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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Another story I made in a writing class. Modern setting, nothing fantastical.

Janet entered the tall apartment building. It had been around for decades, without much updating to it. She had to go up three floors to get to her place. Her high heels hit the concrete floor as she entered, echoes announcing her presence. The groceries in her hands felt heavy enough to burst through the sacks. Perhaps it had been a mistake to visit the salon before buying food, because she always had to look her best when getting her manicure, but the combination of high heels and heavy groceries made her wonder if she would get blisters on her feet. After all, the nearest bus stop was three blocks from her place, and with the car in the shop, it was the only means of transportation she had left. She didn’t think it should have been all that unusual to bring groceries with her on the bus, but that day everyone must have agreed to make her look like a fool.

On the way home she had stopped three times after getting off the bus to set down the bags and examine her hands. One of the nails broke during the trip home, and there were creases where the plastic had bit into her hands. One time, a dog had come over, sniffing her food, and she had to clumsily chase it away without tripping. Her husband always told her to wear shoes with wider heels, but she thought they looked ugly. If only he had stayed home today like he had said he would. Then he could have gone shopping, or taken care of the baby.

Jim was a great husband and she knew she should not complain, but he sometimes acted strange around the neighbors, as if he did not trust them. One time he told her he thought the woman above them had drilled a hole through their ceiling and was spying on them. Most of the time, his theories were so funny, she had to stop herself from laughing. She still was not sure if he was serious or if he was joking. But all of this had not stopped him from being a good husband and father.

Maybe because she was thinking of him that she began feeling it. When she on the last set of stairs before getting to her place that she realized something was wrong. It was too silent. There was a tenseness in the air. She chastened herself for getting so worked up over nothing. She was imagining things. Yet she couldn’t help but feel something had happened. Her steps became slower, more languid the closer she got, as if wading through water. Her heartbeat was the only thing that sped up. Even these warning signs, though, could not prepare her for what she saw when she arrived on her floor and saw her apartment ahead of her. With a gasp, she let go of the groceries, food spilling everywhere.

Janet looked at the crime scene, all emotions numbed. The blood that stained the floor cruelly held her gaze. How could that have been her favorite color? She idly twisted her curly hair, thinking that it was nothing like the color of blood, even though she had been called red headed all her life. The man who had died, her neighbor, was middle aged, only a little bit older than her husband who had first asked her out when she was still in high school and he in college. She wondered if her life would come to such an abrupt stop when she reached this man’s age. What would people think of her? She was nothing more than a housewife, although her mother would have told her that it was nothing to be ashamed of. Who would remember her if she died right now? Her son was too young still, her husband would obviously remember her, at least until he remarried. She did not have many friends, since she had moved here up in the northeast to be with Jim. Her father always complained about that in the family reunions she could attend, saying that she was turning into a liberal Yankee.

Through the far apartment window, she saw the falling orange leaves. The police were telling her to leave now, that there was nothing to see, but their words were like butterflies, slow but elusive. How silly they were. There was plenty to see. She shivered.

“Ma’am, please allow us to conduct our investigation. If you want, we can assist you with your groceries.” She looked down at the bags, one yellow at the bottom from the broken eggs, and then back at the man in the uniform. He must have taken that as a nod, because he looked over at a reporter and told him to help her. Vaguely, she saw him resist, but he soon gave in and started collecting her bags as well as the food that had fallen out. Annoyed, he nodded for her to lead him to her apartment, but she wanted to continue looking through the open door, past the yellow tape. In the back of her mind, she knew it was morbid, but that part was not in control at the moment.

This man, Harold something, had been her neighbor for about a year. He was single and apparently never had been married. Her husband always commented that a man his age should have settled down a long time ago, that he must be hiding something and that she should stay away from him. She had not been so suspicious of Harold, and sometimes had pleasant conversations about nothing with the man. Not that they had ever been close friends, although today she had trusted him with…

Janet swore and ran into the man’s apartment, breaking the yellow tape and ignoring the yells of the police. “My baby! My baby!” Where was he? If he was…she would never forgive herself. Panting, she rushed to the crib that she had left with Harold when she went out. She looked in, but there was nothing inside. Where was he? The police grabbed her arms and pulled her out, forcefully. She struggled. She did not care about not disturbing the crime scene. They only got her out with a big struggle, leaving her crying. She slumped against the wall and put her face in her hands. Someone came over and tried to comfort her, but she ignored him. The tears flowed between her fingers.

