The Writing Thread


Ain't no thang
May 10, 2002
Battle Creek, Michigan
I know we had one like this before but I don't want to search for it.

Post stuff youve written.

Heres a composition we had to do for LaungageArts:

Well Told Story Ian Davis
Dialogue used well 11-21-03
Sensory Detail 2nd Hour


WHAM! It nailed my head sending me backwards in a flailing manner. Where was I? How old was I? Unknown. That hard piece of rubber had rattled those thoughts into what seemed a big soup in my head of past thoughts and memories.

Let me catch you up. I was playing hockey, it was late in the first period. I’m the goalie, the last line of defense. Players whiz by as I catch whiffs of their equipment, which smells like pieces of rotting meat left out in the sun for too long. But then, a play broke loose from center ice. Corbin Titus, a future teammate of mine in the Junior Olympics, got the puck from my dazzled and dismayed defenders. Corbin, one of the tallest 13 year olds I know, skated up as alone as a kid who hadn’t showered for a month. He winded up, a few of my defenders had come back to help me. As Corbin lowered his stick towards the puck, my defenders parted like the Red Sea. It was a clear lane between Corbin and I but only one of us would be left standing. I muttered “oh no” as the stick barely touched the puck.

CRACK! The firm graphite stick connected with the rock hard rubber, the puck shot off the rink, coming at me with the speed of a bullet train, and I was the next train station. It seemed to mold with my helmet as I tasted blood and smelled what seemed to be melted metal and plastic. I saw what looked like little birds circling my head, taunting me.

My head pounded with pain. All of the aspirin in the world would do nothing but give me a drug-overdose. Coaches from both teams rushed over to me. I could faintly hear chatter from the stands.
“Is that goalie O.K?”
“Is he blacked out?”

The coaches tore off my helmet and asked if I was alright. The first thing I asked was;

“Did I make the save?”
My coach replied with a “Yeah” followed by a chuckle.

And that was important to me, that I had made the save. We lost, but we were not ashamed of this. Corbin said to me after the game;

“It’s good to see you had your head in the game”

I laughed. But then I quickly walked away because he smelled horrible, as any hockey player does after a hard game.
Here's a little story I had to write for school. It's not that great, but it's pretty okay:

King Cen ruled over his kingdom for many a year on his own. The kingdom was based in farming and every family had their own plot of land and home. Everyone had a nicely painted tool shed on their land that was filled with hoes, shovels, and rakes. No one was without a sturdy cow for milk, chickens for eating and eggs, and a glorious horse to ride. King Cen took much pride in his kingdom and made it part of him. He thought that nothing could ever go wrong in his perfect kingdom because he was in charge and the best king to ever rule. Nothing could shatter his ego on this topic and he would go into lengthy discussions with his daughter about it. His daughter Glinda was a beautiful girl of eighteen. Her long raven hair grew past her waist and her bright blue eyes were enchanting. Glinda had a spirit that couldn’t be quashed and loved learning new things.

One cold winter’s day, King Cen’s world was turned upside down. The barbarian hoard the Kryscok came from the West like an unstoppable wind. They charged in stealing what they could from the village. It had been said that an evil wizard that lived in the tallest tower two villages away had sent these barbarians. This wizard was known as the Ebon Gale to the people and enjoyed nothing more than tormenting others. He himself had been so lonely for so many years and was embittered. Joy made him angry and resentful. He grew tired of sitting in his tower one day and simply mocking others walking below. He wanted to take action and destroy something for once. The bewitched barbarians pillaged the roads and the homes. They stole chickens and horses. They ruined the kingdom. King Cen felt as if the barbarians had destroyed him inside as well. He felt that his invincibility had been shattered and he was not himself anymore.

He needed some time to collect himself
“Father?” Glinda called down the hallway.
“Yes?” King Cen asked wearily.
“Why did the barbarians destroy everything?” she said quietly.
“I don’t know Glinda. Honestly, I’m tired of talking about it. I just need some time to myself to think things through.”

King Cen went out to his garden, his only sanctuary, the Reflecting Pool. It was no bigger than a small pond, but the water was crystal clear and home to many albino fish. King Cen stared into the water, trying to draw inspiration for his next move. He looked up at the stars for my a moment. A solitary tear rolled down his aged, tan cheek.
“Why does it have to be this way?” he yelled at the stars. “I wish I could have my life the way it was before!”
He sank down to his knees and began to cry more. He felt ruined and ashamed.
“I would do anything to have it back,” he cried softy into the ground
“Anything?” a smooth, cool voice said.
King Cen lifted his head.
“Who said that?” King Cen called.
“Why, I did,” answered a black swan gliding across the Reflecting Pool. “I can help you with anything you need,”
“Anything?” the king said, starting to feel his spirits rise.
“Oh yes. And I hear you are having troubles with your wee little kingdom,” the black swan said.
“Wee little…” the king said slowly, feeling insulted. “Anyway, my grand kingdom has been destroyed by barbarians. I want it back the way it was. No one believes in my protection anymore.”
“Well, I cannot simply give you pure success without asking for anything in return,” the swan said shrewdly.
“What do you want? I’ll give you any amount of money that I have! You name the price!” King Cen said.
“Money is not what I want,” the black swan said sourly. “I want company in my life. Your trade of money for success makes me laugh, you piddling little ingrate. Money is but a stepping stone to destruction.”
The king stood dumbfounded for a moment. “Well, what do you want then? Money is surely the only thing I can give you that is of any value.”
“What I want is to take what is most precious to you,” the black swan said, narrowing its eyes. They had an odd yellow gleam in them just now.
“But if you take my kingdom, then how could you make life return to the way it was?” King Cen said.
“Ambition and greed are constants in your mind I see. You do not see what is right in front of your eyes. What is most dear to you,” the black swan spat.
“I hope you don’t mean what I think you do,” King Cen said, brow furrowed.
“I mean if you trade your daughter for the instant reconstruction of your empire, I shall do business with you, sir,” The black swan bartered.
“My daughter? No I can’t, but… Well, you mean the buildings would be back to the way they were and the people would remember that I am the greatest ruler ever?”
The black swan snorted. “Greatest ruler ever? I wouldn’t get too presumptuous, chum. They will think of you the way they always have.”
“With dignity and respect?” the king said, eyes gleaming greedily.
“Yes, all you have to do is let me take your daughter.”
The king stood there for a moment. Greed and power overtook him. He knew his daughter could make it on her own. She was old enough now, right?
“Done,” King Cen said.
“We are agreed then,” the black swan said. “I bid you adieu!”

And with that the bird spread its magnificent wings and launched into the sky. The King looked out at the village. The fires were squelched and the land was beautiful again. He sighed and thought, ‘I made the right decision.’

He walked back into the castle and wandered around. “Perhaps I will go say goodbye to Glinda,” he thought. He knocked on the door to her room where he had left her. No answer. He knocked again in vain. The king pushed the door open to find it deserted. A black feather was lying on her bed. A note was lying beside it.

“Foolish mortal, I have taken what is truly special. You believed that your kingdom was the most important thing to you, but you would be wrong. You will now be alone forever, yet you will have adoring people that never talk to you. Good luck, sir.

The Ebon Gale ”

The king crumpled up the letter and screamed. The evil wizard had taken his daughter away to his tower. King Cen felt the pain of his foolish decision until the day of his passing.

[EDIT: Grammar :blush:]
I haven't written in a while... don't seem to have the same emotional intensity I did in high school. I wrote the following in grade 11 after being rejected by a girl with whom I was utterly smitten.


