Into the Unknown

I can feel it in my chest. It is this deep, assuring sensation that it is time to peddle my novel. The world is calling me for it, and I know I must answer.

On December 9th, 2021 it will be 12 years since I finished my first NaNoWriMo and completed my first ever novel length work of fiction. If you have done NaNoWriMo before you will note that it is 9 days after the completion of the month long contest, to write 1,667 words a day for the entire month of November. And you are correct, but these were 9 extra days it took to actually wrap up the narrative. And I have spent the time since then editing this bitch.

Part of that is due to my need for perfection and my inability to see my talent and skill. I truly, truly am my worst critic. It’s weird how no one wants to see me fail more so than myself. I’m hellbent on it. And I have wasted these past years himming-and-hawing about whether it was good enough. Well, after a long car ride, and captive audience, I realized it is.

I don’t remember if I wrote about me and the polycule’s impromptu trip to Salt Lake City… Regardless, during this time I tasked the BF to read aloud my story for myself, the husband, and the brother-husband. May I make a suggestion that any writer should ABSOLUTELY do this. It accomplished two things. One, I got a test audience for feedback and overall commentary about the story; in real-time no less. Two, I got to get outside of my own head to hear how it sounded. The second one was the best thing I could have experienced. For so long I have sat there, nitpicking prose, punctuation, plot, that I get so lost in the logistics that I forget about the whole purpose of writing a story: to be entertained. I found myself smiling and laughing at my own words. That is insane. Either it’s good or I am just a narcissist who enjoys his ability. (Probably a combination of the two.)

Well, a road has been placed before me in the terms of an unpublished manuscript competition. For an entry fee of $65 I can submit my first few pages and a brief synopsis of my novel for consideration. If it’s chosen it’ll be placed in front of people who could potentially jumpstart my career. Now, will I place? If my past writing competitions have shown me anything, it is a firm NO. Will I find an agent or even sell it? Again, most likely no. Should I still do it? Yes.

One of the things that has been repeated to me frequently is that we will regret all opportunities not taken. So, I need to do this.

The Eye of God

I have to say… this is a bit risky of a short story.  I couldn’t help myself.  I want to be controversial but who doesn’t?  Supposedly it acquires you fame or infamy.  Either ay it draws readers.  So, shamelessly, my mind wouldn’t let this idea go.  Please know that I meant no harm. I just needed fictional characters for a “matchup.”

A Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems & Zachary Petit
January 9
“Write a scene featuring a cruise ship or a boat, a sudden change of weather, and the idiom “Fools rush in.””

The prophet Mohammed stood on the rickety dock that jutted out into the waters of the Sea of Galilee. His band of followers were busily preparing the boat to set sail to the other side. One called from the ship, beckoning the prophet forward onto the skiff. Using the gentlest of motions he stepped down and they immediately set sail.

Mohammed tried dearly not to show his uncertainty, he was the prophet from Allah, he could not show any sense of fear, but deep down he dreaded being on the open sea. The fear of being washed overboard weighed heavily in his mind and he prayed for safe passage.

Then the clouds rolled in. Those around him commented at the momentary shimmer jumping from cloud to cloud. “It’s going to be a bad one,” someone said. Mohammed did not know who had whispered, what he thought, were the final words of his life. He had to admit that none of them truly mattered to him. They were mere stepping stones in his journey to retrieve the stone of power that rested on the other side. It was known as the Eye of God and any mortal that held it would take on the powers of one not of this world.

If it were not that he feared another would retrieve the stone he would have walked around the sea or at least found some other transportation other than the sea.

If only I had the stone now, he thought, I would stop this storm before it had spread like a disease across the sky.

The waves began to grow. They lapped at the edges of the boat, lobbing spray of sea at the men. The man chosen as captain tried his best to steer the ship through the waters. Mohammed would have thrown him overboard I he didn’t need him. The man clutched to the side of the ship, trying to stabilize himself, while keeping his eyes pointed ever forward.

