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Least I Could Do

January 29, 2014 1 comment

A comic strip that I really enjoy is Least I Could Do. Most of the time, this is a funny story about a group of friends. The story is centered around one womanizing guy with a really different take on reality. The main character doesn’t even have a box to think in, he is way out there. The comic is entertaining and I have been following it for years.

This week is a little bit different.

Right now, the strip is doing a feature on great people. This strip is the one that started the week. For anyone who doesn’t follow the link, it is the comic telling you that it wants to redefine celebrity by pointing the spot light on people who are real heroes in the world. The message is simple; you are watching people who are trying to stretch their time in the spot light rather than looking around and being inspired by those who are making a difference in the world. After you look around, follow the example. Don’t worry about who is marrying who or who is buying what or who is sleeping with what. Instead, change something for the better.

My favorite quote, the one that got me to start writing is, “Do what you always do, get what you always get.” These guys did something different in an attempt to get their fans to do something different.

I think LICD is on to something. This is a good idea and posting about it seemed like a good way to support it. Consider the message.

This week’s story is one that I have submitted to a couple of contests but it didn’t make it. I like it, but I think I will share it rather than continuing to submit it around. I hope you enjoy it.

L. E. White

New Age

Jeremy leaned back, using the wall to hold him up as he tried to focus on his breathing.

Or his heartbeat.

Or on the way his knees were shaking.

He tried to focus on something, anything, as long as it wasn’t the voice.

“Are you ok?”

He jumped and shrieked at hearing yet another voice and squeezed his eyes shut. He refused to look around and find that nobody was there.

Again.

He smacked the side of his own head, just above the left ear where the node had been implanted while mumbling, “Not there,” over and over. For a week, he had been tapping or smacking the antenna that wrapped around his ear and allowed the node to connect to the net. The tech’s and diag’s and code monkeys had all examined the logs and outputs. They told him it was his imagination. One old man mentioned a feedback loop but the younger designers had declared that impossible. The technology was not the problem.

They had said Jeremy should go get a chem to help.

Like a chem was going to stop the voice. It would just knock him out so that he couldn’t hear it until he woke up again.

“Stop hitting yourself. You’re leaking.”

Jeremy opened his eyes and looked into a pair of brown ones. The tall, chocolate man had an expression between disgust and concern, though Jeremy could not tell to which side it fell. He followed the man’s gaze, to see the red on his hand.

“And now you see me,” the voice whispered. It was hidden inside of white noise from static that was not supposed to be in the signal. It had been keeping him awake, talking about how he would die and making him sick if he tried to eat. It was always there.

“Stop talking.”

“I was just checking you,” Mr. Chocolate said. The words had a deep baritone tone that Jeremy would have enjoyed imagining again if it weren’t for the sickening whisper through the white noise blur that followed up with, “And you can’t stop me from keeping tabs on you.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Fine.” Rumbled, real and alive.

“But I will just come back later.” Hissed, horrible and terrifying.

“No.” Jeremy lunged at the man. His fingers curling around the fellows neck while thumbs ground into the wind pipe of the good Samaritan. “No more. No more. No More!”

The noise of dying drowned out the electronic whine. Listening to the guy choke and gasp in his hands brought Jeremy the first reprieve from the voice in almost a month.

When the body went limp, there was a sound of bubbles popping and then silence.

He looked around before raising one hand to cup around his ear. He waited, shallow, rapid breathing beginning to make him light headed, for something else to be said. Jeremy looked at the body and sat down. He mumbled “All I wanted was quiet,” as he gripped his head in his hands and began to rock.

The street was still. Nothing moved. No breeze rustled papers. There was only silence until the sirens. “Woot, Whoop. Woot, Whoop.”

There, in the sound, in the waves generated by small electric speakers, Jeremy could hear it again.

“We have you now. Move you into a cage and talk to you all day. All day Jeremy.”

“No!”

There was no threats yelled. When Jeremy charged over the top of the fresh corpse to get to the officers they both raised their weapons. A storm of metal punched holes through his chest and left him lying on the ground. He was leaking so much more now.

