Life Goes On

I want it to be good. I want to feel it. I don’t want to just write it I want to feel it.

But I can’t feel it because there’s blocking, I’m blocking, and I won’t let it out. Can’t let it out.

It’s underneath. It’s way down there and it’s underneath.

I open up the front door, wonder what the beast is for.

I just put my hands around the leather wrapped steering wheel and drive. There are lights and they pass over me on the freeway. I’ve got a pistol on my lap.

It’s not about the details, I hate the details. It’s the bigger picture, the sad-denouement, the top of the mountain and the tip of my finger on the trigger.

It’s closer now and the more I tug on it the more I can see the surface begin to boil. Warts break out all over my disgusting arm. This is disgusting. This is what’s down there.

Their sad sons will always know the answers though.

Cathartic, without the needle. Spastic, this wasn’t part of the deal. Here we are now, at a crossroads, where my soul meets the telomeres in my DNA. Peeling back the skin, the connections are long and stringy. It makes a popping noise and again I think how disgusting this is.

 

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Depression and Mental Blocks

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I’m starting to feel like I am close to the point of looking for a job. The depression is lifting a little bit, and the disassociation is giving way to real feelings here and there. My lack of focus hasn’t improved much though.

I’m still quite depressed, I struggle to do chores and take care of myself. I think that a job would be helpful with getting a routine going and taking better care of myself.

It’s been a little strange, these days that I’ve been touching the edge of normal. After years of depression I’ve forgotten what some of the regular things feel like that I would have taken for granted before.

It’s near impossible to explain the differences, there’s just no words for some experiences. Stranger yet, it’s hard to remember what good feels like when you’re low, and hard to remember what bad feels like when you feel normal. So even on days where I have the energy to explain something, it’s still hard because I don’t know how to articulate what I’m going through.

As far as my writing goes, I’ve been a little slack the past week or so. I haven’t lost interest entirely in it, I’m just past the initial “Wow this is awesome” phase.

I think in part I’m reading what I’ve written and feeling stupid for how bad it is. Thinking about the amount of work to do to better myself feels really daunting too.

Aiming to be famous or even just a really good writer is proving to be a challenge. I try not to think that way, but nevertheless the want for it is there. Days where I actually just enjoy myself I produce better writing then when I’m stressing about whether it’s good enough or not.

Not that I don’t think it’s important to strive for improvement, and to have a purpose with learning. It’s just that when I focus so much on being THE best, or making lots of money, my writing and my self esteem take a big hit.

And damnit I really just don’t have the energy or drive to write sometimes. It’s not so much writers block as it’s a “Don’t break everything in the house in frustration” block. When I feel so blocked up that nothing is being produced it sends me into a rage. I can’t stand stagnation.

Depression, and mental illness as a whole, has taken it’s toll on my cognitive functions. It’s almost impossible for me to sit down and read a book, I just don’t have the focus I used to.

I think that the short term memory circuits have been fried in my brain. Or at least they’re out of service right now. I find myself reading the pages over and over again.

My ability to imagine things is also impaired, I’ll do my best to describe it. Normally, while reading, or just thinking about something in general, I’m able to form a mental picture in my head. It’s not in perfect focus, it’s more like a dream, but I can at least hold the picture there in my head for a second or two. Details in books bring on mental images without effort, it just sort of appears in your head even when you’re not trying to think what the author is describing.

Now when I read, or try to imagine something in my head, I only get an image for a split millisecond. I can no longer hold an even somewhat foggy unclear image there. It’s just blank, either that or it switches pictures so fast I can’t keep up. I was reading a book today, (A Stephan King book, my favorite author), and found that the imagery just wasn’t going through. Some pieces would, but it’s like there’s this mental block when I try to read. The images just don’t come.

It’s similar with almost any task that requires any amount of thinking. I get a mental block, and I cant focus on the task at hand. Either I go blank, or thoughts come so fast to me that I can’t even keep up with them.

A couple weeks ago I felt a voice in my writing that was strong enough to write. Right now I don’t feel that voice, my writing feels weak and unfiltered. Sometimes when I’m writing I can reach down past the mental blockages. Not lately though and that’s depressing in itself.

 

Lancaster

Lucius dangled his body over the edge of the hundred foot cliff, and bringing the bow up slowly, pulled the waxed string and arrow to a full draw, a deer with large antlers and a white spot on it’s hind quarters taking up his sight. He felt no fear as Aaron squeezed his calves to keep him from falling; his life was in Aarons hands, and those hands felt sturdy and ready to catch him should the rocks begin to slip.

The deer grazed in the grass at the base of the cliff, his head down as he chewed on the grass. Lucius loosed the arrow, holding his breath, and it trailed down through thin bundles of branches whistling before it thumped into the ground a foot away from the deer’s shoulder. It looked up at the arrow, and the muscles on it’s back tensed as it searched the area for predators.

Lucius swore and quickly drew another arrow and released it, the bowstring hitting the brown leather and steel gauntlet he wore over his hand. Aaron’s lips went into a stiff line when he saw this, he hadn’t slapped his forearm with a bowstring since he was a boy. He thought Lucius foolish for firing another arrow so fast without properly aiming. The arrow flew through the air and found the fleshy part of the deer’s leg. It grunted and moaned before running into the woods, leaving a trail of blood behind it.

“You aim like a squire Lucius, our supper now is spoiled and we will have nothing to bring home.” Said Aaron.

“If you had held me steady perhaps I would have the chance to make the kill.” Lucius said, smirking.

“You know that I held you steady, it is only your foolishness that has cost us our buck.” Aaron said, not amused. He pulled Lucius up from the edge and brushed off the dirt and branches that had accumulated on his green tunic.

