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Author Topic: Book, Rise, River  (Read 2556 times)

Eris

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Book, Rise, River
« on: 04 Jul 2009, 01:55 »

I know I started the last writing thread, but I haven't been writing very much lately, so I decided to pick three random words out of a box and try to write at least one piece a week including all three words. Seeing as there are writers around here, I thought I would make it open for anyone as a good exercise. Plus it is interesting to see the different ideas that come out of the same base words. I will change the title of the thread from next week to be the three challenge words, and edit this post to have a list of the past ones. Is there anyone else interested in doing this?


This week's challenge words are: Books, Rise and River

Past Challenges:
Glass, Vinegar, Waiting

« Last Edit: 11 Jul 2009, 00:21 by Eris »
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Zingoleb

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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #1 on: 04 Jul 2009, 02:02 »

I will jump upon this soon.
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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #2 on: 04 Jul 2009, 03:08 »

I'm up for this.

When's the closing date? Is there a word count?
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Eris

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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #3 on: 04 Jul 2009, 03:18 »

uhm, I figure there won't be a closing date exactly, because people who try this out later can do old challenges if they want, but maybe make it so you try and get one done before the next set of words are put up? I'll try and put new words up at the same time each week, so it will be on Saturday my time at some point.

There's no word count, but I will probably only be writing stuff around 200-500 words. Maybe don't make it too big because of people's reluctance to read huge walls of text (is there a limit to the size of posts? I am not sure). I guess if it is really big people could put it up on a blog and link it? I am not that fussy; it's more about getting people writing than anything else.
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Eris

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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #4 on: 04 Jul 2009, 03:51 »

ok, yeah, double posting. Whatcha gonna do about it?

      Glass, Vinegar, Waiting

      It was Friday night and the bar was busy; the DJ was playing old pop songs, with the lights changing colour in time. The drinks were cheap that night, as they were every Friday night, so people were out in the hopes that they wouldn’t be going home alone. The smell of desperation accumulated in the dark corners and people seemed to clump together, not wanting to risk being by themselves.
      She sat at the small table, leaning on it carefully so that the uneven legs didn’t make it lurch and spill drinks everywhere. She played with her drink, stirring it with her straw, making the ice clink against the sides of the glass; the bubblegum of Madonna’s voice blaring from the speakers drowned the sound out, even if she wanted to hear it. She gave herself a mental once-over while pretending to listen to her friend’s incessant prattling. She couldn’t be bothered telling the girl that no one cared about her failed love life.
      She went through the checklist in her head, working from the top down. Hair? Suitably tousled; half an hour had been spent making it look like she had just gotten out of bed. Eyes? Dark, smoky and (hopefully) mysterious; bedroom eyes to go with her bedhead hair. Shirt? Showing just the right amount of cleavage; don’t want to show too much, just give a hint of what is there. Skirt? Made her legs go on forever, leading up to her perfect arse. All afternoon had been put into making her look this way, so she had better get some results.
      There was a time where she would go out in her every-day clothes, throwing something on before walking out the door, not paying attention to what it was. Her mother would always say “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, Erika” when she would lament about being lonely. Erika’s mother always looked immaculate, and was never lonely, even if sometimes it wasn’t her husband keeping her company. The honey worked in her case, so Erika decided to give it a go.
      So there she was, dressed to the nines, in a slightly seedy bar, sitting with people she didn’t overly like, trying to catch the eye of someone, anyone across the room. She wiped the condensation off her glass and licked her finger. The girl next to her droned on, ‘Time After Time’ drowned her out, and Erika continued to wait, staring at the people dancing in front of her wistfully.
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Oli

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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #5 on: 04 Jul 2009, 05:12 »

Glass, Vinegar, Waiting

A scabby looking drunk stumbles out the doorway of Macdonners. Tripping over his own feet his chip box hits the ground and explodes, sending deep fried shrapnel all over the pavement. Howling curses, kicking the window and salvaging the few chips he can the drunk sways down the street and round the corner. Laughing, Paul staggers inside and joins the queue.
   He's been waiting for at least ten minutes now, occupied mostly by the spinning chunk of meat he'll soon be eating slices of.
   Outside. Chips, cheese and kebab in hand. 'Some poor cunt's dropped his chips' he thinks as he slowly ambles towards home.  Eating the kebab first, then the chips and cheese he doesn't notice the vinegar that he didn't ask for. Nearly home.
Suddenly his head explodes and he smacks the pavement – chips fly from his hand. Blood mats his hair and he vomits. Feet run off. Glassed.

