Coming Forth: A Sketch

Born with frame

“Coming Forth” by Candice Coates

 

I sketched this image out while thinking about the poem I had just written called “I Didn’t Forget.” I didn’t have any real direction for the image, beyond putting my pen to the page and letting what came forth, come forth. I could explain to you what the image is saying to me, but I would rather not ruin your authentic view.

Do feel free to tell me what it is saying to you, however, and perhaps I might spill my own beans.

Cheers!

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I didn’t forget: A Poem

I didn’t forget

Ink Illustration by Candice Coates

Ink Illustration by Candice Coates

Your words hit like a cannon

Blasted through my armor

Left my heart beat stammering

Blazing…

You set my world on fire

Burned me down to cinders and exposed my desires

Light breathes

Dark sighs

Thoughts swirl all around me

Floating on the wind and crashing currents that I can’t see

No

I didn’t forget…How your touch broke through

Seared passed my layers

My flesh branded with your tattoo

Guttural…

Is the force of this motion

The shifting of my world is like a storm upon the ocean

Laden with the hope of the calm from peace

Driven with the fury that put me down to my knees

I didn’t forget

 

This poem, to me, is like a hall of doors. Each line has far more to say than has actually been said. The last couple of months for me have been like being caught in the eye of a storm. Not so much in a bad way, but in a way that makes it clear that I can’t bring the issues swirling around me to a level of order…not on my own Things seem to be completely out of order. The good news is I have peace. Trusting in Him (Messiah Yeshua/ Jesus Chirst) gives me hope. He is in control here. I don’t need to be like Carrie Underwood and scream “Jesus, take the wheel!”  Nope. He has got it.  Like a child being born, I depend on Him. But the process of the storm, and the swirl and whip of the “winds” can make a person moan with agitation. His work in me (in us) can often be painful, but the process is worth it.  Birthing is traumatic. Growing is often coupled with pain, silence brings clarity. I am at the brink of something. And this I will never forget!

Cheers!

 

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

 

Journey to north end: Finale

The water was like acid slicing through the dryness that had constricted his airways. It burned even to touch his tongue but called up a desperation for more from deep within him. Crell needed more.

He hacked and clawed at his throat and face, his eyes felt like heavy weights were holding them closed but at the same time, with each desperate attempt to blink the weights tore away.

“Crell?!” Rosie’s voice was panicked and muffled, but she was there, right there, her hands touching his face. “Get more water! Those things don’t like water!” She yelled at his crew.

The vessel shook again with a dizzying tail spin before jerking as if it had been caught be something from beneath. Crell tried to open his eyes again but found himself gasping for air.

1372324928s7mvsHis body seized from the stabbing chill of more water, and the burn of his flesh sucking it in again. He growled through clenched teeth, holding tightly to Rosie’s hand.

“They’re almost off. They are all almost-” Her voice transitioned from sounds of relief to shrieks of terror. Rosie grabbed hold of Crell’s shirt and pulled him closer to her, nearly smothering him.

The sounds of fear suddenly broke through the dullness of his once blocked ears as more of the growths fell away, retreating from the water. Even his eyes were free to open. He wished they had stayed shut.

The assaulting scent of the creature from below was bad enough; the stench of stagnant water laced with the body rot of other victims who had plunged beneath the blooms was paralyzing. The first of the creatures boarded the vessel, its leather skin stretched taught across jagged bone and rippled muscles. Its face was the shape of a sharp ‘v’ drawn with dark creases exposing teeth like that of a sharks.

It expanded its long clawed arms and let out a cry that forced Rosie to let Crell go. For the first time ever, Crell wished she was still holding on to him, but now she was covering her ears.

The beast stumbled forward, eyes the color of dry blood locked on Crell. “No!” He shouted as another of its kind crawled upon the vessel from behind them.

Crell could hear and breath clearly now. The water had knocked the growths free from his flesh, but he was still a goner. He could feel it in his bones.

“Rosie,” He whispered her name and clutched her hand, uncertain of why she was pulling away from him. Yes, he knew he was a dead man, but they didn’t want her. She could have at least been a momentary comfort until he was pulled below and torn apart.

But she would not stay put. Instead she shoved him away from her with such force that the creatures that hunted him cried out again lunging in his direction until stopping with a quickness that Crell could not read. It was as if they were hypnotized.

They were.

“Is this what you want?” Rosie held one of the bloody growths in her hands with several of the others to her chest. The beast from behind her hissed and caused her to stumble forward, but she did not drop her bait. “Crell, crank the engine…” She whispered as she eased forward towards the front of the vessel. The others of the crew had moved out of harms way. The creatures followed Rosie.

More cries from the predators echoed around them as the scent of blood and growths teased their drawn nostrils. An entire pack was on its way. The two on the vessel began to look at Crell again. He tried to crank faster but he was so weak. One of the creatures began to snarl and ease in his direction again, primed to pounce.

