Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Morning Rough - "The Pastor's Paradox"

Introduction


Good morning, dear reader. Welcome to another post for this infamous blog segment, The Morning Rough. Before I begin talking about this story, “The Pastor’s Paradox”, I must say that I’m not too sure I can call this story. In some sense, it could be called a parable, but even then, I am uncertain because I have ended it rather abruptly, mostly due to time constraints, so I may write another story to continue it, out of pure necessity. As it stands today, though, it may serve its purpose.
Most of the concepts of this story are laid to bare within the story itself, but it may be necessary to contextually elaborate it’s core concept. See, for both last night and this slow-moving morning, I had dived into the concepts that C.S. Lewis had written and spoken about. One of the joyful things about listening to Lewis’ ideas is that it helps me think about what Christianity, as a philosophy, means to me. Unfortunately, as much as I could talk about Lewis, one could argue that this is about as far as his influence may reach.
In regards to my context of Christianity, perhaps more so laid bare in this story, I must explain certain things about the way I think. See, my method Christianity stems from a Protestant methodology to faith. If, for whatever reason, this unsettles you - especially if you were convinced that Protestantism had been done away with, or that Protestantism is kin to Puritanism - then you are quite welcome to stop reading right now and make sure to ask your priest for some extra holy water.
All religious jokes aside, I have to assure you that the original conception, at least as far as I have understood it as, of Protestantism is to come at faith with both head and heart. Certainly, I am willing to accept “mysticism” to a degree, but I cannot abide by the authority of a man to tell me that my soul is saved. Of course, to base faith purely on the Holy Bible may be run into several traps, often literally enacting certain things that should not be enacted, or by feeling certain things toward others that should not be felt. This comes with the idea that you must follow everything within the Bible, else you run the risk of contradiction.
Because of this, as a Christian, I cannot be confined in the box of Catholicism (despite agreeing and respecting more than a handful of Catholics), just as I cannot be strung along with Puritan sentiments that can plague any Protestant or Catholic (despite understanding that this sentiment isn’t as stereotypical as certain mediums might sway people into believing). There is certainly something to be said about the benefits of a congregation, but if everything goes as far as that congregation is concerned, rather than tailoring individuals’ relationship to the Holy Trinity (in so far as those concepts are stretched), and no further then that congregation has softened the soul, in my opinion, rather than strengthened it.
I could be wrong, of course. There is a possibility that my ideas are as crazed as a conspiracy theorist shutting himself in his closet, frantically gluing his tinfoil hat on his head. Some things, I think, need an air of mystery. Wish I could elaborate more, but I think I should not let the story do the telling.
As always, please feel free to read and comment. My hope, too, is that your day make you stronger with each strange and perilous hurtle.

___


"The Pastor's Paradox"


William Thomas was a man of shame.
But, then again, we are all people of shame. For William, however, it had often plagued his mind that being a man of shame was unacceptable because he was supposed to be a man of God, as well. This means he was a pastor, a man who preached the Word of God to his small church… a man who was supposed to lead his community down the righteous path. It seemed to him, as it likely seems to many who have looked upon religion with disdain, that he was caught in a contradictory life. Certainly, there was a word for it: hypocrisy.
There is a problem, though, when assessing this judgment to William. It can certainly be correct if he had shunned away any notion of his sins, if they were pointed out, which they never were in a public sense.  Privately, the pastor was quite open to those who were in need of his guidance in a confidential setting. Oddly enough, since he had spoken to every member of his small congregation in this confidential setting, every member knew of his contradictory life, but there was not one breath of gossip spread amongst the usual matriarchs of the congregation, nor were rumors crafted to do away with him in the most dramatic of circumstances. Why would a group of people readily condone William’s willingness live this contradiction?
Also, it should be noted that Pastor William was often praying about this contradiction. “Please,” he’d plea, “please, Lord! Do away with this shame I keep inflicting upon my soul!”
So, to say he was a hypocritical Christian may be to speak in pure ignorance. Inwardly, of course, he may certainly be hypocritical, as one could argue that he may speak of wanting to do away with his shame, but since he keeps enacting his shame, often being shameless in the action at the pure heat of the moment (as the proverbial “they” would say), it is clear that his heart yearns for sin. But, there is a problem with supposing this: Pastor William’s shame over his hypocrisy was greater than his shame for the contradiction of his life. In point of fact, his shame was so great that, when he prayed about it, he’d punch, scratch, and kick at the wood of his desk. How that desk endured such abuse is, perhaps, a testament to the love and care of its crafter.
Now, as with anything, we must suppose that something about William’s problem has to be confronted somehow. It certainly cannot be confronted by a mob who’re in great upheaval about his moral compass that they’d do anything to bend him toward their purisms. This story is certainly not just about how the contradiction of this pastor’s life is, in a very real sense, actually a paradox. But, perhaps I’m destroying the illusion of the story?
Well, perhaps it should be in our interest to go into the real meat of this story, which happens to also be proverbial “they” might say. If a story is to have “meat,” we should suppose that there are more characters at play than William, his congregation, and his poor, battered desk.
But, I digress…

