School Of Words

Hello once again, and today I don’t have a short story, or anything of the sorts up to post here, but I do have something that I’ve been meaning to make as a sort of way to benefit myself and in a sense be more active:

https://schoolofwords.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/adulation/

Welcome in the School Of Words, where I’ll post on a daily or bi-daily basis of micro fiction or flash fiction based on new words that I don’t know about. In other words, It’ll be a place where I can learn new words, but learning new words by itself isn’t that interesting, so I’ll attempt to make a really short exert of something pertaining to that word, and hopefully it’ll be both entertaining and informative. This doesn’t really affect much of my actual making more focused pieces but this is just a way for me to fill in the huge gaps in-between when I actually do have a focused piece.  And maybe the stuff I write over there may actually hold useful in the future. Anyways, that’ll be it for me, and I already have a word there, so check it out. 

Seaside

Hello once again and today we have something that I came up with literally on a whim the other day. I was just sitting and suddenly the idea popped into my head when I stretched up towards my ceiling. It all started with the first sentence of this piece  and I suddenly evolved it into a sort of small look into a distraught artist’s life. After realizing that the first sentence was something that would really work I immediately got to writing it down and decided to just roll with the idea. This one’s a bit short for what it is, but it’s still something that I found quite entertaining for it’s simplicity. Though I do have a bunch of back log, I’ll probably save those for another day, since today I also came up with something that’s a little more intuitive than what I’m usually used to posting here. I’ll be sure to have the wood works done and have that idea come to fruition in the next few days. It’ll be interesting, that’s for sure. Anyway, here you go, “Seaside”.

Reaching up into the stars feels like reaching up towards my dreams, they’re both unattainable. I woke up in a fit, my papers scattered all along my bed side. I scratched my head in wistful indignation, and laughed at the notion of artistic medium. I shuffled over to the other side of my bed, scrambling papers on the way and peeked out of my curtain windows. The early morning sun shone on me like a beacon to humanity, like a rope to my neck dragging me towards what is known as human existence. I sometimes wished that that rope would tighten around my neck and never break.

I got up from my bed and moved to the washroom. I flipped on the light switch, giving me a small headache in the process, but I was pleasantly jolted back upon the image of my own face in the mirror. My hair was getting a little too long for me, a little too cumbersome, but I didn’t care to cut it either way. I looked at my eyes, dark rings circling them, and even my fingers were tattered in ink. I washed my hands, brushed my teeth, and watched as another day of futile dismay began.

I walked over to my desk, where I had cleaned most of its contents onto my bed and floor the previous night. My foot dangled below, playing a balancing act on a glass bottle that laid just under my chair. I reached under to bring it to my face, and laughed at the contents. Empty.

I grabbed one of many pencils from my holder and took out a sheet of paper. I then dragged my hand across one side to another, and then again, and then made new strokes, and new shades, connecting them to form a picture. I then repeated that process, until those pictures made a scene. I kept creating lines, shades, and form, quietly being endowed in the sounds of graphite scratching across fresh paper. It made my mind so indolent that the only thing I could hear for the session was scratching. Scratch and scratch and scratch. I couldn’t hear the sounds of the clock I had in the room, the wind brushing against my windows or even the soft entourage of waves that nestled just outside my small apartment window. Scratch and scratch and scratch. It scratched my mind how much I had heard that sound. I wanted to scream, to break something in the room, to run out into the beach and let the waves sweep me up into a deep sleep. I didn’t know why I was here, nor why I decided to put pencil to paper, to put form into space. Perhaps I knew at one point in my life, but not anymore. Scratch and scratch and scratch. I finally finished my picture. I put my pencil down and looked away without giving it a second thought. I then stretched and got out of my chair. Every bone in my body was forcing me back down, but every bone in my body was also tired from ennui. Suddenly, my senses came back to me, everything rushed towards my head, and I felt the rampant nature of the world around me. I heard the waves call to me. The waves always called to me.