“No!” Rosie shouted, hurling one of the larger growths at the creature’s face. Before it could make its deadly move it was knocked from the vessel by the blunt force of its companion seeking after the growth that Rosie had hurled.

“Don’t stop! Crank faster!” The scrapping sound that had all but ceased was beginning to rise again. As if baiting wild hounds, Rosie tossed what was left of the growths as far away from the vessel as she could.

More pollen began to fill the air with the creature’s violent moves towards their reward, but the vessel was close, so close to North End. They were going to make it, blooms and pollen be darned! “Hold on, Crell!”

“Rosie! No!” Crell managed to push out from his belly.

Taking hold of the wheel, Rosie sent the vessel hurling forward with as much intent as she had the growths when she tossed them overboard. Wind whipped up behind them in a smokey blue trail of pollen before the vessel  groaned from an unexpected impact as its underbelly hit against a rock face that was well hidden beneath the growth of blooms.

Everyone on board shot forward in wild arcs in the air, splashing like cannon balls into the depths of North Sea.

*   *   *

Crell couldn’t help but sip up the salted water, dunking his head beneath for good measure. They were only a mile or so from North End now and he could manage the threat of dehydration. After what he had just experienced he was certain he could manage anything, even the violent slap of Rosie’s hand that had just landed against his back.

He turned to her as the burn of his slapped flesh radiated against the coolness of the salt water.

“We did it!” Rosie beamed. “We made it to North End. Well, we did, your vessel not so much.”

Crell scowled deeply at her before forcing her lips into his with such dominance that he was certain he felt her sinking. The crazy woman had cost him his vessel but she had saved his life and knocked him senseless in the process. “Yeah, we made it.” He said, pulling her back upward, smiling at her lips still locked in a heady pucker. “We did indeed.”

THE END

I hope you liked this bizarre story and found the “Ending” to be satisfying. As with all of the stories like this, there is somewhat of a tug to write more, as if what has been produced is only a snippet of a larger body of work, and perhaps this is. Only time will tell in the end.

Cheers!

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Words…use them wisely

Life is more than words, but words do make up our lives.

Have you ever considered how the simplest of words can change a person’s attitude either for the good or bad? Even the words spoken without verbalization have such great power.

Consider a person who feels utterly alone, ignored and unseen. Let a stranger smile at them, genuinely smile at them, and that non-verbal interaction, those ‘words’ smelled out without sound, can push away the dark clouds in the recipient’s day.  13852495177jh1x

God created the whole of creation with just His Words (Genesis 1). He spoke and it become. Yeshua (Jesus Christ) is the Word made flesh (John 1).

He, too spoke and things happened. He spoke to the fig tree and it died (Mark 11:12-25.) He spoke to Lazarus and he was resurrected from the dead, (John 11: 38-44.)

Being a person of faith I am compelled not to take language and words lightly even though I often stumble, firing verbal bullets into the dark, careless of the casualties.

How do you use your words; verbal and non-verbal? What message are you sending to others? How are you shaping your world and the world of others with what you say or with what you fail to say?

Sure, this is definitely a soul-thing that I am talking about, but it also has to do with our Creative Expressions. What message are you intending to get across to your readers, your watchers and your listeners?

Within every story there is an undertone, a hidden message that stays with the audience even though it may never have been outwardly mentioned. The message of courage is a regular theme found in many novels.

No other actual says “this story is about courage” while the story is being read, but the message is clear, the mental expression is read loud in clear if the author has done their job.

I raise these questions not just as an artist, a writer, a reader, a listener, and a watcher, but I raise them because of some of the mountains that I am facing as a human being just trying to relate to those around me.

We have such great power to say things with our mouths, but our eyes and body language scream words much louder, which ultimately leave the greatest impression. Its like telling someone you love them while rolling your eyes and sneering at them. I guarantee you the sneer had more of an impression than the verbal exchange.

Consider your words. Consider what you are saying in your music, your visual art, your writing. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Consider the power that you hold as the creator of something wonderful and use your power wisely.

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

Undone: A Poem

Simple twists and turns we think

Will put our crooked paths in sync

But often what we fail to see

Is that the crookedness we fight

Is “Me”

Our minds think logic

Our hearts refrain

For romanticism is the heart’s true game

But still the battle wages on

And our crooked paths

Remain

Undone

 

One could almost see this poem as pessimistic, perhaps. It is truly a worked forged out of my own frustrations. Often times we (I) encounter situations that seem ridiculously hopeless for no reason. I search for solutions, attempt to apply the solution as if it were a bottle of ointment, but the reality is I have not changed. Often times to experience change, one must not only change their mind but also their heart. If both stubbornly stand against each other, there is no amount of “ointment” to bring peace and solution.

Cheers

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Things might get a little weird: Ascension Graveyard Update

Piggy-backing off of my recent post “complaining” about the leisurely movements of Ascension Graveyard, I have to come back and give all you readers a heads-up.

