Posted in Series, writing

Tsunami

Outland: Chapter 2

Bright light shone in the window, eventually moving into my eyes, stirring me awake. Sitting up, I looked out the porthole into the glaring light.

“Gulliver? What time is it?” I asked, shielding my face.

The fish carcass sat on the plate beside me, giving off a faint odor of sourness and the faint smell of the sea. The untouched head stared at me, agape, eyes cloudy.

“Good morning Andrew. It is just past noon.”

Rubbing my eyes, I pushed now foul plate away. The map on the desk before me lay mostly finished, the pen thrown down haphazardly.

“Dang.” I sighed. “I guess I fell asleep working last night; that big meal got to me. I didn’t set up the solar panels, did I?”

“The solar panels are down, and the batteries are currently at 44%. I cut power to your desk lamp this morning to save energy.”

“Thank you, Gulliver.” I said, standing up to stretch his back and arms, my joints popping in quick succession. “Looks like today we’re staying here.”

Sliding along the cold metal floor, I moved to mount the ladder, heading up to the cockpit. The window shades were up, sun shining bright, with the water still in plain view. Moving to the control panel, I flipped some switches, and the motors running the actuators whirred to life, moving the solar panels upwards.

“I guess I’ll do some maintenance while we’re here. What are your recommendations, Gulliver?” I said, tweaking some of the controls above the windshields.

“Left leg’s efficiency is dropping slightly below that of right leg. I recommend you check the lines and tighten the connections in the foot to improve rigidity in the joints.”

“Sounds good, I’ll get on that.” I made a mental note, nodding my head before jumping on the ladder and sliding down, passing all the way through to the bottom compartment.

A puddle had formed on the floor from the wetsuit dripping on the rack. Tiptoeing around in it, I grabbed my work coveralls. They were worn, patched thoroughly by myself. I would probably have to buy more fabric when I found someone who had extra.

Eyeing the toolbelt, I double checked that it was still stocked with what I would need; heading up and down the ladder with it on multiple times was a pain.
“Gulliver, open the bottom hatch for me, would you?”

“Right away.”

The mechanical port in the middle of the room roared to life, opening the set of doors. I pulled the toolbelt off the wall and buckled it around my waste, adding a few good pounds. Carefully climbing down the slick rungs of the ladder on the side of the tube I found myself on the lower platform, staring down at the ground. I grabbed the rope ladder from the pile it sat in, throwing it down limply. It tumbled down, untangling itself under its own weight, thrashing back and forth. Waiting for the swaying to stop, I carefully turned myself around and inched myself down the first few rungs.

Finally, on the ground, I readjusted the belt and looked up at Gulliver, standing proudly like a silhouette in front of the water. Moving to the left leg, I reached the sealed hatch and quickly undid the big set of wingnuts holding it on. Inside was the big tool chest, still held neatly in place by the snap straps. It contained the heavy breaker bar and wrenches needed for whatever repairs one might need.

Feeling the heat of the midday sun, I unstrapped the box and dragged it through the stubby weeds and grass to the small shadow created by the solar panels raised up above me. They were propped up at the perfect angle to catch the sun’s rays, coincidentally casting a lot of shade.

Catching my breath, I sat down to look out at the water. Far off in the distance, the sun light reflected off the surface; probably close to the reef where I had caught the fish the other day.

Several years ago, this whole area was still probably inland quite a bit. That was before the shelf shifted, the Pacific plate buckling on itself in a catastrophic fashion. It’s hard to tell how much damage was done then; the body count and extent of destruction it caused was unfathomable.

The seas rose all around the world that day. Waves reaching in for miles inland all around the pacific rim. Whole communities now underwater permanently. Those who survived moved inland, as far as they could. Most people, I guess. Continue reading “Tsunami”

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Posted in writing

Screw the Plan

The day had finally come.  I was ready to get in there and delete the original footage.  The original copy of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace.  That way, they could never make another proper copy.  It was something everyone deserved.

I was dressed the part; if you could call it that.  As inconspicuous as I could possibly be.  I probably appeared as the most unremarkable, boring man to ever walk the earth.  Polo shirt, khaki pants, and loafers.  Oh man, loafers are pretty much the most comfortable shoe in existence.  They feel like walking on clouds.  I could step on a bed of nails and never feel them.  That’s how good the padding in these shoes are.  I digress.

Riding the escalators through the complex, I finally caught sight of the building.  I came at lunch time, right when many people were out an about for lunch; making it even easier to blend in.

Getting through the front doors was the easy part.  They basically held the door open for me.  I mean, random people probably came in all the time to the lobby for whatever reason.  I was just another face.  I gave a quick nod to the receptionist, making sure it seemed at all times that I was meant to be there from the beginning.  That’s how you can get anywhere.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a security guard.  He seemed bored to say the least; but I didn’t take any chances so I took the first turn away from him.  I was in some sort of office space, probably not the best option.  Luckily, the only two people out in the hall were distracted, the boss man yelling at his underling for whatever reason.

