Thursday, June 25, 2015

...Hey. How Ya Doin'?

I haven't written you guys a story in nearly a year. This exercise seems to be going well...

I think one of the reasons I haven't written much is that I've felt this pressure to come up with these brilliant new stories every time. No one writes only amazing stories. For every great book there were about fifty terrible ideas they had to go through. Right? I'm sticking with the theory.

I also felt like I had to only write fiction pieces. But why? I said I wanted to practice writing in general but I still put this weird limit on things in my head. And its a stupid one. No one really reads this anyway, so who cares if I write a story about a dream jumping cat or rant about something happening in the world, or tell you a stupid story from when I was an extremely awkward child?

So, from now on I'll be posting whatever isn't book related (those bits are on IvAnReads).

I like your face. It's a nice face.

I'm sorry this is such a mess but the thoughts are pure at heart, I swear.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Welcome Basket

I first met Eliza the summer before our junior year and I hated her in .2 seconds. She was everything a normal 16 year old should be. And her family was everything a normal American family should be. Even her golden retriever was exactly like every ideal dog should be. It was even named Buddy. It was disgusting. And yet, despite their repulsive lifestyle, my mother had the audacity to sign me up as the welcoming committee. 

"But I don't want to welcome her." I protested as my mother shoved a basket full of assorted sweets into my arms.

"I don't care, it's what decent people do."

"I'm not decent."

"Well, you can pretend to be for 5 minutes, it won't kill you."

And with that the door was slammed shut behind me. The temptation to hurl the basket at it was strong.  All that stopped me was the thought of my mothers menacing face the last time I'd impulsively destroyed something. It was Christmas. And like every other Christmas there was an overwhelming assortment of holiday themed clowns. My mother loves clowns, they're every where in our house. And she has extras that she brings out for every season and minor holiday. I couldn't take the freaking clowns anymore. She'd brought home another one she found at some thrift store and it was the final straw. I picked up that stupid clown and glared defiantly at the others as I let it crash to the floor. Mother was not amused.

Eliza lived next door. I walked up her driveway and with a look of disdain at her pretentious welcome mat that was covered in paw prints, I rang the bell. Please don't let them answer. Please? But alas, the fates weren't on my side and before I could run the door swung open revealing miss perfect.

" Mom wanted me to bring you this," I said shoving the basket into her startled hands. "So there."

"Thanks, that's really sweet of you both!" The gratitude was sickening. 

"Yeah, whatever bye."

"Wait! Would you like to come in?" I was torn. I longed to be back in my room browsing aimlessly on the internet, but on the other hand in that basket were my Mom's famous peanut butter cookies. I love those cookies.

"Sure, I'm Amanda by the way."

"Great! It's nice to meet you, I'm Eliza." 

And then she stuck her hand out forcing me to awkwardly shake it. The nerve. 

I followed her through the front door, past her living room, and into the kitchen. After depositing the basket on the counter she ushered me into her room, leaving the delicious cookies behind. Damn her.
Her room was different than I expected it to be. In fact, it was kinda cool and annoyingly similar to mine. Her walls were covered with so many posters of my favorite band that they overlapped covering whatever wallpaper hid beneath. 

"Sweet posters," I said in awe. I had a lot of the same ones she had.

"Thanks, I love the Dreaded Roberts. Are you into them?"

"Definitely, I've been in love with them since Twisted Buttercups came out in '04."

"No way! Me too! I never meet anyone who's even heard of them."

"The world has no idea what it's missing. Have you heard their new single?" 

"Nah, I haven't had time. It was only released like an hour ago and I was stuck helping my Mom bake for your welcome basket."

"Lame, sorry. But we can fix that."

We listened to I'm Not Left Handed and all of Dreaded Roberts other songs until my Mom called me home for dinner. By that time I'd decided that Eliza didn't totally suck. In fact, we soon became best friends and have stayed that way ever since, even though her normal family with its lack of clowns still disturbs me.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Strange Story of Alice and Hogar

There once was a cat named Hogar. He was lean, long haired, and as black as a witch's soul. But Hogar was no ordinary black cat, he was a Nevercat. Nevercats were special. They could jump from one human's dream to another taking whatever they wanted in the process. Some people say they're half spirit but that's nonsense.

When Alice met Hogar he was being temporarily held against his will in a small cage with one glass wall. Alice was shopping with her mother that day and saw him staring at her from the window. She begged her mother until she agreed to get the animal. Hogar accepted his new human because of the spark hiding behind her left eye. Everyone knows that a spark behind your left eye is the sign of the Walkers. Walkers could travel through with Nevercats through the never world, and the two creatures were always drawn to each other.