I left my home aptly, putting on sandals, and rushing down the stairs of my small two floor apartment. I didn’t want to bump into anyone else here, and so I made it a notion to be both quiet and fast. But, after reaching the bottom of the stairs I had an epiphany. There was no way that I could be both quiet and fast.

I made a bee line to the beach, and this time, I took my time. I allowed everything around me to draw me in and drag me into an existence far beyond what I wanted. I wanted to be away from the rope that the sun had brought around my neck, because the ocean always had the knife. And I yearned to have that knife every time I woke up. I yearned to be somewhere away from where I am, away from the pictures I drew, away from my life as a beggar.

When I arrived at the beach, I took off both my sandals and allowed the grainy sand below to cover my feet. I made my way to the horizon line of the waves, and stood for the low tides. Every time the water washed into my feet, I felt a surge of cold reach up into my spine, and then it dissipated when the tide resided. I stood at the horizon line, looking into the distance as the water reflected the sun and made for a scene that I could only imagine being fictitious. Without even realizing, my hands began tracing something in the air. Lines, then shades, then form, then picture, then scene. Scratching and scratching and scratching. They all resided in my head and it made me want to scream. I wanted to scream, to break something, but I couldn’t. I sighed in the cold air of the beach, and sighed out the rest of my days.  My favorite things to draw had always been of the night sky. I would stare into the sky through my balcony. I would let the low tides send me off into an abyss of deep water, and watch as the moon shone off the surface creating a scene that I could only imagine being fictitious. And the only thing I would think of when I draw the night sky is that reaching up into it was so evidently alluring and at the same time, too real for me to think about.

Warmth In Coldness

Hello once again, and it certainly has been a while, and whilst I have been slowly chipping away at my projects and at my other obligations, I remembered that I actually had a much larger backlog than I remember. This short story in particular is back from January of this year, so about eight months ago I had written this for a contest to no avail, and in the coming days expect a lot of these pieces where I have dragged from the contests that I had participated in so long ago. These pieces I have not edited in any great manner, though I did clean up some of the grammatical choices which I now wouldn’t do, which looking back, gives me quite a nice perspective of my differing writing status then and now. Now, I think I am much better than I was before, and I think it really does show if I were to compare my stories back to back. But anyway, here you go, “Warmth In Coldness.”

I ran as fast as I could through narrow alley ways and  people. I had in my right hand a bag filled with three day’s worth of food, and in my left, a rusted crow bar. I ran until I could run no more but even then I still ran. I looked behind me to see my pursuers close on my tail. Two men clad in blue uniforms brandishing black batons. They didn’t have the gall to shoot me. I used that to my advantage. I ran to a fork in the streets, and turned left. I wasn’t thinking at this point but I  knew the route I needed to take. I made another hard left, and braced myself for the waterway. I leaped over the gap over the river, and barely made it to the other side, my crowbar managing to make a decent lever. I looked behind me to see the two men staring at me vehemently. I laughed at them, but I didn’t have time to stay for much longer. My grip was slipping, and if I had let go, I would’ve been neck deep in water, and knee deep in smudge.

“Well if it isn’t Cat.” I looked up towards the voice. It was a husky voice that was filled with glass and scraps. But it was a voice that I found quite comforting in my current predicament.

“No time to talk, pull me up Rat.” He looked at me like I had just cursed his family. I knew that if I couldn’t convince him to pull me up now, there would be no way I would see the light of tomorrow. My hand was beginning to slip, and I had no choice but to throw my right load towards Rat.

“Take a day’s load!”

“How generous, Cat,” he said with a smirk. He reached over, grabbed my arm, and pulled me up along with my rusted crowbar. I couldn’t help but sigh when I felt the pavement on my back. Small snowflakes were falling down on me as I looked up at the grayed sky. The cold of the pavement made me want to cuddle up into a ball, and the gloves and boots I had on didn’t do anything to help. I could feel the energy draining from me, but I was quickly reminded of the company I had.

