Counting Sheep Never Really Works

This week my Indie Ink Challenge comes from wMe. The Challenge:

I fear its a dream

But I can feel its real

Please don’t wake me up

This is easily the strangest post that I have ever written. My goal in writing for this challenge was to create something in writing that could successfully match what it felt like to be in a dream. What I mean by that is that linearity and cohesion are two things that went out the window for this story. I did put in italics as a last minute addition to help with the reading of the story, without them it was too impossible to follow what was happening, rather than just confusing.

I challenged Tereasa Trevor with the prompt “Realize, Nobody Cares.” You can view here response here.

I hope you enjoy!

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What was once a beautiful blue sky has changed into a fiery hellstorm of black and green. Resulting from a huge thermonuclear mass extinction. There are very few of us left, even less who avoided any injury from the incident. It was over in an instant. Mutilated bodies filled the streets; meat, not really bodies. I escaped without a scratch, so I travel. I travel to save those who cannot save themselves.

I am in my bed. Always in my bed. The world is back to normal, no disaster, no apocalypse. With a sword in my hand I fight against the forces of evil. I can fly. The wind in your hair is an experience that you- well, you have to feel it for yourself to understand it.

Asleep, always asleep. There is a state of mind, they call it lucid dreaming. It’s when you are able to control your dreams. I am a millionaire. Like you are aware that you are dreaming, so therefore since your brain understands that what is happening is not actually reality but your own imagination you can control the events of the dream. It’s kind of like becoming aware that you are living in the Matrix I am Neo.

The Chosen One, it feels great to be the Chosen One. I can fly again, I always seem to pick flying no longer Neo. Typically there are two ways in which one can experience a lucid dream; the first is that you go to bed with the intention of having a lucid dream the Matrix is boring and though you can flying again train yourself into having those types of lucid dreams, it is very difficult to do.

Where am I this time? The second type of lucid dream is that you fall asleep and start dreaming A tropical island? but eventually you realize that this reality I wanted to be in a plane crash you’re in is false stranded. It’s like, I don’t know, having an awakening in your sleep. And once you have need to build a hut that realization, you can do anything.

I am the in the category of the latter, I go to sleep normally but than I realize that I am dreaming. It’s been that way ever since a boat! I was a kid. Rescue I’m saved! It happens every single night, whether I want it to or not. I can’t control it.

Now I am touching the Sun.

The real problem with lucid dreaming, at least when I it’s beautiful the sun have them, is that it’s like my brain keeps trying to trick me into dreaming againeed to wake up need to wake up by changing the scenario of the dream. It’s like a smash cut in a film, and each smash cut resets my mind, I’m just simply dreaming, blissfully unaware, at least briefly. I “waken” every time, but I can only control what is going on for a short time before my brain in class in my underwear resets the dream again.

It’s like a nightmarish game of cat and mouse, between me and my brain. When I am awake, I am constantly afraid. I’m afraid that I am still asleep, that my mind just did another smash cut but I’ll never become aware, that I’ll just become trapped in a prison made by my own fucking mind. Maybe it’s already happened.

What was once a beautiful blue sky has changed into a fiery hellstorm of black and green.

I need to wake up wake up need to wake up please let me wake up. But then you can’t control anything, here I am God. The Chosen One. Neo. Wake up wake up need to wake up.

At least for a time…

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For the Indie Ink Writing Challenge this week, wMe challenged me with “I fear its a dream, but I can feel its real, please don’t wake me up” and I challenged Tereasa Trevor with “Realize, nobody cares.”


Light Shines Through the Cracks of Darkness

My Indie Ink Challenge this week comes from Niqui. The challenge:

Violin music in the dark

This weeks challenge was really hard for me to get done. Not so much because of the prompt (though it did give me some trouble) but because I’m working 50 hour weeks right now and it’s been really hard to find time to sit and write. Anyways, I managed to get enough time to lock myself in my office and come up with this story. I hope you like it.

