Okay, now that that's settled.
They say the hardest thing about being a writer is coming up with a good story. That's bullshit. I'm overflowing with good stories. I say the hardest part about being a writer is finding the time and energy to write after another 10+ hour day makes you want to set your workplace on fire. I'm serious. When I talk to people about the stories I want to write, they get very excited. Somehow, my freaky brain is a master at that. I get so many ideas it hurts. All I want is to be able to set aside some time to write them. But alas, my motivation correlates directly to my mood. So when all I want to do is not exist, nothing gets done. That happens way more than it should.
Last night I was full of ideas and was working on a new mythology behind what will hopefully become my magnum opus. I have plenty of other, smaller projects to get done first, but this particular story is the one I expect to launch me into a career as a writer. Basically, all my life I've wanted to make peace between people. I would always find the most agreeable compromises, or say things in such a way that satisfies everyone's ego. Whenever I hear of a problem, I just have this need to solve it amiably for all involved. It's a challenge. I love challenges, puzzles, and riddles. So, the day I founded an interesting theory that both atheists and religinuts could sink their teeth into, I absolutely had to use it in a story. It started small enough/ It has now grown to this massive facsimile of our world. A tale spanning epochs, using a mixture of science, faith, and mystery, I am weaving a story with something for everyone. Toss in some time-honored predicaments, like individual vs society, religion vs science, inspiration vs imagination, faith vs logic, and of course love in all its weirdness, and I'm coming up with one hell of a book. That scary part is when I've worked it all out and have to finally begin writing the first draft. I expect it to take years from my life and drive me mildly insane. There's always that to look forward to.
Until then MORE SHORT STORIES! I want to pump out some shorts that have been floating around my head too long and start making some waves in the literary world and get some money in my pocket so I can get down to this ridiculous novel. I guess I should include one now. Seems like the right time and place for that. Okay, hold on, let me take a look. Ooooo, here's a good one. It's not exactly finished. Still doesn't feel right, but whatever! Enjoy!
Morning light peeks into your room in splinters. Enveloped in the cozy warmth of a blanket cocoon, the surrounding air is painfully chilly. This part of the morning sucks. It always sucks and will always suck. All you can do is quit being a bitch and deal with it. You noticed a few flakes out the window last night before you dozed off, so that’s a plus. You even wore your pajamas inside out, just to make sure.
You crawl out of bed, do that stupid dance of dressing quickly while freezing to death, and jump back under the covers to soak up any remaining heat. You fall back asleep, of course.
Thirty seconds later you inhale so quickly it almost hurts. Throwing off the covers, jumping to your feet in sheer panic, you stumble around the bedroom not knowing what to do but knowing you need to do it right this second. It will be funny in a few hours.
Once your brain starts working again, you calm down and brew a pot of coffee. Ten minutes later you are standing at the front door bundled up like the little brother in A Christmas Story, gripping a giant steaming cup of coffee. You open the door to another icy winter morning. The sun reflects off the snow almost blinding you in its brilliance. “Yes, it stuck!”
You step outside and hear the familiar crunch of snow beneath your boots. It’s a sound that marks the start of a new season. It’s not officially Winter until you step out onto the fresh powder of the first snowfall of the year. Every time you hear that crunch, it reminds you of all the Winters past. Each year for as long as you can remember you've always noticed that sound at the start of the season. It's a sound that sort of ties all your life together.
Today is the last day of classes. After today you will be a college graduate. It's strange. All these endless years of studying and test-taking is finally coming to an end. The real world is awaiting you. Yet, you don't feel any different. You're the same as you've always been. Twenty-four years and finally life begins.
It's scary, but kind of exciting, too.
You walk down the driveway toward the mailbox. As you take out the letters, bills, and magazines a thought crosses your mind. “When will you finally leave your parents’ house and be on your own?” Even though you've finished classes, you haven't really gone anywhere. It's kind of a depressing thought.
After bringing in the mail you grab your keys and head out to your final class. The ride over is bitingly cold. With one hand on the steering wheel, the other clutching your travel mug for dear life, you try to think warm thoughts. Keeping the cup close to your face, you do your best to inhale steam and warmth with each breath. How can anyone respect you when you drive a piece of junk that doesn't even have heat? Whatever happens after graduation, it won't be easy.
You cross the lawn and see the smokers in the gazebos. They're huddled and shivering. “Not only is it bad enough they need to smoke every few hours, but why do they also have to be subjected to such degrading conditions?” You walk past the gopher holes and fluttering notebook pages and stroll down a small path cut through the trees. Even in the middle of the day the path is dark and winding. The tree cover almost blots out the sun. You make way along and daydream about the future.
At the end of the path is the arts building. It's a bit far-off and small so not many classes are held there. This where the school-board puts the “less important” classes. You come to this place for your acting class. You had already received enough credits in the sciences, maths, and English courses; but you still needed some general credits to get your degree. Acting seemed fun.
