A Simple Game

Hello once again to without doubt, more backlog. This one, is a very old year long piece that when reading I couldn’t help but laugh at just what I was thinking of when I wrote this. In my opinion, it is both parts bad, and at the same time interesting how I decided to roll with this piece. If the piece from Margaret Atwood entitled Happy Endings comes to mind, then the style of this piece somehow reminds me of that. In themes, perhaps not, and at the same time, even in themes of how death accumulates inevitably, still relates. It is an extremely entertaining piece to look back on and a great time to go back and see what I was thinking of back in the past. Here you go, “A Simple Game.”

Everyone has something they need to protect. Whether it’s a person, a place, or even a thing. Everyone has something they hold precious. Whether they realize it or not, is really up to them. Everyone has something they want to hide. Whether it’s infringing on their daily lives or not, the truth is, we are all hideous people.

Take for example, this strange pairing. A son who wants nothing to do with his parents, and will do anything in his way to stray from them. He’s a fragile person, the slightest agitation will blow his top. He’s not to be taken lightly. Now, his name is Dan Aker. Dan is a good person deep down, the only problem is his overlaying rage for his parents. Okay, now that we know a bit about Dan, let’s talk about his inevitable captor. His name is Jason. He doesn’t have a last name, due to complicated circumstances. Jason is a murderer. He’s been convicted for the murder of three women, five men, and ten children within the last three months. All stories of his actions are true, he’s a killer first and a human second.

One day, just like any other, Dan is making his way back home. It was a busy day at school. He’s got a test to study for tomorrow, an assignment due next week and the stress of wondering who Jane was texting to during last period. His bag is heavy, but they don’t stop him from making the trek home. The sun scorches the ground and him under its wake, and he can feel sweat drip down his face. He thinks to himself, “What a day”, and makes a detour on his way home. He goes to the nearest convenience store to buy a slushy, something to relieve his burning nerves.  But he knows all well that going to the store is a dangerous place.

As he arrives at the store, he sees three of the school’s most hated people. Chad, Davis, and Nicholas. They are known to be trouble makers, and have even terrorized Dan before. They were floating around the entrance to the store, surely as a way to make sure that no one sneaks past their sights. Dan takes in a deep breath and then walks through them, eyes down, heart up. But he is stopped. Chad, the largest of the three, block his path with his arm, Davis, the second largest then gives him a grimy smile while Nicholas, the smallest of them says, “Where do you think you’re going?” Dan is appalled at the situation, but he takes another deep breath. Getting over this situation is a hurdle that he must overcome. After all, if he wants to enact his true plan, his darkest secret, he must be able to show strength, courage, and unfaltering evil.

He stares down Chad, with as much ferocity as he can manage, and with as much dark as he can muster, he manages to put him into a cold sweat. Chad backs down and tells Davis and Nicholas to back down as well. Dan enters the store peacefully, purchases his drink and exits, only to be surprised by Chad, who pushes his drink on the floor, violently splashing just inches away from a customer’s feet. “How do you like that, tough guy?” Davis says, knowing full well that Dan isn’t a fighter. Dan is a passive person, the whole school knows it, he never initiates a fight, rather, he’s a spectator. Always in the side lines, never in the fray.  But today, just for today, he’s feeling a little smug.

Dan grabbed Chad, and then said, “This is how much I liked that”, then threw Chad against the store’s window. Davis immediately charged at him, but knowing full well the situation, Dan skillfully stepped to the right, leaving Davis to trip and fall on the floor. Nicholas, scared and confused at everything decides to stay out of it, but Dan has no mercy. He grabs Nicholas, then pummels him into the ground, giving the floor a red paint job. Unscathed by the entire situation, Dan walks off, with a new found confidence, with a new found power. Today is a special day for Dan. Today, he feels like he can do anything. Because, Dan is that kind of person. He’s strong. Dan can finally start his master plan. Number three; everyone has something they want to hide. Today, Dan is going to kill his parents.

Dan’s parents come from a troubled childhood, if you will. In fact, they aren’t even his real parents. The whereabouts of his real parents are unknown of course, but Dan has found out a little secret. Jane, his girlfriend is the daughter of detectives. From a little snooping around one day when her parents were out, she found a little document with Dan’s name on it. Inside of it, is the case file for the murder of Dan’s parents. The suspects; Dan’s current foster parents. The motivation for the murder is unknown, but the detectives suspect that they took in Dan as a sort of retribution. A sort of resentment that they felt after the deed. But the investigation has been put on hold. And Dan has decided to bring matters into his own hands. Today is the day he will experience true bloodlust, and true strength.

As he made his way home, he made sure that his parent’s weren’t home. He had no way to know whether they were going to be home, but he could hear the keys jingle out of their pockets and the sound of their cars on the driveway. He had to make haste of his work before they made their way home. It was a time crunch where the limit was an indefinite variable. His plan was simple. First, he made sure that the house was littered with knives. Kitchen knives, to be exact, but he did get a hand in getting more practical ones. He wanted a viable weapon where ever he could see an opening. And he wanted a way to protect himself in the off chance his plan went awry. As his parents walked in, Dan would wait patiently. They wouldn’t figure out that the kitchen would be missing a set of knives until later, but he wouldn’t wait that long. Dan doesn’t have the patience for that. He’s been studying the movements of his parents for the past month. His mother comes home a little later, but as his father comes back home, he immediately goes to read the newspaper. His mornings are busy, so he doesn’t have time to read. Dan will take advantage of this as his father reads in his room. The only way to successfully assault him would be to sneak into the room from the back, but that would require scaling his home’s wall. So, what Dan will do is wait for when he’s done reading, go out of the room to watch television and finish him then.

Dan thought his plan was foolproof. His father would be dead, then when his mother comes home, it will be a simple cleanup job. What happens after is up to Dan’s imagination. As Dan set out all the pieces of his plan, he waited. Today, he would relax and finally find his salvation. The clock stroke four, and his father came home. Dan looked busy studying away for his test. His father went to his room, just as planned, and then it was a matter of  time. After about an hour, Dan went to his door and hid just behind it, such that when the door opens, he would not be seen. He planned it out to the last detail, to account even for those odd days where his father would linger around his room. But today wasn’t one of those days. He opened the door and Dan leapt. The knife drove into his foster father’s back. Dan was shaking, but not from fear, but adrenaline. He waited another two hours and then his mother came home. Dan had set up a little plan for her as well. He dragged the dead man’s body towards where her mother would enter first, and waited. As she opened the door she noticed the man lying and was seconds away from letting out a scream. Dan came out, placed his hands over her mouth and then strung the knife on her neck. He whispered into her ears, “Do you like it when the ones you love are dead in front of you? I don’t.” Without receiving an answer, Dan jabbed the knife into her back and then the job was done. His hands were bloodied, his bloodlust was filled with malevolent contexture, and he was a free man. This is where our journey with Dan ends. Only for now, I promise.

Part 2:

Here, we have another man, following the same path that Dan follows. Jason is a murderer. And today, he’s visited his fifth town in hiding. He knows that he can’t stay in the same place for too long, or he’ll be caught. And being caught is the last thing that Jason wants. He idolizes killing, it is what makes him, him. He’s a man of free will and he will do whatever it is he thinks is right. Out of pure coincidence, the town Jason has visited is the same town that Dan lives in. And out of pure coincidence, Jason happened to have almost been struck by a flying slushy as he was walking past a convenience store. And finally, just out of nowhere, from a sliver of luck, Jason happened to see a boy demolish three others in a fit of rampage. Mind you, this is all but a coincidence.

So, upon his mishaps in this new town, he decides that staying a night wouldn’t hurt. He’s been on the run for so long and he’s even hungry. But the chances of him simply walking up to a store and buying food without being caught is a pipe dream. Jason decides that it’s time to find residence. And so, he walks, and walks, and walks until he finally finds a home suitable to his liking. It is but a humble abode, but it would do. Jason has done house jacking many times, this would be another walk in the park for him. He would go in, threaten the people inside, tie them up, then stay the night. He still had a single bullet in his gun, and that would be enough. He figured that no gun store would allow a latent criminal to buy bullets, but he was determined that he wouldn’t need it.

And, with luck would have it, the home Jason decided to stay in, is the home of Dan. Jason thinks up a plan just like Dan, and executes it perfectly. He doubles back to a side door, presses his ear to listen in for any sign of life, and when he knows that there are none, he smashes the door window with his gun. He reaches in, unlocks it from the inside then enters with his gun forward. Except, this plan would have worked, if Dan wasn’t lying in wait, upon hearing the smashed window, he had readied himself. The only problem, was that when Dan jumped to stab Jason, he was skillfully put down. Jason wasn’t a pushover in close quarters combat, and when he had realized what was going on, Dan was already knocked out from the takedown.

