Fiction

Rain

He peered down. Elderwood High’s blacktop expanded before him. Jay decided this was the perfect place to do it. With careful thought, with great consideration, and with much reluctance, he’d chosen this to be the place where he would be remembered – as a spattered corpse, maybe, but remembered nonetheless. A real legacy, something that would stick . . .

Stick like his opened skull would in a few minutes. Jay smirked at that. No one understood his sense of humor. All of his peers found him morbid. Perhaps he was. On that same token, he found their mediocrity horrifying. Like pubescent geese they squawked about nothing of importance with stapled smiles that never waned. If he had to endure a world like that for the next three years – a pointless game of minced words – he would rather sit it out.

The ledge of the school’s gymnasium – the home of the Elderwood Satyrs – provided the highest point that the three-story school had to offer. Such an end would have a sense of poetry to it, a person who viewed life as a game plummeting from a place where games were played. Yes, that would be his legacy amidst the popculture herd of high school. At least he would finally have one. Years of anonymity would end – not with a bang, but with a splat!

What caught his eye from the left corner tore him away from that thought. A girl maybe no older than sixteen in faded blue overalls stood on the ledge as well, surveying the blacktop as he had, eyes blanketed by an oily mat of brown hair – an overdone bowl cut. She was singing:

If the rain comes
they run and hide their heads
They might as well be dead
If the rain comes
If the rain comes

“Hey you,” he called out. “Beat it!”

The girl stopped in mid-tune but didn’t respond.

“Look, I dunno what you’re doing here, but I would rather not have company,” Jay said.

She turned her matted head to him, and a dimpled grin appeared on her face – a Cheshire glow amidst a curtain of brown. “I’m waiting for my cue.”

He titled his head. “Cue?”

“Yes, cue. It’s supposed to rain today.”

Jay scoffed. “No, it isn’t. It’s sun-” a crack of thunder interrupted him “-ny.”

In his pondering, he hadn’t noticed the thick patches of gray gathering above him in the mid-day sky. Droplets followed – the very “cue” she had spoken of. Her smile widened and she giggled. Jay swore he found melody to the sound of it.

“It’s here!” she shouted, outstretching her arms, embracing nothing. “It’s here for me.”

“What the hell’re you talking about?” Jay asked. “What’s here? Why for you?”

“The rain is here for me,” she said. Streams of water cascaded down her cheeks, creating the illusion of tears. “The rain is me. I am the rain.”

Turning away from him, she returned her gaze to the puddle-dotted blackness below. Her arms fell slowly to her side. Drenched as she was, her pale undershirt didn’t cling at all. If anything, it appeared feathery. Jay squinted then gasped. Her clothing wasn’t wet at all, only her skin.

“Time for me to return,” she said through the beating shower, standing off her heels, bearing weight on the tips of her toes.

A moment passed. The downpour continued, clanking and splashing against stone slabs and metal rungs of the roof. Her chin raised, mouth closed, and hair parted away from her face due to sheer water-weight. Her chest didn’t heave. No chilled spasms racked her body. Why Jay noticed this, he didn’t know. Something about her seemed . . .

Before he could find the right words, she was no longer there. A muddled imprint of her shoes remained in her place. Jay dashed to where she had stood and gazed downward. The blacktop was empty. No blood, no body, just puddles.

“What the . . . What the . . .” he repeated looked up at the gray-smeared sky above him. “FUCK?!?”

* * *

He walked among the puke-green-lacquered lockers inside the school. Darkness shrouded the hall except for a few flickering florescent bulbs. They reflected off the trails of wetness Jay left in his wake as he trudged for the nearest exit. His lips contorted into a grimace, thinking about the last few minutes, still breathing heavily. Obsidian hair bungeed the water that remained – dangling, mocking.

With his right hand he swiped the follicle mop away from his vision. And he noticed the locker rows had ended. Several plaques lined the free wall. Framed black and white pictures, arrayed in segments. He read through the years of each. Some dated back as early as six decades ago. He hadn’t noticed this area before. Then again, he rarely set foot in Senior Hall. After screening the photos for a few minutes, he stopped at one in particular.