*
It didn’t often happen, but William knew it was going to happen. The day was never certain, but the hour was always around ten o’clock in the night. For whatever reason, when the witching hour came on this night - of all nights! - something felt off and different. As he put on his gray suit, his red tie, and fitted on his gray hat, the feeling had latched onto William, and when he was putting on his shoes, the feeling seemed to be kin to cold shiver that never ceased to crawl up his spine.
Regardless, he was out the door.
First stop was always the bar, and in the blink of an eye, William would find himself in one bed after another, be they man or woman. His fleshly desire burned in a carnal heat so great that each lover would always compliment him on his performance, and they’d often beg him to continue to spend the night with them, but at the same time, they would never go too far with their begging.
Of course, though this seemed like a usual night where William’s sins had taken hold of him, that feeling from earlier had persisted. It grew more and more, often growing faster at those moments where sweat and pleasure had reached their epicenters for each encounter.
Then the feeling stopped.
Gone in the middle of stroll to a brothel, but this had immediately paralyzed him and gripped him with shaking fear. William eventually found himself looking around, this way and that, like a small lizard jerking his head in search for its insectile prey, as if he were looking for that feeling that had plagued him earlier.
Suddenly, he ran into a priest.
Apologizing, William went back to his search, but after a few paces, he stopped dead in his tracks. The small hairs, on the back of his neck, had risen. A small drop of sweat rolled down his brow and past his cheek.
When he turned around, something had compelled William to stare at the priest, who was strolling quite casually. Then William began to follow him at a far distance, head desperate to understand why he was so fixated on this priest.
Eventually, after a while, William began to notice a peculiar detail: the priest was following someone. Certainly, the pastor was surprised to find the woman, whom the priest was following.
She seemed beautiful.
But, also, everything about her, from the way she dressed to the way she held herself, seemed to suggest a great deal of tragedy. Not just any kind of tragedy, though. Hers was a life of shame, and it certainly made a tear spill out of William’s eye, knowing he could relate to both the life and the desperation to pull away with something that seemed impossible to let go…
Then she turned the corner, into an alleyway, and the priest soon followed. It was clear as daylight, to William, that something horrible would happen in that alley.
Now, there is an unfortunate reality, when it comes to being confronted by certain horrible epiphanies or revelations, and it is something that may happen to us in one sense or another.
William was no different.
Upon realizing the priest was meaning to do harm to the lady, the pastor had found himself frozen and filled with fear. It was not the kind of fear you might think, though: he wasn’t fearing his life; nor was he fearing the priest, who could’ve harmed William’s reputation with his status, despite the two of them being of different denominations; and William did not hold a fear of confronting the priest.
No one wants to witness a horrible act…
He had to, though, and William would, just as he would save her life…

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Morning Rough - "Crime and Coffee"

Introduction


Good morning, dear reader, and welcome The Morning Rough.
Today, I decided to write a story that showcases, more so than the other stories, the kind of genre I consider my bread and butter: hard-boiled. “Crime and Coffee” may not have all the elements of a good hard-boiled story, but if anything, it may bring forth what I consider to be the difference between a hard-boiled story and a noir story. The two genres aren’t mutually exclusive, for sure, but the key difference between the two is the emphasis on darkness. Noir, in my opinion, seems to convince itself of a certain genteel poetry, which can dabble in existentialism a bit too much for my taste. Hard-boiled, on the other hand, can have most (if not all) of the elements of a noir story, but it will figure that the existentialism is too bothersome to take seriously, at some point, or it will throw out the existentialism mumbo-jumbo altogether. To the hard-boiled story, nothing is more important than the job and whether or not it gets the job done. This is why Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe stories read so well to me: most of them have everything you’d expect to be that of noir, but then Marlowe makes a quip, or the action takes off in an unexpected way, and then you realize, that noir thinks in a fantasy while arguing over a reality, while hard-boiled lives a fantasy and chuckles at reality. Or at the very least, that is how I see it. If anything, that might describe what was going through my finger when I wrote this story.
As always, dear reader, let me know what you think and please share this story to your heart’s content. Certainly, I’ll risk being a broken record and give you my hope that your day goes well enough. Thank you for reading.


___


"Crime and Coffee"