“You don’t usually help others,” I said sarcastically.

“It’s winter. People die, you know that Cat.”

“People die. And people grovel. But it’s not your job to help them. It’s your job to report them. That’s who you are.”

“Come on, don’t be like that. You know now’s not the time to be worrying over details Cat.”

“I’m not worrying over anything. I’m just stating facts.”

“You think quite little of me don’t you Cat.”

“Everyone does. But everyone also relies on you. That’s a fact I don’t want to say.”

“My spot was good though wasn’t it?”

“Except you’re taking some of the load.” Rat laughed. I got up, and brushed the snow off my pants and gloves and picked up my things.

“Say, have you seen Rook?” I asked. Rat took a minute to think, which was quite strange for him.

“Can’t say I have. Although he usually hangs around the Noose Tree.”

“Of all the places?”

“Kid’s got an affinity for it, I guess.” Rat turned around, and began walking.

“I’ll be seeing you around, Cat,” he said. I turned as well, and began heading towards the Noose Tree at the park on the other side of town. I didn’t mean to make friends, I’m not a saint, that’s for sure. However, there was something in me that just wanted to see the kid. I don’t know what, but, I just couldn’t get him off my mind. Kid’s too young for this, that’s for sure. Maybe I saw something in him, that I see in myself. But that isn’t like me. Maybe it’s the cold.

“Cat! Haven’t seen you in a while.” I turned towards the voice that snuck up behind me. Like a bird. No. Like a shadow.

“That’s just like you, Shade,” I replied. Shade was a tough case to look at. Had a child of her own, all on her own. Dirty blonde hair, and her face looks like she just got out of a dump. Her body’s as skinny as the Noose Tree, and she looks like she’s about to keel over at any moment. Except, she’s got more strength than any of us. Even Rat doesn’t like dealing with her. She can even deal with Stale, and that’s saying something. I really didn’t want to bump into Stale today.

“You don’t get out much,” I said nonchalantly.

“Can’t say the same for Crow and Tell,” she replied.

“You have to stop doing that.” Shade leaned forward before answering, “Doing what?” I guess she was trying to be playful, but it was hard to tell in her state.

“Keeping tabs. You don’t get out much, we know this. It’s fine,” I said.

“Knowing your enemy is half the battle.” She stood tall as she said this, a sort of height that made her more persuasive, or so she would think. I’m good friends with Shade, so she knows that I know that she’s just playing around. In fact, I think I’m pretty neutral with everyone. If they don’t get under my skin, I don’t get under theirs. Except Stale.

“Not your enemy though. Unless you think I am,” I said.

“You’re not. But, you could be.”

“At a drop of a hat?”

“For you, a pin.”

“Gracious.”

“Good haul?” She looked down to my right hand. I knew she wasn’t asking for any, and I didn’t plan to give her any, but I still felt bad for being protective. I tensed my hands without realizing.

“Rat took a bite though. It was good.”

“Leftovers?” I didn’t like using jargon, but many of the residents…No. Many of the wanderers liked jargon. That’s the truth. As I opened my mouth to speak, I saw my breath escape my mouth in a cloud of white. It was cold, I thought. No. It felt cold as the sharp winds jabbed my face, and as the small flakes fell on my exposed head.

“Maybe. I might check at the end of the week though.”

“Litter?”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.”

“I won’t fight you.”

“I know. But the same can’t be said about anyone else.”

“Abandoned pity?”

“Unlikely. You’re famous, you know that?” Shade looked to her side, seeming to smile at something that wasn’t there. Although, I knew that was her own way of looking past the obvious, and looking away from her problems.

“Food stamps?” I asked.

“Not forever, Cat.” This time, I looked away. I looked towards the horizon, and towards the cold flowing river. The only thought in my head, that I wanted to keep, was my desire to go see Rook.

“You’re looking for Rook, right?” Shade asked.

“You can tell?”

“Just like me, you want to see them. Even though, he isn’t yours, and you know that.”