Jay’s face paled.

The photo of a brunette girl with a dimpled smile stared back at him. The etched letters below it read:

IN MEMORY

OF

RAIN MORGAN

1951-1967

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Monday, December 8th, 2008 Prose No Comments

“Brunch with Phantoms” – A Novel Synopsis

Flashback to around the same time last year, I was bit of a jaded prick to be around. The year prior had left me a bit of a bitter husk of a geek. The culprits were a series of people I’d associated with online that turned out to be less than they seemed. Much less. They didn’t even exist.

People had gone through the trouble of not only creating fake personae online, but creating complicated backstories to them. It was like an RPG, but some fuckhead forgot to tell me I was a player or provide me with the necessary d20s. What’s worse is that it isn’t the first time I ran across forgeries. Over the course of ten years, the tally was well with in the double-digits. 06-07 simply took the cake for Most Amount of Fake Fucks. At the end of those exhausting episodes, I came up with the perfect name for them.

Either I was just stupid or gullible, I couldn’t decide which. Worse off, I wasn’t entirely sure how I could justify the time spent courting these mythical maidens. A buddy of mine was equally as jaded, having encountered a couple himself. What could posses someone to do that? And how can one redeem themselves for getting involved with them. Then I had it.

I’d write about them!

In October of ’07, Brunch with Phantoms was concocted. The first time I came up with the idea, I test-drove the pitch with another female friend over whiskey-infused tea. (I don’t recommend it.) She seemed to like it. Then I spoke of it to others. It was different than my other ideas. It didn’t involve zombies, kung fu strippers, spaceships, or space fungi named Fred.

What did I do after that? I sat on it for a year. It gathered dust in the back of my mind as everyday life distracted me. Blogs gained a foothold over my writing output. Stories came a distant second. The ideas kept coming, but none really bit hard enough to get me moving. When I concocted an idea called Life to a Tea, the “phantom women” also demanded to be heard once more.

I listened to them.

Premise

Raymond Elkins plans a gathering with six women he has known for the past year. Most don’t know of each other. None know the reason for the meet-and-greet. He gathers all of them at his favorite Victorian-style tea place for brunch. A couple of them are the brunch-ish sort. The rest, not so much. Over the course of the noon hour – as the six trickle in – they relate stories of how they know the host and/or how they relate to each other. As they do, their stories unfold.

Main Characters

Raymond Elkins:

Age: 24

He is the protagonist, and basically like the author. A few differences, though, are prevalent. He’s not a sci-fi fan, for one. Truth be told, he’s more “average” than “geek”. He is 24 and a recent college graduate. Some have told him he’s a gifted poet, but he chooses to ignore this as a viable road of discovery. Personality wise, he’s reserved, overly cautious, cynical, and analytical. However, he has been praised for having a penchant for self-sacrifice, loyalty, and a dry sense of wit. Against his wishes, he’s also the proverbial “glue” to his offbeat circle of friends. He has two roommates, Clara Parks and Samir Ali Khan.

Samuel Mallory:

Age: 24

An old high school friend of Ray’s – a closet tech nerd who hides behind a “pretty boy” veneer. He comes across as smug, self-centered, and smarmy. In reality, once the douche-y facade subsides, he can be quite charismatic. He is currently in school, earning an Masters in Business. On the side, he runs a homespun travel agency website. Due to his longstanding friendship with the protagonist, both exhibit a sibling-like rivalry. Raymond, though, appears to be unaware of the competition. Oftentimes, it involves women.

Clara Parks:

Age: 23

Clara can best be described as a recovering wild child, but a very skeptical one. Where most of her ilk have their heads in the clouds, here nimbus is particularly dark. She is shrewd, calculating, but surprisingly aloof. She also has more walls up than a barge bulkhead. Once someone reaches her mushy interior persona, though, they’ll never leave. Her devotion to her friends is without equal. That especially goes for her best friend, a dopey pet St. Bernard named Egan. (Yes, after the Ghost Buster.) By night, she is a goth club cage dancer; by day, a nursing student. She has known Ray and Sam since high school, but didn’t consider them friends until after.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Sam and Clara are not based on anyone in particular. The characters were created roughly ten years ago for another set of stories, along with Ray. However, the roles they fill in this book are in substitution of actual people.)

