Writing the Miserable Character

This is a personal post.

Triggers for descriptions of mental illness, notably depression, mentions of suicide and brief mentions blood and sharp objects.

A few days ago a friend said to me, an edge in his voice, “You’re not a cheerful person”. I never bothered asking why he said that, so suddenly and sharply to my agreements that I was a cheerful person who was miserable on the inside. I like to think I know the answer, and hearing it from them would do me no good.

But it got me thinking. It made me think about the fundamental truth of my being, the one that manifested itself years ago and never ceased to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proud of being depressed and that being an obvious aspect of my personality. All I’ve ever wanted to be was a good person. In my mind this meant being cheerful, being open, spreading good vibes where ever I went. My entire dream self is someone people loved because he could love them and, perhaps most of all, love himself.

I’m starting to wonder if I could ever be that man. But most of all I’m starting to wonder if the reason I’m so far from him is because I’m spending so much time trying to be him. I can’t force my depression to go away. I can become better at hiding it sure, which is essentially what I’ve been working towards but… It should be obvious why that’s not an optimal way to live. It’s easy to tell myself “Tomorrow, I will make my friends happy and pretend everything is okay”, but it’s so fucking hard to do that. There’s no point in kidding myself.

I’m a miserable wreck and everybody who knows me knows it.

So, what does this all have to do with writing? Well, if I’m not a cheerful person how can I force myself to write cheerful character? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with a nice, cutsey story idea and failed to write it. It’s not in me, I get a few lines in and I putter out.

I think I’ve been scared to write horror again because something inside of me feels like if I allow myself to, I’ll somehow make everything worse. What person in my life would read the kind of terrible things I’m itching to write and even think to continue befriending me? In these wee hours of the night I listen to stuff like Linkin Park and Disturbed, cliche emo bands that people like to make fun of. I used to listen to them a lot back in Middle School… I reflect upon how so foolishly I romanticized violence and self-harm back then. I wondered what it was like being mentally ill. I would’ve never predicted that I’d be sitting in college some night, unable to stop myself from cutting into my flesh, over and over. It was fucked up, a lot of my life has been.

Yet, why do I keep going back to that place back in Middle School? What is it about that romanticization of blood and pain that entice me to write gore-fest masterpieces? What is it about the past I tell everybody I condemn that I want so badly? If I know now how horrible it is to experience why do I want to replicate it on paper so much?

Even as I write this I’m scared to see what my friend my think, if he ever does read this piece. If I were him I’d accept that I’ve been stagnant and would probably not be writing anything for quite some time.

At any rate, at around 3:30 AM I will write my first dark piece in quite some time. I will publish it on here, for better or for worse and then in the morning proper I will reflect on it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll actually get somewhere.

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Writing the Miserable Character

I’m Different: Masculinity and Women

This is a post trying to explain my thoughts on how I see a lot of women talk about what separates them from to social expectations of femininity. In other words, girls who brag about not being like “other girls”. I’ll touch upon person matters maybe once or twice but it’s not significant enough to warrant a duel category.

Content warnings include: Very infrequent use of sexist slurs (specifically the term “slut shame” as it has a slur in its name), binary viewpoint (as in, I’ll be talking almost exclusively in guy vs. girl terms as this is the easiest way to configure my thoughts on this matter. That isn’t to say I’m unaware that non-binary people may be affected by these dynamics, I just haven’t observed enough non-binary folk speak to this kind of thing to form ideas about it), and discussion of patriarchy.

I’ll be up front about using Tumblr on a very frequent basis, I like the site and I generally like the content I’m provided. But I’m far from being uncritical of the trends that circulate the website. One of which is the frequent ridicule of girls who try and separate themselves from other girls by bragging about traits which, in the big picture, aren’t all that unique for a girl to have.

Now, I’m not a girl, but I was treated like one for the vast majority of my life. I thought I was a girl and so did everybody else. I remember in Middle School falling into the same thought process as the girls I’m talking about. I thought because I rejected make-up, fashion, gossip, and other stereotypically “feminine” behaviours and interests that I was special. I thought I was a unique person, but most importantly, I thought I was better than all those other girls.

