Coming of Age

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Every child in our tribe dreams of the day when they take their test. The Old Ones; our parents, siblings, and family all speak about their test with pride and fearlessness in their eyes. But their words shake from time to time and I am not sure if the other Younglings notice, but I have.

Every child in our tribe dreams of the day when they take their test. But not me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid. Five moons in the jungle while our markings heal will show us our true spirit. The animal who chooses to be our guide will be permanently marked on our chest, over our heart, our spirit center.

Some of them don’t come back, though. The tribe just assumes that they were not strong enough to protect us. To hunt. To battle. But no one goes to look for the bodies and the families just move on without their family. It makes me uneasy to think that… one of those missing… could be me. They would never allow me to skip this. I’m just standing on the edge of something I cannot escape. My family would disown me. Banishment would be my fate… and I would have to face the jungle alone anyway.

Tomorrow. I will rise with the birds and travel to the stream tent. Elders will be there to scar me with markings all over my back and arms with the story of our people. Throughout time, all of our kin have worn the countless tales of battle, harvest, and failings of the tribe. We all wear it proudly. It reminds us to have hope when we hang our heads in shame and to be humble when we stand above others in mastery. Hours will pass before I am ready for the blessing. Chanting through a line of my friends and family as they bless me with tree sap and I stand on the opening into the thicket.

I guess I’m lucky. My friend will be taking the test with me. Rules are, though, we must split up or the gods will frown upon our weakness and send a large animal to devour us both. And I do not wish to test the gods.

My mother is afraid. She tells me of her test and how close she came to death. Sickness from a simple wound and screams of others in the night. Out of a group of twelve, she and one other made it back alive. The others, lost in memory. And that night, she told me that I had an older brother who never made it back to the tribe after his test. It is taboo to speak of the lost but the fear in her eyes told me all I needed to know. I’m her only child now.

And then, the sun rises. Another sleepless night floats through my grasp like smoke. Ravens caw with the purple sky as I open my eyes to what could be my final days. I pay homage to the god of luck, an offering of flowers and bread. With a short bow, I meet my friend and we walk to the stream tent where a dozen Elders meet us. There are two woven chairs for us to remove our tunics and sit.

What started out as a bee-sting feeling soon subsided to numbness for a while. My heart stopped racing so quickly and I began to relax. The methodical tapping of the bamboo into my skin nearly put me to sleep. Pain no longer existed in my body. My eyes turn to my friend, who winces with each needle prick, clenching his hands. I place my palm on his fist and he relaxes.

“Everything will be okay.” I promise. “I will get through this and you will too.”

He smiles and relaxes a little, but I can sense the pain. I wish to a god to take some from him and she grants my kind gesture. A prickling feeling starts in my back, but I see my friend relaxing evermore. I nod in thanks to help him.

Perhaps I am different than the others in my tribe. The Old Ones have told ancient tales of people who connect with gods on a different level, called the Anointed. But the connection with the gods meant that they have weird abilities and can see the world through the gods eyes and feel things through nature. As I begin to wonder, I drift into a dream state and the markings are complete.

My friend and I stand between the stream and the dark trees. We make our way through the line of Old Ones who cover us with protection spells. The hum of chanting is hypnotizing. I don’t even remember falling to my knees, but here I am, crawling through the last few people in line. My mother is standing there with worry on her face, but she allows me to pass and stand at the edge of the thicket. My friend stands in a different direction and we bid each other farewell.

If I turn to look at the tribe, the gods will surely fail me. I must be strong and hold my head high but my knees are shaking as I stand and face the unknown. That was the moment I noticed something in the distance. A light? A figure? It’s moving but I don’t think the others can see it because they say nothing. Are my eyes playing tricks on me? No, because it’s getting brighter. I can feel its energy, pulling me deeper into the jungle as my tribe disappears out of view. Whatever it is, it feels welcoming and maybe a bit familiar.

 

I may come back to this writing prompt and finish it off with another picture. It was fun to write! I hope you enjoy, as always. I apologize for the extended absence but I’m working on some great things upcoming! Stay tuned!!!