I mentioned in the other post that Etta has finally shown me her face. Let me digress for just a moment.

I realized that part of my struggle with pushing this storyline ahead had to do with the fact that I could clearly see all of the other characters, but I could not see the face of the one character upon whom the plot truly rest: Etta Castle Teague. I mean I had a vague outline of her, but that just wasn’t cutting it…obviously with 6 months behind us and the novel still not completed. Etta Stick Figures

Now that I have this elusive woman’s physical stats in my mind it is as if more of her character, the intimate fleshing out of who she is as a person, has allowed the rest of the plot to be oiled down and  run its motors without a hitch or a squeak.

I see Etta, I understand her better, therefore the plot is more cohesive. She is coming off (to me) as more real and authentic. ( Let’s hope it continues this way because Etta can be kind of a snot and hold things back.)

But now seeing her, I can better envision her expressions, her ticks, her nuances, her overall body language which actually tells more about who she is than her words alone could ever do.

Its as if I invited her for tea months ago and she is just now showing up. (Check out my Blog Coffee with Character…or Tea to help you better get to know your own characters.)

Now that Etta has shown up and is no longer telling me her story through a peep hole, I am beginning to notice more of her flaws.  I say all of this because within the last few hours her mother, Frances Castle has popped up during my story imagining, and to be honest it appears Etta doesn’t quite manage the care of her well, and it is only about to get worse. (Spoilers? Kind of. I really don’t know yet.)

So as for the title of this post, things are about to get a little weird because I am going to throw Frances into the mix with everyone else, write her subplot and interactions with Etta as if she has been there all this time, and then go back and work her into the prior chapters during revisions and editing.

So, yes, it may come off very weird to those of you who have been reading since the beginning, but rest assured it is Etta who has made things awkward, not any of us. ;)

Cheers!

Chapter 29 Ascension Graveyard

Chapter 29

The Journal of Etta Castle Teague

            I have never really liked the phrase “No pain, no gain.” I think I dislike it not just because it is an overused cliché, but mostly because it is the truth. Anything of value will usually cost you blood, sweat, or tears. If you are unlucky, it will cost you all three.

 

*          *          *

Jørn kneaded his forehead before sitting back again and listening to what Dr. Harold Graham had to say. He already had a sour stomach from his quick disagreement with Etta. It happened right before Dr. Graham had called him with Mr. Albert’s test results. Jørn had to call a cab to get back to the hospital since Etta had taken his car again, and his bike was still in the parking garage at work.

What had caused the fight this time, if he could call it a fight? It was actually more on the lines of Etta trying to shut him down…again, and this after her being so fired up with him not opening up to her earlier that morning. She wanted to know where he had been last night. It was a fair question that he didn’t answer.

He just didn’t have the nerve to tell her he was seeing a therapist. He actually felt like he needed to go have a sit-down with Maryam right then and there thinking about Etta and their last conversation.

Once he and Etta had gotten back home Etta, seeming to be more emotionally sharp than usual, eventually began to calm down. He had the good pleasure of helping her there by way of several intent filled kisses and the close proximity of his body next to hers. It was a completely PG encounter—followed by a much needed nap—but it seemed to put them on the same emotional plain.

Jørn had waited until they were both completely awake and at ease before he attempted to talk with her about the matters of his heart. He was already batting zero as far as prior attempts went, but he was hopeful. What was their marriage if there was no hope? As reluctant as he was at first, he followed Maryam’s advice from last night, taking the initiative to talk about the hard topics while the atmosphere between he and Etta was at peace.

He began by reaffirming his love for her; how he loved the tone of her voice, her smile, the curve of her hips, her eyes, and her sense of humor. He even mentioned the subtle nuances that only someone close to her would notice, like the way she twirled her fork in a circular motion in between bites when something she was eating was very good to her. He meant every word. He absolutely loved Etta. He needed her to know that.

With that foundation laid, he slowly waded into the forbidden territory of starting a family, never failing to emphasize that there needed to be more communication between them, more trust. She needed to come clean with him about what was happening around them, what was happening with the Lotus and the ascensions, how deep she was involved?

He had mentally planned to lead things into a dialogue about his elusive cousin, Baldwin, and the rumors surrounding them, when the look in Etta’s eyes transitioned from misty, to horrified, to icy and hollow. Then came her famous end-of-discussion line, “You should cut your hair.”

She had suddenly disengaged, rolled out of his grasps and asked for his car keys. Just like that. Nothing he said could draw her back in, open her up again. She was out of the apartment before he could blink, all while completely armed in her familiar air of solid, cold, rude, control. With the blink of her dark eyes, all of her emotion and vulnerability had gone at his mentioning of having a baby. Not when he talked about the ascension, not when skirted around rumors, but when he said ‘babies.’