The Phantom Women

Oasis Rousseau:

Age: 22

Oasis is an enigma. At 22, a college graduate, a teacher, a multiple homeowner, an accomplished cook, and an Internet radio phenom. If ever the title of “Renaissance Woman” applied to a single person, it would be her. She is the very embodiment of selflessness and self-sacrifice. Her sense of humor could best be described as slapstick and esoteric. While she may come across as innocent and naive, in reality she is more worldly than the average twentysomething-er. Within her tiny traditional frame, beats the heart of a liberal forward thinker. Oasis abhors her affluent upbringing and her strict father, yet adores all those close to her. If someone has a story to tell, she’ll shake off everyone else to hear how it ends. She’s also a bit of a clean-freak. She owns two beagles: Virgina and Woolf.

Origin: The girl that Oasis is based on I encountered on Myspace in January of ’06. For one outlandish reason or another, meetings got postponed by her. In April of that year, I suspected she was a fake. After some pleading and angry retorts from a “friend” of hers, I recanted and re-added her. It was on-and-off ever since. I finally stopped writing in April of ’08. However, recently, I received a birthday e-mail from her. I’m almost 75% certain she doesn’t exist. Even though her supposed hippie fiance is spread all over Google. Maybe that’s fake too. I’m not certain.

Madison “Maddie” Ayres:

Age: 25

The direct opposite of Oasis, Maddie is uncouth, ill-tempered, unsophisticated, and crass. Some might even say she’s simplistic. Despite her obvious chainsmoking outward presence, she can show a surprising amount of sharpness. How she and Oasis became best friends is a mystery. She has difficulty holding jobs, goes through men like toilet paper (she uses them), and has an odd obsession with sandwiches. She is also fiercely protective of Oasis, sometimes even taking on the role of bodyguard. Well, when she’s not passed out drunk.

Origin: Maddie is based directly on Oasis’s real right-hand woman. Believe it or not, I talked with this one more than I did Oasis, which is why I put the Oasis story from her point of view most of the time. I finally proved her lack of existence when I typed in her old e-mail address into Facebook, it came up with a “Lauren Chayne” from Salt Lake City or something. Not the person I was talking to.

Mireille Bristow:

Age: 24

Transplanted from Quebec, Canada, this half-Irish ex-pat stems from a rich upbringing. Shirking her duties as heir to a resort chain, she moved to the U.S. to pursue a career as a classical pianist. She eventually shrugged it off to study Law. When not immersed in legal theory, she updates a blog about unique beverages. To the untrained eye, she appears docile, polite, and amiable. Only the last two are true. Behind the primped smile lies a feisty female, a patient one at that. Her temper may be a slow burn, but when it shows, it leaves a mark.

Origin: Mireille is actually a fusion of four different phantom women – an 18-year-old French woman I encountered back in ’96 (but was probably, in reality, much younger), a 20-year-old hypochondriac I e-met in ’98, a Canadian I “iCourted” in ’07, and a beer fan I chatted with in ’07 as well. I never knew the four of them well enough to make them separate characters, so I stuck ’em in a blender set on puree. And, thus, Mireille was conceived.

Pamela Laird:

Age: 23

Pam came from a close-knit family, one that chose to remain distinctly urban and uptown. When she was old enough, she rebelled from this; choosing a life of solitude in the country. Okay, not exactly country. She still remained within spitting distance of the city, but just shy of the urban growth boundary. She took her trust fund and purchased a small cottage on an acre plot of land, content to remain a hermit. Part of this maneuver was to stave off the hustle and hassle of a fast-paced lifestyle, the other was her health. Her lungs were weak; pulmonary fibrosis. Stress, anxiety, pollution, cigarette smoke; all prevented her from maintaining a normal social life. She puts on a strong front – that of a solitary figure – but she yearns for more. Her relationships are often one-sided, investing herself more than her partner. She is a freelance web designer and telecommutes.