Alice had heard of Walkers from her Grandma May as a child, but never believed in them. They were a fairy tale like Santa or trustworthy politicians; lovely to think about but neither existed outside of childish ideation.

After loading up with cat toys, food, and other supplies to satisfy the feline's fancies Alice and her mother took the proud creature home. Hogar explored his new home and found it satisfactory, especially after the weeks he'd spent in the ridiculous cage. What was more, he had finally found his Walker. Nevercats were never complete without their Walkers.

That night Alice had the strangest dream. She dreamt that she and Hogar had jumped to her mothers dream. The dream was full of a man she'd never seen. Her mother and the man were dancing around in circles. Spinning so fast Alice could hardly see her mother's face. She was laughing at something the man said when everything starting crashing down. Alice's father burst through the door behind her mother and the man and dragged her mother away screaming. Hogar nudged her legs as the world shifted. Alice was filled with a profound sadness she was sure would rip her to shreds.

The next thing she knew Alice dreamt that she was in her brother's dream. She could only imagine that it was a nightmare. She was standing in a long hallway lined with lockers. Everywhere she looked the bodies of teenagers, all around her brothers age were, were torn to pieces. The sound of hundreds of firecrackers  going off mixing with screams of pure terror came from the double doors to her right. She crept forward, horrified by what she was seeing. Through the doors her brother stood with his back to her, laughing. Hogar softly pushed her away and the world was gone.

Alice woke up with a scream. Hogar was sitting at the end of her bed staring at her with a knowing look in his bright eyes. Alice climbed out of bed and headed to the kitchen to get some water to help clear her head of the absurd dream. As she crept down the hallway she heard her mother softly weeping from the basement. She went softly down the stairs to find her mother sitting in the middle of the floor surrounded by photos of the dancing man. Alice didn't know what to make of it. How could the dream man be real? She must have simply seen the pictures before, though when she couldn't recall. She left her mother to her weeping, knowing that interrupting would only make things worse.

After getting her water Alice headed back to her room. As she passed her brother's door, she heard him laughing the same laugh from the dream. She gently turned the knob and peered into her brothers room.  He was sitting in front of his computer, on the screen was an article of a school shooting that had happened a few months earlier. He kept muttering "soon" to himself, over and over. Needless to say, Alice was more than a bit disturbed. The things from her dream seemed to be echoes of a reality she hadn't known about. Her mother must have known the dancing boy and it was obvious she'd have to report her brother in the morning.

When she got back to her room Hogar was waiting for her in the same place he'd been when she left. He had the same look in his eyes. He jumped off of the bed and went over to Alice's bookshelf. He pulled down a book of fairy tales and flipped the pages until he found what he was looking for. He stared Alice down until she finally came to look. It was the story of the Nevercats and Walkers. Hogar put his soft paw on the story and then on Alice's arm. He repeated the motion several times before Alice understood what he meant.

Though she couldn't understand how it could be possible, Alice found it surprisingly easy to accept. From then on she spent her nights with Hogar roaming through the Neverworld. She managed to stop her brother's plans and get him locked away in a hospital for the criminally insane. She also tracked down the dancing man for her mother. His real name was Richard and he was a kindhearted dentist from Dallas. He and her mother had been in love before Alice's father had ripped them apart with the help of Alice's grandfather. The two instantly reconnected and now live in a small house outside of Modesto with Alice and Hogar.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Elaine's Confession

I hate him. Pure and simple. And I have my reasons. What reasons? Where would you like to begin? Well for one, he sucks. Completely sucks, totally sucks, he's the king of sucking. Or I suppose I should say he was. He won't be bothering anyone anymore, now will he?

Anyways, back to the sucking. He sucked because he never shut up, and even though he never shut up he never said anything worth saying. Most people are like that, but he seemed to excel in ceaseless stupidity. At one point he tried to convince me that the universe had in fact revolved around the Earth until the giant meteor that killed all of the dinosaurs knocked it out of place. No really. He went on about it for three hours. I think he may have actually believed it. That's the kicker, he really thought he was a genius and I should thank the Lord on High for the opportunity to be graced with his words.

He also sucked because he was so ridiculously loud. Everything he did was loud, he even breathed loudly. I couldn't take the noise anymore. He would walk down the stairs and you would've sworn you were in the center of a German air raid back in World War II. I have very good hearing and extremely sensitive ears. And all that noise just got to me, poking at my brain all the time, it drove me crazy. Ha! Crazy. That is what you think I am, but I assure when I'm done explaining you'll understand why I did what I did.

