Sunday, August 24, 2008

No name yet... How about Brutus for now? Yes, it is Brutus...

Hmmm... I think I'm going to post a short (very short) bit of a story I'm playing with... I feel more secure, I guess, since two others were brave enough to put theirs up first. Anyway, it isn't exactly my best work, and I definately need to put a lot more effortt into it, but I would kind of like some feedback...


An aching, pulsing pain, throbbing in tune with a stumbling heart. Blood tracing skin pale and smooth, a vivid river of shadows on a sunlit plain long deserted. The voices were screaming again in his head, their mad cackling scraping against the inside of his skull like a metal file, telling him all their blackest secrets and lies. His vision began to darken, lost in a sea of red.
Ven fell slowly to his knees. Around him, the last vestiges of a shattered night rushed to embrace the land a final time before fleeing the coming dawn. But even the night’s darkness at its prime failed to cover the wasteland before him.
Blood, still vibrantly crimson in the blackness, gently lapped against his legs, soaking through his tattered jeans to coat his skin in red gore. Just ahead of him, he could make out the sharp, clean lines of a body. It lay on its back, face broken and savaged, floating in a pool of its own fluids. A mass of brown hair streamed behind it, matted and tangled, the shredded remains of a life destroyed.
Ven forced the name from his mind. No, that was not Rede, that pale, twisted thing before him. Rede was strong and healthy and so very brilliantly alive. Rede was… Ven began to vomit, the thick liquid creeping slowly through his fingers as he tried desperately to hold it back. It floated on top of the bloody water, brown and meaty, irrefutable evidence to the horrors of the night. He blinked frantically to clear the tears that burned in his eyes, turning his head quickly from side to side as common sense returned to him in a rush. It might still be out there, waiting.
Shakily, he stood, hiccupping. He avoided looking in the direction of Rede’s corpse, lest he be sick again, and told himself that the other dim shapes he saw were not the bodies of friends, but bits of swamp and dead tree. The acrid taste of bile scalded his tongue, telling him otherwise. He tried to ignore it.
But you can’t. It’s there. And so are Brutus, and Thed, and Maya. See that arm there…?
“Shut up,” he whispered. A wicked laugh, careening wildly from skull to throat to mouth, teased its way from between his lips. It tasted of sickness and obscenity, of hot and fetid flesh left to rot beneath a sun forever at its peak.
Can you smell it? It is still hot and alive, salty… It is sweet, so sweet… kneel and drink of life, taste…
Ven began to run…

Friday, August 22, 2008

Winning Fiction Contest Story

Hey this is the story I wrote that won 1st place last year I thought you guys might like to read it I'd like to hear what you guys think please share it around and give responses. Don't copy it please!

