Marble

blue-wood-balls-focus-depth-of-field-deck-reflections-marble_preview_9f58Flick.

The orb danced through the air, spinning, in a parabolic arc. Each rotation caused a twinkle which reflected in the eyes surrounding the ring. For a breathless lifetime it hung there until gravity won out and it descended, landing with a clack and a thud. Then the world was silent and small and only contained the two young bodies who were extended over the ring. The bodies relaxed and contracted as the electricity left the air. One relaxed in triumph, the other in defeat.

The clack seemed to hang in the air for an eternity. It echoed off the nearby walls, once, twice and then all as quiet.

“No,” the boy said breaking the silence. He repeated himself without making a sound and then kept on repeating himself growing louder and louder until he was almost shouting. He thought of some bad words to say but he could not remember what they were exactly, the R-Rated movie his brother watched with him had been so long ago. He reached back into his memory, trying to capture the image of the theater they had snuck into, desperately grasping at the smell of the popcorn, the pimples of the teenager checking tickets and the blood on the screen as the monster chased down its victims. The boy reached far back into his memory for the words he had repeated that night in front of his mother which earned him a mouth washing and a spanking, and he grasped at the worst one he thought he could remember.

“You’re a forking cheater!”

“Nuh-uh!” the girl yelled. She snatched the orb which had brought her victory with lightning speed and then she pounced on the others. A blue one filled with gold stars, an orange one that looked like it would taste like his favourite popsicle, a clear one that turned tiny things behind it into giants and a black one that was pockmarked from overuse and darker than coal, they all disappeared into her rough leather satchel.

As she continued collecting marbles the boy fought back tears.

“I’m telling! You cheated! You stole my marbles!” he screamed. His voice was more than loud enough to carry across the playground but it was drowned out in the shouts and yells of the other children.

“Nuh-uh!” the girl said again as she stood up. Then she turned on her heel and ran off with her black locks whipping behind her head.

The boy clenched his fists and tried his best not to cry. He could not cry again. They would all laugh like they had the last time. But he could not hold himself together and soon he was under a tree far away from the others and sobbing. It did not matter so much that he had lost the game; he rarely won anyways. It did not matter that he had lost to a girl; the other boys already teased him mercilessly for being the shortest and slowest and fattest kid in class. The worst part was that he had lost the black marble. Cam’s marble. He cried for a while and hoped that nobody would see him all by himself watering the tree with his grief.

Then minutes later he heard footsteps. They were running towards him over the soft grass but they weren’t the heavy steps of a grownup, they were the quick strides of a kid like him.

“Go away,” he said to the footsteps as they got closer but they did not stop and they did not turn around.

Then, when the footsteps were right in front of him they stopped and the boy looked up through red eyes to find the girl looking down at him. She pushed her hair out of her face and smiled with big a toothy grin and big brown eyes.

“What do you want?” the boy asked, wiping his eyes. The orbs in his head felt raw as he wiped away the tears with his sleeve.

It seemed to take her forever to answer the question. Time hung still. A breeze sent autumn leaves tumbling from the tree. For a moment they were trapped in a shower of colours and for a moment the boy saw the girl not as the one who stole his most prized possession but as… he could not quite say. It was a shower of feelings. He wanted to cry again. He wanted to scream. He wanted to push her down and take all of the marbles and run far away where nobody could ever find him. But he also wanted to smile because he remembered in class when her hair would keep falling over her eyes and she would have to brush it off and he remembered her arguing with her mom about the head band and how she hated it because it was yellow and her mom made her take it but she just hid it in her locker before they went into the classroom.

The girl’s grin widened and she dug into her pocket. Then she stretched out her arm and opened her hand to reveal the black marble.

“Do you wanna play again?”

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The Gods

2015-04-30 01.40.23

I was the first to find it, the rock from the sky. It came down on fire and changed everything. At the time I had been out hunting and was getting no luck among the craggy mountains. I was heading back to the camp when I saw it crash down. The wind from its impact knocked me down and scattered my supplies. The mountain shuddered and, needless to say, I scampered down its side as fast as I could, partly to avoid a rockslide and partly to see what that — thing — was.

      I managed to make it down the mountain rather quickly and in one piece, darted across the clearing and raced through the trees. Leaves whipped my face and thorns scarred my ankles, however I kept going. In hindsight, I have no idea what I was thinking. I should have left well enough alone but, at the time, something compelled me to investigate.