His long, dark hair whipping back behind him, he strides down the road that leads to the sea. The wind tears at his grey cloak in a vain attempt to slow his progress. He stops and removes his hat, inciting the rage of the driven rain upon his furrowed brow. Striding on like a man possessed, his will never wavers, for he knows the weaknesses of the storm. And as his dark leather boots pummel the ground, the fury of the storm increases, almost as if it understands the futility of its actions to stop him, but fights on to make a point nonetheless. Ahead, the pier looms in the growing darkness. Built of mortared stone, it juts out into the middle of the bay, its intended purpose forgotten for now. Quickening his pace to a jog, his eyes flashing, he sights the white-capped waves buffeting the coast. Out, out onto the pier, he is flat-out running now, and without so much as a yell, he flings himself off the end towards the black rocks below. Then the world falls away from his feet. Tossed like a leaf at the mercy of the winds, his body is carried into the air. Where his face once showed deep determination, it now shows elation. Reorienting himself with his arms-that-serve-as-wings, he dodges hilltops and mountains alike before rising into the heavens like an arrow. And as the night ages, he can be seen as a dark sliver against an ever-darkening sky.

He is kindred to the wind itself. Deep within his soul is the essence of the currents of the heavens, from the grandest of the winter tempests to the most fragile summer breeze. He has seen the world in all its folly and wishes little part in the doings of mortals anymore. In the beginning he was mortal too, born a little boy as most are. Yet the boy who would be a man was not interested in being a boy, nor becoming a man for that matter. From the moment he could crawl, he would wish to walk; as he walked, he had want to run; and even as he ran, he dreamed of flying. With but a droplet of his eventual understanding in his head, he was fascinated by the dances of parched leaves in the wind. Now he commands the body of a man, but thinks the thoughts of a free spirit.

The night has passed. With the coming of the dawn, he has returned to the chains in which he was born. The currents of air that bore him previously have all but exhausted their strength after a night of howling without abandon. Now small whorls of dust are beyond all the strength they might muster. He has returned to his abode, ruins of an ancient fortification atop a knoll overlooking the city. The landscape shows little of the destruction wrought there in the wee hours of the morning. The white-sailed ships have come to the docks to barter their wares; the city is a busy port by day. The sun plays with the ripples on the water, watching the gulls wheel and dive at morsels rejected by stubby fishing vessels as they return to port. The shouts and cries of the men on the quays may be heard for miles around as they peddle their wares and tend to the boats. His ears do not hear them; he is asleep and does not wake until almost sunset. As the last of the dying rays of the sun caress the lands they knew so well, he walks once again towards the pier. A stiff breeze ruffles the leaves on the oaks lining the street as a light drizzle falls. Neither his face nor his demeanour betray even a hint of last night’s ferocity; his stride remains calm and even. Nearing the end of the deserted pier, amid crates and barrels and the other trappings of civilisation, he slows and gazes at the world as he will never know it again. The fragrance of the sea is heavy on the air as he surveys a domain that he might have well called his own. Turning back towards the evening chop on the water, he takes three great strides to the edge of the quay and stops. A keening is heard, rising and falling, until it ends on a note of expectation. Standing with his arms thrown open as if by some sudden gust, he faces the horizon as the raindrops do their work. As each bead of water appears to hit him, it continues along its predestined course, washing him away in the process. At last, a ray of sun which would once have touched a handsome face passes on into oblivion. And a gull cries.
Here is my conclusion to Douglas Adams' The Salmon of Doubt:

When last seen, or deciphered from many a printed character on a piece of dead tree, Dirk Gently, detective of the supernatural, was on the verge of solving his latest case. He was minding his own business (or rather, fretting that he wasn’t) when he happened to receive superfluous pay checks from an Unknown Benefactor. He assumed that this was his latest client. What to do about it, though? He began the search by picking a random trail. After many a misadventure, he ended up in the middle of the American Desert and was about to yes, solve his latest case. Unfortunately, the Earth was then destroyed (again) by a Vogon ship to pave the way for an intergalactic highway. This would be seen by some if they were alive as not such a big deal, especially if one didn’t like France in the first place. However, an important matter was lost. At least, important for those who care. For you see, Dirk Gently had almost come to the realization of the Question of Life (it was forgotten when the Answer was found). Some may argue that Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent had already found the question. Shut up; no one likes a pessimist.
Yes. Anyway.

Meanwhile, Dirk Gently didn’t notice anything. He was too busy studying the billboard that was now conveniently located in front of him. Hum. Now what was the name of that cat again? For some reason, he couldn’t remember. Aha, that’s it. Dirk turned his head to look at the surrounding non-scenery of Nevada. A tumbleweed made through on its way, trying not to be noticed.
Damn it, he forgot again. He swiveled his head in front of the upright metal again. There we go. Swivel.
Some time passed.
For the love of…this was impossible. No matter how many times he tried, the little piece of organic material in his brain wouldn’t accept the fact that some information was at the door. Rather, it continued reading the paper.
He was in mid-swivel when Joe interrupted him. “Mr--”
“Yes, what is it?”
Joe looked to his gut, as if pleading for it to process what Dirk just said.
“Oh, never mind,” said Dirk on his way back to the vehicle. He suddenly stopped and looked back at the billboard. Hey, could it--? Naw….
“Mr. Gently? Sorta need to get a move on, if you know what I mean. Ha ha.”
“Hm? Ah, yeah. Guess so. Hang on a moment while I get in. ”
Later as they moved what seemed slowly over the great expanse of desolate highway, he pondered over what had happened so far. So far, indeed. A random choice of person had gotten him a quarter across the world. And apparently, he was on the right trail. This bothered him. He may be a holistic detective, but that still didn’t stop Dirk from getting goose pimples about the business. It seemed too planned. Almost as if someone was playing with his mind.
“And here we are!” Indeed they were pulling up to what appeared to be an old, broken-down house, the kind that Elvis would live in. He probably is, thought Dirk, as he fumbled with his seat belt. Joe had insisted on his wearing it (“You just never know when those damn Commies will get ya.”).
No one greeted them at the door. Instead, a faded rug hanging on it flew weakly in what little breeze there was.
“There you are, Mr. Gently,” said Joe. “It’s been nice meeting you.”
“Wait! Where are you going?”
“Going back to the airport. Got me some more people to get.” He chuckled smugly to himself going back to the car, like an axe murderer about to descend upon a birthday party.
After a while, there was nothing but Dirk, the house, and the desert.

Arthur Dent came to consciousness. So this was what the afterlife was like. He remembered reading about such parts in books and movies where the fellow thinks he’s dead, but he’s really not. This could be such a scenario. If it was, then a cup of tea was in order. He didn’t know why, it just appeared to be the best choice. Aside from remembering what he was just doing. Let’s see, now. He was aware, no doubt about that. Whether or not he was standing appeared to be trivial, as there did not appear to be anything to stand on.
Well, what do you know. There’s the floor. Hello floor. Do you feel trod on, too. God, need some tea.
Arthur tried looking for any sign of light. There was none. He sighed and curled up on the ground.
What the hell happened? There was the nightclub, sure, and there was a big, happy…he strained to regain that. No. It was gone.
“As usual.”
Now that sounded familiar. “Marvin?”
“Unfortunately, yes.”
“How’d you get here?”
“Seems pretty fishy, don’t you think? Of course, everything’s fishy to me, which is ironic because I can’t smell anyt-.”
“Shut up, Marvin.” The afterlife was going to be hell, after all.

The rug returned the grim look at Dirk, its faded colors leering like a bad acid trip. There was no doubt about it now, he was definitely screwed. His common sense was slowly slipping away from the air-vibrating heat. How could he possibly finish anything with the distraction of being the only human being for miles around?
For kilometers, even? Gah. It appeared that the desert had nothing special to show. Ahh, just let the sun dry your brains out, then it gets exciting. It’ll be better than drugs, really. Not that Dirk had ever taken drugs, it’s just the experience on principle.
Well, no use beating around the bush any longer. Guess he’ll have to root around the room and see if he finds anythi-
And then Dirk fell into the rug.

