Digital Portfolio final Project Creative Writing I/fall 2013 Trevor Rasberry 1/10/2014
-Reflection PaperThroughout the fall of 2013 I feel I’ve experienced a wide variety of changes within both my writing skill, and style. The changes aren’t immediately obvious, though someone who knew me prior to taking the class and read my previous works would be able to detect a hint of refinement, if not an entirely new flavor to my contextual crafting. Taken through critique given both by my teacher and my peers, I’ve managed to hammer out a few dents that had previously lain in whatever I’d attempted to write. Much to my surprise I’ve learned new grammatical rules, right alongside tricks that may aid me in whatever I’m attempting to convey onto paper or screen. And, in spite of myself, I’ve become more aware of the mistakes that I make on nearly a daily basis in my writing. Mistakes that I’d never have seen before, mistakes that would’ve otherwise slipped just outside of my careful scrutinizing. My grammar has been boosted- (Which is saying something as I pride myself on keeping any grammatical mistakes out of what I write and say) - as has my ability to break out of the abysmally inescapable pit-trap known to the masses as a writers block. I’ve learned that a curt ending isn’t always effective in surprising the reader, more or less frustrating them to a point. Through the powers of peer review, I’ve gleamed a few of the weaknesses that I completely overlooked while on my own. My strength is my weakness, and my weakness is my strength. I have a deep adoration for writing in an obscure, indeed backwards way that alludes to some greater meaning and leaves much to be decided for the reader. Hints are given, clues that easily fade into the background due to the sneaky way in which I slip them in. I wade easily into subjects of misery, depression, sorrow, or those that may point to and deal with serious issues that permeate both my life and the lives of others. I feel that I accell somewhat in achieving a light tone, and don’t struggle too obviously within the realm of joy and happiness. I’ve been told that my skills in the way of using descriptive detail to paint a picture are of note, and that I’m in general a very creative person. That being said, I can’t help but overlook how furious the battle between me and the seemingly insurmountable task of writing a childrens book was. This sounds cocky, but I really struggle with writing in simple terms. Writing without ambiguity, without putting forth a large vocabulary to drag the brush of mental imagery across the paper that is whatever I’m working on. I’m hard-headed, and generally can’t produce something great if I’m working on a topic that I don’t enjoy. If I can collect no joy, no satisfaction, the task will be put off to an almost unlimited date. In addition to that I’m cynical, and have no problem with sharing my somewhat uncommon views in my writing. I also don’t have a problem writing... particularly gruesome things, and actually find myself easily able to brush off topics that I would hope could make others entirely uncomfortable. I’ve branched out into new lands as a reader, straying from my previously unbroken trend of fantasy out into realistic fiction and books of that kind. And with the new interest in these types of stories, I’ve picked up new writing styles and ways to more easily put out words that can convey the things that I’m thinking about. The music we studied, and created, gave me a much broader appreciation for all types of musical genres. Emotion has become easier for me to imbue in my words, and I’m better at creating characters and not becoming overly attached to those that I’ve created. My tolerance for criticism, while not very low to begin with, has grown in an appropriately proportionate size. And with this nurtured tolerance, I’m far more likely to change things that people advised me to change, while still retaining a writer’s backbone standard. I don’t take such vehement stands against changing what I thought would be good for
a certain scene or character, and at the same time I’m less likely to follow a request without first interjecting with my own ideas. My flaws have been put to the spotlight, and I’ve worked on and will continue to work on them to the best of my abilities. They aren’t gone, not by a longshot, though now that I know what the majority are I can surely learn from mistakes I wouldn’t have known I had made- and ensure that I don’t make quite as frequently in the future.
-Work Samples(Haiku Sequence) The world is Tainted, Blackened by the toxic fumes, Decaying slowly. Silently it fades,, Falling to the pressing dark, Disappearing fast. Yet we still destroy, Seeing now rather than then, Blind to the poison.
(Poems) ((Multi-Meaning)) And so they stand side by side, Guarding over those inside, Fearless sentinels never failing, Even under natureâ€™s constant railing.
((Food)) Laying still in a pile, Their aroma floats for miles, Fluffy golden layers of yellow, Lifting the heart of any fellow.
((Cinquain)) The dark. It consumes everything. Coating all in oppressive black. Destroying all that it touches and leaving nothing.
((Color)) One and the other, The sister and the brother, It is white and black. For both are in grey, And grey is in both of them. A mixing contrast. Dancing on shadows, Flying with the brightest light, Itâ€™s neutrality.
Trapped in the darkness, lost in the abyss, The light once common now so bitterly missed, The world reduced to sound and touch, For most men this change would seem too much. Unknown it is, whatâ€™s feet away, Unknown if it is night or day, Nothing exists aside from what you feel, The suffocating darkness forcing most to kneel.