Jason noted the two dead people on the floor in front of him. One of a female and one of a man. He then turned over Dan’s unconscious body, and figured it was something alike a homicide. However, Jason could not figure out a proper motivation, but he did not care. He quickly tied up Dan, and decided that today was a good day to play a game. He gathered the bodies of his parents as well. He noticed something interested. He laid all three of them on chairs, cleaned up the bloody mess Dan created and then waited. But, by now, you may have already guessed. With a bit of luck, there was a knock on the door, a voice of a girl came into the home. It was Jane. Jason answered promptly, knocked the girl unconscious and tied her. She was now part of the game. Jason was a man of his word, he would promise to leave one unharmed as long as one did his bidding. He wasn’t the type of person to hold grudges. He’s just a simple killer. And this is where our stories converge. Back to Dan.

Part 3:

As Dan woke up, he felt a sharp sting in the back of his head. Like someone had hit him with a bat. He noticed that he couldn’t move his feet or arms, and when he was fully conscious, he noticed he was sitting in a chair. His girlfriend and dead foster parents were lined up in front of him. Jane was on the far left, followed by his mother then father. They were all tied up, even the dead parents. Jane and his parents had earplugs on and were blindfolded as if to tell Dan that they would not be hearing or saying anything throughout the game.

Once Dan had a grasp of the situation, Jason began talking. The room Dan was in was very dim, so he had not noticed that the blood on the floor previously was not there. On a table nearby, a walkie-talkie gave off a little static. Dan remembered it as one of his toys when he was a child.  Today, it was going to be used for someone else’s entertainment.

“Hello, I know you can hear me loud and clear. Your name is not of concern to me. Let me tell you this. I’m a generous person. If you play my game, I’ll help you out. How’s that?” Dan figured that the captor would still be in the home, and that he would hear whatever he had to say. And so Dan gave a response.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Usually, the prey asks for his predator’s name. Some kind of semblance to know what he’s up against.”

“You have my girlfriend in custody. I’m not going to be picky about what I say.”

“Oh, that is quite interesting. Mind you, the couple are also quite a specimen.”

“Please, those two are none of my concern. Why do you think I killed them?”

“Fair enough. I’ll get to the point then. In this game, you have to make a simple choice. That is all. It is a rotary motion that you need to accomplish. A simple twitch of the muscles. No skin off your back, I promise.”

“Okay.”

“In front of you, if you have not already noticed, is a gun.” Dan looked down and confirmed the gun in front of him. He didn’t know what to think of it, but he was beginning to guess what this game was all about. Jason continued.

“Those two that you killed. Well, to your dismay, they are in fact alive. You did a horrible job at murder. I noticed their breaths when I was cleaning up. The man’s in far worst shape, but I made sure that they would be alive for this game, so I patched them up.” Dan was infuriated, he wanted to burst out screaming, but he knew that if he did he would wake the dead. His plan went awry, but right now, he had to abide by his captors terms. He had no choice. He kept his mouth shut.

“So, once this game starts, I want you to choose a target. Whether it be your girlfriend, the woman, the man, or yourself. The target stays alive. And the remainder, will die.” Upon saying this, Jason suddenly began laughing. He added an additional rule.

“On second thought, the man and woman will count as one. So, if you choose either one of them, they are both staying alive. That narrows it down. If you choose yourself, everyone in front of you will die. If you choose your girlfriend, you will die, alongside your victims. If you choose the couple, you and your girlfriend will meet in heaven together.”

“Then what’s the gun for?”

“That’s a last resort. I want you to use that gun to end the game yourself. If you choose to kill with that gun, everyone else stays alive. For example, if you kill yourself, the people in front of you live. If you kill the couple, then you and your girlfriend stay alive.”

“I see.”

“If you can’t comply with these rules, everyone dies. You have five minutes to make your decision. Remember, you must either choose someone, or kill. Just tell me your choice, and this game will be over.” Dan thought it over. Number one: everyone has something they need to protect. At this moment, Dan wanted to protect his girlfriend no matter what. She was the only one who stepped out to him, she was the one who showed him the light of his parents. She was the one that would always be there for him. If Dan chose to protect her, then he and everyone else would die. But Dan also had the idea to kill his parents with the gun, so that they could both stay alive. But the thought arose, a lone thought that maybe he could learn to forgive his parents. That maybe the rumors were just that. In that case, Dan would want to kill himself, and have everyone else walk out alive. Number two: everyone has something they hold precious. To Dan, it wasn’t his humanity, his sanity, or even his wellbeing. It was the people around him. His salvation was in his girlfriend. Dan has lost all semblance of who he used to be once he had done the deed. However, now that he knows that he has failed, was there really any reason in any of it? He could reset his life, start anew with his parents, everything could all have been a mistake. But Dan knew that life wasn’t that forgiving. No, what Dan wanted, was total destruction. He wanted to see his parents suffer. And so, Dan made his decision. The five minute mark was over. Dan told Jason what he wanted to do.

 

 

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Hello once again to another backlog, this time… One that doesn’t have a title. Hence, it is left to be placeholder. I actually made this one in a way that I no longer do, I wrote the story without a title. Such a method is very cryptic to me now since I make up a title before I actually get into the story. Though, to each their own method since I could see, since I have done so, why writing and then figuring out a title might also work. But either way, this is another obscure piece, just like usual.  Perhaps its about trying to cope with loss, or about the power of memory. Either way, here you go….

“Where am I?Is this where you are? I can’t find you. This isn’t where you are.” I felt your hand on my face, and I gasped. My eyes suddenly jolted open and I looked for your being. But it wasn’t there. No one was there. I looked down. I was the only one there. I still couldn’t find you, and I still couldn’t forget you. My head was spinning, and it took my eyes time to register what I was seeing. I was lying in a clearing in a forest. I tried to remember how I ended up there, but the more I tried the more my head began buzzing. I got up to the disdain of my muscles, and looked up with one hand above my hand to block the sun. I sighed and looked around me, trying to find some kind of clue to lead me away. I couldn’t see anything.

I chose a random direction, and began walking. My head stung every time I took a step which forced me to hold a hand towards my head. My feet began dragging, and my muscles threatened to collapse on me. Everything in my body stung, and soon enough I was brought to my knees. I struggled to get up, but my knees were shaking uncontrollably. It was then that I felt you reach for me again. Your hands touched my shoulder in comfort, but when I turned, I couldn’t see you. The shaking in my knees were gone, and so I got up and began walking again. I was still limping.

I pressed my way into the forest, brushing away branches, and making sure my step was not obstructed by rocks or bear traps. I didn’t know where I was walking to, but for some reason my legs ignored all reason, and my body kept pushing forward with a strange sense of alacrity. A howl resounded in the distance which made the hairs on my back stand, though I remained rather phlegmatic to the impending danger. I kept walking, squinting my eyes through the cracks in the tree line to see if I could see a semblance of anything to trigger my memory.

After about ten minutes of walking, I looked down, and saw an indented print in the dirt. That was when I saw you again. You fluttered as you spun and stepped as lightly as a feather on the pallid dirt. Your bright golden hair flew behind you in a wave of transcendence, and your pale white skin shone like the morning snow. But as I blinked you were gone again. And when I stepped over the prints, I noticed that they were indeed mine. You were gone, and all your sensations had left me again.

I kept walking, trying to find some way out, but by the third time of seeing my own prints, I grew tired. I decided to walk back towards the clearing, and had no trouble finding it. I sighed, and went back to the spot where I lay, and rested upon it again. I rested my eyes for a mere minute, but then I noticed a scent. It was your scent. I didn’t open my eyes, but simply let the low blowing wind drag your scent across my nose. It was a scent that I could not forget. And it was filled with the scents of grass, bark, and rotten flesh. Your scent had faded in that moment. You were gone again, and although I couldn’t see you, you were so vivid in my mind once again.

I got up from my reverie, and aptly noticed that my stomach was empty. It growled belligerently, and forced me to search a nearby bush for berries. They were black, and although I could not trust the contents within the berries, I tasted them nonetheless, and quelled my fleeting hunger. The berries were strangely addictive, and I continued eating them without regard for their potential harm, and soon enough, the taste of the black berries began diluting. The taste became bitter, and it reminded me of the way you used to burn your cookies. It was bitter, and sweet. It brought me back into your embrace, but soon, you left me again, and the taste of it was starting to become mush.

I walked back to the clearing, and laid my body back onto the grass. I watched as the clouds went by ever so slowly, and my eyes began dipping into another existence. I listened to the low blowing wind as it rode the grass and whistled ever so slightly in my ears. I listened to the sound of branches whittling in the distance, and I listened to the sound of leaves gently falling to the ground. And then your voice was muddied into those sounds. Your voice was serene and bounced into my ears like glass. It was so undeniably clear that it felt like you were all around me, it felt like your presence had subjugated all my senses. My eyes stood still on those clouds as you spoke, “Do you remember that day?” The thought of bringing back memories had made my head sting again, and so I didn’t.