“I know that. I know, but I’ll still go.” Shade smiled, and then replied, “That’s why people like you, Cat, are strong.” I sighed, watching my breath once again, and turned.

“I’ll see you around, Shade.” I then walked forward, not waiting to listen for a reply. It really was cold that day. My hands were slowly turning red, but I ignored the pain. I trudged on, and walked forward.

“You’ll freeze,” I said as I arrived at the Noose Tree. Undeniably, Rook was there. A small kid, I thought. No. He was short, for his age. He had a future, I think. No. He has a future. Dirty blonde, but he’s quiet. Unlike most kids like him. He doesn’t look like he’s feeding off scraps, though.  That’s good. Well, it won’t be in a few days if he keeps this up, I thought.

“Haven’t seen you move more than a hand,” I said as I walked towards him, as he sat on the Noose Tree.

“You’ll not only freeze, but starve.” I stood a few ways away from him, and waited for a response. He didn’t look up, and simply kept his gaze fixed on the ground in front of him. I don’t know the exact details of his case, but I do know that he had only shown up a few days ago. Rat says he’s in a coffin,  just waiting to be buried. But I figured I’d like to prove him wrong for once.

“You know, just sitting here and staring isn’t going to do you much.” There was rope scattered around the perimeter of the tree, and the branches had been tilted down, almost like someone had hung themselves. The tree was very dead, but I knew that it held lots of life. The snow had been cleared from the base, allowing Rook to sit without much trouble. However, the soil under him looked very cold.

“If you have time to sit there, then you have time to live,” I said, not sure if I would get through to him.

“What do you want?” Rook replied viciously. His head was still down, and he was still fixated on the ground, but his voice had spoken up. His voice was cold, and his hands were tucked deep into his coat pockets. His face was feeling the sharp end of the cold winter, and I knew that he didn’t want to be here.

“You may not know this. But we’re all connected.”

“Rat told me,” he mumbled.

“Whether you want it or not, and whether you care or not, what happens to you, happens to the rest of us.”

“Just leave me alone then.” I looked at him, and the only word that appeared in my head was pity. I pitied him, I thought. No, I wanted to see him prosper. There was so much in this cold world that was unforgiving. We are the people. And we are left without anywhere to go. I won’t have anywhere to go. But I’ll keep living and so should he, I thought.

“I can’t do that,” I answered.

“Look, I don’t know what your problem is but–” Rook looked up, his eyes locked onto mines, and perhaps he saw the pity in me. Or perhaps, he read something else, but his eyes widened for a second. He stopped, and he watched. Then something lit in him, and he spoke again.

“I’m not going anywhere. I don’t care if you let me die. That’s why I’m here. I have nowhere else to go–”

“So?” I interrupted.

“So why should you care!?”

“You’re right. I shouldn’t. Why should I. It’s a waste of time, and food, if you ask me. But I can’t let a kid like you out in the cold like this.”

“I don’t know what your issue is, but I’m not your kid.”

“What?” I asked, my voice raising.

“Your eyes. They say everything. You lost your kid right? After you became stranded.” Rat had told me that Rook was perceptive. Now I know why Rat didn’t want to deal with him. He was right. I couldn’t hide my past. His talents could be used, people like us, the Stranded, could use a person like him. Having him die like this would be a setback for us.

“Doesn’t matter,” I begin, my voice returning to normal, “You’re coming with me to Fence’s Shelter.” Rook continued to look at me, but I tried my best not to falter. I looked back at him, my eyes not moving, and my eyes trying to pierce through his. I’ve dealt with his kind before. All you need to do is stare better, and stare hard. The moment you show weakness, you’ve already lost.

“Fine,” Rook said, “It’s not a choice, it’s an order, right?” I nodded, and led him towards Fence’s Shelter. Types like him are too rare to let go. If he were to die like this it would be too much of a waste.

“But,” Rook began, “After this, if I were to die, then you have no right to stop me.”

