Back in the Saddle

I have been waiting to use this expression for some time now. It first struck me as an utterly remarkable phrase while playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare II. You complete the opening mission and gain the in-game achievement “Back in the Saddle”.  The phrase came up again while I was playing Final Fantasy XIV, as the name of a particular mission when a once long gone character makes a rather grand return. (Notice an odd trend with me and video games…) In both instances this phrase struck a cord with me primarily because it brought on a feeling of familiarity with nothing more than a few simple words, and to initiate a feeling solely with the proper positioning of a few key words is writing in it most powerful form.

Enough stalling! I’ve been away for a little more than 12 months an entire year and now I’m back in the saddle! (of blogging and what have you) And now so are you, so buckle up cowboys and cowgirls we’re about to ROLL OUT! Get along little doggies! (Maybe I’ve taken the country western cowboy theme a bit far…)

Okay more writing about writing coming soon. Welcome Back!

See you soon,

Lefty

The Boy Who Cried…

I’m still working on Chapter 24 but I’ve decided to post an excerpt from the book. This is from early in the book and is the first appearance of the main protagonist. Comments are always welcome.

A key hung from a shoestring, and the shoestring hung loosely from the neck of a small boy. He fiddled with it, struggling to pull it from underneath his shirt and place it into the front door. He was sniveling; remnants of tears could be seen along either side of his face, along with a large welt stained across his right cheek, it would turn dark purple by tomorrow. A school yard fight, with a school yard bully was the source behind his unusually frantic disposition. He was usually a happy and joyful child, but this had been his first fight, ever. He was eight.
            He knew his mother would be upset that he had been fighting, but truthfully it wasn’t his fault. Nick Abernathy had followed him half-way home from school, teasing him about his father. He was dead. But Nick said he was probably just a “dead beat” who ran out on him and his mother, and she probably just made up the story about him being dead because it was better than admitting he and abandoned them. He tried explaining to Nick – along with the small group that had gathered to watch his persecution – that his father was a hero who had died bravely as a U.S. soldier. A hero who had died protecting everyone and everything that he loved. A hero like in his comic books, a hero like Powerman, or the Olympian. Nick and the other kids laughed at this explanation, then Nick pushed him… so he punched Nick, and our small boy fought for the first time, and he lost.
            The key served its purpose, there was a catch and a loud click as the door unlocked, and the sobbing young fighter made his way inside.
            “Mom!” he called out, but received no response. The house was dark, the curtains drawn over the windows, blocking out the afternoon sun. He darted to the bathroom, making a futile attempt to clean himself up. He splashed water on his face, ran a cold towel across his eyes and took a deep breath, all in the hopes the he could wipe away the smell, look and shaky nerves of a fresh fight. None of it worked, not even in the slightest.
            He crept slowly into his mother’s room, opting to get a jump on explaining himself first, before she found out what happened by some other ‘unscrupulous’ means. Her room was just as dark as the rest of the house, perhaps even more so.
            “Mom?” he called out again, his voice already prepped for pity. She still didn’t answer. She lay in her bed, her back to him, apparently sound asleep. It was odd, she never slept during the middle of the day, and her room – which usually carried the delicately sweet scent of roses and wildflowers – filled his small nose with the strong and pungent odor of what he thought to be rotten eggs, in actuality it was sulfur; specifically it was brimstone. He stepped forward, and at that moment a bright yellow butterfly fluttered from his mother’s bed, landed on his open, awaiting hand then floated silently out of the room. His heart sank and immediately he knew something was wrong. He ran to his mother’s side.
            “Mom? Mom wake up!” she didn’t respond.
            “Mom!” he shook her shoulder. “Mom wake up please!”
            Nothing.
            “Mom you have to wake up now! Please mom, wake up!” Hot, wet tears began to streak down his face once again. “Mom please wake up! Don’t – please I’m sorry, don’t leave me!” by now he was screaming his face wet with tears, his nose runny and red; he struggled to catch his breath between pleas of desperation.
            “Mom please, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m… so, so sorry.” He buried his face into her chest and neck, she was still warm, she stilled smelled of roses and wildflowers. He inhaled the sweet aroma, taking in long lungfuls, desperate to breathe in as much of her as he could before the rotten stench of sulfur and pain pushed her out of his memories.
            “Mom?” he called out again, this time more gently, less hysterically as if his overactive emotions were what kept her quite. But still she didn’t reply, she simply lay motionless, lifeless, her beautiful brown face frozen in the last expression she would ever wear, a peaceful and serene smile, now stained with his tears and phlegm.
            Nate,” whispered a hushed little voice from out of the darkness of the room. It sounded slightly like a small child, probably no older than the boy himself.Nate can you hear me?
            “Wh-Who is that, who’s there?” he sobbed.
           It’s ok, I’m a friend.”The voice replied.
            “Why can’t I see you?! Where are you?”
           There’s no need for you to see me, at least not right now, but I’m here, I’m with you now, that’s all that matter.
            “Well if you’re a friend then help me, my mom is hurt, o-o-or she’s sick, she needs to go to the hospital.”
           No Nate… she doesn’t, I’m sorry but it’s too late. She’s gone.
            “NO! You’re lying! She’s not gone, she’s not! She wouldn’t leave me here, she wouldn’t leave alone like this, she wouldn’t  I know she wouldn’t ..” Nate clenched tightly to his mother, crying frantically into her shoulder.
            Nate I’m sorry, it’s true. But you don’t have to be afraid, you’re not alone, you’ll never be alone. I’m here –
            “Shut up! Get away from me! Leave me alone! I don’t need you! I don’t need anybody… WE don’t need anybody, get away… get away.” Nate held on, sobbing and panting, determined not to let anyone pull him away.
            Nate… you have to leave… it’s time – it’s time for us to go.
            “No!” he sobbed.
           It’s too late, I’m sorry… we’re already gone… its already over… besides, you have a job interview in 3 hours.
            “What?!”
            Nate awoke covered in a cold damp sweat. Sunlight peered in through his bedroom window. He checked his alarm clock. 6:58 a.m. It was scheduled to go off in 2 minutes. He had his first job interview since graduating college at 10 a.m.
            “It’s going to be a long f***ing day.” He mumbled to himself, no one replied.
***

