Sunday, September 26, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Guardians of the Forest
By: Abigail-Madison Chase
She was beautiful. Her flowing locks and beautiful smile called to him. She came to Potters Mountains every summer to hike. This was her sixth summer in the mountains every year he promised himself he would claim her.
Watching her put up her tent he realized he was paralyzed with fear of rejection. The woman was his mate but first she had to accept him in his natural form. He was the boogie man of legends. Would she? Could she love one such as him?
He smiled as she cussed the tent. The woman had two left hands when it came to the outdoors she loved so much. Every year he made sure her camp fire never went out, her tent stayed up and she had plenty of fresh fish to eat.
Looking down at his body he willed his human form to come forth as it did he grabbed the clothes he keep hidden around the forest. Dressed in ranger greens he walked toward his mate.
“Howdy” turning his way she smiled with recognition. He was a park ranger. The forest was his home.
“Howdy, Ranger Ryan Parks. I am so glad to see you. This tent is behaving like a girl gone wild it can’t seem to keep its top on.
Flashing her brilliant smile I stepped closer inhaling her delicious scent. Standing in the sunshine she looked like sweet dark chocolate. Smiling back I knew it was now or never. This summer I would claim my mate.
“It’s the same thing every year April Summerfield.” I chuckled putting up the tent while she banged the pots and pans around trying to find her matches to start a fire. The woman needed a keeper.
Stomping off to the river April carried the pots and pans for fresh water. Looking back she watched as Ryan put up the tent and started the fire.
Instead of a ranger he should be called he-man. Every year she came to Potters Mountain he was there to help. The first year was to dump her grandmother ashes every year after that was to see him to be near him to be close to him.
Ryan smelled of man her man. He filled her nights with dreams of love and her days with longing.
Ryan was beautiful. His honey colored eyes captured her each time he looked at her. Two braids held his shoulder length hair in place. Over six feet tall Ryan was athletic and fit.
That women needs a keeper
The thought hit her. It was Ryan’s voice in her head. Turning quickly she slipped off the rock and began falling face first toward the jagged edged rocks in the river. April tried fighting to catching her balance closing her eyes he began the slow decent into the swiftly moving river.
Her mental scream stopped him in his tracks.
Help! I am going to die
Calling on the Great Spirit Ryan stretched his arms out sending shock waves of energy t0 catch her before she hit the rocks. This was not the way he envisioned his mate finding out what he was. He would have to change mid stride to save her. His energy would not hold long enough for him to rescue her and change back to human form.
Un,hum,da Fedo, uttering the words he changed into the largest beast known to roam the North American landscape he was Big Foot.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
FINALLY FREE by Alba Arango
They said Los Angeles was the place I would blend in, that no-one would notice I was different. They lied.
I stepped out of the cab to what would’ve been my new home, a sort of run-down apartment in East Los Angeles. It was perfect.
“Yo, buddy,” a voice interrupted my thoughts. “Spare a buck?”
A scruffy looking man held his hand out in anticipation.
I frowned, confused. “A buck?” Why would this man believe I had a large animal on my person? “I’m afraid I do not have a buck.”
The man whipped out a gun. “Then I guess I’ll take your wallet instead.”
He raised his weapon and pulled the trigger.
I looked down at the hole in my chest then up at him for explanation.
His eyes grew big, his face paled. “You some kinda freak?” He backed up, then left rather quickly.
Reaching into my chest, I pulled out the bullet and sighed. I had only been on this planet for twenty minutes and already I had drawn attention to myself.
“Excuse me.” A dark man with equally dark eyes approached me. “You’re not from around here, are you?”
I shook my head.
He nodded. “You’re looking for the city of second chances?”
He heaved a deep sigh which almost shook the ground under my feet. “They gave you the wrong coordinates. It’s Vegas you want, not LA.”
“Vegas?” I repeated.
“It’s the city for people like us, people who are...not from around here.” He put me in a cab and told the driver exactly where to take me.
I arrived in Vegas a few hours later. As I stood, marveling at the giant canopy covering Fremont Street, I heard people speaking probably twenty different languages. Two in particular caught my attention. They were walking arm in arm, speaking Mercurian. Openly. Right there in front of the humans.
