Umbra

February 3, 2017

concentric-cirles

Light scattered across the room , bouncing off bits and pieces of broken glass. The light rippled over the explosion of silent shards as it’s beam searched out something in the darkness. A circle inside a circle crawling slowly across the ransacked room. It undulated over the peaks and valleys of furniture and strewn decorative elements.

Trekking, it happened upon a wall enlivening framed photos left askew, dangling still. It moved upward finding a multitude of linear umbra darting across the crown molding, rising and turning as the radiance swept by. The shadows, folding into thin lines, suddenly began to widen and consume the the embellishment whole.

The aureole moved onward clambering playfully upon mutilated house plants and an untidy record collection. Black shiny splotches here and there reflected back a hello to the gushing beam, “Here I am.” It said. “Look at me,” flashy and obtruding – yet the light moved on confidently to a row of metal drawers all outrageously unfurled; unexciting.

Making a turn like the hook of a “J” but backwards, the halo was briefly erratic and all at once frozen in place. A shiny black finger painting was skittering gently in the concentric, slightly wobbling beam. It’s message was cryptic, yet defined. Minimalist. Nagging. The light knew it should bore deeper, but had not the fortitude to halt an additional beat.

The light proceeded. It heaved it’s way up and over. Fanatical translucent drapes kicked it around failing to engross the lights interest. It brimmed and unburdened each shape and satiny melancholy on it’s thoroughfare, thoroughly apathetic.

“POP!” The sound of glass exploding, the light flicked across the razed room of uninteresting chaos, to a new reflection pond of remnant glass, and paused. Now here was something consequential, something relevant. The circles were suddenly sentimental and attentive. They lingered. “Here it is!” they exclaimed.

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No Signal

February 2, 2017

no_signal

The correspondence operations of the underground compound was unattended. All workstations were logged out, but left on. The overhead and ambient lighting were all off. Emergency strip lighting along the floor was a muted orange-yellow and illuminated the undersides of work stations on either side. Two lanes of dual monitor work stations pushed apart by a wide alley that led to a giant screen that spanned all three, filling out the entire wall, with nothing but large white letters in the center of the screen which the smaller screens reiterated – “No Signal.”

The room, carved out of dolomite and sandstone, was arranged as if a nave directed at the chancel and to the right of it a vestry. The comp controllers office all glass outlined in steel, butted up on all sides by the subterranean rock frame. There were no emergency lights visible within. The strip lights down the aisle stuttered as a generator ran out of fuel and another kicked in. When the power fully returned the strips were a bit brighter and the very bottom of the office’s insides were illuminated, the carpet looked shiny with dampness. The rest swallowed up by darkness.

1st Lt, Philipp Stallworth’s eyes were locked on the 10 foot stretch of lit up glass and wet floor. He couldn’t be sure from here, but the carpet just didn’t seem right. He made himself look away, over to his personal station that he swapped with 2nd Lt, Mancuso, twelve hours on, twelve off. He would have never believed while performing his duties under a high level of stress and rigorous expectations, that he would someday find it simpler, almost comforting.

He remembered to breath.

He looked down the endless hallway of rectangularly bored stone and strip lights on his right, then to the left where the strips only made it about 15 yards before their illumination was diffused, fading to pitch black. His heart skipped a beat and he was stuck on his breathing again struggling to maintain balanced timing. Behind he heard the propped open elevator attempting to close, re-positioning to open, waiting patiently only to be rejected upon each consecutive attempt.

Stallworth let in a deep, deep breath and held on to it. Now he was staring at the long vertical handle on the door a yards reach away. He was talking himself into it, or was he talking himself out of it? He closed his eyes and breathed outward, extending his arm along with it. He opened his eyes and as his hand stretched and his grip made initial contact there was a sudden loud pop and the back-up lightening failed.

Blackout.

After the explosion echoed away down the hallway he was there in the dark, the elevator giving up it’s futile battle fell silent; he only heard his breath and the smack of his lips as he swallowed hard. His finger tips were barely on the cold metal, he could feel the weight of the door and electricity tingling through his body pushing up the hair on his arms and the back of his neck. He closed his eyes and wondered what the point of it was there in the void of blackness, but it calmed him down.

He hesitated a bit longer then swung the door open and began feeling his way through the room. There was only one way out of this facility and it was in that vestry, but first he needed to fumble his way past the pews and up to the pulpit.

“Forward is progress,” he thought to himself sliding a foot forward, and colliding with a rolling chair. A breath out… progress.

Just then a clicking, whispering nightmarish cadence fluttered from the front of the room to the rear and the Lieutenant froze in his progress, third workstation down.

He was holding his breath again.

 

Kanone

January 31, 2017

Biathlon Skier
Back home it was a moderately warm winter, in fact Grant had recently washed his car outside in a short-sleeve shirt; in January.

It was now approaching March and the group bus was approaching the foothills after leaving the upper crust stoner town of Boulder to eat at the organizers favorite cash only, hipster restaurant. The food was good. The beer was better, and since he only had to endure the random, yet oddly pointed line of questioning from his seat neighbor, Grant figured indulging was a favorable concept.

“So, this is your first trip with the group, and you used to ski, you skied well. What made you decide, after all these years, to head back out here with a bunch of strangers?” Richard asked ending off in a snort of a laugh finding it clever to call himself a stranger.

“My dad used to take us skiing, it was a thing we did.” What the fuck? Being so frank with anyone, let alone Richard, was not a thing for Grant. How many beers did he have?

“Oh, like a family flash back deal. You should have brought everybody! Your brothers and, you said one sister right? No, it was three sisters and one brother. Right?”

“The second version, minus one sister.”