UMWP #1 Planet of the Apes- New World Order

Its January and it’s time for me to drop my first Unique Monthly Writing Project, for the blog. Now these will be monthly post that contain a short story, a portion of a short story or perhaps just a writing project idea. Totally open to critiquing and feedback.  This is basically an exercise to keep my writing sharp and allow you to follow along as my writing style develops and advances.

 This first UMWP is I guess what you would consider fan fic, or more precisely it’s spin off fiction. It’s set in the Planet of the Apes Universe, only a few thousand generations apart from any of the movies. Bottom line is I’m a big POA fan and decided to drop a character of my own into the world just to see how either of us would fare. Read it, enjoy it and let’s say if I get enough request via the comments, I’ll write and release Episode 2.

Enjoy!

Lefty

POA- New World Order

Episode 1: Sweat, Blood and Tears

I woke up with the distinctively irritating feeling of sand in my mouth. Sand and blood, the two formed a horrible combination when mixed, and also an overwhelming feeling of nausea when you had no idea where either of them had come from. I managed to pull myself up to my feet. At a complete lost for where I was, or how I had gotten there, I did the only thing I could think to do, and begin to walk toward the setting sun.

From the inside all deserts look the same. My mind scrambled trying to remember or recall, which one I currently in. The Sahara, the Mojave, the Gobi; was I dropped out of a plane, did I escape from some remote facility, did I just randomly pop out of the sand? I had no history, no memories, nothing. Amnesia in the truest sense, and it sucked. Then again I couldn’t even faithfully call it amnesia, as far as I knew 20 minutes ago I didn’t even exist. To have amnesia you have to at least have a past, you just don’t remember what it is, but when you’ve just popped up out of the sand, you don’t have a past. You’re just there.

I checked my person for equipment or even clues as to my identity. Heavy duty standard issue work pants, made from a chemically treated fabric, a cotton polyester blend, tough enough to offer me ample protection from the elements without stifling or restricting my movement. They were apparently designed for such conditions. How I knew this, I had no idea. Perhaps I was a tailor in a past life, either way the pockets were empty and I was still, in a word, clueless. I was wearing a matching jacket made from the same technologically advanced material, and though the heat beamed, I zipped up the jacket. Protection from the sun and sand was more important than a little sweat.

My feet sank deep into the shifting sand with every step. I stumbled, I’m not afraid to admit, over dune after dune with no particular destination in mind.

After walking for what seemed like hours, I could see, what I assumed to be, a group of crudely constructed buildings in the far distance. My excitement grew as the buildings turned out to be actual solid objects and not simply symptoms of my oncoming madness from the extended exposure to the sweltering heat and complete lack of water. I picked up my speed and by the time the falling sun begin to touch the horizon; I was closing in on what looked to be some type of abandoned village in the middle of nowhere. The collision of the Sun and Earth turned the world a brilliant color orange, setting the tone for the ominous showdown that was about to in sue.

By the time I hit the empty village the unbearable heat had done a complete 180 degree turn and had suddenly become mind numbingly cold, the only feeling of consistency was my unwavering thirst, that, and the translucent orange tint that covered everything visible to the naked eye as the sun sank deeper behind the strange planet’s distant curving peak. I entered the ghost town in a frenzy. I stumbled clumsily through the dirt and grit of the small plot of civilization that someone, at some point in time, had probably considered a town. The scene was indeed desolate, to say the least. The air smelled heavily of abandonment, the buildings and city structures showed multiple signs of neglect. It seemed to not have been populated by a living soul in years, perhaps decades, there was no real way for me to know, but in my current state, It was safe to say I didn’t care. Banging on the first door I came across, I began frantically calling out for help and begging some unseen Samaritan for water. Though in my heart, I knew I truly expected no one to answer my call. More than anything I believe I was screaming only to say, once I died, that I did indeed fight desperately for my own survival. Sad I know.

