February 5 - 12 (2016)

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February 5 - 12 (2016)

Post by Wlonnie on Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:06 pm

Challenge: You're dying (in whatever situation you like) and as you die, you must record your thoughts on a hard drive. 300-4000 words, express your feelings!

Challenge created by our gracious overlords, Jer and Mels.
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Wlonnie

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Re: February 5 - 12 (2016)

Post by Wlonnie on Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:19 pm

Uncanny Austerities

By Jennica Wlodarczyk


It’s vaguely terrifying, the way I looked to my mother for wisdom. Social workers and psychiatrists always said it wasn’t my fault; that I was just a kid and it was only natural. But for some reason, I can’t find it in my heart to believe them.
My mother had always been a strange lady. She constantly told me to keep my showers short because the government wanted us to conserve water for Syrian refugees. It was a beautiful thought, and I was grateful to live in a time where people were respected simply for being. I didn’t find out until I was older that my mother was simply poor. She could barely afford food, much less showers, but she never even hinted at it. In the back of my mind, I always thought we were troubled rock stars.
When we moved to Winnipeg, she told me that she’d always wanted to write. Apparently it had been her dream since childhood, one that had kept her up past midnight and drove her to stare at the stars. When I asked her why she never did, her reply simply blamed it on a failed high school romance. “But don’t worry, Birdie,” She’d said. “You’re the embodiment of the greatest stories in my head. I don’t need a pen, ‘cause now I’ve got you.”
I don’t think she knew how much pressure that unearthed secret put on me.
My mother died when I was twenty-nine. I’d gone through a whole string of beaus by then. She’d always see the best in each and every one of them, but when she died, I lost my reason to date pretty people. They had all been revered like Princess Di under my mother’s wholesome sight; now, all I saw were their luminous cracks and price tags. No matter how good they seemed at the time, I knew I’d never love a partner with the unadorned sympathy with which my mother loved people.
My mother had an uncanny way of seeing the innocence in others. Cashiers, dealers, teachers – you name it. Everyone was a kid to her if they were alive and kicking. I wish people knew they still had years of childhood after turning eighteen. It’s kind of sad to watch them cry their dreams to sleep after realizing how hard they tried and how much they missed out on.
I kept my mother on a polished bronze pedestal until the year I turned fifty-three. To this day, I don’t know what changed my mind. Maybe it was the memory of the way my mother always painted her nails. She’d choose a colour somewhere in between black’s deepest thoughts and the hue of a rotting violet. After her nails dried, she’d write a single letter on each fingertip so that her left hand spelled out “P-A-N-I-C!” When I asked her why she did it, she’d always answer in obscure, poetic form. Panic! was a band from when she was a kid, and their songs always made her cry. Of course, I never knew if the word “kid” signified if she’d been twelve years old or twenty-five.
Despite her lack of heroism, my mother was a good woman. She saved me from heartache, in the end. I lived single like her, and now, I suppose I’ll die single too. “That’s the price of being an artist, Birdie.” She told me. “No one understands our heads quite like the two of us. If we stick around too much of their crap, we might lose the talents we were born with.”
They say your life is what cracks through the walls of memory when you find yourself lying on Death’s doorstep. And for some, maybe that’s true. I always thought I’d die tragically. My life would be a flash before my eyes, like the wheezing snap of a Polaroid. Maybe a cluster of cancer cells would rid me of my breasts, or maybe I’d be hit by a car in the middle of Winnipeg traffic. The thought always seemed so romantic. The morning newspapers would lament my death for an hour or so, and then move on as though nothing significant had happened, just like they did when famous people died.
Instead, I lived to experience eighty-year-old kidneys shut down.
In the end, I went out like a candle that’s wick flickered out, a chalky black stump on a grandmother’s nightstand. In the end, I thought about my mother and the way she glorified her shortcomings. I thought about how stupid I’d been to revere her – how blissfully ignorant that belief allowed me to be. As a kid, I believed she was a superhero. And now, still a kid by her definition, I realize that the best kinds of heroes are the ones who refused to see the world plainly.
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Re: February 5 - 12 (2016)

Post by Melody on Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:32 pm

My friend Amy wrote this story in 10th grade English class, nearly three years ago. I honestly don't know what her inspiration for this plot was, but it features the two of us as main characters. I'm Penny, she is Amber.



Dawn. That time of day when everything is grey and desolate, then it's suddenly awakened with a flourish of light. The sun will be rising soon. I don't have much time left.

The battery on my laptop—it's an ancient model, almost six years old—is at twenty percent. I've almost finished the manuscript. It's the story of Penny, my friend, my sister, my confidant. She gave me this computer; that's why I've replaced it. This broken down pile of circuits and memory chips is the only thing of her I have left.

I skim over the last chapter I've written. It's the story of how we met, and finally, how our lives were rent in two. I owe it to her to write this.

Chapter Twenty.

The police hadn't gotten any closer. Penny was still missing. I spent all my time with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jennings, waiting for that call, good or bad.

It had been forty eight hours, and still no clues. Just the blood on her bicycle, abandoned on the side of the road. Two other girls had gone missing in the past month—no one had found them either. It seemed our once peaceful little town had become home to a monster, a little bit of Hell that had escaped.

I knew there was nothing more the police could do. So I started walking back and forth across town, with my parents and Penny's. We handed out flyers and begged anyone we could find to help us.

I pause for a moment. A smile flutters across my face for a briefly as I think back to the happy moments—the things Penny and I did together before she went missing.

