Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Setting: Underwater Base
Plot: Yet Another Christmas Carol
Narrative Device: Promoted To Scapegoat
Hero: First Person Smartass
Villain: Villain With Good Publicity
Character As Device: Iron Buttmonkey
Characterization Device: Compliment Fishing

My friend looked straight at the person who was quite possibly the best-known figure. I knew where this was going, so looked out the window to watch the fish. Boring conversations I can fake interest in, but I could mouth along with this one if I wanted to.

"You know, your colleague there would make a splendid commander." I heard and didn't react. The man wasn't addressing me, I'd always survived before, and the school looked like a white fish had swum through a prism.

"I'm sure you'd know better than I." I suppressed a smile that the best-known might see reflected in the glass. Three...two...one...

"But you have the most insightful opinions. I really would like to hear." The first time I'd heard the man speak like this, I'd been confused. His persona was so carefully crafted. It honestly hadn't occurred to me that he was charading. I suppose I wanted the world to be as it seemed.

"Very well." My lips did twitch then, as I turned to look at the two who were moving past the traditional back-and-forth. My friend sat cross-legged and we followed suit, though I was still clearly outside the conversation. Not that they'd notice if I did mind, wrapped up as they are in each other. Honestly, I should just bring candles and lobster one of these times.

"Let me tell you three stories. They're about you."

Setting: Premiseville
Plot: Legion Of Doom
Narrative Device: Hostile Weather
Hero: Technical Pacifist
Villain: Non Action Big Bad
Character As Device: Fantasy Character Classes
Characterization Device: Kick Them While They Are Down

I sighed at the dim light of false dawn as rain poured down. There wasn't time to run back and grab my jacket unless I wanted to miss the sunrise.

The only particular reason one would run across this particular place was because of its name. First, because out here, far from Earth, the names were traditionally quite long and two words at a minimum. Second, because out here, people had come to find fresh and new; very few used any piece of the old Earth languages or names. No Plymouth, no New London, always something different. And then here we were, old enough to be part of a dead language, but in the fresh land, barely a generation and a half settled.

Tomorrow, I would be fighting. I'd been in something like this before, and figured this would be worse. Some would be with me, but I'd be darting to reach where I needed to be, and I'd be alone. It'd feel like me against the world. And, of course, the world as a whole would have no trouble killing me, even if I were lucky enough to find some with a code like mine.

Avoiding killing them wouldn't be a problem once I reached the heart. The leader wasn't much for physical fighting, really. Guile, yes, of course. I'd have to be on my toes, when I'd probably be bruised and suffering from minor-to-severe blood loss. I briefly entertained the thought that the injuries might make someone go easy on my before my suspension of disbelief shattered.

But still. I was fighter enough from my mother, and had smarts enough from my father. Even if this didn't work, I'd probably survive. Bruises, blood, broken bones and all.

I watched the green and gold of a drenched Pax sunrise.

Setting: Big Fancy House
Plot: Forgotten Birthday
Narrative Device: Explosive Leash
Hero: Hurting Hero
Villain: What Measure Is A Mook
Character As Device: Reformed Criminal
Characterization Device: Ridiculously Successful Future Self

The ballroom was the definition of opulence. If you stuck the picture in the dictionary and left no other definition, people would get the basic idea. A more thorough idea would probably also require the living rooms, the bedrooms, and the fireplace. Oh, and the guest kitchen.

It was a terrible place to dust.

The place would have been awfully time-consuming even if I wore comfortable clothing. As it was, the jumpsuit itched, and the collar chafed. Of course, the collar was not quite as uncomfortable as it would be, should I move three steps outside this room.

Everyone forgets us. It's not that I really expect them to care most of the time, but I feel like they should care when I do something wrong, at least. Some iota of concern. But nope. Uncomfortable outfit, choke collar, and beyond that we're just forced labor that did something wrong. Something, somehow, somewhere, somewhen, but not quite someone. I rubbed at my eyes with the heel of my hand. It was the dust in my eye.

It was my birthday, the day before the one I'm writing of. As I write this, three years have past, and I celebrated my birthday for the first time in a decade. Chelsea's is in a month, and I'm already planning the party.

The old house is still a terrible place to dust, but I make sure none of us work on our own. After all, I can afford it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Speaker and Author, Author and Speaker

Sometimes the same and sometimes one's meeker.