“So why aren’t you guys all headed out here together?” Richard said

Grant thought to himself how normally in this situation he would get defensive, change the subject, or maybe say that his brother was an asshole, one sister a hot mess the other a super mom, all emotionally removed from family obligation via geography. But, he felt something raw bubbling up inside of him, not just the hops, but something guttural a need to divulge to Richard.

“I guess it was more of a thing for my dad and I…” He paused, “…and my brother.”

Richard sat attentively, gentle eyes. “Is dad still skiing, or…”

“He passed.” A bit of silence. In the moment, Grant focused on the snow and the trees shuffling by and the shifting perspective as he stared at an old and dilapidated ranch built right into a nook where the ground suddenly shot up all around it, almost straight up. A curve in the road hid it from Grant.

“Our dad was a kanone. Our French grandparents called him that. A medalist.” The honesty expanded with the fermented grain in his belly.

“Like in the Olympics?” Richard asked.

“No. As close as you can get though. Expert. Downhill, Biathlon.”

“Wow…”

“Yeah, wow.” Said Grant a little sardonically raising his eyebrows. “And as some fathers do, he expected us to follow him in his ski tracks. My brother was better than me, until he tore his ACL and started snow boarding to disgruntle our dad, whom had suddenly shifted his attention to me as the more likely protege. I was an amazing shot with a rifle.” He closed his right eye as if staring down an iron site with the other and made a gun sound with his mouth.

“Dad wasn’t all that patient. I tried like hell to be what he expected, and be myself at the same time, but the two agendas never meshed.” A spontaneous information dump and suddenly he felt more vulnerable than he was comfortable with. He thought about what he had said to his father the last time they spoke.

“Sorry about your father. It must be tough going up without him.” Richard said after another brief, awkward silence.

Grant wasn’t planing on responding, but said in his head “I wish it was. Will it be?” His face was pressed snug against the cold bus window and the scenery just seemed like replica landscape repeating over and over. He sighed heavily, and let his jaw slack moving the lower left to right popping his ears against the pressure change. He was drunk, and more than drunk he was tired. His stomach was too full and he felt tight all over.

“How often do you think somebody would need to cross country ski and then shoot something in real life?” Richard pontificated.

Grant pulled his jacket up over his shoulder as a blanket while Richard tried convincing himself aloud in exactly what situations it could happen – something about zombie apocalypses, something about Siberia. The scenery seemed to flash by faster. He figured he could sleep and Richard could talk and everyone wins; his eyelids were heavy.

Grant drifted into a dream…

Today

January 30, 2017

I’ve been asking myself what reasons I have to write. Why exactly have I ever felt compelled to spill my guts on paper (or online) and be accountable for the consequences of that, good or bad? I’ve been asking myself because I try to avoid the anxiety of writing. I work hard to steer clear of dealing with my demons, my guilt, and my inconsistencies in general. I’ve been asking myself to start writing every day, even just something like this, since I stopped publishing to this blog however long ago it was. Far to long.

I write in a notebook from time to time. I scribble down notes here and there. Heck, every now and then I even get a great draft of something I felt was going to be a serious thing. But, then I find that reason, any reason really, to let the guilt and doubt slip back in and give me a chance to avoid going after my passion and in turn stomp on my own creative dreams. Why do I do that?

Well, lately I think I’ve been getting to the bottom of where my anxiety and negative self talk comes into play for a very specific reason. It isn’t a part of me that is mean, or angry, or any of that – I can use those emotions to my advantage creatively. It’s a part of me that’s still a child, likely. A part of me that does these seemingly ridiculous, self-destructive things to protect me. That part just happens to be misinformed.

So, I’ve been talking to that self in me. Asking that part if it’s okay to re-frame the actions it habitually takes and instead turn them into an action that will benefit all of the me’s inside this crazy head of mine. After all this time I’ve been beating myself up for not fitting in and having these ideas that make people uncomfortable because it confronts things they don’t want to deal with. Turns out, this is my strongest attribute; even more so than my talents.

Other people may be culpable in creating this me; doesn’t matter. They don’t have any motivation to change that anyhow. Only I do. And, I may have made a lot of ass backwards decisions that got me in trouble or brought me to new lows; that doesn’t matter either. Well, it counts for getting me to where I am at least. And I wouldn’t trade all that hurt and heartache for anything right now. I’m broken and it’s amazing.

So I’m asking myself right now to make a promise. Today, not tomorrow, I will write something and post it, at least here on this blog, every day. I’m not going to judge it, or get anxious about it, or even have any other expectations of it besides that it’s every day. I plan to write other things, and create whatever comes to mind with a goal and purpose, but that’s not a requirement or excuse for me to back down on the promise I’m making right now.

I’m going to confront my fears.

Today.

Sorting Things Out…

October 6, 2014

Well, if you’d like to know, I haven’t stopped writing. In fact I’ve made lots of progress in the past several months, within my core story and it has been developing into something quite amazing. My search for an illustrator that fits my genre and syncs with me on a fundamental level has been fruitless, so to say. My own artwork and skills have been called out by friends and artists alike, as being more than suitable as a source for this story turning into a graphic novel. And, as I try to work out what the future of Dark Alcove will be, as do I ponder deeply about whether or not I want so much responsibility and control in creating this universe I’ve stumbled upon. On one note it would create a fantastic amount of work, keeping me entirely busy – hobbies and extra curriculars. And another note, in the same tune, would be the lack of dimension it would create in not having one or more creative inputs invested in this project. This is probably the most important part of the equation and I don’t think I want to let go of that goal of robust quality and scope. So I think I need to continue searching, continue writing, and come back here more often for input, advice, and share mine with you all as well.

❤ 0charm


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