      Finally, after running until the sun rose, I made it to the object’s landing place.

      I stood there stupefied.

      The object had made a hole in the ground large enough to fit a village. Trees were burned to ash. In the centre of the hole the object sat, smouldering, and I could feel it almost as if it was pulling me closer. I made my way through the ash to the object. I reached out to touch it but hesitated; an ominous feeling came over me. A part of me sensed that something huge was going to happen, and soon.

      I sat there like that, holding my hands out, so close until I could stand it no longer.

      I left.

      I finished hunting and managed to take down an injured creature that would feed the camp for about two sunsets. It would be the first meat any of us had tasted in weeks, what with me being the only hunter (and a pathetic one at that). I was on my way back when I remembered the object. I felt that the rest of the camp should be made aware of its presence. However, when I went to pick it up the same hesitation came over me. Eventually I overcame my trepidation and wrapped it in a blanket.

      “What do you think it is?” I asked the chief. He didn’t hear me. He was too busy examining the object. I repeated the question.

      Looking up he said, “Thrag, it’s the answer we’ve been searching for.” I had never seen the man so filled with joy. Despite his advanced age you could see in his eyes that he felt a hundred moons younger.

      Later on when the fire had been started and the moon shone its brightest the entire camp assembled around the object. At first we stared. Nobody had any clue what action to take next. Then an enterprising child named Symnie advanced toward the object, reaching out with her hand. She couldn’t have been any older than a moon so there was no way for her to understand what she was doing.

      Symnie touched the object.

      Everybody held their breath.

      Symnie giggled and together we all exhaled.

      Without warning a light show started up. There were images of orbs and simple pictures of us. There were creatures that I had never seen before, spectacularly coloured ones and creatures that appeared as if they would feed the entire camp for a year. One of the more frightening images caused Symnie to begin to weep and the entire camp to scatter into the trees — not far enough to be out of sight range or earshot, though. We were a group of cowards leaving that child there, crying. I eventually ran out, got her, and brought her back to the trees where she would be safe. A low-pitched, booming voice began to speak in a strange language.

      The camp waited. And we listened to the booming voice. And we watched for what would happen next.

      We weren’t disappointed: out of the object came an image of two beings. There they floated. Yes, floated. The beings were similar yet different, like two halves of one whole. Even still they were not dissimilar in appearance to us.

      The booming voice continued to speak.

      “Salutations de la terre! Nous sommes les humains de la planète Terre dans la galaxie Voie Lactée! Nous venons en paix!” The message then paused and continued. “Pagbati mula sa lupa! Kami ay ang mga tao mula sa planeta lupa sa kalawakan milkyway! Dumating kami sa kapayapaan!”

      Another pause.

      “Groeten uit de aarde! Wij zijn de mensen van de planeet aarde in de melkweg melkweg! We komen in vrede! … Pozdrowienia z ziemi! Mamy ludzi z planety Ziemia w galaktyce Drogi Mlecznej! Przychodzimy w pokoju! … Salamu kutoka nchi! Sisi ni binadamu kutoka katika dunia yetu hii katika Galaxy ya milkyway! Kuja kwa amani! … Greetings from Earth! We are the humans from the planet Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy! We come in peace! … Grüße von der Erde! … ”

      We came to understand that each pause meant that the message would actually repeat, only this time in a different language. The message continued like that almost until the moon set.

      The next day the chief announced that we had found what we as a tribe were looking for.

      “Our creators,” he proclaimed to the camp. Then he put one hand firmly on the object. And the entire show began again. “They have given us a sign. They exist and we must find them! Then we can take vengeance on those who cast us aside and torment us!”

      He was referring to the Draliths, who twenty moons ago waged a religious war against us. In short, they believed themselves to be gods and we believed ourselves to be created by the hands of gods. Many were killed on both sides of the battle in an attempt to convert the other. The Draliths, however, got hold of a black liquid which they used to burn down our village. At the time we were three thousand strong and now we number maybe a third of that, scattered out about the countryside. The chief had convinced us to go in search of our creators so we would become more powerful and defeat the Draliths. We had been wandering ever since, fearing an attack that would indeed wipe us out for good.

      The chief was telling us to worry no more.

