Conquer The Craft

#CTC29 Day 16 – Play With Plot Archetypes

Preamble

Today, we are being asked to choose a plot archetype and write the confrontation/climax scene.

The plot archetype I have chosen is the “Golem Story”. The larger story line is:
A young witch summons a water elemental in the hopes of taking on 3 rival witches who destroyed her home.

All contributions for this challenge can be accessed through here.

Day 16 Response (a rough draft)

Sabrina Rhodes rushed to Riverside while everyone was running away. She knew it would be bad but could not have imagined the towering wall of water that seemed to be toying with all of the people trying to run away.

The water playfully threatened to suck away a man who was so focused on escaping he’d hardly noticed that a thin tendril of water was a mere inch away from his head. The water. It was alive thanks to her.

She’d been sitting underneath her favorite willow tree three days ago feeling angry and hurt over what’d happened to her home. She wanted revenge. She wanted to be able to get even and restore some dignity and that was when the letters began to emerge upon the surface of the river. She’d instinctively started chanting.

Enough of the trip down memory lane, she told herself. She needed to focus on what was ahead of her. She had to banish the water elemental that she’d basically summoned and lost control of.

So, Sabrina stood there facing the wall of water and steadily approached it. She’d gathered all her willpower into a hardened nugget in her gut just like her Mom had taught her. Be grounded and be strong, her Mom would say.

She cleared her mind to open her pathway to the Source only to find herself drenched. The elemental had decided to soak her. She laughed. She laughed even louder when she the confused face of the elemental. It’d been expecting retaliation and Sabrina’s laughter had been the most outlandish, albeit childish, thing possible.

Sabrina tapped into the Source and simply dried herself. She was drenched again. She dried herself again. This time, a tendril of water snaked around her waist. She couldn’t help her nervous laugh as the elemental slowly tugged her closer. At the same time, the tendril was widening and she found her waist whole abdomen cinched tightly in a sleeve of running water.

The sleeve began to lengthen of its own volition. Sabrina lost her cool as her anxiety sky rocketed. She was trapped and bound and was soon to be drowned by this elemental she’d summoned, quite accidentally if you were to ask her.

Reading her thought, the elemental spoke “It was no accident. Any fully trained witch would have known.Too bad your mother died before she could complete your training. They say she drowned. How unfortunate for her and you but you’ll be a good little girl and drown just like her too.”

Sabrina screamed. The elemental had gotten inside her head. It seemed to read her every thought. The water sleeve now came up to her chin. This was definitely not the image she’d had in her mind’s eye when she’d thought of how to confront the elemental. In that one, she had nerves of steel and was invincible. In fact, she’d gotten inside it’s mind and had out-maneuvered it. Now, the elemental’s laugh simply deafened.

Sabrina accepted her imminent death. She wasn’t certain but it had seemed the elemental had eased its grip on her when she’d chosen death. She dared not think too hard or too much about anything as she methodically shut down her senses.

The first to go was her sight. She turned off her eyes. All she saw black. Nothing was projecting upon her mind’s screen. Sound came next. As she’d turned her ears off, she relaxed her shoulders into the welcoming silence. Smell came next. That had been a tough one as she bid farewell to her garden for the second time in one week. Taste came shortly after. Even the moment of her demise which should have been bittersweet held no taste. It didn’t even evoke any emotion in the blandness of her remaining life.

Touch. She could not let go of that one. She could not help it. She managed a smile somehow. It was a hollow one.  She took a last deep breath. It was the one she’d intended to hold as her face would be encased in water. She shivered and in doing felt something against her arm. She gently moved her left hand over her right arm and she was sure. She felt letters.

With her last breath, she chanted the words that seemed etched upon her skin. With her last breath, she turned on all of her senses. With her last breath, she saw the elemental had been banished. She took another breath and another one and another one grateful to realize that she was still alive.

Conquer The Craft

#CTC29 Day 15 – Learn The Landmarks

Preamble

Today, we are being asked to think about the plot of a story rather than write about a character or write any particular type of scene. The plot map is broken down into 13 sequences.

Learn the Landmarks Courtesy of Conquer the Craft

All contributions for this challenge can be accessed through here.

