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Archive for March, 2011

And, yet, another fragment of yet another book that I am working on titled “Familiar.”  Always busy is the bee….


Abandoned, a child languished in serenity that she was forsaken to. Surrounded by a swirling storm of neglect and uncaring, she couldn’t find anyone familiar. Quivering knees curled up tight against her panting chest, she kept her feet inside the eye of a tornado that was a bustling crowd.

Alice wept.

The frantic crowd whipped wildly like breathless winds around her, leaving an empty space of calm that would keep her and that she would call her home.

The child cried harder.

Cheeks glistening with sunlight that poured through the transom that hovered above her head, light split into a myriad of colors through the prisms that were her tears but was left unnoticed by woe and propinquity.

A child, an empty beacon of loneliness, surrounded by more people than she would ever know by name, she was still alone. Without a mother, father, family, or friend, the child was left nothing with nothing.

Even so young, she knew it would’ve been easier if they were never there to begin with, but Alice had been taken to this crowded place to be left alone, another discarded creature left to either a stranger’s kindness or their malice, left to be taken into the hold of caring arms, or to be bruised and torn apart by savage claws.

Shimmering eyes stared up at passing opportunities and near escapes, waiting for some notice, a note of empathy or misanthropy. The more that passed her by, the more she was hurt by their indifference. Even in the blanketing warmth of the light that descended on her, she shivered.

Out of the light, an old man came to her and took her hand. For a moment, she only stared at the vision of a boney appendage blurred heavily by her tears. The words of the old man came in to her ears just as blurry, as if the words had traveled too far to reach her ears with any clarity. Alice didn’t need to know what he had said or what he was trying to say. After wiping her eyes on her arm she looked around one more time, hoping that at the last moment her mother or her father would suddenly run back to her. She waited, but that moment never came. That moment never comes. Trembling, she reached up, outstretching her arm, and, when her hand took the old man’s, it went cold. In the moment that she had reached out for help, she had abandoned the warm hope that her family would return to her.

The following years would pass as she was passed from one person to another. The old man passed her to a police officer; the police officer passed her to the orphanage; the orphanage passed her to a foster family. Every time she was passed from one person to another, she felt herself moving farther away from her mother and father until there were mere fragments left of them for her to hold or remember.

The only thing she had was time, and that would be wasted yearning for the things that had abandoned her so long ago. So she cried. All her life she cried. She cried for the things that had left her behind and the certainty of what was to become of her, the certainty of becoming a creature that was unable to ever hold to anything tightly for fear that it would leave her. Her foster parents tried to bring her close, but she wouldn’t let them. Her lovers tried to do the same, and she shook them off. Her husband tried to let her know that he would always be there for her. She knew that wasn’t true.

Every moment that was left for her was always familiar to the one that had left her abandoned so long ago. At the market, picking up food for her husband and children that waited patiently for her to return, she found herself surrounded by the same tornado that had swirled around her when her family had left her. She watched as the uncaring stared emptily at boxes of nothing, noting nothing in particular about trivial things. Their façade had become uncovered and now she knew them to be what they really were. They had all abandoned something, left something behind for someone else to pick up, or not. Friends, family, and lovers were all given up and thrown aside. And Alice was one of them. She had abandoned the things that keep people close to one another.

As her knees shook, she collapsed on the floor of the market with her hands pulling cereal boxes from the shelf with the realization that she wasn’t any different than the people that surrounded her. They were familiar to her. They were her. With her vision blurred, she tried to concentrate on the people around her. But they too quickly started to fade away, abandoning her once again. As things started to fade around her, she remembered back to the old man and the muffled words that he spoke. In spite of how vague they once were, they came to her clear and vivid, as if they had been spoken to her every day since that day. Any other time, those words would’ve left her confused, but, now that everything seemed to be fading away, she couldn’t imagine any other words that would make more sense.

You’ll never return to this place.

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Some have been asking when I’m planning to put out a new book. Well, I’m currently working on three. So, there. Anyway, here is an brief excerpt from one of them Titled: Fiction

Finding Home:

A shadow perched on the footboard. Wings of long black membrane draped the figure, brushing tenderly against an oak floor, breathing against a warm breeze that entered beneath the cracked window in the earth’s attempt to find something with warmth and blood for comfort. A ravenous creature of dark shapes finds no interest in the comforts that warm air brings, but seems to only find it in the menace that it brings to others. Keeping a long beak lowered in a graceful bow to sleepless youths that had given up their dreams, the feathered creature stays draped in between slivers of light, leaving only a silhouette made up of various shards of black.

