Many novel page: Messy Cloud!
Alhova’s system is under construction, and that is apparent from all the dust, ice, and various other messy junk that is circling around this star. I finally made it to the core of all this mess, and in it, the center is Alhova. It’s got a beautiful blue glow that is much more apparent up close. The mass of this star is rather low, so I can get closer to it than most stars. I’m going to have a log out now, I’ve gotta map this star and it’s view of it’s forming system.
Also, visit http://many.heavensentgaming.com/ to read more.
“The locals call this place Gods Waiting Room. It’s not a moniker formed from fondness. Rather one born of a very British sense of humour....”—
The opening line of Chapter 1 of our writer in residence’s free Blovel.
To read more just click the link
Iron novel page: The Rifle
The maiden’s brother fell, limp and terrified, but not dead. Tom panicked and began to swear in the native’s dialect. Marcus broke free and ran towards his friend, another shot rang out and blood sprayed from Tom’s leg. Marcus fell face first into the dust. A commanding officer hurriedly rode in on horseback, and called off his men. He looked at Tom and told… READ MORE
“By morning the weather had turned. I laid in bed for as long as I could, snug under my eiderdown, feeling its warmth try to pull me back under whilst listening to the ratter-tatter of rain hitting the bedroom window. I wished I didn’t have to get up and go out into it but the red 06:30 on my Casio wristwatch told me I had to get up otherwise we would both end up being late....”—The opening to Chapter 3 from ‘Life on the Suburban Fringe’ our writer-in-residences new blovel. Check it out, its completely free, no catches
Jeremy’s Souls - Entry 017
Word Count: 1228
Total Words: 15106
The waiting seemed to take an eternity. Lynnae and Jeremy had arrived at Schiphol , Amsterdam’s international airport, more than two hours prior to takeoff. Whenever booking a ticket to another country this advice was given. Rarely ever did the check in process take long enough to justify the length of this safeguard. Today it hadn’t.
Having checked in, dropped off their luggage, passed through security and no desire to do some extensive duty-free shopping had left them sitting on uncomfortable plastic bucket seats over an hour before boarding would actually begin. Lynnae had been trying to read a novel she picked up that morning. So far the written contents had failed to live up to the ominous cover design.
Jeremy seemingly shared her sentiments as he had gone on two short time-killing strolls. His facial expressions only varied slightly; fluctuating subtly between anguish and disinterest as he observed his fellow travelers. At least the two cups of coffee he had brought back from his walks had been alright.
Lynnae shoved the book’s receipt between pages 22 and 23 of her novel and put it in her bag.
“I’m going to go to the toilet.”
“It’s on the left, behind the minimart,” Jeremy helpfully pointed. “Oh, and don’t be alarmed, the toilets here flush themselves. And if you wiggle your butt around too much, it flushes while you’re still on it”
“Thanks for that wonderful insight. I bet you tested all ‘incredible’ features of the modern public toilet while you were in there, didn’t you?”
Her remarks were welcomed with his first sincere smile in hours.
“Alright, I’ll be right back. Hopefully.”
Lynnae sincerely hoped the ladies room at the airport wasn’t too crowded. The early morning train ride to the airport, combined with a bad night of sleep and topped off with boredom, put her in no mood to actually wait in line for twenty minutes just to take a piss. One of many reasons she hated public toilets.
The toilets were right where Jeremy had said and, luckily, there didn’t seem to be anyone in sight. The toilets were bright, clean and well taken care of. No puddles on the floor, no tiny waste baskets filled to the brim with filthy tissues and used tampons and, as topping on the cake, toilet paper was present.
Lowering the toilet seat, she sat down atop the lid after covering it with a layer of toilet paper. It might look clean, but one never can be safe enough. She had no desire to spend twelve hours on an intercontinental flight with a bum rash and an uncontrollable itch in an awkward spot.
Like a meditating monk she closed her eyes and attempted to clear her mind of any sentient thought. A deep exhaled breath echoed briefly through the large, tiled space. She was completely alone. Alone on her island. Here time didn’t exist…
The loud slam of one of the stall doors woke Lynnae from her trance.
“Shit,” she thought. Had she fallen asleep? How long had she been in here? Her watch ensured her it hadn’t been much more than fifteen minutes. A mischievous giggle sounded from the stall next to hers.
“Are you sure it’s alright to do it here and now?” a deep male voice, she didn’t recognize, asked.
“You worry too much big boy,” a female replied friskily. “The other stalls weren’t locked, were they? Nobody’s in here. Even if we’re interrupted, we can just stop and wait until they’ve left.”
“I know… But still…”
“Don’t be such a baby! Be adventurous for once, will ya? Nobody’s gonna go to a public toilet unless they really need to go. They’re all too busy drinking coffee or smoking their last cigarette before the flight.”
Distinct sounds of heavy breathing and passionate kissing accompanied the rustling of clothes and rattling of a belt buckle. Were they about to do what she thought they were about to do? And that voice… Was that the blonde lady that was sitting across from her? It sure sounded like her. She just wouldn’t shut up talking on her phone.
“God you’re beautiful,” the man flattered through heavy panting.
The lady’s answer was a content, moaning noise. She apparently had her hands, and mouth, full at the moment. Lynnae smiled embarrassedly. Should she say something, silently try to get up and leave undetected or just remain silent and let them have their fun?
For a few minutes, Lynnae sat and listened to the man’s increasingly animal-like breathing and the symphony of obscene noises the blonde produced. Though not condoning this sort of behavior in a public place, she did, somehow, envy them a little bit. It had been so long since she’d been intimate with a man.
Though not having expected to find this during her alone time in the toilet, it did distract her from the boredom and monotony the journey to Thailand had brought forth so far.
“Is it good?” Again that naughty, girlish giggle most men found irresistible.
“Yes it is baby, yes it is…”
“So, what were you saying about me being beautiful…?”