Later, she was in her apartment. The reporter had brought in the groceries and then had taken the opportunity to interview her. Each question had provoked more tears. Why couldn’t he leave her alone? The police then told her they would do everything they could to locate her baby, since they had found no other body except that of her neighbor. These had been the longest hours of her life. Now they were all gone and she was picking at a bowl of macaroni and cheese mixed with tears. She heard the door open. Getting up, she tried to prepare to tell Jim the bad news. He had not answered his cell phone all day. She didn’t think she would be able to without becoming a total mess. She had cried for hours after getting home, and the tears had recently dried up, but rainstorms threatened to fill up the empty riverbeds of her face again.

When he came into full view, Janet gasped. “Jason!” Her son was alive! She ran over to Jim and took her son from his hands. “How, where was, when, I was so, what?” The cog that linked her mouth and mind stopped functioning. She could not believe it. Even though her son was frowning, his face looked as if it were glowing, the most beautiful sight in the world. She imagined that he was happier now that he was with his mother. She stared into those blue eyes, her hours of grief healed in the instant they blinked. She stood there with her son for several minutes, crying, ignoring everything around her, including her husband.

“Honey,” Jim eventually began, his tone not reflecting her delight. “Why did Harold have our baby?” Janet still couldn’t speak, though, and his words sounded like another language. She looked her baby in the eyes. “Honey. I came home early and heard Jason crying, but it did not come from our apartment. When I realized that Harold had him…like I always said, I never trusted him, and I thought he had…or you and he…”

“Poor Harold!” Janet exclaimed, snapping back to reality at the mention of her deceased neighbor. “You do know what happened, right?”

“Why would I know what happened?” Jim said defensively. Then his cheeks colored. “Oh, that. Yeah, it’s a real tragedy. Good thing I got Jason out of there before it happened.”

“Wow, I hadn’t even thought of that. Here I was, sitting at home, worried sick, and you protected our son the whole time. You really are a great husband and father, Jim.” Janet looked at him earnestly. Jim scratched behind his head, forcing a smile. His sandy blond hair was reflected in their son, who burped at that moment. Janet turned to her husband. “Jim, why are there dark spots on your pants?”

Jim looked down at his pants and looked like he had woken up from a strange dream. “I…went to check on the car in the shop, honey. Behind the counter, they were showing highlights of the game last night on the TV, so I leaned in to get a better look. I guess it was pretty dirty, or greasy, because after, my pants were like this. Worse, even.”

“How is the car, dear? You wouldn’t believe what I had to go through today without that thing, and all to come home to this.” Tears started trickling down her face, and she tried to wipe them, but with Jason in her arms, she had a bit of trouble, having to shift the baby. Jim came over and hugged her, wiping the tears away himself as if it would erase all the pain. Janet looked at him and pouted. “Promise me this will never happen again, dear.”

“What do you mean? I can’t stop people from dying.” Jim avoided looking into her eyes.

“Just promise. Please.”

“Fine. You won’t have to suffer through this any more.”

Later that night, Jim got up and went to get a snack. Janet watched him go, pretending to be asleep, but in reality she was wide awake. The day’s events had taken a lot out of her, yet she could not fall into darkness’s forgetful embrace. She was relieved her son was fine. She felt bad that Harold had died. But there was something that weighed down on her mind more than anything else, and she had no idea what to do about it, or if she should tell anyone about it. Sometimes she wished she didn’t know Jim so well.

This day had brought so many surprises, and Janet did not know how to handle them all. Sure that Jim was occupied for the time, she quietly picked up the phone receiver. She needed to get this off her mind, and perhaps it would be best this way. What was someone to do in this kind of situation? Maybe she should wait until he was at work the next day. But she would not be able to sleep with this on her mind.

Her fingers trembled as she pushed each button. Who knew three numbers would be so hard to punch in? When a voice came through, it felt glaringly loud. She looked up and glanced around, hoping Jim hadn’t heard her. It didn’t look like he had, so she began whispering into the receiver.

“Hello. My name is Janet and I have some information on a murder committed today…”

“Miss, there is another number you can call to help the police in solving a crime. We deal in emergencies.”

“But this is an emergency. You see, I am in the same house as-“

Janet dropped the phone as she felt his hand on her shoulder. It bounced on the floor a few times before stopping, and then the only sound in the room was the static noise coming from the receiver, almost making out understandable words.

