An interesting meeting

A short story for your Friday enjoyment.

I am not a fan of meetings, so I made this one a little more interesting.


 

The meeting was dragging on as usual. I found my eyes wandering to the window instead of on Ken’s red face where they were supposed to be. What would it be like to break open the window and just jump. Hope for the best that the snow would break my fall. Run. Freedom. Snapping fingers bring me back from my musings and I look at my notes instead while chancing a quick glance upwards.
Ken is staring at me. Waiting. His suit about to pop a button.
I hide a smirk and flip my yellow notepad to the next page.
Ken shakes his head, jowls wiggling at the effort. He continues rambling about numbers and clients.

I turn my attention to the glass door of the meeting room. I can see a set of bathroom doors from where I sit. Men’s and Women’s rooms. A younger woman, maybe an intern, walks into the women’s room while holding her head. I hope she’s ok. Hopefully she only has a headache, a common occurrence around the office lately. Several employees had left for the day earlier in the morning, complaining of migraines. A few more the day before as well.

Ken is still blathering on, so I pretend to pay attention while waiting for the woman to come out of the bathroom. I sort of feel like a creeper, but I am genuinely concerned about her. She looked sick.

A few minutes later the bathroom door opens shakily and the woman steps out. Something about her gait sends up red flags. Something is wrong with her. She stumbles over her own feet, hitting her head on a chair in the waiting area. One of her high heels flies a few feet away from where she fell.

“Um…Craig? Do you have something to say?” Ken asked, annoyed.
I realize that I’m standing.
“Sorry. That woman out there hit her head on a chair…” I trail off as the woman gets to her feet. Her head looks crooked on her neck. Blood dribbles out of a gash on her head where she smashed it on the chair. She stumbles towards the secretary who had rushed over to help her. The injured woman grabs the secretary and bites her on the neck while she screams.

By now, all the people in the meeting are standing. Some are gasping. Some screaming.

My breath comes in quicker and quicker gasps, like a panic attack. I lean against the glass to gain some composure and stare at the snow again. Wishing I could break the glass.

But I feel a headache coming on.

“The Outsider”-Writing Prompt Entry

As some of you know, I am an assistant on the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans (or BOD) Facebook group. Every other week, one of the admins (ER Arroyo) posts a photo and the beginning of a writing prompt for us to have fun with in 300 words or less.

Before I was an assistant, I even won the prompt once in awhile, which is a HUGE boost in confidence for an aspiring author. It’s so awesome to see what people come up with for the same prompt and photo! I thought I’d share the one I wrote for this week’s prompt. The prompt part will be in bold followed by my 300 word story.

(If you are interesting in joining in on the prompts or just want to join BOD, click here to request membership!)

“Help!” She clung to the wet ledge. “Anybody,” she called, but he was the last person she expected to respond. As he pulled her up, she knew… they were both in trouble now.

It was an Outsider, one of the lesser beings whose genetic makeup caused them to be inside-out compared to humans. Beings that I was forced to hurt. I didn’t want to. I was as much of a freak to humans as Outsiders were. I had special abilities, including reversing things that were “wrong” by human standards. And Outsiders were “wrong.” They had no skin over their muscle tissue. The lab scientists said “Outsiders were unsettling.”  It’s why I was running away from the labs.
I couldn’t hurt people anymore, whether human or non.

The Outsider rubbed his hand where my skin had touched his. Already, soft human tissue had formed along his fingers and palm. A few pained tears escaped his exposed eyes.

“I’m sorry,” I said, averting my eyes. “I can’t help it.”

It’s alright.” A voice echoed in my mind. “It’s already stopping, see?

I looked up to see the Outsider’s palm near my face. He was right. His hand was covered in skin, but it stopped growing near the wrist because I didn’t touch his hand for very long.

I smiled in relief, wiping my wet hair out of my eyes.

An alarm blared from the building below. I couldn’t help but imagine the torture I’d be subjected to once they captured me—the people I’d be forced to hurt again. The Outsider noticed my panic and handed me something.

“Gloves?”

To protect me from you.

“But how did you know I’d be escaping?”

Great minds…

“…Think alike.” I finished his sentence. I slid the gloves over my wet hands, relieved that they had grips along the fingers and palms.

The Outsider crouched so I could get on his back and I obliged.

“What do I call you?”

You can call me Hercules.”

And then he jumped.


