Thursday, December 11, 2008
So why do I write?
I wish I had a simple answer to the question being asked, however at this point, I don’t really think I have a concrete answer but that at this point in my life, it soothes my spirit. It is an internal passion that wants to be released—to be exploded out on paper. It always came somewhat easy to me, but an extremely tedious endeavor that I embarked upon only when forced by teachers or professors. I’ve always had a great sense of childhood fantasies and imaginings—always creating a world of my own filled with my own environments, people to put into those environments, and ways for those people to interact. I guess as I matured into adulthood—manhood—my fictional world became too much to contain within. Consequently, my only option was to free it in the form of words.
So what inspires my writing?
Well, besides the childish simplicity of my mind to be able to formulate a fantastic place in time without much thought or energy, I would say my inspiration comes from what I see in movies, as bad as that may sound. A movie always has a way to spark some kind of creativity within me or make me think about all possibilities of a given situation. For example, after watching Tom Cruise’ “Legend,” a tale of unicorns, demons, and other mythical creatures, I was inspired to embark on my own journey of fantasy and adventure. I am also inspired by music. A great melody, depending on whether it is slow or fast, can set the time, place, and characters for my work. This class has taught me, however, to dig deeper, to explore another area for inspiration and structure—the area of reading.
Reading, undoubtedly, has the ability to train your talent—to make you a better writer. Truly, I was a little slow in learning this fact. I’m not a reader. Nevertheless, because I thoroughly enjoy writing and deem to better my skills, reading has become a necessity. In addition, during the semester I have had simple structural problems that could have been easily fixed or avoided had I been a more of a reader. Reading is also useful for writing in that, by reading different works of fiction by different writers you get an overall knowledge of different writing styles, what may or may not work for you, and various ways of expression—which brings me to the fascinating world of blogging.
Why is blogging exciting?
Blogging was unapparent to me before this advanced creative writing class. Sorry to say, I’ve never had any interest in posting my work online for the world to see, enjoy, or not enjoy. I will admit though, I was intrigued and open to the idea when first presented to me as a requirement for this class. Blogging is a fun and innovative way to get your work to a mass audience—whether friend, family, or other that’s what makes it exciting. Blogging, for me, is like expressing my writing in a whole new way, at the same time opening my mind and inner passions.
In all, writing and blogging this semester has been a great enjoyment to me and I truly am saddened to say farewell. I will take the experience with me, along with all the knowledge and intense feedback that I received from my professor and peers. I will continue my adventures in creative writing till next we meet. Till then look out for further works from The Mind of Eldon.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
When he who is in a battle with demons, call on Lucifer himself, look him in the eyes, and laugh in his face.
That’s what father always said when the odds seem to outweigh the evens. I must say though, if those things across the harbor are Lucifer’s demons, I dare not tempt him further because I would not want to see how much worse it could get.
Something is not right…everything is wrong and I don’t know how to fix it. There are so many unanswered questions with nowhere to start for an answer. Who do I ask? I’ve always been trained to be the solution to the problem without ever questioning the problem…to just do as command.
Yes Sir! No Sir! Right away Sir! Done Sir!
I’ve been treading around this camp, heavily, with my dirty and tattered black combat boots, denting the earth and leaving a trace with every vigorous step that I make. I pretend that everything is under control when on the contrary it is the polar opposite. As I pass, civvies look, staring as if I were some sort of a savior, one who has all the answers and is unafraid. I try to not stare back. I keep my head straight, eyes ahead, and my SA80 A2 rifle secure in both hands. I dare not make eye contact with any of them for fear that they might see in my eyes what I see in theirs—trepidation.
For the first time in my life, I am afraid and no one knows…no one can know. It’s a terrible thing when a soldier fears. Mirriam-Webster states: soldier—a skilled warrior; a militant leader. Now certainly, I’ve been trained by the best military in the world to be both a skilled warrior and militant leader. When I arrived back to London last year from fighting in Afghanistan, her majesty, the Queen herself told me that she was proud to have me as a representation of British heroism and patriotism. But all the training as a Royal Marine, all that heroism and patriotism bestowed on me by the Queen, could not prepare me for the chaos that lies beyond the borders of this small island.
I continued to patrol the camp. I halted for a moment in front of a brown, middle class residential home, perhaps at one time a home filled with a child’s innocent laughter or grandmother’s warm presence, but now one of the many places on Roosevelt Island housing the battered, bloody civvies of NYC. I lifted my left hand to my head, and removed my green beret. I temporarily placed the beret in the left side pocket of my green and brown camouflage pants, freeing my hand to wipe the late summers sweat from my forehead. I slid my fingers in between the strands of my short, black wavy hair, looking up at the blue sky—taking a deep yet subtle breath of uncertainty.