“I hope you’ll still be just as beautiful as this, after I’m through with you…” the man replied in a distinctly different tone of voice.
“What…?” the blonde softly asked, clearly confused.
For a moment there was silence, followed by a surprised gasping sound. Loud struggling noises suggested someone was wildly thrashing around.
“Stop struggling woman!” the man growled. “You’ll only increase the bruising that way!”
The thin wooden barrier between the stalls shuddered deafeningly, as if it was being kicked. What the hell were they doing in there? Was this part of some weird sex game?
Less than twenty seconds later, a terrible throat scraping sound marked the conclusion of the struggle. Silence followed before Lynnae could even come to terms with what might have just happened in the stall next to her.
“See you around,” the man calmly said while zipping his pants. His heavy footsteps moved toward the exit. Lynnae held her breath as he paused for just a moment. Had he heard her in there? Two more steps and the door swung shut. She relievedly exhaled.
Apprehensively Lynnae left the imagined safety of her own stall. Listening alertly, nothing but her own stressful breathing could be heard. In this open, echoing space, the tiniest of sounds would usually be greatly amplified. No sign of life came from the blonde’s stall.
“Are you O.k. In there?” Lynnae anxiously asked with a trembling voice. No Answer. The stall door stood only slightly ajar, not enough to provide Lynnae a look inside. It took only a soft, polite knock to swing it open.
The blonde lady sat on her knees. Her torso lay, bent backwards, across the toilet seat. Her head leaned crookedly against the flush pipe that emerged from the wall. Red and purplish marks decorated her neck. Her wide open, terror stricken eyes stared into infinity. She was undoubtedly dead.
Lynnae stepped backwards in terror; touching her own neck as if hers had been the one the man’s hand had closed around with an iron grip. Tears of dismay welled up from her bloodshot eyes. She couldn’t breathe. She had to get out of there. Lynnae managed to pry loose her gaze from the body, turn and rush out of the toilet.
© Bastiaan F. de Jong - 2011
Jeremy’s Souls - Entry 016
Word Count: 1209
Total Words: 13878
Just as Lynnae was about to share her interpretation in the hope to provide Jeremy with some much needed perspective, a catchy but distant tune interrupted the conversation.
“Is that, your phone?”
“Eeeehmm, yeah. That’s mine. I must have left it in the other room.”
It’s alright, I’ll get it.”
Jeremy was thankful for Lynnae’s gestures. Unfortunately his reflexes were still faster than his common sense. The immediate urge to get up and answer his phone had kick-started a whirlpool inside his skull. A few deep breaths later to compose himself Lynnae reentered the living room with his Jeremy’s phone. The shrill notes in the ringtone did not ease his suffering.
“Who is it?”
“It, it doesn’t say. Apparently nobody in your contact list. Maybe I should just hang up. It’s probably not important.”
“It’s alright,” Jeremy reassured, holding out his hand to receive the mobile device in all its tortuously cacophonic glory. One thing he knew for sure: after dealing with this call his cell phone was going on vibrate only.
A glance at the caller ID screen revealed a long number starting with 00668… A Thai cell phone number. There were only very few people who had his new Dutch number. Only a handful of them lived in Thailand. Must be important.
“Hello?” he inquisitively answered.
“Hey, Jeremy, my man. How are you doing”
The male voice on the other end of the line sounded vaguely familiar yet Jeremy couldn’t quite place him. The male voice barely had an accent but the vague traces of it pointed towards eastern Europe.
“I heard you had some kind of accident or something. I’m just checking up to see if my buddy is doing fine.”
Who was this?
“Excuse me, for asking, but, who is this?”
“Oh, it’s me man, Jarek. You must still be confused from what happened or something?”
Jarek… Jarek… As for as Jeremy recalled he had only met a single Jarek while in Thailand. Jarek Duda. They had worked together teaching at a language school in Bangkok a year or two before he had left. They had only been colleagues for barely six months before Jeremy had secured a full-time job at a local high school. They had chatted over lunch but had never been close. Jeremy always considered Jarek to be a pompous prick. Added to that, the way he spoke about several of his under aged female students was less than appropriate for a serious teacher.
“Duda? Jarek Duda?”
“The one and only buddy.”
“How did you get this number?”
“I’ve got it from your little girl man. How are you?”
Jeremy closed his eyes attempting hard to located the missing puzzle pieces in his scrambled memory. Maybe his concussion was worse than he had anticipated or did the medication mess up his long term memory? He didn’t recall ever speaking to Jarek again after they stopped working together. And how was he connected to Am? Had they even met?
“I’m doing alright. Getting better slowly. But, please refresh my memory. How do you know my daughter?”
“A while back after quitting that shitty job at Sabaai Sabaai language school, or whatever the name of that fucking place was. I should have left there when you did. It was shit. Anyway, I scored myself a teaching position at GMB International high school. Sweet placement man.”
Greater Metropolitan Bangkok International high school. The very same high school Ampika attended. The thought of his own flesh and blood having to endure one of that windbag’s classes and having him stare at her the same way he did at young girls at the language school raised the hair in the back of his neck.
“My second day teaching there I saw a name on the attendance list: Ampika Post. I thought she had to be your little girl. I mean, the last name is pretty unusual here in Thailand. So I asked her and she confirmed she was your kid.”
Jeremy had selected GMB International high school because it was known for its high standards of education. At first, he wanted to place Ampika in the high school where he worked himself, but had chosen not to, to save his teenage daughter unnecessary feelings of embarrassment. his employer at the time had been able to pull some strings to get her placed at another reputable school. Apparently standards had dropped sharply since he had left. How the hell could they have accepted the likes of Jarek Duda?
“So, you’re her English teacher now?”
“Yeah, sort of, what a coincidence huh? I heard her talking to her friends about you and that something had happened to you, like you had an accident or something. So I asked if she had your number and here we are,” Jarek explained willingly and full of excitement. “Tell me what happened.”
