Terribly wonderful poetry

For the Kapcon flagship LARP me and Bryn played versions of Spike and Dru from Buffy. Bryn’s Isaac was supposed to have an obsession with writing terrible poetry about my Amelia and well, I love me some terrible writing, so I composed these for Bryn to write up on paper and age for props.

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Moose story

So last week I came second place in a story writing conversation to name the fake moose head the Trust and Safety team have in their section of the office.

Here it is, in all its moose-y glory!


California Joe was called that because he often told the other moose that he had spent a summer in California in his youth. The other moose weren’t entirely convinced the story was a true one, but the details Joe gave in his stories about the sun drenched beaches, the gentle crash and hush of the waves and the unsurpassable beauty of the girls he had seen there were diverting enough on a wintry New Brunswick afternoon.

To say California Joe lived in a dream world would not be entirely accurate. Joe was an avid walker and eater of deciduous plant matter, and there were legends about the time he had squared off against a wolf to protect Sally’s calf and dashed the wolf’s head in with his large hoof. There were naysayers who swore to each other that this was a fabrication but none ever said it to Joe’s face.

Besides California and the wolf, Joe was known for his wit. Not a moose in the province could match his quick tongue for quips, gibes and puns. Many a time an unsuspecting moose would walk away from a conversation with him and realise – too late – that he had been made fun of. There was one instance, on the birthday of the venerable old Cyril, fast approaching his last winters, when California Joe was called on to make a speech.

Moose in the area are still remembering that speech with fondness, the affection Joe had for the old moose was obvious but he painted a picture of Cyril both hilarious and accurate. Many a moose still laughed in recollection.

California Joe, of course, met his last winter sooner than anyone expected. One long walk through the wilderness in search of fresh aquatic greenery brought him to a beaver pond, where he stood and browsed for hours. While eating he became lost in a dream. Perhaps of his days surfing on the beaches of Santa Monica or perhaps of Sally, who once had been referred to as Joe’s true love but that was before a particularly nasty fight from which neither’s feelings truly recovered.

None can say exactly what Joe was dreaming of, as he was shot down by an opportunistic hunter who liked the look of his antlers. The hunter was a young Irish woman who had been taught how to hunt by her father and was overjoyed to have felled such a magnificent specimen.

Joe’s head was stuffed and mounted and placed in the house of the girl, but as she matured she started to find the idea of her kill distasteful and gave it away to her boyfriend – a government worker. Joe looked over the decision makers of Ireland before being stolen by a drunken intern from New Zealand. He was brought to that shore so distant from his homeland when she came home. After a year trapped in a garden shed California Joe has finally found another home in the offices of Trade Me.

Make a mess. Clean it up.

I was kind of blocked on what to do with this page. Make a Mess. Clean it up.

Then I realised I wanted to do writing, so I wrote down a bunch of scribbly words on one side (somewhat inspired by the movie Young at Heart which we were watching at the time), then I wrote a short story neatly, using the words.

Nothing is as it was before. The more I sing the less I feel like it sounds good, but I’m selling more records than ever before. The slings and arrows are still a part of life, of course, but the actual difficulty of day to day living has evaporated. I have an assistant who brings me noodles if I want them. She’s there for me every hour of the day.
“Would you mind going and getting me an ice cream sundae?” I can say, and she’ll do it.

The lights on the stage are bright. I feel them in my bones, reflecting, glowing inside of me hours after I’ve performed. “Can you run me a bath?” I’ll say.
“No worries, no worries,” she twinkles.

I’m meant to be writing a book. My agent, my editor is keen for it to be a tell all. “Young at heart,” she keeps saying. I can’t argue with that, for all it’s so cheesy. I traded my soul to a demon years ago.

“Forever young. I want to be forever young,” I said.
“I’ll do you one better,” the demon laughed. “I’ll give you some musical talent, success as well.” So the next day I woke up, “Today I become a star!” and it happened, easy as that. I guess it’s my own fault, I didn’t earn any of this, so why should I be allowed to enjoy any of it?

You are right, I said. You took my soul. You gave me this, and I feel wrong, blank, totally numb.

Published again!

My one sentence story is up on Nanoism.net! In fact, it was up a couple of days ago but I wasn’t looking for it because he initially said he’d post it on October 8th. Ha ha. Anyway, you should go and…

Read it!