 

Here’s one for you!

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Writing Toothless 9/10/2018

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July 17, 2018 – 2:34AM

Why are there no 24 hour dentists? If I had the schooling, I would open up one. But people’s teeth… ew… but the blood… well, that’s my forte.

Can you guess what I do for a living? I bet you can’t. You probably can’t even guess how old I am just by looking at me. I get compliments all the time. Me and my friend both do. Lysanna and I go to the pubs at night and get hit on the entire time. Most of these guys would not be hitting on us if they knew how old we really were.

Have you guessed it yet? Unfortunately, my secrets will remain forever here, in my diary. How I desperately want to tell those around me what I truly am. The legends are true! Scream it from the top of my apartment building. We’re real! We exist! Please don’t be afraid… or maybe they should. Not all of us are good. Hell, I don’t even know whether I would consider myself an angel among men, as they say.

Okay, if you haven’t figured it out yet, then you really must be stupid. I’m a vampire. Yes, I know that we aren’t supposed to be real. We are. I am. There are quite a few of us, but you would never know just by looking at us. Paleness, sure. I get crap all the time from people about ‘getting sun’. Like, DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT WOULD DO!? A small mushroom cloud would form over the ashy remains of my body. And I’m 976 by the way, but I look like I’m 18, maybe 20. Getting alcohol is practically impossible sometimes. Providing a birth certificate or Social Security number isn’t going to happen. My birth certificate would give me away. They would laugh. I ended up getting a fake ID to fix that problem.

So back to my current issue. As I’m sure you know, vampires drink blood and sometimes that comes from animals, other times, humans. Lysanna and I try really hard not to drink human blood. Too fatty. But sometimes people who know what I am are willing to give a donation.

One of the people that donates regularly didn’t show up one day. Texted me and said that he had a family emergency. Well I was already feeling lethargic by that point, so I was desperate. Another vampire told me, once, that drinking Cranberry juice was supposed to hold us over for a few extra hours until we could feed. Problem was, they didn’t specify how much to drink. Second problem was, I was hungry as hell.

I stockpiled on gallons and gallons of juice until Lysanna could get home from her job at the mortuary with some animal blood for me. It was about 10PM by the time I got home with it all. Drank all of it within the next few hours. My stomach never hurt so much… good thing I’m immortal.

Apparently my teeth aren’t though. Cavity. A huge one right on one of my canines. GREAT!!! It hurts like no other pain I’ve experienced and I almost forgot what pain feels like. Because I am a ‘night owl’ and not by choice, Lysanna suggested that she pull out my tooth with pliers. Screw that! But it hurts so bad.

And that, diary, is how I am pretty much the only vampire I know that has a one-puncture-wound bite. For the record, Cranberry Juice doesn’t do anything and I won’t make that mistake twice. I was stupid for thinking that it would and I guess I deserve what I got. Anyway, Lysanna is almost home and it’s time to go out on the town again! I’m going to tell people I got into a bar fight and lost my tooth that way. Think anyone will believe me???

 

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A Glimpse of What’s to Come

After The Wanderer Trilogy, I plan on writing a compilation of short stories. I will be working on it from time to time, but I plan on being meticulous in how I write these stories. Here is just a taste of the very beginning. Do you plan on reading this? 🙂

 

shadow people

A WARNING

 

Contained in the bending of this book are the extensive and detailed notes of Edward L. Sutton, Independent Journalist and Author. Obsession – the reality of ‘mythical’ beings, particularly ones he dubbed Omens of Change. Current state of Mr. Sutton – deceased. I am just an interviewee.

When he finally spoke to me, I warned him not to publish this. The Others. They told me that they would kill him if he did anything more than speak to the Chosen. And they did just that. To be clear, I wish to remain anonymous for fear of what the world will think after they read this. That is, if they choose to believe it.

You see, the world is crumbling. Humanity is weak and afraid. They commit unspeakable crimes against one another. Hate speech, assault, rape, and murder run rampant. And yet, we live in our subdivisions and follow our own monotonous routine, caring little of the suffering of others. Still, we occasionally find ourselves pulled from the mundane and out of our comfort zone. Usually, it is within the unconscious mind. We remember these experiences. And you may believe these are nothing more than a coincidence. I am here to tell you that the concept of chance is more of a myth than these creatures.

