Thursday, March 11, 2010

Writing Wednesday (or something)

Feeling kinda off, not too sure why. Eh, we all have our days. On the upside, my hit counter thingy tells me I am on the cusp of 600 hits which is kinda cool considering I've only been doing this for like a month. So I have been ruminating, which people tell me is a dangerous activity rife with peril, and I was thinking about how people are described versus how they actually look. Random, I know, but it was cause I was looking at my tattoo and pretending to be badass in the mirror. It was like, if I was described to you, and you didn't know me, I would sound like a dangerous character: "There's this chick with purple/pink hair, six piercings and a tattoo of robot scorpion on her back."

Doesn't that sound like someone you wouldn't want to screw with? Someone who'd look like an angry punk chick instead of a scrawny literature major with bad eyesight who frequently trawls the internet for information on The Last Airbender movie? ...Forget I said that. Anyway, random thoughts, even though it is not random friday. Moving on, for the "writingness" I was thinking of posting the prologue to this story thingy I'm working on, but unlike crappy poems or silly drawings it's actually something I put a lot of work into (and I'm still not happy with it) gentle? I dunno. There's generally only one or no comments on here so I don't know what I'm whining about. If you think it sucks I will probably never know, so here we go (prepare for a CRAPLOAD of text):

DreamWalker Prologue

It had been raining when she’d gone to sleep, pouring rain and one of the hottest days on record. Caught in the downpour, Benny had bunked down for the night in the leaky attic of an old church and fallen asleep to the sound of rainwater plinking off rotted wooden floorboards. When she woke up, she found herself lying in the dirt, shivering in her thin t-shirt and surrounded by fiery autumn foliage. She sat up, confused and unsure if she was still dreaming when a leaf the color of bright flame was blown into her face. She sneezed and stood up, her sneakers crunching the carpet of dead leaves.

Did I walk to a park?
She wondered, shuddering at the thought of having sleepwalked down the rickety church ladder. But this didn’t look remotely like any park that could be found in the city. The trees stretched far up into the sky, obscuring it from view. She turned around and around in circles and could see no signs of civilization or other people. Nothing but miles of trees in all directions. She was no stranger to sleepwalking and was used to waking up in odd places, but none yet as odd as this. She pushed a few errant strands of blonde hair out of her face and shivered again as the wind whistled through the treetops. Her nervous breath crystallized in the air before her. How could it be so cold? But she couldn’t think about the answer right now. Fear and panic were mixing inside her to a dangerous toxin and she fought to calm down.

Just pick a direction and go, it has to lead somewhere eventually.

And with that thought in mind, she spun herself around and scrambled through the underbrush. As she pushed aside branches and tripped over roots, Benny couldn’t help noticing how eerily quiet the whole forest seemed to be. No birds called, no squirrels squeaked; apart from her own personal racket the only other sound was the low moan of the wind. It was as she was stopping to catch her breath and contemplating the quiet that she heard a sharp rustling sound from the trees above. It wasn’t all that loud but it cut through the hushed wood like a gunshot and Benny had to stop herself from crying out in surprise.

“Hello?” She called out, her voice shaking, “who’s there? …Anybody?”

But there was nothing. She exhaled a long sigh, rubbing the goose bumps off her arms.

“It was just the wind changing direction,” she said aloud, as if that made it more true. She leaned against a large, steady tree, trying to get her breath back, finding comfort in the familiar sound of her own voice. “It was nothing to get freaked out over, nothing at all…”

“What are you doing here?”

The question did not come from Benny, but from the tree. This time, she did scream. She also wheeled around and fell hard on the ground on her backside. She stared up at the tree she’d been leaning on, her mouth wide with shock. The tree looked as average and tree-like as any other one in the forest…except that it had just spoken to her. Benny’s brain jumbled through a mess of incoherent thought, the one that worked its way through being whether or not it would be rude not to answer the tree.

“I – I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t even know how I got here, or where ‘here’ is, except that it’s a place with talking trees!” she floundered, her mouth taking over.

“I mean, I think I sleepwalked here, I do that a lot. Like, this one time I woke up in this Chinese laundromat and the owner was flipping out ‘cause he swore the doors had been locked but –”

“I am not a tree,” the tree said authoritatively, cutting Benny off mid-babble.

“Yes, you are,” she answered automatically, before she could process the fact that she was trying to argue with a tree.

Then, with an irritated harrumph kind of noise, the head of…something poked itself out of the dense maze of branches and leaves, hanging upside down. Whatever it was, it had short hair as red as the leaves around it, almond eyes and a distinctively female look. Its features were sharp and pointed, as well as its ears.

“I am not a tree,” the creature repeated, its voice heavy with annoyance, before retreating back into the upper branches.

Benny plopped back down in the dirt, stupefied. And I am definitely not in a park.
Her voice got stuck in her throat a few times before she could get it working again.

“What are you? Where am I? What’s going on?”

With more noises of irritation and annoyance, the thing popped its head back out.

“I’m a guardian spirit, and you’re in my forest,” she, at this point Benny decided to assume it was a she, paused meaningfully before adding, “and I’d appreciate it if you left,”

Benny chewed her lips in irritation, deciding to momentarily ignore just what a guardian spirit might be and give this thing a piece of her mind, her frustration for the creature’s attitude outweighing her fear of it. Benny had always had a short fuse and this creature had reached the end of it.