(I'm not entirely happy with this at all. i haven't written in AGES.)
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Thomas Edison

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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #6 on: 04 Jul 2009, 08:00 »

Glass, Vinegar, Waiting


The first thing that hits you when you step into that ring is the fact that anything goes down here, in the basement of some shmuck's house that may as well be a million miles away from civilization as we know it. The second thing that hits you is my bleeding fist.
   We hold no rules down here, everything goes. In my time I've had objects of every variety smashed against my head, be they glass bottles, baseball bats or snooker cues. You get hurt, you go see the Doc. He ain't got no qualifications, but that doesn't stop him from splashing some vinegar on your cuts and slapping some duct tape over them.
   There's no better feeling in the world than that of bone crunching beneath your own blows. I feel the cartalidge in your nose pop as a slam it with a solid right jab.
   You fall, I smile, and that new guy who was waiting behind you in the queue realises his time is up.
   He's next.


(I'm totally on the toilet whilst posting this, guys)
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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #7 on: 04 Jul 2009, 22:56 »

Glass, Vinegar, Waiting

The lock should have clicked as I unlocked the door, but for some reason the door to the shop had already been attended to. Inside, a balding, grey-haired man stood behind the counter sampling the ice creams. His mouth full of Rocky Rhode, he could only wave at me, droplets of chocolate arcing from the wet scoop , a broad smile dashing across his face. Wordlessly I began to prepare the coffee for the day, frequently glancing back at the counter as I emptied the various grounds. Each checkmark on the pre-opening list was bigger than the last, each exaggerated so that he might see the line of X's marching towards a time when he would have to leave the store. I noted each ice cream he ate from, so that when he left I might try and sanitize them. I waited until last to turn on the stereo. When my music began, I heard a clink and a slam--the ice cream scoop in a glass, and the door on the frame, respectively. Now that I was done waiting for him to leave, I reached to pour the glass out and smelled that it was vinegar. Nice of him to clean the scoop for me.
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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #8 on: 05 Jul 2009, 06:22 »

There had once been a lake that drowned this piecemeal slum on the edge of the Metropol - or rather, drowned the what-will-be of the place. The place now was dry and dustbowl in the summers, bleached and copper-red... pissing tar and acid into your lungs every time you stepped outside. Even in the winter the place whined with heat, except for the nights like tonight, where a year of rain came in one day and drowned you in tarmac-thick cistern water, or close as seems like it. The lake's memory had left a skyscraping bridge section bare and lonely across from the single-line railroad that fed the place; at least, whenever the city remembered its lost kinsmen out on the edge. No-one living under the brick-shadow of the bridgepiece blamed the city for that, though. Even the people who lived here tried to forget they did. That's as good a reason as any for Harvey's Bar being smack under the bridge, by the railroad, and in the middle of the steel-drum shacks that dotted the desert here. Tonight the tin gables sang lonely tapdances under the rain. Thunder now: or... no.

A dirt-freckled '71 Cutlass Supreme was sheltered like a stormdrenched rat in the foundations of the old bridge, and its engine played Norse ventriloquy - mimicking a thunder god yet to shatter the clouds above. It growled a path toward Harvey's, where the chrome tailpipe caught splintered light, prismic via the glass of the windows, squeezed from fly-bothered neon inside. The car emitted humanity in the shape of a dusty black coat, cold shoulders, and a single, ready, gloveful of finance. The man inside seemed only a penumbra chipped from the greater dark about him. The rain sluiced away from a traveller's tangle of dark hair.