Love and Despair
By: Ryan Haskell
Gregg Barek found himself sitting on the table at the doctors. He was waiting for Dr. Sylvan to come back with all the test results. Gregg, a 44 year old man with a receding hairline and a small gut, had recently been feeling ill. He felt weak and nauseas. He thought it might be psychological; things had not been going well for him as of late.
Now Gregg was staring up at the ceiling. The hospital, of course, had fluorescent light bulbs. Gregg hated fluorescent light bulbs. They gave off a sickly pale white light. It creped him out, he felt like he was drowning in the wretched light, he just wished everyone would get rid of them.
The door finally opened after what seemed like an eternity and Dr. Sylvan stepped in. He was wearing a white lab coat and not the most reassuring look on his face.
“Are you comfortable, Mr. Barek?” asked Dr. Sylvan.
“I’m just waiting for you doctor.” Gregg responded. Dr. Sylvan paused and bit his lip turning it white.
“I may have some bad news Mr. Barek.”
“What do you mean bad news?” Once again Dr. Sylvan paused.
“I’m sorry Mr. Barek, but you have bone cancer.” He said it so bluntly the words seemed to smack Gregg across the face.
“W-wh-wha-what do you mean I have bone cancer? Are you sure? I really don’t feel that bad. Did you double check? Maybe, it was a mistake.”
“I triple checked. There’s no mistake. You definitely have bone cancer.”
“I only feel a little weak and nauseas. I can’t have cancer.”
“In a few months you’ll begin to feel more symptoms.”
“Is there anything I can do?” Gregg felt he should be crying now, but the tears just didn’t come. Dr. Sylvan bit his lip again.
“I’m sorry Mr. Barek, but it’s terminal. All we can hope to do is slightly decrease your pain and prolong your time here.”
“What’s going to happen to me?”
“Bone cancer is very brutal. Over time you’ll become weaker and so will your bones. Your bones will become more and more brittle. Eventually you’ll reach the point where your bones will break at the slightest touch. You’ll be in an extreme amount of pain and then you’ll die.” Dr. Sylvan paused and took in a breath. “It’s all right though we can make it through together.”
“We, excuse me do you have cancer?” Gregg was visibly angry.
“No, but-”
“Then how will we be going through this together.”
“I just meant-”
“You meant what? You know what I don’t care.” Gregg stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind him. Was he really that upset at Dr. Sylvan’s poor bedside manner? No, certainly not, he was just reacting in his own poor way to the bad news he had just received. Rather than cry he instead got angry, a stupid move. He would have to apologize, later, Gregg thought.
Gregg Barek got in his car, a crappy used sub-compact, and drove, on his way to his apartment. The news just didn’t seem to hit him, yet. He got upset at Dr. Sylvan, but it hadn’t really sunk in. He just drove home and didn’t really think about what he had been told.
Gregg arrived at his apartment building and was still on autopilot. He coasted into the building and coasted up a few flights of stairs to his floor. On his floor, Gregg saw Miss. Krenshaw walking towards her door carrying several large bags of groceries.
Miss. Krenshaw was an elderly woman. She lived all alone, widowed many presumed (Some cruelly joked he killed himself), except with her cats. She couldn’t have been more of a stereotypical old kook if she had come straight from Hollywood. She was mean, nasty, and very old fashioned in her ways. She was also very nosey. No one in the building liked her and she didn’t seem to like any of them either.
“Miss. Krenshaw let me get that.” Gregg had never helped her before, but he felt compelled to now and couldn’t explain why.
“Oh, thank you.” Gregg took hold of the bags of groceries while Miss. Krenshaw unlocked her door. “Just put them on the table, I’ll put them away. Thank you very much Mr. Barek.”
“You’re welcome.” Gregg turned and went into his own apartment. He grabbed a glass from his cupboard. The glass slipped from his hands and shattered on the floor. Gregg immediately reached down and cut his hand on the glass. It was a small cut, but it bled well.
“Dang it,” Gregg ran and washed his hand under water. “Darn it.” Tears started to gush from his eyes. Not because the pain of the cut, but because everything was hitting him now all at once. Diagnosed with bone cancer to top it all off. It wasn’t bad enough he had just divorced the woman he thought he loved only a few months ago.
More accurately she divorced him he still thought he loved her. She blamed him for all her problems. She blamed him for the death of their, or as she said it her, son. He was struck by a drunk driver while Gregg was watching him. He saw his little body flung several yards from the car. He thought there was nothing he could have done, but she disagreed. She could do nothing, but look at him with disgust and contempt in her eyes. Their life together became unbearable and they soon divorced.
Gregg bandaged his hand. He was still crying and couldn’t stop thinking about how miserable his life was. He had nothing and nobody left in his life. His parents both died of lung cancer six months apart about two years ago. His brother died in a car crash just over a year ago.
“What is the point of my existence?” Gregg asked himself. “Would any one miss me if I disappeared from the face of the Earth? Wouldn’t I be better off if I was gone? If I avoided all my future suffering and ended it all, wouldn’t I be better off? What possible reason do I have to fight the cancer and suffer all that pain just to die? I’m better off dead than alive. I just can’t handle it anymore. I’m going to end it now before I go any further.”
Gregg grabbed a razor. He removed a blade. He held it to his wrist. His heart palpitated. His breathing grew heavy. “Do it,” he heard “do it, you coward.” His hand trembled.
“Not now!” Gregg told himself as he threw the blade in the toilet. “I can’t do it. Not now and not like this. I still have to do it, but not like this.”