My name is Noah Hawthorne: Private Investigator, reluctant Berkeley resident, and I consider hating most people to be evidence of my sound mind.
Today, I was having one of those mornings… one of those mornings where everything sounds like the loud end of a semi-truck. Usually, I make it a point to make my own coffee in the morning, and I make an even finer point in never stepping foot in a coffee shop. One of the greatest prides I can speak of is having never gone into one of these joints, filled to the brim of pompous assholes.
However, today, I found myself in a rare kind of rush. For some ungodly reason, I figured it’d be faster to get my coffee at a coffee shop. Now that I’m thinking it all over in my mind, I can see how I came to that misguided conclusion.
See, even though I’m a private investigator who works under no one’s thumb, unless they have the cash to back it up, my life is a fairly busy one for two reasons: the first reason has to do with my work ethic, which usually gets me up early enough in the morning to handle any amount of shit that gets thrown into the proverbial fan; and the second is a secretary, who will pick up any slack I happen to drop, much to my chagrin.
Let’s just say I had a rare night, last night.
The kind that got me drinking too much.
For the life of me, I didn’t think a high profile client would expect to meet with me at my usual time of operation, so I figured it wasn’t going to hurt anything if I had one night of heavy booze drinking. But, when I woke up to a phone call from my less-than-happy secretary, I knew I had made a terrible mistake, and that mistake would cost me a relaxing cup of coffee. Since I needed to be at the office in an hour, or the client would take their business elsewhere, I jumped into my wrinkly suit and ran out of my apartment.
In desperate need for coffee, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to get my coffee from the coffee shop close to my office, which had given me more than one reason to sneer. When stood in line, my gut decided to complain. Certainly, it wanted coffee as much as I did, but it took offense in being around a puke of hipsters. Puke, by the way, is my classification for a collective of hipsters in one area or areas…
Thankfully, the line was moving pretty quickly, which had played with my confidence that I’d be able to get my coffee and make it to my office in record time. However, when the guy ahead of my came to the counter, he decided to pull a gun out, scaring the cashier to high heaven.
“Empty the fucking register!” he exclaimed.
My eyelids lowered as everyone hit the floor as they gasped and cried. The cashier gave me a wide eyed look as she began emptying the register. I would’ve been more surprised that the punk wasn’t aware that I was still standing right behind him.
Letting out a sigh, which he didn’t notice, I pulled out my revolver and pressed against the man’s back. I pulled the hammer and said, “You have two choices: either give me a reason to pull my trigger, or you can drop the gun and put your hands behind your head.”
Half of me wanted him to do something stupid, other than putting a bullet into the cashier’s forehead, but alas, he went yellow and took the second choice. Since I didn’t have a pair of handcuffs on me, I sheathed my weapon then slammed his face into the counter. After he dropped to the ground like a sack of dry cement, I ordered my coffee and asked if they had a latex glove to spare.
Everything was still quiet as they poured the coffee into a paper cup. I gave them a five dollar bill and told them to keep the change, and then I put on the latex glove and picked up the 9mm. After clicking on the safety and putting in my pocket, I gave the cashier my card and said, “If he wakes up before the authorities arrive, hit him over the head with something hard, or you can contain him in some way. Tell the cops they can pick up his gun and question me at this address, it’s close by.”
“Umm,” the cashier uttered as I grabbed my coffee. “Thank you.”
“It’s a morning,” I replied, and then I tipped my hat and thanked her for the coffee. “This is the one I’ll need to save my ass for the rest of the day.”
When I walked out, I decided to up my staminate intake by lighting a cigar. Frankly, I’m surprised I made it to my office with five minutes to spare.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Morning Rough - "Waking Steel"

 Introduction


Good morning, dear reader, and welcome to fifth post for The Morning Rough. Though it was a relief to make it to more than three posts, making it to the fifth post fills me with determination!
For the story of “Waking Steel”, I wanted to simply showcase my love and irritation with science fiction, especially of the robot variety. I certainly see the value in Asimov’s work, in this regard, but at some point, art needs to take the sobering turn of moving beyond all the technical framework in order to grab the human condition. There have certainly been attempts at this, but they’ve been not enough, in my opinion.
I can certainly ramble on and on about the subject of sentience, of the subject that the advancement of the technology - or the presence of robots - doesn’t have to lead to a result of an utopian or a dystopian society. It certainly doesn’t have to lead to apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic outcomes. What interest me, at least as far as my writing is concerned, is science-fiction stories that show that certain things about humanity have survived the test of time, for better or for worse. Despite consistencies, despite the reality that some things don’t change, they can nonetheless lead to some really fascinating stories.
Anyway, as always, I hope the day is rather fruitful for you, dear reader. Please, feel free to share and comment. God bless.

____

"Waking Steel"


Ed was born.
Gerald couldn’t help but realize that he chose a rather unremarkable place to facilitate Ed’s birth. Who, after all, wakes into their first seconds of consciousness while sitting on a chair? Yet, for whatever reason, he couldn’t think of anything more suitable than a chair, when it came to birthing a robot. As for Ed, he wasn’t affected by the furniture of his birth: judging by the way he looked about the lab in awe, the robot seemed more fascinated with the world he had awoken to; at least, before he became fascinated with his stainless steel hands.
“Welcome to the land of the living, Ed,” Gerald said, brow furrowing at the words he had spoken. Seemed to be a rather odd phrase to say to a being that was in the throes of witnessing existence for the first time. He should’ve researched stories about mothers and their first experiences with child birth…
Looking at Gerald, Ed said, “Thank you.”
A bit taken aback, the robot touched his neck then his mouth. Gerald was amazed himself that Ed was approaching his existence with a child-like wonder, albeit in an obtuse kind of way.
“I can talk?” Ed asked, and then he blinked rapidly at the question. Staring more intently at Gerald, he asked a two-in-1 question, “Who… what am I?”
“You’re name is Ed,” Gerald answered, jovially. “Before I tell you what you are, you must realize that who you are is more important. Do you understand?”
After a moment of processing, “My logic systems are scrambling from what you just said… however, something else within my brain… or somewhere else… understands what you mean. Whatever I might be, it isn’t as important as who I am.”
“Correct,” Gerald said, nodding. “Now, Ed, I don’t want to distress you with this, but what you are, though not as important as who you are, is still pertinent in certain instances… you are a robot, a robot created by my hands. By any chance, do you know what that means.”
“My logic systems aren’t as confused as they were before,” Ed stated. “A robot is a machine that is supposed to simulate humanity, in an artificial way, in some shape or form; if it does not, it only immolates a certain aspect of humanity, lacking sentience, to make certain task easier for humanity…”
“Indeed, but you, Ed, have sentience.”
“That is a relief.”
Walking over to a table, Gerald grabbed an open bottle and a tall, clear glass. Then he began pour a dark brown liquid into it, which had foamed at the top. As he poured the liquid into another glass, the robot’s creator said, “Though you are technically not of age, my vice has dictated the terms of celebration for this momentous occasion.”
“And what occasion is that?”
“Have you not been paying attention, Ed?” Gerald asked, rhetorically, with a warm smile and a small chuckle. “There can be no better occasion to celebrate than the first day of one is borne into this world! As a robot, you are blessed with the rare opportunity to celebrate that day bearing full awareness of your life and consciousness.”
Cocking his head, Ed asked, “Is it possible for a machine… a tool to be living?”
“Ah,” Gerald said, wagging his index finger. “Have you already forgotten what I said to you in your first moments of existence, Ed?”
Ed blinked.
Then: “Who I am is more important than what I am… I seem to understand that more now than when I had first heard it.”
Handing Ed one of the glasses, Gerald affirmed, “I will say that you, Ed, are as much a machine as I am, but just because we are machines does not mean we are tools, especially tools to be used by others.”
“Strange,” Ed said, holding his glass. He found himself mesmerized by the foam, fizzling away until the top of the liquid was more and more visible. “I think I am feeling my first feeling… I feel… blessed… Blessed to have been created by a man so kind.”
“I am but a man, Ed,” Gerald said as he grabbed his glass and walked over to Ed, “but I both appreciate and relate to the sentiment… I, too, feel blessed to have created such a remarkable robot.”
Gerald then tapped his glass against Ed’s glass. The robot couldn’t help but watch his creator drink the alcoholic liquid. It was a rather beautiful scene of reverence, and for whatever reason, Ed found it rather hilarious that his logic systems were regarding it with flaccid interest.
Ed finally took a sip.
It held sharp, bitter taste.
But… there was something amazing about that feeling, and before long, he discovered something rather sweet behind the bitterness. Perhaps, this was Gerald’s way of showing Ed what humanity can be like…
Certainly, an occasion worthy of celebration.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Morning Rough - "Cracked Voices"