Not much else happened, other than total unconsciousness. When he came to, Dirk was lying on a stone slate in the middle of a large room. A large, pink room at that. Yeesh. The fellow who had built this place was not in the mood for any grimness or whatever. Maybe that’s what he wanted the victim to think. Maybe he wants the victim to fall into a false sense of security, and then pounce when he has the chance…
Or maybe he just really likes pink.
“Hello, Mr. Gently. I believe that you are from…Inglen, no?”
A lone figure had appeared in a doorway not too far from the slate, its arms up in a sort of greeting that you would expect from a suicide bomber. It walked slowly toward the light that graced the pink walls, and was revealed to be a rather young man, no more than twenty, in a black trench coat, with blonde hair slicked around the ears with gel. He stood there, gazing at Dirk. Dirk merely stared back.
The young man took off the sunglasses he had on. “So…Mr. Gently?”
“I suppose that is my name.”
Dirk’s companion zoomed up to his face, the eyes suddenly with a flame of hatred. “You have no shame at all, do you?! It is you, after all, who is responsible for the whole business!”
Confusing indeed, but not surprising. One early morning in May Dirk had to get up to answer a pounding at the door, and was greeted by an old woman cursing his very existence. He had asked why, and was answered with a very loud scream that woke up the entire apartment building. By the time anyone had arrived at the scene, they would have noticed a corpse that had died peacefully in its sleep. The paramedics noted this as “damned if I know”.
“I’m sorry, but what has this to do with me?”
“Oh-ho, Mr. Gently, everything! Everything in the whole freaking world!” The young man stormed up and down the room, his arms flailing about in a crazed motion. “All the cosmic forces that have ever built up in the whole freaking universe have decided to focus on this very spot! And do you know what that means?!”
“Nope. Haven’t the faintest idea.”
“I can’t imagine that I do. Why, is it important?”
There was a long silence in the pink room as the young man scrambled for words. The only ones that seemed to come up were “fork” and “blast it all, he’s gone conkers”.
The young man attempted to talk, but his mouth apparently had taken a vow of silence.
He tried again. His lips were currently copying the Bible onto a new piece of parchment.
Dirk just shrugged and made a silent “I dunno, you tell me.”
“Huh. If that don’t beat all.”
“So you’ll let me go now, eh? Jolly good.” Dirk made for the door.
“HOLD IT, YOU!” The young man was in front of Dirk again. “No, my friend, no.” He pushed Dirk back on the slate. “I’m going to tell you everything, and then you’ll be sorry.”

The robot wheezed a sigh. “What is it now? Another foul thing to be the bane of my existence?”
“Not quite as harsh as that. I’m just wondering where we are.”
“We are in darkness. Total and utter, disgraceful darkness.”
“That is true. But where is the darkness?” asked Arthur.
Marvin made an action to closely resemble a shrug. “Wherever is here, it’s hell. That’s enough for me.”
“Well, well.” So there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. He leaned against the wall in despair. So this was it. No way out. Just flip off the switch and-flip off the switch? The lights came on.
“Marvin! We’ve done it!”
“Hur. Ray.”
“And look! A door! This might not be the end, after all.”

* * *

“And that’s it, Mr. Gently.”
The story had been thoroughly explained to him.
“Care to go through that one more time?” said Dirk.
The young man sighed for the third time. “All right.”
There was once a fellow who went by the name of Peter. Peter had this amazing collection of Beethoven records.
“Really?” asked Dirk.
Peter loved to skate, and would do so every day. See Peter skate, see him do a figure eight, see the lovely pirouette he just made-
“Just get on with it.”
One day Peter met the girl of his dreams. She had a beautiful smile, but that was about it. It was quite obvious that Peter loved her, and she the same. That is, she loved herself as well. So they were out courting one evening. The fine wine was being poured and the discussion was about to take place.
“So. Lisa.”
“I…I was wondering. If there was a place you’d like to go, any sort of place, what would it be?”
“That would depend. What would be the circumstances?”
Oh fudder. There went the proposal. Peter decided to wing it.
“Say, a thousand Nazis were chasing you.”
“Hmm…I’d have to say Naples.”
“Wasn’t that occupied during the Second War?”
“You didn’t say it had to be during that time.”
“Oh, OK. Today, then. Today.”
“Why would the Nazi regime exist today?”
“Oh boy.”
And so they talked through the hours, mostly about the neo-Nazi movement. The words whistled through the air, and the swords of logic clashed with great lightning.
Maybe not hours, but it seemed like it to Peter. Actually, about two minutes in reality.
“I just don’t see the possibi – “
By now Peter had it. “Fine! Where the hell would you bloody go if you wanted to under any circumstances, eh?!”
It was too late; the check was already on the table.
Peter walked home that night in utter dismay. He cried into his pillow the whole night long.
“Why would he?”
“So as not to get the headboard wet.”
“Oh. Pray continue.”
Tears spilled down his face as he contemplated the life that awaited him. There was no hope now, not for him. The moon that used to wave and say nighty-night to him was now the Devil himself, ready to whip him at a moment’s notice. His favorite teddy bear seemed ready to betray him to the Soviets when presented with a bribe. And the rocking chair – oh, that magnificent rocking chair! – was the epitome of treachery. Look at it! It was shaking its head even now, saying that the Kingdom of Heaven would never open to his mug. No! No! It cannot be. It must not be. Such negativity was unheard of in his world. He was too foolish for that. When a fool becomes a cynic, then the world is doomed.
He plodded slowly toward the refrigerator, where he hoped his salvation lay. There into its icy depths there lay a single, half-eaten salami sandwich. Apparently it had laid there for some time. Peter had been meaning to eat it, but had never gotten around to it. And then there wasn’t the salami sandwich, but there was something.
Peter tried to make it out, but he found that he was unable to. The said something had this immense quality about it that made one want to look away. For indeed, this was an intended shield to keep trespassers away. It held the secrets of the universe.
The Salmon of Doubt.
For a minute Peter could only think, where’s my salami? Realization only dawned on him after a few minutes of the Glory of The Salmon set in. That’s when he started worrying.
He knew that this was the Fundamental Fish, the primordial hereditary memory patterns engraved in his animal mind told him that. There was no doubt about it. Peter had truly found salvation in the right place.
Standing there for hours on end seemed like seconds in geological eons to him. For what was time, compared to the Salmon of Doubt? It was called Doubt because to call it by any other name would only register, only register, well, you know. Doubt.
That was when the Salmon began to Speak to him.
Noble keeper of Me.
You have chosen an excellent hiding place for My Countenance. If I lost My Representation in this world, all would surely be lost.
“Yes. Who are you?”
The Salmon sent a chuckle to his terrified brain. I am not of this world.
“Are you…God?”
Certainly not. That would require a sense of, what is the word? Humor.
“This is too incredible.”
Such is what all say when they encounter Me.
They conversed, or rather, the Salmon expounded upon Peter for a very long time. After this period, Peter was forever changed. He bought a beat-up mansion that went by Ranting Manor...
Part Two:

