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discard92's Blog


No Sense in Worrying About What You Can't Control?

That never made much sense to me.  Still doesn't.  It's somewhat ignorant when we get right down to it.  If you can't control something, then what are you supposed to do?  You have cancer?  You might be dead within the month?  Don't worry about it!

I realize worrying doesn't do much good in any circumstance, but worrying about shit is part of human nature.  We're going to worry about stuff.  And if we're told not to worry about the stuff we can't control, then we should worry about the stuff we can control.  Yeah, that makes sense.  You might fail the class if you don't pass the next history test?  Oh my God, what are you going to do?!

Maybe I'm taking this far too literally (as I do quite often), but I'm getting sick of hearing it.  People tell me that all the time - it's fucking irritating.  

I Just Saw Gigli


And it really wasn't as bad as people keep saying it is...

Don't get me wrong.  It's bad.  I hated this freaking movie.  But is it one of the worst films of all time?  No.  Not even close.  I would have expected this movie to get like a 4.5 on IMDb or something.  That's what it deserves.  But to go down in infamy like it did doesn't seem all that logical.

 

Really, I think it just comes down to people hating both Affleck and Lopez.  Or Bennifer or whatever the hell that stupid-ass Hypocorism is.  People wanted to be a part of that bandwagon.  And with the two of them together in a movie, it must have been like Christmas for those types.  Especially since the movie wasn't any good anyway.

 

But I have always kind of liked Affleck.  (Bite me).  His talent is analogous to a diamond in the rough.  When he's at his worst, it's pretty awful.  When he's at his best, he's incredible.  The Town and Argo are two of the greatest thrillers I've seen in years.  

 

Lopez is still trying to scrape together a modicum of talent.  And I'm awaiting her imminent crash and burn as a singer.  Her acting days are long gone and for good reason.  But people (most likely schizophrenics) seem to enjoy her singing.  So, maybe I'm just missing something.  Or I just have better taste than everyone else.  (I'm going with the latter).


Yes, this will kind of be a review...  I'm sorry.
 

I'll address the issues one at a time.  

The film starts off very promisingly.  With a slightly funny scene involving a kidnapping and a death threat via dryer...  Watch the movie if you're curious.  But getting to the opening credits, we see that it was written by Martin Brest!  The director of Beverly Hills Cop.  And Scent of a Woman (one of my all time favorite movies).  But we soon realize that the story is torn to shreds by its characters:

The main character, Gigli (Affleck), had some potential, cliche as he was.  But through the fault of the writers, he was never fully actualized.  One scene he claims he hated his life.  Why?  We don't get any information on that.  Does he hate being involved in crime?  Why did he get into it?  A poor family life?  His Mom was eccentric and inappropriate, but seemed loving enough.  Is he just a crybaby?  Maybe.  That or the writers half-assed his character.  Affleck tried, but couldn't pull anything off.  I blame him partly, but mostly the character wasn't written well and the story didn't do much with him.

 

Ricki...  Uh...  Yeah.  Lopez is a candidate for the worst actress of all time.  And this is the magnum opus of her theatrical ineptitude.  She didn't do shit.  It's not as if she didn't try.  It was just like watching quadriplegic trying to scratch her nose.  Not only that, but the character is supposed to come off wise and sweet.  But her first scene displays her as a biotch.  I don't think the writers knew were to take her.  Which indicates that they made this movie up as they went along.  Which never ever works out for any story.  Trust me.  I would know...

She spurts off a bunch of "wise" monologues.  One particularly interesting one was about the natural and all-around universal attraction to the vagina from both sexes.  But most of her ramblings seem to be written by a college drop-out trying to be deep and philosophical.

Then we have Justin Bartha as Brian.  Yeah...  I want to say Rain Man was probably his inspiration for the role, but Goddammit, he tried.  The character was sweetly retarded and would literally jump to vulgar and aggressive. It was like he had tourettes.  Not only is it unnerving to watch, but it doesn't make much sense on a character standpoint.  But that's not the worst of it.  He can go from sweetly retarded, to seemingly homicidal, to terrifyingly creepy.  I know mentally challenged folk might not know what they're saying half the time, but if one (who already has clear anger issues) talks about his penis "sneezing," I probably wouldn't turn my back on him for fear of having the back of my neck "cough"  blood after having a soldering iron plunged into my upper spine.

Moving on from that, the story is filled with holes that a gerbil could notice and there is a really sappy soundtrack that foreshadows some serious sappiness.  It's really insulting how much they're trying to spark your emotions.  It's patronizing to say the least.  Coupled with the borderline offensive subplot about Ricki's lesbianism, this is a movie that could legitimately piss some people off.  Like it did me.

I won't go off on a tangent about how people are born gay.  I believe that homosexuality isn't a choice.  If you're gay, you're gay.  That's all there is to it.  And to have a relationship bloom between these two characters is enough to make any real lesbian want to vomit.  As if that wasn't bad enough. There is no chemistry between the two main leads.  None.  At all.  There relationships spawns out of nowhere.  Neither of them are very good people and nobody would be willing to give either of them a chance.  You'll often ask yourself, "What does he see in her?!"  Or  "What does she see in him?!"

But, onto why it isn't that bad.  The production values are good.  And the cameos are awesome.  Al Pacino's one scene in this movie is enough to make it watchable.  It is so cool to see.  If you have no plans on seeing this movie, just look up that scene.  And you'll be entertained.  I guarantee it.  Christopher Walken's appearance is entertaining too, but he comes up out of nowhere and is abandoned without a second thought.  Almost like the writers forgot all about him.

Moving on to more positives.  Some of the jokes are funny and the actor who plays Louis is also great to watch, even if he does gnaw on the scenery a bit.

In short.  It's a professionally made piece of shit.  Not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination.  But was it enough to destroy Martin Brest's career?  Hell no.  And it pisses me off that it did.  Directors are entitled to a few mistakes.  And just because Brest casted two actors whom everybody wanted to tear apart, his punishment for his flop is theatrical limbo.

Sorry this wasn't very well written.  I'm not all that engaged, but I really wanted to share my opinions about this whole thing.

Fifty Shades of Grey

One of the biggest spectacles of literature in recent memory, Fifty Shades has been garnering some wide eyes and open jaws with each turn of the page... And not in a good way, from what I hear.  I don't know much about the content of the book apart from the fact that it's smut.  Filthy, creepy smut.  Okay, maybe that's unfair.  All of us have our little sexual quirks and sadomasochistic bondage porn isn't exactly unheard of.  Although, pedophilia is pretty well known too...  But I'm not here to judge.

As I was saying, I don't know much about the plot of the book.  Just that it centers around a girl, whom after meeting a man, begins to explore her inner sexual desires.  Or something like that.  Either way, I'm a prude and a half.  The most creative I get is when I use my left hand, so this should have a pretty huge effect on my innocence.  (For better or for worse).

Now, before we proceed, I'm not into the stuff that's detailed in the book.  At least I think I'm not.  I'll find out soon enough though.

Here's the project.  I'm going to read the book one chapter at a time.  After I'm finished, I'll post my comments of the chapter on this blog.  I'll keep posting them until I'm done.  This is just an attempt at maybe entertaining the two or three people who'll actually read this blog.  Plus, it'll keep me occupied on something in the meantime.

Okay, enough stalling.  Here we go:

Chapter 1

Didn't take long for the book to share the main character's eye color.  Why does that matter so much in these things?  And why do main characters always have big blue eyes?  Blue is easily the most common eye color in poorly written books like these, with a close second being emerald green.  And guess who has bright green eyes in this book!  The main character's best friend, of course!  Oh joy.  This is going to be one nuanced ride.  Also, I'm betting that the main character, Ana, is going to have a lesbian fling with her best friend, Kate, before this is all over with.  You mark my words, I see it coming from a mile away.

And I already don't much care for Kate.  Scheduling a meeting with this guy and then shirking off the duty on your friend because you don't feel well?  What is Ana getting out of this?  Nothing's been mentioned yet, so I'm really having high hopes for the character development.

So this is a story about a college girl helping her sick college girl roommate by interviewing a mysterious playboy millionaire for her?  Yep.  This is porn alright.  That's obvious from the first page.

Didn't take long for me to not like Ana all that much.  She's about as flat as the paper I'm reading this on.  And she's vomitously cute with her constant blushing and her nervousness.  She obviously has Asperger Syndrome, and is probably prescribed large doses of Prozac as well.

Well at least the author, E.L. James, is somewhat aware of her lack of creativity in the character department.  Having the main character make comments about how every secretary in Grey's building is a formally dressed blonde.

Oh, and I'm also wondering why a 20-something-year-old man is CEO of any corporation.  Is this going to be explained any time soon or are you just going to ram that down our throats?  (Get it?  Ram down our throats?...  Because this is porn...  Yeah.  Moving on)

And, wow.  The "Are you gay?" question was a bit out of nowhere.  I'm offended for Mr. Grey.  I hate to rehash jokes so soon, but I'm becoming more and more suspicious about the whole Asperger thing...

Okay.  Apparently girls swoon over obvious sociopaths.  And it always helps if they demonstrate dangerously controlling behavior.  I need to tone down the empathy if I'm ever to have a girlfriend.  

And the chapter ends with an uninspired exchange between the two characters right before the elevator doors close.  You know, when characters back out of a tense conversation by saying each other's name like what was done here:

-  "Anastasia," he says as a farewell
"Christian," I reply.  And mercifully, the doors close. -

Only works if there was an equal exchange between the characters.  Like when Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter meet for the first time.  It doesn't work when one character scares the living hell out of the other by behaving like a serial killer.  It also doesn't work when one is clearly an idiot and the other isn't.  Mrs. James, don't rush into the shit you want to copy because you read it in other books or saw it on TV.  You're writing a book.  You have plenty of time for cliches.  

Well, so ends the first chapter.  No sex yet, but I have a feeling it won't be much longer...

If you have any comments on what I've just written or on the book itself, I would love to hear them.



Strangers

I posted this before and then removed it after some consideration.  I didn't much like the sappiness and the tie-in I would include later seemed far-fetched in foresight.  What I originally wanted was to have a story with a happy ending, and it just did not work with this.  At all.  It was embarrassingly bad in my honest opinion thanks to my insistence on breaking my repetitious storytelling.  These problems either stem from A.) I can't write happy endings.  Or B). It's because a happy ending just wouldn't fit well for this particular story.

Another problem was that it was just way too freaking cryptic.  I originally wanted it to be open for interpretation, but this story is too simple for that.  Then it evolved to where I would only hint as to what's really going on.  It all went to hell and I eventually had to add in almost supernatural elements to the final thing.  This of course was nothing like I had originally intended so I just considered the whole thing to be crap and I removed it completely from this site.  

Then, I decided that I would just do what I wanted with the story.  Don't try to mend some issue that I haven't gotten complaints for yet.  Just do what you originally wanted for this story and to hell with my paranoid predictions.  So, I just finished the final version of Strangers and I hope it's better.  Most of the editing occurs toward the end.  Some of it is in the middle.  And none of it is in the beginning.

I'm better at rambling on and on about my process of writing than I am at actually writing the damn thing...  I'll stop now.  Here's Strangers:

    Randall Leaks looked up at the female bartender and flashed her a wink and got a roll of the eyes in return.  His mind immediately labeled her as taken or lesbian, didn’t matter which.  His next lager was going to be served with some hatred brewed in - half empty, dirty glass, etc. etc.  He was almost drunk enough not to care.  Even with that other shit swimming around in his system.
    It was getting near Christmas and the stores across the street still had their colorful lights glowing bright, even past closing time.  Christmas lights; interesting concept.  Reminding everyone of the inevitable fortune they’ll be spending on family members they don’t care about and getting about 1/7 of the money spent back in the form of some useless presents that they can’t return because the proof of purchase is missing.
    Frost clung to the edges of the windowsill picturesquely and slowly grew like vines to the center of the window, clouding the rest of the outside world.  But those Christmas lights shined through.  The bar was dimly lit with an orange light that accompanied the dark wood of the tables and other furnishings.  Old jazz posters hung on the walls and a jukebox was left untouched in the corner.  The TV was going on mute, supplying the viewer with subtitles if they ever had an interest - they never did though.
    The bar was getting emptier.  An hour ago, there were roughly 20 people inside.  Drinking away the memory of the squandering of a month’s paycheck and more.  Now, seven people occupied the bar.  Three of them sat at the counter, Leaks was one of them. 
A fat guy with his windbreaker lying on the bar sat to the right of Leaks was another.  He sat smoking cigars and sipping scotch; blowing smoke rings up in the air.  He was wearing a wife-beater under a white thermal shirt and some buttoned-up flannel.  His jeans were worn white and bore small holes and mud at the bottoms.  His tan work shoes looked recently hosed off.  A large key-ring hung in one of his belt-loops, containing a huge cluster of keys and a small ornament of a naked woman in high heels, bent over provocatively and blowing a kiss.  The big rig outside remained unmanned for a while and Leaks figured that the fat guy was the driver.  Probably out for a couple of days delivering God knows what.
    To the left of leaks sat a gaunt, unhealthy-looking man with intelligence gleaming in his eye.  He had been there longer than Leaks and had but two drinks - both were glasses of water.  He had on a brown flight jacket with white lining - Leaks dismissed it as an attempt at looking younger.  The man was obviously in his late forties at the youngest.  His goatee had aged just as obviously.  To Leaks - the facial hair, large collars, and the green trucker cap he had on suggested he was trying to hide his face.  A face that seemed oddly familiar to Leaks.
    Leaks noticed he was picking people apart again and forced himself back to his drink.  His blue tooth began to vibrate and he shut it off just then.  He knew who it was, he knew what the caller wanted.  He just didn’t want to talk before it was all over with.  He didn’t need to.
    Leaks finished off the last of his bottle and took the keys out of his pocket.  That’s when he noticed the man in the flight jacket moving two seats closer, right next to Leaks.
    He stared at him and Leaks pretended not to notice as he pulled the money out of his wallet.  Before long, it disturbed and almost infuriated him. 
    “Can I help you?” Leaks asked.
    The man in the flight jacket put his arms up on the counter and exhaled then smiled.  “Yes, you can,” he said.
    Leaks sat stiffly with money in one hand and is wallet in the other.  “Well what?” he asked uninvitingly.
    “First, I need you to know that I know what you’re doing tonight,” he said blankly.
    Leaks put his wallet into his front pocket and situated himself back on the stool.  With a puzzled and defensive expression he asked, “What are you talking about?”
    “What you plan on doing tonight: I know.”
    “How would you know what I plan on doing.”  Leaks took him for a drunk.  But he was drinking nothing but water the whole time.  It didn’t discredit what he did before he got to the bar though.  But there wasn’t really a stench of booze on him.
    “I have ways of telling.  I guess you don’t remember me then, do you?”
    “Should I?”
    The man shook his head and smiled, “No.  I didn’t think you would.  We’ve never spoken after all.”
    “Then why do you remember me?”
    “Déjà vu.”
    “What?”
    The man ushered some composure into Leaks, “When I saw you in here it brought to mind what happened a year or two back.  You look the exact same.  You plan on doing it again, don’t you?”
    The guy wasn’t drunk.  Stranger than all Hell, but sober.  And he knew what he was talking about.  Leaks began, “If you’re planning on blackmailing-”
    “It’s none of my business what you do or don’t do unless it hurts me or someone I care about.  That’s of course discrediting something you’ve already done that I couldn’t have predicted.”
    Leaks knew him from somewhere.  All of the sudden, it was like talking to an old acquaintance.  “Then why did you bother to say anything to me?”
    “As I said, I need your help.  I need to ask something of you.”
    “And if I don‘t do it, you‘ll-”
    He stopped Leaks with a motion of his hand, “I won’t do anything.  I’m not here to hurt you.”
    “You better start making some God damn sense soon.”
    The man looked behind him, over at a booth containing a fat, middle-aged man with a lecherous sneer plastered on his face - pointed directly at the bartender.
    “I know what he’s going to do as well.”
    Leaks looked back at the man in the booth.  He remembered him.  He was a regular.  Always came by himself.  Always came by cab.  He probably didn‘t own a car.  “Know from experience, do you?  Go home, jerk off, then pass out?  Is that what he‘s going to do?”
    “Are you scared of knowing what I know?”  The man crept in closer to whisper.  “He’s been here a long time.  Pounding the drinks.  He’s been here before and this is his longest go yet.  One thing that’s always consistent is that he leaves right as this place closes.”
    “He’s a drunk.  They’re out there.”
    “He’s something else as well.”
    Leaks shook his head and chuckled with annoyance, “Wh- What’s you’re deal?  Figure yourself someone’s guardian angel?”
    The man continued to stare, almost arrogantly.  “No.”
    “Then why do you seem to have your nose dug into my business and that guy’s business?” Leaks pointed toward the obese slob in the back.
    “Sometimes, accidents happen.”
    Leaks got the reference.  This man either understood or was mocking him.  Either way, he had a point.  He felt like saying that it wasn’t an accident in the first place.
    “Do you believe in karma?” the man asked.
    “Should I?”
    “It couldn’t hurt.”
    Leaks was starting to get sick of the man and him being so cryptic, but he didn’t let him know that.  Not yet, anyway.
    The man got off the barstool and zipped up his jacket. He grabbed his cane and looked at Leaks gloomily.  “There are certain things I wish I had stopped when I had the chance,” the man said.  “I’m just giving you that opportunity, Randall.  I think it’s time you’re given it.  You’ve suffered for what you did.  I don’t think you deserve forgiveness, but I’m going out on a limb and I’m going to say that the person who did that horrible thing to that woman wasn’t you.  Not completely.”  The man leaned in closely to Leaks when he noticed Leaks’ true feelings shining through the now half-assed “tough guy” façade.  “Your line of business, you’ll probably die early and, who knows, maybe you’ll die for what you did.  But I’m not doing this for you.  I’m doing it for me.  I’m doing what I can do to stop what I’m not sure will happen again.  I’ve told the cops before, they won’t take this seriously.  It’s really up to you.
    The man walked off and disappeared behind the frosted windows.
    Leaks stared blankly ahead and stirred in thought.  As he did so, the bar slowly began to empty.  Before too long, it was just Leaks, the slob and the bartender left there.  The bartender laid a hand down in front of him.  “Time to go home,” she said.  “Closing up.”
    “Okay.”  Leaks stared back at the slob, who was gathering his things together.  He stared back at the bartender who was putting her coat on and waiting impatiently for the two of them to leave.
    “Do you have kids?” Leaks asked.
    “Do I what?” The bartender responded.
    “Do you have kids?” he asked again.
    She was used to questions like that.  They were usually followed by complaints about kids and how the asker of the question wished they “never had any.”  She nodded, “Two boys,” she said.
    Leaks smiled.  He fumbled around to try and word his next question, then just said it: “Are you going straight home after closing up?”
    She was reaching for the zipper of her coat and stopped after he completed his sentence to look up at him with bewilderment.  “Why?” she asked suspiciously.
    “Do you have an alarm at your house?” He had no control over that sentence coming out.
    “Okay, what are you getting at?” Anger and some fear glowed on her pretty face.
    “Nothing - nothing.”  He stuttered to try and form a reassuring sentence.  “I guess I just get paranoid when I’ve been drinking too much.”  He stared at her for registration, but didn’t see any.  The next sentence was corrugated and came out as such, “A lot of creeps out there.
    “Don’t pay attention to me,” he said to break even just a fraction of the tension.  He turned towards the door and saw the slob in the reflection.  His stare - sinister and libidinous.  Leaks exhaled and manufactured a loose fist and slowly tapped the wooden door, not making a sound with the impact.  He turned around quickly and approached the bartender slowly.  “Do you know that guy?” he asked without making a single gesture towards him.
    “Who?”
    Leaks motioned discreetly toward the slob in the booth by the window, still gathering his things.
    She looked up for a second and looked back down.  “Yes, why?” she said.
    He knew she didn‘t even look.  It didn‘t matter though.  Leaks was starting to care less and less about this bitch.  “I just,” Leaks began to stutter again, nervously, “I think you should probably be careful around him.  I’m getting bad vibes, you know?”
    She looked at the slob again.  “Is that it?”
    He stared with an agitated glare, “Yeah.”
    “Well, thank you.” She rolled her eyes and turned off the electricity by using the fuse box, then she gently pushed Leaks to her right so she could walk through the door and hold it open for both Leaks and the slob.
    Leaks went over to the street corner and stood silently.  Using his periphery to watch the bartender and the slob.  They were going in opposite directions and when they both were far enough away to not notice what Leaks was going to do, he turned around quickly and saw the bartender going around the bar to the parking lot.  The slob was also going around the bar on the other side, which also led to the parking lot.
    Leaks had to admit to himself it was nothing.  He was going to the parking lot to get to his car is all.  So Leaks turned back around and saw a taxi cab picking up an Asian man in a charcoal colored suit.  Something occurred to him that made his heart skip a beat.  He remembered that the slob doesn’t have a car.
    He turned around quickly and jogged down the path that the slob took.  There wasn’t time to turn his cell phone back on.  He had to do this himself.
    He reached the corner of the bar and looked down the alley.  He saw the slob taking a pistol out of a garbage can and then marching forward.  Leaks jumped into a running stance and began sprinting towards the slob.  The slob was  a good 20 feet away, so he had to move fast; that registered immediately.
    It was life or death now.  The lives of three people rested on his actions.  If he stopped the slob, the bartender could get away.  A mother could go home to her two kids.  She could know what it’s like to almost lose them, and it will strengthen her bond.  She’ll be grateful for being spared the agony of rape.  And not a day will go by that she won’t be grateful to have experienced.  She had the most riding on this.  She had to live.  If anyone was walking away from this, it was going to be her.
    Then there was the slob.  Leaks didn’t care if the slob died.  Who knows how many lives he’s ruined.  But he had to live.  Death wasn’t a good enough punishment.  His death here would be painless.  It would be quick.  He wouldn’t even see it coming.  To him, it would almost be as if nothing ever happened.  Jail, the ass-beating of a lifetime.  Or possibly the electric chair.  Who knows?  A creep like him might be a serial killer.  In the end, Leaks wanted him to live through this ordeal only to die later and regret the day he ever decided to do what he’s about to do.
    Leaks.  Leaks wasn’t armed.  He was strong, yeah, but the slob must have a good 100 pounds on him.  He would just have to wrestle the gun away.  The guy can’t be that strong.  He might be sturdy, but Leaks could probably beat him at arm-wrestling… But they weren’t going to arm-wrestle.  But hell, Leaks made sure the bartender identified the slob, so he won’t get very far before the police catch up to him.  But Leaks had to know he beat this guy.  He had to do just one good thing in his life.  He had to balance his karma.
    Suddenly, there was no friction on the ground. His legs slid quickly out from under him and went over his head.  He threw his hands in front of his face before he crashed down on the ice that laid on the ground.  He felt his spine bend more than it ever should have.  He gashed his chin wide open and blood spilled out onto the ice in a thin layer.  He was stiff on the ground, gasping for breath.  Inhalations and exhalations could only come out slowly and thinly.  The world was distorted and dark.  It began twisting and tweaking itself.  Everything felt like it was in slow motion.  Things were getting dark and what little lights there were felt more like light in his head, than actual ones.  He always thought seeing stars was just a figure of speech, it was right there that he learned  the accuracy of that statement.  He was tired.  He felt numb.  He was worried he was paralyzed or something.  Suddenly, he moved his legs and got to his hands and knees.  He saw his red reflection in the ice blurring in and out of his vision.  He blinked three times and things started to clear up again.  He remembered that face.
    It was only seconds, but felt like forever to him before he was able to stand back up and start limping towards the slob.  The slob had heard Leaks slip, so he turned around while Leaks was getting up.  He aimed the gun down the narrow alleyway and shot once.  Leaks threw himself against the wall and bounced back to avoid being hit.  Leaks heard a shrill scream come from the parking lot.  The bartender heard the shot, now she’s leaving the scene.  One life saved.  Now, his main priority was surviving.  Before the slob could recover from the recoil (which was obviously too much for him), Leaks was on him, punching and kicking him in the face.  He could hear the slob crying for help.  Blood was covering the ground, covering the slob, covering Leaks.  Leaks grabbed the gun and slid it away.  He lifted the slob up by the collar.  And brought his fat face up to his.
    Leaks struggled to find the words.  But he couldn’t.  Only one sentence came to mind and he blurted it out.  “I don’t ever want to see you again!” he growled angrily.  Leaks threw the slob back down on the ground and got off of him.  The slob covered his face with his bruised hands and cried into them.  Leaks got a good look at his face before he covered it.  It was covered in bruises, but there wasn’t a lot of blood loss.  All of the blood on the ground belonged to Leaks.  He was starting to dread how bad off his chin might be.
    He looked down at the slob.  He was writhing in pain with his hands still covering his bruised, crying face.  He was calling pathetically for help.  It made Leaks sick, but it also made him pity the guy.  He felt like he was obligated to.  Leaks picked up the gun and stuffed it in his pants.  He used his jacket to cover the exposed grip of the gun.
    The slob rolled onto his front and started crawling away.  But he looked at Leaks pitifully first before he made his exit.  He knew the police were coming, so he made a break for it after crudely cleaning up his mess.
    That night, he took himself to the hospital where he got the news about his chin.  He told them that he slipped on some ice outside his apartment building.  They told him that the fall loosened four teeth and gashed his chin open to a point where a large piece of flesh was just barely hanging onto the almost exposed bone.  It meant a huge scar and minor malocclusion (teeth didn’t fit together well after that).
    According to the bartender, during the crime, she heard the gunshot then immediately got into her car and sped off.  She saw no struggle or who was involved.  She called the police immediately after.
    The slob was never caught. 
    Leaks didn’t much care.  If the slob was caught, he figured it would be justifiable for him to turn himself in for what he did that one night.
    It occurred to Leaks that what happened that night wasn’t redemption.  It was punishment.  He messed up his jaw permanently and he forced himself to watch the slob escape.  He didn’t let him go out of pity - the slob didn’t deserve that - he let him go because he saw himself in that face of his.  After the beating.  The tears and the blood and bruises made Leaks see himself in the slob’s face.  He forced himself to relive that night.  He forced himself to believe that if there was justice in the world, he would be dead.  But no.  He’s alive.

The Hunger Games Movie Review


Okay, so I saw The Hunger Games not too long ago.  I’ve been procrastinating like all hell when it comes to writing this review.  But I’ve gotten like five requests to review it (five is a staggering number for me, believe it or not), so I figured I better get off my ass and write this thing.  The actual review starts after the three asterisks in a paragraph of their own.  It looks like this:

 

***

 

Now, some backstory.

 

I want to say right off that I have read the books.  I read them shortly after I heard about these movies because I wanted to be in the loop and just by the trailers, it was obvious that everyone was going to see this movie.  But to me, the trailers looked horrible.  Featuring overdone performances and uncoordinated set and artistic design.  But I’ll get back to that later.  I didn’t read the books until I heard about this movie because the first book came out in 2008, if memory serves me right.  You know what else came out in 2008?  The Twilight movie.  Which was so bad it was hilarious.  And when I saw it, my immaturity took over and I was forced to put all young adult novels into the same bandwagon as Twilight.  In regards to Twilight, I saw the movie, then a friend let me borrow the book.  I had it for a day and read it for 10 minutes before I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore.  So, since the book was horrible and the movie as well, I just wanted to distance myself from the young-adult genre.

 

Then The Hunger Games trailer came out.  I sighed with discontent as I saw it flash in the theater.  Because I knew I would have to review it.  Friends would have to ask me what I thought.  My personal friends all know I review movies, so they would be naturally curious.  

 

Even now, I still think the trailers look horrible.  They make the movie come across as a disjointed affair with distracting artistry and no real emotion behind any of the suspense.

 

After I read the books, I noticed that the movie was going to remain very true to the book by seeing the trailer alone.  Which was kind of a good thing because I was really impressed by the book.  It was fantastically done and is one of the best young-adult novels of the 21st century.

 

***

 

Onto the review.  First I want to get this out of the way: Did I like it?..

 

Yes, I did.  I really enjoyed myself.  I thought it was almost as good as it possibly could be.

 

The performances were amazing.  The story was as good as well all knew it would be.  The set design is gorgeous.  The direction, while flawed, was great.  The cinematography was almost always awesome.  And the music was unbelievably good.

 

One redeeming thing about the trailers was Jennifer Lawrence, who is one of my favorite new actresses.  She delivered here better than I could have possibly imagined.  One thing I didn’t like is that they made her character a bit less cold for the movie.  In the book, she was mature, withdrawn and… Well… Cold.  She had to make it look like she didn’t care.  Hell, she often convinced herself that she didn’t care about someone when she obviously did.  It’s not a terribly original character, but it worked very well in the book.  Then they went around and added some more color to her.  At first, I blamed Lawrence, but it didn’t take long for me to notice that it was the screenwriters’ doing.  Lawrence was spectacular in balancing what the movie wanted from Katniss and what was established about her in the book.  In my opinion, Lawrence deserves another Oscar nomination, but she probably won’t get it.

 

Then we have Josh Hutcherson, whom I’ve never really like all that much.  He brings everything he’s got for this part, and my God, did it work.  I’ve got a new found respect for Hutcherson as an actor because he was pretty well on-par with Lawrence and debatably better as well.  I think Lawrence was the strongest performer here, but I can see people claiming that Hutcherson was, and I wouldn’t blame them.  If he keeps this up, he’ll be doing pretty well for himself here soon.

 

The last person I want to address is Amandla Stenberg.  The girl who played Rue.  And, I hate to sound like a broken record, but she did a fantastic job too.  She brought her to life without putting much effort into it at all.  If I had to come up with one complaint about Hutcherson, it would be that his performance felt a bit forced.  Stenberg had a natural feel to her.  She seems to be a natural at acting, so good for her.  She’ll definitely do well for herself in the future if she keeps this up… And if she avoids Tyler Perry like the plague.

 

Okay.  Those were the three characters everyone was concerned about.  Katniss, Rue and Peeta were all excellently portrayed.  Hell, even if you didn’t like the movie, they make it worth watching all over again.  That’s my opinion anyway.

 

I don’t much care for reviewing movies based on novels… Especially if I’ve read the novels.  Because it’s basically detailing everything we already know.  The plot here is good - we all knew that.  Was it executed well?  Not perfectly.  But you still get the same level of enjoyment that you got from the books.  This is thrilling and cuts out a lot of the fat that the book had.  While this makes the transition between scenes less redundant and makes the movie more fast-paced, it sacrifices the natural flow of the growing relationships between characters.  By the time the games start Cinna and Katniss have exchanged like two or three short conversations.  So by the end, when they’re sharing goodbyes, it feels unnatural.