Introduction



Good morning, yet again, dear reader. The Morning Rough has gone past three, growing into a fourth story! Certainly, since I usually have to work in the morning on Mondays, this was something that I worried about accomplishing in a timely manner.
For this particular story, entitled “Cracked Voices”, I found myself delving into a weird and somewhat darkly story. Wish I had a subject I could talk about it, in regards to its themes, etc… but alas, I really should wrap this Introduction quicker than usual. You could think about it in terms of the concept of suicide, or even, you could see confusion as a prevalent theme. However, it might be best that this story remains abstract.
As always, whoever you may be, feel free to break your silence and leave a little comment, expressing to me anything from general thoughts to what you’d like me to do with this short story, or any other short story I doll out for The Morning Rough. Other than that, dear reader, I hope your day is as well as you can make it.

___

"Cracked Voices"

I can’t say for certain… can’t say why the wind wanted me to be carried along with thoughts of death. The clouds were definitely not the perpetrators, as they did not cast the gloom that was the gray of this early morning. Here, it was just me and the wind and the forest beyond the cliff I stood on. Not a voice to talk me out of my plaguing thoughts, not a soul to put to rest what was restless, in the solitude of my heart.
Everything about this may’ve been a too dramatic, but I guess we’re all entitled to be dramatic when it comes to certain points in our life. However, right now, drama might seem too much of dangerous notion to feed.
“But, there’s so much to live for,” I muttered, repeating the oft spoke phrase said in response to a suicidal heart. The phrase, of course, was merely a desperate plea that was as natural these days as knee-jerk reaction.
Quantity seemed to always be the argument…
My string of thoughts were instantly interrupted by a yelped that echoed from the forest. An instinct, which I never knew I had, kicked in at that moment, prompting me to make my way quickly down the small mountain. Seemed ironic that I should hike all the way up here to contemplate death, only to run back down to worry about another’s life.
Before I knew it, I was running into the forest, following the yelp when it repeated a second time. A third yelped occurred when I was deeper into the forest, but after that, there was only the sounds of the forest. I kept going, wondering and hoping I’d hear another cry or something to lead me in the right direction.
There was only silence.
Minutes after devolving my slow jog into a steady walk, I felt a cold shiver running throughout every inch of my skin. At that point, I realized that the wind had long ceased, that nary a breeze had blew by me to cause me this uncanny sensation.
Suddenly, a loud strike echoed.
It was clearly the sound of an axe splitting wood in half, and it was very close. Didn’t take me long to reach the source of the sound, the destination where it resided, but what I found was rather unexpected.
Yes, a shirtless man chopping wood on a stump is a rather cliche thing, but like a million bucks, I had never witnessed such an instance. Also, it was a rather easy thing to deduce, but a rather odd event to see.
However, what made this instance uncanny was what was going on beside him, as he worked: A nude lady stood in the middle of a natural hot spring, but the water in the spring was  murky and purple, bubbling slowly despite how warm it looked.
The lady stared into my eyes that instance, and I fell to my knees, and then I was plagued by a more intense, cold shiver. I opened my mouth, hoping to ask a question, but not a breath escaped my throat.
After splitting his last plank of wood, the man rested the axe on a shoulder and sat on the stump. He was breathing heavily as his sweat glistened his sculpted chest. Eyes making their way to mine, he asked, “Do you accept?”
I wanted to ask what he meant, but again, no words could escape me. The only thing I could do was shake in response to this unnatural sense of coldness. My cold fingers, for whatever reason, were gripping and tugging my shirt as if I was in a desperate need to tear them off me.
Smiling, the lady in the poisoned pond, reached into and pulled out goblet full of purple, bubbling water. The water that was too much for the goblet flowed like syrup, back into the pond. Before long, those streams became drips, dripping not unlike blood dripping from a poked finger.
“Do you drink?” she asked.
Then a skeletal hand gripped my face, as a whisper blew into my ear. For whatever reason, the bone of that hand was as warm as the breath of that whisper. So warm, in fact, that my shivering soon ceased, and my hands began to rest their tugging and prying.
I’ll never forget the words of that whisper.
“Or do you live?”