The woman was down right confusing! He was beginning to wonder if maybe her issues had more to do with genetics and not just outright bad behavior and slight aversion to him. He was being factious. Etta was as mental stable as anyone he had ever known. But he could not deny the aversion or the emotional aloofness any more. Something had to be done. His course of action had to change.

He tuned back into what Dr. Graham was saying.

“The shrinkage in Albert’s frontal and temporal anterior lobes is completely conducive to his condition, especially in light of the time table from diagnosis to now. Actually the fact that he has lasted this long and was even functioning at all is a miracle in and of its self.

“Assuming you don’t know, Pick’s Disease is a very aggressive type of Dementia. I had Albert on a few medications earlier on in his diagnosis, but that was for the Alzheimer’s. Picks began to show its self much later on.”

Jørn batted his eyes and held up his hand. Had he heard Dr. Graham correctly? “Mr. Albert has Alzheimer’s?”

Dr. Graham nodded. “Yes. The Dementia is surprisingly unrelated, but yes. It was most likely his Alzheimer’s that triggered the violent outburst this morning.”

Rachel touched Jørn’s arm. “What happened this morning?”

“I will tell you later.” Jørn addressed Dr. Graham again. “How long ago was he diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? My wife and I knew about the Dementia. Neither of us knew that it was Pick’s Disease. Etta and I definitely did not know that he had Alzheimer’s.” Jørn swallowed down the resentment that was rising up his throat. Mr. Albert should have said something! He should have confined in them.

That explained a lot of Etta’s behavior with Jørn, and her inability to let him in. It was obviously learned.

Dr. Graham pulled up Mr. Albert’s file. “I diagnosed Albert fifteen years ago with Alzheimer’s. The Pick’s diagnosis was six. That is why I said he is a miracle. The fact that he has been functioning as you say, goes beyond reason. Not to mention that he ceased taking any medication for his Alzheimer’s. I honestly have not heard from Albert since I gave him the diagnosis for Dementia. He stopped seeing me shortly after that.”

Rachel narrowed her eyes as she looked at the computer screen. The scans were mind boggling. Mr. Albert’s lobes had encountered so much shrinkage that they looked like dead tree roots. She wasn’t personally familiar with the man, but she had seen him around. He functioned as if he were in perfect health. A coma had not caused this kind of cerebral damage. Pick’s Disease was relentless and debilitating, and Albert showed no outward signs whatsoever. It just didn’t make sense.

She asked, “Dr. Graham, what do you think was blocking his symptoms? How in the world was this man even speaking let alone driving himself around and living alone?”

“Beats me, but I certainly would like to know. Whatever it was that allowed him to function even with massive brain deterioration could be a medical miracle. Albert Castle’s DNA could hold the very key to further Pick’s research, and bring hope to others who suffer from this disease.” He began to beam with excitement but coughed and sobered under the stone glare of Jørn. “That is not to say what is happening to him presently is not a tragedy.”

“So what about the coma and the seizure? Do you think that his neglect of his Alzheimer’s and Dementia could have triggered either?” Jørn kept his eyes forward. Rachel shifted in her seat at the mention of the coma. The issue of the cause of the coma had yet to be addressed. Jørn just wanted it to be clear it wasn’t Etta. His wife could be cold, but she loved Mr. Albert in her own way.

Dr. Graham removed his glasses and wiped them with a soft cloth he kept in his jacket, his brow raised as if he were unsure of how to answer. “Well, there are instances where Alzheimer’s can indeed trigger a seizure,”

“But?” Rachel interjected.

“But it is not always the case. You said he was in a physical altercation? Are you certain there were no blows to the head?”

“From what I was told by Etta the only blow to the head that Mr. Albert received was as a result of thrashing against the floor after the seizure hit. Other than that…” He hunched his shoulders, thinking to himself, “Down the rabbit hole, Alice, down the rabbit hole.” The more he searched for answers and explanations to things, the more confusion he unearthed.

Rachel chimed in again. “My previous scans did not show any evidence that a blow to the head triggered his coma.”

“Neither did it show you what caused the seizure, but then you weren’t looking for any of that.” This time Jørn and Rachel’s eyes did meet.

Rachel pursed her lips and turned her head forward. Jørn’s message of ‘back off and watch your step’ was quickly received through the glint in his eye.

Dr. Graham spoke again. “I can run a few more test, I would like to run a few more test especially in lieu of this anomaly. As far as my opinion about the coma—and this is just that; my opinion—it could be a result of Albert neglecting to take proper medical care of himself, and the fact that he is indeed in the advancing stages of Alzheimer’s.” He shook his head in awe while looking at Albert’s scans again. “As for everything else, with his ability to function under such cerebral deterioration, I am certain if we all put our heads together we can come up with something conclusive in no time.

“Jørn, have you and your wife considered sending him to a special unit? Not at all to say that Dr. Steves is not equipped to handle Albert’s case, but it could be very beneficial to call in a team that specializes in researching such medical anomalies.”

