Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Well, I really don't know if there is actually anyone there but it felt nice to make the call anyways. But down to business. I wanted to announce that I will be moving, in a sense. Let me explain. A few years ago, I had to create a blog for school where I would post short reflections on readings that were required during the year. Since then, I have kept the blog and occasionally written further musings, even re-posting things from this blog. Since this blog has remained fairly dormant, I thought it best to commit my energies solely to the new blog and let this remain a kind of back-up plan. So, if anyone is still there waiting for me to post something new, please take a look at my other blog entitled "In a Hole, Under the Hill." (inaholeunderthehill.blogspot.com) I thought you should all know and thank you all who have taken time out of your busy lives to notice mine.
Monday, June 11, 2012
During my fall semester, I took a short story writing class. Each week, we were given a different prompt so that we could try out different kinds of short stories. It was a lot of fun and taught me a lot about how to write different kinds of short stories. One of my favorites was called the 55-word story. As said by its name, the story is only 55 words long: the first sentence is 10 words, the next is 9, then 8, and so on and so forth. It was a lot of fun to write and I wanted to share them here.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The knight unsteadily rose to his feet. Battered and bruised, he gazed up towards the leering face of his opponent. Through the heat wave, there hovered a head of grotesque proportions. It kept itself concealed behind the smoke and flames. All that could be seen was its dark eyes, gleaming maliciously. A deep raspy cackle rumbled around the knight. The knight stared down his veiled opponent defiantly, showing no fear.
“Show yourself, you cowardly worm,” yelled the knight. “You cannot hide forever. Come and face me like a man.”
The cackling continued and grew louder. The menacing glow brightened to an evil incardinate hue.
“Me? Face you?” asked the cackling voice. “That would mean I acknowledged you and your challenge. That I will never do. You are in no manner my equal. To me, you are nothing more than an insect that refuses to die.” As the voice was still speaking, the knight was struck to the ground. The cackle became a full blown guffaw as it watched the knight struggle back to his feet. “Why don’t you accept your defeat? I can strike you at any time and you cannot stand against my attacks. Do you still want to defy me?”
The knight surveyed his present situation. His armor was dented, scratched, and scorched. His sword was nicked and damaged. Numerous abrasions, bruises, and burns covered his face, arms, and legs. By sheer will power alone did he continue to stand. But a fire burned in his heart that would not die and it only continued to grow with each passing minute. Lifting his eyes, he met the ones of his enemy vilely glowing. Then a wry smile crept across the knight’s face.
“I do.” Resolve and determination emanated from every part of the knight’s being. “And I will continue to defy you until you are defeated, writhing in misery as you die. So prepare, foul beast,” commanded the knight as he raised his sword, “to fall by my hand.” With a loud cry, he lunged forward and leapt into the flames and smoke. “Die!”
A loud splash came from the kitchen at the Happy Cat Restaurant.
“Elaine, what’s going on?” A young woman peeked her head inside the door that connected the kitchen to the rest of the restaurant. “What happened?”
A dark haired girl with pink dish gloves looked over her shoulder at the questioner. Some soapy suds sat lightly on her check and nose. “Sorry, Emily. I was slaying a dragon.” She raised a scrubby covered in pasta sauce. “See, I’ve vanquished the beast and the world has been rid of yet another villain to the dish world.” She placed a clean pasta pot into the drying rack to her left. “I didn’t realize it had gotten out of hand.”
Shaking her head, Emily smiled and walked over to her friend. She put her arm around Elaine’s shoulders and laughed quietly.
“You are truly something else, Elaine. But you better watch that you don’t go doing something like that again or Auntie Esther will come in and-”
“I know,” Elaine interrupted. A chill went down her spine. “Not pretty. Don’t worry I’ll be careful.”
The girls gave each other a quick hug and Emily walked back towards the door to the restaurant.
“Remember that we’re going into the dinner rush. So be prepared for the onslaught of dishes to come.”
“Fear not, fair maiden,” Elaine said in her best Shakespearian voice, flourished with a bow. “I shall be ready for them. En guarde!” She brandished her sponge as threateningly as possible with soap suds and pink gloves. Emily laughed outright and walked out. Elaine returned to the few dishes left in the sink and looked at them thoughtfully. “Well, my friends,” she spoke to the dishes, “now that we have vanquished that dreadful dragon, what new quest shall we pursue?”
