Sunday, September 15, 2013

A novel in the works!

So, I've taken on the daunting task of trying to put all of this together. For a bit of back story to the upcoming novel check out the following posts!

42. Uncompromising
31. Papaw
22. Kayak
37. Superstitious

21. Klick

There are more short stories to come too! Next up...27. Nettle

Saturday, August 17, 2013

21. Klick


Noun: A kilometer.


The second rule of being a scout is that you must have a keen understanding of direction and distance. We teach where you go and how to get back. We will teach you the trails and paths, but you are the ones who have to make it back. There is and intuition to it. We have lost more than a few tenderfoots because they lost their way. You have always that with being a part of this community you must be caring a watchful. We, the scouts, are the tested ones. If you are not confident in your own abilities to get back home, don't go. It is easier to have a scout step down than to never see them come home again. When you are lost there, you never return. The only ones who ever had were The Originals. They did not have targets on their backs.

You, you will have a target on your back. The hunters know what you look like, you have to know where they will be next. You have to understand the field before you even trespass into it. We will teach you the layout, but you must be able to lay it in front of you at a moment's notice. We call them hunters. They will hunt you. We will train you for spatial awareness. We will train you on where to hide and where the food is. We will train you on where the hunters hide. But they, like you, are trained to understand "the other". They only know you as the people that steal their food. You mean nothing else to them. They have an uncanny way of know where you are at all times. It is difficult to outsmart them. Their communication with each other is almost cerebral. Since this is our community's only source of food, you must also be that connected with your partner.

We will teach you, but you are not The Originals, you are the tenderfoots. We will teach you the way, but you must learn it.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

37. Superstitious


a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation

b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward thesupernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition



They find me in the streets at night. No one really pays attention most of the time. When they take notice of me, I hear a wretched "you don't belong here" or "you haven't left yet? There isn't anything here for you", they know better than anyone that I have nowhere to go. A young girl came across me the other day and wasn't quite sure what to make of the situation. She was too young to understand my presence here. The girl hadn't learned her role yet in this world, let alone mine. She tried to approach me. She wanted to learn for herself; I could see it in her eyes. But she could feel my place, the fibers of her skin, built from the people who understand, pulled her away. She will grow up to be a wife, mother, and then a widow. I wish they would be smarter than the adults, smarter than the ones who keep me from having a warm home at night.

Yes, the adults criticize and question my presence in their town, but they understand that my role is to show the value of what they are given. They get food from the door and they have the technology and the knowledge to build homes from the resources around them. But they leave me on the street to rot; or at least to dig through their trash to fend for myself. They don't even invite me into the Great Hall for community dinner, but alas there isn't much I can do. I'll let you in on a few secrets. This is a beautiful place to live. The community here has built a remarkable utopia of love and trust among its people. There are rules that are understood and go unquestioned. The children are not taught the rules until they learn about themselves and their role. They are taught by the adults who follow the rules blindly. When they get older they are taught to treat me poorly. Taught that the lives they lead in happiness and peace are only possible due to my suffering.

One thing they are never taught, that only the scouts know, is that they can live because of beings like me. What they acquire on the other side of the door is not what they bring home. Their lives are sustained on creatures that they butcher and kill between the doors. They keep the people protected from these truths. They can't even look in the eyes of a gaunt black cat as they pass it on the street.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

22. Kayak


A canoe of a type used originally by the Inuit, made of a light frame with a watertight covering having a small opening in the top to sit in


"I started telling Vallie about what lives behind the door. I haven't told her the secrets. She doesn't know about the hunters or where the food comes from, but I told her about the...terrain, I guess. She knows about the water that has to be traversed, the plains and the woods. She understands that it is dangerous, but I guess she would've know that because of the conditions Graves and Forrest when they return from missions. I was tracking her the other day for Nell. He wanted to know where she was going without giving away our what we know about the fringes. We were at the lake and she kept trying to ignore me, like she didn't know I was there, but the way she walked...she knew. I couldn't be ignored anymore. There is something about her that intrigues me. She asks more questions than she should. She explores more than her father feels comfortable with. She has an adventuring spirit that I... appreciate? Maybe, sometimes it worries me. So, we were at the lake. She found the fruit trees there. We aren't supposed to tell the teenagers who haven't reached the age of exordium about what lies beyond the community. But she found it. Vallie explores. She wants to know what exists in this world. She has heard the stories of what came before us and what we have developed since our supposed isolation. And now I've started to tell her of our future or at least what I think it should be. I'm not sure if anyone realizes the potential of what lies beyond the door. If we could eliminate the hunters we could take what we need and wouldn't have to worry about our lives being taken. I'm probably not supposed to tell you that either. Have you ever been a scout?"