Walking up to them, I tapped one on the shoulder and mumbled a quick greeting in the language native to Mercury. They stared wide-eyed for a moment then laughed, welcoming me to my new life.
“How long since you escaped the dungeons?” The female one asked as she sipped a drink from a place called Starbucks.
“Only a few days,” I said, amazed at finding some of my own kind.
The male clapped me on the shoulder. “You’re going to love it here. You’re free.”
I looked uneasy. “But the humans, don’t they know? Can’t they tell?”
“Not here,” the girl said smiling. She pointed to the masses of people on the street. “Half these people are from other planets. Like us, they moved here to be free, to be able to do anything they want. Here, no-one cares if you’re different, they expect it.”
I looked around. Could it be true? Could Vegas truly be the city of second chances? Just then, a bus drove past bearing the motto “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” A tear rolled down my cheek. I was finally free.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The sky was clear the stars were bright,
The cart track shone like ribbons white
That ziged and zaged into the night.
Across the Garsdoon moor.
Good progress they did make alright
She, dressed in wedding gown of white,
Who held the carriage side so tight
That lurched and rattled through the night
Across the Garsdoon moor.
He was young and brave alright
With gun and sabre for the fight,
To guard his love, his hearts delight
From highwaymen that stalk the night
Across the Garsdoon moor.
But now the scene will change alright
Thunder roars with lightning bright,
Strange sounds are heard from left and right
Tormented souls that own the night
Across the Garsdoon moor.
The young groom is afraid alright
He holds his gun and sabre tight,
The bride like gown is palest white
As wails and moans are at their height,
Across the Garsdoon moor.
Now dawn it will arrive alright
And they will search the moor till night,
Of coach and riders there’s no sight
Back home lock doors and windows tight.
Across the haunted Garsdoon moor.
The local folks they know alright
That ghouls and spectors walk the night,
Transporting souls to hell for spite
Tormenting them for their delight.
On fearful Garsdoon moor.
Alan Gilbert. 2010.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
There’s just somethin’ magical about Saturday mornin’ in the Ozarks, somethin’ peaceful and serene, sittin’ by your lonesome in the middle of Beaver Lake, waitin’ for a bite to hit your line. There’s nothin’ quite like it in all the world, I’m sure. Not that I’d been many places.
I enjoyed watchin’ the sun rise up over the Brillo of dark-green trees, the sky turnin’ the color of salmon eggs. And the world seemed quiet, like I was the only one in it. Like I could scream and scream at the top of my lungs and only the birds might answer back.
Again, I cast my line into the middle of the lake, and reeled it in slowly, hopin’ for a bite. The sun bounced of the water and into my eyes. I lowered my ball-cap to block it out. I would miss these easy Ozark mornings.
My bait had seen better days. The pot goin’ off like a reekin’ alarm clock, sendin’ out rottin’ fumes. “Slippery little suckers. Next time maybe,” I said to no-one in particular. I pulled my line in and started the engine of my little aluminum yacht. It hummed its way back to shore where folks were startin’ to gather for a day at the lake.
I hauled my junk outta the boat and leaned in, loadin’ my tackle box and poles into the bed of my ol’ Chevy pick-up.
“Well, I’ll be, if isn’t Ryan Golden,” said the familiar voice of Peyton Bailey, behind me.
I adjusted my ball-cap, spun around and grabbed my girl around the waist, pulling her in close. “What’re you doin’ out here so early?” I kissed the tip of her upturned nose. It seemed more outta habit than desire. No girl had ever really been able to capture my heart.
“Lookin’ for you,” she said, all sweet like. “Your momma sent me. Says she needs help with things over at your place, and I volunteered.” She fluttered her eyelashes, givin’ her best effort to drive me crazy.
“Geez all mighty, that woman’s gonna drive me batty. She knows I don’t stay out here past sunrise. What’s she got her panties in a wad over now?” I let go of Peyton, and moved to open the passenger door for her. “You drive? Or you wanna ride back with me?”
