Bitter Lies

I thought I’d share another story.  This is one of the first short stories I’ve written.

Frank sat in his hotel room, his head in his hands. He felt he was on a slippery slope. What was he doing here? Who was he kidding? A woman like that would never give him a second glance. A fifty year old man with a paunch. He must be so deluded to even think she would. He looked at his watch for at least the tenth time since he’d arrived here. 

 

He stood up, walked to the bathroom and doused his face with cold water. Feeling a little better he went back into the bedroom and moved to the door that led to the balcony. Opening it, he stepped outside. The cool April air refreshed him, calmed his nerve a little. 

 

“What am I doing here?”, he asked himself. Shaking his head, he reflected on the events of last night. Chatting to her online. The beautiful blonde woman who had captured his heart. “What is she going to think when she sees who I really am?” 

 

Frank was a used car salesman. A failed used car salesman. He had made only one sale in the last two months and just got fired. And now here he was kidding himself that a looker like that wouldn’t just turn right around and walk away once she’d clocked him. Shaking his head, he walked back into the hotel room. 

 

To distract himself, he flicked on the television, turning to the news channel. He tried to lose himself in the reports but they were the usual crap of murder and mayhem and only made him more depressed.

 

Finally, he called room service and ordered a double brandy. Maybe a bit of Dutch courage was all he needed. He looked at his watch yet again. She would be here in ten minutes, if she was on time. Frank made a vow to himself there and then never to do this again.

 

There was a knock on the door and a voice shouted “room service.” 

 

That was quick.

 

He opened the door, took the drink, and gave the waiter a dollar tip.

 

Walking back to the bed, he sat and took a long gulp, gasping as the drink burned in his throat. Then the warmth sank to his stomach. God that felt better. 

 

He opened his briefcase and took out the photograph he had printed of the woman he was here to meet. They had been talking to each other for a month before deciding to meet. He had sent a photograph of himself when he was twenty years younger, and much better looking. Her photo showed she was in her thirties, long slim legs that wouldn’t quit. A nice firm bust displayed in a tight t shirt. His mouth watered just looking at her. Why would she even look twice at him? He gulped down the rest of his drink, and then sat there just thinking. Finally he made a decision. He packed away the photograph and left the room. He took the elevator down to the lobby. 

 

Frank rang the bell at the main desk. The receptionist, a pretty brunette, popped up from behind the desk.

 

“Sorry, I was just rearranging some files. How can I help you?”

 

“I had a change of plans” he replied. “I guess I won’t be staying for the night. How much do I owe?”

 

“I’m sorry to hear that” replied the receptionist. “I’ll only charge you half price for the room and for the drink. I’m afraid I won’t be able to do fairer than that.”

 

“That’s okay, I figured I would have to pay something.”

 

“Can I ask what the reason is for your early departure?” enquired the receptionist. “Was there a problem with the room?”

 

“Oh, no, the room was fine. The problem is with me” Frank laughed a little bitterly. “I was just deluding myself about something.”

 

The receptionist gave him a strange look but accepted his offered credit card and put the charge on it. “There you go” she smiled handing the card back. “Have a nice day.”

 

“Thanks, you too” he smiled, putting his credit card away. He turned away and barely glanced at the frumpy looking blonde that walked past him on her way to the reception desk.

 

Sighing to himself, Frank walked out of the hotel to get back to his dull life.

 

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

 

The receptionist smile brightly at the blonde who looked in her fifties. “Can I help you?”

 

The woman smiled back. “Yes I’m looking for a Frank Webster. He should be here already.”

 

The receptionists’ smile faltered. “Oh, I’m afraid you just missed him. He just checked out less than a minute ago.”

 

The blonde woman thanked her and turned to walk out of the hotel feeling totally deflated. She reflected on the whole scheme. “Who was I kidding” she asked herself. She figured he must have seen the photo she had finally sent him this morning. The one of how she looked now. If only she hadn’t used that 30 year old photograph of her when she first started chatting. He must have seen the new photograph and been totally disappointed and left.

 

“Boy I was really deluding myself!” she thought as she walked out back to her dull, boring life. 

 

Crossed Wires – a short story

“It’s this way.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

Alice looked at the map. “Yes,” she snapped. “I do know how to read a map.”

