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Posted in Completely Random!!, Sleepless Nights

Twisted Up on the Inside

“Grief is a funny thing,” she used to tell me. “It’s unpredictable. It makes you do weird things even when you think you’re ready for it.”

I thought I was ready, and I told her so as we walked down the peaceful night street. She just looked at me and said simply, “Okay.” And then we walked in silence down the usually bustling road, taking in the yellow street lamps and the few cars zooming along by.

I knew what she meant to an extent. I would miss things more than I thought I would. I never knew what I loved until it was gone, but at the same time, the things I did know I love somehow tended to be easier to let go of.

Well, I said my goodbyes. Goodbye to those overgrown childhood places. Goodbye to the streets and the food. Goodbye to all the people who love me, whom I love. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. But it’s funny how it hurt more a few months ago than it does now. Maybe I’m too numb, but on this plane away from home, the tears won’t fall, and neither do I wish for them to. I knew I wasn’t fully prepared. It irks me to know that I’ve said so many goodbyes and am still so terrible at saying them.

We spend four days in Korea before moving fully back. And for this time, I don’t think about it, either. I don’t think about how all my belongings are stowed away in two suitcases. I don’t think about how I won’t see most of those people again in this life. No, I don’t think at all, because I made a promise not to shed a tear until it was official. It’s not official yet. So we just walk around, and we eat, and the inside feels empty and dead, but the outside is laughing like it said it would. And instead of hating that place before I left it, I hate Korea instead, and I hate the people in it. I envy them because they belong when I can’t. Because they feel at home and I don’t. Which is silly, I know, but grief is a funny thing.

Time flies. We step on another plane. A long flight. I throw up, and reflexive tears are squeezed out, but the inside is still asleep. I listen to music, and it’s my music from back there. But there’s still no reaction. And there’s none when we land. When we drive around. When we’re here for days, staring at the great sky, hearing English all around, seeing foreign-looking people surround us. It’s funny because they think I’m like them, but I’m not, and I don’t want to be. This is the one place I don’t want to fit in. This is the one place I have the best chance, but I want to throw it away. I want to speak another language. I want to be home again, but they think this is home. They don’t know anything. They only speak English, and the man at the airport who snaps at these foreigners makes me angry, really angry, because how would he feel being thrown in a place where he doesn’t know the language, and being yelled at by this impatient person who has clearly not felt as alienated as they look?

But today it’s finally hitting me, even if it’s only gradual. I want to scream. I want to cry. But it’s just numb inside; we’re busy; I want to disappear. I want to go home, but even that isn’t fully home. I want my friends back. I want my community back. I want my streets and culture and food and lifestyle back.

I hate America. And the worst part is how none of this includes God, or prayer, or thanksgiving. Before I marvelled at the fact that He would be here through all of this; that He was omnipresent and was the only One who would never leave me for good. And He didn’t leave. I left everyone else behind, and at the same time, it feels like I left Him behind, too. I wanted my home back. I was angry that I had to leave it and everyone else behind, and I still am. But I’ve been focusing on the wrong things all along, letting the grief turn my sight inwards when I should have been looking upwards and clinging on for dear life.

Dear life! You haven’t been treated as very dear lately, have you? You haven’t been able to enjoy the vastness of breathtaking skies and sound sleep and music, have you? The grief has twisted you up inside, but He’s here to fix that. He is and has been and will be. He’s here to wipe the tears you sob into your pillow and sleeve, to remind you that the place you left was never home in the first place, to remind you that you were an alien on this planet all along, and that the people you love and the people you left are all going to be in your true home some day.

Take heart! Your enemy is not flesh and blood, not the people around you, but against the dark forces of this world that have been deceiving you all this time. You don’t have to cry or fight on your own. You don’t have to sit in your corner because you want to pity yourself. Stand up, child, and remember who you are, but more importantly, remember who He is. Remember He is good no matter what your circumstances are. Remember He’s brought you this far and that He isn’t quite finished with you yet.


All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

-Hebrews 11:13-16

Posted in Completely Random!!, Novel Project

(CWS11.2) Thanks for the Nominations

Since the Sandbox 11 assignment was to nominate awards to classmates, everyone got several, mostly for their Novel Projects. I know Cherri also gave me some super awesome award like “Highest Snark” or something too (who, me?), and I got another Best Villain award from…. someone…, but not everyone’s sandboxes have been posted yet.

Well, thanks, peoplez.

From Emily:

Best Title

Best Drama/Dramatic Moment

Best Ending/Death Scene

From Emma:

Best Characterization of a Lead – Seth Grayson

Most Likely to Publish

Most Enjoyable Narrating Tone

From Grace Anne:

Best Title

(2nd?) Best Supporting Male Character – Marshall Peterson

(2nd?) Best Villain (ha, funny)

(2nd?) Best Opening Line

Most Likely to Publish

Posted in Completely Random!!, The Sandbox

(CWS11) Trophy for You, Trophy for You; Trophy for (Almost) Everyone!

