A Story Excerpt

I was inspired today to start writing something else in addition to my main project. It was one of those things, like Robin of a few days ago, that just started writing itself in my head before I was ready for it. Luckily, I was able to turn immediately to my computer and write. This is only about half of what I’ve written so far, and I don’t know how much potential it has, but I’m going to keep working on it, because, well, I feel like it!

**

The sirens began to wail all over the city, and we made ourselves ready. We all knew what the sound meant. In our shelter, Ben and I gathered up the weapons we had at our disposal – he a staff, and I my twin daggers. He’d learned how to use a staff at his mother’s knee, and he wielded it as if it were part of his body. I envied his skill, especially when he’d shown me that the extras he’d added to his weapon. When twisted in the center, sharp steel blades shot out of either end of the heavy wooden staff, heavier still with the lead infused in it. I could hardly lift the thing, although I’d tried often enough. Ben had the muscles of an infomercial bodybuilder – he’d added two pounds of lead to the staff every year since he hit his teens.

My skills were harder won, for I wasn’t a child of violence. I had never meant to join the revolutionaries, never meant to get tangled up in any of this. My parents were simple folk, and I grew up in a small town near the coast. I learned fishing and cooking while Ben learned the fighting arts from his mother. While he sweated in the gym, I paddled happily in the vast salt lake’s waters. While he took his oath and swore his dedication to the rebellion and revolution, I was picked as beauty queen of the seventh grade. While he debated and studied philosophy and the way of life in which we lived, I was blissfully unaware of anything outside my small community. I didn’t even know how downtrodden we were.

We were allowed television, although no Internet access. I knew vaguely about the Net because of visitors that came to the coast to enjoy some free time. They often complained about the isolation – the radios only caught music stations, and our televisions had no news channels. In our town, the war might well have been a myth. It was a myth to me until I reached adulthood at seventeen and was allowed the knowledge that had been barred from me during my childhood: the world was at war.

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Robin

I’m not sure that I’m ever going to do anything with this, but I’ve had this character floating around my mind for over a year now, so I finally decided to write a little introduction to her life.

At the age of twenty-four, the thing Robin loved most in the world was her house.

It was tiny, painted blue with white framework on the doors and windows. There were flowers in the three windows that faced the street, and a garden leading from the front door right down to the small white gate. There was even a lone tree in the yard, one that had grown enough to give a little shade during the long, hot summer days.

The house was on a small residential street in Studio City in Los Angeles, which was another thing that Robin loved about it. She loved being so near a happening area and yet snug in her own little space, the picture of suburbia. She had a Mr. Horns to her left in a small yellow house, with a rather large yellow Labrador named Puck, while the house to her right was empty, a big “FOR RENT” sign the only inhabitant of the fading lawn.

Robin had acquired this house in a strange set of circumstances. It had, belonged to her great-aunt Lucinda, an eccentric woman who had lived in a nursing home for the last twenty years of her life. The family was under the impression that she’d sold it years ago, but, as she wrote in her will, she’d left it empty, freshly painted and clean, ready for her great-niece, who had only just been born, to grow up and receive it. When Robin turned twenty, Lucinda passed away and the house was discovered in the will.

Robin couldn’t believe her luck. As a university student, she longed to leave the dorms behind her and live in a space all her own. She had no desire to return to the poisonous environment that was her parents’ house. She’d suffered enough hardship over the years, and having finally escaped by earning a full scholarship, she had no intention of ever going back.

Halfway through her Junior year, she moved out of the school dorms and into her new home. It had needed much airing out after twenty years of standing empty, and furniture, too. She’d scoured both the flea markets and the Internet for cheap, secondhand stuff, and she  sanded, repainted and lacquered some of the wooden pieces she’d found. In fact, she’d spent her entire winter break on making her new home as perfect as could be. This was another reason why she loved it so.

