New videos on YouTube

That’s right. I have some new videos on YouTube. I finally uploaded the two zipline videos I edited back in August with Cyberlink PowerDirector 11 and I made a new video today with Cyberlink PowerDirector 13.

I edited these videos because my new job at the college requires me to edit lots of videos, so I need the practice.

The new video:

Zipline videos:

New Def Leppard album and single (!!!!)

Do the exclamation points give away my excitement?

Def Leppard is one of the best-selling musical acts in the world and one of the most recognizable names in rock music, yet lately they have been taking a back seat to making quality albums. They are best known for their hit albums Pyromania (1983) and Hysteria (1987), which together contained the songs “Photograph,” “Rock of Ages,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” and “Animal,” among many other hit singles. They continued their success with 1992’s Adrenalize and, too a lesser extent, their collective of b-sides called Retro Active in 1993.

The band changed their style of music for Slang in 1996 by stripping down and letting emotions fuel their music. This proved unsuccessful and the band returned to their signature sound in 1999 for Euphoria, which contained a #1 Rock hit with “Promises,” but lacked what the previous albums had. Then the band took a nose dive with 2002’s X and 2008’s Songs From the Sparkle Lounge. These albums were very hit and miss. The good songs were some of their best, but the bad songs were unbearable, and Def Leppard had never written any bad songs before X.

The live album in 2011 had three news songs on it, in which “It’s All About Believin'” was spectacular but the others were mediocre. Then the band focused on touring, creating the longest gap between studio albums. It had started to look like Def Leppard would never release another album.

But now Def Leppard is releasing a self-titled album on October 30 and they just released the lead single called “Let’s Go.” The song is one of the best the band has done since the millennium, which makes the rest of the album very promising.

Story A Day Challenge – Sept 13 – How Was Work?

This story relates closely with a previous piece, which can be found here.

The Prompt

Write about an odd couple. No, your characters don’t have to be an actual romantic couple. They can be siblings, classmates, friends, enemies, or anything in-between. But you do need to have a couple (two people), and they do need to be at odds. Their personalities and their motivations should be dramatically divergent. Try to exaggerate their differences and see what action transpires. 

How Was Work?

David Coleman unlocked the front door, pushing down on the handle and letting it swing open nice and wide. The warmth of the house eased his mood as he shut the door behind him, locking it up nice and tight. It had been a while since he had been home.

The chandelier was on in the foyer, allowing him to find his way through the archway under the stairs and into the living room and kitchen area. His wife was already cooking, pouring the pesto on the pasta.

“Honey, I’m home,” David announced, setting his briefcase on the floor and giving her a kiss on the cheek. “How was your week?”

She pushed him away. “Uneventful,” she replied. “How was your health product conference in Portland? Did you learn a lot? I’m sure Verabrar Corp. appreciates it.”

“What’s wrong?” David asked. “Did something happen while I was gone?”

“When were you going to tell me, David?” She approached him again, pointing a finger. “When were you going to tell me that Verabrar’s health products were only a cover?”

David grabbed her hands forcefully. “Sarah, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m the manager of Verabrar Seattle, and you know as well as I do that we sell products to hospitals and private practices. You’ve been to our facility.”

Sarah struggled with him. David let her go and backed away as she grabbed a knife from the counter. “You kidnap people, David. Innocent people, and lock them up…and experiment on them.”

“Who told you that?”

“No one had to tell me. I hacked into your desktop,” Sarah admitted. “I guess we both have our secrets. What I couldn’t find is why you kidnap these people.”

David continued to back away from his wife. “I can explain everything. Can we please just sit down and discuss this as a family?”

“You aren’t bringing our children into this.” She motioned for the sofa in the living room. “Go on. Sit.”

David stepped back and sat on the sofa, with his wife right across from him, knife pointed. “Alright,” he said. “Verabrar hunts down and captures dangerous individuals, ones with extraordinary abilities, super powers some might say. We work with the FBI to round up these individuals in the United States, and with the CIA to find individuals at our London location.”

“I don’t believe you,” Sarah said, her voice cold. “You’re trying to confuse me. The government would never help you imprison people. I don’t believe your story about special powers either. You’re sick David, you are believing your own lies.”