“We should make our way to Lancaster. Edwin said that the raids have been coming closer to us. There have been sightings of the barbarians from Whiteridge in the valley.” Lucius said.

“Those who are apt to call them barbarians may find they are underestimating them.” Aaron said, scorning. “Edwin is foolish to think he can keep us safe from them. They will not stop us from eating our dinner tonight though, are you afraid Lucius?”

“My father is no fool, and I fear no man Aaron. Not even you.” Lucius cringed a little as he looked at the deep scars covering Aarons face. He had seen many more battles then Lucius.

Aaron laughed and said, “Good, you have spirit then. Let us get our deer.”

Lucius nodded and pulled a rope out of the satchel he wore over his back. He walked over to a tree that was close to the edge of the cliff, and tied the rope around it. He checked that it was secure, and began his descent down the cliff face, Aaron following closely behind him.

They picked up the trail of blood when they reached the bottom, and resumed their hunt for food. The trees were sparse in most areas, it made tracking the deer much easier. Leafs crunched underfoot as they followed the blood over fallen branches and through thick underbrush.

“Edwin speaks of an alliance with the Whiteridge clan. What do you think?” Said Aaron, ducking under a branch as they walked.

“I think you are wrong and that it is true that they are barbarians. They have made so called alliances with other towns and you have seen the destruction they still bring. They are not to be trusted, and I will tell my father so. I think he will listen to me.” Said Lucius, his face growing hot.

“The towns have fallen, but the people were accepted into the tribes. The ones that were willing to were anyways,” said Aaron.

“I won’t have our traditions and histories lost, and those who were unwilling were slaughtered. They are intent on engulfing all of the East lands, I think we should stand against them. Our walls are strong and our men are trained well. No Aaron, an alliance cannot be made with them.”

“Of course you’re right,” Lucius said turning away with a blank look on his face, “They aren’t to be trusted.”

They came out onto an open meadow, with yellow grass as tall as a mans knees, and poppies scattered in bundles of red. The deer was two hundred yards away, panting and moaning as the life and energy drained out of it.

“Stay low!” Aaron said.

They ducked into the grass and slowly moved towards the deer. Lucius pulled an arrow out of his quiver and pressed it to the bowstring. Aaron drew a long, thin blade out of the sheath on his boot and trailed behind Lucius.

Lucius released an arrow when they were within forty yards. His aim was more precise this time, he had been more careful and taken his time. The arrow struck the deer in the midsection, rupturing it’s heart instantly. It fell to the ground in a heap.

“Wow, Aaron, look at this one!” Lucius shouted, waving his bow in the air as he ran towards the carcase, “It’s huge! It’s the biggest yet, bigger then the buck we caught that summer when we were courting the twins.”

Aaron thought about the time when they had been young and free and before they had been knights. The memory shook him and he nearly dropped the knife as he came up upon Lucius.

“It was a time I won’t forget, my friend.” Aaron said, bringing the knife up as he neared closer.

“Brother, we share the best times of my life, let us eat this buck and drink wine tonight and celebrate before we fight the hoards of barbarians that threaten to invade us.”

Aaron looked on at the deer, and saw that indeed it was the largest they had ever caught. He brought his hand down on Lucius’s shoulder and clamped it tight. He tucked the knife into his thick leather belt. “Yes brother, let us eat well tonight.” He said.

A spear came whistling through the air, the sharp metal end jutting into Lucius’s stomach and coming out the other side. Wild cries came from the from somewhere close in the grass. Lucius dropped down on his hands and knees, gasping for air.

Aaron was fast, he had eyed the spot where the spear had come from and he zig-zagged his way through the grass towards it. A huge figure stood up from crouching in the grass ten yards to his left. He pulled the knife out of his belt, and with great accuracy threw it so that the handle was sticking out of the barbarians throat. He saw that there were no others with the barbarian and ran over to him, pulling his war axe off of his back as he ran up. The barbarian’s head rolled onto the ground from one swing, blood spouting out of the torso and falling onto a patch of poppies.

Lucius cried out, bucking his legs on the ground as he was slowly dying. Aaron ran back over to him and knelt over him, taking his face up into his hands.

Aaron had seen enough men die and didn’t expect any heroic last words from Lucius as he died in front of him. Lucius only bucked and moaned as he puked up blood and breathed his last breaths.

Aaron slammed his fist into the dirt. The barbarian was supposed to wait for him to kill Lucius, and his only job was to deliver the head to their village. He should have known not to trust a Whiteridge man. He might have had a chance to do something about the barbarian if he had more time, his changing of heart was too close to the end.

Lucius was the last chance for convincing Edwin that an alliance was not the best option. Edwin didn’t trust Aaron, and it would be no surprise if he presumed Aaron killed Lucius in an attempt to start a war with the barbarians. Aaron felt a deep sadness in his heart and a great regret filled him up.

 

The Barbarians from Whiteridge burned Lancaster to the ground days after negotiations were made. Edwin was burned on a stake, an example for anybody who refused to join the barbarian hoarde. Aaron watched as Lucius’s father died, and pulled his Whiteridge cloak down over his shoulders as rain came down in heaps. He picked up his war axe and looped it over his back, and made his way to the Barbarian general to ask for his orders.

 

Lost

Ted Dean searched for Laura, and she was nowhere to be found.

His wife had been home a few weeks ago, he wasn’t really sure what happened. His memory was blurry, he remembered the last time he spoke with her was on the phone.

“I’m just not sure that you are real Laura.” He had said.

He had been sitting in the backyard on the porch stairs when he talked to her. Tears made their way onto his red sweatshirt. Everything around him was so clear, but he was focused only on the trees moving in the wind. The edges of the leafs looked so crisp and they were distracting him.

He was in a strange duality. The seriousness of his statement made the world seem so vivid, and it was so beautiful for him to see things this way that he found himself thinking about the leafs as much as his missing wife.