She slipped onto the threadbare seat of my truck. “I got a ride down here and figured I could hitch one back with you.” Leanin’ toward me, she kissed me hard on the mouth.
“Mmm, mmm, mmm,” I muttered, hurrying around toward the driver side. I hopped in the truck next to her. The key had broken off in the ignition years ago, so I had no need to carry one, which was fine by me. I turned the ignition and the engine roared to life.
“So what’s the damage?” I asked her, turning down the tree lined street toward home.
“Oh y’know, same shit different day. Your mamma’s puttin’ on the Nelson wedding at your place. And I’m pretty sure she wants somethin’ special done with the rose garden. You know how Janey can be.” She shrugged. It was typical for momma to reorganize and do special things for guests, but we all knew how particular Janey Hannigan could be. And seein’ since she was marryin’ Mayor Nelson’s son, Mamma must be havin’ a dickens of a time dealin’ with her.
I took a deep breath, exhaling in a huff. I had my work cut out for me for sure.
The Golden family had owned the Brownstone Inn for generations. Grammy and Grampy left it to momma and me when they passed. I remember the way Grammy looked all serious at momma when she said, “Evelyn Golden, the Brownstone has been in our family longer than Beaver Lake has been housin’ the fishes. You best take care of her right and proper.”
I missed that wrinkly old woman. She’d puff on flavored tobacca outta the pipe Grampy had whittled for her, blowin’ smoke rings so I could try and put my hand up through ‘em. Course she died of the cancer from smokin’ that pipe, and Grampy soon followed. Momma said he died of a broken heart.
I never did tell momma that Grammy told me all ‘bout my daddy. She said he played the banjo for a blue-grass band, and momma and he had one of them lickety-split sorta relationships. Anyway, she said he never knew nothin’ ‘bout my comin’ into the world. But I was okay with that too. Momma did a fine job raisin’ me up on her own.
“Are you goin’ to the ball game tonight?” Peyton asked, breaking me outta my distraction.
“Yeah, pretty sure I am. Phil’s gonna come with me. Sure is crazy to think Reid will be headin’ off to Arizona next year.”
Phil Evans, Reid Jarret and me had been the best of friends since I could remember. Phil was headin’ off to Harvard to study law, which was reasonable since his daddy and momma had met there, studyin’ the same sorta thing. Reid had gotten a baseball scholarship for the University of Arizona. I don’t think my momma ever expected to have her only son headin’ off to Yale University with a full ride. I knew she sure didn’t get my obsession with history. She liked the romance of ancient Egypt, but couldn’t reckon why I’d wanna spend my life diggin’ around in the sand, tryin’ to unearth dead folk and their junk.
“Melody’s comin’ too and Jaime, I think. We’ll meet up at the bleachers?”
I winked at her. “Sounds good, sugar,” I said, pulling into the long driveway of the Brownstone. It was flanked on both sides by enormous hardwoods.
She scooted close to me and laid her head on my shoulder. “I’m sure gonna miss you when you go away. I wish you’d consider goin’ to Little Rock with me.”
I kissed her forehead. “Now how’d you know I was thinkin’ ‘bout school?”
“Every time you do, you get this faraway look in your eyes. It’s like you’re not even here.” She sounded sad.
“Come now, baby, you don’t have to worry ‘bout that for awhile. We have all summer together.” I touched the tip of her nose then kissed it. “We have all summer.”
Thursday, September 9, 2010
(Author’s Note: Now that I have gotten into the action, I am seeing how much my writing has changed over the years. This is not bad, especially when you consider I was only 12 when I wrote it. Still, the action is not as smooth as I write now and the dialogue seems somewhat forced to me when I read it aloud. Wow, it’s weird critiquing my own work as opposed to fixing it. Anyhoo, enjoy… Drake)
The small fighter, dressed all in black except for the thin, white silk blouse, smiled up at the large warrior. His cloth pants where tucked into soft leather boots that ran up his legs nearly to his knee. A small money pouch hung from the right side of his leather belt, offsetting the scabbard dangling from his left. His short, sandy-blond hair, stood out in contrast to the dark black beard that covered his chin. "It's not nice to curse someone who has done so much for you. Now is it, Sivlon?" The smaller man closed the door behind him and walked around the bar.