It entered - the door clicking softer than it should've. The eponymous Harvey was hunched behind the bar, absently minding the depressed rag-bundle of characters slouching home from vinyl alcoves. The stranger was worth a nervous glance, despite the readies clenched fiscally in that gloved fist. No 'strangers' came here by choice. So either this fucker - sorry, customer (here Harvey post-edited the thoughts squirming in his beer-fat brain) - has come here to find friends... or make enemies. Harvey's fingers twitched toward the stout cudgel taped to the underside of the polyvinyl bartop.

It was then that the green paper jumped across the plastic toward him. A harsh cough, and then a crypt-cold gravel-thick voice:

"... whisky."

Some of the tones of that voice had crept through Harvey's synapses before his ears, he was sure of it. Nonetheless, the sweating barkeep mused, here was nowhere, and nowhere needs money more than anywhere. He started to pour some of the usual cocktail of battery acid and vinegar into a spittle-grimed glass but his hand was stopped in a moment by that hand. Harvey noticed the red veins creeping from under the black glove and shuddered involuntarily. Again the stranger pelted dry oxygen against the back of his throat - interjecting with all the solidity of lead and earth:

"... bottle."

A merry dance now played out in Harvey's stoutly greed-driven mind. Better to give the bottle, right, and tell him - no, no, tell him after he'd drank all he could, he knew the type, and the billyclub would ensure more of those fine green politicians were paid. The chipped bottle slid across vinyl, caught by that hand again... red under the glove's lips. It was then that rules were broken. No man alive should have been able to finish the whole bottle as quick as it disappeared into a shadowy throat. Harvey grimaced in fearful apoplexy and reached for the cosh his fingers had been itching against just two minutes ago. His fat fingertips met air. Air and tape. Then, from that tangled and shaded stranger's face... a horrible thin smile emerged like a half-conceived, half-aborted phantasm. Empty alcoves hid more darkness, seeming to grow and stretch towards the fat, sweating bar-owner. The neon behind him whined and snapped glassily outwards. It was in the last showered sparkstorm of light that Harvey noticed what that hellish right hand now held, and silently pissed himself.

In the dark, a red hand and a blackjack scythed a life away. Outside the storm broke, and the rain spoke of a cleansing that would never come.

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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #9 on: 05 Jul 2009, 10:54 »

    I remember the early days, out in the fields with my brothers and sisters, baking under the relentless Tuscan sun. We often spoke of leaving, of joining our cousins in California, or Auntie Barbara in Chile. In those carefree days how was I to know it would be I who was picked?
    My mother had told me that this was always the way for us but still I never expected it to come so abruptly, to be plucked from the field in such away, the stem holding me to my family removed and cast aside. I was crushed, I was leaving just when I felt I was coming to maturity.
    To be pressed into such tight confines with a bunch of strangers, it was so undignified, I was kept here for what seemed like years but infact was probably only a few months. I learned to blend in, to keep my feelings bottled up until it was time for me to shipped out.
    The intervening years were darkness, I remember the young couple who took me in and the bright room which I called home.
But that room quickly became a prison, the sunlght faded as the grime began to cover the windows, the dust began to settle on all the flat surfaces and my optimism began to fade, each day spent waiting for the couple to come downstairs to me, for some company, but each time they did venture down to my domain they barely paid me a lick of attention, they'd select something else from out of my eye sight and hurrdily return back up the stairs.
  
      The door at the top of the stairs creaked open and a man stomped down, I looked up with joy, a shadow of the young man who had brought me home, age having ravaged his once handsome face, perhaps today was my day.
      I nearly popped my cork! It was! His hand clasped my body and he carried me easily up the stairs, bursts of terracotta and stainless steel and I was placed on a table, tall glasses either side of me. The man turned his back on me and rustled through a draw, he turned back around weilding a terrifying implement of torture. I tried to scream but no sound came out. The tool was plunged into my head and began to twist, in the end it came off easier than either of us expected.
He leaned down to my neck and sniffed deeply.
"Eugh! Vinegar!"
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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #10 on: 07 Jul 2009, 02:59 »

wrote this, wanted to post it somewhere on the internet, saw this thread, realised "vinegar" was a better substitute than sour anyway, and voila. Just kind of experimenting with pronouns n' shit.