That’s when I spotted it; my chance.  An elevator, just waiting open for me.  The sole person inside even held the door for me.  After a few floors, I popped out to, hoping to throw off anybody who might be following my movements.  Finding myself among more desks, I just kept walking; ignoring the people up and about; probably wasting time on their lunch breaks.

I could have been anybody; a boyfriend bringing someone’s lunch from home, a delivery guy, some technician; nobody even gave me a second look.  Moving into the core of the building, a slipped though a pair of doors, arriving in some sort of storage room.  Jackpot.  I looked around for any sort of sign.  Documentaries.  Dang, I would probably have to go up another level or so.

As I made my way out through doors on the opposite side of the room, I heard a shout.  Hey you!  I didn’t want to stick around to find out what they wanted.  Running through the maze of desks, I seemed to lose the man, but apparently he had called for backup, as more guys showed up at seemingly every corner.

In one last ditch effort, I ran back to the elevator.  Once again, as if by sheer luck, the doors were waiting open once again.  I quickly ducked in, closing the door after me, and foiling the plans of any guards.

A few more levels up, I switched back to my ‘blend in’ mode, slinking through the halls as if I had been working there for years.  I kept my head on a swivel, looking out for another possible storage room.  As I arrived at a promising looking door, it opened before I could even react; revealing an upset looking guard behind it.  I quickly tried to retreat, but he stared me down something ferocious, not letting me out of his sight.

At each turn, another guard appeared.  I was cornered; on a balcony overlooking the lobby below.  A glass railing, followed by a several story fall.  Luckily, I still had my loafers on.

As I landed with a soft bounce, I could hear the guards shouting from way up above.  Without hesitation, I turned tail and booked it out of there.  I’ll foil you one day, George Lucas.

I’ve been listening to this song for several days now, and I wanted to narrate the video.  It’s a lot of fun.

Posted in Updates

Pale Heart

I’m working on putting out a short story that I kind of just came up with in the last couple weeks or so, and wrote up at a furious pace somehow.

Edit: You can now pre-order.  Comes out the 24th!

When a child says “I love you,”  it’s fundamentally different than when an adult says it. Their minds are yet unsullied, unburdened by the influence of adult relationships and the subtlety and sexuality they bear.  Children are innocent.  When I took in my young niece that night, perhaps it took me too long to arrive at this realization.

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I made this cover art myself. It’s nothing special as I’m no graphic designer or even artist. If you are or know an artist, I would love to get in contact to possibly discuss making more cover art for me. I even have an idea for a children’s book, but that’s a totally different animal.

I currently have the first draft passed off to my friend who is… judging it, as you might say.  Mother of Mars is still on track for final publication, just as soon as it’s presentable.

Posted in writing

Sweet Dreams

This is another Writing Prompt from Reddit.

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My father always told me that I’d find my fulfilment as a woman if and when I found myself in bed with a man. My mother, in a huff, would add on a bit about making sure it was only the man I was married to.

When I grew older, I realized it was about sex, and not just being there to provide warmth for your partner. What a naive child I was, thinking that’s all my parents were up to in the wee hours of the night. I suppose looking back at myself and five siblings, both of my parents ended up fulfilled.

I eventually moved out to go about my own life, but some some dumb reason I had taken it to heart. Date after date, I would remind myself of the saying, and end up sounding like a prude when I turned down several advances with very clear motives. Some men stuck around for a few more dates, hoping to eventually get me to cave. “I’ll wait till we’re married,” Was always my firm response.

It wasn’t until several unsuccessful encounters later, I met someone. By this time, I was already putting it out there before they even had the chance to ask. Perhaps it was forward of me, but no man immediately used it as an excuse to run off. He said ‘that’s fine,’ just like some of the others, and I brushed it off, waiting for him to bring it up again.

Even after a few dates, it was never once brought up again. My insecurity, creeping up on me, brought me to do so instead. “Did you think it was weird what I told you, that thing on our first date?”

He paused for a long moment, thinking, fiddling with the food on the table before him. “You have to promise me you won’t leave me for this , but…” he took a deep breath. “I’m HIV positive.”

He told me that he too believed you should love someone before sleeping with them, but at the same time he couldn’t risk or bear passing along the virus to someone he loved.

I didn’t leave him, because already at point I had made it up in my mind that his simple companionship was better than anything I had ever had. It took me a few more dates to build up the courage to say so, but the look in his eyes when I told him reflected the same sentiment. A few weeks later, we were engaged

Before we could even think about a date for the wedding, he started to fall sick. The doctors told him they had no way of telling if he might get better with his condition. We made it up in our minds that the wedding had to be soon.

A dress was bought, a church rented out, and families contacted. His health started to deteriorate. By the time the day arrived, he could barely stand. However, stand he did as we exchanged our vows. Halfway through cutting the cake, he collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital.

