Final Project Part 2 – Inner Demons

So, here is the second thing I am going to share. During week 2 of this class we had to outline and describe our “bucket list” book. The book we have always wanted to write. I knew immediately what I wanted to use for this, but… it is such an undertaking and will require a decent amount of research asI want to do it right. I want to do it justice because it is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. It is a story largely about rape. No, it doesn’t go on and on providing the details of women being raped, but rather, the damage that is caused by a single incident and how that lives with the victim long after the event. When I started writing the paper outlining this “bucket list” book, I didn’t know I would be starting the book with my final paper. My idea is actually a Sixth Sense type of story where the reader is dumbfounded at the end. I don’t know if I can accomplish that, but this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Too many women in my life have been sexual assaulted/abused/raped. Not enough attention is paid to it (#metoo wasn’t enough) and I wanted to write a story with that as a focus. I want the reader to feel what the protagonist is going through and why she is doing what she is doing. It IS justified and should be recognized. I feel like I am ruining the story that I will eventually put out so I am going to stop there. I know I am a man who could never understand the depth and reality of this topic. Believe me. I get it and I don’t. But that is why it is my “bucket list” book. I already have several volunteers who are willing to tell me their stories. This takes courage and I respect the hell out of them for a) stepping forward and for b) helping me tell their story through a little bit of fiction. I will do the research and I only hope I can do their stories justice.

Also, I should add, the start of our story had to have an emphasis on nature for the project. This will not be the start of the story as I already have a different idea in mind (and did before I wrote this) but given the parameters, my original beginning wouldn’t work within the realm of the assignment. So I improvised. This will probably be the start of Chapter 3 or so (and will be heavily revised). Also, don’t read into the names. These are not final (and are nowhere near the final). I pick a name when I start writing. That is all it is, a name. Usually, somewhere between 40-80% I end up having a conversation with the characters and they tell me their name. That is the way I work. I don’t outline. I get an idea, highlight a few points and fill in the rest as I write. I hope you don’t judge me for that. My placeholder names are usually generic and usually a little bit out there, just so it is easy to find (and also it forces me to find their true character).

Also… not professionally edited. Just a minor Grammarly edit. Don’t judge me on tense/grammar, etc. I did a couple passes, but in reality, I suck at all that :). Please let me know your thoughts.

************************************************************************************

Raindrops pelted Maryanne’s face, driven by the fierce blowing wind as she looked into the deep ravine in search of her fugitive. Why do they always have to run? she wondered. It’s because he’s a rapist scumbag, that’s why. They always run. The rain made looking for the perp almost impossible. The slick, muddy ground didn’t help matters either. Movement caught her eye to the south, and she saw him following the path of a small creek nestled between the thick cover of aspen and pine trees.

“I’ve  got eyes on him. Heading south through the ravine,” she said into her walkie talkie.

“Roger. Patrol units are en-route.”

“And air support?”

“A bird is also en-route. We should have eyes on him in two minutes.”

Maryanne kept her visual on him from her higher vantage point under cover from the thick bows of an old cedar tree. Normally, she’d already be down in the bottom of the ravine hot on his tail. The mud made such an endeavor nearly impossible, and as such, she remained at the top of the hill, shielding her eyes with her hands so she wouldn’t have to squint and possibly lose him.

The whir of helicopter rotors entered her peripheral hearing, and she urged them to hurry before he disappeared in the forest, or down a culvert. She didn’t want this guy back on the street. A serial rapist of many women (of all ages and ethnicities), he’d been in and out of the system since he was fourteen. It seemed there was no woman (or girl) who was off-limits. He was probably abused himself at a young age, which is why he fell into this life. But that was no excuse.

He neared the edge of the ravine, and soon she was going to lose sight of him. “Where is that damn helicopter?” He slowed his progress to traverse a number of large boulders that blocked his path. From this distance, they looked like limestone.

Flashing red and blue lights lit up the base of the ravine and bounced off the walls of the cliffs, as well as the wet street below. Seven squad cars squealed their tires as they came to a screeching halt. The officers jumped out of their cars and drew their guns. They used their vehicles as a shield. She heard the deep mumbling voice of one of the officers who was issuing orders over his megaphone. Ricky stopped, and his head darted back and forth.

“No, you don’t, you son of a bitch. You’re not getting away from us today.” She grabbed her walkie. “Where is the helicopter? The suspect’s escape route has been sealed, but he’s looking for another way out. I need eyes in the sky.”