      Everybody got a turn to touch the object and I, being the one who discovered it, got the first chance (second to Symnie, of course). The object was cool and smooth like nothing I had ever felt before. I could run my entire hand over it and not have to wipe my fingers on my tunic afterward due to the dirt. The object made me feel at peace. Surely this was the work of gods! For the first time since our village burnt down I laughed. I laughed so hard I cried and I cried so hard I felt alive. Everyone in the camp did the same. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from us.

      Then we heard a horn.

      The weight was back and it was heavier.

      The raid was a scene of utter chaos. Everywhere there were Draliths with clubs, spears, knives and torches. They ran from hut to hut setting everything in their sight ablaze. Some of our people tried to stop them but only received a club to the face or a stab from a spear. The chief lay face down in a red pool and not very far away the child Symnie stood trembling. A Dralith approached her but before he reached her I tackled him to the ground and began pummeling his face with my fists and some nearby rocks. A club came into my field of vision and sent me to my back. Then the world went dark.

      After the raid I sat in a pool of mud and blood and looked around. Our food was plundered, our huts burnt down and people lay dead all around. Slowly I stood up and limped over to the object. I knocked it over into a mud pit. The show started up again and I spat at the images of the esseri umani, the manusia, the humans. I cursed them. Everybody who was still alive joined in. This was their fault; because of them we believed that with their help we could defeat the Draliths. Us! Not a warrior amongst us, just women and children, frail old men, cowards and me, the pathetic excuse for a hunter. We were only spared because the Draliths knew that we would rebuild, grow more food, hunt more animals and then they would raid us again and take everything. Our chief had led us astray into thinking that we, on our own, were too weak to defeat the barbaric Draliths.

      “No,” I said aloud. “We’ll help ourselves.”

      I took a rock and I smashed the object. It didn’t break — it was too strong for that — but I continued to smash it. Every survivor smashed it. It was the skulls of the Draliths we were hammering on. It felt good.

• • •

It is the fourth day of the season of two suns when the humans land in the middle of the battlefield where my people defeated the Draliths. The vessel that they travel in is similar in appearance to the same object that my ancestor Thrag discovered moons ago. The humans foolishly step out of it. We tear them to pieces.

Originally published in the Capybara – A project of the Descant Arts & Letters Foundation (2011)

2015-04-30 01.39.07I wrote this in grade 10 (about five years ago) and honestly, looking back on it now I can think of a hundred things I would have done differently. Still, it was one of my proudest moments having this published and hopefully it won’t be the last.

Cheers!

 

Untitled 1

In the looking glass, illumined from behind I saw the subordinate patriarch – a patron of vice, a disaffected patriot – and my limbs turned to phantasms.

“There has been discord in my city three ages on,” he said to me tapping his head. “This I know.”

“There is heresy here,” he cupped his ears. His voice scended endlessly through A and D, spiraling, its tone shepherded by the contempt through which he communicated. “This I see.”

“Without coincidence, fraud and treachery share a similar source at the heart of this damned place,” he hissed as his eyes flashed disparate hues. “This I hear.”

“And there is violence!” He struck the glass fracturing it into shards. “This I feel.”

Our hands cried a fiery ooze from our mutual cracks to mingle in the glass’ fractal veins. My looks contorted from the pain and shock, my soul contorted from a new perception granted by the watery lens. Now warped was a sight once seen by young eyes. What was once courtly was now comedic. It had become a trick, a child’s toy, a game for light and dark and a play on now and then. I laughed into the face of the looking glass for it was a joke that had ceased being funny before it had ceased being told. And the grime reality transformed my laugh to a scowl and the comedian in the fractured looking glass transformed my scowl to a jagged beam which offered no support and no relief from the weight of my disillusionment.

Why does the Dinosaur Run?

The internet went out on campus and I was pretty bored. Enjoy!

The desert was not for the weak. Little grew out here except for cacti and dust but still Danny survived. Here he was the master, the biggest, the strongest, and the most fearsome. A tyrannical lizard king who reigned over all he saw.

But Danny was a mere dinosaur, powerless against the forces of heaven and when the asteroid struck with a flash and a roar unlike any he had ever heard, Danny trembled and he ran.

Behind him the world vanished. His kingdom crumbled and burned as the asteroid sent forth a wave of destruction so hot it turned the desert sands to glass.