“It was filled with white flowers and the low blowing wind, just like today.” Your voice threatened to lull me into a deep embrace into the unknown, but I forced myself to stay awake, for I knew that staring into the abyss would have it stare back into me. I didn’t answer either, for I knew that answering you would have you leave me again, and that I could not handle.

“Do you remember what you told me that day?” I didn’t want to nod or shake my head for I had no recollection of the events of that day you so solemnly spoke of, and anything I did would bring me out as a liar. So I listened to you as you spoke of seemingly unimaginable bliss.

“You told me that, we would always remember these white flowers, and come back to them one day.” Your words began lisping away from me, and the more I tried to grasp onto them in my mind, the more they seemed to fade. It was as if your words came to me like a waterfall. It never seemed to end and I could never cease to be amazed by them. It was like a cascading sea of stars that lit the night sky. I couldn’t respond or run from your words, and so I let them devour me that day.

“You said that you would do your best to show me everything close to you, and to embrace me the way I did you.” Your words, more than anything, gave me pain.

“And you said, that we would always be together, always by our sides, always with our hands embraced in an intertwining knot.” For some reason your words hurt me more than anything and I wanted you to stop. I wanted you to leave, for the first time since I began seeing you again, I wanted you to stop and I wanted everything to cease to exist. I didn’t want you to be with me again. My head began spinning, my eyes closed, my body struggled to move, and everything was becoming clod.

“It wasn’t a lie, right?” Everything was falling, and I screamed, I opened my mouth and screamed into the sky, listened as it echoed throughout the trees and your voice disappeared. It was gone and now I was all alone again. All to myself. You never came back to me, and I soon found myself being lulled into a deep slumber. I was stuck in my own little enclave, in my own little haven where the idea of you didn’t exist. Where you were nowhere to be found, where you could not torment me again. I was content with that.

I woke up again, in the same grass plains, and with the same plain sky with clouds overhanging me. I sighed, and walked into the forest with my head still stinging, and with my muscles barely able to keep up with me. As I stepped into the forest, and took away the first branch that groveled at my face, I noticed that the dirt beneath was filled with footprints. It was like before, but this time the footprints seemed almost inhuman. They matched my size, but there were too many and in too many places to match with what I could do in a single walk alone. My head hurt upon trying to come up with a conclusion, and so I walked back into the clearing, and sat. I sat and waited until something would happen. I didn’t know what would happen, but I wanted something to happen. I didn’t know how I had arrived, nor how I would get out. I was simply adrift in my own thoughts, and for some reason, my hands were shaking. My hands were shaking, and an undeniable longing to hold something came upon me. I couldn’t put my head around what that feeling was, but it ate at me. It consumed me, and I ran back into the forest to try and find an answer. I was looking for someone, or something, but I didn’t know what or who. I just had to find them. And that was when I saw her, the embodiment of all my pains, into a single person. I didn’t know who she was, but I walked closer towards her, and once I was close enough to distinguish any features, I noticed that she was more like me than anyone else in my head. It was like looking in a mirror, and at that moment, I smiled. It was like staring at what I’ve become, and it was like knowing that no one else in this world could compare. I held my hand out, and grabbed my own hand, and allowed that being of self-creation hold mines. The roots in the dirt then began shifting, and I felt it. They shot out of the ground as if under a spell, and began ensnarling my legs. All the while I held onto the hands of myself. Was there anyone else here with me?

 

 

           

Mirror, Mirror

Hello once again to another backlog, this time one that takes a play on an age old saying that has plagued many of our childhoods. Much like the other fairy tale or childlike stories that I did in the past, this one is very much one that has many themes and symbols that is very much not considered safe for children to know. Though, at the same time, this piece is very cryptic in why the main character is doing this, and whether I am implying that this is a world filled with mysticism, or the character is stuck in his own twisted world. Anyway, here you go, “Mirror, Mirror”.

Can you tell me who’s the loneliest of all? I reached into my pocket, and took out my stopwatch. Except, I’d be lying if I said I carried a stopwatch. That’s a bit too old fashioned. It was in the shape of a stopwatch, but when I flipped it open, it was a mirror. I looked into the mirror, and saw a clear reflection of myself.  I had short black hair, light skin, clear eyes, and a skinny face. Everything was set in stone, an image that was undeniably human. Like a rendered photo of a man who just so happened to be looking at himself. Almost as if breathing, the picture shot out at me.

I placed my mirror back in my pocket, and then looked around to my surroundings. I was at the park, just sitting on a bench early in the morning, on my day off. I didn’t have plans, but, I knew that staying inside wasn’t going to do me much. If I could, I would simply sit and stare up into the sky, basking in the warm air around me for all eternity. But I can’t.  Not today, not tomorrow, or even the day before. Life moves on, and, I have to move on.

That day, I went to the graveyard, to pay my respects to those that have long past. I treaded rows and rows of gravestones, reading aloud each name, but, not stopping for any of them. My foot stamped on the arid dirt, and as my legs moved forward, the only thing on my mind was that I wanted it all to be over.

I eventually reached the tombstone of which I was affiliated with, stopped, and read it aloud. This time, I took extra care to pronounce each letter with grace, and arrogance. Absolutely acrimonious. I then spit on the tombstone, and placed my foot over it, making sure I didn’t apply enough force to topple it, but, enough force so that I could rest one hand over my knee and smugly laugh at it. And so I did, raising all the dead, and, turning all the heads to my contrived madness. There was no method in my madness. I laughed, and rung out an insidious shrill across all ears, and, somewhere beneath, I imagined a shifting of dirt. That made me laugh harder.

Once I was done my fit of induced insanity, I took out my mirror. The glass itself was undeniably clear, though now, the reflection of myself was darker. My black hair had gotten blacker, my light skin had become a tan, my clear eyes were murky, and my skinny face was becoming emaciated. I placed the mirror back in my pocket, and continued on my day.

I didn’t have plans, though I knew the town enough that I would naturally converge to certain areas. One of which was the graveyard. And, my second stop, was the open bar. It was open all day, which was a commodity in these times of strife. I entered, and nodded to the bartender as I sat down. He was wiping a glass, and, without even asking me, poured me a shot. I smiled, and placed a few notes for him, and then took a swig. The burning yellow liquid slid down my throat like a knife. It was quaintly amusing. After the first, I took a huge sigh, and then, after signaling for another, downed the second without hesitation. My head was spinning now. And I felt my face light up like a cherry. I laughed, softly to myself, and then brought out my mirror. The bartender left at this point, understanding my perfunctory. My vision was blurry, and it was hard to keep focus on any single point within the mirror, but once I had what resembled an image, I smiled. My black hair was now just a drape of shadow on my head. My skin had gone completely charred, and my eyes were a pile of ash. My face, could not be distinguished as a face, but rather a hideous malformation of a face. I smiled in the mirror, and watched as my reflection curled up and sent a smile back. I got up from my seat and then left.

There was still one more place I needed to go. One more place so that I had the perfect image in the mirror. I didn’t have plans, though my body knew exactly where it wanted to go, and so I had no choice but to abide by it. The final landing was at the local daycare center. Like clockwork, my body knew where to stop, and where to breath. The children began pouring out, and my face contorted into a wide smile. Lots of little ones that day, little boys and girls. My breathing began fluctuating, and something began strutting out of my pants. The teachers hadn’t noticed me yet, and so I continued to stare, engraving their faces, their smiles, and their laughter into my mantra. Once I was satisfied, I took out my mirror. It was complete. My magnum opus. My entire being was shadows. Not a single speck of light escaped. Except, when I smiled, a curved line formed to my cheeks. I stared at that image, of overshadowing darkness, of complete misanthropy. Then, I put the mirror back in my pocket, and trudged my way back home. My drudgery only ended when I was dead.

 

 

 

 

 

Last Remnants

Hello once again to more back logs, which to my surprise is going pretty well since I have been able to pull out a lot of obscure old pieces that I forgot I even had, this one being one of them. Though I’ll probably finally hit the well of old pieces and finally get to posting some of my more recent and quite frankly, better works, I still enjoy doing this and hopefully it still is somewhat readable. I’ve been quite busy and posting here and even on my secondary more active blog, SchoolOfWords, still takes quite a bit so bare with me. Either way, this is a kind of sci-fi piece, a little bit of anti-capitalistic themes and of course the preservation of nature and memories. Here you go, “Last Remnants”.

“We at NeuPsy believe that a well stimulated brain leads to happiness and longevity of personality and fulfillment. Our goal is to create whatever scene or memory you wish to see before you die. It’s a process that involves–”

“Hooking me up to a bunch of wires and sending me on an acid trip.”