 

And that’s the biggest flaw of this movie.  The fat from the books was important in strengthening characters, but if it was kept in the movie, it would make it slow and clock in at around three hours in length.  Since this is a PG-13 movie, and it’s based off a book that was marketed to people primarily a little younger than I am, the majority of the audience is going to demand fast-paced.  While arrogant movie-goers like myself will be disappointed in the lack of exploration into the characters.  This is a movie that pretty much assumes you’ve read the book.  If you haven’t read it, you’ll get an action-packed movie without much tangible emotion.  If you have read it, you’ll get an action-packed movie that lets you fill in the blanks that only the more knowledgeable of the viewers will notice.

 

So, what I’m getting at here is that you need to read the books if you’re looking for something in-depth.  If you just want a fun movie, don’t worry about the books.

 

Another issue I have here is that this movie is very short on comic relief.  I hate it when movies don’t have enough comic relief.  No matter how serious your plot is, have some fun with it!  My God, is this way too serious.  And coupled with the… eccentric artistic direction, this feels like a very disjointed movie with an agenda that doesn’t seem fully actualized.  And I was shocked to find out that this movie was directed by Gary Ross.  Someone who wrote Big, Dave; and wrote and directed Pleasantville.  Three movie that concentrated on having an equilibrium between comedy and drama (with the exception being Dave - which focused more on COMEDY).  So I don’t know.

 

So.  My final verdict here is that this is a great movie.  It appeals to all audiences but had some unavoidable flaws in it.  If you’re a casual moviegoer that doesn’t really care about the in-depth stuff that I’ve covered here, then this go see this movie.  You’ll have a lot of fun.  If you’re somewhat arrogant about movies and the like, like I am.  Then still go see this movie - but only if you’ve read the book.  If you haven’t, you’re experience will feel somewhat shallow and empty - but you’ll still enjoy the action at the sacrifice of some character development.

 

If there are any other details you’re looking for, mention them and I’ll add them to the review.  Thank you for reading.

Mass Effect 3 Ending


I'm fully aware that I will get barely any views on this thing, but I still feel the need to get it out there.

This will obviously contain spoilers to the Mass Effect trilogy.

 

The ending of Mass Effect 3 has spurred so much anger and so many cries of betrayal in the Bioware fanbase, it's almost unreal.  Never before has there been such a massive collaboration of unsatisfied fans fighting for one thing: A renewal of the Mass Effect ending.

 

It was shocking the first time I saw it.  People were making groups, massive conglomerations of people crying out for new endings.  Hell, I'm even guilty of joining some of them...

 

But here's the thing: I've always had some acquiescence about it all.  Here's why:

 

When I was at the end of Mass Effect 3, when Shepard was hit by the laser and limping toward the solution towards the Reaper threat, my heart was pounding the entire time.  I was literally on the edge of my seat.  Then the endings came and I made my choice after much consideration - I chose to destroy the Reapers.  I figured that changing my mind now just defeated the purpose of everything.  All the pain, all the characters who suffered and died did so for no reason if I just chose to bring a truce to the conflict.  EDI, the Geth, all cybernetics, they were unfortunate casualties for a much greater good.

 

As soon as it was all over with, I was upset.  I wanted exposition.  I was fine with the limited choices, but what everyone is asking for would have been much better.  I just was dissatisfied with everything that transpired.  The Mass Relays being destroyed was my biggest issue.  Because by doing so, you're fucking the galaxy up more than the Reapers ever planned to.  Think about it: The Reapers wanted to destroy the most advanced of organic life to pave the way for the evolution of the less civilized ones in their mission to maintain order throughout the solar system.  Yes, it was Hitler-like but they had an agenda that they believed to be for the best.  Then Shepard steps in and stops all of that.  Dooming all galactic life, all the races and isolating all of the planets.  Space travel is rendered an impossibility thanks to Shepard's interference and now we're going back to phase one of the beginning of time!  Looking back, that makes destroying the Reapers more necessary.  Hell, the current civilizations are doomed to extinction but at least The Reapers got what was coming to them.  It's petty, yeah; but if it wasn't for them, things would have been much better, so hell yeah I'm going to kick their asses long before I decide to compromise or work with them.

 

And the fact that I'm going so in depth here with personal morals and beliefs regarding a fictional story is incredibly reflective of the depth and personal experience to be had with this series.  It's further drawn upon with the tear-inducing final scenes in which Shepard dies and has simple flashes of his friends and squadmates looking toward him and giving him one final acknowledgment before he finally dies.

 

Then the anger started to come up.  Why so few choices?  Why does Shepard have to die?  Why the hell was having to destroy the mass relays ever thought of as a good idea?  Why don't our choices come into play at all in the final moments of the game?  Along with so many other questions.  And it ultimately led to...  An internet riot.  That's when I noticed how special Mass Effect was to all of us.  Days, weeks, months, years of our time was dedicated to these games and nobody worth mentioning could possibly say they regretted any of it.  They had become part of our lives in which we learned about storytelling and the strength of the human race and all that we're capable of if we just work together.  It's quite beautiful really.  Books established themselves as being very important to the lives of countless people a long time ago.  Movies eventually were held with the same regard at some point in the 20th century.  Now, it seems that Mass Effect 3 has cemented respectability withing the gaming franchise and how artistically brilliant it can all be when done right.

 

Eventually, people began to suspect what had never occured to me before.  Shepard was being indoctrinated.  As soon as the laser hit, a compaction of the internal struggle with Shepards mind manifested in the form of some kind of dream-like hallucination.  Mass Effect has been pretty solid with its stories.  Plot holes being very rare and the ones that do exist are so minor they aren't worth mentioning.  Yet, the part that made everyone mad - the final 20 or so minutes - is so riped with inconsistencies and plot holes, it's almost like it's a joke.  People often refuse to believe that Bioware could half-ass something like this...  I don't.  Bioware is sometimes prone to just shooting out certain things before they're even finished.  Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 is arguably an incomplete game that was in need of some serious tuning.  Most add-ons for all of their games are incredibly lame.  Mass Effect 2's add-ons were almost always horrible and slip-shot.  So is it so hard to believe that Bioware would just make a mistake with the ending of Mass Effect 3?  Well... No.  I don't think so.  I think it's very possible they just screwed it up.  It certainly makes more sense than the indoctrination theory.

 

Not to say that the indoctrination theory doesn't make sense - it makes perfect sense.  I'm just saying that if Bioware pulled this off and the indoctrination theory is correct, then the writers of Mass Effect are absolute geniuses.  Past geniuses.  They were able to tantalize our emotional attachment to the series to make us believe that everything is final.  They're able to further keep up that act by putting on a charade of claims that they're really upset that their fanbase isn't happy with the endings.  This is something that indirectly shatters the fourth wall and becomes part of our existance.  If this was Bioware's plan all along, then they just created a piece of storytelling that - for the first time in 400 years - could be called Shakespearean.  Testing our emotions, our feelings, our hard work, our personal agendas, our expectations, everything we know and love about storytelling and video games to such an extent that we're reduced to tears and fighting for a way to make everything right again; when, in actuality, it was Biowares ingenius plan all along.  

 

So forgive me if I'm more inclined to believe that a video game company made a mistake rather than them pulling off the most ingenius plan for storytelling we've seen in the past four centuries.  And the fact that it was pulled off for a video game makes it even harder to believe.  But if - IF - this is all true, then we have taken the most significant leap into making video games a respectable form of storytelling that we have ever seen.

 

The indoctrination theory is genius and it cleans things up perfectly well.  But, I guess my misanthropy is preventing me from believing that anybody can be so clever as to utilize this into their story.  I won't go into how the Indoctrination theory works, I'll be here all day if I do.  If you're that curious, go here for a video: 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ythY_GkEBck&list=FLsCBqM4A8smYCPgFjKOso6g&index=1&feature=plpp_video

 

or here for another essay/blog thing: 

 

http://uninhibitedandunrepentant.tumblr.com/post/19344938387/mind-holy-fuck

 

If this wasn't the plan all along, then Bioware needs to pull a "what he said" move.  Meaning that they should just adopt this whole indoctrination thing and pretend like that was their plan all along.  It's dishonest, and I'll probably see through it, along with many other gamers, but at least it's there and it's a segway into providing us with the endings we deserve.

 

The point of this blog was to illustrate my two cents on the matter and to try and get every fan of the game to think a bit more realistically.  I hope - I really hope - the indoctrination theory is for real.  If it is, then I will have to become the most devoted fan of Bioware the world has ever seen.  I will have to study their storytelling abilities and only hope to achieve even a fraction of the talent that the writing staff has.

 

So what it comes down to is this: Bioware messed up or the Bioware writing crew just created the greatest figment of storytelling that we've seen in hundreds of years.  Which do you think?

Rick Santorum

I want to say some things right off the bat. 1. I think Obama is one of the worst presidents we've ever had. 2. I don't affiliate myself with any political party and I consistently maintain my position as a centrist without having any preference for either side.  

But even with all this, I will not vote come election day if Santorum gets in.  I won't do it.  Santorum is one of the biggest jokes I have ever seen in politics; and I honestly don't know who would make a worse president - him or Obama.

And I can't really even say why I hate Santorum as much as I do without sounding ignorant and trite.  But he preoccupies himself so much with only one problem, it's the only thing you can address to oppose him.  That problem is of course his campaign against all things gay.  Homosexuality is an issue that I thought we'd have gotten over by now.  It's something that shouldn't have to be an issue in the first place - people are born gay and really can't do much to turn themselves around any more than a straight man can turn himself gay.  He sees marriage as a privilege, not a right.  And if you don't want to be straight, you don't deserve that right... Is he out of him mind?!  What kind of 1984 bullshit is this?  But this whole gay rights thing is a simple issue, and making that the only thing that you address in your essay against someone as president, you'll come across more so as someone trying to sound educated in politics but not getting into stuff that confuses you too much.  So I have to define something else that makes Santorum a weeping, sorry waste of a good suit.

Let me see here, let me see here...  OH, I have one... After sifting through hours - and I mean hours - of his commentary against gays, I have finally found something rarer than the Holy Grail itself: Rick Santorum actually addressing a relevant issue!  That issue is how he doesn't think the amount of money we spend on national defense is really a problem; even going so far as to insult those who do think that it's a bit of a problem...  Now, I'm for national security.  We're living in a time of troublesome people and we're always on the brink of WWIII anymore.  But over half our budget goes to defense and 1/3 of our deficit can be traced back to what we spend there.  It's a bit of a problem.  Now, as I said, I'm for defense.  But maybe we should regain some stability in the country before we really go and put all this money towards something like this.  He's even going on the offensive here by saying we should focus more on keeping Iran from developing more weapons.  He's so radical about this, he's declaring that the leaders of Iran should fund the deconstruction of weapon sites, and if they don't - here's the kicker - he'll order the weapon sites bombed!  My God, what a douche.  What will that accomplish?  Oh, I think I know... Getting just about every country to side with Iran since we just burned thousands of ostensibly innocent workers that are trying to earn an income into smoldering piles of cinder.  Okay, I'll be realistic here.  We wouldn't just bomb them out of the blue - chances are, we'll give them a chance to evacuate the site before we drop any literal bombs... But still.  We're devastating parts of a country that's not our own and that's usually an act of war in most peoples' eyes.  But even with all of this radical nonsense on how we should stick our camouflaged nose in everyone's business, he still is against gays and women joining the military.  If he wants to strengthen our military maybe he shouldn't be taking a stand against certain people joining the military...  But, that's just a theory.

Those are really the only two things that he's actually consistent about.  Everything else - I'm not even sure he knows where he stands on those issues.

As I said, he's a joke.  And if he gets in, he'll ruin the republican party just as much as Obama has ruined the democratic.

Republican Candidates

Who are you rooting for?.. - The two people who are actually reading this blog post...

Here's what I have to say:  Obama is one of the worst presidents in American history, and I hope to God someone starts looking good come judgment day.  I'm sure that minuscule glimmer of hope is in vein though.

Herman Cain:  I used to like Cain up until the whole "Liba-wha?" Scandal.  Plus it doesn't matter now, seeing as how he's out of the race.  

Ron Paul: Everyone seems to love Ron Paul because everyone has a real hard-on for libertarianism.  I love libertarianism as much as the next guy, I consider myself to be a libertarian.  But people need to carve their own paths with a hammer and chisel, not a jackhammer; you know what I mean?  He has too much faith in the intelligence, fidelity and the overall sanity of the American population.  And it's not just Americans who are completely nuts, it's everyone all over the world.  Anyway, I find it kind of funny that people love Ron Paul and make no mention of his age, but John McCain, people were actually legitimately using his age and impending slip from mortality as a reason not to support him.  And Paul is clearly losing his mind and is somewhat of a running joke that correlates with the given stereotype of the handicapped senior citizen.

Michelle Bachman: Michelle who?  Is she an actress or something?

Rick Perry:  ...Yeah.  He needs to get the crap kicked out of him for preaching roughly 57% of the nonsense he believes in.  "Strong," my fat one.  He can serve as the avatar for ignorant centrists everywhere without any real moral compass; just a radar to see what will earn him the most votes.  Everything else he says is ignorant and biased and should never be taken seriously.  He's in it for himself, not for the country.

Mitt Romney:  I'll admit, I can't really pick this guy apart.  Sure, he's a hypocritical sociopath with the IQ of a pencil, but most politicians are.  He doesn't do much to set himself apart from the typical crooked ass-kisser that we put into power.  There is one thing that isn't too uncommon, but I'll mention it anyway.  He seems to be arrogantly employing himself as an everyman.  Someone that the average voter isn't too different than.  Which is a cheap shot at the intelligence of the average American and I'm not buying it.  That aside, I'm betting he gets in.  I'll vote for him if he does, as much as I'd like not to.  It's just he can't be worse than Obama.

Rick Santorum: My God.  Rick Insantorum...  This lying, stupid, ignorant sack of bile needs to be put on lockdown.  Because if he wins, I won't vote.  As much as I hate Obama, I don't really know who I hate more.  I would vote for every other candidate if they end up winning the republican race... Except maybe Rick Perry.  I'll never vote for Obama, but I don't want any part in the election if this guy takes part in it.  This guy just goes on and on about moral issues.  "What's your take on the economy?"  "Well I don't think gay marriage should be legal."  That's the gist of every question directed toward Rick Santorum.  God, I hate him.  This is a roughly written paragraph simply because I can't get my words together well enough to describe the amount of hate I have for him.

Newt Gingrich:  The person I'm rooting for most.  I don't like him, as he strikes me as an avaricious egomaniac with a very self-interested agenda, but he seems to make the most sense and has the best plans.  I truly believed he worked his ass off to get to where he is.  I imagine his fingers are still sore from all the throats he slit along the way to success.  He seems to be wearing the Reagan administration as a book cover, but the book inside is a bit different.  However, I do enjoy his ostensible campaign against Romney.  He's putting him in his place.  Again, I don't like him, but he's better than everyone else.

John Huntsman: (Or whatever his name is)  He's not going to win.  He's going to end up throwing in the towel.  Because he's going through the same thing Bachman is - nobody can remember this guy even exists.  I'll admit, I was just reminded that he does exist not too long ago when looking at some of the polls.  But no matter how good this guy does in one state, he's not going to last much longer in this race.  I think he's mostly there for filler.  To strengthen some of the piety for the other candidates.  That's possible because Huntsman is the biggest pushover on the face of the planet.  He comes across as honest (to me anyway), and that'll earn him some votes, but not enough to matter.

Anybody not mentioned is simply not worth the time, seeing as how they will never become president...  Or because I can't remember who else is running.