“Alright Jarek. There’s not much to tell. A few days back I collapsed at work. Arrive in the morning and before I knew it… Lights out. I don’t remember much else, but apparently I must have hit my head. I stayed in the hospital one night for observation before they let me go. Now I’ve got a mild concussion. I’ll be just fine.”
“O.k. that’s good to know buddy.”
An uncomfortable silence followed. Jarek had ended that sentence in a peculiar tone. Almost as if he was disappointed. Or maybe it was just the negative memory drawer under which Jeremy had filed Jarek’s profile tat just made him sound like a scuzzball. He would have to have a talk with Ampika to find out exactly how Jarek behaved and why she had never mentioned him in their phone conversations.
“Well, it was nice talking to you again,” Jeremy continued in an attempt to cut the conversation short.
“Same here man. Good to hear your voice. And don’t worry. I’ll keep an eye on your daughter to make sure she will be alright. I’ll take care of her.”
That was exactly what he was afraid of. Maybe Jarek had the best of his intentions in mind but Jeremy preferably didn’t want him near his daughter.
“It’s o.k. Jarek. You don’t have to. She has friends and family that will make sure she’s alright. Plus I know the dean at GMB. She’ll be taken care of.”
He had never personally met the dean personally but hoped that sounding important might deter Jarek from paying too much attention to his daughter.
“O.K. buddy. Take care o.k.? We talk again later.”
Jeremy hung up the phone with a feeling of discomfort confusion. The only image left in his brain was Jarek Duda tutoring a fifteen year old schoolgirl. In uniform. In private. With a huge erection protruding from behind his jeans zipper.
It was probably all be in his imagination, but he had no idea what this guy might be capable of.
In the mean time Lynnae had cleared the water glass from the table and was doing something in the kitchen, probably to give Jeremy more privacy to conduct his phone call.
“Lynn,” he called out loud and clear. “Did you check that website I told you about yesterday? D’you remember? The one with the cheap airline tickets to Bangkok?”
© Bastiaan F. de Jong - 2011
They started visiting me in dreams. I would have a slight feeling of déjà vu upon waking up. You know how that is. I’ve certainly had that dream before! No, you haven’t, that’s your brain fucking with you. Then after you start your morning routine you forget about the whole thing.
Well, not for me. This was happening every night, or morning depending on how you want to look at it. Just these weird feelings like my dreams are connected. That my dreams are this long story that takes breaks so I can live. Every morning I’d remember a little bit more of the previous nights dream. My dreams follow me throughout the day. I’ll see someone familiar for a split second in the hoverlot and my brain is jarred with recognition, then its gone.
I’m starting to change and I think its because of the dreams. My way of thinking is different than it used to be, like im seeing things from different angles. My moral code is being strengthened, my empathy reinforced.
I stopped a mugging yesterday. He had a knife, but I wasn’t afraid. I charged at him and he ran away. It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to think about it. Ive had time to think about it now, and I know that’s not something I would do. We all like to think of ourselves as heroes but in the moment we are so stricken with fear that we freeze. Its happened to me before about a year ago. Walking out of the holotheatre I noticed some guys trying to break into one of those neon porto-banks. I didn’t do anything. I looked around, tried to gets other peoples attention on it. Maybe someone else more qualified could stop them. Everyone refused to look over. It was just me, so I walked away. If I could do it again it would be different.
They visit me in my dreams and I get the feeling that im being groomed. These dreams are preparing me for something but I don’t know what. They tell me that im important, that ive been chosen. I know how this sounds, but trust me, im no egomaniac.
I’m getting smarter. My dreams are teaching me things. Its like I have access to the parts of my brain that was never used before. I wake up earlier than I ever used to, im more productive throughout the day.
Things are definitely changing for me. I feel something large is coming, and its going to change everything for everyone.
Tome closed his laptop for the last time in his life. He was no longer alone in his apartment. Tome stood and walked into his room where he found a man sitting on his bed. Tome recognized this man. He is the man from Tome’s dreams.
The Life of a Desperate Houseboy - A Blovel
I am using Tumblr as a media of artistic expression to create an interactive literature experience coupled with expressive photographs and the occasional GIF in order to create the first ever blog novel. Because I am certainly the first to come up with this visionary concept, I will humbly perform my duty as a pioneer of the modern linguo-visual arts and dub this bold experiment of literature the first ever Blovel. The Blovel replaces the commoner’s riffraff, the antiquated book formatted novel, and transcends beyond the need of pages, which are restrictive and confining to the uninhibited modern artist, due to the materialism of the medium, and its detestable susceptibility to coffee. Instead two-dimensional pages will be supplanted by the unprecedented electronic format, (Kindle doesn’t count, its for phony yuppies and old people) entering the realm of the third-dimension with the usage of eye popping graphics (3-d glasses will be required), and even breaking the fourth wall with the generous employment of mind-fuckery. If none of this is making sense to you, then you are probably already fucked. In addition the readers never know when the blovel will be finished, (indeed it may never be finished!) The readers, or “experiencers,” at any time may make this an interactive experience by liking or reblogging the pieces of this blovel, but if they don’t then the medium has likely evolved beyond them because at some point they allowed themselves to get mind-fucked by the media (in a bad way.) So if you don’t reblog or like the various artistic pieces of the blovel, you most likely have failed to make the bold leap into the realm of the intangible, and therefore are unable to appreciate the sophistic nature of the blovel. If you wonder how this blovel is unique from regular blogging, SHUT THE FUCK UP NO ONE ASKED YOU.
The love of my life, with whom I gladly spend nearly all my waking day and even haunts my dreams each night: the Internet, and especially you Tumblr. That’s right, this blovel is about you, and me; all of us really. But mostly me.
