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Creative-ness [Jun. 30th, 2006|04:48 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

Desert Dryad updated, natch. I think that makes 3 this week! Go me!

And Em, you are excused, for birthday and moving reasons. :)
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Because I'm obsessed with Otter Pops lately... [Jun. 27th, 2006|03:18 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

The darkness was pierced by a widening sliver of light and a wave of heat as the door swung open. Meaty hands gripped and tore him away from his comrades.

A blade flashed, and in an instant, his head was severed, falling, bouncing on some slick surface.

She closed the door, reached down and picked up his head, tch-ing at the stain it left behind. She sucked out his brains and tossed the skin in the trash.

She began to suck out the rest of his guts, and gestured to the closed freezer.

"Want an otter pop?" she asked her friend.

(100 words ezactly. Go me!)
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Sleeping Beauty [Jun. 21st, 2006|09:30 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

Michael's girlfriend in high school was a military brat with curly, fluffy red hair and a wide mouth. Liz's smile seemed to stretch forever across her face. She was spontaneous, funny, athletic, and smart, and Michael was in love. He often caught himself planning his future contingent on her plans. She wanted to go to Columbia. He worked hard so he could qualify for Columbia. She wanted to be a doctor. He decided to be an engineer, so he could get employed straight out of college with a well-paying job and support her through medical school. He daydreamed about her when she wasn't there -- just daydreamed of talking with her, touching her, making her laugh.

That summer, the summer between their junior and senior years, something went wrong. Her energy drained from her. She started to sleep ten, twelve, fifteen hours a night. When she was awake she was irritable with him and everyone else. And then one day she just fell asleep and just -- stayed that way.

Unable to rouse her from sleep, her parents took her to the hospital. The doctors hesitantly diagnosed her with Kleine-Levin syndrome, though even those suffering from Kleine-Levin tend to wake up for four to six hours per day. They took blood tests and MRIs and more blood tests, but simply couldn't figure out what was happening. She wasn't in a coma, she wasn't dying. She was simply asleep.

Michael went and visited her in the hospital, first frequently and then more and more rarely as June waned towards July. It was summer. It was hard to sit in a hospital, shivering in the blast of the central air, watching Liz grow thinner and more transluscent day by day, IVs threading her veins, knowing his friends were at the pool while he was miserable.

As he watched her one day, he was struck by a thought. Kiss her. He immediately shook it off. That was ridiculous. Besides, she had a mask of some kind over her mouth, and they'd get mad at her. He took her hand instead, his fingers tracing the blue lines underneath her pale skin.

It turned out that was his last day at the hospital. The summer just caught up with him. He went out of town, and then started a temporary job, hung out with his friends more. And before he realized it, it was August, and he was walking his friend Jennifer home in the dark. The crickets were chirping, bugs hovering in the heat. They normally had no trouble talking up a storm, but for some reason, they were silent. Jennifer looked at him shyly, her dark hair brushing the side of her face with a soft touch.

It just seemed inevitable. They stopped at her porch, turning awkwardly to look at one another.

"Well, that was fun tonight," said Jennifer. "We should hand out more often."

"Yeah," said Michael, and leaned in to give her a hug. He often hugged his friends goodbye. But this lasted longer, and he felt his heart rate rise a little bit. "We should."

She pulled back to look up at him, but stayed in his arms, smiling shyly.

He leaned in, and they kissed.

The next day Liz opened her eyes, and swung her feet out of the bed. Her ever-pale skin was paler than ever, the blue and green trace of veins beneath her skin clearly evident. She was transparent. She shone with an otherworldly light. She was more beautiful than seemed possible.

At school that fall, Michael tried half-heartedly to resume a friendship with Liz, though things were forever changed. He caught a deep disappointment in her eyes when she looked at him, and it stung his heart. But she started dating other guys, and the shame he felt eased enough that they could start hanging out together as friends.

One day he asked her, "Do you remember what you were dreaming, all that time?"

She looked away, and said, "No."
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Another Maren snippet [Jun. 15th, 2006|11:53 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

Maren held the fridge door open with her hip while she negotiated the lid of the cool whip jar. For the moment, she appeared to be tall and dark, with a runner's lean phsyique. She kicked the fridge door shut behind her, and sat down on the couch with cool whip in one hand and spoon in the other. She regarded the confection fondly for a moment before digging in.