Another reason was that she was hardly ever in it. The commute to school on two buses, the time she spent in classes and in the library studying, as well as her job at one of the administrative offices kept her so busy that she would normally arrive back at her house at ten and leave the next morning at around seven. Out of those nine hours, some six were spent sleeping, and one was spent in a morning haze of coffee, toast, shower and make-up.

The two hours she had to herself every night before she fell exhausted into bed were her treasures. She didn’t allow herself to study, review material or read anything that had something to do with her major – which was history – or her minor – which was philosophy. She spent the time reading comics online, watching films or taking a long, hot bath.

It was a perfect life, really, and she often felt ridiculously lucky.

But everything changed when her brother got out of prison a week before graduation.

The Evil, Most Feared and Loathsome Count William

The Evil, Most Feared and Loathsome Count William sat in his room and looked up how to make poisons on the Internet. He’d found several promising websites, but he wasn’t sure where he was supposed to get some of the ingredients. He had no idea what nettle-juice was, for instance. He also wasn’t sure that the forums he was looking at were particularly serious. Wasn’t Lithium just the name of a Nirvana song?

William got up from his computer in disgust. How was he going to become a proper member of the Evil Squad if he couldn’t even figure out how to poison anyone?! The ad he’d gotten in the mail had specified that he needed to have certain skills and be able to prove his aptitude at them before he’d be accepted as a member. He’d e-mailed them and asked what he needed to learn, and they’d answered with a terse reply, telling him that if he didn’t know what things he needed to know in order to be evil, then he probably wasn’t suitable.

He’d already got himself a name, though, and he was determined to manage to get into that group. He was evil, he knew it. Nobody liked him at school – they called him Will the Weird, not as good a title as The Evil, Most Feared and Loathsome Count. His parents didn’t particularly like him – they’d yelled at him for over an hour when he’d painted his room black and they’d almost disconnected the Internet as punishment. Then he’d told them that if they did that, he’d need to find where his dad hid his porn magazines and since nobody wanted that, they should probably keep the connection.

He also knew that he was capable of being cruel, which was part of being evil, of course. He’d been horribly mean to his little sister ever since she was born, and even now that she was thirteen and was coming into her own, he still managed to make her cry a couple times a week by taunting her. He saw this as being proper behavior for a Loathsome Count.

William strode up and down his room, looking at the posters he’d hung on his walls. Some were of heavy metal bands, but he didn’t actually like the music – he just liked the pictures of mouths dripping blood or skeletons on battlefields and the like. The other posters were hand-drawn, featuring violent vampires and women lying dead across tombstones. These had been made for him by Hannah, his next-door neighbor, and the girl he loved more than the entire world put together.

She didn’t think much of him anymore. When they were both freshmen in high-school, she’d gone in for his whole black, death, plague and misery sort of outlook on life. She had, in her own words, “grown out of it” and even though she still wore black, dyed her hair purple and had rings going all the way up both ears, she considered his “being evil thing” to be stupid, childish and beneath her. When he’d pointed at her necklace, which had featured a fang the day they had this argument, she’d said “it’s just a necklace, William. It’s just what I like to wear. It’s fashion, get over it.”

But William hadn’t gotten over it. He hadn’t gotten over her, either. But he had to, and in order to do that, he had to join this Evil Squad so he’d have somewhere to siphon his frustration to. He had a feeling that they gave assignments and stuff once you joined. That could keep him busy. Being busy would be good.

Finally, William sat back down at the computer, and instead of looking up poisons, he logged onto his instant messenger program. He had two screen-names that he used. One was EvilWilliam, which he’d been using for years, even before he decided to join the Evil Squad. The other, the one he used now, was GoodGothKid. He’d created this one only a few months ago.

He saw, with a leap of his heart, that Hannah was online. She messaged him almost at once.

BlackRoses: Hey!

GoodGothKid: Hey :).

BlackRoses: I’m so glad you’re online. I really need someone to talk to.

GoodGothKid: I’m here for you, you know I’m always here for you.

And as Hannah told him about her day, William pretended to be a guy called Tom who lived a couple states over, who was goth but not evil, and who Hannah actually liked.