My challenge actually went to Niqui as well. You can read the response to my prompt, “Falling from a mountain of broken bodies,” here.

Enjoy!

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A set of headlights trails behind me way too close and blinds me through the mirror. I always have an inner debate with myself about whether or not I should just slam on the breaks with both my feet and teach that tailgater a lesson. I have never been in a car crash, I wonder what it feels like.

I can never bring myself to actually do it. What a shame; it would make the night much more interesting. No matter, the car has already passed me and driven into the nighttime oblivion.

There. Over there. In that house I just passed to the left, are two lovers embracing. The moon is full, and its light shines through vertical cracks of closed curtains. It creates bars of moonlight and darkness. It is exceedingly beautiful; as the man looks into his lovers eyes, through the bars, he finds himself trapped in a prison of beauty.

I know this because I have seen it. I have looked through the walls. I can see Everything.

Unfortunately, what the man does not know is that the woman- in about three hours time- is going to smother the man to death with a pillow. She’s been sleeping with his best friend. She is in love with him. And the two decided that the only way that they could be together is if they took the man out of the picture. As it were.

It sounds like the plot of a lazy soap opera, I know. But you would be surprised by how often real life emulates TV. Not vice versa, though. It has never ever been vice versa. Trust me. I can See.

The house is behind me and into oblivion now. Oh but this house. This house here up the road. It’s a sad story.

There is a boy, no more than seven or eight years old. Young, real young. He can hear the sounds of his mother and father fighting. Fighting and screaming and throwing and then fucking and moaning. This poor boy, he has had to endure the sound of it every night for as long as he can remember.

The boy, he is actually a musical genius. A prodigy; that’s the common term. His parents don’t know about it though, about his gift. See, one day as his parents were fighting he ran into the basement. He hoped that he could escape the noise. But he couldn’t.

Luckily, he found something in that basement. A violin. It belonged to his grandfather. The boy was maybe five years old. He didn’t even know what the thing was, sitting in its case collecting dust. All that he knew was that the thing made noise. Enough noise to drown out the sound of his parents.

Every night he makes the pilgrimage to the basement with a flashlight and picks up the violin. The boy has played every night since he found it. No longer is it simply about making noise. He uses the flashlight to shine a beam on sheet music- which he taught himself how to read, while teaching himself how to play- and plays beautiful music in the dark. The light is off so that his parents do not see what he is doing. He doesn’t need to worry about them hearing the music. Not ever.

I can hear the music. It is haunting. It is beautiful. The house has passed into oblivion.

Everything, I can see Everything. I can’t control it. It’s a blessing, but more so it is a curse. A fucking nightmare. You can not keep your secrets from me. When we’re introduced, I can see all of your triumphs. But I also see your Sins.

There, over there. That is my house. I stop and pull over. I get out of my car and walk to the door. I look up.

On the roof I can see Me. I am looking down to myself, looking up to myself. I am on the roof and I want to jump. I’m going to jump, head first. I don’t want to walk away from this one. Break free from this curse, this fucking curse.

No, that’s the easy way out and you’re not one for taking the easy way out, are you? No I’m not. You’re better than this, it’s a blessing too, never forget that. How so? What about that boy? From tonight? He has had it way worse, and you know what he does, he creates beauty from tragedy and you were able to see that. I guess you’re right. Good, now calm down.

I look up again and see myself. Playing the violin in the moonlight.

I can never bring myself to actually do it.


Maybe We All Just Want to be Ghosts, in the End

Well, hey now, looks who’s back on the Indie Ink Writing Challenge!

I took some time off mainly out of pure writing exhaustion, with my reporter job kinda taking all the creative juices out of my head. Writers block sucks. But the last month or so I found myself really wanting to write some fiction again. So here I am.

My first challenge out of exile comes from Karla. The prompt:

You are given the opportunity to be invisible for one day. What do you do? How is the world different without your presence?

