Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Origin of Rose

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This year for Christmas, I was able to see my great great-aunt. In all honesty, I can’t remember the last time I saw her, but I know it’s been too long. Several years, at least. I always felt a special connection with Aunt Rose. We share the same birthday. This year, she’ll be ninety four. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t find out until after I was legally named. She still laments she wish she knew so Rose could’ve been a middle name for me. Hence my author name. I adopted Rose in remembrance of my aunt. Fae was added because I liked the sound of the two names together. On Christmas Day, I found out that my aunt has also been a writer. She had apparently written over a thousand stories and drew pictures to go along with them. This soldified my desire for my pen name. Regrettably, none of the stories were saved when my extended family moved her to a nursing home. I mourn for the loss of those works. It’s been four years since I declared myself a writer, and no one told me of my aunt’s gift. She used to write me letters. Long letters with excellent cursive, signed with her name and cartoon drawings of her face. I doubt she remembers writing such letters, much less her stories.

When my immediate family and I visited her, she couldn’t remember us. Didn’t recognize our faces. I won’t lie. It was hard. I wanted to speak to her, but I never found my voice. I’ve come to terms with the fact that may have been the last time seeing her before she dies. My only regret is I couldn’t even tell her I loved her. All I could think of was, “Would she remember?” She barely recognized her sister (my great-grandma), who will be ninety. Until it came time to leave. Then she remembered her sister. Begged her not to leave her alone. It took everything I had not to cry in front of my family. My sister remained with our great-grandma to say goodbye. I couldn’t. I should have. How could I muster the words to say goodbye? Would she have remembered if I did? Will she remember that I was the only one who didn’t talk to her? But what was I supposed to say? She claimed she didn’t know us. I didn’t know how to respond. But I can’t blame her.

Alzheimer’s has been hitting her hard these past few years. It’s been a downhill struggle from what I gather. She used to look at our pictures and tell us she prayed for us every night. This time, however, she couldn’t remember our pictures. We probably overwhelmed her. There were many times I could tell she was scared. She didn’t want us to leave, but it was hard for her the little bit we were there. She wanted so badly to remember. I could see it in her eyes. It frustrated her.

I don’t know much about her earlier life. I know she immigrated from Italy and was married. She was devoutly religious, attending church every Sunday. I know she was a school teacher for at least forty years, and her students loved her. Many visited her in the nursing home until she couldn’t recognize them anymore. I know she loved birds, flowers, and the sweet things of life. Loved to smile. She loved to hear what we were up to in life. Last she remembered of me, I was in college. That was four years ago. I dropped out after the first semester. I wish I could tell her I’m aspiring to be a published author. That I have a blog I post stories to, and people are interested in reading them. I’m not sure if that would make her proud, but I like to think it would. One of the best things I will remember about her is she’s one of the sweetest ladies I’ve had in my life. However, she is Italian, so she can hold her own with the best of them. But she only wanted everyone to succeed in their dreams. She was supportive of whatever we wanted to do. I suppose that’s the teacher in her.

If my life hadn’t been so crazy the past couple years, I would like to think I would’ve seen her more. Like to. I can’t change the past. Who knows what the future holds. I know I’ll miss her immensely when she’s gone. My only hope is I can keep her legacy living in my pen name and my own stories and art. It’s hard. There hasn’t been a step in this post that I haven’t cried. Though there hasn’t been as many steps as normal. This is pretty much unedited and raw emotion. On that note, I apologize for grammar and/or spelling errors. I need to deal with these emotions, and the only way I know how is through writing. I’m trying to get this done as quickly as possible so I can mentally move on. I can’t think of anything else I need to share at the moment. I think this is a good basis. I wouldn’t wish Alzheimer’s on anybody. It not only affects the patient but their family. I sincerely empathize with anyone who has gone through this experience. Especially more than once. I have no closing words, so I’ll just end this here.


Angkor

Thunder peeled across the sky as the rain battered the earth. Lightning lit up the jungle. The rainy season had begun. Yet that didn’t stop the predators. In fact, it brought one alive. A beast of myth, it boasted a blunt head, several rows of fangs, and four eyes. The Sat-Ronteah was a creature not to fool around with. And it was on the hunt.

A young boy ran through the undergrowth, moving swiftly to keep from sinking in the mud. He checked over his shoulder. No beast. That was good. He continued pushing foward. Already lost from his village while hunting for tarantulas, he hoped he travelled in one general direction. Rainwater matted his shoulder-length black hair against his tanned skin. At least it didn’t cover his eyes. A shriek momentarily drowed the thunder. The beast had discovered him. He didn’t waste time looking behind. Hopefully, he would find shelter soon.

As soon as he completed the thought, he fell face-first into the clay-like mud. The Sat-Ronteah shrieked again. This time, it was closer. Scrambling to his feet, he pressed on. Breaths coming fast. At least the soaking earth cooled him. The rain didn’t ease the stickiness. Lightning revealed crumbling structures. He picked his way among stones covered in lichen. Whatever lay here, nature had taken back over long ago. Nature would always find a way.

He gasped and backpedaled. Flashes backlit large statues. Two Sat-Ronteahs flanked a seven-headed cobra. The carvings along scared him, sending him further into the ancient city. Macaques hid amongst the numerous bridges, aquaducts, and fallen columns. These tan monkeys knew to remain silent. His bare feet slapped against the stone. Certainly these slippery runis provided some sort of shelter.

Temples rose above the palms, and one towered above the others. He could see it even through the storm. There was where he would rest. Once he reached the central temple, he did the rest. His lungs burned, and his legs prickled. He checked behind him. The beast could not be seen or heard. Dripping wet and exhausted, he ventured into the heart of the temple. Rain seeped through gaps. Pattered from cracks. His gaze remained alert. Invasive vines resembled many things in the patchy light.