Day 15 Response (a rough plot)
  1. Home base.
    • Wynter is one of ten townships that are regarded as seats of power. Wynter has been shrouded in the mystery of ages. Numerous uprisings started in Wynter.
  2. Meet the traveler.
    • Kelyn Marik is anxious about what lies ahead as she transitions to Wynter to complete her final year of finishing before being released to the service of the people.
  3. Conflict swamp.
    • After having journeyed for 2 days, Kelyn Marik is reunited with her nanny Nalewa. She manages to break the house rules within minutes of her arrival and her recurring dream starts again.
  4. Fork in the road.
    • Kelyn Marik is on edge now. She has learned she really can’t trust anyone and must evade getting drugged into forgetfulness again. She commits to understanding her recurring dream and tapping into her repressed memories.
  5. Into the woods.
    • Kelyn readies herself for life at the estate. She discovers a friend or two along the way.
  6. Moving right along.
    • Kelyn meets the Herbalist, the Librarian and the Blacksmith. These are her teachers at this Estate.
      1. The Herbalist seems benign and nice and dotes on her incurring a jealousy attack from the other students.
      2. The Librarian challenges her with new tasks she had never done before.
      3. The Blacksmith is where she slips in time and and accesses a scene which reveals the Duskweavers.
  7. Hooray, a clearing!
    • Kelyn and Radnan sneak off site and discover the Grove. The magic of the land lulls them into a sense of comfort and surety. Even Vaji backs off.
  8. Over the cliff.
    • Once back at the Estate, Kelyn learns that at least 3 different factions are working against her.
      1. Vaji, she is a professional assassin and fellow student.
      2. Nalewa, a shaman whose job is to keep Kelyn alive but also to prevent the prophecy from manifesting.
      3. House Mother Narin, the chief tactician for the Duskweavers and sworn enemy of the child of the prophecy.
  9. Pit of despair.
    • Kelyn is abducted by the Duskweavers and she awaits her final moments
  10. Climbing the mountain.
    • Kelyn taps into her Deconstructor birthright.
      1. She realizes where the source of the energy in the camp is coming from.
      2. She edges her way closer to it while under the watchful eye of her kidnappers.
      3. She notices that only two in the entire camp can work the energy like she can.
  11. You reach the summit!
    • Kelyn faces the Duskweavers and cleverly uses what she has learned of working with energy and shuts down the energy source.
  12. The other side of the mountain.
    • News of her victory travels far and she can still trust no one. She knows that her future will be full of confrontation but her fights to liberate the human minds from the grip of the Duskweavers is her ultimate calling.
  13. The last word.
    • She promises herself to find her people and whatever remains of her family. She refuses to believe that she is the last one of her kind that is alive.
Conquer The Craft

#CTC29 Day 14 – Famous Last Words

Preamble

Today, we are being asked to write an ending. More exactly, to choose a last line and write up to it.

The last line I would like to use is:
If every man could have a prayer left in the world, what’s yours gonna be?” The line comes courtesy of the song “Murder In The First Degree” by Griffin House.

All contributions for this challenge can be accessed through here.

Day 14 Response (a rough draft)

Listen here good people. I have a story to tell.  If ever the devil were to have offspring with them guardian angels, Charlie Sharp is what you’d get. Some call him a sinner. Some call him a saint. What you call him is gonna be up to you.

Now, Charlie Sharp never liked the big company people. In fact, he’d lived out in the country and isolated himself from what he took for endless greed.

He got his land from Grandpa who’d made him swear on his soul to never sell out and to never give in to the gas types. There’d be blood and tears sure to follow.

Charlie remembered those words just like it was yesterday. He stank of gas and dried blood. Yes, he’d done it. Murdered that ass of lawyer who’d insisted that the city needed to run a pipeline through his land.

Charlie knew it hadn’t be a good Christian thing to do but promises to blood were that much harder to ignore. He’d have had Grandpa chasing him through Hell and back if he hadn’t even tried.

Progress they called it.  All them years he’d tucked himself away. Well, he wasn’t as backward as they’d all thought. He bought them electronic trinkets as they’d come out and he’d learned them so he could trick them.

So he’d killed a man, three shots in the back just like that. It had sickened him and he’d retched all over the dead man. Now that, he didn’t mean to do. All dead things needed to be handled with respect. All dead things needed their final rights read to them. Even for that ass of a man, Charlie’d shed a tear. He was probably some Mama’s misguided son.

He had some time still before the sun went down. He set to digging a grave for the dead lawyer who’d trespassed and wouldn’t stop moving despite all the warnings. Well so be it, he was going to bury the man right next to his best dog, Lester. They sure did not make dogs like that any more. The Lord had definitely broke the mold after Lester was born.

Even the Lord should see how much respect he’d given the dead lawyer. He sure hoped that’d count for something up at them pearly gates.

