Love the ending, its a quick escape. BOOM! everythings gone and the asteroid wins!!
The true challenge, for me, is not in writing the story, but more of recording their tale.
Fatboy and Rayn have now come to life within the words that we have created, written, and read. They have been influenced by eveyone's input and now we are deep enough in the story to feel them living and breathing.
For me, it is almost scary.
They are in some 'dark' stuff right now and I am not here to twist things to a happy ending... I'm here to illustrate their world and lives within it by using words.
Rayn is a little girl. NO little girl should have to go through all of this, but this is all she knows. Fatboy is a kid trying to play big-boy games and he's a tadbit innocent himself. They are both caught up in stuff that is waaay bigger than them and they are forced to deal with it...
...even worse, they are not guaranteed to survive. For me, this is creepy.
Give me a little time and I will present the next steps in their lives from my records as a 'so-called' writer.
Last Edit: Nov 28, 2012 9:51:39 GMT -5 by blackmage
Ok take your time. I know I can only write when the mood hits me too. But you did bring up an interesting point. It's it funny how these characters we create often seem to take on a life of their own. Always when I am writing I never really know where the story is going myself. I never know what the characters are going to say until my pen hits the paper?Very often I find myself as surprised by what they say or where the story goes as the one reading it. It feels almost like taking dictation.
Not to get too esoteric on you but I have always imagined God as a writer and all of us are characters in a really big story. Just as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes and all the characters in his world perhaps we are but thoughts of God. Doyle was neither Holmes, nor Moriarity, but they lived entirely in his head as thoughts of his, making them part of Doyle yet somehow a separate creation all at the same time.
The bitter black sky had a stranglehold on joy as the punishing tentacles of lightning jumping from its depth shouted in explosions of anger; just as a reminder that the weather must always be first. Pain kneeled to the storm, along with fear, disappointment, loneliness, and sorrow.
The rain poured straight down, for there was no wind to move it. It was cold and as heavy as the heavens felt wet. Every low point flooded and every high area became an island.
There beside a small driveway wall and a decayed fallen tree loomed a rugged blue backpack drowning in the arms of dead wood with garbage caught in its grasp. The backpack had dipped and swallowed the poison of separation from its master. A stiff snatch, a muttered splash, and a small heave of breath was enough to end the separation and to rejoin the waterproof carrier with its master. If the backpack had life, it would be happy to be in the grasp of Fatboy.
The teen acting as a man, crawled backwards along the dead tree to the driveway wall and pulled himself to safety from the flood. His face still felt hurt from his earlier battle and his nose would not stop bleeding. This is one of the few times that he actually welcomed the punishment of the rain because it reminded him that he was alive.
He grabbed his aluminum bat and allowed himself a second to smile at the sight of his bag. During an age such as this, even something as simple as a backpack felt like a piece of family and a piece of home. He pulled his arms through the straps, looked into the night, and pushed forward with a limp to the highest house on the furthest side of the block while thinking merely of one thing… “Rayn.”
Hours into the storm buried within the maze of the suburban neighborhood led Fatboy to a home that was perfect in more ways than one.
It was quite far from the location that he fought Bird and it still had many boarded up windows from the inside. Upon picking the lock and hastily checking the inside, it was obvious that it had already been scavenged and left to age in peace. The two story home was, in fact, perfect.
He began to unpack his backpack beside the door as the storm demanded his attention by slowing the pace of its assault. The rhythm of the drops became a hypnotizing song made up of drums and memories as Fatboy thought about Mr. Padgett and the things he taught him.
Mr. Padgett didn’t like Fatboy when he first met him and he spoke at him in disgust. He remembered, “Keep them matches dry!” and “Keep to the high ground.”
Fatboy removed his dry matches from his backpack and coughed up a grin to Mr. Padgett as his thoughts whined on about the importance of having plastic to burn and bags to keep your stuff dry, Mr. Padgett swore by his advice. He was always ready for the end of the world.
In the center of the floor, Fatboy started a fire and made no attempt to border the flames off for control. The plastic pieces, he placed on top, melted slowly, spreading the touch of it flames and heat to the other parts of the damp room causing them to dry and eventually catch fire.
Fatboy stood in the doorway to the house caught between the dim, cold rain, and the searing, live fire before him.