Roofless, the main sanctuary came into view. He stuck his head into the expansive room. Froze. Not because of a creature. Because of the statue emerging with the slowing flashes of lightning. “Siva,” he whispered. The word leaving his lips, the Sat-Ronteah dropped in from a cracked outcropping of the roof. Colored in greens, blues, and reds, it could blend in well with the vivacious jungle.

The boy glanced at the monument. Siva could be gracious or malicious. Siva embodied life, death, and transformation. None knew when their time would end. Swallowing, he faced the four amber eyes studying him. Squarish jaws did nothing to hide fat teeth. He knew he needed to make a decision now. So he lept to the nearest clutch of vines. Clambered up to a hole in deteriorating carvings. He squeezed in. Pressed himself back. Praying he would live the night.


Serenity

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As some may have noticed, I changed the cover art on my page. Although the original picture was beautifully rendered, I felt guilty when I looked at it. It wasn’t my art. It was someone else’s creation. Though I credited and linked the artist in my About page, it never felt quite right. Now, I can look at my cover art and not be ashamed. The above picture is a piece I created 2012 as a college assignment. Using charcoal and graphite, I had to take two separate National Geographic photos and merge them into one cohesive landscape. It’s one of the rare few pieces I have mounted on my wall. I’m not normally a fan of my completed work, but this has always been a favorite. Titled: “Serenity.”


Room Full of Heathens (Friends)

My pace quickened, swishing my ponytail back and forth. I clutched my notebooks closer to my chest. Pushed my glasses up my nose. They would kill me if I was late. I would kill me if I was late. But all these dumb halls looked the same. Dull gray and bland. No creativity invested whatsoever. I huffed through my nose as I made a wrong turn. Again. Back tracking, I readjusted my hold on my notebooks. Where on Earth was the office? I checked my wrist, though I never wore watches. Did I have enough time to be continuously lost?

I rounded a corner and paused. A long stretch of hallway led to double doors that stood a mile high. My heart thumped hard. That was the office. No doubt in my mind. Taking a sharp breath, I checked myself over. Light gray slacks to compliment leg length, heeled ankle boots I finally learned to walk in, navy and white blouse. Mom always said blue was my color. It enhanced my dark blue gaze. Another breath. I felt professional, but I sweated more than I liked. As long as I wasn’t late, I’d be fine.

Determined strides carried me to the door. I had to play cool. Act like the boss. Wait. Wasn’t I technically the boss? I snorted. Yeah, right. Rapping on the door, I stepped back. It opened, and I saw all of them. Ten faces. Ten characters I recognized. I created them, after all. I entered the room, acknowledging everyone. Including muscled Demise. And Pathos and Sikura, who stood silently in their respective corners.

Scar rose from his place at the head of the conference table. Though he wasn’t the one I left in charge. “I told you not to come.” I shrugged. “Here I am.” Sir Ransom Mire, who stood on Scar’s right, crossed his arms. “You really don’t need to be here.” Rogue kicked her boots up on the table. “She can do whatever she wants.” I gave a nod. Moonshadow, the half-dragon bad boy who sat across from the rogue, winked at me. “You can come here anytime.”

I waved him away. “Oh, shut up.” My vision caught Black Ice moving to her place by Demise. She gave a nod, but that was it. I didn’t realize I had so many mutes. Zair, my first and only Naga, lounged on his well-positioned coils. “I agree with Moon Boy.” I shot a glare. “Again. Shut up.” The Suckerpunch-inspired Sunshine shifted her weight, shamelessly accentuating her hips. “Would you boys leave her alone? Otherwise, I’ll be inclined to shoot you.” The pair of partial reptiles flashed grins.

Not knowing what to do at this point, I stood awkwardly among them. I honestly hadn’t thought this far ahead. They made me nervous. Though they were all mine. Flicker of ideas that had grown into these beings. In a way, I was proud. In a way, I was intimidated. They were now their own characters. They told me how they wanted to be written. Which was why I came. Equipped with pen and paper.

Scar made his way to me, standing between me and them. “What are you doing here?” I jutted my chin at him. “You don’t scare me like you do everyone else.” I brushed past him and positioned myself at the head of the table. Sir Ransom Mire drilled me. “You know, if you like him so much, why didn’t you put him in charge?” I hesitated. Glanced at my favorite character, who had a special place in my heart. “As much as he isn’t a follower, he isn’t the best leader, either.”

I placed my notebooks on the table. “Listen up, everyone. You are my ten chosen heinous friends. I know you come from different worlds. I don’t expect you to get along. At all.” Rogue held up her enchanted sword. “So, can I kill those who annoy me, or…?” I smiled. “Kill them, and I’ll only bring them back. Any other questions?” No one responded, to my liking. However, it didn’t go unnoticed that Scar stood protectively behind me. “Now, I didn’t dress up for nothing. I’m here on business. The business of writing you all more.” My eyes sparkled. “Who wants to go first?”

 

Author’s Note: I won’t lie. Picking the ten characters introduced above was a very daunting task. A couple have been constant candidates. Others weren’t chosen to make the final cut. Before Suicide Squad came out, I was already inspired by Twenty One Pilots’ song “Heathens.” As an author, my closest friends are my characters. Every time I listen to that song, I imagine me in a room with my “heathen” friends. The not-so-good characters. I chose the number ten because of Suicide Squad, but that’s really where any relations to the movie ends. I wanted to finally write a scene of me interacting with my characters on a more meta level, if you will. It was quite fun.


Sunset Lake


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