Please ignore the listless, dull and vaguely embarrassing bio underneath it, I didn’t realise that it was ok to just link here so I panicked and wrote that.

Flash Fiction

I wrote this yesterday in Ripley Patton‘s flash fiction workshop at Au Contraire. She was very inspiring, I’ll do proper entries on the workshops later but for now, enjoy this 55 word story.

***

“Imagine what you’ll say at the funeral,” he said. ‘What my parents will ask.”
I looked down at him, remorseless. “It was an accident.”
“But I thought you loved me.”
“Maybe once, now I’m in love with my life without you.”
The second after I pulled the trigger I realised he’d been right all along.

Incredibly purple prose

Weird little Writing Wednesday today, in that I only have one important link and then you get to sample some writing.

Link: The lovely Debbie Cowens is the featured author on Prinkipria and there’s an interview with her and everything. Nice one Deb!

What you are about to read was started in 2008 but mostly written much more recently. Here is the first chapter in an incredibly purple, Gothic, possibly Lovecraftian story. It is written by me and my workmate Rachel in turns. We have had fun breaking all the rules of ‘good’ writing and I hope you enjoy reading it, we’d love to have your feedback in the comments…

_____________________

Sanguine dawn fingered the sky…

Facing West, he sighed, the wind whipped his cloak about him. His jet black hair, wet from the mist, was slick against his forehead. His faithful manservant appeared beside him, panting hard. His breath billowed out in white steamy clouds which dissipated into the misty surrounds. If the black-haired man had noticed his manservant, he showed no sign of it. He stared into the mire with intense concentration glittering in his emerald eyes. The pale morning rays gave the mist a lambent quality as it slowly began to recede.

“What do you see, sir?” panted the servant.

The black-haired man said nothing for a long minute. The servant had managed to catch his breath and was just about to enquire of his master again when the black-haired man spoke, breaking the silence with his chocolate-rich voice.

“I do not see that which I would like to see,” is all he uttered.

“Then I suggest, Master Eohlaf, we return to the hall before your father recovers from last night’s banquet.”

The black-haired man’s shoulders drooped in resignation but he did not speak. He turned swiftly on his heel and followed the fleeing mist up the hill — away from the bog.

The light of the waking sun turned the brown water into a glowing mirror and the mire bubbled slightly. There was a muffled splash as some unknown aquatic entity fleetingly touched the surface and then all lay still.

Inside the Hall of Vanern Eohlaf turned to his manservant. “Lo, I am weary,” spake he. The thane took Eohlaf’s cloak off his drooping shoulders and shook out the dampness of the morning.

“Master Eohlaf, you did wassail late into the eve,” the thane suggested. The black haired man turned, suddenly possessed of a great rage.

“That is not what I mean!” he shouted, loudly.

The diminutive thane flinched. Eohlaf sighed as he beheld his tremulous servant.

“Thane, you are not the source of my anger. I have had ominous dreams.”

The servant spent an inordinate amount of time hanging the black haired man’s cloak on a hook near the door. The hook wasn’t so near the door that the rain from outside would land on garments hung on it, but it was not so far from the door as to be an inconvenience when garments needed to be hung. The hook had been hung earlier that year by the same man who built the Hall itself.

“Tell me of your dreams, Master,” the thane said, although he had misgivings about asking. His master’s dreams, frequently ominous, were always grim.

Dark-haired Eohlaf spoke grimly, “I see a pale maiden submerged, enveloped by dark tendrils. She does not speak, because she is underwater, yet I feel that she can help me just as I can help her. She is whisked from my sight and I see the land in chaos, our mighty hall crumbling and in disrepair and then, then I see him.”

The thane shuddered, his teeth rattling against each other. He tried to hide his reaction, but the silence of the great hall gave him away. Eohlaf was expecting this reaction.

“Yes, that’s right. HIM. As ever he stands astride the mountain which I have so oft viewed from the doorway of his very hall. He laughed and his teeth were like great stones, crumbled with time. I awoke then, and was much distressed by what I had seen.”

“Bad dreams again is it?” A woman had entered the hall, unnoticed by either of the men. She was as buxom and curvaceous as a woman should be, her hair fell like clouds of red fire.