David raised his hand and channeled his ability. He felt some pleasure in hearing her gasp, fear beginning to take hold. “Is this truth enough for you? I am one of the good guys.” He leaned forward, watching her squirm. “Go on, ask me what I was doing this past week, in Pierce County, and in Portland.”

“W-What were you doing in this week.” David could tell that she didn’t really want to know.

“Well, first I covered Verabrar’s involvement with a prominent family by destroying a murder scene. Actually, I blew up the house. I’m sure you saw that on the news: a terrorist in Washington. The murderer is a terrorist, an escapee from our facility in Seattle. I went to Portland to see if he went back home.” He smiled. “You don’t even know the man you married, the one you fell in love with so many years ago. I’ve killed people, I’ve done illegal things for the greater good. I had to hide it from you for your own protection.”

“To protect me?” Sarah raised the knife again. “You could have put our children in danger. You lied to us, David. I can’t forgive you for that.” She jumped up and fled from the living room, snatching her car keys from the counter.

“Where are you going?”

“Away. I’m taking the kids with me.”

“Where are they, Sarah? Where are my kids?” David asked, realizing that they weren’t home.

“Like I would tell you, after everything you just told me.” David watched her open the front door, then scream. The monster on the other side was covered in slime and stained spikes that erupted from his skin. He grabbed Sarah and held her near a spike, his claws digging into her skin and drawing blood.

“David Coleman,” the monster greeted him.

“Marshall Asotin,” David replied, raising his hands high and summoning a ball of flames. “I take it you want to kill me, just like you killed Crystal Eddings?”

“I want you dead Coleman,” Marshall admitted, “but I need your help. I can’t control these abilities anymore. I need you to fix what you did to me. So, what do you say? You help me, and your wife lives.”

Story A Day Challenge – Sept 10 – The Tunnel

No fancy title for this one, only the default one that came with the challenge. I’ve already mostly written creepy/supernatural stories this month, so I knew that this one would be the same. But than I thought, well, I haven’t done anything post-apocalyptic yet.

The Prompt
Today’s prompt has your main character about to enter a tunnel, what sort is for you to decide but here are some tips

  • The Tunnel – You are in control.  Is it dark or are there lights along the walls or roof ?  Is it long and winding or can you clearly see the thrs ugh to the other end?  Is it running through a cliff face making it impossible to go over or round because there’s a sheer drop to the ocean below, or through a mountain.  Set the scene.

The Tunnel

Kareddar sat on the rock, happy to be off his feet, even for just a little while. His plate armor had been weighing him down on his travels, and without a horse, it made it all the more difficult. But he was a knight of the Emperor’s Inner Circle, and that meant he had to complete his journey, horse or no.

He removed his helm and let his long blond hair fall to his shoulders, dripping with sweat. Now he could see much better. The gate before him was sealed shut, all except a small access point that had been covered in plants and rocks. The gates were nothing like Kareddar had ever seen before: huge and solid as a rock, yet similar to the armor of his order, an alloy of various metals no longer seen in the world.

The ground leading to the gates under the hill was littered with rocks and small pieces of stone, which looked to Kareddar to be an ancient roadway, cracked and overgrown with trees and bushes and yellow grasses. The gates themselves were also covered in vines and hanging trees. What’s in this tomb? 

The Emperor’s command had been a surprise to his order. After centuries of neglect and ignorance, the Emperor decreed that the old world be researched and restored, no matter the cost. A few major artifacts such as a metal machine that was used for transportation had been recovered, as had many items in the ruins of an ancient city. Old bridges had been reclaimed across the Empire, and broken dams fortified with weaponry and infantry to prevent enemies from controlling the rivers.

The old world was full of strange contraptions, many of which seemed to serve no purpose.

“Electricity,” Kareddar’s grandfather had told him when he asked decades ago. “The old world relied on electricity to survive.” Kareddar had asked how he knew that, and his grandfather had smiled. “I read it in a book.”

Now Kareddar had perhaps found the greatest of them all: an ancient tomb, sealed shut to the changing world. He struggled to his feet and approached the small overgrown opening, cutting back the plant life with his sword, swinging and swinging. Then he spent what felt like hours moving boulders and smaller rocks out of the way, clearing an opening just large enough to squeeze through.