That evening, Elaine climbed up the stairs to her room trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to wake the rest of the house. Closing her bedroom door, she dumped her purse and jacket on the edge of the bed before getting ready for bed. Once dressed in her nightgown and robe, she grabbed her notebook and a pen and walked out onto the balcony attached to her room. She walked to the edge, having placed her journal and pen on the rocking chair that sat on the balcony. Gazing up through the street lights at the barely visible stars, she traced the few constellations she could identify. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply as a light breeze played with her loose hair.
Opening her eyes, she looked down at the garden that was her family’s backyard. Bushes of roses formed a half moon around a small wooden bench and a wisteria vine had made great headway climbing up the trellis that shaded the patio. Marigolds, pansies, impatiens, and various other flowers made a floral patchwork quilt. Her mother’s herb garden added a pleasant aroma to the enchanting atmosphere. Finally getting her fill for the night, she sat down in the rocking chair to write down the story that had been formulating as she’d washed dishes.
She relished the time when her ideas came down on paper. It never ceased to amaze her how the vibrant images of her mind could be encapsulated in the inky words. This was always her favorite time of day, a time when she could let her imagination go wild. Everything seemed poised to assist her. She could almost think she heard the stars singing or the breeze laughing. Here in the night air more than any other time, she believed that the words would revert to their former imagery and come to life. In a deep part of her heart, she wished they would become real, just once. Just once, she wanted to experience the people places, and adventures she could only imagine. The thought of magic and dragons, fairies and knights gave Elaine a thrill like no other. But her head always reminded her that none of those things were real and could never happen outside her own imagination. So she had taken to writing all her fabulous tales and quests at evening when she could almost believe they could all come true.
As she wrote, a small light floated up from the backyard to land on her shoulder. Accompanying the light was a delicate tinkling like small, distant bells. Turning to see why the light had suddenly improved, Elaine smiled at the jingling shining ball.
“What do you think?”
“Hmm” was the reply. The voice sounded like bubbles bursting or water trickling over little pebbles. The light rose from where it had perched itself and hovered over Elaine’s open journal as if getting a closer look. After a short while, it returned to its original place on her shoulder.
“Not bad,” said the voice at last. “Most of it’s pretty good but this part here about sprites and pixies is wrong. They’re not really malicious or anything sinister like that. More they just enjoy a bit of fun at the expense of other people.”
“Sounds like you,” Elaine stated teasingly. The light started violently.
“I am nothing like those childish fiends. I don’t even know how you could think that of me.”
“Well, let me see.” The girl put on a mock thinking expression. “There was the time my pen kept disappearing.”
“You were very forgetful that night,” the light commented. “Always forgetting where you put it last.”
“Then explain how I saw it flying from place to place . . . with you.”
“Well . . . um . . .” stammered the tinkling voice.
“And there was that other time,” Elaine interrupted, “when my hair mysteriously kept getting everywhere. Oh and I once had to dig my bed from a pile of leaves and flowers. And my nightgown decided one night to have a night on its own and would not be worn. Oh yeah, and . . .”
“Ok, ok, stop already,” the light pleaded. “So I’ve been mischievous, a little. That does not make me a pixie. Besides,” it flew close to Elaine’s face. “I only tease people I like.” Elaine rolled her eyes at her little friend’s attempt to reinstate itself into her good graces.
“You must like me a whole lot then.” She laughed and leaned back in her chair, starting its rocking. “I know what you are anyway.”
“And what would that be?” pushed the voice.
“A firefly,” Elaine said confidently. A smile shot across her face when she heard the little voice gasp in disgust.
“You are so mean tonight,” pouted the voice. “First a pixie and now a bug. I don’t think I’ll come visit you ever again.”
“Yeah right. You’ll be back tomorrow with some trick up your firefly sleeve.”
“Oh, you’re insufferable.” With a huff, the light began to fly back towards the garden.
“Good night and sweet dreams,” Elaine called after it. It stopped and hovered indecisively for a few moments.
“Good night,” the voice answered curtly and darted down to its home amidst the flowers.
Smiling at her small friend’s antics, Elaine got up and walked back into her room. She placed the journal on one of the many book shelves that adorned her walls. The pen came to rest in a cup with its brother pencils and sister highlighters. A long slim cat raised its head from where it lay curled at the head of her bed. Rising gently on its tiny paws, it stretched and trotted lightly towards Elaine. The girl reached out and stroked its soft grey head. A gentle purr rumbled.