So, to the two or three people actually reading this: What do you think?

Phoenix Asunder

Chapter 1
    Mainville stumbled in through the front door.  The key was easy to find this time.  He had a new system in which all of his house keys were on a different ring from the keys related to work.  He took the wrinkled up tie from his jacket pocket and threw it on the back of the couch.  The air was heavy with booze wherever he walked; so pungent and strong, in fact, he couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the scent that crept around him in the confined space of his home.  Terra knew what he was out doing.  Satisfying his hedonistic needs because every other moment of his life was shit.  He figured it’d be best to just pass out on the couch rather than deal with her tonight.
    Little did she know, this time was different.  This night he did get drunk out of his mind, but his adventures with the opposite sex came up unsuccessful.  Usually, down at Byrne’s (the local bar), there were plenty of women fucked-up on something or another.  Almost always enough to never notice the wedding band that Mainville sometimes forgot to take off.  Even so, he wasn’t in the right mood to “seduce” women into bed (or the floor) with him.
    Today’s events would turn anyone’s libido off for a good while.  Some jackass decided to torch his home for the insurance.  Sick freak cooked his own dog to stage a more convincing accident.  Thank God he lived alone otherwise, who knows whom he would have barbequed for this cause.  The guy was an idiot.  Used paint thinner from the second floor down to the first as accelerant.  Left a mark so obvious, it was visible through the fire.  One of the big things Mainville liked to look for was stray metal parts; zippers, belt buckles, etc.  Whatever they were attached to burned up, leaving only the metal behind.  There wasn’t nearly enough left for it not to be staged.  He packed some stuff before the fire started.  What a mystery it’d be to figure why.  Still, Mainville had to play the good cop.
    13 years in arson.  13 years of resisting the almost overwhelming urge to break the face of the person who wasted his time just to make a buck from insurance.  13 years of being stuck in the worst detective position imaginable.  Did anybody ever want to be in arson?  No.  It’s all the same.  Same motives, same plans, same accelerants (for the most part).  Eventually everything just blurs together.  The people become the same, their homes, their families, their insulting crocodile tears.  It’s not even like justice is served in the long run.  They’re back on the streets in just a few years, trying to make money all over again.  However, the mandatory restitution and the $50,000 fine tend to hinder any progress they may make… Or it just encourages them to make money fast at whatever cost.  “Have someone breathing down their necks at all times,” Mainville would always say.
    After some substrate control to confirm that paint thinner was indeed used to light the house, the suspect was questioned by Mainville.  Eventually he cracked.  Said he owed some money to a loan shark.  Not long after, he changed his story to, “his cronies must have burned the place because of the money I owed!”  Now Mainville has a few more days of investigating and possibly a second court case to be in.
    Mainville sat down on the couch and took the gun out of its holster and ejected the magazine.  Pulled back on the slide and the bullet flew out onto the floor.  He already had the safety on.  Just like a good little cop.  He set it down on the coffee table in front of the couch and stared blankly at it.  He was too drunk to fantasize any good detail, so he picked it up, flicked off the safety, and pressed the barrel against his temple.  He squeezed the trigger quickly and it sent the slide flying backwards and made his head shake a bit.  Too much of a coward to do it?  Which does make you a coward?  To pull it with a bullet, or without?  He’ll see where his bravery takes him in good time.  Fantasies every night can only go so far and do so much.
    He rubbed his bloodshot eyes and reclined on the sofa.  The lights were out almost immediately and the gun slid out of his hand and onto the tan carpeting below.


.    .    .


    Saturday.  He wasn’t working today.  He woke up on the couch with a terrible headache.  The ceiling fan’s light nearly blinded him.  Its intensity was turned up to the maximum.  No doubt Terra’s doing.  How much more immature can she be?  He looked down at the gun on the floor and picked it up.  Turned the safety back on and set it down on the coffee table next to the magazine.
    He sat upward and looked over the back of the couch into the kitchen.  He heard Terra cooking in there; boiling water, pans and silverware scraping together loudly.  Some loud bang from the pans must have woken him up.  She was making chowder.  Was it lunch time already?  Mainville glanced toward the clock above the TV adjacent to the couch.  12:54.  Not surprising.  Ever since Eric moved out, Mainville was a bit more free to do whatever he wished around the home; sleeping a hangover off late in the day was a well-earned break.
    The strong smell of her seasonings and the repulsive fishy aroma hit Mainville like a brick.  Last night’s steak down at the Gates restaurant was about to come right back up.  Mainville was sure that’s why she decided to make chowder today.  Its thick, goopy texture; it’s strong taste and smell.  It’s a sick man’s nightmare to have to even think about that crap being forced down his throat.  He wouldn’t be surprised if it was Boston style too.  That milky broth, overly-salted pork, potatoes that are just way too soaked, and the clams.  Oh God, the clams.  The slimy, sickening, abominable, piles of phlegm that some people find edible.
    He quietly got off the couch and looked over at Terra.  Her back was turned and she was keeping her eyes fixed on the stove.  He started to walk up the stairs when he suddenly heard, “Did you drive home last night?” come from her mouth.  What was the tone of voice she was using?  It sounded like the antagonistic tone - her favorite nowadays.
    At first, her reaction was one of hysterical fits.  Crying, screaming, hitting, cursing.  Him sleeping with promiscuous young women too drunk to get picky about their men did a number on her happiness and self-confidence.  That lasted for a year.  Each time that kind of incident took place, he would have to wait a few months to do it again.  Too many times in succession and she would have probably shot him while he was sleeping.
    After a while, it was just silence.  She wasn’t going to talk to him unless he started a conversation.  God knows he didn’t want to hear what she had to say.
    Now, it’s aggression.  “Have fun with your whore last night?”  That kind of shit.  What could he say back?  He slept around to break routine at first.  Nothing’s worse than when your days start blurring together due to overwhelming similarities.  He thought it’d be worth it to recall that day when he fucked that blonde chick in the bathroom of some club.  He wasn’t even in a happy marriage to begin with.  That bitch wouldn’t have been any more repulsed by the idea of sex even if he had crotch-rot before he started sleeping around.  Now, it’s really no different.  Just a bit more bitterness in the air.  He could live with that.
    “Yeah,” he answered not even attempting to feign some semblance of shame or guilt.
    What was that?  The sound of silence.  He waited for her to hurry up and start bitching at him, but… nothing.  Not a single comment.
    He stood at the bottom of the steps wondering if she would say something to him about his infidelity or reckless irresponsibility.  It was kind of funny, actually.  She knew that he had definitely fucked some woman (or women) downtown last night, but he was waiting to be chewed out for drinking and driving back home.
    Whatever.  She wanted to him to make some kind of defensive comeback so an argument could ensue, and he wasn’t going to play her little games.
    He went up the stairs, stomping loudly to let her know that he isn’t waiting around for her snide-ass input.
    Mainville still couldn’t shake yesterday’s little incident with the dog out of his head.  He was looking for metal pieces, among them was a blackened dog tag.  The dog probably ran from the fire and all over the house.  The dog was found laying on its side in a corner, side of the head up against a wall; absolutely burnt to a fucking crisp.  Looked like a stiff breeze would blow it away.  It was obvious that the dog avoided the fire for as long as possible and then the carbon monoxide, followed by carbon dioxide, poisoned it and it died right there.
    People always jump to the immediate conclusion that if you were to die in a house fire, you probably burned to death - that’s not necessarily true.  It’s the carbon monoxide that gets you.  It’s a demographic that’s not leading by much.  Just a little over 50% of fire deaths are from simple poisoning.  Either way though, it isn’t a fun way to die.  Struggling for breath as soot and burnt furnishings floating in the scalding air enter your trachea and tear your throat up from the inside.  They sometimes get to the lungs, and that’s no fun either.  Plus, you’re in a house fire, you’re panicking - you’re panicking, you breathe heavily.  Nothing you can do to stop it.  Especially if you’re dying from inhaling too much of the poison in the air, you know you aren’t going to last long.  In a house fire, you don’t have much time to come to grips with the horrible inevitability of your death.  You’re praying to survive, not thinking, I’m okay with death now.
    A year after joining arson, Mainville came across his first undeniable accidental fire.  Some old widow living by herself died in bed.  In a fire, your oxygen is getting burnt up basically.  You go without oxygen for too long, you pass out.  That’s what happened to her.  Out cold before she could feel the heat of the fire. Autopsy indicated that she died of monoxide poisoning then got cooked on her bed.
    Mainville was there and saw how her fat had stuck to the springs of the mattress.  It took a little bit of a pry from a couple guys to get her off that thing.  Not even for new cops was it common to puke in a crime scene, but Mainville still felt like he would.
    He could have gone his whole life and be okay with not knowing what burnt human flesh smelled like.  It’s enough to induce vomit in the occasional civilian spectator.  A cop had to keep his cool.  Smear some Mentholatum under your nostrils and act like this doesn’t faze you.  That’s what arson duty is all about.
    Of course, nobody understands.  Nobody could understand until they’re in Mainville’s shoes for 13 years.  No matter how many bodies you see or fires you investigate, it never becomes casual - it becomes routine - but never casual.  Arrive, hope there aren’t bodies, prove it was insurance fraud, make report, go to court; lather, rinse, repeat.  It’s something Mainville just didn’t want to get used to.  He wakes up in the morning, and when he‘s scraping some burnt-up body off the ground, he has to just see it as another casualty.  Brings up questions about your own morality and philanthropy when you just stop caring as much as you used to.
    Mainville made his way up the steps and into the bedroom.  Just a couple more hours.  Take some Alka-Seltzer and just sleep for a little bit longer, at least as soon as that slop downstairs it out of sight and mind.

























Chapter 2
    “Let’s just start from the beginning.”
    The arson “victim” was laid kept in the department all day as a prime suspect in the case.
    The room was empty minus Mainville and the “victim.”  All four walls were an intimidating gray.  When surrounded by these dead-gray walls, you can almost hear them chant, “You’re screwed.  You’re screwed.  You’re screwed.”  Table was a plastic piece of shit that if it was hit hard enough it would undoubtedly collapse.
    Mainville enjoyed this part of the job:  “You woke up to find smoke rising up in the house into your room.  Is that correct?” Lather.
    “Yes,” said Buddy, the arson “victim.”
    “Okay.  You say that the fire was started by a loan shark.  Is that also correct?”
    “Yes.”
    “Yet from the investigation, we figured out that the fire started from inside the house, at the bottom of the stairway.”
    “Yes.”
    “So that means they must have broken in while you were sleeping, poured the paint thinner, then lit the fire.”
    “Yes.”
    “All while you were sleeping.”
    “Yes.”
    Mainville made him know that he knew he was full of shit with a look of chronic irritation and anger.  “Whatever.  So the fire woke you up and you got out of the house.”
    “Yes.”
    “How did you get out?  The fire started on the staircase.  You couldn’t have gone down that.”
    “I jumped out the window in my room.”
    “You jumped out of a second-story window unhurt?”
    He paused. “Y-yeah,” he raised his shoulders to his ears in desperation.
    “The second story window you said you jumped out of was closed, Mr. Silver.”  Mainville handed him a picture, showing the window.  “Did you manage to close it after you jumped out?”
    Buddy stammered and looked around the room, trying to get his little mind to generate the most realistic lie it could.  “It may have been a different window.  I-it all happened pretty fast, and I was panicking.”
    “Mr. Silver.  I find it very difficult to believe you can’t remember what window you jumped out of to save your life.”
    “Well, I can’t.”
    His fucking slack-jawed accent was starting to grate on Mainville’s nerves as is.  Insulting his intelligence was just begging for an ass-kicking.
    “From what I’m gathering by your account is that you were sleeping in YOUR ROOM.  Someone broke into your house.  Your dog didn’t bark or anything at the intruders.  They poured paint thinner all over the house.  They lit a match to burn your house down.  You were woken up by the fire.  You saw that your house was on fire by looking out the doorway.  You went towards the stairs and saw they were burning.  You went into some other room that you can’t remember, jumped out unhurt, and called the police on a neighbor’s phone.”  They stared at each other waiting for the other to make the next sentence.  “Is that correct?” Mainville finally said.
    Buddy remained silent.
    “I also find it difficult to believe that if you don’t pay back money to a loan shark, they just kill you outright.  Even if they were to kill you, it would be much more subtle.  They aren’t Bond villains, Mr. Silver.  They would just shoot you.”
    Buddy still kept his mouth shut.
    “Well?  What do you have to say?”
    “I want my lawyer.”
    “You’ve had your lawyer talk to you already.  Honestly, he knows you’re screwed. Confess and you might get a plea bargain.  If not, You’ll be rotting in that little pen for up to five years then you’ll have the fines to worry about.”
    Silence filled the air.
    “I’ll give you a minute to think about it.  Just don’t believe that you may be able to fool us into thinking that you didn’t burn your house down.”
    Mainville got up, “I’ll be talking with your insurance agent here very soon.  He’ll clear things up if you still don’t want to.” He walked through the doorway and slammed the door behind him.
    Detective Meyers met Mainville out in the hallway with his yellow coffee-stained smile.  “Did he crack?” He asked.
    Is this fucking 1985?  Did he “crack”???  “No.  Just give him a minute though.  He knows he’s fucked, he’s just too much of a pussy to admit it.”  Mainville slid his fingers through his thinning hairline a while he reached for a Styrofoam cup next to the coffee pot.
    Steven Meyers… Nothing more than acquaintance to everyone he met.  Had the face and personality that spelled anonymous and was just an incredibly uninteresting person.  He worked traffic.  If that doesn’t show how boring he was nothing would… Unless you’re unlucky enough to get into a conversation with him.  At least with arson, you get burned bodies and fires.  Traffic is destroyed metal and the occasional corpse.  But traffic had something arson didn’t: variety.
    “Wonder if he’s going to get an animal abuse charge as well,” Meyers croaked.
    “No shit he is.  You don’t just burn your dog to death and get it all dismissed.  It’ll add to his sentence and fine.  That’ll help me sleep a bit better at night.”
    “What kind of dog was it?”
    “Papers got burned up.  He said it was a Border Collie though.”  Mainville took a sip of the black coffee.  Bitter as all hell; he needed it though.  Couldn’t get through the day without a boost from something or another.  Cocaine was out of the question, things always end up bad there, especially if you’re a cop.  Meth… No thanks.  The repetitious bitter-ass taste of the coffee was a decent substitute for whatever the hell those addicts had to go through.
    Caffeine any day of the fucking week.


.    .    .