I slowly walked up the concrete pavement leading to the staircase—both hands securing my weapon. I roughly stepped, one foot at a time, up the four stairs which screamed with every step that I made. I stopped on the cracked wooden veranda of the house to face two American marines standing at ease, one on either side of the entrance door leading into the house. Their legs were a foot apart with hands holding their M16A4 rifles. Their faces were stiff, cold, and unemotional is if it were made out of a lifeless object, maybe iron—apparently not much of a contrast to mine. As I approached the entrance, they abruptly stood straight like poles, feet firmly together, raising the right hand flat, with palm facing inward and four fingers touching the right eyebrow as if to shade the eye; they placed their left hand to the left side of their thigh and held tightly to their weapon, in proper salute.
—Lieutenant Sir! the two men said determinedly.
—At ease marines, said I with a nod, reaching for my beret and placing it back atop my head.
I passed the two soldiers who now stood relaxed, as before. I grasped the dirty bronze metal door knob with my right hand, and pushed the blood stained door open with the right side of my body. On entering, the fine stench of the summer’s heat mixed with vomit and bloody bandages shot into my nostrils like a bullet to the flesh of its victim. I swiftly cut off the two holes with my left hand to stop any further harm to my inner organs. Faint voices could be heard in the near distance; I closed the door behind me and took several steps toward the end of the hallway. I turned to the left and stopped.
The voices were now clearly heard. I dropped my left hand from my nose, gripped it firmly to my rifle, and surveyed the rather large living room. About 20 wounded civvies laid side by side on gurneys, moaning in agony as the two medics addressed their wounds with the help of an uninjured. The medics acknowledged my presence with a nod of the head, and then went back to their work of treatment. The nod signaled safety—that there were no infected victims—no danger.
I made an about face and walked a few feet to another room—perhaps a dining room in its former life. It was much smaller than the previous room—uncomfortably holding only five victims. I began to walk through this room to reach the kitchen.
—Lieutenant Sir, said a medic with a nod, placing a bloody white sheet over a victims dead body.
With the nod returned to him, I carried on to the kitchen which held all the medicine and medical equipment. I continued my patrol, overlooking the area as I passed. I opened the kitchen door leading to the backyard. I heard two sharp clicks and immediately there were two M16’s pointed in my direction. I didn’t flap a lid—it would take more than that to stir me. The two marines guarding the back door quickly dropped their rifles to their sides and stood at attention once they realized it was a superior officer standing in front of them and not a human infected with the virus.
—Lieutenant Sir! said the men simultaneously.
—At ease men, said I.
The men did as ordered, as when you control the channels on your television by pressing the remote.
—Alright back here? asked I.
—The area is secure sir, said the taller and more built of the two.
—Right…continue then, said I closing the door in front of them.
I walked toward a carpeted staircase by the refrigerator which led to the second floor. I continued up the stairs clutching my rifle closely—left hand on the trigger, right hand balancing the body—the nose of the weapon to the left of my face. The walls were pale white and the bulb in the lighting fixture affixed to the wall was dim and blinking softly, with subtle pops, as if it were to die at any minute. I reached the top of the staircase to hear more horrid cries. I tuned them out as if I were wearing earplugs and fixed my attention to the family photos on the walls.
To my right, a picture of a smiling new born baby—eyes bright blue with a quite plump body.
To my left, a wedding photo of a lovely woman in an all white gown, kissing her husband suited in black and white.
Staring into a bedroom of five victims, I received my nod of security as before. I continued to another room and received another nod.
I walked further down the hall and entered the third and last room—the master bedroom. It was silent in there, unlike all the others. The air was clean. The long sapphire and white window drapes moved against the wind that pushed softly yet forcefully through the opening of the window. Small rays of sunlight peaked through the window as the drapes made their dance. I stood at the doorway and observed the aide as she fed the ten or so victims one by one. I lowered my rifle to my left side and continued to gaze.
I made eye contact with one of the victims, an old chap, maybe about fifty—both legs severed. Then another, a chap in his thirties—half of his right arm missing and the other barely held together by braces. And then a child of no more than seven years of age—his body black, purple, red, and swollen all over. I remember this particular red headed, freckled faced young lad.
A few days ago, I was seated in the passenger side of the RV on my way back to the base. The back was filled with wounded survivors that my team and I were barely able to rescue from the treacherous arms of the infected. They were being watched closely by two of my men who were ready to feed a bullet to anyone who decided to turn into one of those evil creatures.