He gasped his last, crying and choking on blood as he heard one final hiss.

“You will never be free.”

***

A space below a window seal held the truth. A tiny man stood upside down on the bottom of the ledge. A flash of darkness that one of the officers dismissed as an insect shot out of Jeremy’s cooling ear and landed beside the tiny man. Shadow withered and twisted until a second dark little man stood beside the first.

“I’ll be damned. You did it.”

“I told you it would work.”

“But how did you get past the iron?”

The second turned to the first, “I told you, they have no iron. They live in a world dominated by silicon and gold. The Iron Age is over.”

“He had no iron?”

“None. Clothes held together with elastic and gadgets of plastic to help face the world. His shoes didn’t even tie.”

The watcher turned to his companion. “We must tell the rest.”

“We shall tell them all and a new age, The Age of the Fae, shall rise from the blood of man and his technology.”

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xkcd: Winter

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

xkcd: Winter.

 

Deep and interesting. Very important from a “description and expressing yourself through writing” point of view.

Categories: Random, web comic

Sea Song

January 22, 2014 1 comment

I just saw an episode of “River Monsters” on Netflix. I am sure I know where some of my future nightmares will be going. I also know where a future story will be headed.

And as much as I like to travel, the Amazon is now off my list. I am not a fan of water, but this just made it that much worse.

L. E. White

Sea Song

I stood in the shallow surf, feeling the waves push at my ankles. The sky was dark as a storm approached but the larger waves had not yet reached my beach.

I felt the pulse of the sea, the heartbeat of the ocean, and I wished that I could live within it.

I listened to the water splashing against the fat rubber wheels on my chair, and closed my eyes. I fought against the tide of my own saltwater as I think about swimming. I know I would sink, but I dream of other things.

The splashing of the waves over the tops of my pale feet leaves tiny grains of sand on my skin. After a day like this, I will try to keep from washing the sand off my feet for as long as I can. I think the longest I managed was three days but being able to look at me feet and see the sand is worth it.

“So you dream of my world?”

I turn and look over my shoulder. An old man walks towards me, following the path of my wheels that the ocean is trying to wash away.

“Your world,” I say. “What makes the ocean any more your world than anyone else’s?”

He walks around me and stops, turning so that he is facing me. “I wanted it so I took it. That makes it mine”

He is tanned, skin dark brown and cracked like mud in August. His beard and hair are wind swept, like he has been standing in front of one of those big construction fans. His eyes are the same blue green of the water you see in those commercials for a cruise to the islands.

And they do not have the black center or the white outline that my eyes do.

“What?” The only word I can say. It doesn’t do justice to what I am thinking and feeling, but it is the only word I can manage.

“I can hear the song your heart is singing,” he says. “I can give it voice like you have never known. That is within my power when you are in my world.”

My mouth goes dry as I try to answer. I know the right thing to do is say no. I have been told to avoid strangers my whole life. My mother and then my nurses all warned me about what could happen.

“You can’t protect yourself,” they said.

“You can’t escape from someone,” they said.

“You need to be careful or something bad will happen to you.”

Bad, like the time I shared kisses with another tenant of the home. She and I experimented but never went all the way before her family transferred her.

Bad, like the orderly who used me for his pleasure. He would come in during the early hours and use my body. He was gentle though he never asked if he could. He never asked and I never told.

Or did they mean bad like the doctor with the new experimental treatment who listened to me scream because it left me feeling like my skin was burning?

Bad, like the nurse who would smile when she pinched me and left a bruise?

Or bad, like the man who pushed me down a flight of stairs because I was in his way?

I knew what I should have said, but instead, I closed my mouth and nodded.

The man turned and walked away. I sat there, staring after him for a few seconds before following him down the beach. I didn’t touch the joystick on my chair.

But I followed him just the same.

I was led underneath a pier. I could smell the rot of seaweed wrapped around the posts. The sound of waves bouncing against manmade stone made it feel like I was in the middle of a raging storm.

He turned to face me again, and my chair rolled right up to his feet.

