What of Heaven and Men?

Partially inspired by adventures in the highly illuminating Omnibus series, I find myself drifting back towards writing fiction. Like I said, yes, I am doing The Writing Month thingy this year. Finally. But still, I procrastinate and write about OTHER things BESIDES this imminent project that shall be here in like . . . gosh . . . 12 days. There is a blog thing going around in regards to the endeavors of National Novel Writing Month. One of my favorite blogs called Further up and Further In is hosting Beautiful Books, a project designed to provoke thoughts and questions concerning the novels. My answers to their questions should be here soon. In the meantime, have a short story meant to be expanded on in my WIP, Heaven’s Sight. 

The corners of Father O’Connor’s mouth curled slightly as he peered down at the paper in Anton’s hands. “Well,” he murmured, bending down a bit more. “What a work is this! What a work indeed.”

“My sketch,” Anton said tremulously. He forced himself to look straight up into the priest’s face. His eyes revealed that skittish anxiety which one could notice almost immediately when looking at him.

“Yes, my lad. That is quite a sketch. It is a wonder!”

Anton’s stricken features suddenly relaxed—an infinitesimal bit.

“You needn’t look as if I’m ‘bout to rap you o’er your knuckles, lad,” Father O’Connor sighed, and then laughed. He ruffled the boy’s dark curls, with a full-fledged grin spreading out his mouth. “I was in a good mind to when I called you to stay here, but I don’t believe Michelangelo’s teacher would have done that, if Michelangelo was working those marvelous hands o’ his.”

Anton sat in twitching silence, clasping and unclasping his own damp hands.

Father O’Connor laughed again. “Aye, lad! I will send you on your way now. You’re lookin’ a wee peaked now, and I believe you’ve been punished enough, by your own doing. And I’d be mighty pleased to see if you have a book of these sketches hidden away somewhere.”

“Oh, Father!” Anton burst out at last, terror etched sharply in his features. “I won’t ever draw in class again! I won’t! I won’t!”

“Hush, now. None of this. If you fear that I will seize your sketchbook, you have me quite wrong. Nothing of that sort shall come about, I am only desperately curious to have a look at your pictures.”

Anton, pleadings burning on his tongue, sat in heavy silence. A flicker of worry sent a faint chill through the priest. He laid his hand gently on Anton’s fist. “There, there, my lad,” he said softly, “you mustn’t be afraid of me. Or of anyone else here. What a blessing it is that you should be here now, reading books, learning, safe and warm with everything a lad could need! ‘Tis a fine blessing, Mother Mary’s benediction for you.”

Anton did not stir or speak. So Father O’Connor continued. “And I only asked to see your pictures, for I find you do a splendid job of it, a real dandy hand you have. You must have many a reason to thank heaven—”

His words might have been sparks to a bed of straw. Anton’s eyes took on an uncanny frigid brilliance. “Heaven hasn’t given me anything,” he said simply.

Father O’Connor’s eyebrows leapt up his forehead, and his mouth tightened at once. “Crikey, lad! What do you mean by that?”

“I mean,” said Anton still in that frank, slow tone, “That I haven’t ever heard or seen anything from Heaven good. Nothing will.”

“One does not see or hear a divine thing, my son. It is something beyond that. Beyond the tangible and the reasonable. And indeed, nothing is ever wholly good on this earth—that is only material. What is in it—that is the beautiful substance of life.”

But Anton had stood, his limber young figure akin to a healthy sapling. Father O’Connor let his tongue rest, even as he clasped his hands. He watched Anton silently gather his things, noting the masked expression—not even an expression, but some new hardness.

Song prompt

aad856badedbfadc3a39a15d08d0ebc0I challenged myself one night a couple of months ago to turn my Spotify music to a random song and let it play, and write a snippet inspired (not necessarily directly) by the song. So it happened that “Love is an Open Door” came on and I began to write. This came out, featuring a couple of characters from my historical fiction work-in-progress, Fortis Corde. It’s just a tiny snippet . . .

           Diana wrinkled her nose, a giggle rushing out of her lips. Francis’s eyes suddenly took an unprecedented glow, his delicate features lit by a flush of appreciation. They sat together in the corner of the Waylands’ parlor, the fire cracking furiously in the hearth, and between them sat a small stack of books. Poetry. Most of them had been fondly rifled through, and they often lingered on one page to revel in its written magic. Yes, there was some sort of odd enchantment at play that evening. Most folks present noticed it, except Diana. She had long ago recovered from her little infatuation for Francis Stuart, and now she found him an excellent friend. He understood the beauty of language, the allure of the storybooks. He often spoke of someday writing volumes of fairy stories, after he travelled through Europe and gathered a collection of folk-tales, myths, and legends. “Even here,” he had told her once, “there are stories just waiting to be upturned, in this fertile soil.”