“Roger that,” came the response. “Bird should be there in fifteen seconds.”

An answer to her prayers, the helicopter flew over her head. It wasn’t dark yet, but given the weather conditions, there were so many shadows and it made finding Ricky next to impossible. The helicopter switched on its spotlight and bathed the damp ravine in bright light. They could see his every movement.

More orders were issued over the megaphone, and it looked like Ricky was out of options. But Ricky didn’t think so. Even from her distance, Maryanne could tell he was panicking and wasn’t about to give up. He had that trapped rat in a cage look about him. His head darted in all different directions while he looked for an escape. Maryanne knew he had very few options. She could see quite well from her little perch, even in the rain, and he literally was surrounded. If he turned around, she’d be on him in a second. He could hide in the trees, but there was no getting out of them. Cliffs bordered both sides of the ravine. The best he could hope for was to hide in the trees. But the helicopter had infrared and would be able to keep tabs on him until the officers moved in.

Speaking of which, several of the officers slowly closed on his position while the officer with the megaphone continued barking instructions. Ricky turned around for a second. She knew he realized he was trapped. While the officers moved closer, he reached behind his back with his right hand.

“No, no, no. Not like this. Please, God,” she said. She grabbed her walkie. “Do not shoot. He doesn’t have a weapon.”

More gruff orders and Ricky continued to reach for his back pocket.

Three bullets cracked through the air, and Ricky fell to the ground. Maryanne collapsed to her knees. This wasn’t the fitting end she had in store for Ricky. He needed to be punished, not killed.

[JH1]Blue highlights errors related to UCOL Guidelines, Turabian citation and reference list formatting, and/or professional standards expected by editors and agents.

 

Eliminate the extra space after your paragraphs using the Format drop-down menu

Final Project Part 1 – Broken World

Just finished another class (sorry, this is where all of my writing time is spent, unfortunately). For this project we had to focus on the zoom. We had to either zoom in or zoom out. I chose to zoom out and (hopefully) make a point. I had a lot of fun with it. It is repetitive, but I think that works as a cadence, but it is detracting as an overall story (better if formatted as a poem IMO). Let me know your thoughts (really, give me your thoughts).

*************************************************************************************

A yellow ring circles the hole in the sink’s drain. The porcelain cracked and browned from times cruel hand. Sinewy brown legs appear through the drain looking for purchase as a brown spider crawls into the barren sink. In front of it, in the middle of the kitchen, is an old wooden table, long forgotten, and covered in a thick layer of gray dust. Spider webs stretch from the table to the counters, to the ceiling, to the fixtures, unbroken, allowed to dominate this empty establishment.

Whomever once called this domicile home, left in an absolute hurry. The chairs usually placed around this elegant table, now tossed aside, lying on the floor, some broken, others majestically accepting their final resting place. Cabinet doors remain open, as do several drawers as if someone was looking for something in a panic. A rancid odor permeates the thick, dust-filled air. Spoiled food from the still open refrigerator the likely culprit.

Behind the kitchen is a dining room, which is connected to a family room. Cobwebs create a barrier through each new doorway. Each room, another path through this decent-sized home. An office, bedrooms, bathrooms, even a laundry room. Between each room is a hallway, filled with pictures of the happy family who once resided in this now aging house. Likely dead and now a part of the reclaimed ground after the great war poisoned the very dirt this home sits upon.

The house’s cracked siding, with chipping blue paint, rots from the insects who have made it their home. Vibrant ivy climbs up each side of the house as if swallowing the building whole and digesting what remains for generations. Thick grass, untouched for years, surrounds the home. Tall trees stand dead, once green and vibrant, now something out of a Halloween horror movie with their long bony claws reaching up to heaven. To either side, more houses stretching for as far as the eye can see. This home is just one of many, once filling this concrete jungle. It is a neighborhood. And two streets over is another neighborhood, and another, making what was once called a suburb. Each suburb is next to another suburb, and several more, all of which once formed a city. At the heart of the city, giant buildings block out the sun and cast shadows in their wake. The hustle and bustle of people moving about long replaced with silence.