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Morning Rough - "Yes, The Rose Bloomed In Flame"

Introduction

Good morning yet again, dear reader, to The Morning Rough.
I will bore you less, today, with this particular Introduction, for the story’s concept is a rather simplistic undertaking. However, a simplistic concept doesn’t always mean the execution is simple. That was certainly the case when I attempted to write “Yes, The Rose Bloomed In Flame”: a raspy throat had plagued me along with allergies. By the time I had gotten through the worst of this morning, I decided I was uncertain if the concept was something that needed to hold water, thus I made the ending of this story open ended.
As for the concept: I was merely thinking about heartache, something I feel like I’m all too familiar with, but then again, I may not be as familiar with it as I think I am. Certainly, those whom are more experienced than I am are familiar with the concept, but that’s neither here nor there. What was unexpected was the fact that this story included more fantastical, mythical elements to it than I had anticipated, especially with the concept I wanted to instill into it. Guess that may be a happy accident.
In any sense, I hope this roughly written story bears something within it that is either entertaining or interesting. As always, if it seems like a story I can expand on a little, please let me know. This story, especially, would be ripe for expansion, and I’d be intrigued just if any would want me to sway in the direction of heartache (as originally thought) or in a happily-ever-after direction.
Feel free to comment and share this story. But, above all, I hope the day goes well for you, dear reader.

____


"Yes, The Rose Bloomed In Flame"



He was a man of stone.
Born from dirt, he was a hardened mineral built for high durability. Low were his qualities of luster and beauty, but any eye could see that he was molded with a sense of strength and stability in his design. He was neither easy nor hard on the eyes. Much like most rocks, he was rather unnoticeable or unremarkable to the eyes.
Walking the earth was not a strenuous task for him, and neither was the labor. Each distance tired him little, and each labor held no lasting impact on his mind or body.
For years he merely existed…
Well, that wasn’t entirely true.
It was merely an inkling of a thought that inject into his mind, especially on the long walks between towns. Solitude produced easy thoughts like this, but eventually, he’d come to terms with the fact that he’d have no way of knowing what do with any other kind of existence. Even if he did, he doubted he’d be able to find any use or meaning for it. This life of stone and work was the only thing he was content with knowing.
However, on one of his walks between towns, the stone man caught something at the corner of his eye: the greenest field he had ever seen. For the first time in his existence, he stopped walking and became mesmerized by the lush green of the field that stretched far enough to be considered a land.
The more he stared, the more he wanted to walk into that land, and before he knew it, he found himself moving through the green field. A euphoric feeling enveloped him when he took that first step onto the fresh grass. It didn’t take long before his perception of time became fleeting, scattering like pollen in the air.
Eventually, that land lead to a garden, which had made him awestruck. Nature, to him, was a rough-and-tough thing, as much as it was bland and drab. But, this nature was bright, gentle, soft, and looking too fragile to be touched.
And then the garden led to kingdom of flowers…


She was a lady of rose.
Born from a flower, she was a dainty plant built for sunshine and color. High were her qualities of luster and beauty, but any eye could see that she was as lazy as her hair was fiery in color, as it was smooth as silk. She was remarkably easy on the eyes. The man of stone, certainly, had never seen something so remarkably easy to stare at.
He was something she had never seen, and she surely didn’t expect to see him outside the boundaries of her kingdom. At first, she was merely intrigued by him, as much as he was captivated by her, but soon found herself admiring him the more they talked of their different lives. It seemed, to her mind, they were both in need of an escape from the existences that had defined them for many years.
They left the garden together and explored what else the grassy land had to offer. Both of them were caught in the heat of the sun’s rays, caught in the blue skies of love. She was amazed at how gentle a man of stone could be, and he was amazed at how much energy a fragile thing, such as her, could have.
When night came, the moon was the glow of their love, the stars were the twinkles of their kisses. Sleep was a dream of comfort, wrapped in the warmth of sweet embrace.
Each of them felt weak and strong at the same time, but the only thing they saw was pleasure and companionship. Certainly, for the man of stone, he wanted nothing more than to live for the lady of rose. He had never felt as if he could’ve been content with anything more or less.