I scare you, you know. When you let yourself think of me. When you let me be here, in front of you, not behind, not out in the corner of your eye, not flickering or glimmering through a cloud or a crowd. When you genuinely, honestly, accept that I am.

I am what I am, and I translate poorly.

You know, I don't have to be scary. I didn't scare you when you were littler. You made a game of me, actually; do you remember? Figuring out what sort of person you were. Most of your firsts. First book read all through, first time you listened to a piece of music because you liked it, not because your parents were playing it. I was there with your first lie, the first thing you took without asking. The first time manipulation failed, too.

With a note of annoyance.

I can help you. But only if I'm standing in front. Not all the time; I'd block your view of everything else. But every once and a while, let me hold up the mirror. Remember where you're worse than you dare admit and that you are better than you recall. Look. Look! You're getting comfortable as yourself; that's what growing up is. But not if you're so dead set against looking at me that you only bother to see your sunburns and scars. Not if you're so determined to never let me in front that you never see your face, until you almost doubt you have one.

Calmer, and tired.

I know. You can see your hands; you can see what you're doing; you can look into still lakes on clear days and see your face. And maybe if you've forgotten me, forgotten even my glimmers, even how I look in the clouds, only notice me when I flicker through crowds of half-remembered faces and spotted mirrors, you might forget that I don't only show you.

Not an order, but still firm enough to be heard.

Call me. Look at the edges. I remind you of yourself, yes, but around the corners where I keep myself clean but that the lakes cut off with blurs and shores and odd angles, where that old mirrors cut off with dots of tarnish, look. You can see the crowd around you. What they say when they think you're not listening. They're not all insults; there's admiration. It's getting better. I swear it's getting better. I swear it will get better.

As one asking for an old friend back.

Come on. Call me. You know the name. You can't have forgotten that much. Even if you only remember the mirror, only the wisp of a dream, you can't have.

A pause. Then, perhaps, a note of desperation.

You can't.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


The odd feeling of falling, tumbling up as two quick eighth notes precede a held belt.

Pain rumbling through your stomach as the junk food catches up with you.

Discovering that the reason your favorite snack is out is because the fresh batch finished as you walked in.

Skimming along different sources to procrastinate and finding a quotation that explains, exactly and succinctly, that odd thought that had been running through your head all week.

Sprinting for the sheer joy of feeling bare feet pound dew-damp grass.

Staring at someone who called you out. Watching calmly as the light flickers on behind those arrogant eyes that start to recognize a fighter.

Watching the sunset in midsummer, harvesting done and safe for the moment, babe in arms. Your lover puts a warm hand on your shoulder and shares the moment.

Yelling, "Echo!" in an empty cavern.

Glancing at the clock and realizing with a jolt that it's two hours later than you thought it was.

Finding that piece of candy that you'd come to think was something you'd dreamt, rather than something you'd truly eaten.

Stabbing yourself with the pig-dissecting scalpel without piercing your glove.

The moment after a terrible day where you fall into someone's arms and cry so hard you shake without any control.

Realizing that what you just did was the last item on your to-do list.

Finding an author with a writing style you love, then finding nineteen other books by the same one at the library.

Shyly holding hands on the first date.

Feeling your breath stop as your eyes meet with the person you've never quite gotten the courage to ask out...and realizing the other person stopped breathing, too.

Finding that someone else feels the same way you do.

Figuring out what on Earth made that piece. Why this chord sounds happy, what this archaic language means, why the cadence works as it does.

Standing confidently to a challenge and exceeding even your own expectations.

Extending a hand to that person you've never been close to without thinking about it, then seeing the spark of friendship start in those eyes. A smile echoes in yours.

Seeing everyone you care about safe. Laying down to rest.

Friday, May 13, 2011

After Rose's Tale: Part 1

Merry Friday the 13th
Story Generator
Setting: Bazaar Of The Bizarre
Plot: The Siege
Narrative Device: Mind Rape
Hero: The Drifter
Villain: The Evil Genius
Character As Device: Walking Disaster Area
Characterization Device: Squee

Rosetail got its name a while ago. No one's entirely sure where, anymore, though my favorite one tells that some determined young thing named Rose got the people here, then no one bothered to write it down.

Whatever the story, the place is absolute heaven for someone looking for weird stuff. You know that thing you had when you were seven, and you've never been able to find it since? You can find it here. Eventually.

The man's mouth twitched as he walked.

If you've got money to spare for a guide, then you can even find the thing efficiently. The vaguer the description, the better the guide, the more the money.

