Monthly Archives: July 2017

The Fall

The water thundered over the side of the cliff, tumbling down below. The mist roiled skyward. But such was the ways of waterfalls. A peaceful yet violent force of nature.

She stood atop the falls, surveying the land below. It had taken her three hours to climb to the precipice, and it had been worth every second. The serene atmosphere gave her plenty of time to reflect. And nothing in her mind had changed.

Recently, it had occurred to her what life really meant. How futile human existence was. Their purpose was to make the world a better place. And how miserable they failed. That’s why their lives were less than a hundred years. Why would they live longer lives? They were only selfish beings who honestly deserved less.

It was why she climbed to the falls. Her life had been nothing but a selfish disaster. A selfish disappointment. She would make the world a better place by returning her body to fertilize the earth. It had been something that filled her with fear, but no more. It was something she came to terms with. Something she wanted.

Her eyes closed as the waterfall breeze mingled the spray with hair. It was time. Holding out her arms, she leaned forward. Felt the rush of the wind against her face. Tingling every nerve.

Ten.

She had no regrets.

Nine.

No fear.

Eight.

No more reason to live.

Seven.

This was her wish.

Six.

Her peace.

Five.

Her freedom.

Four.

She smiled.

Three.

No one would ever see her again.

Two.

Her body hit the water.

One….

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Goodbye, Alice

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Alice woke to the pleasant humming sound of her alarm. Rubbing her eyes, she looked to her white robot plugged into its charging station on the other side of the room. “Thank you, R.B.B.T.”

The robot’s white, glowing eyes flickered to life as the sound ceased. Ethereal voice sounding. “Good morning, Alice.”

She watched it rise with the grace and fluidity clearly not based off human movement. The exotic android was sleek, built for speed. As per the alien race that inspired its design. Why it was her household robot, she wasn’t sure. But she had it ever since she could remember.

“Morning request, ma’am?”

“The usual.” She performed her morning ritual of stretches as the tint of her windows changed from black to almost clear, letting in the simulated sun. Then she moved to her bathroom. The door slid open in response.

R.B.B.T. entered the bedroom. “Breakfast is ready.”

Alice braided her light hair in a ponytail. Paused. Studied the mirror. Tilting her head, she ran her fingers down her neck. Her brows furrowed at the faint bump and discoloration that traversed around the middle of her neck. Something she never paid attention to before.

The android shifted. “Breakfast is ready, ma’am.”

She leaned closer to the mirror. “I know, but how did I get this? I don’t remember doing anything that could cause this. It’s like a scar.”

The robot’s eyes turned red as it sent a beacon to its true master.

There was a flash of light in the front room of the virtual house. The feminine voice of the home echoed. “General Cooper has arrived.”

Alice poked her head out of the bathroom, running to the front room. “Dad!” She threw her arms around him. Then frowned at his stern face. “What’s wrong?”

He sat her down. “R.B.B.T. has notified me you discovered the scar around your neck.”

One of her brows lifted. “Yes? What is this all about?”

Sighing, he sat across from her. Put a hand on her knee. “Do you remember you’re an agent for me and the government?”

“Yes…I just went on a mission not too long ago…”

“Well, last rotation, you were assigned to a highly sensitive mission. One I didn’t even know all the details for. Our greatest enemy traveled back in time to rewrite the future to her design. You were sent after her, you being our top agent. With its impressive shifting abilities, R.B.B.T. was sent along with you.”

Alice glanced at the exotic robot.

General Cooper continued. “Our enemy had been there long enough, she killed the king and placed herself as queen. We didn’t know at the time. We sent you straight in to explain a pre-scripted situation to the king. She had you beheaded on the spot. Thankfully, R.B.B.T. is equipped with the most advanced in medical science. It killed the queen and saved you simultaneously. It was able to fuse your head back on. Our damages team handled the rest.”

She sat in silence, blinking. Not given enough time to process the information. “This doesn’t make any sense…why don’t I remember any of this?”

“The queen, the enemy, was your mother.”

Her eyes lifted, realizing why her memory had been wiped. “How many times have we had this conversation?”

His expression stiffened. “About three times a week. There is so much we keep you from remembering. It’s why we keep you in constant surveillance at this facility. Your world that you think exists no longer does. You loved those Wonderland myths so much, your mother wanted to emulate them. In a way, I think she succeeded.”