Gregg grabbed his coat and every dollar he had. He got in his car and he just drove. He didn’t really know where he was going. He only had a vague idea.
“There it is.” Gregg told himself. “That’s where I need to go.” Gregg pulled into the bar’s parking lot. Gregg wasn’t a regular drinker, but he felt like that’s what he needed now.
The bar was fairly upscale. It was clean, well kept, and not filled with the typical riff-raff. Gregg sat on a bar stool and helped himself to some surprisingly non-stale pretzels. He ordered a shot of bourbon, a shot of scotch and a tall glass of beer. Gregg proceeded to drink the alcoholic beverages to dull his senses for the act he was about to commit.
A couple came into the bar and sat next to him. Gregg stayed to himself drinking another glass of beer. The female went to the bathroom. Gregg observed, out of the corner of his eye, the male putting something in the female’s drink. Gregg shifted his vision and he knew what it was. He was putting roffies in her drink.
“Hey! What are you doing?” Gregg grabbed the man’s arm. He didn’t know what he was doing the man was several times his size and could easily beat him in a fight.
“What? Hey let go of me.” The large man responded.
“What do you think you’re doing putting that in her drink?”
“Stay out of this. It isn’t any of your business.”
“It is my business if you’re trying to drug and rape someone in front of my eyes.”
“I think you’d best leave now for your own good.” The large man stood up and made a fist with his other hand.
“What are you doing?” The woman had returned and was upset.
“Huh, I-I’m not doing anything.” The man was flustered and dropped his pills.
“What are those?” The woman noticed the roofies.
“Um... They’re just vitamins.”
“Those are roofies aren’t they? Were you trying to drug me, David? I think you should get out of here.”
“Baby I’m sorry just-”
“Get out now.” The woman yelled. A bouncer came over and helped David out of the bar. “I’m sorry about that.” The woman shook Gregg’s hand. “I’m Nadine Cross.”
“I’m Gregg Barek.” He responded.
“Gregg, Gregg Barek from Stranton High School.”
“Yeah, I went to Stranton.”
“I did too.”
“Oh my, I remember you.” Gregg was surprised to see her here. He had a bit of a crush on her in high school.
“Do you remember that play you were in where you stuck your head in the toilet?”
“Oh, don’t remind me of that.”
“It was hilarious.”
Nadine and Gregg sat down next to each other at the bar. They shared a drink together. They talked for hours, bantering back and forth. They talked of old high school memories and their life after high school. Gregg avoided the subject of recent events. He didn’t talk about the death of his parents, brother, or son. He didn’t talk about his wife or his contemplation of suicide. They talked until after sundown and the bar was nearing closing.
“Oh gosh, I remember that too. I can’t believe you do too.” Nadine threw back her hair and laughed. Gregg loved her funny little laugh. “It’s getting late I really should get going.”
“It is getting late I should go too.” They walked out of the bar together.
“Can you give me a ride? David drove me here.”
“Sure, but we should share a cab. I’m much to buzzed to drive.”
They hailed a cab and got in together. They continued their conversations. They talked about nothing, just small talk. As the cab neared Gregg’s apartment building the back of his mind thought about suicide again. He ignored the thoughts he wanted to keep talking to Nadine. The cab reached Gregg’s apartment and he got out.
“Umm... Nadine, do you want to go up to my apartment it’s pretty late.”
“No, I need to get home.” She shot him down.
“Well Goodbye.” Gregg waved as the cab drove away. He was crushed.
The cab drove away and Nadine felt empty. She felt bad about how she crushed Gregg. She just couldn’t stop thinking about him. Her heart ached and her mind raced. She felt something tugging at her. She felt a compulsion. She had to go back and see him. She couldn’t explain it, but something was pushing her back.
“Driver turn back. I need to go back.” Nadine ran through the doors to the apartment building and she saw Miss. Krenshaw in the lobby.
“Ma’am, Ma’am.” Nadine was trying to get Miss. Krenshaw’s attention.
“Yes, young lady.” Miss. Krenshaw responded.
“Do you know where a man named Gregg Barek is?”
“Oh, Gregg, he’s such a nice young man. I think he’s up on the roof. He goes up there to think sometimes.”
“Thank you Ma’am.” Nadine bolted upstairs. She couldn’t explain why she felt she needed to hurry. When she reached the roof, she saw Gregg standing on the edge. He was preparing to jump.
“Stop, what do you think you’re doing?” The wind was blowing Nadine’s hair and Gregg’s coat in the air.
“What does it look like? I’m going to jump and end it all.”
“Why? Why would you do that?”
“I have nobody and nothing to live for.”
“Your life can’t be bad enough to do this.”
“Really, I’ve just been told I have terminal bone cancer. I’m divorced, my son is dead, my parents, and my brother are dead too.”
“I don’t care. There’s always something to live for. Killing yourself is just giving up, quitting, it’s the coward’s way out of a situation. You have to stand up and fight your pain at every step.”
“Why should I fight it? What reason do I have?”
“Maybe, it’s something you just don’t see yet. Maybe, there is a future love standing right next to you.” Nadine’s voice was beginning to crack from the emotion of the situation.
“Are you trying to say you love me?
“I’m trying to say I could love you if you just came down here, for me, and gave it a chance, before you just leave me never knowing if I could have loved you.” Nadine was tearing up.
“I’m sorry.” Gregg climbed down from the edge.
“You’re forgiven just get over here.” Nadine was crying and the tears streamed down her face.
Nadine and Gregg went on a few more dates. They did indeed fall in love. They fought the cancer together every step of the way. They stayed at each other’s side the whole time. Gregg lived seven long years before he died, Nadine holding his hand.

The End.