Is a happy ending possible, though? Somethings are certainly possible, and at the same time, not so possible. A forest can certainly be as beautiful as it is wild, but not many happy stories ever conclude in the labyrinth of tall trees.
Perhaps things won’t end in the forest, for the man of stone and the lady of rose. Maybe they’ll both come out of it, feeling stronger in love, or maybe they’ll grow apart. He, for example, could forget the destructive nature of his strength. At the same time, her habit of laziness could come back, despite any adventure present, and transform into vile disdain.
For now, the two sleep.
Unaware, as we are, of the trials that lay before them.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Morning Rough - "Gallows For Angels"

Introduction

Good morning and welcome to another post of The Morning Rough.
Today’s story isn’t fan-fiction, and I wasn’t exactly aware of it’s concept past it’s title, “Gallows For Angels”. After producing the title, a small inkling desire to write something fantastical or supernatural had was there, but not enough control what had produced from my fingertips. If anything, the word “gallows” was the keyword that may’ve invaded my mind more, rather than “angels.” For whatever reason, from a creative standpoint, I wanted to tackle a story that had to do with mob rule, but rather than tackling it from a standpoint of historical fiction, I was in a mood to write something that was a bit more dark and surreal.
However, I am not a horror writer, and from a personal standpoint, I am not the biggest fan of the genre, especially if it makes me feel very little for its characters or concepts. So, it goes without saying that zombies were out of the question. Besides, if I were to tackle zombies, they’d be of the supernatural variety and not the science-fiction variety (where they’re tied to a plague or outbreak of sorts, even though the fear that this produces does have its merit), which I’d like to see done well, but I doubt that will occur anytime soon. Irregardless, I do find the reality of mob rule to be far more scary from a conceptual standpoint, at least in as far as their repercussions are concerned. But, I wasn’t interested in developing a pitchforks-scenario, and even though it’d be interesting to show the sinister side of picketing, I was more interested in how an individual experiences mob rule at more than one angle.
Moreover, this short story was fun to write because, in a sense, I feel as though I have wrote a spiritual story without getting too spiritualistic. Certainly, I feel as though I used less supernatural elements that I could have, or maybe I should’ve included more. Anyway, what’s really important is the story itself and that it must be read.
So read it, dear reader, and tell me what you think! As with the fan-fiction I produce yesterday, let me know if you’d like me to expand on this story with another story that ties into it. With whatever you do, I hope you have lovely day and life! 


*


 "Gallows For Angels"



The night broke.
And then the window broke, producing a crash that roused Samuel Samson to the waking world. Before anyone had time to react, the mob was through the door and scurrying through the apartment. Darkness cast over the bodies as if they had learned to become one with their own shadows, and their movement was more kin to a colony of scurrying rats.
Seconds after waking up, Sam’s body had slammed onto the floor while several hands and arms gripped and constricted him tightly. Then they pried him back to his feet and forced him out of his apartment.
It didn’t take long before he was outside, a hot wind blowing over the bare skin of his of his chest. No fires were present at the moment, in this darkened city, but patches of flickering red tints bled into the darkened sky, denying the twinkle of the stars. Whatever light was produced by the flames that were raging in this city, not an inch of it illuminated the naked bodies that crowded all around him and swarming throughout the streets.
“Expose the hater!” Sam heard a voice yell.
Then Sam was kicked into the middle of the street, as a crowd of bodies circled him, as a handful of them held him down as they tore off his clothes. After that, it didn’t take long for his nostrils to only smell the scent of sweat and burning meat. Fingers dug into his arms as they pulled him further into the city.
He had no time to think, no time to process anything that was happening to him. Sam wanted this surreal event to be a nightmare to wake up from, but when he was made to turn the street corner, into a street that was littered with burning stakes and hot iron. A horrifying sense of euphoria tried to bite down into Sam’s brain, as if that was the only way he could deal with the scene that lied before his eyes.
But, he resisted, and as a result, his perception of time fractured into moments when fear had gripped his soul: white, gnashing teeth; blood caked fingernails; and the orange glow of branding iron. Sam lost his consciousness after the brand pressed against his flesh, the sizzling sound echoing in his head. The symbol pervaded his thoughts: a cross with a swastika at its center.
When Sam woke up, again, he was at the top of a building. His ankles and wrists were chained as giant, blond man stood over him. The same symbol was branded on his chest. Sam’s nerves felt as if they were vibrating when the man smiled, as two men were tied up to stakes.
“Brother,” said the man. “We have saved you, but you must realize your enemy. If you do not, you cannot survive.”
Then the man produced a dagger.
“Will you kill your enemies?”
Upon closer examination, Sam saw one of the men was branded with the Star of David, and the other, was branded with the design of a large feline. He assumed the feline was a panther. Too many questions plagued his mind, but he was certain of one thing, he did not want to be forced to kill anyone, especially when he had no means of defending himself.
Sam shook his head.
Laughing, the man spread out his arms and said, “You must, brother! Do you think these men would not do the same to you? Do you think anyone would believe your virtue bearing that brand? Your efforts to retain your civility is futile. Embrace your brand and live, or let other live by killing you.”
“I will not,” Sam said, a familiar sense of defiance welling up in his chest. “Do not call me your brother. No part of me belongs to you or anyone in this hell hole.”
Grabbing Sam by the hair on his head, raising the dagger toward the darkened heavens, the man said, “Without identity, there can be no freedom! But, I do admire your sense of independence, even if it is an illusion! So, I will offer you the mercy of a quick death!”
Then all went quiet.
So quiet that the man went still, blinking as though someone had called out to him from somewhere. He blinked rapidly, confusion marking his face as he turned around, head pointing toward the sky.
At first, Sam wasn’t sure what had gripped their attention. The more he looked, the more he noticed the clouds gathering like a pack of dogs called by their owner. Even though this seemed uncanny, something about this site hadn’t gripped him as much as it was gripping those that were around him because his brain seemed to equate these to usual storm clouds.
It was then that the sky cracked with a loud boom. The people around him reacted, as if they saw a giant monster about to bulldoze through them. When a flash of light occurred within the clouds, followed with a louder crack of thunder, yelped in fear and began to run.
However, the man was two late: the first flash of lighting hit him, but this wasn’t normal lightning. When it struck, it hit him in the center of his chest, producing a white glow. The man staggered, grabbing his chest for a moment until his chest began to deteriorate and decompose and fast rate.
Before long, he collapsed into a screaming pile of dust.
Another flash of lightning, striking another stranger, did the same exact thing. Then another happened, and then another. Left and right, lines of lightning struck all throughout the city. Fearful screams echoed from every corner of the land.
Sam was shivering with fear, but for whatever reason, he did not feel as if he was in danger. He was, at the same time, mesmerized by the raging wrath of those storming heavens, blindingly illuminating everything with every strike and thunderclap.
It wasn’t long until the booming sky made the screams inaudible, until each boom shook hard enough to collapse a few buildings that had once stood tall. No earthquake could have shook the earth as hard as the thunder that was declared from this storm.
Then…
Rain finally poured.
And then Sam…
Well, he cried tears of rapture.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Morning Rough - "Neon's Trial" - A Trigun Story