Jeremy’s Souls - Entry 015
Word Count: 525
Total Words: 12669
“How are you feeling?” Lynnae asked Jeremy as he hoisted himself up from the living room couch.
“Doing quite alright miss van Doren,” Jeremy replied, accepting the glass of water she handed him to down his regiment of afternoon medication.
He had been staying over at Lynnae’s house for the past few days. At first he had wanted to go home to his own apartment and recuperate there, yet she would have none of it. The only way she would allow him to get out of the hospital was if she could monitor him twenty-four hours a day. He didn’t mind really. Having someone like Lynnae looking after him was actually quite pleasant. And at least this arrangement would keep him from doing something stupid, like jumping straight into another session of binge drinking.
“How are your headaches? And the dizziness?”
“Surprisingly well. The headache is almost gone and the only time I feel dizzy is when I move my head to quickly or walk up and down the stairs. Otherwise, I’m A-O.k. All in all a lot better than a couple of days back.”
Jeremy downed six pills in rapid succession. Antibiotics, anti-seizure pills, anti-inflammatory pills and painkillers.
He usually hated taking any kind of medication and would only see a doctor if he’d be missing an arm or a leg. Now he realized he had no choice under nurse Lynn’s supervision. It was probably all for the best. Unlike other organs the brain was the only one that couldn’t be replaced by a spare. They only reminded him of all the futile and unpleasant hospital visits he had gone through as a child. Jeremy didn’t assume this case was any different than the ones that hadn’t yielded any results in the past.
“Did you speak with Am yet?” Lynnae inquired.
“Yeah. I called her about an hour ago when you were still out grocery shopping.”
“And everything’s alright?”
“I seemed like it. When I called her she had just come home from school. She sounded chatty as usual, so I guess nothing has happened. Yet.”
Jeremy set the empty glass on top of the wooden coffee table. He ran his fingers through his hair, creating a chaos, matching his train of thought, of the short curls populating his ever receding hairline and sighed deeply.
“So you think…”
“Something is going to happen. I’m sure of that. The only thing that’s pissing me off right now is that I don’t know what. I know I saw… something. But I can’t remember it. It used to be so clear before… I… I don’t know where to start.”
Lynnae sat down beside him on the sofa and lovingly attempted to restyle his messy hair.
“How can I protect my daughter if I don’t know what’s going to happen? I mean, I can’t lock her up out of fear that something might happen to her.”
“That might be a little extreme.” Lynnae replied with a sympathetic smile.
“All parents are afraid something could happen to their children. They could be hit by a bus every time they set foot out of the house. Still. This is different.”
© Bastiaan F. de Jong - 2011
Skinner Lake 6
Finally a chance to delve into the workings of the town. This is just the school structure, but education can really tell allot about a town. In the same way attendance records say things about a student. potentially vague and superficial unless they are an extreme.
But I’m rambling, check out the latest installment!
The school scene where Richard really wants to get out of his seat.
That morning Richards father rose early to join the search team for Lilly. The way he spoke with his friends the search had become almost a chore. It was, to Richard, as if they were acting out a role in a play. Wether it was to preserve hope for Richard and his peers, or some form of denial on the parents behalf. Richard didn’t really care. At least they were still looking.
The school bells chimed a tune across the clear blue sky as a few stragglers rushed in through the doors of Clearly Education Center. There weren’t allot of kids in Clearly, enough to fill about four classrooms, grades 8, 9, 11 and 12.
In total the school had about 120 kids. Last year there had been five grades, but that year’s grade 12 was now in apprenticeships around town. Richard didn’t mind the structure but he found it a bit limited. Especially when their teacher, Mr. Williams, tried teaching geometric proofs. He usually ended up bringing in a substitute for that class.
Richard sat comfortably in his eleventh grade classroom despite the strange stares and constant chatter about his eye. He had already prepared himself for this sort of response. Being a small town it wasn’t hard to assume the reaction to something as out of the ordinary as some kid loosing his eye; especialy if that kid was well known for getting out of the most dubious of situations, unscathed.
Richard had an excellent memory for faces and names, and knew pretty much everyone in every class. He only spoke with a few, and called even fewer friends. Those Friends included; Joseph Maxwell, Benny Frank, Liam Weinberg and Stewart Bell. The last two were standing over his desk, blabbing about something he couldn’t quite care to listen to. Benny was home sick, as usual, and Joseph was flirting with the schools blond bombshell Penny “Lane” Beadle despite his girlfriend, a grade below his, being the most jealous thing in the entire Valley.
Most of Richards attention was centered on the albino girl. A few rows in front of him, her shock white hair hanging over the back of her chair. She was looking through her textbook, apparently studying. Richard had noticed no one had spoken with her since arriving in the classroom. he hadn’t actually seen her outside of class so he only assumed no one had spoken to her at all.
He decided to go over and talk to her, but just as he was about to stand up Stewart slapped him across the back hard enough to make Richard stop to cough for a moment.
“Sorry about that, Richie, but you are gonna tell us all about it right?” Stewart smiled wide.
“It?” Richard asked, confused. The smile on Stewart’s face disappeared.
“Have you been ignoring me? The Cabin!”
“You know he’s not allowed to talk about it, it’s Cabin rules!” Liam gave Stewart the look that was meant to tell him ‘stop being so nosy and invasive’, but the message didn’t get across anyways so Stewart just kept complaining. Richard ignored Stewart again and looked over to Basel.
“Talheim!” A voice bellowed from the door, shaking Richard to the bone. Gui Cuvier, the oldest kid in school and the best athlete was standing in – more like filling up – the doorway. His broad chest covered in a shirt one size to small, showing off his muscular frame perfectly. Richard couldn’t help but think of all the women Gui could get, not that he really cared – but he did.
Gui stomped over to where Richard and his friends were standing. Stewart ran off to talk with Joseph instead, having recently come into bad terms with Gui’s younger brother.