Still in the dress, I found myself beside his bed, bawling my eyes out. Breathlessly, he told me to go and spend the night at hotel room we had rented out, the bridal suite all ready for us. At a loss for words, I decided to go there for his sake.

Exhausted from the whole ordeal, I collapsed into the silky bed covers, dress and all. I could faintly smell his cologne that had rubbed off on the fabric, the same scent he had worn on our first date. Curled up, I tried falling asleep with the thoughts endlessly crawling in my head. Before I finally drifted off, the phone rang. I picked it up, fearing the worst.

His voice drifted through the speaker, weakly. “Sweet Dreams, my love.”

Posted in writing

Word of God

Being a writer can be hard.  I don’t mean just the time consuming part of thinking up a story, writing it down, flushing out ideas and actions, going back to edit, and getting it out to people.  That’s just the obvious stuff.

If you have a story with any sort of length; you have to be the expert on everything about it.

Every sort of fictional story exists in a universe where the events of the story happen.  I mean, certain fictional stories; especially historical fictions, could happen in this universe we call ‘reality’.  Maybe it did, is doing, or will do; maybe not.  But you know, it could.  For example, the Star Wars ‘Universe’ takes place a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away.  This could be our universe, and we would have known nothing about it had it not been for time/space traveler George Lucas to create the documentary.

Wherever or whenever this story of yours happened, you’re expected to be the all knowing being of it; god.  Even if something is not discussed, implied, or even relevant to the story, the author has both the right and the duty to supply any facts or details about it.

For example, J.K. Rowling could say that the Sun in Harry Potter Universe was in fact a copy made by wizards after the original Sun burned out, saving all living things on Earth. Technically it could be plausible because Rowling said so, and doesn’t interfere with any lore considered canon in the books or extended universe.  (Maybe.  I haven’t read the books in a long time…)

Some things of course are more mundane.  When is this random character’s birthday?  Oh; she’s a pisces like me.  I mean it doesn’t effect the story in any way, but at least I have peace of mind knowing we’re compatible…  Fans, am I right?

Which brings me to another facet of writing; the people who read it.  In high school, I hated books and reading because the teacher broke them down into mindless critique and analysis.  I still never learned the plot of Tale of Two Cities.  Authors write; some like Dickens add a bunch of subtle commentary in their words, and others don’t.  No, I don’t think Little Red Riding Hood has Communist undertones.

The point I’m trying to make is that people love reading between the lines, even if there is nothing explicit.  That’s where fan theories come from; that and wild imaginations creating narratives for characters that aren’t under the scrutiny of the narrator.

Technically it would be under the power of the Author to reject or confirm these.  Did background character A and B get together after the story ended?  I saw how they looked at each other that one time.  Or you know, just ignore them outright because you’ve moved on or they’re just impossible inane.

If you think this stuff is kinda cool, check out the TV Tropes Page I guess.

Posted in writing

Gold

The value is in the purity;

It shines because it doesn’t tarnish,

And it’s malleable into any form you could wish it.

When they say that somebody has a heart of gold,

Perhaps they mean that they are able to resist being tarnished by the world,

and that they simply mold themselves to adapt to it.

Posted in Series, writing

The Longest Day of the Year

Outland: Chapter One

I’m searching for something.  I have no idea what it might be, but I’ll know when I find it.  Until I do so, I can’t let anything distract me.

Beep beep beep.

The alarm broke through his dream, interrupting his visions of fields of infinite pineapples, swaying back and forth in the wind; each growing neatly on their individual steams.

“Good morning, Gulliver.”  He mumbled.

“Good morning, Andrew.”

Pulling himself out of the seat, Andrew scooted up to the window and turned the crank, moving the shutters outside upwards.  The bright noon sunlight glared in his eyes, and he hunched back to avoid it.

Fiddling with the drawer besides him, he pulled out a foil packaged ration and tore it open before adjusting the seat to an upright position.

“How are the power cells looking, Gulliver?”  He asked before throwing the newly empty foil wrapper behind him.

“Eight-nine percent and rising, Andrew.  What do you think?”

“That’s sufficient I’d say.”  He played with the instrument panel, flipping the series of four switches downwards.  Behind the cockpit he could hear the linear actuators engage, humming busily before the panels could be heard clicking down into their locked position.

“We were headed south west, were we not?”  Andrew pondered out loud.

“Indeed.  Would you like me to set a course?”

“Please.” He slowly drummed his fingers on the armrest as the land rotated into view.  The sun sat just out of view to the west.

“Say, we’re about midway through summer now, aren’t we?”

“Indeed.”

“Have we reached the solstice yet?”

“By my records, we have still been slowly gaining a bit of daylight each day.”

“Hmm, good.”  He twiddled his thumbs.  “We must still have some time before it starts dropping off.  I’d like to reach the equator before then.”

“I’ll plot it out.” Continue reading “The Longest Day of the Year”