            Diana agreed wholeheartedly. In fact, she herself hoped to someday find a wellspring of inspiration, a time when there would be a liquid rush, a stream of fire and enthusiasm. Only now she felt tingles whenever she picked up her pen to write a story. But that fire remained remote, untouchable and mysterious. She often envied Francis . . .

Glimpses {A post of fragmented story}

 

7d09d4cc71a11a557c46a1d878c7d926So, just because, I thought I’d share some of the story I discussed in the last post. Heaven Sight is largely in the works, mainly because I haven’t come up with much incentive to delve into it, (I mean, seriously, hardcore!)

The parts of the story I’ll share are more like short stories, so they’ll be categorized as such.:)

The minute Anton caught a glimpse of Maria he could not stop thinking of how much he would like to paint her portrait.

“So you are the one,” she said the moment they had a chance to speak.

“The one?”

She regarded him from beneath half-closed lids, a lazy effect that was somehow comely. “Yes—the one who helped my brother. Do you think he would neglect to tell me of you?”

“I did not imagine that thanks was necessarily due.”

“Neither did I. But since you are here, I shall.” A flicker of warmth appeared in Maria’s eyes, eyes the color of rich chocolate.

Anton suppressed a smile and glanced aside at a passerby, pretending to be vaguely interested. “Then the honor is all yours. I am not the sort who one would easily thank. Considering the circumstances. Gratitude would be an extravagance.”

“I fully understand the circumstances, thank you.”

“Now, didn’t I just tell you to not thank me?”

Maria tossed her head back and laughed, a rippling sound that poured over Anton like a Mediterranean tide, warm and soothing.

He sucked in his breath, and began to laugh with her. So he amused her? That was evident, the way she peered at him, her lips parted and tilting with mirth.

“Oh-h-h . . . you are much too serious. Just as Armand said.” She shook her head, her russet curls spinning and glinting about her cheeks. “You sound as if you would much rather grate your teeth in oppose to laughing.”

Anton felt foolish. “Is that so?”

“Yes, it is so!” Maria cried. “Why, you sound as if you genuinely didn’t realize that! Gracious, how did you happen?”

Irritation bubbled for only the fraction of a second in Anton’s chest. “I have had little to laugh about. If that is an inconceivable notion, than I am at a loss to explain more . . .”

Anton helped Maria into a cab, and as they rolled off down the street Maria began, “You needn’t explain anything. You seem dedicated to excusing yourself. Is it a felony to laugh? A felony to cry? I believe there are far worse things in the world at present.”

“How clever of you to enlighten me on the state of world affairs.”

“Is calling a girl ‘clever’ rare for you, Mr. Heller?”

“Are you saying that I am closed-minded?”

“Narrow minded is more like it. But forgive me, I take too many liberties. You see, I’ve got a dash of Irish in me, good old common-sense Irish. I say what I think.”

Anton was shocked to see a blush in Maria’s cheeks. Somehow, she didn’t seem demure enough—like she said, too sensible, too straightforward for such modesty. But it pleased him nevertheless. He struggled with the momentary temptation to appear offended by her calling him narrow-minded, but the desire passed when he saw that she had sobered.

“I have every reason to hate you and to be grateful to you. I cannot decide which is better called for.”

“As I said, gratitude would be unwarranted.”

“Yet, you helped my brother when no one else would. That deserves something more than a handshake and a ‘thank-you’.”

Aaaand some more! I’d love to hear what any of my followers think, or just any random feedback in general (politely given, if you please :D)

“This may surprise you,” Anton said sharply, “but I haven’t any particular desire to be of service.”

“I thought not.” And the way misery pulled at Armand’s mouth indicated that he had known this long before.

Anton resettled his spectacles upon the bridge of his nose, something he had taken to doing when his hand began to feel unreliably tremulous.

“I have given you somewhere to stay, so that you wouldn’t resort to a doorway in some black alley.”

“Yes.”

Anton jerked around so that he directly faced the teenaged boy. “Then quit with the vague hints, will you?”

“Sure, sure.”

But Armand’s face paled, and he sat with a glazed look in his eyes, hands resting in his lap, too limp for comfort. Anton swiveled around in his chair to face the desk again, and trained his attention as well as he could upon the sheet of paper, his charcoal stick lying on the desk, ready to be picked up. Anton touched it with a shaking finger, a strange discomfort tingling in his nerves, so that he could not be sure of his present ability in rendering a suitable picture, a sketch even. He grimaced, his gaze wandering to the window in front of him, finding his dark reflection against the glass. The nausea that had become so familiar began to stir warmly in his stomach, and he swallowed.