Hundreds of years ago, this land was a forest. Tall majestic trees filled the horizon. But then humans arrived. They chopped down the trees in the name of progress to build the things they needed, unworried about the future, knowing they would grow back. For a while, the trees did do precisely that, but as urban sprawl spread around the world to support the staggering population growth, more and more land dedicated to the trees was replaced by cities, suburbs, neighborhoods, and homes. When empty land grew scarce, human turned on human, brother on brother, neighborhood on neighborhood, and city on city all in pursuit of the resources needed to survive, which once grew in abundance, but because of human greed, all but disappeared.

When the dust of war settled, only a few remained, but with no one to produce the things the remaining needed to survive, they too disappeared. Even the mightiest of survivors will eventually pass on, some from hunger, others from feeling alone. The world is a big and lonely place, especially after so many have returned to the dirt. Now, Mother Nature is left to reclaim the world that once belonged to her.

Isn’t it ironic, that in the name progress and survival, humans devastated the very things they needed for survival? The very buildings they built to survive, remain long after the light of human life is extinguished. The concrete roads, streets, and highways, now cracked and falling apart. Grass, plants, and trees peak their heads out between the cracks to see if it is safe to sprout and survive. They crawl over the now empty surface and overtake the abandoned cars and trucks. Down each road, the plants find house after house to call home. Eventually, each car, home, building, and structure is covered in new, vibrant, green life. Finally, all signs the humans were even here are erased, which is Mother Nature’s intention. Humans were, after all, a failed experiment, and it is up to her to set things right. In just a couple of decades, the resilient Earth will long forget about the invasion of humans and will thrive in the new environment the Mother has given it.

Poem 1 – Of Love

People who follow me know I am pursuing my Master’s in Professional Fiction Writing. I had to take some elective courses and just completed a course in poetry. I’ve posted a couple of poems recently, but I just received feedback on my final versions. I made changes based on feedback from my fellow classmates, as well as my professor. In all, I wrote 10 poems for the class. 5 of them we had to submit for final grading, as well as a rather long reflection paper. There were guidelines each week. I wrote some in a more traditional format, but my professor suggested they would be better if I broke tradition. So my efforts to conform, resulted in me breaking all the rules, lol. This was the first of my poems. I would appreciate any and all feedback as I know this is only the beginning in regards to poetry.

Of Love

Nervous hands, dancing feet.
Infatuation filling the hole in
my heart, I didn’t know was there:
empty, gaping, cataclysmic.
Love radiates outward, like
the warmth of the sun, tugging,
entwining our souls ever further:
one body, inseparable.
Even in love there’ll be arguments
and anger, veering us off course,
all building to a precipice:
rocky, unbalanced, broken.
She is the love of my life,
yet, she pushes my buttons.
Discontinue our love now, or
jump into the deep abyss together?

The Jungle

I’m in a poetry class and we needed to write the same poem but in two different formats: metric and cadence. I’m still early in the revision process, but which do you prefer and do you have any suggestions?

The Jungle (metric)

Tall masts, a beacon flowing in a sea

of green, stretching to the heavens, reaching

arms pleading with the Gods, a chance maybe,

to put this in the rearview, beseeching

the higher power to remove the pain,

for every one felled, I now must feign.

 

There is no more, only incompetence.

Bleats surrounding, lessening our breath,

methane filling the air, no bottomless

source. Each fallen brethren, another death.

We do not mourn, you’ve done this to yourself,

You never cared for the shrinking ice shelves.

 

The Jungle (cadence)

You see a tall mast, maybe a beacon, flowing in a

sea of green,

arms outstretched, reaching toward the almighty heavens,

pleading with the Gods for a chance

to put an end to this nonsense, and the encroaching

herd, a nuisance

eating their way through the life force, encouraging

a beseeching to the all mighty, anyone, to answer the call,

to make things right, and return to the Earth

a moment without blight, where you mourn the dead,

and cherish what has been returned to continue your life.

 

Your call goes unanswered, you’re fighting for your life,

not for lack of meat, but because livestock is your greed,

but the lack of trees,

is lessening the oxygen from the air you breathe,

giving you the replacement of methane,

which you do know is fatal, but as long as your stomach is full,

who are you to judge?

So cut down the trees, forget what they mean.

Burn them in your fires and fill the air with hydrocarbons,

for humans will live long after the rest of the Earth expires.

Short Story: Payback

So this isn’t perfect. It was one of my assignments in one of my classes. Went through about 4 revisions, and received much feedback, but I’d like to make it better. So please, offer me your thoughts. I do like the story, which is why I wanted to share.