“…for you see, the Salmon is what holds this sect of space together.” The young man’s face was getting a little flushed now. “It’s the only reason that you and I are still breathing in this very room.”
“In this very pink room,” said Dirk. “Funny how you picked this color.”
The young man’s already red face went crimson. “The color is salmon, you fool! Salmon!”
“Salmon, eh?” Dirk chuckled. “Clever. Very clever.”
“Never mind. Anyway, the reason I sent for you—“
“Ah, now to this part.”
Another sigh. “We have a problem.”
“Really now.”
“Indeed. It appears that…”
“Appears what?”
There was a long silence.
“It’s a little hard to believe,” said the young man sheepishly, “but I think we’re supposed to be dead.”
“Dead?” said Dirk. “How so? Did a meteor just happen to not hit us? Or perhaps,” and he leaned forward to whisper conspiratorially, “this involves half a cat?”
There was a gasp from the man. “Wh-wh-how the hell do you know that?!”
“I have my ways.” My very random ways, Dirk thought.
“Yes, see, that’s the point,” stammered the young man, “that was why I was sending out checks to a random address.”
“Of course. It all makes sense now.”
“Yes, yes. That was why. I wanted to send an inconsistency into the status quo to make sure that it was smoothed out. And look, here you are.”
“Mm-hmm. Quite so, quite so.”
“So will you take up on my request?”
Now was the time for Dirk to find out why he was at this thing all along. “Tell me, why the hell was I sent scrambling all the way from…Inglen…to find you?”
The young man went red in the face again. “Um, to tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure.”
“You don’t know.”
“No. Not really.”

It had turned out that Arthur and Marvin had been locked in a closet, and were ready to come out. All right, perhaps it wasn’t a change of lifestyle, but it was a start on life anew. They quizzically looked around from their starting position, at the rather pink hallways from left and right. Doors lined the walls in a staccato fashion, leaving no room for forced frequency. Leave that one to the fools who won’t change.
“Last time I remember,” said Arthur, “the world was just destroyed.”
Marvin did not answer. Oh well.
“And if I recall correctly,” Arthur slowly contemplated, “the restaurant wasn’t quite this…feminine.”
“I really don’t care,” Marvin droned on, “the whole world went to hell when I was brought to existence.”
“I’m really sick of that attitude.”
“Hey, crap happens. Might as well make lemonade.”
Arthur twisted this logic around for a split-second, then made the decision to go left. He left Marvin in his Tarturus’ pit of wistful regretting. The android seemed to enjoy it.

* * *

It had been silent in the pi—the writer means, salmon room for a while now. The young man was fretting over what to say. After all, this was the only man who could help him now. And this detective was glaring in the way that fish like to glare, as if to say, “How dare you hook me. I’d go and blow you away if weren’t for this bloody hook…” The only thing keeping Dirk from combusting out of pure confusion was the salmon walls absorbing the energy. It gave him the willies, though.
“So what you’re saying is that neither of us know what we’re doing.”
“A good saying for life, isn’t it?”
“Let’s not be desperate. Where’s the Salmon now?”
The young man blushed once more. “I ate it.”
“You what?”
Of course it is of no consequence to you if I can communicate with you anyway.
Dirk shrugged. Aha, the classic possession routine. “Works fine for me.”
Good. It would be very painful otherwise.
“What is the problem, though?” He was getting pretty peeved with this Salmon fellow, being all self-righteous and omnipotent about it. “What is it?”
The world has not changed.
“No, it hasn’t, has it? What’s so special about that.”
The world has not changed. What should have changed has not.
“Hold it, now you’re making me doubt myse—“
But of course, sneered the Salmon of Doubt.
“Yeah, yeah. I think I’m getting at what you’re saying. The whole world is not changing, because it never did.”
Precisely., said the Salmon.
“But it did change in some other Earth,” continued Dirk, “and we happened to split off from it.”
Holy moly, thought Dirk, I need a smoke. “How did this happen?”
It didn’t. At least, not here.
“Okay, how did it happen there?”
Not there, either.
“Right then, the two events cancelled out.”
Now you’re getting the picture.
“Gosh. With that, then why should any of this exist?” Dirk’s hand promptly dissipated.
Don’t say that!, the Salmon exclaimed. Do you want to push it?
“Sorry,” said Dirk. His hand was back. It was there all along, of course.

* * *

“Come on, Marvin, I hear where all the talking is coming from!”

“Now why,” continued Dirk, “was that fellow so mad at me?”
Peter? said the Salmon. He has his things.
“But why?”
He saw you one day and decided he didn’t like you.
“I detect sarcasm there.”
Good for you. Would you like a biscuit?
“I thought Peter said that you didn’t have a sense of humor.”
That’s different.
The door flew open, and the other two fellows in this narrative stumbled into the room.
Arthur noted the walls with disapproval. “Pink again!”
The Salmon-in-Peter’s eyes flared. Salmon! Salmon!
“Salmon, pink, whatever.” He proceeded to the center of the room. “What I’d like to say is – ouch!” There was a sudden intense pain in Arthur’s ear. Without delay a small, gold thing flopped out of his head and onto the floor.
“My Babel fish!”
Perhaps some clarifying is needed here. A Babel fish is a most extraordinary creature that can interpret all the known languages in the universe. A normal person can too, if he places it in his ear.
Ah, my Cousin. You have come at last. The-Salmon-Inside-Peter bent down and picked up the flailing fish. For too long you have suffered inside this man’s head. You may have peace. With that, the Babel fish vanished forever.
“Wha-what?” Arthur was a little upset over this. “What the hell did you do to my Babel fish?!”
It is of no importance to you, said the Salmon calmly. It is with its brethren now.
Arthur glanced down at the floor, then back up at the Salmon. His jaw moved to an unknown beat, perhaps a eulogy set to music.
Good. Now that the overly dramatic bit was over….
Dirk butted in. “Hello. How’s your world?”
“Isn’t this it?” asked Arthur.
“Not quite.”
“Oh. Then destroyed, I think.”
“Do you think they’d destroy this one, too?
“Depends,” said Arthur. “What day is it?”
“Good lord. We haven’t much time.”

The Vogon commander gazed out the main deck and upon the latest obstacle below the ship. That very blue filth was blocking the way between their new intergalactic highway and whatever they needed to connect. Which appeared to be infinity.
In their language, the commander spoke. “On the hour, prepare to make the announcement.”
Another Vogon acknowledged this. “Right, sir.”
The commander looked again at Earth. Filth. Utter filth. What a dump, a crying shame for a planet. He had heard that the inhabitants liked to beat each other up a bit. Heheh, this will teach them, the little buggers. Just like the last two hundred ninety-seven other celestial bodies they had plowed through. All was needed was the right moment, when it revolved right in their path…and they don’t even know. What was currently bothering the Vogon commander was a bad case of déjà vu. Somehow, he remembered this….

“The planet shall be destroyed before too long,” said Arthur. “Believe me, I’ve been through it twice.”
“But what is to be done?” said Dirk. “I suppose you don’t have a handy guide on hand?”
“Actually…” Arthur rummaged around in his pockets, until he found the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Funny, he didn’t remember having it before.
“Let’s see…”
Dirk attempted to help. “Try a passage for Earth.”
“It just says, ‘Mostly Harmless.’”
Arthur didn’t know what he was trying to find, but he knew it was there. It contained everything they needed to know to get out of this situation. A first for the Guide, for a lot of what was in there was also word of mouth.
“What are you trying to find?”
“Hmm.” Arthur continued to search. He racked his thinking organ for a possible clue. It was there, somewhere. Just had to find it.
Suddenly insight came bubbling up to the surface. Here it comes…one…two…three….
“What…” Arthur began, “is…the meaning…of life!” He searched the Guide for this passage. “But hang on. I’ve already found it. It’s forty-two, isn’t it?”
Dirk scratched the insides of his shoulders. “Beats me. I didn’t know you until a couple minutes ago.”
Arthur didn’t answer, but spoke with himself. “Wait a minute, Ford said that my thought patterns were a little scattered, didn’t he? Good old Ford, I wonder where he is now. So the question was not what we were seeking. But what…what was it?”