“It involves–”

“Look. I didn’t sign up for this. You think I care for your high-tech ramblings?” The old man turned towards a picture frame, and slowly got up using his cane. His walls were painted white, and his floor boards creaked. His clock ticked, and his television was remote controlled. The old man picked up the picture, a picture of his wife, and pointed it at the white suited man.

“You see this?” The old man turned the picture towards himself, admiring the work in the frame and the quality of the picture.

“Of course you can’t. You lot are all the same. Blinded by pretty lights and electrodes.” The old man placed the picture face down and walked over to his window, pushing away the curtains. He saw hovering cars rushing down the streets, moving highways above him, and huge scraping buildings that were all connected with large clear tubes. A spiraling elevator stood at the center of it all, leading into the city’s largest commercial center.

“But I don’t have a choice. Just like I don’t have a choice about my age. But you lot will find a way. It’s in your blood.” The white suited man continued to grow uncomfortable, and the old man grew tired. He knew he couldn’t escape it.

“So how much?” The old man asked.

“Cost you a leg and a heart.” The white suited man tried to calm the atmosphere, but the old man was unmoving.

“Eight surges,” the white cloaked man said.

“I’ll give you ten if you stay out of my hair.”

“That won’t be necess–”

“I was joking.” The white cloaked man stopped, and appreciated his notion to lighten the mood, no matter how offsetting it was.

“Eight surges for you, twelve for my son,” the old man said, “Come on, I’m not getting any younger.” Both men walked to the door with the white suited man taking a small remote device from his pocket. He pressed a button, then watched as a car began zipping by towards them. With the press of another, the door opened. Both men got in. The car then abrasively shut its doors, and began driving.

“They say you live in the past,” the white suited man said.

“They seem to say many things, but they don’t seem to notice the Tragedy of Green.”

“Sling that term around and they’ll raze your house.”

“Let them. What’s an ailing man like me going to care?” The car abruptly stopped at the large facility with the words NeuPsy projected in large glowing font. Both men stepped out of the car and proceeded forward. They were standing on a floating platform, elevated by freezing particles.

“Have you heard about our intensive programs?” The white suited man asked.

“Yes. Can’t say many haven’t. You’d be dead if that’s the case, or dying like me.”

“Is there are particular thought you wish to remember?” The old man didn’t answer, which prompted the white suited man to continue.

“Or perhaps, any particular thought you wish to experience?”

“The thought of dying peacefully and without all this Blue Washed Junk. But that won’t happen will it?” The old man said as he smiled. The white suited man didn’t reply, but simply led them on in silence.

“You’ll know anyway. Peek into my mind, watch it go. It doesn’t matter to your organization or–”

“I want to know.”The old man was stumped, surprised by what had just happened. For the rest of the way there, they walked with silence.

“Here we are,” the white suited man said as they arrived at a door with a large projected label above it. “Central Nervous Immersion Center.” It read. They entered, and in front of them was a multitude of instruments and a chair. Wires, monitors, sensors, and a chair. The old man made his way to the chair, and sat, while the white suited man hooked him up to a series of machines. He placed a cap over his head, that had wires sticking out and into various monitors. He hooked him up into a heartbeat and breathing sensor and with a few flips and typing into a nearby computer, the process was about to begin.

“May you find–”

“Cut the chase.”

“We’re ready to go.” The white suited man pressed the last button he needed, and watched as the old man closed his eyes and began entering a new realm.

“Are you awake?” The old man heard a voice, it was a woman’s voice, a voice he was very familiar with that had brought him into the waking world of his dream. The old man was surrounded by white walls, but he was sure that he wasn’t in a white room, rather, the world around him now was simply white. He knew where he was, to an extent, but not what he was about to see. He thought he had no real interest in his memories, nor where he wanted to go. He simply abided by what was there, and knew that he couldn’t opt out of it. He was in a world all to his own, but without a means to use it. The old man stepped forward, almost instinctively, and began walking. After a while, he noticed something. The old man’s tired legs, and his weary eyes were not a bother anymore. He felt alive, he thought.

Then, the world around him began forming, and shaping into a palpable vision. The ground beneath him turned into a lush green, the sky above him turned light blue, and the air around him was oxygen. The old man felt alive. He walked on the grass, that crunched under his feet, and took long breaths of oxygen that circulated his lungs. The clouds above him moved slowly, and the sun in the distance was covered by the white clouds. The man didn’t know why he was brought to such a scene, but he could guess as to why.

“It’ll be fine.” The man heard. It was the same voice as before. A woman’s voice, clear as sky, and clear as water. It was a voice that made the man calm, and it was a voice that the man could never forget. But he couldn’t see a face to that voice. It was a voice that he knew, but could not see, and that thought made him sad. It rang in his head, almost repeatedly.

“Emerald?” The old man said, his voice echoed, seeming to bounce off the clouds and air in the world he had found himself in. He didn’t expect a response, nor did he expect the same scenery he stood in to seem so hexing. The green of the grass, the blue of the sky, and the air in his lungs all started to break down into a convoluted brown. The old man walked forward, seemingly into nothingness and seemingly to walk onto a never-ending plain of green. The old man didn’t know whether the scene he saw was going to change, or whether he was going to spend the rest of his time stuck in the plains of grass that he so apparently wished for. He wasn’t keen on learning about the program as much as he should have, and he didn’t care for it.

“Everything becomes Blue.” The old man heard the voice again. It was speaking to him, but the old man knew that it was not speaking directly at him, rather, it was speaking at the essence of who he was. The voice was speaking to his consciousness, his memory, and the old man just so happened to be in that memory. The grass beneath him began changing, the green becoming blurred, and the texture shifting. The sky was falling, and the clouds were gone. Without warning, the setting before him turned grey. Everything was grey, the sky was grey, the ground was grey, and the air was grey. He was standing on top of ruins. They were ruins of a building that once stood tall and proud among it’s aggressors, but was toppled to make way for progression.  The old man scoffed at it.

“Everything becomes darkened Blue.” The old man heard the voice again, and his mind was beginning to remember. The grey sky above him was not simply grey because it was his mind creating the color of grey, but because the smog in the sky was such that it turned grey, he thought. The old man did not move this time, and simply stood atop the ruined building, under the grey sky, and breathed the rasp air that surrounded him.

“There was nothing anybody could do,” the old man said, seemingly to nothing.

“It’s a sad nothing.” The old man heard the woman’s voice again, this time, much more clear, and much more near him. Almost as if reliving a memory, and almost as if his mouth and voice was acting on its own, he began speaking back to the voice.

“A sad nothing is still nothing. And nothing we could ever do, sad or happy, would be able to stop them.”

“Right, but you can’t just look at that side.”

“You’re telling me that the destruction and mass extinction we’re doing is a good thing?”

“No. It’s not. But progress comes with sacrifice. It’s just one way of living life.”

“That way isn’t sustainable, you know that.”

“I’m a scientist, not an activist.” The woman’s voice suddenly stopped, and the scene around the old man began fading again. The ruble of the ruins disappeared, the grey of the sky turned murky, and the air became stagnant.  The old man did not know whether what he saw was what he wished, or whether what he saw was just a dying memory. The old man knew that the simulation could run either, whichever was more strong. The old man didn’t see himself as the condescending type.

“The recent toppling of the last remaining environmental conservative has marked the beginning of the Era of Blue.” A voice resounded within the old man. It was a static voice, not from a human’s like the last voice he heard. It was the voice of a person he did not personally recognize but the words came off as poor nostalgia.  The old man knew not why he had came to remember these things, but he did not necessarily mind staying to see them either. He knew that if he wanted to leave that all he needed was to think strong enough to force an eject.

“Millions of people have been rounded up in what has possibly been the largest mass genocide since the War Of Commons.” The old man knew exactly what the static voice was talking about, and that gave him a bitter aftertaste.  The world around him was forming again, he found himself standing on top of a patch of grass. However, as the old man looked above him, towards the glass dome that incased him, he knew he was in no open field. In front of the old man was a single tree, that stood large and proud among the field of grass. It circulated Oxygen throughout the dome, and the old man knew that the air he breathed was the last of its kind. For some reason, the old man felt the need to remember that. The air he breathed, was the last of its kind.

“Prices on what consumers call, ‘Electromagnetic Energy’, has risen to an all time high after the construction of the Central Tesla Tower.” The voice boomed this time, seeming to bounce off of the wall of the dome he was incased in. Suddenly, a large bang resounded within the dome. The old man felt the vibrations as the sound heightened, and soon enough, the dome broke. The glass of the dome shattered, and as the old man saw, a horde of disfigured men came rushing towards the tree, seeming to ignore him. The old man was indifferent about what he was seeing, and as he came to realize it, the scene had turned into an image. Everything around him was then fading, the grass, the tree, the men that shattered the dome. The old man did not know how to feel about what he saw, but knew that what he saw, was simply what his mind wanted him to see, and so he saw it.

