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PhilosophicalFrog
The Hypercube

Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 7:08 pm
Posts: 6072
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:57 am 
 

We had a writers' thread a while back, but it seems like a good time to reignite the idea, especially due to the high amount of aspiring poets/writers/thinkers we currently have on the board. It is a much higher volume than years previous and I think it would be quite cool to start something where we can give feedback (no matter how brutally honest!) to each other's work.

I know there are other forums for writers and poets, but seeing as we have become quite a tight-knit community and share the same interests in more delicate/scary/intense/emotional aspects of art, I think this could be really fun!

So, the rules are very basic:

1. Be honest in your feedback, but don't be a dick.
2. I would ask that you use Word, Notepad, or txt documents so that they can be universal on all computers.
3. If it is a piece of poetry you can post it in the thread itself, but if it is a page or longer I would ask that you please use Dropbox and let us download it! Or, if you have a blog post or a place where you publish your works, give us a direct link!

I myself am finishing a novel about a failing marriage, but I am almost done with a short horror story and would love to post it up for you guys when it's finished. But, in the meantime, I (and I imagine others) would love to take a look at your work! It's a laid-back environment and don't be shy! I'm sure many of you have literary voices you would love to let others hear.

So, yeah! Get started!
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mogila
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:30 am
Posts: 77
Location: Russia
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:57 pm 
 

Hi

Thanks for the thread, I've currently written 3 novels (none are published, I'm a bit lazy with sending it away to people). I might be able to send it to someone if they're interested.

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Necroticism174
Kite String Popper

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:46 pm
Posts: 4998
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:00 pm 
 

Good idea for a thread, though I'm not sure how successful it will be. I'm currently going through some really annoying writers block, but I may hit this up with a thing or two.
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In
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 5:41 pm
Posts: 208
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:14 pm 
 

mogila wrote:
Hi

Thanks for the thread, I've currently written 3 novels (none are published, I'm a bit lazy with sending it away to people). I might be able to send it to someone if they're interested.

Have you ever thought about publishing it as an e-book on Amazon or a similar site?

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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 4130
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:18 pm 
 

I feel ashamed every time I look at my writing. I'm pretty terrible. But for the sake of the thread, I can dig up my post in the other thread and drop it here for posterity.

Zelkiiro wrote:
Pretty much all of my writing comes from classwork before I graduated, so I've done mostly poetry and essays. I've also got a sci-fi short story I'm fairly confident in.

My sci-fi short story:
Spoiler: show
Seven years ago, on December 21st, 2012, the world did not come to a cataclysmic end. Of course, anyone with a brain and a computer would know that the ancient Mayan calendars only signaled the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. And a new era’s exactly what we got. Even though there were no meteors or floods like everyone expected, we instead witnessed an event that was every astronomer’s wet dream turned into a nightmare:

When the sun did as the Mayans commanded and aligned with the center of the galaxy, a large wormhole appeared almost overnight right next door; of course, no one had ever known wormholes to be anything other than a crazy idea in a physics equation, so you can imagine how eager NASA was to haul ass into its depths as soon as ass could be hauled. So far, so good, right? Well, let’s just say things took a turn for the worse from here. Red giant stars tend to ruin everyone’s day.

You see, while NASA was making its preparations to blindly charge into a dimensional detour, the red giant of the Southern Cross constellation, Gamma Crucis (nicknamed Gacrux by the science-types, Big Red to everyone else), decided it was gonna ditch its perch and travel on the freeway to our neighborhood. Yeah, go figure, the wormhole just had to lead straight into Big Red. You can pretty much imagine what happened next—drought, famine, oppressive heat waves, the death of life as we know it, worldwide chaos, political uprising, religious fervor…all that annoying shit. Oh, and our beautiful blue sky is now an eye-straining reddish orangish color.

At least, I think it’s still that god-awful color. It’s hard to tell when you’re locked up. I guess that’s important, isn’t it? Yeah, I’m in the slammer. First-degree murder charges, allegations of conspiracy, and weeks of torture are a real bitch, ya know? Oh, and I suppose it’s also important for you to know my name, what with you being the one I’m telling my story to and all. The name’s Anita. You really don’t need to know much more than that. It doesn’t matter, really. Since the Day of Big Red, a lot of things have changed. But you probably knew that.

You know, I used to be quite the popular girl a few years back, especially right after The Day. It’s true. You wouldn’t believe how high food prices soared in the weeks and months afterward. You also wouldn’t believe how desperately lonely and horny some men can get when Apocalypse is knockin’ on their door. What’s more, you wouldn’t believe what a girl’s gotta do to put food in her belly.

It was a good thing there were so few of us lovely ladies, because some of those guys were quite stingy with their pay. Of course, if any of those bastards thought it was a good idea to leave without paying for the room service, they’d have to apologize to me and my .45, or else I’d be so distraught, I wouldn’t know what to do! I’d have to squeeze a shot into his soft, warm throat just to get my pay. I run a courteous business, and men are simply…disposable. A dime a dozen. All of them just as lonely and horny as the last. Shortage of business was hardly a concern.

Unfortunately, the United World Federation (the newest in a long line of auxiliary puppet governments attempting to maintain order) does not smile upon my justice. In fact, they really don’t approve of anything. To them, the best way to make a good first impression on the 14 million people who still populate the Earth (now known as Gaia, because someone high on the totem pole decided why not) is to send all of their sorry asses to The Suite for any conceivable crime. And if aggravated assault can net you five-to-nine in The Suite, you’d have a rough idea of what blowing someone’s brains out will get you.

Remember those first-degree murder charges I mentioned earlier? You guessed it—some filthy shit named Robby thought he was gonna experience the high life with me and walk away without my requisite fee of 150 Gaian credits. I don’t ask for much, you know. Just enough for a few meals. But, according to him, 5 minutes of my time wasn’t worth the 150 big ones, so he zipped up and went to put his shoes back on. Bullshit, I said. Just because the sonuvabitch couldn’t keep his balls under control doesn’t mean he can break my sacred House Rules.

So, in accordance with the House Rules, as written and kept by yours truly, I gave him a nice new breathing hole in the back of his head. An appropriate end, I must say; a worthless death for a worthless man. Well, to me he was worthless, anyway. Wouldn’tcha know it, those United World Federation goons really don’t like it when one of their own are shot down in a cheap apartment by a Doomsday Whore.

I didn’t just take it lying down, of course. The Suite isn’t my kinda place, ya know? Shit, not even the most desparate cockroaches go near the place. Officially known as the 42nd United World Federation-Commissioned Correctional and Isolation Facility, the cells in The Suite are about as clean and sanitary as a methane junkie’s shit-hovel. If the junkie had been dead for 10 years after inviting his friends over to spray all manner of bodily waste in every direction before a deluge of pus and vomit drowned them while they simultaneously pissed themselves. I was quite determined not to end up in here, but we both can see how well that turned out.

Anyway, I knew the Feds would be on my tail before long (since their oh-so-handy multi-functional BrainComs kinda let the entire department know when something happens to them, such as a sudden case of bullet-induced headaches), so I went further underground. These days, though, everyone was secretly a spy or a snitch or generally didn’t like you, so depending on a safe hidey-hole wasn’t always the best plan. Unfortunately, that was my grand plan. No one’s perfect, ya know. Especially Riley, who I turned to in my hour of need. Big mistake.

I knew her before The Day, and we were pretty good friends. Both worked together in the same truck stop, serving food to your typical degenerates and perverts, and we’d always get together and poke fun at the newest limp-dick-big-britches trucker errand boy who walked in and acted like he was hot shit. Occasionally, during the night shifts when the dumber, drunker guys would stagger in, I’d have to save Riley’s ass from certain defloration.

Long story short, she owed me a few favors, and as luck would have it, I conveniently had one to ask of her. At first, she was glad to help, and a few weeks went by without incident. It was just like old times, both her and I reminiscing about days that weren’t overpowered by sirens and red light, but I should’ve realized it wouldn’t be long before her sweaty fingers dialed up the Feds in a twitchy panic. Riley was always little too pro-government for my tastes, and it seemed a little worldwide cataclysm didn’t do much to change that.

So you can imagine my surprise when I’m sleeping in the guest room, snug as a baby, and all of a sudden, 4 or 5 suits bust into the apartment and shove an auto-taser up my ass without even the courtesy of yelling “Surprise!”

So then they drag me by the ankles and wrists out the door, while Riley gives me a pathetic, simpering look, yelling “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” while her tears mix with the snot running down her nose and into her mouth. It’d have hurt a lot less if she simply spat that concoction at me instead of bawling like a little bitch.

My ass was hauled to The Suite that very night, and as a result of the intolerable comedy the United World Federation called the Revised Universal Judicial Procedure Act of 2013, my fair and impartial hearing was a grim reminder of a little thing historians refer to as the Salem Witch Trials. Oh, it would have been all too simple for me to explain that Mr. Robby violated the rules of my humble business, but that was all wrong to the Feds. Clearly I was some sort of assassin sent by the Neo-Arabs or the Independent Military Republic of West Mexico, and my mission was, obviously, to bring down the UWF once and for all. Insults were hurled, instruments were brought out, and it’s safe to say that tendons don’t work very well once they’ve been slashed and hacked. “We only need her mouth working,” they said. I don’t really need to go into the gory details here. It doesn’t really matter, especially when you can’t even move under your own power anymore.

I wish I could say these past 4 years have been eventful, but I haven’t lied to you so far, and I don’t intend to start now. As far as the Feds are concerned, they still haven’t changed their minds about me being some covert spy on some secret mission. From the gossip I’ve heard echoing down the halls, it seems they’ve got their dicks in a frying pan with daily air strikes from the Neo-Arab Rebel Force, so the interrogations have gotten more frequent these past few weeks. The Inquisitorial Squad might get tired of my refusal to sell out my supposed allies soon, so they’ll probably fry me, grind my bones, and serve me up as The Suite’s soup of the day next week, so you understand why I’ve decided to tell my story.

I don’t even know how I’ve managed to write this much without going insane, or even if my story will serve any purpose, but I figured I had to let someone know. Will Gaia even still be around for someone to find these pages? Is there anyone even still alive outside these walls? Hell, will this pile of tattered paper even make it out without being thrown in the open sewer-hole? Even so, I, Anita Rossetti, age 29, high-school graduate, former waitress at Twisted Jim’s Dine ‘n Drive, Doomsday Whore of Federation City Apartment Complex Number 296, have to tell someone my story before they wire me up and fry my ass in the Judgement Seat.

Because these pages are the proof that I exist.


One of my pieces of poetry:
Spoiler: show
Journal of the Man Who Has Seen the Sun

Hot again today. Just like yesterday.
And the day before that.
I’m tired of that goddamned sun.
Look at it hovering over us like it owns the place!

Maybe I’ll leave this place—I’ll go to Washington.
The state.
Not the capital.
The state.

I’ll hike in among the dark green deciduous trees.
Or I’ll just sit on my porch and watch the sky all day.
I could even learn to love the rain.

I just don’t ever want to see that hateful, cancerous,
blinding, boiling ball of hot gas again.


This poem was for an assignment which required us to find inspiration in music. This was the result:
Spoiler: show
There’s a Revolution Calling You!

“I’ve always known that the mirror never lies.”
- Queensryche (Eyes of a Stranger)


This Friday marks my 17th year here. Almost half my life spent inside,
locked in my cell, sitting right next to my towering reflection in the mirror.
I’ve made a habit out of avoiding that mirror. Don’t really wanna look at myself.
The nurse brings me today’s pills. One addiction for another, I guess. Bottoms up.
They call this place a progressive rehabilitation facility for drugged-up criminals.

My ass. Last I checked, rehab got you off of drugs. Dirty floors stained
with blood and shit, armed pigs at every door, and 17 years of sleeping in a wet,
drafty cell with a black-and-white TV and a toilet…I know a prison when I see one.
You remember Dr. X, that resistance guy on TV? He’s the guilty one, Your Honor.
His stony eyes, his crying needle, and his serpentine tongue took us all by the throat.