So often this happens, mostly with girls who are young (but someone may maintain this thought process until much later in life and perhaps for their entire lives). Someone who is aware of how patriarchy functions, and how competition between girls is particularly damaging to feminist ideas and movements, may find these girls obnoxious. It’s easy to roll ones eyes at their claims of being unique, better, and different over traits that one is well aware not only exist in many women, but can exist without conflicting with “feminine” interests and traits.

But I don’t think that’s particuarly right to do, as it completely overlooks the complex systems that tend to produce such behaviours. After all, in a patriarchal society, masculine traits are praised. Men are the top dogs and the more masculine a man is the more valued they are. It makes sense that women who find themselves naturally drawn to, or displaying, masculinity will start seeing themselves as better than their more feminine peers. They are basically saying “Look at me, I do all these things so I’m not weak like them. Therefore, I am worth more as a person and this should be reflected in how my peers treat me”.

Often the behaviour of the guys around a girl like this will actually provide reinforcement of that attitude, at least to some extent. Particuarly when both parties are younger (Middle School to early High School age), a girl with masculine traits may be treated with far more respect than her feminine peers. She may be praised and have the “privilege” of hanging out with guys and being apart of their recreational activities. More importantly, she isn’t seen as threatening. Her presence as a masculine girl doesn’t directly conflict with the guys masculinity.

(On that note, later on in life, the straight girls who hold these beliefs may find themselves being pushed aside in terms of romantic and sexual encounters for girls who are more feminine. In terms of straight partnership, a masculine girl is conventionally undesirable. As this person grows older still they may find guys growing even more distant as they become more and more intimidated by them. They may be called names like “bitch” and perhaps actively roadblocked in their careers.)

I feel like the irony in making fun of these girls is that it’s really no better than what those girls are doing to others. It’s still putting another girl down and creating tensions and abrasion between women.

I’ve found the best approach to be an indirect challenge of the ideas that person is putting forth. For example: Slut shaming is very common among those girls. This is the notion that because a woman sleeps with many people (particuarly men) they are bad, dirty, and undesirable. The girls who hold masculine traits often abstain from frequent sexual intercourse and brag about it as to make themselves seem more valuable. Slut shaming is something that many who are in feminist circles agree is very toxic and sexist. The very definition of the word slut varies wildly, with some people feeling that even sleeping with so much as more than one guy in a wide timespan warrants the usage of the word in its oppressive context.

When my childhood best friend started to slut shame I started asking her questions. Why would the nature of a woman’s sex life negate their intellect? Why would the number of partners a woman has been with erase her accomplishments? Why bother factoring in someones private life when talking only about their professional accomplishments? Furthermore, the amount of sex one has with different people doesn’t define ones personality. Someone can be kind and gentle and still like to have lots of sex, one does not negate the other.

Basically what I’m getting at is that bullying someone over a problematic belief, particuarly when that belief stems from ignorance, isn’t generally a great way to give that person a reality check. It’s certainly does not provide them with an alternate way of thinking, and instead aggravates them and makes them feel bad.
Now I’m far from being a person who can, with any authority, tell girls what they can and cannot do in order to foster a healthy community and a movement to obtain equal status to men. Furthermore, I understand that aggressive responses to oppressive ideas is often a valid response. People who are oppressed are so often expected to be educating towards their oppressors and it gets exhausting. Though in this case we have intra-group tensions, so I feel like it’s a bit more valid to be critical of aggressive tactics. At any rate, take my words with a grain of salt and understand that I do not wish to directly impose my beliefs. Rather, I simply want to get my words out there. Perhaps people will agree with my thoughts who can speak with that authority. Perhaps they will not and let me know.

Either way I really wanted to get this off of my chest and onto some kind of medium.

I’m Different: Masculinity and Women

A Difficult Conversation

This is a creative post! For better or worse I’ll admit straight up I’ll be posting a lot of My Little Pony related fanfic ideas/drabbles. I have an ongoing story I’d really like to continue so I need to flex my muscles, but hopefully I’ll have something original soon! I’ll try to explain the context within the story so if you’re not privy to the show please try to read anyways and let me know if you could keep up.

