A while back I came across some old stories I’d written and mostly forgotten about. I remembered them immediately, like old friends you’d thought long lost. In the world of nostalgia and memory, they were beautiful. Then you look at them and you realize how ugly they are, and misshapen, and your very soul cringes and hopes no one ever sees them.
Then you do like I do, say fuck it, and throw them up on your blog.
This is the short story I wrote for my wife for Valentine’s Day. As I’ve said previously, it’s the first story I wrote after 4 years or so, and it was the first thing I needed to write in a very long time. She inspires me every day, and I wanted to share with her a little glimpse of how she is in my imagination. This is a small part of her, and since people asked to see it and she said it was okay, I’m sharing it here.
Also, the drawing is a sketch I made of Spaniel Day Lewis for the Valentine’s Day before this one, and since he also graces this story, I thought I’d share it, too. I’d illustrate the whole thing if I could, but I sadly lack that talent.
Once there was a girl who lived in a house that was down a hill and up a hill away from the woods. The girl loved the woods very much, and was often found there, exploring the hidden places and listening to the music of the trees. She was very bright and imaginative and kind and clever, and a million other wonderful things besides, but most of all she was brave. She felt no fear under the boughs and amidst the brush, even when the shadows lengthened, because she loved the forest near her home. There were always adventures to be had there, and she would run or skip or stalk or sit quietly, however the mood struck her, as a branch became a wizard’s staff or a wind-borne blossom sprouted fairy wings or all the birds gathered to sing her a lullaby.
This morning, my wife asked me to tell her a story. This is what came out.
On a farm in Northreach, a child was playing alone behind the barn. His carved wooden soldiers were crude and simple, but he loved them anyway. His father had carved some of them, but some – the boy’s favorites – had been made by his father’s father, and despite the wood being worn from two generations of loving handling, those three figures were always the heroes and kings and generals, whatever the story in the boy’s head needed them to be. The day was cold, since winter was not long passed, but much of the snow was gone and behind the barn the ground was dry and free from the mud that seemed to be the main component of the farm during early spring.
This is a short story, except nothing really happens in it, so I guess it’s not really a story. It’s something, anyway, whatever it is. I wrote it, so it’s not mine anymore, and reading it makes it yours. Sorry about that.
All I know is I must be a real joy to be around.
It’s the first draft, so forgive me if it sucks. Let me know if it does, though, just so I can try to fix it.
Anyway, this is how it begins:
Thank you for joining us today on Inside the Zombie Studio, the highest-rated and only show on television after the rise of the walking dead. I am your host, William Tetley.
(audience moans, shuffles)
Joining me today are two of the primary… shall I call them movers? of the zombie fantasy novel, The Curse of Troius. I am honored and pleased to welcome first the Stranger of Daneswall, Daevan. I hope that it wasn’t too much trouble getting through the horde surrounding the building?
This is the latest excerpt from The Storm of Northreach, the sequel to The Curse of Troius, due out sometime in 2011. As of now, this is unedited, since I wrote it yesterday afternoon. It may reflect that fact. But it does give an idea of what the novels are like without giving anything away, since this the former minstrel Ternn’s first appearance anywhere. Enjoy! Or hate it. I can’t tell you what to do. But you can tell me what you think.
The pouring rain ran in a sheet down Ternn’s seamed and pinched face. He clenched his arms protectively the crude clay jug pressed against the sodden fraying remnants of his shirt. He staggered down the half-flooded road, plodding obliviously through the rank water that had risen from the lowest channels of the refuse canals that cut through the Gutters. At this point, he would have waded through a knee-deep pool of the city’s collected shit in order to reach his favored spot, now that he’d gotten his hands on enough of Icar’s rotgut to keep him in a stupor for a few days. With his treasure, he’d be able to keep the memories haunting him at bay for a little while longer. Read the rest of this entry
This idea popped into my head between last night and this morning. I talked it over with Lady Aravan to nail down the idea, and wrote it today. Hope you like it.
Ralph Ebbets gripped the phone tightly in his damp fist, hating the whining edge that crept into his voice. “Honey, I packed my lunch today, and – “
His wife’s voice cut him off sharply. “Oh, heaven’s sake, Ralph,” and he hated the way she used his name as a contemptuous weapon, against which he could raise no protest for it was but his name, “your son is going back to school today and he wants to have lunch with his father before he leaves. Can’t you change your precious routine for one day?” Read the rest of this entry
That short story idea I mentioned? I carved some time today to bang it out.
There’s a lot to hate about the world today. I mean, between the lack of electricity, horrendous snarls of traffic from abandoned cars, the total absence of a friendly face, and hordes of disgusting rotting cannibalistic walking corpses – let’s face it, there isn’t much to be happy about. Unless you count being alive in the face of all this, which is sort of a mixed curse and a blessing when all is said and done. Read the rest of this entry