“Please do not pry into the affairs of men Brynhilde my sister!” snapped, dark, tempestuous Eohlaf.

In a private chamber off the hall, Lord Hrothelwulf shrugged himself out of his mead-induced torpor and gingerly eased his corpulent form from the couch.

Your son is nought but trouble.

The rotund Lord groaned. The voice, that hissing voice in his head was back again.

You know it to be true

The voice hissed, sibilantly. Lord Hrothelwulf shook his head and instantly regretted it. A headache thrummed into his skull. “Be quiet!” he groaned.

“What is that? Father, have you awakened?” The lovely Brynhilde lingered in the doorway, peering in at her noble father with her large, forest green eyes. “Are you well today?” She peered around, “who is it you talk to?”

The still partially inebriated noble Lord waved his daughter away dismissively, “just myself woman! Where is your brother?”

***
Meanwhile, distant from the affairs of these men and deep beneath the earth, a malevolent sentience crouched wreathed in darkness upon a gilt chair.

Just myself woman! Where is your brother?

Hissing words spilled from its putrid lips, “you know the only solution – is death!”

“Another drink my Lord?” a tiny voice emitted from near the gilt chair the malevolent sentience crouched upon. The fearsome being whipped his head around, fixing a tiny gelatinous imp with a fearsome glare.

“Do not interrupt me!” the terrifying morass of evil snarled.

The imp chirruped in fear and scurried away, its jelly-like body leaving a trail of sulphur on the black flagstones.

The brooding fiend briefly considered inflicting salty, painful death upon his amorphous assistant before drawing his concentration once more to his mortal pawn. He clutched the grotesquely carved arm of his chair and writhed with malicious delight as he delved deep into the mind of his weak-minded victim. His influence was almost complete.

***
Aloft in the world of mortal men, the noble Lord Hrothelwulf was addressing his son.

“Son,” he did intone, “you know well that I am your father.”

“I do, father,” Eohlaf said. He was uncertain as to his father’s purpose, but contained his impatience. It was hard for him to do this, being as he was, so tempestuous.

“The time has come for you to explore further our lands. In particular I wish for you to venture to the hinterlands. I feel it is unsafe for you to remain here, thus you must go forth instead.”

“Nay father!” cried Eohlaf, “Whatever danger may threaten our house, I will face it here! Who better is there to protect this household and my sister?”

Eohlaf knew not what danger his father perceived but his ominous dreams had awakened a sense of foreboding in his own soul and he knew that it concerned his home and his kin.

“His sister can defend herself!” said Brynhilde from the doorway.

Tempestuous Eohlaf and his noble father wisely ignored the words of the female member of their family. Brynhilde was used to this, and lingered on in the portal to the room they inhabited.

“Oh Eohlaf, we do require your presence for protection. Elsewhere you would be of no use should we come under attack. And yet, my heart is full of foreboding should you stay.”

“Oh father, my own heart doth overflow with foreboding,” said the son.

And so it should!

Lord Hrothelwulf visibly winced and it did not go unnoticed.

“What ails you father?” asked Eohlaf.

The Lord’s eyes darkened and he turned from his son in shame.

“It is him,” said the astute but oft ignored Brynhilde, “I have sensed his presence here for some time!”

Eohlaf whirled around, his eyes blazing with anger as he beheld his sister. Unnoticed by either of them, Their Kingly father Lord Hrothelwulf sank once more onto his sleeping furs.

“Sister, I have told you many times never to mention that name!” Thundered the tempestuous, dark haired youth. Brynhilde stood fast in the doorway.

“I know what I have sensed, my brother,” said Brynhilde, lovely in her defiance. “His eye is ever upon this house and father grows weak under His influence.”

From the midst of his sleeping furs, Lord Hrothelwulf turned to face his offspring his eyes aglow with an unearthly fire and his face unnaturally flushed. Eohlaf blanched and staggered back as Brynhilde brushed past him into the room.

“Soon, mortals, soon you will all be my undead minions!” Hrothelwulf rose from his furs with all the grace of a spastic marionette and lurched toward his children, a dagger appearing in his hand.

