Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

Posts Tagged ‘General Fiction’

Heart shackles, Mind chains

In Writing on January 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Lynn stepped back, her bloody kai held in a loose grip.  She looked on, unmoved by the figure whimpering on the wet pavement before her; she would subjugate herself no longer.  The pall over her soul lifted a little more.  Every time she stepped away from her tortured past, moved to pull herself from the pit she allowed others to put her in, her soul grew from the struggles to take back her life.

Her psyche still carried a stain, like a gangrenous stench lingering unnoticed by those around her.  She would no longer allow what went before to dictate her choices however.  Life was effort, a battle to prove herself daily.  From here out, she would revel in the marvelous joys around her.  This was her life, her choice, and her mind.  Woes betide those who would take them from her.

Without rancor, she tossed the kai beside the man, turned her back, and walked away.  Her heart held no pity, sorrow, nor anger at he father; she forgave him.  He would have power over her no longer.  Her life was her own; she was on her way to live it, her way.  Finally unfettered, she smiled, for the first time.

Freedom

In Writing on January 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm

  

Journal: Day Three 

Bruises and scrapes cover my body.  My arm, thank God, is not broken.  I still do not know were I am, or even where the ship was headed.  Nevertheless, I have my life, and that is no small thing.  Chills rack my body intermittently; not an auspicious start to my journal, but it will have to do for now. 

Day Seven 

I am still weak from my fever, but the native’s have generously taken me in and seen to my comfort. 

Day Twelve 

The village is quiet.  Shadows dance across the huts, courting the orange glow of the bonfire.  Only twenty people survived the mysterious illness, the disease sweeping through them like wildfire.  Some died after a few hours, others lingered in agony for days before succumbing.  Hundreds of men, women, and children slain.  When the dead outnumbered the living, we cremated them. 

Most of the remaining natives shun me now.  The new Shaman rattles his bones at me whenever I pass and three young women sit on the ground outside my hut.  Our inability to communicate, as we do not speak the same language, hinders the human contact I am allowed.  Still, I must try. 

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Journal: Day Twenty-One 

Forced at spear-point to climb aboard the small boat—with the same three young women who guarded my hut—we traveled to the next island.  Standing on the shore I looked back across the intervening ocean.  The funeral pyre threw incandescent fireflies into the night sky.  Ghostly figures ran through the village lighting the huts, burying the necropolis along with its people. 

Day Two-Hundred-One 

Milli, Nina, and Olivia now speak English well enough to explain why we were sent to this island.  It came as quite a shock to find out I am married and living on the Isle of the Gods.  Quite funny really, now that I look back on it; my heroic attempt to resist their continued advances turned out to be a waste of time these six months.  No doubt I will laugh for a very long time, after I stop crying.  The Incarrii view me as a God—the God of Death and Disease—born to a mortal shell.  The only way to save their people was to send me here with the chosen sacrifice, three virgin sisters; who do not believe me when I tell them I am not a God.  

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Journal: Day Two-Hundred-Nine 

The girls will not leave me alone.  They badger me about completing my husbandly duties—ignoring my pleas and denials that we are not married.  Following me everywhere, giggling about the most innocuous things, and just making a general nuisance of themselves caused me to lose my temper six times already.  I must admit—if only to myself—that it is becoming harder a harder to resist them.  Sometimes I wonder why I do so at all.  There is no Mrs. Rodger Defoe back home and they are of proper age.  Is it because there are three of them?  I do not know anymore. 

Day Three-Hundred-Sixty-Six 

I am now—officially—a married man.  Last night my depression reached its peak.  I have now been on this God cursed rock for one year.  Trapped, surrounded by women, and condemned to death on this lonely Isle, I succumbed.  However, I also learned that I was not alone with my feelings.  For the past year I stood strong in my resistance of temptation.  My wives though, went through near constant rejection while I basked in my own self-congratulatory magnificence.  I need to earn their forgiveness. 

******************************************************************* 

Journal: Day Three-Thousand-Six-Hundred-Ninety-one 

The people of the surrounding islands are thriving now.  Only the priests visit the Isle, but they always bring tribute—food and treasure—and taking away wisdom.  Ironic how, I the God of Death, now bestows posterity upon them.  

My children are healthy and happy, running up and down the beach, climbing and clamoring over rocks, soaking in the love of their mothers.  The new clergy wanted to take the young ones away, but I forbid them until the childe in question reaches twenty.  Raised and worshiped as Gods, my offspring have already spawned fascinating new legends. 

Robert, whom the high priest named Ra, is the Sun God.  His twin Sister Liz, renamed Isis, is the Goddess of Love and Fertility.  My youngest son Hugh recently named my successor, Hu, the God of Death. 

I have wealth.  I have power.  Multitudes adore me and praise my name.  My family is safe and they want for nothing.  My whim is law.  Nevertheless, my days are always clouded.  A shadow hangs over me; a pall covers my soul, and will until the day I die.  

I have everything a man could wish for, but freedom.