Wide, calloused hands gripped me under my arms and lifted me out of the chair with about as much effort as a mother lifting her newborn. I hung, limp and helpless, staring into those sea foam eyes while my brain screamed at me to try and run away.

He lowered me until my knees bent because my feet would sink no further into the sand. I tilted my head to look up into his eyes and watched him lean forward to kiss me.

His lips were chapped from wind and I thought I could see salt crusted at the corner. I wanted to kiss him back, if for no other reason than because I would never have gotten beneath the pier without his help. I leaned my head up, stretching to meet his mouth with mine.

I felt my legs straighten, trying to help me rise up to him.

I felt the weight of my body shift up off of his hands as I stood to kiss him.

Pinpricks coated my feet as my weight shoved them further into the sand. The muscles in my calves and thighs cried out, working for the first time in my life. My world flipped at the combination of standing and kissing. His lips claimed mine as my arms wrapped around his body and pulled our chests together.

When I broke our kiss it was to gasp for air. I tried to repeat the action, but he took my shoulders in his hands and pushed me away.

I don’t know what I looked like, but he laughed out a loud, booming laugh as he looked at my face. I thought for a moment that he was making fun of me, but then his eyes crinkled at the edges. His face took on a devilish mask of playful promise and his mouth turned up at the edges.

I opened my mouth to ask a question, but before a sound crossed my lips he had spun me around so that my back was pressed against him.

He brought on hand up in front of me and rubbed my lower lip with a fingertip. My mind went blank, all thoughts of questions and laughing, insult and injury were lost as he touched me. My lips trembled and my heart began to race until I thought I was going to explode. He undid buttons and unzipped zippers, all the while, allowing his hands to offer gentle touches across my exposed skin.

When everything ended, I was bent over in front of him with my hands buried in the sand. The water of the rising tide now splashed just above my elbows. I was in love with him and in love with his sea, happy beyond any feeling I had known and praying that this wouldn’t end.

He pulled away, dragging his fingers down my spine. He pulled away until only a single finger remained touching the small of my back.

“You sing well.”

I laughed. I had no other response.

“Your song belongs to the sea now. It is a part of it, now and forever.”

“You can have my song any time you want,” I said. My eyes were closed and my breath was slowing down. My legs were shaking but I refused to move back to my chair. I was standing bent over in the sea with a man who owned the ocean and I wasn’t ready to change a thing. I wasn’t ready to give this up.

“Good.”

I felt his finger leave my back. I felt it like someone placing an ice cube in my hand, a sudden and dramatic change in temperature. Then, my body collapsed and I went sprawling into the water.

I tried to roll over so that I could sit up. I shoved down into the sand with my good arm and spun my body over, but my stomach wasn’t strong enough to lift my head above the water. I flung my hand up, feeling the skin chill as it broke the surface to wave around in an attempt to latch onto something that would let me pull myself up. I reached to the side, felt a solid shape and grabbed ahold. I pulled, feeling my shoulder burn as I tried to drag and lift myself above the surface.

My face broke through and I choked on the water I inhaled. I had my hand wrapped around the arm rest of my wheelchair and I was stretched out with my feet pointing towards the sea.

I struggled, fighting for breath and energy as I hauled the dead weight of most of my body out of the water. I snaked my arm though the chair and looked around.

I was alone.

My clothes were on.

I whipped my head back and forth, looking for the man who claimed the sea. My teeth chattered and I began to cry, but nobody came.

The water washed up my body in slow, pulsing waves. I listened to the crashing of the surf against the pylons of the pier and remembered the way it had felt to stand in the sand and kiss.

I cried and sobbed until the water was up to the bottom of the seat. I thought about the song of my heart. The song that he said had made him take notice. I could feel it in my chest and I longed for him to touch me again.

He said my song belonged to the sea now.

I looked out from beneath the pier to where the ocean and the horizon met.

I looked at his ocean and decided that I wanted it for myself.

“This is my ocean,” I said.

Then, I let go.