Danny ran and ran and ran thinking that he could run forever. Why not? He had been a king, untouchable, feared, mighty. A mere asteroid could not stop him. He would emerge from the ashes of this destruction and begin his reign again. Danny ran, full as he was of hubris. He ran right into his own extinction.Chrome DinosaurStupid cactus….

Rageaholic

The empty bottle fell off the table with a crash taking two more with it. Lillian’s hand sluggishly moved to catch it seconds later.  She giggled at the futility of her attempt and moved her hand to the puddle of mixed spirits which had been growing on the table in front of her for the past hour and a half. From the puddle wafted a sickening stench which filled Lillian’s entire single bedroom bungalow. It settled on her clothes and on the couch in the living room. It settled in her auburn hair and in the painting of a herd of wild horses hanging from the wall beside her. It settled in her skin and in her small pointed nose and on her naturally pouted lips. It flowed into her dishes and into the dry soil of her many dead plants. It flowed out of her and into her home.

She could barely even remember why she had opened those bottles to begin with but she supposed that was the point. All that came to her now was a feeling of defeat and exhaustion and anger.

It was the kind of anger that came from loss, from being crushed and ground to nothing. It was the kind of anger that one feels after giving everything and being told it was not enough. Lillian felt the anger despite her intoxication: pure, unfocused, and unforgiving. It gave her energy, made her dangerous. She wanted to rip the world around her to pieces, to hurt whoever or whatever made her feel this way. She wanted retribution for whatever wrongs had been done to her. But first Lillian wanted another drink.

She lifted her head and spied an unopened can of beer in front of her. She lifted her hand from the putrid puddle taking a sleeveful of liquid with it. Her clumsy reach knocked the can to the floor and it rolled under the table and further away from her. With a sigh she slid from the chair landing with a thump luckily missing the pieces of broken glass which littered the floor. It took a few minutes for her to fight the motion sickness she experienced before continuing her search. The can was on its side resting against the opposite chair’s leg. On all fours Lillian crawled over to it and grabbed the cool aluminum. Then she stood up forgetting the table above her and banged her head hard against the pine wood.

Lillian cursed and recoiled with shock from the impact rolling herself away from underneath the table and causing more motion sickness in the process but once again managing to avoid the jagged edges of the broken bottle. It was as if her stomach and brain did two extra rolls for every one her body did. Slowly Lillian righted herself and rose, then she dashed to the bathroom barely making it to the toilet before spewing her stomach contents into and onto the porcelain and tile.

Lillian was hunched over the toilet for an hour spilling her guts. Each time the nausea returned and the convulsions began a few more tears rolled down her face. The mess got in her hair and on her clothes and added to the stench of mixed liquors which wafted through her bungalow. Each time she thought she was finished, that the burning pain in her throat could finally be allowed to subside she would smell her home again and be back in front of the bowl. Eventually there were barely any solids leaving her body. No more partially digested pad thai or chicken nuggets. She had given all she had to give and still more was demanded of her. The last few trips to the toilet saw flecks of blood mixed in with the bile.

Exhausted she collapsed against the bathroom wall, a familiar sense of defeat washing over her bringing with it a familiar sense of pain. She receded into herself and let sleep come.

She dreamt she could travel. That time and space were at her command so she could accomplish what was impossible. She dreamt that she did not need that power. She dreamt of his face, usually smiling, now apologetic. He was saying something to make her calm down for she realized now that she had been acting on her fantasy and had been breaking everything related to the source of her fury, everything related to him. He was trying to make her feel better. He was saying that he had made it all better, had corrected his mistakes, had forgiven hers, but she did not care. All that he said was only fueling her fury.

She dreamt that she hit him and that he cowered from her. She screamed and he was silent. He was afraid of her and it made her feel powerful.

Lillian woke up in the bathroom with a headache and a renewed memory. She stumbled to the kitchen and fought back the awful feeling that the smell of her apartment created inside of her. Her phone lay on the counter top blinking brightly as if it were screaming at her. The flashing blue light was made more obnoxious by her blurred and confused vision.

The time on the phone’s screen told her that several hours had passed. The messages which she had received told her more.

They had been looking for her, worrying about her. She had stormed out of the office without saying a word to anybody and with a pained expression on her face. They wanted to know where she was. Was she okay? Did she need somebody to pick her up and take her home? They called her older sister and twin brother. Her brother was calling her now. Lillian waited for the call to go to voice mail then removed her phone’s battery.