Summary:The ex-student of an immortal goddess and ruler of a country called Equestria finds herself having nightmares about her former mentor. She has to confront her guilt and decide once and for all if she should try and apologize.

Content warnings: It’s a bit horror styled. There’s implied death but nothing explicit. After that it’s basically what would be categorized as Sad/Slice of Life on FiMFiction.net. I think the tags are self explanatory.

The castle halls were quiet and dark. Sunset Shimmer made her way through the tall hallways, her unicorn horn illuminating the way with teal light. She found herself disturbed by the still emptiness she was surrounded by. Where were all the royal guards?

After a few minutes of walking the golden unicorn’s apprehension gave way to dread. Her pace inadvertently quickened as her mind raced through scenarios. Had the castle been overrun in an invasion? Had she been knocked out by a foe who proceeded to wipe her memory? Was Celestia, her beautiful and immortal teacher, somewhere out in the world fighting for her life?

As her limbs carried her towards the throne room Sunset could picture her mentor almost perfectly. A huge white pony with a slim yet powerful body. In Sunset’s mind she was wearing royal armor, her elegant wings spread wide and her long horn illuminated in the fire of her magic. She was fighting off foe after foe with all of her might. But… Maybe… Even a goddess could be…

“Sunset Shimmer!” a voice called out, abruptly pulling her from her disturbing thoughts. Sunset stopped and whirled around, her horn brightening in a display of raw power. She could see a tall figure in her intensified glow. The pony was still enshrined in shadows, but Sunset knew of only one pony that could match the figure’s frame before her.

The unicorn’s heart skipped a beat and her green eyes widened in surprise. “Princess!” she cried, galloping towards the figure. All of her fears that concerned Princess Celestia vanished in an instant.

That is until she got close enough to see the figure was most certainly not the Princess. For the second time that day (night?) the poor pony stopped abruptly. Her heart pounded wildly as she took in the new alicorn before her.

Like the alicorn that was her mentor, this pony bore both wings and a horn. That’s where her similarities with Celestia ended. Her coat was as black as coal. Her eyes were cold and the pupils were shaped like those of a cat. But her most distinct features was her mane and tail. As with Celestia they seemed to flow in a wind others could not feel. But unlike the gentle pastel colors of the princess, they seemed to capture the night sky itself. If Sunset weren’t mortified by her situation she would’ve been enamored with the sparkling “stars” in the pony’s mane and tail.

The golden unicorn backed up a little and found her voice. “Who are you!?” she demanded, unable to keep the fear from tainting the question. “Where’s Princess Celestia?!” The alicorn before her simply smirked. “Princess Celestia?” she inquired rhetorically. Her voice was smooth despite a very faint lisp. Suddenly she broke out into a grin, showing off dangerously sharp fangs. “My dear older sister is exactly where she ought to be! Banished to the very same prison that held me for a thousand years!”

As the dark alicorn before her laughed, Sunset tried to cast an offensive spell but found her horn non-responsive. “No!” she cried, launching herself recklessly at her opponent. The alicorn simply stopped her with a quick burst of magic. Sunset cringed at the powerful dark magic that gripped her body, holding her above the red carpet.

“Yes! Thanks to you, who neglected her duties as my poor sister’s faithful student, I have been able to return! The night will last forever and I, Nightmare Moon, shall claim my rightful place as sole ruler of Equestria!!”

Sunset found herself screaming out in disbelief and fear as Nightmare Moon cackled.

Then she opened her eyes.

At first she panicked at the sight of pitch blackness. Her horn ignited, revealing a rather large room. The pony shifted her body so that she was only half lying down.

Slowly everything clicked into place. She wasn’t in the capitol of Canterlot confronting Nightmare Moon. She was however, still in a castle, but this one was owned and tended to by Princess Twilight Sparkle.

As her breathing regulated Sunset used her magic to ignite the oil lamps in the bedroom. She was safe… For now. Her first night back in Equestria and she just had to have nightmares! She thought she was done with those years ago!

With a sigh the pony climbed out of the extremely comfortable bed she had been resting in. As much as she’d love to stay resting for the rest of the night, the adrenaline from her ordeal hadn’t quite worn off leaving her feeling jittery.