((Short story final)) Death in a Suit As he stood in the suffocating silence and stared into the cracked and dusty mirror; Felix let out a ragged sigh. The man staring back at him was wearied by age. Dry and wrinkled skin was pulled taut against his face, his cheekbones poking out sharply on either side. His mouth was contorted in a permanent scowl, forced that way due to the constant pain of his aching joints. What scraps of hair remained on his scalp was a dulling grey that brought even more of a sense of decay to his depressing visage. The only feature of real note lay in his hazel eyes, which held an age-old sadness brought about by years of absolute failure. All of this was bathed in a sickly orange glow let out by the only working lamp in his dingy apartment, only serving to further the grim expression of melancholy. And so Felix stared into the mirror, a ritual he’d undergone nearly every day of his pitiful little life. He was trying to discern some worth, to find some meaning or purpose in the old man who so ruefully returned his scrutinizing gaze. He stared, and he fought an internal battle that had raged from the earliest stages of his conscious thought. It was a battle he had always won, yet seldom felt as such. His subconscious was a crumbling monolith held together by mere scraps of once bright memories, and occasional bursts of self-confidence. But today he at least had a purpose. Today, he had an important meeting. Over the cacophony of crippling sadness and despair, Felix shouted at his wild mind and used the task at hand to reign it in. With a purpose he could manage himself, with a purpose he could hazard a trip into the outside world. His ever-shaking hands slowly brought a lavish bowl-cap to his scarred head, gingerly placing it down before dropping back to his sides in exhaustion. With the ensemble complete, he gave a half-hearted smile to the mirror and took a few steps back. What once may have been a black-pinstripe suit hung loosely over his frail form, the faded gray article matching perfectly with the black cap- but clashing entirely with the ripped brown loafers that adorned his awkwardly placed feet. It was an ensemble that gave him just a slight glimmer of pride, as he’d saved up for months at his lonely job.. With that little flicker of pride and self-worth rekindling the fire in his heart, the forced smile turned into genuine expression of happiness. Casting fleeting glance at the table to his left, he checked to see if he was forgetting anything. He had to do this right. Aside from a newspaper headlined ‘Jackie the ripper’, and a few empty bottles of coke, the table remained empty and dusty. Satisfied, he turned- ignoring the suffocatingly cramped apartment as he took deliberate and labored steps towards the door. Before long his trembling hand closed around the tarnished bronze doorknob, slowly turning it before giving the entire thing a labored pull. It creaked in protest, yet slowly swung inward on the rusty old hinges. A bitter cold swept through the now open doorway, snaking its way into the room and taking hold of the drably clad old man. He marched, if slowly, out into the bustling winter-fallen city. As he strode along the busy sidewalk, he ignored the squawking mass of people that swarmed about him like many starlings. Children cried out and clung to the coat-tails of their mothers and fathers, men and women pushed and shoved their way through the crowd and past anyone who dared slow down. At great personal effort he held the pace of the busy mob, something that was typically outside of his physical ability to do. But today he had a purpose. Today, he had an important meeting. The walk went on as synonymous as most things do in his life, no real highlights save for a troubled youth nearly knocking Felix over as he fled two older men. As he walked, he ignored the chilling air that stung his lungs in favor of admiring the scenery of the
bustling city which he called home. In retrospect, observing the scenery wasn’t really the best thing to do to lighten his spirits and prepare him for the important meeting ahead. The streetlights had already been off for quite some time. They cast dull yellow pools of artificial light around their immediate area, yet each sickly circle of luminance never touched the one adjacent to it. Each post was bright enough, however, to hide most of the stars from view- leaving the city sky above a dull, undifferentiated gray slowly fading to black. If one were to gaze up at the bleak and uninspiring sky while walking between the closely packed buildings - and if the haze and shadows were just right in their grim shiftings - the tops of the skyscraping structures would seem to lean in and reach towards one another, as if trying to grasp the street like a giant hand and block out the sky completely. It was enough, even with the crowds of people who hurried along the sidewalk, to make anyone feel unbearably claustrophobic. Felix was no exception to this dark rule, and he shoved his aged hands into his pockets as he struggled to keep up with the surging mass of rushing persons. When at last he saw the edge of the park ahead of him, he began the difficult task of working his way to the outer edge of the pack of pedestrians- apologizing in his timid old voice whenever someone bumped into him on his way out. When at last he managed to free himself, he stood on the edge of what appeared to be a break in the oppressive man-made canyon. For nearly two blocks, an expansive park stood in stark contrast to the monotony of the rest of the city. The trees on the edge of the artificial forest all stood strong against the onrushing wave of industrialization, though years of resisting the unnatural precession had taken its toll . The trunks of the malformed old trees were splattered with an inky black, the leaves also tinged with the same pollutive shade. The grass bore no exception to this disease, what once may have been a lush green was now a horrid dark yellow. The spires of light that lined the city streets continued into the path that wound through the miniature forest, casting the twisted shadows of gnarled branches along the poorly tended ground. Now without the constant push of a busy person behind him, Felix started off into the park at a leisurely pace- ensuring that he enjoyed these precious moments. Savoring the bittersweet flavor that was this oxymoronic scenery. As he drew near to the park bench which had been his destination all along, he smiled and held back the rush of panicked thoughts that plagued his mind. Now wasn’t the time for confusion, for giving up and turning tail as he’d done his entire life. He was going to do this right. If only this one thing, this one task that drives every single human throughout their lives. He felt comfort in the fact that he was about to confront something that billions of others had confronted before. He felt comfort in the fact that, perhaps, his self-loathing was about to finally come to an end. Then his tired legs came to a halt before the cold iron bench that he’d become so familiar with, and he let out a labored sigh as he sank down onto the chilling metal. He relaxed, ceasing his attempts to scrunch up and ward off the cold. Welcoming the once bitter enemy to an embrace as though it were his oldest of friends. He’d made it. This was his meeting, and he was going to stay here all night through the bitter weather until it was seen through. Wispy tufts of breath floated out across his vision as he breathed, the cold allowing him to see how weak his breathing had become over the years. The malnourished little clouds barely made it more than three inches before dissipating, showing how shallow and unevenly his chest rose and fell. He then lay back, gazing up through the cluster of leaves at the somewhat cloudy night sky- content to wait here until his guest finally arrived. Nearly an hour later, the gentle voice of a woman woke Felix from his involuntary nap. “Hey there old timer. What’re you doing?” His neck cracked as he brought his now open eyes from the dark sky, and time seemed to slow to a stop as he beheld the person who stood before him. She wore a pitch-black overcoat, the kind people wear in snowstorms so they don’t lose each other in the
eternal white. The kind of black that seemed to melt into anything of even relatively the same shade, easily allowing someone to fade into the shadows if need be. His eyes traced along the coat, the only light managing to escape the shadowy thing laying in the gleam coming off of the gun-black buttons. For a split second he thought she was wearing a hood, but realized that it was instead her dark hair that seemed to grow into and from the overcoat that covered most of her body. The hair, strangely enough, seemed to refuse to reflect any light that the yellow lampposts put out- causing the contrast to form somewhat of a sickly halo around the outline of her head. But the most unsettling part about the girl’s appearance lay in her face. Bone-white skin caused a stark line of light and dark where her face ended and hair began, the almost grey lips barely standing out under her short nose. Her cheeks held absolutely no color, which was odd given the chilly weather. Up until this point he would’ve guessed she wasn’t a day over twenty, give or take a few years. But then he met her eyes. Despite the hint of kindness that had accompanied her voice, those eyes held a feeling of pure indifference- a coldness that’s typically only brought about by years and years of experience with only the most horrendous of things. They were two pits full of emotion, as drenched in cynicality and hate as Felix’s were in pain and sorrow. While it only took him a few moments to register most of her appearance, those eyes had him dumbfounded for nigh on a minute.