“I don’t care Bell. Seriously.” Gui rolled his eyes and turned back to Richard. “So your rising in the ranks, I hear.”
“Pardon me?” Richard gave him a blank stare.
“The cabin, dude! I’m telling you, you’re gonna have a blast!” Gui sat down in Liam’s (possessive) seat, which was next to Richards. “You should come over to my place some time before we head out, I can give you a few pointers on how to pack. Also some Cabin etiquette I would have liked to know the first time I went.”
“That sounds really great. Thanks Gui.” Richard gave him a nod and tried to make it look mature and manly. Gui just laughed.
“This doesn’t mean you have to grow up Talheim. Trust me.” Gui stood back up and made his way to the door. Without looking back he waved and said “Peace, Dude!” Then he was gone.
Richard looked around and noticed everyone was staring at him. Joseph was the odd one out, he was just looking pissed at the fact that Penny was ogling Richard now. It didn’t matter though, Richard wouldn’t date her even if it was the end of the world.
Richard noticed that Basel was also looking at him. Her expression was blank, but her eyes were saying a million unheard things. Richard was about to stand up again to talk with her when Mr. Williams walked in and started writing on the chalk board and speaking.
“Alright kids, today’s English and writing class is going to focus a bit more on Essay structure.” he turns around to face the class and smiles at Richard. “And since Richard is just rejoining us, he’ll be interested in knowing the new word of the week; Consternation. That is ‘a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion.’ sounds fun!”
Friday, December 16, 2011
I wake up to the blinding rays of the rising sun. Pulling the blind down, I realise that it’s morning. I’m almost home. Sydney. Already, I could feel the rising humidity. Unbuttoning my coat, I asked the air hostess about our landing time, ‘Little more than an hour’ she replies in her crisp Italian accent, ‘Would you like breakfast now?’ I nod as my stomach gives a slight rumble, ‘Buttered toast and hash browns, please.’ I check my watch, six-thirty, ‘And a glass of orange juice, thanks.’ I watch as she disappears behind a blue curtain and come back with the tray of food. I nod my thanks and start eating while watching the sun rise.
I connect my camera to the laptop and giggle with delight. I took some snapshots while at the airport last night but was too tired to view them properly until now. I smile at the images of an elderly couple, a large and busy family and young adventurers ready to explore the world. I’ve been away from home for a long time now. It’s been four years since I first left Sydney to teach English overseas. It’s good to be returning home.
I exit the terminal and scan the crowds for Rachel. My eyes lock onto her but she still hasn’t noticed me. I bring the camera to my eyes as I watch her tuck stray strands of hair from her neat bob cut. Click. My eyes follow her fingers as they straightened her cream coat. Click. She always manages to look classy.
Finally, her dark eyes find mine and her red lips curls into a smile, ‘Emma! Welcome home.’ She pulls me into a tight embrace and grabs a suitcase. I grin back, ‘I’ve missed you. It’s been like forever.’ Rachel glares at me with her long lashes, ‘It’s definitely been far too long. You upped and left to teach overseas for years! That’s four whole years without visiting!’
‘I’m sorry; how about I buy you lunch?’
In her car, she drives while I fiddle with the radio, trying to remember radio stations that I enjoyed. I settle back into my seat with a content sigh and flick Rachel a look, ‘So how’s everyone been doing?’ She returns my look with a small smile. We both knew the real question that was lying between the lines. Everyone didn’t mean everyone. It meant him. She returns to concentrating on the road ahead and for a while, I thought she wasn’t going to answer my question, ‘Josh has been good. He works in a law firm in the city.’ I nod in approval, it was a miracle how everyone pushed dedicatedly towards their goals and actually reached them.
‘He misses you, do you know that?’
I watch as houses fly by my window and nod. I know. I remember the tremble in his voice when I told him I was going to work overseas right after graduation. I remember the long pause on the phone line after I declared that I would be extending my stay in China. However, I also know that he never tried stopping me from leaving. It was his choice and I made mine. He was not there at the airport when everyone else was crying into my hair. I made my decision when I chose to teach English abroad. I chose to walk away when I accepted my second job in Peru then my third job in Czech and finally my final job in Italy. We made our decisions long ago. This is the path we chose to walk by. So I don’t let Rachel know that I also miss Josh. A lot.
We are in a small Japanese pizza café, somewhere in Strathfield. Large white swirls of letters cover black walls. The infused aroma of coffee and exotic pizza rumbles my stomach even though I had already eaten. I watch as the Korean staff walk passed our table. I chuckle at the very notion of a Japanese establishment owned by Koreans. Then it hits me. I’ve sat at this very seat and laughed about the very same topic before. I turn to Rachel with a startled look, ‘We’ve been here before?’ She smiles while sipping her cappuccino, ‘Yeah, a few times. I can’t believe you forgot.’ I can’t believe I forgot either. No, actually I can. I used to desperately want to forget every moment with him that also included her. Jessica. His girlfriend. Because, they were always painful memories.
‘Congratulations on scoring a position with Sydney Morning Herald.’
I take a bite of my sweet potato pizza, ‘I’m looking forward to working with one of the best travel magazines in Australia.’ Rachel grimaces, ‘I just hope that means you will be on land more now.’
‘I wouldn’t count on it.’
‘You are coming to Ethan’s Christmas party tomorrow right?’
‘Of course. That’s why I came back today. I don’t start working until after new years.’
After lunch, Rachel drops me off at my parents’ house. My mother welcomes me with open arms and tears streaking down her cheeks. My father slaps me hard on the back as he helps with the luggage.
‘Good to see you back in one piece, Emma. I was so sure you would get eaten by a crocodile in Peru.’
‘I’m kidding. I’m glad you’re back safe and sound. Well, here’s your room just how you liked it.’