The unicorn’s thoughts quickly turned to the dream she just had, and to the beautiful princess that it centered on. At the mere thought of her old mentor the pony felt a spike of pain in her chest.

How could she have been so foolish? The day she turned on the alicorn and fled Equestria is one she will never forget. The day she lost everything she had worked to build as Celestia’s most faithful student. She had been a magical protégé, a unicorn with a destiny to become great.

“Why can’t you see I’m ready?!” the unicorn screamed at the princess “I’m the most talented student you’ve ever had! I can master any spell you throw at me in minutes! This is my destiny I know it!”

Sunset tensed up at the memory, the way her teacher just… Stood there, gazing at her with cold pink eyes.

“You are not ready Sunset Shimmer” the white pony’s voice was calm and quiet, but it was filled with anger. “I have told you this many times. Power alone isn’t enough to ascend! Now please, go to your quarters”.

“I hate you!!” Sunset scream, the book she’d been holding in her magic shot towards the princess at incredible speeds. But Celestia was quicker and quickly seized the book in her own golden glow.

“Guards! Escort my…. Ex-student… To her chambers” she commanded.

Sunset Shimmer closed her eyes and took a deep breathe. No matter how many times she told herself to stop thinking about what happened she still found herself revisiting the memory.

After what had happened both parties were furious at each other. As Sunset Shimmer was being escorted she decided that she knew of one way to prove herself once and for all. She knocked the guards out and went through a magical portal, away from Equestria, and into another world.

She’d lived there for almost three years terrorizing other teenagers at a school. That was before she returned to steal a powerful artifact from Equestria, before Twilight Sparkle had followed her into that world and defeated her.

It wasn’t until she had been at her most vulnerable did the magic of friendship find her. She turned over a new leaf, found a life where she didn’t have to bully others into listening to her.

If only fixing her relationship with Celestia would be as easy as making those friends. Sunset stopped her pacing and set a deliberate path towards a large window. She stopped to look towards the moon, which still seemed so blank without the familiar unicorn silhouette.

“Thanks to you, who neglected her duties as my poor sister’s faithful student..” the memory of Nightmare Moon’s voice whispered in the back of her mind. Ultimately, it was Twilight Sparkle who saved Equestria when Nightmare Moon returned. It was Twilight Sparkle who brought back Princess Luna, commander of the night and Princess Celestia’s sister.

No wonder why Twilight was now a princess. Despite all of her guilt Sunset Shimmer had to admit to feeling just slightly jealous of Celestia’s other student. If she hadn’t been so horrible to those around if… If she’d just listen to her mentor… Would she be where Twilight was now?

Speaking of Twilight… The purple pony wouldn’t stop nagging Sunset about seeing Celestia. Something that Sunset wanted to avoid like she’d avoided taco tuesdays back at Canterlot High School.

As she traced her eyes over the countless stars Sunset return to the same question she’d been asking herself since she’d been reformed… Was she really ready to see the pony she assaulted and ran from all those years ago?

She still didn’t have an answer.

 

A Difficult Conversation

Digitalizing the State Exams

This is a thought piece discussing what I think would be the advantages of switching state exams to a fully online system.

Content warnings: Discussion of exams and terrible understanding of how anything works (yet I’m trying anyways).

I hate standardized tests but I gotta say it would make a lot more sense to have students take digital exams than paper ones.

I mean, at least with multiple choice portions. With all the information and scores archived digitally there’s little room for error in grading and calculating. The curve would be fairly reliable since the database would be able to compare a current years curve to the previous years with little effort.

Plus it could track across grade levels as well. Let’s say someone is in 9th grade and their year has a grade average of… 85%. When they take the 10th grade exams next year it could be reliably guesses that they will average a grade of 80-90% based on the previous years performance.

Then that could be compared to the 10th graders from the previous year (when this class was 9th grade).

So our new 10th graders averaged 75% on their, let’s say more specifically, Math exam. This turns out to be better than last years 10th grade kids, who averages 70%, bWut it was worse then their average as 9th graders which was 85%.

So the people in charge decide maybe they should tweak the exam. A chronic problem with the Regents exam (and I think it applies to others too) is that the people who design the tests do so very poorly. There’s been numerous examples of questions that cause grades to tank dramatically because almost everybody gets them wrong.