On my fifteen birthday, she gave me a laptop. On her sixteenth, a month later, I gave her a tiny porcelain doll. She put it at the forefront of her collection, and anyone could see she was proud of that doll. She named it after me: Amber Marie Porter.

The doll was found in the ditch by her bicycle. Soiled, but still beautiful. I don't know what ever happened to it—the police took it into evidence. I tried everything to get it back, but kept running into brick walls or people who didn't know anything.

October 28th. My memory of that day is as crisp as the snow that had fallen. They found Penny.

I close the computer lid and let the tears fall down my face. Eight years, and I still can't get through this without crying.

They refused to tell me all the details. There was no open casket viewing—I knew she was in bad shape. Mr. and Mrs. Jennings had to view her, “to identify the body” the police said. They do their best to hide it, but I know they've never been the same since.

The laptop beeps twice, and turns itself off. Thankfully auto-save was on. I grab a pen and my beat up notebook full of notes and scribbles, and begin to write. I don't have much time.

As my pen hastily flies over the paper, I recount the last few details this book needs. I tell the story of how they never caught the monster that had done this to Penny and those other girls.

A statue was set up in the town square to remember them by after. It's a little girl, five or so, picking wildflowers, with a basket under her arm. The inscription below lists the names. Each year, on the anniversary of the disappearances, the local townsfolk bring flowers to add to the little girl's basket.

For the first time, I won't be there this year.

I set down the paper and lean back in my chair. The sun is hovering over the mountains, and the ocean looks alive with red fire. Crashing waves below my deck and seagulls in the distance blend together into a relaxing symphony. Penny loved the ocean.

The door opens behind me. I turn my head, even though I know who it is. My husband sits down beside me at the table.

“How's it going?” he asks softly. His face is worried; the past few months since the cancer diagnosis have been hard on all of us.

“Good. I just finished,” I say, holding up the notepad. I feel weaker than normal, but otherwise, no one would know. But the doctors assure me I don't have much time left; I could fall down dead at any moment, or just not wake up one morning. “Are the children sleeping?”

He nods. “They'll be up soon.”

We have a daughter and a son together. I named the oldest, my daughter, after Penny. Robert bares his father's name. They've been growing so fast—they'll be six and four this year.

“I wish Penny could have met you,” I say, smiling. “You would have liked her. She had the same twisted sense of humour as you.”

Robert snickers. “Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?”

“You know I do,” I say softly. The conversation becomes quiet. Not an awkward silence, but the kind shared by two people who know each other better than they know themselves.

“I'm going to miss you,” he whispers.

I fight to keep the tears from running down my face. I have to be strong for him. “You're going to be a really great dad,” I say. “You are a great dad. It's going to be okay.”

He shakes his head. “No it's not. I know we'll—the kids and I—will get by, but... It won't be the same without you, Amber. I love you.”

I'm crying now. I know I don't deserve someone so wonderful. He was the only one who could get close to me after Penny died, the only one who understood. He's loved me when I couldn't love myself.

“I love you too,” I whisper.
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Final Breaths

Post by Titanhawk 881 (JT) on Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:46 pm

A round metal rod tore into my side. Had I been able to, I would have screamed. But I can’t. Or couldn’t, whatever. I can’t even think straight anymore. I sigh, but nothing happens in my lungs. I’m dead, I guess. Or at least partially dead. None of my body will move anymore, not unless the scientists enable me to do so. I scoff mentally. Science is supposed to command a respect for nature and life, not destruction and virulence. These monsters serve the wrong master. They aren’t fit to be called scientists. Anyways, I’m recording this, so if you’re reading it or listening to it you’ll know that I’m dead. I hope. I don’t want to suffer anymore. But remember this; science is love and curiosity. When those are taken away, nothing is left but intelligent destruction. The rod in my side is starting to penetrate on the other side, and the pain should have been unbearable too, but my mind doesn’t comprehend what pain is anymore. I guess that’s all I’ve been reduced to - my mind. It’s all I have. Well, let’s start at the beginning then. I’m Barry... Barry something, I can’t remember my last name. I’ve been told to record my final thoughts, before I die. Maybe the rod is part of it, maybe it isn’t. I don’t care anymore. They’ve done countless experiments on me, nearly killing me half the time. It doesn’t hurt me, but I wish they’d stop. Now they’ve reduced me to this. But who cares, right? I mentally sniffle. At least I still have some emotions. Anyways, back on track. I’m 19 or so, maybe a few years older. I don’t know. There’s no calendar here, not even a clock. The first few days were terrible: torture, serums, and back to the cell. That went on for maybe a month? I was going crazy, and was considering suicide, until they stopped. They left me for a few days, and then it started again. Except this time, I didn’t get the painkiller serums. The pain seared itself on my mind, but they were doing something different. Bioweapons. The specially engineered viruses consumed my body, first by eating away the flesh then by killing off my organs, starting with my stomach and intestines, since that’s where most of the other bacteria are, which was viewed as competition by the virus. What happened next I don’t know, as I was in a coma for the next few days. There was blood when I woke up, and then... I don’t remember. I mentally hiss a curse at my brain’s failure. It’s so... frustrating to not remember. To be useless. To be vulnerable. And now I’m stuck recording these useless thoughts on this hard drive in a lonely lab in who knows where. I wish... I wish I was... gone.
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Re: February 5 - 12 (2016)

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