“Begin the announcement.”
“As you wish, commander.”

Come on, think. Have to do that action harder.

”People of Earth, your attention, please…”

Now what was it?

“This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council…”

Dang! He had it there. Hum.

“As you will be no doubt aware…”

“That’s it!” cried Arthur. “Marvin, get over here!”

“…require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system…”

Marvin tottered over. “Yes,” he droned as if he didn’t have a clue of what was going on (he did, but he didn’t care), “what is it?”
“Is it possible to read my thought patterns?”
“I suppose so. You humans are stupid enough.”
“Then do so. Please. Right now.”
Marvin sighed and began the process. “What is one plus one?”
“Two!” said Dirk. Everyone looked at him. “Sorry,” he said sheepishly, “got a little enthusiastic.”
“Begin again. And again. What is one plus one?”
“Four,” said Arthur.
“Correct. Now when was Charlemagne crowned king?”
“Last night.”
“Very human. Count to three.”
Arthur produced a pencil and began drawing on the floor. “Right, here is the town of Count, and here is Threesilvan over in Germany, and if we take the road here—“
“That will do. I’ve just articulated the results.”
“Really now.”
“They were random enough.”

“What do you mean, you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? For heaven’s sake, mankind, it’s only four light-years away, you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that’s your own lookout.”

“So what is it?” asked Dirk.
“It appears that the question is,” Marvin began, but clamped up. “No. I won’t do it.”
Indeed. He has finally discovered emotion, and what it means to Live.
“You’re making me doubt again,” said Dirk bluntly.
Really now. Marvin started up again.
“The question is whether or not there is a question.”
Arthur pondered over this. “And what does that have to do with forty-two?”
Marvin half-shrugged. “The universe hates me enough to have a sense of humor about it.”

“Energize the demolition beams.” The Vogon switched off the PA, but before he moved to the main deck, he blinked at the display. The planet in question was gone. He blinked again. The blasted thing was definitely being convenient.
He switched on the local PA. “Commander? I don’t think we need to energize.”

And the purpose of Earth was resolved. What was begun billions of years ago was utterly finished. This did not mean that the inhabitants were as well, it just meant that the whole business was done. Everything went back to normal for Dirk Gently, and for Arthur Dent, and for Ford Prefect, and for Trillian, and even for Zaphod Beeblebrox. They all went back to their normal lives, without a thought about what ever happened. Nothing ever happened. That is to say that it did not did not happen, but it happened in another dimension. All that had ever occurred ceased.
And as for the half-cat? It reunited with its rear when Arthur’s and Dirk’s world reunited. That’s enough to say about that.
It’s almost enough to say about anything.

A Celtic Myth I wrote yesterday:

Alanna stood barefoot on the damp, green grass. Tears were streaming down her face. The night sky was a cold mass of purple and white pin-pricks of stars. The wind was cold and harsh on her delicate, tear-stained cheeks. She looked morosely down at her father’s burial mound, where she left him her little charm necklace as a token for him in the after life. This was all too much for her, as her mother had passed right after her birth. She was now alone, completely alone. Her father died in a battle, so he had not died a vain death. Even if he died in nobility, Alanna still missed him greatly. She wished he could be with her right at that moment and tell her the world would all work out and give itself to her.

She looked up at the forming dark clouds in the dappled sky. “Why did you have to take him from me?” she said softly to the Goddess of War. Her cheeks and her throat burned to release more tears.
“Why do you have to be so brutal?” she yelled at the cruel sky again.
A lightning bolt knocked her to the ground. Her hands began to shake as she brought them up to her face.

“Because you needed to learn a lesson,” a smooth, clear voice wafted from the clouds.
“Who said that?” Alanna panted.
“I did,” the voice said. “I am The Mother Goddess of the Celts.”
Alanna was in awe. “What did I need to learn? I am so miserable…”
“You learned that family is most important to you: your family,” she said.
“Yes, but now I have lost the last of us! Is there any way you can help me?”
“I cannot bring your father back, no matter how much you pray. Your faith can only do so much,” the Goddess answered.
“I’ll take anything! I’m desperate!” Alanna frantically bartered.
“Anything?” the Goddess said quietly.
“Anything! I just want to be able to feel my father’s presence in my life once more!”

A high wind blew through the trees, making them look as if they could be uprooted any moment. Alanna’s red hair swirled into her face, obscuring her vision. Her mind drifted and the world became dark. An indeterminable amount of time passed. An hour, a few days, Alanna did not know. She woke up with a wet snout poking her hair. The sun was out and butterflies were dashing through the air. Alanna shivered slighty and looked at what was poking her. It was a three-headed boar! Alanna gasped and scrambled to her feet.

A familiar voice echoed in her mind.
“My dear sweet, Alanna. I have been reincarnated as this boar. It is not my body, but it has my spirit. I shall walk with you on your journey of life. Guide you in the way you were meant to,” it said.
“Father?” she cried.
The boar’s heads nodded. She started to weep, but this time not tears of sadness, but of great joy. She wrapped her willowy arms around the boar and kissed its head. This was the kind of miracle she has been searching for. Alanna lived the rest of her days with her father’s spirit by her side.
No one else will post here, but I will!

There once was a wood nymph named Hydeaux. She lived in the Silver Wood where night would fall before it came to other forests. The moon would cast its silver-blue light on the forest and it would shine the brightest on the nymph Town Square. However, all of these hours of darkness would make it difficult to predict the weather. No one could see the sky most of the time and the clouds were veiled by the canopies of trees. The wood nymphs did not like rain because it caused them to grow and sprout green leaves in their hair. It wasn’t painful or grotesque, but merely an annoyance the nymphs could do without.

Hydeaux had the special ability to tell when a storm was approaching. Her arms would swish around as if caught in a high wind if rain was imminent. The other nymphs were deeply impressed by young Hydeaux’s special ability, as they could not predict the weather at all. She would stand in the moonlight lit Town Square every day at noon exactly and hold her body stiffly. If her arms moved, rain was coming. If they didn’t, Hydeaux would feel a tingle in her body and this would signify to her that the skies were clear. If Every day, without fail, Hydeaux was always right.

One morning, Hydeaux was wandering around her town of Melchoir. The shops opened bright and early because once night fell, it was not certain if they would have to be closed due to rain. The kindly, squat nymph that worked at the corner bakery would always give Hydeaux a free sticky bun every morning. Hydeaux sat on a tree stump and ate her bun. It was warm and gooey, covered in delicious tree sap. She savored it for a moment, and looked up at the sky. The blue was quickly turning from blue to golden reddish-yellow. A shot of purple blended gently into the crimson and rose. Hydeaux knew that soon she should go to the Square to make her weather prediction.

Soon, the moon was high in the sky, its bright silver light burning gently on the Town Square. All the nymphs, young and old, came to see Hydeaux’s prediction. She stood in the middle of the Square and let her arms rest at her sides. Her long blonde hair swayed gently as she tightened up her mid-section. She waited for a feeling to take over her body. Hydeaux’s arms stayed at her sides, not moving at all. She didn’t feel anything inside her body. Nothing at all, except a dull, hollow feeling. She waited and waited for something to happen, but nothing did. Hours went past, and the other nymphs grew tired and annoyed and returned to their homes. Hydeaux was determined to predict the weather properly.