I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to think there could be a program that automatically generate Regents exams based on previous exams and exam scores. A new Regents exam could be generated using past ones where people had decent scores. If necessary a team of humans could double check the work done by the machine.

Though it would take some trial and error finding the “perfect” state exam. If one uses the highest average years it’s likely the machine will continuously formulate easier and easier exams. But obviously taking the years that had the lowest scores would produce harder and harder exams.

I’m not entirely sure how it would all work frankly. But my instinct tells me it’s a decent enough idea. Certainly better than the mess we have now.

Of course what I’d really like to see is getting rid of state exams all together, because honestly, eff them.

Digitalizing the State Exams

Cynicism and Alternative Child Culture

This is a both a thought and personal post. So I won’t be making a third one this week since this covers both. It talks about emo kid culture and how I see most young adults (people around 19-23 in this case) treat it, with personal experiences on my part. Content warnings include references to self-harm, bullying/abuse and descriptions of mental illnesses like depression.

One thing that has always troubled me on some level but never really spoke about is how mocked emo culture is. It seems like a logical thing to do, silly kids wanting to act all emotional and angsty when clearly nothing is wrong in their lives. I’ll admit firsthand that yes, some of them do come across very superficial in a lot of ways. But I think there’s more underneath there than most people want to take in at first glance.

Growing up emo culture was my first step into alternative lifestyles and cultures. My emo phase as it were didn’t last very long and I quickly transitioned into gothic culture. There was still very many aspect of emo culture present (and I’ll get to why in a moment) but at that age I actively strove for and succeeded in replicating more mature presentations. Goth can be considered the adult version of emo, depending on what faction of goth one is looking at.

But that’s straying from the topic a little bit. One of the main concerns with the mocking of emo culture that I have first and foremost is the dismissal of how these kids really feel. Teenagers, especially those who are from 12-16 or so, are probably the most vulnerable to adult criticism. Not that it’s entirely unjustified to be unhappy and uncomfortable with a teens tendency to be impulsive. But there’s a very easy pitfall that pretty much every adult (myself included) tend to fall into, which is when one completely dismisses a kids emotions.

Why exactly is it okay as an adult to shut down and dismiss a teenagers feelings? Yes, they tend to be over dramatic and irrational. Yes, someone should probably try to put things into some kind of perspective. But that doesn’t make how that person feels any less real. I honestly think a big reason a kid acts out is because people don’t take their feelings seriously, especially girls, and especially kids who are emo.

But the mockery of emo culture by adults is somehow even deeper than just the normal dismissal of emotions. Many people I know have gone through an emo phase, they usually remain to this day drawn to alternative cultures and pretty much everybody has significant mental illnesses. As in, this affects their day to day life.

Let me return to my childhood from a second. I am Autistic, and it should have been obvious as early as 5th grade that I had a lot of trouble navigating socially. But I didn’t have stereotypical Autism. That is, my symptoms emerged form being too friendly and sociable. Of course as a kid nobody was concerned with how in-your-face friendly I was because that was considered desirable behaviour.

That changed radically in the face of hefty bullying during my early school years. I couldn’t handle the shock that people would want to shun and even hurt me. I had multiple and continuous meltdowns in all my classes, a fairly common reaction from kids with Autism. I developed an anxiety disorder that troubles me to this day. It was a nightmare for me until I was moved into special education.

In the wake of that experience going into puberty I started to be drawn to alternative cultures. My first favorite band, independant of my dad, was Green Day. The second one after that was Linkin Park. I reveled in angsty emotions, I became fascinated with mental illness and the idea of going “crazy”. The first time I ever cut myself I was 11 and wanted to see what it was like, I didn’t enjoy it.

Now as a young adult I have gone through abuse at the hands of both my uncle and father in my later teen years. I got to add major depressive disorder to the little list entitled “Shit Wrong With My Brain”. I don’t shave not because I like having a bunch of body hair but because of a cutting habit I developed, I don’t trust myself with razors anymore.