And we bought it, all of us. What fools we were. Blind, barely-pubescent fools.
We killed so many under his orders, believing that we could change the world;
now all we have to show for it are the shit-stained cages the State keeps us in.
I’ve made a habit out of avoiding my mirror. What will I see in its smudged glass face?
That’s the last thing I need, to raise my head and stare into the eyes of a stranger.


This poem had to use the so-called "betrayal of expectations" trope, so here goes:
Spoiler: show
Another Day at the Office

He returns home from a long day at work, his sweat glistening with pride.
The wife enters, tying her white and spotless apron, “How was work today?”
He sends her a warm smile followed by a sweltering kiss. All had gone well.

He sits at an oak table, and his family surrounds him. The aroma of roast pheasant
tantalizes his nose, seduces his tongue. Now, the golden-brown bird on its altar, the
family prays as he says The Grace. For their sake, he has worked tirelessly today.

That night, he sleeps on a bed of fine white linens. His dreams show him ancient worlds:
his chariot races along the Circus Maximus, the legendary Argo carries him gently
through the seas of time. He awakens the next morning, armed to conquer the day.

Arriving at the facility, smokestacks spewing fire overhead, his friends greet him
with a laugh and a salute. They walk in uniform to their stations under bright red banners.
Everything is in order for today’s shipment as the overloaded train rolls in with a sigh.

From behind a glass wall, he studies the Undesirables, scribbles hastily on a note pad,
and pulls the switch, marveling as transparent hands wrench the life out of them.
He sends his coworkers a slashing, straight-armed salute. Another job well done.
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MazeofTorment
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:06 pm
Posts: 2039
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:21 am 
 

Hm, here's something I did a couple months ago that's pretty short. Kind of an abstract philosophical piece, something I like doing from time to time.

Spoiler: show
"Coronation of the Serpent"

Rustling through the dead, dried leaves of yesteryear moves the bearer of truth, the quintessential light at the end of time that flashes and dies away in an act of rebirth, for its brief glimmering came from darkness and to darkness it must return. The rejected idol, the defiant one whose cunning clarity penetrates into the depths of knowing, rebels against the imposed structure of the world with every light little crunch.

Beneath your toes and under your nose slithers this enigmatic reality that is always crossing paths with the veiled certainty of self-assurance. Coming into contact with you in the everyday, it often only grazes the surface, sometimes with a flick of its forked tongue against your heel just to remind you that it will always be there; outlasting your self-assurance, your very life, and any future cognition that could be had of its everlasting presence.

Through blind, primal perseverance you endure its steady gaze and move forward in a mournful act of refusal; unable to look upon the face that tells no lies and minces no words. Intermingled in the debris lay the reminders of its eternal essence – layer upon layer of fractured, shed skin. Like divine leaflets, the frail contours of its past exterior mark the passage of time, the death of worlds, and the renewed manifestation.

Traces of its being, of its chaos, creation, and dissolution litter your pathways and still these signposts do no convincing, nor do they so much as spark interest. Willfully remaining obtuse in the presence of these markers, your judgment suffers and you see nothing.

And then comes the critical moment.

An instilled will to insincerity and blindness breaks down in a single snapshot of time; a flashpoint, a great collision between the egos’ carefully crafted cyclopean point of view and the torch bearer that has been gliding its way through the same grass, streets, sidewalks, and homes. A weakness in ones legs can be felt, a great strain on the limbs that prevents movement in any direction. In a state of confusion, you search for the source of the stagnation and look down to find the sharp, glaring eyes of the great serpent staring back as it coils itself around your limbs, gracefully squeezing the fabricated comforts of your own creation out of your entire being in a fateful act.

Coming to grips with your own finality, you see for the first time and receive the ultimate unmitigated dose of reality with one deadly strike. The fangs sink deep, injecting a serum that cleanses the blood of all murk that clouds what always was. With vertigo taking hold, the fear and trembling that is experienced swells in a kind of ecstasy, as peaceful closure becomes incomprehensible in the grips of the fallen one.

While the time and place comes as a surprise, the end was always in plain view - to be sensed, realized, and accepted. Turning away from what lied at your feet, your systems of thought took hold and became reality. But with fate came the blow that shook your faith to its knees – exacting a painful truth in the process.

Struggling, the coils tighten, expelling the last gasp of rhetoric tainted breath from your poisoned lungs. Finally enclosed by the cosmic emptiness, the painful lie of life ceases, and bestows the peaceful rest of non-being. This ending awaits us all and your awareness to its presence makes all the difference when its indiscriminate fangs take hold.

Praise the manifestation and its inevitable finality.
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TheUglySoldier
Metalhead

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 3:44 am
Posts: 1679
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:35 am 
 

Recently I completed my degree, in which, I don't mind saying, the final assignment for my capstone was...well, not that enjoyable. It is a sci-fi piece that has way more exposition in it than I would have liked, and I lost interest in it as it went. However! It was put up online, and I would love feedback on it.

http://thequarryjournal.com/?p=461
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ScandalfTheShite
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:46 am
Posts: 427
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:57 am 
 

I've written stories more actively for some 6 years now. Unfortunately they're all in Finnish. Maybe I translate some of them and put them here at some point. When I started, my stories were quite primitive. Actually I'm quite ashamed that I ever showed them to anyone back then. I think I've gotten better with time though. My style ranges from tales of black humor to dark fantasy. I've participated in some writing contests and send my works to publishers. With no result yet though.

Writing is constant learning. You have to find new ways of doing things all the time. Never get stagnated.
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kingnuuuur
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:35 pm
Posts: 2144
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:23 am 
 

I'm currently translating a short story. Does that count?

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mogila
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:30 am
Posts: 77
Location: Russia
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:23 pm 
 

In wrote:
mogila wrote:
Hi

Thanks for the thread, I've currently written 3 novels (none are published, I'm a bit lazy with sending it away to people). I might be able to send it to someone if they're interested.

Have you ever thought about publishing it as an e-book on Amazon or a similar site?


No actually, thanks for the advice I might look into that.

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RapeTheDead
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:48 pm
Posts: 470
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:33 pm 
 

I write poetry occasionally. Been writing for about two years; I write sporadically and infrequently, whenever inspiration strikes. My poems are minimal, free-form and angsty. Two of my favorite poets are cummings and Whitman and take a few cues from both of them. Feedback is always appreciated, no matter how harsh.

Spoiler: show
(untitled)

hold
a can
of black
paint
over
your head.
pour it all
on yourself
and let it
cover
every
last
crevice
of your
body.
You still won't change.


Spoiler: show
Audition

it's all transitory
because they're above you
you need to impress them
lie
hide yourself
so you look "good".
each moment
phrase
action
is just to prepare you
for the next one.
the next scene
the next world

but when's the fucking show gonna start?


Spoiler: show
The Virus

it seems like everything's more distant.
falling apart.
not physically, not even consciously
we uphold the status quo
but each ticking hour peeks
into
the crevices of ourselves and we
become caught up in that; we
self-obsess, reimagine, interpret
ourSELVES
but each new interpretation leaves us
to drown in the spacious vortex
of the mind, our own minds
never connecting
with others.
they'd only get in our way.
each growing day
It becomes tougher to say
i know someone.
Because all i've ever known is
myself
How can I begin to imagine you?
the infinite array of isolated moments
embedding and sculpting your mind
that cause you to perceive every action i make
in a different way i intended
We'll never connect
(falling apart)
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TheUglySoldier
Metalhead

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 3:44 am
Posts: 1679
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:48 am 
 

Zelkiiro, that story isn't bad - although it feels a bit too expositional for my liking. You spend a fair bit of time explaining the situation to the audience - I'd work on trying to let them put the picture together just from the now, personally - as opposed to opening with "Seven years ago, on December 21st, 2012, the world did not come to a cataclysmic end.".
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ScandalfTheShite
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:46 am
Posts: 427
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:36 am 
 

To keep this topic alive I got some things on my mind. For example I've never had this writers block some of you talk about. Or perhaps I could say, that I can prevent it from coming. The hardest thing for me is usually to just sit down and start writing. But when I finally do, the words start coming. Or if I got nothing in my mind, I start reading something. A book or maybe something from Wikipedia. And inspiration comes. I rarely have any ideas or a clear vision in mind before I start, it all just comes through work. I'm actually quite envious, that you have all these great visions before you start. I'd like to have some of those inspirational moments myself.

When I started writing, I had this urge to write fancy words and sentences. And I notice that same thing in some of your writings. Nowadays I always think are the things I write something that people really want to read. It's all debatable, but fancy sentences with a lot of adjectives is not the way to go for me anymore. It's all about the wholeness of things. I guess it's all about entertaining myself and (potential) readers for me right now, doing nothing too fancy or seemingly sophisticated.

Pardon for my bad English, and that I don't have any story to back my statements up right now. As I said my stories are all in Finnish. Maybe someday.
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Jophelerx
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:22 pm
Posts: 743
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:45 pm 
 

I've done some short stories and started on novels, though never finished. Not really a fan of poetry, although I do have one poem I like. My best short story is a take on the Pied Piper tale, did it for a creative writing class. It's kind of goofy, but I feel like I did a good job with it.

Spoiler: show
Quote:
The Sound of the Flute

Ewald scratched his head as the proposal was voiced, looking up with a hard expression. He couldn't remember the last time there had been a fly in the meeting hall, or any such winged vermin. He looked back to the table where it had landed, and thought that it looked like a flea. Whatever it was, it was an unwelcome annoyance. He tried to turn his attention back to the proposal being presented by one of the other committee members, Mathias Simonson.

"…And, as is customary for any traveler, be it refugee, merchant, or, as is the case in this instance, troubadour, I thought it best brought to the attention of this committee before he be granted admittance."

"And so you have done, Mathias," spoke the committee's unofficial director stoically. "Please return to your seat before should ensue the further discussion of this matter."

Mathias nodded, doing as he was bidden. The director continued. "Are there any criteria from those presented on which any of you require elaboration?" he asked.

Ewald swatted again at the minute pest continuing to plague him. "Maybe we should require him to get rid of these damn fleas!"

The entire committee broke out in uproarious laughter, the sound echoing even in the relatively close quarters of the hall. "Per'aps he can magick 'em away with the sound of 'is harp!" someone shouted.

"Or maybe he'll charm 'em into being friendly and we can all go out and have a glass of mead together!" offered another.

"Actually—he says that he plays the flute," announced Mathias.

Everyone looked at him a bit disinterestedly, the cacophony dying down to nothing, the moment brought to an end. The director took the opportunity to speak up again.

"So. Now that…elaborations…have been dispensed, perhaps we can come to some consensus on the admittance of this piper to our town of Hamelin. See that you take yourselves enough time to reach one, then tell me what decision it is that you've agreed upon."

The cacophony quickly sprang up again, albeit not as intensely, as the committee members commenced their chatter, some of it pertinent to the subject, the greater portion of it likely not pertinent at all. Such was the ceremony of Hamelin; emptier of superfluity than some lands, to be sure, though still pouring it not altogether too frugally between the cracks in efficiency.

A matter of minutes passed, perhaps half an hour, and then under the director's increasingly impatient stare the babble of voices began to die down.

"Has the committee reached a consensus on the matter of this musician?"

One of the members, a strong, charismatic, and well-liked fellow called Hans spoke up in response. "We have. We have unanimously decided that there is no reason to withhold this pleasant-sounding troubadour from entering into Hamelin's walls."

The director nodded. "Mathias, you may tell him he's welcome in Hamelin for as long as he likes. You can return to your homes, gentlemen." He got up from his seat, wordlessly exiting through the front door. The committee members gathered around the room followed suit at varying speeds, some making such haste as had the director, others lingering to discourse over the status of crops, the acquisition of a new shear, or some such similar triviality.

Ewald left fairly quickly, not feeling the need for socialization, favoring the idea of returning home to his wife and son.

Someone grabbed his shoulder as he was walking through the open doorway. He turned and saw Mathias, wearing the diffident smile which rather suited him. "Hey Ewald. That was a good laugh earlier, about the fleas."

"Thank you." He was thinking about his wife, barely paying attention to the other man's words.

"Would you like to join me for an ale or two in the tavern? Lars and some of the other men are heading there, too."

