Thursday, August 24, 2006

lives that tie us down

Setting (suggested by a friend):

A man lays in an overgrown field, huge blue sky, there's a boring county

road nearby that people speed on. A ways away is a big tree. He lays on his
back, the long grass like an aura around him. He's wearing a white linen
shirt and jeans. He lays there curiously shooting a pistol straight up into
the sky. Maybe he's waiting to see if he hears them land, wondering where
the bullets go. Maybe he doesn't care.
----

Story (continued by me):

Each shot feels as if it takes part of the pain with it. Tearing out of him

with its thunderous violence, streaking into the heavens far away from here.

If there's a place where these screams can go and I'll never hear them
again, he thinks, these bullets seem fit to deliver them.

The chamber rotates, the hammer falls, and the world erupts once more. Six
bullets now, up there past the clouds, carrying his sins faster than the
speed of sound. Furious angels rushing to tell God what they saw him do.

He feels the weight of the metal in his hand, suddenly heavy. It falls and
hits the grass with a dull thud. Hot, hard metal on soft, cool earth. The
incongruity does not escape him and he laughs to himself - which, of course,
brings him back to reality. Suddenly the weightless feeling is gone and he
feels heavy; heavy in every way a man can feel heavy. His tongue feels
thick in his mouth and the creases at the sides of his eyes sting.

He sits up and looks down that road. For him, it only goes one way.

His back cries out as he bends to stand. For one second he's afraid that
his legs won't support his weight. God wouldn't it be pathetic if I fell
over trying to stand, he thinks. He'd put his hand down into the dirt and
wet grass and fall onto his side like an old man and there'd be no one to
see it happen, no one to laugh it off to, except maybe that crow in the arms
of the tree over there.

But he makes it up, leaning awkwardly to the side, arm with the pistol
hanging just a little lower. He grips it for support and moves toward his
car, still stopped in the gravel on the side of the road.

Friday, August 04, 2006

ahab

(from this story)
His friends had fought for hours against the pull of this hook.


Writhing and struggling, life draining from their bodies. He had watched helplessly time and again as they had been dragged up and away, exhausted and bleeding from the mouth; never seen again.

Today, it was his turn. The fish he'd snagged so swiftly caught in his throat and then - he was violently jerked away. It had him. The killer that had taken more of his kind than any other.

Anger. Rage. Instinct took over. Yes, tied to his enemy, today he would seek his revenge. His death was inevitable and anything else at this moment would be sweet.

"To the last, I grapple with thee!" He launched himself toward the gleaming mirror of the ocean top. "From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!" The sun shone through and its warmth met the blazing molten heat radiating from his heart. "For Hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!"

He broke through the surface, launching higher than he'd ever been in his life. Gasping for water, he met Death eye to eye.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

hero

The electronic wailing was incessant.

And the server room door was closing. Fast. The hydraulic door closer was the only thing keeping him from being locked on this side while it happened.

A level three containment breach in the first server cabinet. And it was mere seconds away.

But.

These are the moments that make men. He stopped. And the door closed.

With the click of the lock, the alarms from the servers silenced. They knew as well as he did that this was it. The moment of truth. The gates of Hell open in this room right now - and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Atleast that's what they said. But infinite possibilities open once infinite sacrifices are to be made... He sat at the console; interfacing with the servers at the root. Services were failing before he could shut them down properly. His hands flew. Brow furrowed and sweat filling the creases; he typed.

He was fooling himself if he thought it wasn't inevitable, though. He wasn't going to be able to save the servers. He'd die in here with them. He knew that now just like he knew it then. But the data was offloaded - and the world would go on.

The needs of the many, after all, outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one...

Yesterday, alive, he was nameless. Today and in here, dead, he was immortal.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

iNoir

Tap. Tap-Tap.

There was a hesitant knock on the metal border of the cube's entrance. Not a moment too soon, he thought. The drone of the white noise from the overhead speakers was slowly lulling him into a dreamless stupor. He turned.

She was a sight for monitor-strained eyes. With a little work, she'd be the kind of call-girl you'd give up a week's paycheck for. It'd had been a while since someone like that had walked into his cube...

What could she want from him? He'd take a guess and it might be good or it might be crummy. Didn't matter... He could see it in her eyes that she needed his help. He wasn't in the mood to help anyone, but he knew he'd help her today. Her skirt made sure of that. And the way that blouse fit made it all right.

And then she spoke. "I was wondering if you'd help me plug my iPod into my computer?"

"Yes, sweetheart. I would."

Monday, July 24, 2006

signs and portents


You have chosen wisely. But you still did not win.

He couldn't shake the feeling that it was right; the cap from his SoBe Energize tea bottle. The ominous saying written on the inside of the cap echoed inside his head with the dusty voice of an aged and broken Crusader at the foot of the Holy Grail.

He took a deep breath. How could the cap so accurately capture the feeling that hovered over him nebulously without words for days? Could he merely dismiss it as sheer coincidence? Could he afford to? Did he believe in coincidence? Did he believe in fate, signs, or portents? Was it just one of those things?

Gravity. A heavy pull from the cap. No, not the cap - the words. The words, etched into the aluminum. Their weight pressed into the cap and bent the metal into the form of language.

What if it was he who created the message? Did his thoughts, struggling to be made real and finding no outlet in the form of a spoken word, a sigh, a scream, a curled fist, instead find a way to bend metal and speak to him from out there instead of from the confines of his mind?

Is that why it resonated? And were the consequences of that any easier to bear?