Origin: This one pissed me off the most. She actually surfaced the year after I met the Oasis-basis (hey, that rhymed!). Over the course of a few months, she cozeyed up to my real friends in an attempt to gain favor. Reasons she used for not meeting up ranged from sick family members to incurable diseases. Finally, after a brief hiatus, I said I would go down to visit her…in Klamath Falls. The address she gave me was to a trailer park/golf course, and she left a voicemail (voice disguised to act like a friend) saying she wouldn’t be making it. $200 trip!

Oh well, I got to see Crater Lake out of the deal.

Friday Spencer:

Age: 23

Born Freya Spencer, this stubborn redhead decided to change her name as an April Fools Day prank on her parents. Unfortunately for her, the name stuck. As a young girl, she was a bit of a tomboy; unrefined and underdeveloped. She didn’t come into her own physically until late in high school, by then, though, she was too far gone. Like “one of the boys”, she dated women. It wasn’t until college that she decided that men weren’t half-bad either. She also couldn’t decide which she preferred. As a result, her relationships were often shallow and open. She partied hard, but kept to herself. Wine flowed freely, but she never freed herself completely. Her true love was culinary pursuits, and she sharpened her skills (and knives) to become a highly-honed poissonier. She found her soulmate in an exact opposite, a woman with her “free love” attitude…but without the braggart. Friday is unorganized, boyish, prone to carousal (of either genders), but capable of unparalleled focus and determination.

Candice Fane:

Age: 26

Friday’s live-in “girlfriend”, a wedding planner by trade. While she wears the moniker of a practicing bisexual, her preference lies with women. She identifies herself as a “lipstick”. Where Friday is loud and rambunctious, Candice is calm and collected. She is also the one who cleans up after Friday’s messes, both within and without the household. Overnight prison fees, notwithstanding. She tolerates their open relationship, but hopes that Friday will come around to a more exclusive longterm arrangement. Occasionally, out of spite, she will find her way into the arms of another woman, but with strict guidelines and timetables – dating by dayplanner. Only Friday is exempt from her Rolodex relationship approach.

Origin: Both Friday and Candice have the same origin story. I encountered Friday in August of ’07. It was a random Myspace add. She seemed fun, cute, and quirky. My favorite! She was also really named after a day of the week, hence the moniker. I was introduced to her “girlfriend” around the same time, as well as friends of friends. One of them was a Canadian (1/4th the basis for Mireille). About three months in, I got an e-mail from the real Canadian stating the one I had on my friends list was a fake. It turns out she was a popular blogger in Vancouver. The day the Canadian’s profile vanished, so did Friday, Candice, and the rest of their friends.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across the Candice and Friday templates again. Their stories were slightly different, their star signs were changed, and so were their ages. Now they’re from Washington, DC.

Yeesh.

Tacey Jetters:

Age: 22

A recent graduate from nursing school, Tacey quickly landed a lucrative RN placement at a skilled neonatal facility. She is bright, often cheerful, and demonstrates a remarkable work ethic. Behind the staunch professionalism lies a dark vulnerability, however. A history of abuse looms in the shadows of her psyche. Also present is a family history of paranoid schizophrenia. She gravitates towards domineering and abusive men since that’s all she’s known. If she enters a relationship where none of these traits are present, she subconsciously invents a reason. The delusion of an abusive ex hunting her sometimes manifests. She is in denial of her fragile mental state.

Origin: I never dealt with this one personally. That “honor” goes to a friend of mine, which is why she’s a Sam story. The excuse she used for skirting a meet-up with said friend was an abusive ex. That and later pics she forwarded to him were shady at best. Horrible photoshopping. Using a bit of tracking software, my friend was able to determine that said woman was actually a 35-year-old mother of two in Estecada, OR.