He had expected the tomb to be engulfed in darkness, but that was not the case. Light poured in from holes in the ceiling and cracks in the walls, where small valleys faced up toward the top of the hill. The ground was cracked and crumbling, plant life reclaiming the old civilization where the sun shown.

Many of the machines old humans used for transport were lined up like a cemetery, among other things, rusted and broken. He pulled out the old map. Thebsull’s Tomb was not a tomb at all, but a tunnel of a forgotten age. He would make sure that got corrected.


Again, not a completed idea, but it could be interesting to return to in the future.

Story A Day Challenge – Sept 9 – Six Kingdoms

Yes I didn’t write anything yesterday. I was exhausted after my first day if work, so I read a book and laid in bed. Now I’m back to it.


The Prompt

Write a story based on Gabriel Fauré’s “Pavane.”

Into the Six Kingdoms of Actovias

­The bells had rung day and night. The ringing echoed off of the steeples and turrets, curtain walls and towers. “Dead,” they sang. “Dead, dead, dead. The emperor is dead.” Even the clouds agreed, closing off the valley, thick and gray, raining on the city streets like tears, had anyone been crying.

Cygrien had never cared much for the emperor, but it was also no cause for celebration. He stumbled up the slick steps to the gates of Violaceia, grasping a walking stick tightly in his right hand. His robes got in the way of his feet and he tumbled before the watchmen, clad in chainmail that reeked worse than an old iron pot, chuckling.

“Poor fool,” one muttered, stepping forward to give him a nudge with his boot. “Another push and we’ll send him back down to the valley floor.” The two watchmen had a laugh about that as Cygrien rolled to the side to avoid another kick.

He found his walking stick along the soaked stone, pulling himself up. Aiming the stick, he watched the watchmen’s faces fill with bemusement. “Be careful with that stick, old man. We wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt.”

“Be careful who you challenge,” Cygrien replied, grinning. He raised his walking stick and swung it around a few times, knocking both guards to the ground with ease. “Don’t fool with a wizard, gentlemen.”

He moved around the groaning soldiers, tapping on the city gates for entry. When they let him in, he would set everything right.

**

The letter fluttered to the ground, becoming one with the crème-colored carpets. The prince’s hands trembled, the skin boiling to red and dripping with cool sweat. It was getting too hot, even with all of the windows open to the evening mountain air.

“No, that can’t be right,” he quavered, shaking a finger at the letter. “It’s a lie.”

“He’s dead,” the courier affirmed. “His Grace, Emperor Eleazar Beardess II has been slain by the hands of Norman Blade the Arrogate, as he shall hence be named.”

“Which is why we should be leaving at once,” a soldier near the door interrupted. “Half of the Empire blindly follows the Arrogate, and they will seek to strengthen his hold on the realm by finding you.”

Prince Aethten Beardess closed his eyes. “You’re right, as always, Sir Kenric.”

“But where would the prince go?” The courier asked. “As you said, half the Empire will be out for the reward on his head. And what of the rest of us, who served the Emperor until the end? They will have our heads on stakes to be certain.”

“What of my Empress mother?” Aethten implored. “Did she make it out of the capital?”

Sir Kenric shrugged his armored shoulders. “The capital has been cut off from the east. We have no way of knowing. Only the road to the Kingdom of Tal-Taiorm lay open, and I suggest we take it.”


Well…that’s as far as it goes. Not really a complete plot, but its a good starter for a future story.

A Story A Day Challenge – Sept 7 – An Unfortunate Accident

Today’s prompt might be the hardest one so far. I don’t do well at that suspense thing, so I just went for more of an occult-detective story.

The Prompt

“A killer is on the loose, having broken into the home of a wealthy woman and left her for dead. He absconded with a few items, then left the initials, ‘M.A.’”

To mix things up a bit, create a sleuth who is not such a good guy/gal, and a villain who has some amiable traits. Maybe your detective is a womanizer or is mean to her Mother, and your criminal stoops down to pet puppies.