 

“Okay, okay, no need to get tetchy.” Jack turned the wheel hard to the right, steering the old camper van onto a narrow gravel road. “This just doesn’t seem right. I mean, we’re not even on a proper road.”

 

Well, you wanted to get off the beaten track,” his wife reminded him.

 

“Not this far off the track.”

 

The van bounced over potholes hidden by the gravel. 

 

“I hope the suspension on this old crate is up to the job,” he grumbled. “This thing has seen better days.”

 

“Oh quit grumbling,” said Alice. “You’re the one who wanted to go camping.”

 

“Yeah, and you’re the one who booked it. We must have taken a wrong turn. There’s nothing out here.”

 

Alice traced the line of the road on the map with her finger. “It looks like the site is just another mile ahead. If we go two miles without finding it, we’ll turn back.”

 

Jack glanced sideways at his wife. “Is that your way of admitting you’re wrong?”

 

“I’m never wrong,” Alice sniffed. 

 

Jack shook his head. “You women always say that.”

 

“Although, I will admit I may have made one mistake in my life.”

 

“Go on then, I’ll bite. What was that?”

 

“I married you!” Alice winked at him.

 

Jack glared at her for a moment then laughed. “Yeah, yeah, I don’t know how you put up with me.”

 

“Two large gin and tonics every night. Nothing else would do it.”

 

The old van bounced over a particularly large pothole. Jack’s head hit the ceiling. “Ow. Dammit.”

 

Before Alice could say anything, she spotted two buildings ahead. “See? What did I tell you? I’m never wrong.”

 

“We don’t know if that’s the right place, yet,” Jack reminded her.

 

“Of course it is. You just don’t want to admit I’m right.”

 

Moments later it became obvious they’d found the camp site, as tents came into view.

 

“It looks very basic,” Jack commented. “There doesn’t seem to be much of any amenities.”

 

“Well, you wanted to get away from it all,” Alice reminded him.

 

“Yeah, yeah, you said that already. It’s just that I don’t fancy driving along this road at night. Not that there’s anywhere nearby to drive to.” He noticed something and slammed his foot on the brake, throwing them both forward against their seatbelts.

 

“Jack! What do you think you’re doing? Have you lost your mind?”

 

“Something’s not right.” Jack leaned forward, peering at the campsite ahead.

 

“What on earth do you mean?”

 

“Well take a look at those two over there, walking to that tent.”

 

Alice followed the line of his arm as he pointed to the people he meant. They were facing toward her and walking to a large four man tent. They were a man and a woman, walking arm in arm. Alice could clearly see the woman’s breasts, bouncing and unfettered. And she could see the man’s… “Oh! They’re naked!”

 

As the middle-aged couple looked around they could see other people similarly unclothed.

 

Jack turned to his wife. “What was the name of the campsite you booked?”

 

“Back to Basics, “his wife answered in a small voice. 

 

“And where did you find this camp?”

 

“On a camping website. I called the number shown on the site. I said we were looking for a back to basics sort of camp site.”

 

“Well, didn’t they give you any other information?”

 

“Only that it was very secluded and private.”

 

“I can see why.” Jack nodded to the camp.

 

“What do we do now?”

 

“I guess we go in. I don’t see that we have any other choice since there’s nothing else for miles around. Besides it’s going to be dark soon. No wonder this place cost so much.”

 

“I can’t go around naked in public,” his wife shrieked.

 

“We’ll just have to hide out in the van. Like I said, it’ll be dark soon anyway. Nobody will be able to see much. We’ll just stay for tonight and try to get some money back tomorrow. This is some vacation. At least you can’t say you’re never wrong any more.”

 

Alice huffed and folded her arms over her chest. 

 

Jack drove up to the main gate. If nothing else, it’d be something to tell his friends about at the bridge club.

 

A Different Perspective

Pete Harrington stood watching his ten year old son, Jake, kick his soccer ball around on the soccer pitch in the park. He rolled his shirt sleeves up. It was unusually warm for early October, and he hadn’t had time to change out of his suit. After coming home from work, Jake had harangued and harassed him to take him to the park. All Pete had really wanted to do was put his feet up and open a nice cold beer. But since he wasn’t going to get any peace, he’d agreed. At least the beer would wait until later. Sometimes this kid was way too hyperactive for Pete to handle. He could barely keep up with the boy. Had he been that energetic when he’d been Jake’s age? He’d forgotten what it was like to be young. Working all the hours God sends just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table tended to do that to you. It’s typical, he thought to himself. You spend the best years of your life working your ass off trying to make enough money for a comfortable life and then you never have time to do anything with the money you earn. 