He shuddered as the flash-back of food-and-flight consumed him instantly. Mr. Padgett shouted through his whispers on a night much like this as he told Fatboy to start a fire much like the one that was burning before him. Mr. Padgett chose the house… much like this one and the sharp clang across the street guided them to their escape, much like he needed now.
The house started to burn as Mr. Padgett grabbed Fatboy and rushed him off towards the clang, inside the house across the street in front of the one they had just set aflame. Inside, the third person in their small group was waiting with their stolen bags of food; memories not to be forgotten.
Regaining his focus of now, Fatboy’s smirk grew into a giggle as he raced across the street to the house in front of the one that he had just set aflame. The house was small with no doors and broken windows. There were just as many ways into it as there were out of it; it was a shell of a home.
He sat in the kitchen next to a large opening and stared into swelling flames of the home he had just left. He felt comfortable as Mr. Padgett’s memories reminded him, “You see – you see, the people after us are stopping at the house! Remember, Fatboy, always hide in the house in front of the one you burn. When things cool down, they’ll check the house and the ones on each side… hell, sometimes they’ll check the one behind it, but they never check the one in front.”
Fatboy leaned on his backpack and began to drift asleep as Mr. Padgett’s final commands that night, in the past, haunted him.
“Pack up the food, David! We gotta get back to your Momma and Rayn!”
"Yes, Dad." David responded.
Mr. Padgett’s daughter was taught the same things as Fatboy and her brother David.
The fifteen year old youth knew that she would see his beacon and that she should always check the house in front of the flames first.
Last Edit: Feb 7, 2013 1:17:29 GMT -5 by blackmage
I still have a lot of things that I want to do with this tale. I've been combing through the earlier posts to try to include many of the things that you all have mentioned while at the same time... working to develop the characters in this world that was created.
I must admit, that in the beginning the flow threw me off a bit and also towards the end with the dialog.
Overall, great writing, as usual. Very well presented. I enjoyed the end and how you had Rayn in the story, even though she wasn't. The feel and purpose of his deliberate actions made her real enough to be there.
One of the best things about the story is the resources used by the characters and how they are incorporated in the writing and your telling of the story through the characters actions. Sort of a survival guide written in a story form. These are things that are easily overlooked in many other stories. The inclusion in this story brings it together very well.
The lightning flashes and young Robert hears the deafening thunder as he tries desperately to tie down the large plastic bag he's been using as a makeshift tent. He tosses it over a very low hanging branch, one that came up to his waist when standing. Now he's using a rock and some sticks he found to pound them into the plastic trying hard to anchor it. The rain and wind are relentless and have been for the past 3 days since he became lost in these Virginia woods. He and two of his friends left Norfolk to seek something to eat as their stores of canned food were depleted, but they hadn't counted on running into that roving gang of looters. His two friends were 16 and 15 and he was the youngest at 14. The gang began chasing them and he lost track of his friends as they split up. They had agreed in advance to do that if they ran into trouble and all meet back at abandoned home they were using for shelter, but Robert ran so far and made so many turns that he was lost. Near the edge of what used to be the city limits he decided to hide himself in the woods until the gang moved on, but they spotted him and began chasing him again. He ran deep into the woods to get away from them and hid, but then when night fell he decided to make his way back only to find he was hopelessly lost. Always a city dweller he was not used to the countryside and he was alone and scared. To make matters worse the rain picked up and has not let up since.
He pounds in the last stick and tugs on the plastic "tent" and crawls inside. He has to kneel down in there it is so cramped. The muddy water oozes beneath his tent now but at least the rain is not pounding him to pieces. If only he can build a fire. He reaches in the garbage bag he found and unties it. Inside is a piece of newspaper. He found it wadded up inside this small garbage bag. It nearly blew past him yesterday but he grabbed it and seeing what it was he knew he might be able to start a fire with it. He and his two friends had split up the matches 3 ways. Nervously he strikes the wooden match against to root of the tree. It takes 3 tried but it finally lights, but just before he can light the newspaper the wind picks up to nearly tornado strength and in an instant it rips away his plastic makeshift tent and not only blows out the match but rips the newspaper from his hands, all in an instant.