An Unfortunate Accident

“Ouch!” The tea splashed over the rim of the cup as Crystal Eddings sat it down on the coaster. She needed to be more careful, she noted as she dabbed her sun dress with the napkin. Her tongue was scorched, but she managed a sighed. It was useless, the dress was stained. She would have to put something on it. “Maggie, can you get me an ice cube for my tea? It’s still too hot.”

“Right away madame,” her red-haired maid replied, heading for the kitchen, leaving Crystal all alone in her formal living room. She faced the window, watching the gray clouds swirl above, dumping rain on the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. Or maybe it’s snowing up there. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, she knew very well that Washington had suffered one of the driest and warmest years on record. She was glad when the rain had returned last week, thunderstorms brewing and 70 mph winds knocking down power poles. Ever since, it had been gray and desolate outside, and that was how she preferred it.

Fall had arrived early, she decided, remembering the cold gust that lifted her dress on the front porch just an hour earlier as she watered the potted yellow and orange flowers that swung in their baskets. The yellow matched the color of her mansion, painted that way as to bring sunshine to the rainy state. Oh how I got it all wrong. She liked the rain better.

“Maggie dear, I asked for ice,” Crystal said, turning her head toward the archway that led further into the dark house. It’s not even midday and its dark as hell. She waited, expecting Maggie to come around the corner with ice at any moment. Instead, it was silence that arrived. “Maggie?”

Thumps echoed through the house as the rain picked up outside, battering on the roof in song. The wind crashed against the house as it always did, making a familiar swoosh and howl. All of the sun’s light had disappeared, leaving the house with an eerie gray haze. Crystal stood up from the sofa, stepping onto the hard wood floor to peak through the archway.

“My tea is cool enough now, Maggie,” she hollered, continuing her walk towards the kitchen. She could hear only her footsteps on the wood and the rain outside. This isn’t right. She had dealt with these kinds of situations before. Whenever something seemed off, it probably was.

She turned into the small doorway to her right, the long way to the kitchen, when she heard the scrapping on the walls, like claws. She slowed to a crawl, focused on the path ahead, but always keeping watch behind as well. She was nearing the kitchen, the lights illuminating the next doorway. Blood was splattered on the orange walls, and a pool was growing just below the archway. Crystal gasped and turned the other way. She had to get out!

“Going somewhere?” A voice asked. Crystal stood still, fear overtaking her. “You have to pay for what you did to me, what you did to all of us!” The sound of a knife being sharpened rang out like a bell, and Crystal gulped. “I don’t want to do this, but you’ll keep on torturing others if I don’t.” The man’s footsteps drew closer, and Crystal prayed that death would come quick.

**

When David Coleman pulled up alongside the curb, flashing lights already illuminated the front of the mansion. He stepped out of the Camaro, his dress shoes slipping on the soggy pavement. His trench-coat billowed like a flag in the wind as he made his way over to the detectives that were gathered at the scene.

“Excuse me, Sir,” one of them said as he crossed the police line. “This is a restricted area.”

David pulled out his badge and flashed it. “FBI. This is a federal investigation, and I don’t want you interfering with my work.” He stepped into the house, immediately taking in the damage. The coffee table in the formal living room was smashed, the decorative white pillars scratched as though the murdered had claws. He proceeded to the kitchen, where two bodies were surrounded by pools of blood, flowing toward the dining room. Ah, so the house has a bit of a tilt in the foundation. Another detective was crouched over the bodies, examining the gruesome murders of the two young women.

“Pretty,” David commented as he approached. “Don’t suppose you’ve found the murder weapon?”

“What’s the FBI doing here?” The detective asked. “This is my investigation.”

“Not anymore, Mr?”

“Griffin Stone,” the man replied, standing up and removing his blue nitrile gloves. “Why would the FBI be interesting in the murder of Crystal Eddings and Maggie Brooks?”

“That’s classified, but I will tell you Ms. Eddings is very resourceful, and has brushed the law more than a few times. Has anything been taken from the house, that you can tell?” David asked, grooming his black hair.

“The file cabinets in the office look as though they were pried open and emptied. I’ll let you do your work, for now.” The detective withdrew from the home, leaving David to work alone.