“Oh, you’re staring at people?” She said, walking to the bench and sitting down in slow careful motions. “I try not to stare, it tends to make people feel rather uncomfortable. Especially given the circumstances of my typical arrival.” The old man blinked, having been freed from the entrapping gaze the moment she broke eye contact. The silence again ensued for a short time, before the disturbingly comfortable girl pushed it away with more of her beguiling words. "My you're quite. It's pretty strange to see a senior who keeps his words to himself, typically they just figure they're too close to death that offending anyone would matter." She turned to look at him, and he nervously looked back with a barely real smile. Felix wasn't really used to talking to people, let alone young people. Expecially let alone a young woman. So naturally, it took him a brief while to find his voice- a task that was made all the more difficult by the strange nature of his intrusive visitor. "Could she be?... or would it be he? No. Couldn't possibly..." He licked his lips, and engaged in the first real conversation he had in months. "W-well... I'm just waiting f... waiting for someone..." Her inquisitive smile broadened just a hint, either amused or cute-charmed by his shaky speech. "Outside, in winter, at midnight? Who're you waiting for, death?" Felix faltered for a moment, feeling exposed and transparent as she stared at him with those two abysmal eyes. He managed to tear his gaze away from them, then slump down further into the cold park bench as he turned to observe a sickly looking bush. “Why do you care, if you don’t mind me asking?” Though Felix was himself surprised at the trace amounts of venom that were laced in the words, the girl didn’t seem the least bit phased. She instead reached out and gently lay a hand on his shoulder, her voice coming down to a motherly whisper. “Easy there, fella... I’m just trying to figure you out is all. It’s... it’s a hobby of mine.” Feeling a faint trickle of remorse flowing from his heart, the old man softened his bearing and laced his fingers together as he tried to think of a proper way to apologize. “I’m... I’m sorry. This is a big moment for me, my nerves are all worn down to the bone.” Something stirred behind the girl’s deep eyes, some burning desire that had until this point either been sated or laying out of sight. She took her hand from the crumpled Felix’s shoulder, gingerly slipping it into her coat pocket assumedly to keep warm. “He’s not very fond of quitters, you know.” The elderly chap licked his dry lips before swallowing, the strange female again making him feel transparent.
“What? ...who?” He questioned, almostly redundantly as he was almost positive she had guessed him out. She giggled for a moment, then stifled it by biting her tongue and holding her breath. The quiet peace of the night rolled in quickly on the lack of speech, surrounding the two as she calmed her jubilance. Then, it was again broken by her inquisitive voice. “The reaper, of course. Or death. Whatever you’d like to call him, he’s never been a big fan of anyone who’s wants to come up and meet him early. And I know that’s who you’re waiting for, you gave it away the moment that crazy expression came over your face when I mentioned him.” Flabbergasted, Felix felt as though someone had just dumped a bucket full of ice-water onto him after a long nap. The girl had shocked him, sent his old heart racing faster than it had in years. He painfully sat up straight, then slowly turned to meet her eyes. They were different now, he noticed. Full of something. Hunger, perhaps. He’d seen it in his own eyes so many times before. But this was a different kind of hunger... He couldn’t place it, yet almost felt insulted as to how clearly she had blown through any semblance of mental defence he’d had against this event. Anger, a feeling all but unknown to him, bubbled up inside of him. His normally weak hard was drowning in it, turning into a thrashing center of twisted emotions and bottled up hatred. He clenched his fists, hands shaking, letting out everything he’d held in in one outburst. “YES, I’M WAITING FOR DEATH! WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY GET FROM POKING FUN AT AN OLD MAN WHO’S LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO SEE MORE TURMOIL THAN YOU EVER WILL?! WHAT?!” She remained calm, the hand in her pocket slowly pulling something from within it’s depths. “YOU ANNOYING, STUPID, UNBELIEVABLY RUDE, WHORE! I’M JUST TRYING TO LET G-” The last word was cut short, caught in his throat as something long and sharp came up into his stomach through a low arc. The thing twisted, and he would’ve screamed had a gloved hand not been placed over his mouth. Warm blood poured from the wound, and every nerve in his body exploded in agony as the blade was twisted and shoved further into his penetrated gut. The girl, still holding that innocent smile, eyes now holding pure unadulterated insanity, made a low shushing noise. The grip on his mouth was as hard as iron, clamping his jaws shut and keeping him from calling out for help. He was too weak to push her away, a fact only made worse by the blood that was now so freely pouring from his stomach. Then he felt a tug, and the blade came free. As though she’d uncorked some barrel of rotten wine, his scarlet nectar flooded out onto the bench and pooled down below them. A darkness came to the edge of his vision, slowly eating its way inwards as he felt himself slipping out of consciousness. Another pain, feeling so much more far away, spiked up in his throat. A warm feeling soaked his chest as the rent in his neck let more blood loose, and Felix all but fell away from life at the infliction of the fatal wound. As his death came, as he came to the threshold of the meeting he’d been so eager for, something whispered in his ear. “Say hello to him for me.”