“We don’t usually spare people like you.” A brash and aggressive voice resounded now as the scene shifted into one of darkness. The ground, the wall, the sky around him had all darkened. The sounds of electricity whistled within the old man’s ears, and despite being completely engulfed in unseeing, he could clearly see a surge of electricity near him. The old man figured he would panic, but he didn’t, and knew that it was all but a memory. The old man had no reason to panic, and knew that even if the situation he remembered was terrifying then, it would not be now. The old man was past that point.

“We don’t have any rights on your property, but remember that contributing citizens are more favored in this new regime.” Another voice resounded, a voice that the old man could remember and hate clearly. However, the scenery around him stood stagnant. He stood in complete darkness, enshrouded by what he figured was the end of his simulation. It was, but he would never know. And the white suited man monitoring the whole trip would know, and he would know what had went on, and what the old man had said. He would know his hate and his disgust, but the white suited man had no choice but to ignore it. It was his job, despite him wanting to cry.

“You once told me, that you would do anything for me.” A woman’s voice had boomed within the old man’s enshrouded state. It was the same voice as before, but this time, it was much more quiet.

“Taking on the regime was a dumb idea,” the old man said, replying to the voice, although it wasn’t him replying, but his consciousness replying.

“It was. But now, it’s time for me to protect you.”

“Whatever I say to you now won’t make you change your mind.”

“It won’t. But it might make it better.”

“It might. But I have nothing to say.”

“Which is why I never expected it to feel any better.” The voice stopped, trailing off, barely audible. The old man stood in complete silence and darkness, until his eyes began watering. A tingling within his right leg and in his chest began. The old man’s breathing increased steadily, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t calm down. The white suited man knew exactly what was happening. It wasn’t a memory nor was it anything he could control. It was his job. The old man’s heartbeat began disappearing on the monitors, and the white suited man felt indifferent as he watched it tick off. The white suited man placed one hand over his heart, and brought the necklace that he hid out. It was a simple necklace, with a simple symbol at the end of it, three green arrows chasing each other. It was the symbol of his love, and the symbol of a dead era. The white suited man had no choice but to honor what he could honor, and abide by what little scraps still existed within the wet works. The white suited man was a collector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within Winter’s Way

Hello once again to another back log, this one, again, probably written about a year ago, which is the trend I’m slowly seeing that I’ve left things untouched for a year. But, this one’s actually quite long and is a piece that is more dialogue heavy than anything. It’s kind of just a prevailing mind game that happens between these 2 characters, and that was the point I had when I wrote it, kind of a play on trust and integrity. Anyways, here you go, “Within Winter’s Way”.

The harsh winter winds blew across the expansive fields. Grey clouds hung in the sky and veiled over the empty lands. Far from these fields were dead trees and somewhere further, a village.  The field would not see movement for many days on end. In short, this field was just another part of the world, abandoned and forgotten. Except, on these lone winter days, there was one reward to be sought.

Arnus was one such man that knew of the legend pertaining to these lone winter fields. They say that a medicinal plant grows during the harsh winter days, and that it will only last for a single day. The plant has no official scientific name, but it is well known in urban legends, and in myths. Arnus travelled two days to reach this destination, in order to seek out the Legendary Winter Plant. He has nothing to spare but wasted time, as the longer he takes to find it, the more his dying wife will have to suffer. But, if he does find this Winter Plant, then his wife will suffer no more. Legends speak wildly of this Winter Plant. Some say it can cure cancer, others say it can give eternal life. And yet others say it can bring back the dead. As Arnus’s bed-ridden wife is ailing over an unknown disease, the only thing he can do is hope that at least one of those are true. And if not, then he will simply have to pay his respects to the gates of death.

The day grew old, and Arnus, who had finally arrived at the fields, grew tired himself. He spent his day searching for the Winter Plant, but he could not find it in due time. They say it is hidden beneath the snow, and Arnus had been busy shoveling away at snow that seemed endless. His hands were ice, while his feet sank into the ocean. His entire being was submissive to the cold of the fields, but he knew that he didn’t have long. That thought alone was enough to keep him going.

Before Arnus could tell, the day had grown to night. Even with will alone, his eyes were simply not light. He had to give it a rest, and hope for a more fruitful find next morning. But, before Arnus could go out to find firewood, he began hearing footsteps. It was difficult not to notice such loud crunching on the snow’s surface, especially in the dead of night. Arnus did not know of the village’s existence. As the person came closer to Arnus, he began tensing. The grip on his axe was enough to redden his hands.

“Hello!” A voice called out to Arnus. It was a male voice, one that has seen time itself.  As the man came closer to Arnus, he was able to finally make out his figure.  The man who had walked so boldly to Arnus was indeed to the word, barely holding on. His cane jabbed into the snow with each step. However, finding the right footing in such snow was difficult. His back slightly hunched, but despite his age he was more than fine coming out in such harsh conditions, perhaps due to his fur coat. The man finally came within cane’s reach to Arnus; his axe now freely to his side.

“My name is Bruno. I am the chief of Niliag, a village not far from here.”

“My name is Arnus. I am a traveler in search for a flower.” Bruno looked at Arnus with a great deal of concern. He peeked over Arnus’s shoulder, implying to him that he could see more than Arnus could. Arnus left a large trail of disturbed snow in his wake, which made Bruno nervous.

“What kind of flower are you looking for? Perhaps we can provide it in our village.” Despite Bruno’s nature, he still spoke with great poise. He gave off a reassuring smile to Arnus, hoping that he would fare away from the fields.

“If you could sell me the flower I am looking for, then I think your village would be a country,” Arnus remarked. His playful smile was not returned by Bruno, rather Bruno’s face contorted into one of indignation. At the same speed, Bruno’s face changed back to his poker face, reconsidering his next choice of words. To Bruno, this was a game of wit, a game played in secret, while his opponent is unknowing. Bruno is also a man who knows of the field’s legends. Rather, he is the one who created those legends, as if to fill the minds with grandeur fantasies. His hope was to create an apparition that could never exist. Bruno believed that in this world, nothing ruled the masses more than science, and a miracle flower is not bound within science. However, Bruno’s plans had backfired, and he is faced with a man more fool than he was. Bruno needs the Winter Plant so that his village can survive the winter.

Every year, many casualties occur over the harsh conditions set by winter’s way. Medicine is scare during these times. However, ever since Bruno had discovered the Winter Plant, his village has been able to come through the winter with their lives. It is a godsend to Bruno’s village, a secret that he had kept for many years.  To think that a man foolish enough would venture to obtain it, was more than what Bruno could understand.

“Why do you seek this flower, Arnus?”

“For my dying wife. I have heard the legends of a miracle flower. And I hope to use it to cure my dying wife.” Bruno was surprised upon hearing Arnus’s story. If a man were to venture out here for no reason, they would be casted a fool, but if a man had reason, they would be casted naive, Bruno thought. The flower could indeed cure his wife, but the entire flower is not needed, a simple petal is enough, thought Bruno. It was a simple matter of clockwork. If Bruno could convince Arnus to take a single petal home, then he would, but even then to prepare the flower was another story. And if Bruno were to follow him home to prepare it, then his village would be in jeopardy. Bruno also believed that Arnus didn’t have much time either, and so if he did stay in the village and wait for his preparations, it may cost him. The plant did not restore the dead, Bruno knew this for fact.

Bruno considered his options. The flower could only be uprooted for a single day. If not created into medicine by that time, it would wither and become just another part of nature. Even with a single petal, if Arnus could not make it to his wife in a single day, then it would end all the same. Bruno knew that the flower would only see good use for him, in that his village was nearby. Coaxing a madman is easier than coaxing a fool, thought Bruno. But there was no way to coax a man filled with naivety.

“I do not know much about legends and miracles. But my village has flowers, even ones used for medicine.”

“Unfortunately not, all the doctors say they can’t cure her with anything conventional. I have travelled far to come here to place my hopes on the legends. It is the only thing I can do now.” Bruno grew even more tensed. A man with will has no need for reason. Bruno did not want to stir up Arnus in any way.

“I see. However, I have not seen a single flower out in these fields.”

“This is still a large field, and legends say it’s hidden in the snow. I have faith, and I will continue my search out in the morning.” Bruno weighed his options. If Arnus does find the flower in the morning, then problems will arise. But if he could find the flower with the night to hide him, then Bruno could leave without a trace.

“Will you be setting up camp here? If so, then why not stay in our village? We can provide you with great lodging.”

“Unfortunately, I do not have any money.”

“Not a problem. I understand your circumstances, and we are a humble abode. If it’s only for a day, then even we would be able to spare a room.”

“If it’s not far from here, then I guess I have no other choice.”

“Rejoice! The least of your problems should be to die from cold. If you will, we can set off right away.”