The idiots always fall for it. David Coleman was not employed by the FBI, but he had gotten away with it for years. His badge and ID were genuine, as far as anyone could tell, and his contacts in the FBI would just confirm his employment if it came down to it. After all, the government relied on him to make sure that anyone with special abilities was rounded up and kept in confinement in either Seattle or New York.

He looked at the bodies with disgust. Their throats were slit, almost like something had nibbled on their esophagus. It wasn’t a pretty sight, the blood, brain matter, and whatever else was smeared around the floor and the cabinets. On the island counter top a small blood painting left the initials M.A. David wondered if the police had seen it, or if they had simply missed it because of the state of the bodies before them. All he knew was that they had couldn’t run the DNA. He hoped Marshall was smart enough to wear gloves. Yes, this was done by Marshall, wasn’t it? Figures…the claw marks, the nibbled throats.

David proceeded to the office, finding cabinets on the floor and papers scattered everywhere. He fingered through the folders and the drawers, trying to locate the box. It wasn’t there. Shit. He was afraid of what might happen when Marshall read those files, when he discovered the Verabrar Corporation records on him and his kind. Our kind.

He returned to the kitchen. There was still enough evidence to link Crystal to Verabrar, and David couldn’t have that. His company’s intentions had to remain a secret at all costs. He smiled. No one would like to hear about our state of the art prison, nor our imprisonment and experimentation on them. He had to destroy the evidence before the detectives came back.

He placed his palms flat against the wood cabinets, allowing his powers to ignite. The kitchen burned, furious as it devoured entire walls. The structure would collapse in seconds when his safety barrier fell, and he had to make sure he was gone by then. He fled out the front door, warning everyone to move back. “There’s a bomb!”

The house exploded behind him, windows shattering and wood splintering, flying in all directions. David fell to the ground, doing his best to fake an expression of terror and disgust. Another job well done. They think M.A. is a terrorist, and Verabar is safe. Next stop: Portland, Oregon. 

A Story A Day Challenge – Sept 6: The Dance

Check out my previous entries for the Story A Day Challenge here. I guess this kind of feeds off of the darker themes and romance shown in my story from yesterday, but on a different level.


The Prompt

Write a story set in an abandoned location. It could be a foreclosed house, a closed-down theme park, a ghost town, or anything else. Think about the location’s past and its story, and use those ideas to fuel your plot.

The Dance

The orchestral sounds and gritty keyboards traveled through the creaking house like a phantom, swirling around the candle-lit living room. Marissa twirled with Mitch, but she preferred to watch their shadows on the weathered walls and the ripped rug below.

The turntable sounded a bit too brassy, but Mitch didn’t seem to mind. All he wanted to do was dance, he said. So they were, hands intertwined as they went round and round the room. Mitch had been surprised when she invited him to the Lynne Manor, but he followed blindly as he always did, despite his protests of it being haunted. Such a fool, but a sweet, lovable fool too. She looked into his bright blue eyes, which were so bright people couldn’t stand to make eye-contact with him. Marissa loved them, though. So perfect.

She let the music steal her away, smiling with each step, feeling Mitch’s heat as she pressed closer to him. She also felt him shiver when she placed her ice-cold hands on his face, smoothing his soft brown hair away from his left eye. It had always been that way, yet he never asked why she was always so cold. She supposed the rumors were true. Each generation was less observant than the last.

He smiled back at her finally, the song changing. “You look beautiful tonight,” he complimented.

Marissa glanced down at her white dress. It is beautiful. “Am I not beautiful every night?” She pressed. “Or am I especially beautiful on this night?”

“You are the most beautiful woman on any night, but especially tonight,” Mitch said. “I just don’t understand why you chose such an odd place.”

“It’s just an old house,” Marissa replied. She giggled. “I take that back. You’ve heard the stories: the last family to live here was murdered, and since then no one has stayed. The Williams fled after seeing things in the 1990s, and no one has occupied the place since.” She motioned to the walls. “Vandalism has left this place in ruins. It’s a shame. It was such a beautiful house.”

“I’ve been here before,” Mitch said. “I went with a bunch of friends, ghost hunting. This place is haunted, I saw it happen. Books fall off of the shelves, windows break, and floor boards creak above. But…somehow I feel safe with you. Don’t you believe in ghosts?”