 

“Hey dad, wanna kick the ball around with me?” The skinny fair-haired boy looked hopefully at his father. 

 

“No, it’s okay son. You go kick your ball around. Show me what you can do. I’ll sit on that bench over there and watch you.” 

 

The disappointed look Jake shot at him was like a kick in the teeth. But it didn’t stop Pete turning away and trudging to the bench. Someone was already sitting there, an older man, maybe in his late fifties, with salt and pepper hair. Pete nodded to the man before sitting on the other end of the bench. They sat in silence for a moment.

 

“That your kid?” The older man finally asked. 

 

“Yeah, he’s a real soccer nut. Wants to run around with the ball all day long.”

 

“What’s his name?”

 

Pete hesitated, unsure whether he should answer. Why was this stranger so interested in his boy? “His name’s Jake,” he finally said.

 

The old man turned to Pete, and with a low chuckle said, “Relax, I’m no predator. My name’s Darryl by the way.”

 

“I’m Pete. I just wasn’t sure why you’re so interested in my kid. You can’t be too careful these days.”

 

Darryl sighed. “A truer word never spoken. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uneasy. My wife and I moved here recently. Your son sure has a lot of energy.”

 

Both men watched Jake run full pelt from one end of the pitch to the other, controlling the ball perfectly. Pete sighed. “Yeah, you’re not wrong there. To be honest he gets a bit too much for me sometimes. Tell you the truth, I’d much rather be home right now, nursing a beer. But Jake was very insistent that I take him here. He’s trying out for the school soccer team. So…do you have kids of your own?”

 

Darryl shook his head once, but didn’t say anything.

 

“You didn’t want any?” Despite his initial suspicion, Pete found himself becoming genuinely curious about this stranger.

 

Darryl sat silent for a moment. “We tried. God knows, we tried. At first we tried the natural way, but as the years passed with no success we realized we were going to need some help. We went to a fertility clinic. We tried artificial insemination, IVF, nothing helped. The IVF was the worst. We tried five months in a row. That was the worst part. I had to stick a huge needle in the top of my wife’s butt every night for weeks. It hurt her so much and I hated doing it. It would all have been worth while if it had given us what we both so desperately wanted.” The old man’s eyes took on a faraway look, clearly recalling that painful time. “We tried everything we could, until our funds ran out. Then we just had to accept it wasn’t God’s plan for us to have children. That was the hardest realization I’ve ever had to make.”

 

“I’m sorry to hear that. It must have been a tough thing to go through.” Even as he said it, Pete knew how trite his words must have sounded. But what else could you say? What do you say to anyone who’s going through a tough time? ‘I’m sorry.’ The truth was there was nothing else you could say. “Didn’t you try for adoption?”

 

The older man shook his head. “I was open to the idea. But Muriel? She wouldn’t hear of it. She wanted a child of her own, and that was that. Nothing would change her mind. Well, I’m retired now, and all we have is each other. No kids to visit us, no grandkids to spoil. And everywhere I look all I see is fathers with their children. I love to watch them interact, but it’s like a dagger through the heart at the same time. All those things I’ll never experience. I come out here sometimes because I just have to get out of the house. Muriel’s cold to me these days and the silence gets me down so bad.” He turned his body slightly to face Pete. “Son, I know you probably work too many hours a day. And I know when you get home you’re probably tired and the last thing you feel like doing is running around after Jake. But if you could spend just one day in my shoes, I know you’d see things differently. Because I’d happily trade places with you. Wouldn’t even need to think about it. That boy clearly loves you and he wants your attention and he wants you to interact with him as much as you can. It’s easy for me to say this I know, but appreciate him as much as you can because there are a lot of us out there who can’t have what you have. And believe me, it hurts like hell.” He stood up, nodded to Pete, and slowly walked away. 

 

Pete stared after Darryl for a moment, thinking over what the old man had said. Then he turned to watch Jake dribbling with the ball toward goal. He stood up and walked onto the pitch. “Hey, Jake. How about you go in goal?” 

 

Jake stared at his father in surprise for a moment. Then he grinned. “Sure, pop!” 

