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.

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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.

 

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Poem 3 – Survivor

This was my 3rd poem and probably my favorite. Too many women in my life have been sexually assaulted. I can’t even begin to imagine what someone feels when they go through this. It should never happen, let me just say that from the get go. I hate that it happens and I will die defending someone in this situation. I tied to put it into words as best I could. Much of this comes from input from a number of different women. As always, please, please, please give me feedback.

Raindrops splattering my face

like tears,

but my eyes are dry;

nothing more for me to give.

The storm clouds rage above,

lightning flashes,

thunder crashes.

I’m all alone,

adrift in shame.

Blood runs down my leg,

a trickle.

I shift my dress to cover

my guilt.

This was my fault,

at least that’s what I was taught.

I’m angry, hurt,

why can’t I just die?

But I must go on,

dust off my clothes,

look in a different direction,

while locking my secret away.

A lump gathers

in my throat, blocks the airway

cutting off my breath.

I collapse.

The soft grass caresses me, the sun’s

welcoming embrace pulls me

from the ground, guides me forward

casting the storm aside, brightening

the otherwise gloomy day.

Life suddenly blossoms, birds

chirping, insects buzzing,

breathing new life into my soul.

A burbling stream gathers

my attention. Wading in

the biting, cold water attacks

my legs and feet,

but it isn’t all bad.

A ribbon of dirt, sweat, and blood

floats

downstream, away from me like

the river is cleansing my soul.

I’ll remember this day

forever,

the day a man assaulted me,

and tore away my innocence.

Not Your Grandma’s Vampire

I know… not a great title, but I wanted to be catchy.

My most recent novel released in print back in February. It is now live in eBook format. So for those of you who are like me and only order books electronically, the wait is finally over.

Enough propaganda (I’m sure we’re all sick of that with what is going on here in the U.S.) and on to the point. I’ve read many vampire stories. They are all very interesting, but it seems things haven’t changed with the rest of society. Most stories are the same concepts set forth by Bram Stoker in 1897. I think, Stephanie Meyer tried to make a more modern vampire with Twilight, but it was all very PG and cheesy (IMO, and before the Twilight fans come back at me, I’ve read all the books, and watched all the movies, and in all honesty, I enjoyed them). This isn’t a post to rip apart her work. I was entertained. But after a Twilight binge watching session with my wife (and not the first time we watched the movies), I gave her my thoughts on vampires. When I think of vampires, I think of sex, blood, alcohol, drugs, etc. But at the same time, I wanted to be different. This was the idea for The Vampire’s Curse.

I gave my wife my own ideas and she told me I should make it into a story. Two months later came NaNoWriMo and I said “Fuck it! Let’s do this.” I wanted to stay true to Bram’s original idea, but I wanted to modify it. In The Vampire’s Curse, the vampires are very similar to ordinary people. The sleep like humans, they don’t burn up from the Sun. They exist within human society and try to keep their identities a secret. They were created by Lucifer in rebellion of his fate. But God created his own minions to counter the vampire’s of Earth. I’m going on a tangent, but what I tried to create was a unique vampire story. They use magic. They exist, although hidden in modern society. They have even infiltrated the oval office. I wanted to create a non-PG vampire story and I think I was successful (although you all could tell me otherwise.) I wanted to create an MC that was a mix of Deadpool, but yet still a vampire. He’s not a superhero, and in fact finds trouble around every corner.

So if any of this sounds intriguing, please check out The Vampire’s Curse: Life Eternal. And there will be more. I’m currently working on the next book.

Here is a link to the physical book

And Amazon hasn’t linked the two versions yet, but if you are looking for the eBook, you can get a copy here

Also, don’t forget to visit my website and be sure to sign up for my mailing list.

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