For this final Sandbox, we were supposed to nominate different classmates for different awards – with made up awards or the awards from a set list. So, here we go. Great job, peoples.

(But it should be noted that I wasn’t able to read through everybody’s entire projects, so my nominations are limited.)

Best Title

Letters of the Lost Joshua Tan


Best Female Lead Character

Liv – Emma Ladwig

Best Introduction of Characters and Backstories

Emily Marlin

Best Setting

Epusonia – Grace Anne Ellis

Best Opening Line

What is the most appropriate name for nothing?” – Peggy Williams

Best Closing Line

I just sat there, frozen as tears poured down falling from my cheeks.” – Marissa Chan

Best Mystery/Suspenseful Moment

Emily Marlin

Best Fantasy/Science Fiction

-Emma Ladwig

-Grace Anne Ellis

Most Likely to Finish at the Last Minute Yet Still Bring Us to Tears

Emma Ladwig, just because she was procrastinating and her story seems like that kind of novel xD

Best Development of New Creatures and Places

Emma Ladwig

Coolest Fight Scenes (or Fight Scenes in General)

Grace Anne Ellis!!!

Best/Most Realistic Character Interactions

-Emily Marlin

-Grace Anne Ellis

Posted in Poetry

A Two-Year-Old Destroyed the World

A Two-Year-Old Destroyed the World

“A two-year-old destroyed the world,”

I tell you,

But you don’t believe.

“A two-year-old cannot destroy the world,”

You scoff

With your hands on your hips.

“Everyone knows it takes more

Than a child to destroy something so great.”

“A two-year-old made the world,”

I then try,

And you simply laugh.

“That is impossible.”

As if I’m stupid,

You add,

“Even we do not know

The secrets of science.”

I look you in the eyes

And tell you,

“Then tell me a random explosion made the universe.”

-April 22, 2017

Posted in Completely Random!!, The Sandbox

(CWS10) You May Kill My Character if I May Kill Yours

Writing collaborations?

Not easy.

Writing collaborations with an entire class of students who enjoy writing different genres of fiction?

Even harder.

In this Sandbox assignment, our teacher opened a Google Document for the class and began a story with a single sentence. From there the class could take it anywhere we wanted, with only a few rules: (1. Students may add three sentences max in a single post (individual sentences inside quotations not included), (2. No student could post back-to-back with him/herself, (3. Students should shoot for cohesiveness, (4. Everyone must post at least once before class, and (5. Everyone must add their last name in parentheses after each post.

The great thing about this was how quickly it changed into something totally different from the implied setting, and how quickly the story expanded with so many people working on it. The hard part was the sentence limit (we broke it several times), staying consistent and keeping up with all the new information everyone else was adding, and the general lack of communication we had at any given time with everyone else.

After a week, though, we fifteen students managed to write twelve pages’ worth of a fantastic (and somewhat random and inconsistent) piece. Here is our lovely long “short” story.

To find the blogs of the other contributors to this piece, see the names under the right panel: “This Ain’t Hogwarts.”


 

Lacey closed the Shakespeare book and gazed out at the trees through the second-story library window. (GAINES) She couldn’t help but sigh that they weren’t real trees—they’d died away a long time ago with most other lifeforms—and Lacey wanted to close her eyes and pretend, just for one moment, that the rustling was the wind and not some computer’s random simulation behind the ancient holograms. But she did not let herself, no, she couldn’t go back to pretending and daydreams when staying alive meant staying alert. Her hand instinctively checked for her blaster as she crept out of the dilapidated building into the dying city. (TAN)

It was dark outside and dust coated everything, creating a thick layer of fog over the city. Lacey crept along the sides of the buildings, careful to stay in the shadows. She glanced around, tense and uneasy. (ELLIS)

If you’re still looking for something nice to enjoy here,” a voice suddenly echoed from the alley beside her, “you realize you’re looking in vain.”

I know,” Lacey replied tersely, hand moving away from the weapon by her side as she recognized the ragged figure immediately; “Your presence only proves that.”

The voice laughed tauntingly, harshly; and a dark girl seemed to take shape from the blackness itself, her bright eyes intelligent yet starving, her thin form lean yet battered, her long hair uneven yet also somehow beautiful — a diamond raised from the ashes, a warrior born from death — and with a background, Lacey knew, nothing like that of the once-spoiled girl standing here now who used to prioritize wasting her time on trivial things like beauty. (WONG)

Lacey sighed and leaned against the wall as she stared up at the grey sky overhead, “Edith, what are you doing here?” It was uncanny, and admittedly annoying, how she could just appear like that.

The girl shrugged, “Orders. I’m supposed to be here.”

Lacey eyed Edith, fingers twitching on her blaster, “Vague. As usual. Why are you supposed to be here, though?” (WILLIAMS)

Is protecting humankind a satisfactory answer for you, Miss Princess?” Edith sighed, spinning the gun-like piece of metal in her hand effortlessly. “Or would you rather me say something like, ‘I’m trying to plant flowers in this awful desolate place to remind you a little bit of what your sunshine-rainbow world used to be like before your country started a nuclear war’? Would that make you feel better?”

