Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#42 Uncompromising

Adjective

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


Verb
  •         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.”
“Yes.”
“Excellent.”
***
Rebecca was never the same. Jack was kind, he loved her. They got their happy ending.