In retrospect, I just now realized that I forgot about the ‘one day’ part. Oops. Other than that this turned out to be really easy for me to write. I sat down at the computer with no direction, the first sentence came to my head as I was going for a walk today, as it was drizzling. Other than that I just wrote as it came to my head.

It feels good to be back. Enjoy!

You can read my prompt to Heather O. hopefully soon. Look forward to that, because I gave her a doozy:

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There, over there, in the rain you can see something. Just barely. Something vaguely humanlike, an outline. In that rain. The outline of someone or, god forbid something that should be there but isn’t. Nothing more than a ghost. A trick of the eye.

Chances are you wont even see it anyways. Will pass over it, not noticing, not looking Close Enough. Distracted by the kids, or the bills or your fears or what have you. Life. Failing to see what is right in front of your face the whole damn time. Not that it matters anyways.

Being a ghost isn’t really about being dead or the after-life or that bullshit cliché I-Need-to-Be-at-Peace-Before-I-Can-Finally-Rest crap. No, being a ghost is a hell of a lot more simple than that. A good word for it might be something along the lines of primal. Maybe. It’s really hard to define properly, is all.

Actually it’s not. Being a ghost is about one thing, and one thing only. Voyeurism. Something that we all wish for at least once in our lives. Probably a lot more than that, much more. Probably at least once a day, for most people. That desire to See but not Be Seen. To watch without being watched.

That ghost, standing in the rain, is a person. Just your regular 9-5 person. Cookie-cutter. Oh, and they’re not dead. It’s a temporary thing.

But see the thing is, anyone can become a ghost. Anyone at all. You just need to want it hard enough. To have the desire to be invisible. Not because you want to hide (you can’t become a ghost if all you want to do is hide, that’s too easy, and a little lame) but because you want to see, unrestricted. Have no fear of being caught.

We all act differently, depending on who we’re with and who we’re talking to. That’s just a basic fact of life, anybody could tell you that. It’s simple social conditioning; you simply do not act the same way with your college drinking buddies as you do with your, say, mother-in-law and they don’t act the same as they do with you in other situation.

The ghost is obsessed with this fact. To them it becomes an obsession. Being a ghost isn’t about becoming disconnected with people, it’s about connecting with them. In a way that you could never connect in a fleshy, physical and visible body.

Become a ghost and trail your lover. Don’t say anything (you can still be heard as a ghost) just Listen. Listen and Watch. See how they act, talk and behave in any and every situation. Every day. Only when you follow a person, unrestricted, will you ever be able to truly know a person. Who do you really know?

That outline in the rain, the one that you probably don’t see, even though it is starting you right in the face. That ghost has been trailing you for days. Weeks even. You don’t know it, and you can’t know it but that phantom is someone you know. Are you creeped out? Don’t be.

See, the thing is, being a ghost is about voyeurism. To see someone when they can’t see you. But it’s not about stalking. No. No stalkers can become ghosts. It doesn’t work that way. See, the ghost follows you out of love. Like, capital L, Love. They are not out to get their rocks off, there is nothing perverted in what they do. They just want to know you; to understand you, in all possible ways.

It’s a beautiful thing, to be trailed by a ghost. Because that ghost can only be a ghost to one person. You’re only given that gift when you want to Love. When you want to Love a person as completely and utterly as possible. It’s beautiful when you become a ghost to a person too. That means you are Loved by them as well.

There is this weird psychic aura between two people, or something. You can only become a ghost when you want to Love a person, but are only allowed to become one when that person wants to be Loved by you. It’s not uncommon for both to become ghosts to each other.

Soul Mates, it’s something like that.

So that shadow in the rain. Do not be afraid. Be happy, be welcoming. But most importantly. You need to Be Yourself. Completely.

Turn around, we are everywhere.

Look at that shadow, but don’t look. There is just one thing to know.

You Love and you are Loved.


And He Will Have Stars Forever

After a week hiatus, I’m back with the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. My challenge comes from Brad MacDonald. The challenge:

Forgiveness, reluctantly given.