Ewald looked at him, then shrugged. What harm could a few drinks do? "All right," he said.

Mathias gave an obnoxiously eager nod to complement his smile. "Great, great!" He headed down the dirt path to the tavern quite merrily, evidently highly pleased with himself for recruiting Ewald to join this gathering. Before long they arrived at the tavern, Mathias practically skipping across the threshold, Ewald still walking placidly.

Sure enough, a few of the men from the committee were sitting at a nearby table, ales already in hand. "Hello, gentlemen," Ewald said as he took a seat, the overeager Mathias doing the same.

"Ewald, Mathias," came the somewhat curt acknowledgement from the men already drinking. Soon, both of the new arrivals had ales in hand as well, everyone drinking deeply and refraining from speech. Ewald always wondered why they didn't just drink alone if they were going to drink in silence, but such was tradition here.

Before long another stepped into the bar, a man Ewald had never seen before but at whose identity he could easily guess. Judging from the lute strapped to his back, this was the troubadour they had just gotten through admitting.

"Ralf!" shouted Mathias, jumping from his seat, and quickly making his way to the man. "It is good to see you here!"

The troubadour—Ralf—returned the greeting with equal cordiality. "Friend Mathias. Thank you for taking the trouble of securing my admittance. It is most appreciated."

Mathias waved it away, leading Ralf to the table. "Nothing to worry yourself over, Ralf. Why don't you come have a drink with the finest men of Hamelin, here?"

Ralf grinned heartily, his thick, red brown mustaches parting to the sides as he did. "I'd be pleased to do so," he said. "That is, if you fine men aren't averse to my company?"

Everyone quickly muttered Ralf's welcome to partake in their company, one of the barmaids coming out with a mug of beer for him at the same time. "Are all the girls in the town so pretty?" he asked as he took the mug.

The barmaid giggled before walking away. Ralf turned back to the men at the table, still smiling broadly. "So, this is old Hamelin, eh? I think I'm rather going to like it here."

"It's quite a good town we have indeed, Ralf," Mathias answered.

Ewald smacked his head as another flea buzzed around it, plastering the pest to his hand. Scowling, he brushed the remains onto the floor and took a long draught of ale.

"A good kill there, friend," Ralf said. "Do you get fleas often in this town?"

"Only recently," said Ewald in a sour tone, wanting to be out of this damn place, away from these damn fleas and this damn troubadour. He was too nice about everything. Ewald didn't trust anyone who was actively jovial without any discrimination, any preference. And he had found in the past that usually, his mistrust was justified.

He finished his drink and stood to his feet, ready to leave this place in favor of a welcoming home. "Afternoon, gentlemen," he muttered brusquely.

"Oh, leaving, are you?" Ralf asked in his elaborate, humbly pompous way. "Well, I bid you good day, then!" The other men nodded and muttered their acknowledgement, as was the custom. Ewald turned and walked out of the tavern, without another word.

He looked up at the sun, judging it would be about dusk by the time he made it home. It was better than six miles to his farm, one of the more distant outliers from Hamelin proper, and would take him the greater part of two hours to reach. He walked briskly, hoping to beat his estimate, thinking eagerly about his wife and son. He wanted a decent reprieve before the harsh farm labor started again tomorrow morning.

Feeling something against his foot, he gritted his teeth as he saw a large rat scurry across the dirt path below him. Rats and fleas, he thought. He needed better companions than those.

The journey went reasonably quickly, Ewald's thoughts largely occupied with his wife and the welcome she'd have for him, and enjoying her on their cot later. He reached the farm just before sunset, striding a bit more merrily into the house, now that he was among well-liked company.

"Katherina, I'm back from the town meeting!" he called. He waited a moment for the expected response, but to his consternation, was greeted with silence. "What the devil?" Ewald looked about the two-room cottage for some indication of what had happened, but found nothing. He sighed, grimacing like he had a bad taste in his mouth, then finally resolved to wait outside for his family to return. If something had happened to them, he could search more easily in the morning than now, with the sun barely a sliver above the horizon.

He heard them before he saw them—the sun by then having completely descended, and significantly more than a few minutes having passed. He shook his head in disgust, walking back into the house; he could hear the joyful tone in their voices, practically hear the spring in their step. She'd worried him over a pleasantry. Over some goddamned pleasantry. He almost wanted her not to come back, now.

He sat on the edge of the cot as they walked through the threshold, practically whooping over whatever alternative to him they loved so much.

"Ewald!" Katherina shouted just as joyfully, all the worse because it hadn't stemmed from him. And inconsiderate, too; he could have been sleeping. He should have been sleeping.

Then he realized. The unmistakable absence in the threshold. Joacim. He wasn't here. "Where's Joacim?" he asked hoarsely. "What's happened to our son?"

"Oh, dear, you needn't worry about him. Let me tell you about what—"

"What happened to our son?" he repeated, more raggedly, more desperately.

"Ewald, nothing happened to him," she said assuringly, setting down the lantern she was holding. "We went into town expecting to meet you, and I guess we must have just missed you, but there was this charming man, playing a wonderful tune on the flute in the middle of Hamelin Square…"

He could feel his blood boiling. "A charming man? A charming man named, Ralf, I suppose." He thought back to earlier that day, to the council who had just voted this man into the town. He should have said something. He should have tried to deny the fool entrance. He let out a sigh that was maybe more akin to a low growl.

"Did you meet him, then?" Her voice was laced with a semblance of concern, but still it was far too casual.

"Katherina, what happened?" he asked brusquely, tired of her deliberate niceties.

"Dear, it's nothing for you to worry about. Some of the children were enraptured by him, and I can't say I disagree with them." She smiled for a moment before she continued. "He offered them a moonlight performance, in the woods. We all fancied it a wonderful idea. It'll just be until morning, Ewald."

"What in Hell?!" He was on his feet now, towering over her like an enraged beast. "You left our son under the sole protection of that pompous charlatan? Good God, woman, what vile spirit could have possessed you to make a decision of such absolute stupidity?"

"Ewald, I think you're—"

"You think something, Katherina? You claim to think, and yet, you put absolutely no thought into giving our only son into the care of this raving madman!" He was practically frothing from the mouth, his eyes bulging from his head, looking, in the shadows of the dim lamplight, like nothing more than the raving madman he described.

Katherina cowered away in fear, not sure what he was going to do next. Ewald shook his head in complete disgust, heading for the doorway. "I'm going to find our son," he said. "My son," he muttered to himself as he stalked out of the house.

He grabbed his spare lantern as he walked over the porch, pouring in the oil and lighting it with his tinderbox as quickly as he could, setting out vaguely east. He knew well the direction of the forest, but it was large enough that even with his lantern and sense of direction, he was searching relatively blindly.

The thought of this haughty piper kidnapping his son—many of the children, in fact—was enough to turn his stomach. He didn't know what the devil was going on in the forest, but he was going to put an end to it. The miserable fact of it was that the women had all swooned over him so much that they'd allowed him to do it. He vowed to never let Joacim out alone with his wife ever again. He tried not to contemplate the possibility that there might not be an again.

Shaking his head, he refrained as best he could from all thought on the subject, until he reached the relevant site. He didn't need to be scared of all the ugly unlikelihoods when he might have the power to prevent a tragedy, or, at least, rescue his son from this fool.

As vast as the forest was, it took him under an hour before he heard the raucous, gleeful shouting and, more faintly, the crisp, clear notes of a flute. Well, perhaps was just an arrogant musician trying to boost his ego with the praise of children, after all. But he wouldn't believe it until he saw for himself, and brought Joacim back to his safe home and warm cot.

The noise was emanating from a large copse Ewald knew fairly well, and chided himself for not heading to in the first place; it was easily the best gathering site in the entirety of the forest, though it wasn't considered proper for upright Christian townsfolk to make such use of it, even in daylight; especially not after dark. That didn't matter, of course; this was an outsider, who was oblivious to such improprieties. Still, it wasn't exactly something to assuage his anxiousness.

A short time, and then he had reached the outskirts of the copse, crouching in the bushes to assess the situation before he took action, not wanting to chance making matters worse than they already were. Before the scene ahead of him even fully registered, he was startled by the sudden realization that the gleeful shouting had stopped—though not the notes of the flute. More warily, more alertly, he turned his attention to the piper and the children—to his son.

The piper stood atop a small stump, moonlight shining down on him as he played, as if he were atop a grand dais illuminated by extravagant chandeliers, court bard to some high lord. The sight was dazzling, even to Ewald; so much so that it took him a moment before he noticed what was occurring below.

Rats by the hundreds—thousands, maybe—were crawling into the copse, swarming over a few distinguishable forms of children, several more likely hidden under the multitudinous hordes of vermin. Ewald would have sworn the rats were flocking to the notes of the piper's flute if he didn't know better—and, when he thought about it, he wasn't sure he did. Masses of fleas jumped from body to body, the rats' virulent companions, feasting on rodent and man alike.

Ewald's eyes darted around the scene desperately, searching among the filthy carnage for some sign of his son. When he found none, it was all he could do to keep himself from charging in there to look. He pinched his brow, thinking furiously, hoping for some way to extricate Joacim from this torrent of horror. He thrust his entire consciousness into focusing on this one problem, and yet, somehow, the mesmerizing, malignant notes of the piper's flute were all he could think of, even as rats swarmed over him, onto his stomach, his arms, his legs, into his mouth, until he was buried under a mountain of fur, teeth, and blood, those simple, clear notes still floating through his head until his consciousness faded into nothing.

He woke to a world of unimaginable pain, tiny scratches and bites covering the entirety of his body, blooding pouring from wounds too numerous to count. He tasted fur and blood in his mouth, and remembered what happened. He looked around, wondering that he was still alive. The sun was just beginning to rise above the hills on the horizon, glorious herald to the impending dawn.

Ewald collapsed back to the ground in pain as he hacked up several wads of hair, grimacing. He forced himself back to his feet and surveyed the rest of the scene.

The piper was now nowhere to be seen, the rats and fleas evidently having followed him in his flight. The bodies of children lay strewn about the copse as if dolls thrown about in a tantrum. Ewald wished that were the case, instead of the horrible situation he knew to be reality. His stomach churning in revulsion, he gently shook each body, trying to see if any were still alive.

He found six which stirred upon touch; six who were still alive. The rest of them wouldn't ever stir again. Nine dead, because he and Hamelin's committee of fools had allowed this desecrator into their town. Joacim was among those dead, but he didn't dare shed a tear now. He had to lead these children back to safety, first. There would be time for mourning, once all was said and done, though mourning wouldn't do anything for those killed, for Joacim. He spat on the ground in utter disgust, taking a moment before he turned to the wretched survivors, so mangled and bloodied that one could hardly call them the lucky ones. He shook his head at the senselessness of it all as he ushered them away from the scene, back in the direction of Hamelin. He noticed Hans's son, Mathias's daughter. He felt a sharp pang of jealousy that their children had managed to survive.

He shifted his arms as he led the deathlike procession into town. Something felt distinctly uncomfortable when he held them by his sides, like his armpits were bulging. Swollen rat bites, he supposed. Though it was strange that there was one on each side, and that both had swollen almost exactly the same way. He shrugged uncomfortably before discarding the subject, knowing that the swelling would either heal, or it wouldn't.

Ewald almost collapsed again as he was struck by another fit of coughing only a few hundred yards from the town's outskirts. The pain was much worse this time. His whole body felt like it was on fire, incinerating from the inside out. He felt something spew out of his mouth in abundance—blood, a small part of him, the only part not consumed in agony, managed to realize. He took a step forward and it felt as if his body ignited anew, bursts of anguish rushing through his blood every time he moved. It threatened to consume him, but it didn't. It couldn't. It was his duty to bring these children to safety. Just a few more yards. A few more. Surely he could handle that.

Step by agonizing step he trudged forward, intent on his duty. Sweat and blood poured from his body in streams; he felt as though he were walking through Hell.

Step. Breathe.

Step. Breathe.

Step. Breathe.