“I’m not your kid, right?” I said, mocking him. Although at the time I never thought much about those words. We soon arrived at Fence’s Shelter. It was a decrepit place, hidden under the train tracks above. Fence, the owner, set up barrels lining the perimeter and the insides. They would be lit on fire for light and warmth. Although he did this, it was still cold. The pavement was cold, and no amount of barrel oil could stop that. Other Stranded were already resting there when we arrived. Fence was known for this, he set up shelters all across town, and would move them every so often. He’s had this one for a couple of weeks now. The only problem with Fence, is that he doesn’t tell you when he leaves, or where he’s going to show up. Only Rat knows, and getting in touch with Rat is a hell all of its own.

“Rat told me about this place,” Rook said in disgust, “Told me it’s my door to salvation.”

“Only if you’re inexperienced. Travelling alone, and finding your own place is the best way to go.”

“Only if you’re a loner like Cat.” A brash voice boomed in the area as Fence grumbled over, shaking the very ground he stood on. Fence was a large man, considerably large, although, it begs the question of how he could pack up his shelter and leave so quickly, and how he sets up so quickly. Rat told me he gets help, and I can see why. I don’t harass Fence for it, I respect him, but many Stranded despise him, despite using his services.

“The name’s Fence, although if Rat told you about anything, then you would know about me.” Fence began laughing as he finished his sentence. He looked up and down at Rook, giving him a thorough examination.

“Rook, if I remember correctly.” Rook nodded.

“Well, stay as long as you like. No rules. Well, foods on you, and if I leave then I won’t tell you. Other than that, no rules.” Fence trudged back to his sleeping area. I didn’t personally plan to stay at Fence’s Shelter, but since I brought Rook here, I figured it wouldn’t hurt. Most Stranded usually die on the third night, some on the seventh, but rarely on the first. You can say that’s the curse of Fence, or you can say that’s a blessing. I call it a trial period.

“Well, days gone by, no point heading out now, catch some shut eye,” I said to Rook as I stationed myself on a makeshift trash wall. It was well made from recycled wood and plastic, although I wasn’t sure who made it. Rook never answered back, but he laid his back on an unlit barrel, and began shutting his eyes.  It was cold, the ground, the air, and even the people. It was cold that night, at Fence’s Shelter.

The next morning, I woke up to some rustling. I wasn’t much for heavy sleeping, and when I opened my eyes, I saw Fence. He had his things. I wanted to call out to him, to tease him that I had caught him moving, but my eyes were too tired to adjust. I tried to peer out, to see the sky, but it was gray. Snowflakes fell, and it was cold. I looked across from me, to where Rook was last night, but saw an empty space.

“The boy’s gone,” Fence said as he noticed me.

“Gone?” I asked.

“He began rustling and moaning in his sleep. Got up when I did. Left before I could say much though.”

“Did he say where he was going?”

“Don’t know. Ask Rat, but who knows where he is.” I got up, feeling the ache in my bones fill my body. In a struggle to find my balance, I held onto the wooden wall I slept on, and waited.

“Kids going to die out there, Cat.” I looked over to Fence, who was already at the exit.

“I’ve seen too many like him. If the atmosphere don’t kill him, then we definitely will.” I gathered my things, and rushed to the exit behind him.

“You know this, Cat. You know this all too well. We don’t take kindly to spoiled brats. If you’re a Stranded, then you best learn to be one, or you’ll anger the originals.” I clenched my fists. I knew that Fence was right. I knew that Rook could already be dead. But I still wanted to go and look for him. I felt like I had a responsibility. No. It was my own pride.

“I’ll tell you what, Cat.” Fence turned around with a smug grin on his face, and handed me a handgun.

“Two day’s loads that you’ll have to fire that thing. Three if it’s to kill the boy.” I turned the gun in my hand, and checked the magazine. One bullet.

“You’ll only need one after all. You either kill a Hunter, kill a Guard, or kill a boy. Your choice.”