Charlie’d started chuckling to himself like a madman. It’d been years since he’d said the Lord’s Prayer or even thanked him for his daily bread. It’d seemed that time was the most powerful thing. It had sapped away his youth and did not leave much for faith. Of course, he still wasn’t sure if it was faith that kicked in around the dead or just his Grandpa words that had been etched onto his soul. Grandpa had been a very convincing man.

Charlie knew he’d been out of prayers for many years. He’d gotten a wife but she turned out barren. She took her own life when the good city doctor had explained that she could not have any children. He’d said it had been her fault and not his. His own seed still swam strong in his loins.

Charlie’d buried her then. It’d been hard. She’d walked out on the life he’d given her and he didn’t have it in him then to make her a deep grave. It hadn’t taken long for torn up bits of his wife to show up. He’d surprised himself though. Instead of feeling happy about it or nothing about it, it upset him. He’d decided from then on to always respect the dead even though in life they’d long since run out.

Charlie was convinced he’d been the David fighting the corporate Goliaths. None could spar so well against him and against his land. Now, though, it was different. The young of the town had been coated in toxic greed. You could always see the slime roll off of them.

The young had stopped supporting him since the last time one of them corporate Goliaths had come to spar. They’d wanted to build a natural gas pipeline. It would have cut right through his land. He’d pitched a fight and had said no. Of course, it hadn’t been a win. It had been a compromise. They’d routed the pipeline around his property.

The young of the town had stopped caring whether or not the pipeline had leaked and it did. Many times. Now, they’d wanted to put in another to replace the leaky one from a decade ago. It would stop the leaks they said. Dumb kids, all lines leak when you give them time. He was frustrated with them, the young. They’d never wanted to recognize that lines built by man fail. They’d keep on forgetting their most Christian of lessons even though they went to Church every Sunday.

Charlie was convinced that the world had run out of prayers. But, if every man could have a prayer left in the world, what’s yours gonna be?

Conquer The Craft

#CTC29 Day 13 – The Five Promises In The First Five Pages

Preamble

Today, we are being asked to read the Five Promises article. Based on the information found within, we are to craft the first 5 pages of a story fulfilling the 5 promises: character, voice, the world, a problem, and an event.

The premise I would like to write about is:
A detective loses his partner in action and is forced to take on a new partner and a new case or he loses his job and with that, the health benefits which are currently paying for his daughter’s battle with cancer.

All contributions for this challenge can be accessed through here.

Day 13 Response (a rough draft)

“Welcome back, Peter. Are you feeling better now?”

Peter Krill heard those words and dodged the question with a non committal shrug as he entered his office. He looked around the office and saw that his desk had been organized. He wearily approached his chair and sat down. He closed his eyes and remembered how the office used to be. One could always count on the distinct smell of tea as it steeped in Shannon’s cup. It was almost like before except Shannon wasn’t coming back. She died in his arms in the line of duty.

Peter shuddered at the goriness of his last memory of Shannon. He did not want to see that image again. Not of Shannon and her blood drenched chest and the three gaping holes left by the bullets. Not of him cradling her and calling for help trying to will life into her inert body.

He looked up when there was a soft knock on the door. It was Miss Markley, Director Pfeiffer’s assistant.

“Welcome back, Peter. Director Pfeiffer would like to meet you. I have your coffee already made. It’s waiting for you upstairs.”

“Why, thanks, Miss Markley. I’ll go up and see him. Do you suppose you could make me some tea instead?”

“I did not know you drank tea. What kind? Earl Grey? Green Tea?”

“Look, just make me some of Shannon’s tea.” he said as he left the room.

He decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator. He figured he had less of a chance of running into people that way. He took a deep breath as he opened the hallway door for level 5. He forced a smile on his face as he entered Director Pfeiffer’s office.

“Welcome back, Peter. I bet you’re pretty tired of hearing that by now. Hang in there. Life can get better.” Director Pfeiffer assured Peter.

“Thank you for the welcome, Sir. But what did you want to see me about?”

“Well, Peter. There’s been a murder and not a run-of-the-mill one at that. I believe the Bureau will need your help on this one. Daniel Steadman, a lead researcher for MyChai Corp was murdered the night before his grand jury testimony against his employer. Daniel was being protected at his house by the Bureau. There were two agents stationed in the hallway just outside his bedroom door. There was no sign of breaking and entering. No one was caught asleep on their shift. When the agent went in to check on Daniel in the morning, he found him dead!”

“Wait, so no one saw anything suspicious?”

“No.”

“What about the murder weapon? Did you find it?”

“No.”

“I see where my investigation style can help with this case. But what exactly is MyChai Corp?”

“Peter, MyChai makes the tea that you are drinking right now. One more thing, you will be working with Eileen Gibson. She is fresh out of Quantico and there is a push from top that she be partnered with you.”