Time to meet some goals

70,000 words down….20,000 to go? I’m really not sure how many words I’ll need to finish my first novel, but I suppose that once the novel is done then I’ll know the answer. When I won NaNoWriMo 2014, I had a messy pile of a little over 50K words sitting on my computer (and backed up in three other places of course). But my book was in there. It sat for awhile after that, because after NaNo I was a little burnt out on writing things. But now, almost a year later, I am buckling down. I’ve added 20K or so onto that mess and still have a ways to go, but it’s becoming a story! Something I’ve poured hours upon hours of thought and love, hate and despair into is becoming a novel. I’ve already made promises to myself to be done with the first draft by the end of October (this year! I promise!). I even joined a writing group where everyone has that same goal in mind. It’s happening. And I couldn’t be more excited!

How about an excerpt? It could use some editing, I’m sure, but I’ll get to that once I finish my first draft. One of the bad guys in “Gray’s Shadow” is named Carnage. He is the leader of a Rager gang that have their grip on the city Gray lives in as a kid. Carnage is a super villain of sorts, complete with a long scar down one side of his face, British accent, and a need for theatrics.

Confused? Read more about Gray’s Shadow here. Once I have a good synopsis, I’ll post it as well.

He sat up in bed, gasping for air. Lines at his throat, constricting his breathing. The dream again. Always the bloody dream. He stands, chucking pillows at the wall with an unsatisfying poof. The man yells, wanting to rip the pillow in two, but instead chooses to punch the wall until it leaves a hole.
He stops screaming, letting the sound get caught in his throat.
I hope I haven’t woken Evelyn.
He rushes across the small bedroom to the closet, turning the knob as slow as he can to avoid making a sound. A sliver of light illuminates the entire wall ahead of him. The light falls over a woman, who doesn’t stir where she lays on the floor. The man sighs with relief that his temper hasn’t disturbed her rest.
The light covers maiden from head to toe—an angel of truest form
A fly buzzes past his nose, which he bats at with a frustrating hiss. “Stupid bug. Made me lose my train of thought. It was going to be a beautiful poem too.” The flies sure are getting annoying. He sighs quietly, gazing at Evelyn’s cold face which gazes back without seeing him. I can’t keep her husk much longer. She is starting to smell.
The man wrinkles his nose before shutting the closet door as quiet as possible. Running one hand through his blonde hair, he walks to the long mirror on the back of his bedroom door and smiles at his reflection. He was already used to seeing the long jagged scar on the left side of his face. It had been months since he’d gotten it and he was lucky to have survived such a horrendous wound. Plus, it gives me an extra dimple. Adorable. He laughs to himself before throwing on some clothes from his long dresser. As he opens the apartment door for the last time, he turns to look back at the closet once more.
“Goodbye Evelyn. I may only have this scar to remember you by, but now you have nothing.”
The bedroom door shut behind him with a soft click.
Yea, I need to edit that. First things first!
Are you working on a novel or something else you’re trying to get done? Know you aren’t alone here. Thanks for reading!
(The photo is from cameraguy.deviantart.com according to Pinterest. )

Sneak peek of Gray’s Shadow by…Me!

Ok, a few months ago I posted an excerpt from my work-in-progress, Gray’s Shadow. It was from the mayor of the city’s perspective. It you don’t know what story I’m referring to, I based this novel off of a flash fiction story I wrote a few years ago for a writing group. Well, here goes nothing! I hope you enjoy a piece of Gray’s Shadow from the perspective of Gray, himself.

Gray woke up, his breaths hitching in his throat. Choking him. Coughing, the twelve year old boy quickly jumped to his feet and ran to the tiny window across his small bedroom. He frowned, trying to rub at the layers of filth covering the window so he could see his reflection. A frightened boy stared back at him, hair and face dirty. He felt his skin carefully wherever his reflection pointed and winced when it burned at his touch. Already the ugly streaks of red were fading from his neck. “Just as I thought,” Gray muttered to himself, “The dreams are starting.” He moaned and gently placed his dirty forehead against the even dirtier window, letting the cool glass cool his sticky skin.
The dreams. The first whispers of Rage began in the mind through them. Shortly after creeping into someone’s dreams, it showed itself on their skin. Red streaks, tinged with purple, lacing up and down bodies like battle scars for a war they couldn’t see. Something no one could fight back against. It would be years before Gray fully lost control, but then he would either take his own life as a Rager or fade away, becoming a Husk; staring blankly at the wall until death came for him. Rager to Husk. Hurting others until he was a shell of himself. Gray hit his head against the glass again, a little harder, trying to shake the disturbing thoughts about his end from his mind.
Instead, thoughts of his mother swam into focus. Her favorite saying was “Fake it till’ you make it!” and she would mime smiling at Gray when she thought he should smile more. Gray picked his head up from it’s position on the glass and forced a smile at his reflection. A red mark from where he hit the glass had smeared some of the dirt away from his face, but the red streaks from the dreams were gone. He could almost feel his mother in the room. Gray half expected her to pop around the corner saying something like “That’s more like it, sweet-pea!”
His smile became more genuine as he remembered happier times, when something moved out of the corner of his vision. The smile dropped off Gray’s face as he spun around, fists raised. Gray saw no one and he knew there wasn’t a place to hide in his tiny, closet-sized room. “Hello?” Gray asked the room in a hushed voice. No one was there, just his own shadow.