 

 

 

Categories: Fantasy, Writing

Succubus

January 15, 2014 5 comments

Under the Bed Magazine for January 2014 is officially available. The other contributing authors are Glenn Parker, James L Grant, Rex Crossley, and Chuck Borgia. I will be getting my copy today and I can’t wait to read it.

Seeing my by line anywhere but here just makes me smile. I hope to be able to tell you all about another publication soon. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

L. E. White

Succubus

Sarah looked down at the tall man beneath her rolling hips and grinned. She rubbed her palms up his body, from waist to shoulder, before changing direction and dragging her nails over his skin.

“Oh,” he said. The only comprehensible word he had managed to utter in quite some time.

She kept her motions slow and steady. There was no reason to rush, his hotel room offered more privacy than the backseats of cars where she could typically be found. Tonight offered her a rare chance to savor everything and she would be damned if she missed it.

She wondered if the glowing blue light behind his eyes changed the way she looked. Did her skin glow as if under some bright light or did it leave him blind?

The light had been so bright when she first touched him, but now it was almost gone. Two smoldering coals, fighting to keep from being snuffed out.

When the last of his soul’s radiance faded away she rocked forward and rested her cheek against his cooling chest.

Sarah licked her lips, savoring the lingering taste of her meal.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror

Dork Tower | The Place for All Things Dork

January 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Dork Tower | The Place for All Things Dork.

Every writer and editor who reads this will laugh.

Categories: web comic

Brrrrrr

January 8, 2014 Leave a comment

The power has been out and the house has been cold. All I can really say is just how much I hate snow. Words don’t express the level of loathing that I have for winter in an accurate way. This is not my time of year. I would much rather deal with heat.

In the meantime I think you should buy something to read, curl up in front of a fire and do your best to keep warm. Might I recommend the Cthulhu Haiku collection from Popcorn Press or Under The Bed Magazine. If you would rather have a book, try Sirens Call Publishing for “Slaughter House The Serial Killer Edition Vol. 3

L. E. White

Burn Out or Fade Away

Each step crunched, the snow compacting under her weight as she moved. Each tiny edge of icy pricked at her bare feet. The girl wrapped her arms tight around her chest, clutching at whatever heat she could hold in.

It wasn’t enough.

Her mind wandered as the wind ripped lines of pain along her back. She remembered the fire, sitting beside the crackling red and orange light that warmed her skin and heated her food. She remembered her father coming for her, hand outstretched to accept the bowl of soup she filled for him.

Tonight, he had cast her out.

They weren’t short of food or wood. Her mother had not cried when father had torn her clothes off and shoved her out the door. She had smiled and nodded as the big man stood in front of the door, between the girl and the fire.

“It is time for you to walk the winds,” he said. “It is time for you to find the truth of life and death.”

She was sure she was dying, everything hurt as the wind sliced through her body and cut away the strings that bound her soul to this flesh. She loved her family, and being cast out forced salty tears out of her eyes.

She stumbled and the ground sloped down. The drift hid the truth of the forest and the girl crashed down. Arms and legs spread out as she tried to find purchase, leaving her lying in the snow, turning blue and dying.

She stood again, forced herself to stand and trudge along, looking to the world around her like a living snow man. She moved, like a walking corpse.

A new pain flared through her leg as the jaws of the trap snapped shut on her ankle. She stopped, standing still and staring down at her leg for a full minute before crumpling to the ground. She tilted her head up and let out a long, wailing howl of pain.

Her body trembled as cold and shock fought to see who would kill her. She sobbed and moaned, breaking fingernails and tearing skin as she tried to pull the trap apart.

She wasn’t strong enough.

The girl threw her head back and let out another howl of pain and suffering. She screamed at the world until her throat was raw. Then, she dropped her chin to her chest and gave herself permission to leave this world.

A flash of heat erupted from her chest. She felt her skin ripple and pull as her muscles shifted of their own accord. Her heart pulsed, sending waves of blistering heat out. The girl opened her eyes and watched her skin split like an over cooked sausage, releasing sparks and embers to sizzle on the snow.

She arched her back and cried out again, falling back into the snow.  The girl could hear the cracking of her flesh and the sizzling of the snow as it turned to steam and rose in great clouds above her.