“I thought you were watching out for me, Director. I can’t do this. Shannon had seven years in the Bureau. She was a pro and still, she was killed. How do you expect me to deal with a green agent? I don’t want to work here. I don’t have to help you on this case!” Peter said as he slammed his fist on the desk.     Outraged, he got up to leave and saw the Director block his way.

“Peter, I know you are mad. You have every right to be. But you can’t leave now. Not when your daughter’s chemo treatment is being covered by our health plan. Think of Emmy, Peter. You are doing this for her and no one else.”

“For Emmy… then.” Peter said in a flat, quiet voice as he left the room. He felt as deflated and beaten as he sounded.

When Peter got back to his office, he found Eileen Gibson there waiting for him. She was sitting at the desk that used be Shannon’s.

She looked up and said “Hello, I’m Eileen Gibson and you must be Peter Krill.”

“I know. Look, I don’t know if you know but a really great agent and friend used to sit at the desk you are sitting at now. Always remember that. I am going to work with you because I have to not because I want to. Is that clear?” Peter carried on regardless of how uncomfortably Eileen squirmed.

“Yes.”

“Show me the case file.”

With that, Peter began the investigation in earnest. His first request was to visit the crime scene. He found the chalk marks indicating how the body was sprawled beside the bedroom window.

He looked closer at the window and noticed that it was locked from the inside. He also noticed some scuff marks on the outside windowsill. He called Eileen over to see if she could notice the same thing.

“Eileen, do you see the scratch marks on the outside windowsill?”

“Now that you mention it, I do. I remember that sort of thing happening when my Dad was trying to line up a long ladder against the side of our house and Mom getting mad at him.”

“Eileen, not bad. That’s was my thought as well. The perp must have used a ladder against the wall to gain access to the room.”

“Peter, it would make sense that no one saw anything. This wall faces a greenway. There is no street access, so the Bureau car wouldn’t have seen anything.”

“Well, this leaves the matter of getting in. How did the perp get in and not cause Daniel to panic and call for help? It has to be one of two things, Eileen. Either, Daniel was fast asleep when the perp entered through the window or Daniel knew the perp and then things turned ugly.”

“Peter, there is one catch. The agents made sure the window was locked before Daniel went to bed and it was still locked when he was found in the morning.”

“I’ll have to think on that one. How about we go visit MyChai Corp and see what we can learn about the late Daniel Steadman’s work.”

Peter and Eileen headed over to MyChai Corp. Walking into the building was like walking into a top secret government facility. Peter noticed the austere lobby and the numerous security officers verifying badges and operating metal detectors. Flashing his FBI Badge, he asked if he could talk to someone at the company regarding Daniel Steadman. The security officer suggested that Peter and Eileen may talk to Ben Jamison.

Peter and Eileen were escorted to a massive conference room where they came upon ten corporate lawyers and one Ben Jamison.

“Welcome agents, I am Ben Jamison and I understand you want to learn about Daniel Steadman’s work.”

Conquer The Craft

#CTC29 Day 12 – The Fool

Preamble

Today, we are being asked to write a scene  in which the protagonist meets a character (a Fool archetype) who challenges her most basic, fundamental beliefs.

The premise I would like to write about is:
A young girl talks to her nanny and begins to question the her state of mind that she is brought up with.

All contributions for this challenge can be accessed through here.

Day 12 Response (a rough draft)

It was two days till Amanda’s tenth birthday. The closer she got to her birthday, the sadder she was. It looked like she will be left alone to celebrate her birthday just like last year and the year before that.

She wasn’t thinking of the parties she’d had and the one coming up on the horizon. She was thinking of Mum and Papa. Their work seemed to take them far away and almost always on her birthday. Of course, they’d leave her with Helena. Rather, they’d have Helena temporarily move in to cover their absence.

“Cheer up, Amanda. You are turning 10 years old in two days. In fact, I am quite sure everyone on the planet was excited when they turned 10. Let’s embrace normal for a change!” Helena said over her still steaming tea.

“Helena. Ugh. I just feel forgotten. Not you forgetting me but do Mum and Papa really care about me? I mean, I am turning 10 and not like boring 8 or 9 years old. Could they not make an exception just this once? Stop looking at me that way. If you want me to cheer up, then you need to cheer up too!” Amanda countered.

“Fair enough. Do you want me to read you a story? Or shall we recite some poetry? Or better yet, would like me to have another go at the piano?” Helena offered.

“Tell me a story about your family, Helena. What was it like the day you turned 10? Did you have a big party? Did you get a lot of presents? Were you parents there?” Amanda asked leaning in.