“Janet,” Jim whispered. “That was not a good idea. Not good at all.”

He spun her around and in the dim light, with a faint green glow from the phone buttons, she looked into the face of her husband. Except he was not her husband anymore.

This was the face of a murderer.

 
 

One of the themes in my books is racism, and so I wanted to have different races to explore that. How would humans act if confronted with another race or species that was as smart as they were. Science fiction sometimes deals with that, finding alien races, but fantasy does as well. There are the normal ones, like dwarves, elves, orcs, etc. Some authors, like Tolkien, have used these familiar races (or in his case, practically invented them), while others create their own races, often similar but with different names (trollocs as orcs from The Wheel of Time). Others just stay with humans and maybe some creatures (Song of Fire and Ice). I am writing thinking of using the familiar races and creatures, because they are familiar. I will add my own take on them, but right now, the names are the same. I felt that just changing the names wouldn’t do much since people will think of them that way anyway. Anyone have any ideas on this? Comments? Should I have made some completely different races that don’t look like humans at all? Would people be able to identify with them if I didn’t? I feel like taking the Harry Potter approach, and using the familiar, although in a different way. But maybe someone can convince me to be completely original with this. Who knows?

For most of the time writing my book was fun and I was usually able to write something, even if just a page. But rewriting it is proving to be more difficult. Although there are changes I want to make, I just don’t know where to begin, so have mostly been correcting grammar. There are parts I need to take out, or shorten, because this is a long book right now (290,000 words), and it’s only the first in a long series I want to create. It’s just hard destroying part of something I created.

Here is a short story (not connected to Sage Eyes) to give you a taste of my style.

Crucifixion

John Remalto knocked on the door. Knock knock. They had told him this would be a story that only he could do, that they only trusted him with, no one else. He had no idea what was so special, but then, as an award winning journalist, it was his job to find out.

After two minutes, the door opened slightly. A chain kept it from opening more. “May I ask who you are?”

“I’m John Remalto, we have an appointment.” John wondered if he had the right address. He looked down at the touchpad in his hand. Before he could double-check, though, the door closed. Why is everyone so rude? John thought, about to turn around.

“Sorry about that, I had to make sure you weren’t some crazy out to get me,” came the voice again as the door opened, this time all the way. Great, this guy’s paranoid. But he was a professional, and didn’t say anything, just smiled. “Come in.”

The apartment had papers strewn all about, so that John had to look closely to see if there was a carpet, or if that was the papers’ function. It was not like most people used much paper these days. John had his touchpad out, ready to take notes, record his conversation, and set to block any calls from his wife. This had better be worth his time. He noticed the window to his right was open. John had lived in this city when he was a child, so he glanced out from where he stood and tried to recognize anything from his youth. The buildings were familiar, but there was a mental ward below that he did not recognize. He tried to remember what had been there before. A dove flew past the window.

“Have a seat,” came the voice again, this time with a body. John surveyed his newest story. Glasses, graying hair, white suit coat (even in his own house?), bad posture, and piercing blue eyes. He was holding a little necklace in his hands, fiddling with it. John sat down on the couch facing the window, surprised it wasn’t covered in papers as well. The middle aged man sat down in front of him on a stool, backlit by the gray sunlight streaming in. The paper crumpled as he walked over it.

“So you are the famed Dr. Mark Nitlin, renowned scientist and theorist. ” John stated. The man nodded. “Nice place you have here.” Dr Nitlin looked around, embarrassed, as if suddenly aware of the state of his apartment. John waved a hand. “Don’t worry, I’m not here to judge, I just want your story. They tell me you’ve discovered something that could change our lives forever.”

Dr. Nitlin straightened up when John started mentioning the discovery, and his whole appearance changed. No longer was he the timid and awkward man from before, but one full of pride and self importance. Much better that way for John, because now it would be all the easier to coax any information from him. “‘I have only shared it with other trusted scientists, but now that I am ready to publish my findings, I also want an article published, so the public at large could understand its significance, without having to know all the scientific details.”

“Makes sense to me.”

“Alas,” (Who says that nowadays? John asked himself) “I believe some rumors have already leaked out, though, and my discovery has already made me enemies, which is why I was hesitant to open the door for you.”

“Enemies, huh? Must be pretty important. And if it is, I assure you, we will be best friends.” Controversies always sold more. It looks like he had come to the right place.