“Your on,” I said with pride. He laughed, and began walking. So did I. I was confident that I didn’t need to shoot. After all, I hadn’t shot in so long. I hadn’t shot since I became Stranded. I had no intention to begin again. The first place I checked was the Noose Tree, but my luck wasn’t that good. There were only so many places one could wander off to, though if he was already dead then I would be looking at all the wrong rocks.

“Looking for someone, Cat?” I turned towards Rat, who seemingly appeared behind me.

“Reckon you won’t tell me for free,” I replied.

“You’ve already helped me plenty. Just win that bet with Fence, and give me a slice, call it even, Cat.” I wasn’t surprised that he somehow knew about our small bet, but I had no time to be picky now. The air was cold, but I knew there was something in the draft.

“Check No Man’s Crossing.” My eyes widened, and I knew that if he was there, he was asking for trouble. Without answer, I left for No Man’s Crossing. It was far too dangerous. And I cursed as I ran. No Man’s Crossing wasn’t any singular location, it was a zone. It was the outskirts of town, where the Hunters and Guards congregated. The Guards have their stations there, loaded with supplies. And the Hunters lay their camps all too near the gates in hopes to get easy game. Going there means suicide, and for someone like Rook, an easy way to get shot. I rushed as fast as I could, hoping to catch him before he crosses the line that leads into No Man’s.

“Rook!” I yelled as I arrived at the edge of the Crossing. Rook stopped, and turned towards me as I struggled to catch my breath.

“Rat told me that you would come. I thought he was lying. Guess he doesn’t lie.”

“Not if he can’t help it. You’re not crossing that line.”

“You said you would let me die, didn’t you?”

“No. I didn’t. You said that if you were to die, then I should let you die.” I remembered his words very clearly. They were words that I once said. How could I forget.

“And by crossing this line, I would die.”

“No. It would increase your chances of dying. You might get caught in a gun fight, but unless you want to die, you probably won’t be killed.”

“Then watch me,” Rook said as he crossed the line. He began running, running towards the Hunters. I cursed and swore as I began running towards him. The last thing you want to do is run towards the Hunters. They would shoot without question. In the dead of morning, though, maybe he has a chance, and maybe I have a chance. I gave chase even though my breath was more like a wisp, and the prospect of the gun straddled in my pocket beaconed to me. If I shot him now, I could drag him back. Though, that defeats the point of trying to save him.

“Over there!” A voice called out. It was a loud muffled voice that called out. A Hunter. I knew their voices all too well. This was bad. A patrol. I had a feeling, but I didn’t want it to come true. I focused on the man, who gave hand motions to wave in other Hunters to the gates. Once the wave comes, the Guards will get alerted, and a gun fight will erupt. Though, my main concern is to get Rook out of there.

“Shoot him! Now!” The man yelled to the wave that erupted at the gates. A whole swarm of them was about to open fire, and things weren’t going to look pretty for either of us. I braced myself and picked up speed, taking my rusted crow bar from my pack and threw it at Rook, effectively dropping him onto the floor as a few bullets flew by. The Guards worked quickly, and returned fire, giving us time to react. I picked up my crow bar, and just as I grabbed onto Rook, a bullet flew by, inches away from my face. There wasn’t enough Guards.

“Let go!” Rook said. I crouched down, and considered my options. I looked around in a frenzy, and saw a trench near the gates, where a house used to be. Perfect. Looks like I have to thank tradition later, I thought. I grabbed onto Rook, and forcefully dragged him to the trench, somehow avoiding the bullets that came our way. Once we got in, I leaned back and tried my best to catch my breath.

“You’re reckless, you know that,” I said.

“And you have no right to stop me!” I pinched my crow bar to Rook’s leg and dragged him down before he could peek his head.

“They saw us move. They will come to us,” Rook said. I knew what he said was true, but before I can act, I need to be able to breathe. My next plan was to make a run to the nearest not-dangerous-place, but, knowing Rook that’s going to be harder than it seems. I peeked my head for a split second, only to be met with a bullet in the dirt beside me. I knew that if I didn’t act now, we would be sitting ducks. I tried to think of a plan. The gun was still in my pocket, but I didn’t want to shoot. Not them, or me, or Rook. I kept telling myself that.