“Of course. However, if you may indulge in my curiosity Bruno, I have one thought to inquire.”

“Go ahead.”

“You are a chief of a village. If one were to patrol, then I would understand. However, surely one such as yourself does not need to participate in the garrison.” Bruno kept his attitude stale. One wrong move and Bruno would be moving into strange territories. Bruno planned to lead him to the village, slip out, and find the flower for himself. If he used the grounds that Arnus had already cleaned as a reference, then he would be able to easily find the Winter Plant. It grows in the same spot every year, however, Bruno does not mark where it grows, which to Bruno, now seems like a brilliant decision.  Using only his memory and intuition each year, Bruno has not failed in finding it.

“As you know, our village is quite small, and our people grow tired much as yourself. It is as you said, I am a chief. My activities are not physically strenuous, even in my form.”

“It is quite honorable for one such as yourself to compensate your people. Not many leaders can hold that to their name.”

“All in a day’s work. Being able to hold constitution is more than what most people would think of anyway.”

“Quite right. But, I find it strange for you to have to meet me here in these fields. Your village, it is well within the secluded nature of winter. I have not heard of it.” Arnus knew not of the village, which is a true fact. However, in his desperation to seek out the Winter Plant, he had no room to ask for information either. The only thing he knew was of the location where the legends spoke of. Bruno thought it would be wise to lead those curious to an actual location, only to be deterred by nothingness. Arnus caught Bruno in a strange situation, however Arnus was still on the fence of whether something strange was going on.

“That is unfortunate, but I can guarantee it is only a short way ahead.” Bruno tried to deter Arnus’s train of thought.

“A short way ahead huh? That is quite good. I can continue my search early in the morning. Funny how you have never heard of these legends.”

“I am not one that verses with the unknown, no matter how fanciful.”

“A small village, close to the origin of the legends. It’s really strange how even rumors didn’t spread in your village. Considering the severity of the legend, many people might have already come to your village seeking its rewards.”

“We are indeed a small village, and if there ever were rumors, then caution will be thrown to the winds. However, we do not get many visitors, we are quite far from anywhere near people.” Bruno’s patience began waning. Bruno needed to end this conversation as quickly as possible and get Arnus to head to his village. Anymore, and Bruno will have thought that Arnus had caught on to his scheming. Arnus did not falter on his defense, keeping a straight inquisitive face while facing Bruno, and not showing a single opening.

“Even the farthest places are sought out by wayfarers. The odd bunch may flock to your village from time to time, but those who know, come seeking treasure. These fields are legendary, and there are many people who seek legends.”

“Those seeking legends are none of my concern, nor our village’s concern. We receive very little company. There is no need for you to worry, our village will be able to accommodate you, so please feel at ease.”

“I find it strange that your village can just provide housing to the odd company. You do not receive a lot of visitors, so why the need to accommodate one such as myself?” Arnus continued his assault, not giving in, and attempting to rile Bruno with as much prying as possible.  Any word Bruno says is another avenue for Arnus to walk onto, and he proved not to  falter.

“I see you are concerned. While it is true that we may not provide the best lodging, we can find something suitable for your night.”

“Perhaps you can, but you gain nothing from lending a spare room to a traveler such as myself. If I do find my treasure, your village will suffer heavy losses. Such an event is not something a chief can uphold. You find yourself well to fend off travelers.” Arnus knew that if he were to stay passive, the conversation would loop. The one push he needed to do was to state unstated facts, and tempt Bruno to admit to them. However, how much Arnus can fabricate, was something even he was unsure of.

“I do not know of treasures, but our village will be fine. We gain nothing but the pride in helping a traveler such as yourself. If I can uphold my morality, I think that is fine.”

“It’s a shame, if you were to capitalize on the treasures this field held, then your village would prosper. It would outrun the shambles it holds, and then even you would not need to worry about the odd company.”

“Our village is fine, and you need not worry about our tidings.”

“Suit yourself, once I find my treasure, that will be it. It’s not on your property, it’s a little way away. Your village is close by, but even then, it’s anyone’s game. You find yourself needing to fend off travelers so that you can utilize the flower for yourself.”

“The Winter Plant is naught for one’s own reward!” Bruno finally snapped. And Arnus grinned. In the end, it was Bruno’s pride that costed him this game. Bruno realized the situation he was in. His one sentence ended his facade, and his next course of action will determine everything. Bruno’s options slowly began running thin, and it was all in Arnus’s favor.

“I’ll tell you something,” Arnus said. “There are two reasons why man, or woman, would hide secrets. ” Bruno understood full well what Arnus was doing. The only thing left for Bruno was to sit and listen, and in wistful prayer, maybe he could salvage his position.

“The first reason; to hide truth from those they do not want affiliated with the truth. And second; to capitalize on the secret themselves.” Arnus did not let up his grin, and even he could not hold in his laughter.

“But even then, you would not tell me where the flower is.  I’m sure you have your reasons to keep it a secret. I respect that, I truly do. But now, you know my story. And my reasons, and for that, I will find it.”

“And what will you do with me?”

“I’m in search for a miracle flower. If you kept this secret, that means you have people you need to protect. I’m sure you can agree with me, that each life is precious, chief. Now, the only thing I’m unsure of, is why you opted to keep it a secret. Surely a petal would be enough to spare.” Bruno was backed into a corner, and could not get out of it. He drew from his old age, wisdom that only he could know. A man with will, and a man with a mission is a man to be feared. They would do anything, even give up their humanity to seek out what they seek. They are unwavering, and will not take logic. Bruno knew this, but even then he could not win.

“Or perhaps, you knew of my story, and wanted me and my wife to suffer.” Bruno opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Arnus cut him off. “Whatever you say at this point, I will take as lies. You have already lied to me before, how can I be sure now that I know the truth?” Bruno didn’t bother advocating his position. He knew he couldn’t break Arnus’s will.

“I have told all my truths. I do not know where the village is. I do not know where the flower is, except here on these fields. But you do. We can settle this peacefully.” Arnus brought his axe over his shoulder. The last option for Bruno is violence, for he could not fight. But perhaps Bruno did not need to fight. From Arnus’s demands, Bruno could muster up one last lie.

“To extract the plant, I need special equipment. If one were to pull out the Winter Plant carelessly, they would render its properties dry. I have the equipment back at the village.”

“So why the need to come empty handed?”

“I came to ascertain the location of the flower.”

“Alright, and why should I believe you?”

“I created the legends. I know the Winter Plant’s true natures for I have been harvesting it for years.”

“Why create legends?”

“To deter the truth. Most people wouldn’t come here in search of the flower. The legends would speak so highly of it, making it a dream that surely could not be real.” If Bruno could get Arnus onto his tune, the situation might be overturned. Bruno backed his lie with truth, and it was all up to this to determine whether he has a free pass. Arnus thought hard, and after wailing away another laugh, pointed his axe towards Bruno.

“Very well. I will accompany you to your village.” Bruno turned from Arnus, and began heading towards the direction of the village. Arnus followed slowly behind, his footsteps much lighter than Bruno. However, it was not long until Arnus gave a snide remark to Bruno, his hand still gripping onto the handle of the axe.

“You make it well to hide the flower from me. I take that as wit. But once I had caught the truth, you were forced to comply. You still have no reason to give me the flower, or a petal. I need no reasons anymore. You lead me to your village, and I am in your territory. I call that scheming.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whistled Away

Hello once again, and in following the recent backlog traditions, another very long over due piece, that at this point is probably a year old. I actually remember writing this one, using actual paper. This was one of the very few very rare pieces that I wrote out purely on paper and transferred it to a word document. This piece is very much inspired by stories like Narnia and The Bridge to Terabithia. But, since this is a short story, can’t have the same grandeur scale of those adventures, but I rather take it for what it is and make it into a kind of coming of age story, where our main character goes through this weird trance and comes out of it with a revelation. Again, a really time tested piece for me, which also really shows just like the last one. Anyway, here you go, “Whistled Away”.

I never really believed in fairy tales. They all seemed so perfect, and I guess I never really believed in perfection. Whenever my mom or dad would pop open that dusty old book of tales, I would always roll my eyes. They said that I was very precocious, but now that I’m twelve years older, I realize that it wasn’t precociousness. It was me simply being curious.

I was ten at the time. An age where discoveries happen. I gawked my eyes at anything I could. But, I never asked why. I would see a light bulb turn “on”, I would see a lighter produce fire, but I never asked why. I simply took it for what it was. They were real. Fire burned, and light faded. I understood that as reality.

My parents never really brought me far from town. They were a worrisome bunch, but I appreciated that. People, especially parents would be all over on child-parent-travelling-time. Camping, hiking, you name it. And I never actually had interest in any of it either. I was fine “playing” in my own world. That all changed once something new sprung into my life. Like most kids, the unknown served as a gateway for me. During my tenth year of life, my parents introduced me to Geography.

