fiction miscellany

Watching: Doctor Who – The Reign of Terror – A Land of Fear

I woke up intending to write, but other things keep getting in the way.  Mixed Media has a decent attempt at a second chapter, and I know what’s going to happen in it.  Sure it’s a genre that basically comes with a formula, but I’ve never been good at liking things like that.  So I prefer to keep my edge of the trousers style.  It keeps things interesting.

Besides that, I feel like messing about, really.  Maybe writing a bunch of dialogue or even just playing more Modern Warfare.

This is how I end up with so many unfinished projects, I swear.  My brain just dribbles along and then I look behind me and think, “Oh yes, I was going to do something with that, wasn’t I?”

It doesn’t help when the idea or characters are bigger than me and I basically end up with several false starts.

One such false start has most recently been with the Grey Matters, my merc team.  I broke a rule and did not start with action, and that labours it to a quick death.  The problem is that I wanted to start with a Rookie arc, but there really isn’t room for one.  Looking over all of their dossiers makes it clear that they’ve all been in the team for a significant amount of time, although Tejada and Blackwell stand out as obvious veterans.  So I went straight to Underfunded, which is a horribly toned down beginning for such a violent group.  They just start out bickering and annoyed rather than tough and ready.

False start follows.

It had once been likened to time travel.  Tejada ducked into the shower, careful not to bang either of her arms on the walls.  Off-base, she had a small apartment, barely big enough for herself and three days worth of food at a time.  However, whenever she moved between one and the other, she was struck by the difference in special economy.

Specifically, her apartment was very frugal in its use of space, while the living quarters on the base had no space to use.

She crouched so that the water would do more than sprinkle her stomach, then twisted through the necessary acrobatics as she washed her hair.  Relaxing would have to wait until she was out and in a towel.

After the week she’d had, her muscles were torn between screaming and yawning in relief.  Missions back to back.  She felt like a tennis ball.

The handle squeaked as she shut off the water.  Her head, not yet recovered from its meeting with the masonry, repeated the experience as she stepped out.

Swearing quietly, she stumbled across the room to the mirror.  It was a brief trip.  She leaned on the sink and wiped away the sweaty remains of steam from the mirror.

Her reflection had changed to reflect the week.  Deeper bags under her eyes, a darker tone to her skin from being out in the sun.  The last time she had phoned her mother, they had talked beauty secrets.  Hers were all admittedly fiction, but it gave her mother something to do.

A banging sound jerked her out of the moment of wind-down.  Tejada clenched her teeth and yanked the towel off.  The walls were thick as chicken bone, eager to instigate a system of gossip.

“Hold the noise, Rigdon!” she shouted at the wall, through another session of banging.

His voice, more successfully muffled than the banging, drifted through the wall like a nagging thought.  “Sorry, Cap.  It’s the water—it keeps stopping ‘til I smack it.  I’m just tryin’a wash my face.”

“Is that all?  Just give up.  No one will notice.”

“Ha ha, Cap.”  The banging resumed.

Tejada clicked her tongue once, then turned round and stomped out of the bathroom, her bare feet slapping wetly against the tiles.  Her hair, still soaked and clumping, frizzed at the edges around her face, tickling her forehead.  She flicked them out of her way and then tipped herself forward, to start the laborious process of drying her hair.

Five seconds in, another banging noise threw her off.  This time it was coming from the other side of her door.

Time in the military had cured her of childhood prudishness, but modesty would not be shunted from her personality.  Nerves clanging, Tejada ran back to the bathroom to scoop her other towel off the floor.

“Oy, Tejada, you in there?”

“No!” she yelled back.  “I’m on furlough in Pismo.  So go away.”

“Sounds like you’re in there.”

She huffed, slouching in the cold, wet towel.  “Nice sleuthing, Blackwell.  What do you want?”

“Are you decent?”

“Yes,” she said, shoving a ham-sized clump of hair out of her face.  “As decent as I ever am.  I just happen to be naked.”

“I can come back later.”

Once upon a time, she would have said something along the lines of ‘thanks’ or ‘would you?’, but she had been with the Grey Matters for a few years too many.  “Don’t be silly.  I’ll step into a pair of jeans, won’t take two seconds.”