Basic Outline

Prelude: “The Dual-ing Ms”

Setting: Victorian-style Tearoom

– featuring Maddie and Mireille

First Shade: “Human Soup”

Subject: A dinner party thrown by Friday and Candice

– featuring Ray, Sam, Mireille, Tacey, Clara, Friday and Candice.

Interlude: “The String-Along Quartet”

Setting: Tearoom

– featuring Mireille, Maddie…and the arrival of Candice and Friday

Second Shade: “A Woman Scorned”

Subject: Sam and Tacey’s relationship

– featuring Sam, Tacey, Clara and Ray

Interlude: “Five Cards, No Stud”

Setting: Tearoom

– featuring Mireille, Maddie, Friday, Candice…and now Pamela

Third Shade: “Turn a Cheek, Kiss the Other”

Subject: Pamela and Ray’s relationship

– featuring Ray, Pamela, Sam and Clara

Interlude: “Six Degrees of Celebration”

Setting: Tearoom

– featuring Mireille, Maddie, Friday, Candice, Pamela…and finally Oasis

Last Shade: “The Delivered One”

Subject: Ray and Oasis’s relationship

– featuring Ray, Oasis, and Maddie

Postlude: “As You Will It”

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Saturday, November 29th, 2008 Prose No Comments

Stories I’m Glad I Never Wrote

My journey as a writer – or very verbose wannabe – is paved with unfinished projects. Some of which, I can say, I’m proud to have started and hope to someday return to. Others were so mind-wrenching bad, they instilled a permanent wince of pain just by invoking them. Several stories in my arsenal should never come to pass, as idea or inkling.

How they entered my mind, I know not. A few were dreams made manifest in plot form, the rest…ramblings of a village idiot.

How bad?

Well, congratulations, you will now be subjected to them. Below is a generous helping of steaming, putrid plots I discarded for the betterment of society. I present them here as a reminder of why I didn’t write them. Even in tight summary, they make me groan. If you – fair reader – should find inspiration from them, tell me why. Why, God, why???

PsyKit

Origin:

I think I was in the 6th grade when I came up with this little shit-nugget. No other explanation is needed.

Plot:

A young boy receives a blotch-tabby kitten for Christmas. He soon discovers that there’s something different about it. It reacts to things before they happen.

The boy’s father – a military contractor – also takes note of their new pet’s strange behavior and mentions it in passing while at work. His superiors take an interesting in this anomalous feline and whisk (or whisker?) it away from the unsuspecting family. The boy is devastated when he discovers it missing.

The father, feeling guilty, stages a daring rescue with the boy in tow. Together they storm the military base in the hopes of locating their lost family member. For some reason (and I have no clue why) there are a lot of explosions, people die…and the kitten is rescued.

Only to die moments later.

Reason for Discard:

Weren’t you reading? I killed a kitten!

Best Blade in the West

Origin:

I was making the ten-hour drive from Reno to Portland, weather was crappy, and I was going through the winding pass of Hwy 80. That’s all I’ve got.

Plot:

I didn’t really have one. The only notion that came to mind was a typical Wild West scenario, except no one had any guns. In fact, guns had never been developed. Everyone used swords! Broadswords, scimitars, claymores, hatchets, axes, battle-axes, you name it! The hero – a mysterious man named Cale McHale – would’ve been someone returning home from some pilgrimage to Japan where he learned the ways of the Samurai.

As to whom he had to fight, well, I never got that far.

Reason for Discard:

After several initial looks of “Huh?” from people, I finally thought it best to put this to pasture. I mean, the hero’s name was Cale McHale, for God’s sake.

Gashton

Origin:

It came to me in a dream…what?

Plot:

An Asian medical student is saved from some unsavory predicament by a classmate. Before she could thank him, he leaves. Relying on what little information she has on him, she learns he was a new student from a small town by the California-Nevada border, a place called Gashton. She convinces a few friends to join her on a road trip over spring break.