"No. I haven't."

"I didn't think so. You don't seem like the type to volunteer for that job. Staring Sullivan in the eyes would make anybody a little nervous. There is a 2 part malice, 1 part foolish to his eyes, his soul. I've only seen it a few times, but he was trying to explode the tail end of my kayak. I made it back to the door both times...barely. I tried to tell Willow about it before bed last night, but she doesn't understand how these mission's stick. It is hard to shake the reality of it all. Their world is so different than ours."

"That is what I've heard."

"Speaking of, did you hear that Nell is considering Vallie and Pettal for recruitment, or "suggestive volunteering" as he likes to call it, for next year's training. Aren't they too young for that? I mean I know that he likes to get them started at 15, but those girls are strong and adventurous...physically. Not mentally. He wants his daughter to succeed like his sons, even her mom was training to be a scout at one point. That got stopped real quick didn't it...ha. That is what he gets for having relations with one of the trainees. One thing I'll enjoy taking Vallie out for her first mission, she has a tenacity that I have yet to see in a female volunteer."

"I think she will do quite well. Vallie, and Pettal too, both have intuitions about where to go and what the community needs. Even if Pettal can't focus on much outside potential husbands."

"Yeah, that will be interesting. Whoever these hunters are, they know how to prevent the female scouts from coming back after 2 or 3 missions. What time is it?"

"Noon and 15°."

"Shit, I have a mission with Forrest at Noon and 30°. Gotta go, thanks man."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

#20 Jet-setting


To be of the rich and fashionable social set the members of which travel widely for pleasure


Jack was late for this flight again. This would be a moment of frustration and turmoil for most. For jack this was not unusual, at this point in his years of traveling it almost felt familiar. So Jack went up to the counter and spoke to the attendant to get on the next flight. It was less than an hour later than his previous departure. He flew from metropolis to metropolis and international concourse to world capitals and villages. For weeks on end, Jack traveled alone and in peace.

This instance was no different than the last. He had been to Hawaii before and he enjoyed spending his time in LAX people watching. It was amusing people watching to say the least. He sat and wondered about everyone's reason for flying that day. Those wearing oversized sunglasses inside going to movie sets, or at least wanting people to think they were. Those in suits had transcontinental meetings. The rest looked like him wearing light travel clothes traveling for leisure and perhaps with no destination in mind. Some people appeared frantic while others knew how travel worked and took hold of the reigns of LAX and held on tight. It was going to be a bumpy ride.

As Jack sat and waited for them to call this section to board he noticed a young man running down the terminal in quite a hurry. He watched as he was forced to stop by running into gate B17, Jack's gate. He then realized that the young man was dressed as a pilot and didn't look well. He looked flushed and sickly. He was barely 25 years old and greeted by a hesitant, "Hello, how ya feeling?" by the airline staff.

Jack put little thought toward this once he was seated. He knew that pilots flew when they were sick, that's why there are co-pilots, right? He stowed his things and waited. The flight attendants explained the proper safety procedures and precautions. Jack had heard this thousands of times. Then the pilot came over the intercom, probably not the best decision in his condition. He sounded under the weather, but not alarmingly so, just slight coughing as he closed his greeting. And they took off for their journey.

Not long into the flight he looked out the window and saw the vibrant blue of the Pacific Ocean. It was his favorite ocean to travel in or over. He knew all of the creatures that lived in it, he envisioned them going about their lives in the blue in peace. This is how he found serenity on long boring flights. At that moment, as he found his safe space, Jack heard an odd growling erupting from the cockpit. Then screams.