While it did take longer than two literal seconds, it was not long before she was clothed in a very old t-shirt and mildly younger jeans.  She twisted the three woefully outdated locks and jerked the door open, then leaned on the doorway.

Admittedly, she quite liked Blackwell.  He was a quiet man, not one to give in to passion of any kind, and handy in a fight.  Another day, she might have invited him in for tea—a beverage she only kept on hand for visitors.

Today though, he was not standing at her door with a borrowed book or empty hands.  He held up a manila envelope, crisp, clean, and thoroughly unwelcome.

“Let me save you time and say this upfront,” she said, repressing the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose and shut her eyes. “Not a chance.”

“Yuan said they asked for you.”

“You can tell Tucker he can stuff it up his shirt and pretend to be pregnant, I am not going.”  Never mind that it was an old dance with a predictable outcome.  It had to be done, for the sake of how it looked, at the very least.

The dialogue is fun, and I enjoyed writing the description, but there’s no action.  Which is against the point.

Also, as I do find myself looking at old things, I had a glance at Bandy, which is often worth a cringe.  Another funny guy who just…. man.  Failed on that one, so early on.  I don’t know how I managed to continue. His story is also one of the many that has proven that MSWord can’t automatically detect any language.

Reluctant to face this place again, I pulled the coarse blanket over my head and groaned. I had to call it something, didn’t I? Then I could treat it like a summer home. Heh. Maybe if I named it, it would go away. I pushed my face into the pillow and breathed in the smell of army-issue cigarettes and old sweat. Nothing seemed real anymore, but it all felt real regardless.

“I dub thee Reality 2,” I muttered darkly into the smelly pillow.

Artificial light attacked me suddenly, making me curse a little too loudly for my own headache. Someone had repossessed the blanket. “Rise and shine, sleepy-head!”

To my exhausted, sedative-drowned eyes, all that stood before me was an evil little creature made up of yellow, green, and black blobs. She might as well have been a grass-stained bee. “I will rise when I feel like it,” I growled, “and I flat-out refuse to shine.”

That’s so much sci-fi though. I do like the genre, but I’ve been other places.

“Fan-bloody-tastic,” she muttered as the weather worsened.  Generations of repression sang through the palm of her hand in an exhilarating gestalten whoosh as she let fly at the bus stop.  The grinning face of a billboard lawyer was unaffected.

She massaged her hand and glared at her shoes.  Glamorous and expensive.  They pinched her toes.  It didn’t seem at all cost effective.  She took them off and hit the flat lawyer again, this time leaving a large hole in his cheek.  After matching it with the heel of the other shoe, she abandoned the entire area in favour of the nearest pub.

No idea where that one was going.  I just completely forgot.  But it was general fiction, and that’s all I can recall.

Then there was the attempt to take my RPG Hello Salvation (An RPGMaker VX wip) and write it in prose.  That didn’t last long.

The actual building was nothing special.  It was made of the same durable auburn wood as the villagers’ houses, with few features that set it apart.  Of these features, the villagers usually only saw two—the thick double doors and sheer size.

Although some of the houses boasted two stories, none of them were as wide as the office.  It was like a muscular man, tall but so broad-shouldered as to appear squat.  The windows, fashioned after the arrow slits of a much more important structure, slotted the walls of both stories in strategic places, like multiple eyes.

In front of the double doors, someone had hammered a post and attached a sign.  The letters had since bleached a bit in the sun, but still read quite clearly, Heroics for Hire: Avo Branch.

I stood beside the sign for a moment, a hand on my hat to keep it from flying free of my head.  Carved into the sign, more permanent than the paint, was the name of the Avo branch’s Chief Hero.  My boss.

As had become my personal tradition, I gave the post a kick before going into the office.  Physical symbolism was important.

Everyone was in attendance, as Meryl put it.  It wasn’t difficult, considering the fact that there were only three heroes in Avo.

Vea sat on the edge of her desk, tapping her fingers on the rim of her teacup.  If I was restless, than Vea was manic.  Even if it was a missing pet, she leapt on every job like a starving cat on a fat mouse.

That was probably the fault of frustration and other things though.

Here’s to moving onward, I suppose.

3 thoughts on “fiction miscellany

  1. Pingback: Personal Care 101

  2. Pingback: One-Player Game | Notebook Pages

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