Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shameless Self-Promoting: An Excerpt From One Of My Short Stories.

I decided to post this here because it runs along well with the theme of this blog.  If you have an idea of what you think this is about, I'd definitely love to hear it.

Oh, and one last thing:  I enjoy criticism.  Really, I do.  It helps me get better.  But keep in mind this is the roughest a rough draft can get.  So enjoy!  Let me know what you think in the comment section below.


I'm floating through dust and echoes.  There is pain.  There is sorrow.  There is anger.  I inhale a mouthful of toxic air and fumes.  My eyes sting as I struggle to keep them open.

Quick actions.  Vague segues.  Moving from point "a" to point "c" with no discernible mention of "b."  I'm dreaming but... but the emotions are real.

There's a thick haze blanketing my dream world.  There are no green plants.  The hollowed-out shells of civilian vehicles line the streets on either side of me.  Some are on fire, some were.  The buildings are crumbling.

And I?  I am walking.  Towards what, I do not know.  My legs are moving slow as if I am on the moon or underwater.  Despite my perceived speed, I seem to be traveling at a good clip.  Over time, the pavement beneath my feet gives way to dirt.  The cars and buildings taper off.  I find myself in a wasteland.


It is every place I've ever been and yet no place that I recognize.  There is a harsh, dry wind here.  I can see the sun behind its hazy veil in the distance.  I move towards it.  Why not?


Days pass.  Months.  Time is meaningless here.  Through it all, my environment remains the same.  The sun, an entity that prides itself on its punctuality, does not move so much as an inch in the sky above.

Years pass in a second.  A second passes in years.  I'm suddenly on the edge of a cliff, looking out over the very city that I had walked out of eons ago.  

("See no evil.  Watch for it.")

It's quiet now.  I can hear the dead wind howling through the vacant streets below.

("Hear no evil.  Listen for it.")

For centuries I keep my vigil, watching the wind whittle the structures below into dust.  One building is eventually left standing, but it is not part of the city, nor was it ever.  It is floating.  It is floating on a chunk of rock far above the remains of mankind - at my level.

("Speak no evil.  Or be sought out.")

The large building on the floating hunk of earth is ivory white, and it radiates through the haze like the beam of a lighthouse.  A pole flies the colors of Old America above a sea of lush, verdant grass.  It is appropriate, this scene.  A cozy home for a privileged few - 


- built upon the ruined lives of the unfortunate multitudes.  And yet... Those lives are ruined, with none to take their place.  An idea strikes me.  With no one to rule over, will the men inside still feel powerful?  Perhaps... perhaps this is my answer.


Not a mass suicide, mind you, but an exodus.


A way out.  Freedom from oppression!  


Until they've fought amongst themselves - 


- petty squabbles that are sure to turn deadly - 


- because people in power only want one thing - 


- to not have to share their power with others.


There can really only be - 



The earth beneath my feet gives way, as if the men in the ivory building know what it is that I am thinking.  I'm falling to my death now, and all I can think about is - 


- that voice.  So insistent.  So familiar.  So... scared.

"Daddy, please!"

It's time for me to wake up.


I wake with a start, reaching out instinctively for the illegal hunting knife I have on my bedside table.  Little hands grab my arm before my fingers close around the blade's handle.  The touch is familiar.  I remember the end of my dream and the voice I heard.  A wave of comfort instantly washes over me.  It's Azrael, my daughter. 

"What's wrong, Az?" I ask.  She is standing beside me, one hand still on my forearm and the other raised to her chin.  A tiny index finger is extended up and in front of her pursed lips. 

I nod.  "What's wrong?"  A whisper this time.

She gets in close to my ear and says, "Seekers."


"Next door."

My heart flutters.  Not the Dawson's place.  What did they do to draw the attention of the Seekers?

I put my hands on Az's shoulders.  "Did you hear anything?"  She shakes her head.  "See anything?"  She shakes her head.  

"You told me not to watch them.  I only knew they were here because I heard their cars.  No one else can drive past curfew."

Poor Az.  Eight years old and already she's so scared.  "You want to hop in bed with daddy tonight?" I ask her.  She nods frantically.  She had no intention of sleeping by herself with the Seekers next door.  Az climbs over me and onto her mother's side of the bed.  "You're safe, Az, I promise."

We lay there in silence for several seconds.  I'm just about to say goodnight to Az when a gut wrenching screech erupts from next door.  I hurry to cover my daughter's ears with my hands as Kat Dawson yells, "Please don't take him!  Please!  Ryan!  No, not my husband, not my Ryan, please!  No, please!"

She repeated those words for ten agonizing minutes, long after the Seekers left with the soon-to-be late Ryan Dawson.  When Kat had shouted herself hoarse, I let go of Az's ears and clenched my jaw.  I had to be strong for my Azrael, no matter how sorry I felt for Kat.  No matter how much I was sure to miss Ryan.

"Daddy," Az whispered.  

"Yes, honey?"

"I miss mommy."

"I know, honey."

Whatever strength I was pretending to have drained from me instantly.  I turned over, away from Azrael, and broke into a silent sob.  Goddamn it.  I missed her too.

But the Watchers were watching for The Nine.  The Listeners were listening for The Nine.  And there was nothing I could do to bring Az's mother - my wife - back.  If I had tried, then the Seekers would have come to take me away from my daughter.  

Tell me: how the fuck do I explain that to an eight year old?


A final note:  I wrote all of this myself and I'm trusting you, my readers,
not to copy it and take credit for it.  In terms of citing credit where credit is due,
this is easily one of the most important times where you can cite me.  Unlike the other posts
in this blog, the above text may one day see itself published in novel form.  So be kind and don't
plagiarize.  Thanks!


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