Maren heard the sound of keys jangling in the door lock, and sighed. "It's open!"

"Thanks," said Alice, entering the room and plunking her keys down on the kitchen counter. She unwrapped her scarf and kicked off her shoes before falling into the loveseat.

"Long day?"

"There was really ugly traffic on the way back," said Alice. She finally seemed to notice what Maren was eating, and quirked an eyebrow. "You are not eating cool whip straight from the jar."

Maren laughed. "Look! They tell you to eat it straight right on the front, see? 'Enjoy a spoonful for a quick frozen treat,' it says. I'm just following the instructions."

"They're just trying to get you to go through a jar faster."

"It's working, isn't it?"

"Did you have a long day? And seriously, stop eating that stuff, it's making me sick."

"Fine," said Maren, and in the blink of an eye the jar flickered and became a pint of ice cream, which she continued to dig into relentlessly. "And nothing was wrong with my day. I just wanted to eat some cool whip!" Her voice crescendoed, and she glared at her spoon.

"You're still eating cool whip, it just looks like ice cream. And you're not acting like you had a great day."

"Well, you just have to look at it, you don't have to eat it, alright? And I'm fine."

"If I kinda squint, I can tell it's still cool whip."

"Ah, suck. I forgot about that. It's not worth the bother, then." Another blink, and the container was again cool whip. "Doesn't work nearly as well when people know what something really is."

"I can't believe it. My roommate can do friggin' magic and she spends half her time bitching about how awful her life is and the other half eating my food straight from the container," said Alice, rolling her eyes. "Maren, you are a waste of space."

"But I'm a rent-paying waste of space, which is better than some of your old roommates," said Maren, grinning. "And I'll buy you a new thing of cool whip, don't worry. This was about to expire anyway."

"Does cool whip expire?"

"Probably not, but let's be on the safe side. You don't want to mess with hydrogenated vegetable oils."
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Solitude [Jun. 14th, 2006|11:46 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

(Urgh. I need to stop putting these off until the very last moments of the day. They inevitably end up sleepy and pretentious.)

Solitude sounds like two crickets chirping to the hum of the computer fans and the gentle swish of air through the room. It's soft, but incessant, and penatrating. Occasionally whisps of companionship drift through the cold walls between seven and ten in the evening, but Solitude remains, inpenetrable. It is opening the fridge and seeing five opened cans, half empty. Kidney beans, pineapple, split-pea soup, canned chicken and tomatoes face the door like a police line-up of suspected meals. When were they eaten? Will they ever be finished? Probably not. Saran wrap half-heartedly drapes over the open tops, a wishful shield against rot and decay.

Solitude is having the power go out, and missing the lights more than anything else. Solitude hasn't named the lights yet, but might soon.

Solitude is more than lonely and less than alone. Solitude has the lights (which could soon be named April and June) and the harmonizing crickets and an old voicemail that's been on the cellphone for months now. Solitude presses seven to re-save the message.
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Lost in Thought [Jun. 13th, 2006|11:20 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

(Short one today, it's been busy -- I'll post to my real journal about the happenings tomorrow -- and I want to go to bed)

Have you ever really been lost in Thought? It's a frightening place. Visitors to Thought should be carefully checked out and given careful instructions, because we can't afford the manpower to be constantly hauling visitors back. We've lost enough of our own men in Thought on serious missions. We don't have time for tourists.

You're not taking me seriously. What do you think Thought is? We have no maps for it, no guides, no carriage-rides for sightseers. There's just you, a gray horizon, and billions of paths. They've never been numbered precisely because they change all the time. You could mark your trail behind you and your trail could still disappear. Some of the paths are quite pleasant, some are safe and lovely. But there's no guarantee where any particular strand will take you.

I can see you're determined to walk the cold, narrow way.

Good luck.
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Parkour! [Jun. 12th, 2006|09:12 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

(Inspired by this video. Wikipedia has a nice essay on it, too. If I tried to do it, I would hurt myself so bad, but it is still beyond cool.)

The broad cities of the western plains are mostly set up on grids. Streets meet at right angles, run in cardinal directions. Addresses are nothing more than coordinates -- Connor lives at 552 West 150 North. His address also doubles as the directions.

The roads are wide and clear. Even the smaller streets have two lanes in each direction, so there is rarely any traffic. Travelling is usually pleasurable and swift.