First off,” Lacey snapped in defense, “the U.S. didn’t start the war; it takes more than one to start chaos like this. Secondly, I’m still trying to play my part, so if you would stop picking on me just because you’re from a lower and poorer class, maybe social discrimination wouldn’t be so much of an issue.” (WONG)

They stood there silently, staring at each other, each extremely interested in figuring out how to shoot the other without getting in trouble. Suddenly, a foreign sound fell upon their ears, causing both to look up in alarm, as their thoughts were interrupted. A repetitive thrumming that drowned out the wind and the humming of machines, a sound that each recognized as soon as they heard it: helicopter blades. (WILLIAMS)

The Federation,” Edith said grimly, pulling out a second blaster as the red insignia of a crown became apparent on the side of the chopper. Her own weapons bore the blue seal of the League’s eagle; since World War IV nearly five years ago, the major world powers had not only relieved the planet of most of its natural wildlife through nuclear warfare and technological development; but the two countries with the most influence at the time, China and India, had also virtually split the world into two alliances: the League and the Federation, which were made up of countries such as China, the United States, South Africa, Japan, and the United Korea; and India, Canada, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Russia, Germany, and France, respectively. Other lesser countries had been forced to join a side for fear of being snuffed out from the map completely, and so the struggle for complete control ensued as both sides struggled back and forth in a game of chess and never-ending bloodshed. (WONG)

Silence ensued as the faint shadow passed over their frozen faces.  “Well, that’s my cue, none of the Red Fed’s are allowed to get past me, even in a neutral zone such as this, and our remedial light, barely seeping through the darkness, can only last so long.”, Edith spoke solemnly before running off towards that machine of the sky.  (TAING) ‘Arrogant fools,’ Lacey spat out, wishing for more firepower, wishing that she could simply reach out and crush the defiant enemy forces with her bare hand… but no, Edith was the trained one, the foreign one, the one now running towards an airborne chopper by herself (she would not destroy it, for all her bravado, but she would find a way to keep it from flying further inland). Despite her barbed comments about status and wealth, Lacey often wished that she’d been in the Chinese girl’s place instead, the talented naturally and with even more skills learnt through the government initiative, deployed to patrol one of the most dangerous ‘neutral zones’ in the world. But here she was, just an ordinary nobody in a filthy factory city overshadowed by the old Mexican Wall. (TAN)  As she traced her hands along the cracks of the wall, she came across a crooked inscription carved which read:

The darkness fell, yet it’s still falling

Onto those who hear their calling:

To find the truth within the scars

To find themselves among the stars

Believers of hope, once deemed wise

Now only seen as tellers of lies

Fall down to their forgotten fears

Drown within their frozen tears

Until they are nothing but gray

 

-Comm. Kairo

July 28th, 2216 (TAING)

A cold feeling settled in Lacey’s stomach as she read the inscription, her hands shaking as she traced over the fading words etched in stone. How true those words had been and how prophetic; and yet how ironic given their situation. Turning, Lacey looked away from the inscription, bitter towards all that had happened, and on an impulse, she ran after Edith. (ELLIS)

Edith loaded her blaster and took aim, hesitating for a split second as she heard suspicious footsteps behind, and then, ignoring them—the helicopter lurched downwards, blazing in flames, but then pulled away in the last moment only to crash into an abandoned building. A soft thud landed in the darkness, and Edith spun, finger on trigger, blaster to kill… ‘Stop!’ the figure exclaimed in a voice strangely vulnerable and honest. ‘If you have to shoot me, let me finish talking first…’ A moment of not dying seemed enough for him to continue, ‘My name… doesn’t matter. I am… I was… from the Federation… and I’m here to warn you.’ (TAN)

Edith lowered her blaster, ever so slightly, eyes narrowed in suspicion. The chances of someone from the Federation coming to warn the League about something, for whatever reasons, were low; for all she knew, it could be a trap. This could all be a set up- an attempt to gain entrance into the base so that they could obtain important information.(WILLIAMS)

Lacey, though, had fewer qualms in this matter and joined the two, saying, “Who are you?”

The young man blinked, obviously startled by Lacey’s lack of suspicion. He was not much older than herself, with an honest, but nervous look, and he was dressed in the faded uniform of a Federation soldier. (ELLIS) Hesitantly, he shook his head, mouth moving, but no sound coming out; the man staggered, and in one swift movement, Edith clipped one of her blasters to her belt, and stepped forward to catch him as he fell.

He’s exhausted,” she said grimly, “Who knows how long his flight was.”

Lacey bit her lip, knowing Edith might disagree, as she usually did, with whatever she said, but she made the suggestion anyways, “We could take him to headquarters. They might know something about it, and besides we don’t have enough supplies here that will help revive him.” (WILLIAMS)

Oh, that is a wonderful idea!” Edith said sarcastically. “I’m sure my superiors will completely understand why I am bringing in an unconscious Federation soldier and you.” She said the last part like it was some insult and Lacey huffed indignantly, but Edith wasn’t done. “They will just love it, I assure you. After all, who doesn’t love receiving enemy soldiers! I just love it!”