((Scary story final))
Kind Candy -By Trevor Rasberry Slowly the small childs mind began to break free of the drugs she had been slipped, and her little arms attempted to stretch as she awoke from what had seemed to be a horrible nightmare. The sound of grinding machinery and billowing steam immediately ripped up any waking thoughts she might’ve otherwise had, and fuzzy confusion turned into fully fledged panic as her hands met the resistance of thick, rough bindings. Slowly she opened her heavy eyelids, only to have her vision robbed by the inside of a muddy burlap sack. Unable to form cohesive thoughts, the little girl wriggled against her bonds as her heart raced so fast she felt as though it might rip apart it’s neighboring organs. Only when she tried to speak did she notice the gag in her mouth, the putrid iron-tasting fabric making her choke on the words that she’d prepared to cry out. A violent tremor shook the rubbery surface beneath her, and she was sent rolling backwards as what was now obviously a conveyor belt shuddered to life. Her panic continued, pressing her to struggle against the bonds that held her arms behind her back. She couldn’t think. She could barely breathe. Through the clanking and scraping of metal, one horrible sound called out over all the others. The steadily growing sound of something awfully heavy being lifted up into the air on clanking chains, followed by a determined click. Then an ear-splitting sound of metal twisting followed by a thundering crash that seemed to shake even the air around her. Then, repeated. Her terror only doubled as she realized the sound wasn’t getting louder, but closer. The rolling belt shook with each heart-wrenching thud, her attempts to escape the seemingly unbreakable bonds only serving to cut into her wrists and make weary her frail limbs. Just as she was about to give up and curl into what semblance of a fetal position she could muster, something warm and wet began to soak her wrists. Her thrashing reached a manic pace as she urgently tugged and jerked at the bonds which held her hands securely behind her back, filled with sudden instinctual determination to fight against these restricting circumstances. Sweat stung her eyes as it fell down from her forehead and matted hair, combining with the putrid smell of the bag to clog her throat and deprive her what little air she’d managed to intake. A slight stinging pain did nothing to stop her from fighting as hard as she could against the tough ropes, and she finally began to feel her wrists slide free as the smashing sound was nearly deafening. Bittersweet elation filled her as she finally managed to pull her hands free, immediately sitting up and ripping the horrid bag from her head. Her surroundings did nothing but suppress the short-lived victory. Twisted forms of metal sat moving around her, rotating gears and gnashing pistons jotting out at odd intervals among the constantly steaming constructs. And then, her terrified gaze finally met the object which had so tormented her throughout the unsettling ordeal. A giant, blood-stained slab of steel hung suspended on thick Iron chains, being pulled up impossibly high and then sent plummeting down onto a rusty grate by squealing hinges. She wrenched at the bonds that wound her feet together, but they held steadfast against her futile struggles. All the while the massive pulverizing machine crept closer to her, it's gnashing jaws eager the envelope her in their deadly embrace. Tears streamed down her face as she frantically yanked on the tight wrappings, completely ignoring the searing pain that burned across her wrists and throughout her hands. When the tremors wrought by the imposing machine were strong enough to shake her bones, she finally relented to the immovable ropes and cast her arms to the side. From there she pushed as hard as she could with what energy she had left, trying to throw herself off of the deadly procession. Lady luck it seemed, had finally deemed the girl
worthy of her grace. She landed hard on the floor, it covered in the same grey stained metal that seemed to plaster nearly every surface in this terrifying place. Again whatever elation she felt was curtailed as she saw something that made her heart drop like a loadstone deep into her stomach. There was another child. No, wait. A line of other children. Not fifteen feet behind where she'd lain, another small boy sat bound and helpless. She screamed for her comrade in the same horrid situation she'd been in. Screamed at him to get up, to fight, to roll, but he remained limp and bound as he was carried along the bloody belt. Her mind exploded with a thousand different thoughts at once, all of them discordant yet carrying the same theme. She wasn't alone in this. As soon as she'd made it off of that terrible dis assembly line, her panicked fear turned into a more real and rationally manifested kind. A fear of being alone. Of being trapped in this horrible, iron-wrought nightmare that she'd awoken into. For the first time she managed to piece together cohesive thoughts, thinking to herself cognitively with a massive effort. She may not be alone. Someone could help, someone in this mind-crushing place could aid her. A glimmer of hope, shining brightly in the sea of darkness and despair that had so taken her mind ever since she’d beheld that horrible machination. Frantically, she searched the floor around her for something that could help her, something sharp that may cut theA deafening crash cut any of her thoughts short, pulling that light down into the abyss. The machine. Now hysterical, she threw her little hands down to the ropes that held her legs together and again began to tug as hard as her exhausted arms would allow- all the while screaming at the boy. Even if her in cohesive shouts had been enough to wake him, it was far too late. The machine had him. Still breathing, his small body was dumped from the belt right into the middle of the rusted grate. From where she had fallen she could no longer see him, but what she could see filled her with a sense of dread that no child should ever have to endure. The great slab was rising, as it had been, up along those accursed chains. To her it seemed as if the thing might even be going slower than usual, savoring both the havoc it wreaked on her mind and the presence of it’s perfectly positioned pray just below. And then the click. And then the fall. She didn’t hear the massive metal collide with the grate at a force only gravity can possess. She didn’t hear the splatter of flesh and the crunching of bones under the massive weight, and she didn’t feel the single drop of blood that somehow flew from the gory meeting and landed on her forehead. Even though she’d escaped it’s grasp, the machine had still managed to destroy her in a different way. It had torn away any semblance of hope that she’d seen in the world, baptized her innocent mind in a sea of fire and blood. Unable to withstand the strain that was put on her now broken mind, she fell noiselessly to her side. The tears still fell freely from her hazel eyes, yet every part of her lay still against the cold metal floor. Thoughts fled from her mind as field mice would from a berserk wolf, shadows of insanity planting roots within the now empty spaces as she lay and listened to the now far-away sound of the crushing mechanism. Withering memories echoed throughout her emptying consciousness as her vision began to grow dark. Slipping deeper into shadows, falling through a world of misery and despair that was unknown to her until now. Completely broken, she didn’t even try to grab onto the precarious ledge that stood along the brink of sanity- falling without a fight into the dark abyss of madness. The last thing she heard, the very last thing that passed through the barely maintained halls of her mind, was the grinding of the machine.
((Dead celebrities piece)) Dead Celebrities Project -By Trevor Rasberry
The warm hand clutching his own disappears, and every piece of thought or emotion drains from his mind as a creeping cold ebbs into his limbs. Darkness overtakes him, a velvet curtain of shadow being pulled over his vision bringing the colors of the world to the same dregling end that his thoughts had faced. For a time he existed, living without breath or thought in the effervescent veil of darkness that was death. He couldn’t remember, he couldn’t think, he couldn’t feel. He could only simply exist. His determined self somehow managed to fight it in some way, hanging in this place of limbo for an intelligible amount of time. Grasping without hands to existence, fighting with the same strength that he had possessed in life. But eternity seemed to be on the other end of this tug-ofwar, and it was a battle that he was inevitably going to lose. When finally his spirit let go, any awareness that had managed to cling to existence finally fell to dust and was blown away by the turbulent winds of time.