He fell into the excruciating rhythm of it, confident he would cross the last few feet to victory. Step, breathe. Step, breathe. He would lead these children back to their parents. He would. And then he was going to take a long nap in his cot. Step, breathe. Step—

He tripped over a twig, plummeting to the ground below. He hit his head on a sharp rock, but he barely felt it.

The children watched with blank expressions as blood oozed from the wound on his head, as the life left his pain-filled eyes. Others rushed over, Lars and Mathias and several others, a search party come too late. Parents comforted their children even as they coughed up blood, the same way Ewald had.

"What's wrong with his neck?" one man said. A few other men gathered around as he poked Ewald's lifeless corpse with a stick. Blood oozed from the swollen area of the neck, blood or maybe something else—it was black.

"What do you suppose that is?" the man said incredulously.

"I don't know," said another, nervously. He coughed in his shirt sleeve, without noticing the drop of blood he'd left upon it. "Looks like some kind of black plague."

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Nochielo
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1719
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:49 pm 
 

After years of writing verse, I've finally taken up prose properly. Working on a short horror story that I believe is coming along really well. I may post a fragment to get some feedback soon.

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 19343
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:37 pm 
 

I'm working on two novels; a young adult piece about a boy searching for his missing father who gets entangled in a scheme from a corrupt city councilman, and a sort of deconstruction of the superhero genre in which the "heroes" only get their powers through doing drugs. Very short explanations of both, but I'd like to post some snippets of these when I get more time soon. If anyone'd be interested in reading, anyway. ;)
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Cinema Freaks latest reviews: Frailty, The Interview controversy rant

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TheMizwaOfMuzzyTah
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:18 pm
Posts: 1259
Location: Abyss of Hallucinations
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:01 pm 
 

Can someone please tell me if the following premise sounds too close to something they have read/seen/heard about? It is the premise of a screenplay I wrote four years ago that got shelved. I'm considering adapting it into novel format, though I'm hesitant because the concept is not the most original in the world and I'd hate to later discover something similar or worse, exactly like it.

It centers around a psychoanalyst of the mad scientist variety who inherited from his father and his father's enigmatic financier an innovative sleep/dream technology that effectively puts a subject to sleep, and allows for a host subject to enter that person's dreamworld. Sounds like Inception, I know, but dammit I wrote the initial screenplay a year before Inception was announced! Anyhow, at the heart of this lies the following philosophy: we can only ever reach Eden in our dreams. At the heart of our dreams also lies the heart of our imagination, our pleasures and our passions. My mad scientist character runs a sleep clinic for clinical insomniacs. His host subject, a young man he has kidnapped and kept perpetually asleep, navigates the client's dreamworld and helps them locate the "heart" of their dreams, their own private Eden. This revelation terminates their insomnia (and in many cases their neurosis, psychosis, etc.), and the mad doctor has made a killing off of this. However, our story will center around a young woman whom the doctor falls for, and who in turns falls for the young man the doctor has navigate her dreams, complicating things immensely.

Eh? Eh?

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Nochielo
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1719
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:52 pm 
 

I think it's necessary to explain who is the narrator of this story. I think this could really work if told by the woman's perspective as opposed to an omniscient narrator, but the development of the story ultimately decides what is more convenient. Sounds like a engaging read.

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ScratchMyBack
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:04 am
Posts: 1077
Location: Malaysia
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:24 am 
 

I have this affinity for Westerns, so I wrote this a while back. It's like a modern "update" of Westerns with all of it's stereotypes there.

Not what I'm most proud of. I'm not even sure if I should be proud of it. It's called 11:35 in El Paso.

Part 1: https://www.facebook.com/notes/terence- ... 0883040283
Part 2: https://www.facebook.com/notes/terence- ... 9243037447

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TheMizwaOfMuzzyTah
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:18 pm
Posts: 1259
Location: Abyss of Hallucinations
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:37 am 
 

Nochielo wrote:
I think it's necessary to explain who is the narrator of this story. I think this could really work if told by the woman's perspective as opposed to an omniscient narrator, but the development of the story ultimately decides what is more convenient. Sounds like a engaging read.


Thank you for the response, Nochielo. I've fiddled around with a few drafts of the first chapter from the woman's perspective, as well as the doctor's perspective. It would require a lot of research and technical ballyhoo to write the book from the doctor's perspective, so I'm leaning towards either the woman or an omniscient narrator of sorts. We'll see. Thanks again for the reply!

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Nochielo
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1719
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:01 pm 
 

No problem. I will say that I'd prefer the woman's perspective because she seems to be caught in the very middle of the conflict which allows for a more intense(?) experience, whereas the doctor while still in the middle of things, has control over one of the elements (namely the sleeping guy) and that's not to mention the technical jargon you'd have to familiarize yourself with. Then again, have you thought of changing the narrator every other chapter to give insight into both characters? I think this story could also benefit from this approach.

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TheMizwaOfMuzzyTah
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:18 pm
Posts: 1259
Location: Abyss of Hallucinations
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:22 pm 
 

I have not thought of that for this story yet, no, but I think you're right - the story really could be propelled quite nicely from that type of approach. An almost Joycean approach, methinks. Not to call myself a fraction of the writer Mr. Joyce was.

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Necroticism174
Kite String Popper

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:46 pm
Posts: 4998
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:00 pm 
 

This is a short story I recently completed:

Spoiler: show
MALADIE

It was a chilly October night.
Richie had paid the clerk at the motel’s check-in enough for a week-long stay at the Pinewood Motel somewhere east of Ogunquit, Maine, where he was born and had lived his entire life. All forty-five years of it. Richie had left his wife and two sons, one of thirteen and another who’s ten year anniversary was rapidly approaching, back at their small home by the water. Richie had inherited the home from his deceased mother and father, who had been the abundantly wealthy owner of a tourist-friendly chain of restaurants across the major Maine area. Their motto had been “Get your fresh lobster at Elvid’s Lobster Barn, where it’s cooked at its finest!” Richie patted at the sweat on his forehead with a handkerchief. And then he washed it in the sink. The reflection in the mirror belonged to a stranger, as far as he could tell. But this did not alarm Richie. His eyes were lost amidst black circles that seemed to drag along the sides of his cheeks. The lines along his mouth were deep, and made him appear a good ten years older than he really was. But it was all a small price to pay for what he’d ran away to avoid. He looked away from his reflection and tried to picture his family safe and sound, in the enclosure of their beautiful home. Richie had come to terms with the knowledge that he could never see his family again. How long? He wondered. How long before the fever sets in?

Both of the locks on the front door were bolted and secured. He couldn’t risk exposure. And there was a very real possibility that Anna, his wife, had already reported him missing to the authorities. And that the authorities would track the license plate of his Ford Mustang GT to the parking lot of the Pinewood Motel. Or maybe his face was already plastered on the front windows of gas stations all across the greater Maine area. He had enough supplies to last him awhile. At least until he could figure out his next move. The sickness would take him soon. He was sure of it. But what if it doesn’t? What if you’re not even sick? Richie franticly looked around to see where the voice had come from. But there was no one else in the room. He felt his forehead for an overabundance of warmth. But there was none. He was still upon the brink of the worst yet to come. “If the sickness doesn’t take me”, he said, “then I’ll have to finish the job myself, because I know that I’m sick.” Do you? The non-visible stranger’s raspy voice asked. “Of course I do. Why else would I have coughed up the blood?” The voice did not answer. Richie exited the bathroom and sat at the edge of the bed. The sheets were damp with sweat. He began to cough, and was left with a stinging sensation all along his throat when it was over. “Do you see? I’m sick. I’m coughing blood for Christ’s sake!” He looked down at his palms, which were indeed red with his own bloody mucus. There was a moment of panic, which quickly subsided. And suddenly, the air was dense with anticipation. How long would it be now? So you’re just going to do yourself in? Life insurance doesn’t pay for suicides, Richie boy.

Richie felt more restless than ever. How long had it been since the last time that he’d slept? He lay on the dirty mattress of the motel room, pondering his imminent doom as the ceiling fan slowly began to malfunction. And then stopped entirely. Richie felt the room suddenly become overwhelmingly hot. He rubbed his eyes with the sweaty palms of his hands, and then shut them completely for a moment. He wondered if his family would survive through the ordeal he’d dealt them by leaving without a muttered goodbye or a reason why. After all, his children were still children and all children needed their father. He remembered an article he’d read in a magazine somewhere (at the dentist’s office perhaps) that explained the link between fatherless youth and juvenile delinquents. “Did you know,” the article had said, “that forty percent of juvenile delinquents are youth without biological fathers or fathers with their own criminal records?” It went on to state such matter-of-factly things as, “Studies have shown that the father is the ultimate authority figure for youths, and an increasing number of these unfortunate kids are being raised without strict authority or guidance by their fathers.” It was an interview with a Dr. as far as Richie could recall. He could not, for the sake of him, remember the man’s last name. But the interview had intrigued him at the time. And now he thought, “What will my kids think when their father shows up at the coroners a week after deserting them?” They’ll think that their father never loved them, Rich. Maybe they’ll even blame themselves. Recent studies have shown that ninety-nine percent of criminals were once children who believed that their father’s hated them. Richie abruptly leaped onto his feet and threw a pillow at the small window of his motel room. The pillow exploded into an aerial swarm of feathers. “SHUT UP!” Richie yelled at the top of his lungs, launching long strings of saliva with each contraction of his esophagus.

Listen to yourself, Richie baby, you’re a raving lunatic. There is no sickness. You’ve been played for a fool, and you still don’t know it. Richie stumbled across the room. He was running out of breath. It had been an hour or two now since the ceiling fan had broken down. And now the room strangely felt very much like a sauna. Richie felt short of air, claustrophobic, and as though he was nearing his end. After all, perhaps it wasn’t simply the heat of the room. What if it was the fever finally kicking in? The way the gypsy had told him it would happen, was that the fever would commence last. And then he would only grow worse, until his body couldn’t bear it anymore. He would finally succumb, and there would be peace. “Peace” Richie loved the sound of the word. It was a word that put him at ease. He repeated it over and over again in his head.

Richie’s late father’s business was on a heavy decline since the recession. He’d had to close down half of the restaurants in the past five years. It was tricky to own a restaurant business in Maine. Especially because his annual budget relied mostly upon what the restaurants made during the summer season. It was when the tourists would come to Maine. In the fall, they would stop visiting. And even the residents would leave to their second homes, if they had second homes. Few people remained by the end of the fall season. And even fewer spent their hard-earned summer wages from the tourists on local restaurants. Ogunquit, in particular, would turn into a ghost town. Sometimes, Richie would leave with his family as well, to their condo in New York. But they would also often stay in Ogunquit. The children were homeschooled by their nanny, a middle-aged long-time resident of Richie’s hometown who’d had to find work after her husband’s terrible fate with cancer a few years ago. The nanny had lived with them for a while now, and was considered a part of the family. Richie wondered if she was worried about him as well. Of course, baby, they’re all worried about you. You just up and left. What are they supposed to think? That you’re okay? And for what…the word of some dirty old gypsy? Face it, Richie, the sickness is in your head. Richie felt the warmth in the pit of his stomach rise all the way up to his chest, and then his throat. It was rage. He struck the thin wall facing him with both fists at once. His knuckles stung and became red and bruised. He flailed them aimlessly in the air. “Then explain the spots on my chest!” he yelled at the dull motif of the ceiling. He was stripped of his shirt. The spots on his chest were ovals the size of larva, and the color of blood. There were at least a dozen. He felt their inflamed outlines with the tips of his fingers. They’d gotten worst, and each touch stung him like a needle digging into his flesh.