The Window

//Listening to “My Immortal” by Evanescence//

//My stomach growls//

//Decides to fangirl//

So, I started this series of sketchy drafts of a story I really, really want to make write. It would a pet project, oh yes, but it would just be fun to work on when I’m trying to escape writer’s block. Here is the basic intro/explanation for it:

This small novel was derived from the originality of a train of thoughts. I suppose they are not so original, as they are inspired by one man in history, whose personality and presence in history books has made such a lasting impression on me. I began to speculate on what Meriwether Lewis would be like as a modern man in modern American society. If he were suddenly displaced from his own era, saved by the Grace of God, and allowed to “start over” in 21st century America. In my mind he developed as the intellectual, smart, arrogant, materialistic graduate of the Ivy League, strong supporter of the Left-wing movements, and as a Jeffersonian-Republican-bordering-on-Libertarianism, he would probably be an East-Coast Democrat. I can quite see him as a rationalist, a scientist, who is often coldly evaluating, passionate and stubbornly defensive of his opinions and views. It would be funny, interesting . . . and endearing to use a generated world-melding (in this case, Time melding) plot, wherein a horde of Lewis’s contemporaries and himself are stuck in the 21st century, and for a while do not even realize it. Gradually, as his life tangles and twists, and curves back around in the direction it was going just before he “disappeared” in October, 1809, something begins to happen. A strange young woman walks into his life, the only one who knows who he really is. Strangely enough, Lewis and Clark of the history books have melted into the background, overshadowed by Zebulon Pike. Why? Because the peculiarity of this time warp has caused it, that’s why. But Lewis and Clark really did exist. It’s just that Lewis and Clark themselves don’t remember it. Their lives have suddenly been moved to the 21st century. And it will take a lot for them to start remembering their real lives back in 1809.

I’ve already written quite a bit for it. *Blushes*

And maybe, I’ve even gone on Pinterest, and found a dreamcast for it. Gosh. What is wrong with me . . . I can’t even . . .

But namely, I discovered Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow), and I did experience a frantic moment when I lost my breath for several minutes . . . .

tumblr_lrwgbazDQa1qekb10o1_500-2I began to write. And it flowed out, me grinning at the laptop screen, because, well, I relish this little fan-fic. The only fan-fiction I’ve ever written has been for my historical crushes. Yep.

“There is definitely a resemblance,” Lewis said blankly, staring at himself, painted in oil.
                “Yeah,” said Mr. Payton, with a small grimace. “It’s pretty spooky.”
                Lewis looked at him quickly. For the first time in a while he thought over what he was going to say next. And then—he said it. “I’ll give you two hundred dollars to take inventory of that painting.”
                “Thought you’d maybe like to buy a print of it in the gift-shop, show it around to your friends,” Mr. Payton mumbled.
                “No.” Lewis struggled to steady his voice. He glanced around to make sure no one was nearby. His mind reeled, and almost went off balance. “Three hundred?”
                Mr. Payton stuck out his lower lip. “I might get yelled at.”
                “Make up an excuse,” Lewis snapped. “It was a mix-up, or something.” He felt himself begin to shake and sweat, though. His rough voice might not hold out. “And the other one—with William Clark.”
                “Not that one!” Mr. Payton’s right eyebrow went up high on his forehead. “The Clark family comes in here regular—they’d throw a royal fit if his portrait disappeared.”
                “Oh, and my—um, the Lewis family wouldn’t react?”
                “I don’t here of many Lewis’s coming into this museum. The curator, he says most of them living out West now.”
                “Oh.” Lewis felt himself deflate.
                “Look, you seem like some pretty important man, sir, but I’ve got to get back to work. The boss, he gets around this place, I’ll tell you—”
                “I’m not that important. And you’re an a-hole if you tell me that three hundred dollars doesn’t mean anything to you.” A hot flame of desperation began to work its way up Lewis’s spine. It spread sort of like a rash over his face—an odd, chemical rash he could not control. He thought, ‘I get frustrated rather too easily, I guess.’
                “Offering me three hundred dollars to lug an old painting to the basement? If you don’t call that—”
                “Never mind.” Lewis scanned the portrait again—and again. A part of him wanted to turn and hurry from the building. Another part of him wanted to stay and stand there, gaping at the uncannily similar man who was supposedly dead. Dead for two hundred years. 1809. And now, it was 2009.