At first I was astounded. I saw mountains, caves, oceans, and volcanoes.  My mind could not understand the spectacles I was shown. I was unsure of whether it was reality or fiction. Each scene and each slope seemed like it had come from my parent’s fairytales. The scenery devoured me, and for days on end the only thing on my mind was Geography.

At last, I asked my parents for a favor. It was the first favor I had ever remembered asking. It was a milestone for my parents. However, what they expected was far from the target. I asked for an adventure.

“Weren’t you through with fairytales?” My parents were half right. It wasn’t that I wanted a fairytale-esque adventure, I just wanted to know whether those beautiful scenes could manifest before me.

“Take me to the mountains! Or even the ocean! Like the one in the book!” My parents thought long and hard before they could give me a proper answer. I had to sleep through my excitement and grit my teeth. It was absolutely harrowing. They spoke as I was sleeping, words that never really made sense to me. It wasn’t up to me to decide whether I could go on a magical journey or not. I mean I wanted to, but really, don’t we all want things? I understood that as reality, from the time they didn’t let me eat extra cookies, to the time where the kid next door didn’t let me play with his toys. But I had faith, and that was my driving force.

“Jen,” they said one day, “We can’t bring you to the mountains.” My heart sank and my excitement faded. My parents could see the life draining as they made these really anguished faces. But I was in for a treat.

“But, we can bring you to someplace green.”

“Green?” I was honestly confused. I thought of light blue mountains, dark blue oceans, and deep red volcanoes. Where did green fit? My mind was so fixated that I never realized it. It came to me that prince’s live in castles, kings ruled states, and peasants worked. But stone bricks and blazing flames never appealed to me. They were reality, sure, but it wasn’t jarring. The reason why I love Geography is because the sights are mesmerizing. That’s why those old trees and leaves never made an impression on me.

“It isn’t grand, but it can be magical. We can take you to the forest.”

“Forest?”

“Not like the ones in our town, but faraway. We can go camping.”

“Camping?”

“We can stay there, for a while.”

“We’re moving?”

“We’re not moving. Just for a little, okay?”

“Is that camping?”

“Yeah, we’ll have tents and everything. Just wait and see, the forest will be fun!”

“No mountains?”

“No.”

“No oceans?”

“No.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.” In one sense of the word, I was confused. My mind didn’t register a weekend of oak and deciduous to be fun.  But it was better than nothing, so I took it. It was like the pumpkin pie mom made. If I wanted the apple pie, I had to endure the pumpkin. I hated pumpkin. I thought that maybe if I was a good girl now, they would drive me to Mt. Fantasy next. And so, I waited patiently. They would drive me to the Dominican-Forest-Of-Wherever, and I had to try and enjoy myself. Little did I know, that weekend, I would receive a grand revelation. It involved: oceans, mountains, a kid I never asked the name of, and fantasy. That weekend was special. I understood that as reality.

The drive there was horrible. I never really enjoyed vehicles, something about them just didn’t sit well with me. I don’t know if it was the motion sickness, or maybe I just didn’t like how off putting it was. I mean, I’m so used to walking a singular brisk pace, running a singular track record, but driving an accelerated derby? Not so much.

But it wasn’t that bad, I got there before I knew it, perhaps before I was even awake.

“Do you see that, Jen?” My father pointed to the out cropping woods. I was still in the car, still half awake, still half in the mountains. I traced my eyes towards where my father pointed, and in the distance, I could see huge trees racing for the sky. They were giants, and I a dwarf. My father pulled over and once he was assured that we had a way back home, we left.

We must have walked for hours, which in conversion to a ten year old’s perception of time, was but a few minutes. The bushes brushed against my legs and arms, sending a soft prickly sensation down my body.  The looming trees provided shade, but even that wasn’t enough to keep my attention away from the occasional rustle. Stones, acorns, and sticks littered the dirt, and with every other step, I would bump, crunch, and snap. The air was stifling, I could almost feel the tree’s outtake of oxygen. Each warm breeze that reached my face felt like a warm midday’s pie, and sounded like a million stitches of brooms. Every breath I took tasted like stale water and smelt like one of my mom’s pumpkin pies.

Eventually we do make it to a decent clearing. The ground was level for the most part, the leaves were few to none and the trees guarded us. The only thing that was missing was snow, pointy tops, and slopes. My dad dropped the huge bag he was carrying which made a satisfying thump, and stretched his back.

“First, we set up the tent.”

“Then, we set up a campfire.”

“Then we hike up the mountains!” My mom and dad gave me this exasperated look, while I continued to give them the biggest smile I could.

“Fine.” I eventually gave up and started fidgeting with a stick nearby. A tiny bug crawled up to my finger and squirmed a little, I remembered giving a light giggle as I sat the stick down. I then grabbed some nearby leaves and began writing a message by arranging them.

“H E L L O” My “O” was a little too big, but I found it amusing anyway. I then grabbed some sticks and wrote myself a reply.

“H O W” Before I could finish “are you”, my dad called, “Hey Jen!” I called back.

“Can I ask you to get some rocks for me?”

“Rocks?”

“I need to set them for the tent.”

“Okay!” I grabbed a stick and began heading into the forest. I made sure that my hand hung low so that the line I was drawing was visible. Sometimes I would skip, and other times I would play hopscotch with the rocks, but I always drew my line. I figured I should grab the largest rocks I could find and haul them over to dad. It certainly was difficult.

Time flew by without a moment’s notice. I had two really large rocks in my pocket, and one in my other hand. As I was following my line back, I heard a sudden snap. I turned in the direction of the sound, and waited. I felt a small pair of eyes gaze on me, but I didn’t sense hostility. I treaded carefully towards them, and for a ten year old girl, that was pretty bold.

Every step was light, but not short. I figured if it was a small animal, I shouldn’t make any sudden movements. But I also knew that if it was a bear, I should show that I meant no harm. It was like dealing with kids, and I used to love babysitting the smaller kids.

Crunch, step, crunch. Every step on the ground was laden with dead leaves. My breathing reached an ebb and flow, and even the wind around me seemed stifling. Before I could push away the bushes that hid my observer, it jumped up and scurried away. I gave off a small scream, and stumbled back. It was just a bunny. Once my mind eased from the excitement, I turned back and checked for my line.

“Hey!” I jumped back and fell on my bottom. I looked up to see a boy, around my age. He had hazelnut hair, and small gentle eyes. His pupils were a deep red, which intrigued me as I never saw anyone with red eyes before. He stuck out his hand, which was small and seemed to exude a deep warmth.

“I’m sorry I scared you.” I grabbed his hand and shuffled up. Before I could even grasp the situation, he suddenly jerked me forward.

“Hurry! They’re coming!” I tried to turn my head, but he was pulling me forward, without a moment’s notice he dragged me behind a tree and placed a finger on his lips. His eyes tensed and his hand was still gripping mine. My hand began hurting as his grip hardened. I was about to sequel in pain when his hand loosened. He let go and his eyes calmed.

“They’re gone. But we have to move.” He tried to grab my hand again, but I drew back. He stared blankly at me.

“What’s going on?” I asked him.

“Look. I know this is scary, but we have to move.”

“Why? Who’s chasing you?”

“THEY are.”

“They?”

“They have huge scales, big horns, and sharp teeth.”

“Are they trying to catch you?”

“Yes, and if we don’t run now, they’ll get both of us!”

“I’ll talk to them.”

“No! Why? Do you want to get eaten?”

“Maybe if I talk to them, they won’t get mad at you anymore.”

“What if they attack you?” Suddenly, he grabbed my hand and tried to run. I stood my ground as his face tensed again, “They came! Let’s go!” I turned my head, but didn’t see a thing, nor did I hear a thing. At that moment, I wondered if this boy was real or not. He saw things I couldn’t, he believed in a reality I didn’t. He was in a fantasy, I wasn’t.

“Let me see them too!” But I wanted a fantasy, “I want to see them!” The boy stared at me with curiosity and swallowed his pride, “Fine, but you better be ready.” I nodded my head.

“Close your eyes. Now take a deep breath. You’re in a swamp. The air is dry and hard to breath, sounds of toads fill your ears.” I tried my best to imagine his setting. I didn’t like fairytales. I thought they were too perfect. I saw Geography, and learned of real life fantasies; of mountains and oceans. There was a sense of fantasy within my everyday life, but my parents couldn’t bring me to them. They couldn’t give me mountains or oceans. But, I realized that was because they were set in reality. This boy saw both reality and fantasy. I subconsciously placed my hopes in him. I wanted to experience a fantasy. I remembered my newfound want for adventure.

“A dragonfly brushes past your cheek. Everything is going gray.” Once I opened my eyes, I saw myself standing in the middle of a deep swamp. I understood that as reality.