    Terra sat at her little desk and kept her hands stiffly on the keyboard.  Looking at a blank page on a word document, slowly drowning in her own hopelessness.
    There’s nothing good that could come next!
    You can read what you’ve already written so many times before you realize it ain’t helping.  82 pages.  Last thing she wanted was to flush all of those down the shitter due to incurable writer’s block.  Her study was cluttered with loose leafs of legal pad paper; some blank, some filled.  None helped though.  Every idea was exhausted.  She had written herself into a damned corner and now she was screwed.
    Just get rid of it all!
    The contents of the bulletin board hanging above her mahogany desk were basically illegible.  The notes were either hastily written down, or didn’t make any sense at all.  She must have been drinking when she made half of those.
    It was all coming so natural before and now… It stopped.  Did she not have what it takes to be a writer?
    It all sucks anyway!
    People say all the time that it’s not really a job because it’s so easy, but what do they know?  They’ve never tried any endeavor like this.  An epic romance.  A tribute to the masterpiece, Jane Eyre - a book half the people claiming the above wouldn’t even have the initiative to read nor the intelligence to understand it.
    How did they do it?  They didn’t even have typewriters back then.  Imagine the hand cramps you’d get from waving a quill back and forth for hours upon hours every day.  Terra couldn’t even do the same with a much easier method.
    You don’t have talent, you moron!
    She was the child in high school who thought she was an intellectual and an individual because she enjoyed writing; completely oblivious to the fact that every school reject thought they were the next Shakespeare.  Only those dorks worked their way out of that fantasy while Terra was stuck in hers.
    That’s all it is!
    Can’t imagine David Foster Wallace having this much trouble when writing Infinite Jest, and that thing was more than three times the length she wanted her novel to be.
    You can’t write!
    It’s getting late, maybe I’m just tired.  Think about next steps in the shower.
    Terra got up from her chair and left the room, carefully stepping over the piles of useless notes.  She made it to the bathroom and couldn’t help but look in the mirror.  Blonde hair, her eyes were a glowing shade of golden hazel, fair complexion, luscious lips, button nose, perfect head shape, a long and thin neck, high arced eyebrows.  She was beautiful… Maybe that was it.
    Maybe you’re too cute to be a writer…
    Is it possible for someone to be blessed so much with appearance and with artistic intelligence?
    That’s why Garrett married you!
    She’s beautiful with a dream of being smart.  She would carve up her face in trade for the brilliance of Charles Dickens or Franz Kafka.
    Years of spending her teenage life in a library.  Having people staring at her, and not the book she was reading.  It was always about her beauty.
    You’re not interesting enough on the inside!
    Behind her, her womanly figure was reflected by the shower glass.  It was just like an hourglass - her body - so beautiful and perfect.  Breasts, still perky.  Nothing about her from her head to her feet was cause for imperfection.  She was a Madonna of today’s times.  And she hated it.
    Be thankful.  You could be dull AND ugly instead.
    She dipped her head down into the sink and vigorously rubbed the make-up off of her face, leaving it red and her eyes watering.  She looked up.  Almost no age marks.  She was approaching 38 and she retained the beauty of a 28-year-old.  How did she not age?
    She looked to her left and examined her body in the full-length mirror on the door.  She stripped off her clothes and stood before it naked.
    She stood before it…
    She stood before it…
    Something in her wanted to attack the reflection.  Ask why it couldn’t have been smarter.  Why each man on this earth gave her special treatment even when the fat Indian woman at table four was much more deserving, sweeter and more intelligent.
    You’re such a bitch.
    She threw her glance towards the shower and stepped in.  Turned the water on hot.  Steam filled the room and fogged the cursed mirrors.  She kept her eyes closed and mindlessly rubbed the bar of soap on her body… Her alluring, perfect body.





















Chapter 3

CRIME SCENE EVIDENCE:  Notebook/Journal - Date acquired: May 29, 2007. Packaged by CSI Matthew Armstrong. Previous owners: See chain of custody.


June 8, 2006. Sunday
    Continued from last notebook.  I used up all of the pages.
    I loved it.  I loved every second of it.  For the first time in my life I could feel the relief I’ve been searching for.  16 long miserable years and now I can see what my true outlet is.
    Those miserable psychiatrists.  Their meds and their behavioral therapies never helped.  My impulses and bottled up anger couldn’t be solved by writing down in a journal.  They were the pathetic ramblings of a desperate boy.  Now, I am new.  I know what my calling is.  I am like Surtr, leader of the fire giants.
    With this power, I am able to destroy buildings, woodlands, houses, people.  Anything I want can be burnt to ash.
    When I started that fire.  When I threw the match onto that house.  When I saw the flames begin to lick the sidings and crack the windows.  When I saw the smoke billowing from the monster that I created.  I felt an orgasmic sense of relief come over me.
    The people ran out with their young child in their arms.  The fire department arrived very quickly.  Neighbors gathered round the scene, in bathrobes and slippers.  They marveled at my creation like artwork.  I not only felt like Surtr, but like Michelangelo when he saw people looking unto David with sheer amazement in their eyes.   I kept watch from the hilltops not one half of a mile away from the destruction.  With my monocular, I could see the mother crying.  I could see the younger child stare in awe at the inferno with the same kind of overwhelming ecstasy that I felt.  Derek stood back in complete, overwhelming awe.  I wish I could have seen the disturbed look on his fucking face.
    It was beautiful.  Orange and red danced together in unison and in their wake left nothing but rubble and ash.  It was like a metamorphoses.  The house - the caterpillar.  The flame - the cocoon.  The remains and the tears - the butterfly.  And I made it happen.  I made it happen.  Without me, the caterpillar would never have seen the light of my fire.  Everything would have continued to be the same.
    When I came back home, I snuck in quietly through the window.  I undressed slowly and stood naked in my dark, dark closet.  I flipped on a dim bulb and looked at the pictures I had taken.  They excited me so much I felt a need to bring about my first orgasm. The pictures alone stimulated me.  The thoughts of the wood crackling in the flame and particles being sent to the heavens helped.  The light green paint of the house turning into blackness.  Beautiful.  Simply beautiful.  My sweat acted as lubricant.  I stroked for minutes and then release!  I had experienced the fire again!  Without setting it!
    This was my first time too.  It all felt so natural.  Before, I didn’t know what to do with my erections.  I merely rubbed them on doorframes and furniture.  It felt good, but had no result.  When I looked at the pictures in the dark.  Naked and sweating.  My hand almost made its own way to my genitals to do my instinct’s bidding.  Now I know that all I need are pictures of my deeds and the release that I sought every day beforehand will now be available at my fingertips (literally, in a way).
    They will know it was no accident.  They’ll look for whoever did it.  But that’s the beauty of fire.  Whatever mistakes I may have made are now burnt and gone forever.  Still, I will have to wait for a matter of months before I do the same thing to a different house.  If I do it too rapidly, I will no doubt be caught.  In the meantime, I have my pictures.  That’s all I need.
    Thinking about the fire again and my masturbation has triggered another erection just now.
    Mother told me, after I learned about masturbation in school, that it was a sin to masturbate.  She’s just a dumb bitch.  She can’t remove the splinter from her eye to see her and Father’s hedonism quenched in the consumption of booze far outweighs the child’s wanting to do what feels natural.
    I must keep my mind focused on the fire again if I am to feel the release again.  It felt so good last time.  I can’t imagine the possibility of its stagnation in pleasure.  I’m going to go do it again.

    I don’t know what happened.  I released.  I felt the pleasure… But it was… Unfulfilled.  It felt good, but not as good.  The high wasn’t there.  A new fire then.  A new fire will rekindle that high that’s just begging to be felt.  Until that time comes, I can use these photographs.  They aren’t perfect anymore, but they still work.

    Now for bed.  After I hide this notebook and the pictures of course.






















Chapter 4
    Mainville sped down the highway and listened to the gusts of wind be sliced by the frame of his open window.  The insurance agent behind Buddy’s policy was cooperative enough.  Took way too long to get a hold of the guy though - just not enough time in his busy schedule to help in a police investigation.  Rinse.
    Mainville found it funny how most people can’t wait more than a month after making a huge deposit on the insurance to burn their houses.  It’s a breadcrumb like no other.  It’s really all that’s needed to convince a jury that it was the defendant who lit the match.
    Sometimes, going the extra mile was good.  It’s like salting the wound when you do that.
    Whatever.  Screw it now.  Mainville didn’t much feel like getting deeper into this.  Though it did keep his mind occupied, he wasn’t always welcoming the extra paperwork.
    His reflection in the rearview mirror caught his eye.  Graying hairs.  44-years-old and not only was he losing his hair, but the remaining ones are turning gray.
    Whatever.  Screw that too.  He was never the looker to begin with.  His colorless eyes, gigantic “Jew nose,” bushy eyebrows.  He had to always keep a small beard.  It strengthened what was a noticeably weak chin.  It also covered up that ugly-ass cleft.
    His voice was unattractive anymore too.  By the time he got at whatever burnt crime scene he was called to, smoke was all that was left.  He was unlucky enough to get a nice little throat polyp from inhaling too much of the shit.  The surgery left his voice more gravelly than before.  He eventually had to quit it with the cigars.  They were drastically tarnishing his voice not long after the surgery.  That was fun.
    He stopped giving a shit about the way he looked a long time ago.  He had two suits - he didn’t even iron them.  One was a dark tan, the other was a dark blue.  He just wore a pair of unpolished black shoes for both of the get-ups.
    The thing he took the most care of was his gun.  And that was probably going to be biting the dust here soon.  Dry firing too much is never good for handguns, and Mainville did that out of boredom.  He was wearing that pin down to where it that gun was probably going to crap out on him sooner or later.  What did he care?  He never used it.  The people he dealt with were too chicken-shit to hold up a store or something for cash; they played pretend to get money.  Lethal force was never called for.  At least he kept it looking good. 
    He turned his eyes back to the highway in front of him.



.    .    .



    Mainville was sitting at his desk filling out the police report.  He had to have it ready tomorrow.  Not much to write down though.  He could finish it in about an hour or so, and that’s if he was going to make it perfect - which he wasn’t.
    He looked at the only barrier between his “office” and the rest of the station.  A wall with several windows on it and no door.  His “office” felt more like a damned attachment than it did personal space.  At least he had his own desk - it even had a padlock on one of the drawers.
    Shirley was coming.  Her curled hair bouncing in unison with her high-heeled strut.  She was looking beautiful for a middle-aged woman.  She sure was in good shape for a secretary too.  Then again, it was Captain Durdan’s secretary.  Considering how lazy and presumptuous he was, he probably ran her around all day every day with pointless busy work.  Sounded a bit familiar to Mainville.
    She smiled as she entered.  Mainville and her always got along.  She was one of the few people Mainville could stand, and she liked just about everyone.
    She saw his dull, colorless gray eyes’ pupils constricted by the lamplight.  “God,” she said, “it’s like you don’t have a soul.”
    Mainville knew it was another “dead eyes” joke.  He clicked the lamp off.  “That’s probably true,” he said.  “What do you want?”
    “Durdan wants the case report by tonight.  Says he wants to get the case over and done with as soon as humanly possible.”
    “I don’t blame him.  I’ll have it done in about a half hour.”
    “And he also wants you to get over to this address,” she slammed down a folder on the desk, “another fire.”
    “Jesus Christ.  He does know we have other arson investigators, right?”
    Shirley turned around gracefully, “But you’re the best, Garrett.”



.    .    .