 

He tried to act normal, as he smoothed himself over on the threshold of the little house. He promised himself that he would thank the gods every day on New Year’s Eve for a friend like William Clark. And then he laughed at himself.
                “Open the damned door, somebody,” he said through gritted teeth, as water droplets spattered on his forehead. His seventy-dollar coat from his designer on Pennsylvania Avenue was becoming damp, quickly.
                At last the door opened, and there stood the Clark’s trim housekeeper. Her lips parted into a polite smile, and she stepped aside for him to enter. He handed her his coat, and turned his head to survey the quiet foyer.
                “Mr. Clark is in the living room, with his baby boy, and Mrs. Clark is in the kitchen.”
                “Thanks,” Lewis said briefly, and headed towards the dim living room. All of the windows were opened, their maroon curtains setting a wine-red glow upon the leather couches.
                “Merne!”
                Lewis peered around the high coffee table and pack-and-play to where a large, red-haired man and plump, red-haired baby sat together on the floor. The baby leaned against his daddy’s chest, a complacent smile on his face. It didn’t go without mentioning to say that the face of that baby matched his hair. Lewis could not help but grin at the scene, although he lowered himself down several feet away on the couch. He squeezed his hands, twisting them back and forth, and didn’t even catch himself like he tried to do, in public. Somehow, he felt that he could be sincerely nervous or tight-strung or critical with Will. Will would understand.
                But the strange thing was—Lewis could never bring himself to discuss his love life—he couldn’t start talking about it now. Especially now. He resented the fact that he usually spent his Sunday nights at the Clarks, for lack of anything better to do. It truly hurt to admit that, and he rubbed his knees, while simultaneously rubbing at his brain. His brain could ache from all this reflection. It was aching. And Lewis wished vaguely that he had not gone out the night before.
                “Ribs for dinner tonight,” Will said, looking up from baby Merne.
                Lewis permitted the corners of his mouth to turn up. “A delight,” he replied.
                “One of your favorite things.” And then Will laughed.
                “What?”
                “I just can’t imagine you telling the Senator and his friends about you eating such a finger-food. They’re the kind of people who take mimosa and shrimp, or tofu.”
                “I have certain . . . digressing . . . tastes.”
                “Digressing!” Will gave a loud laugh, and baby Merne looked up with startled eyes. “I’d call ‘em revolutionary.”
                Lewis might have been sarcastic towards anyone else who laughed at him. But he just smiled and chuckled with his friend now. They always shared a moment of hilarity. It was nearly a tradition between them.

 

Lewis groped for some form of control of the situation. The only thing that he saw, possibly attainable, lay in her extreme sensitivity. But he had never been too adept at reading women. Somehow, he always mistook a glance to be a stare, a smile to be a telling expression of come-hither interest. Well. This young lady took herself seriously. He thought so at first, in spite of her timidity, her quietness, and the way her eyes frequently brightened with whimsical sparks. He opened the door for her, a gesture that he hoped would impress her.

 

“Memorium Press?” The very name was blatantly old-school. Lewis could barely suppress a smirk, even though he couldn’t take his eyes off this quiet young woman. Everything about him struck him as Conservative—her jacket, her black skirt, her blouse with its flowing front. Nothing showy, but it all came together, the colors complementing her dark eyes and hair, her creamy olive skin emphasized by the blackness of her skirt.
                “Yes—Memorium Press,” her tone was low, but firm. She gave a quick smile, thus showing the twin dimples in her cheeks.
                “Well.”
                “So,” she exhaled, and it struck him that she was nervous. Very nervous. “I asked for an interview.”
                “I can,” Lewis said, in his warmest voice. She glanced at her hands, then right and left, and at last back up at him. Her thick black lashes fluttered. Lewis wondered if that was purposeful, but doubted it when her expression became sober.
                “Really? Oh, thank you!” She said coolly, and shook his hand. For some reason, he bowed slightly, and crimson rose into her cheeks and temples.
                “Tonight? I could take you to the new club that just opened on Congress Avenue. It would be no problem.” He decided to disregard her obvious Conservatism. No doubt, she was strongly Republican, some little girl from the Mid-West. He could tell as much by her accent.
                She gave a quick nod, and her flush deepened. Lewis decided to take command of the situation. “I know what Memorium Press puts out,” he said, rubbing at the leather of his jacket’s sleeve. “I daresay,” he grinned, in his most charming way, “that you will be fair, and not present me in a slanted light.” He tried to sound almost jocular, but she most seriously replied,
                “Oh, of course Mr. Lewis. Memorium Press is determined to present things—as they are. No personal bias.”
                Lewis could think of a sardonic response, but he refrained. He did not want to turn her off. If she was as honest as she said she was (and working for such a factual newspaper) she might very well describe him as a derisive egotist, one of those cocky Government bigheads. Sometimes he might have to slip into that role, but he wanted (women especially) to see him as a dedicated scientist and man of exploration. And of course—a man who was getting ready to settle down, still in the public life of course, but with an attractive bride to show off, some kids to boast of, for their intellectual competence–this lacking brought him up short
                “That is good to hear,” he said warmly. “I haven’t heard of Memorium Press yet, so excuse my—ignorance.”
                Her lips curved, for she caught his sarcasm.
                “I’m only interning for them right now,” she said frankly.
So they sent a little intern across my path—far too impertinent and full of themselves to send one of their better journalists. An intern! She’s just a kid—a college student. His warmness began to fade, maybe a little too rapidly.
                She lifted her head. “I’m a college senior—this is one of our credits, to graduate. Intern at a newspaper, local—well, Memorium Press is sort of local.”
                “UV?”
                “Patrick Henry.”
                He vaguely remembered hearing that name. But he was wont to shrug it off. He studied the young woman a bit more closely.
53a00531232cbe2543ee7f7d10453577