 

“And afterward, we’ll go get some ice-cream and rent a movie. Whatever you want to see.”

 

It was funny how he’d never noticed before how a child’s smile of joy could light up your heart. What else had he missed out on? He resolved then and there to never again take his son for granted. It had taken a chance encounter with a complete stranger to give him a whole new perspective on life.

 

Classical Inspiration

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I was listening to some classical music earlier.  I do that a lot these days.  I just can’t get enough of it.  Anyway, as I was listening, a sentence just popped into my mind. 

“Are you ******* kidding me?”

I didn’t react, I just waited to see what would happen next.  A brief conversation exchange went on in my head.

This happens to me fairly often.  Don’t worry, I’m not really crazy.  I don’t think I am, anyway.

I’m a writer. 

Ask any writer and they’ll probably tell you the same thing happens to them.

I hope.

Anyway, what often happens is a sentence, or a piece of description, or, like today, a fragment of conversation will just pop into my head, often when I’m distracted by something entirely unconnected to writing.  The most annoying time it happens is when I’m in the shower.  You might be surprised by how often that happens.  It must be something about the water hitting your head, maybe invigorating the brain.

The snippets usually relate to something I’m working on.  Or sometimes they’ll inspire a whole new story.  Which can be really annoying when you’re already working on something and you suddenly have this sexy new idea knocking on your brain, demanding to be let out.

So far the story seems to center around a young man who’s having a bad week.  He went on two job interviews, missing out on both.  His girlfriend just left him.  He’s behind on the rent and the landlord is making threatening noises about eviction.  So he decides to wallow in misery by playing a depressing piece of classical music.  I googled the most depressing classical music and one piece that came up a lot is Bach’s Come, Sweet Death.  Not only is the title ideal, the music itself definitely fits the bill.  But, hey, if anyone knows of a more depressing piece of classical music then please feel free to suggest it!  So the idea is a rough and ready heavy metal fan who died has been sent to be a guardian angel for someone who’s a classical music buff.  Should be an interesting mix…

I’ve already blogged about how listening to classical music helped me with my editing last week, even leading to a huge breakthrough on chapter one, something that had been bothering me for a long time.  It seems classical music can also inspire me in my general writing and story ideas.

Classical music: It’s not just for listening to.  Apparently.

A Taste For Classical

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Okay, so I now have another obsession.  Like I don’t already have enough, what with writing, Doctor Who and football.  But several days ago I was browsing on YouTube, looking for something fun to listen to.  I saw something about popular classical music and decided to listen,  I was in the mood for something different.  So I listened to pieces such as 1812 Overture, Moonlight Sonata, William Tell Overture and several others.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed listening to them.  So I decided to take this new interest one step further and seek out individual composers to hear what else they had.  After all, when you go to a foreign country you don’t just stay at the resort, do you?  If you want a true flavour of the country you go off the beaten track.  You take the road less traveled.  Well, just listening to the popular classics is a bit like staying at the resort.  It’s fun, but you can’t help wondering what else you’re missing.

So I did a search on Mozart and spent a couple of hours listening to various pieces he’d created.  I don’t think I heard a single piece I didn’t enjoy.  The following night I tried out Tchaikovski and spent another hour wallowing in the most beautiful sounds ever created.  The next night I checked out Chopin.  And the next night I butted heads with Beethoven.  Those are my top four composers so far.  I also listened to Haydn, Brahms and Bach.  Everything is so good, but those top four I mentioned are my firm favourites.  So far.  I just can’t stop listening to it!

I’ve even taken to listening to classical music at night before I fall asleep.  It’s so relaxing.  Last night I listened to Tchaikovski’s The Nutcracker.  It was wonderful. 

Here’s one of my absolute favourite classical pieces…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmEJLoawItU

The music is just amazing.  And I love watching the conductor.  He really gives it everything he’s got.  And he visibly slumps with exhaustion when it’s over.  I remember first hearing this piece when watching Torville and Dean win Olympic gold in 1984.  Has it really been thirty years?  It seems appropriate then that I should develop a taste for classical music on such a great anniversary.  I actually watched their performance on the anniversary of their win.  I didn’t even know at the time of watching it WAS the anniversary.  Synchronisity at its finest.