So what does this mean? I feel like a lot of emo kids feel drawn to this because of issues below the surface. Possible mental illness outcomes that their surrounding environment can either make or break. That’s why not all emo kids remain in alternate cultures or even wind up mentally ill. In that time frame, there was something there, something confusing and new. Something they wanted to figure out and that was how they chose to do it.

I think that’s why I’m so troubled when adults who were emo and even now have developed mental illnesses mock emo kids. We all know the tones and the things they tend to do. Emo kids bolster themselves on being “random”, they pride themselves in being unique in their eyes and tend to be attracted to hyperactive characters.

Emo culture itself is not on the surface one that is about suffering. It almost looks like the romanticize of suffering and mental illness, one that is brought about by that obsession with being different and unique. While simultaneously many emo kids are attracted to comedic hyperactivity and happiness, characters like Gir from Invader ZIM.

That’s exactly why I say that they’re all trying to figure something out. I mean yes, all teenagers are trying to figure out a bunch of new things. But emo in particular are trying to puzzle out things like severe depression, self-harm, anxiety, etc. Many of them are often either too young, or come from backgrounds too stable, to fully understand what those emotions are. Note I say understand and not experience, depression can strike at almost any age. Usually in kids its driven by something visceral like abuse, bullying or gender dysphoria. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, as brain chemistry does have a role in all of this.

Basically what I’m getting at is that I think at least a good chunk of emo kids are experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety and often don’t know what to think of them. Emo is their way of exploring those emotions and trying to process them. I don’t think that’s something we should simply dismiss, let alone mock.

It might be easy for us as adults to forget how confusing and weird it was as a teenager, and it might be easy on a level of cynicism as many young adults are facing monumental pressures and responsibilities we didn’t have when we were younger. But it doesn’t make it good or even right.

Just let teens be teens in this aspect. So what if they bitch unjustly about their parents? As long as they’re not directly hurting themselves or others (as in, actually participating in self-harm or actively being aggressive towards their parents beyond typical arguments) there’s no reason to be so crass towards them.

They’ll figure things out eventually, and mocking them most certainly won’t help.

Cynicism and Alternative Child Culture

Wasteland

I can’t believe I’m actually writing a post that isn’t on a Saturday night! This is a creative piece, based in the Minecraft universe, specifically a modpack called Regrowth. Loosely based on my experiences with a friend playing on a server.

—-

I jump at the sound of the door swinging open before my rational mind reminds me the only thing that could possibly be was my friend, returning from a long day of gardening.  Their voice came shorty after their arrival “How are things coming along?”.

Despite the gentleness of their voice I felt a twinge of annoyance. I had recently lost all of my belongings in a freak accident while traveling to another dimension. I was armed and prepared, having researched it extensively beforehand. My friend, on the other hand, was unsure if we were ready and opted to stay behind. Falling goodness knows how many feet into an ocean of lava I couldn’t help but feel they had the right idea. Perhaps if I hadn’t been so eager… No, it was no use dwelling on what has already happened.

“Well I’m slowly getting my iron back, making the other stuff was simple enough. I think for now I’m going to focus more on the simpler quests” I answered, unconsciously gripping my satchel closer to me as I spoke.

My satchel contained the Quest Book. A powerful magical artifact that could grant items in return for the completion of tasks or a quota of sacrifices. The world around us may have been a hot and dangerous wasteland but the magic here was still as strong as ever.

I hear footsteps approaching from behind me and turn to properly greet my friend. Their clothing and skin were smeared with soil and they had the satisfied look of a days good work. I smiled at them but my attention was diverted by the sight of a vivid orange sunset through the windows. Another day wasted and gone.

“Are you okay?” the question made me snap my attention back to them. Caught off guard by the question I simply stared at them for a few seconds before finding the voice to respond.

“Oh, uh, yeah, I’m alright…” I started, I looked back at the crafting bench I was standing at. “It’s just weird. I’m so used to being able to reclaim my stuff, I feel like it’s such a huge waste of time you know? I could be doing something interesting and productive.”

My friends expression was sympathetic. “I’m sorry” they said, and just like always I knew they meant it. That was enough to make me feel slightly better. “Do you want any help? I’m not entirely sure what I could do but…”.