"You've done nothing for me!" Sivlon backed into the center of the main room. Putting his back against the firepit, he raised his thick sword in a defensive position.
By this time, the patrons of Foxferds had cleared quite a large area for what they expected would be a grand fight.
"How soon we forget, dear Sivlon. Was it not me who was teaching you of justice, fairness, and humility, just before you went running off? Don't run this time, Sivlon. I’m getting awfully bored having to chase you down. And besides, we have a score to settle."
"I beg of you!" Sweat formed on the brow of the warrior. "I apologize for what I have said and done! It was wrong of me."
"By the gods, it was wrong. And I'm going to correct it as well. You, Sivlon, think in size. I'm smaller than you, so you can defeat me, right? Well then, that's all I'm asking. A dual. A chance to prove myself." Crouching low, the small fighter brought his gleaming scimitar above his head, parallel with the ground.
Sivlon flinched. "You have more than proven yourself!"
The small fighter lowered his blade and rose up to his full height. "And, you more than proved yourself with my companion," he said through clenched teeth. "Yet, he lies dead in the street now, doesn't he?" The small fighter lunged forward suddenly, raking the tip of his blade across the cheek of Sivlon.
The warrior's reaction was fast—quicker than most mortal men—and still the deadly scimitar was already away from his face and carving a deep gash into the big man’s left thigh by the time Sivlon attempted to block the first attack. Blood gushed freely from the deep wound. Sivlon grunted in pain as he fell to one knee. "Go ahead then," he said as he let his sword slip to the floor and clutched his wounded leg. "Kill me! I'm no match for the likes of you."
The small fighter raised his sword for the killing blow. "At least you will die like the coward you are," his sword came rushing down.
Before the scimitar had time to nestle into Sivlon's neck, the warrior lunged forward toward the fighter, attempting to grapple the smaller man. But to his surprise, the only thing he grabbed was air. Like a flash of lighting, the small fighter sidestepped. As Sivlon flew past, the fighter slapped him on the rump with the flat of his blade, sending the warrior smashing into a nearby table. He fell off the table and landed on his back with a thud.
As the big warrior moved to recover from the fall, the fighter jumped and landed on his chest, forcing the larger man back down. Sivlon reached up to grab the smaller man, only to find the tip of the scimitar resting comfortably under his chin.
"For the man whose blood stained your sword this past aurn."
Sivlon's eyes opened wide as the blade slipped effortlessly into his throat and nestle against the back of his skull. A gut wrenching, slurping sound filled the now silent tavern as the blade was twisted, then pulled from its fleshy resting place. The body of Sivlon jerked once before it lay still and lifeless.
The small fighter bent down and cleaned the blood from his blade on the cape of his lifeless opponent. Turning, he walked up to the bar, sheathing the scimitar. "I'm sure he has enough coin on him to cover any damages done," he said to the barkeep.
The bartender motioned for some of his bar-hands to remove the body, as well as any valuables, no doubt. "That was pretty fancy sword play uh . . . I'm afraid I didn't catch your name, me’lord."
"No, you didn't," the fighter said as he sat down. "Just give me a shot of whisky." He tossed a silver bit onto the counter. It landed with a tink and rolled around in a circle twice before the barkeep snatched it up.Looking more than a little embarrassed, the barman set out a shot of dark elixir before storming off to the kitchen.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
When I first came on board here I wasn't really sure how I'd contribute or what kind of posts everyone would find interesting. Growing up, I never looked at my writing as all that ground-breaking, and I never did it out of some need for acceptance or for anyone else's enjoyment but my own. I think many writers are by nature hermits in their own minds, saying things on paper that would be taboo or downright dangerous in "normal" society. I never really fit in as a child, and in a lot of ways writing was my way of coming to terms with all those difficult years. All writers have some hidden soul that drives their work and gives them the strength to work through their demons; for some it's joy, for me, it was pain. There's something strangely therapeutic in using that pain to fuel your own desires, and though it isn't always easy, we need to beat back the anxiety, the self-doubt, that comes with the territory. If you can do that, your audience will hang on your every word, and treasure each and every offering you grant them.