An Award’s Ongoing Journey and a Progress Report

I received the Prolific Blogger Award from Brown Paper Bag Girl last night [well, last night in my time zone – not sure about anyone else’s]. I’m incredibly flattered at what she wrote about my blog, and I’d just like to say that I love her writing and that I’m so glad that I discovered her blog. And now:

Rules: Pass the award to seven bloggers who inspire you, make you laugh, make you think or a combination of all. Make sure you include a link to the person who gave you the award and that’s about it. Quite simple, fun and an easy way to brighten someone’s day.” So here we go, although I’m not limiting myself to seven, because it’s too hard. I pass this award on to:

1) Right back attcha, Brown Paper Bag Girl!

2) The lovely Mckenzie.

3) The amazing Erin.

4) The awesome Kit.

5) The cool Living Dilbert.

6) The wise Eva.

7) The talented Den.

8 ) The bluegrass Doc B.

9) The inspiring Trisha.

10) The authoress Heather.

11) The strong and united Joy+Family.

12) The aspiring Miss Rosemary.

13) The wonderful Suzi.

14) The amusing but touching Jane.

15) The musical Mikael.

16) The creative Lua.

Phew. I think that I didn’t leave anyone out this time. Everyone’s links are in there [or should be] so if you happen to be a newcomer and don’t know about any of these blogs, you can see that I recommend them highly! Most of you, though, will probably know half the people here. I suppose I should really try to broaden my blog-sphere, maybe find some new people to introduce! But for now, I’ll leave it to these sixteen people to pass the award on to people who haven’t got it yet. Poor awards… Their journey never ends. Even if two or three people don’t pass it on, surely the others will. I wish you well, Award, and hope your journey through the cyber-world will be enjoyable!

___________________

Now, I know that two days don’t mean zilch. Not in the long run. But I can’t help but be thrilled that I’ve managed – both yesterday and today – to sit down and write. WRITE. For two hours straight. The time passed fast. Today, I felt as if I could have kept going for a while. This makes me hopeful. Maybe I do have the discipline it takes. Maybe, just maybe… Please, maybe. At least maybe.

Awards? Wow. Awards!

I’ve never understood the award thing very much around here – it just confused me a lot at the beginning that people were giving each other all these awards! But now that I’ve gotten two from the lovely Peg at her blog, I’m going to pass them on and abide by their rules.

This award really honors me, since I began this blog assuming I would only post fiction or poetry or articles in it, but with the family of friends that I’ve acquired here, I’ve branched out and written things about my personal life as well, something that I wasn’t comfortable doing at first. This specific award I’d like to give to the following:

1. Mckenzie the Lovely at Unabridged Girl. She writes about everything – her life, her thoughts, her writing. She shares some of her fiction with her readers, and is astonishing, because she’s such a fabulous writer both in and out of fiction writing.

2. Erin the Awesome, at Wild Archaic , who writes short, long, funny and poignant posts, sometimes about daily life, sometimes about authors and books and her opinions. She also publishes her fiction and is, as far as I’m concerned, a fabulous writer.

3. Joy and her group of family and friends here are just about the most versatile group you could find. They write about their opinions, with strong conviction but with an open mind to discussion and great sincerity and experience. You gals are wonderful, and Joy took my under her wing almost from day one, and I genuinely feel that she and her fellow writers are amazing women.

I like this one, because I hope I manage to bring happiness to some readers! Even though sometimes, like my last post, I tend to depress them :/. Now this award applies to the women above, PLUS:

1. J.W. at his blog – his posts have always made me happy because I love to read them. They’re always interesting, and often funny or moving as well.

2. Kit (I’ve just learned your name from the About section in your blog!) at Goggles & Lace, because I swear she’s my emotional twin and I love reading her posts – both fiction and every day.

3. Living Dilbert makes me laugh, laugh, laugh, and she actually matches my cynicism [and hidden hope and tenderness, too] about the world.