Marissa couldn’t hold that laugh. “If you want me to.”

They danced for hours, the orange glow outside turned to darkness. The record had ended long ago, but they kept going, Marissa never wanted the night to end. But it must. I promised.

Mitch removed his hands from Marissa’s shoulders. “It’s late. I don’t like the look of this place at night.”

“Are you scared?” She teased him. “Afraid that the ghosts are going to come out and get you?”

As if the magic words had been spoken, the sound of shattering glass made Mitch jump. “What was that?” He’s trembling, Marissa noted. My poor man is terrified and I can do nothing.

“We best get out of here, then,” Marissa said. “Before they eat us.” She grabbed his hand and together they stepped toward the foyer, but not before Mitch stopped dead in his tracks. “What is it?”

“The turntable…” The realization spread across his face as he began to sweat. “This house doesn’t have power. How did it work?”

Smart boy. No one had figured that out before.

The chandelier began to shake above them, and the shelves rattled, books flying off in all directions. The turntable began to play again, the needle returning to the start of side “B.” Then the entire house was illuminated as the lights turned on, then flickered off again. Mitch screamed, and Marissa screamed with him.

Marissa was pulled along as Mitch ran for the front door, nearly tripping over the bulge in the hardwood floor. He reached for the handle and pulled it down, but the door wouldn’t budge. She could hear his heart pounding out of control. The lights flickered again, and the great foyer chandelier crashed down from the vaulted ceiling above, shattering into billions of tiny bits. She had never seem Mitch so afraid. She had taken him for a tough guy at first, but she had discovered his unease towards the supernatural when he first entered the house a year ago.

“It will be okay,” she comforted him, trying to make her voice sound as unsure as possible. She liked it when he was scared. “Hopefully the ghosts will realize that we didn’t murder them.”

The ghastly blue light from the next room was the cue for what Marissa had to do next. She turned and screamed, giving it her all as the figures came into the foyer, transparent and bloodied from the murders in 1976: a man, a woman, and a little boy. The man’s body was pierced with base of a candelabra, and the woman’s throat was slit. The boy, however, did not have any wounds. Mitch’s yelling was out of control. He was pounding at the door, hoping that it would budge.

“It will only open when we tell it to,” the woman said, drifting to them.

“Mitch,” Marissa said, tugging at his sleeve. “It’s alright. They only want your soul.”

He looked at her in horror, and that hurt Marissa the most, but she knew it had to be done. Her skin was a radiant light blue just like her family, her right eye hanging from its socket, and her cheeks cut to the bone, and now Mitch was trying to get as far from her as possible.

“You never asked my permission before you began to date my daughter,” the man accused him, stepping forward. “My answer would have been a ‘no’.”

The door opened he ran down the driveway at light speed, never looking back. She felt her mother’s hand on her shoulder. “Such a handsome young man. Such a shame, but perhaps he should know better than to ask a ghost for a girlfriend.”

“It was such a nice dance,” Marissa whispered, turning away. “The best I have ever had.”

Story A Day Challenge – Sept 5: Gloomy Forest Lullaby

I’m participating in the Story A Day Challenge. You can read my previous post here, which takes place in the same world as this one.


Prompt: Dark, Gloomy Forest

Your character is alone in the woods and finds blighted trees, drooping plants…rot and slime everywhere. It once was beautiful but overnight is turning into a swamp–its not natural. Your character must get to the bottom of this and stop it before something they love very much is threatened also. Extra points if your character actually doesn’t know this forest and ends up getting lost. Maybe the trees have turned evil and… *gulp* developed something of an appetite?

Gloomy Forest Lullaby

Oliver Gray awoke beneath the canopy of softly blowing trees, watching pinecones fall and leaves drift in the breeze. He smiled. It was rare for him to smile in the morning, but today was special. It was the second day of his camping trip with his girlfriend, and he planned to make the most of it.

He rolled out of the sleeping bag that was placed on the hill above the campsite, water splashing on impact. Huh? His clothes were soaked with the murky water, slime and goop sticking to his skin. It didn’t rain overnight. He stood up and looked around the dark trees, their bark surrounded by moss and vines. No one else was around, and that worried him the most.