The winds picked up and ripped the prophets ‘Imama from his head, relinquishing the greasy, black locks beneath. It whipped at his face like angry tentacles, entangling itself in his thick beard.

The wave first rose like a mountain rising from sleep at the bow of the ship, blocking Mohammed’s view of the other side of the sea. Then with the strength of the earth it crashed over the ship and sent everyone swirling into the blackness.

He scrambled. Climbing his way through the water but he could not tell what was up or down. But soon he found himself slowly drifting ever upwards.

His head broke the thrashing surface of the water. He gasped and gulped down the salty air.

“Why have you done this,” Mohammed cried out.

His black eyes scoured the sea for any sign of his companions. He knew none of them by name and felt it ridiculous to call out for anyone. There was no room for weakness.

A wave rose and cresting over it was another, larger, boat, still surviving the rough waters. It dove down the other side of the wave. It rushed past Mohammed, spraying him with a miniscule wave compared to it’s brethren.

“Over here,” he called out.

Lightning cracked the black and he saw the silhouettes of twelve men, scrambling across the deck of the ship. There was incoherent shouting but he did not recognize any of the words against all the other noise around him.

The storm quickly subside in a cool breeze.

“Look” shouted someone on the boat.

Mohammed waved his arms above his head and shouted again, until he was submerged in the water.

A hand grasped on to his shoulder and pulled him from the water.

Mohammed looked into the face of a Hebrew man, bearded like himself, with long locks of flowing hair. He knew that face. It was the man who claimed to be the son of God.

“You,” Mohammed said.

He looked down and realized with the sense of falling, that this man was standing on the surface of the water.

“Did you-“

“Yes, cousin, I got the stone before you.” Jesus sneered. “Cause only fools don’t rush in.”

An Attempt at Irony

Todays prompt is going to be a hard one. That’s for fucking sure. Mainly it’s because I have no energy today. I am just absolutely 100% out of it. But, such is the weekend.

A Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems & Zachary Petit
January 3
A Cold Where you (Fill in the Blank) Instead of Sneeze
“You’ve developed a cold, only to discover that instead of sneezing, you (fill in the blank) every time you feel like you have to sneeze. This side effect proves to create a fairly entertaining scene at the office during your weekly budget meeting.”

Terry clutched the phone in his hands, listening to the ring on the other line. With any luck no one would answer and he could leave a message on the office answering machine. That was his best bet to avoid today altogether. No one at work would understand.

Although, the line clicked and Sheila answered the phone.

“Morgan, Pollock, and Masters, Magician Bounty Hunter.”

Terry pinched his nose.

“Sheila, It’s me, I’m not going to be able to come in today. I feel terrible.”

“Oh no, that’s not good! Well we will miss you at the financers meeting. The head from the state is coming in to talk to us about funding. I’m sure Lowell won’t mind. You get better.”

“Thank you,” Terry said from halfway down his throat.

The line clicked and went dead.

Relief flowed through his body and that’s when he could feel it surge. Terry craned back his head, his mouth gaping, and he let out the loudest sneeze, but with it came a puff of smoke and a young child appeared from within.

The young lad stepped from the thinning cloud and looked around Terry’s unkempt apartment. Panic was beginning to blossom in his face, as his lower lip trembled. There would only be a few moments before the boy exploded into tears. A crying child was the last thing his neighbors needed to hear. They knew he lived alone.

“Hey, buddy,” he said in a sickening sweet voice, “It’ll be okay.”

The young boy wrapped his arms around his stomach.

“Where am I?” He said stepping away from terry.

“It’s okay,” he said, “This is all a dream.”

The boy’s eyes grew wide.

“Really?” he said, “I don’t remember taking a nap. I was shopping with mommy.”

“Yeah, you fell asleep under some coats. She’ll find you in a second.”

The boy looked perplexed.

“How do you know that?”

“Cause this is a special dream.”

Preceded by a large gasp, terry sneezed again and the boy vanished from the room.

“Thank the gods,” he said.