Last night was another first.  I decided to dust off my work in progress, Psychic Witness, and settle in for some serious editing.  While listening to classical music.  It really seemed to help as the editing just flowed.  For once.  I’m actually starting to believe I can get this novel finished and out there for people to read.

Anyway, I’d love to hear from any other classical music fans out there. Maybe you can point me to composers and music I don’t even know of yet.   

Six Million Dollar Fan

Yes, it’s time I outed myself.  I am a HUGE Six Million Dollar Man fan.  And The Bionic Woman.  I mean the Classic Bionic Woman series, not that train wreck of an attempt of a reboot.

These shows played a huge part in my childhood.  Even though they ended when I was only ten.  And with that, I’ve given away my age!  Never mind.  Even though the show ended so early in my life, I have such vivid memories of watching the show.  I love everything about both shows.  Yes, even those cheesy bionic sounds.  They might be cheesy today, but they are FUN!  The cast was top notch.  Lee Majors and Lyndsay Wagner were fantastic in their roles.  As was Richard Anderson as Oscar Goldman.  Just fantastic.  And the intro to the show is without doubt the BEST intro to a show ever. 

In case anyone who reads this hasn’t heard of these shows, a brief description is in order.  In SMDM, Lee Majors plays the role of an astronaut called Steve Austin, who is almost killed when a plane he was test flying, crashes.  He loses two legs, his right arm and his left eye.  It just happens that a secret government agency are in need of someone they can rebuild using a new technology called bionics.  And Steve fits the bill perfectly.  The pilot is a made-for-tv movie.  It’s much darker than the series goes on to be, but it’s an excellent psychological study.  Steve isn’t too happy when he wakes up after a series of operations and finds out what’s been done to him.  He feels like a freak and it takes a while for him to come to terms with being bionic.  Before the series proper starts, there are two further movies, Wine, Women and War, and Solid Gold Kidnapping.  Both movies are just ok but when we get to the series proper things really take off.  The show ran for five years in the mid 70’s and it even spawned a spin-off when Steve reconnects with an old flame, called Jaime Sommers.  They fall in love and set a date to get married.  Then one day they go sky diving.  Jaime is almost killed when her chute gets tangled up.  She shatters her legs, an arm and an ear.  And guess what?   She goes on to become the Bionic Woman.  And gets her own show.  Both shows work really well and they even get to work together in several cross-over episodes.  I kind of put the two shows together in my head and call them my second favourite show.  My first favourite is Doctor Who.  Nothing can ever top that show in my heart, but the Bionic series’ manage to run it a close second.  I have all three Bionic Woman seriest on dvd and the first three series of Six Million Dollar Man.  Season four comes out next month and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  It has my all time favourite episode: The Death Probe.  One of the episodes I vividly remember watching in my childhood.  Some shows you love as a child, can make you cringe when you watch them again as an adult.  That never happened with these two Bionic shows.  I love them as much now as I did when I was a child.  In fact, I probably love them more now as I can appreciate aspects of both shows that I might never have noticed as a child.  So what shows did you love as a child?  And do they still hold up now as you watch them as an adult?

 

These shows hark back to the golden age of television, when the networks were creative and adventurous and not afraid to take a risk.  And best of all the stink of so called Reality television hasn’t reared its ugly head.  While there are a few pretty good shows out now, Once Upon A Time is one of my fave current series, and now two new shows have started, Blacklist and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and both look very promising.  But Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman will always have a special place in my heart.

When the words just flow!

Yes.  It’s me.  Again.  Two blogs in one day.  Aren’t you lot lucky! 😉

I’ve just finished a writing marathon and had to share.  I’ve no idea how long I wrote for but I wrote sixteen pages.  By hand.  So I have no idea what the word count is yet.  But I do know my hand needs a rest.  Feel free to insert whatever rude joke comes to mind.  I’m no prude. 😉

The words just flowed.  I couldn’t stop.  The weird thing is I don’t know what I’m going to write or what’s going to happen next until I come to write it.  I had a hunch about one thing that turned about to be correct, but even then there was an unexpected twist that I didn’t foresee.  My mind must be a strange place lol.  It doesn’t seem to matter what I predict is going to happen, it never works out the way I think it will.  Although, there is a semblance of a plot emerging.  This story is big.  It’s sprawling.  It’s epic.  And it’s as scary as hell because I am writing a big sprawling epic without any kind of outline or without any clear definition of where the story is going.  That also makes this story incredibly exciting and fun to write.  It’s so unpredictable.  Who knows what will happen next?  Okay, I’m rambling now.  My brain is fried after this marathon writing session.  It feels good though.  Happy writing everyone! 