“Shelley? Shelley, where are you?” He hollered, stepped back to higher ground.

Nothing was right. He had gone to sleep in the Gifford Pinchot Forest, a place of tall firs and hemlocks, not swamp lands. And he had slept with Shelley by his side and now, she was gone. No, he corrected himself. She probably just went back to the truck to get something.

He pulled himself away from the campsite, following the flooded trail back to the forest road. He climbed up the steep hill and gasped. The forest road had turned into a stagnant river overnight, his truck stuck amidst lilly pads and algae. “Shelley!”

“Oliver! Oliver!”

His heart jumped. She was alive. “Where are you?”

Shelley emerged from the trees, out of breath and dirtied. Her hair was mangled and caked with dirt and weeds, and her clothes were ripped.

Oliver embraced Shelley, feeling her warm body, her smooth skin. “We have to get out of here. This isn’t right. It has to be someone from Verabrar, trying to steal me away to that prison again.”

“No, Oliver.” Shelley let go and backed away. “It isn’t someone from Verabrar. It’s me. I’m special too.”

“That’s good!” Oliver assured her, reaching for her again. Shelley pushed him away, tears starting to drop from her eyes. “What’s wrong?”

“Me.” Shelley wiped the tears away. “I can’t control it, Oliver. I didn’t want any of this to happen. I could hurt you.”

“I can get you help,” Oliver offered. “I have friends who deal with abilities. They can teach you how to control the urge. Before I got help, I would freeze everything I touched. Now, I don’t even think about my abilities. This can be you too.”

Oliver grabbed her hand and led her away from the truck, following the river towards civilization. Neither of them said a word as they walked. Minutes seemed like hours, but they still seemed to be heading nowhere. “We didn’t drive that far in from the forest highway,” Oliver said. “We should have reached it by now.”

“It’s me again,” Shelley admitted. “The river, it keeps changing course. We’re going nowhere and everywhere at once.” She let go of Oliver. “You’ll make it out of here if you leave without me.”

“No! I’m not going to do that.”

“Goodbye, Oliver.” Shelley turned and fled, rushing into the darkness under the trees.

“Wait!” Oliver ran after her, falling down the bank and nearly rolling into a tree. And he would have, had he not thrown this hands up, freezing the tree and causing it to shatter like glass. He stood up, dizzy and disoriented. He had no idea which direction Shelley had gone. Paths led through the growing swamp in every direction, grasses and flowers growing and growing before his eyes, covering any footprints that may have been left. Frogs croaked all around and insects closed in on him by the dozen. She doesn’t want me to find her.

He chose the path in front of him, knowing it was best not to overthink her course. He stepped carefully between the plants, not knowing what may lie ahead. He took another step, his foot slipping into a small hole, water once again filling his boots, and it was cold. Not that the cold bothered him much, he could freeze things after all. He lifted his foot and kept going, following the bend in the path around a bog, full of stumps and logs. She’s killing the forest.

Flowers continued to bloom as he pressed on, but every time he looked back they would shrivel and die, turning to ash. All he could think about at that moment was fire. I hate fire. He didn’t mind heat because often times it helped him control his abilities, but fire, fire was something else. It could kill, and he was sure he would melt if he caught fire.

The trail ended abruptly at the edge of a large pond, but Oliver knew the way. Shelley stood at the center of the small island, turning to face him. She smiled at him, then threw her arms in the air. They split and twisted, blood spilling all over as her body continued to split apart and change. The pieces of her arms grew longer, twisting and twisting like branches. The blood began to turn green and still, like the vines that surrounded Oliver in the trees. Then her skin turned to bark and she became still, leaves blooming from the branches of the new tree, more beautiful than any of those around him in the decaying forest. Flowers bloomed in the meadows of the island, pinks and oranges in neat rows.

Oliver waded across the water, tears filling his eyes, then freezing. Even the water grew colder as his sorrow took hold. He climbed ashore and knelt beside the tree. He felt weak, and his spirit was broken. Shelley had been his only true love. How can I love again?

He closed his eyes and tried to weep, but the tears continued to freeze, preventing him from crying. It hurts like hell. He felt something tap him on the shoulder, again and again.