The thoughts which had haunted her not so long ago came back with force. It was not fair. Why did it all land on her? The pressure, the failure, the shame. She did not deserve this. She should not have to shoulder this burden alone, especially when there were so many more burdens waiting for her attention. She should not be so alone. She should not be so helpless. She should not feel so useless.

It took Lillian a moment before she realized that a bottle of vodka was in her hand unopened. Her hand was trembling as rapidly as the thoughts flying through her head and she was spilling the alcohol onto the counter. Lillian felt herself spilling as well as her persona was steadily pulled apart more and more at the seams.

She turned her phone back on and took a swig of the drink to calm her nerves. It tasted especially foul as it mixed with the vomit residue in her mouth. With a wince the taste moved to her throat, burning all the way down the fleshy tube. Her hand still trembled.

A call immediately came in. It was her brother again. Lillian hit the answer button and let herself unravel completely.

He never even got a chance to speak before she began blurting out all the things she held inside. She was confessing and accusing and explaining and excusing all at once. Then she paused and there was silence save for her exasperated breathing. Then she resumed but this time with a viciousness that he did not deserve. It was not his fault. He was not the one who she dreamed of attacking, of hurting, of eviscerating. But she could not stop. There was too much she had to release even if she was aiming in the wrong direction. And he was too close to it all to have avoided it anyways.

But god bless him he stayed on the phone. For an entire hour she tore into him, tore him apart, did all she could to break him and he stayed and took it. Lillian screamed herself hoarse and her brother listened to every word. And when that hour was done he did not retaliate. He only said what she needed to hear. He only promised his support. He only asked if there was anything he could do, if she needed him to come to the city, if she wanted to spend some time with him and his wife. She said no. He promised to call back tomorrow.

Limply her hand fell to her side and let slip the phone to the floor. A wave of exhaustion and guilt came over her and crushed what little spirit remained keeping her upright. Her knees weakened and buckled and she crumpled beside the counter and sobbed uncontrollably.

Among the thoughts worming their way through her mind were ones of self-pity and self-loathing. They felt like old ideas, ones which she had extensively explored in the past and found unfavorable but which she could never cast aside. Now they almost exclusively drove the mechanism by which she sought her self-destruction.

Rising once again Lillian surveyed her home. It was a mess. A thick miasma hung in the air from her previous activities. Each surface seemed like it was coated in a sticky film of who-knows-what.

The air was choking her and the walls were holding her. She needed air, she needed to get out.

She quickly used the bathroom then grabbed her keys and a jacket and stumbled into the cold night.

A numb face shielded her from the frigid air. Had she been sober then she would have made a note of the late hour and realized that there would no cars on the road which meant no buses or taxis. She stood at the bus stop for ten minutes before it dawned on her that she would have to walk to wherever it was she was going.

Where was she going? Lillian had only a foggy clue. This was not helped by the fact that her mind was so foggy already. Keeping the thought in her head was like trying to hold onto soap suds in a rainstorm. The only thing harder in her inebriated state was putting one leg in front of the other.

She had been walking for some distance before she noticed the headlights approaching her. She lived on a quiet street which saw little traffic during the daylight hours and now it was the absolute dead of night. The car slowed down as it got nearer. Lillian put her head down and walked faster. She was in no mood to talk and in even less of a mood to be found especially as she was. And it was probably a stranger in the car and Lillian had no idea what he or she wanted and was not interested in finding out. But the car stopped when it got beside her with the window rolled down and a voice from inside which was equal parts relief and fury and exhaustion called to her. Lillian looked over to see the voice’s owner.

It was him.

His face seemed to be surrounded by a halo created from the vehicle’s internal lights. It was faintly wrinkled and sagging in places. There were a few faded scars here and there from a youth long ago turned to memory. Hazel eyes stared at her from beneath a creased brow which was accented with thin, grey, caterpillar-like eyebrows. The crown of his head was wreathed with more long and thin grey hairs. Moreover his face was apologetic; he was pleading for forgiveness without saying a word. He was always apologizing.

Lillian opened the door and sat down beside him. She knew she reeked. She did not care. He asked if she was okay. She did not answer. As he drove he spoke softly, gently, used all the ways he was familiar with to make her feel better but still Lillian remained silent. She could feel her blood boiling inside of her with each word that he uttered. The return of the rage was euphoric; Lillian savored the energy and focus it gave her. For now she would let him talk and then it would be her turn.