Gashton turns out to be someplace quite different than she imagined. The local sheriff is a retired security guard. The local loony bin is a converted Victorian house with only one patient and one resident. Said patient is also the leader of the town’s local religion, a cult to a mysterious alien called “Zuntan”. The idol is a bottle of suntan lotion…with the letter “S” printed backwords, hence the “Zuntan” origin.

Weredeer populate the periphery of town, man-eating gophers are a regular menace, and the mayor only appears in person every once in awhile. The rest of the time he’s a disembodied voice that everyone in town can hear. The girl also learns that everyone in the town is over a century old, but they don’t know what year it is.

She finally encounters the boy who saved her, who turns out to be the other resident of the town loony bin.
Creeped out by the berg’s inhabitants, her friends decide to leave. She chooses to remain permanently, taking a job as the town’s sole nurse. Not that they really need a nurse, since everyone appears in perfect health.

One of her friends returns to town to see how she is. He has aged considerably. She hasn’t aged at all. Twenty years have passed since she first entered town. To her, it barely seemed a day. A very long day.

Gashton is unstuck in time.

Reason for Discard:

For awhile, I actually liked this idea, but I had no clue how to write it. Nor did I have a sense of what sort of readership I was aiming for. In the end, I just attributed it to being a very bizarre but intriguing dream. Such as it was.

Punishment E

Origin:

I hate rape in stories or movies. Can’t stand it. I remember trying to read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and threw the book down when there was a rape scene within the first forty pages. It made me sick. Another example, the movie Showgirls. I walked out of the theater shaking with rage. I paid for a skin flick, damn it! Not that crap.

Which is odd because things like tentacle-demon hentai have never bothered me, probably because those are so far removed from reality to be considered bothersome…or even a turn-on.

I was having a conversation with several women, and one of the topics brought up was the best punishment for rape. Each gal had her theory. I, being the only male of the group, was asked to chime in with my thought. Instead I gave them a scenario…

Plot:

A human traveler visits an alien world called Saeyiris, a perfect pleasure paradise. The inhabitants are a humanoid offshoot, blueish purple in appearance, velvetine to the touch. The women emit strong pheromones, the men lay eggs, and both genders are considered carnal treasures by all beings across the galaxy.

Pilgrimages to this carefree world are commonplace. Saeyirians welcome vagabonds of all types. No other world is this egalitarian. They have one rule, however. Everything that is done must be done so with consent. No one has ever violated this rule.

Until now.

A man knowingly rapes and kills several Saeyirian women, forming a necklace out of their severed privates. The man is caught and put on trial. A Saeyirian woman is made his Defender. While it isn’t customary to make an offworlder subject to Saeyirian law, the ghastliness of the crime is an exception. The human alliance tries to intervene but is cast out of the proceedings.

The man is found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to “Punishment E”.

He is emasculated and castrated, then set free. Over the course of time, however, his privates grow back – painfully – due to an implanted growth enzyme. However, the enzyme also severs his manliness again after full maturation, a process as painful as the initial severing. The punishment repeats itself, cyclically, until the end of his days.

Reason for Discard:

Granted, this would have been a great cautionary tale, as a lot of science fiction is, but I couldn’t sit down to type it without crossing my legs…cringing and squirming in my seat.

As to how the table of women reacted to the idea, I think there was at least one applause.

Untitled Suspense-Thriller Project

Origin:

Another one that came to me in a dream.

I should really watch what I eat before going to bed.

Plot:

A twisted couple captures people – regardless of age – and forces them to engage in every illegal perversion imaginable…and film them doing it. After distributing said material, however, they make a list of those who purchased the items. Then they blackmail the clients for buying it in the first place.

Reason for Discard:

Like I really need a reason. The idea is just sick. Oddly enough, I told this idea to my sister and Dad the following morning, shaking my head in disbelief while doing so. My sister, rightfully, gave me a wicked look.

My Dad’s only reaction was, “Hrm…good business model.”