Then a sudden rush, the submerged pieces of the man dredged from the empty abyss, coming back together to reform the dead soul. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, physical aspects, senses, all flooding back together as he began to live again. Like an earthquake played in reverse, seemingly irreparable damage was undone in moments while the darkness started to shift and lift around him. Through the sharp pain ripping into his lungs, Napoleon Bonaparte took a rattling deep breath. The stale air gave him no sort of fresh reprieve, but the elation he felt was indescribable. He was alive again. With the same boisterous confidence that he’d used to claw his way up through the french military, Napoleon brought his feeling-shocked body to a stand. It took him a long time to get over the fact that he was beyond the fear-enshrouded figure that was death, but once he did he was only again dumbfounded by his surroundings. Napoleon stood in his militaristic pose, in the middle of what can only be described as possibly the most plain room in existence. The battleship-grey walls gave off a faint light, each banishing any shadows that would’ve otherwise managed to creep into the mysterious place. He was unsure if the room was cylindrical, or pentagonal, because the lack of shadow left everything within the confines of the place without any sort of depth. The room might even be spherical, because the walls were so far away he couldn’t tell if they melted flawlessly into the ground or ended in a sharp upturn as traditional architecture dictates. “Sacre Bleu...” Napoleon muttered, running a hand through his tar-colored hair. After quite a while of observation and consideration, the Frenchman hazarded a single step forward. The heel of his boot clacked against the smooth surface, sending echoes bouncing off of the walls that held him in this strange place. Looking down, he noticed that he was wearing his military-grade general’s boots. Not only that, but his entire Revolution-era suit was on, complete with his badges of honor and merits of valor. His scabbard was where it had always been, holding tight to the hip of his belt- although the saber was missing from its ancestral home. Not bothering to wonder why or how he was wearing something he hadn’t for decades, he took another determined step. Followed by another. Picking up the pace that was ingrained into his mind through years of military school, Napoleon set forward towards the wall he’d gotten up facing. Each step sent the echoes out, each set of echoes fading into nothing under the loud clack of the new pair. The sound was monotonous, and entirely comforting to the worlddominating veteran. It reminded him of the many nights he’d spent pacing back and forth within his room at the college, practicing the one-two steps until they were more natural than any typical gait. It took him far longer than he would’ve expected, but eventually he reached the smooth reflectionless surface that had blinded him with gray. It was just as featureless as the floor, if somehow managing to give off a welcoming aura that pushed Napoleon to reach out his hand and touch it. Or maybe that was his curiosity peaking? He wasn’t sure. In any event this black glove came off, and goosebumps popped up all along his arm as he pressed the bare palm of his hand against the now evidently cold surface. Another urge, a planted thought that seemingly came from nowhere, sparked in the back of his mind. “Where do you want to go?” Never one to overcharge himself, Napoleon had a response strike through his mind with the quickness of a professional military strategist. “Je veux aller là où tout le monde va” His muscles tightened, expecting some great force to whisk him away at unnatural speeds; or some celestial being to take him aloft to the place he’d requested. But nothing came, and he remained standing stiffly with his hand on the wall for what seemed like hours. When he finally let his arm fall limply back to it’s side and turned on the metal heel, he was once again left unable to articulate anything.
Before him sat a great machine, a monster of pure silver and trimmings of gold that sat upon wheels of white marble; seemingly latched to the floor on two strange lines of iron connected by oak panels. The lines led off into a black opening, a yawning abyss that seemed to be trying to press into the room of gentle grey rather than sit beyond the opening. Behind the large machine were several room-like structures, windowed cars of the same pattern as the behemoth that sat ahead of the line. Shadowy figures crammed into these trailing husks, black outlines resembling the shapes of people. Crammed together as they were, along with the depth-loss effect of the strange place, made it look more like a sea of flailing shadows rather than a crowd of mysterious beings. After he was able to tear his eyes away from the unbelievable structure sitting before him, he noticed something completely out of place just to the side of the gaping hole. A wooden bench, shoddily trimmed with large iron nails and strips of brass. On the bench sat a greying old man, his curiously kind expression laying in stark contrast to the rest of the alien place. Though it was difficult to discern what he was wearing with the lack of shadow, napoleon was able to make out the browns and greys of a dapper business suit, trimmed with lines of black and capped off with a luxurious brown bowl cap. His hands lay in the center of his lap, the white glove-laden digits intertwined in a display of patients or contentivity. He made no move to regard Napoleon, instead focusing his hazel eyes on the great machine that lay before them. Napoleon, at an utter loss for words, steeled himself and walked to the old man in his militaristic manner; never missing a left-right step in beat with the French army regulation. "Hardly, I've been here for quite some time. Although time doesn't really flow the same here, but I suppose it's still relative enough for me to mention." The older man Regarded Napoleon with indifferently kind eyes, measuring his personality in a way that only the exceedingly aged can. "I'm surprised you speak english Mr. Bonaparte, I'd imagine a patriotic frenchman like yourself would only speak the french tongue" He wasn't entirely wrong, as napoleon struggled with the foreign language and often tripped over the tricky rules that were involved with English. He hadn't spoken it in years- well, years relative to his death. There was no telling how long he had clung to that dark space of purgatory. "I... had to learn it, as the american- oh... how you say..." Struggling for just a moment, he frantically dusted off the old files containing this strange language in his mind. "Ah, ambassadors. I wanted to have good relations with the Americans, as I feared their ties with the british, while still at-odds from the revolution, would cause them to turn back overseas to aid them in fighting my own glorious revolution of europe. I was very successful in fostering good relations, though my usurpers weren't as cautious as I was of the budding new democracy." Not very surprised that this strange old man had recognized him, napoleon pressed on in an attempt to find the identity of his assumed new friend. "Now my... eh... how you say, friend? What might your name be?" A twirl of his wrist, a facsimile bow, and a slight chuckle did little to respond to his question. "Why, I'm Dr. Seuss, there's no surprise in that; I'm the fractious creator of the Cat in the Hat." Somewhat amused with the old man's wordplay, napoleon let a small smile crack his hard expression. "What's that you say? The Cat in the Hat? I'm not very familiar with that..." Somehow stumbling into a rhyme himself, napoleon's chest rose and fell quickly as he put a hand over his mouth in an attempt to cover the laughter. "Oh yes my friend, the Cat in the Hat. Not your average Cat who fancies a Rat, but a wonderful creature who just loves to Chat." Having great fun trying to pry laughter from one of the great warlords of history, Dr. Seuss pressed on as he saw the cold composure brought on through rough military training falter and begin to break. "Not very much like you and your feats of combat, no this cat doesn't wield sticks that go rat-a-tat-tat, you just missed him in fact- why it was just there he sat, he and I enjoyed a lovely chit-chat." Though he came to the brink of letting it burst, Napoleon regained control of himself and cleared his throat before the laughter could break loose. "...well-*Er-herm*-why are you sitting here waiting, Missouri Seuss? Why are you not boarding that great machine?" Seuss was quiet for a moment, seriousness creeping into his visage as he stared towards the great steaming thing. "Well, I can shamefully say that it's none other than my curiosity getting the better of me. I've met other estudios figures before, some a great deal older than yourself, and I rather like getting to meet figures of history that I could have only ever read about." With a sigh, he turned his attention towards his gloves and began adjusting the right one. "Although most of them stay for a very brief time, as their conquering nature leads them to believe they should press on rather than dilly-dally here with an old man and his rhymes." The plush fabric slid noiselessly up to the edge of his wrist, and he tested his fingers in an open-close gesture. "I may have gone a long time ago myself if I wasn't still so interested in the place I passed on from..." Removing his triple-fold hat, Napoleon dropped it to his side and looked out towards the place he'd come from. Arguing with himself, weighing pros and cons. "I think I may stay for a time, missouri Seuss. You must have stories to tell of the world after I left, and I'd love to hear them." Seuss, genuinely surprised, pulled himself back together within moments and gave a bright smile to the once conqueror of europe. "I can see no fantastic problem with that, and perhaps I'll tell you the story of the Cat in the Hat."