Introduction

I suppose I should start things off with a welcome and howdy-do. Well, good morning and salutations and big, warm welcome. Thank you for being one of the few victims of this particular reading material. Since it’s been taking too long to wait for the polish to settle for my other freak projects, I’m in the need to rope myself into a few messy projects here and there. And, though I’m filled with deep (disingenuous) regret, if I’m going to rope myself into something like this, I might as well rope others into crap like this.
So, here’s the deal.
The skinny, as they say..
My brain came up with this crazy idea to write a small, rough piece of fiction each day. Why? Because I’ve been raring to make myself a viable candidate for a booby-hatch, but I’d like to do it with style, rather than by some gruesome circumstance that could be ironic or not…
Anyway, The Morning Rough may be the purist form of fiction blogging, in that it will be a pure pile of shitty pieces of fiction that I’ll tackle each early morning (some mornings will be earlier than other). It should go without saying that most of my writing leans to my benefit, but the polishing that occurs is usually done to accommodate the benefit of others. This, however, will be the prime example of work that will lean heavily for my benefit, as I’m in need of tackling concepts here and there, and because I hate writing non-fictional essays, I figured it’d better to write fictional abominations that tackle those concepts, slapping an Introduction on each to boot.
Each post will have an Introduction, hopefully shorter than this one, and after each Introduction, there will be a rough piece of fiction that the Introduction may or may not have explained properly. The only hope I have, for this particular project, is that you’ll see just how crazy I am in the morning. Perhaps, I’m the only insane version of an early bird, but according to my experience, early birds usually get odd looks for being - in some sense - functional during the hours they feel like hell in…
Okay…
The piece bellow, which I have not written before this introduction, is my (likely bad) attempt at fan fiction. I will try this again tomorrow, but I’m not sure if I’ll write a piece involving a different, established franchise. It should go without saying that Trigun isn’t my brain-child because this is Fan Fiction… If there isn’t a disclaimer above, it will be down bellow.
I’m not going to explain Trigun because it’s easy to find out what this series is about. Plus, you know what I find more annoying? Long, fucking explanations of plots. Reviewers… you can’t tell stories, so stop trying to explain stories that are easier to witness…
But I digress.
Trigun is my all time favorite anime and manga series, which tackles so many different themes and concepts that are perfect material for nicely crafted essays or video essays. Since I hate doing all that crap, I’m going to tackle a short, fan fictional piece that will tackle a particular concept that may be only privy to creative types, or any types that aren’t academic. I do not have enough faith in academics or reviewers to understand certain concepts without it being something they have to dissect and deconstruct.
Anyway, the concept I’m referring to has to do with character consistency versus expectation. There is certainly something to be said of characters that are sincerely consistent, and that can certainly be related to real people, in a sense. However, in my mind, Trigun is one of those series that finds something suspicious of sincere characters, especially consistent ones. Not that I don’t think there’s something to be said of warning readers about certain content that some may not enjoy, but to make a hardline stance that character will be consistently this way can run the risk of making a piece of art more a mirror of the creator rather than something that is ripped out of a creator. I know that may not make sense, but the best way I can describe it is like this: the difference between art that mirrors its creator and art that is ripped from him is like the difference between a reflection in a mirror and the reflection in a pond. The mirror reveals thin truths that don’t go anywhere beyond practical use, and that practical use can sometimes lead to madness. However, a reflection in a pond can be used for practical use, but a pond gives you ripples and a world both above and bellow. To sum it all up, it is the world of possibilities within limitations that lies within the pond; versus limitless clarity in a possible world.
Of course, this concept of mine might be better understood in the piece bellow, in this piece of fan fiction of Trigun: “Neon’s Trial”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it… for the most part, I guess. Please, let me know what you think of this story and if you’d like me to expand on it in the future.