I really liked this prompt, but unfortunately I was still busy getting settled into my new apartment (and cleaning my old one before the lease expired) that I probably didn’t give the piece the time it deserved.

This piece ended up becoming a sort of sequel to the first story (and probably most popular) I ever wrote for the Indie Ink Challenge, called Stars are Cool.

(The response to my challenge should be up sometime soon here.)

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I am a murderer.

Everyone tells me that that is not true. That it was an accident. That I didn’t mean to do it. And I didn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have killed a person. A human being. For God’s sake, I killed a child.

It’s true that it was an accident. I was driving in my car, and someone started calling me. I reached for my phone, looked down for just half a second. It was too late for me to stop by the time I noticed him running into the street. I should have seen the soccer ball roll in front of me, knew that he was going to run after it. He was just a kid after all. No more than five or six years old.

I went to the funeral. It just felt like it was something I needed to do. I needed to walk through that fire. I needed everyone there to see me, to know it was my fault and to hate me for it. I deserve to be hated.

The funeral was short. My feeling is that the parents wanted to keep it that way. They didn’t want to keep the pain going on any longer. It was a closed casket as well, thanks to me.

They put up pictures of the boy. And trinkets. I remember seeing the father walk in with a pair of bronzed shoes. The casket, it was covered with stars.

I made the decision to stay in the back of the church. Though I wanted everyone to know I was there, I didn’t have it in me to sit there, front and center for all to see. I was physically unable to talk to anyone there. My guess is that they didn’t want to anyways.

Actually that’s not entirely true. There was one person who came up to talk to me. The boy’s father.

He pulled me aside after the burial, as everyone began to leave. It is difficult to describe the way that he had carried himself at the funeral and when he spoke to me. The best I can do is say that it looked like, it looked like life was just a little too heavy for him. Like life wanted to squash his face in the mud and he was trying to stay standing.

The father told me that at first he wanted to be mad at me. That he wanted to hate me. But he couldn’t. He said that he had to actively try hating me but it never happened. He said to me that he knew that no one could possibly be more upset with me than me. There was no point for him to be mad, he said.

He said that there were no hard feelings and that he forgave me. Then he walked away.

But as he walked away he looked back and said, “The real hardship is going to be learning to forgive yourself. But don’t give up.”

I’ll try.


Virgil, Save Us From This Inferno

Here we go again, with the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. My prompt this week comes from Greg:

Scant minutes remain until your home is engulfed 

by the raging forest fire…gather what you can

My first thought on the prompt was to do one of those, “I would save these possessions because they are important. This is why they are important” posts. Then I said screw that noise. I decided on less of a reflective piece and more of a frantic, survival piece.

On another note, I will be taking next week off from the challenge. I’m moving into a new place on Monday and frankly I’ll have no time to write anything up.

See you in two weeks.

(You can read the response to my challenge here.)

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I can still feel the room spinning as I rise from the bed. Spinning from a night out at the bar, a nice townie place. It’s the heat that woke me. This heat is stifling, hard to think, hard to breathe. I think I can see smoke coming from my bedroom door. An eerie glow.

The flesh on the palm of my hand sizzles on the doorknob as I try to exit. I scream in pain, it burns. It burns badly. Pus filled blisters begin to form immediately, each pulse from my heart is noticeable from my hand. There will be no relief from the pain anytime sure, I’m sure of it.

Kicking the door open, I stumble into a raging blaze. Fire engulfs everything, and the heat is growing more and more intense. There is no way that I can stay in here for much longer; my lungs are begging me, screaming at me to get a gasp of clean air. The visibility is two feet at most, smoke engulfs everything. When you’re in the dark walking around, it feels almost as if you’re floating. Smoke feels as if you’re swimming underwater, unable to surface and slowly drowning.