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(The term Drake is a synonym for Dragon, Drake isn’t his name. He is a Drake.)
As the sky became painted with a rusty orange hue, the hazy sun had just began to dip behind the looming mountain of the Dragons- casting a deep shadow over the already gloomy forest below. The malformed trees arched out in random directions, twisted branches swaying idly in a hot dry breeze as they cast down tufts of Black pollen. The dark seeds cascaded down from the canopy of dark green and brown, shadowy specs flitting about on unseen wings as they fell slowly towards the fauna-covered ground. Some make it to the strange flowers that dot the forest floor, though many come to rest at the surface of the murky pond that splits a great clearing in the mass of vegetation. It's a strange sight, the falling black. Looking as though the trees were set ablaze by some invisible fire rather than casting down their seeds in hopes of pollination. At the edge of the pond, under the particularly large and lush branches of what seems to be an ancient oak tree, sits a half-sobbing Drake. His large orange eyes stare into the dark water, looking mournfully into the face of the broken Dragon that stares back at him. The Grey scales that flow together to form a fearsome hide do nothing to reflect the dim lighting, rather the natural armor seems to absorb light as though it were made of stone. Every now and then his chest heaves, and a pitiful sniffle escapes his quivering form. Tears fall few and far between, dropping into the pond with a quiet drip, distorting the reflection that he's so disdainfully looking down at. He appears thin, hungry, and in this vulnerable state his eyes practically define the feeling of sorrow. The dark bat-like wings that give him flight hang limply at his sides, draping over the latter half of his body as some old worn cape. Sporadic sniffles drift softly throughout the forest, an eerie sound to anyone that doesn't behold it's source. Somewhere in the distance, the fading sound of beating wings just barely called out over the forest’s quiet clamor. Each beat, each thud of those giant leathery wings, sent the little Dragon’s heart further into the cavernous pit that had formed in his stomach. It was a pain unlike anything he’d felt before, and he could barely stand it. A hole had been torn in the fiber of his being, an all-consuming abyss that sought to destroy everything the broken Drake had ever been. Each tear fell, each for a time sent out ripples along the cloudy water that distorted his reflection. And, the sense of self-pity and loathing only grew each time the water grew still enough for him to again view his image. Unblinking, unaware of anything save for that steady rhythm of wings carrying the cause for his inner strife so far away, he weakly fought the losing battle of holding what remained of himself together. The light inside him squirmed, hopes and dreams banding together in an attempt to push away the shadows that were clawing their way through the ruined halls of his mind. Though it was a futile struggle. For the only one who he’d felt had cared for him was aloft, flying away to some unknown land and leaving him to fall apart there amongst the gnarled trees. He thought about it, for a moment, how unfair it was that he was so casually left behind. Anger came over him, anger at this sorry treatment and anger at the unfairness of the whole situation. His legs bent, wings raised, poised into a crouch in preparation to chase after the only source of his happiness. The light rallied, gained strength, started to push back the encroaching darkness as hopeful retribution rose up amongst his luminescent feelings. He looked up, up towards the clouded sky, a small spark lighting a fire in his failing heart and giving him a burst of energy strong enough to carry him up and pursue his“So immature.” As though on cue, those two words rung out from the painful memory and sliced right through the fire he’d kindled with an icy blade of sorrow. Acting as the harbingers of his fall, orchestrating the great catastrophe that sent cracks running along the structure that had once been his joy filled heart. The light faltered, stumbled, and was swallowed wholesale by the ravenous shadows. His legs buckled, wings once again going limp as he fell to the soft mud that lay at the edge of the pond. The pain, the grief, had won him over. Crippled as he was by the waves of doubt and merciless guilt that now rolled freely through him, he could do nothing but shift around in the mud and curl up into a Dragon’s rendition of a fetal position. The tears still fell as his orange eyes closed, and he became still after wrapping his tail around his coiled up body and covering himself with the black wings like a thin webbed blanket. As though his grief were strong enough to project unto the heavens, the thick clouds began to let their held back tears fall to the darkened grounds below. He hurt, he hurt more than he thought possible for one singular thing to hurt. He wept, wishing he had the strength to pursue the source of all this calamity. He stood on the edge, looking down into an abyss from which he knew there was no escape. Doubt,
sorrow, pain, grief, they all stood beside him in their twisted forms. Shadows with smiling faces, specters wishing nothing other than his destruction. They whispered, cooed, bade him to jump and be swallowed up by everything that heâ€™d once felt completely safe from. Though he didnâ€™t hear them. He couldnâ€™t hear anything, save for the quiet patter of rain onto the surface of the pond. His feeling was lost, inhibitions completely evaporated as the realization dawned on him. He put one of his four legs over the edge, then let himself slip down into the inky clouds of moral decay and mental desolation. There was nothing left to hang onto, the last hope had faded out and stopped sounding over the steady cries of nature. The beating of wings had stopped, his source of light was gone. And without it he caved into everything that it had protected him from.