When Characters Revolt!

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about how I’m stalled on my first novel, Psychic Witness.  Something is just off with the story.  I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, something was just not working.  I couldn’t get the voice of my main character, Toby Manning.  The story is in first person so a good strong voice is obviously vital for the story to work.  But whatever I tried, I just couldn’t seem to get his personality or his voice right.

Yet there is another character, Lori Marshall.  I created her originally as a plot device to bring Toby into conflict with his antagonist sooner rather than later.  But she wasn’t happy with that.  Oh no!  She forced her way into the story more, becoming a vital part of the plot.  Then she started making eyes at Toby’s best friend, Pete Hannity.  Now I think she’s making a play for becoming the main character herself!  What next?  Lori Marshall for President?   Lori Marshall to take over the world?  The thing is, the idea of her becoming the main character is starting to make sense.  I don’t think Toby is right for the role.  Maybe I can find a bit part for him!  I can see how I can make the changes.  Right from the start Lori stood out.  The story comes alive when she’s on the page.  I definitely have her voice and personality much stronger than Toby.  Sorry Toby, you’re getting downsized!

All this will have to go on the backburner though as i have a new project I’m working on and the way this one is going I’ll have it finished in a month or two.  Psychic Witness: delayed, not denied!

When Magic Happens

I’ve written a couple of blogs already about how I’m stalled out on my novel, Psychic Witness, and how I bought five notepads with the intentions of writing some short stories with the intention of kickstarting my writing again.  Well, I seem to have started a major project.  My first short story looked to be a futuristic heist-gone-wrong type of tale.  Only it seems to have expanded into something much longer and more complex.  In short, I seem to have a full blown novel on my hands. 

There’s something very strange and magical going on with this story.  While I’m writing, it’s as if there’s a little voice whispering in my ear telling me what to write.  The words just flow.  I never have to stop to think what to write next.  Not only that, I can’t plan ahead!  Whatever I think is going to happen when I next get to write is always completely wrong.  Every time I sit down to write, something completely unexpected happens.  Something that never even crossed my mind when I was thinking what to write later.  This story is so organic it’s almost alive. 

One time I wrote about one of the two characters getting captured.  I thought he was the main character who was going to feature the most.  The second character is more subservient, more used to being told what to do than think for himself.  Now he’s thrust into the limelight, having to fend for himself in a dark mysterious forest.  I never saw that coming before I sat and wrote it.

Today the unexpected happened again.  I’d been thinking about what was going to happen to my secondary, now primary character, Raygon..  Where would he end up.  I’d imagined several scenarios.  So this afternoon, I finally had time to sit and write.  I had him wander through the forest until he was exhausted and collapsed to rest.  He’d just drifted to sleep.  The name Ryda popped into my head from nowhere.  The next thing I knew, I was writing about an encounter Raygon has with what I can only describe as a magical being.  She looks like a teenage girl.  She’s childlike and petulant.  And so vivid.  It’s almost spooky how this story is evolving.  Now I seem to be writing a fantasy story.  I sense this tale has only just begun and there is a lot more to come.  I don’t know what’s coming next and I’m not even going to try to guess because I’ll probably be wrong.  I’ll just let this story unfold as it wants.  I’ve never written this way before but it’s just so much fun!

Below is a snippet from todays writing, introducing Ryda.  it’s my first draft so it’ll be rough but I just wanted to share her with you all.  I know she’ll be back in this story.  I don’t know how, but I’m sure I won’t be able to keep her away.

 

 

A childish giggle dragged Raygon from slumber’s beckoning embrace.  He lifted his head and looked around.  Nobody was in sight.  “Hello?  Is someone there?”

The giggle came again, sounding just to his left.  The giggle had a mischievous quality that chilled him.  Was this a ghost?    All thoughts of sleep fled as he tried to make sense of the situation.  He stood, his body tense, ready for fight or flight.  “Who’s there?”  He unholstered his blaster, gripping it tight.

The giggle sounded again, from his right this time.  He turned, blaster held up.  “Who are you?  Show yourself.”