"Nooooooo!!!!" Robert screams at the top of his lungs and can barely hear himself scream over the howling wind. He loses all hope now and begins to curse God. "Why God? Why? What did I do? Why are you doing this to me?" Lightning strikes nearby and Robert stands up and roars at the heavens. "Strike me! Kill Me! Please kill me!!!! I can't take it anymore!!"
Then a flock of black birds suddenly takes wing from the bushes despite the storm and Robert knows that means someone is approaching! "They found me! They found me!! Why did I scream like that? I'm so stupid!!" He jumps into some wet bushes to try and hide himself and he watches.
He was right! Someone was coming, but it's not the gang members he feared. Stepping out of the trees is a man, but he is unlike any man Robert has ever seen. His clothes? He's wearing some sort of brown robe with a hood and big sleeves and seems to have a rope for a belt and sandles on his feet.
He looks like one of those statues he saw in that church he and his mother hid in once when she was still alive. He asked her about them then and what was it she called them? A...A monk? Was that the word? It's been so long ago.
Whatever he was called he had a brown curly beard which Robert could now see slightly under his hood. In the safety of his bush he watched as the man sat down on a fallen tree and pulled back his hood and looked up to the sky letting the rain pour over his face. Then he did something Robert could not believe...He smiled. Then he began to speak...
"Thank you brother rain for your refreshing shower. It feels so wonderful." Then things got weirder still as he saw the monk reach into a shoulder bag he was carrying and he pulls out a small stringed instrument. Robert had never seen anything quite like it. As he watches him incredulously from the safety of his bush what happens next leaves him flabbergasted. The monk actually begins to play the instrument and sing! He's singing in the middle of the storm?
"Long as I remember, the rain's been coming down. Clouds of mystery pouring. Confusion on the ground. Good men through the ages, trying to find the sun, and I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain?..."
Robert is dumbfounded. He can't believe what he's seeing and hearing? But the monk played on...
"...Heard the singers playing, how we cheered for more. The crowd had rushed together, trying to keep warm. Still the rain kept pouring, falling on my ears, and I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain?"
The monk finishes his song and places his instrument back in his bag. He stands up again, arms outreached to his sides and looking up to heaven he says, "Thank you Lord for this beautiful day."
The monk, still smiling starts to leave when Robert can bare it no longer. He jumps out of the bush. "Wait!! Wait please don't leave!" he says.
"Why this is a pleasant surprize!" the monk says his face beaming at Robert. "I don't believe we've been introduced. My name is Brother Francis, what is yours young man?"
"My name is...Robert." he says as the lightning crashes across the sky causing Robert to jump, Brother Francis seems blissfully undisturbed.
"I...I have to ask you...how can you be smiling and singing at a time like this?" Robert asks. "Like what?" Brother Francis asks seemingly confused by the question.
"Like what?!!" Robert parrots back. "We're both out in the woods in a thunderstorm?" "Yes...Isn't it glorious?" Brother Francis asks him. "Glorious? Glorious? You must be mad?" Robert shouts in exasperation. "I noticed you do not seem to be very happy at all, young Robert. Why is that?" Brother Francis asks him.
"Happy? Did you say happy? I've been lost in these woods for 3 days and nights!! The rain has not let up! In fact it's raining harder than ever! I'm soaked to the bone! I'm freezing with cold! I haven't eaten for 3 days! The wind blew away what little I owned and I wish I was dead! And you ask me why I'm not happy? I don't believe you?" Robert blurts out.
"Your distress is all in your mind you know." Brother Francis tells him. "Are you crazy mister? How can you say such a thing?" Robert asks him. "Young Robert, the mind is its own place. It can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven." Brother Francis says.
"This is Hell!! I'm not imagining it!" Robert says in frustration. "Why then am I unreasonably happy?" Brother Francis asks him. "That's what I'd like to know?" Robert asks. "I'm happy because life is wonderful. I am surrounded by miracles. They are everywhere I look. How can anyone be unhappy living in paradise." Brother Francis asks.
"You are mad!" Robert says in disgust and sits with a flop onto the falled tree trunk that he saw Brother Francis get up from.
"If you like I can teach you to be happy. Would you like that?" Brother Francis asks him. "I would give anything to be happy. It's been so long since I was I think I've forgotten how.