The room grew hotter and more unbearable with each passing hour. Richie was now completely stripped down to his bare skin. He shut the curtains on the windows to block out the emanating light of the rising sun. He’d spent the last few minutes franticly scratching at the skin of his scalp. His naked shoulders were covered in pallid flakes and fibers of his own light brown hair. Beside him was a small bedside cabinet. He drew open the top drawer. Inside of the drawer were the typical things that you might find in any motel’s bedside cabinet. A bible, a notepad and a pen with “Welcome to the Pinewood Motel” and “Enjoy your stay” written in a dark red, one below the other, on its yellow shaft. He flipped through the bible, and put it back into the cabinet. But an idea suddenly dawned upon him. When he’d left his wife and children under the pretense of going to the grocery store, Richie had been in a desperate rush to get away from them before the Gypsy’s gruesome prophecy could come to life. He’d thought about calling his wife on many occasions since his arrival at the Pinewood Motel. But he was afraid that she might think he was insane. And what if she decided that she would come to get him? Or worst yet, what if she brought the children to try and convince him to come back? Richie believed that he knew Anna as well as he knew himself. And she would certainly not be one to believe in superstitious babble. Especially not the superstitious babble of some street-roaming gypsy from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. There was no way. She wouldn’t believe him. Nor would she understand that he was doing the right thing, by not endangering them. He could almost imagine the words coming out of his wife’s mouth over the phone. “You’re being ridiculous, Rich.” she would say. “You were fine just two days ago, last I saw you. This curse is just some made up crap that’s finally forced you to confront all of that stress that I’ve noticed building up in that head of yours from this recession business. Come home, Rich. Or better yet, I’ll come get you. And I’ll bring the kids so they can see that their father’s alright.” Richie rolled on the floor laughing like some madman from a horror film, where the protagonist is a detective hot on the trail of a raving serial killer who likes to feast on women’s thigh-meat. He laughed even harder at the thought of this. There was a tragic desperation in his laugh that he could hear echo from all around him. And then his laughter died out, letting way to a raspy chuckle. He got onto his knees and glared at the notepad and pen on the bed as though he was defying these mundane items into a deadly battle of the wits.

It was a quarter to noon, according to his deceased father’s old Swiss wristwatch. He lifted one of the curtains and peeked outside. The parking lot was deserted, except for a few cars, including his own. He wondered if anyone would try to break into his Mustang. After all, its GPS navigator alone was worth far more than the monthly salary of any one of the other residents he’d seen by the front desk during his check-in. Most of the other rides in the parking lot were pickup trucks and weathered old things that looked like they might fall apart on the road if anyone was ever crazy enough to drive them. Richie scratched at the bloody bruises on his scalp, which he’d inflicted without being aware. He could feel his lungs begin to contract. The cool rain before the storm, he thought. And just as he’d predicted, the coughing followed shortly. It lasted for a while. Long enough to leave his throat scathed and irritated. “Fuck” he muttered, noticing all the while that his voice sounded raspier than ever. This sickness would drive him mad before it drove him to his early demise, as far as Richie was concerned. He rested his naked body on the bed. Looking over his stomach, he saw his lean abdominal muscles bunched up in what the fitness enthusiasts called a perfect six-pack. After all the many nights he’d spent at the gym, trying to look a good ten years younger than his age (something his wife had managed with minimal effort), his hard work and devotion to a healthy lifestyle wasn’t going to amount to much more than a good looking corpse for his friends and family to peer at during his burial. Richie missed his wife and children. But it was for the best. Ultimately, they would outlive him.

Richie, suffocating from the heat, pulled the curtains aside and opened the window. A soft breeze entered the room, and his naked flesh suddenly broke into goose bumps. It was the evening and the parking lot was covered in a thick mist. He peeked for police officers. Or Anna and the children. But neither were anywhere to be seen. He pulled his head back inside and started to put his clothes back on – What now, Richie baby? – as the moonlight peeked through the mist and peered into the small room of the Pinewood Motel, on the outskirts of Ogunquit. He sat by the edge of the bed, feeling the blood in his hair from when he’d clawed at the skin of his scalp. There was a darkness within him that he was sure had not been there before he’d checked into the damn motel. Before that damn gypsy put his curse on me, Richie thought. He picked up the notepad and pen from beside him and contemplated leaving a suicide note. Are you planning on killing yourself? There’s no –
“Yes, yes, I know. There’s no life insurance for suicides.”
The voice did not reply. If it had ever been there at all, it had just as inexplicably subsided. Richie let the notepad and pen fall to the floor. He considered the idea that he might be going mad from the fever. What fever?
“Shut up, will you?”
Face it, Richie baby, you left your old dame at home with the kids because you’re a coward. There is no curse. No sickness. It’s all in your he-
“SHUT UP!”
Richie picked up the lamp from his bedside drawer, tearing its cable out of the electric plug on the wall, and launched it across the room. It s brass pole dented the wall, while the shade slipped right off and the light bulb itself shattered into countless tiny pieces of sharp glass, which became impossible to see amidst the cheap carpeting in the now darkened space. He felt a creeping chill navigate along the length of his spine, until he became seized by an uncontrollable headache that could only be compared to the kind of headache you would get from eating ice cream with an unrepentant haste. One of his children (the youngest, Brock) had once ever-so charmingly called this particular kind of headache a “brain-freeze”. His body began to shiver on its own, out of his control. Richie felt unfocused and dreary. His mind drifted in and out of reality. And a bright light shone through the window across the room. It was a dirty trick, as far as Richie could tell. By that damned gypsy nonetheless. But it was a damn good trick at that. He fell immobile to the floor, jittering like an epileptic man falling victim to his first seizure. Until finally, Richie succumbed to the vast and haunting silence that had turned his motel room into a morbid enclosure, sealing his tragic fate. Like a coffin, he thought. He accepted this bitter end as his final release. The very last cross that he’d have to bare for what he’d done to the man’s daughter. But he didn’t die. Did you really think that it was going to be that easy, baby? There is no gypsy’s curse. Only your own. And that’s the worst curse that a man could ever have wished upon himself, because there is no way to defend yourself from, well, yourself. The voice broke into a desperate laughter that Richie quickly recognized as his own. He could feel his arms and legs again. But to what avail? It wouldn’t be long before the gypsy’s next magical act. Perhaps even his final act. But a second voice than the one that’d been taunting him told him otherwise. Maybe it was some malicious part of him that believed that he deserved to suffer. Or maybe it was just his instinct. Richie thought that the latter seemed the more likely. After all, why would he choose to inflict these tortures upon himself? Sure, his crimes had been horrid in nature. But there had been no part of him that had objected when he’d chosen to act them out. So why would such an inner-voice appear now? The voices were always there, Richie baby. Only you chose to listen to the wrong ones and now you’re paying the ultimate price. By the way, you should really call your dear wife. She must be worried sick in that big ole house uphill, by the water. Say, wouldn’t it be a riot if she ever fell off that hill? Especially if someone helped her down and –
“ENOUGH!”
Oh boy, you don’t know the meaning of enough. But I’m sure that poor girl whose child - your own offspring - you tore out of her stomach knew the meaning of enough. I’m just as sure that her dear old man knew the meaning of enough after you stabbed him sixteen times and looked into his eyes while he cursed your soul. I’m sure of all of this just as much as I’m sure that your wife and children are dissolving at the bottom of the water by your late father’s beloved sanctum. How long do you think until the fish finish them off, little by little? Heck, I’ll bet you could even picture their rapidly decomposing bodies covered in seaweed and their faces cleanly eaten off if you put that crazy ole imagination of yours to work. How about it, Richie baby? Do you like what you see in –whatchamacallit- your mind’s eye? Hahaha!
“Arrgh” Richie managed to mutter, as the ceiling of the room began to slowly dissolve into pallid ooze, which dragged along the side of the old and weathered walls. The light from the window was gone, and the room was dark. His eyes were closed. “I love you, Richie” he mumbled. “I love you, please, don’t do this” He was the one speaking. But Richie couldn’t recognize his own voice in what he was saying. “I’m sorry baby” he whispered, tearful and full of regret for the first time in a long time. “Richie, please” No way José baby, can’t do you any favors. It’s a matter of what’s to come. “I’m sorry” Her eyes were full of blood. Their children lay by the side of the cliff in their underwear, with their intestines spilling out of their torn backs. He hit her across her face with a bloody rock he held in his hands. She fell over and sobbed harder than ever. “Please! Please!” He approached her with a blank stare in his eyes. The same blank stare he’d given the gypsy girl before he’d raped her. The same one he’d given her father when he’d found out where he lived and confronted him, while his wife and children were home. Oh, the looks on their faces when they learned just exactly how terrible a monster their own father was. It was the kind of look that a man should never have to bare from the people he loves most in the world. Let alone his own flesh and blood. The kind of look that could drive a father mad. He bashed her brains in all over the rocky path behind their home, ending a long marriage which had prospered into two beautiful children and many happy days as a family. Happy days, Richie thought, sending his wife and children off the edge of the cliff with bloody rocks tied their ankles. It was a reliable brand of rope that he’s purchased. The kind that would hold real well. He let out a forced chuckle at this thought. As for the gypsy. Well, some things were just impossible to plan ahead for. He hadn’t thought that a man who whored out his own daughter (flesh and blood) would come knocking for answers when she didn’t show up after a good fucking. “A good fucking – and a good beating” Richie added to his inner-thought. You raped and tortured her for days, Richie baby. You carelessly led a curse into your own home. A pox on both houses, right Richie? We’re sinners, aren’t we? Only, you murdered fifteen prostitutes in a span of five years and it finally caught up to you. So here you are. What happens next is up to you.
“What do you mean, it’s up to me? I didn’t put this curse on myself!”
Richie dragged the old gypsy on the marble floors of his living room, into his backyard, which looked over the water. The water was beautiful that day. He remembered how lovely the sun’s reflection looked over the dark and sparkling waves. The gypsy was heavy. But Richie was the kind of man who spent many long hours at the gym. Ever since he’d hit the humble age of forty, he’d strived very hard to stay young and in top form. “Have to be careful about that heart of yours, Richie baby.” His wife would often tell him. “You’re that age now.” And Richie had always listened to his wife when it came to such matters. She always read those damned health magazines. They littered the kitchen table every morning. And sometimes even the living room couch. He’d see them often. And he would even flip through them himself every now and then. But Richie wasn’t really the reading type. He was the observant type. Sure. But he’d never bothered to pick up one of those old and battered public library copies of Agatha Christie novels she would read in bed. And just as surely, he had never really bothered to actually peruse through one of those magazines with the intention of learning something that he did not know. It now occurred to him, in his time of crisis, that perhaps one of those damned health magazines had had something about chronic anxiety disorder. Such as how to treat it when it got bad. So bad that you shook and couldn’t stop shaking. Bad enough that your mind became a frenzy of incoherent thoughts. Richie hadn’t felt affected by any anxiety-related problems in years. But they were all slowly coming back. The heart palpitations, muscle weakness, nausea, stomach pains – the headaches – and fatigue. His heart thumped in his chest with a monstrous vivacity that made him feel like the Frankenstein monster being galvanized back to life by its creator. He was being electrocuted. But there was no electricity. He barely felt the shards of broken glass from the light bulb that had shattered pierce through the flesh at the bottom of his feet. There was a maddening spiral of emotions going through him that made him feel dizzy. His vision began to blur, while his heart continued to thud in his chest. “that heart of yours” he’d recalled his wife saying. Richie’s father had died of a heart attack at the young age of fifty-three. He suddenly wondered if he weren’t destined to a similar fate. He took a shallow breather, but very little air entered his lungs, it was as though an invisible force was stopping him from breathing. Richie baby, said the familiar voice of his wife, you’re dying my love. You’re dying because your heart just can’t handle it. Do you understand? You thought that you were strong. But you’re just as weak as those poor women you killed. You’re just as weak as your children glaring in horror as their murderer of a father turned on them with the same kitchen knife he’d used to stab that old gypsy man. You convinced yourself that you were God for a while there, didn’t you? But you’re not all that high and mighty Richie baby. You’re actually pretty pathetic, wouldn’t you say? Richie could feel his heartbeat in the walls as he pressed on them for support. The room was closing in on him. Outside, it was cold, and some of that cold transpired into the room. But Richie did not feel any cold at all. In fact, he felt warm. Almost as though he was in the midst of a fire. The room was his coffin, and it was burning to a crisp. He couldn’t see it. But he could feel it. Oh, how he could feel it. Something had set him ablaze and he was being burned to death. He wondered whether his heart would give in first, before the invisible flames could finally consume him. But it did not seem likely. He fell backwards, and hit the back of his skull on the floor. The shards of glass felt sharp and wet with blood as they rubbed against the back of his head. His entire body was jittering. But he couldn’t move. All Richie could do was watch as the ceiling came down on him. And all the fires from hell ate away at his sins, which were so numerous that his soul had become beyond salvation.