Have I mentioned how rude he was? Everything he did seemed to be insulting to someone. And he thought it was all hilarious. Well it wasn't. Most of the time it was just gross. I don't understand how anyone his age can still be that immature. Bodily functions don't need to be seen, heard, or described in any social situation. Any situation at all really, unless of course you're talking to a doctor which, last time I checked, I'm not.

He also had no concept of personal space. And no respect for a persons boundaries. I don't know why no one ever told him, but no means no. No, I didn't want to hold his hand, or sit that close, or really have any form of physical contact. But did he listen? No. He just laughed it off and told me to calm down. Why should I have? I made things perfectly clear. I didn't play games about it, laugh about it. I was completely clear. It just didn't matter to him.

That's the main reason he sucked. It didn't matter. It should have mattered. If a person says to stop, you fucking stop. It's not a hard thing to understand. You would think someone who thought he was as smart as he thought he was would be able to comprehend such a simple concept. But no. People like that shouldn't be allowed to exist. He didn't care about me, why should I have cared about him?

He had to die, you see. It was the only ending that made any sense. No one who sucks that much should live. You brought me here to confess, so here's your confession. I shot him. I shot him over and over and over until my gun ran out of bullets. I watched the light leave his eyes as he bled out on my carpet. I don't feel bad about it, why should I? I did what was right. You can pretend you don't agree all you want, but it's true and you know it. Though I do wish I had thought to shoot him in the bathroom. I liked that carpet.

Friday, October 10, 2014


She stole the idea from her father. It hadn't been completely terrible after all and it seemed like a semi fun way to get in touch with people society seemed to of forgotten. Baking. Alli had loved it since she was three years old and her Dad had her stir the cake batter for her mother's birthday. Even if the part where she had to go interact with people sucked as much as she thought it would, at least she could spend the morning doing something she loved. It's not that she specifically didn't like old people. It wasn't that at all, Alli didn't really like anybody regardless of their age. In fact, elders were some of the people she didn't completely despise.

In the summer after she finished high school she had been forced to volunteer in a retirement home owned by her aunt. She spent the majority of the time calling out bingo numbers and thinking up ways to kill herself in order to avoid having to play bingo ever again. Despite the mind-numbingly repetitive activity she grew to love several residents. By the end of the summer she was almost sad to go away for school. Almost.

On the day Alli moved into her dorm her Dad brought up his nearly brilliant idea. He told her he wanted to bake a pie every weekend and then take it to one of his deceased mother's friends. He wanted to sit and talk with them to hear stories about his mom. His mom had been a rockstar in their small town and if you spent 50 years listening to stories about all of the amazing things she did, you would be about a third of the way through. Plus, these ladies didn't have kids who lived in the state any more, so they must've been terribly lonely. Her Dad also happened to be a brilliant baker and she couldn't help but agree that more of his savory treats in the world could only be a good thing. Unfortunately her Dad also happened to be an actual adult. Being a real adult is the worst thing that can happen to a person. He was so busy with work and being exhausted from work that his idea slipped away.

Alli decided to take over feeding the elders when she went to visit the home she had volunteered at to see her beloved Stella. Instead she found that Stella had died a couple of months before, shortly after she went away to school. One of the employees told her that the family hadn't shown up four months before she died. No one had come to see her since Alli went to school. No one called, or wrote to her. The family didn't know for almost a week because they didn't bother to answer their phones. It wasn't okay with Alli. No one should be forgotten or thrown into a home to die. She understood, of course, that sometimes homes were necessary. Not everyone had the training or ability to take care of their elders, especially if they have Alzheimer's like Stella. But you should visit, and call, and notice when they die.

There wasn't a retirement home close to Alli's small town college but the town was full of old people. They were always sitting on their porches when the weather was nice, waving to students as they walked by. Even though it seemed weird to Alli to just show up and talk to one of them, it somehow seemed less strange if she had baked goods in her hands. Off of the lobby in her dorm was a small kitchen students could use though none of them ever did. It wasn't much but the oven worked and there was a decent amount of counter space. After her classes on Friday she walked a few blocks to a tiny general store to gather supplies for the following day. She'd decided on making a classic apple pie. She managed to find all of the ingredients she needed, a few cheap mixing bowls, some wooden utensils, and a disposable pan to bake it in.

The next morning she was up and mixing before anyone else had time to make coffee. By 10:00 she had a new frustration for the stubborn oven and a perfect apple pie. She waited for it to cool as she did the dishes. Once the small kitchen was tidy she smoothed out her hair, grabbed the pie, and nervously approached a smiling woman covered in wrinkles.