 

flashes, flashing, flare (lighting up the night with my lamp and racing pen)

For lack of a better title, that actually sounds like a title. Because the post title I’m using sounds nooothing like one. Whatever.

this usually doesn’t happen. I mean, I’m usually not alone in the bedroom, but this weekend is an exception. My sister Abby (who shares a room with me), has flown away to TeenPact, leaving me here, to be a hermit, basking in solitude (JUST kidding, my sister. I miss you.)

My lamp is on, and there’s no one to tell me to “turn the freaking lamp down”. (But she doesn’t say freaking, usually).

My headphones boom “Neon Lights” by Demi . . . I have a Modern/Contemporia folder on Spotify . . .

I am in the blogging zone, a place of digital sunshine, flowers, and graphic exclamation marks. So. Here’s to kicking blogging-block to the curb. Farewell!

And . . . oh noes . . . my headphones are dying. Shucks.

54b2bde28d0068918dca0b604e9672fa (1)And now, here is some of my writing snippets that I’d care to sprinkle on now, as a (possible) blogging finality for the night. Probably won’t be the last word from me though. Shucks again.

It was an old joke that must have been over-exhausted by now. Even the puppet felt limp with it as Lydia pulled it out of her basket and examined its velvety material, the little bunny ears flopping forward on her palm.
            Grandmama tautly watched Lydia from her seat on the couch, shoulders bent forward. Not in the elderly stoop, but in the manner a person assumes when prepared to jump in, start commenting with enthusiasm.
            Lydia did not want to look up. She continued to watch the way the ceiling light glinted on the bunny-puppet’s velvet body.
            “Lydia?”
            Lydia’s lashes stirred slightly, as with her slight effort to look away from this joke of a puppet. She would have to slip it on her hand.

 

“Darling, I couldn’t wait for you.”
Her voice pierced him, although she never spoke. He could read the words in her eyes.
His throat slowly began to swell, until he could not even imagine speaking, until the pain constricted his every other sense, even his vision. Her face became blurred, her pile of hair an inky smudge over her brow. And her eyes! Like caverns, and his dizziness prevented him from seeing their spark.

The following was inspired by these lyrics:

//You’re trying to save me, stop holding your breath

You think I’m crazy, yeah, well that’s my plan//

(“The Monster” by Rhianna and Eminem)

and these:

//But you tell me to hold on, you tell me to hold on,

But all innocence is gone

What was right is wrong//

(“Bleeding Out” by Imagine Dragons)

0e357f099fd626479994d6c66cc9eb54

“Look, something’s coming! Okay? Something’s going to happen and we can’t do anything about it.”
            “We can’t?” He sounded, for the life of me, like a dazed child. Tears suddenly burnt my eyes.
            “Yeah.” Because, I realized just then that he was lost, confused, and his ties that rooted him to past entangled every part of him. It became so disgustingly clear to me and I couldn’t stand to look at him.
            All at once it was like I was the older one. I the firmly-grounded, while simultaneously my heart orbited out into oblivion wildly—he stood so near. His breath touched my cheek as his fingers brushed my arm.
            “If i have done anything to give you cause to—to run away . . .”
            Why on earth was he saying that? Something in his eyes frightened me. I did want to run away now.
            I shook my head mutely.
            A slow smile crossed his face, startling.
            “The day ought to be fair, sweet—sweet, pungent of other greater things, and you must think me clumsy.”
The tremulous music of his voice flowed down over me to the ground.