As we approached the intersection of 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, I heard a faint scream coming from the nearby subway station.
—Did you hear that? asked I to the officer driving the RV.
—Hear what sir? asked the officer.
The scream was heard again followed by a small red headed lad running as fast as his little feet could carry him, up the stairs and out of the abandoned subway, toward the intersection.
—That! said I.
Less than a second later, two of the infected raced up the stairs after him and jumped out—almost seven feet in the air as if they had flight, landing flat on their feet with not so much as a stumble.
—Stop the vehicle, said I. Now!
—Yes Sir, said the officer, pressing his boot hard on the pedal.
—Wait here. You and the other men guard the vehicle.
I quickly jumped out of the vehicle and ran towards the intersection. My heart pounded from adrenaline and fear. The streets were completely deserted; they have been since the virus completely took over the city two weeks ago. What was this kid doing out here by himself? How did he survive so long; unprotected? I guess I’ll figure that out later.
The lad was headed in my direction with the two creatures six feet behind him. The demons screamed horrifically as if they were being tortured by his refusal to be captured.
I ran faster.
I could see the boy’s face as I neared him. His face—a combination of terror, pain, and sorrow. His light brown eyes welted and tears fell down his freckled cheeks as his eyes met mine. His red hair blowing backwards as he fought against the wind. I was less than ten feet away when one of the creatures leaped towards the boy—grabbing a hold of his right leg.
—Heeeeeelp! screamed the boy as his small body fell hard on the concrete of Lexington Avenue.
Quickly I bent down on one leg, cocked my rifle, and secured it with my right shoulder. I put my right index finger on the trigger and with keen accuracy let two rounds off in the creature—one in his temple and the other in his neck. The creature fell over on his back—losing his grip on the boy’s leg. The boy curled his body in a tight little ball.
With a banshees scream the other one ran in my direction quicker than I could have imagined. It was several feet away when it leaped in the air towards me. I let a round off in his stomach and it fell a foot in front of me—almost lifeless. That wasn’t enough. I knew better.
Less than thirty seconds.
That’s all I had before this thing would rise again, ready to sink it’s teeth into an innocent—an uninfected. I dropped my rifle to my right side and took my 9mm pistol from my belt. I walked up to the creature on the floor and hovered over him. Its eyes were open, its pupils—an indescribable dark green. It’s veins pulsating erratically through its skin. What was once a human—a man; now some kind of evil, bent on destroying civilization.
Not if I could help it.
With my right hand I took the safety off of the pistol. With my left index finger on the trigger I popped three rounds in its head. I placed the pistol back in the gun holder on the left side of my belt and took my dagger out. I knelt down on one knee and grabbed a hold of the creatures brown hair. With my left hand I cleaned my dagger with his throat. I got up and walked towards the boy, leaving the decapitated body behind me.
The boy was still in a ball—face hidden, crying immensely. I looked a couple feet to my left and saw the bullet filled creature twitching.
It was ready to strike again.
I walked over to it and repeated the cleaning of my dagger. I rose and walked back to the boy. I wiped the blade of my dagger on my pants to rid it of the creatures green blood and placed it back in the holder on my belt.
—Alright? asked I.
He did not reply. He laid in his ball, trembling and crying in fear. I knelt down on one knee to pick him up. I touched his shoulder with my left hand and he twitched.
—It’s ok, said I. Have you been bitten?
—Kid, have you been bitten? asked I again.
—No, replied the boy with a sniff of his nose, head still unseen.
—Your safe now, said I. We’ve got to go. Now!
The boy turned his head and looked me in the eyes. The pureness and innocence of his brown eyes were not affected by the whole frightful ordeal. They weren’t even cherry from crying.
—Are they gone? asked the boy innocently.
—Yes, replied I with a simple nod of the head.
Immediately water began to build in his eyes and as it fell down his face I lifted him up to carry him to the RV.
—You killed my mom and dad, cried the boy.
As I said before the other civvies looked at me as some sort of savior—a messiah, but these ones were different. They were the other people; the wounded that have witnessed my killings in their defense; the ones that have seen me use my pistol to put a bullet in the head of an infected; or slice the head off with my dagger. An infected that could have very well been their mother, father, sister, brother, or friend as in the case of this poor young lad. They gawk at me like I’m bulletproof, an imperishable wall, a non empathetic soldier with no sense of feelings...a jarhead. What they don’t understand is that I was not trained to decide what was right or wrong, good or bad—I was trained to be just a little bit more than a bucket in which you fill with orders and my orders now is to destroy everything not human, to destroy the infected.