She wasn't sure how to explain why she was there and strongly considered throwing the pie in the lady's direction and running back to her room. Instead, she smiled back and stopped at the edge of the porch.

"Err, hi," she stumbled before rushing on, "My name's Alli and I made this pie and I was hoping I could give it to you and talk to you for a bit."

"Hello Alli, that sounds lovely," the woman replied with a chuckle. It had been awhile since one of the college students had come by her house and she relished the idea of company.

"Cool." Alli replied. Not sure of what else to do, she walked up the stairs and set the pie down on the small table the woman was sitting in front of.

"Lucille O'Donoughs the name, it's nice to meet you."

"It's nice to meet you, too."

"You wait here, I'll grab some plates from the house. Try to relax, child. I'm not going to eat you."

With that Lucille rose quicker than Alli would've expected and shuffled into the house. She came back out a minute or so later with plates, forks, cups, and a pitcher of tea on a small tray.

"Here we are," she said falling back into her chair, "Sit down, now. There's no need to stand there all day."

Alli took the seat on the other side of the table wishing she could sink through and hide under the porch.


"Now what brings you to old Lucille's?"

"Well, my Dad had this idea to take pies to his mom's old friends and listen to some of their stories. He never got around to it, but it seemed like a good idea, so I stole it from him. I saw you sitting out here and figured you were as good a person to start with as any."

"Lucky me, the pie smells divine." Lucille cut out two hardy pieces and poured them each a cup of tea.

"Thank you, it's my grandmother's recipe. She made the best pies in town, especially the crust. She was famous for her pie crust."

"I'm sure she'd be more than happy with you recreation," Lucille said after a small bite, "It's delicious."

Alli smiled in return, unable to answer around her own mouthful.

"So what story would you like to here?" Lucille asked between bites.

"I-I don't know. I guess whatever one you want to tell me."

"That's a dangerous thing to say to an old woman, but I've got one for you. See this house? I grew up in this house, so did my Daddy and his Daddy before him. When I was a girl we had a great big tree in the back yard," Lucille began, "my brothers and I loved to climb it. I had an older brother, Bill was his name, who could climb it so fast you'd think he could fly. Well, one day I was climbing behind Bill, all the way to the top. Getting up there wasn't too hard, but once I was there I couldn't imagine a way down. I was too stubborn to tell Bill, and sat up in that tree for hours. Even after Bill climbed down and Momma called me down for dinner. I told them I loved the tree and wanted live in it. That I couldn't come down or my squirrel neighbors wouldn't trust me anymore.  I stayed up there for another two hours before Bill climbed back up to get me. When he got there my arms were shaking so bad the whole tree must've been vibrating. He had to carry me back down to the ground on his back like a monkey. The next day my Daddy decided to build me a house in the tree, not as high up as I was, but still a good way up. It took him most of the summer to finish, but when he did I decided to move into that house. I got all of the things I could carry from my room and moved them in. Daddy brought up padding and helped me make a little bed. I stayed in late tree house for two months before it got too cold. And every summer after that I lived in the tree. I bet you've never met anyone who's lived in a tree."

"You're the first." Alli replied with a smile. They were both finished with their pie by the end of Lucille's tale.

"It was a good little house, stayed up there for twenty years."

"It sounded nice."

"Oh it was, Daddy was good with building things."

"Do you miss him?" Alli asked.

"Most days. Some days I get so busy I forget to," Lucille replied with a small smile, "But that's life. People are born, they grow, and then they die. It happened to Momma and Daddy, Bill, my dear Robert, and soon it will happen to me."

"Don't say that, you seem fine to me."

"Oh child, I'm not saying it as a bad thing. It's just what happens, there's no need to be sad about it. I've had this home, a home in a tree, and when I go I'll go to another. I do hope they have this pie there, thank you for sharing it with me."

"No problem, would you mind if I came back next weekend with another?"

"I'd love that, I'll see you next Saturday. And if you're thinking of making pecan just go with it."

After exchanging smiles Alli helped Lucille clear up and the two parted for the week. For the next two years Alli spent most of her Saturdays with Lucille. On the rare occasion she wasn't at Lucille's, she was with Lucille at one of her friend's houses. A few months before their two year friendship was to end, Lucille got sick. Alli stayed with her, everyday between and after classes. When Lucille couldn't tell her stories anymore, Alli told her some of her own. When Lucille went to her final home Alli only cried once. It wasn't a cry for Lucille, who she knew was happy, but for the years it would take before Alli could see her there.