“I’m right here Teddy. I’m not going anywhere.” She had said.

“What if I’m imagining you?”

“Do you remember when we went to Venice? You told me you loved me.”

“I know that I did. I know what that picture looks like in my head. It could be a fantasy though. I am very lonely and it could just be a fantasy.” He broke into a strong sob and lowered his head, running his fingers over his knuckles.

“I’ll see you tomorrow when I come home from my mother’s. Try not to think too much about me, instead clean up our room so that we can lay together when I am home.”

“I will clean our room and try not to think about you too much.”

Laura’s voice cracked a little, “I love you.”

Ted thought about this last conversation, it had been a week ago. Laura had not come home. He had cleaned up their room. The week had gone by, and it was blurry like his memory. He remembered taking the dogs for a walk. He remembered watching the leafs.

He wandered around the kitchen, a kaleidoscope of images and words going through his mind. A doctor in a white lab coat, stern faced, wrinkled forehead. His wife crying. “Schizophrenia. Medication. Degenerative.”

Ted wasn’t quite sure what those words meant, and wondered why his wife had been crying. This confusion was happening more days often then not.

 

Laura Dean sat on the hard plastic seat of the train. Her elbow rested on the window and her chin in her palm, a blank look on her face. She began to cry, she would not forgive herself for this for the rest of her life.

Before she left home, she had kissed the pillow with Ted’s favorite lipstick, and left the note underneath. He would beg for more then the three words written there. No more words ever came.

 

 

 

 

I only call you when it’s half past five

Trying a little experimental blog section, might get rid of it, not really sure yet. This is just free-writing, letting the words come as they come to try to get the creative juices flowing. Can you guess what songs I have stuck in my head?

I only call you when it’s half past five. This tribe you call your friends takes you out on limousine dates, and you hardly try to stop them. Just last week I saw you at the barbers, and you were laughing, and I saw that you were ugly in the mirror. I don’t care though, I never trusted your reflection anyways.

I only call you when it’s half past five. The first time and the last time I saw you I loved you. I can’t speak for every day in between, and I wish, for you, that I could tell you that every moment was consistent. At least when I call you, you pick up every time.

You used to call me on my cellphone. I don’t wait up anymore, it’s not fair that you still do. The man who doesn’t trust himself pulls the strings again and I find myself wondering why I don’t wait up anymore. I know why though. It’s because I only call you when it’s half past five.

What’s going on?

Days where the anhedonia is really hitting hard are the worst. I can’t decide what to do with myself because everything seems boring or like a waste of time.

I would like to read a book, but nothing is interesting me. I can’t think of even a fantasy I would want to live through a book. I just don’t want anything right now.

I don’t want anything but I have a huge hole, and a craving to do something or get some sort of pleasure out of something.

When I have days like this it’s really easy to be lazy. Nothing seems important or worth doing so I sort of just waste the day away on the couch or in my bed.

I might have to go for a walk just to mix things up a little bit.

I’d like to do some writing today as well, although no ideas are really coming up. Usually I can browse writing prompts and find something I like, but today everything is just boring or annoying.

I took a couple days off of writing and lost my momentum I had going. It was exciting and fun at first but now it’s becoming a chore. I know I need to just keep doing it while it’s boring, it just sucks.

For the most part I’m just trying to explore how I feel today and figure out what it is that would be fulfilling right now.

Ludovic the Vampire

Ludovic was many thousand years old, even vampires have their expiration dates. He sat up slowly in the old Victorian bed, bones creaking as he struggled. He was awake in a world of darkness.

His eyes were deeply set and useless, the last of his vision receding over the past decade. A tuft of scraggly white hair ran down from the center of his skull, and liver spots freckled the shiny bald ring around his head. His face was ancient, spider webs of wrinkles cast out from every corner and crevice. He now slept in his grey sweatpants and sweater, his black tuxedo had proven too tight and was not sacrificing for his tender old body.

He reached over, ever so slowly, still creaking and cracking with every movement, and fetched his black ivory cane which had a ruby inset in the handle and gold trim surrounding the gem. Using the restless spirit within, the eternal hunger, he pushed himself out of the bed, and stood, waving back and forth, looking like a tall redwood swaying in the wind.

As he made his way to the front door, he noticed Camellia was starting to cook breakfast in the kitchen.

“Just goin’ to grab the paper!” Ludovic yelled at her.

“Watch the step when you go out, and mind the cold!” she said.

He opened the big hand carved wooden doors with the intricate patterns, feeling the breeze gently rush over his old face. He stepped outside, pushing his cane in front of him to see, watching the step as he walked down over it.

Rita Orwell, a hearing aid saleswoman, made her way up Oak street, eyeing up Ludovic and thinking about her presentation. She saw he was heading towards the newspaper, and quickened her pace. She bent down and picked up the newspaper, feeling strange as she stood up and looked into Ludovic’s dead eyes.

“Here’s your paper sir, do you have five minutes to spare?” she said.

He had smelled her from far away, his nose the only organ on his body that still worked reasonably well. The hunger welled up inside of him and he thought of his days back in the seventeenth century, when he still had companions and a back that didn’t threaten to fail him at every moment.

“Stefan! Grab the rifles, take up fort while I deal with this one!” He yelled, moving with a sudden speed unexpected from such an ancient being.

He grabbed Rita around her waist, with a grip that was still firm and strong enough to hold her tight. His open mouth came down on her neck, wrinkly old lips suckling on the soft white skin. Rotting, slimy gums clamped down, trying to bite in to her but finding no open flesh to suck on.

“Ew! What the fuck are you doing?” She pulled him away far enough with one arm to slap him with the other.

