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  1. #1
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    The Modern Ventriloquists

    The Modern Ventriloquists

    A Man cries caressing your fears
    Those hidden from what belittling you'd amount
    And the unorthodox wants, desires, needs of these men,

    Oh! To laugh at the boy that is scared of
    the existing Man, not only with his peers but to you and I, strangers,
    Terrified of the lunacy which we'd all drive him to.

    Wrong, never right - and what you'd all call him -
    This loner, feeling embarrassed and patronized by the hatred and cruelty
    Of the vile, imbecilic bastard children that ruin the cities of the
    Greatly modernistic people, and that
    Cry out for labour-driven communities and use love as an excuse,

    What have you,
    To say I am no more than that, or this of yours – a
    Perspective none but all agree to decide with
    And moralize against.

    Oh! But hear this - He's done no wrong! Let Him fight his mental shroud
    of nastiness and pot ventriloquism,
    His pedophilic and hell-ridden scum that will fall away man by man
    to the depths of a fire that bears no mercy.

    Because you will watch.

    You will pray.

    And you will fall away with them.



    The Mathematician


    [spoiler:ayp7h9po]It was mid-day, and Thomas and I had been sat in his study for the last hour or so, discussing family, friends, and, most recently, his work.

    “It's... it's boring,” he had said, bent over his table and scribbling equations. It hadn't been what I'd expected to hear. “Yes, a bore is how I'd describe it.” He paused his scribbling and furrowed his brow. “I mean, of course, you can say it's beautiful; and that it's dazzling; and that it's absolutely awesome.” He sat back, itching at his comb-over. He looked to me. “And, of course, it is all that - there's really nothing quite like it. But, despite all that, I still think it a incomprehensible bore. There's nothing, for me, about mathematics. Nothing at all. Nothing which can pump adrenalin; which can set the pulse racing; nothing that could drive one to do.” He dipped his quill and began to scratch his sums again.

    “But Thomas! You've lived your life by it!” I cried at him. “How can you possibly say it doesn't drive you?!”. Thomas looked up to me from his paper-littered wooden desk, frowning behind is half-moon glasses. He sat with a hunch, a mark of his labour, and I was sat opposite him, with better posture, frowning back. He was a twiggy little man, well dressed, in blue blazer, white collar and black trouser, with scuffed leather shoes. My attire wasn't too dissimilar, although my blazer was tweed and my shoes were newer – and shined.

    He began to laugh at me.

    “The numbers don't drive me! The money does! My dear Brendan, the only apparent thrill of my mathematical endeavour is the handing in of my papers and the inevitable return of sterling. This is my work, and it pays well. I would never do this for leisure, and any man who does is as batty as my dear mother-in-l..”

    “Thomas!” I exclaimed, and the old man cracked another smile. He pulled open a desk drawer and took out his prized cigar box, the one gifted to him by his late wife.

    “Will you partake?” he asked, knowing I didn't smoke.

    “I don't smoke, Thomas.”

    “It's the sentiment.”

    “I don't appreciate it.” Thomas chuckled, lighting his cigar on a candle.

    “There's this remarkable invention about you know. 'The bulb', they call it.” I remarked. His study was lit up by nothing more than candle-light and a fireplace. It was a cosy room, with bookshelves towering around us, decorated with fanciful furniture. There was a small window, but it faced north, and didn't allow for much natural lighting.

    Thomas was puffing smoke rings, unruffled by my quirk at his technophobia.

    “You know I don't care for them. Electricity, pah, it's nothing but a fad I tell you - and dangerous one at that. Once I've cracked these sums it'll be a thing of the past, I dare say.” he claimed. I rubbed my temples in response. This wasn't the first time he'd said this, and I really was not up to another discussion on how Benjamin Franklin was 'as dumb as the moss on forest wood'.

    “Do you have any bra-”

    “Of course I have brandy, and you know jolly well where to find it. Help yourself.” He was leaning back in his armchair, eyes closed, trying to relax. Standing up from my own chair, I turned away from Thomas and headed towards the corner of his study, where he had stored every imaginable type and brand of liquor. Shelves of whisky, brandy, larger, cider, wine and vodka towered from his floor to the ceiling; it was an immense collection.

    “Will you partake?” I asked, looking over to him.

    “I'd rather not. I can't and must figure this basta-”

    “Thomas.”

    “- equation. I do forget myself; swearing isn't custom in your company.” He took a large drag on his cigar and lurched as he started coughing roughly into his fist.

    “Are you OK?” I asked, without any real concern. I was still trying to figure whether I wanted the premium German or the platinum English. “I'm telling you, those cigars will be the death of you.”

