth can’t scream because it can’t open wide enough to let the scream out so the sound of the scream stays buried inside.

Sometimes, when I’m sleeping, in the dead of the night, I suddenly awaken thinking I’ve heard screaming but when I’m sitting up in bed there’s only an eerie silence mixing with the darkness of the room.  But I stay like that for a moment or two taking deep breaths just trying to calm myself down.  Sometimes, when I lay back against the pillows, I can hear the big knife all the way from the kitchen singing me back to sleep.  Those are the nights I like the best.

The big knife sings all of the time.  The big knife has many different songs.  Sometimes, I hear the big knife screaming the words.  Sometimes, I hear it softly singing.  The big knife spends days and, sometimes, even weeks waiting in the bottom drawer feeling lonely and afraid.  I know this is the way the big knife feels because we have always had this kind of a connection.

All of the electrical outlets in every room of the house have little faces with slits for eyes and tiny round mouths.  The outlets always look like they’re screaming but they don’t ever make a sound.  Sometimes, when I push a cord into an outlet I expect to see blood come gushing out.  But there isn’t ever any blood and I always feel strange inside.


James Babbs – 1 poem 

Before All the Light Was Gone


I started drinking late in the afternoon

before all the light was gone

when the sun was still shining

making everything seem

warmer than it really was

I sat there in the kitchen

drowning in the silence

the table near the window

I sat there

drinking cold bottles of beer

until the room began to change

I leaned back in my chair

looked up at the ceiling

I saw a stain up there

I hadn’t noticed before

it looked like the face of a woman

I knew several years ago

she was a beautiful woman

with this big obnoxious laugh

it made me laugh

and I started thinking about

what she was doing now

but it was funny

when I realized she would be

almost as old as I am now

the last time I saw her

she was backing her car

slowly out of the driveway

giving me the finger

I stood by the front door

and I couldn’t hear it

but I knew by the look on her face

she was laughing

her big obnoxious laugh

filling up the whole car


James Babbs is a writer, a dreamer, a three-time loser and an all-around nice guy who just wants to be left alone. James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013) and has hundreds of poems and a few short stories scattered all over the internet.