Monday, July 8, 2013

The Road

This was another class assignment. This time I was suppose to pick a novel and introduce myself as a character in a favorite scene. I guess I took this too literally because I added myself as who I would have wanted to be if I were in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road instead of just adding myself as I am everyday. What can I say, I would want to be a bad-ass in his world. Anyway, I really like the way it turned out. Even if I did get off track with the actual assignment.

We were lucky we’d gotten this far without being violently approached. People were desperate and although there were few survivors, the desolation had inevitably changed everyone’s state of mind. Human instinct was now as ravenous as predators that stalked lesser beings just for the thrill of the kill, only in this case it was entirely necessary. The world was drying up, starving for nourishment just like we were. I’d seen men feasting on the flesh of fallen comrades, neighbors, and once the tiny body of a boy, he was probably too young and na├»ve to realize he had become the young deer that strayed from its mother, the starving eyes of evil salivating over the flesh that barely clung to his bones. He’d lost a battle he didn’t even know he was fighting. I felt selfish when I shielded my son’s eyes, he was no older than the dead boy, but instinct told me I should mask the evil desperation of man even though the sight should serve as a lesson that no one could be trusted. I don’t know how long we’d been walking when I saw her thin frame appear from behind a tree, her face was chapped from the harsh winds and sunken in from lack of food, and like us she too had refused cannibalism as a means of survival. I wondered if she had been following our footsteps, sheathed in the shadows of the surrounding wood or simply arrived at this spot right as we had. She carried a bowed piece of wood that had been fashioned into a long ranged weapon, her hand was grasped around four whittled branches that served as arrows and had a small mesh laundry bag tied to the loop of her pants that was filled with various vegetation, leaves and stray roots protruding through the holes. She looked like she belonged in another state of being entirely, old-fashioned, like some ancient warrior, but living in the wild did that to people, forced them into a state of existence where life wasn’t so simple.

“I have a camp set up in a clearing just north of here, there’s a stream to clean up in and I have plenty of greens to share”, she declared as she motioned to the bag tied to her side. “Game is getting harder to find and I’d rather die than chow down on human, so if you’re willing to share your catch you can follow me.”

She was referring to the four squirrels bundled together at the feet that I’d slung over my shoulder. They would be decaying soon and I had used my last match the night before. The sun was setting and I hated to imagine the frost stealing my boy’s breath and waking to find him a bruised blue color.

“I don’t blame you for keeping that knife close at hand, but just know if you attack me I won’t hesitate to kill you in front of your boy.”

I didn’t want to trust her, but she appeared to be on our side, just hoping to survive for one more night. Had it not been for the young boy trembling at my side with exhaustion, hunger and the chill of winter invading his lungs I would have refused her offer and taken my chances in the woods, but one squirrel was a small price to pay for fresh water and warmth. Although we agreed not to exchange pleasantries, as we would go our separate ways in the morning, I couldn’t help but have a feeling of fondness towards this young woman. She had an air of bravery that my wife never had, when she died it would be through no lack of fighting, but simply nature claiming one more soul. We were all doomed.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Moon

This was a piece I wrote while ago. I guess about two year by now. It was for my first writing class. I had a lot of fun with this one because the tale was already there, I just had to find a way to revamp it. It’s really a good way to get the imagination going and I should actually practice the technique more often. This is my version of the Grimm Fairy Tale “The Moon"

In a world where sunlight was shared by all, none were as lucky as one small village where nightfall didn’t mean hours of shrouded darkness. For everyone else, the descension of the sun each evening meant any chance for activity became non-existent. The arrival of night rendered even the sharpest of eyes useless. Each evening, villagers around the world ended their tasks, entered their homes and slept until the darkness once again faded. One selfish village remained brightly lit. Only a few feet in the sky they housed an illuminated, round chunk of earth that shone each night with the disappearance of the sun. Secured tightly to the bodies of four concrete beings, four cables suspended the illumination just far enough in the sky for the light to spread over their land. As word began to spread far and wide, the villagers noticed more and more visitors traveling to their land and watched as they stared in awe as the illumination took place of the sun like clockwork each night. With the sight of the lit miracle the visitors waited patiently nearby, expecting the darkness to extinguish it, but the light kept the black at bay and the village remained as brightly lit as if the sun were high above the clouds. Realizing that this meant countless hours didn’t need to be wasted sleeping and more work could get done and more free time spent on hobbies, they began to suggest to the villagers that they build their own houses and move their families to the land with the promise that they could help maintain the village. The inhabitants, without even considering the idea, refused the request and sent the strangers on their way, telling them that their village was fine as it was and they preferred to be left alone. This angered the visitors, but they when on their way, further spreading word of the illuminated village to everyone they met along the way. Soon, people around the world became enraged at the selfishness of the village and their refusal to let anyone new procure residence there. One night, as the villagers of the illuminated land were off celebrating their eldest patron’s birthday in the center of town, a band of brave men snuck into the field where the stone creatures secured the earthly chunk, with the intention of releasing it from its bindings. Since little was known about the glowing object, the men were unsure if the release of it would send it soaring into the sky where it would disappear forever, or if it would simply settle where the sun would be and replace it each evening as darkness fell over all. Furious at the prospect of the village having something that no one else could access they decided it was only fair that everyone either lived in darkness each night or the illumination was far enough in the sky for all to share. The creatures of stone could not be wounded with the same instruments that could injure humans and they were much too heavy to be moved and the cables too thick to be severed, so the men decided to blow them up with dynamite, the closest chance they had at succeeding. They placed several sticks of the red destructor near the base of each stone mass and quickly retreated into the woods that stood behind them. With an explosion that could be heard from miles around, chunks of stone ricocheted off the trees and landed in the leafy brush, some pelted the hidden men on their arms and chests as they glared through the surrounding trees into the sky at the illuminated mass ascending into the sky. It continued to progress further and further upwards until it suddenly stopped in the exact spot where the sun rested each day and shone its light over all that dwelled below it. Scared that object would only remain lit for one night, the world watched in anticipation as the sun descended into the clouds the next evening and  all breathed a sigh of relief when the new illumination took its place. This ball of light became known as the moon. And the people of the selfish village were forced to live their lives cut off from the world, looking at their glowing light from afar.