Today is turning into an uber-awesome productive day.
I woke up early, went on a nice, brisk walk while listening to a Sherman Alexie short story on my iPod (if you're into that kind of thing, I would recommend NPR's Selected Shorts podcast--it's wonderful!), then came home and tackled my horribly disgusting pig-stye house.
Okay, it wasn't really a pig stye, but it was all cluttered and in need of some TLC. Which I gave gladly.
I can think so much better with a clean house!
In fact, I thought so well that I FINISHED my short story, "A Tender Touch."
Turned out to be 6 pages, 3,428 words long.
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, though it will definitely need some tinkering before I try to submit it anywhere.
Oh yes, I'm still planning on submitting it.
It feels really nice to finish something, even if it's just a short story.
I'm going to go finish this book on my Kindle that I've had lingering half-way for weeks now.
And a teaser from "A Tender Touch"! :
I move outside the circle, and something pings on my radar. Malevolence.
I follow the current, slipping in and out of thought, in and out of the physical world, dimly hoping I can keep a hold of reality this time and not fall away into Time's current. This malevolence gnaws at my senses, urges me faster.
The town flashes around me, then darkness. I stop short. The presence is everywhere, swallowing up this forest. Rage and fear envelop me, nearly blinding out my sense of self.
Like stumbling through a dark room, I claw to the surface of the spirit's emotion, enough to navigate through these woods. The epicenter pulses. I could find it from half-way across the country, it radiates such exquisite torture.
The spirit's pain becomes indistinguishable from the world around me. Only when a mournful cry shivers the night do I realize that I've passed the source of trouble. I backtrack and see what I missed.
Children, a boy and a girl, squatting in the leaves. The boy holds a flashlight and keeps turning it off, making the girl squeal in fright.
I move closer, until I can smell powder and jam.
“We better get Mommy.”
“We didn't do anything.”
The boy flashes on the light and points it at the ground. I see dirt-streaked white and realize the children are solemnly regarding a human skull.
“I wanna go home.” The girl sounds on the verge of tears. The boy flicks off the light.
“Fine. But I'm keeping the flashlight.”
A whine wells up, then the nasal sound of half-sincere sobs. The boy turns on the light and holds it under his chin, his sneer casting fractal shadows on his thin face.
“You're such a baby.”
The sobs turn into tears. Wind stirs the leaves at their feet, scuttling a twig across the skull. It falls into the eye socket, and the girl shrieks and flies to her feet. The boy looks mildly alarmed, stabs the stream of light into the woods around them. I feel the spirit's anger growing and its consuming desire to get these children away from its pitiful grave.
The wind picks up and the dead forest floor rattles, leaves and twigs swirling into miniature whirlwinds, beating against the children's feet and legs. The boy loses his bravado, but not his wits, and grabs his sister's hand, pulling her along behind him as he tears away from the skeleton.
I imagine these children will not take many more adventures into the woods at night.