"Let's take care of all of those problems you think you have. We'll start with your being cold. Did you know that the human body has a temperature of 98.6 degrees? Thats pretty hot! Yet you say you are cold. The problem is you never learned how to turn up your inner thermostat."
"My what?" Robert asks. "Just do as I do...breath in as slowly as you possibly can and when you can take in no more air, hold it for as long as you can and then very slowly release it. Proceed." Brother Francis tells him.
Robert does as he asks. Francis asks him to repeat the process 10 times. Robert does as instructed at the end of the breathing session Francis asks him a question.
"Are you still as cold as you were?" Brother Francis asks. "No...No I'm not? I feel warmer since I did that." Robert has to admit. "What happened was carbon dioxide began to build up inside your blood stream and you began to heat up. If you keep doing that you can raise your temperature until you will find yourself perspiring in the coldest weather. Why Tibetan monks can actually lay down in the snow and spend the night outside. When they awaken they are not even shivering and it gets well below zero where they live. Now what were those other two problems?
"I'm hungry...starving." Robert confesses. "I'm positively stuffed myself. Why I've been feasting all day." Brother Francis tells him. "Eating what?" Robert asks. "Why there is food everywhere you look!" Brother Francis tells him. "Here you go." He reaches into that bag he's carrying and pulls out another small bag and hands it to Robert. He looks inside and it is filled to the brim with mushrooms.
"One wonderful thing about so much rain, the mushroom population has tripled!" Brother Francis tells him "Go ahead, try one."
Robert eats one and then another and another. "So...good....I've seen them but I was afraid of getting a poisoness one." Robert mentions.
Pick only the large brown ones like those I just gave you. Just keep them, I couldn't eat another bite." Brother Francis says.
"Is that all you live on? Mushrooms? Robert asks. "Not at all. Just beyond that hill I found a grove of walnut trees. I've eaten so many walnuts I feel as though I'll burst. Here you take the rest." He gives Robert another bag with walnuts inside.
Over just beyond that ridge is a shallow stream teaming with catfish. I ate those for breakfast." Brother Francis says.
"Fish? But we dont' have any poles or anything? How Can I catch fish?" Robert asks. "Do bears use poles? Of course not! You just wade into that stream like this and reach right into the catfishes lair and pull her out with your two hands."
"But even if I caught him, how could cook him?" Robert asks him. "Cooking fish destroys all the flavor. Never had sushi? You just scale him and peel away the scales and eat him. You can believe how delicate the flavor of raw fish is?" Brother Francis tells him.
"But what about the rain? What can be done abut that? Robert asks. "Learn to love it! Once you have practiced heating up your body as I showed you, the rain will feel cool and wonderful to you. Stop asking God to give you all things so you can enjoy life. You were given life to enjoy all things. Enjoy what ever happens to you and you will be unreasonably happy as I am. Did you even notice that the rain has slowed down to a light drizzle?"
"No, I was busy thinking about what you've said." Robert says. "So you see, instead of focusing on your misery's you successfully blocked them from your mind. From now on instead of seeing this heaven as hell, I want you to see it instead as heaven. I think this might be a good opportunity for you to catch up on your sleep. You are obviously exhausted. I will guard you while you go back into that bush and sleep for a time if you wish." Brother Francis says.
"Ok, thanks I will...thanks for everything." Robert says and lays down. He falls asleep smiling as he has not done since he was a child. When he awakes Brother Francis was gone. Expecting to find some tracks in the mud to see which direction he went in, he finds none. If it weren't for the mushrooms and walnuts he would think he dreamed it all. Robert gets up and begins walking. He starts to sing, "Long as I remember...the rain's been coming down..." The End
Last Edit: Mar 5, 2013 7:24:20 GMT -5 by John Reid
You'll have to thank Creedence Clearwater Revival. I was at work with the radio on and that song came on. I thought about your story and one thought led to the next and here it is. Glad you liked it. I left who this mysterious monk was up in the air? Based obviously on St. Francis of Assisi, I had him show up just after Robert began to curse God and disappear with no trace. On the other hand he could have just been a flesh and blood Franciscan as well. The breathing technique to warm your body in the coldest weather is authentic and based on yoga.