I waved my hand “No it’s fine. Thank you” I dismissed the offer with a grateful smile.

BANG!

I nearly shot out of my skin at the sound of the door being pounded on. My eyes widened, and my friend was equally startled, neither of us had heard it coming!

My friend was quick to pull out their weapon, an elegantly crafted flint sword. They ran to the door with a quick glance back at me. I swiftly pulled a matching sword out and ran to the door as well, arranging myself so that we could strike from two sides.

The pounding continued as the zombie outside emitted wet snarls and growls. My friend glances at me and I nod, ready to battle. My heart is pounding and I hoped I didn’t look as pale and scared as I felt. Despite thrusting myself into battles and taking numerous risks I always felt very insecure when I was the one being attacked.

There wasn’t much time to ruminate in my emotions as my friend darted out and flung the door open, allowing the humanoid monster to enter.

A part of me shriveled up and recoiled at the smell, sweet and pungent. I struck out with my sword as the zombie advanced on my friend who was also striking out against it. As scary as it was I knew in the back of my mind that the zombie stood no chance against our simultaneous attack.

Wounds quickly opened up all over it’s body and the being began to shiver and shake. I was lost in the whirlwind of battle. My only objective was to kill the beast and I was going to complete it.

With a strangled cry the monster seemed to freeze in place before vanishing in a puff of thick and putrid smoke. I scrambled backwards covering my mouth with a free hand. The magic that created this being had let it be destroyed.

When it cleared our rewards rested on the ground. One zombie brain and one thick slice of rotted flesh. I looked at my friend who was nursing a minor wound. They seemed pretty green around the edges but after fighting a zombie who wouldn’t be?

I moved closer to them with concern. Wounds weren’t always what they appeared to be and while I only see one that could be bothersome I knew I couldn’t know for sure how they were feeling.

“Hey, are you alright? Do you need some food or something?” I felt a twinge of frustration that I was unable to keep the shake out of my voice. They looked up at me and shook their head. “No… I’m fine” they answered. Their voice strangely small sounding. I noticed with relief their wounds were starting to close up.

There was stillness in their air as we stood there, zombie flesh and brains between us. I listened in the night and I heard the unmistakable clinking of bones. I also heard the skittering of insect legs. But both seemed far away…

Yet… Wait…. Did I hear footsteps?

My companion let out a yelp of alarm just as a hissing noise sprung up to my side.

I whipped around, the world slowed down as my eyes took in the green monstrosity that had entered our home.

The last thing I thought before it exploded in a furious cloud of gunpowder and guts was:

Fuck, we left the door open.

Wasteland

Satisfied

Final blog post until after Sunday, the creative one, about finally being able to write something entirely unprompted by anybody else, all on my own. No content warning I can think of but let me know if there should be one!

A young man stares impatiently at the blinking cursor on his screen. Once upon a time the little line beckoned to him. It called him to come and make it fly. Skittering across the page at reckless speeds it  would leave a brilliant contrail of words behind.

But tonight, as it has been for years, the cursor simply sat there. The feeling felt stagnant and old in the man’s stomach. The helplessness of a child far too overwhelmed by the mess he made. He battled it every day, fighting to keep the floor just clear enough for him to breathe.

His slender fingers moved lightly among the keys, they did not press anything, he had nothing to speak of. He looked inside himself for those precious gemstones of creativity. Brilliant little bits of light that were the fuel of stories and poetry, of art and music. But the mess crowded around him so much that he could not detect even the slightest bit of light among the gray.

He was on the verge of giving up when it happened. A sudden blinding light and the flurry of his fingers moving to drum out it’s rhythm. It was imperfect as it was shocking. A dancer who has spent too long without music. But the more he wrote the more he was able to see the colors of what he was creating. The words and imagery he saw and thus wanted others to see.

Cautiously he stumbled and tripped his way over the steps. Taking the time to correct and recollect himself as he went on. Artistic pursuits are often the testament of ones patience as much as ones ability after all.

With a final flourish he completes his piece. A little unsure and unsteady but quivering with the excitement that he had done that which he had gone so long without. He sits back and feels, for the first time in quite awhile, satisfied.

Satisfied