I'm proud to be in the company of so many talented souls. For some of us, I'm sure it's rare when we can actually converse with others in our same field, let alone find anyone in our day-to-day lives that can truly "get" us. It's comforting to have a welcome forum of expression, and I thank you all for that. This little community of ours has grown really fast, and it's been very interesting to see everyone's work evolving along the way. I feel that it's made me a better writer, and in a lot of ways brought me back to those early years when I'd stay up all night just to finish that last chapter or that one all-important scene. I think we've all done some great work here, and I have high hopes for where it will take us.
— C —
It wasn’t his outward appearance that captured me. It was the heated way he looked at me, with those liquid green eyes, like he wanted to lock me up in chains and keep me only for himself. Even that I didn’t mind, quite the contrary. And for awhile, I was content with his eyes on me, stripping me down with his gaze. I loved him then, before I really knew it. Before I knew who he was, before I knew that he could make me into something I wasn’t. Before I really knew just what I was capable of.
It all seemed so simple, so harmless a flirtation.
He was a regular evening patron at my local coffee shop. My head buried in a late-night book, I would look up to see him there, leaning against the window, peering at me through smoked glass. His eyes on me caused my body to react in strange and beautiful wonderment. The way he forced my lips to pull into a knowing curve, the tickle of butterflies rushing through me, and the slow ache that developed in the pit of my stomach, gave me cause enough to desire him. My eyes always felt locked in a struggle of power with his. And it was this same battle of delicate pain that brought about the beginning, and the end, and then—the beginning.
The night he took me, or rather the night I gave myself to him, was one of those where the air felt like a satin sheet, slick and liquid. I sat at my usual seat in the coffee shop. After long hours of reading late into the night, my eyes were no longer able to define the words. I dog-eared the page of my novel and tucked it under my arm, heading out into the tepid oceanic evening. My thoughts lingered still on his presence, the staring man with the haunting eyes that so cunningly captured my longing. But he had left hours ago, and the street was empty of almost all life. It wasn’t an unusual night. Even as the fog settled into the street, misting my view, I felt no threat.
Monday, September 6, 2010
TIME CHASERS By Alba Arango
EXT. CHURCH - SUNDAY MORNING
16, blonde, Homecoming Queen, walks up the church path with her very trendy parents. She spots ELLIE CHOI, also 16, Asian, stylish, Sarah’s best friend. Sarah waves good-bye to her parents and runs to catch up with Ellie.
ELLIE: (pointing) He’s here.
Sarah primps her hair and smooths her form-fitting shirt.
SARAH: How do I look?
Sarah turns around casually and smiles at AARON PETERS, 17, tall, buff, captain of the football team. Aaron walks by and nods to Sarah.
SARAH: Hey, Aaron.
Aaron disappears inside the church. Sarah grabs Ellie’s hands and rushes her into the church.
SARAH: Come on! I want to get a seat where I can see him.
They disappear inside the church.
SAME CHURCH PATH - MOMENTS LATER
16, slender, shaggy brown hair, grunge look, walks up the path with his mom, MRS. NELSON, 40s, homely, typical churchy mom.
MRS. NELSON: Remember to save me a seat, Robbie.
ROBBIE: I know, Mom.
MRS. NELSON: We’ll only be singing four songs today, so we’ll be done early.
ROBBIE: Okay, Mom.
MRS. NELSON: Oh! There goes Mrs. Tyson. See you in a bit, Honey.
She gives Robbie a quick kiss then rushes toward MRS. TYSON, a large, jolly African-American woman, waving her arms wildly. Robbie smiles and walks into the church.
SAME CHURCH PATH - SECONDS LATER
aka “JJ”, 16, African-American, athletic, corn rows, walks up the path with his MOTHER, GRANDMOTHER, and BROTHER, age 8.
GRANDMOTHER JACKSON: What a beautiful morning for church.
MS. JACKSON: I hope Pastor Thomas gives his sermon on self-discipline. Some of us could use a refresher.
JJ rolls his eyes, careful for his mom to not notice.