Also, a note on my other books and WIPs. The second Vampire book is roughly 60% done for a rough draft (want to have it completed, revised, edited, and perfected by the end of August). I’m about the same (maybe a little further, like 65%) on the last Keepers of the Orbs Book (I want to release it by the end of the year). Also have a Sci-Fi WIP that is done, just needs revision and editing  before I release (hope to also have that out by the end of the year, although my priority is the next Vampire book, the final Keepers book, then this, and I will look to stagger the releases). I also have all 3 books from the Keepers series in the hands of an editor. It sounds like a lot, but with my Master’s program and my full-time job, I don’t have much time to write. I don’t go back to school until the middle of September, so I NEED to make the most of the next 3 months (and I will, now that my vacations are over with).

Also, the eBook version of The Vampire’s Curse: Life Eternal has been released on my publisher’s website. It should be live on Amazon and Kobo within the next couple days. If you were waiting for the eBook (as I know I would be since I RARELY read a physical book, unless we are talking about required reading for my Masters).   visit my Publisher’s Website

And like I said, Amazon and Kobo will have the eBook soon. Also, feel free to check out my other books. However, I would wait on the Keepers series until I say I have updated with the editor’s changes.

cover_vampires_curse

Check out my website to learn more about my writing project. And be sure to follow my blog.

Enough talk, onto my short story: Payback.

************************************************************************************

Normally the road is smooth. The county I live in takes pride in its city streets. However, tonight it seems I hit every single bump I can find. This wouldn’t be an issue on any other night, but tonight, I have the body of my nemesis in the trunk. It’s not like I killed the son of a bitch, yet his unconscious body beats and bangs against my trunk every time my car rolls over the smallest crack. Mason made my life a living hell ten years ago when we were in sixth grade. My parents moved us away, but I spent every year plotting my revenge. Now we’re graduates of college—although not the same college—and it’s time for him to pay.

***

Mason walked into the kitchen and something smelled good. “What are you cooking, Mom?” He kissed her cheek.

“Morning, Mason. I’m making steak and eggs for your father. Do want some too? The pans are already dirty.”

“If it’s not too much trouble, I’d love some.” Mason grabbed a cup of coffee and sat at the table.

“My word you got in late last night. What did you end up doing?”

“Went to the Beach Comber with Eddie and Todd.”

She shook her head. “It’s your last summer vacation. Shouldn’t you be doing something to get ready for the rest of your life? A job? An internship? You should be doing something other than drinking with your buddies. And you need to be careful when you come home. You let the door slam shut and startled your father and I. It sounded like someone was breaking into the house.”

Mason laughed. “Sorry, Mom. But I’ll be working for the rest of my life. I want to enjoy my last summer before I become a slave of a corporation.”

“But you have to know many other people in your position are working this summer. I spoke to Donna, and her son has an internship at a radio station. They’re all getting a leg up on you. It’s going to be difficult to get a job after school when you have nothing to put on your resume.”

“I’ll be fine, Mom. The market is really good right now. I shouldn’t have any problems.”

“Why do you always have a laissez-faire attitude about life? Your father and I just want what’s best for you. You’re a good kid with a lot of potential.”

“I know you do, but I just want to relax. I’ll find a job when the time is right. And if all else fails, Dad already said he can get me a job at the insurance company. He said they’re always hiring. I probably won’t love it, but at least it’ll be a start. So let me enjoy my summer.”

She placed a plate in front of him. It smelled delicious. “You won’t love it. Your dad has hated it for the last thirty years. I just want you to be happy and I worry about you doing something you hate. But you’re a big boy, and if this is what you want to do, by all means.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Just then his dad walked in.

“You going to do something productive today?” he asked. “And I don’t hate my job. I just don’t love it.” He laughed.

“I’ll probably clean my car and tidy up my room.”

“I’m glad you’re at least doing something,” Mason said. “But maybe you should take a break from drinking tonight. You can’t party every night of the week.”

His mom nodded.

“I’ll be fine. Like I told Mom, let me enjoy my summer.”

“I just don’t understand the appeal. If you were bowling or something, I’d get it,” she said. “Have you considered mini-golf? That new place opened up off Main and I’m sure you boys would enjoy it.”

“What’s not to get? Drinks, music, dancing, and girls. It doesn’t get any better than that. Bowling is for high schoolers, and don’t get me started on mini-golf.”

“That’s it? Why don’t you go to a movie?” she asked.