    Mainville pulled up to what was left of the house.  His headlights shined on one of the homeowners, trying to keep her composure it seemed.  When he exited the car, he was greeted by the rapid chirping of crickets.
    One of the firefighters waved toward the captain and pointed toward Mainville.  The captain jogged over to him.
    “Hey, Carter,” Mainville said.
    “Anything new, Mainville?”
    “Since the other day?” Mainville paused for a second, “Nothing we couldn’t have predicted.”
    “Good.  I’d like to see that asshole in prison for frying his dog like that.”
    “Yeah, well…”  Mainville motioned toward the rubble.  “What do we have?”
    “We got here about two hours ago.  Family, the Plains, said they were woken up by the fire then they called us on a neighbor’s phone.”
    “Mhm.”
    Carter crossed his arms.  “They said it started on the outside of the living room.  They had to get out through the garage door because the front one was blocked by the fire and so was the back door.”
    “Any deaths?”
    “None.  They even rescued the cat.”  Carter chuckled.  “Mr. Plains, the homeowner, has four claw marks on the side of his neck.  Kinda funny.  He threw it in their truck.  It’s still in there, actually.”
    “Uh-huh,” Mainville looked at the family.  Mom, Dad, and two boys.  One was a teenager and the other was younger.  “What do you think?”
    “I think it’s for real this time.  We checked everything; electrical outlets, stoves, you name it.  It wasn‘t an accident, that’s for sure.”
    “Do they have any idea who would do that?”
    “No.  They seem like good people though.  Maybe there was no motive, some people are just freaks.  I got it all down in my report though, you can look through it later.”
    Mainville nodded, “Well give me a copy when we’re done here, as always.”  He walked off and kept a minimum distance between himself and the borders of the house - combing through what was in his immediate eyesight to see if he might discover something.
    He merely remained on the outside of the borders of the rubble and glanced inside it as he strolled towards the family.  All of it was hauntingly black, as are most homes after a fire.  Half of the walls were still standing, half had fallen over.  The second story survived, or, rather, the first survived.  Considering if the second had collapsed, the first would have been the far more destroyed section.  The outer walls were half gone and crumbling in the wind.  You only needed to use the door to get into the house because the first floor of the house was too high to easily gain access without the cement stoop that was installed in front of the door.
    The wallpaper looked as if it was some kind of flower decoration in what Mainville was assuming was the dining room.  The dining room table was still somewhat intact.  It had glass in the middle, and that shattered from the heat.  From the looks of it, it had shattered from a fire under it, contrary to the fires burning up the legs of the table.
    It was one of the most devastating damages Mainville had ever seen.  Minus the casualties from others.  Usually, the fire department gets there before everything was burned.  Nothing survived this fire.
    Considering how everything on the outside was just as badly burnt as what was on the inside, Mainville deduced that the fire…  Started at all four walls on the outside of the house, and the fire just worked its way in.  The back door and front were adjacent to each other on the north and south walls of the house.  They wouldn’t have had a chance of escape unless they jumped out a second-story window before the fire rose to that point, if it wasn’t for the garage connected to the kitchen on the east end: the side the family was on now.  They went out through the kitchen, and the garage was made primarily of cement, which protected them from the fire.  How they got through the garage doors has yet to be found out.
    In his investigatory trance, he had gotten a little too close to the family before stopping to greet them.  He took a step backwards and introduced himself to Mr. and Mrs. Plain.  “Detective Garrett Mainville - Arson.” He never  flashed his badge.  The suit and gun were convincing enough, especially in a crime scene.  Mainville stuck his hand out towards the husband.
    “Dustin Plain,” Mainville noticed the passiveness and weakness in his voice.  It was shaky.  Man’s supposed to keep his composure, and here was the wife acting like more of a man.  Wide-eyed, but breathing through the nose and standing straight.  She was freaked-out, but not drained, like this guy was. 
    The younger kid was in the car, listening to music.  He looked pretty young.  Eight? Nine? Ten at the most…  It wasn’t surprising to see his eyes filled with tears while the muffled sounds of Carrie Underwood hummed in the vicinity.  The older kid, 16, 17-years-old or so.  Walked around where he was allowed to walk around.  No doubt making inventory or something.
    Mainville grabbed the wife’s extended hand. “Evelyn Plain,” she said.  Her voice was raspy.  Probably irritation from the sobbing she and her husband were probably participating in.  Either that, or she was a chain-smoker.
    Mainville averted his glance back to the broken husband.  It was habit to question the male; Mainville didn’t know why.  Just as well though, the wife went back to just staring and wallowing in the destruction that she was allowed to do that on.
    “So, you gave your account to the fireman, right?” Mainville asked.
    “Yes, I did.  We just woke up and it was burning.  Got out of the house as fast as we could.  The cat usually sleeps in our room, so we were able to get him, he scratched the hell out of my neck though, as you can see,” he pointed to the marks.  “We went to the neighbors, called 911, and halfway through our call, you guys were already there.  Someone else may have called it.  I don’t know who.”
    “We know who it was.  Rather not give out names though.  If she ain’t here, she probably doesn’t want anyone knowing she did it.”
    “I guess I’ll just ask around”
    Mainville looked at him questioningly.  He carried a notepad, but hardly ever wrote in it.  He could memorize every detail every time.  The notepad was just for the show and grand jury.  He glanced at the notepad and pretended to read his scribbles.  “I’m sure Captain Carter already asked, but is there anybody who would want to hurt you and your family?”
    “None that I know of.  I work down at the law firm as a personal assistant.  It’s hard to make enemies there.”
    “But does it pay well?”
    Plain looked angry immediately.  “It pays fine.  Why do you ask?”
    “So you guys are doing okay with cash?”
    Plain maintained the ugly fucking grimace, “Yes.  My wife got a raise lately and I had one coming.  There’s no reason for me to burn my shit down!”
    “I didn’t accuse you of anything, I’m just exhausting all leads.”
    Plain stared at him
    “That’s all I got for now.  Is it okay if I take a look around?”
    “Yes.”
    “Okay, when I get done, I’ll be coming back with some more questions so stay put, please sir.”
    Plain looked aloof.  He shifted his vision to his young child in the warm truck.  He climbed inside and put his arm around him and watched as he played his gameboy games.
    Mainville didn’t notice.  He dived head-on into the wreckage to get the investigation over with.  No need to be too careful in an arson case.  Any possible evidence is probably destroyed anyway.
    He could feel small boards snap beneath his feet and he unintentionally kicked up the ashes that the wind didn’t already steal. 
    He looked over at the teenage kid outside the boundaries of the scene, looking in shock at what was.  He had black hair with teased spikes and these dark brown eyes, just like his father’s.  Dark eyebrows and long sideburns.  He sported a navy blue American Eagle jacket, with a sleeveless undershirt. He also had some fashionably torn jeans, and expensive-looking Nikes on.  He wreaked of popularity.  He was damn-good looking and was well built.  He’s the kind of kid who has it easy in high school.  This was more than likely the worst thing that has ever happened to him.
    The fire occurred at 9:00 pm.  He must have been out.  It wasn’t a school night, so more power to him if his parents let him do that shit.
    Mainville looked back down at the rubble and combed through it.  Some more broken glass… A lot of it.  It had to be the remains of an aquarium of some sort…  A lizard.  A dead lizard was right in the middle.  “Thought you said there weren’t any deaths!” Mainville said.
    Carter was caught off guard, “Well, didn’t think you cared about that.  Thought you meant people”
    “Then why did you bother to mention the fucking cat,” Mainville said to himself.
    Mainville yelled toward the teenager, “What kind of lizard was this?”
    He stuttered, “A uh- Bearded Dragon!”
    Mainville walked over to the teenager and he saw the intimidation in his eyes.  “Where’d you get it?” he asked.
    “Over at the PetCo a few years back.”
    “Bearded Dragons have to eat crickets regularly, you go to the pet store often, or do you breed the crickets yourself?”
    “No, I uh- have to buy them at the PetCo.  Charlie, my little brother, is terrified of the things, so we can’t keep crickets in the house for long.”
    “What’s your name?”
    “Derek.  Derek Plain.”
    “Okay, Derek.  You know anybody at the Pet store?  Anybody you see there regularly since you have to go there often…”
    “Well, not really.  Just people I already know from school.”
    “Do you think there’s anybody at that store who would want to do this to you guys?”
    He seemed shocked by the question, “No.  I usually don’t talk to anybody down there.”  He also seemed defensive.
    “Mhm.  What school do you go to?”
    “West Churchill High”
    “How about that place?”
    He was silent for a moment.  “What about that place?”
    “Got any enemies there?”
    “No.”
    Mainville cocked an eyebrow.  “Are you popular?.. Athlete or something?”
    “Well,” he was obviously trying to gather together some feigned modesty, “I guess I’m kind of popular.  And yeah, I do play for the football team.”
    “How are you with the ladies of the school, Derek?”
    He withdrew, “That’s a bit personal, isn’t it?”
    “Okay.  You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.  I wasn’t asking for specifics.”
    Derek sighed and broke the meager eye contact he was trying to maintain.  “I get around.”
    Now they were finally getting somewhere.  “No committed relationships?  Whatever you tell me, your parents don’t have to know about.”
    He looked ashamed and his blushed cheeks were showing in the siren lights, “I have a girlfriend but I do,” he paused looking for the right wording, “sleep with others.”
    “Okay.  What’s your girlfriend’s name?
    “Alyssa Flannigan”
    “Does she know about you sleeping around?”
    “No.”
    “Do any of the other girls you have sex with have boyfriends?”
    “Look, I don’t want word of it getting around.”
    “Derek, one of the guys may have found out and burned your house down for revenge.  The fire squad already said that this wasn‘t an accident.”
    “I don’t think either one of the guys are capable of murder though, sir.”
    “Probably not, maybe they knew all of you would escape.  The fire did start pretty far away from where you all were.  He probably would have chosen a different spot if he wanted to kill you.  Either way we need to get whatever leads we can.  We can‘t let whoever did this get away with it.”
    Derek looked down, ashamed. 
    “What are the names of the two men?”
    He exhaled loudly and quickly drew in some air, “Steven Mars and Bryce Clovers.”
    Mainville wrote both the names down after checking for spelling.  “Now these are the only two you know of?”
    “Yes.”
    “What about anybody else.  Anybody you harass, or bully.”
    “No.  I don’t do that.”
    “You don’t?”
    “No.  I was picked on in Elementary School, I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone else.”
    This kid‘s full of shit “Are you absolutely certain there’s nobody that you may have pissed off one too many times?”
    He threw his hands up.  He was fucking nervous as all hell.  “Y- You can’t know all the time if anyone’s mad at you.  I never intentionally pissed anybody off.”
    Mainville stared straightly into his dark eyes as if it would help steady them into looking back into his own.  “Okay,” he said.  “That’s all I need to know for now.”
    “Okay.”
    “Thanks for your help, I’ll contact you if I have any more questions.”
    “No problem officer.”  He was ecstatic to be relieved of that pressure.
    Carter approached Mainville as he went back to combing through the debris, “What’d he have to say?” He asked.
    “I think he pissed someone off.  The Dad is a pansy, that’s obvious.  He’s way too chicken-shit to get under anyone’s skin.  The other kid’s too young to be making enemies with people who are old enough to pull this off.  The mother, I’m not sure about yet.  But women don’t usually make violent enemies.”
    “I think you got a point.  I don’t like the looks of him either.  He’s the kind of kid who pushes the rejects around.”
    “Definitely.  He’s got a girlfriend, but he’s also the kind who sleeps around.  I got two names of guys with girls that he’s fucked around with.”
    “Christ alive.”
    “This might be fun, for once.”  Mainville turned around and looked at the entrancing painting of the scorched house.  Just like Salvador Dali: What does this burnt _______ mean?  How about these ______?  Couldn’t keep his eyes off it.
    Carter hesitated and finally winced then said, “Why don’t you request transfer if you hate arson so much, Garrett?”
    “I try.  I’m on several lists.  But people don’t leave all that often and I think the department wants to keep me here anyway.”
    Carter figured that was the case.  “Can I be frank?” he sighed.
    “What?”
    “You’re a good cop, but the booze is probably holding you back.”
    “I could be a better cop if I stop drinking?”  Mainville said, in a mockingly patronizing voice.
    “No, I’m saying they just want to keep you in the shadow of the big league cops.  You ain’t a very clean man.”
    “Whatever.  All I should care about right now is the case.”
    “Well, what do you think?”
    Mainville knelt down and got on one knee.  “I dunno,” he said.  After sweeping away some ashes he found a found a slightly burnt handmade picture frame.  In the middle - A picture of Mr. and Mrs. Plain on their wedding day.  “I just know this wasn’t for insurance.” Repeat.













Chapter 5
    Back in the Police Academy, they instill their rule and regulations into the instincts of the men and women joining.  Police officers don’t react the same way to danger as civilians because it’s just what comes most naturally after a while.  Much like driving a car, actions stop becoming voluntary and they seldom have to think about what to do next.  Seeing as how just about every scenario is gone over in training.
    For Dwight Currier, it was easy.  When he first joined a man hopped up on drugs pulled a machete out on him and charged.  Instead of shooting, he fired a taser shot into the man’s torso.  It paralyzed him momentarily and Dwight came out unscathed.  And that was routine.  Drugs: Tase.  Belligerent: Mace.  Shooting: Shoot back.  It was routine to Dwight anyway.  That’s the way he saw it.
    The one thing that never stuck with Dwight was keeping his finger off the trigger.  He had to think about that one.  When pointing his gun, he had to try to remember to keep his finger straight.  It had to be always on his mind, or else it slides back, precariously hung up on the trigger, waiting to pull.  It never became an involuntary motion like blinking or breathing.  Though he always had control over it, once he thought about it - once he acknowledged his power over those motions - it became awkward to keep up what he was supposed to be keeping up.
    He just kept the finger straight threw those three years on the force.  And he kept it straight when he accepted his badge for the FBI and shook the hand of the man who gave it to him.  Strangely keeping it extended like the stereotypical tea-drinker does with his little finger.
    But before the FBI came the one day when he had to bend it, and bend it quickly. 
    It was in July that it had happened.  He was 22-years-old, three years away from joining the academy, but he was already fantasizing about it.
    The rain was coming down hard and pattering against the hood of the car as he drove it down the interstate.  He kept an umbrella in the unoccupied passenger seat for when he didn’t need to worry about looking professional.
    At around 2:00 pm, he got the call.  A 10-38 - In danger and in need of immediate assistance.  Over the radio, not much back story can be shared.  All Dwight knew was that an officer was in trouble and he was the closest to the scene than any other officer working the shift.
    It took Dwight four minutes, but he got there before the officer in need had gotten injured.  A large gun battle had been transpiring in the ghetto, down where the police usually steer clear.  The officer in need of background, Officer Wirth, responded to a call concerning a domestic disturbance.  But in the period between where he received the call and where he actually arrived, this domestic disturbance turned into a hostage situation.  The husband took a .32 caliber rifle and stood out the doorway of his house, not allowing his wife or two kids exit.  When Wirth arrived, bullets started flying immediately.  Wirth sustained some cuts when a bullet went through the driver’s side window.  He dived to the floor and got out on the passenger’s side, radio and gun in hand.
    Dwight pulled the car up near Wirth’s and got out, using both cars as cover.  Wirth was half-blind due to glass and blood going into his eyes, and was almost completely helpless as a result.  Dwight had to wait for more backup, but the sooner the crazed man was put down, the better.  God only knew how many other people may have gotten hurt.
    When the husband stopped firing, Dwight issued his warning; he got no response.  The sooner the better rang consistently in his head and he knew that’s when he had to make the shot.  It was 10 seconds later that he decided that now was the time to take action.  This was the first time he had had to use his weapon in the line of duty, and his training prepared him well for the moment, but the aftermath and repercussions were too varied and personal to be warned about.
    He stood up and aimed his gun.  He gave the moment a second before assessing that the man was still a danger and hadn’t surrendered.  At seven yards away, Dwight opened fire.  Five rounds burrowed into the man’s torso, one struck the heart, and the man was dead.  But one of the bullets had passed through.
    Dwight didn’t have enough time to assess it with clarity.  The man was turned around, he was dragging one of the children out to use as a shield.  The boy, being only eight-years-old didn’t have the strength to fight a full-grown man.  Dwight took cover immediately after the fifth shot.  The screams of the wife were more audible now.  She had been screaming throughout the entire affair and Dwight didn’t make more of it than most any other man would have done at that point.
    “Did you get ‘im,” Wirth managed to say.
    Dwight was silent as he looked over the hood of the car and onto the porch.  The man was slumped over and covered in blood.  “Yeah,” he stammered. “Yeah, I got him.”  Dwight risked a better look and stared back down at Wirth.  “You wait here, more backup is on the way,” Dwight panted.  “You’re fine, right?”
    “I’ll live.”
    Dwight took off and kept his gun pointed in front of him.  Finger straight and around the trigger guard.  Straight as an arrow. 
    The wife had moved the corpse of her husband and held the child he was planning on using to most likely get out of the situation.
    That’s when Dwight learned that a bullet had passed through.  It went through the pelvis and into the back of the neck of the child.  Dwight picked up the rifle and moved away from the mother.  He wrestled the child away and checked for vitals.  At that moment, a thought had passed through his head that he was probably just as worried about this boy being dead as the mother was.
    He held the boy and untucked his shirt.  He bunched up the loose cloth and pressed it against the back of the boys neck.  The rain had washed away the blood that formed in the corners of his mouth.  His brown eyes were wide open and the pupils had widened dramatically.
    Dwight felt for a pulse and discovered that it had expired.  He frantically administered CPR.  After shooting the boy, he was now feeling his ribs crack with each heave.  He breathed down the boy’s throat and the boy vomited blood into Dwight’s mouth.  He spat it out and saw that the boy was revived, but unresponsive.
    The ambulance came not five minutes later.  At the hospital, Dwight received the news.  He had killed two people that day, and one was an innocent young boy.
    He wasn’t charged with anything.  The boy was merely an unfortunate casualty and was the result of no more than just unfortunate circumstance.
    He was forced to take a small leave of absence, and return to some paperwork and court cases.  When he made his way home to his empty apartment, he realized that the last thing he wanted to see was the overly proverbial, uncomforting surroundings that forced themselves into his environment each and every day.  Along with that, he discovered that repetition does not suffice as a consolation.
    It was the same night that he broke down his actions and questioned the necessity of each.  The CPR he administered was evil if anything.  The child may have died immediately; yet, Dwight had to prolong it.  He had never been shot before, let alone in the neck.  The only thing Dwight could do that night was pray that the child had lost too much blood to feel too much pain from the wound.
    He left the police force the next year and became a crime scene investigator.  Two years later, he was in the FBI.  And when he accepted his badge, and shook the director’s hand, his trigger finger was kept straight.

