A flight attendant then burst from the front of the cabin bleeding from the neck. Her screaming stopped as she collapsed on the floor. No one moved. No one spoke a word for what seemed a ridiculous amount of time. Then they came for us. All of the passengers soon became a bottle of food for whatever it was that erupted from the cockpit. Jack had never seen anything like it. For the first and only time in his life he saw men and women sacrifice their consciousness for flesh.

All of this transpired faster than Jack could process; the plane started to nose dive. As it plummeted to its fate all of the occupants were thrown to the front of the plane turning a peaceful flight from LA to Hawaii into a soon to be sinking tube of flesh eating monsters and their soon to be decaying food source.

Jack and the other passengers never arrived at the tropical destination. No one ever dared to recover the remainder of the flight. There was no telling what they would've found.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

#31 Papaw


1. A deciduous tree (Asimina triloba) of the eastern and southeast United States, having flowers with three sepals, three petals, and numerous stamens and fleshy, edible fruit.

2. The fruit of this tree.

3. See papaya.


I walked through the trees as Ryan followed close behind. He thought he was being stealthy, but I knew he was there. He had only been trailing me for the last mile or so. My mother must have sent him. She always worries when I leave home without Graves. She probably told Dad and since he is always curious about where I go, he sent Ryan instead of Graves. Ryan is stealthy and will report my adventures back to Dad. My brother would have just hunted me down and dragged me home. Well, this ruined my plan for the day completely, so instead of exploring the edges of the grounds, I'll stop at the lake and go for a swim. That will give Ryan something to report.

I don't think Ryan has ever explored this far outside the community. He usually stays pretty close when he isn't going on scouting missions. My dad and William keep the trainees pretty close to town for their lessons, until they go through the door for the first time. They usually try to find scouts who are adventurous, but cautious. I would think that they would explore the land we live in. But no one seems to care what exists outside the community. Except me.

From where I'm sitting I can see Ryan behind one of the trees to my right. I'm debating whether to say something or not. It would be fun to show him that he isn't as stealthy as he thinks!

"Have you ever tired the fruit off these trees?" He walked out from behind the tree holding a green fruit.

"No, why are you following me?"

"You really should try it. It is perfect when it is ripe. The seeds are a perfect complement to the fruit and the secret ingredient in your mothers holiday pheasant." He rambled on about the fruit as he turned it over and over in his hands.

"Did my father send you? He usually sends my brothers when he is tracking me."

"He didn't." Ryan answered discreetly.

"Then why are you following me?!" I wanted an answer and he was nowhere near revealing his true intentions.

"I wanted to see where you were going for myself."


"It isn't important for you to know that."

"Of course it is! You are stalking me."

"You don't need to know...I'm...keeping you safe."

"Safe from what? I've been out her a thousand times."

"I know. I've been out here with you."

"What? Why?"

"You can't know what is out here. Just come back home."

"What is out here?"

He stayed silent.

"I'm not going with you!"

"Okay." He turned and started to walk away. "But don't tell your parents you know about the fruit."

He left.


When I got home Ryan joined us for dinner. He made no indication of our interaction earlier, but he probably told my father everything.

Monday, June 10, 2013

#47 X-Ray



1. a. Often, x-rays. a form of electromagnetic radiation, similar to light but of shorter wavelength and capable of penetrating solids and of ionizing gases.

b. Such radiation having wavelengths in the range of approximately 0.1–10 nm.

2. A radiograph made by x-rays.


Every now and then you can just see right through people. Some people are open books. While others are blessed with heightened intuition. You can read every sigh, every glance and every moment of silence. People evolve from a foundation. Mannerisms and behaviors are built on a structure of experiences and choices a person makes throughout their life.

I don't have these. I'm not quite sure how I know this, but I do. Something is different about me. Okay, that may be an over statement. I think I'm the same as the people that I live with, but not like the different people I see every day. They have a...umm...something more. They have a deeper...existence? I'm not sure what it is, but we live on the surface here. I mean physically I think we are underground. We only know what is shown and told to us. They tell us we don't need to know any more than that. Every day I meet and interact with people who are more than that. They know more than this.