Brynhilde, although she had expected her father’s possession by the evil power to worsen, had not anticipated full body possession to take a hold of him completely so she was surprised and froze in place while behind her Eohlaf, unhinged with fear, struggled to gain control of his faculties but was unable to as his father advanced with the dagger brandished in his upraised hand towards the two younger people in the room and he began to cackle with a maniacal glee as the demonic entity riding within him beheld the fear and horror reflected in their eyes, which were so like his own in colour and shape.

Spec the Halls entry – Happy Christmas Morning

This story is a part of the Spec the Halls contest for speculative winter holiday-themed fiction, artwork, and poetry. You may find guidelines and links to other entries at http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls.html

    Happy Christmas Morning.

Carrie’s eyes flew open, her heart was pounding. It was Christmas morning. It had to be, because yesterday was Christmas Eve and now it was a whole new day. It was still very early. Carrie knew it was early because it was still dark, she couldn’t see much of her room. There was a bit of light coming from under her curtain but Carrie thought it was probably the street light.

Carrie lay in bed, paralysed with excitement. It was Christmas at last, after all the waiting and the wishing and the agony. Carrie had spent all of December preparing for Christmas. So many hours making gingerbread with her mother, decorating the Christmas tree, drawing cards and writing Merry Christmas inside them and putting them into envelopes for her friends at school.

Last night had been the hardest. Carrie and her parents had sung Christmas carols, although her father didn’t know some of the words, and they had watched A Christmas Carol on the vidscreen, but Carrie hadn’t been a little bit sleepy even when it was an hour after her bedtime.

But that was over now, it was Christmas morning. Carrie slid her feet out of the bed, moving as quietly as she could manage. She slipped her feet into her bunny slippers, pulled on her dressing gown and slowly, ever so slowly, crossed the room to her bedroom door.

She’d long ago mastered the art of opening her door silently. First she picked up Mr Squiggleberry, her teddy bear, and smushed him over the speaker box. That way the beeping that her door did to let people know it had worked would be smothered. Second she put her towel along the floor so that the door wouldn’t make a banging noise when it slid open. The doors weren’t supposed to bang like that, Carrie knew, but their section of the station wasn’t as new as it had been. Her mother sometimes said it was falling apart, but Carrie’s father said she was overreacting when she’d said it.

The door opened and thumped gently against the bunched up towel end. Carrie snuck out into the shared habitation area. The Christmas tree was still lit up, the fairy lights glowing red, purple, blue and yellow. Under the tree were the presents Carrie already knew about, the small green plastic wrapped packages that her parents had put under there a week ago and which she had spent a long time feeling. She had guessed what each one of those was.

Carrie looked over by the wall, where she had hung her stocking. The stocking was one of her old microfiber boot liners that she’d grown out of. The terrain outside the station was still not completely terraformed, so extra layers of protection were required. The stocking was bright green and Carrie had painstakingly sewed on it a yellow star cut out from one of her mother’s old shirts.

The stocking was bulging and there was something sticking tantalisingly out of the top. Carrie stood and stared, overwhelmed with anticipation. She hoped it was the stuffed pony she’d asked for. Carrie was bursting with a need to look in the stocking but her parents had forbidden her to touch it until they were awake.

There was only one thing to do.

Carrie ran to her parents’ bedroom door, punched in the access code and burst into the room.
‘It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!’ she shouted. They didn’t move immediately so she jumped up onto the bed and onto her father’s shoulder. ‘Wake up, wake up, Santa came!’

Carrie’s mother moaned and rolled over, she blinked at Carrie. ‘What time is it?’ she said.

‘It’s Christmas time!’ Carrie said. Her father shifted under her and she slipped down between the two of them.

‘S’not even oh six hundred,’ her father said. He sounded groggy.

‘Santa came! Can I open my stocking now?’ Carrie nudged her mother’s arm. ‘Can I?’

‘OK, go back to the lounge, we’ll be up in a moment. Just look at the tree ‘til we get there.’

Carrie slid back off the bed and ran back into the shared habitation area. She knew her mother called it a lounge because of that’s one of the words they used back on Earth, but to her it would always be the SHA. Carrie sat on the cushioned seating units and bounced up and down, she looked back at her parent’s room every couple of seconds. She could see them get out of bed, pulling on their dressing gowns and talking. She couldn’t hear what they were saying.

Finally they came into the SHA.