((Letter to grandchild)) Dearest descendant, I can’t say I expected you to exist, though I suppose back then I couldn’t really guess how my life would pan out. I wouldn’t have believed I’d have even made it this far back then. What I’ve done, and what I plan to do with the time I have left... well, that’s up to me. The purpose of this letter is to give counsel to you. When I was a child, or a teen more specifically, the world was a cold and lonely place. Bigotry, judgment, reckless hate, all were abound in the daily goings on that I went through. It was hard, if memory serves. Probably one of the hardest times in my past. Though as hard as it was it hardened me more still. The pain really made me strong, independent. Over the years People came and went, some taking more of me with them than others. You’re going to be told otherwise, through movies or some motivational speaker that has yet to actually go through any sort of the purgatorial hell that is abandonment and ostracization, but believe me when I say that you’re better off on your own. People, as you should know- (you’re one of them) -are entirely selfish things. We’re all looking out for ourselves in one way or another, and there’s nothing to stop someone who you’ve come to care for from dropping you like a rock. They’ll try to manipulate you, use you, do all the sorts of things that you’d see in a high school drama coming from the antagonistic cheer-leading captain. I don’t want to you to forsake friends, family, and all alike in stead of a quiet solitude- though I advise that you take walking alone as more of a viable way of life than most would lead you to think. For you see, little one, the path that may be walked alone is filled with views and Ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to hear or see due to the clamor of an overly social life. You’ll notice that, from a distance, it’s all quite simple. You’ll see the kind people, you’ll see those of intelligence, and you’ll see those that are wasting their lives. What may shock you will be how blatant the divides will be, and how simple the way it all works is. Outline the stereotypes, the social lines, the issues of the world, and think of them for yourself. Never mind what your teacher, or the news said about the war, take a good look at it and come up with your own opinions. That goes for everything. Every issue, moral or otherwise, must be taken into account with your own ideals. I’ve come to find that we’re all steered into a mindset that sees in all black and white, where issues of seeming importance can be resolved by the news simply saying a few negative sounding words about the topic. Do what you can to get your news not from the TV, but from seemingly trustworthy sources. I can’t tell you where these would be in your day and age, though the internet was a frontier of truth back in my days. There are things that go on people just completely remain unaware of, due to the way our systems are controlled. Let me give you an example. Before I was born, in the 1970’s, a man invented an engine that ran off of pure water and output nothing but clean oxygen. This was obviously a monumental discovery worthy of a nobel prize, as it would allow the world to stop burning up the toxic fuels that pollute our environments. The man, who for some unknown reason could get no media to report on the subject that was of worldwide importance, put up the patent for sale in an attempt to get a large company to start producing this great product. A small company bought it off, a company that sprung up out of nowhere with the money the man was asking for. This company took the patent, and sat with it. Doing nothing but ensuring that nobody else could create such a machine. The man challenged them in court several years after seeing they were merely ensuring it wouldn’t exist by holding the patent, and at this point the man dropped off the face of the earth. If you were to try and re-create the machine now, you’d be arrested and charged with trying to create a hydrogen bomb. Funny thing is, the small company was funded entirely by one of the massive oil companies that have such an influence on our economy. BP. I’m not saying you shouldn’t trust anything you see on the news, neither am I saying that the world on a whole isn’t to be trusted. But things happen without anyone ever knowing, and you really need to try your best to ensure that you know they’re going on. I’m probably just a crazy old man, so take everything here with a grain of salt. The world is held by the wrong kind of people, and you’re going to be manipulated all through your life. Just because a person is behind a candidate booth, wearing a badge, standing in the front of your classroom, or holding a gun, doesn’t make whatever they say right. You can never follow what they say without questioning it, always think about yourself first. Separate yourself from what everyone’s told you, pull your feelings out, and actually look at the situation. Don’t let yourself slip into the black and white way of looking at things. Even if it seems impossible that what you’re thinking about could veer from the public opinion, think about it anyway. That goes for everything. People are made villains to the common populace when anyone who thought twice would realize that they aren’t doing anything wrong. Oh, and on a last note, unless you’re already into it I’d recommend that you stay out of religion. Don’t do good things because you fear a god, and don’t do bad things to please some demon. Don’t worry about going to some hell or heaven, if there is a god he’ll have to answer to me when I fade out. Or, do. If that’s what you think would best benefit you, and it’s what you believe. I don’t like religions because they tend to be a way of controlling a lot of people with just a few written words, people that won’t question what they’re told and will follow it despite moral concerns. (IE: Christians having an unfathomable hate for anyone who’s gay, something that didn’t even exist until christianity sprung up and decided gays were unholy. It generally created the hate-for-gays stereotype, not to mention Religion’s hand in most of the world’s greatest wars.) But, it’s not for me to decide whether or not you do that. Go out, do your own research, find your own answers. I could just as easily be wrong, or in some way trying to manipulate you into doing something that I want. When I say question it all, I mean question it all. If you don’t agree with what I say here, after really thinking about it all, burn this paper and go back to the way you’ve been taught to live. It’s possible I’m just the product of minor insanity, and everything I’m saying is utterly wrong in every way. But, you need to think about that. And I mean really, wholly, completely think about it.
I wouldn’t say these things if they didn’t have my convicted support, and I wouldn’t ask you to do what I am if I wasn’t absolutely sure it wouldn’t do you any harm. Best wishes to you, dearest descendent.
-Extra work samples((Draft for one of the two horror stories, ended up not making the cut as it was too short.)) Oh god, the pain. The pain. My body is filled to bursting with a thousand screaming insects begging to bore through out through my blistered skin and feast on my rotten corpse. The blood runs like water. It has no end. The blades and metal are picks striking at a mighty dam that holds back the torrent of life that keeps me alive. But the dam stands before an ocean. There is no end to the blood. The tortured screams of the others drives barbed stakes into my ears, the horrid laugh of that man twists them and tears apart what bits of my eviscerated mind remain. Sometimes the blades are so hot they dry up and blister the long carving path they etch into my butchered body, the blood slows to a dry trickle. My red eyes are cleared enough for me to see. I can't look. They scream. He watches. He smiles. The tears that flow from his eyes burn a wretched hole in my tormented soul. Red. Red. Everything is red. Shadow hands turned red. I don't want to see. I would shut my eyes. Were the rusty hooks not keeping my peeled lids pinned to my forehead I would shut my eyes. A blunt surface drops. I can feel the bones snap, I can feel them splinter and send tearing fragments through my rent flesh. Cold, then hot. Anticipation, then torture. Again and again the black hands bring down their blood-soaked instruments and paint the walls scarlet. The pleading screams rack my throat and send the slick copper taste flowing up to choke out the putrid air I manage to suck in through punctured lungs. They drive burning nails into my head, hammer the white things into the tips of my fingers. They reach into my chest with curved hooks and pry out ribs cracking in protest. They take my kneecaps in their hands and yank them from the spasming muscle that keeps the joints bound to my legs. My throat is slit like a suckling pig and the warm liquid flows down into my ruined chest. I lose the will to scream and let my head go limp. The hands are gone. The metal is gone. The screams of the others remain. The hands are gone. The hands are... Gone?