Jørn shook his head but Rachel spoke before he could. “Etta is currently not very receptive to other physicians treating her grandfather.”

Dr. Graham shook his head. “I can imagine she is protective over him right now. Fear and lack of control makes family members behave this way. You two know how it goes. Give her time, not too much time, but a few days. I will talk to her myself if that will help.” Dr. Graham began to stand.

Jørn followed his lead and shook his hand. “Absolutely, Dr. Graham. I really appreciate you coming in on this.”

“No, it is my pleasure. Albert Castle is a good man.”

“Whenever you are free, I will let my wife know and we can set up an appointment.”

“Excellent! I want to help anyway that I can, and I think that a team of specialist would also help a great deal to speed things along. It could be that the cause of Albert’s seizure and coma are not even related to his other conditions.” He grabbed his things and headed to the door of Jørn’s office. “Something caused the man to perform at a high level for several years even while his brain was deteriorating. We need to know why. The answer is somewhere we just have to figure out where to look. We need to consider all possibilities even those that seem far fetched.”

*          *          *

Etta pursed her lips and tried for the ninth time to force the dark Lotus seed into the leather eye socket of the koala bear. Frustrated with her sudden inability, and the grating flare-ups of her emotions, she smacked the koala bear violently against her work table before launching it across the room. A trail of stuffing fell from its insides like smoke from the engine of a jet plane, littering the floor around her before crashing into the wall.

She clenched her fist and her jaw, pushing down the sparks in her feelings. They were dulling now, far less inflamed as they had been that morning and afternoon.

Leaning back she let a curse part her lips. “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” She rebuked herself. “You are a kangaroo, not some useless rabbit, Etta! You know better. You know better.” What had she done? What had she done that was so wrong? She had let her guard down, that’s what. She had allowed herself to be saturated with emotions and susceptible to deadly weakness. She had let Jørn in, and now her body was reacting to it all like a live power line in water, spark after painful spark.

She rubbed her fingers across her lips. The way he had kissed her that morning, the way she had kissed him back was so unlike any other time they had kissed in years, at least on her part. It was so gentle and yet so intense that it had made her spirit hum as if sated from thirst, and her toes curl up in her boots. It wasn’t lust, or momentary passion for the sake of a buzz. It was true, heartfelt connection—a soul tie. If the Pulse caught wind of it it would have a field day. It was already focusing on Baldwin, just like Etta wanted. It didn’t need it’s attention torn.

Baldwin, the invisible man, was the perfect red herring, out of sight and completely out of touch. He was safe. The same could not be said for Jørn and Etta had known that. But life had happened. Hitting the dear had been a disaster that caused her to come completely unraveled. And what had she done, apart from melting in Jørn’s touch like a stick of butter in a warm oven, she fled, like a pathetic rabbit, from a deadly predator once he started mentioning them having babies, them communicating.

And then there were the painful sparks in her emotions which were most likely the result of the Pulse digging in her brain that morning. No pain, no gain. She hated it, no matter the necessary means to an end. Her pain had moved then several steps forward with the plan even if it had knocked Mr. Albert almost six steps back and six feet under, all while making her act like some moody, hormonal teen…a scared teen.

The collision last night had opened her up for a gruesome assault from the Pulse which left her skittering like a crazy person, a short fuse. She needed to get some control, get her head on straight again. She felt like she had handled herself well enough at the hospital and at home, but over the last few hours she had lost it. The koala bear was evidence of that.

“There are no rabbits here, only kangaroos.” She repeated the mantra several times and took in deep breaths as she did so, each breath pulling up another layer of armor around her inner man, pushing all the fear and dulling the sparks, forcing down the tenderness and naked affection for Jørn back into the deepest, darkest well of her person, so deep she would even struggle to draw it up again…she hoped.

She stood up to retrieve what was left of the koala bear when Baldwin’s light ebbed into the room. She shot him a fired glare. “Nice of you to show up.” Her tone was less than friendly. Sparks again, Etta. Get a grip.

Baldwin only stared at her, his grey-green eyes intense with raw emotions of his own, his face so similar to Jørn’s that it made Etta turn away from him and grind her teeth. She needed to get Jørn out of her head!

She pressed the koala against her temple. “Could you not look at me like that, Baldwin? Where have you been?”

“I’ve been around.” He scowled before turning away from her. “What happened here?”

His tone was surprisingly solemn. The shards around him were somehow dimmer than usual. They weren’t even shards anymore. Something had changed. Etta gave him a curious stare as she studied him. “The Lotus seed wouldn’t go into the eye socket. I got frustrated.”

“That’s not like you, to get frustrated.” He glanced up at her.

“No, it’s not. But I am getting back on track.” And by God she was getting back on track, no matter the cost. She narrowed her eyes at him again, but then shook her head. She would not push him.