“Amanda, dear. I can answer your questions but first you need to realize that there is no happiness in those answers.” Helena replied as looked Amanda in the eye.

Amanda sat up and straight completely absorbed in thought. Her Helena, who’d always make her laugh and pull her out of her foulest of moods, had a sad childhood. She silently debated between learning more about Helena and asking Helena to play the piano again. She’d mash the keys in such odd ways to make the funniest of sounds.

“Amanda. Is everything ok? Why does it seem like I lost you? How about we head over to the piano? My story can wait. It is about me after all and not about putting a smile on your face.” Helena spoke so gently, one would think she was talking to an injured kitten.

“Wait, Helena. You caught me thinking. I do want to hear about you. You have known me all my life and I barely know anything about you. Tell me about your 10th birthday. Tell me about how you met my parents.” Amanda got up and nestled herself against Helena’s legs and looked up expectantly.

“I wasn’t always old, you know. And, I didn’t always live here. Back then, I lived out in the country. Back then, people like me were called slaves. We did hard chores like farming and tending the cattle and the land. We had masters who would rewards us with food and water and sometimes new clothes. They would do that, of course, only if we’d made them happy which wasn’t too much.

Soon people from the city came and took away all the masters saying that slavery was illegal and that it had been banned hundred of years before. They took all of us children to a place called an orphanage. I tried telling them that I preferred to be with my Mum and Papa but it was like they could not understand what I was saying.

So it seemed like I was to be stuck in that orphanage, the place for kids who do not have parents, except that I had my own and I knew that they loved me and were fighting to get me back. The orphanage matron explained to us that we are to be socialized and taught proper language so we can better fit in with the rest of the people. She also explained that she understood our language and will help us learn the new one. She also explained that we would never see our parents again. They had to go through their own program and it was much harder and they did not want the children to be a distraction.

I was so caught up in my own sadness. One day, though, I found myself soaking wet. A little boy had dropped a water balloon over my head. He must have found the sight so funny because he laughed so hard tears were streaming out of his eyes. And, I could not help myself either. I caught the laughter like it was a bug and laughed my hurt right out of me. I laughed the loneliness out while I planted seeds for love.

You know what, Amanda. That little boy was your Papa. He’d been an orphan too. His parents had died in building fire while he was at school one day.

We decided then and there to be family. He would be my forever brother and I would be his forever sister. Having your Papa for a friend and brother was the only gift I got that year. You guessed right, it was the year I turned 10 years old.”

“Oh, Helena. I am so glad you and Papa became friends. I, I, don’t think I can complain at anything now. You are family whether it says so on a piece of paper or not.” Amanda hugged Helena and held on to her.

“Do you want me to tell you why your Mum and Papa seem to always be gone around your birthday?” Helena offered.

“No. I will wait and ask them that myself when they get back. I know now that they do love me. I know that whatever the reason, it will make me feel proud.” Amanda smiled and knew she was finally ready to be 10 years old.

Conquer The Craft

#CTC29 Day 11 – Mentor’s Secret

Preamble

Today, we are being asked to write a mentor monologue with a twist. In the scene we are being asked to write, the mentor imparts information to the main character and in the process reveals a flaw or two.

The premise I would like to write about is:
Mentor lectures about self sacrifice and being impartial but is incapable of doing it to the degree he believes himself capable of.

All contributions for this challenge can be accessed through here.

Day 11 Response (a rough draft)

Gregg Lamb paced by the windows in his office. The view overlooking the Willamette River did nothing for him today. He was supposed to get his apprentice at last.

He had screened more than a hundred prospects before settling on Marley Krane. The girl was young for the mastery and depth of skill she had shown. Ageless is how he preferred to think of her. Perhaps, just perhaps, he could train her to be the best Matrix Minder out there. He could already see himself grooming her to take on his role as Matrix Keeper.

The pain in his hips and the tingling in his toes were ever present today. The Matrix was fully taxing him and despite that he vowed to himself that he would not let Marley down. He would do right by her.

The intercom buzzed “Marley Krane is here to see you.”

“Send her in,” he replied adjusting his tie.

“Hello, Mr Lamb. My name is Marley Krane and I am reporting in for my training per the instructions mailed to my home.”

“Ah, Marley. Welcome! First things first, while in this building, you will need to address me as Keeper. In turn, I will be addressing you as Minder. We keep our personalities in check while in service to the Matrix. Understood?”

“Yes, Keeper.”

“Your training will begin soon. This is the last of your free time in this building. How would you like to spend this time, Minder?”