“We’re getting out of here in one piece, you hear me,” I yelled to Rook.

“If you want to run, then go ahead. I’m staying right here.”

“No. I have a plan. For both of us.” One of the Hunters peered over the trench just as I grabbed my crow bar and flung it over his head. He dropped into the trench, and I quickly scouted the area for any more.

“Let’s run, now!” The battle was starting to thin, and the Guards were losing. That meant easy game. Rook wasn’t moving, though. Stubborn till his death, I thought.

“Rook, look, this isn’t the time to be sobbing over the past! You ran into the middle of death, but I’m dragging you out!” I grabbed his arm before he could respond and began running out of the trench, towards the next building. Bullets zipped by, but I knew that with Rook with me, I couldn’t make much distance. I prioritized Rook as much as I could, but he was simply dragging his feet. I cursed again, and flung us both down as a hail of bullets went by.

“I don’t care what happened in your past!” I yelled over as I got us both back up and running.

“Your whole race may have died, but you’re breathing, right now! You have to keep living! That’s how we are!” Rook didn’t respond, but as we ran, I knew he was thinking about my words, and so I continued, ducking down both of our bodies when necessary, and picking us back up.

“Giving up your life, is like giving up those who died for you! You don’t respect the dead? Your family? If so, live.” The air was cold as we ran. Sharp winds glazed my face, and I couldn’t help but have one eye closed as we ran for our lives. Damn Hunters, I thought. Chasing us all the way here.

“Being Stranded, doesn’t mean being abandoned, or being left to die! It means a second chance. We have been given a second chance! We’ve been tried, and we’ve been looked down upon, and we still are, but we live! That’s why we do what we do, and that’s the only thing we can do!” Suddenly, a bullet entered my leg. I felt it all too quickly, and the pain ended all too quickly as well. I fell to one knee, but quickly picked myself up, somehow, and continued barely running. It was bleeding, I felt that, but before I could make much distance, another bullet went through my left arm, and then my left leg, and then I was down. I saw Rook over me, looking panicked. I laughed.

“Get the hell out of here!” I yelled to him. I grabbed the gun from my pocket, and raised it. There was something in Rook’s eyes and expression before he left  to safety. I didn’t know exactly what as there was dirt in my eyes, but the words he said gave me a hint.

“Thank you. Sorry,” he said. I laughed again. The Hunters closed in on me, they were only a few bodies away, and as I turned towards the grey cold sky, with my gun held, I laughed. But it wasn’t because of how I was able to save Rook, or it wasn’t because of how my situation was that I laughed. I laughed, because I felt something warm. For some reason, I was warm.

 

 

Dolly’s Beauty

Hello once again, it’s certainly been a while, and expect quite a bit more of these longer breaks, though I am trying to come up with another novella type light novel story series where I can update more regularly. Since I am concocting a batch of contest short stories I might have to sift through some back log, since I always prepare back log, so short story posts might become far and little once I hone in on the novella light novel. But anyway, today we have a short story akin to children’s story. In other words, something like a fairy tale, modeled after works I read from the Grim Brother’s. This one’s quite simply about vanity. Well here you go, “Dolly’s Beauty.”  

The world as Dolly knew it was filled with materialistic pretention. Dolly was a wooden doll that had two arms, two legs, and a head. Dolly was a bright beautiful brimming carving that traveled the world in wonder. Her joints were clean and had no trouble moving through the snow, dirt, or pavement. Dolly loved seeing everything in the world, and loved seeing it change throughout the years. Dolly did not talk to anyone when she walked around the world, but one day decided against her streak and talked to an old Fox.

The old Fox had grey hair, pointed ears and a long noise. His eyes were sharp like a knife and shaped like an almond. The old Fox snickered when Dolly came up to him, and with his gruff voice said, “Dolly Dolly, oh how long have I watched you walk around in a folly.”