“Why are you telling me this now?”

“Because your memory will be wiped once more. Goodbye, Alice. I’ll see you the next time this happens.”

“What? That’s it? You incredulously deceiving person!” She rose from her chair. Only to be forced back down by R.B.B.T. She screamed and kicked, but nothing set her free.

General Cooper transported out of the virtual house to monitor the rest from a station in the corner of the simulation room.

The last thing she experienced before she would forget was seeing the android’s white eyes blending into one piercing light, blinding her vision. And its mellifluous voice growing more distant as consciousness faded.

“Goodbye, Alice.”


Optimus Punk

Optimus Punk

Everyone meet Optimus Punk, my 2012 first semester college final. I’m a huge Transformers fan, even before Michael Bay’s adaptations, and college was where I learned about the wonderful world of steampunk. So I meshed the two to create this piece. He’s the biggest art project I’ve ever undertaken. Not to mention one of only three pieces of my own art framed and hanging in my office. I normally hate my art when I’m finished with it, but this is one of the few I’m proud of.

The inspiration for this drawing came from one of the movie posters for the 2007 Transformers movie. And a ton of Google images regarding steampunk machinery. Optimus Prime and Transformers belong to Hasbro. Mediums used were graphite (lots and lots of graphite) and charcoal.


Lines from a Bleeding Heart

Never picturing solitude
Not with promises
People swore
Now those closest
Are furthest away
Those depended on
Are no longer there
Those who listened
No longer hear
I never understand
Why false promises are made
Does no one truly care
Is that why they’re gone
Are those really masks they wear
A heart is given
Yet never returned
They still flock to me
Pouring out their souls
Help them set problems free
Living can be hard
Everyone knows
Yet when it comes to individual strife
The empathetic are tossed away
Pitched like the trash of life
Is it asking too much
For someone to be supportive
But it returns to care
And honesty behind it
Would anyone dare
To reach out to one in need
Who gave so much love
When others called for it
So it could be done for them
Though they never admit
How they failed
Their human support
Now the empathetic is gone
They have indefinitely lost
The other ultimately won


My Element

I wanted to be fire
Big, bad, strong
A raging inferno

But I love something else

I love the ocean
Feel at home in a pool

There are other realizations

I tend to be calm
Until the winds of life
Stir me around

I am fluid
Yet lazy as waves
Lapping safe shores

I possess more depth
Than some would give credit

I hide many secrets
And much darkness

I can also be deceptive

On the surface
I may look calm
But deep down
Undercurrents tear me apart

I feel at peace in the rain
Yet flood with tears

I’m not afraid to drown
Whether it be myself
Or one who pushes my limits

Pour toxic waste on me
But I will find a way

I am water

And water always finds a way


The Abandoned Light

Abandoned stairs

The sky turned a gray he had never seen before, causing the forest to dim; something inside him whispered to find shelter. His eyes scanned the moss-covered trees. He paused. Fully turned in all directions.

He didn’t know this part of the woods.

An over-grown trail led west. He almost missed it, it hadn’t been used in so long. Moving branches and foliage out of his way, he traversed in silence. In fact, this whole region of the forest was quiet. Not a single animal or insect sounded their respective calls.

He stopped. A set of stone stairs lay before him, leading to a black doorway. His heart raced. Causing him to breathe in quicker. Moist earth permeated his nostrils. Putrid algae and decaying trees followed. Then…ash.

Studying the sky once more, he looked back at the door-less entry to a stone building forgotten in time. Left to the clutches of nature. So much so, he hadn’t noticed the rest of the structure at first. And as much as common sense screamed no, something pulled him inside.

His right foot mounted the first step. Dust, leaves, and ash being stirred in who knew how long. He wasn’t positive the staircase wouldn’t crumble beneath his weight. But he had to know what was inside.

He stepped on the second stair.  Then the third, the fourth. Careful to avoid the jagged stone that somehow survived years of the tender care of the elements. Fifth, sixth, seventh. The toe of his hiking boot caught a thick root, sending him down onto the final two steps.

On hands and knees, he lifted his head. The darkness of the doorway was much closer now. He swallowed. Why did he feel so compelled to enter this dilapidated place? Yes, he sought shelter from what he assumed was a storm, but certainly, there was a better place than this.