The jaws of the trap around her foot began to glow, then to droop. They changed from one bright color to another until falling away in globs to hiss in the snow.

She continued to scream until she ran out of air. The heat of the fire inside her burned away the air so that she could not take another breath.  The girl twisted and withered on the bare ground, blackening the soil as the trees around her began to burn.

A man and woman stood inside their cabin. They held each other and watched the glowing sky until a ball of flame shoot out of the forest, soaring up into the darkness.

They smiled at each other, proud as peacocks, as their fledgling learned to fly.

Categories: Fantasy, Flash Fiction, Writing

Available Soon – Under the Bed Magazine

January 1, 2014 8 comments

I am happy to tell everyone that you should head over to’ Under the Bed Magazine’ and purchase the next issue, which includes my story, “Stick Figures.” I just received the cover art and I like this.

UtB Jan Cover

I really liked this story too. I submitted this to more places than any other story I have written and I am so happy to see that it will soon be available. Head on over and help support a great magazine.

On a different note, I found a submission call for Noir fiction. There was one very serious problem with that. I don’t know what Noir really means?

Sure, I get that a lot of the old detective novels fit the genre. I understand that there seems to be a gritty sort of feel to the stories. That doesn’t mean I understand it.

So, as with every other lapse in my education, I headed to Google for the answer. This lead me to Wikipedia and then down a rabbit hole of short stories that fit the genre.

Man, is this stuff depressing.

A lot of Noir seems to thrive on a dark, sad ending. You might or might not see it, but you feel it. I may be reading this incorrectly, but it seems like Noir is suffering. I didn’t read a single happy ending.

Lately, there have been some things like that in my life. Things that push you down and you just don’t see how you are going to get out from under them. Even if the way to do so is right there, you don’t feel like it fixed anything.

So, I decided to try and write to the genre. This story is my first attempt. If you are a fan of Noir, please take a moment and let me know if this is on the right track. If not, fine. I don’t see this as a common style for me, but I still wanted to try it.

I think that is the important thing.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story.

L. E. White

Coverage

Meredith ran her hand down the leg of her slacks, smoothing the fabric over and over in an unconscious, nervous gesture. She refused to make eye contact with the two women on the other side of the room, afraid that either one of them might want to start a conversation. Neither one had ever seen her to know who she was, but she was sure they would recognize her voice.

“I am sorry,” she had said to Mrs. Martin. “But that is considered an elective surgery by your provider. It isn’t covered.”

Mrs. Martin had been sobbing on the other end of the phone. “How can it be considered an elective surgery if I am in so much pain that I can’t stand up long enough to take care of my family?”

Pleading and blubbering, the woman had refused to get off the phone. Meredith wasn’t allowed to hang up on a customer, that would have been rude, but she wasn’t allowed to do anything to help them either.

“Your job is to listen to their complaint, record it in the system, and then tell them whatever response comes up in the prompt box.” Mr. Franklin had said. “No more and no less.”

So she had done her job despite hating every minute of it. She had sat through the cursing fits and through the torrents of blubbering to keep putting food on the table.  “We need the insurance.” She kept telling her husband. “You might make enough money but we need insurance.”

He rubbed her shoulders when she would sit at the table, starring out the window.  He would sit quietly and wait while she ranted about someone who had yelled and cursed at her. He would hold her against him when she broke down and cried over what someone had blamed her for.

Now, he was in front of an x-ray machine while a short, balding man took pictures of his guts. He was smiling when he walked away, to make her feel better, but she had watched his coffee cup tremble when he lifted it to his lips.

When Tom stepped out, he smiled, but only with his mouth. She forced a smile in return, despite the fact that she couldn’t stand up yet. His eyes stole her strength and she blinked as fast as she could too keep from smearing her mascara.

She had typed in the complaint yesterday, even though there hadn’t been a call. She had typed it in and sat staring at the screen until her boss had asked if she was ok. She had nodded her answer to the question before walking into the bathroom to lean against the stall and sob.

Meredith already knew what the prompt would say.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror, Writing