“My discovery is not so important by itself, I will admit, no more than any other number of discoveries that have come before it. I am not even sure there are any practical uses for it.” What? If there was no practical use, then what use was there? John became worried. “What exactly does your discovery entail, Doctor?”

Instead of answering directly, the scientist stood up and went to the window, looking out on the artificial environment below. Where there had once been trees, now public projector screens played endless advertisements. “In the past decades, especially in the early 2000’s, there have been several major scientific discoveries. With each one, humanity was able to let go of false traditions and turn an eye to the future, towards independence. My breakthrough has scientific importance, but more importantly, it had social and culture relevance.”

What is he getting at? thought John. If there was no real story here, then he had wasted his time. He knew he should have used the teleconference option, instead of coming to meet the guy in person. The man beckoned him to the window, and reluctantly John got up, leaving the soft sofa. Paper crumpled beneath his feet. At the window, Dr. Nitlin rubbed his necklace, which had the number six on the end, and pointed to the mental ward John had noticed earlier.

“Do you know what that building was before?” Nitlin asked him.

Thinking hard, he came up with an answer, to the surprise of them both. “It was a church.” He remembered his mother taking him there once, although he had been bored the whole time. Dr Nitlin scowled.

“Once, it was used to psychologically treat people’s depression, with little success. Now it medically treats it, with much greater success. With our new knowledge and tools, we are evolving as a society. Just like with the Greek Gods, the notions of the past are systematically being replaced as science gives us new understanding of the human condition, our place in the universe, and where we came from. In fact, that is precisely what I discovered.”

Now we are getting somewhere, thought John, wanting to get away from the subject of religion. Any mention of that made him queasy. His purpose in life was to make a lot of money, and he was doing well with that, so trying to make him feel bad for anything else he had done did not sit well with him. Although, sometimes he wondered where this world and humanity came from. If the doctor would get on and actually tell him, his visit might serve two purposes, one he had not even foreseen.

“What I have done is to complete what so many other scientists, conscious of it or not, have tried to achieve. I represent the culmination of their efforts. The evidence is undeniable; my colleagues agree with me. This is why I have enemies, because there are always people who oppose humanity’s progress. Soon, the voice of reason will make the blind fools give up, and this part of humanity’s history will come to an end.”

I doubt any discovery you made could be so important as to mark an era in history. This guy’s full of himself. “All right, Dr. Nitlin, you’ve got my attention. What is so important about your discovery? Give me a title for the article that is worthy of your achievement.”

“Science has always warred against ignorance and superstition. Well, now, I have dealt the deathblow. Science has come out triumphant. What I have proven means there is no longer a need for the struggling churches. John Remalto, you want a title? Well, here it is.” John looked at the scientist; he seemed almost in his own world now, the eyes not focusing on anything. His fist clenched the necklace. Chills went down John’s spine as the doctor spoke.

“I killed God.”

Welcome to Sage Eyes blog. What is Sage Eyes? It is a series of fantasy books, currently in progress, that I am writing (currently working on second draft of first book: REAWAKENING).

Here’s what Sage Eyes is all about:

Snake Eyes. The most feared band of thieves in the kingdom of Mith. Named after revolutionary Sage Eyes, the group that banished the Dread Lords two millennia ago. Whether stealing from the rich or working with them against another noble, their skill and prestige have made them legendary. Arrogant even. Simon had the good life with them: feared, good company, a purpose in life, and no questions about his past. So it comes as a surprise when everything they had made for themselves comes crashing down because of a girl.

Princess Tiffany wanted to make something more of her life than living senselessly in a castle, having no real impact on the lives of her subjects. So she came up with a daring plan that she hoped would rid the kingdom of a terrible thorn in its side. But when she gets involved with the wrong type of man for help, she soon loses everything she loved. Now she has to learn to redefine herself and her viewpoint of the world, on a journey that lets her experience firsthand what one of the least of her subjects has to go through.

Along with two elves, Mero, who would prefer to live away from his own kind, and Shiara, a quiet healer who is despised for the magic she wields, Simon and Tiffany cross the continent in search of a way to save Simon’s life by finding ancient structures that hold a deep magic. But no one is sure they still work. Each of them has their own motives, but find themselves swept up in the bitter politics being played by a vengeful king. In the end, though, they’ll all have to answer one question:

How much would you sacrifice to save a single life?

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