“Keeper, I would like to ask you some questions if that is OK with you. I want to know some more about the Matrix. There has to be more to it than what we were taught in school.”

Gregg could not help himself but smile. He had hoped that that would have been her response. He had all but invited her to fritter her time away and here she was wanting to jump right into what her lifetime of service would be like.

“Minder, let us both find some comfortable chairs. This will take a while.

The Matrix is the web of all that is. It is where the energy spark of every living being is stitched into a fabric of interdependency. Minders, like you, will tend to various swaths of energy. They will look for troubled red spots where the energy flares. They will tap into their knowledge to neutralize it. They will look for cold areas where the energy does not flow. They will look to unblock it using their tools.

Of course, I am the Keeper. It is my job to make sure the Matrix is used for the good of all without any selfishness. It is my job to eliminate negative and ailing sectors of the Matrix and replace it with the unrecognized potential of new fertile life.

The nature of the work we do will keep us separate from everyone else. Our integrity can’t be compromised. We must keep bias out of all things. Our first priority is to the Matrix and our last priority is to the Matrix as well.

Where we were born and where we were raised have very little to do with who we are today. Over time, these details will matter less and less. Some day, you will wake up without any thought as to what your origins were. Only that you are and you continue to be.”

The Keeper reached out for his hand-carved pipe and tenderly caressed it as he lit it up. Marley recognized the Ukrainian workmanship. She had seen many such pieces at her Grandfather’s residence. He’d told her that he’d brought them over with him from the Ukraine.

“Keeper, I could not help but notice the Ukrainian craftsmanship all over your office. Are they there to remind you of your origin? Or, have you simply taken on another place of origin since you no longer remember your own?”

This irritated him. This undeserved frankness on her part. “Minder, I will let this one slip because it is your first day. You will realize that this place is no home for sharp tongues and flash judgments. Your free time is now officially over.”

Conquer The Craft

#CTC29 Day 10 – Liven Up A Group Scene

Preamble

Today, we are asked to write a group scene. It needs to be a group of odd numbered people where a two-against-one situation would arise.

The premise I would like to write about is:
Two boys and one girl discover that they are gifted with seeing beyond. They see the Darkness closing in on their camp and disagree on what to do next.

All contributions for this challenge can be accessed through here.

Response

It was that time of year, again. The time when her Mom insisted on sending her to Tanner’s Youth Camp. Yeah, yeah. So she could develop her leadership skills her Mom would always say. This year would mark the fourth annual trek. She did not even look her Mom in the eye as she got out of the car and forced on a fake smile for the benefit of the Camp Counselor.

“Melia Tolentino checking in,” she said in an equally false cheery tone. She quickly noticed that both Kurt Maddox and Evan Savage were already there. Perhaps, then, it would not be so bad after all. Maybe, just maybe, they could have their own camp within the camp. Melia waved at the boys and then went about her business of getting settled in.

“Evan, dude, Melia just showed up. She has done some growing. I’d say she’s taller than you,” Kurt taunted his best friend. Evan took it all in stride. He had always been runty looking so this kind of ribbing was nothing new to him. Besides, Kurt and him might as well be brothers. They’d even shared each other’s crib. Their Moms were best friends too.

The assembly bell rang after some time and all the campers gathered around the fire pit in the middle of the camp. Melia, Kurt and Evan weaved their way through the other kids until all three of them were standing together.

One of the Camp Counselors launched into a lengthy welcome speech. Melia whispered “Bring on the boring!” Kurt and Evan struggled to keep their chuckles in check and the trio was rewarded with a glare from the Counselor.

Evan swallowed nudging both Melia and Kurt to look up. Melia found herself wiggling backward while Kurt seemed to stare helplessly at the large bat that was hovering overhead. Evan asked “What is that thing?”

“Some freak bat. Did you see the green eyes on that thing?” Kurt asked.
“Wait a minute. Why are we the only ones freaking out? Is this some sick practical joke and they are all waiting for us to scream like little girls?” Melia whispered.

The Camp Counselor was still busy with his welcome speech. He was completely unperturbed. Just then the freak bat took a dive towards the camp and Melia screamed. Fear was pouring out of her. Her face was flushed and her eyes were fully dilated. She was breathing hard and looking frantically over her shoulder.

Kurt and Evan distanced themselves from Melia. They did not want to get blamed for scaring her. More so, the freak bat was intent on hovering around her. It was trying to swipe at her hair and her face.

“Make it stop. Please, make it stop!” Melia screamed.