Hydeaux stood in the Town Square for a few more hours. She felt something cold and wet drop on her face. Then it happened again, but then more and more droplets of water dappled her face. She began to cry, feeling that she was no longer useful. Hydeaux stood proudly in the Square, tears running down her face. She stayed there for days and days, until she became a tree. The other nymphs observed this the next day and were saddened to see Hydeaux’s transformation. Not only would they miss her, but her predictions. That night, the nymphs decided to pay tribute to Hydeaux and surround the Town Square at the same time they always did. The tree’s branches all of a sudden began to swish about as if they were caught in a high wind. The nymphs were surprised by its sudden behavior. All of a sudden, they heard a clap of thunder. Sheets of rain started to pelt them all.

They ran to their homes, but realized something important. The tree still had all of Hydeaux’s magic. It’s branches would move when rain was coming just as Hydeaux’s arms had done. Hydeaux’s arms did not move that previous night because there was a calm before the storm. Years later, the nymphs still used the tree as a predictor of the weather.
An essay that I just finished for my college English class.


Written by TM, November 2003

The bedroom reeked with the gloom of a bewildered soul. Hopeless and distraught was the boy resting on his baseball sheets upon his bed. Gushing out of the boy’s eyes were the tears of misery and hatred. The tears descended down his cheek and trickled into the ocean of eternal despair. He was a third-grader filled with youthful vigor and innocence, yet he had already realized the cruelties of an inhumane society. Voices were thrusting insults at him inside of his brilliant mind. Voices that he had heeded a thousand too many times. You are an earless freak. You are an ugly ******. What in the hell happened to your face? Your jaw is crooked; want me to fix it for you? I’m going to shove your fake ears up your ass.

That youthful, innocent child was myself approximately ten years ago. Those voices that were sounding off in my head were just five of the millions of insults I’ve heard in my relatively short life. With those insults in mind I find it astonishing that some people have the audacity and ignorance to utter the phrase, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words cannot hurt you.” This propaganda is wrongfully being engraved into the minds of our youth.

I first heard the phrase when I was a very young child, not yet in kindergarten. My brother was the first to whisper that phrase into my prosthetic ear. My brother was a forceful child, and he expected me to follow in his footsteps. Men are held to be masculine, and he alleged that it was not cool to let words get to your emotions. I have since matured, and I have come to realize that it is not the recipient of harsh words who is not cool, but the giver of those harsh words. Sticks and stones do break bones, and words do devastate hearts and minds.

Two words from my childhood could easily have been knives thrust at my heart. These two words hurt worse than any needle that has ever been prodded into me, worse than any staple ever extracted, and worse than all but two of my soon-to-number twenty-four surgeries. The words still play over and over in my head. They are a never-ending pain that has somehow vanished from sight. They have left a scar unlike those on my chest. This scar is concealed, but equally painful. The two words I describe are plain and possibly meaningless to most of the population, but for me they illustrate detestation and ignorance. The two infamous words are crooked jaw.

Eighteen years ago, on the thirty-first of August, I came into this world. I was born on the exact same day my grandmother remarried. This was supposed to be a day of ecstasy and splendor for her and the rest of my family. However, my grandmother did not shed tears of joy that morning. Only tears of sorrow could be seen descending down her cheek. She had just found out that her grandson had been born without ears. Little did she know then, and little could she have imagined, but being earless was the most benign of my medical conditions. I was born with Goldenhar Syndrome. Goldenhar Syndrome is a disease that effects an assortment of body parts and has varying effects on the brain. In my case, I was born without ears, a deformed jaw, and an abnormal heart with a hole in the center. The true hole in my heart coincides significantly with the mythical hole that has been fashioned. Early in 2004 I will have my twenty-fourth surgery. Of those surgeries, only my heart and jaw surgeries even compare to the agony of hearing the words I stated above.

Most children are teased in elementary school, and I was far from an exception. Most of the insults propelled my way were commonplace. Insults like four-eyed and wimp did not penetrate my thick outer-shell. It was the insults that were deeply personal that hit me like blows to the stomach. Insults like earless and crooked jaw still haunt my mind. These indiscriminately thrown insults gave me intolerable pain. They hurt not because of who I was, but because of who I will never become. The solution for people with glasses was to get contacts. Most of the small, wimpy children soon grew up. For me, however, I had to deal with the reality that I would never grow ears, and that my jaw would never become straight. I realized that I would never be the guy with whom girls flirt. I was born the way I was, and there was nothing I could do to change myself.

Two insults, earless and crooked jaw, nearly destroyed me. You might be inclined to think that both probably hurt the same, but that would be an incorrect assumption. Earless was just a word, but crooked jaw was much more. When my fellow classmates talked about my face, they didn’t just say crooked jaw. They would utter, “I can straighten that jaw out for you if you would like me to.” Then they would close their fists and punch their own jaws. Often words were not needed; they would only have to look at me, twist their mouths one way or another and then straighten. When I was out of hearing distance, they would motion. When I was within hearing distance, they would talk. Either way, they would find a means to get their point across. I wish I had counted all of the times I thought about taking a punch at someone for saying or doing those derogatory acts. I may have thought about unleashing the fury within myself, but I never did, nor do I ever wish for that fury to be expelled.

I may have not harmed anyone else, but I thought about harming myself on many occasions. During my last year of elementary school I was walking the thin line between life and death. I felt like I had very few friends. I felt like I was hated and despised by everyone. Those feelings combined with others left me feeling like I had no reason for which to be alive. I remember saying thousands of times, “I just as well be dead.” My classmates had no idea, and still are unaware of the way their words and actions made me feel. They made me feel like the way I actually was, and still am. I was different. I was earless and I did have a crooked jaw. I was ugly, and knowing the truth was my demise.
The only difference between now and then is about ten years of life experience. In those ten years I have realized that it is okay to be unique. It is okay if I don’t have ears. It is okay if I have a crooked jaw. I now understand that there are very few people that see past the exterior and into the interior of an individual. I now know that it is the content of a person’s character that matters, not the physical features with which a person is endowed. In third grade I was too young to understand any of those revelations, and my classmates were too young to understand the pain caused by their words.

If and when I have my own children, I hope they never hear the phrase, “Words cannot hurt you.” Words said to young children or grown adults have a big impact. The example of myself may border on the extreme side of the spectrum, but that is irrelevant. There are many more people out there just like me, and they should be treated with the respect they deserve. No child should ever have to come home engulfed in tears, and no person should ever have to say he has no reason for which to live. It does not matter to whom you are talking to or what you are talking about, you must always think before you speak. Words, whether encouraging or hurtful, have a long lasting impact. It is imperative that everyone recognize that words are very treacherous; choose them wisely.
A tribute to my mother that I wrote awhile ago.


Written by TM, October 2003

The sun was gradually fading into the western sky and the magnificent moon rising in the east. It was another great summer night. The flowers were in full bloom, the grass green. Evenings like these were the evenings of dreams and fantasies. One might be seen on a romantic date or celebrating an anniversary. However, for two people this night was far from being about romance and enjoyment. One was lying in a hospital bed with tubes going into and coming out of his body, inch long needles embedded into his arms, and a newly stitched scar that ran down the length of his blood-soaked chest. The other with hands folded, head bowed, and eyes closed; was sitting by her son’s side praying for his recovery.

The mother and son conversed a lot in these hours and nights. The boy was no older than seven and raved on about baseball and other favorite pastimes. The mother listened intently to her son and knew that he was a very bright, courageous young child. The boy, however, knew he was no more or less courageous than the mother that was eternally fixed by his side. If she was afraid or doubtful she never let it show. She sat beside her son as a beacon of hope and trust. The child was comforted by her visual emotions and when she was by his side he had no fear in this world.

This night was a microcosm of almost every other night in the boy’s brief life. The boy is very fortunate in that he remembers little of what happened during these years. The mother does not share that fortune. She remembers everything. Every cry the boy shrieked and every ounce of pain the boy endured. She recalls when her son was a baby and she had to feed him three times a night through a tube in his stomach.