I open the door and step into the bedroom I used to call my sanctuary until four years ago. White lace curtains. Double sized bed with floral print bed sheets in the far corner. The study desk still filled with textbooks. Photos and colourful post-it notes pinned to the large cork board above the desk.
I brush against a photo from 2004, the first year of university. It’s a photo of the four of us: Rachel, Ethan, Josh and me. During a really long break between classes we decided to climb one of the trees on campus. Rachel had chased Josh up that tree, threatening to mince meat him. Ethan and I joined them in the tree later to look at our campus. Sitting there, with everyone smiling, I thought it would be great if we could stay this way forever.
I smile at the miniature us, sweaty with leaves stuck in our hair. Rachel sitting with Ethan on one of the lower branches. And there was me strangely clutching onto the highest branch. I don’t remember how I got there when I was so afraid of heights. Then there was Josh, sitting just below me, laughing at my desperate hold on the branch. Those were happy days.
‘I’m finally back at home.’
Thursday, March 16, 2004
I yawn as I listen to the roar of the train as it arrives. The sun is still rising from his bed but I’ve already been awake for more than an hour. Peach coloured clouds streak the yellow sky. Beside me, people breathe out light puffs as the carriage doors open. The autumn cold is slowly slipping into our mornings, so we hurry inside.
The carriage is cramped with businessmen in stiff suits, reading the morning newspapers and office women wearing tight pencil skirts. There are other university students with their pile of thick textbooks and folders. I’m still adjusting to lugging textbooks around campus.
I find myself stuck in a corner next to the doors and surrounded by the nose-itching smell of sweat from people who did last minute runs into the train. I lean against the wall and watch as we pass the houses of still sleeping residents. If I focus on the reflection of the glass doors, I can see a boy leaning on the opposite doors.
Brown wavy hair and a faint eye colour I’ve yet to make out. On his head is a pair of orange headphones. I continue to watch him while he fiddles with his iPod. But as he glances up, we make eye contact through the glass. It was just a fraction of a second but he gave me a smile. I flick my eyes away, embarrassed. Blue. He has blue eyes.
I close my eyes and try to catch some sleep. But I couldn’t. My eyelids snap open at every abrupt sound or movement. The sudden swaying of the carriage as the train turns. A hard nudge as someone pushes pass. And the mechanical voice from the speakers declaring our arrival at a station.
I clutch onto my shoulder bag and brace the current of people rushing out of the train. I run too because I can’t afford missing my bus. Three minutes until the bus departs. Swipe ticket through the barricade and huff and puff my way to the bus stop.
At the bus stand, there is a queue of students waiting. Something is wrong. The bus isn’t here. I glance at my watch. Twenty minutes until my lecture starts. I can’t be late. Professor Walker has a tendency to pick on late comers.
‘The bus is late again.’
The boy from the train is standing beside me. He takes off his headphones and tilts his head in the direction the bus is supposed to be coming from. It seems he attends the same university.
‘The seven-forty bus was late yesterday too.’
Seven-forty-five. Fifteen minutes to go. We’re going to be late. Crap.
‘I’m Joshua Laurent. Most people just call me Josh.’
‘I’m Emma Taylor. Hey Josh, the bus won’t be too late right?’
‘Maybe. Maybe not. It’s unpredictable that way.’
‘Stupid bus driver.’
Josh grins at me. He shrugs in a care free manner. He obviously doesn’t attend Professor Walker’s Literature lectures. If he did, he wouldn’t be so relaxed.
‘Maybe it’s not the driver’s fault? Maybe the bus fell into a ditch or maybe there is a rip in the fabric of space and time on the road here so it’s always late?’
I can’t help but give Josh a smile. I like him. He’s a funny character. With his eyes gleaming, he gives me a smirk.
‘Or maybe he is just a really crappy driver.’
I grin as I see the bus approaching, I’m still going to be a couple of minutes late but at least it won’t be too obvious. A crowd has started forming while waiting for the late bus. There are more people than the vehicle’s capacity. I watch in worry as the doors open and passengers flow inside. I have to catch this bus.
‘Come on, we can’t be late. Walker will give us an earful.’
‘You study Literature too? It’s my major.’
‘It’s my minor.’
Josh reaches out for me and I hold onto his hand as he pulls me into the bus. Inside, it’s restricted like a colony of ants in an ant farm. Mangled bodies clashing with the smell of strangers’ body odour. Josh grins down at me as he hangs onto the railing.
‘Hey shortie, you should hold onto something or you’ll get squashed.’
Josh is a strange person. He said that but he is using his body to shield me from others’ touch. In this tight space, we are standing centimetres apart but I feel safe. He is protecting me. I smile into his chest as the bus jostles. Joshua Laurent is a nice person.
Tome was not as surprised as he thought he should be. There was this notion in his head that he had no reason to panic. In fact, it was a calming feeling. And why not? He had been dreaming of this man for so long they were practically friends. No he isn’t. Ive never even met this person. The only reason i have this feeling is because he put it there.
“Please sit down. It is your room after all. I sat on the bed because there was only one chair. You should have it.”
Tome walked across his room to the chair sitting opposite the man on his bed and sat down.
“Hello, Darius. Can you please stop putting thoughts in my head. It’s distracting.”
“What is it distracting from, Tome?”
“From thinking. I’m not used to communicating this way. It’s hard to concentrate on your thoughts and your voice at the same time. It’s too honest.”
“You must get used to it. It would be offensive to me to hide my thoughts from you.”
Tome felt like his brain was working at full capacity. As Darius spoke, Tome’s mind was flooded with the information and emotion behind those spoken words. When Tome had asked Darius to stop giving him thoughts, he felt his offense to this. That it would be so rude to not let another being feel his sincerity. He felt Darius’s offense turn to a slight moment of disdain, and then quickly he felt his understanding that Tome was not used to this method of communication and meant no offense. Tome felt Darius try to hide his thoughts and find it unbearably perverse. To hide your true emotion from someone would be like urinating on there carpet.