There is no time, there are things I need to save. Things that are important. Pictures, souvenirs, memorabilia; memories and monuments to past people and events. Things that need to be remembered. The closest thing that I can see is my diploma, hanging on the wall directly to my left. There are flames near the wall, but I can make it.

It burns too, the diploma. The glass almost feels gooey, as if it is slowly melting away. The pain is unbearable. When you touch something really hot, your hand instinctively pulls away without you fully realizing what has happened. Your hand actually reacts to the heat faster that the pain receptors can register to your brain that your hand is burning. If your hand waited for the pain to register, your injuries could be much worse. That’s how important a fraction of a second can be. I am unable to remove my hand from the diploma quickly. My hand sticks to the glass, unable to pull away.

I free my hand and realize that there is nothing that I would be able to save. There is nothing that I can protect. I was too late for that, too deep in a drunken slumber for too long. The only thing that is possible for me to save at this point is myself.

And seems it like that might be a challenge.

It is difficult to think through the pain. I’m unable to use either hand, trapped in the inferno. My only shot is through the nearest window, the only problem is that it is on the other side of flames. Oh well, no guts no glory. I guess.

My feet, bare due to the fact I was woken up, burn as I leap through the flames and out the window. I cut my arms and face from the glass. And there is no salvation out here. The forest, in my backyard, the forest is ablaze and it’s spreading.

Who knows, maybe I won’t need to worry about forgetting about those precious memories. I might not have enough time left to forget them.

Burnt, bruised and cut up, I run.


Hedonism, Among Other Things

Another Indie Ink Writing Challenge. My challenge this week comes from Bewildered Bug:

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

I don’t really have much to say about the challenge this week. The story pretty much speaks for itself.

(You can read my challenge to Operamouth here: Helix)

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Everything has gone to shit, I never wanted this, fucking this going down tonight. All I wanted was to have a few drinks with just a couple of friends, but I guess the word got out that I was going to be doing some off-the-wall-crazy-ass-party or something. Why the hell would anyone think that I was okay with this.

I walk around my apartment and I see some guy I’ve never met puking all over my radiator, which is just delightful. Two others are vomiting simultaneously into my toilet, and missing, while some girl is snorting coke next to them, on my sink. I assume it’s coke at least. And who the fuck are all of these people? Where the hell did they come from?

The lights have been shut off, and someone must’ve brought a strobe light with them. The flashes are giving me a headache. Of course the thumping rave music doesn’t help. Also not my music. People on X keep ramming into me, thinking they’re dancing as I attempt to survey the damage around my home. The people I originally invited over are long gone, leaving me to the wolves. Some friends, I guess. Fuck it, I would’ve left too if it wasn’t my goddamn place.

There is no sanctuary in here. Not even my own fucking bedroom. I walk in and I see a bunch of people fucking fucking all over my bed and floor. More than two, but I honestly can’t tell you how many. Bodies and limbs were strewn about everywhere. A fucking orgy in my goddamn bedroom. I hear more thumping and moaning but I couldn’t tell you where it was coming from, only that I hear it through the walls. They’re not thin either, the walls.

I just want to sit, but I can’t. People are passed out everywhere, on my chairs, my kitchen table, several on my sofa, some on the floor who are risking being trampled by the unceasing dance party. I see this guy drop a pill into a drink before handing it off to some girl. They walk away and are now lost in the crowd. Charming.

Maybe I should have called the police, when 200 people showed up unannounced for a rave in an apartment. But it all happened so fast. And besides, I doubt my landlord would believe me if I told him that I didn’t want any of this and that I was the one who called the cops, especially after this amount of time. Plus I’ve been to fucking busy with whatever damage control I can manage.

Speaking of which, blue and red flashes begin to fill the living room, accompanying the white flashes of the strobe. People think it’s another cool effect until they notice the sound of sirens creeping up from under the music. They start to flee. Every last one of them. Most run for the door, clogging it for a moment while others decide to fuck the crowd and jump out my window. I’m on the first floor anyways, though one moron forgot to open the window as he lept out.