Do you have a better idea?” Lacey shot back, unable to contain her annoyance and when Edith made no response, she smirked at her and said, “I thought not. Let’s go.”

Edith didn’t look happy, but she acquiesced and after a long walk, the two found themselves stooping down to enter into a bunker hidden in shadows, still lugging the soldier’s body with them. (ELLIS) Lacey straightened once she was inside. The interior of the bunker was dimly lit with black lights running along a long corridor that took no turns for about thirty feet; by the end of the corridor, there was a fork where one had the option to either turn right, or left. By instinct and practice, the two girls turned left, where the corridor opened up into a room that was whirring with machines and echoing with the commands of people that were constantly active. (WILLIAMS)

Edith, what is the meaning of this? Who are these people?”  A stout, burly man demanded as he caught sight of them.

Sorry Papa, but the man is exhausted. There was nowhere else to take him.”  (INGE)

It was Lacey who’d spoken, and Edith, who disliked being ignored when she was the addressed, didn’t wait for the base commander, Lacey’s father, to respond. ‘We have an enemy hostage,’ she said coolly. ‘This might be important. I’ll be needing an interrogation chamber. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the rest.’

Commander Axelon eyed Edith with a level gaze, but whatever he’d been looking for, whether sureness or confidence or responsibility, it satisfied, and he waved them off dismissively, saying ‘Chamber three is yours. I believe that you’re perfectly capable of not messing up, and I’m counting on that.’ (TAN)

I still say we shoot this kid,” Edith huffed, pushing her black hair out of her face as she and Lacey continued to pull the Federate soldier to the small third chamber, shoving him unceremoniously onto a chair. “Nothing good can come of this. You realize we just brought him straight to our base? He might have a tracker on, or some kind of camera, or some kamikaze-like weapon. He looks more than capable of something that.”

He looks exhausted,” Lacey snapped, “and any time you want to stop being violent, maybe we could get something more done than just killing people. There’s this thing called talking, and it’s saved thousands of lives before, believe it or not. Maybe you could try it some time before blasting a person to bits.” (WONG)

Edith’s eyes blazed as she fumbled with the straps and secured the man into the chair. “Talking I can deal with, but I am not going to trust him.” She jabbed a finger at Lacey and snapped, “You are too trusting, Lacey. Not everyone is sweet and innocent. No one is as perfect as they seem. It’s all a mirage, a smokescreen intended to deceive. The sooner in life you realize that, the better off you will be.”

Lacey stared at Edith in shock, stunned by the girl’s harsh view on life. “I may be too trusting, but at least I can trust. You’ve lost the ability.” (ELLIS)

‘Trust is a luxury people in war cannot afford,’ Edith retorted—growing up poor under a different rule had taught her such a lesson the hard way—but she new better than to lose her composure over a useless argument; turning to prod the young soldier awake, she said to Lacey, ‘You can argue later. We have a job to do first.’

‘You’re in an interrogation chamber,’ she explained curtly, as if that explained everything for him, ‘I know you didn’t plan to go back to the Federation. You navigated an unmanned, outdated, chopper to the edge of the neutral zone, then destroyed it, and if you’re telling the truth, then you’re either very capable or very desperate, but I don’t care about that. Right now, you’re alive here and not bound in some prison cell because of me; it is an extension of my trust, so don’t make me regret that. Right now, I want you to explain, very concisely, how you know about this threat, what the threat is, and why I should believe you. Understand?’ (TAN)

Lacey rolled her eyes at the other girl’s dramatic speech. She stood behind Edith, facing the young soldier, her head tilted as she studied him. His blue eyes held a depth beyond the fright – no doubt he had seen the same sorrow and bloodshed as the girls – and his blond hair (he was most likely of German descent, Lacey decided) was cut short to complete the military look. (MARLIN)

Before we start,” the young soldier wheezed slowly, “Could I…maybe have…some food first?”

Edith’s eyes grew wider than the diameter of the chopper explosion.  She drew back her hand, then-SMACK!!!  It collided fiercely with the young man’s face.  (LAGUNA)

你是不是想死?”  Edith demanded, and ranted a string of Chinese curses at the man while Lacey tried to step between the two. [Tr: You want to die, don’t you?]

It’s just food!” Lacey protested, trying to fend off the furious girl, but mostly in vain as Edith managed to land another punch before apparently being satisfied that she had avenged the audacity of this upstart Federate. Several minutes later, the young man brushed the stale bread crumbs off his lap under the deadly glare of Edith, then took a deep breath and finally began his story. (WONG)

My name is Jakin. The ‘threat,’ as you put it, is a weapon.”

Edith scoffed and said, “A weapon? Why is that a concern?”