“How is Mr. Albert?”

“Alive.” She didn’t bother to say anything more on the subject. She pulled the grey Lotus seed from her pocket that had come from Mr. Albert. Holding it in the palm of her hand she said, “I want to try something with these seeds, an experiment if you will.”

Baldwin tilted his head. “What do you have in mind? We don’t really have any to spare if the plan is going to work. We need to have the right volume in the frequency in order to destroy the Web. One Lotus seed short won’t hurt anything, but several…I don’t want to take the risk.”

“You don’t even know what I am thinking.” She put her hands on her hips.

“Does it involve using some of the white seeds?”

“It does,” She held up her hand to keep him from interrupting. “Which is why I want to program another Lotus with the frequency, get a whole other batch.”

“I don’t think we have time for that. We really need to stay focused.”

“This coming from King-disappearing-acts?!” She palmed her forehead and closed her eyes. “Out of line, I am sorry. Still a little raw. What I should have said is that we will have time because I intend to change the frequency, just a little bit.” She held up her fingers in a pinching gesture. “May take a week of gestation, tops.”

Baldwin folded his arms across his chest, looked at her hand that held the Lotus seed, then back into her eyes. “Change it how? Why?”

Etta knelt down and began to scoop up the stuffing that had spilt from the koala. She was buying herself a little time in how she wanted to answer. She wasn’t keen on lying. She much rather preferred to just stare silently and say nothing than to flat out lie. She chose the route of redirection and slight omission.

She placed the koala, stuffing, and seed on her work table. “While you were away, I overheard a very interesting conversation that Clive, or the Pulse, was having with Rick Henley.”

Baldwin cocked his brow. “You are not answering my questions, Etta.”

“Yes I am.”

“And wait a minute. You tapped into the Towes frequency without me? You put yourself in at risk? Why would you do that?!”

“It wasn’t intentional! Let me tell you that right now. It just happened. I was heading over here and all of a sudden, I am tuned in, like I was sitting in the room with them.”

“Did it hurt you?”

She shook her head and shrugged. “No. It was like listening to the radio. It was also disturbingly euphoric and yet intense, like my emotions were panting. I am okay. I promise.” Baldwin’s face was a wash of instant concern. “Seriously. It’s probably just aftershock from this morning.”

“Like the aftershock from the Yard. Only thing is that wasn’t an aftershock. You still see the shards and you can still hear the frequencies at a much higher volume. Am I wrong?”

She shook her head. She could still hear and see, but it was on a different level, far less visually volatile. She hadn’t initially noticed until Baldwin appeared and then mentioned it. She had been so caught up with everything surrounding Jørn, the seeming electric shock of shifting emotionally outbursts, and what she had overheard that she just had not paid attention.

However, she much preferred this way of seeing and hearing. The hard-lined shards now looked like silver linings on dark clouds. There was a strange beauty to it all that was far easier to decipher, a language that played a rhythm that she could read with her eyes. She wondered if this is how the Towes saw humanity, if this is how the Lotus chose them.

Baldwin’s expression hardening and the rhythm around him shifting pulled her back to attention. “Rest assured I am perfectly fine. Better actually.” That was mostly am pretty certain the Pulse would have attempted to kill me again.

“What I am beginning to realize is that the Pulse would be better off keeping its hands to its self. Each time it connects with me, something…something happens. I change a little bit.”

*          *          *

There was a far away look in Etta’s eyes. Hearing her words dance around the idea of changing at the hands of the Towes and sounding comfortable with it caused his chest to constrict. He had changed because of them and there was nothing to do to reverse the affects. Etta didn’t know that. Not yet. He would eventually come clean later on in the game, right as they crossed the finish line, and sent the Towes away from earth for good.

“What did Clive say that has got you wanting to take more seeds?”

“He basically took over Rick’s mind and Taubman’s. The Pulse converted them like it did Clive, sort of.”

“What? I-I don’t understand.”

“Rick and Taubman are now Towes dolls. The Pulse will be pulling their strings from here on out in an attempt to turn the whole of Greenwich Pass against us. Taubman will smear me to the people, try to become interim mayor—political protocol be darned—and Rick and the police force will be the muscle, should there be a call for it. Clive needed an army. Now he has got one. He needs to sway the masses back into complacent compliance, and so he is going to use Taubman to do that.

“Why do you keep saying ‘Clive’ when it is the Pulse that is doing all of this?” He couldn’t help but feel angry, not at Etta but at the entire situation.

“Oh no. Clive is just as guilty as the Pulse. He is participating of his own volition, not out of force. Not anymore, which makes everything far more dangerous, as if that were even possible.”

“So what are you proposing?” If Baldwin had been stressing before, he certainly was now.