4. Dr. Tom Bibey at his bluegrass blog who makes me less cynical because his words are always touching and wonderful.

5. Heather, who’s amazing and sweet and her writing rocks my socks here.

6. Den, who’s a new discovery for me, and he makes me happy with his amazing flash fiction.

7. Eva, who I’m adding late because, well, it’s hard to always remember everyone who makes you happy! But she does. She makes me thing, she makes me wonder, and she makes me happy since I love reading her blog.

In case there’s someone I didn’t list here, I don’t want you to think that you don’t deserve these awards. I don’t actually read blogs that don’t deserve these awards, just so you know!. I’m trying to honor some specific people who have been close to me and meaningful, which is why I limited myself…

Now, I’m supposed to do the following things as well:

Seven Things You Don’t Know About Me:

1. I went to the first Metallica concert in Israel in eleven years last night with Sir B. F. and I had an amazing, awesome, splendiferous time.

2. My astrological sign is Cancer, and I hate that because every family member I’ve known well who’s passed away has died from a cancer.

3. I’m a devoted cat person, but I really, sincerely love all animals that aren’t insects. I love snakes. I love rats.

4. My eyes are green-grey, and their color is probably my favorite thing about my looks and my one vanity.

5. I almost went deaf when I was very small and had to have surgery to fix it. My parents noticed it because I was reading their lips instead of looking at their eyes when they spoke.

6. I’m so pale that I’m see-through. My veins are visible almost everywhere.

7. I love singing.

Ten Things That Make Me Happy (things, not people, so I’ll stick to that so as not to objectify anyone I love!):

1. Weather – I love experiencing sun on my face, rain on the windows, a breeze in my hair.

2. My favorite bands.

3. Books books books books books books books.

4. Computer games [yes, I’m a girl-gamer, and thus, a geek].

5. Pens and paper.

6. The Internet.

7. Blogs.

8. Those certain items of clothing that make me feel special [come on, we all have one or two of those].

9. My tattoo. I love that after five years of wanting it, I finally got it once it was legal to.

10. Chocolate.

Whoops, Techonology Strikes

Well, I am now a proud owner of Windows 7. My desktop computer has finished installing and it seems to be working perfectly.

There’s only one problem. One MAJOR problem. The Internet connection doesn’t work. Which sucks big time.

I’m currently writing this quick note from my little EEEpc Netbook, in order to explain why I’m not going to be around on blogs tonight or tomorrow [my time, which is probably anywhere between seven to ten hours ahead of most people reading this] because I’m going to be dealing with computer/Internet love-affair-gone-wrong issues. Hopefully by Saturday night, US time, I’ll be able to catch up with y’all.

I feel like some sort of failed superhero – managed to install Win7, only to fail utterly at being able to use the computer for very much for the time being. Yes, I’m pouting, how could you tell?

The Authentic Self Book

I was having trouble with what I should write about tonight. I sat at my computer, with my wonderful-and-still-exciting screen, and I stared and stared and discarded idea after idea. I am ashamed to say, I caved. I opened a new tab, and typed in “writing prompts” in Google. I then chose the first two websites that came up and started browsing the prompts, thinking how fun it would be to write about some of those things. And yet, it felt like cheating. Little did I know that I would still find my subject on one of these websites.

As I looked randomly at the advertisement sitting smugly above the prompts in one of the sites, I found my subject. A giggle escaped my lips, and I proceeded back to WordPress and typed in the title of this post. Yes, the ad was for something called “The Authentic Self Book.” Written underneath the name and the website, it says this: “Are you living an authentic life? Unearth your authentic self. Start journaling your joys, griefs, and all the other life themes in between, and you’ll discover who you really are.” [Random aside – WordPress spellchecker says “journaling” is not a real word.]

I’m all for keeping journals. I’m all for living authentic lives. I’m all for finding out as much as you can about yourself and being honest about your life, your feelings, your virtues and weaknesses. However, and this is a big however, I find it incredibly hard to believe anyone who wants to be so-called authentic would buy a book like this.

Teehee, I love the randomness of the interwebs.