“Melia, what’s wrong with you? What has you so freaked out? We’re the only ones here on this really nice day at camp,” the Camp Counselor inquired gently even though he appeared upset with the interruption.

Melia, looked up at the sound of his voice. She took a deep breath, and stammered “I saw this… this… bat.” Her voice trailed off when she noticed a deep frown settle onto the Counselor’s face. Had she not been staring so intently at him, she would have missed the simple hand gesture that seemed to send the freak bat away. She swallowed hard and tried to cheer up. “I am sorry for interrupting you, Counselor. It must have been the sun and I must have been dehydrated.”

The Camp Counselor looked unconvinced but he returned to the center of the circle to quickly finish off the welcome and dismiss everyone to their assigned activities.

Melia caught up with Evan and Kurt behind the Dining Hall after she had completed her assigned chores.

“Evan! Kurt! Over here.” Melia called out from outside the Dining Hall. “Guys, there is something scary bad going on here. Did you see how the Counselor changed when he was standing over me? Did you notice how his shadow did not match his body?” Melia launched into a mini interrogation as soon as Evan and Kurt had emerged.

“Look, maybe, the three of us should act sick so that they can call our parents to come get us,” Kurt suggested.

“And, leave every one else here to deal with the freak bat? I don’t think so. We need all the campers to act sick. No one can stay here,” Melia insisted.

“I say, we need to find out if any of the other campers actually saw what we saw. We’re gonna need more allies than just us,” Evan said calmly.

“I don’t think so. What if they go and rat us out? I mean. Jeez, do you guys remember last year how Zach was picked up for disciplining and we never saw him after that? I used to think that they had just sent him home. But now….” Kurt replied. He could not help his clenched fists.

“I am with Evan on this one. We will need help. I do not even want to consider what they might do if they don’t buy our sickness act. I think we are in on their secret. But, as far as anyone knows, I am the only freak that saw that thing. I am going to need to do the normal boring camp stuff. I bet you that they’ll be watching me,” Melia said with full certainty.

“It is settled then,” Evan replied.

“No, it is definitely not!” Kurt fired back.

“Kurt, please, do it for me,” Melia begged. She looked deep into his eyes as she willed him to change his mind. She knew it. They all knew it. If the three of them could not act like a team then they were already lost.

Toronto Distillery District 02 by Brian Carson
Status

The Distillery – So What Exactly Happened This Week?

Some of you may be wondering at the sudden interruption in daily posting – both the Poetry Is series and the Conquer The Craft challenge. You all might have already guessed it. Time got away from me on Monday.

Admittedly, I was initially stumped with how to respond to Day 10 of Conquer The Craft challenge. As soon as a nucleus of an idea would form, it would dissipate before I could snatch it and throw ink at it and make it my own. I chose to ease up on myself and had fully intended to tackle it the next day. That would be Monday, August 11th.

Like many people around me, the news of Robin Williams’ death fully consumed me. The furthest thing from my mind was the blog and writing. I was busy reacting, reflecting and holding on to loved ones. This Saturday finds me in a place where I can still myself and write. I am going to work hard on getting caught up with the Conquer The Craft challenge. The prompts are simply amazing and they flexed ever ounce of writer muscle I possess.

As of this writing, I have already completed my response to Day 10 of the challenge and I am currently “marinating” my response to Day 11. My stretch goal for today is to complete Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13 and Day 14. Tomorrow, I would pick up at Day 15 and finish Day 16 and Day 17.

Apologies in advance for the large number of posts that will be coming out today. Wish me luck!

 

Conquer The Craft

#CTC29 Day 9 – Day-to-Day Villain

Preamble

Today we are asked to write about a protagonist, a villain and a common faceless antagonist.

The premise I would like to write about is:
A girl confronts her bully oblivious of the hurricane that is headed their way.

All contributions for this challenge can be accessed through here.

Day 9 Response (a rough draft)

Giselle’s cell phone vibrated near endlessly as tweet after tweet reached her handle @GiselleCox linking out the video that was anonymously uploaded. The video, to her dismay, had gone viral.

@GiselleCox epic beating #MyHeroTrish
@GiselleCox girl, you sure like your beatings #EpicFail
@GiselleCox do us all a favor, go kill yourself

She clicked through several messages before turning her phone off. At this rate, she thought she might not ever turn it on again. Giselle still had no clue how she got on Trish Wood’s bad side. Trish had been after her since Kindergarten. Of course, she complained. She spoke with the school counselors. The countless visits yielded nothing except the same line “Don’t draw attention to yourself. Blend in with other friends and don’t make yourself a target.”