It’s not a gun or rifle. It’s a group of soldiers that were, well, altered. They were modified to be unstoppable; to be super-soldiers. They’ve all been trained and built into machines of war. They were made to wipe out the League. I know about this because I was a transport shuttle pilot. I had to carry these things around to the different bases. But when I saw them unleashed onto one of the smaller League towns I… I couldn’t keep doing it. I deserted.” (ELLIS)

You dare lie to me?” Edith remarked, letting her hand spread wide ready to slap the young man. Suddenly, she felt her hand stopped, and she looked in disbelief as Lacey had grabbed it from the air. Lacey was not looking at Edith though; she gazed into the man’s deep blue eyes, and she felt a sincerity that was lacking in the war-stricken people she encountered every day. (BURKHOLDER)

Would you stop it?” Lacey shouted, angrily squeezing the hand she still held within her grasp, having lost her temper to this girl who so desperately wished to think ill of all. She softened, releasing her grip and looked Edith in the eyes, begging her to understand, “He’s quite sincere, don’t you see? Not everyone is out to kill you.” (BALDON)

Edith pressed her lips tightly together, hands clenching into fists. Perhaps she was judged harshly for how she acted, most people likely thought she had her own agenda and couldn’t care less about anything else – most people, however, had not gone through the horrific experiences she had that had resulted in her being this way. “You are lucky to still be alive, with how trusting you are,” stated Edith evenly, dark eyes burning with memories, “trust, in a war, gets you killed. Let’s make one thing quite clear, I will be the one asking the questions. Got it? Good,” turning to face the young man, she inquired in an unforgiving voice, “I doubt you are telling the truth. However, it’s your lucky day. I happen to be in a splendid mood, and am willing to humor your story. Why should I believe you? What benefit does it give you? And if, you are in fact telling the truth – which I highly doubt, how much destruction can these super-soldiers do and at what capacity are they making them?” (DEAN)

They will destroy the world,” came his worn, yet emphatic reply.

Right. As if it’s not already burned to pieces,” she remarked. “You better have more to say than that.” (BALDON)

Look, I don’t know what to tell you to make you believe me,” Jakin sighed, shaking his head as Edith moved closer to him and narrowed her eyes.

Lacey ignored her partner’s intimidation methods – she knew Edith had good reason to be so hard, even if she didn’t approve – and focused on the young man. Beyond the sincerity in his eyes, there was a spark in them, something Lacey had not seen in a very long time, and something that made her like him as well as trust him: hope. (MARLIN)

It’s a viable weapon in the hands of madmen,’ Jakin sighed, hoping to explain the viability behind the truth, ‘Yes, if they wanted to destroy you, they would have developed the next big bomb, but even madmen know that a foolish choice twice is more than the world could take.’ Mutually assured destruction should have prevented the world’s current mess in the first place, but that required rational thinking—something the leaders that started the war lacked, and something none of the subsequent ones inherited. ‘Listen, it makes little sense to wipe out one’s enemies—war all too often makes no sense—but the point is that they now have the means to do so without endangering themselves, so the impossibility of yet another nuclear war isn’t going to save anyone.’ (TAN)

Lacey took a step back and sucked in a short, hollow breath in shock of the information she and Edith were just given. Now, Lacey was doubtful, but it all made too much sense. Why would a young, smart, handsome – wait, what? – soldier put himself at risk – to the point of death – by deserting the Federation, and then make up a story like this one? And if these “super soldiers” were coming to destroy the little left of what they knew, when would they be coming and how could they possibly defend themselves?

Jakin was putting everything on the line to warn them, and Lacey decided they had to trust him. “Do you want me to go get Papa?” she asked, turning to Edith.

Edith quickly turned her head to face Lacey and responded tersely to her question. “Did you not hear him before? No mistakes. We can take care of this ourselves.”  Lacey sighed and watched as Edith turned back to their captive, eyeing him with a scrutinizing gaze. (MANERI, Marlin, Williams)

Her eyes twitched as she scanned him up and down. Lacey stood a few feet back contemplating in her mind what she should do. She truly believed Jakin was out to help them. He had a way about him, a sense of sincere peace that led Lacey to desire hope more than she ever had. And that was just it, she felt it when he talked and could hear what the geniuses was in his voice: hope. They had to trust him, what if they didn’t and then all went to hell?

It would be completely my faulther mind fell into a place of fear and anxiety. “I have to tell papa,” she whispered, “I have to.

LACEY,” Edith waved her hands impatiently in the air while calling her name in an irritated tone, “help me!” She motioned for her to come. And that’s just what Lacey did. She came to Edith to help with whatever her control freak untrusting heart wanted to do; all with the intentions of going behind her back later and asking her papa for help. She had to, she didn’t know what else could be done. She couldn’t let this fall into her hands if it went wrong, there was too much risk involved. (FIERRO)

Lacey looked to Edith, scattering her thoughts into thin air. She went to Edith with the curiosity for why she sounded so frantic. “What’s going on?” (CHAN)

Something’s wrong, I don’t know what happened,” replied Edith, alarm pervading her voice, “He was talking, and then it’s like he just passed out.”