So you want to write a story

In Writing on January 11, 2010 at 1:16 am

So you want to write a story.  You’ve been reading for years and now you’re ready to take the next step.  You have something to say and want to ‘give it a go’, and why not?  First, learn the language, take classes or read how-to books.  Second, learn how to write, see number one.  Third, have something to say, something that comes, not just from the bottom of you heart, But from the deepest untouched part of your soul.  Got it?  Good, you can tell me how to do that.

If you’re just starting out, you really don’t need to worry about where it comes from.  What you need to do is write.  Do not be afraid to fail.  Do not be afraid to suck.  You will, we all do.  Just write.

Some things to keep in mind when trying to craft a story:

Showing cause & effect.  If your character does something, it should have some type of consequence.  Remember:  Every action has an equal and opposite re-action.

Compare and contrast to develop an idea.  Use other characters to show what may or may not work in your story.  (This Guy failed to accomplish something because…  While this Gal succeeded because she had the right idea.)

Use classification to a purpose.  Most people will tell you to stay away from cliché’s and archetypes, to come up with something original.  But why would you do that now?  You’re just practicing your writing, use what ever you want.  What you want to do is give it purpose.  If you use a cliché, make it work, sweat, and bleed in your story.  Have it earn its place in your writing.

I’ll leave it to you to decide the order of importance of:

Setting

Plot

Character

But these are the three main things you must have in any story.  Everything else follows naturally.

Things to describe:

Who, what, when, where, why, and how.  I’ve heard some say that this is only for journalistic writing, but that’s not true.  This goes for each character, each experience, and each world visited by your writing.  These are things we need to know.

Do not forget the five senses.  Touch, Sight, Smell, Sound, Taste.  Often, new writers will miss these touches that can add so much to any piece of writing.  Don’t forget them, open up your world to us, make it unforgettable.

Choose and limit a subject.  Find out where you want to start, and where you want to end.

What she doesn’t say

In Writing on January 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm
Photo

I looked down into her dark eyes. It still amazed me how much she could communicate with them, and not say a word. Opened a little more than usual and she pleaded. The delicate arch of an eyebrow asked why not. A slow blink; I love you.

I nodded my head and her answering smile was like the sun coming up. It made my whole day better. It was easier to forget that she hadn’t spoken in two years. Not since mom died.

Looking at the display, she pointed out the dolls she wanted. When she tapped the dollhouse I frowned. She frowned right back up at me. I sighed and shrugged, nodding my acceptance to the sales woman. Sal nodded, and began to pick out furniture. This was going to a long shopping trip.

We stood at the checkout line, watching the clerk pick up and scan each item, wrap them, then put them in a bag. As the total displayed on the register I frowned, and looked down at Sal. She looked back up at me and smiled. I couldn’t help myself and smiled with her.

The clerk handed me my change and I thanked her, she thanked me in kind and told me what a beautiful daughter I had. I thanked her again, wondering how many more times we would thank each other when I felt a tug on my pants.

I looked down into Sal’s eyes and asked, “What is it dear?”

My heart beat faster and sweat broke out on my palms; I couldn’t read her eyes. I didn’t know what she was trying to say. My panic must have bled through because she reached up and patted my arm.

“Thank you daddy,” my daughter said.

To care too much

In Writing on January 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I held my breath as Jovi stared into his open palm.  My stomach dipped and rolled in time with his.  Our symbiotic nexus allowed me to take most of his emotions as my own.  He would only be dimly aware of the distraction. 

I stood apart from the others around him.  If the Decca learned of our joining, they would banish us from the Guild.  But why should I move on when he might fail?  We were in this together, he and I.

“Please Aeryn,” he begged.  “I need your help.”  He grasped my shoulders, squeezing.  “You know I can do it.  You’ve seen me do it.  But I get so nervous around others; I’ll need your help.”

He said all the right words.  Kissed me at the right time.  How could I say no to this man?  I spelled our link to degrade just after sunset.

I drew the circle around him, then drew my own, leaving a gap so I could cross back inside.  I connected them with the complex design that would join us together.  The formations complete, I concentrated and recited the formula.

For an instant lightning struck between us, connecting our minds.  I gritted my teeth at the pain jarring through me.  As soon as it begun, it was over.  I could feel his emotions, his elation, joy, and…  Triumph?  Confused I opened my eyes and his feelings fled my mind.  I saw Jovi sitting within his circle meditating, collecting his thoughts, and banishing his emotions.

Walking beside him to the Trials, I could feel nothing from him.  He was doing good, and my heart swelled with pride.  He could do this all on his own.  But when we separated, and as I walked to the side of the Decca, his emotions burst from behind his shields.  But he wasn’t affected.  I took the roiling conflagration of his torment into me.  Joy, fear, and yes, triumph poured forth masking my own fears for a moment.  But why would he be feeling contempt now?  Then he looked at me.  My breath caught in my throat, and my heart shattered within my breast; his contempt was for me.

Sparks appeared out on nowhere; jumping and skittering across his open palm, bouncing off his fingers and joining together above his hand.  They grew and brightened, casting his face in shadows as the light of the sun failed.  Smoke gathered in wisps and floated into the sky.  I gathered my wits and the remains of my heart, and walked away, severing our link.

Jovi’s emotions left me to flood back into him.  The growing night fled the fireball as his concentration failed him.  The concussion whipped my robes around my legs, but I never looked back.