While her son was in the hospital she would rarely leave before ten. If her son was not already sleeping she always made sure to say goodbye. On this night she thought he was sleeping and crept out of the room trying not to wake him. The child was just in a light doze and opened his eyes instantaneously after his mom left. He started to cry a very low, heart-wrenching cry; like the cry of a newly bought puppy that had just been taken away from its mother. It took a nurse and a bedtime story to calm the boy down. The boy loved his mother, and was terrified and angry when she left his side.

The next morning was just as gorgeous as the day before. When the boy woke up he did not care to reflect on the previous night’s events. All he cared about was that his mother was sitting by the window when he opened his eyes. They said good morning to each other and ate breakfast. After breakfast they decided to walk around the hospital and wander the premises. They went to the game room and played video games and then went down the elevator and outside. People could be seen walking in the sunlight and resting in the shade. The trees and flowers swayed in the breeze. The mother and son sat down on a bench and enjoyed the sights of the summer day.

This type of day was an all too common occurrence for my mother. It was a day people were outside golfing or working in the garden. My mother did not care about such leisure activities. She had a very ill son and she stayed with him hours upon hours, and days upon days. She sacrificed many things, and I will everlastingly be in her debt. She was the eye in my hurricane and the angel that sat beside me. Without my mother’s love and care I would, as Sherrie Austin poignantly sings, be crossing the “Streets of Heaven.”
This is a story I wrote last month, the first few parts were written by me and a friend. The rest are all written by me. Very fictionalized!
I'm also writing a story which is going to be in the Civ stories forum soon.

Greensworth Escape

Chapter I: The Introduction

If you were in Mount Greensworth it meant only one thing, you were lost. Most people just called it Green. But the irony of it was, that anything green was hundreds of miles away. Mount Greensworth was in the middle of nowhere. The closest town was hundreds of miles away where green grass was. In the last five years, Mount Greensworth has only rained twice. Both times the rain lasted only a few minutes. The water was soon evaporated, and no one would have known if it had rained or not. Mount Greensworth is a small and poor town, with a population of only 42. We have a pub, a general store, an orphanage, two petrol stations (the first is on one side of the road and the other is on the other side of the road) and a one-room school. The school was at Ms. Payne’s house. Ms. Payne is really nice to everyone, and teaches all the kids even though she doesn’t get paid.
By the way my name is Marshal Hope. The irony of my name was that Marshal means group and I was never in big groups (the biggest group I’m ever in is when I’m at school with seventeen other kids) my last name Hope means expect and trust (I don’t expect anything in my life and I only trust my best friend Sid) so basically my name is Trusting group. And that’s the opposite of me. The only person I trust is my best friend Sid. You’d probably think I trust my parents too, but I don’t, I can’t. My father is like just about everybody in Mount Greensworth, he’s a drunk. How can you trust someone who doesn’t care about you? He just sits in the pub drinking. Then when the pub closes he comes home and drinks. Once I had tried to stop him from drinking but he hit me and screamed at me. The next morning he came in to my room and told me he was very sorry and hugged me. It was the closest we had ever got. He also tried to stop. But by the time the sun was setting he was back on the grog. That’s why I don’t trust my father. And the reason I can’t trust my mother is because she left my father when I was just four. For the first few days Dad cooked for me, but after a mouth. He couldn’t handle it. That was when Dad first began to drink. I then had to fend for myself. I cooked and cleaned the house all at the age of four. If I had been any younger I wouldn’t have survived.
If you want to image me, think of someone who is short and skinny. Has black shoulder length hair and brown eyes. That’s me. My best friend Sid is the opposite of me. Sid is tall and skinny with short curly blonde hair. He has sky blue eyes and white crooked teeth. He has so many freckles it makes him look tanned.
It was a Saturday when it began – a hot sunny Saturday afternoon. Sid and I had just came back from playing soccer. Now we were walking down the street towards the general store.
“What do you want to do tonight?” Sid asked as he tossed the soccer ball to me. I caught it and threw it back.
“I don’t know.” Sid jumped into the air stretching his hands out to get the ball. But the ball had other ideas and soared over his head.
“Great catch Sid. You nearly caught it!” Cried a voice. Sid and I turned around to see who had spoken. It was Sid’s sister Kylie. Like Sid Kylie was tall and skinny. She had long blonde hair. Standing next to Kylie was her two best friends Mary and Shannon. Mary was tall and had long red hair. Shannon had long brown hair that was tied up in a ponytail.
“Crawl back under the back you came from.” Sid replied to his sister. She poked out her tongue at Sid.
“What are you guy up to?” Asked Shannon.
“Nothing much.” I replied, “What about you?”
“We are going camping.” Mary said.
“Mum wouldn’t let you go camping Kylie.” Sid said. His mother always went out of her to make her children as miserable as possible. She was a real idiot; her life didn’t turn out the way she wanted it to so she takes all her anger out others. All she does at home is drink and yell out Sid and Kylie.
“Who cares what Mum thinks?” Kylie said grinning.
“You’ll get a whopping off Mum.” Sid said. And it was true Sid’s mother could give a real whopping.
“You’ve done stuff that Mum doesn’t known. And she never found out.” Kylie argued.
I looked at my best friend.
“She’s got a point.” I said.
“I’ll tell her.” Sid said. I knew he wouldn’t tell on Kylie. They fought a lot but I knew they loved each other.
“Well. I’ll tell on all the things you do.” Kylie said stubbornly.
“How about we all go? We could go and camp near the old abandon mine.” I suggested.
“That’s a great idea!” Sid said. And everyone else agreed, except to Shannon.
“You know it’s dangerous over there. Heaps of people died down there.” Shannon said doubtfully.
“But we aren’t going into it.”
In the end Shannon agreed.
Chapter II: The Mine

After the clock striked seven exact, the first thunder struck also, then it began to rain, it rained more and more, it haven't rained this much since last July, but it soon ended.
We met outside of my front yard, but only Sid, Kylie, and Mary were there.
"Where's Shannon?"
"She's too scared to come."
We sat up the camp near the mine. The sky was blue, too blue, too dark blue. But with the moon shining in it, everything seems quiet and peaceful. The only sounds you can hear are the music coming from the pub and the crickets chirping in the grass on the plains.
“What’s wrong?”
“I thought I saw something from the mine.”
“You sure?”
“I think so.”
It was too dangerous for us to go down the mine, with only a box of match, but the curiosity couldn’t stop us from going into it. We followed Sid into the mine.
We went in, it was dark, none of us had a flashlight, they don’t sell this kind of things in the store. Sid brought a box of match.
It was cold, dark, and dirty, we lighted up the first match.
A drop of rain felled down from the above, the match didn't light up.
We lighted up the second one.
The light was too dim to light up anything, but we decided to head in the mine anyway.
The rainwater went in the mine; the ground was like a marshland.
As we went in, a weird scent immediately came to us, and it was sort of a weird-stinky smell.
A few minutes passed, then a few hours passed, we followed the scent, using the match, by the time we used up our last match, we were trying to get outside, but we were trapped in, somewhere we can't locate.
It was pure dark; we have no idea what to do. “We were trapped, at least for today, or maybe even tomorrow, or maybe this whole week!” Mary yelled.
Mary was as shy as Shannon, she began to blame on me.
Then I began to blame on Kylie, she directed all of us to this place.
"Everyone calm down! Don't panic, we'll think of something."
She found a lighter in her pockets, and lighted it up, she stole it yesterday from her father, her father was a smoker and an alcoholic.
It was hours later, we’re still exploring the mines, trying to find the place where we entered, but were still lost, when the lighter was almost ran out, something shocked us.
In an unexplored part of the abandoned old mine, we found a body.
It was Shannon.
"Oh my god." Whispered Kylie. I ran over to Shannon and began to shake her.
“Shannon wake up, Shannon wake up!" I cried. By now Mary, Kylie and Sid were sitting to Shannon and me. Mary began to sob a little.
"She's dead. Marshal, she's dead." Mary whispered. I grabbed Shannon's shoulders and shook her violently.
“Wake up. Wake up!" I screamed at her. She couldn't be... she just couldn't be.
"Okay. Okay I'm awake." She whispered.
"She's alive!" Shrieked Kylie. Sid and I helped Shannon stand up.
"I thought you were too scared to come.” Sid said to her.
“Yes, but it’s better than staying home with a drunk, I couldn’t stand him yelling. I thought I heard you guys talking in the mine so I followed in.”
“Why are you lying on the ground?”
“There was this bald tall man, I fainted.”
"He hit you didn't he?" I asked
"No I just fainted" She lied.
"Come on you guys let's set up the camp." Side suggested, breaking the silence.
“Are you sure? I mean in this dirty place” Asked Mary.
“What do ya think? It’s night.”
We all set up our sleeping bags and luckily; Shannon had brought two boxes of match. Sid and I had found old beams of wood and we light warm fire. I was just drifting off when I saw two red eyes through the darkness. I leaped out of bed.
"Who are you?" I demanded. The person turned and ran further into the mine.
"What's the matter?" Sid asked sleepily.
“Someone was just here.”
“Was he the tall and the bald man?” Asked Shannon.
“I … ’m not sure.”
"Let's follow him." Suggested Kylie who had just woken up. And so all of us traveled further into the mine unaware of the danger that was to past....