*          *          *

Keep it simple, Etta. Say too much and he will question you right into a corner. “I want to see if the lower frequency is enough just to wake people out of their coma’s. I want to see if I can get someone like Vanessa Wong, free of the Towes hold. It may make things easier for us in the long run, when we finally pull down their Web. This has cost us so much already. The less people to free from their grasps the better. Heck I might even try to turn Henley back over.” And I want to see if in the meantime, I can use the seeds and frequency to direct people just like the Pulse is directing them. The Pulse is building an army of dolls. I may need one too. She raised her brow. “So what do say? Are we green for go?”

Baldwin bit down into his lip. He was beyond conflicted, but what choice did he have? “What are our other options? I mean If you think it will make things easier for us in the end…”

“I do.”

“Then what are we waiting for?”

Take your Time. I clearly have the rest of my life: Ascension Graveyard Update

Let me start out by saying a few VERY important things:

  1. I LOVE writing, and I LOVE writing this book (Ascension Graveyard)
  2. I am grateful for every person who has been reading along with my story as this 30 day venture has spread into 6+ months
  3. I am EXTREMELY grateful for feedback because, hello, that helps to polish a story with potential.
  4. I am not about to complain…not really.

Now that that is behind us, I have to say that Ascension Graveyard has in many ways irked my bones and grated my nerves. Why? Because it just won’t stop talking!

These images include the photo, "Craney Island (080213-A-5177B-008)," available under the Creative Commons Attributions License 4.0, ©  U.S Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District. The original work has been modified and in no way reflects the views or any endorsement of they original owner.

These images include the photo, “Craney Island (080213-A-5177B-008),” available under the Creative Commons Attributions License 4.0, © U.S Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District. The original work has been modified and in no way reflects the views or any endorsement of they original owner.

What do I mean? Well we are now in Chapter 29 and I have noticed a few things. For starters there is a lot more conflict that is rearing its head(s). (Check out this blog about that touching on what I call the Hydra Effect by clicking HERE.)

I have also noticed that Etta has finally shown me her face. It is as if she has been telling her story from behind a woolen veil, but she has mostly told me things that aren’t really as important as the stuff that is coming out now, only to come back around and say, “Hey, did I mention in Chapter 4 all this really important stuff went down?” (Curious to know the closest face that I see to Etta, Jorn and Mr. Albert, click HERE.)

Yeah, no, and thanks Etta for being long winded. This story is definitely going to be longer than what I had imagined. There goes my dream of writing a nice, short weekend read.

I suppose my irritation is coming from the fact that I feel like there is a lot of buffering that is taking place in the writing of this story. Its not writers block. Everything is inside my head but it is…buffering. Better put, its all in a crock-pot from the 70’s and needs a bit more time to heat up and come out.

Have I ever mentioned that I have this dream of writing novels that are 90,000 words or less? Well I do. But with each novel that I write (I have finished 4, all need revision and editing, but I digress) I well exceed that tome, which generally means my desire for instant gratification in a one volume story ends up being a series or a saga. (So let me edit that by saying I have completed 4 novels in 3 different series.)

I would like to believe that none of my written words are “extra,” but I am certain Etta could have left some stuff out in lieu of diving into the juicer part of things. I suppose I won’t really know until I am finished with this story.

Once I write “THE END,” which I would like to do before the end of the next two months, I know I will have to pull the drawstring on this story, tighten it up, I just don’t know if I will be able to do so within 90,000 words, and at this point I don’t think it really matters as long as the story ends up as strong as I know it can be.

As for right now, I just have to wait for the Divas to decide they are done stewing at each stage, and type out what they say and back track as I go along. Oh the joys of first drafts. Those of you who have just finished NaNoWriMo know what I mean, as this story began in June 2014 as a 30day writing venture. file4591271425904Take your time, Ascension Graveyard. I clearly have the rest of my life.

But for all you AG readers out there, the story is progressing. There are some power struggles that are about to get crazy, and more tension and action which I tend to enjoy. I really love action but I also recognize a book or movie can’t be all about the car chase, although that might be an interesting thing to try.

If you have been reading AG as I have been writing, please leave feedback, give constructive criticism. Tell me what your thoughts are as a reader. The floor is yours, feel free to take it, and look for Chapter 29 which should be all ready and posted before the close of this week.

Cheers!

 

Note to Self before this Year ends…

I am a planner. I am not just a planner, I toe the line of being rigid with discipline, ticking all the boxes on my list of things-to-do-before-my-bed-calls-my-name.

You know what this blog has done for me over the past year? It has made me crumple my list, not really trash it…yet. I am grateful for that.

Write because I want to, draw because I can, laugh because its healthy, and just breathe.

It has made me super happy, super confused, slightly more spontaneous (a talent this girl lacks), and has given me more ambitious drive to attain that talent…even in the face of frustration…due to not being able to be in CONTROL.1373569138fd7k4 I have found myself praying more and asking for more self understanding.

“Why do I do the things I do? Why do I process information this way? How can I lighten up?”