Untitled Hypothetical Bruce Campbell/Nathan Fillian Project

Origin:

I had this li’l fanboy leaning. I thought the perfect buddy-cop movie would be a pairing up of two geek greats, that being The Chin and Mal. Both actors had similar recognition in sci-fi fandom. One had a younger, sort of rookie-ish appeal, while the other had the air of a cheeseball guru. They also had another factor in common, mainstream fame eluded them both.

I wanted to be the guy to write a mainstream cop-caper featuring the two of them. One a tough-as-nails city cop, the other a country boy brought to the city on a case. Maybe the two of them could be related too! Thus adding more tension! Yeah! Those elements worked.

What didn’t work was my…

Plot:

A small-town sheriff visits his father’s farm to find the house on fire, the barn burning, and his Pa brutally beaten by the doorstep.

His last words are, “They took her. They took…Betty.”

The father dies.

The sheriff then makes a trek to the big city and enlists the help of his older brother to uncover who did this, all the while not telling him about “Betty.”

It turns out Betty is a naturally grown…behemoth of a cow, standing tall at thirty feet. Her captors are a fast food conglomerate bent on using her DNA as a template for creating better, larger beefstock.

Uh…yeah…

Reason for Discard:

C’mon, the plot device is a giant cow. What more reason do I need to throw this in the shredder?

Although the image of Bruce Campbell riding a giant cow through a busy urban intersection did induce a giggle.

The Foundling King

Origin:

My brain is a cocktease. The idea for this didn’t come out of one dream, but after a series of dreams. I only got a snippet of the idea during each one. Then I woke up. Argh!

And, in the end, it still made very little sense.

Plot:

In the primordial ooze of the Drealm (the dreamscape), giant capes of land exist. Some right on top of each other. Whole worlds are formed this way – intersecting, crisscrossing, enveloping. One such land is Tyar-Maethi.

The king of Tyar-Maethi has gone missing. In his place, a foundling king is put on the thrown. Unbeknownst to the citizenry, he is actually one of the mountain-folk, a race of proud barbarians borne from the very rock itself; bearers of swords carved from their very own hair. That child-king is called away on a quest, however, and the kingdom is left to fend for itself.

The boy grows into a man, becomes a Sky Knight, and teams up with several other misfit-borns to combat a growing evil. One such companion is a man, the last of his kind; Lemar, a Latetan whose people were killed by the very gods that spawned his race.

Reason for Discard:

I stopped having dreams about this story. It wasn’t that I wanted to. None would come about, so I never got the full story, hence the reason it sounds so scattershot.

Plus, Lemar of Latet…as a name?

Sounds too close to Lamar of La Tete, which – from French – would translate to Lamar of The Head. And that sounds like the name of a basketball player.

Don’t think so.

Fade Out

Origin:

Another damn dream.

And not the good, wet kind.

Plot:

In a dystopian future run by sector-large mega-corporations, a security officer arrives on the scene of a strange crime. A computer hub and warehouse have been obliterated, and two men are witnessed fleeing the scene. The security officer gives chase.

He succeeds in shooting one of them, but the other escapes. As the other saboteur makes his getaway, he turns around to view his fallen comrade. The man has no face. The officer removes the mask of the fallen…

It’s his own brother.

He rigorously investigates a similar chain of events linked to the faceless man. Over the course of his inquiries, he comes in contact with his brother again, but this time he’s alive and well. He questions his brother, but said sibling doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

This leads to a “sharp” interrogation session.

Word arrives of another heist, this time at the central power core for the entire city – funded by the corporate entity that owns the metropolitan area. The officer and his brother travel there and make a shocking discovery. The power core is a pocket wormhole. Another discovery is made.

The faceless man is the security officer himself.

Both he and his brother had gone through the wormhole, but doing so caused them to view time in reverse. For each hour, they would skip backwards in time…in real-time. The man he’d been chasing was himself, halting the reign of a mega-corp in rewind.

In the end, he accepts his destiny, shoots his faceless doppelganger and travels through the power core with his brother in tow.

