The Day I Almost Died

This is a short story that came to me this morning, and I decided to include it as today’s blog post. It is a bit grim but not so grim. Eventually, I would like to publish a few of my short stories in an anthology. I hope you enjoy this one.

It was a sunny day; I saw it cloudy. The silence was too loud inside my head. The stillness, a cloak for the raging waters of my soul. I glanced outside my window. The trees moved to the gentle breeze as a dance of death began inside my head. I could hear the deaf sound of loneliness; it had become my lullaby. Isolation became the clothes I wore daily. I searched the empty corridors of my heart over and over; I found nothing. It had morphed into an empty shell of despair, a chamber of hollow beats. There, I found nothing that would justify the next heartbeat.

A chilling breeze danced nearby; Death awaited. I could feel her mutable presence begging me to speed up the process. I was ready. How did it get to this moment? Did it matter? I didn’t require an answer. An answer made things complex. I heard the doorbell. I ignored it. It rang a second time, and a third, until it became noise. I placed the gun next to an empty picture frame. Somehow, I never got to place a picture in it. I counted twelve steps to the door. I opened it. I didn’t bother to bolt it anymore. I had no cares. I forced a smile. It almost hurt at the corners of my mouth. No one was at the other side to return my crooked smile. I looked around; no one was there. I stepped out on the front porch. No one was there.

I saw a splash of red fluttering to my left. A cardinal perched on the Forsythia bush surely made a nice contrast to the bright yellow buds. How did I never noticed that before? Something scurried up the old cedar tree. It was a squirrel, then came another, and they chased each other up and down the old cedar.

“That old cedar must have seen so much,” I mumbled.

I sat on the front steps. A crow marched unpretentiously on the horizon. It almost shimmered as the sun hit its feathers. I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin. How long had it been? A busy party of little brown birds scattered throughout the ground looking for food. A reddish wasp rested atop a chair, as if thawing from a frost or waking from a dream, its wings resting downward. The sun’s warmth felt good on my skin. Everywhere I looked I saw signs of life. Life was everywhere; I could see it if I cared to see it. I felt something fuzzy rubbing my leg in a rhythm.

“Where did you come from, lil’ fellow?”

The disheveled black kitten was skin and bones; I could count its ribs. It kept rubbing against my leg, and I could hear a faint purr becoming louder. It was so tiny. I picked it up and it nuzzled against my arm, then it nestled. I sat out there for a while. The kitten fell asleep in my arms, and I observed the rhythm of life around me.

“What am I going to do with you lil’ fellow? It looks like you will be needing me for a while, at least until you fatten and grow up a bit more.”

The crow restled with a worm until it came out of the ground. The squirrels moved on to another tree.

“What should I name you? Hum, let me think. Aha, you shall be called Rigor, but we’ll leave the mortis out; how is that?”

Rigor became my inseparable friend for the next 15 years. To all, he was a black cat; to me, he was life, and a constant reminder. During that time, I never found out who rang the doorbell.

Day 6 – Awesome WordPress Bloggers

Writing utencils: stencils

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s spotlight belongs to The Short and the Long of It by Monique (Neeks).  This blogger is amazing; why?  Because you can give her any three words, even the weirdest and most difficult words (unrelated words too) you can think of and she will write a story using those words.  The issue here is that she  doesn’t just writes the story, she manages to make it interesting and the characters become alive.  But wait, there is more – the story is not too long or too short, it is the right length and it has an easy flow, with narrative and dialog, and a unique writing style.  And the titles, oh the titles to the stories are so creative.  Her blog is colorful and very welcoming, cheerful, joyful, that is the vibe I get from this blog.

If you like short stories and want to enjoy reading some very imaginative and creative ones, head out to The Short and the Long of It and don’t forget to leave the author your three words, because in no time you will be in for a treat.  Oh, and that is another thing, the author doesn’t take that long in creating that story – which is amazing on its own.  Follow this blog so you don’t miss the stories.

The Short and the Long of It is able to quench your thirst for creative stories.   Head out there and see for yourself.

 

The Story with a Heartbeat

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Image via Wikipedia

Some stories are alive; others are dead.  A story has a heartbeat when it manages to touch the reader and evoke feelings and emotions.  This is how I know that a story has touched me deeply – I cry, I pause for a long time, I get goosebumps, or I can’t stop thinking about it, for days, weeks, or years.

The first book to touch my soul was Jonathan Livingston Seagull from Richard Bach.  A few years ago, I managed to find an autographed copy on Ebay, and I reread the story.  I loved it again, maybe more so.  It is still my favorite book.

This morning, I read a story on a blog – The Jittery Goat – and the story made me cry.  It was sweet, had a great pace, and it touched my heart.  The short story is called “A Sunset for Claire.”  You never know when a story is going to touch your soul; you can’t predict it, it just happens.

Why it happens?  Who knows; it is one of those things.  Maybe we connect with it at a deep and personal level, maybe it reminds us of something, it gives us hope, it talks to us at the right time, we get its genius … the reasons vary from reader to reader.  However, I consider this a treat when it happens.  I like many stories,poems … however, just because I like them and think they are great, that does not mean that they reached my soul – some do, some don’t – this is how it is for me.  This is why I always approach a story with a sense of respect, because I don’t know how much I will get from it and how it will touch my heart.

What is the story or poem that has touch your soul?

Writer’s Wisdom 70

Balancing emotions

Emotions are everywhere, there is no way to escape them.  From the very happy cashier to the very upset man next to you in traffic, from the time you wake up till the time you go to rest – even in your sleep, while having some very emotionally charged dreams.  So, if emotions are all around you, why wouldn’t they be part of your writing?

When writing a piece, pay special attention to the emotions of the characters.  Emotions should match the situation, and the character type.  It would be weird to have a character that just suffered a heartbreaking loss, be worried about triviality (just to continue the story) – unless it is done on purpose to stress the unusual personality of this character or the particular way to cope with trauma.  Such is the case of the serial killer experiencing ecstasy while murdering someone.  It is all a balancing act.  When you balance emotions in a piece of writing, it helps the natural flow of the story.

The question is, can you use emotion to dictate the story?  Some pieces of flash fiction are a very good example of this.  It starts with an emotion and the emotion develops the story to the end.  Do a little experiment; when writing your next piece, pay special attention to what the characters are feeling and see how it is relating to the flow of the story.