My warning is this, dear reader, be vigilant. Once you dive into the contents of this book, there is no turning back. You will know more about the universe than you may want to. And sometimes, the truth is terrifying. I guarantee you that these stories are nothing short of that. Many of you will not be able to stomach what you find within these pages. Clarity is a risk. But it is what you do with this information that will determine your fate. The Others, they will be watching. And if you displease them, they will come for you.

Pray to whatever deity that they NEVER come for you.

Although, you could have already met these creatures before. Perhaps you were already deemed one of the Chosen, but do not yet understand what that means. That, my brothers and sisters, is why I am allowing this book out into the public. To finish Edward L. Sutton’s work. His single goal was to unite all of those who have sensed the Omens. Nonetheless, he did make it relatively convenient for us to find one another through his writings. Tales that will outline different events that you may have witnessed. If so, follow the trail, allow the Other to contact to you however they wish, and find the rest of us.

They are waiting. So am I.

-Anonymous

Back to the Writing Prompts!

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“Even canned goods go bad eventually.”

That was what his mother always told him. And that was before the bombs dropped. Now it was just Trevor. Well… not just Trevor. There were others. But they had no clue how to survive this chaos. So Trevor had to take charge. He told the others what his mother had taught him. Sometimes they would listen. But they were just kids. Most of them were under 12.

“Come on guys!” he said, throwing his hands in the air. The younger children had to, yet again, take another potty break. “We have to forage for food. We don’t have enough for even a meal!”

“Why can’t we go to the store?” one of the ten-year-olds asked. Her hair was matted and dirty. “Where is mommy and daddy?”

Trevor already knew it was coming. Another crying fit… from all of them. “I already told you all. Your parents died in the explosions.”

Everyone burst into a loud sob. He wanted to leave them, so badly. But he couldn’t let them die. And that’s just what would happen. They would starve. What he really wished for was an older adult. He was only eighteen and this was way too much responsibility for a teenager.

Where had the adults gone? In his rural suburb, they were in a town hall meeting. He was in charge of watching the children while the parents talked about what Mayor they were going to vote for in an upcoming election. Trevor always thought it was stupid. What difference would a small-town Mayor make anyway? Everyone knew everyone. If they had issues, they would sort it out with their fists or their words. He volunteered, against his mother’s wishes, to watch the children this time.

“I don’t want to vote anyway,” he snapped. “It’s a stupid election.”

But that was what saved Trevor a week ago. No one saw it coming. Hell. No one could see what caused the crater in Evergreen. Bombs? A meteor? Either way, it was another week walk to the closest town. And these kids were not making it easy to keep moving.

When they had all finally stopped crying, they were on the move again. Trevor had picked some wild blueberries and some oyster mushrooms for the group. And yet, there was another argument about what they liked to eat.

“I don’t like mushrooms.”

“I want a cheeseburger.”

“When can we find someone to feed us real food? Like chicken nuggets.”

Trevor sighed loudly, ignored them, and continued to lead them to the next down over, Baskerville. When these kids got really hungry, they would eat whatever he provided. Even mushrooms.

As they were trudging down the asphalt road, something caught a young girl’s eye. She pointed, but did not speak. The shimmer of the containers reflecting off the sunlight was beautiful. Or was Trevor becoming delusional? He hadn’t slept well in days. Food was scarce. Whatever he did find, he usually gave the children, leaving nothing for himself. Perhaps, he was becoming delusional.

“Canned goods.” He said to himself. The group cheered in unison while looking at the pictures on the wrappers. Ravioli, soup. It was enough to bring a tear to Trevor’s eye. His stomach started growling.

That was when he felt something sticky on his hand, underneath the can. He turned it over. A large hole was on the back of it. The contents were all over his hand and they did not smell good. He flipped the can upside down to read the expiration date. As he read the date, his heart sank.

“Even canned goods go bad eventually.”

 

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