“There are no new movies I haven’t already seen. Besides, there are exciting moments in a bar that you just don’t get anywhere else.”

“Like what?” they both asked.

He took a bite of eggs before responding. “Well, I was out there on the floor dancing with this gorgeous brunette. I happen to notice this GQ douchebag who must’ve taken a whole bottle of steroids to get as swole as this bastard was. Anyway, he kept giving me the eye while I’m dancing. I asked the girl if she knew who he was. Said she didn’t recognize him. So the night continues, and both Todd and Eddie see him too. He’s staring at me like he hates me. So I get a few drinks in and decided to ask him what his freaking problem was. I got my boys and we walked right up to him. He just stared at me with no response, but I saw him tightening his fist. He’s about to throw down and I knew I needed to act first. I pulled back my arm, but he turned and left. I don’t know what his problem was, but if I ever see him again, I think we’re going to have a problem.”

“That’s terrible, Mason. Why would you do that?” his mom asked.

“You need to grow up,” his dad said before he left the table and kissed his mom goodbye.

“What? You’ve never been in an altercation before?”

Mason’s dad turned and said, “No… I haven’t. And I wouldn’t be so proud if I were you.”

He disappeared into the garage and his mom leaned in closer. “This is exactly what I was talking about.”

“I’m sure I’ll never see the guy again.”

“If you do, just be careful. There are crazy people out there and don’t forget where you live. It’s not Texas, but Colorado has some loose laws, and anyone can have a gun on them at any time.”

***

I turn down a dark street and approach the warehouse. My parents own this lumber yard in Colorado Springs, and fortunately, I have a key. No one will suspect anything because their business focuses on construction companies and they don’t open on weekends. This being a Friday, I know I’m in the clear. I kill the engine and quickly walk to the door, propping it open with a brick, before heading to the trunk.

With the key in hand, I reach for the lid, but pause for a moment, taking a deep breath. Mason has always been a quick thinker. I’m not saying he’s intelligent or anything, but he is quick to make a decision—good or bad—and will likely act on it. If he does that now, he’ll come out swinging, or some other stupid shit. I need to give the trunk a wide berth.

I stand off to the side and put my key in the lock, turning it ever so slightly, before the lid pops open. As I suspected, he lunges out of the trunk, probably expecting to knock me off balance. All he manages is a face-first tumble onto the ground. I want to laugh so bad, but again, stifle it and do my best to keep a straight face.

I pick him up and guide him up the four metal stairs leading to the warehouse. I can’t keep the smile off my face. Now the fun can finally begin.

***

“This place is jumping tonight, Mason.” Nick said.

The music was loud and he could feel the bass thumping in his gut. Just the way he liked it. Bright lights danced around the room. The air was ripe with sweat and spilled booze. A wave of euphoria flooded his body. This was his stomping grounds. This was his life. He tapped Eddie on the arm and headed for the bar to grab a drink and surveyed the scene. Todd was busy with his girl, so they brought another buddy, Nick, in his place. The ladies were out in full force and he targeted several for a conversation and dance later. All he had to do was show them his dimples and they became putty in his hand. Of course, it’s easy when you’re the star high-school quarterback. Yes, this was the life. But he was torn out of it when Eddie tapped his shoulder and spun around.

Eddie pointed across the bar. “Do you see that son of a bitch?”

He nodded.

Nick looked confused. “Who’s he?”

“Remember that douchebag we were telling you about?” Eddie asked. “That’s him.”

“We going to mess him up?” Nick asked.

He remembered his mom’s words from earlier. Maybe he was being childish. “No, it’s cool. Maybe he has a beef, but I’m not going to worry about it right now.” He turned around and watched the ladies dancing and tried to figure out who to watch first.

“Well he’s headed this way,” Eddie said.

Mason spun back around and sure enough, he was walking directly toward them with anger in his eyes. This was one cold bastard. “Be ready for anything,” Mason said.

He walked over with three beers in his hand. In a deep voice, he said, “I just wanted to apologize for staring at you last night. You reminded me of someone, but I don’t think it’s you.”

“I thought you really had a problem with me.”

“That’s why I’m here tonight. I wanted to apologize and make it up to you by buying you and your friends a round of beer.” He handed over the three bottles and we accepted. “No hard feelings?” he asked.

Something in his smile told Mason he wasn’t being serious, but he wasn’t one to turn down a free beer.