Camellia came running down the narrow stone path to the side of the street where Rita was struggling to keep Ludovic’s face away from her. She grabbed Ludovic by the arm and pried him off, with some difficulty. She began apologizing profusely to the saleswoman.

“I’m so sorry. It’s just that he has dementia, he think’s he’s somewhere else. Please, forgive us!”

The woman dusted herself off and stared at the old couple. She crossed her arms and huffed, then threw her hands down and stomped away.

Camellia brought Ludovic inside and sat him down at the table. She set the plates and the forks, and laid down the fresh bacon and eggs. She grabbed two blood bags out of the freezer, and poured them into two large wine glasses.

She stared on at him, and thought about his silly antics and the daily struggle of his hunger and about how much she loved him. She giggled and thought “I hope you draw some blood next time old one.”

 

Rico’s Vigilance

The bear hadn’t eaten in weeks. His hunger guided him, his temper rising as his search for food went on and on. Hunters had poached the area clean in the summer and the rivers were lined with rotting fish. As he lumbered through the forest, a scent wandered into his nose, the gentle smell of lavender.

Rebekah Ward shivered and pulled the brown oilskin duster over her shoulders. A cool breeze blew through the valley, making the snow covered pines whistle and shake. The white powder crunched underfoot as she made her way to the stable. She opened the large wooden doors now cracked and polished from years of use, and walked towards the stall where Rico was staying.

“Hey boy,” She called out to him, “Have you been good? Dad sais you were causing a ruckus yesterday.”

Rico pulled his head back and whinnied, excited and happy to see her. His ears were perked forward, and a glint of love was in his eyes. Rebekah reached his stall and leaned over the wooden door to pat Rico on the cheek.

Rebekah walked over to the cross ties and picked up a bucket. She carried it to the wash stalls and turned the tap. No water came out, just a soft hum of pressure building in the pipes.

She frowned, and dropped the bucket. She walked out of the barn towards the shanty little house with the red chimney, a look of solemn frustration on her face as she followed the path of footprints in the snow up to the wooden porch.

Cody Ward sat on an oak rocking chair next to the railing, a pipe smoking in his hand. Sawdust covered his black duster, and his Stetson was the same faded brown as his curly locks of hair.  He looked up at Rebekah with quiet eyes. He noticed the sunken shoulders and balled up fists.

“What’s eating you, champ?” he asked.

“The water’s out dad.”

Cody scrunched up his face and spat. He kicked the empty whisky bottle beside the chair and stood up. Rebekah began putting her short jet black hair into a ponytail, as she often did when she was nervous. She hoped that bottle wasn’t fresh when he started drinking.

“Shit, what did I tell you last week Beck, what did I say this very day last week?” He asked.

“I know, listen I know what you said dad. I meant to turn on the heaters on, I was just so busy with Rico. I think I’m really turning him around!” She said.

“What are we going to do about water? The roads are out this time of year, there’s five feet of snow in every direction. It could take weeks for a hydro to get a guy out here!”

“We still have the water tower dad, won’t that last until the pipes are fixed?”

“There’s enough water in the tower for the two of us. The horses drink too much, they will have to go thirsty.”

Rebekah was hurt, but far from showing it to her father.

“Can’t we just give them some until we know when the waters going to come back on?”

“No, not one drop Rebekah. I don’t want to see you out there, carrying a bucket for that horse of yours. I’ll reach up and take my shotgun down out of the stable, and take that animal out in the woods.”

Rebekah balled her fists and stormed off towards the stable. She wasn’t used to her father being this way, he had changed ever since the accident five years ago, claiming her mothers life. A thirst for liquor had overtaken Cody, and where he was once kind and gentle he was now harsh and disciplinary.

When she reached the stable she evened the water out between the horses. She hoped that Cody was wrong and that the water would be fixed sooner then later. She decided to wait until her father was sober to talk to him about giving the horses water from the tower.

Minutes after Rebekah woke up the next morning, she went into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. She wanted her dad to feel relaxed when she talked to him. She opened up a cookie tin and placed three chocolate chip cookies on a plate.

Cody came into the kitchen, grumbling about the cold. He smiled at Rebekah when he saw what she had prepared for him. It was his favorite treat, and he knew she probably wanted something from him.

“What is it Beck?” He asked.

“I want to give the horses water. Just for a few days dad, what if the hydro guy is fast? The horses don’t need to suffer for no reason. Just a few days, then we can see how much water we have.” She said.

“We could be out here for months hon, not going to happen. You’re not thinking about what will happen to us if we feed those horses water and the hydro guy doesn’t come. We need that water, possibly until springtime.” He said.

“So you just don’t care if the horses die?”

Cody opened his mouth to answer, then closed it, thinking. There was a time when he would have walked a hundred miles to save one of his horses. But the horses would die, just like Susan died, and it was all just the same.

“I do care Rebekah, I just care more about you. I can’t let you dehydrate yourself over some animals. I won’t have this conversation again.”

Tears welled up in Rebekah’s eyes, she pressed them away with her fist in contempt.

“You bury them then, just like you bury mom with that bottle every night.” She said.

This cut deeply into Cody, and he left the kitchen without another word.

 

While Cody cut wood to stack by the fireplace, Rebekah made her way to the water tower with a wagon and a water bucket. She filled it and brought it to the stable. She placed them in the corner of Rico’s stall and prayed the horse would drink fast before her father checked on him. She felt wrong not helping the other horses, but saw her fathers logic as much as she hated it. Just enough for Rico and us, she thought.

Day by day Rebekah returned to the water tower. The other horses began to look tired and depressed, while Rico stood healthy and happy. It was four days after the water went out that Dexter fell victim to dehydration. Another two days after, Marley and Dakota followed. Skyler lasted the longest, seven days.