What do you think? I still have a long way to go until my first novel is finished, but I’m learning a lot. I love writing. I’ve heard that having your main character wake up at the beginning of the chapter is cliche’ but I honestly don’t think there is another way to do this scene. He just had a bad dream and the marks fade right away since they’re just starting…so I think it’s fine! Let me know in the comments or via social media what you think. Have a great day!


(Featured image from my ‘Writing Inspiration‘ Pinterest board. I did not take the photo. Pin from fromupnorth.com)

W is for Writing!

Happy Monday everyone! I am super tired, since Luke and I stayed out until 9:30 PM last night (we are aware that we are super old). It was awesome and worth it. A few drinks with friends, playing Super Smash Bros and Card Against Humanity at 42 Lounge in Milwaukee….amazing time. But, back to Monday. Today’s letter is ‘W’ and I decided to delve into my novel a little bit. For those that do not know, I wrote for NaNoWriMo last November. To learn more about NaNo, read my blog on the subject here.

The Good: Writing is therapeutic. Slathering my mind all over a page is awesome exercise for my brain and helps increase my vocabulary. Sometimes, I choose writing prompts that require me to use a certain word I may have never heard of before. It’s great!  When I chose to write for NaNo, I wanted to use a short story I wrote as the basis for an entire book. It felt amazing to breathe life into characters and places. Writing has always been a part of my life, but NaNo helped me get past just writing short stories or poetry.

The Bad: Writing is a little nerve-wracking. What if I think what I wrote is good, but it’s actually really stupid? Or confusing to everyone but me? Or has already been done 50 times?

My answers for these insecurities: Write what you love. That’s what everyone says. Even if others think it’s dumb, as long as YOU love it that’s ok! It may sting a little, but just keep writing! I know I’m getting better and better each day and you can too.

I personally have a problem with trying to make things simple. I understand what I mean, but I need to try harder to keep it simple. I’ll get there. Writing books is hard!

The Katy: Ok. Time to put myself out there. I need to remember my own advice above, but the story excerpt is below. The basic plot is that the human world is slowly being destroyed by shadows who steal people’s emotions, making people mean/suicidal/evil. The excerpt below is from the City mayor’s point of view. Enjoy!


As he slept, his thoughts traveled on winged shadows, enveloping his reason to live. They whispered into his ear that he was worthless and no one loved him. He sat up in bed, heart beating fast and lit a candle to alleviate some of the darkness. A crazed reflection caught his attention in the dusty gilded mirror across his vast bedroom. Usually, he loved his four-poster bed and mural painted walls. But tonight, even the eleven foot ceiling threatened to crush him. The whispers began again and he clapped his hands over his ears in response. They told him the truth. He was alone and always would be. The one thing he couldn’t buy was companionship in this world. He paid people for their company, to protect him, but no one really cared if he died. He coughed out a wheezy laugh as he stared at his matted hair pulled to clumps in his nighttime tossing and turning. He forced himself to look away from the mirror to the city outside. His city. The darkness penetrated everywhere outside his floor to ceiling windows without fail. He smiled again, coming to a decision. Soon the people out there would join him in his pain. He smiled madly at the candle by his bed, wax dripping like tears onto his side table. If he was alone, everyone should be.


I hope you enjoyed a piece of my book! I will reveal more as I figure out the details. I hope your Monday is wonderful.

Flash Fiction Story Featured!

Every week in the amazing Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans (BOD) there is a writing prompt with a photo and caption already set up for us. We have 300 words or less to write a story about the photo/prompt and it’s my favorite game of the week. Well, one of these weeks I was fortunate to be voted the best prompt! It feels wonderful and exciting to know that I am getting better and better as a writer. The link to the BOD blog is below with my story featured!

Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans Blog

😀

I slayed the NANOWRIMO 2014 Dragon!