I shut the music off and turn my light on. Finally, there is some peace and quiet. I sit down and rest my eyes, and let the anxiety of the night wash over me. My place is my own again.

At least, until the police come crashing through the door.


In Which There is No Light

It’s time for another Indie Ink Writing Challenge. My challenge this week comes from K. Syrah:

Describe the violent death scene of someone, and describe as something beautiful.

This prompt was right up my alley, thematically speaking. I’ve always been of the opinion that writing, at least good writing, should be about finding beauty in things that are horrible. I had a few ideas for this prompt, and my biggest challenge was picking one. I ended up choosing the one that was the most unusual, someone describing their own death, and the challenge then was simply making it work.

(You can read the response to my prompt here.)

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In all honesty the only thing that you really need to know about me is that I am dead. It’s been 19 minutes and 34 seconds since a man whom I’d never met tried to rob me and shot me in the head during our struggle.

You don’t believe me, do you? That I’m dead. Well, it’s not like I can’t blame you or anything. Hell, if our roles were reversed I probably wouldn’t believe you either. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am indeed dead. So how am I talking to you right now? That’s something I’m not sure I can explain.

I’m also not sure how I can describe what being dead is like. Or what it’s like to die. It’s one of those things that you need to experience in order to fully understand. But I suppose you’re curious so I guess I can give it a shot.

The best place for me to begin is on the circumstances on my death. Like I said before, I was shot. In the head. Really it was my fault, I should have given him my damn wallet, but I thought that I was tough enough to subdue the man. A word of advice: don’t try fighting a man with a gun, you will lose.

It only hurt for the first split second, as the bullet started boring into my skull. I specifically remember the bullet being really really hot. Once it actually began penetrating my brain, I don’t know. It was like, it was like time began to slow down to a screeching halt.

Your life really does flash before your eyes, at least as the bullet is passing into and through the frontal lobe. My guess is that as your brain is being turned into a mushy soup by hot lead the memories just sort of flash. And flash is the right term, I think. You don’t see your life as a movie, you see quick snapshots. They aren’t in any sort of logical order either, and it’s stuff you don’t really expect to see.

Honestly, what you remember are the tiny insignificant details that you would never be able to recall no matter how hard you try. As the bullet first entered the frontal lobe I remembered the striped tie my Mom always had me wear to piano recitals. I remembered what I ate on July 18th, 1994 for dinner. It was macaroni & cheese, the kind that were dinosaur shaped. The perfume of the girl who I first said “I love you” to at age 16. There were hundreds of snapshots. Thousands.

And then the bullet began running along the line between the Parietal and Temporal lobes. My senses started to become mixed in my head, all the while more and more snapshots flashed in my eyes. Have you ever tasted music? The song that was playing when my brother and I got into a car crash tasted like blueberries. And chocolate. The apple pie I shared with my wife on our first date sounded similar to a piece by Bach, it started and stopped with each bite I took. And the colors, oh how they smelled.

Images disappear when the bullet hits the back section of the brain. It becomes more like, I don’t know, it’s really hard to describe. It’s sorta like those images cease being pictures and become sensations. You remember goosebumps during a snow day. Or sweat after a five mile run. You remember the joy of having your first child, but you can’t picture the child, just what it felt like to have one.

All of that stopped once the bullet exited out of the back of my head, spitting out bone and brain with it. The exit wound in the back of my head is approximately the size of a baseball. My brain is slowly oozing out the back as some birds begin picking at it. As I lay there, the authorities have yet to find me, and they won’t for another 7 hours and 34 minutes.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel. As you die it’s just the memories. But it’s not simply nothingness after. It’s more than that. Much more. You actually transcend time and space. You are everywhere and everywhen. It’s really hard to explain. It’s like you’re witnessing all moments that ever were and ever will be and it’s happening simultaneously. I am looking back on my life, and I am also looking ahead on yours.

It’s not like you’re God, but it’s pretty damn close.