Chapter 6
    For the first time that she could recall, Terra watched as Mainville walked through the door.  He had came home as soon as he got off work, which was strange to say the least.  She heard the car pull up and came to see.  As he walked up the pathway, she wondered what to say as soon as he walked through the door.  “Thank you,” came to mind, but was desperately forced out.  “Was the whorehouse completely booked?” forced it’s way in, yet didn’t come out her mouth once he entered.  When he entered, he spoke.
    “Were you waiting for me or something?” he asked.
    “Why?”
    “You were watching me pull up.”
    She donned a look of lassitude and sat down at the dining room table, “You’re home early.” She said.
    “It’s eleven o’clock.”
    “It’s early for you.”
    “So we’re going to start this now, huh?”
    “I’m not wanting to start anything.  You asked what I was doing watching you.”
    “You didn’t need to be watching me.”
    She smiled angrily, “Oh, I’m sorry.”
    “We had a fire, and I just wanted to come home, is that okay with you?”
    She pinched the bridge of her nose, “Please don’t start, Garrett.”
    He set his case by the door and took off his loosened tie, then his jacket and hung them both up.
    “I heard about it on the news.”
    “What?”
    “The fire.  I saw you on the news and heard that somebody else set fire to the home.”
    “Did it show me getting interviewed?”
    “If it did, I missed it.”
    “You weren’t really watching it?”
    “Don’t need to.  You said it’s usually the same.”
    He rolled up his sleeves and sat adjacent to her, “Not this time.”
    She raised her eyebrows with fake intrigue.
    “I’m thinking we’re going to have a few more fires like this before too long.”
    “What makes you say that?”
    “It was home to a popular kid.  Someone else set the fire.  I don’t really have much else to go on, but I’m thinking it’s some kid in high school looking to make some people suffer.”
    “He’s wanting to commit murder because he’s bullied?” she asked, only it was only half a question.  The other half was an unconfident statement.
    He stared away from her and laid his hairy arm on the table.  He had to think for a moment.  “I,” he began slowly, “I don’t think he really cares.”  He bit his lower lip and grimaced, “I think it’s just,” he had to think even more, but it was to no avail.  “I’m not sure what it is.  Just anger.  Confusion.  Like how people scream when they’re in serious pain, even though it can’t and won’t help.”  He stared back into her golden eyes for some sort of approval.
    “You would know.”
    “Why would I know?”
    “You’re good at guessing why people do the things they do.  Especially if you have anything in common with whoever’s doing it.”
    “Vanity.”
    “Something like that.”
    He stared at her.  Her comforting days were gone.  At an earlier year at an earlier time she would have responded by denying his vanity claim, but now it was all honesty; and he couldn’t really expect any different.  After all, there weren’t many secrets in the house anymore.  All of the information was silhouetted, and the blanks were just filled in, because the blanks ceased to matter.  They were the results of vanity in and of themselves.
    “Everyone except myself though, huh?” he asked defensively.
    “You don’t know why you do what you do?”
    “Because I don’t have much of a choice.  But you disagree, don’t you?”
    You always have a choice.  She wondered where that phrase of all-encompassing accuracy originated.  Everyone had heard it, but it was always derived from somewhere.  Who was the first person to realize the liberties that life brings?  “You don’t think you can stop?”
    “Stop what?”
    She stared at him coldly.  You know her face read.
    He exasperatedly laughed and rubbed his eyes, “Why are we going here now?”
    “Because whenever you’re at work and I’m at home, I’m left wondering what the hell is so wrong with me that I can’t have a husband with some semblance of fidelity.”
    “Because this nonstop bitching is a real turn-on.  What the hell is wrong with me - that I can’t anxiously await coming home to this.”
    “This conversation wouldn’t be happening right now if you knew how to love someone other than yourself and your needs.”
    “If you want to go there, I love Eric more than anything else.”
    “Some father you were though.”
    Mainville slammed his fist down on the table.  Fuck you.  It was waiting eagerly to burst forth from his lips.
    Terra didn’t flinch from it.
    He didn’t say anything.  He got up and kept angrily staring at her.  Then he turned quickly and marched up the stairs.
    Terra didn’t adjust her line of view.  She kept staring forward.
    Maybe she couldn’t write her novel of romance because she didn’t know what real romance was like.  She was stuck with this.  She had a choice, but didn’t make it.  Which made her oddly similar to Garrett, and that’s why they deserved each other.

Halloween Short Horror Story 2: Where Souls Die: Part 1


I'll admit straight off that I am not fond of this God damn title.  It's just that I'm tired and have spent the last four hours working on this thing (if you can believe it).  Yes, I know it's not that long, but I'm not that fast of a writer and lets couple in the research I did mid-writing and the one or two... breaks I took because I got distracted.  So, I just sat in front of the computer screen for a minute and came up with a barely relevant, corny-ass title.  If you have a better idea for a title, give me one please.

A bit more conventional that my last story, but there's nothing wrong with actually having plot.  I had different things planned for this before I started writing it.  I originally wanted all of this to be posted at once, but before I knew it, the story involving Frederick Wilson was way too long, and I figured I would make it the first act of the story, rather than just the introduction.  The second will have more characters and more things happening that will explain what's going on on that island and will definitely be longer.  I'll have that posted hopefully by tonight, if not, tomorrow at any time.  

All I can say is: Don't procrastinate when you make a commitment!  Or else you'll stay up until 5:30 in the God damn morning, kept barely awake by two bottles of Coke Zero as you wonder what the hell you're going to do about that English assignment you got when you're spending most of your time writing a story that nobody will fucking read.  And you crave that feeling of accomplishment, but you can't yet because it's simply not done and you're two seconds away from passing out on your keyboard, so you just promise to submit the rest later; hoping, in vain, that you'll feel like you've actually done something worthwhile.  All while dealing with your parents who are screaming at you for being a night owl even though you've made it explicitly clear that you have difficulty sleeping, thus making you want to burn your whole house down and laugh while you're doing it, hoping that somebody might just give you a glance after you've worked your fucking ass off!!

Okay, my rant is complete and it's about as long as what I already have written, so that's always nice.  Here's my second Halloween story that nobody will read.





Where Souls Die

Part 1

As it is written on stone, paper or any other tablet: souls of the guilty, damned or merely lost are condemned to suffer the wrath of the one fallen angel.  To suffer through the hellfire for the rest of eternity.  They are devoured by him and are left to suffer in the bowels of evil itself.  The Hell he created and wished to impose upon them.  From which there is no escape and no sanctuary.  The chances of being liberated - if only for a short while - from the torment that persisted not through night and day, but in the perpetual blackness that is the chasm of evil itself - were nonexistent.

Unbeknownst to the very “all-knowing” entity that is God, and to the rest of the inhabitants of every existing plane, Satan vomited forth a concoction of the damned souls in the form of land cursed with perpetual darkness and haunted by the anger of souls that condensed into that piece of earth that lay in the middle of the ocean.  The reason for this desultory discharge of the evil that was once imprisoned is unknown.  It will never be known.  If it was the plan of the King of Darkness, or rather accidental; Hell has now reached the earth and has infused with its reality and laws.  

The properties of the island went unknown by God, the land existed only in the realms that possessed what could truly be called “pure evil.”  One of those realms is the realm of mortals.  Humans, as they are known, reign supremely in that plane.  But, in their initial ignorance they remained - for a great while - benighted of the unholy land for millennia.

 

 

 

It wasn’t until early 1915 that the land remained reticent of humanity’s ever-growing eye.  This is the story of man’s very first encounter with the land of pure malevolence:

 

 

In the midst of The Great War (before America‘s involvement), several merchant sea vessels belonging to the United States were destroyed by German Cruisers.  As well as the merchant ships, the Lusitania, a British-owned ocean liner was destroyed by the Germans.  Over 1,000 deaths were reported, though, some were unconfirmed and assumed to be deceased.

Such was the predicament of Frederick Wilson.  An American passenger aboard the Lusitania found himself drifting away at sea on a life raft as he watched the ocean liner burn and sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Wilson had grown paranoid of attack while on the ship.  Most likely caused by a sort of cabin fever, as witnesses say he behaved fine upon boarding the vessel.  Stress and paranoia drove him to preserving survival materials in case of a sudden attack.  A few flasks of water, rations, tape, some blankets, and an M1911 pistol were stored in a rather large satchel which he kept hidden from every other passenger.

The M1911 was a gift from a friend.  Wilson, always being superstitious, often kept the gun close at hand after a gypsy had told him, “Great danger is waiting for you in places foreign to ever outlet of your imagination.”

On the night the Lusitania was destroyed, Wilson grabbed his satchel and procured a lifeboat.  He waited for others to join him, but danger was growing closer in the form of an oil fire on deck not three yards away from where Wilson’s boat hung.

He cut the ropes to free himself from the Lusitania and landed in the water with tremendous force.  He was ejected from the boat before it hit.  When the boat landed, it capsized and waded next to the sinking colossus.  Wilson kept a tight grip on the satchel that contained his only chance at life while swimming frantically in the freezing waters.

He reencountered the boat and went underwater to pull one grip of the boat closer to him in order to swing it back to its upright position.  He succeeded, against all odds.  He had enough adrenaline surging through his body to perform amazing feats of strength.

The lifeboat, though filled with water was upright and could support him now.  He climbed on the boat and tilted it by standing on one side to empty out the water.  Most of it went back into the ocean before Wilson lost his balance and plunged into the water again.  The cold stung even worse than it had the first time.  The adrenaline was wearing off and exhaustion was setting in.  Violently shivering he grabbed the side of the boat closest to him and pulled down to continue the job of emptying the freezing water that filled the boat.  The water cascaded onto his face and numbed most of it for a time.  When he was done, little water remained and he climbed back into the boat, almost capsizing it again.  He laid there, in the freezing puddles of water that remained.

Before he abandoned the Lusitania, he had managed to waterproof the satchel by wrapping it in multiple sheets of thick plastic that he kept tightly bound by several lengths of strong rope that he had secured from some crewmates.

The lifeboat had oars secured in it before the destruction began.  One of the oars was lost when the boat capsized and Wilson was left with only one.  His muscles were frozen to a state of infirmity as he paddled with slow, but long strokes.  Against all odds, he managed to escape the suction of water that the Lusitania created as it descended into the ocean.  He watched in amazement and horror as it burned and sank.  Like a gigantic beast had been slain.  Its sheer enormity alone had frightened anyone able to garner a picturesque view of the ship.

Wilson looked around.  No other lifeboats were in sight.  He had paddled too far, and in what direction?  Ireland was nowhere to be seen either.  It was just barely north of the Lusitania.  He was able to see it right before the ship was attacked.  Now, nothing was visible.  Be it the darkness of the night, the sea salt in his eyes, or the dreaded distance he may have paddled in his panicked fury; he was alone.  Surrounded by nothing but what little of the Lusitania that had remained above the surface of the sea, and water.  Dark as the night sky.  The horizon was invisible the colors were the same.

The thought sent a chill through him that sent another shock of freezing pain throughout his body.  His flesh was burning from the ice that encrusted sections of it.  He unwrapped the satchel and took out his blankets.  He stripped naked; the cold night air bit him hard all around.  He quickly dried himself off with the first blanket.  Then he laid it on top of the small puddle of water that remained in the boat.  It was thick enough to keep the water from soaking through to the top.  He took the other two large blankets and wrapped them tightly around his nude body.  The shivering fits dissipated slowly as he laid his full body on one end of the small raft and curled into a ball.  He was dry.  He was warm. Not as warm as he wanted, but safe from the cold until morning.  Hopefully, by then, he would have reached land.  He slowly nodded off to sleep after the Lusitania had sunk completely and all signs of the vessel that attacked the ship had gone away.  He kept alert for other boats for as long as he could before sleep took hold and wouldn’t let go.  The swimming, the running, the paddling, emptying the boat of freezing water- it was all too much for a man of no spectacular shape.  Coupled with the extraordinary warmth of the blankets, he couldn’t keep his eyes open for longer than an hour after the chaos had ended before drifting to sleep.

 

. . .

 

When he woke up, the sun had began to rise.  Light was now in the area, and now he had a chance of being spotted, or spotting nearby land.  He shed himself of the two blankets and looked all around.  What was a moment of happiness turned to horror as he saw nothing but sea surrounded him.  

Why did I have to sleep!?  Why couldn’t I endure it like a man!?  Now, I’m out here, in the middle of the ocean, looking death in the face once more.  

Only this time, death saw it fit to torture him with his own mind and desperation long before it took hold.  Before death wasn’t far away, it hovered closely by Wilson during the whole ordeal and he knew that if he died, it would be quick.  Quicker than the death he faced now.  But he had the pistol.  The M1911.  He had packed it anyway.  He looked for it in the bag, and there it was.  It was a bittersweet sight.  It was a symbol of his death, but it was a symbol of a quick one.  The sea was long and torturous.  A tedious and grueling death awaited him if it were up to the sea.  If it was in control.  But no, Wilson had the gun and Wilson decided how he would die now.  But it wasn’t his time.  Not yet.  That’s what Wilson decided.

The gun was unloaded completely.  The magazine was already ejected and was separated from the gun during its time in the satchel.  Seven bullets were fixed in the magazine.  The eight bullet was wrapped in paper and tape, somewhere else in the satchel.

Several flasks of water were in there.  Large flasks too.  He figured they would last him a couple of weeks if he used them sparingly.  The rations weren’t as numerous, but food wasn’t as important as water.  He could go without eating for a couple of days and then eat one meal, then wait again.  That occasional meal should be enough to satisfy him after finishing it.

Then he remembered his clothes.  He walked over to them, they were folded up tightly on the other end of the raft.  It wasn’t the best course of action if he wished to dry them sooner, but he didn’t want to risk losing them overnight, so he kept them a bit more secure from the wind by keeping them in a corner.

His shoes were damp, but not unwise to wear.  He put them on and flattened out the rest of his clothes.  Which retained much of last night’s moisture.  He let the rising sun dry them as he looked around for any sign of life.  He thanked God it was May.  The sun’s rays were proficient enough to dry his clothes without too much of a wait.  

He must have drifted south, he thought.  South and a bit to the west.  The worst possible route in his predicament.  The Americas were where he would end up if he kept on this track, most likely.  South America was a better chance.

He crossed himself informally and prayed to find safety soon.

 

. . .

 

A week passed.  The sun scorched Wilson as he laid down on the raft, fully dressed now.  It beat down heavily on his flesh and he was left with numerous painful sunburns which now produced blisters on his forearms and on the back of his neck.  The plastic sheets he used to wrap the satchel up were torn to shreds when he attempted to make a tent using the materials he had.  Now, he was exposed to the harsh rays.  His water supply was half empty and he saved his urine in the empty flasks.  He would occasionally strip and dive into the refreshingly cold ocean.  The cold stung him like needles sometimes, but it was a welcome break from the sun’s rays after a while.

Whenever he did leave the boat, he kept one hand on it at all times, he wasn’t about to risk losing his only vessel and one chance at living… His one chance at dying painlessly.

Now, he didn’t feel like it.  The sun sort of weakened him.  He was tremulous, and weak.  He figured he was just starving, so he ate.  Nothing changed.  Ate another meal.  He felt the same.  Something was going on with his body, he didn’t know what.  The rations must not have had any nutrients in them.  But that didn’t make any sense.  But it didn’t matter now though, he exhausted everything to get rid of this lethargic stupor, and nothing worked.

He laid down on the raft, not relaxing or hoping for rescue.  He was laying down with the pistol in his hand.  It was unloaded, but, according to Wilson’s plans, it wasn’t going to stay that way.

He had food.  He had water.  He had sustenance.  But was he just delaying the inevitable?  Was he going to die no matter what?  He figured it was best to end it sooner rather than hanging on by a thread after using up the water, urine and food.  The level of comfort he could have during his death was diminishing rapidly.  It wasn’t comfortable now, but it was only getting worse from here.

He was saving one of the flasks for rescue, or to null the mental strain of attempting suicide.  One of the flasks contained alcohol.  Whiskey.  Very strong.

He drank it all.  In his stupor, he had abandoned plans of suicide.  Instead, he enjoyed himself with his limited resources before he passed out.

When he woke up, he couldn’t feel the waves gently rocking his boat anymore.  It was dark, but the moon was nowhere in sight.

His eyelids were heavy and discolored.  His eyes were bloodshot.  He sat up in his boat, holding his breath, and started to observe his surroundings.  He had hit land.  He let out an overjoyed sigh and smiled.  Tears came out of his eyes.  His hangover never got the chance to rear its ugly head.  Joy was blocking it out.

Wilson looked around and saw the beach in which he was standing.  Behind him was a forest clearing.  All of it was rather… void.  It seemed nobody had set foot on this land before.  This was a deserted island.  Wilson had read stories about it, but never thought it would actually happen to him.  But now, he had a better chance at survival.  Now, he might actually be spotted.  This was a stroke of luck.

It was freezing though.  He grabbed his supplies, put it all back in the satchel and put it around his shoulder.  He took two of the blankets and wrapped himself up with them.  The third stayed in the satchel.  He grabbed what little plastic was left and wrapped it around his head.  Covered his ears, nose and forehead.  He put the gun in his waistband and set out to explore the island.