____

 Disclaimer: 

Trigun is an anime and manga, created and Copyrighted by Yasuhiro Nightow, series that doesn't belong to me. This is purely fan fiction that I wrote for fun and not for profit. Please support the official release of the anime and read the manga! Trust me, you won't regret a single second spent enjoying the official work.
___ 



"Neon's Trial"
A Trigun Story
This wasn’t beautiful.
Brilliant Dynamites Neon opened his eyes and found himself in a cave, the taste of blood in his mouth and the numb feeling a dirt caking all over his clothes and skin. He looked up and saw a hole, leading all the way up to a night sky that was far from flashy. When he tried to move, his bones felt the brunt of his age and then some; however, nothing was broken, despite the length of that hole.
Lowering his head, Neon decided to examine the cave ahead of him in greater detail. About the same amount of darkness as last time, but this time, he noticed someone, and that someone had a familiar face…
Vash The Stampede.
Feeling too heavy to stand up, Neon blinked a few times as he grabbed a Churchill cigar out of his jacket. Amazingly, it hadn’t dinted or scrunched like bread as a result of the fall. In any case, Neon’s eyes weren’t playing tricks on him: Vash was there, alright, unconscious and lying on the ground. He wasn’t wearing his signature red coat, though, and his hair was dark, instead of blond… likely a result of the Ark Incident that went on, if the reports are anything to spit about.
Perhaps, judging from the normal rags he was wearing, Vash had finally found a peaceful life for himself. However, that gun was still holstered to his hip, and it looked like he had continued taking care of the damn thing, which suggested a continued use.
Neon contemplated his next move after torching the tip of his cigar, inevitably thinking about how his life had developed to be less of a sparkle. At some point he found himself smoking more cigars, but he figured he made a good trade, since Churchills were pretty damn flashy, for cigars. The prostitutes seemed to have loved the goatee, as well, but he had a hard time seeing it as flashy as the clean-shaven-look. Unfortunately, stubble was getting harder and harder not to see…
He finally got to his feet, after a few puffs of smoke, when he couldn’t remember what had brought the two of them into this dark, bland cave. “Not beautiful, at all,” Neon grumbled.
Walking over to Vash, Neon flicked on the lights that were crafted in his jacket and hat. Somethings you just don’t grow out of… speaking of which, he wondered if his henchmen had taken the opportunity to hop allegiances.
After sighing another cloud of smoke, Neon picked Vash up, surprised that he still had the strength. The lights barely illuminated an inch of the darkness that lied ahead, but there was no way they were going to climb that damn hole.


*
Two hours passed…
At the very least, Neon felt as though two hours had passed, each one spent walking and carrying a human disaster. Smoking helped make the time feel less encumbering, less like the walls of this cave were constricting around them. Luckily, the first cigar lasted a little passed the first hour, so it was fairly recently that had started another cigar, which happened to be his last one.
Eventually, a red glow caught his eye, revealing a corner to turn. This almost made Neon feel relieved, but then a memory snagged him, halting his footsteps.
“You damn idiot,” Neon muttered, in a soft whisper. “Can’t ever mind your own fucking business.”
Vash finally shifted a little, but it was clear that he was still unconscious. However, Neon could’ve swore he was cooing something, like he was dreaming.
Shaking his head, Neon unsheathed his gun. Then he started to tip toe as quietly as he could toward the glow of the fire, keeping his gun ready.
Then: “DONUTS!”
Freezing, going wide-eyed and agape as Vash’s voice echoed throughout the cave, Neon rolled his eyes down at the Humanoid Typhoon, who was now snoring. Then he looked toward the glow and waited for something to happen.
“Put away your gun and come around,” spoke a dry voice, coming from a man who may’ve been a bit older than Neon. “Be nice and slow about it, Mr. Neon.”
Brow thoroughly furrowed, Neon sheathed his gun and growled. Then he walked slowly around the corner: revealing a bonfire, the exit of the cave, and familiar face, pointing a gun at him. His name was Frank West, a rich mogul Neon had stole from many years ago. Recently, West had taken the mantle of vigilante, hunting down anyone who was remotely associated with his Bad Lads Gang, expressing a fiery campaign of revenge toward Brilliant Dynamites Neon. Age hadn’t been kind to West, wrinkles making his skin look as touch as leather.
“Stop,” West said, making Neon halt in his tracks. “Now, drop that moron somewhere and take a seat.”
Neon did what he said.
When he sat across from West, folding his legs, Neon looked into the man’s eyes, past the gun that clearly pointed at his forehead. The fire shone bright between them, and Vash was now snoring, nearly killing the serious mood.
“So,” Neon puffed, “what’s taking you -.”
“Keep your trap shut while I think,” West interrupted.
In response, Neon blew a cloud of smoke.
“And turn off those damn lights.”<
He did as he asked.
Silence settled for a moment between them for only a minute. Then West asked, “How the hell does a normal man, like that, get to caring for a monster like you?”
“Normal?” asked Neon with a cocked eyebrow. “Don’t you know who this idiot is?”
“It don’t matter if he’s Jesus himself, at this point…” muttered West. “Right now, he’s the last thing that’s coming between us and what needs to happen.”
“Yeah,” Neon said, rolling his eyes towards Vash. Then, under his breath: “He better not, or I’ll kill him, myself.”
Vash looked as though he was shivering, as if something crawled up his spine, which made Neon smirk a smile of gratitude.
Looking back at West, Neon said, “If you’re going to shoot me, do it now while I’m feeling generous, Mr. West.”
“Generous,” West said, taking out a canteen and drinking from it. Wiping his mouth, he uttered, “That’s a laugh if ever I heard one.”
A dog howled in the distance, beyond the entrance of the cave. It seemed as though nothing else would shine, in Neon’s mind, for the rest of this drab life. Revenge, after all, had become a boring concept… the older he got.