This is Just a House

A setting assignment for an english course and a look at my photoshop skills.

Setting

The twin moons rose slowly over the dilapidated old house. The light from their gray surfaces shone upon its weathered planks and mossy shingles, giving it a bright, clean look. By a strange stroke of luck this one house had survived through everything that has happened in the last 3 years; the meteor that had been sucked into orbit and become Earth’s second moon, the floods that resulted from different tide patterns, the destruction and rebuilding of the cities, the loss of entire continents and the birth of new ones, the groups that had tried to take over countries and the rebels that had hid in the country for so many months, this one house had made it through all that. It stood now, some distance from any city or amount of population, inhabited by a few wildcats and crows that had sheltered behind its thin wooden wallas during the depths of last years winter. A group of rebels had hid out here once, outlawed by their country for their religion and beliefs. They had prayed within the walls of the house and left their marks on the outside of it, scratched with charcoal or paint, messages for future rebels, images to show that they were not going to be ignored.

If houses had feelings it would be a proud house, glad it had survived so much, but also lonely because there were no more houses, only great steel skyscrapers and underground bunkers, the new residence of all humanity. The house would wish for someone to live it again, to breathe life into its walls. If the house had a memory it might have looked back, remembering its construction, its first inhabitants. It might have thought about the happy little suburb it had been built in, the other houses like it, standing in their own little lots in neat rows. But houses do not have memories, nor feelings, for they are just houses so it just stood there, as it had for decades. The grass swayed around it in its own dance, making patterns that were constantly shifting. The cats and birds stayed close to the house, feeding off the mice that had stayed in the house for generations, living in the cool space between the earth and the floor.

The little old house stood in the empty field, and it did not know or feel or remember. It stood there and it would continue to stand there and that was all it had ever done for it was just a house.

Jacob and the Butterfly – DP Challenge

For the WordPress Creative Writing Challenge. Challenge was to “Tell us the tale of a human-animal transformation” and I once again demonstrated my ability to read things too fast and ignore important parts of the directions.

ButteryFlies(via)

The sun rose, a pale orb that grew softly, heating the small valley. Birds began singing, flowers spread their petals, deer shook the dew off their skin and the whole world felt like a sickly sweet Disney film.

Jacob stretched his legs, his back sore after sleeping on the ground and looked out at the valley. He hunted around in his sack for a piece of meat and waited for his father to wake up. The sound of his rhythmic chewing eventually woke his father up, Jacob Senior stretched out, used to sleeping on the ground from his many months spent hunting.

Jacob and his father slowly packed their bags and began the hike back out of the valley, pausing along to bond in a father and son type of way. Jacob’s father pointed out animal tracks and different types of plants, teaching his son about his trade. Jacob stopped and pointed out a caterpillar, sitting on a branch.

“Father what’s this?” Jacob asked.
Jacob Senior paused – he’d seen many animals while out on his hunt but he had never seen this before. The caterpillar was slowly wrapping itself in a cocoon, silk strands going around and around its body.
“I’m not sure what it is Jacob, let us wait and find out”

They sat down in front of the branch and waited, waiting to see what this mysterious creature was doing. The sun continued to rise in the valley, burning the dew off of leaves and stirring the animals. Still Jacob and his father sat, watching the little animal wrap itself up. By the end of the day it was completely covered in a cocoon and the sun was setting. Jacob wrapped himself in his furs and shivered – he didn’t dare to ask his father any more questions and thought it would be better to wait and see what happened. So they waited and waited, for three long days they stared at the cocoon, not sleeping or eating, just watching the little bug to see what would happen.

Finally, on the third day it moved, just a little bit, and they both edged closer, intent on the tiny little animal. The cocoon slowly broke to reveal a butterfly, its red wings glowing in the late evening, it was a pure thing, completely innocent and new to this world and it seemed to radiate in the valley. Its soft, sticky new wings flapped back and forth gently, trying to dry themselves in the remaining heat from the sun.

“My god” breathed Jacob Senior “It is a were-animal, transforming from a caterpillar to this demonic flying creature. Stand back my son! I must kill it before it infects this valley with its hellish soul!”