I grabbed a hold of my rifle and turned to head downstairs when I heard a call.
I stopped and turned around. The aide slowly approached me, wiping her hands on her khakis to remove the food deposits from her fingers.
—So you weren’t even going to say hi Gav? said the aide crossing her arms. What away to treat your little sister.
—I’m sorry Katherine, I…you looked quite busy, said I. I didn’t won’t to disturb you. Plus, everything is apparently under control in this house.
—You’ve finished your rounds then? said Katherine.
—Yes, said I. The area is secure.
—Have you heard from father?
—No, I think he’s still in the UN building talking to the other scientists and officials—trying to figure out the cause of this virus.
—I hope he’s alright? said Katherine as she took a deep breath, uncrossed her arms—running the fingers of her right hand through her silky, light blond hair.
—He’s fine Katherine, said I with assurance.
—Yeah, well…I guess I’m just worried is all. We haven’t heard from him in days now…
—He will contact us soon. He knows I have everything under control here.
—So when can we leave? asked she. Why can’t we just go to the UN building and wait for him their?
—Katherine, said I, looking into her sea green eyes. New York City is in a state of emergency. Survivors have been placed here until further Intel can be deciphered on what is happening. Until I receive that Intel, it is a necessity, as commander of my team and ally to this country, to keep everyone safe. I cannot leave until I get that command—and neither can you.
—Gavin I get it, said my sister, looking behind her at the wounded. I know…I just…I just want this to be over. I don’t know how much more of this I can handle.
—I’ve got to go sis. I’ll be back in 30.
She turned back around and looked at me for a brief moment as though she wanted to plead more but instead placed her right hand on the brow of my right eye to remove a piece of lint.
—Just be careful Gav, said she, returning back to the room to commence in the care of the wounded civvies.
I took a hold of my rifle firmly in my hand, turned around, and proceeded down the main staircase leading to the living room. I passed the medics who gave me another nod and continued towards the hallway. I made a right into the hallway and walked towards the entrance door. I gave three knocks on the door to alert the marines on the other side.
—Lieutenant Bradford exiting, said I, pulling the door open with my left hand.
—Lieutenant Sir! said the marines standing at attention.
—At ease marines, said I, stepping onto the veranda and closing the door behind me.
I stood on the veranda, with the marines at ease behind me and the city of New York in front of me. My rifle was safe in my hands and beret atop my head. The sun was beginning to set as I heard the load sirens beyond the harbor. I watched the smoke fill the different areas of the city and thought of the bloodshed that was occurring at this very moment between man and creature.
I thought of my father and hoped that what I told my sister was the truth. That my father, the lead scientist in the study to find the cause and cure of this infection, was alright. That he was safe at the UN building and would contact us soon.
So, I’m supposed to be a militant leader, a skilled warrior—a shield against fear. Never failing, never faltering, never yielding to the enemy leaving the just to suffer. But what do you do when your world is out of control?—no order and no one to look to for guidance.
God, where are you father and what is going on?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
With that being said, I present to you the first page of The Inheritance, a short story sparked by a prompt.
Some would indeed say that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Those people would also declare that I have never had to work for anything in my 21 years of existence. That I believe that my, quote un-quote, bourgeoisie social class and formal upbringings constitutes some kind of authority over the lower class or working individuals of New York, hence making me some sort of a…a rich, spoiled brat; an arrogant, self centered, narcissistic Bruce Wayne.
They would deem me irresponsible, inconsistent, un-ambitious, and unworthy of heading a multi-billion dollar company. A company, I might add, that was started by my late father, God rest his soul, Alexander Fidias. They would hold my youth against me, stating that if I was not so pre-occupied with wasting my inheritance on designer clothing, fancy cars, expensive yachts, and gorgeous women, I could focus on the immense responsibilities that come with running a global enterprise.
I will tell you all, and you can now quote me correctly, when I say that these pretentious accusations are bullshit.
You, whom my father trusted, loved, and respected for 25 years, would like to overthrow his only son whom he rightfully put in charge. You would like to see him crumble. You would like to see him on his feet—begging for you to take his 51% share of the company. I’m sure that the overwhelming majority of the 15 of you assembled at this table feels quite justified in your meticulous and self-righteous acts of sabotage and blackmail.
Oh don’t…don’t you look at me like I don’t know what I’m talking about Mr. Finn. Like I’m some sort of naïve child unaware of the danger that lies ahead. Please don’t insult my intelligence. I’ll have you know that I have a significant amount of evidence against each and every despicable one of you showing that, not only are you conspiring to take over my company, yes….my company, but you also had a hand in my father’s murder.