However, he pushed himself off the wet stone. Wiped his bloody palms on his shorts. Mounted the eighth step. Then the ninth. Finally stood on the landing taken over by fungi and ivy. He still couldn’t determine the building, but he assumed it was an old home. Built so someone could find solace among the silent trees.

One deep breath prepared him to cross the threshold. Two paces, and he was enveloped by the inky blackness. It took three seconds for his eyes to adjust. And in the distance, he saw a light. Light that must’ve streamed through a gaped hole in the ceiling.

He held his breath. Slowly placed one foot in front of the other. The wooden floors creaked and moaned, clearly unhappy about being disturbed. He prayed there were no missing boards.

A wet, acidic stench clogged his throat.

The ray of light was within reach, and he paused. Thick particles floated in the air. What had he been breathing in? The ancient debris of this abandoned home? It seemed like something more. He coughed and choked, stepping into the light to see if he hawked anything up.

A surge pulsed from the stream of light.

This part of the forest returning to its undisturbed state.

The light had claimed another victim.

And added more ash to its home.


Elephants and Dragons

When I was a child, my mother used to tell me about the traveling circus and their elephants. I used to ask how they managed to keep such beasts in the circus, and she replied, “They chain them.” Now, I grew up thinking elephants were dumb. How could I not? I saw these massive creatures being held back by a collar on one of their front legs and a thin chain. How could the elephants not free themselves?

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the circus workers chain the elephants since birth. The young spend every ounce of effort trying to get free. But they can’t free themselves that early. Even as fully grown adults, they believe that thin chain won’t break, so they don’t even try. It’s conditioning.

Today, I’ve learned the elephants are rather intelligent beasts. A tribe of colorful nomads were kind enough to give me a lift as I traveled to a neighboring kingdom for information regarding their new mounts for knights. The tribe rode on the backs of elephants to get around.

My mount was a grand female named Tu’kash’i. The nomads won’t tell me what it means. They fear it will disrespect the elephants if they reveal name meanings. I decided that Tu’kash’i meant “clever soul” because she was, indeed, intelligent. She took great care with me, and the wisdom in her dark eyes astounded me.

At last, we arrived at the kingdom, and I bid the nomads farewell. The king received me eagerly. Nearly jumping off his throne at my approach. I swept low in a bow. “I come from the north to observe–”

“Yes, yes,” the king exclaimed. He clapped me on the back. “I have been expecting you. What I have to show you is marvelous. My brother–your king–should be most impressed.”

I was hurried away before properly introducing myself. Led by the king out the back to a private courtyard. How could I protest? But what I found left me speechless.

Multiple dragons rested on the ground. Every single one of them chained.

The king laughed at my face. “Do not fret! They cannot hurt you. They are as hostile as a mouse.” He proceeded to approach the nearest one and smack it on its flank.

I must say I was rather shocked the ginormous beast didn’t eat him on the spot. But I studied the dragons harder. I had seen dragons in the wild before. Magnificent creatures that could have serious attitude problems.

The dragons I had seen before were solitary, territorial. They were might and eager to display how fierce they were. Their scales shimmered. Their wings glowed. And their eyes reflected the fire within their bellies.

These dragons…these dragons were lackluster, their colors dull and faded. They appeared sickly. Not anything like the robust, wild dragons. They were chained five feet from each other and didn’t pay one another heed. Their wings were limp and useless. Not a single one seemed interested in what was going on.

Needless to say, I was extremely horrified. “A-are these the mounts?”

“Nonsense! These are my pets.” The king broke into laughter. “I have a new breed of horse for the mounts. Sturdy, fast, and full of endurance. They are perfect for knights.”

I couldn’t take my eyes off the tamed beasts. No. The conditioned beasts. It was so sad to see them this way.

The king returned to my side. “I see you are more curious about them for the time being. Well, allow me to tell you a story. When I was but a wee lad, my parents would let me watch the traveling shows that frequented our kingdom. My favorites were the elephants. Do you like elephants?”

“Yes,” was my absent response.

“Well, I learned the masters would chain the young until the young gave up on freeing themselves. Then I learned that the adults were traumatized enough to know not to fight the chains. I thought to myself. If such a strategy works on intelligent enough beasts as elephants, why not try dragons?”

He clapped me on the back again. “Obviously, it worked. I have three generations so far that are this tame. Maybe I should start my own traveling show, eh?”

I didn’t answer. I couldn’t answer. What would I say? Other than I felt like vomiting.


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