Indeed the point of the story is that happiness is a state of mind. If the eskimos can smile and love life in the arctic circle who are we to complain.
This was my second contribution, the first was the Red Cross tale. Perhaps more tales will emerge. I never know when inspiration will strike.
‘Cory is pretty,’ thought Rayn as her head was twisted upward in a confused perch while staring at her traveling partner's hair. The young girl striving so hard to be a woman was amazed at the sleekness of Cory's hair and tried her best to hide it as they slogged along the mushed grounds beside the sidewalk leading to the houses on the edge of town.
The dank sky and intense rain was not enough to dull the glowing interest of Rayn as the duo stopped near the back of an old restaurant beneath a shabby covered patio.
“Your hair looks like pretty black vines tied into ropes,” said Rain, trying her best to sound casual.
Cory removed her backpack, opened it, and extracted a hammer. “Hunh?” she responded.
“You’re hair… uh, how do you make it like that?” inquired Rayn.
“Hold on,” chirped Cory as she used the hammer to strike the doorknob of the restaurant’s backdoor. She pushed the door open slowly, looked around then turned back to Rayn with a small smile on her face. “My hair is braided, Green-Eyes.”
“Oh? Braided. Okay,” said the little girl in a light voice. Rayn quickly looked away from her new traveling partner and attempted to recover her confidence by placing her outreached hand before her traveling mate's chest. “I’ll go in first, Cory. I have my pocketknife.” Cory stepped back and allowed Rayn to move into the darkness.
The wind howled along the opened doorway and allowed the flashes of the storm’s brightness to chuckle into the depths of the restaurant. The place was barren and the two were somewhat safe.
“There’s gotta be food in here, Rayn. The door was locked,” exclaimed Cory as she began rummaging through the depleted food stores and corroded ovens. Rayn crawled on top of one of the food preparation counters and waited for the flashes of the storm. “Wait, Cory. Let the storm speak.”
In an instant, the storm chuckled again and Rayn responded with a quick, “Ah-ha!” and jumped from counter to counter until she arrive at a cabinet near the back wall. Her little girl arms strained to reach along the top of it as she teetered on her tip-toes.
A break of storm light, a pause of darkness, a sharp scratch, and a jump of flames drew a strong giggle from the young girl seating herself on the counter beside a small set of three lit candles.
Cory stared at her. “How in the hell..?”
With her chin high, Rayn spoke proudly, “Fatboy said that restaurants always had candles and flashlights from back in the days, when the power went out. They always keep them high and out of the way. He used to do this every time we came into a restaurant.”
Cory’s shoulders dropped slowly in amazement. “Wow. Fatboy sounds cool.”
“Yep,” said Rayn. “That’s why he’s my mate.”
Cory sat beside, the little girl and held her hands above one of the small flames hoping to gather some warmth from it. “Uhm, Green-Eyes… I don’t want to sound rude, but how do you know that Fatboy is okay? Things are kinda’ rough out there.”
Gathering a fork from the ground beside the stove and packing it into the side pocket of her backpack, Rayn looked at Cory. “Nothing can stop Fatboy.” Cory listened intently for a quiver in her voice and found none. “He’s looking for me, Cory,” said Rayn.
“How do you know that, Rayn?”
Feeling a smile forcing its way onto her face along with a tear in her eye, the little girl gritted her teeth and said, “Because he would die before letting me go… and I would do the same.”
Silence sat in between both of them as a third person in the room.
Rayn unzipped her backpack and hesitated before pulling out her bottle of Herbal Essentials shampoo. “Will this make me as pretty as you, Cory? I mean – I mean… at least my hair? Will it make it… braided?”
Cory grinned at her determined friend. “No, Green-Eyes. You’re already pretty. This will take care of your hair and make it smell nice. In order to get braids in your hair, someone would have to do it for you.”
Rayn returned the shampoo into her pack and zipped it slowly. She was anxious to ask her next question and ashamed at her lack of knowledge in womanhood. She moved back towards the open restaurant door and looked out into the storm.
She felt like the little girl she was.
Cory came up beside her and joined her. “That shampoo you have is very valuable, Green-Eyes. People will do bad things to you in order to gain it for trade. Don’t show it to other people.”