Jacob Senior stood back, drawing his knife. He raised it over his head and in one swift movement stabbed it into the butterfly, ending the life of what he believed to be a were-animal from the depths of hell.

Everytime You Get to The Movie Late

Death

Death was ushered into the theatre, a sliver of light slipping through the open door and illuminating the crowd for a few seconds. He paused for a minute by the seat nearest the back, staring at the back of everyone’s heads. The movie kept going, the changing light and colours playing on the crowd’s faces and casting strange shadows all over the theatre. Death started forwards down the stairs, stepping as quietly as he could. A few heads turned his way but quickly turned back to the movie. Nobody heard his footsteps but more and more people started to look his way, quickly averting their eyes once he drew level with them.

Death’s seat was at the front and the people in the first few rows shivered before they even saw him. He came to the bottom row and turned, his frame blocking the screen until he sat down. The girl on his right shrank away, placing her bucket of popcorn between them as a feeble barrier. The group of teenagers on his left were more aggressive, staring at the huge being who had taken the empty seat beside them, ending their whispered conversation with the popcorn girl and filling the seat they had been using to store their jackets. They muttered to each other, energetic from cheap soda and energy drinks, debating whether the three of them could win in a fight. Death said nothing but silently stared at the screen and the boys soon gave up their staring. The older people sitting behind Death shivered, wondering if he had come for them, if it was their time, here in this old movie theatre watching the latest summer blockbuster.

Gradually as the movie progressed people relaxed, deciding that Death was not here for them but they were still anxious, wondering who he was here for. Yet none of them needed to worry at all for Death was not here to end any lives. He was here to watch a movie.

A Very Boring Story With Enormous Wings

One of those “read and respond” assignments for school. The short story was A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings and I had to answer the question How does the church respond to the very old man and why? I decided to do it without reading the story at all. I still haven’t gotten past the first paragraph of Gabriel’s story so I’m not sure how accurate this is.

This is an old man

In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story, A Very Old man with Enormous Wings there is an old man with a large set of wings. In this story there is a part in which the church ‘responds ‘ in some form to this man. I found it difficult to extract the true meaning of the churches response, it was so deeply buried in layers of metaphorical and imagery rich writing. The general tone of the church’s response was very clear and dramatic – the message of inevitable death and futility of life was a well made, if unoriginal point. The underlying magical realism theme was very well presented. To me the church’s response had a very personal note, I could identify with both the old man and the church as they both made very good points.

The reason the church responded to the man was very forced – the story would have been lacking if it didn’t respond and it felt like the author was really forcing his writing at times. Realistically a church’s response would have been very short but the author dragged it out for a while. I think it could have been better if the church had more a reason to respond that wasn’t just to add to the story. Maybe the church could have been extremely lonely and needing somebody to talk to – I think that would have made the church’s response seem much more believable.

You can read the story here courtesy of salvoblue.homestead.com/wings.html

There Was Never Even a Narrator

RedWaterBlueLeaf

A solitary leaf floats down through the sky, falling from a large oak tree. Its reddy gold colour makes a sharp contrast on the pond, the only red in a wash of blue. If this were a movie the cameraman would follow the leaf until it landed and then zoom out to reveal the soft ripples on the pond, the sides of the water and eventually the rest of the clearing. Except this is not a movie and those things don’t happen, the leaf just falls onto the pond.

A small turtle sits by the edge of the pond, sunning himself on a grey rock. His eyes are half open, watching for other animals invading his little pond. If this were a children’s book the turtle would have a nice name like Martin. Martin would have many adventures with other woodland creatures and learn valuable lessons about sharing and generosity. But this is not a children’s book and the turtle is just a turtle who’s lying on a rock hoping he doesn’t get eaten by an eagle.

If this was a nature documentary an eagle would be soaring overhead, watching out for small turtles who may or may not be named Martin. The eagle would do a sort of eagle cry and then do an eagle dive, snatching the turtle in its talons while someone narrating told you how big the talons were. The narrator would point out the turtle’s natural defensive shell and how the eagle has learned to drop the turtle from great heights to break the shell and get at the turtle. Yet again, this is not a nature documentary and there is no eagle or narrator.