I have written post about keeping my eyes forward, and yet I have to remind myself to do just that. I am still learning. I am still growing. I am still dancing in the sunlight of creative enlightenment and authentic discovery of my own blessed voice.

I have battled. I have battled with momentum, the need for control; the need to treat this blog not just as my brand but as a business, stuck in ruts of rules and…rigid discipline. I have battled to keep focused and keep breathing. Note in Bottle

The year is almost over and on December the 13th (Maybe I should have waited til then to say all of this…maybe not. Dash the “Rules” and perfect planning) my blog will hit its first year anniversary. (I am pretty sure it is the 13th. God bless the man I marry. I am terrible with dates and tend to forget birthdays. Eek!)

It light of that, in light of all of the frustration, the battles, the things yet to be shared, explored, and ultimately discovered, I still have to remind myself to breathe and to just enjoy the ride. Write because I want to, draw because I can, laugh because its healthy, and just breathe.

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Thank you to all of you who have come this far with me. Thank you for the feedback. Thank you for the “likes” and the “Follows” and even the “Shares.” Solo journeys are rich but company brings such a fantastic flavor to the soup. You all have made me better and I pray to only get even better, not just for self alone but for you guys as well. I want to grow WITH you.

So that is my note to self, with a decision to remind myself of the blog “rules” that I came up with long ago:

Rule #1 Keep to the path. Always remember this blog is about discovering your new light and creative world. Let that be your beacon towards every post.

Rule #2 Don’t take yourself too seriously, this blog is playtime. Playtime is fun and adventurous!

Rule #3 Give what you have at any given moment and spruce things up when more time is available. NEVER FORGET THE POWER OF 15 minutes!

Rule #4 This blog is not a 9 to 5. It is “Creative Therapy.” If you forget to nourish yourself you will faint before you care able to give something satisfying to others.

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

 

 

Journey to North End: Part IV a Short story

Crell let out a hoarse shriek as he fought to push up from the ground. He struggled under Rosie’s weight and eventually passed out, his chalky face scrapping against the planks of the deck.

An eerie silence swelled around them only broken by the sounds of random scraps against the bottom of the vessel. Even the violent jostling from beneath had all but ceased. It was as if Crell’s outburst was boiling water and the fire beneath had gone out.

“How much further?” Rosie whispered, desperate to get her feet on solid land. None of the crew moved an inch. Their eyes were wide and their mouths pinched shut. Lousy lot! Rosie had the good mind to knock each and every one of them into the blooms below. “How much further!” She hissed.

“M-maybe twenty minutes, maybe.” One of them finally spoke up.

Twenty minutes?! She couldn’t keep Crell pinned for that long. Granted he had passed out on his own, but what if he suddenly came to? What if her already weary arms gave out and he hurled himself into the blooms? She needed to think.

She stared down at the purple rashes that resembled broccoli, that had begun to grow forth from Crell’ blood speckled face. The were the ugliest of tumors sprouting most around his nostrils, mouth, eyes and ears. The fullness of his lips had already shrank down and drew his lips up from his teeth. He was dehydrating. The pollen of the Blooms was drinking his blood. She could see it pulsing in the growths upon his skin.

“His blood, they drink blood.” But what about water? Crell wanted water. He was willing to hurl himself overboard to get it, suddenly believing that it was below them, thanks to the fog of delirium. But below was only the blooms and the things that lived within them.

Ah nature was a funny thing, the dance of predator and prey was beautifully choreographed. The things below didn’t want human meat alone. No, they hadn’t started their jossling until the pollen had been released. They had only grown truly violent once Crell was infected. They wanted the nasty looking growths that had appeared on his skin and would probably take over his entire body if she didn’t stop them first.

Crell was just a host for whatever it was they truly desired.

“Water!” She whispered. “I need water and lots of it! Quickly!”

“What do you need water for?” Another crew member asked. “If Crell is dying we had best toss him over and fast before those things pull us all down.”

“Just get me water. If this doesn’t work, then…” Then what? What would she do? Rosie couldn’t possible throw the man over board. She needed him to get back home.

Ladle in hand, dripping with water, the crew member leaned forward towards Rosie and Crell, having gotten what was requested even though very much reluctant. Before he could pass the ladle forward, the vessel was rocked again, this time far more violent than it had before.

The body of the vessel spun 180 degrees. Its motors chocked and bucked to get back in rhythm.  Rosie fell from Crell’s back and smacked against the side of the vessel. Hissing and shrieks rose up around them. The water splashed forward unto Crell’s dying face.

His eyes suddenly shot open, his mouth sucked in air and water. The vile growths from the pollen fell away from his lips.

THE END OF PART 4

I think part 5 will indeed be the last installment for this story. I do apologize to those reading for taking so long to get this part written. With the holidays and other business, I have found it very difficult to get to my computer and write. I am so glad that I did today.

Cheers!

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