The last few sneezes had become even more infrequent and produced the most horrible of momentary guests. At least the kid disappeared before he could cry. The one woman shrieked so much the nosey neighbor next door came poking around to make sure everything was “okay.” Terry wasn’t sure that he had bought that it was tv program he had been watching.

Now without the worry of work looming before him, terry rushed to the kitchen and began to concoct a potion to end this magical mishap. It wasn’t entirely obvious where he had gotten the calling cold but he had it never-the-less. He must have gotten it when he had been on assignment in Southron and they raided that sorcerer’s drug den. It had been absolutely unsanitary.

He was certain that had been where.

The ingredients came quick to his mind. This wasn’t the first time he’d have to brew one. He had gotten the same thing back in school. Luckily, his parents could excuse him and no one would ever learned he was a blossoming magician.

Pulling the sage from the cupboard he could feel another sneeze building. He tensed his face muscles and refused to let it out. Though try as he might it had a will of it’s own and he blew. This time he conjured a flock of parakeets that fluttered furiously around his apartment.

“I can deal with this,” he said.

He bustled around the kitchen pouring each item into his battered black cauldron. He stirred it the appropriate amount of times until it turned a beautiful lavender and he knew it was ready. He couldn’t ladle it fast enough into a copper mug.

Just as the rim touched his lips the phone began to ring. He looked over at the caller ID and it was the offce number. His blood went cold and he sneezed again, dispelling the birds back to wherever they had come from.

He set the steaming cup down and answered the phone, pinching his nose as he did it.

“Hello,” he moaned.

“Tare, look I know you’re sick but Sgt. Errol is coming and I know he will be absolutely pissed if you’re not here. He is insistent that he meets you. He wants to meet the man who took down the Black Ranfort warlock.”

Terry moaned again.

“Boss, I would love to but I can’t-“

“Terry, if you do you know we’ll get more money than we could ever need to take down these filthy magicians. Don’t you want to be the guy named the man who eradicated all things magical?”

Not really, he thought.

“I would, yes. But I can’t even get off the couch, Rick.”

“Look, if you come in I’ll give you the raise you’ve been hounding me for.”

Terry gulped. That raise had been his mission the past two years. It would give him enough money to move out of the tiny apartment he lived in, that he now noticed was covered in bird shirt and feathers.

“See you in a few.”

Before Terry could argue his boss ended the call.

For a brief moment panick gripped his chest, but then the saw the cup gleam out of the corner of his eye. He chugged it and waited, but within only a few moments he sneezed again, producing a pair of old men playing chess, table and all. But he didn’t have time to explain, he hurried around his apartment trying to get ready. Although he didn’t want to look too good. He put on a white shirt, top button undone, a striped tie as slap-dash as he could get it, and a brown coat. He put on his glasses and messed up his hair and then tried to wrestle it into something decent.

By the time he was dressed and ready to go he sneezed again and the men disappeared.

He hurried as quick as he could and got to the office without a single sneeze. That would mean the potion was working. He just needed to trust his skill.

He climbed the steps to the fourth floor office just o wear himself out and appear more sickly. This wasn’t his first rodeo. By the time he entered the office he was sweaty, red faced, and breathing heavily.

“Terry! You look awful.”

He could barely speak so instead waved and nodded.

“Go right on in.”

He wound his way around the cubicles to the conference room and entered. Everyone stood, especially Sgt. Errol.”

“Son,” he said, shaking his hand, “I really admire your moxy. If I was as sick as you I’d have told my boss to go fuck himself and not come in.”

Everyone laughed nervously.

“This is why I wanted to meet you. You are the best. I’ve been keeping an eye on you. I knew you were something special. It’s guys like you that will take down this magical menace and-“

The sneeze built in his chest, which prompted him to swallow air.

“You alright?”

Terry nodded as he cosed his eyes an concentrated.

“Course you are!” Sgt. Errol said, slapping him on the back.

Terry sneezed and in a puff of smoke appeared a man, bathing in a shower on top of the table.  The water slowly trickled away out of the shower head, as the man looked out of the clear curtain.