But Connor didn't want to get in his rusty, un-air-conditioned buick and drive. He didn't want to travel ten blocks east and eight blocks north to get to his destination. He didn't want to stop at two stoplights. In fact, he didn't want to stop moving at all.

He laced up his tennis shoes. He opened the door, feeling the evening heat wash over and through him. He turned to the northeast, and started running. A straight line is, after all, the quickest route between point A and point B. So what if the city had put a few things in his way?

His feet slapped the asphalt. He crossed the street in a straight run. His neighbor's fence was quickly leaped over, one arm grabbing the top for leverage to swing his legs over. His footprints dug deep into the freshly tilled soil of their garden as he plowed through.

He started to sweat almost instantly in the summer heat. It felt good. It felt alive. His muscles -- stomach, legs, and back -- stabbed as he leaped a second fence, but he still grinned. The wind whipped past his ears, and he felt like it envied him his speed, his strength, his balance. This was what it meant to be a man -- to surmount obstacles, to overcome, to progress. Not to sit at a red light with your turn signal beating a staccato in your skull.

Kacey stood at the kitchen sink and looked out the window into her backyard. She saw Connor -- she knew him from school -- dash through her backyard, hurdling over the kiddie-pool her brother had left out, jumping onto the trampoline and using the momentum of that bounce to carry him forward, past a row of shrubs, into the adjoining backyard. She stayed at the window long after he was gone, replaying the scene in her mind.

Connor couldn't stop to look both ways before he crossed the street. His kindergarten teacher -- not to mention his mother -- would have been highly disappointed in him. He heard the squeal of brakes behind him, but still he ran. He was too fast to hit. He was invincible.

At least, he felt that way. And to the casual observer, he looked it.
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Memories [Jun. 11th, 2006|06:27 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

(Note: My posts on Sundays will almost always be some sort of creative memoir -- I know, I know, only my mom wants to read my diary. But I've been having a goal to keep some kind of personal history and to work on it on Sundays, so this is where it goes, yo. It seems like an appropriate thing to do.)

Memory is such a fluid thing -- so subjective, changeable, always adjusting in the light of my current knowledge. I'm fairly certain I don't actually remember a great deal of my childhood memories. I just think I do. Some of my memories are certified lies, actual evidence prevents them from happening. Some of my memories consist of just a moment, an image, an impression, and I wonder if I got many of them by looking at old pictures of myself. Some of them I know I have fabricated from the accounts that my other family members have told me.

So I guess I'll start with my false memories, the memories I have before I COULD have memories. It seems like a reasonable place to start.

I was a good baby, I'm told. Sociable, relaxed, not fussy. I travelled to Europe when I was six months old, and evidently I was good enough on the flight that nobody tried to kill me. Which is an impressive feat, both for a baby and for a planeful of transatlantic passengers. My passport is still hanging around somewhere. I'm pudgy, pink-cheeked, with fuzzy dark hair. My expression is somewhere between bemused and irritated.

Really, not much has changed.

But of course, I don't even claim to remember any of this, unlike my father. He insists (and you can't contradict him) that he remembers standing up in his crib, a young lad of barely a year. I actually believe him. He remembers everything important that happened in the year 1453 (including, but not limited to, the fall of Constantinople), so I don't see why he shouldn't be able to remember standing in his crib in 1949.

It was a good thing I wasn't a fussy baby. When I was born, my mother had the unfortunate honor of being the mother of four children under the age of six. Nathan was five, Warren was three, and Jonathan barely 17 months when I was born. I'm told I was an accident. I prefer to think "miracle". After all, condoms are 95% effective! Combine that with my mother's stress levels when I was conceived and the fact that she was nursing (which acts as a kinda-sorta birth control), my whole existence is very unlikely.

I should become a superhero, or maybe just a world leader, with that kind of back story.

It was also a good thing I wasn't a boy. My mother was beginning to get a little frustrated. Even our cat was male. I know she wouldn't have sent me back if I'd been male, but she'd have been highly tempted. She tells me so herself.

Nathan was disappointed that I was a girl. He was getting quite used to being the leader of a posse of brothers. It took him a long time to warm up to me.

Warren was initially disappointed, but as he grew older he realized the many benefits of having a little sister in his incredibly complex childhood games. Girl parts simply had to be filled. Moreover, I was easier to tackle, pin down, and fight, and more fun to tease. I have some genuine memories of being tied up by Warren until I peed in my pants (More on that later, I'm sure), pinned down beneath a dangling string of spit, or being chased around the house, herded by threats like "I'm going to lick your eyeballs!"