“Thanks, I really appreciate it. We won’t have any hard feelings so long as you don’t,” Mason said.

“No. We’re good.” He looked around the room. “I’m going to get out of your way. I hope you gentlemen enjoy your evening.”

“Thanks. And thanks for the beer.”

“That could’ve been ugly,” Nick said.

“Yeah. The way he looked at you the whole time he was walking over here. I thought he was just going to lay you out,” Eddie said.

Mason smiled. “Crisis averted. Shall we?” he asked and slammed both beers.

They walked out onto the dance floor. The song was lit and he started moving along with it. A couple of girls huddled together. They made their way over and asked the ladies to dance. The six of them grooved their way through the first song. The second just started up when a wave of nausea made its way through Mason’s body. Sweat ran in rivers down his forehead and his vision blurred. His legs felt rubbery and he wobbled. They gave out on and he collapsed on the floor. The last thing he remembered, his vision went black.

***

The warehouse is dark and I know he’s conscious. The time is finally at hand. People don’t understand what bullying does to a person. It gets into your head—into your very psyche—it messes a person up for life. Countless years of therapy, and for what? I’m still in the same place mentally as I was at twelve years-old. It doesn’t matter. Mrs. Tongren gave me good advice. I didn’t listen and instead worked out. I muscled up for this moment. Mason is a douchebag and made my life a living hell. Now is the time for him to atone for his actions.

Each of my footfalls echoes in the vast expanse of the warehouse. A can’t hide my glee. I hope he’s crapping his pants right now. It’s all very mysterious, which is how I envisioned this moment. When I brought him in, I tied him to a chair and left him in the loading dock. I didn’t want him to recognize where he was. I want him in a state of confusion, unable to recognize anything, and this setting is as vague as can be. I step closer and come just into the light. I hope my face is reminiscent of a friend sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories.

“Why are you doing this to me? I thought you said we were good. I don’t understand.” He’s crying and spittle runs down his chin.

Wetness covers the front of his pants and I smile. “Oh, we were good for a moment. I needed an opportunity to drug you.”

“You drugged me?” he asks.

“And your friends.” I can’t hide the smile as it creeps across my face.

Mason looks around for his friends. “Where are they?”

“Probably still at the club trying to figure out what happened and where the hell you went.”

“I don’t get it. Why me?”

“Look at my face.” I step further into the light.

“Should I know you/”

“You should, but you don’t remember me, do you?” I ask.

He stares at me for a moment. “No. Who the fuck are you?”

“Oh, you made my life a living hell in elementary school.”

“Elementary school?” He tries to figure out who I am while tears continue their trek down his face. “You’ll have to tell me more.”

“You broke my glasses, shoved my head in a toilet, snapped my suspenders, knocked me on the ground, and kicked dirt in my face. This happened weekly. I had black eyes. One time you even broke my arm. You made my life a living hell.”

“Adam?”

“No, it’s Shawn, you dick.”

It takes a moment, but I see clarity in his eyes.

“You were the one who left after elementary school and never came back.”

“Yeah. My parents were afraid for my life, so they pulled me out and we moved away. I spent all those years making sure no one would ever do that to me again. I changed my diet and hit the gym, vowing to one day come back and make you pay.”

“Look, Shawn, I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. We were just kids. I know I made it rough on you, but you were a skinny little twerp and had it all coming.”

I punch him. Not hard, but enough to get his attention. He barely remembers who I am. How can he be sorry?

“Look, you were a twerp. Guys like me are supposed to treat you like I did. It’s a rite of passage.

“A rite of passage?” I laugh. “Who’s the twerp now?” My voice rises in anger.

It takes a moment, but he finally responds. “I’m sorry for everything I did to you. I’m sorry for my word selection a minute ago. I’m sorry for everything. Is there something I can do to make it up to you?”

“No! You made me suffer and I’ll do the same to you.”

I walk over to a table and grab mini sledgehammer. I bounce it off my hands for a moment while he pleads for his life. It feels heavy, like it knows what it’s about to do.

“Look we can work this out. I’ll do anything,” he says, squirming in his seat. He yanks his hands, trying to break the plastic ties, but all he manages is cuts to his wrists.

“I’ve waited for this for ten years. All my plotting—I’ve watched you for over a year, even followed you at college. But you never noticed. You’re too into yourself for that. You haven’t changed one bit. But it’s fine. I’ve waited for the right time to get my revenge.” I hate this guy, and while violence is never the answer, this guy will never understand. People like him need to be rid from this Earth.