I reached for the door handle of a small shabby hovel of wood and stone, only to find it tightly locked. This surprised me, and against my better judgment a small glimmer of hope sparked from deep within my stomach. If someone thought to lock the door than that meant that that same someone had to be inside. I pressed my face against the smooth wood, it was warm! I heard the sound of shuffling feet on the other side, someone was there!

“Hey!” My voice cracked and trembled as my throat screamed for some type of moisture. “Is anybody there?! I-I was out in the desert; I just need some water, maybe something to eat! I-I-I can pay! Please, I have money!” I lied. I reached into my pockets to find nothing but lint, my main goal was to get that door open, the details, I figured, could be worked out after I avoided dying of thirst, hunger or hypothermia.

I begin to bang even harder. My life depended on it. “Hey! Open this door, are you going to let me freaking die out here! I’m asking you for help”

“Please,” a soft whimper came from the other side of the closed door. “Please go away, we can’t help you.”

“Is someone there?” the sound of another voice calmed by frantic pounding and yelling, it wasn’t until hearing the comfort of another sentient life form that I realized how lonely and afraid I had been, and now, how absolutely crazy I must have sounded. “Please, please, please I understand. I just need some water. I woke up in the desert alone, I’ve been walking for hours, just some water please that’s all I ask then I’ll leave you alone.”

The voice on the other side went quite, the shuffling stopped. Perhaps a few seconds passed without a single sound from the other side of the door. I begin to wonder if I had imagined the shuffling, imagined the voice, I begin to panic, the feeling of dread and loneliness begin to set back in. The only thing worst then dying of thirst and starvation in the middle of nowhere is going insane before dying of thirst and starvation in the middle of nowhere. I began beating on the door again, determined to make the phantom voice appear once again. “Hey! Hey!” I screamed as loud as my voice would allow. “Are you still in there?”

“Please,” the phantom voice returned even softer than before “You have to be quiet, if I give you water do you promise to leave”

“Yes” I responded without hesitation. Hell, at that point I would have agreed to anything, anything for the promise of water and to keep the voice from disappearing again. “I’ll leave, I promise just please, please give me some water.”

“Sister, no!” another voice from behind emerged.

“Be quiet, if he keeps banging and screaming he’ll attract them for sure, this is the only way.”

It wasn’t until I heard the other voice, which sounded distinctly like that of a young boy, that I was able to fully appreciate the gentleness and femininity of the phantom voice. It was a soothing and mellow sound, and for a moment I allowed its rhythmic melody to dance in my mind, focusing more on its beauty, as oppose to the actual words. As it turns out I should have been a lot more focused on the “them” and finding out exactly why they were so hell bent on not “attracting” their attention. Regretfully now I admit, I did not.

Once again the shuffling stopped. The locks on the door began to unlatch themselves, slowly the door crept open, I breathed a sigh of relief, followed quickly and swiftly by a gasp of complete and utter horror.

The door opened slightly only to reveal an Ape standing behind it, slightly peeking out from around the edge of the door. And then, right before I could even let out a girlish scream of absolute terror, it spoke.

“Well, what are you waiting for come in!” She spoke in a horsed whisper. She? It was her, the phantom voice was the ape girl. The room began to spin, maybe it was the sudden drop in temperature, the lack of water, whatever extenuating circumstance that brought me to the twilight zone, but my fragile mind had reached its breaking point, and right before my mind passed into absolute oblivion, I managed to choke out the words

“You’re a monkey.” And with that I begin a face first descent into the hard cold wooden floor of the doorway, and passed out before I hit the ground.

To Be Continued…

My Ambitions as a Writer

Stay diligent. Stay focused. Do not succumb to self pity or doubt.

That nagging feeling in the back of your mind, the one that whispers to you “Give up.”
The one that so plainly points out the irrationality of your actions.
The one so adamant to convince you that, you are merely wasting time you do not have.
Ignore that. That is only your fear.

Your insincere Fear.

Your fear of Rejection, your fear of Disappointment, your fear of Failure, your fear of Success.

It is only your insincere fear.

It, by no means, truly believes a single thing that it has said.

So write on, write on, the chapter is almost finished, that paragraph almost done, that sentence is almost perfect.
Don’t stop! GO!

Go!
Move!
Grow!
Crawl!
Push!
Pull!
Beg!
Plead!
Pray!
Cry!
Laugh!
Love!

Live, and die… but do it all on that page.

And when you’re done… do it again.

Tell your story.