“I love you, Richie baby” she whispered into his right ear, as she leaned over his unflinching body. “We missed you, you know? Me and the kids. We’ve been waiting for you. After all, don’t you think that it’s about time that we had a little talk about what happened? Don’t worry though, we won’t tell anybody. It’ll stay in the family. Our dirty little secret, right Rich? Just like the dirty little secret between you and good ole Rich Sr. back when he was paddling your behind in the basement cellar. He says hi too by the way, hun. Your dad’s down here with us on our little vacation. And we can’t wait for you to join us. It’s real, real warm.”

“Detective, this body is charred”, said the coroner. Larry approached him and he leaned over the body of the man who’d been reported screaming last night at 4 Am by other residents staying at the Pinewood Motel. Larry glanced at the man’s I.D., which he’d found on the bed, beside a notepad with scribbled images of skulls and a pen which carried the name of the Motel. “Richie Elvid” said the detective. “He lives – lived – in Ogunquit. It’s not far from here. How do you suppose he suffered such first degree burns while no fire was reported and there is no evidence of there having been one in this room?” The coroner glared at the detective with professional reproach. As if his fifteen years of experience in his field had meant no more than a fart in the wind. But he quickly changed his attitude. He supposed that the detective had meant nothing personal. After all, the circumstances of this particular case – albeit against his cynical nature to say so – delved into the “supernatural”. “I’m afraid that I couldn’t tell you how this man suffered such intense burns under present circumstances” he replied to the detective’s question. “The room was locked from the inside too, so I think it’s sure enough that whatever happened to him happened in this very room” the detective added. “Anyways, I’m going to go get some coffee while the rest of my boys look around for, what I hope to be, some answers. Would you like something…” “Bellville” “Sorry, ahum, Bellville?” “That’s alright, detective. Thanks for asking.” The detective walked towards the door. He opened it and was about to leave when the coroner called his name. He turned around. “Yes?” “Did you say that his last name was Elvid?” “Yes” said the detective, double-checking the corpse’s identification. “Why do you ask?” The coroner looked down as if in contemplation. And then he said, “Oh, I just wonder if he had any relation to Elvid’s Lobster Barn? You know, those seafood restaurants around…” “I know them quite well, actually”, said the detective. “I took my wife out to dinner at one of those restaurants last month. Their lobster is really something to crave.” They both agreed on this. “But um, I’ll check into that actually.” The coroner nodded, smiling. “By the way”, he made the detective turn around a second time. “Yes?” The coroner went into deep contemplation again. “My nephew said something funny the other week when I went out for lunch with my brother and his wife, who adores the child and never leaves him with a nanny. Anyways, it’s something that I find somewhat ironic, if that’s the right word, now…you know, in these circumstances and all…” “Well, get to it. I’ve been up since six this morning, so I should really be heading to get that coffee…” “Of course, detective. Well, you might find this ridiculous, but I suppose with the way children’s imaginations work these days and all…” The detective glanced at the time on his digital wristwatch. “My nephew, who’s thirteen and very bright for his age I might add, noted that Elvid is – whatchamacallit – an anagram, if I’m not mistaken with my choice of words, for, um, Devil.” The detective had a good chuckle at this. “That nephew of yours sounds like a bright lad” he told the coroner. And then he bid him farewell for the time being and finally left. It was a chilly day in October and the sun was hidden behind grey clouds that cast a long, dark shadow across the sky. It might rain later this evening, Larry thought.
_________________
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Nochielo
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1719
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:10 pm 
 

Necroticism174 wrote:
This is a short story I recently completed:

Spoiler: show
MALADIE

It was a chilly October night.
Richie had paid the clerk at the motel’s check-in enough for a week-long stay at the Pinewood Motel somewhere east of Ogunquit, Maine, where he was born and had lived his entire life. All forty-five years of it. Richie had left his wife and two sons, one of thirteen and another who’s ten year anniversary was rapidly approaching, back at their small home by the water. Richie had inherited the home from his deceased mother and father, who had been the abundantly wealthy owner of a tourist-friendly chain of restaurants across the major Maine area. Their motto had been “Get your fresh lobster at Elvid’s Lobster Barn, where it’s cooked at its finest!” Richie patted at the sweat on his forehead with a handkerchief. And then he washed it in the sink. The reflection in the mirror belonged to a stranger, as far as he could tell. But this did not alarm Richie. His eyes were lost amidst black circles that seemed to drag along the sides of his cheeks. The lines along his mouth were deep, and made him appear a good ten years older than he really was. But it was all a small price to pay for what he’d ran away to avoid. He looked away from his reflection and tried to picture his family safe and sound, in the enclosure of their beautiful home. Richie had come to terms with the knowledge that he could never see his family again. How long? He wondered. How long before the fever sets in?

Both of the locks on the front door were bolted and secured. He couldn’t risk exposure. And there was a very real possibility that Anna, his wife, had already reported him missing to the authorities. And that the authorities would track the license plate of his Ford Mustang GT to the parking lot of the Pinewood Motel. Or maybe his face was already plastered on the front windows of gas stations all across the greater Maine area. He had enough supplies to last him awhile. At least until he could figure out his next move. The sickness would take him soon. He was sure of it. But what if it doesn’t? What if you’re not even sick? Richie franticly looked around to see where the voice had come from. But there was no one else in the room. He felt his forehead for an overabundance of warmth. But there was none. He was still upon the brink of the worst yet to come. “If the sickness doesn’t take me”, he said, “then I’ll have to finish the job myself, because I know that I’m sick.” Do you? The non-visible stranger’s raspy voice asked. “Of course I do. Why else would I have coughed up the blood?” The voice did not answer. Richie exited the bathroom and sat at the edge of the bed. The sheets were damp with sweat. He began to cough, and was left with a stinging sensation all along his throat when it was over. “Do you see? I’m sick. I’m coughing blood for Christ’s sake!” He looked down at his palms, which were indeed red with his own bloody mucus. There was a moment of panic, which quickly subsided. And suddenly, the air was dense with anticipation. How long would it be now? So you’re just going to do yourself in? Life insurance doesn’t pay for suicides, Richie boy.

Richie felt more restless than ever. How long had it been since the last time that he’d slept? He lay on the dirty mattress of the motel room, pondering his imminent doom as the ceiling fan slowly began to malfunction. And then stopped entirely. Richie felt the room suddenly become overwhelmingly hot. He rubbed his eyes with the sweaty palms of his hands, and then shut them completely for a moment. He wondered if his family would survive through the ordeal he’d dealt them by leaving without a muttered goodbye or a reason why. After all, his children were still children and all children needed their father. He remembered an article he’d read in a magazine somewhere (at the dentist’s office perhaps) that explained the link between fatherless youth and juvenile delinquents. “Did you know,” the article had said, “that forty percent of juvenile delinquents are youth without biological fathers or fathers with their own criminal records?” It went on to state such matter-of-factly things as, “Studies have shown that the father is the ultimate authority figure for youths, and an increasing number of these unfortunate kids are being raised without strict authority or guidance by their fathers.” It was an interview with a Dr. as far as Richie could recall. He could not, for the sake of him, remember the man’s last name. But the interview had intrigued him at the time. And now he thought, “What will my kids think when their father shows up at the coroners a week after deserting them?” They’ll think that their father never loved them, Rich. Maybe they’ll even blame themselves. Recent studies have shown that ninety-nine percent of criminals were once children who believed that their father’s hated them. Richie abruptly leaped onto his feet and threw a pillow at the small window of his motel room. The pillow exploded into an aerial swarm of feathers. “SHUT UP!” Richie yelled at the top of his lungs, launching long strings of saliva with each contraction of his esophagus.

Listen to yourself, Richie baby, you’re a raving lunatic. There is no sickness. You’ve been played for a fool, and you still don’t know it. Richie stumbled across the room. He was running out of breath. It had been an hour or two now since the ceiling fan had broken down. And now the room strangely felt very much like a sauna. Richie felt short of air, claustrophobic, and as though he was nearing his end. After all, perhaps it wasn’t simply the heat of the room. What if it was the fever finally kicking in? The way the gypsy had told him it would happen, was that the fever would commence last. And then he would only grow worse, until his body couldn’t bear it anymore. He would finally succumb, and there would be peace. “Peace” Richie loved the sound of the word. It was a word that put him at ease. He repeated it over and over again in his head.

Richie’s late father’s business was on a heavy decline since the recession. He’d had to close down half of the restaurants in the past five years. It was tricky to own a restaurant business in Maine. Especially because his annual budget relied mostly upon what the restaurants made during the summer season. It was when the tourists would come to Maine. In the fall, they would stop visiting. And even the residents would leave to their second homes, if they had second homes. Few people remained by the end of the fall season. And even fewer spent their hard-earned summer wages from the tourists on local restaurants. Ogunquit, in particular, would turn into a ghost town. Sometimes, Richie would leave with his family as well, to their condo in New York. But they would also often stay in Ogunquit. The children were homeschooled by their nanny, a middle-aged long-time resident of Richie’s hometown who’d had to find work after her husband’s terrible fate with cancer a few years ago. The nanny had lived with them for a while now, and was considered a part of the family. Richie wondered if she was worried about him as well. Of course, baby, they’re all worried about you. You just up and left. What are they supposed to think? That you’re okay? And for what…the word of some dirty old gypsy? Face it, Richie, the sickness is in your head. Richie felt the warmth in the pit of his stomach rise all the way up to his chest, and then his throat. It was rage. He struck the thin wall facing him with both fists at once. His knuckles stung and became red and bruised. He flailed them aimlessly in the air. “Then explain the spots on my chest!” he yelled at the dull motif of the ceiling. He was stripped of his shirt. The spots on his chest were ovals the size of larva, and the color of blood. There were at least a dozen. He felt their inflamed outlines with the tips of his fingers. They’d gotten worst, and each touch stung him like a needle digging into his flesh.

The room grew hotter and more unbearable with each passing hour. Richie was now completely stripped down to his bare skin. He shut the curtains on the windows to block out the emanating light of the rising sun. He’d spent the last few minutes franticly scratching at the skin of his scalp. His naked shoulders were covered in pallid flakes and fibers of his own light brown hair. Beside him was a small bedside cabinet. He drew open the top drawer. Inside of the drawer were the typical things that you might find in any motel’s bedside cabinet. A bible, a notepad and a pen with “Welcome to the Pinewood Motel” and “Enjoy your stay” written in a dark red, one below the other, on its yellow shaft. He flipped through the bible, and put it back into the cabinet. But an idea suddenly dawned upon him. When he’d left his wife and children under the pretense of going to the grocery store, Richie had been in a desperate rush to get away from them before the Gypsy’s gruesome prophecy could come to life. He’d thought about calling his wife on many occasions since his arrival at the Pinewood Motel. But he was afraid that she might think he was insane. And what if she decided that she would come to get him? Or worst yet, what if she brought the children to try and convince him to come back? Richie believed that he knew Anna as well as he knew himself. And she would certainly not be one to believe in superstitious babble. Especially not the superstitious babble of some street-roaming gypsy from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. There was no way. She wouldn’t believe him. Nor would she understand that he was doing the right thing, by not endangering them. He could almost imagine the words coming out of his wife’s mouth over the phone. “You’re being ridiculous, Rich.” she would say. “You were fine just two days ago, last I saw you. This curse is just some made up crap that’s finally forced you to confront all of that stress that I’ve noticed building up in that head of yours from this recession business. Come home, Rich. Or better yet, I’ll come get you. And I’ll bring the kids so they can see that their father’s alright.” Richie rolled on the floor laughing like some madman from a horror film, where the protagonist is a detective hot on the trail of a raving serial killer who likes to feast on women’s thigh-meat. He laughed even harder at the thought of this. There was a tragic desperation in his laugh that he could hear echo from all around him. And then his laughter died out, letting way to a raspy chuckle. He got onto his knees and glared at the notepad and pen on the bed as though he was defying these mundane items into a deadly battle of the wits.