“Ah, have you missed me, Fluffy?” It nuzzled her head further so that Elaine’s hand slid along and petted its back. It looked back at her with one brown eye and one golden eye full of love and contentment. “I guess so then, huh? I’ve missed you too. Come on now. It’s time for bed.” The cat trotted back towards the top of the bed and pushed a pillow out of the way. Elaine hung her purse on its hook and put the jacket in the closet. Then she pulled back the sheet and comforter and got under them. The cat followed suit and snuggled next to her. Closing its di-colored eyes, it promptly fell asleep in Elaine’s arms. She smiled happily and Rest quickly worked her magic.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Someone was crying. She had to help them. Trees rustled past. The crying grew louder, crescendoing every moment. Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Her heart quickened with each successive cry. She had to reach them before it was too late. But she was so tired. Finally, she had to stop and catch her breath. Down she fell and hit the forest floor. The crying continued, piercing her very soul. Something had to be done. Someone had to do something. But there was no one else around who seemed to hear the plaintive cry. As she lay on the ground, she began to weep over the anguished crying soul.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Do you know the place called Alethea? You may not recognize the name but you’ve been there. Most people have at least. It’s that place between dreaming and waking where things are too fantastic to be really real but too authentic to be a dream. Remember it now? Maybe you swam with a dolphin that recited Shakespeare’s sonnets or played on the stars like a trampoline. Maybe you heard your mother calling you home for dinner or your little brother asking you to read that story just one more time before bed. Whatever it may be, those have all been places in Alethea, only you didn’t know it. Most people don’t. But there are a few that do. Not so many now as there used to be. That’s due mostly to people not truly believing that Alethea exists any more and just attributing their experiences to a “very vivid dream.” Ever wondered why you get déjà vu sometimes? It’s because you did it in Alethea. At least, most of those types of experiences are due to having traveled through there. It’s a wonderful place. Terribly good you might say. Yes, that’s the phrase, terribly good. It might be frightening or terrible but it’s good. Not easy to explain that.
Now that I’ve jogged you memory a bit, I want to tell you a story of how Alethea was saved. Oh believe me, Alethea needs just as much saving as our world does today just . . . in different ways. This was the first of its rescues. You’ll never hear about it in any major newspaper or blog or website but you’ll hear it here. And the heroes of these stories will never be on TV talk shows or in movies or history books but they’ll remain immortal to those of Alethea. The heroes are people from our world who are given the very special privilege of coming into Alethea voluntarily. Normally, we get there involuntarily through dreams and what not. But these chosen few are given the choice to come if they so desire. Perhaps, one day, I will write of the all the times that Alethea has been saved and of her many saviors. But that will have to wait for just a bit. Anyways, I don’t know if anyone would really want to hear about them. Perhaps you will, once my story it finished. If you, dear reader, are the only one who ever becomes interested in Alethea, then my purpose will have been accomplished. Enough explanation now though. On with the story.
Our story begins in a serene valley. Can you see it? Lush, rolling hills forming a beautiful dell through which runs a clear blue stream. If you were to follow this steady stream, it would slowly grow into a rushing river, eventually ending in a courtly cascade. This cascade plunges into a deep pool, looking blue-green around the edges and inky black at its center. Just past this pool is a grove of wispy aspen trees, swaying at the slightest playful breeze. The leaves are a mixture of emerald, ruby, and gold. A light layer of fallen leaves are strewn around the bases of their respective trees and form a kind of carpet to a small stone table. Looking like a water-beaten rock, the edges of this table are worn smooth as glass. In fact, if it were not light gray and slightly speckled, you would indeed think it is truly glass.
Beside this table stands a man. His silvery blond hair falls to his waist in wisps on his black cloak like fog gliding in on a dark evening. His face is all ages and yet none. From one angle, he could be a boy just beginning manhood and from another, finishing the race of life. A face full of the gaiety of youth and the wisdom of age. Across from him stands another man. Yet he is not really a man for he is truly a centaur. Arms crossed upon his broad chest, he looks like a powerful barbarian lord from ages past. His raven hair falls to his shoulders, complementing his tawny horse hide. His tail, as black as the hair on his head, quickly swishes back and forth, revealing his frustration. Both man and centaur are staring intently at the surface of the table, the center fluid, in a sense. Images flitter across, never lasting more than a few moments. Neither of the watchers make a sound, as if a single voice would disturb the frolicking pictures. At last, the pictures stop switching and continue in a coherent progression. The man and the centaur watch the scene unfold before them. The man’s eyes grow wide. One hoof paws the ground angrily. All their attention is riveted on the scene before them.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Tears fall slowly. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Something white thunders through the trees. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Something metal zings. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. An eye full of tears looks mournfully as a giant tear rolls down. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. A quiet voice says, “Save me.” Thump-thump. Thump-thump. A blur of images. And a young woman bolts upright in bed.