You are a monk in one of those monasteries on a mountain.

You never really thought you'd end up at a place like this, but your best friend joined up, and you thought you'd give it a try.

It's not too bad a gig, the monks are mostly good people, and you get to spend a lot of time with your best friend.

You spend a lot of the day trying to achieve a vision through constant meditation, or at least that's what you're supposed to be doing. In all honesty you spend most of the time dozing off and trying really hard not to fart.

And that was how it went, until the day you received the vision.

You were in the meditation room, surrounded by the monks and the master. As a matter of routine, you found yourself having to clench yourself to avoid passing gas... However, this time, you think it might be more than that. After a few minutes of that you're confident it's more than that, and fear you might have some sort of stomach illness.

Now this puts you in a quandary, since the room with the pot for such things is just down the hall a short ways, with no separating walls or doors to speak of. You've always been kind of prudish about bodily functions, so you decide you have to soldier on.

The discomfort quickly turns to pain, but you hold strong. Each second is agonizing, and you are sure at any moment you are going to lose it. Small bright shapes begin to appear before your eyes as you squeeze them shut in solidarity with your gastronomical plumbing. It seems like years pass.

Until finally you see only white, and a voice that is not your speaks to you, "You're just going to hurt yourself if you keep that up much longer. Go drink a tea of mint and lavender, and goto sleep."

You wake immediately, spring to your feet into a run, and make it to the bathroom mostly in time.

Minutes pass, and after you are done, you hear the master's voice outside, he asks if he can get you anything. "A tea of lavender and mint would be lovely", you reply.

There is a silence, and the master asks you to repeat yourself. Worried that you may have overstepped your bounds, you obediently repeat your exact phrase.

To which the master replies, "Ahh, many feel sick after experiencing a vision, I pray you'll tell me more of it when you are better."

Young Apocolyptic Love

You hold the hand of your new wife, looking up through the haze trying to catch a glimpse of the stars.

You gave her a ring you found on a corpse half covered with debris. It is far too large for her finger, and she makes a fist to keep it from falling off.

Most newlyweds around the world spend this first night differently, but not the orphans of the siege. Both of you lost your parents in the shelling and bombing of the city several years back. Carnal matters are far from the minds of both of you, as they are the luxury of those who do not sleep in rubble, skin pocked with signs of malnutrition and plagued by deep and damp coughs.

Besides both of you know the stories, taking your clothes off is the first step towards your clothes being stolen.

So you both gaze up into the night, wondering if tonight will be the night a shell will fall on the building where you sleep, and both of you take solace in the fact that if it does, you won't be leaving this world alone and unnoticed, but as husband and wife.

As the dawn creeps over the fractured skyline, you both still lie awake, wondering who will be the first to free their hand from the other. Luckily a nearby blast breaks the tension and the hands fly apart from each other, as if exploding themselves.

The morning is awkward. The union, whose purpose seemed so clear in the night time now seems positively embarrassing. There is a moment of horror as it seems as if she might be taking off the ring to give back to you. But instead she slips it off her finger and into her pocket.

"I better go", she says.

"Yeah", you say.

She walks slowly away, picking her way through the uneven ground.

"Seeya tonight?", you blurt, the naked desperation of it already reddening your ears.

"Yeah", she says with a small smile, before leaping down and out of sight.