Hello there!

Welcome to my blog, brought into existence because I believe in the power of stories. I hope you'll find a few things you like here. Let me know what you think and leave me any verdict, suggestion, challenge or request you want.

Contact: stories@hotmail.be
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stories-Inc/177071399037533

Happy readings!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Episode 3 - Through the glass

Progress Report (not really relevant, if you're just here for the story, please skip to 'read more' at the bottom of the page ;) )

Here's the next part, which comes immediately after episode 2 (since now I know where to start with it all it's a bit easier to be more coherent, for the time being). Sorry this had some delay. I was nearly finished last weekend, and then my computer shut down suddenly and the whole Svart file had DISAPPEARED... That's like a writer's worst nightmare. Strangely, once I got over the shock and saw clearly, I realized it wasn't that bad and I got to see my personal calamity as a blessing in disguise. I was really spinning the chapter out too long, getting carried away and just basically messing everything up, so being forced to start over entirely was the best thing that could happen - I don't really have the heart to 'kill my darlings', I guess my comuter felt sorry and decided to do it for me. That part did get better, I think, more concise (which isn't really my thing, unfortunately, I could take some classes on brevity). AND, it's also a case of Serendipity (always wanted to use that word) since thanks to Bagle's handy tips on file recovery (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!), I found a back-up of 9 out of 12 pages of a book I was working on just before I joined Blogger. The file got corrupted very badly, so I couldn't open it and I still haven't been able to gather up the strength to start over, since it would never be the same and  didn't feel it needed improvement like Svart did. So it just sucked. But now I have the crucial parts back and can pick up where I left off anytime :). I'd post some of it, but it's in Dutch, so, sorry...

And after that, I got sick and I was exhausted for a couple of days after school work, so I couldn't find the strength to write, specially since it meant starting over from scratch (luckily I'd already posted the first chapter, so I at least had a backup of that one). Instead, I did quite some fairy research, some useful stuff turned up which I hope to integrated in future parts (though most of it was suitable for Macy's world rather than Alice's and some of me just confused me or confronted me with my own lack of originality where I thought I WAS being original, which sucks).

Anyway, here is part 2 and part 3 is also done - it on the short side through, 2,5 pages - I'll schedule it for some time next week. Probably Wednesday. I do have to say I'm not entirely okay with this part and the next one yet, but there sort of a rough outline, a first draft. I'm just trying to get from point A to B as fast as possible and then I'll see from there when I'm done so I can rewrite it in the end. Oh, and the titles are pretty random now. The themes they refer to aren't always there yet or emphasized enough. I may call the novel '(The) Nightingale. Chronicles of a revolution' or something like that.

On a more cheerful note, I noticed that readership for the blod - followers but especially page views - have rocketed *dances around like a retard yelling 'whoohoo!'*, so I just want to give a big welcome to all of you who are a new and another big thank you for sticking with me despite all the craziness and irregularity lately to all the regulars. I really appreciate having you guys here giving me advice, I really really really do. I know I haven't been responding to all comments, but I will in due time. Circumstances are making it hard enough to keep up with posting the best I can, so I kind of have to 'eliminate' everything else.

/delay. Onto the story...

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Episode 2 - The Eve Of Battle

Another novel start, it is getting hard to keep up. I don’t know where to place this exactly, but it may very well be the start of the episode cycle. It is meant to be a little mysterious and vague. It is the onset of a novel, after all, so it has to keep you guessing at the whole story. Song that brought this writing spree on:

I heard it again and got flashes of scenes like this, the other ‘episode’ bits and other parts I didn’t know about before. Hope you enjoy it ;)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Haunted, a poem

I walk the street to the beat of a new low.
It was many mournful moons ago,
even so, I quite regret
all day long, can’t help to fret
wake at night and can’t forget.

I found this one scribbled in the margins of my course notes (to the date of 03/03/11), along with a bunch of other ones. I should keep some sort of inventory...