    “Poppycock. I'm eighty Brendan, my death is-”

    “Hush yourself. I don't like to talk about death, never mind the death of a friend.” I had decided on the premium German and I was pouring my drink. “Besides, what's so special about this equation you can't crack?”

    “Nothing you need to worry about, my dear boy. This negative is a nuisance though.”

    “Oh?”

    “Nothing. Some complex numbers here and there will sort it.”

    “Righto. How's Henry?”



    I left Thomas to his work later that day. I found it somewhat depressing, how he was nearly always cooped up in his study, and how rarely he left his home. He had never been one for socialising, despite his incredible wit. The last time I had seen him outside of his property was at his most recent birthday's celebration in the local pub house, six months ago - and at that he had fought with his eldest son, Henry. It had been a silly tussle, over Thomas' will. You see, it had been rumoured that Thomas had left his estate to me. Of course, when Henry had heard of the rumour he had been utterly furious with the idea, and had stormed into his father's gathering, boldly speaking his opinion of 'that bastardised, pompous, egotistic son of a right-old-bitch', myself. He ridiculed the idea of leaving me a single penny.

    Thomas was - as one would be - livid. He took huge offence to the way Henry had involved himself in the matter, and so cut Henry off from his estate entirely. I re-iterate – it had been a silly tussle. Silly, because the rumours of Thomas leaving me anything were entirely unfounded and, in reality, rather ridiculous. The only thing Thomas' had ever considered leaving me was his brandy collection, he'd joked.

    Henry was, and still is, a respectable prospect. In his mid-to-late-forties, well mannered, generally well kept, he worked as a lawyer for the courts of London, and was a shoe-shining away from being made a court Judge. He was married, with two darling children. Thomas had often mentioned how proud he was to me, always going on about him, and I could tell he missed him dearly. Their feud was still going on, but Thomas was adamant that until Henry apologised to me that the situation would remain the same, despite my pleas with him to forget myself and make up with his son.

    I had considered dropping in to see Henry on my way home from Thomas', to clear the air with him, but I decided against it. My dearest wife was waiting for me, and I'd much rather a loving hug than a bitter handshake. I was simply too tired to deal with the affair, and so I strode home.

    My home presided not too far from Thomas', and it was a matter of minutes before I was greeted at my door by Tulip, the family dog. Jumping herself ragged as I strode into the entrance hall, I cried to my wife that I was home before tending to her.

    “Down!” I commanded. “Down!” Tulip stopped jumping and looked at me blankly, playing dumb. I frowned at her. Had I held a treat she would've gladdy thrown herself into a hand-stand. “Tulip! I say girl, get down!”. Of course, Tulip was having none of it. She continued to stare at me, waiting for me to reveal a snack. For a Labrador, she was remarkably clever.

    I crouched down to her level, stroking her dark brown coat. I had bought her for my wife not too short a time ago, but, as my wife was so busy with house chores, I was often left to tend to her activities; such as walking, feeding, and - most frustratingly - tricks.

    It wasn't that she couldn't do them. In fact, I was extraordinarily positive she could understand near every word I was saying. She simply refused to adhere to my commands on the premise that I would not reward her for doing them. Instead, she would stand on all fours, head tilted, wearing an expression of false confusion until such a time where a pedigree chew would be drawn from my coat pocket. Then, and only then, would she sit, roll over, play dead and paw.

    Sighing, I submitted. Reaching into the hull of my coat, I fumbled around my keys and hanky to pull out a fist-sized paper bag, full of an assortment of doggy treats. Tulip's ears pricked, pupils dilated, and tail wagged as I shook the bag in front of her.

    “Well then, it appears I have your attention!” I smiled, and Tulip barked in reply. “Haha! Righto then," I cooed as I pointed towards the floor - "Sit!” - and, without a moments hesitation, Tulip relaxed her hind legs into the sitting position. I praised her, but she only cared for the treats. “Down!” - and her front paws slid forward, until she lay at my feet. “That's a good girl, who's a good girl!” I gurgled praise at her. “One more, then you can have a treat. Fair enough?” I swore I could have heard her huff. “Go on, just one more - for me! Roll over?” I asked, and reluctantly, Tulip swung herself onto her back, allowing her momentum carrying herself back over, onto her stomach. Delighted, I threw a snack at her, which she caught in her mouth. “Come on girl - let's go find the missus.”[/spoiler:ayp7h9po]



    Anna-belle

    [spoiler:ayp7h9po]Long, slender reeves stand tall around the boy, rooted deep in thick mud which he is tirelessly trudging through. Around him, the air is slow-moving, cold, and there hangs a low mist. Above him the night is glittered with stars; there's not a cloud in sight.

    Looking up, the boy can see all the constellations, with red gleams and purple hazes. The moon stands out most, bold and bright.