If you asked a philosopher about the turtle and what it meant to be a turtle he would take a while to respond. Nobody really knows what it is like to be a turtle. The philosopher might conduct extensive research on the subject – living like a turtle in a pond, eating small bugs and plants and sunning himself on rocks while watching out for eagles. He could ponder the social understanding of the turtle, delve into a study on why so many people expect turtles to be named Martin. Maybe the philosopher would get distracted and instead ponder a red leaf on a blue pond. But none of these things will ever happen, because nobody cares about turtles and nobody cares about red leaves on blue ponds.

There’s a turtle on a rock and a leaf on a pond. The story could have ended there and it wouldn’t have made a difference. One slightly descriptive sentence is all it needed. The leaf isn’t the start to a movie, the turtle isn’t named Martin and there is no eagle. There was never even a narrator.

And Dorothy Woke to Find it Was All a Dream

I had a very specific word limit for this assignment – it was going to go on for longer but it wouldn’t fit. I came up with this totally original idea to end it.

Space

 

Space is so very, very dark and trying to move in it is like trying to swim through the ground while blindfolded. It’s like trying to stumble your way to bathroom at 3am. It’s like playing blind mans bluff by yourself. My brain fumbled for other metaphors as I floated around.

I could see the satellite in the distance, heading around earth again. It didn’t seem like such a good idea now, to go outside without a rope. In the long run it probably would have been a lot easier to just clip onto a cable. The satellite moved further away, it was getting hard to see now, I could just barely make out a reflection of light from it. I tried to move again, making awkward swimming motions but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I was glad that there was nobody around to see me, I must look like an idiot, floating around in a space suit with no cable.

I was beginning to get slightly worried, the satellite had disappeared completely now and it was going to take a while for it to come back. I was sure I would be able to float my way into its path, or even where the path was. Actually, I wasn’t sure where I was floating, it was getting harder to judge distances now that there wasn’t anything to go off of.

I began to slowly move towards the earth, tumbling around like a sock in dryer, if dryers had zero gravity and socks were astronauts. I wondered if it would it be best to go for a swan dive and hope that I was going to land in water or to just try and bend my knees, maybe go for a gymnastic type roll. Gymnastics had never been a strong spot for me, I’d taken a few courses before but hadn’t got past cartwheels and somersaults. Then again, diving wasn’t a strong suit either – maybe I should just go for the world’s biggest cannonball.

Perhaps, I thought, it would be like the cartoons, after falling thousands of feet from the sky I would land in a convenient pile of hay or a truck transporting pillows. It would have to be a rather large pile of hay though. Maybe I would try to aim for Texas – that would have the highest chance of a big hay pile. I suppose snow would work as well, if I could land in a big snowdrift. I was moving faster now and I could make out countries on the planet. I seemed to be headed for Cuba which might be alright, at least there was water around the islands. I remember watching a show once where somebody broke their fall by going through a glass roof on a train station. I wasn’t yet close enough to see any train stations but I made a mental note that it could be a possibility. How much more time would I have, I wondered, before I hit the ground. I was a lot closer now and still couldn’t see any hay stacks or train stations. This was a huge bummer.

“Johnson!”, my instructor yelled. The hatch opened and light flooded into my virtual test pod.
“Did you pay any attention this morning? Always clip onto the cable! Always!”, he yelled in my ear.
“Sir, yes sir, I just…forgot”, I pulled myself out of the pod and headed off towards the showers, same as last week.

“I probably could have found a haystack”, I muttered as the door shut behind me.

Jungle Bongos For Sale

I was selling some old things and came across a broken pair of bongo drums. I wrote this and tried to sell them for $2,000.

Jungle Bongo

I am selling my bongos because I have no space left in my house for bongos.
The top of the bongos used to be some sort of goat skin or similar product but it was beaten on by kids and now the top is half goatskin, half masking tape. I ran out of masking tape on the second bongo so it doesn’t make any noise.
Would be a good christmas present for someone you hated or a kid with lots of goatskin and spare time.
You could also just take the goatskin/masking tape mess off of the drums completely and give them to someone with a good imagination.
The possibilties are endless, they could be air bongos, broken binoclaurs or anything else you can think of, so long as you can only think of two round wooden spheres, joined together with a bit of wood.