They drove for a while through the city. It was clear that he was as unsure of where to go as he was of what to say.

Lillian felt like she was a cobra being handled by an amateur snake charmer. Every muscle and synapse was coiled to strike with the venom she knew filled her.

They turned onto and then off of some side streets and found themselves on the road leading out of town towards the east. The sunrise was just becoming visible in the distance casting a golden glow over the black star filled night.

He was still talking. He was saying something now about how he was worried about her, how she lived in a bad neighborhood, how she associated with reckless people and had bad influences, how she was careless, how she should not have moved out at her age, how she should still be living at home with him, how she drank too much…

Then he stopped talking and she laid into him with everything that she had been saving for the past six months since the last time they spoke and fought. It was his fault. And that stupid woman’s. And all the things which she had, all the good things, they had been taken from her because of him. It was all his fault. She wanted things to go back the way they were but they could not. She wanted her old life back. She wanted her mother. She wanted her brother and sister. She wanted her father. She hated him. He was the reason she was like this, why she lived how she did and where she did. She was crying again, just like when she was a girl and they were happy. It was his influence that made her this way. He had been there for her then, when she was seven and had broken her arm. And when she had gotten so sick they thought she would die. But he was seldom if ever there afterwards. It was his example. He was the one who was always drinking so much. He had pushed them all apart. She just wanted him to be proud of her, to like her, to acknowledge her. He had broken their happiness just like he had broken so many promises. He had stolen the good things or worse, he had let them slip away. She hated him. She hated him. She loved him. She hated him.

But she was tired.  She did not want to hate him anymore. She did not want to fight him anymore. She did not want to be angry anymore.

And then she was silent and so was he.

Lillian and her father sat in the car for some time after that watching the sunrise. They sat as the dew misted the windshield and as the wind rustled the trees and grass and as old wounds finally began to heal and as Lillian felt her senses return to her.

She needed a drink… of water.

Random Image Exercise 2

5939694-lg 5950036-md 7301932-md 7657418-lg Temple Of Heaven, Bejing - China by Tim J

He had journeyed long and he was weary and soon his journey would be at an end.

Yet even still, after all he had done for her, after all he had endured, she would not look at him. None of them would. He had traveled to the ends of the earth and beyond. He had seen things fit for no man’s eyes, done things fit for no man’s soul, all for them, and still they would not look at him. He was was one of them, he had proven it time and time again, yet still they shunned him, happy only to take his services. Still they sent him away promising acceptance should he be successful and still, after years of absence and even more years of servitude he was a stranger to them.

So it was now. The masters called him from his chambers and met him in the great hall. They looked over him from their high seats, never looking directly at him.

“Your next trial is to return the spirit of the temple to its home here,” the grand-master said with a dispassionate voice.

He almost laughed out loud.The spirit of the temple was a bird. A bird that existed only in stories. How was he to bring back a legend? How was he supposed to create act from fiction? He almost screamed. When can I take my rightful place? Have I not earned what I came here for? Am I to be your errand boy forever? It would not have been the first time he made such an outburst , it would not even be the twentieth, but nothing ever came of such displays. The masters had spoken. So he bowed his head and took his leave.

She was there in the temple courtyard as always, draped in red and meditating. He lingered only a moment watching her from behind then he crossed the grass and exited through the heavy doors of the enclosure. Even when he was in front of her, her back was turned towards him. He fought back the rage that such isolation brought. Descending the steps, he found himself at the threshold of the desert which enveloped the temple. He entered it without hesitation eager to be rid of the place. He wandered. He wandered until his throat was dry and his lips were peeling and he could not see for the fluid in his eyes had retreated. He wandered the desert until his back was ready to burst into flame from the sun’s heat. He wandered until he came upon an impossibility, until he found a rushing waterfall with no possible source in the surrounding desert. He wandered until he was able to look upon his goal in the flesh.

Perched in a nest on a rock jutting out of the falls was the temple’s spirit. The bird’s plumage was impossibly dark save for a tuft of shimmering emerald feathers on its crest. At first he smiled joyously to look upon it, but then he wailed for here was no way to capture his prize even though ti was in sight. This was the master’s plan. This was how it always was. He sank to his knees and sobbed.