I'm not sure when I started writing about it. Every day I go back and read from the day before. I wish I had some way to record how long I have been writing. Today I met with a man who had a critical illness...I had something to do with planned death. We went to San Francisco, to a secure unit off the coast, it looked like my own home...just abandoned. Sam, the man I was with, kept talking about how he wished he could have lived back then. That things would have been different and he wouldn't have had to do what he did. But then he kept talking about an injection; we only get injections when we are sick...I'm not sure what he was talking about. He didn't look sick.

Once we were done with that tour we went back to the city and had a beautiful dinner. He took me back to a hotel, but I don't...that part is lost. It may have been there, but oh well. They tell us every day that what we don't know won't hurt us. It seems like an odd statement because I think it does. I'm not supposed to remember these things. I've asked the others about their days and they just stare at me blankly and continue to eat their pudding.

They train us to understand what these people want. That doesn't sound quite right, but close. It is something like that...programmed maybe. These people we visit are transparent. I understand their intentions and wants, but I never understand why. These people have histories, families and homes. At least ones that mean more to them than mine do. Sam kept mentioning Christine and Kimberly. He talked about them in the past tense; like he hadn't seen them in a long time. Christine had moved on...from what he said. He loved her or at least how I'm supposed to understand it. Why didn't he spend this day with them?

I don't think I will ever see him again. I liked him, he was nice.

It will be whole new adventure tomorrow. Hopefully I will remember more of tomorrow than I did of today. Maybe if I can remember more after my nap, I could piece together my own history and family.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Tiny Story

This is a small piece for submission to a pretty cool writing experience.


He always wrote his own life, or what he dreamed it to be

As a kid he loved the fantasies.

He grew up and continued to explore the infinite of the imagination.

Then one day he was gifted the future.

He didn't know the power of the paper, but he tested its gift.

He could've written that he was an astronaut, that dinosaurs ruled, or that he was the wealthiest man.

But he wrote of a knight, a man who risked his life to save a woman; the one of his dreams.

He wrote of love.

He always wrote his own life, or what he dreamed it to be.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

#1 Ask



  1. To put a question to: inquire of
  2. To request information about
  3. To try to get by using words; request
  4. To solicit from; request of
  5. To demand; expect


"Okay, what do we do next?"

"We adventure!"

"Where do you want to go?"

"Hawaii? Paris?"

"I love Spam Sushi and Wine, where else?"



"What is your adventure?"

"A life time of adventures with you."

Monday, April 15, 2013

#14 Glints



  1. A momentary flash of light; a sparkle
  2. A faint or fleeting indication; a trace


Young boys dreamed of stars. Halden was no exception. He looked at the sparkles in the sky everyday and knew that something was alive beyond what he could see. He just knew it. It never made sense to him that the people on this planet are the only ones in existence. That of all the stars and all the planets that he learned about in school that only one had the right combination of elements to create intelligent life.

Halden asked his mother one day what she knew about the stars and the worlds that had to exist.

"Well Halden we used to travel beyond the stars. Hundreds of years ago we used to send citizens in ships into space. They investigated some of the closest planets to us they even tried to settle there. We even found evidence of life on one, but it was long gone. There are rumors of a planet that still possessed life, but we never got there. Many people went on the journey to it. None ever came back. The researchers never could perfect their ships so they could go far enough without people dying of old age. No one wanted to send children young enough to survive. Our people decided to spend their resources on bettering our own planet instead of seeking one to escape to. There have been rumors that the new resources to harvest the power of the stars and energy could be used to get someone far enough, but because of the wars there is no money."

"But why? Has anyone tried to go without the support of the people's resources? Can I go?"

"Of course son. You can do whatever you set your heart to. But for now it's bed time."

That was what did it. Every parent says it, but Halden never grew out of his dream to find life elsewhere in the universe. He had a pet guinea pig that he talked to everyday about how he and Simon would put on their little space suits and build their own ship to find new life beyond what they could see in the night's sky.

Simon, and Halden's family, didn't live to see him fulfill his dream. He was the only one who escaped. He was the only one who believed that his world wasn't peaceful. He was the one who continued the research that his people did not have the resources for. He was the only one who got out alive.