Growing worried, Lacey rushed over to Jakin and placed her ear close to his face.  After a few short moments, she darted her eyes toward Edith, gasping, “He’s not breathing.  Check the pulse monitor.”  (LAGUNA)

Before Edith had a chance, a long beep pierced the air. “Get me a medic in here!” Edith raised her voice, and a small scrawny boy flew through the door, an AED tucked under one arm. Forcing the boy to the side, Edith ripped open the box and prepared to shock Jakin yelling, “Clear!” (BURKHOLDER)

The young man’s body jerked briefly as power surged through the machine, but even as Lacey leaned down apparently to give CPR, something in Jakin’s chest sparked — “Machinery?” Edith said in surprise — and the defibrillator began to smoke before finally erupting in a small explosion. Lacey, Edith, and Yuuki, the boy who had brought the AED, covered their faces, coughing, and when they looked back, Jakin was unmistakably dead.

What…” Edith gingerly pulled the steaming ragged uniform off Jakin’s chest to reveal a Red Crown chip implanted in his skin. (WONG)

Lacey knelt by Edith, examining the chip that rested in the palm of Edith’s hand; the Federation chip was about as large as a beetle, but it was surprisingly light and thin; behind a thin layer of plastic, a red light was blinking at them dully,  “Was it what was killing him?” Lacey asked

I don’t think so,” Edith stated, as she rolled the piece between her fingers, “If this was designed to kill him, then it most likely would’ve been destroyed in the process. My guess? It’s a tracking device.” Her eyes widened, glancing at Jakin, “Which means… Oh man, we’ve got to destroy this before they pinpoint our location— they probably already have…” she added as an afterthought, mind racing. (WILLIAMS)

No.’ Lacey exclaimed, without really thinking, but just intuitively sensing that something sounded off, something had to be wrong. ‘That wouldn’t make sense. If the Federation sent him, then they wouldn’t kill him and reveal themselves; he’d be lying anyway if he were on their side, so killing him would just alert us of their play and merely silence the misinformation being given to us. Killing Jakin means that he deserted, which means that they only know where he is, not that two random people brought him to a secret baseit was my idea, and how could anyone have predicted that. For all they know, he could be in an abandoned factory, or a toilet, but deserting would still be enough to kill him… which means, Edith, that this can’t be a trap.’ (TAN)

Edith paused, eyes staring at the chip as she processed what Lacey had said; deep down she had a feeling that the Lacey was telling the truth, and just because it was a tracking device, didn’t mean their base was discovered. Still… she felt she had to argue with Lacey, tell her that the girl was somehow wrong, “But what…” she muttered, “What are the odds, that they sent him to one of the most dangerous neutral zones in the world, on the same day that I’m told to be here, and say this…” she turned to Lacey, “Just pretend for a moment that it was my idea to bring him to the base, because he said that he was warning us about something. Say he was lying about what he just said, and that he died from some sort of pill, the Federation didn’t kill him, but he did- because he knew that if we found out he was lying, there was no way we could forgive him. Then,” Edith stated, “We have something to worry about, because if they sent him, then where he’s at now would be there best bet at where we’re at.” (WILLIAMS)

And just because you’re a special agent on this end of the border doesn’t mean you’re famous, Edith,’ Lacey retorted. ‘How many agents of the Federation do you know? How about nonesince we both know that the only stuff that crosses the borders are missiles, helicopters, and death threats, not information—which again shows this to be nothing more than a coincidence, not something you could plan.’ (TAN)

Edith clenched her fist, reluctantly agreeing with Lacey, “We need to somehow wipe them out — we can’t let that threat hang over our heads.” (WILLIAMS)

Pressing her lips tightly together, Lacey tried to think of some way to solve this problem. Another problem – there were always problems. Ever since the world had basically lost its marbles, it seemed like humanity could not catch a break anywhere, and she was getting tired of it – always fighting, never ending war; depressing news after more depressing news, when will it end? she asked herself, when everyone’s dead? No. We’ll stop it before then, somehow. There’s always hope, and that is a very powerful thing. (DEAN)

There was a lot of excited buzzing around the base as Lacey and Edith left the room, leaving Jakin’s body there for the moment. As one of the men passed by, Edith grabbed his arm and demanded, “What’s going on?”

We just heard from the Federation,” he said, barely pausing as he continued to rush along; “Apparently they’ve asked for a treaty. We’re trying to see why to make sure there’s nothing fishy going on.” (WONG)

Some Indian military commander was speaking on an encrypted video message replaying on the screens; he was by no means old, but his features were worn and weary, and his voice carried a crisp sense of tiredness. ‘We thought it was some mere nobody that attempted a border run when we detected a lifeform on an unmanned helicopter…but Jakin Evans was no ordinary defector… he was a lead scientist that disappeared years ago while working on some project to create a new, more powerful soldier… we thought he’d gone rogue after he disappeared when we shut the program, but the kill signal we intercepted implies that he was made to work against his will. The chip in him was not Federation sanctioned—we outlawed that years ago—and we fear that a rogue faction in the Federation plans to take over and destroy both the League and most of the Federation… We can’t stop them ourselves, and neither can you, so we ask of you, as equals: will you accept a treaty, work together, to survive?’ (TAN)

 

To be continued…

Posted in Completely Random!!, Hehe, Novel Project

Writing, Guns, Potatoes, and Tropes

‘Tsup world. I’m doing a thoroughly great job on procrastinating on this action-packed chapter nine of Four Rules of Murder that’s due in a few hours! *boogie boogie boogie*

Yeah, so I’ve got this great problem called Not-Enough-Story-Planning-at-the-Beginning-of-the-Semester, so now I’m stuck with my characters in this gunfight with a lot of action that should be there and isn’t. And you know what happens when that happens?