    Crickets and flies buzz an eternal tune whilst a not-far-off river trickles noisily. The reeves wave lazily and, as the boy brushes through them, he moves closer to the silhouette of a large oak tree. The tree, old and ridged, stands grandly, hanging on a bank just off the river. It's mid-autumn, and browned leaves can be seen dropping from great branches. A frayed rope, lassoed around the most prominent branch, is still from where a tyre swing once was.

    It was here they had arranged to meet. The girl, who's beauty had forsaken the rumours, had asked him here.

    He comes to the hill leading up to the bank and calls her name. There's no answer, so, sighing, he starts up the hill, digging his feet into the mud to stop himself slipping over and hugging his overcoat as the winds pick up. He drags himself up the mound, and as he approaches the top he looks up and calls out again, louder. This time a voice echoes back to him, gleeful at his arrival. He grins, and pushes up the last of the hill, coming to the first root of the oak tree. Pulling himself upright, he edges around the trunk to where he sees her, sitting behind the arch.

    He sarcastically thanks her for her help, but his smile gives him away. She crinkles her nose and laughs apologetically as he sits beside her. The ground is drier here, but still damp, so the boy grimaces as he sinks half an inch into the ground.

    “It's wet,” the boy murmurs. The girls looks at him, eyes wide, and folds into herself as she smirks immaturely. The boy frowns at her. “That's so childish.”

    She turns her head and nods with a perfect smile, but doesn't respond, instead casting her gaze back across the river and into the mists, eyes flickering. Her hair is short, pinned up like he had seen in the theatre posters scattered around his village back home. Her legs are huddled into her chest and her arms are collapsed around them. She has dressed warm, in a thick, woollen jumper and snug jeans; she's wearing walking boots. Her sensible outfit doesn't compare to the boy's, who had lazily slipped on a tee-shirt and grabbed his coat as he headed out barefoot. He's wearing shorts from earlier in the day, and the hairs on his legs are standing tall in attempt to keep him warm.

    He shivers violently, to which the girl turned her head and questions his attire. “I don't know, I was in a rush” brings a mocking silence to her. The girl turns her head out to the river again, rolling her eyes as the boy shifts his arm and his legs into the hull of his coat, huddling for warmth.

    “Why are we here again?” he asks, looking at her.
    “Because,” she responds, “look at it.”

    Following the girl's gaze, the boy lays eyes to the scenes in front of him.

    The mist is slowly clearing, and so past the reeves and river far off hills can be seen emerging, edging the skies. Trees of various species can be seen standing in fields which are glowing with dew and which illuminate the speckled night sky; in the distance, a stone hut can be seen, with a smoking chimney and small, wooden, four-pane windows. Fences, hedges and pathways trace shapes into the earth; not scarring it, but refining it. It is beautiful.

    The boy shifts awkwardly.

    “So, er, Anna, whe-”
    “Anna-belle.” The girl snaps. The boy jumps, hurt. “Sorry. It's Anna-belle, alright? I can't stand it when people call me by who I'm not.”
    “Oh, God, er, sorry,” he says, reeling, “I didn't mean to upset you.” She laughs, and pushes his shoulder.
    “You didn't.” She turns and smiles at him again, that glorious, perfect smile. It eases him. “Just remember. Anna-belle.”[/spoiler:ayp7h9po]

    A highway man's whore

    [spoiler:ayp7h9po]People brush past me. The highway is busy this time of night. I hate it here; there's no privacy, and the flickering of the neon lights above gives me awful headaches. There are blatant prostitutes roaming up and down the worn street – one of them walks up to me. Her face is absolutely caked in make-up, and she's dragging on a what is left of a cigarette butt.

    “Hey babes, looking for a good time?” the whore purrs. She leans in, showing her out-of-shape-self off.

    I grimace and tell her to go away. Maybe if I had money I'd have been nicer, but I don't, and I don't like to her waste time. “Fine doll, just hit me up if you change your mind”. I can't help but doubt that I will.[/spoiler:ayp7h9po]

    Dorothy

    [spoiler:ayp7h9po]Dorothy, the new patient at the hospital, is suffering from what the doctors are calling PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder.

    If I'm honest, I don't find hard to understand why. The hurricane that had screamed through Kansas had destroyed her home, killed her auntie, uncle, and left her crippled, crying with a dog that had a broken neck.

    The tag read Theodore.

    A day later she was found and sped into intensive care where, from what I know, she went into a state of recluse. She couldn't, or refused to, talk to anyone, and her deep, blue eyes were always distant. She wouldn't eat, or bathe, and if anyone touched her she would claw and bite at them.