The trees became withered, the air was musty, and the ground beneath me was wet and sunk with every step. Before I could grasp where I was, the boy suddenly grabbed my hands.

“Let’s go.” The boy’s eyes shifted behind me, and somewhere in the distance I could hear heavy steps digging into mud. I followed him promptly.

“As long as they don’t find us, we’ll be fine. Once it’s nighttime, they won’t chase us.”

“Nighttime?” I had been so enthralled by the experience, and by the boy that I had forgotten what time of day it was. I tried to look up, but the sky was clouded. The boy continued to lead me. However, no matter how much we walked, I didn’t seem to get tired. The pain in my hand wasn’t present, and the grumbling in my stomach didn’t bother me one bit. It was strange, just like living in a fantasy. I may not be in the mountains, or the ocean, but where I was felt mystical. Did I like it? Maybe not. But I knew that if I wanted to see what was in those atlas’s, I had to grit my teeth.

I didn’t know how far we walked, but it didn’t seem to matter.  It all looked the same wherever we went, but eventually, the boy spoke.

“By the way, what’s your name?”

“Jenny.”

“At this rate, we’ll be fine,” The boy stopped walking. He turned his head towards me and with his red-shot eyes, smiled.

“This is my home.” I saw nothing resembling a proper place of residence. Sticks and leaves were formed together to create a bed, while a pile of charred wood stood near it. He didn’t even have a tent.

“It’s safe.” At the time, my fears of being eaten had long passed.

“You should go back now.”

“Go back?”

“Go back to where you belong.”

“Where I belong?”

“Jen, you don’t like fairytales, right?” I nodded, “You belong in reality, I’ve brought you into my fantasy. It was wrong of me. But now, you have to leave.”

“What about you?”

“Like I said, this is my fantasy. I’ve got everything I need here. Someday, so will you. You can climb mountains, dive in oceans, and explore amazons.”

“You can’t come with me?”

“No.”

“What about the people chasing you?”

“It was wrong of me to drag you into this. I was just so lonely. I haven’t seen anyone for ages. I haven’t held anyone in ages. I’ve been so alone, stuck in my own fantasy.” Without warning, I grabbed him with both my hands and drew him close; as if ascertaining his reality.

“But, you’ve seen me now, right?” The boy didn’t reply, “And I don’t think you have to be alone anymore.”

“No.”

“I want to go to all the places in the book! I want to see mountains and oceans, you can show me, right?”

“No.”

“You don’t want to be alone anymore, right?”

“You can’t stay here with me! I told you, someday you’ll be able to go on adventures all on your own. Someday, you’ll have your own fantasy. And it starts with your reality.” The boy squirmed out of my hug and stuck his hands out towards me. Wind began brushing past me at great speeds, and at one point, I heard his voice. “Thank you.” Before I could answer back, I was suddenly brought back to the forest. The sun was slowly setting, and I looked around for the boy; who I never managed to find. I lost track of my bearings, but it wasn’t long until I stumbled back to our camp. The tent had already been grounded, and fish was cooking. The boy was gone, and the fantasy ended. I think it was at that point, that I really had my answer. Whether I had a question to answer, or a person to answer to, I didn’t know. But the point was, I finally realized something. I wasn’t looking for adventure, or fantasy. I didn’t want perfection, or reality. What I wanted, were chances; opportunities, and options. I wanted to be myself, and embrace the things I held dear. Mountains, oceans, friends, and family, they were all dear to me. And they are my fairytales. I understood that as reality.
 

House Of Suns

Hello once again to a very overdue backlog which I even forgot I did. This was about a year ago and simply seeing the difference in style and how I went about making this really obscure piece dates this thing quite well. I think I was trying to make this a pilot of sorts since it ends really haphazardly and could be expanded, but I just left it as it was and never got back to it. There isn’t much to say about this piece other than it really is dated and even though I have gripes about posting something like this since I don’t particularly think it’s that great, it still constitutes as backlog, and since I am trying to push them all out so I can actually be back to being correct about continuity, I decided to post it. Here you go, “House of Suns”.

As I woke up, the burning sun shone mercifully against my ailing body. I yawned and cursed the morning. I hated mornings, especially in the summer. Well, to be fair I hate summer in general. I can’t stand the heat or that feeling you get when your clothes start sticking to you because of the sweat. Ugh.

I got up from my bed and trudged to the bathroom. At least it wasn’t entirely burning in this lodge. After my morning rituals I decided to do my usual; I sat on the couch and watched the neighbors fish. There was no electricity out here and of course that also entailed a life without signal. Oh what a joy it is to live in a primordial state. The wonders of such a simple and underwhelming existence is an alien concept to many. I sighed.

“What a day.”

I got up, tired from the mundane.

“There must be something to do in this forsaken heaven.” But even the devil himself couldn’t give me an answer. I cursed at the humid air. My stomach grumbled.

“Hungry as the sun.” I made my way to the dining area. Can’t cook for all I’m worth. But the neighbors are a hell of a godsend. Without them I’d be whittling away with the preyed corpses. Still got some leftover from yesterday. Salmon. I prepared it in the simplest way I could and began refreshing my energy. The energy that I would soon burn against the unwavering sun. Useless energy.

As I was finishing with the dishes, I had a sudden urge to sleep. Much like all other days. As I climbed the stairs, I suddenly heard a sharp ringing in my ears. A ringing I had never heard before. It was inhuman; a sound that transcended the mortal ears. And it never stopped. The ringing grew louder and louder until it was finally unbearable. I fell to the floor, which creaked under my pain.

“Blast it all.” But there was no one to hear my call. I was about to scream in pain, but suddenly it stopped. Seemingly random, yet forgiving. I continued my way. But, it struck as quickly as lightning. The ringing stung me again. Where is this blasted sound coming from?

Wait that must be it. A summer beast! Yes, I’m not on my knees of my own accord. This is all but a figment of my imagination. Yes, I have decided. I am not crazy. I calmed my nerves with three quick breaths, then I walked. Drats, there it is again, that blasted noise. I focused, tried to calm myself and proceeded despite the pain. It was strange but the noise seemed to be originating from above me. An attic of sorts, if I only knew one.

I’ve been here for a while now, and I’d be surprised to see a stone unturned. However, I like surprises. Touché, I hated the surprise my parents gave me, this blasted summer home. How unwavering, how tormenting. How…Beautiful. I looked upon the ceiling with everything I had. Perhaps my pained state will reveal more than a sober one. I focused and focused until my eyes grew watery. And to my dismay, there was a kink in the wood work. That meant only one thing; investigation. But I digress, investigation leads to adventure.

I stood under the misplaced tile and thought of inhuman acts to reach my goal. In fact, that inhuman feat sought me out. The tile suddenly creaked and vibrated, then without warning it plopped open, revealing a set of stairs that descended upon me.

I questioned it at first but, I realized there was no point. No need for argument. I approached the first step of the stairs and slowly placed my foot on it. My foot didn’t fall through, a good sign. I continued climbing. As I was nearing the top, I ducked my head, as if not to hit myself and wake from this dream, clearly, this is all a dream. As if anything like this could ever happen in this mundane lodging. But I spoke too soon, rather, spoke too late.

As I made my way to the top, and as my head plopped up at the entrance way, I was suddenly taken aback to the scenery in front of me. No, this was not an attic, there was never an attic here, I knew that for a fact. What I was staring at was in fact a world filled with green. I looked left and right and the only thing I could see for miles was grass and trees. I was in…Another world. I immediately ran the rest of the way up, my whole body was now immersed in this place. Surely this was a dream.  But it was not. I bent down, plucked a yellow flower from the grass and smelt it; all too real to just be a dream. I took in a deep breath and the senses of nature overcame everything else. Birds chirped in the distance and even the sun, which beat down on me ever so vigilantly before, had the same effect here. I pinched myself, but alas I was still in this mystical garden.

There was no way this was real, I immediately turned back, the entrance still open, the same set of stairs still there. It was foreign how these stairs suddenly appeared, or how that tile suddenly propped  open, but I had one choice to make now. And secretly, inside of me, I knew which I wanted. I looked around in the grass and found a stone tile, the size of the opening. I knelt beside it, and listened in, listened to the other world before me. The real world. It gave me yet an empty husk, a quiet and boring life. A boring summer life. Just as I was about to close the opening, I heard knocking. The neighbors. I smiled, and then covered the entrance.

This was my world now. A place so close yet so far from home. There was a gravel walkway, and I hoped to explore it, but first, I turned around. An alternate path. I took it to a not so far away holy ground. Gray oval stones stood up from the ground. I presumed them to be graves, yet, no names were engraved on them. The soil was fine as well, plants grew on top of them. Perhaps I was thinking too much into it. Suddenly, a large horn resounded from behind me, from the direction of the main gravel road. I don’t think I’ll be bored anymore, and quite frankly, this summer vacation has just started.