It was hard to make out much else.

“Leave me alone.”

It didn’t say anything. Instead, in response, two bright blue eyes suddenly revealed themselves from underneath dark eyelids. Cutting through the dark, they chilled him slightly. He wasn’t afraid of them – he had seen them so many times – but they chilled him just the same.

“I don’t have anything to say to him.”

Its eyes turned slowly towards the wall. He knew what it was doing.

“Leave her alone. She won’t do you any good. He doesn’t care about her.”

The piercing blue marbles turned back to him as it slowly cocked its head to one side.

It still didn’t say anything. It never did. Even when he was six, when he first left, it didn’t say anything. It always just sat there perched at the end of his bed, staring at him.

He closed his eyes.
It would be gone by morning.

It always was.

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The Strain wipes its ass with the Twilight series by unleashing vampires that would leave Edward Cullen sparkling in a puddle of his own piss. And, if any teenage girl tried kissing one, she would end up with a surprise esophagectomy (Look it up!)

Excuse me. Could you spare a tampon?

My initial feelings about The Strain lied somewhere between ambivalence and ambivalence (Sorry, word geek joke) While I would consider Guillermo Del Toro one of the most profound story tellers out there – Watch Pan’s Labyrinth and tell me I’m fucking wrong! If you’re not left on your knees weeping with strands of drool falling to the floor, then I owe you a cold Pepsi to go with your cold dead heart. – this book is about as memorable for me as a piece of chocolate cake. Sure, who doesn’t love a piece of chocolate cake, except for maybe the coldhearted swine who didn’t like Pan’s Labyrinth, but when you’re done washing the cake down with a cold glass of milk, you’ll likely forget about it two days later, three at the most!

One description that I will “borrow” from somebody whose name I can’t “remember” tells everything about this book; “it’s like CSI with vampires.” And that’s it. It’s like a really, really, really long CSI episode but without the sunglasses. The action definitely keeps you moving; I read through the whole damn 401 pages in less than three days. But the only predictable action device that wasn’t employed in The Strain was Bruce Willis.

Yippee ki yay MutherFucker!!!

Dr. Ephraim Goodweather is a young divorcee who is trying to save the world while he is trying to keep his relationship with his son strong. The guy banging Eph’s former wife is a dildo who gets what he deserves. Even though he’s a doctor, he’s still badass enough to fuck up a few vampires with brutal vengeance. Etc. Probably the think that irked me the most was how Vampirism was treated as a blood disease, leaving the same taste in my mouth when I found out that, in Star Wars Ep. 1, the Force could be detected with a blood test.

Seriously?

Nearly every movie Guillermo has made has been unapologetically mythical and hasn’t had to rely on trying to present “scientific reasoning” for every creature of fantasy. Hell, Pan’s Labyrinth was so anti-scientific in this regard that if you don’t believe in creatures of fantasy, the ending meant that a little girl died horribly and without mercy and did not find any salvation in any way. It was a movie that forced you to believe in ginormic frogs, and fairies, and other crazy shit, otherwise the ending would’ve been too horrible to bear. But, with The Strain, Guillermo has done the exact opposite, explaining even the vampire’s fear of crucifixes in a way that can be measured and analyzed.

So, basically the reason I’m ambivalent about The Strain is because it doesn’t fit within Guillermo’s body of work. Which, admittedly, isn’t a good reason not to like a book, but I’m fucking writing this review, so I can say anything I want. As a stand-alone book, it works. But, with Guillermo’s name on it, I was expecting a profound piece of work. Instead, I ended up with CSI: Transylvania.



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He found the sky.

She tempted him once more. She rang blue with whips of red and orange, showing her strength to him by letting him see her beauty at will. She didn’t let him hold onto it for too long. She tempted him with it, letting him keep her beauty in memory but not by tool. Speech and art were both rendered impotent by the mere mention of her.

The caring man wasn’t surprised by her beauty, but he let his gaze linger before she decided to leave him again, moving aside for the beauty of the dark. The child in his arms lay still and quiet with his eyes closed. He smiled. He looked into the child’s sleeping face and knew him to be his. Through it all, child. Through it all.

As darkness fell and the sun disappeared from his side of the world, the caring man heard the sounds of water roaring with no concern of its own indiscretion. He followed the sound and found the source.