“Look, you think I want to be here? I wanna go home! I don’t want to be in your stupid forest any more than you want me here!”

The guardian spirit seemed as though she was about to say something but Benny sensed this and purposefully continued, raising her voice even more.

“If I knew the way out of here, I’d go! But I don’t and I’ll tell you another thing, being all hostile or whatever definitely won’t help me figure it out any faster! So unless you have something useful to say, you can go back in your tree and let me figure this all out on my own!”

The guardian spirit glared deeply at the girl, making her nearly regret her outburst. The tree-woman then sniffed haughtily and returned to her tree. She called down to Benny, not even deigning to show herself.

“The trees should show you the way, if they are of the mind to. Now go!”

Benny shrieked through her teeth in frustration. “What? The trees? Come on! That’s the best you've got? Can you at least tell me where I am? Is that too much to ask?”

But despite the provocations, there was no answer from either the tree or the odd little being up in its branches. Benny shot the tree one last dirty look and set off at random once more, growling under her breath and kicking at loose vegetation. Such a volatile combination of confusion, fear and anger held her in its grip that she failed to notice what was taking place. Before, Benny had been thrashing through the undergrowth, making her way as best as she could, but now there was a clear path in front of her. She stopped and looked up, gasping in surprise. The trees were moving! They were ever so slightly shifting their roots up and out of the way, clearing a straight path through the forest. Benny, unsure of what else she could do, followed the path until up ahead, she finally saw a clearing.

“Um…thanks, I guess,” she mumbled fearfully to the trees as she left the edge of the forest. Once out of the trees the ground began to slope downward into a valley of yellowed grass. Benny slid down awkwardly, attempting to remove the fallen leaves from her hair. At the bottom of the slope was a stream surrounded by enormous rocks. Seated on a large, flat stone she saw a figure sharpening what looked like a sword. Benny swallowed nervously at the thought of approaching them. What if they were like the strange little tree person? What if they attacked her? Still, it was the first actual human she’d seen since waking up and if she wanted to find a way back home, she’d have to talk to somebody.

So Benny screwed up her courage and tiptoed down to what turned out to be a man sitting with what was indeed a sword. Long black hair fell in his face as he sharpened it, obscuring his features. Benny stood in front of him, unnoticed, for several uncomfortable seconds before clearing her throat.


The man leapt up, sword in hand, the point dangerously close to Benny’s throat.

“Who are you? Stay back! What do you want?”

Benny jumped back. “I’m sorry! I’m just lost, please don’t hurt me!”

He lowered his sword a fraction, taking in Benny in her t-shirt and jeans. Upon closer inspection, Benny saw that the swordsman was quite young, practically a boy and probably near her own age. His clothes were strange, he looked like a kid who couldn’t decide between being a knight or a cowboy and had instead tried to do both, the result being lots of chain mail, a leather vest and pointy boots. What most dominated her attention though, apart from the sword point still far too close for comfort, was the long, thin scar that stretched across his face, crossed with a smaller scar near its edge, making it appear almost like a sword itself. The young man’s harsh voice snapped her back to reality.

“Where are you from? And why are you dressed so strangely?”

Benny was about to reply that her outfit wasn’t nearly so bizarre as his when suddenly the raucous yells of what sounded like a large group of men could be heard back towards the trees. The swordsman’s face hardened and he threw his arm back, preparing to strike.

“You’re a spy! You’ve led them straight to me!”

Benny raised her arms in terror, “No! You don’t understand!”

He yelled, she screamed and suddenly a voice cut through all the noise, a familiar voice calling out to her.

“Benny? Benny! Wake up!”

And in a flash the forest, the boy, the voices melted away in a swirl of molten color. Benny shot up, back in the old church, her body covered in a film of sweat, looking up into the faces of two grim looking cops.

“Officer Moore, Officer Sanz,” she saluted with a shaky grin.

Officer Moore, the man whose voice had pierced through her dream, pulled her up by the arm and shook his head in exasperation.

“You think this is funny, Benny? Your aunt called me this morning, worried sick when she realized you never came home last night! You think I enjoy spending my morning searching the city for your ass?”

“I didn’t ask you to,” Benny muttered sullenly, the dream rapidly fading away.

“And God knows I’d never bother,” he replied, “if Wendy and my wife weren’t such good friends. Believe me, I’d much rather leave you here.”

Moore and Sanz led Benny out to the patrol car, cop and girl trading gripes and insults the whole way. Benny was immediately assaulted by the reality of waking life, the strange dream erased from her mind. She was so busy groaning and complaining as she was taken out of the church that she did not once bother to look back, missing the vibrantly bright red and yellow leaves that were scattered across the attic floor.

...Yeah. It still needs a lot of work, to say nothing for the story that comes after it. Anyway, thanks for reading and there will be doodles and/or comickry tomorrow!

ps. I'm currently on page 63 out 176 in the Progressive contest. View and take me further!

To the MOON!!

"Look, my life just needs to be less wacky and unpredictable" -My brother, after my mom yelled at him for having a gate arm almost slam down on the hood of his car :D

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