“Hello Mr. Fox,” Dolly responded as she stood in front of the old Fox who towered over her.

“Why why, have you come to stop and say hi?”

“No reason in particular Mr. Fox. I just felt like talking because I have never talked before.”

“Sly sly, oh you are that you talking has made me cry.”

“Oh, I do not wish to cause you harm Mr. Fox. I just want to talk.” The old Fox circled around Dolly, and gave an inquisitive eye to the wooden doll. He placed one paw over the wooden doll’s shoulder and caressed the material finely.

“Amends amends, do not make me cry go out and try on trends.” Dolly did not know how to respond, and simply stood as the old Fox circled around her. The old Fox then took out a small pendant from his fur and hung it over Dolly’s neck. Dolly held the pendant to her face, and saw a beautifully studded diamond that shone elegantly in the sunlight. Dolly was ecstatic at the pendant over her head, and said, “Thank you Mr. Fox. I think I know what you want me to do. You want me to go around and collect beautiful ornaments.”

“Yes yes, little Dolly go out and don’t make a mess.” The old Fox then curled up into a ball and went back to sleep, and Dolly continued on her walk around the world.

Every so often when Dolly saw something shine on the ground, she would go and pick it up. Sometimes Dolly would find coins and discarded needles. But other times, Dolly would find beautiful silver and gold rings. Some rings had emeralds and topaz and sapphire and rubies. Dolly would put on every ring she found, until her left hand had fingers filled with fitted rings.

Dolly was determined to make sure that the old Fox would not cry the next time she spoke to him, and so after she was done walking around the world, she walked again to search for more ornaments. On her second walk she found beautiful bracelets. Some were coated in vibrant silver and exuberant gold and shone in the sunlight. The bracelets wrapped around Dolly’s wooden hand and she placed every bracelet on herself until her right arm was filled with fitted bracelets.

Dolly was not satisfied yet, and wanted pendants to go along with the one she received from the old Fox. Dolly walked around the world again to search for more ornaments. On her third walk, she made sure only to look for pendants, and so whenever she saw long beads covering shiny gems, she stopped and picked them up. Some pendants had beautiful silver jewels and deceiving pyrite. They shone in the sunlight and reflected rays in Dolly’s eyes. Dolly placed every pendant she found over herself until her entire neck was filled with fitted pendants.

After her three walks around the world, Dolly decided it was time to talk again, and so on her fourth walk, she stopped and looked for the old Fox. Dolly was overly exhausted from carrying all the ornaments she found, and so took a rest over the water’s edge. Dolly found herself closing her eyes, and her wooden legs gave in and she slipped into the water. Dolly panicked and tried to swim her way up, but the weight of her ornaments brought her down further, and soon Dolly began sinking past the point of no return. The old Fox was awoken by the sudden sound of Dolly’s demise and jumped in the water to bring her up. The old Fox was able to drag Dolly onto the surface and as Dolly regained consciousness, the old Fox said, “Dolly Dolly, oh how long have I watched you walk around in a folly.”

“Thank you for saving me Mr. Fox.”

“Why why, did you stop and try to say hi?”

“I just wanted you to see what I’ve become since the last time I saw you.”

“Sly sly, I am, that I tricked you and now everyone will cry.”

“Oh why have you done this to me Mr. Fox? I am filled with ornaments from my arms to my neck, with all the prettiest gems in all of the world.”

“Amends amends, you cannot make for now you are too ugly to even make friends.”

“You tricked me,” cried Dolly.

“Yes yes, but the only one who did so was you and now you are in distress.” The old Fox then curled up in a ball and went to sleep, leaving Dolly to travel the world in repentance. Dolly had two filled arms and one filled neck and her two legs could barely move as she walked over snow, dirt and pavement. Dolly did not talk to anyone when she walked around the world, for now she knows not to listen to the talks of any old fox.