That man, that specter of torture and pain stands before me with his plastered smile. The tears still fall, the eyes still manic. He speaks to me. The lips part, his shattered teeth gnash. A voice hoarse from screaming spits words full of malice at my enervated self. "You're next to be tested, good sir. You have an important choice to make. " He pulls something from within the dark folds of that blood-coated cloak. It's one of those wretched tools. Please leave me be. Oh god please don't bring the pain back. He licks at his bleeding lips, that smile having long ago split the puffy red outlines. "Two choices. Hold yourself together long enough to make the choice. Please, for gods sake make the right choice." He turns the implement, gripping the sharp blade end hard enough to slice deep into the callused hand. "You can either take up the mantle of overseer, and be free of your own torment for the next hundred years..." A hand. No. No no no no. A black hand from behind. It's closing those icy digits around my shoulders. It's pulling me back. Oh god not again. "...or go back to the blades and endure it for another ten. If you do that, you'll start the clock. If the next person after you also chooses the ten years, we're all free." His bloodshot eyes pierce mine. My heart races, I barely hear what he has to say. Free of your torment. Go back to the blades. The hands pull, more of them. Nails digging into my skin as bony fingers try and shove their way down into the deep recesses of my soft flesh. The choice just about makes itself. I reach out, close my grasp around the dark hilt of the blade. The man flashes a look of anger, then yanks me from the clawing shadows. "You selfish bastard. You've chosen to oversee it all, to continue the cycle for another hundred years. Millions will burn and be mutilated by the creatures of this dark place, millions who will only see you and your smiling face. How happy you'll be that it isn't you." The hands now grasped at him now, tearing away at the cloak that covered his seemingly large body. Underneath are the long healed scars of torment, gashes and jutting bones from the same abuse that I'd been undergoing. He was impaled then, his chest seemed to sink in, shadowy fingers protruding from the inside as his ribcage was pulled inwards. It cracked, groaned, then
shattered as he let out a gurgled scream. And then they pulled him away, his thrashing form eagerly being descended upon by the hands. And their tools. It wasn't long before I lost him in the wriggling masses. The darkness, then, seemed to crawl up my body. Wrapping me in it's chilly embrace, soothing whatever aches I may have had. I felt a smile crawl onto my face, a broad thing that was alien to my almost always pursed lips. Thoughts, commands, they all filled me. And I took tentative steps forward. Watching, beholding from the outside what had been done to me. There were the hammers, I remembered that. There were the nails, I remembered that too. And the blood. The sea of blood. It all seemed so far away now.
I was happy. I was so happy I cried.
((Poetic piece based on my life and observances)) What cruel fate binds those who were already bound. Chains the enchained. Clouds the minds of those who were already on the brink of insanity. In our desperation, we look forward in hope of a way out. Of a light that may pull us from the darkness and make us whole once again. And when we see it, when we finally view that which we feel will lift us from the purgatorial hell which we have been condemned to roam... the source is out of reach. Grasping at air we struggle, crying out silently at the cruelty of it all. But itâ€™s always been this way. Built to endure the darkness and provide a stepping stone for those who may climb out and seek the light. Our worlds will only ever be something to step over. Something that is beyond help or recall. Made to love, but never to be loved.
((Last bit, the continue the story piece from the chaser.)) Loyal Customer The usual bustling noises of the hospital had been chased away by the encroaching late hours of the night, all was silent save for the occasional clacking of shoes against the linoleum floor. The hospital room was dark, only illuminated by the light shone in from the streetlights on the other side of the window. In the dull orange glow the old man lay among pristine white sheets, his calm and lightly smiling self bringing an air of tranquility to the otherwise sterile and lifeless space. He was impressively aged, couldn’t possibly have been a day under ninety eight. To the right of the old man a black leather suitcase sat on the bedside table, it’s soft surface giving only the slightest reflection in the dark. An air of anticipation perforated the white room, as the old man was still expecting a few last minute customers. His smile only broadened when the grey door opened, and a rather disheveled youth strode in. The boy was obviously drunk, his hair a mess and his once luxurious business suit now stained and ripped in a few places. His eyes contained something that the old man would’ve thought the lovesick youth who visited him all those years could never possess- genuine malice. Even so the old man bade the boy to sit, the smile not slackening even slightly. “Sit down Mr. Austen, I’m glad to see you again.” Allen looked offended, his mouth hanging agape for a moment as he processed the throwback to their first meeting. Then in slurred speech, he finally found his tongue. “Pipe it old man. I’m not sitting anywhere near that forked tongue of yours, you know exactly why I’m here.” If his smiled could’ve become any wider, it certainly would’ve as the venomous words were thrown at him. “I assume you’re here to thank me for selling you my product, and to tell me how well it worked to my exact specifications?” Crossing his arms, Allen adopted even more of a scowl as he stared down at the old man through bleary eyes. ‘No. I’m here to damn you for selling me that vile poison, and to curse you for not warning me of how... exact ...your specifications were going to be followed.” A long drawn out sigh came from the old man as he turned to gaze at the streetlamps outside of the window, his smile still not fading. Most of his customers returned with some sort of problem. “Well, I did tell you exactly what was going to happen; and I told you it was permanent, did I not? If you’re going to damn anyone you may as well damn yourself for not listening me so long ago.” For a while the near silence again presided over the room, as Allen was having trouble coming up with an appropriate retort to the solid statement. “But that’s not the only reason you’re here, is it?” He said, his voice holding an edge of jollity as he gestured to the seat next to him and smiled up at the now deflated youth. Allen, infuriated that he was so easily read by the sickly elder, slowly stepped over to the seat and sank down onto the hardwood. With his eyes closed and a hand on his forehead, he let out a weary sigh of his own. “...yes, I’m not just here to curse your name and berate you for what you’ve done to me. Which, by the way, curse you. Curse you for so horridly ruining my life and besetting upon me a plague of attention the likes of which I never wanted.” The man gave a facsimile bow from where he lay, feeling no remorse over the youth’s mistake. “Then I assume you’re here to make a purchase, in addition to cursing my name for doing business with you.” As he spoke he reached over and snatched the black suitcase from the bedside table, flipping open the bronze clasps before looking back expectantly at Allen. Seeming to chew on his words, Allen kept his eyes closed and his hand clutching at his now sweating forehead. Then, after what felt like hours to the drunken young man, his shaky voice finally spoke five timid words. “I... I’ve got a dirty glove...”