Reason for Discard:

It made perfect sense when I dreamt the thing, but as the days wore on, the less sense it made. That and portraying someone perceiving time in reverse seemed murderously difficult to hammer out as a story. I wasn’t confident enough in my own ability to do it.

Thorn & Nail

Origin:

I thought of this when I was a sophomore in high school, and – man – do I wish I’d acted on it sooner.

Plot:

A secret society uses the blood on the Crown of Thorns and nails used for Jesus’ crucifixion to create a clone, and pass him off as the Second Coming. However, in doing so, they trigger a chain of events which lead to the actual Biblical Apocalypse. The clone, himself, must also come to terms with his own destiny and determine whether or not he is the Messiah.

Or the Antichrist.

Reason for Discard:

Okay, this one I’m not actually “glad” I discarded, rather, I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I sat on the idea for too long. Two folks beat me do it.

Mindwarp

Origin:

The story came to me in the 7th grade, I think.

Plot:

Someone discovers how to tap into the 90% of the human brain we don’t use. In so doing, he/she taps into a previously unknown ability. Traveling at the speed of thought and opening portals to other worlds. A boy used as a test subject goes on a Wrinkle it Time-ish type journey across the cosmos.

Reason for Discard:

I’m no good at oh-golly-gee-whiz stories. I’d probably end up killing another kitten or something.

Wolfman

Origin:

Yep, you guessed it, another dream.

I really shouldn’t sleep…ever…

Plot:

An amateur con artist returns to the town of his youth. Once known for being a bratty prankster, not everyone is happy to see him, namely the new sheriff; daughter of the old. His last prank almost got him run out of town.

He was in high school and had loaded a toilet with C4, sat on it – dressed in a wolf suit, hence the nickname – and prepped a camera on a tripod to photograph himself mid-explosion. He hadn’t expected to survive the gimmick. At all. Miraculously, he did without a scratch. Having difficulty coping with what transpired, and the sheer impossibility of it, he left town to wander the country.

But now, he’s returned.

The town he grew up in is known for it’s rare and delectable candies. Most are kept stored at City Hall, which also doubles as the police station. He still has a lurking voice in the back of his head, but he’s not sure what. Wolfman figures the only way to shut it up would be to steal the town’s touristy livelihood.

As he commences with the robbery, an odd thing happens. He stares up at one of the security cameras, sees his reflection in the lens. On a whim, he waves. The reflection doesn’t mimic him. Instead, it waves after he does, followed by a wink. With that, he finally understands what the voice in the back of his head was…

It was God.

And he turns himself in as a result.

Reason for Discard:

Read it again, and you tell me?

Wormwood

Origin:

This is my most recent diuretic epiphany. I came up with it over a pint of IPA.

Plot:

A well-off, young billionaire industrialist – who happens to be a devout Christian – comes to a realization. He’s sick of waiting around for the Second Coming to appear. He figures the best way to bring about Christ’s glorious return is to trigger the events that lead up to it – i.e. start the Apocalypse. Assuming the temporary role of Antichrist, he goes about finalizing his plans by turning the course of history in favor of the scenarios outlined in the Book of Revelation.

He forms an empire out of the remnants of the Roman Empire. He rebuilds Babylon. He kills two of his most vocal opponents. He does war with any detracting nations by meeting them on the Plains of Megiddo. Unfortunately, none of the other “Divine” decrees occur. There are no angels, no Horsemen, no plagues, no comets, no demon locusts, no Destroyers, and worst of all…no Lamb.

In the end, he realizes that he just united all nations, rid the world of war, and all without the help of a would-be savior. He is last seen looking up at the stars, wondering why. No one answers.

Reason for Discard:

I don’t even want to think of how many people this would piss off. Nor would I want to have a bunch of cheering alternadopes. I think all sides would miss the point I was trying to make in the name of irony.

On second thought…

I think I will keep the last idea.

What’s life without a stubbed toe or two?

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Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 Prose 7 Comments

Random Access No. 9: “PETA”

Artwork Provided by Jason Norman

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Monday, November 17th, 2008 Webcomics 6 Comments

I work for tea money.

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