I was putting out farts as a result of my debilitating lack of nutrition and so they were the foul vinegar excretions you'd get from the slightly sad looking old man modestly dressed, waiting beside you at the bus stop. This did not endear me to the people at the meeting, as you can figure, although it gave me the advantage that they didn't want to ask complex questions and be in my company for very long . Slipping out the door as soon as I was done, I was elated as fuck and decided I had deserved a treat. I was going to get some goddamned ice-cream.

The ice-cream vendors glass door was frosted and suddenly bringing a coat seemed like a good idea. Oh well.  It was one of those places where you'd choose from a ridiculous range of icecream-flavours, and choose from a ridiculous range of small sweet shit you'd normally buy at 3 am from a convenience store. The ice-cream artist would then pummel the living hell out of your confectionary in to the ice-cream  of your choosing to the zen point of perfect mixture. Lost in the ice-cream, the door proved somewhat of a challenge to open. Luckily there were two young women to snicker at the spastic attack on the door and assist me.

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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #11 on: 07 Jul 2009, 11:01 »

Glass, Vinegar, Waiting

I don’t usually frequent fast-food restaurants, but today I have made an exception. It is so-and-so’s chosen venue.
Now she’s “running late” for longer than is reasonably polite. I’d assumed we’d not be here long before going shopping.
The girl behind the counter is smiling and I am waiting.
 She is smirking.
She is smirking at me.
She knows.
She knows.
She knows.
I get up casually to avoid further embarrassment.
I knock the table over. Vinegar, salt, coke, everywhere. Miraculously, my glass is intact.
My back is turned, but the girl is laughing,
I am sure.
I leave.
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Zingoleb

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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #12 on: 10 Jul 2009, 12:44 »

"Do you have any questions for me?"

I shrugged, staring out the window, eyes casting over the various books in her collection - parenting, adolescence textbooks, children's books amounting to half the works of one doctor named Seuss and the other half of Shel Silverstein - looking outside at the sad little strip of grass outside. I breathed deeply, inhaling the scent of window cleaner on the glass, faint and bitter, like vinegar spilled long ago, leaving no more than an acrid memory.

She was waiting rather patiently.

"What is gender, anyways?" I murmured quietly, but my lips did not move, and the words did not stir the air - it was only an echo in my mind, touching my lips before I pulled it away, simply shaking my head. "No, thanks." I stood up, listening to her directions idly, telling me what to do, where to go from here; I left, the taste of those four words still on my lips, ready to spill so easily, if I could just let them.
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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #13 on: 10 Jul 2009, 19:36 »

glass, vinegar, waiting...



"Something just tore a hole in deck 8, port side, sir."  Able Spacer Halton spoke with a calm professionalism that belied his actual feelings at the moment.  He stole a quick look at the watch officer now leaning over his station.  The entire ship had shuddered from what had to be an impact only moments before.

The young ensign, barely in the fleet longer than the spacer, was waiting for a report from the damage control team sent to investigate the impact.  He had nothing better to do than look over Halton's shoulder at the display and not gain anything from the effort.

To Halton's left, a petty officer had no real information to offer.   There wasn't anything on the scanners prior to the shock of something tearing into the hull.  "I've checked the logs.   I can't see..."

The hatch into the conning station exploded into the room.  It was the petty officer's severe misfortune to be directly in its flight path.  Her body was crushed against the displays, glass shards and steel debris pelting Halton and the ensign as they fell away from it.