Do not weep for me, Oliver. It is better this way.

I’m dreaming, Oliver thought.

Open your eyes.

Oliver did as he was told. A snake-like branch of the Shelley tree had touched him. “Shelley?”

I’m here. 

“Why, I could have helped you! I could have saved you.”

I am safe. I did as I was told. There are things about this world you have yet to understand, Oliver, but you will in time. I have fulfilled my duty, a protector of the enchanted woods. You must leave. Find others like you, and keep them close.

“I will come back for you,” he promised. “I will help you.”

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. 

The branch lifted itself from his shoulder and the tree straightened itself once again. Oliver remained there for a few moments, anger setting in. How could she do that to me. He yelled aloud and felt his strength leave him, just as it began to snow.

Story A Day Challenge – Sept 4

Wow, its been a long time since I’ve posted any fiction on here. Actually, its been a while since I’ve successfully written anything at all. It’s hard to get back into the mood of writing when you’ve been away for so long, as I was shown when I tried to restart on one of my novels.

In an effort to cure whatever is looming over me and to earn my visitors back (no one looks at my blog anymore…whoops) I have decided to take part in the Story A Day Challenge. Writing is hard for me, I’ll admit it. I seem to be able to write during NaNoWriMo season just fine, but the rest of the year is a lull when it comes to fiction. My biggest problem is that I’m scared to publish my writing until I feel it is perfect. That’s why I have never really shared anything long or overly complex. I got scared at how people will react to it and I worry constantly that I’m not a good enough writer. That’s why I’m excited about this new challenge, even if I’m joining in a few days late. The program promotes writing daily no matter the quality or the quantity.

I am starting on Day Four, but I do plan to go back and write the first three prompts for you guys.

Flight

The Prompt:

A person wakes up, not quite remembering what happened the night before, and is surprised and upset by what they see outside the window.

Colton woke clutching his head, nails puncturing the skin like it was a tomato. The pain throbbed up and down his skull, from ear to ear and mouth to scalp, then it was gone, almost like a lingering nightmare that had forgotten to let go. He sat up quicker than expected, his back aching and his arms numb.

His mind raced, and it wasn’t winning. What happened? How did I get home? At least, he assumed it was his home. Everything looked the same in the dark. He let his feet swing to the floor and gradually pulled himself into a standing position, grasping the desk beside him. Ah, so I am home, he realized, relief spreading through him.

The clock on the desk was out and Colton groaned. Did the power go out?

He stumbled across the room and found the light-switch, flicking it on and squinting from the immediate rays of blinding light. I guess the power isn’t out, then. He grabbed the alarm clock and pulled it from the plug. It wasn’t the first time he’d had a clock stop working. He set it down by the door so that he would remember to buy a new one, then looked up at his reflection in the mirror.

His normally slicked-back hair was messier than ever, twigs and leaves buried beneath the brown locks. He was still wearing his black Motley Crue T-shirt and a pair of grass-stained blue jeans. I don’t own a pair of stained jeans. “What happened,” he asked aloud.

His mind picked up the pace. He remembered going out to the school with his friend Gabe with a few video cameras. “Cameras,” he sighed. “Why would I bring cameras to the school…with Gabe?” I don’t usually talk to myself either.

The thought flew in his brain as though he had served it and his body continued to swing the racket, only for the game to keep going on and on. Flew. Flew. Fly. I was flying.

He knew he had hit the jackpot. Yesterday he had gone to the school at night to show Gabe that he could fly, and it had gone wrong. He flew, but the crash…that’s why his body hurt all over. He chuckled at his returning memory, He could fly! But what did Gabe think? Had he seen it? Did he catch it on camera?

The sound of squeaky brakes outside returned him to reality. He rushed to the window and lifted the shades. The bright yellow school bus was already picking up his peers.

“That stupid clock!” He yelled, throwing on some clean clothes. Then he rushed to the bathroom, splashed some water on his hair to smooth it down, and brushed his teeth in record time. He didn’t want to be late for school again or his parents would find out. And what would I tell them? That I can fly? He smiled at the thought and headed downstairs. He opened the front door and unlocked the car with his remote. If only it were safe enough to fly.