This happens. (Uh-oh, I just used “happens” three four times.)

Out of the corner of his eye, Seth saw Lisa stand. He dropped the empty gun and turned to face her, but her blue eyes were already deadly as she pulled out a POTATO FROM HER POCKET AND WONKED HIM ON THE HEAD WITH IT.

Black spots swam before his eyes!! Oh Nooeeezzz.

And Seth died from a concussion.

But before he died, his beloved creator recognised her ignorance on the matter of guns, and seeing as this chapter was jam-packed with the stuff, she got a move on with Bing right away. That was how she found this amazing website called TV Tropes.

Check it out. It’s great for avoiding clichés in action scenes, and it gives you a good laugh. Be realistic about your guns and heroes, writers.

Oh yeah, but don’t start ranting to me about gun control, because I don’t know enough about it to have an educated/informed opinion. Plus my characters don’t give a dime about it. (See what I did there.)

I feel so much more educated now. I guess I should go finish that chapter though .-.

Posted in Hehe, Writing

Writerosis

We writers have to deal with things a lot of normal people don’t have to worry about. While others have health complications that are mostly physiological, our crazy minds tend to make up some other issues for us to deal with, and most of the time, a doctor won’t help.

Writers have a lot of unique diseases — thoughtitis (formerly known as “writer’s block”), fanepnea (“fangirl/boying so much over something that I can’t even write my own story right now”), excimea (the urge of wanting to start a new story already despite having ten others waiting to be finished), Amafic’s Disease (the action of falling in love with a fictional character), and AHPPTMSQPDLPS (Anti-Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia Syndrome, or the addiction of using overly and unnecessarily long words) — to name a few.

Yes, we’ve certainly got life hard.

Today, I’d like to write about a specific condition that all writers have struggled with at one point. If you’ve written anything before, you know exactly how it feels. It’s that crippling disease that erodes all rational thought until you’re left with nothing but panic; it’s that awful feeling in your gut as you stare at your work with absolute loathing. It is, yes, possibly one of our worst enemies as we face our characters in our twentieth attempt to get them to cooperate with us. It’s… writerosis. Non-fake-medical term? Writer doubt.

Uh-oh, things just got serious.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s that moment a few days after you write that stunning story or essay, that moment when you open the page again to re-read your work of genius…

And you throw it on the ground.

Stomp on it a few times, just to be sure.

Then you swear that you’ll never write anything again, because your best efforts are, at best, a piece of garbage. The end. The writer did not live happily ever after; the writer tried (and failed) to write a good happily ever after but didn’t get it right.

And No One Lived Happily Ever After.

…Oh, but wait. There’s more.

Epilogue

Alright, you depressed writer, let me tell you something: we’ve all gone through that before. All? Well, yes, all. We’ve all had those perfectionistic moments where we’ve wanted to quit because all we can see is how awful this story is. We’ve all wondered how anyone could possibly read through this without thinking the same. But you still have a story to tell, and encouragingly/sadly enough, I can guarantee that there’s always going to be something worse out there than this supposed bit of trash on your desk. All you need to do is keep plugging away and fight off that doubt.

But… how?

Glad you asked! After long consideration as I struggled with my own writing problems, I managed to procrastinate enough in everything else that needs to get done just so I could write this post. And I came up with a list of some all-natural, easy-to-follow home remedies for writerosis:

1. Breaks. Yeah, there are always people who tell you that you should keep writing no matter how bad your piece turns out to be, but face it: you ain’t Superman. There are times when you just need to back off from your project and give it a break before coming back to it. Give your characters and your brain a rest; stop thinking about it for a while, then re-read what you have for a fresh perspective.

2. Readers. It’s a terrifying thing to share your writing with others, but if you haven’t already, you should try to get others to read your work for you and give you feedback. You might think your writing is terrible; but if your friend that you respect is telling you that it’s actually good, that might just be the push of encouragement that you need to keep going. Readers can also point out things that might be confusing or weird that you as the writer don’t notice; they’re always worth having around.

3. New inspiration. Maybe your story just feels too old and stale. What if you threw in a twist? Read other books to try to spark ideas, or research topics related to your story to see if you get any inspiration. Talk through your story’s problems to a friend or even aloud to yourself to see what can be fixed or changed.

4. Editors. I can’t believe I just added this, but editors are also a very real option for when you feel your story is just too… bleh. (That’s another writer-specific medical term; I might define it later.) Problem is, most of us aren’t serious enough about our writing to actually hire a legit editor, but who says an editor has to be professional? You can ask a teacher, a parent, or even a friend to help you edit your work. They add a new perspective and can help you figure out some of the kinks that you couldn’t work out on your own. Honestly, writing isn’t something you should be doing alone.