"Intruder in the conn!"  the communications watch screamed.  His voiced rang throughout the ship, but it fell mostly on unhearing ears.  Who knows how many of the things came aboard in that asteroid.  Halton looked at the dark creature and barely had time to notice the stinging, vinegar smell before it came at him swiftly.
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Re: Writing Challenge
« Reply #14 on: 11 Jul 2009, 00:15 »

Its a bit rough, because I literally just typed this minutes ago.

"You can't piss in a glass and call it vinegar, Sammy."  That was Buddy, hell of a drummer, not quite Neil Peart, but closer to Moon or Grohl, and about as eloquent as a drunk Republican. I chuckled and always will.  Three years from now I'll be sitting in the waiting room Saint Jacques Memorial Hospital, shirt covered in dirt and dried blood, pants in urine.  Two days later, I'll be sitting in Buddy's hospital room, consoling the sobbing thirty-year old as he stains the heavy bandages wrapped around where his hands should be. He'll never drum again, the semi truck robbed him of his gift when it slammed into the tour bus. Afterward, he'll be quietly shuffled out of the band, given a pension of sorts at my insistence and spend the rest of his life in Virginia. It was my way of apologizing. Apologizing for what I knew would come once he was out of the band - the strained friendship, the ever decreasing phone calls and emails as the band kept touring and touring, me crashing when I could, spending the rest of the time I wasn't on stage or in the studio on writing new music for the next album.

Buddy. His full name was William. William Aaron Price. Two years after the accident and his retirement from Dúnedain, I would be staring at that name on a tombstone. He would remember the phone call for all his days - Buddy had been fitted with prosthetic hooks and had learned to use them well.  Well enough open a bottle of sleeping pills and Jim Beam to wash the killers down. According to his sister, he'd found God weeks before and looked to have finally found a measure of peace. I guess he needed the pills and booze to take him the rest of the way.

Edit: Ack, ye went and changed the challenge words while I was asleep. :P
« Last Edit: 11 Jul 2009, 09:22 by Kross »
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Re: Book, Rise, River
« Reply #15 on: 11 Jul 2009, 11:58 »

The memory of the floods hadn't faded from the collective psyche, and everyone was on edge watching the rain fall. Behind the foreground anxieties about the economy, swine flu and the war everyone had half an eye on the weather.

It was hard to escape the signs of last year's deluge. The lucky ones were repainting freshly plastered walls and hanging pictures to cover the tidemarks. The unlucky ones were wrestling with insurance from the claustrophobic sanctuary of their caravans, and trying to remember what it felt like to live in a house. At the sixth form college the books were all new: hastily-purchased replacements for the rain-sodden library which had been destroyed as the river overflowed. To the disappointment of a generation of children, the school was back in action with a store of sandbags stored cautiously to hand.

The signs all suggested that the summer would be hot, and the weatherman was warning of a summer heatwave. But still, no one could quite forget the sudden destruction of last year's summer floods. Everyone was carrying an umbrella and sunglasses; hoping for sunshine, preparing for rain.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

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Re: Book, Rise, River
« Reply #16 on: 11 Jul 2009, 13:14 »

books, rise, river...

Two days earlier.

"I'm never going to get this stuff," Abram Halton moaned as he dropped the technical manual he had been reading onto the lounge table.

"Hey, shove it.  I only have three hours until my next watch."  The anonymous voice was muffled from passing through the fliimsy metal screen that mostly separated the lounge from the ranks of sleeping racks in the able spacer berthing compartment.

"Sorry," Halton half-whispered.  He stowed three of the four books he'd been trying to study and decided he should go down to the plant.  Maybe seeing the machinery he was reading about would help him understand it all.  His final qualification interview for all-important space warfare pin was in two weeks.   If he didn't pass, he'd never make petty officer, much less stay in the fleet past the five year initial enlistment.   Engineering was just not his cup of tea and it was the last section he needed signed off before the interview.

He went forward along an outboard passageway.  It was one of the few that actually had viewports, so it was a little crowded as it always was when they were near a planet.   He glanced out and saw what was drawing a crowd today.  Halton was a little amused that there was so much interest in watching a simple bulk goods transport rise from the planet.  It was a new colony, of course there were going to be a lot of those coming and going.