Cody noticed that Rico seemed to be in perfect shape while the other horses were dropping like flies. While he was walking through the stable drunk one night, he saw that there were fresh water stains on the wooden floorboards. As he put the pieces together Rebekah walked into the barn and saw him standing there staring at the floorboards.

“What are you doing dad?” She asked.

Cody began heading towards the shotgun he kept hung over the cross ties.

“I’m gonna shoot that damn horse, that’s what I’m doing.” He said as he reached up and retrieved the gun.

“NO DAD!” Rebekah screamed, putting herself between the horse and Cody.

“I told you they would just have to take what happens to them, we need that water Beck.” He broke the shotgun down the center and loaded a shell.

“You bastard! I’m not watching this, I hate you!”

Rebekah ran out of the stable and took off into the forest. Now that she was away from Cody the tears came freely, she had owned Rico since he was a colt. She had no idea where she was going, just that she had to get away from the monster her father had become.

Cody saw her run into the forest and swore under his breath. He headed for his tool shop, and grabbed his emergency gear. He saddled up Rico, tied up his shotgun and loaded the emergency kit. Hoof prints followed the footprints of Rebekah’s gumboots.

 

The river was cold, but shallow this time of year and so her boots did just fine keeping her dry. Rebekah stepped out a few kilometers south of the ranch. The brush had grown over the river for most of the way, so that a horse would not be able to maneuver the terrain very well. She knew her father wouldn’t risk putting the horse in the water too long or else he’d end up on foot.

She travelled another ten kilometers before she realized how lost she was. She found a cave with a refrigerator sized opening that looked relatively clean and dry and set down a moss bedding. She opened up a vile of lavender, the smell reminding her of her mother. She set it aside and laid down on the moss, falling asleep quickly.

 

Cody had no difficulty tracking Rebekah. He saw that she took the river, and guessed she hoped he would have a hard time in the brush. He would run Rico in the river until he froze to death if it meant finding his daughter and bringing her back home.

He kicked Rico and pulled the reigns towards the river. The moon cast a reflection of light across the water. Rico reared when he touched the cold water, nearly sending Cody sprawling. The shotgun tugged at the drawstrings, loosening and swinging a little more freely.

“Woah” Cody yelled, sending his heel into Rico’s side again.

Rico was in and out of the river, bucking and snorting. Cody pulled the reigns tight. Rico stopped, his front legs still in the rushing water. As Cody pushed him to go forwards, he reared up again with all of his force. Cody was knocked over sideways, screaming and grabbing out for the reigns. His fingers reached out and grasped the butt of the shotgun, pulling on the drawstrings as the river pulled him down. Rico bucked and the string snapped, sending Cody into the depths of the water with a loaded shotgun in hand. Rico jumped into the river and began dredging downstream.

Cody was launched downstream for half a kilometer before he caught his bearings and was able to stand up. His brown cowboy boots sopped with water. He began his trek down the river, grim faced, thinking about Rebekah and wondering how lost she must be.

 

Rebekah awoke to the sound of branches breaking outside of the cave. She sat up, listening, and heard the low breath of a large animal. She froze in fear, not knowing where to go. The cave only had one entrance, and it was small with no hiding places to be found. She sat and waited, five minutes turning into ten, her shoulders getting tense and sore. Finally she picked up the courage to move. She decided she was going to look outside, and run in the furthest direction of whatever was out there.

She pulled a lighter out of her jeans pocket, and slowly moved towards the mouth of the cave. As she got within two feet, the breathing entered the dark cave, the shadow of a large body blocking the light of the moon. Rebekah screamed and struck the lighter in front of her, a small flame lighting up the cave and the face of the creature.

Rebekah’s eyes grew to the size of tea-saucers, and her mouth dropped open as she registered with shock the great beast in front of her. Her face slowly turned from shock to a smile. She walked over to the tall brown horse, and patted him on the cheek. He whinnied and looked on at her, his ears perked forwards.

Rico reared up in terror, a look of pain in his eyes. Two large paws were wrapped around his hindquarters, sharp black claws digging into the skin and creating a zig-zag of open flesh. The bear roared and bit into the emergency bag tied to Rico’s back. The bag came loose and the contents were tossed all over the ground.  Rebekah screamed and backed away, still holding the lighter out in front of her.

Rico bucked with his hind legs, sending a mighty blow to the bears ribcage. The bear fell over backwards and laid there for a second, stunned and having the wind knocked out of it. Rico pulled his head out of the cave and trampled over the bear, running out into the densely packed woods with blood trailing out behind him. The bear rolled over onto it’s feet and chased after him.

 

Cody heard the screams, and began running after the footprints in the snow. He reached the cave in time to see a bear roaring and taking off into the forest. He ducked his head down into the cave and saw Rebekah quivering. He embraced her and ran his fingers through her hair, like he used to when something had upset her. She quickly came out of the haze she was in, and realized Cody was soaking wet.

“You need to get out of those wet clothes dad, and we should build a fire. You’ll freeze to death!” She said, and began gathering up small sticks that were laying about the cave.

Cody went outside and grabbed the axe that had fallen out of the emergency bag in Rico’s tussle with the bear. He hacked up some fallen logs, warming himself a little in the process. He brought them into the cave and laid them over top the small fire Rebekah had started with the sticks.

He took his jacket and his jeans off, and laid them down by the fire to dry. Rebekah pulled her duster over his shoulders and rubbed his hands with hers as he warmed himself.

 

By the time his clothes had dried, the sun was just cresting the mountains to the east. Birds chirruped their morning song and the smell of fresh snow permeated throughout the cave. Cody pulled his jeans on, donned his jacket, and walked outside stretching his hands up into the cool air.

The bear charged at him from forty feet away, a great roar emanating from it’s stomach.