That was what Daniel Riverside was here for, at the moment. He traveled all over, but always ended up back at Rosetail, one way or another. For a few supplies he couldn't find elsewhere, to be a guide for a little extra cash, just to breath air that had touched coral-kissed sand and dry desert nights. Never had a place to call home, but Rosetail came pretty close. When the rain soaked through his coat, or someone got a little too close to...

That night, the one he didn't talk about, the one he wasn't going to think about here, the one he would not tie to Rosetail if it would save his life because Rosetail was still home, still here, still the same, even if he wasn't...

Riverside gestured to the shop with a polite smile. "I believe you were looking for the tintinnabulator, miss." The name didn't really matter. It was a pretty little machine that made lovely, lightly jingly and twinkly. The thing wasn't particularly rare, but the young woman had an odd cadence that made her a little more difficult to understand, so she had gone to Riverside anyway. The uselessness of the object didn't bother him. He got his rate.

Riverside wandered back to where the guide-seekers lingered, though he took a scenic route. For business, it was good to check for anything new, and for pleasure...

"Fresh apples even in the driest regions!"

"Here, rub a little honey into the back of your hand, and it'll make your soft skin even softer--"

"Oh, my, these are beautiful..."

The guide smiled at the thrumming market. It remained enough to bring back old memories, and changed enough that the old drifter might not much mind calling it home, if he ever tired of drifting.

The not-that-tired drifter glanced over the walls absentmindedly, not really expecting to see what he'd become accustomed to looking for...

Riverside sighed and swung up and through the hole in the wall nearest the new cracks.

"River!" Happy, but still jittery little Jen.

"Jennifer," he drawled, as she expected and he was used to. "Fancy finding you here."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

One Day

Her voice kept the cadence, and she didn't look at him.

"One day...when the Earth burns cold and fire is a distant dream, when warmth is rarer than diamonds and burning is indescribable, perhaps I will lie down to rest. Perhaps I will have that respite, will have gone long enough and have no more promises to keep. Nothing to keep me clawing back up."

Her eyes closed.

"My little ones will be grown--unless they don't, and I end up spending my life hunting who hurt them. But, should life work out as I would have it, they will grow. They will live. They won't need me anymore. I'll be here and find that no one calls for me to save them from dark creatures they barely understand"--without opening her eyes, she nodded towards the two, though one had moved--"and I'll be done."

A dark, genuine smile touched her lips.

"Perhaps it will be death. Given how I live, I would guess that I'll see it coming, if only by a few seconds. Have a moment to myself when I simply know there's nothing left to do, no one left to save, nothing to do to extend a life or a helping hand. Just feel it...end."

A few people shivered. She opened her eyes, glittering with a sun-bright smile.
The hearth crackled, and the usual hum of background conversation gradually started back up. Everyone could figure out how much she dedicated. Very few liked to think of it.

"But not today, I think."


A/N: Mm...yep. One of these again.

I am of the opinion that any hate I feel is a failure in my own understanding. I might hate a person, but the fact that I am feeling hate is an expression of my own ignorance: I do not hate the person, I hate the incomplete collection of facts and theories I have cloaked the person in.

Therefore, the idea of an omniscient being hating anyone feels too simply wrong to express. This is a being that understands every moment, every thought, every justification and doubt and fear and hope and whisper of change, and that being can hate?

I have spoken of my obsession with communication. If I had to pick something I believe in, I would say connections. If one tries to communicate and one tries to listen, we can connect.

This feeling is not just an expression of poor communication, a thinned connection. It perpetuates it. Hate, prejudice, old feuds. They're not just things that split communications, that isolate, though that would be enough. They connect to shadows, shadows that layer until it's so dark you can't see what you're doing, much less the person across from you.

And that is simply too much. That is not violence, though violence may come. That is not suppression, though that may come. But it's before that, when maybe no one even realizes what is going wrong. For as you see my shadow, I see yours. When you react to my shadow, when you react poorly, I add that to my information of you. I create a you that does these things in reaction to me as I am. And as I react to that, my shadow becomes richer, I become the person who does that.

Ticking and tocking through darkness, slowly we look to see shadows and epiphanies.
Statistics at time of posting:
God hates:
Bing: 8,180,000 results
Google: About 1,540,000 results
God loves:
Bing: 198,000,000 results
Google: About 4,560,000 results
(I updated this list just before posting. The former had gone down, the latter up. Cheers.)
© 2009-2013 Taylor Hobart