Once inside the two swinging doors you check your watch and notice that you're thirty minutes early. The teacher isn't even there yet. May as well explore the hallways and kill some time while you are here. It’s better than just waiting around. You continue your own personal introspection of life when you notice the path ahead of you isn't lit. “They must not even use this section.”, you think to yourself. You open an adjacent door and head inside. You flick on the light switch only to realize this section doesn't even have power. Pulling out a large metal lighter you continue deeper inside the forgotten hallway. The flickering orange light only reveals what's a few steps ahead of you. “This starting to get fun.”
You come across a small door awkwardly placed in the corner of the room. As it slowly creeps open you hear noises. You enter and the noise becomes louder. With each step you take it becomes clearer. As you come up to a turn you recognize the noise. It's someone struggling. Their mouth is being covered to mask the screams. You look around for a weapon. You noticed some tools not too far back a bit earlier. Running back down the hall you almost trip over the pile of metal. Quickly looking through them, you decide upon the big wrench at the bottom. You race back to the turn and peek around the corner.
A girl is being held down by two guys and a third is groping her. She must have been on her way to class when they grabbed her and dragged her back here. This is unforgivable. There's no way someone is getting raped if you have anything to say about it. Quietly you sneak up from behind and bash the third man over the head. He falls to the floor and doesn't move. After a brief struggle you smash the other two a few times, leaving them unconscious on the floor. You don’t know what came over you. It was like you were possessed. The sight of those three scumbags forcing themselves on a helpless girl set something off inside you. The girl gets up and thanks you with tears in her eyes. She says her name is Elizabeth.
You take her outside. She's wearing nothing but her torn dress. You offer her your coat and tell her you will take her to go file an incident report. Meekly she asks that you don't. Too much has happened. She just wants to go home. She pleads that you take her to her car. So back down the shadowed path you walk together. She says nothing. The only sound is that crunch beneath your boots. Even now the sound is the same. Not even something like this has the power to change that. It's just another Winter.
Back at her car she thanks you. She says she's alright to drive and you reluctantly let her go. It's a shame. Things like this don't need to happen. Yet they do anyway. Her car slowly pulls away into the white shroud of falling snow. Everything is as it was. Now that you're alone it feels almost as if nothing happened at all. It's kind of like a dream. You begin wondering if it really did happen. Maybe you've just fallen asleep in class and had a nightmare. Either way, you've been promised a passing grade already. You only came back to say good-bye to a great teacher. Oh well, you doubt he will hold it against you if you just go home now. It is only a small party to celebrate the end of your collegiate era, after all. You can skip out if you want to.
It's probably best to just go home anyway. Today was a shock. You don't even know what to think yet. Too much has happened. For now, you'll just go home and rest. The worries of an average college student can wait until tomorrow. Back through the woods you walk to the lot you parked in. You can see your car all the way on the other side. There were almost no empty spaces when you got here and you were forced to park on the far side. Now most of the cars are gone and the lot looks eerie and dead. Sluggishly you step towards your car. On the walk you let your mind roam. This experience has really made you appreciate your life and the others in it. You really have something special. Why didn't you see it before? Your worst problem is having to live with your parents. You've had a good life and have been surrounded by good people. When you get back, you'll make sure they understand that. You'll tell them all how much you love them. This could be a brand new start for you. You see that even at twenty-four, you can start again. Wow, a brand new start. It's going to be wonderful...
As swiftly as you came to that conclusion, your head hits the pavement. You pull yourself back up to face your attackers. Two of the men from earlier are standing there shouting at you. They're hysterical and furious. They're yelling that the knock on the head you gave their buddy earlier has killed him. He's dead and it's all your fault. Now they're going to make you pay. You don't stand a chance. They pummel you and kick your teeth in. Toothless and bloody you beg for mercy, but the hits keep coming. It goes on for what feels like an eternity. You can see your life passing in front of your eyes. Why now? You were just about to change everything. Life was going to be better. No one will ever know how much you care about them. All they will know is that you were quiet and polite. That you did your chores and always tested high. That one day you would be a doctor and help the world. You had it all but you were so cold. Now, it's over. You will die before telling anyone of your revelation. What's the point of it anyway?
This is cruel, but this is how it is. Life is unfair, why should death be any different? Eventually the beating ends. All you can hear is the panting of your attackers. As everything fades into darkness you hear their boots crunching on the snow. It's a familiar sound. A sound that remains unchanged no matter what happens to the people making it. No matter what happens to us, time passes and the world stays as it is. Each day flows into the next.
It's an icy Winter morning. The sun reflects off the snow but even that light has disappeared. All you know is the crunch of stepped on snow. It's a sound that marks the new season. Every time you hear that crunch, it reminds you of all the Winters past. Each year for as long as you can remember you've always heard that sound at the start of the season. It's a sound that sort of ties all your life together.
As you can tell, I'm nowhere near being ready for a first novel. There was some good in that story, but it's so green. Feel free to let me know what you thought about it, or how I could make it better. It's kind of old, too. Oh well, back to writing every day. (sort of)