“I’ll do anything. Please!” he says while sobbing.

“You won’t do anything.” I bring the sledgehammer over my head. “Payback’s a bitch.”

I bring the hammer down and it crashes into his head.

**********************************************************************************

 

 

Poem: The Sound of Death

This week in school we had to write poetry. I’ve never been a big poet. It feels too short and I’m long-winded (haha, at least I own it). This week was tough. Not only because I was in the hospital, but also because there was a school shooting right down the street. I moved to Highlands Ranch with my family in 1991. I met my wife at Highlands Ranch High School. I graduated from Highlands Ranch High School. And while the shooting wasn’t at my High School, it was right down the street. My wife and I moved to Parker in 2004, but it’s still in the same county (Douglas County). My kids go to school in this county. My wife is a teacher in this county. It all hit too close to home and I’m not happy about it. I had to write three poems this week. Given my ER trip and the school shooting, they all were in the theme of death. I had an idea for my third poem and approached my son. I asked him what he was feeling about the shooting and we chatted for a few minutes. He is very lyrical (creates his own rap music) and I asked him if he’d collaborate with me. We sat down for a couple hours and created the below poem. I haven’t really edited it, but I wanted to share it. Please feel free to give us feedback.

**********************************************************************************

The Sound of Death

We all don’t want to cry for help,

But sometimes we fear for our health,

Try to run and protect ourselves,

Try to avoid the pain we felt.

 

It used to be we went to school

We learned, we had fun, we lived life,

Empty minds, we followed the rules,

Not knowing the impending strife,

The thought had never crossed our minds,

This moment, a cut in our time,

It has to change, now is the time,

What will you do, government minds?

 

We all don’t want to cry for help,

But sometimes we fear for our health,

Try to run and protect ourselves,

Try to avoid the pain we felt.

 

A normal day, sitting in class,

Listen to our teacher ramble,

Biggest thought was letting time pass,

Alarm sounds, nothing flammable,

So many sounds, screaming abound,

Bullets whiz by, fear for my life,

Loud crashes, bodies hit the ground,

Now I won’t live to ninety-five.

 

We all don’t want to cry for help,

But sometimes we fear for our health,

Try to run and protect ourselves,

Try to avoid the pain we felt.

 

I feared for myself, my friends gone,

A battle ensued, yet I stand,

I’m still stuck here, but they moved on,

Too many fell due to one man,

As I remain, I recollect,

They’re on the ground, their souls have left,

Another mind that’s left unchecked,

So many lives we all bereft.

 

We missed our chance to cry for help,

Without a thought for our own health,

We didn’t run, thought we had stealth,

As bullets fly, their sound is death.

Short Story

Writing a Short Story for my Fiction Writing Class. Here is the first part.

Sitting on the couch, Tom’s fingers were laced through his hair. His limbs shook and he couldn’t find any control. He leaned forward, putting his head between his legs, drawing deep breaths between sobs. On the coffee table before him was a bottle of whiskey, a tumbler filled with much more than two fingers, several empty cans of Skoal, a crumpled paper, and the gun. Oh yes, the gun, staring at him as if mocking, calling out to him to use it. He’d bought it a year earlier and only used it once at a range. He lifted his head and stared at the Heckler and Koch VP9. He wanted to cast it aside, maybe even toss it out a window or something, but then what purpose would it serve?

Sweat and tears dripped down his face, over his red and puffy eyes. How could she do this to me? He picked up the paper and read through the note, scrawled with the angry words of a scorned wife. This was the tenth time he’d read the letter, hoping each time, somehow the message had changed. But it wasn’t to be.

He took the glass, tilted back his head, and drained it in a quick gulp. The whiskey burned all the way down his throat, but he didn’t care. The pain was punishment for his actions and he deserved it. Maybe it’d burn a hole in his stomach. At least he wouldn’t use the gun. Who am I kidding? I’m a coward. His wife had given him every opportunity to be brave; far more than he deserved, but he couldn’t ever do it.

At least the whiskey allowed him to forget, if only for a few moments, maybe even an evening. Then he could deal with all of this tomorrow. He grabbed the bottle in his trembling hand and started filling the glass. Why bother? He brought the bottle to his lips. The burning dissipated in an instant—more than likely it was numb—allowing him to drink a good fifth of the handle.