Halden was still young when his planet crumbled beneath him. But he believed in the stars, so he took to them to save himself. He flew and flew. He was 60 years older when he landed on a strange planet that he was destined to find. Halden knew when he was greeted by the residents of this planet and knew that the planet that his mother said his people never traveled to was a lie. He recognized these people as ones of his own kind. He knew then that this planet came long before the one he flew 60 years to escape. His people were still alive. He lived for 10 years on this planet. Meeting the people and sharing the story of his home planet and the destruction of his people. The story of how he traveled so far to find a planet that was supposed to only be a myth.

Halden died at 104 years old, on Earth.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#2 Alumnus


  1. a person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university
  2. a person who is a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate




So for the word this week, I pose a question:

What would you say to students of your alma mater?

I was asked to do this about a month ago. I had a plan. I went in to that room of, somewhat impressionable, students. They were honors students. They were seeking an education that they could use to make our world a better place. Whether being educated in history, biology or environmental studies, they wanted to change the world. That is what a liberal arts education can be good for.

Since these were honors students I went in with a way to get them to think about their honors thesis that they would have to write to complete their Minor in Rhetoric. The prompt was as follows:

  • What do you love?
  • What do you want to learn more about?
  • What is your primary field of study?

My answers to these questions are how I formed my thesis when I completed a similar program. Movies, The Holocaust and English…were my answers. Well that turned in to The Messenger's Messengers: The Study of the Portrayal of Nazi Soldiers in Turn of the Twenty First Century Popular Movies. This paper was quite an undertaking and turned into a pretty cool analysis. I wanted to use my experience as a way to get them to understand what the whole program was about to me: Learning how to communicate and learn more effectively.

I was asked by the professor/advisor, sitting in on this little get together, what I got from the program. This led me off on a tangent…

College is about learning how to live in the real world. Your professors are your managers and supervisors. They hold you accountable to tasks and reward or penalize you accordingly. They help you when you ask for it and are happy to see that what they teach impacts their students. But if you don't love it and don't want to be there, they can see that and wonder why?

What I learned from this program and going to college? They asked.

I learned that:

  • If you don't love what you do. Don't do it. If you have to do it to survive, find a way to learn from it and incorporate something that you love.
  • A career is very different from a job. You should work jobs to learn what your career should be.
  • You should always try to learn from your experiences.
  • Life doesn't fall into your lap once you have a college degree…you still have to be driven to live your life to the fullest!
  • Most importantly…finishing college is one of the most important things you will ever accomplish in your professional life. It shows that you can start something and finish it. A valuable skill in any working environment.

What did you learn from it?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#42 Uncompromising


Unwilling to grant concessions or negotiate; inflexible

I can't decide if this is my life or not. Or at least what it is supposed to be.

I live in a small village. There are 301 residents in our small community. I know some of them, but my mom and dad know everybody. As I get older they will let me meet more people. We have to be 16 years old before our parents let us meet people who are older than us. They say it is for our safety. I don't believe it, unlike my friend Minnie who is on the side of the adults.

We live in a place where we don't work outside the lines and we follow the rules. Everyone understands that the rules are there for a reason, even if they aren't explained to us. There is a border around the town. From the stories that our parents tell us the original settlers got here by crossing over that line, but they could never cross back. They were stuck. The story goes that they found a door and through the door there was food. The town was built around the door and it has been that way ever since.

I live with my parents, 2 older twin brothers and younger sister. My brothers are training to be scouts. My sister is learning from our mother how to cook the food that the boys bring home. My mother is a nurse in the infirmary. My father is the leader of the scouts. He no longer goes out on missions, but he trains the younger boys with his teammate, William. I hope when I am 18 I can start training. Not many girls have gone on to do it successfully. Only once has a woman not disappeared on their first mission; Jean, she is a legend among us young girls who want to train. As far as the records go back we have only lost 5 men on their first mission. It is a job that requires strength and bravery. It isn't a safe job, the teams usually spend a week in the in the infirmary after each trip. There are 28 scouts. A few of them only last their first year, so they train 4-6 new ones every year. It is expected that my brothers will be the best of the best. I want to be the best of the best. I want to know what is beyond that door.