Trish could do no wrong according to everyone she knew. Even her own Mom would preach Jesus at her and remind her to turn the other cheek. More practically, her Mom reminded her “No one goes up against the Mayor’s only baby girl. Play kiss ass if you have to but this is one fight no one is going to help you with.”

Giselle somehow made it. At sixteen, though, and just when things had appeared to ease up between her and Trish, this attack came about quite unexpectedly. She racked her brain for how she might have set off Trish. Nothing. She could not figure out what exactly served as the dynamite stick. The only known fact right now was that she was at the Urgent Care getting stitches in far too many places. Mostly, her face.

They, the Urgent Care folk, were trying to reach her Mom and let her know what was going on. They told her that they could not discharge her until her Mom showed up. And, that was not going to happen any time soon judging by their lack of success in reaching her. Her Mom was visiting with a client an hour and a half away. Even if they got  a hold of her now, it would still take forever.

A couple of police officers had showed up to document the incident. They went from concerned to aloof within a heartbeat once they realized that she was the subject of the viral video. They cautiously backed away and out of the waiting room.

Meanwhile, people came and went through the lobby. At one point, an older man sat down beside her and struck up a conversation. She relayed the events and the unfairness of it all when it came to being on Trish Wood’s bad side. The man seemed to be deep in thought and he finally he said “I can sell you a gun for $250 and you can get your own justice once and for all. Here’s my card. Call me when you are ready.”

Her Mom eventually showed up and took her home. They barely spoke. Her Mom was chewing her bottom lip just like she always did when she was plagued with worry and guilt. She’d seen the video. It’d made it to the evening news. Of course, Trish’s face was blotted out but everyone knew. Her Mom owed her as far as Giselle was concerned. To be specific, her Mom owed her $250 which she was going to help herself to later that night.

#####

“Hello there. It is me, the girl from the Urgent Care lobby. I want that gun. I have the money for it,” Giselle spoke into her phone after she’d left for school.

“I’ll meet you at the school’s parking lot after first period. Don’t be late, I won’t be waiting forever especially with the weather moving in,” he warned.

“Ok but according to the weather report, it will make landfall much further North. See you after first period,” she replied.

#####

First period seemed to take forever. She bolted out as soon as the bell rang. The classroom, of course, laughed at her. Her new nickname today was Gis-In-Hell.

#####

At lunch, Giselle announced that she would be groveling at Trish’s feet after school outside the gym. Everyone hooted and hollered.

#####

“Trish, I have finally learned my place. I must be an idiot ‘cause it only took me 16 years to figure this out. What can I do to make it up to?” Giselle asked in the sweetest defeated tone she could muster.

“Gis-In-Hell, I knew you’d come around. We are taking your car downtown and you’re gonna do some shop-lifting for me.”

Giselle and Trish drove away much to the crowd’s shock. Giselle had one thing in mind only: to find that perfect spot and scare Trish into submission. She drove in silence until Trish yelled “Jesus Christ, Giselle. Stop the car. Bitch, you’re driving into the bloody hurricane!”

Giselle looked up and instantly panicked swerving her car against the median.

“Great. Just great. I get stuck facing a damn hurricane with YOU of all people. We’re plain screwed,” Trish went on.

Both girls got out of the car and went at each other oblivious of the approaching hurricane and the winds that had started picking up. They tousled and fought. Giselle reached for the gun in her purse when they were both catching their breath.

“Shit, Giselle. Put that gun away, please. Damn. Look, I won’t mess with you ever. We need to get out of here.” Trish begged.

Giselle just stood there with the gun in her hand. She was transfixed and unsure of what to do next. She did not have it in her to do it. Not even aiming at anything else just to scare Trish. She was plenty scared for the two of them. They were out in the middle of nowhere with no transportation. She was convinced the nasty hurricane was certain to kill them both.

“I am sorry,” Giselle cried. She turned to run and escape the messy scene of her own making. She tripped and fell and sobbed powerlessly on the asphalt.

#####

Giselle’s memory stopped there. There was a sizable gap between that and her next memory. Trish Wood had carried her to safety and watched over her until they were both rescued. Trish had been honored as a hero and nothing was ever mentioned of the gun and that confrontation. For better or worse, Trish had kept the secret and so would she.

Magnetic Poetry and Dictionary Pages
Photo Credit: Natalie Roberts
Quote

Poetry Is

 

English: Maritime Quarter: Swansea. A statue o...

English: Maritime Quarter: Swansea. A statue of Dylan Thomas, outside the Dylan Thomas Theatre at the Marina, Swansea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick…. You’re back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps… so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in.

~Dylan Thomas, Poetic Manifesto, 1961