The bird never moved from its perch and despite the years he by the waterfall he could never reach it, or ensnare it or coax it from its nest. This time he was truly defeated. The masters had won. He sank inside himself and let his body sink into the cool waters of the waterfall’s pool. Then, just as he was about to release all of his pain a hand pulled him from the water. The sensation was like being born again, he gasped hard at the new air. It gave him strength. He opened his eyes and there she was, red robes soaked through, staring him directly in the eye. With one leap he snatched the bird from its perch.


This one took a few hours to compose over the course of two days. Compared to my previous effort with this exercise I am not as pleased with the result. Maybe there is some story in what I have written but I cannot really make out much from what I have here. It seems fairly unstructured grammatically and thematically. I can honestly say that I felt this as I was composing the original story. It is something that I will keep in mind with future endeavors and who knows, maybe this will become something more in the future.

For anybody reading this, I would love some feedback or advice (could just be a typo that I missed or a grammatical rule that I misused). Or if you know any exercises I could try I would greatly appreciate it.

Cheers.

Random Image Exercise 1

This was an exercise to develop my writing skills. Basically,  I went to a random image generator, took the first five pictures I found and set myself the task of writing a cohesive five-paragraph story in under two hours which related each picture together. I hope to do this at least once a week (or at least weeks where I have no ideas and hopefully there will eventually be a positive trend in quality.

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Jessica held her hand perfectly still as the dragonfly tiptoed across her fingers. A breeze rolled over the hills and through her hair. The dragonfly rustled its wings but otherwise appeared undisturbed. It crawled across her fingertips, tickling her with every step. When she exhaled she was careful to do so as gently as possible lest she scare away her guest. A minute passed, then two, then ten. The insect turned to face her, its bulbous eyes looked into her intense emerald ones. Then, with a bob of its head as if to say thank you the dragonfly took off and rejoined its brethren in the distant meadow. Jessica stood from where she sat and walked over to join the master who was leaning on the bridge. Leaning beside him was a long, tied and bundled object. Jessica hesitated.

“Come child, it is time,” the Master said softly. Steeling herself against her nerves Jessica walked forward with long graceful strides which hid her apprehension. This was a moment which the past three years had been building to and she could barely believe it had finally arrived. The endless, grueling training would finally pay off. The Master picked up the bundle and presented it to as she got nearer.

“You have earned this. I am proud of you. Do not waste it”. Jessica took the bundle with her right hand (the tickle from the dragonfly was still on her fingertips) and lifted it from the Master’s outstretched palms. As she did so the old man vanished. Jessica allowed herself a rare smile; soon her destiny would be fulfilled. But first, the climb.

The mountain would be her penultimate challenge and rightly so. Many an adventurer had attempted to scale it and many had failed. To look at it from afar was to look at as much of nature’s beauty as one could comprehend at a time. But this beauty covered up nature’s treachery; hidden by it were false footholds, paths unsafe for mountain goats, unstable cliffs and falls upon rocks sharp enough to cleave muscle from bone. Jessica took a moment to size up her task then rubbed her palms together and began. The beginning left her legs burning. Each step required even more careful footing and each turn potentially led to a dead end. Jessica had to be as sure of the path ahead of her as she was of herself. The middle of the climb left her arms burning as she was forced to scale the virtually sheer mountainside. The end of the climb left her lungs burning as the air thinned around her. But Jessica continued. Her destiny was at hand, there was but one more challenge.

The beast had been waiting at the summit for a thousand years. It watched Jessica with hungry eyes as she made the last steps to the top, sweating and breathing hard. It waited a little longer as she undid the bundle to reveal the ancient, gilded sword which bore the beast’s name. The beast breathed hard with anticipation. It had spent so long waiting for this day, waiting for the day when it would fulfill its long-ago set purpose. It had spent so long waiting for the sword and for the adventurer who wielded it, the person it was created to destroy. Jessica and the beast faced each other. She held the sword in front of her, it pawed at the ground. Then it pounced and Jessica, with one movement, graceful as always, plunged the blade deep into the beast’s skull. It slid across the ground and died and Jessica let a moment pass in reverence for the aged creature. She then turned to the boulder which the monster had been guarding. With all of her strength she pushed the stone away and let it roll down the mountainside. Her goal was what lay beneath. The final challenge had been defeated and her destiny was at hand. Jessica looked at what was beneath the stone not sure what to expect to find there. All she saw was dirt.