It was a quarter to noon, according to his deceased father’s old Swiss wristwatch. He lifted one of the curtains and peeked outside. The parking lot was deserted, except for a few cars, including his own. He wondered if anyone would try to break into his Mustang. After all, its GPS navigator alone was worth far more than the monthly salary of any one of the other residents he’d seen by the front desk during his check-in. Most of the other rides in the parking lot were pickup trucks and weathered old things that looked like they might fall apart on the road if anyone was ever crazy enough to drive them. Richie scratched at the bloody bruises on his scalp, which he’d inflicted without being aware. He could feel his lungs begin to contract. The cool rain before the storm, he thought. And just as he’d predicted, the coughing followed shortly. It lasted for a while. Long enough to leave his throat scathed and irritated. “Fuck” he muttered, noticing all the while that his voice sounded raspier than ever. This sickness would drive him mad before it drove him to his early demise, as far as Richie was concerned. He rested his naked body on the bed. Looking over his stomach, he saw his lean abdominal muscles bunched up in what the fitness enthusiasts called a perfect six-pack. After all the many nights he’d spent at the gym, trying to look a good ten years younger than his age (something his wife had managed with minimal effort), his hard work and devotion to a healthy lifestyle wasn’t going to amount to much more than a good looking corpse for his friends and family to peer at during his burial. Richie missed his wife and children. But it was for the best. Ultimately, they would outlive him.

Richie, suffocating from the heat, pulled the curtains aside and opened the window. A soft breeze entered the room, and his naked flesh suddenly broke into goose bumps. It was the evening and the parking lot was covered in a thick mist. He peeked for police officers. Or Anna and the children. But neither were anywhere to be seen. He pulled his head back inside and started to put his clothes back on – What now, Richie baby? – as the moonlight peeked through the mist and peered into the small room of the Pinewood Motel, on the outskirts of Ogunquit. He sat by the edge of the bed, feeling the blood in his hair from when he’d clawed at the skin of his scalp. There was a darkness within him that he was sure had not been there before he’d checked into the damn motel. Before that damn gypsy put his curse on me, Richie thought. He picked up the notepad and pen from beside him and contemplated leaving a suicide note. Are you planning on killing yourself? There’s no –
“Yes, yes, I know. There’s no life insurance for suicides.”
The voice did not reply. If it had ever been there at all, it had just as inexplicably subsided. Richie let the notepad and pen fall to the floor. He considered the idea that he might be going mad from the fever. What fever?
“Shut up, will you?”
Face it, Richie baby, you left your old dame at home with the kids because you’re a coward. There is no curse. No sickness. It’s all in your he-
“SHUT UP!”
Richie picked up the lamp from his bedside drawer, tearing its cable out of the electric plug on the wall, and launched it across the room. It s brass pole dented the wall, while the shade slipped right off and the light bulb itself shattered into countless tiny pieces of sharp glass, which became impossible to see amidst the cheap carpeting in the now darkened space. He felt a creeping chill navigate along the length of his spine, until he became seized by an uncontrollable headache that could only be compared to the kind of headache you would get from eating ice cream with an unrepentant haste. One of his children (the youngest, Brock) had once ever-so charmingly called this particular kind of headache a “brain-freeze”. His body began to shiver on its own, out of his control. Richie felt unfocused and dreary. His mind drifted in and out of reality. And a bright light shone through the window across the room. It was a dirty trick, as far as Richie could tell. By that damned gypsy nonetheless. But it was a damn good trick at that. He fell immobile to the floor, jittering like an epileptic man falling victim to his first seizure. Until finally, Richie succumbed to the vast and haunting silence that had turned his motel room into a morbid enclosure, sealing his tragic fate. Like a coffin, he thought. He accepted this bitter end as his final release. The very last cross that he’d have to bare for what he’d done to the man’s daughter. But he didn’t die. Did you really think that it was going to be that easy, baby? There is no gypsy’s curse. Only your own. And that’s the worst curse that a man could ever have wished upon himself, because there is no way to defend yourself from, well, yourself. The voice broke into a desperate laughter that Richie quickly recognized as his own. He could feel his arms and legs again. But to what avail? It wouldn’t be long before the gypsy’s next magical act. Perhaps even his final act. But a second voice than the one that’d been taunting him told him otherwise. Maybe it was some malicious part of him that believed that he deserved to suffer. Or maybe it was just his instinct. Richie thought that the latter seemed the more likely. After all, why would he choose to inflict these tortures upon himself? Sure, his crimes had been horrid in nature. But there had been no part of him that had objected when he’d chosen to act them out. So why would such an inner-voice appear now? The voices were always there, Richie baby. Only you chose to listen to the wrong ones and now you’re paying the ultimate price. By the way, you should really call your dear wife. She must be worried sick in that big ole house uphill, by the water. Say, wouldn’t it be a riot if she ever fell off that hill? Especially if someone helped her down and –
“ENOUGH!”
Oh boy, you don’t know the meaning of enough. But I’m sure that poor girl whose child - your own offspring - you tore out of her stomach knew the meaning of enough. I’m just as sure that her dear old man knew the meaning of enough after you stabbed him sixteen times and looked into his eyes while he cursed your soul. I’m sure of all of this just as much as I’m sure that your wife and children are dissolving at the bottom of the water by your late father’s beloved sanctum. How long do you think until the fish finish them off, little by little? Heck, I’ll bet you could even picture their rapidly decomposing bodies covered in seaweed and their faces cleanly eaten off if you put that crazy ole imagination of yours to work. How about it, Richie baby? Do you like what you see in –whatchamacallit- your mind’s eye? Hahaha!
“Arrgh” Richie managed to mutter, as the ceiling of the room began to slowly dissolve into pallid ooze, which dragged along the side of the old and weathered walls. The light from the window was gone, and the room was dark. His eyes were closed. “I love you, Richie” he mumbled. “I love you, please, don’t do this” He was the one speaking. But Richie couldn’t recognize his own voice in what he was saying. “I’m sorry baby” he whispered, tearful and full of regret for the first time in a long time. “Richie, please” No way José baby, can’t do you any favors. It’s a matter of what’s to come. “I’m sorry” Her eyes were full of blood. Their children lay by the side of the cliff in their underwear, with their intestines spilling out of their torn backs. He hit her across her face with a bloody rock he held in his hands. She fell over and sobbed harder than ever. “Please! Please!” He approached her with a blank stare in his eyes. The same blank stare he’d given the gypsy girl before he’d raped her. The same one he’d given her father when he’d found out where he lived and confronted him, while his wife and children were home. Oh, the looks on their faces when they learned just exactly how terrible a monster their own father was. It was the kind of look that a man should never have to bare from the people he loves most in the world. Let alone his own flesh and blood. The kind of look that could drive a father mad. He bashed her brains in all over the rocky path behind their home, ending a long marriage which had prospered into two beautiful children and many happy days as a family. Happy days, Richie thought, sending his wife and children off the edge of the cliff with bloody rocks tied their ankles. It was a reliable brand of rope that he’s purchased. The kind that would hold real well. He let out a forced chuckle at this thought. As for the gypsy. Well, some things were just impossible to plan ahead for. He hadn’t thought that a man who whored out his own daughter (flesh and blood) would come knocking for answers when she didn’t show up after a good fucking. “A good fucking – and a good beating” Richie added to his inner-thought. You raped and tortured her for days, Richie baby. You carelessly led a curse into your own home. A pox on both houses, right Richie? We’re sinners, aren’t we? Only, you murdered fifteen prostitutes in a span of five years and it finally caught up to you. So here you are. What happens next is up to you.
“What do you mean, it’s up to me? I didn’t put this curse on myself!”
Richie dragged the old gypsy on the marble floors of his living room, into his backyard, which looked over the water. The water was beautiful that day. He remembered how lovely the sun’s reflection looked over the dark and sparkling waves. The gypsy was heavy. But Richie was the kind of man who spent many long hours at the gym. Ever since he’d hit the humble age of forty, he’d strived very hard to stay young and in top form. “Have to be careful about that heart of yours, Richie baby.” His wife would often tell him. “You’re that age now.” And Richie had always listened to his wife when it came to such matters. She always read those damned health magazines. They littered the kitchen table every morning. And sometimes even the living room couch. He’d see them often. And he would even flip through them himself every now and then. But Richie wasn’t really the reading type. He was the observant type. Sure. But he’d never bothered to pick up one of those old and battered public library copies of Agatha Christie novels she would read in bed. And just as surely, he had never really bothered to actually peruse through one of those magazines with the intention of learning something that he did not know. It now occurred to him, in his time of crisis, that perhaps one of those damned health magazines had had something about chronic anxiety disorder. Such as how to treat it when it got bad. So bad that you shook and couldn’t stop shaking. Bad enough that your mind became a frenzy of incoherent thoughts. Richie hadn’t felt affected by any anxiety-related problems in years. But they were all slowly coming back. The heart palpitations, muscle weakness, nausea, stomach pains – the headaches – and fatigue. His heart thumped in his chest with a monstrous vivacity that made him feel like the Frankenstein monster being galvanized back to life by its creator. He was being electrocuted. But there was no electricity. He barely felt the shards of broken glass from the light bulb that had shattered pierce through the flesh at the bottom of his feet. There was a maddening spiral of emotions going through him that made him feel dizzy. His vision began to blur, while his heart continued to thud in his chest. “that heart of yours” he’d recalled his wife saying. Richie’s father had died of a heart attack at the young age of fifty-three. He suddenly wondered if he weren’t destined to a similar fate. He took a shallow breather, but very little air entered his lungs, it was as though an invisible force was stopping him from breathing. Richie baby, said the familiar voice of his wife, you’re dying my love. You’re dying because your heart just can’t handle it. Do you understand? You thought that you were strong. But you’re just as weak as those poor women you killed. You’re just as weak as your children glaring in horror as their murderer of a father turned on them with the same kitchen knife he’d used to stab that old gypsy man. You convinced yourself that you were God for a while there, didn’t you? But you’re not all that high and mighty Richie baby. You’re actually pretty pathetic, wouldn’t you say? Richie could feel his heartbeat in the walls as he pressed on them for support. The room was closing in on him. Outside, it was cold, and some of that cold transpired into the room. But Richie did not feel any cold at all. In fact, he felt warm. Almost as though he was in the midst of a fire. The room was his coffin, and it was burning to a crisp. He couldn’t see it. But he could feel it. Oh, how he could feel it. Something had set him ablaze and he was being burned to death. He wondered whether his heart would give in first, before the invisible flames could finally consume him. But it did not seem likely. He fell backwards, and hit the back of his skull on the floor. The shards of glass felt sharp and wet with blood as they rubbed against the back of his head. His entire body was jittering. But he couldn’t move. All Richie could do was watch as the ceiling came down on him. And all the fires from hell ate away at his sins, which were so numerous that his soul had become beyond salvation.

“I love you, Richie baby” she whispered into his right ear, as she leaned over his unflinching body. “We missed you, you know? Me and the kids. We’ve been waiting for you. After all, don’t you think that it’s about time that we had a little talk about what happened? Don’t worry though, we won’t tell anybody. It’ll stay in the family. Our dirty little secret, right Rich? Just like the dirty little secret between you and good ole Rich Sr. back when he was paddling your behind in the basement cellar. He says hi too by the way, hun. Your dad’s down here with us on our little vacation. And we can’t wait for you to join us. It’s real, real warm.”