Good times, good times. Despite the occasional terrorizing, Warren was a lot of fun to play with, and I would beg and plead for the opportunity to be a part of his games.

Whenever my aunts, uncles, and older cousins talk about my early childhood years, they always mention how protective Jonathan was of me. I guess I needed somebody to protect me. He declared that I was a princess and he was my champion. We were so close together in age we did almost everything together, and shared many of the same friends. For a while, I was awed by him, grateful for his protection.

By the time I was about five, it was getting old. I remember yelling at him because he insisted on holding my hand while I crossed the street. The nerve! I was a big girl! I tugged my hand away. He lunged for it again. I screamed. No street-crossing was going to happen with him hanging onto me like that! I tried to cross on my own. Jonathan pulled me back, grabbed my hand in a fiercely tight grip.

Well, as fierce as a seven-year-old can get.

I think Mom eventually intervened, declaring that I was old enough to cross the street in front of our house on my own. We'd just moved to the small, quiet white house on 35th street. It would eventually become the big red house with too many screaming children. Mom didn't want to move the boys out of their elementary school when they'd just gotten settled in, so for a few years Nathan, Warren, and Jonathan went to Page and I went to Jamestown.

I remember crossing the street on my own, to stand at the bus stop alone. I was excited. I felt victorious and independent. Nobody was holding my hand (or tying me up, or chasing me, or crowding me) now!

I was also scared out of my mind. My peers -- especially the girls -- were a mystery to me. I didn't know how to interact with them. I didn't know how to make friends. I didn't realize that anxiously leaping to answer every question the teacher had labeled me definitively as a nerd.

I wished my brothers were there.
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Saturday Posting [Jun. 10th, 2006|02:44 am]
Scribite -- Write, you!

Well, it's 2:00 AM Saturday and I just finished another episode of Desert Dryad, so I am calling it COUNTED, just in case carnival and other fun things keep me busy tomorrow.
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You Kill It! [Jun. 9th, 2006|07:39 pm]
Scribite -- Write, you!

Angie stared at the large black bug, its six legs waving around frantically, tap-tapping against the glass. "I can't believe you, Jules."

"What?" Julia called out from the bathroom, where she was applying her makeup.

"The bug is still here. It's been practically a week!" Angie walked back into the bathroom, looking at Julia in the mirror. "It's animal cruelty, or something."

"I'm not gonna let it go. It'll get all its little bug friends and come back and have little bug babies underneath my bed," said Julia. She put down her eyeliner and turned to face Angie. "I'm really sorry, I know it's gross. Can you kill it for me?"

"No, you're the one that found it. You kill it!"

"I killed the last bug, it's your turn. You kill it," said Julia.

"We're taking turns now?" Angie shook her head. "No, I'm not killing it. It'll squish."

"I know," said Julia, bringing her shoulders up near her ears and covering her face with her hands. "I can't do it! I can't!"

"I can't either!" said Angie.

Julia walked back into the kitchen, and looked at the insect trapped in the upside-down glass. She put her index finger into her mouth and bit on the fingernail. "Maybe Jeremy will kill it for us?" she suggested hopefully.

"I'm not calling him," said Angie, putting her hands on her hips. "He still hasn't stopped talking about the spider we made him kill. We'd never live it down."

They stared at each other. They were at an impasse -- neither willing to kill the bug, or to let it go, or to call somebody else to kill it. The moved the glass into a remote corner and stopped talking about it. It continued to live for days, becoming more and more frantic in its attempts to escape. Angie's stomach turned whenever she looked at it. Julia simply refused to look.

At long last it perished, withered and curled up like a knot of black string. Even then, Julia could not bring herself to pick up the glass and vacuum up the body. Angie refused to, considering it Julia's moral responsibility to take care of it, since she had found it and subjected it to such a slow death in the first place. So it remained there, an point of tension between the two roommates, a monument to their stubbornness, an unlikely glass coffin.

And then one morning, at the end of the semester, both glass and bug were gone. Each roommate assumed the either had relented, but neither cared enough to comment on it. They were both busy, with school and work and boyfriends, and had no time to ponder on their victim's fate.

That night they'd wish they'd had, though, as thousands of chitinous, glistening insects poured in through the hole in the screen, coming to exact revenge.
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