After she graduated Alli started her own little cafe in town called Lucille's. And every Saturday at Lucille's, she served a special flavor of pie.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Great Vinman

            The Great Vinman was born in the beginning of the middle of the year. He grew up in the usual way, with parent’s semi-content in their marriage, an obsession with ninjas, and more energy then anyone knew what to do with. The Great Vinman was smarter than the other kids his age, exceeding on every test and standard his school had to offer. In his eighth year the Great Vinman ran into some trouble. Food lost its appeal and he couldn’t bring himself to eat. The doctors soon realized that the medication they gave him to help control his energy was to blame and a change needed to be made. That change would change the world.
            They had to slowly take the Great Vinman off of his old medication before they could start his new ones. In the third week, as the last of the drugs worked their way out of his system the Great Vinman felt lighter. He woke up in the middle of the night filled with joy. He felt like he was floating on cloud nine. When he looked down he let out a yelp, discovering that instead of just a wonderful feeling, he was actually floating four feet above his bed. At first he was scared to move, petrified of crashing to the ground. But the Great Vinman had never been good at staying still. He slowly turned over, gaining confidence when he didn’t go tumbling towards his carpet.
            Eventually he was able to stand up in midair. He glided around his room, picking up speed until the world was a blur. When he wanted to land, his body sunk slowly onto his mattress. He ran to his parents room to spread the news of his amazing ability. For some reason he was too excited to question why he only found his mother. He woke her up and told her that he was a super hero. She thought he’d just been dreaming and tucked him back into bed.
            “But Mommy, it’s true. I can fly!” He protested. When she turned around to calm him she couldn’t find the words. Before her the Great Vinman was floating up on the ceiling.
            “See Mommy, I’m a super hero.”
            After a few minutes of stunned silence she pushed past her shock and got the Great Vinman back into bed. Even superheroes needed sleep before school in the morning. She walked back to her room and tried to wake herself up. She had to be dreaming. Her child could fly; it wasn’t possible. But no matter how many times she pinched her arm she couldn’t break through her dream and had to accept it as reality.
            The next morning the Great Vinman made sure he could still fly. It was even easier than the night before. His mother made him promise that he wouldn’t let anyone else see. It could be dangerous if the wrong people found out about his new skill. He promised and went through his day like he always did. In fact, the rest of the week went by without incident. Then the reports started.
            It started a few cities over. An army was on the march. The called themselves the Defiance and we lead by Zilear, an evil genius with a knack for engineering. He’d built himself an army of twenty foot tall robots and was using them to sweep through the state destroying everything in his path. His group of followers crept behind them stealing everything of value they could get their grubby hands on. The Defiance was making its way to the Great Vinman’s hometown and would be there by morning.
            The Great Vinman knew it was up to him to stop the insanity. A few days after his flying ability appeared he found that he could easily lift his mothers SUV. He knew he’d been given these gifts to help save the world from The Defiance. That night, after his mother went to bed, he put on the costume he’d gotten the year before for Halloween and flew out his window. His timing was perfect. Just as he passed over his elementary school he saw them.  He flew towards them without fear.
            The first robot he encountered was smashing through the wall of his mother’s bank. He sped up and punched the giant so hard its head flew off. It’s body crashed to the ground attracting the attention of the rest of the Defiance. He shot like a bullet towards them, crashing his way straight through the chest of the next robot he saw. He fought his way through a dozen of the metal monstrosities.
            Zilear made his way to the front of the line and found the Great Vinman swinging his creation above his head like a lasso. Rage filled him at the sight of his fallen army. He drew out the plasma gun he kept strapped to his side and took aim. The Great Vinman saw the blast just in time to dive out of the way. He swooped behind the fallen body of a robot as the explosion the bolt caused sent a car soaring overhead. Zilear kept firing and it was all the Great Vinman could do to avoid the blasts.
            The Great Vinman slowly made his way closer to Zilear between the blasts until he was able to attack. He charged at Zilear, tackling him through the air. They crashed into a building, tumbling across the floor. The plasma gun spun out of Zilear’s hand and broke in half when it hit the steel door to the vault. The Great Vinman leapt into action but Zilear was just as strong as he was. The two fought, fists flying so fast they couldn’t be seen. Zilear smiled, thinking he could win. But just as a smile started to cross his face the Great Vinman sent his powerful fist into his jaw. He went sprawling across the floor and was knocked out cold.
            Their leader defeated, the Defiance surrendered. The police took them all into custody and Zilear was forced to shut the rest of his robotic army down. The Great Vinman became the most beloved hero in history, winning the key to the city for his great victory. From that day on, anytime a threat found its way to the city the Great Vinman was there to stop it, and all before breakfast.