Cody scrambled into the cave and reached for the shotgun leaning up against the wall. When he came back to the mouth of the cave, the bear was ten feet away. Cody stepped outside, cracked the barrel, checked that there was still a round in the chamber, and closed the barrel up again. He brought the shotgun up and squeezed the trigger.

A dull click came from the hammer hitting the firing pin. The water had soaked the gun, and although he thought it had dried well enough by the fire, the shell had been ruined permanently.

He fell over backwards in fear, the bear lumbering on closer and closer. As he crawled towards the cave on his back, the bear came crashing down on his legs. Huge shining white teeth bit down on his calf with tremendous force, snapping the bone in three places. Blood began to pour out of the wound.

Rebekah ran out of the cave, screaming. She watched in horror as the bear clamped down harder on Cody’s leg. Then she saw something moving fast towards them through the forest, a large shadow with pointy ears.

“Rico!” She yelled out.

Rico barreled into the bear full force, knocking it off of its feet. Before it had a chance to stand up, Rico was over top of it stomping and kicking, 1100 pounds of force came down onto the bears robust frame and bones were cracking and breaking with each kick. A final stomp came down on the bears head, cracking the skull in several places and leaving the bear a pile of fur in the snow.

There was now a lot of blood coming out of Cody’s leg, and it was bent and twisted in a disgusting way. He would need medical attention soon or he would bleed to death.

Rebekah readjusted the saddle on Rico and built a platform of logs next to him. Cody’s leg was too mangled to sit up on the horse, so she mounted the saddle while he laid over top of her thighs. They began the short trek back to the ranch.

 

Cody woke up the next day in his bed, a dull throbbing running up his leg. He rolled over onto his side, and pulled himself up sitting. He reached for the crutches by the nightstand and used them to stand up. He dressed himself and made his way to the porch. He lit his pipe and smoked it in the rocking chair for awhile before making his way to the stable.

He picked up a bucket and laid it down in the small red wagon. As his leg moaned at him to go back inside, Cody Ward walked up the hill to the water tower to gather water for Rico.

3000 Words?

Well, I didn’t reach my goal of 7000 words, instead I got about 3000. This is my first draft, I’m hoping once I go over it and edit it I’ll probably be able to get another thousand more worth of extra detail that is missing from this story. I had a lot of joy and frustration writing this, and I’m glad I pushed myself to finish it. I struggled with it quite a lot, and I think that it will be a lot better once I’ve edited it. I would like to go over the whole thing and pretty it up. What I have here is probably closer to an outline then an actual story. I’m posting the first draft here in case anybody feels so kind as to give me some feedback before I work on the finished product. The title is a work in progress as well.

 

Rico’s Vigilance

 

The bear hadn’t eaten in weeks. His hunger bore a hole in his brain and he grew angry on his search for food. Hunters had poached the area clean and the rivers were lined with rotting fish. As he lumbered through the forest, a scent wandered into his nose, the gentle smell of lavender.

Rebekah Ward shivered and pulled the brown oilskin duster over her shoulders. A cool breeze blew through the valley, making the snow covered pines whistle and shake. The white powder crunched underfoot as she made her way to the stable. She opened the large wooden doors now cracked and polished from years of use, and walked towards the stall where Rico was staying.

“Hey boy,” She called out to him, “Have you been good? Dad sais you were causing a ruckus yesterday.”

Rico pulled his head back and whinnied, excited and happy to see her. His ears were perked forward, and a glint of love was in his eyes. Rebekah reached his stall and leaned over the wooden door to pat Rico on the cheek.

Rebekah walked over to the cross ties and picked up a bucket. She carried it to the wash stalls and turned the tap. No water came out, just a soft hum of pressure building in the pipes.

She frowned, and dropped the bucket. She walked out of the barn towards the shanty little house with the red chimney, a look of solemn frustration on her face as she followed the path of footprints in the snow up to the wooden porch.

Cody Ward sat on an oak rocking chair next to the railing, a pipe smoking in his hand. Sawdust covered his black duster, and his Stetson was the same faded brown as his curly locks of hair.  He looked up at Rebekah with quiet eyes. He noticed the sunken shoulders and balled up fists.

“What’s eating you, champ?” he asked.

“The water’s out dad. Dakota and Marley and Dexter all have full buckets, but Skyler and Rico need more.”

Cody scrunched up his face and spat. He kicked the empty whisky bottle beside the chair and stood up. Rebekah began putting her short jet black hair into a ponytail, as she often did when she was nervous. She hoped that bottle wasn’t fresh when he started drinking.

“Shit, what did I tell you last week Beck, what did I say this very day last week?” He asked.

“I know, listen I know what you said dad. I meant to turn on the heaters on, I was just so busy with Rico. I think I’m really turning him around!” She said.

“You know how I feel about that damn horse. What are we going to do about water? The roads are out this time of year, there’s five feet of snow in every direction. It could take weeks for hydro to get a guy out here!”

“We still have the water tower dad, won’t that last until the pipes are fixed?”

“For us maybe, sure. Those horses though, they drink ten gallons a day each, and that’s too much of a drain. The horses will die long before we do!”

Rebekah was hurt, but far from showing it to her father.

“Can’t we just give them some until we know when the waters going to come back on?”

“No, not one drop Rebekah. If I see water out there I’ll shoot them myself.”

Rebekah balled her fists, a look of hatred on her face, and stormed off towards the stable. She wasn’t used to her father being this way, he had changed ever since the alcohol addiction began when her mother died in a car accident. His gentle, caring ways had changed to harsh discipline and neglect.

When she got inside she evened the water out between the horses. She hoped that her dad was wrong and that the water would be fixed sooner then later. She decided to wait until her father was sober to talk to him about giving the horses water from the tower until the water came back on.