Abram continued forward, then headed inboard.  The big, heavy door into the engineering spaces was painted red and had several warning signs about unauthorized personnel.  He forgot about needing an engineering spacer to accompany him if he wanted to go down and see the river of pipes going into and out of the huge fusion reactor plant.  He shook his head at the silliness of it and went on in.
« Last Edit: 11 Jul 2009, 13:17 by kemon »
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Re: Book, Rise, River
« Reply #17 on: 12 Jul 2009, 11:23 »

Book, Rise, River

The pages scattered with the wind, swooping and soaring far beyond the reach of the children on the bank. A poor sighted person could have quite easily mistook the flying literature for a flock of birds, an abstract thought, and I smiled as I watched them rise ever higher. The child who the book had belong to had slumped to her knees, defeated, watching forlorn as her prized possession sailed away upon the invisible currents of air. She had been showcasing it to her compadres, explaining how the book had been given to her by her father, and of the stories it contained. Tales of dragons, wizards, witches and old world magic. The kind of stories which would make any child's heart flutter with excitement. But now her face was dirtied by tears which flowed like the river she was knelt beside.

Little did she realize I could get her book back.

Little did she realize I was a librarian.
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Re: Book, Rise, River
« Reply #18 on: 12 Jul 2009, 12:15 »

Book, Rise, River.

He and his wife used to sing an old Johnny Cash song together on those nights when he had the itch to play guitar. It didn't happen too often, but sometimes he'd pull it out of the dusty case and tune it as best he could. She loved to sing with him and it was one of the only ones she knew by heart, a bluegrass love song that was a little bit gospel. He always thought he was singing it to her, she always was the strong one.  He'd still sing it to himself in the more difficult times.

"I'll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan, I'll be waiting drawing pictures in the sand."

She'd long since crossed that River into the promised land. His voice caught in his throat a little but his fingers went through the familiar motions. "When I see you coming, I shall rise up with a shout, and come running through the shallow waters, reaching for your hand." He put down the guitar, still humming to himself, and he clutched the good Book to his chest, his last thought of her calling out to him across the River Jordan.
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Re: Book, Rise, River
« Reply #19 on: 12 Jul 2009, 12:59 »

The reincarnated body of River Phoenix sat up, a lingerie model lay on either side of him. On the bedside table stood the lamp, a book on home DIY, and the ice cream scoop which he had used to feast on the delicous brains of the brazilian beauties.

The star of Stand by Me began to rise up from his enormous bed, kicking the blood caked sheets to the floor. He chuckled at the women as he stood naked before them, there was something strangely nourishing about the brains of bimbos, he jotted this down.

River injected a potent dose of speedball straight into his eye, the cocktail of drugs which had killed him all those years ago now was the only thing that kept his body going. Perhaps this was irony? Probably not.
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Zingoleb

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Re: Book, Rise, River
« Reply #20 on: 12 Jul 2009, 19:04 »

Can we comment on other's stories here?

Each night always seems to end the same.

I'll lay on my back, staring at the ceiling, light blue, flecks of red paint here and there where a young painter made her mess. Rolling over, pulling the sheets with me, having laid there for hours yet without sleep, I'll look over my baby Gem, my guitar tuned to my exact specifications for whatever song had been my fancy that night - If, or Crickets, or maybe just something in open E. The guitar stand missing, she will instead rest in the crook made by the bookshelf and the wall, the bookshelf itself blocking off half of the window but not all of it. Without my glasses, everything will be out of focus enough to mask its true identity, but I would still see through my window to the sky outside, a river of clouds snaking from the horizon to change colours with the sunrise.

I'll sigh and roll over, half-closing my eyes, running scales through my head to try and distract myself into sleep. F#, G#, A, B, C#, D, E...I will hear the notes, branching off and breaking into songs of their own; I will hear lyrics overtop of them; I will hear melodies and countermelodies, works of genius in my mind moments before I slip away, losing such thoughts forever.
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