JJ: Come on, Mom, I wasn’t that--
MS. JACKSON: (interrupting) Twelve-thirty. You got home at twelve-thirty. You know your curfew is twelve o’clock.
JJ: Mom! None of my other friends have curfews.
MS. JACKSON: None of your other friends live in my house.
A woman near the door waves for them to come over.
MS. JACKSON: We’ll talk about this later.
JJ’s face shows signs of “I can’t wait” as he disappears inside the church.
INT. CHURCH - TEN MINUTES LATER
Rows of chairs are filled with PEOPLE talking. The band is setting up on stage.
Sarah and Ellie sit a few rows behind Aaron.
SARAH: These are definitely choice seats.
ELLIE: Yeah. We’ve got a prime view of Aaron and the hot drummer.
Sarah is tapped on the shoulder. She turns around and looks up at MICHAEL, 30ish, tall, elegant, handsome. He smiles.
MICHAEL: Excuse me. Sarah Reynolds?
MICHAEL: You are needed in the conference room.
Thinking nothing of it, Sarah rises and places her purse on her chair.
SARAH: My parents probably forgot something. I’ll be right back.
BACK OF CHURCH - MOMENTS LATER
Robbie looks up at Michael.
ROBBIE: I’m needed where?
MICHAEL: The conference room.
Robbie turns to the boy next to him.
ROBBIE: Save me and my mom seats, will you?
The boy nods. Robbie turns to follow Michael, but he has disappeared to
FRONT OF CHURCH - A HALF-SECOND LATER
JJ’s brother is poking JJ and laughing. JJ looks annoyed. Michael walks up to them.
MICHAEL: Excuse me. Jamal Jackson? You are needed in the conference room.
MS. JACKSON: Boy, what did you do now?
JJ: (indignant) Nothing!
MICHAEL: He has not done anything wrong, Ms. Jackson, I assure you.
MS. JACKSON: Well, that would be a first.
JJ stands up, mainly to get away from his mom right now.
JJ: I’ll be right back.
Henry Charles pressed his hands palm flat, fingers spread against the screen. The light buzzing sound indicated the canvas awaited his direction. He stepped back, staring at his reflection in the screen, a tear raced down his cheek. With his index finger, he traced himself and finished it off with the tear stream. Then he looked up and pushed SEND.
“Faith, you need to do something about this guy.” Susan said.
“I know. I feel so bad. He is super nice, but he’s not my type.” Faith Cantwell responded to her friend and ride buddy.
The Air Tram traveled in hyper speed down the track as the daily commuters chatted and Skyped with loved ones.
NOW STOPPING HAVENVILLE AVENUE. The voice announced over the speakers. Faith and Susan stood up and grabbed the handrails until the tram came to a complete stop.
Swoosh the doors opened. The girls got off and walked over to the coffee house Airoma’s.
“I’ll have a Skylight double shot, light on the soy.” Susan gave her order.
“Hmm… I … I’ll have the – no… I’ll take the Skylight, regular please.” Faith finally made her decision.
The girls exited the coffee house with their beverages. “Late night?” Faith asked Susan. “Yeah, I’ve got exams starting tomorrow. I have no clue what I even learned this semester. This medical stuff is hard.”
“Don’t stay up too late. Ya don’t want to fall asleep during class.” Faith shouted out as the girls parted ways.
Faith entered the crowded skylevator with other passengers and voiced “DESTINATION STREET”. During the ride down the music hummed in the background. The doors opened and the city noise vibrated the sidewalks with honking cabs and people pushing each other along the sidewalks. She darted into the doorway of her building and headed up the skinny stairway to the second floor. Placing her index finger on the keypad the front door opened.
She walked down the hallway and dropped her bag on the chair just inside her bedroom. She turned the corner into the kitchen and dropped the hot Skylight on the floor. She didn’t even flinch when the hot liquid splashed on her leg. One-step further and she would have run right into the suspended portrait of Henry’s tear streamed face. “CALL SUSAN” she shouted out.
“Hey, what’s up?” The colored decibel lines squiggled on the monitor from Susan’s voice. Silence. “Hello… Faith you called me?”