With her lips tightened, Rayn nodded.
Zipping up her jacket, Cory grabbed one of Rayn’s hands and covered it with her other hand. “I tell you what, I will help you to shampoo your hair and braid it, after we find Fatboy, Green-Eyes. I promise.”
The little girl returned Cory’s promise with another nod and vanished into the darkness of the restaurant to recover the candles and matches. She blew them out, cooled them off, then stuffed them into her backpack and returned to the doorway.
“What are you doing?” asked Cory.
Rayn pointed out into the distance through the storm. “You see that smoke out there?”
The little girl smirked, “That’s Fatboy’s beacon.”
“He’s alive, Cory! And he’s looking for me!” She hugged her taller traveling mate and started to cry, “He won’t quit, Cory and neither will I.”
Rayn rushed out into the storm and stopped after a couple of steps. “We have to hurry, because I’m going to hold you to your promise!”
The two survivors then disappeared into the darkness.
Omen: Get in line, I have been working like crazy also. I have two major projects I have to finish and hopefully everything slows down. Haven't had time to log into the board... I actually miss it. It feels good popping my head in to see what's going on.
Aug 3, 2017 11:16:19 GMT -5
The Muse: time to get stories rolling again!!!
Aug 3, 2017 16:15:48 GMT -5
The Muse: *POKES OMEN...wanders off looking for Redmage and Magister while mumbling to self.."Now where did knighthood get to....?"
Aug 3, 2017 16:24:51 GMT -5
The Muse: Wednesday!!! Yay! Halfway back to F R Y D A Y!
Aug 9, 2017 14:29:33 GMT -5
Magister: Ive been lame, but ill be making it a point to be on this forum daily! We will rise it from the ground I've let it rest on for too long, to the skies of everlasting geekdom!
Aug 10, 2017 17:11:23 GMT -5
The Muse: woooo hooooo!!! Geekdom rising!!
Aug 11, 2017 21:08:09 GMT -5
The Muse: Woohoo hoooooo! Friday!!!
Aug 18, 2017 11:18:58 GMT -5
The Muse: Gearing up to deal with Hurricane Irma....scratch that...packing to leave town!
Sept 5, 2017 22:45:14 GMT -5
The Muse: Survived the hurricane...as did Omen, Redmage and Magister although they dont have internet yet. How did everyone else in the southeast fare?
Sept 15, 2017 16:10:18 GMT -5
g40t90yes: Good Morning. Now I am no political activist, but with is going on in today's activist world, I have a question. Last Sunday Vice President Pence walked out of a Colts Football game because the Players took a knee. I would like to read your View about this
Oct 11, 2017 7:50:37 GMT -5
g40t90yes: Continue. Now The NFL Owners (Jones-Cowboys, Ross-Dolphins) are going to demand their players stand for the Anthem. Again just thinking out loud. Couple of weeks ago Owners (Jones) knelt with players. Now you are pulling back. Why??
Oct 11, 2017 7:54:40 GMT -5
g40t90yes: One more thing. Some people view The NFL Draft and NBA Draft as a modern day or fashionable auction block for black young men. Thoughts!!! Please.
Oct 11, 2017 8:04:49 GMT -5
The Muse: Im sure there are going to be a lot of thoughts on this...why not start a thread on the topic under the "chat" board. It will be easier for everyone to read and comment on it there. This shoutbox is kinda cumbersome to have to scroll through to read stuff.
Oct 11, 2017 17:15:26 GMT -5
The Muse: Where does the time go?
Nov 7, 2017 9:26:16 GMT -5
Omen: I don't know... some say time goes around in circles - for me, its just a dreary long squiggly line, in some places in its a smile, in others... its not.
Nov 8, 2017 0:02:19 GMT -5
The Muse: Sunday's are for cooking.... Let's do this!!
Nov 26, 2017 13:45:55 GMT -5
The Muse: Monday....yay
Dec 4, 2017 11:47:42 GMT -5
The Muse: IT'S s Friday!! Staring in the face of almost two weeks of down time. This is WAY overdue. 😛
Dec 22, 2017 11:12:47 GMT -5
dakoolah: Happy New Year!!
Jan 1, 2018 17:38:08 GMT -5