5. Planning ahead. Of course, if you’ve already started writing your story, there isn’t much you can do about this — but for future projects, try to plan out your story more thoroughly. Have a general idea of what’s going to happen and when so that your story doesn’t slowly veer off-course without you noticing. Stick mostly to your initial plan, but if you move faster/slower than you originally thought, give yourself the freedom to adjust the outline if something turns out to be different than what you planned. This won’t help much once you’ve already started your story, but it may help to prevent future writerosis.

6. Blind eyes. After trying all the above, if you still feel awful about your story, sometimes you just have to turn a blind eye to every bad part in your story. Let the mistakes pass. Uh….did this perfectionist really just type that? Yup, because sometimes you just have to finish your story just for the sake of finishing it. It’s not uncommon to look back later and find that your project isn’t half as awful as you thought when you finished; for now, keep plugging away until the very end instead of simply quitting.

These are my life tips on dealing with writerosis! If you’ve got other tips, let’s hear them. If these don’t work, I hear candy is also an effective remedy.

Yeah, so now that I’ve shared, I get to go work on my terrible story. Peace.

Posted in The Sandbox

(CWS9) The End Is the Beginning

You know when you just go around flipping through books, comparing the beginning line with the end line to see if they’re connected in some epic way?

I didn’t either until today. So this assignment proved interesting, because we were supposed to copy down the beginning and end lines of any ten novels. I found connections I never noticed before. And I did include more than one line in some cases for context, or just because I really liked more than just the last line hehe.

Here’s my 9th Sandbox assignment.

Rainbow Valley – L. M. Montgomery (Whoa, déjà vu…)

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Beginning: “It was a clear, apple-green evening in May, and Four Winds Harbour was mirroring back the clouds of the golden West between its softly dark shores.”

End: “But Jem sprang up with a gay laugh. He stood up on a little hillock, tall and splendid, with his open brow and his fearless eyes. There were thousands like him all over the land of the maple. / ‘Let the Piper come and welcome,’ he cried, waving his hand. ‘I‘ll follow him gladly round and round the world.”

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Déjà vu times two.)

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Beginning: “Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest.”

End: “Here, then, is a great mystery. For you who also love the little prince, and for me, nothing in the universe can be the same if somewhere, we do not know where, a sheep that we never saw has – yes or no? – eaten a rose… / Look up at the sky. Ask yourselves: Is it yes or no? Has the sheep eaten the flower? And you will see how everything changes… / And no grown-up will ever understand that this is a matter of so much importance!”

The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster

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Beginning: “There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always.”

End: “’Well, I would like to make another trip,’ he said, jumping to his feet; ‘but I really don’t know when I’ll have the time. There’s just so much to do right here.’”

John – John (God)

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Not a novel, but it’s full of real-life stories, right?

Beginning: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

End: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

Peter and Wendy – J. M. Barrie

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Beginning: All children, except one, grow up.”

End: As you look at Wendy you may see her hair becoming white, and her figure little again, for all this happened long ago. Jane is now a common grown-up, with a daughter called Margaret; and every spring-cleaning time, except when he forgets, Peter comes for Margaret and takes her to the Neverland, where she tells him stories about himself, to which he listens eagerly. When Margaret grows up she will have a daughter, who is to be Peter’s mother in turn; and thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.”

The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane

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Beginning: The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.”

End: “Over the river a golden ray of sun came through the hosts of leaden rain clouds.”

This Present Darkness – Frank E. Peretti

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Beginning: “Late on a full-mooned Sunday night, the two figures in work clothes appeared on Highway 27, just outside the small college town of Ashton.”

End: “With a burst of brilliant wings and three trails of sparkling fire, the warriors shot into the sky, heading southward, becoming smaller and smaller until finally they were gone, leaving the now peaceful town of Ashton in very capable hands.”

The Shakespeare Stealer – Gary Blackwood

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Beginning: “I never knew my mother or my father.”

End: “For every ken and wis and aye I had dropped from my vocabulary, I had picked up a dozen new and useful terms. Some were fencing terms, some were peculiar to London, some were the jargon of the players’ trade. But the ones that had made the most difference to me were the words I had heard before and never fully understood their import – words such as honesty and trust, loyalty and friendship. / And family. / And home.”

Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

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Beginning: “That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.”

End: “And so, with laughter and love, we lived happily ever after.”

The Last Battle – C. S. Lewis

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Beginning: “In the last days of Narnia, far up to the west beyond the Lantern Waste and close beside the great waterfall, there lived an Ape.”

End: “And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning for the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”


Well, best for last: my favorite ending was by far C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle. While it doesn’t necessarily strengthen anything from the beginning line, it’s the kind of ending that makes you ecstatic as the tears fall dramatically from your eyes as you realize a great series/book is over…

And yeah, most of these are more for younger readers, but sometimes these things are written better than books for adults. Sad truth.

Well then, bye.