“Why?”  The voice had a sulky petulant quality.

“Because I want to see you.”

“Why?”

“Because I need to know if you’re a friend or an enemy.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m alone and afraid.”:

“Why?”

“Because…Look, don’t you ever say anything other than why?”

“Sometimes.”

The change in dialogue threw him a little.  “That’s better.  Now, who are you?”

“Ryda.”

“That’s a pretty name.  Why can’t I see you?”

“Because.”

“Do you ever speak more than one word at a time?”

“Sometimes.”

“Can I please see you?”

“Maybe.”

“Does my weapon scare you?  I’ll put it away.”  He holstered his blaster.  “See?  you’re safge now.”

The phantom voice giggled again.  “I’m not scared.  That toy can’t harm me.”

“So you can speak more than word at a time.  May I please see you now?”

The air in front of him shimmered like a heat haze.  A figure slowly coalesced into view.  At first just the outline, then the features appeared until a small human girl appeared, no more than four feet tall.  She had soft delicate features, a heart-shaped face framed by vibrant red hair that fell to her shoulders.  She was waif like in appearance, had a waif-like body and she wore a short green tunic that left most of her legs bare.  She looked roughly like a sixteen year old girl, but she felt considerably older.  Her eyes sparkled and her lips quirked as if she was ready to giggle again.  “Is this better?”

Raygon nodded.  “Much.  It’s nice to be able to see the person you’re talking to.  What are you doing here?  Are you alone?”

“The forest is my home.  I’ve been following you for hours.  You are noisy.”

“Why did you wait so long to contact me?”

“You amused me.”  She giggled again.  “I get so few visitors these days.  Nobody ever comes here any more.  How did you get here?”

 

That’s all I’m sharing for now.  I hope you enjoyed it!

 

 

 

 

 

Writing By The Seat Of your Pants

A strange thing is happening with my latest writing.  When I wrote my novel, Psychic Witness, I pretty much mapped it out so I knew what was going to happen.  There were a few surprises, but nothing major.  I was in control and I knew what was going to happen next.  I’ve been stuck in editing hell for a while now.  I haven’t touched the manuscript in weeks.  I’ve missed writing so much but I can’t bring myself to touch this story right now.  I don’t know what the problem is.  I think it’s something with my main character.  I just can’t seem to get into his head.  I’m thinking right story, wrong character?

As I wrote in my last blog, I bought a set of five notepads on Friday with the intention of writing some short stories to blast through my block and get me writing again.  Well, that very night two names popped into my head from nowhere.  I wasn’t even thinking about writing.  In fact I was watching an episode of Doctor Who!  I grabbed one of the notepads intending to just write the names down so I wouldn’t forget them.  Then a scene came fully developed into my mind of two men standing in front of a steel door that led to some sort of vault.  One of the men had used a pass card to try to get into the vault.  But it hadn’t worked and in fact it set off an alarm. 

Naturally I started writing.  What came out was an intense chase scene that ended with them jumping off a ledge to fall fifty feet into a lake to escape their pursuers. That’s how I left it that night as it was late and I was tired.  The next day I continued writing and the pair’s dash to safety continued only to end with one of them being captured.  The other escaped into a forest.  The strange thing is I don’t know what is going to happen next until I pick up a pen and actually start to write.  I had no idea one of them was going to get caught until it happened.  It wasn’t something I’d considered.  I don’t think I can even plan ahead because whatever I think is going to happen probably won’t even be close when I come to write it.  It’s almost like reading the story.  I have no idea what’s going to happen until I actually write it!  This short story is also threatening to grow into a full blown novel.  I sense there is a lot more to this story to come.

Has this happened to you?  Is this how you write?  As someone who usually plots an outline, even just a vague list of plot points, this style of writing is very liberating and even exciting.  It’s also a bit scary.  What if the story just runs up against a brick wall?  What if I write the characters into a situation that I have no idea how to get them out of?  At this moment I have no idea who these two men are.  Are they good guys or bad guys?  What were they after in the vault? All I know is the story that I thought was going to be a sort of futuristic heist tale seems to be heading into the fantasy realm.  Not something I have any experience of writing.  Though I do enjoy a good fantasy story.

The main thing though, is I have rediscovered the joy of writing.  I no longer look at the computer and think I should get back to writing.  I AM writing and it feels great!