    Sometimes - not often, but sometimes - she would come back. Never entirely. She was still always in this dream world of hers. However, when she became more lucid, we sent in the doctors, with toys and games for her. I don't think she ever paid any notice to the games, but the toys drew her attention. Her favourite was the lion doll. Left alone, she would hug and mess with it, sometimes even sing to it – but if the doctors tried to take it from her she'd scream, cry, and eventually fall back into recluse.

    We wanted to help, but it was difficult. If she was touched she would freak out, clawing at whoever had tried to move her. We had no-one qualified to deal with this sort of thing.

    My name is Oscar. I'm standing over Dorothy now. She's pretty, asleep in her bed. I've been asked to watch over her, and make sure she doesn't hurt herself. The ward is quiet, and the hall lights are off. The windows are drawn. Dorothy’s bedside plants are the only real colour in the room. Grim.

    Dorothy is in a cast from the waste down. Her hair is greasy because it's such a hassle to wash, and her clothing is hospital standard. Her face is pale, she's obviously malnourished – I've already talked to the doctors about that – and a scar, from the debris of the tornado, runs from her cheek down to her neck.

    She was wonderful, once. You can tell.[/spoiler:ayp7h9po]

    It's not fair, John.

    [spoiler:ayp7h9po]“Bang bang bang, bang fucking bang. Bang, fucking bang you fucking motherfucker,” he pulls the trigger again, “fucking bang.”
    “Stop it Charl-”
    He turns, sharp, eyes lined with tears and shouts at me.
    “No! No John! I won't fucking stop it! This piece of shit deserves every piece of fucking lead that he gets. Twenty-thousand, John. Half were fucking kids, they didn't deserve anything. Fuck him, and fuck his shit.” He goes to put another bullet in the gun, but I grab his hand.
    “We need those bullets, Charles. He's dead.”

    He's shaking. Charlie is shaking. It's the first time I've ever seen him so upset. He falls into my shoulder, screaming hate. I hold him, because that's all I can do. Nothing I can say can make this better. There's nothing I can do.

    “I'm sorry Charlie,” - I'm tearing up. “This shouldn't have happened. I- I'm so sorry”
    “F-fuck you John” he stutters back the tears, “fuck you.” he says, and pushes me away. I know he doesn't mean it.
    “I know buddy”

    I know.[/spoiler:ayp7h9po]

  2. #2
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    Re: Anna-belle

    Wow. Great attention to detail, but not overly done. I loved the way you described the cold, and the scenery of the climb. What I think could have been worked on was the scene from atop the hill, if you had really delved into the deep description of that, I think the piece would of been perfected. From where I stand, you have this desperation and need to reach the top of the hill, to meet the girl and to see the view from the top.
    Just my opinion

    Edit: I re-read it, and the description of the top of the hill was fine, but I still believe there could be a little bit more attention to detail.

  3. #3
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    Re: Anna-belle

    aha thanks, I'll have a look at that later.

  4. #4
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    Re: Anna-belle

    haha no worries, feel free to take a look at some of my work

  5. #5
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    Re: The Mathematician [WIP] (and other, short, unfinished wo

    Hola! A story of sorts which I'll be working on for a good while I hope, along with some added works which I could never really get going. Feel free to read and critique.

  6. #6
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    Re: The Mathematician [WIP] (and other, short, unfinished wo

    Bite me, bump rule.

    You're very good. I'm looking for inspiration as I have always liked writing, but I have never really written. Found it here. I love Anna-belle, it's cute and feels whole despite being short. I also look forward to the continuation of The Mathematician. I was immersed within a paragraph.

    I like how you seem to find inspiration from day-to-day observations. Because they're observations, not much more than thoughts, they feel round and complete despite being just a few paragraphs long.

    (btw, near the start of The Mathematician: an* incomprehensible )


  7. #7
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    Re: The Modern Ventriloquists

    The Modern Ventriloquists

    A man cries caressing his fears
    Those hidden from what belittling you'd amount
    To his unorthodox wants, desires, needs, but
    Ho! To laugh at the boy that is scared of
    an existing Man, not only to his peers but to you and I
    Terrified of the lunacy which you'd all drive him to.

    Wrong, never right, is what you'd all call him -
    This stranger, feeling alone and patronized by the hatred and cruelty
    Of the vile, imbecilic bastard children that ruin the cities of the
    Greatly modernistic peoples, that
    Cry out for labour-driven communities and use love as an excuse,

    What have you,
    To say I am no more than that, or this of yours – a
    Perspective none but all agree to decide with
    And moralize against.

    Oh! But hear this - He's done no wrong! Let Him fight his mental shroud
    of nastiness and pot ventriloquism,
    His pedophilic and hell-ridden scum that will fall away man by man
    to the depths of a fire that bears no mercy.

    And you will watch.

    And you will pray.

    And you will fall away with them.


 

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