Daniel Powter - Bad Day:

Anouk - Michel

And a sudden flash of depression. I read something in the student paper before class that unexpectedly got to me and being stuck in class for a few hours without an escape, I had to write something - anything - to deal with it. I'd just heared above songs on the radio that day, they sort of filtered into the first line. So that's how this little things came to be...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Holiday (1) - a short story about 'meeting the parents'

“Can’t you at least try to be nice?”
She grabbed his sleeve to keep him standing, he turned to look at her, fighting to remove his reproachful glare from the child fingering his freshly polished car. She followed his glance and intensified her mental pressure on him by running her fingers along his upper arm.
“Just this once?” She said, in her sweetest voice.
He sighed. “Fine then.” With a faint smile, he pulled her close and kissed her briefly.
“Let’s go. Can’t be late.”
Beaming, she got in the car. It was a clear statement; no more delay and no excuses.
“If it must be done...” He muttered under his breath. They drove out of the city in their suburban cruiser in silence.
He watched civilization getting smaller in his rear-view mirror and drifting away, the high rectangles collapsing into a single line at the horizon and finally disappearing. Trees in lush spring green and wide open pastures with every tone of flower flashed by. The landscape sloped.
“Slow down, already, take in some of the scenery. It’s so beautiful outside.” She resorted to a complacent smile. “Now aren’t you glad you came along?”
They passed a meadow full of cows and acres enveloped in a manure scent so pungent it corrupted their last bottled up city air inside.
“Why? I think it stinks.” He sped up.
She sighed and fell back against the seat with folded arms. “You’re being impossible today.”
He raised his voice a little. “Well, duh. Why do you think that is?” He took a deep breath to calm himself and swallowed his upcoming agitation.
“Why did it have to be today?” He continued, his voice a little clenched.
“Why not? You had to meet them sometime.”
He looked at her, pleadingly. “Baby, I just thought we’d finally have some time to ourselves. Just the two of us,” he gently put his hand on her knee, “do stuff.” He made desperate gestures. “You know, go to the part, row on the pond in one of those neat little white boats, eat out.”
She raised an eyebrow in mockery. “Looks like you had the whole thing planned out.”
He knew in an instant there would be no chance she would back down. He looked out the window and mumbled. “Well, yes.”
She shot him a compassionate look, then made it very clear there was no way out of this.
“Well, big deal. There will be other days off to spend together. Next time, we’ll do whatever you like, but for now, you’re just going to have to get over it. You can’t always have your way.”
“I just had big plans for today, that’s all. It’s not like we have much of a chance for anything like that. It’s our anniversary, for god’s sakes, doesn’t that mean something? And now I’m going to be bloody spending it meeting your damn parents.”
“Well, I think it’s important to introduce you to my”, she shot him a look full of daggers set on fire, “damn parents, and they feel the same way. It’s a big tradition at home to get together for things like this. It keeps the family close. It’s my mum’s birthday, we can’t possibly stay away. If we are to get serious, you’re just going to have to learn to deal with coming here every single year. Her birthday is always going to coincide with a holiday. No excuses! We’re going over, like it or not!”
He tightened his grip on the steering wheel and ran his hand through his hair, with a  thoughtful look.
“Don’t mess it up!” She immediately undid the damage and smoothed his locks back into the slick, professional look she’d insisted he use.
“You have some...” She brushed something off his cheek and he noticed she was being  a bit too thorough in her rubbing her knuckles over his skin.
He turned to her. “Are you checking whether I shaved well enough?” He bit his lip remembering how she actually made him shave off his prized sideboards and chin strap. Not to mention remove his piercings. The visible ones.
“I just want you to make a good impression. That’s all. My parents aren’t big on second chances. They usually make split second decisions about people. I know it isn’t fair, but it’s their way.”
“Thanks for the comforting speech, babe...” He pulled his collar, sweat beads dripping down his neck. How could he possibly think with this thing cutting off all oxygen to his brain?
“Sorry.” She smiled at him apologetically. “There’s nothing to worry about. I know what they like in people, trust me on this. They’re going to love you.”
“Yeah, as long as I play my part right.”
“Just for the time being. Once they get used to you, they’ll learn to accept you for who you are and embrace it. I’m their only child, they’re just very protective.”
“Right.” He felt like he was tied to the tracks and with every second a train was coming nearer. Except that the foot on the gas of that train was his own.
“Speaking of which, you might want to adjust you’re driving.”
“What’s wrong with my driving?”
“You mean apart from the fact that you’re speeding up like some race track lunatic and you don’t see the difference between straight bits and bents? You do want to make a good impression, don’t you?”
“Whatever.” He slowed to an old lady’s pace and made his turns excruciatingly careful.
“We’re here.” She pointed to a big country house, the kind he’d only seen in his worst nightmares, with neatly kept flower beads and tulips and hyacinths and rose bushes all over the place. And garden gnomes, of all things, that smiled... He shuddered.
“This is what I always imagined hell would look like...” He said dryly.
She gave him a playful shove. “Shut up!”
It was as if the car turned unto the driveway all on its own, and used his body for an auto pilot. He turned off the engine and looked around, where a curtain moved very discretely in every neighbour’s house. See or be seen. Lovely.
She spoke to him gently, caressing his now smooth chin. “Just relax, honey.” She got out of the car and then changed her mind and leaned back in. “And be polite.” And again. “And mind your attitude. And keep your hands out of your pockets.”
Sighing, he got out of the car, head low and back bent as if the weight of the world pressed him down.
“Oh, and you may not want to mention we live together.” She whispered to him with a gentle pat on his chest. “They’re pretty old-fashioned.”
The sweat beads now also appeared on his forehead and swelled. Very much with aversion for it, he let her brush his shoulders and straighten the suit she’d picked out for him like he was a dressing doll. She redid his tie.
“You look smart.”
“I feel dumb.”
He leaned back against the car and she rose on the tips of her toes to wrap her hands around his neck and kiss him. As soon as the door opened on them his baby immediately leapt away to put the appropriate distance between them.
“Hi, mum. Come on, sweetie.”
He took a breath and steadied himself. He would rather have done this after – long after – his all planned out date. Reluctantly, he followed his girlfriend to the door, faking a rather unconvincing smile.
“I’ll go see what’s keeping your father. Isaac?”
As soon as her mother looked away, his girlfriend mouthed to him behind her back, “be nice!”
“Whatever.” He soundlessly responded. It looked like he’d have to go all out. Then he remembered he’d left the presents in the car. “Oh, I brought something for your parents.”
Her eyes softened into a smile. “Honey, how thoughtful.”
“I’ll go get it.” He ran back, careful not to smear or rip his clothes, and got everything out of the trunk. With a bunch of flowers, a carton box of pastry and a good bottle of wine – to be safe, he’d specifically asked the clerk at Wallmart for advice – he made it back to the door.