 

. . .

 

Three days passed.  On the first day, Wilson assembled the supplies to build something that would attract the attention of any passing ships.

On the second day, he entered the woodland and didn’t return.

On the third day, he came back out of the woods and sat in the sand on the beach.  He lit a gigantic fire and sat down far enough away to where he wouldn’t be harmed by the flames.  He didn’t make another sound and didn’t stir for the next 13 hours.  A merchant ship caught sight of the wooden landmark Wilson had made on the first day.

The ship didn’t approach the land, but three lifeboats approached.  They saw him, approached him cautiously, and tried to get him to speak.  He acknowledged them and went with them stiffly, but it was obvious he wanted to leave.  The six men that came to the island were Hispanic.  They took him to the boat, which took him to Cayenne.  The capital of French Guiana. It stands on the Atlantic Coast as one of the edge cities of South America.

The latitude and longitude of the island was marked.  From the sinking of the Lusitania to the island, Wilson had drifted no less that 2,900 miles.  With all that Wilson revealed after being rescued, it was concluded that there was no possible way someone would have gotten there in a week, just coasting along on the ocean at that distance.  It simply wasn’t possible, even if Wilson had paddled his way there.  But he was registered on the Lusitania, that couldn’t be debated.  His journey started off the coast of Ireland.  How he got to the island so quickly was never explained.  Only vague theories exist.

The six men that sailed to the island to rescue Wilson revealed that they wanted to leave as soon as they set foot there.  One of the men kept something secret until they got back to Cayenne.

On the way to Cayenne, Wilson was occasionally asked questions from the crewmates.  “What was on that island?”  “How long were you there?”

Wilson was vague, and his answers were senseless.  He claimed that the sun never shined there.  It never rained, even if a storm was obviously approaching.  It was stuck in a perpetual malevolent night that never saw the light of day.  

Once the ship had made it to Cayenne, one of the six men revealed what happened when his boat had stricken the land.

According to him, the crucifix necklace that he kept tied around his neck began to burn as he got closer to the island.  Once there, the crucifix became too hot to touch and he was forced to throw it to the ground.  It steamed as if it were on a tray on top of a fire.  Eventually it burst into a quick flame and became nothing but ash that the wind blew away almost immediately.  The lifeboats had landed several yards apart, so this could have happened without the other five men noticing.  The sixth man didn’t want to say anything because he didn’t want to go back.  He didn’t want to find the explanation for the combustion of his crucifix.  He wanted to get back home and never board that ship again.  Two of the other men did the same when they heard the story.  Every person who didn’t go to the island and the three remaining men who did set foot there stayed with the ship.  But they never went back to the island.

Wilson was kept in a hospital for a few days due to slight malnourishment.  Once released, he went back to America and lived reclusively for three years.  One day, his mother had come by the house and found him dead on the floor.  He had shot himself in the head with the same pistol he kept with him during his ordeal.

Nothing was left behind to explain his decision.  He had started to write a note, but it was blank aside from the stains of some dried tears.

He left the world silent as he did on the third night on the island. 

Discovery

Sometimes.  I just write.  With no plans and with no plot to begin with.  I just let the words come out.  Sometimes, I discover truths in my life that I wouldn't have been aware of if I didn't decide to just start typing random letters.

Here's what I wrote, and here's what has left me pondering for a while about my depression and feelings of victimization:

I found out that my life wasn't anything special.  I'm just another person faced with problems that everybody else faces.  Problems that people aren't as afraid of as I am.

 

It's easy to forget that you aren't circumstance's only victim.  And it's easy to forget that chance doesn't play favorites and doesn't have any pattern to it.  It's all just the roll of the dice.

 

When the outcomes of life are simply the result of dice being cast, what's the point of living of your own accord?  What's the point of mapping out the rest of your life when it can come crashing down once the dice hit the table?  

Because dreams are all we have that can never go away.  That's the answer to that question.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"It's easy to forget that you aren't circumstance's only victim."  

That's a quote I'll have to live by.

Halloween Short Horror Stories

On each of the three Sundays leading up to Halloween (today being the first Sunday) I decided to submit a short horror story for each one.  The last one will be up on the night before Halloween.  This is the first story.  I'd like to know what you think (if you actually read it).  I also submitted this as a story in one of the experience groups, if you'd rather read it there.

I decided to write three short stories and submit one on each Sunday, leading up to Halloween.  This is the first story.  It took me about two hours to finish and I had a great time writing it.  It's a very different story.  It's missing many of the components that usually go into fiction.  Most of this story consists of setting, suspicion, and a tad-bit of back-story.  As for a main plot, I can't say what it is because that's giving to much away, if you can believe it.  It's deep yet shallow at the same time.  While it's by no means terrific - Hell, whether or not it's any good is debatable - at least it's different.  That's what I really wanted here and I did the best I could.

Length: 2,197 words.

Title: The Warmth

Last thing Eddie remembered was the party on campus.  Girls, booze, and music.  Couple guys hitting the drugs hard in the back room.  Marijuana joints burned like incense in cigarette trays.  He went there with a mission: get as trashed as possibly before blacking out.  Hopefully wake up next to a topless girl the next morning with a video tape to relive the event, whether he remembered doing it or not didn’t necessarily matter.

Lance hosted the party.  Lance was the guy who took every drug in the book.  Too young to realize his mortality and would most likely end up in an early grave (and ultimately did).  Eddie was a little different.  Pot was always fine, he’d have to get off a puff at least once a day.  Coke, if it was good, he’d have a shot or two.  Heroine was the stopping point though.  Coke gave him enough of a blitz to where he didn’t much see the point of creating a cocktail with heroine being an ingredient.  The psychedelics were few and far between.  Those were more so his stress-eases.  There was the occasional prescription he bummed off of a friend (or complete stranger - it didn’t matter much who).  At the end of the day, OxyContin (or Oxycotton, according to Eddie), was his favorite.  But those came rarely and expensively.

He liked the girls redheaded and loose.  Not slutty, just loose.  As in would have sex with a stranger every now and again, but ultimately reserved the partying for the rare occasions.  The slutty was his bread-and-butter until he contracted gonorrhea from one.  Pissing razor wire and having to get a very painful injection of Bicillin C-R in the ass were two things that made him learn his lesson.  The nurses called the Bacillin C-R “Bootyjuice,” it felt like he was being teased each time he heard that…  He probably was.  A nice, loose redhead that wouldn’t want him to wait around the next morning was now his partiality. 

He had made it with a cute slightly lascivious blonde, ended up spending that night rather well.  He didn’t remember it though.  That’s what the occasional video camera was for, but he would never find out if he set one up or not.  His only recollection of what happened with that girl would be yellow blurs and some dirty talk.

But he was dressed now.  Had a long-sleeve T-shirt on his chest with a small tear at the bottom.  Jeans.  Shoes.  And a hat laid in some leaves a couple of yards away.

When he opened his eyes, he was half out of it.  He shook away a psychosomatic hangover and got to his knees.  His eyes were dry, as was his mouth.  His nostrils burned with chapped air and his ears were red with the cold.  He blinked several times.  Right after the drowsiness had dissipated, he knew he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.  It was outside somewhere.  He was laying face down on top of a small rivulet and it made a freezing inch-wide line of moisture run down his shirt and his left leg.  He kept his mouth open as he observed what was around him.  It hurt too much to breathe through his nose alone.

It was almost pitch black.  Some yellow moonlight had escaped through the trees and illuminated selected parts of the underbrush.  Eddie couldn’t see past the medley of tenebrous branches that occluded any further sight.  The pupils of his eyes shifted size for a few seconds, and not in unison.  His head pounded.  He grabbed his head and held it tightly in his moist hands.  He didn’t feel any injuries, just a horrible headache.  Only it wasn’t a headache.  It was something else.  It was a concussion.  No doubt about that.  It explained the stilted eye-strain and memory loss.  He had one before.  He knew the feeling pretty well.  Only, he wasn’t fatigued like he was last time.  Sure, he was dazed, but not fatigued.  His first concussion rendered him to a point where he could have laid down and slept through a war zone.

Didn’t matter much now though.  It did, but not quite as much as being lost.  These woods felt unfriendly, malevolent even.  The humidity was overwhelming, almost to where it felt like Eddie was drowning exclusively in water vapor.

The stuffiness of the entire forest didn’t do much to moisturize his orifices.  It still hurt like hell to breathe.

His eyes (or maybe just eye) adjusted to the darkness a bit better.  Didn’t do much though.  Just trees.  Dead trees with dead leaves barely hanging on.  Most of the leaves littered the ground.  The pile Eddie was laying in had stuck to his shirt from being so heavy with moisture.  He forced his eyes to water.  Small droplets accumulated in the corners.  He spread the tears by rapidly blinking.  He could see a bit better now, but still nothing to see.

Suddenly, he felt an inclination to look behind him.  A cabin.  An old, moldy cabin in the middle of the woods.  The wood it was made of was dark and slightly wet.  It was smaller than a trailer and didn‘t look habitable, not for more than a short-while in any case.  A light shining through small openings in a boarded up window proved as such.  A fire was lit in there.  And that fire was being tended to.  It had to be.  The cabin seemed as if it was abandoned for years, and something just found it less than a week ago.  Spider webs hung nefariously in between the boards of the porch fence.  The steps leading onto the porch looked decrepit and rickety, as did most every board and nail that contributed to the creation of this hovel.

The cabin pulsated with enmity and ambiguity.  Eddie was like a bug staring into a Venus Flytrap.  There was something inside that wanted him.  Wanted him to come inside.  Come into the light that shined through a slightly boarded window.  To guard himself from the cold and wet weather and find safety in the warm fire stoked to perfection.

Eddie could feel it.  As much as he was tempted to march through the door and seek the help of whoever was tending the flame, a sixth-sense warned him.  What laid behind that door was no human.  It wasn’t partial to socializing with humans either.  It was a malefic creature that held no good intentions for whoever should walk through that door.  What it would do to whoever went inside was still a mystery.  

Eddie couldn’t hear nor see it.  He was just aware.  He knew it.  He knew it like most children instinctively know that a fire is scalding to the touch.  Eddie wasn’t smart, but he was smarter than a bug.  He knew that light would shock him; something flies and mosquitoes aren’t aware of when they hover towards that blue light, entranced by it for some reason.

Eddie looked down and saw his legs inching closer and he forced himself to stop in his tracks.  He wanted inside badly.  He would die out here for sure.  Maybe it was just paranoia preventing him from going inside.  The concussion maybe?  No.  It wasn’t.  That cabin is simply not to be approached.  Whatever is inside is not to be seen.

When standing in awe and fear of the cottage, he realized that his sight had come back in full.  His eyes were moist and working once more, even if the pupils were of different sizes, which Eddie was unaware of.

He licked his lips nervously.  He didn’t want to put his back to the cabin.  He wanted to see what was all around him, but just as long as the cabin remained in sight.  As if taking his eyes off of it would result in him being swallowed up by the wooden shack.

He groaned and swiftly turned around, ignoring his fear.  He saw dots of light poking through the trees.  A town?  It had to have been a town.  The lights amassed so perfectly - like streetlights!

Like streetlights…  They weren’t streetlights.  They were something else.  There were no streetlights beyond the jubilee of trees and brush.  Like the creature inside the cabin, Eddie knew that things weren’t as he should have believed them to have been.  He wasn’t in the same realm.  Nobody knocked him out and dumped him in the woods.  How he got here was a mystery that didn’t matter as much as Eddie’s survival.  He had to survive.  No sleeping on the way there.  Go forward and don’t stop until you reach those lights.  Run, if you have to.  Just don’t ever go backwards.  Don’t ever go inside that cabin.  Don’t ever even touch that cabin.  If you want to live don’t go inside that God-forsaken cabin!

The warmth of the fire ushered him to come closer to the cabin.  He was so cold, freezing even.  He wanted inside.  But he wouldn’t dare do so.  He compared it to selling his soul to the devil just for that bit of warmth in there.  Not even death would protect him from whatever that nameless thing would have done.

A cold wind blew from the lights.  He had to face the winds to make it.  He had to face the winds to survive.  He had to shut-out the warmth to… prevent something worse than death.

No more dawdling He thought.  He grabbed his hat that laid in the leaves.  It was soaking wet, so he rolled it up and put it in his back pocket.  When it dried, it would help.  It would help only a little bit, but it would help nonetheless.

He went towards the lights.  He traversed through the same wilderness.  No landmarks at all.  Wet leaves and mud sloshed under him with each footstep and stuck to his shoes.

It felt like days before he reached the end.  It was four hours before he got to the end of the forest.  He stood on top of a steep hill and saw what was producing the lights.  It was a town.  It looked like a town from long ago.  Cobblestone streets and everything.  The lights were candles.  How they burned bright enough for him to see past all that forest was a mystery.  They wanted him to come to the town.  But the town housed the same feeling as the cabin.  Eddie had to convince himself that was in just in his mind.  It was paranoia.  It was… stupidity.  Sheer stupidity.  The town still seemed dark and brooding.  But the cabin was worse.  So much worse.  Looking back, Eddie realized he had never been so overwhelmed with pure malevolence before.

Eddie turned around to gaze at the forest one last time.  The light of the cabin shined.  But not like the lights of the town.  Eddie knew the lights of the town were far away when he first saw them.  The light of the cabin was past just a few yards of forest.  It was as if… It had followed him.  Coaxed him with warmth that he never felt.  Eddie kept wanting to look back as he made his way through the forest… It had to have been the cabin’s doing.  The cabin was luring him in.

Eddie’s eyes watered with fear for the first time.  He had to have been wrong.  The light… It was so close.  It seemed just a short walk back to the cabin.  Three yards at the most.  He shook the desire away.  Even if it was a few yards away, then what?  You would just turn around and head right back to town.  Leave it behind.  Leave it behind if you don’t want to face whatever’s inside.

Eddie faced the town again.  From the hilltop, Eddie guess it was about a mile away.  Just a mile.  Past a field of short dark grass.  Then the town will surround him.

While Eddie was afraid of the town, he had no choice but to approach it.  To his left on the hilltop was a line of forestry farther than the eye could see; same with the right.  That town was the closest thing to civilization in sight.  He could go left, he could go right.  But he won’t.  He was as good as dead if he did so.  If he went backwards, he was dead and then some.  No human mind could fathom what awaited him in that cabin.  The town was just a mystery.  The town was a haunting mystery that Eddie would have to brave.  He would have to make it.

He sighed and went down the hill, towards the town again.  The cold wind continued to blow, and he could feel the warmth of the cabin on his back.  But he never looked behind him.  He kept his eyes forward and made his way to that mysterious town.

 

1-12 of 12 Blogs   

Previous Posts
No Sense in Worrying About What You Can't Control?, posted December 9th, 2012
I Just Saw Gigli, posted November 16th, 2012
Fifty Shades of Grey, posted September 24th, 2012, 1 comment
Strangers, posted July 18th, 2012
The Hunger Games Movie Review, posted April 12th, 2012
Mass Effect 3 Ending, posted April 5th, 2012
Rick Santorum, posted March 4th, 2012
Republican Candidates, posted January 10th, 2012, 1 comment
Phoenix Asunder, posted November 10th, 2011
Halloween Short Horror Story 2: Where Souls Die: Part 1, posted October 23rd, 2011, 1 comment
Discovery, posted October 23rd, 2011, 1 comment
Halloween Short Horror Stories, posted October 16th, 2011, 2 comments

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