“Im sorry,” Tome said. “I understand now. I wish i could send thoughts back to you.”
“You are, Tome. You have been. That is why i am here. You have been contacting us.”
“I have? I didn’t mean too.”
With Darius’s help, Tome realized that his mind had been subconsciously sending a kind of signal. A series of thoughts. Sending them hurtling through the atmosphere and into space. Into the earth and the magma below it, and into dimensions other than his own. These thoughts were like a thumbprint of Tome’s character, and his thoughts about the world he lived in.
“That is what attracted us to you, Tome. Not only that we have never received a trin from a human, but what your trin contained.”
And that was when Tome saw how he viewed the world. This huge sick world full of sick people. He was disgusted. He was disgusted by how evil men can be. He was disgusted at how passive other men can be. He was disgusted in himself because he knew he could make no difference in this world. That he was too weak to stand up against the evil strong to defend the good.
“Not anymore, Tome. We are going to give you a gift. I am here to teach you an ability. You will never fear the evil strong again.”
Making a blovel
Okay so i found THIS the other day and i wanted to try it out. Basically a blovel is a novel in blog form. But there are rules. here they are:
- The story is told in 40 posts (give or take)
- Each post should have at least 500 words and up to 1,000 words
- If you don’t have a structure for the story, it should follow theThree-Act Structure(A Beginning, A Crisis, A Resolution). In this scenario, the first act should be posts 1-10, the second act would be posts 10-30 and the third act would posts 30-40.
- It has to be written infirst person narrative(none of that “little did he know“). However you can change which character tells a particular post, as long as it’s only from his point of view (i.e. post 1 is told by Michael, post 2 by Sarah, post 3 is back to Michael, etc.)
- It is strongly suggested that each post should end with a cliffhanger.
- It has to be written in 40 weeks or less, but it is strongly recommended to write one post per day (i.e. the minimum is one post per week)
- You shouldn’t allow comments on the posts
- Posts must be published and you should engage people to follow them, so that you can get an early readership, feedback and a push to finish your manuscript.
- Once you publish your post, you can’t go back and edit them. This is strictly forbidden, as it will slow your pace down.
So yeah im gonna try that out.
It’s been a while, I know.
I am trying to update this blog more often, but there will be some changes to how I do this. Also, I’ve been taking writing classes which is working out AMAZINGLY for me.
first off I would like to say that Skinner lake turned into a monster inside my head, to the point where it is now the first VOLUME in a series I have dubbed The Shadow Science Trilogy (Working Title)
So, like I said, I’ll still be offering it for free here, at least the first volume. Hopefully I can offer PDF’s of each complete volume for free. I don’t see why not, Cory Doctorow does it… of course as a write he already has an established readerbase.
Anyways, I like the idea of sharing, it’s what the internet was made fore, and even though I do have to suport myself and eat I want to share this story with you because I LOVE IT. lol (I’m not immodest or anything >.>)
Moving on to another subject I wanted to mention. I’ve been taking a web course on writing fiction (or non fiction, whatever). And besides affirming allot of what I intuitively knew, and giving said knowledge the proper industry key words, I’ve learned allot already. I’ve only been attending the classes for a month now, so I think that says something.
I recommend it to anyone who’s trying to write their first book, like me. And I’m sure even published authors can learn a bit from it. so for those who are interested check out Nina Munteanu at http://www.ninamunteanu.com/
So, to give you all a heads up, when I start posting the book again it will be from chapter 1. And for good reason! I’ve expanded backwards from the first scene.
I loved how scene 1 could really stand on its own, but once the rest of the story started piling on top of it I simple HAD to write in some extra in behind. But not to worry, these new scenes give you a better idea of Richard and Lilly’s relationship while simultaneously bringing up crucial questions about the valley and the town of Clearly.
so I’ll keep you guys updated on how everything’s going. and when everything done, we’ll see!
Skinner lake 7
Next installment >
This scene might end up with one more edit, but it’s just going to be grammar and maybe a few word choices. There’s no plot holes though, so that’s good.
I need to write down the townsfolk of Clearly on a piece of paper, it’s starting to get a bit stressful keeping track of them all in my head.
The Scene from Mr. Williams point of view.
When the lunch bell rang, the students of grade 11 swarmed out of their desks and for the door in their attempt to leave the cluttered white walls, carved and marked desks, scuffed linoleum floors and flickering florescent lights of the classroom to their teacher, Mr.Williams.
Williams watched closely as they pushed and shoved, tapping his fountain pen on his plane wooden desk. His rhythm attempting to match the complex tempo of the children’s footsteps. With the rhythm, the way they dressed, and the way they spoke, each of those children was showing their true selves to Mr. Williams. Unknowingly, and completely.
The first kids to the door were some of the more energetic of the youth, the local computer geniuses, Al Hawk and Chris Babbage. Surrounded by their small circle of nerd worshippers; Ed Schriber, Edd Schriber, Lila Killinger, and Sorrel Jobs. Despite sitting at the back of the class they always found a way to beat everyone to the door. Williams remembered once overhearing them talk about ‘mapping the school for optimum efficiency’. He assumed that had something to do with their winning the race to the door.
Now they were flinging the door open, and literally leaping between its frame and out the classroom.
After them was Lulu De Pizan, the ‘brown noser’ as her pears liked to call her. She really wasn’t, Williams found her hard to deal with. She was always came up with the most ingenious conclusions on tests, which usually left Williams himself studying to make sure she was correct. Then she would hand in essays when Williams made sure there wasn’t any other homework, in an attempt to give himself a break.
Now she was dodging the flailing feet of the computer geeks and making her way, confidently, out of the classroom.