Mustering his complacent winning beam, he handed his offerings over to the elderly woman in the flower print dress by the door. He had this in the bag...

“Oh, dear, you shouldn’t have.” She said. He knew better.
“I wanted to.” He responded benevolently.
She opened the box and her smile froze. She immediately threw the top back and composed herself.
“Well, it’s rather chilly, isn’t it, why don’t you come inside.” And turned away. They exchanged a glance of confusion.
“What did you get?”
“Plum. You’re mother liked plum pie, didn’t she?”
“She’s so allergic to it one bite would kill her. Don’t you ever listen to me? Jeez.”
She disappeared into the house. He scrambled after her.
“Keep smiling, keep smiling.” He muttered to himself.
A deep voice bellowed from inside “are they here yet?” and her father came out to meet them, both stretching out their hand before their glances met. “You!” They cried out simultaneously.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Hush Nightingale

Hush Nightingale
The noises of the city intruded on her in her quiet room.
Sometimes she’d quit staring at the drab white walls and just close her eyes.
She’d pull her knees up on the ground and let her mind follow the cars, the honks and the voices in the streets.
When it got warmer, the sounds picked up and the people outside were cheerful. High voices laughing, chatting and deep wolf-whistles reached her dulled ears and she listened with rapture to the people she could never see.
Once, she nearly tumbled out in an attempt to look down on the street; crawling onto the high window frame, she lost her balance without even catching a glimpse of what went on. She never tried again, contented just to listen to the world below.
On days when the sky was clear and open, the distant echo of music would seep through the windows, too far away to make out the words, but near enough to sway to it, making dreamy pirouettes and turns across the empty floor. She leapt about on the tips of her toes, bending sideways on stretched legs like once was her habit, making figurines in the air. Suddenly she remembered the tones of Tchaikovsky and gently sung, swirling round and round her still room.
She’d often sit hunched in a corner and hum to herself bits and pieces of songs she still remembered, residues of lullabies from her childhood. She’d curl up and suck her thumb, like when she was little and had not a care in the world.
She sat there, by her wall, and drew circles on the plaster, over and over, lining the rays of light as they lowered into the room from the windows. All of a sudden she wondered what her face looked like in the sunlight. She had forgotten.
And then it came back, something demonic, it kept banging inside her head and nearly split her skull apart. She pulled her hair and screamed, covering her ears, pushing them shut until it would go away. It had to stay quiet. ‘Shhh.’ She whispered again and again, her slight shoulders shaking with the heaviness of her load.
She did not go out, no, she dared not and so she stayed, basking in the light unseen, forever, forever, until her limps turned to stone, and with a face like breathing dark-veined marble, she lifted her weary eyes at the windows and slowly dimmed to grey.
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