WINNER!

WINNER!

This year I did something for ME. I decided to write for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this November with thousands of people all over the world. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write an entire novel, 50,000 words, in one month. It takes place every November and this is the first year I have participated and WON. Last year, I barely wrote 800 words, but this year I made it to the goal. I have never written anything this long, except maybe a few research papers for college classes. This was something I had wanted to do for a long time and after talking with my cousins, Nicole and Natalie, this summer about it I knew I wanted to at least try NaNo. Natalie won last year and still can’t stop smiling about reaching her goal. She even self-published her novel on Amazon.

I decided to base my novel off my favorite short story that I wrote a few years ago (you can read it here), titled “Gray’s Shadow.” The short story, or flash fiction since it’s under 500 words, is about a boy who wishes for a friend and his shadow comes to life the next day. The novel takes the concept of living shadows to the next level. People from another dimension actually travel to the human dimension via shadows and collect human emotions to enhance their own lives (such as happiness and calm can be bought off the shelves like drugs). Even though communication with the humans is forbidden, Gray’s shadow decides to befriend him. It gets more complicated from there, but the novel is nowhere near complete so I have a lot of plot to construct. Hopefully by next year I can self publish it! It feels great to set a goal and then meet it. What’s next? I’m PUMPED.

I slayed the dragon in 2014!

I slayed the dragon in 2014!

The Wrimo community is amazing. Everyone is supportive and helpful with everything from novel titles to plot lines! I went to a local write-in and several online write-ins hosted by NaNo Interns. There is even an awesome twitter handle that is only for word sprints (@NaNoWordSprints). Do it. It’s awesome.

My stats are below. I’ll be adding to that word count when it gives me the option, but I didn’t want to forget to validate!

If you want to be NaNoWriMo buddies this or next year (because I’m definitely doing this again!) my user name is mandaloriankaty.

Visit www.nanowrimo.org for more information.

 

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Here are winner stats! I finished on the 21st of November.

My First Stab at Flash Fiction

I love writing. But it has been awhile since I’ve had time for it! So, I mostly write a poem here or there to keep up with it. However, I joined a small writing group in my area this year and we finished out first writing assignment! We were assigned to write a fiction story with 500 or less words, called a flash fiction. Often, these stories can have up to 1000 words, but I was glad with less for my first story since college! I got some good feedback from the group and I am excited for next months assignment as well. I hope you enjoy my first flash fiction!

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Gray’s Shadow

It came for him when he was alone. 
 
Gray was alone much of the time. Thus he huddled under his blanket in the closet. Lights off. He didn’t know if the tattered blanket actually offered extra protection, but it wouldn’t hurt. Hot breath fogged up his glasses. It was warm under the blanket in the closet, but he didn’t feel brave enough to remove it. Instead, he pondered the wish he made on his birthday.
 
It was yesterday. He was alone, as always. While Gray assumed that other children had nice birthdays like in magazines, he didn’t personally know what it was like. He had sat on his bed, looking out the window at the snow. The sky was a soft gray so it seemed meant for him. This was as good a present as he was going to get. He passed the time by warming spots on the glass with his breath. Then he traced a simple birthday cake in the fog, complete with birthday candles. Closing his eyes, he wished for a friend who would never leave him with all the hope he had left. He blew out the candles. Happy Birthday.  

This morning, something was odd. Gray hadn’t even sat up in bed yet, but his shadow was wiggling on the wall like it wanted to detach from the dry walled surface. Gray was intrigued, but becoming more and more alarmed as the shadow continued to move on its own. It rose up and away from the wall until it stood independently from the wall altogether. Now free, it stopped moving. Gray didn’t know how it was possible, but it seemed to turn around to look at him. And smiled. 

That was quite enough for Gray. He caught his breath, ran to the closet clutching his blanket close to him, and slammed the door behind him. Only after placing the blanket on his head did he release the air. 
 
And now here he was in the closet. Gray was not so quite alone as before.  His shadow had always been with him, but he hadn’t really noticed it before it came to life. A thought occurred to him then. Maybe the shadow had also wished for a friend. Either that or it wanted to hurt him. How Gray longed for it be the first option. It had smiled at him. He didn’t know what he would do with a shadow friend, but it had to be better than being alone all the time. 
 
Gray took another deep breath and this time let it out slowly as he uncovered his head. He left the blanket where it dropped as he got up off the closet floor and gingerly grasped the doorknob. 
 
Since he had nothing to lose, Gray opened to door to face his shadow. It smiled.