Minutes after Rebekah woke up the next morning, she went into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. She wanted her dad to feel relaxed when she talked to him. She opened up a cookie tin and placed three chocolate chip cookies on a plate.

Cody came into the kitchen, grumbling about the cold. He smiled at Rebekah when he saw what she had prepared for him. It was his favorite treat, and he knew she probably wanted something from him.

“What is it Beck?” He asked.

“I want to give the horses water. Just for a few days dad, what if the hydro guy is fast? The horses don’t need to suffer for no reason. Just a few days, then we can see how much water we have.” She said.

“We could be out here for months hon, not going to happen. You’re not thinking about what will happen to us if we feed those horses water and the hydro guy doesn’t come. We need that water, possibly until springtime.” He said.

“So you just don’t care if the horses die?” She exclaimed.

Cody opened his mouth to answer, then closed it, thinking. There was a time when he would have walked a hundred miles to save one of his horses. But the horses would die, just like Susan died, and it was all just the same.

“I do care Rebekah, I just care more about you. I can’t let you dehydrate yourself over some animals. This is the last I’ll speak of it, I don’t want you to ask me again.”

Tears welled up in Rebekah’s eyes, she pressed them away with her fist in contempt.

“You bury them then, just like you bury mom with that bottle every night.” She said.

This cut deeply into Cody, and he left the kitchen without another word.

 

While Cody cut wood to stack by the fireplace, Rebekah made her way to the water tower with a wagon and a water bucket. She filled it and brought it to the stable. She placed them in the corner of Rico’s stall and prayed the horse would drink fast before her father checked on him. She felt wrong not helping the other horses, but saw her fathers logic as much as she hated it. Just enough for Rico and us, she thought.

Day by day Rebekah returned to the water tower. The other horses began to look tired and depressed, while Rico stood healthy and happy. It was four days after the water went out that Dexter fell victim to dehydration. Another two days after, Marley and Dakota followed. Skyler lasted the longest, seven days.

Cody noticed that Rico seemed to be in perfect shape while the other horses dropped like flies. While he was walking through the stable drunk one night, he saw that there were fresh water stains on the wooden floorboards. As he put the pieces together Rebekah walked into the barn and saw him standing there staring at the floorboards.

“What are you doing dad?” She asked.

Cody began heading towards the shotgun he kept hung over the cross ties.

“I’m gonna shoot that damn horse, that’s what I’m doing.” He said as he reached up and retrieved the gun.

“NO DAD!” Rebekah screamed, putting herself between the horse and Cody.

“I told you they would just have to take what happens to them, we need that water Beck.” He broke the shotgun down the center and loaded a shell.

“You bastard! I’m not watching this, I hate you!”

Rebekah ran out of the stable and took off into the forest. Now that she was away from Cody the tears came freely, she had owned Rico since he was a colt. She had no idea where she was going, just that she had to get away from the monster her father had become.

Cody saw her run into the forest and swore under his breath. He headed for his tool shop, and grabbed his emergency gear. He saddled up Rico, tied up his shotgun and loaded the emergency kit. Hoof prints followed the footprints of Rebekah’s gumboots.

 

The river was cold, but shallow this time of year and so her boots did just fine keeping her dry. Rebekah stepped out a few kilometers south of the ranch. The brush had grown over the river for most of the way, so that a horse would not be able to maneuver the terrain very well. She knew her father wouldn’t risk putting the horse in the water too long or else he’d end up on foot.

She travelled another ten kilometers before she realized how lost she was. She found a cave with a refrigerator sized opening that looked relatively clean and dry and set down a moss bedding. She opened up a vile of lavender, the smell reminding here of her mother. She set it aside and laid down on the moss, falling asleep quickly.

 

Cody had no difficulty tracking Rebekah. He saw that she took the river, and guessed she hoped he would have a hard time in the brush. He would run Rico in the river until he froze to death if it meant finding his daughter and bringing her back home.

He kicked Rico and pulled the reigns towards the river. The moon cast a reflection of light across the water. Rico reared when he touched the cold water, nearly sending Cody sprawling. The shotgun tugged at the drawstrings, loosening and swinging a little more freely.

“Woah” Cody yelled, sending his heel into Rico’s side again.

Rico was in and out of the river, bucking and snorting. Cody pulled the reigns tight. Rico stopped, his front legs still in the rushing water. As Cody pushed him to go forwards, he reared up again with all of his force. Cody was knocked over sideways, screaming and grabbing out for the reigns. His fingers reached out and grasped the butt of the shotgun, pulling on the drawstrings as the river pulled him down. Rico bucked and the string snapped, sending Cody into the depths of the water with a loaded shotgun in hand.

Rico jumped into the river and began dredging downstream. He searched for Rebekah.

Cody was launched downstream for half a kilometer before he caught his bearings and was able to stand up. His brown cowboy boots sopped with water. He began his trek down the river, grim faced, thinking about Rebekah and wondering how lost she must be.

 

Rebekah awoke to the sound of branches breaking outside of the cave. She sat up, listening, and heard the low breath of a large animal. She froze in fear, not knowing where to go. The cave only had one entrance, and it was small with no hiding places to be found. She sat and waited, five minutes turning into ten, her shoulders getting tense and sore. Finally she picked up the courage to move. She decided she was going to look outside, and run in the furthest direction of whatever was out there.

She pulled a lighter out of her jeans pocket, and slowly moved towards the mouth of the cave. As she got within two feet, the breathing entered the dark cave, the shadow of a large body blocking the light of the moon. Rebekah screamed and struck the lighter in front of her, a small flame lighting up the cave and the face of the creature.

Rebekah’s eyes grew to the size of tea-saucers, and her mouth dropped open as she registered with shock the great beast in front of her. Her face slowly turned from shock to a smile. She walked over to the tall brown horse, and patted him on the cheek. He whinnied and looked on at her, his ears perked forwards.