“Detective, this body is charred”, said the coroner. Larry approached him and he leaned over the body of the man who’d been reported screaming last night at 4 Am by other residents staying at the Pinewood Motel. Larry glanced at the man’s I.D., which he’d found on the bed, beside a notepad with scribbled images of skulls and a pen which carried the name of the Motel. “Richie Elvid” said the detective. “He lives – lived – in Ogunquit. It’s not far from here. How do you suppose he suffered such first degree burns while no fire was reported and there is no evidence of there having been one in this room?” The coroner glared at the detective with professional reproach. As if his fifteen years of experience in his field had meant no more than a fart in the wind. But he quickly changed his attitude. He supposed that the detective had meant nothing personal. After all, the circumstances of this particular case – albeit against his cynical nature to say so – delved into the “supernatural”. “I’m afraid that I couldn’t tell you how this man suffered such intense burns under present circumstances” he replied to the detective’s question. “The room was locked from the inside too, so I think it’s sure enough that whatever happened to him happened in this very room” the detective added. “Anyways, I’m going to go get some coffee while the rest of my boys look around for, what I hope to be, some answers. Would you like something…” “Bellville” “Sorry, ahum, Bellville?” “That’s alright, detective. Thanks for asking.” The detective walked towards the door. He opened it and was about to leave when the coroner called his name. He turned around. “Yes?” “Did you say that his last name was Elvid?” “Yes” said the detective, double-checking the corpse’s identification. “Why do you ask?” The coroner looked down as if in contemplation. And then he said, “Oh, I just wonder if he had any relation to Elvid’s Lobster Barn? You know, those seafood restaurants around…” “I know them quite well, actually”, said the detective. “I took my wife out to dinner at one of those restaurants last month. Their lobster is really something to crave.” They both agreed on this. “But um, I’ll check into that actually.” The coroner nodded, smiling. “By the way”, he made the detective turn around a second time. “Yes?” The coroner went into deep contemplation again. “My nephew said something funny the other week when I went out for lunch with my brother and his wife, who adores the child and never leaves him with a nanny. Anyways, it’s something that I find somewhat ironic, if that’s the right word, now…you know, in these circumstances and all…” “Well, get to it. I’ve been up since six this morning, so I should really be heading to get that coffee…” “Of course, detective. Well, you might find this ridiculous, but I suppose with the way children’s imaginations work these days and all…” The detective glanced at the time on his digital wristwatch. “My nephew, who’s thirteen and very bright for his age I might add, noted that Elvid is – whatchamacallit – an anagram, if I’m not mistaken with my choice of words, for, um, Devil.” The detective had a good chuckle at this. “That nephew of yours sounds like a bright lad” he told the coroner. And then he bid him farewell for the time being and finally left. It was a chilly day in October and the sun was hidden behind grey clouds that cast a long, dark shadow across the sky. It might rain later this evening, Larry thought.


I'll say that though flawed, it is an interesting read, Necroticism174. To elaborate further, the beginning paragraph seems clumsy to me, and uninteresting to me; it was very difficult read through it, because it doesn't seem "natural" but rather like you're just mentioning all these facts about people. Considering how griping the story becomes I'd say you can do a whole lot better in the introduction. Also the "voice" Richie talks to has lines which also need to be placed within quotations as do any other character's lines.

Secondly, some of the "poetic imagery" (I'm not sure is this is the correct term in English) is very jarring and this hurts the mood of the story. For example the "brain-freeze headache" and "the fart in the wind" are draw you out of the setting as a reader.

Finally, the "first degree burns" at the end (wouldn't want to spoil anything) are (to the best of my knowledge) not the actual burns the coroner describes. Simply said, "charred" implies that the flesh was carbonized or very close to carbonized whereas a first degree burn is the lightest degree of a burn that requires medical treatment. The worst possible burn (with the exception of "charring") is a third degree burn which means that the first dermis and epidermis are gone leaving the third layer of skin exposed (and I don't know the English name of that one, my guess is "adipose tissue"). Again, I might be wrong about that one, it's been a while since I read anything about burns.

All in all, this is a solid piece, thanks for sharing!

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Necroticism174
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:03 am 
 

Thanks for taking the time to read it. Many of those things should be gone after a wave of editing as this is very much a first draft. Not sure how that burn thing got passed me, it was a late night. As for the poetic language, I think I'll keep it in :-D
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waiguoren
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:38 am 
 

TheUglySoldier, that was nicely written. The first paragraph was a bit clunky (as in, it made me think of keyboards too much), and the story itself reeked of 60's/70's sci-fi/early cyberpunk, but you definitely have a good enough style that is pleasing to the eyes, and I think there is a fair amount of potential there. People always have this 'great idea!' for a story, but it's the writing style that is first and foremost, then the 'great idea'.

Necro, not a good idea to set something in Maine. I just glanced briefly through yours though, but from what I saw it reminds me more of comic book writing than anything else at this point. Take that as you will.

Anyway, with short stories, I always think a good idea is to always go through each paragraph, sentence by sentence, and anything that sounds a little off, see how you can change it. You could do it with almost every sentence actually. And a great short story is one where every sentence adds to the story, that is, leads to its conclusion.
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Necroticism174
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:02 pm 
 

Why is it not a good idea? It was an homage to Stephen King shorts. Why did it remind you of comic book writing? It's a good idea to do more than glance at something before handing out criticism, good or bad.
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Det_Morkettall
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:17 pm 
 

I just finished what is possibly my greatest work yet, but unfortunately it's on my other computer, which is out of commission right now as the charger is done for. Shit. Great stuff everyone though!!
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waiguoren
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:31 pm 
 

Necroticism174 wrote:
It's a good idea to do more than glance at something before handing out criticism, good or bad.


You are correct. So instead of just looking at that woman with big boobs, I should tittyfuck her first before I pass judgement on them.
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waiguoren
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:35 pm 
 

Det_Morkettall wrote:
I just finished what is possibly my greatest work yet, but unfortunately it's on my other computer, which is out of commission right now as the charger is done for. Shit. Great stuff everyone though!!


The proof is in the pudding. Unfortunately for you, you never had no pudding to begin with. Your bowl has always been empty, my friend. You have a lactose-deprived paper hat on your head, and as brown and stained as it is on the bottom, that's no pudding.
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Necroticism174
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:40 pm 
 

You're trying way too hard.
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waiguoren
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:48 pm 
 

Says the man that uses top ten lists to watch movies.
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Necroticism174
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:51 pm 
 

I feel that sense may be topsy turvy in South Africa.
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Nochielo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:08 pm 
 

TheUglySoldier wrote:
Recently I completed my degree, in which, I don't mind saying, the final assignment for my capstone was...well, not that enjoyable. It is a sci-fi piece that has way more exposition in it than I would have liked, and I lost interest in it as it went. However! It was put up online, and I would love feedback on it.

http://thequarryjournal.com/?p=461

I totally missed this. Wow. This pretty much neuters my confidence in my prose. The only problem I see with this is that it is too short, climaxes too abruptly and that this climax is far too short. You definitely spent a lot of time creating this mythos, this definitely could've been much longer and it's clear you have the talent for it, so I hope that you give this a concept the treatment it deserves. In any case, you got any more of these?

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ThomasBear
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:44 pm 
 

Hey all,

Firstly, great thread. Awesome to see so many creative minds on here. And as PhilosophicalFrog said, there's a common bond here when it comes to the darker side of art and life.

Now for my shameless plug...

I've been agonizing over a novel for a few years and have most of the story, plot, characters and all that in a spreadsheet. It's a satirical far future hard-sci-fi story.

I did a writing degree and I was a magazine journo for a few years. My worst demon is not writer's bloc (I know pretty much where the story's going), but agonizing over every grammatical detail of the story. I deal with non-fiction, reviews, advertorials and news all the time, so I find myself eternally going back and sub-editing every passage instead of progressing through the story.

So I started blogging about the music I love instead lol.
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Nochielo
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:05 am 
 

I'd really like this thread to survive, so here here goes. This is a what I have of an (as of now) untitled poem. Originally, I thought I had this great idea for a poem, but as I wrote it I realized how similar the concept is to Lovecraft's "The Outsider". I decided not to scrap it because the way I'm developing the concept and the tone are very different. Feedback is appreciated:

Spoiler: show
Bygone days humbly evoked
Of forests green and oceans blue
As bedtime tales often begin
But "evermore" had much to do
The tale below with tears was soaked
For fate cared not for those herein

He once awoke and went about
To tend the place where he was born
To him this was his only home
He had not seen who'd left him lorn
While he was not of sight without
He had not seen how light did roam

He did not know of day and night
It sauntered past and unbeknown
So naught the stars would ever shine
Or tired sun had ever shone
And thus unseen were these delights
No crushing grief or thought benign


What do you guys think?

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ThomasBear
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 6:01 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:23 pm 
 

Nice work. The pace of the first third is maybe a couple of syllables out of sync but I kind of like where it's going.

I feel dark or darkly humorous twist to the end would be more compelling. We've all done the angst thing so how about something other than "crushing grief"? Keep it up, this is going somewhere.
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Big_Grand
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:59 pm
Posts: 432
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:30 pm 
 

I have a few poems I'm working on, here are two of them plus one from a creative writing class I took last semester.

Spoiler: show
You look all around
and see all that could ever astound.

lovers and kings
as everything should be.

but as you turn to your mirror you wimper and ache
starring into your relfection.
You see an image that brings you pain,
an image of rejection.

feelings of uncertainty,
a person lacking of normalcy.

living in a puzzle made by those apparently of higher wit,
to be the piece that never fit,
the witch, the demon, the crooked stick.

Told to love
but taught to hate,

lost in confusion,
trapped in this delusion.

Looking all around
only to feel buried in the ground.


Spoiler: show
I look at the lovers,
and I look at the kings;
Then I look inside of me
and ask myself if this is truly who I should be.

But what should I see,
in a world of sheep?

Surely not the blood that it bleeds,
nor the Devil who sings.

Only a shill that is seen
and placed by the most Gingerly of thieves.


(reading through these both again I realize that they are very similar in nature to each other.)

Spoiler: show
LESLIE

There she was,
On her stand by the wall just as I left her.
I picked her up and twiddle her tuners;
As I began to hear all the right notes fall into place
I turned her volume knob up to 10
And let the sporadic feedback I love ring from the amp in front of me.
I grabbed my pick
And I threw my arm at her
And whaled on her strings Unleashing slow sludgy riffs in unusual time signatures.
I began to hear drums and bass
And ritualistic chanting in my head;
I was now consumed by the distortion that surrounds me.
Lost in that trance
I began to see visions of battles
Between mammoths and Vikings
Fighting between rifts in time
And space.
I was in the middle of it all
And yet I was watching from afar narrating it with my riffs.
As these visions became more distant
And I fell from this trance
I heard the feedback of my guitar soften
And the ringing began to quiet down.
I turned her volume knobs down
And I set Leslie down.


I am open to all critique or anything that will make me better at writing.

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Nochielo
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:20 am
Posts: 1719
Location: Puerto Rico
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:48 am 
 

ThomasBear wrote:
Nice work. The pace of the first third is maybe a couple of syllables out of sync but I kind of like where it's going.

I feel dark or darkly humorous twist to the end would be more compelling. We've all done the angst thing so how about something other than "crushing grief"? Keep it up, this is going somewhere.

Oh man, thanks for the critique. To address your points, because I use the Spanish meter instead of English meter (even when I write in English) sometimes it sounds "off" to English speakers, and it is a concern for me, I'd like to write things that people enjoy. However I think of my writings as free verse under the pretense of structure and I feel this way of writing helps the what I wish to convey. This is why I don't like to call my verse "poetry", because I would not want to besmirch the word. It is a valid point, I will take this at heart.

Secondly, the ending will surely be sad, that is part of the non-negotiable parts of the original idea. These verses are an allegory about a very, very personal situation that I'm currently "exorcising", if you will. I just don't see how such an ending would fit here, considering that, at its very core, this is not fiction.

Which brings me to your third point. You are very right in pointing out that "crushing grief" sounds cliched and boring. I wasn't sure it was the best choice of words, but now that it has been pointed out to me (by a reader) that it doesn't work, I will work on a substitute. I will say, with all respect, that you are wrong in assuming the words represent angst. The verse is "No crushing grief or thought benign". I meant to say that the character felt nothing. No joy or sorrow. He just engaged his menial tasks everyday, and thought about nothing. So while the wording wasn't stellar I still stand by the meaning and purpose of the verse.

Thank you so much for reading! I am very grateful.

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Necroticism174
Kite String Popper

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:46 pm
Posts: 4998
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:02 am 
 

Nochielo, I like it. You favour a very ornate style, unusual for a non-native speaker. I can read emotional coldness but also incredible longing. This is a fraction of a longer piece, yes? If not, I'd say it feels somewhat incomplete.
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