Everyone speculates what happens through it. The scouts are forbidden to talk about it. Only they know what happen through the door and they are not shy about sharing the horrifying legends of those who have barely come back. It is a rule that no one breaks except the stories of scouts past. We believe in the system. We would starve if we didn't. We are taught to have faith in what lies beyond the door and not question it.

I question it…

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#29 Overwritten

  •         Write on top of (other writing).
  •         Destroy (data) or the data in (a file) by entering new data in its place.

It was midnight and Jack knew that his story was ready. He had worked on it for five years to get to this point. It was his “great American novel,” he knew he was ready. His work was ready. His publisher had criticized and rejected all of his other attempts, but even he knew, deep down, that they weren't good enough. I mean who was he kidding those were feeble attempts at middle of the road paperbacks. First there was a man who goes to the grocery store one day and discovers an underground cannibalism ring; it was the butcher, duh. Second was a woman whose sister was murdered and she gets too close to the murder and gets killed; it was their little sister. Third, he tried something outside the box and had a crazy boat man be responsible for mysterious drowning victims in Scotland; it turned out to be the Loch Ness monster. His publisher didn't like any of them. No matter how many times he wrote them over, he knew they weren't worth his time. He had even given up on writing entirely. Until now.
Jack had a plan. This was going to be more than a novel. It was going to be an experience for the reader. He even made plans to have a mix CD to accompany the book with tracks that matched t mood while offering a slight tone to each chapter that only a delicate orchestra could offer. His publisher was asking for unique ideas and this was his!
He went into her office the next morning to submit his new novel. It had already gotten past her assistant who was tasked with reading everything she didn't feel was worth her time. But this one had gotten Patrick’s seal of approval so she had to at least consider it. As he waited for Patrick to take him in he became more and more confident by the minute.
She welcomed him in with words of false reassurance and a tinge of impatience. He sat in the armless chair opposite her inlaid desk and Versailles domed She looked so small in it, he never realized how petite she was. A Napoleon complex was his gut excuse for her extravagance and intolerance.
She briefly discussed with him Patrick’s review of the first few chapters.
“He seems more optimistic than usual about the projects that I send him to read. That’s something, but I need to read the whole thing if we are going to give it any kind of consideration. You know as well as anyone else that we have cut our spending on ‘independent’ and ‘requested’ projects. I can’t promise you anything at this point.”
“I understand. But I think-”
“You know that I’m not a fan of your work. The ideas you had in the beginning were good, but you could never put them on paper as well as I would have anticipated.”
“Yes, this is not the first time you have spoken your mind about my work.”
He can’t get past the annoyed scowl on her face.
“Well hand it over then I have many more projects to focus on this week.”
“You can only have the first two chapters; once you finish with those I will send you the link to the rest.”
“That isn’t protocol Jack.”
“I know, but I’ve been working on this one for years.”
“I need the whole thing now.”
“I can’t do that. This is what you get. I am more than confident that you will want me to send you the rest.”
He now gets to revel in making her uncomfortable, an unusual feeling for her.
“Okay I guess that will have to do. But as soon as I call for the other chapters you must send them right away. I don’t have time to wait around for you to decide if she discovers the murderer at the history museum or the art museum.”
“There is no ‘Shirley’ in this one. I would appreciate you not bringing her up again. This is different.”
“Fine. I will call you when I finish this first part.”
“Perfect. I look forward to it.”
Jack wasn’t quite sure now what he had gotten himself into, but there was no turning back now. He returned home to await her call.
Rebecca finally reached the end of the second chapter. She knew that she needed the rest. Jack had written a story of a lonely writer crippled by his failed attempts at a “great American novel”. Jack was writing his own story. The last page of what was on the pages he had given her today was an exact account of what happened in her office today, word for word.
Rebecca was confused and worried. The Jack in this novel was seeking revenge.
There were similarities between the woman he wrote and the one reading about her. She didn’t remember growing to be so cruel. She was kinder once.
She knew what could happen next and she had to stop it.
She called him. “Jack, I need the other pages.”
“Do you know what that means?”
“I think so.”
“The story can go two ways, which do you choose?”
“I don’t want to die.”
“Okay. Are you ready for that? It won’t be easy.”
Rebecca was never the same. Jack was kind, he loved her. They got their happy ending.