Following in her wake were the jocks, and Joseph Maxwell talking with each other in whispers juxtaposed by hardy laughs. The jocks didn’t do much more than play football in the summer and hockey in the winter. Their walk was uniform and slow, yet few of the others would move ahead of them. The fear the jocks had mastered over the other children was unfounded, but it provided Williams with moments like this. Moments to see his students in greater detail.
Maxwell appeared to be striking up a deal with the jocks, probably regarding another one of his experiments. Often Maxwell would use his charismatic personality to obtain test subjects for his various science projects, often disguising them as something his “preferred subject” would enjoy taking part in. More often than not they would be harmless, unless he involved the jocks. Williams would be sure to contact Josephs father, Minister Clerk, to ensure whatever this new plan was no one would be harmed.
But for now he was content in watching them sift out the door. All nine of the jocks and Joseph moving in co-operation, like sand in an hour glass with the doorway as their funnel.
Following closely was Penny Beadle, the class cheerleader, looking happy and bright as usual. Williams had a hard time believing it, though. Penny was at the bottom of the pecking order when it came to the cheer leading squad, since all the others in the squad were grade 12. And the only sports minded people in grade 11 were the jocks and Stewart, but penny wouldn’t be caught talking to a ‘bottom-feeder’ like Stew.
Now she was keeping just behind the jocks, doing her best to find a way out.
Coming up next was Basel. Williams was still getting to know her, but from what he’d observed she was depressed. When she’d moved in just over a week ago she was an orphan, coming through on the caravan. She wouldn’t say much about her home, but what she did say was more horrifying than anything Williams had heard of before. He would have offered to take her in, but Minister Clerk assigned her a good place to stay, with the Miller family.
Now she spotted Mr. Williams looking her way and quickly flowed into the mass of jocks, disappearing like a phantom.
Behind where Basel had been, were the art nerds, Anderson Hollis, Jackson Paul, and Sally Dolly, mingling with the journalism kids Dale Coop, and Angela Burton. Although two separate social groups, the five could not be understood without knowing them as one cohesive entity.
They were like a society unto themselves. The artists used the journalists to promote their artwork, the journalists often found their best stories in the artists as well as some good cover art for the paper. More then that, they shared a power over the school that few could claim. Even the jocks, when push came to shove, were at the mercy of the school paper.
Now they were slowly making their way to the door, content to wait behind their much larger and stronger classmates.
An anxious, one eyed, Richard was shifting and weaving trying to make his way through the artists and journalist to, presumably, reach Basel. It seamed like all his movement had disoriented him a little, and he grabbed on to his friends behind him.
Williams was guessing something was up between Richard and Basel. Often they would walk together, to lunch. Whatever choices had led Richard to Sheriff’s house, and lost him his eye, must have lost him his friend as well. Actually, It was better that the two children weren’t speaking. Richards parents had asked Williams to make sure the two kept any interaction to a minimum. Williams wasn’t one to stifle friendships, but when the Talheims ask for something it’s generally expected of you to do it.
Now Richard was regaining his composure and resigning himself to the speed of the classroom exodus.
Lastly there was Liam and Stewart, the slackers of the class. Williams knew they could do anything they put their minds to, and they did when they were outside of the classroom. Still, once their asses met the hard surface of their wooden desk chairs they were like walls instead of students. Even now he could tell by the way they were talking they were doing everything in their power to not do anything. To be honest, Williams felt responsible for their behaviour. He had taught this class when they were in grade 10, and felt as if he could have done more for them back then.
Suddenly, they slipped through the doorway and slammed it shut. The room fell quiet except for a few pieces of paper blown off the shelf next to the door. Williams didn’t bother getting up to sort them out, he’d do that in a few minutes. Right now he simply laid back in his chair, stretched his arms tall and let out a heavy sigh. Then, he leaned forward in his chair, feeling his stomach lurch. Covering his face, he quietly cried.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I find myself sitting across from Josh, on my bed with the door locked. It’s just the two of us. Talking. Laughing. Having fun. Just like how we always are. Happy. But sometimes, he frustrates me with his careless actions. Sometimes, he makes jokes of things that shouldn’t ever be joked about. Don’t say things you don’t mean, “I would kiss you except, I have a girlfriend.”
But in my room, he kisses me. He runs butterfly kisses down my throat. I could feel the moisture of his lips. And I know that it’s wrong. So terribly wrong. And I struggle to resist. I end up crying in front of him. I always look so pathetic when it comes to him. Irrational words escape my mind and my lips.
‘Stop treating me like I’m her. Stop telling me to do the things she would. Don’t tell me to paint my nails in your favourite colour – ’ I push away from him, breathing hard, my mind whirling, not stopping in its restless spinning. ‘When it’s also hers! Stop monopolising me. I’m not your girlfriend. I used to wish I was but not any more.’
And he’s just standing there, speechless. I don’t give him a chance for pretty words or excuses. He reaches out to me, trying to calm me down from my outburst.
‘Emma, I – ’
It’s too late. Josh never once spoke the three words that mattered most. Not once. I wasn’t worth it. This is too much. Josh was too much. He’s not worth it.
‘Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me the way you touch her. Stop protecting me as though I’m precious. And God damn it; don’t kiss me. Ever. When you never once said that you loved me.’
I back away from him. Staring into his concerned eyes. If he loved me, he would not prioritise another woman before me. Josh doesn’t love me. Not truly. I wonder what truly defines love? Surely not constant heart break and loneliness? Even now, I still don’t fully understand love. Or maybe, I just don’t understand Josh.
‘Josh, I don’t know what we are any more and I’m tired of trying to understand.’
I run off into the bathroom and lock the door. I feel the throbbing of his fists as he punches the door repeatedly. ‘Emma, open the door!’ It won’t open. I slide down onto the tiles and let the cool texture calm me down. I’m never opening that door to him again. Since, he never even apologised. Instead I do. Because I have so many regrets.
‘I’m sorry we ended up like this.’