Rico reared up in terror, a look of pain in his eyes. Two large paws were wrapped around his hindquarters, sharp black claws digging into the skin and creating a zig-zag of open flesh. The bear roared and bit into the emergency bag tied to Rico’s back. The bag came loose and the contents were tossed all over the ground.  Rebekah screamed and backed away, still holding the lighter out in front of her.

Rico bucked with his hind legs, sending a mighty blow to the bears ribcage. The bear fell over backwards and laid there for a second, stunned and having the wind knocked out of it. Rico pulled his head out of the cave and trampled over the bear, running out into the densely packed woods with blood trailing out behind him. The bear rolled over onto it’s feet and chased after him.

 

Cody heard the screams, and began running after the footprints in the snow. He reached the cave in time to see a bear roaring and taking off into the forest. He ducked his head down into the cave and saw Rebekah quivering. He embraced her and ran his fingers through her hair, like he used to when something had upset her. She quickly came out of the haze she was in, and realized Cody was soaking wet.

“You need to get out of those wet clothes dad, and we should build a fire. You’ll freeze to death!” She said, and began gathering up small sticks that were laying about the cave.

Cody went outside and grabbed the axe that had fallen out of the emergency bag in Rico’s tussle with the bear. He hacked up some fallen logs, warming himself a little in the process. He brought them into the cave and laid them over top the small fire Rebekah had started with the sticks.

He took his jacket and his jeans off, and laid them down by the fire to dry. Rebekah pulled her duster over his shoulders and rubbed his hands with hers as he warmed himself.

 

By the time his clothes had dried, the sun was just cresting the mountains to the east. Birds chirruped their morning song and the smell of fresh snow permeated throughout the cave. Cody pulled his jeans on, donned his jacket, and walked outside stretching his hands up into the cool air.

The bear charged at him from forty feet away, a great roar emanating from it’s stomach.

Cody scrambled into the cave and reached for the shotgun leaning up against the wall. When he came back to the mouth of the cave, the bear was ten feet away. Cody stepped outside, cracked the barrel, checked that there was still a round in the chamber, and closed the barrel up again. He brought the shotgun up and squeezed the trigger.

A dull click came from the hammer hitting the firing pin. The water had soaked the gun, and although he thought it had dried well enough to fire, the shell had been ruined permanently.

He fell over backwards in fear, the bear lumbering on closer and closer. As he crawled towards the cave on his back, the bear came crashing down on his legs. Huge shining white teeth bit down on his calf with tremendous force, snapping the bone in three places. Blood began to pour out of the wound.

Rebekah ran out of the cave, screaming. She watched in horror as the bear clamped down harder on Cody’s leg. Then she saw something moving fast towards them through the forest, a large shadow with pointy ears.

“Rico!” She yelled out.

Rico barreled into the bear full force, knocking it off of its feet. Before it had a chance to stand up, Rico was over top of it stomping and kicking. 1100 pounds of force came down onto the bears robust frame, bones were cracking and breaking with each kick. A final stomp came down on the bears head, cracking the skull in several places and leaving the bear a pile of fur in the snow.

There was now a lot of blood coming out of Cody’s leg, and it was bent and twisted in a disgusting way. He would need medical attention soon or he would bleed to death.

Rebekah readjusted the saddle on Rico and built a platform of logs next to him. Cody’s leg was too mangled to sit up on the horse, so she mounted the saddle while he laid over top of her thighs. They began the short trek back to the ranch.

 

Cody woke up the next day in his bed, a dull throbbing running up his leg. He rolled over onto his side, and pulled himself up sitting. He reached for the crutches by the nightstand and used them to stand up. He dressed himself and made his way to the porch. He lit his pipe and smoked it in the rocking chair for awhile before making his way to the stable.

He picked up a bucket and laid it down in the small red wagon. As his leg moaned at him to go back inside, Cody Ward walked up the hill to the water tower to gather water for Rico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7000 Words

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I’ve written a few flash fiction stories, and only just realized that they were flash fiction and not short stories. I’ve updated my menu and I hope I didn’t annoy anybody with the mislabelling.

My writing has been feeling more and more uninspired, and I think part of that is the constraints of finishing a story in so few words. I know my depression hasn’t been helping either. I’m also starting to worry too much about what time of day I write. I keep reading everywhere that the morning is usually the best time to write for people. I keep forcing myself to write in the morning, when that might not be the best time.

I find it’s pretty erratic when I want to write, and trying to squeeze it out at the same time everyday might not be helpful. I like the idea of a routine, where I sit down and do something everyday, however, so I would still like to set myself up in the mornings to think about writing. I can read articles, read books, browse blogs, and get myself into the mood for writing so that I’m ready when the creativity begins to flow.

Having some more space to flesh out some characters and scenes I think would be beneficial. I’ve decided to work on an actual short story, and I’ve set my minimum amount of words to 7000. This should give me enough room to explore things a little more in depth. I’ve been wanting to work on something a little more substantial.

I’m also going to try to think of some novel ideas. Writing novels is an ultimate goal, so I’d like to begin as soon as possible. I’m a little picky right now with what I want to write about, so I’ll probably continue to write some short stories and flash fiction to try to come out of my comfort zone before I begin writing a novel.

I’m setting a goal of 1000 words a day for the short story I’m going to write. So far I haven’t been preparing myself much for the stories I write, I just sit down and write them. I think this time I’ll do an actual outline and try to plan out the characters and plot a little bit more before I begin writing.

Posting everyday has made me feel like I’ve accomplished something . I think when I begin writing novels, I will be proud of myself. I’m enjoying writing so far, and my plan is to continue practising it.