His hand still shaking, he jumped to his feet and paced the family room. This was the home he shared with his wife and two kids for the past nine years. Their images flashed in his mind. Beautiful Brenda, the woman he’d loved for well over sixteen years. Their two kids, Jordan and Becky. They were too young, too innocent, and wouldn’t understand what was happening. His heart cried out to Brenda, but of course, she wouldn’t answer. It didn’t matter. This was all his fault. He had to fix it. That’s what he did best, wasn’t it? He fixed bad situations. Could he do it again?

The room wasn’t large, so after a few steps, he turned and headed back in the other direction. With each pass of the coffee table, the gun cried out to him like a baby crying for its mother. He ignored it; looked away, tried his best to distance himself from the table. Maybe if I don’t see it, don’t make eye contact, it’ll leave me alone. But it didn’t. Like a lighthouse guiding a ship, it was a beacon calling to him, clawing at his mind to let it in.

What’s Going on With J.G. Gatewood

The Broncos Suck!!!

The Nuggets are on a Tear!!! (Although, don’t get me started on the last game against Memphis)

It’s almost Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday as I love to eat (I have gone low carb, so we’ll see how the turkey day holiday treats me this year)

I’ve lost 20 lbs.

I’m letting my hair grow out… some…

That’s exactly what you wanted to hear, right? Why you clicked on the blog post? I’ve been shaving my head for the past 15 years. Not because I was losing it, oh no, that isn’t it at all. I wore a hat every day and it was just easier. So now that I’m not wearing a hat every day, decided to try growing it out a bit longer to see how it goes.

Haha, but enough with my sports teams and hair. That’s really not why I created this post. I haven’t put out a lot of writing lately. There are a couple reasons for that. Many of you know, Vampire’s Curse will be releasing soon. Don’t have an official release date, but will definitely post when I do. This is the first book being published by a publisher and not by me. It has been difficult to give up the control, but I am excited to see how that goes. The edits and updates for this book have taken a lot of my time. Hopefully it will all be worth it.

I also decided to go back to school. So, since August I have been working on my Masters of Arts in Professional Fiction Writing from the University of Denver. It is very exciting, but also time consuming. I’ve never had any formal writing training, I have a Finance Bachelors after all, so this is an exciting time for my family and I.

The bottom line, I don’t have much time to write. That will change in one week when I finish my current class, and I don’t begin my next two classes until January 7th. So I will have some time. I know people are waiting for book 4 in the Keepers of the Orbs Series. I am currently about 50% of the way complete on the rough draft. But I also promised the publisher I would have the second book in my new Vampire series done by the end of the year. Once I finish my class, all my effort will go into finishing that. But once I am done, I plan on working on book 4. Expect the release at some point in 2019.

Speaking of 2019, I plan on revising my Sci Fi Novel, Saukarian Children. The rough draft is complete, but as my critique group pointed out, it needs a lot of work. I will basically be doing a complete rewrite on that book, but I also plan on releasing it at some point in 2019 (probably later in the year). And I’ll be excited to put all my new skills from school to work on this manuscript.

I will also be enrolled in a short story writing class. I plan on posting all of that writing to my blog, which I’ll be excited to share with you all.

What’s on the docket for the weekend you ask? My wife is also working on her Masters (her 2nd). She is a 5th grade teacher who has been teaching the gifted and talented children for the past five or six years. She decided she should get trained in it and is almost done. But, she has class all day tomorrow. So I’ll be hanging Christmas lights on the house while the weather is nice. Don’t worry, I won’t be turning them on until after Thanksgiving, but in case the weather turns (which I really hope it does, last year was very dry here in Denver) I want to have it done.

We’ll also be decorating the inside of the house tomorrow night when my wife gets home from school. Those will be turned on. We usually decorate the first weekend of November, so we’re a bit late this year. We put up so much stuff, it doesn’t pay to have it up for only a couple weeks. And let’s face it… my wife loves Christmas. Anything to make her happy, I am on board with.

My youngest is celebrating his 8th birthday (actually on Thanksgiving this year) but we are having a party on the 17th. Pray for me. Twelve 8 year olds, running and screaming through my house.

Anyway, just wanted to throw out an update. Expect more from me in the way of books in the next year. And I know it’s early, but I’m getting in the holiday mood, so I’ll leave you with this.

Shitters

Don’t forget to check out my books by clicking on the Books link above.