The water flung itself over the rocks recklessly. Its only concern was to keep itself level. Hitting the rocks, it jumped and broke into many parts. It released its grip, letting go of the hands of its brothers, and fell apart from them. Some of the brothers fell to rest in the pool, but others were more playful, trying to join the beauty of the night sky. They broke themselves up into the smallest of parts, dividing until they were able to escape the hold of the earth. Forgetting their lost brothers, the playful little children danced around each other. They moved to the caring man’s face, kissing his cheeks, forehead, and lips as if to say goodbye before leaving to join the sky in the memory of men.

He walked to the water’s edge and laid the child on the soil. He dipped his hands into the water and felt the chill enter his arms. He pulled his hands, full of life, to his lips and drank. It was sweet. It cooled him as it flowed down his throat and flowed into his muscles, pushing beyond his fibers and settling into his marrow. The caring man picked up the sleeping child, and the child opened his eyes. You need to drink. Kneeling by the stony bank, the caring man reached in, brought his hand back out from the stream, and held it to the child. He let the water run gently through his fingers into the child’s open mouth. The water splashed from the child’s face. Flushed and wrinkled, the child smiled.

The water was so cool, but if he kept the child close, they could both bathe in it. The child was not bothered by it and smiled when his wrinkled feet touched the brisk drink. The caring man looked to the child’s eyes and let the child go in up to his chest. He brought the child under quickly, and, just as quickly, he brought the child back up. Breathe. The child did. He brought the child under again, and he brought him out again. Breathe.

As did the child

As did the child

The caring man and the child slept in the shade of a tree not far from the shore. Life had invigorated them, and they rested. They bathed in the oceans of time and felt the strength of everything enter them, and still they rested. Ancient knowing was theirs once more, and they slept under the care of an old willowed tree.

Broken fragments of the next day’s sun glimmered through the canopy and woke up the caring man. He watched as the subtle breeze rustled the thin leaves that shaded him and the child, protecting them and keeping them both safe. He took in their form, admiring the outline that gave them their shape. One line split into many, only to eventually become one once again. He smiled when he noticed it, and thought that he saw his child wake up and notice it too.

As the child stared wildly at the glimmering canopy, the caring man tended to him and prepared to roam once again. As he left the water and the willow, he bowed his head slightly to the source of life and the keeper of it knowing that he would return to them only one more time. Goodbye.

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He thought about the weight.

The hero had to carry it. It was the same burden that all men carried, but his was for all. The hero knew he would be their survival. Most would crumble and fall under so much strain, crushed by its weight, but they raised him for it. He remembered the times he doubted himself. Still not quite a man, he ran crying into the withered arms of an old woman. Choose someone else. I don’t want this. He buried his head in her bony shoulder.

She drew his head to her mouth, wrinkled lips that pushed old breath. I’ve no power beyond what you give me. You chose yourself for this task. I’m a guide, that’s all. I’m to show you depths and the paths within, that’s it. When you’re there, you choose how to fall, you choose which ones to take, and the burden for each one is yours. She did show him the depths. She flung him into them, forcing him to choose between the paths. That was all that was needed from her, and when she had showed him the paths, her life ended. Such was her purpose, to show him his.

Flung into the depths, he knew his purpose lied to the east, and that was the path he traveled. He removed his pack and laid it out on the dirt. He reached inside and pulled out one of the rabbit skin bags filled with dried fruits and nuts, untied it, and started to eat. Strange, even after a year the fruits were still sweet and the nuts were still bursting with oil. Mixing them both in his mouth as his teeth ground them into a pulp, he savored their combined flavor. The bitterness of the nuts was tamed but not overpowered by the sweetness of the dried berries. He thought for a moment of eating some of the dried meat but decided he would save it until he found water. The salty meat would only make him thirsty, and he was already rationing. He checked the bladder and found it was half empty. He drank.

Sealing the bladder, he looked to the rising sun and found the course simple. He would head into the sun until he hit water and move north. There, the dark city waited, and there was where the fate of men was to be found. Not by man, not by god, but by him, he would fall beyond his tether and he would be his, finally his. Simple, all of it was so simple.

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He carried the weight.

The sad man carried her, cradling her in his arms. He only wished his sister would wake up. He didn’t know where he was, and he didn’t know how to get home. His eyes were sore, red and raw, but the sad man couldn’t cry anymore. All his tears had already left him. He knew that all of them were gone, and he was left only with the body of his sleeping sister.

All of them were gone…all of them… His eyes winced trying to remember them. Faint lights glimmered, but no memory came to him. He couldn’t remember, but he thought that there had to be others at some point. It wasn’t just us. Was it.

As his lips touched hers, he felt her breath, but it wasn’t enough. He needed to hear her voice.

He walked with heat on his back and her cradled in his arms.

 

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