‘Can I have it now?’ Carrie asked.

‘I need a coffee,’ Carrie’s mother said. ‘Wait until I have my coffee.’

‘Awww,’ Carrie said. Her father sat down next to her. He stretched one tentacle out, reached across the room and wrapped the tip gently around her stocking. He unhooked it from the wall and drew it back over to the seat.

‘You can hold it,’ he said, ‘but you can’t take anything out til Mummy gets back, alright?’

‘Thanks Dad,’ Carrie cuddled into her father’s side, balancing the stocking on her lap. He laid one tentacle across her shoulders, hugging her close.

Carrie listened as the kettle boiled and her mother manipulated the mysterious machine that produced coffee. She came back in, holding two steaming mugs. She gave one to Carrie’s father and sat down on the other side of Carrie.

‘Go on then, let’s see what Santa brought you.’

Later, when Carrie had torn the paper off all her presents and given the gifts she’d made to her parents and they’d had breakfast and Carrie was dressed they had a moment of quiet.

‘This is nice,’ Carrie’s father said.

‘My advent calendar!’ Carrie shouted, ruining the tranquillity. ‘I haven’t opened today’s window!’ She leapt up from the seating unit, ran across to the communicator and picked up the battered cardboard. It had a big picture on the front, of an apartment building in one of the old Earth cities. There were people on the street outside it, walking with plastic bags full of presents. There was a Santa in one corner, ringing a bell. Her mother had called the picture ‘quaint’ but Carrie thought it was beautiful, she loved to look at all the things in the windows, like the old fashioned televisions and the optometrist shop that sold glasses.

She ran her fingers over the picture, looking for the one unopened window. There, with the number ‘25’ on it, she pulled it open and looked at the tiny drawing underneath. ‘It’s some people looking at a baby,’ Carrie said.

‘It’s the birth of Jesus,’ Carrie’s mother said.

‘Not this again,’ Carrie’s father said. Carrie looked up, he had sounded grumpy and she could see his skin was turning a darker shade of purple, which meant he was angry.

‘Don’t be like that, darling,’ Carrie’s mother said. ‘It is the reason why we have Christmas. I mean, his name is right there in the title.’

‘I think it’s archaic and strange,’ Carrie’s father said. Carrie tried not to cry, she hated it when her parents disagreed and this was Christmas day, they should all be happy. Carrie’s mother could see Carrie’s chin wobbling and held out her arms to her.

‘Well, that’s how it started out,’ Carrie’s mother said. ‘But it’s not really why we do all this.’ Carrie climbed up onto her mother’s lap, clutching the advent calendar. She wished she’d never opened the stupid last window.

‘Why do we do Christmas then?’ Carrie asked. Her father turned to look at them, clearly wondering the same thing.

‘Well, I guess it’s because it’s good to let people know how much you love them,’ she said.

‘But surely we should do that every day,’ Carrie’s father said. ‘Why would you restrict that to one day in 365? Why not just treat each other nicely?’

‘Humans aren’t very good at that, I’m afraid,’ Carrie’s mother said. Carrie leaned back into her arms, listening hard. ‘We forget, we get grumpy and we treat each other badly. We have wars and take each other for granted. We have Christmas to remind ourselves that we can love each other as well.’

‘Hmph,’ Carrie’s father said.

‘And of course, it’s nice to have a reason to get dressed up and eat a lot of delicious food,’ she tickled Carrie, making her laugh. Carrie had been asking about the Christmas feast all month.

‘Well, I can’t disagree with you there, the feast part of it is pretty amazing,’ Carrie’s father said. He looked at his wife and child and smiled at them. ‘Of all the human traditions you brought with you this is the strangest, but I guess I can get into it.’

Carrie leaned over and gave her father a kiss on his long rubbery face. ‘Merry Christmas daddy,’ she said.

‘Merry Christmas kidlet,’ he said. ‘Come on, time for the rest of the presents.’ Carrie jumped down from the seating unit and sped over to the Christmas tree to sort out which presents were for her.

‘You think this is strange? I must’ve never explained about Easter to you,’ Carrie’s mother said.

‘Hmmm?’

‘A giant rabbit brings chocolate eggs.’

Carrie’s father just looked at his wife uncomprehendingly and then he smiled. ‘You’re joking.’