We followed his tracks, I thought he was bald, and is tall, but i wasn't sure. We went through another series of odd caves, one by one, two by two, we've never thought the mine was this large.
We weren't even sure if we're ever going to get out, but none of us cared about that. We were all focusing on the tall bold person.
Then we got to a dead end.
We went back, but couldn't find the place we met Shannon. Where could the man have gone?
It was late, we were all tired, and we went to sleep.
Chapter III: The Old Woman’s House

Then the next day came, we didn't even realize it because we haven't seen light and stars for a whole night, after sleeping in the cold mine, we all smells like sardines, packed all together in this little space, we stank.
We thought maybe the man was just an illusion, but I insisted on trying to find him.
Then we came to a part of the cave where we found a chair with a table, with a reading lamp on it.
So we continued looking for human inhabitance. We almost missed the secret cave; it was beside the chair, on the side of the cave, there was a hole covered with stones and rocks. Sid thought he saw light coming from over there, so we moved all the rocks away, it was a secret passage.
It was like a hall, with torches on the walls, we walked through it, and we came to a place when the trail split into two, Sid said we should all go to the same direction, so none of us will be lost. We all agreed, and followed him.
We went through the right passage, Mary said it's meaningful, the right passage, should be the right passage.
As we traveled along the passage further, fresh air filled my lungs.
"We must be getting close now." Mary said.
"Um ... you guys, maybe we shouldn't go down there." Shannon said nervously.
"Come on. What’s fun without a bit of danger?" I asked her. She shrugged. After about ten minuets we were facing a large wooden black door, with my hand on the door handle.
I turned to the others.
"Should I?" I asked them.
"Yes." Kylie said.
"Do it." Agreed Mary.
"No don't. I don't think it’s a good idea." Shannon said.
"Open Marshal." Sid said. I turned to Shannon.
"That's four against one, sorry you lose." I said and turned the knob. I then pulled the door open and gasped.
"Well don't just stand there. Come in." Said the elderly woman. We all followed her in to her kitchen. The woman was huge and had blonde curly hair. And she was wearing an apron.
"Sit down. Sit down." She said smiling at us. I looked at Sid, he shrugged and we all sat down.
"Have cookie." She said and we all grabbed one. I bit into my cookie then I turned to her.
"I'm sorry. We must be going." I said. Something didn't feel right. The woman didn't seem to notice we were all dirty and had just walked into her house through a mine. I tried to stand but couldn't. My legs weren't moving! I tried again and fell off the chair. Suddenly a large black crow flew in from the window and landed besides me.
"Look what I got here Beaky." The old woman said to her bird, "It looks like we'll be having children for tea tonight." The woman let out a laugh. I suddenly realized what she was. She was a cannibal!
"Cannibals." I said to my self in an extra-low voice, still stunned.
"What?" Mary asked anxiously in a low voice too.
"Don't worry, my dear, here, have a cookie."
"Taste it, I bet you've never eaten this kind of cookie, it's made of pure human flesh, taste it, it's delicious."
“Taste it,” The woman said with a bit of demanding tone, “It'll be the last cookie you'll ever eat."
Still stunned.
"Run!" yelled Sid.
We all ran to the backdoor quickly, but it was locked.
"You can't escape from my hands, you're trapped here forever!! Hahahahaha!" laughed the old woman, with rage, violently.
Yet stunned still.
"Now, drink this," said the woman, as she took out cups of liquid.
None of us replied.
"I ... said...NOW!" She screamed, "or I'll eat you one by one!"
We were all stupefied, frozen. Time froze. We were all shocked, without knowing what to do, or what to say.
"I REPEAT, NOW!" She screamed again.
So we all gulped down the liquid that looked like milk, but tasted like dishwashing detergent.

We all went to sleep.
She took out ropes and chains from the drawer, and tried us together against a wooden pole, and chained our feet.

Time passed.

When we woke up, she ordered us to peel potatoes in another room. As we were doing slave work, we also thought about our families, for the first time, in 2 days.

In the meanwhile, back home, Sid's father and my father all went out to look for us, Mary lives in an orphanage, her mother is serving time in jail for killing Mary's father. Shannon's father is busying drinking all day; he doesn't care about Shannon at all.
“I miss my home." Kylie said.
"We all do." said Sid.
"Not me." said Shannon.
"Me either." said Mary.
The squeaky door opened, the woman yelled, "Be quiet! I'm trying to concentrate! Who told you to talk!"
"Wicked ugly old woman." whispered Sid.
The door slammed.
A while later, we were taken away to the room we first entered, she tied us to the pole again.
Chapter IV: The Escape

I looked around at the others, and then I pulled out a butter knife out of my pocket. I had stolen it when I had been washing up. Quickly I began to untie myself then the others. I ran over to the door that led to the mine. Once I had unlocked it, the others open the door and gasped. Instead of looking at the mine we where looking at a lush green forest. Suddenly the squeaky door opened and the old woman came in.
“Run!” Sid shouted and we ran in the forest. Once we were all in, I shut the door just as the woman came running at us.
“How did we end up here?” Mary asked.
“Maybe the door is …magic,” I said slowly, “And the every time you open the door you’re somewhere else.”
“There is only one way to find out.” Shannon said and with that she swung opened the door. I felt my jaw drop as I looked out. I couldn’t believe it. It was true. Each time you open the door you somewhere else!
“How are we going to get back home?” Kylie asked.
I turned to them.
“All we have to do is keep on opening and shutting the door.” I said. I slammed the door shut then opened it again. I gasped as the door was showing the forest. I walked the door and couldn’t believe it. The door lead nowhere! Suddenly writing appeared on the door:

To get back home you must find,
A green stone that is mine.
It is as big as a chicken. But beware,
For the stone is guarded by a bear.

“Does that mean what I think it does?” Sid asked.
I nodded, “Yes.”
"So... where are we supposed to go now?"
"I'm not quite sure."
"What are we supposed to do, Sid?"
Sid shrugged, "Let's just keep on walking, maybe we'll get somewhere."
So we walked, and walked, and for a change of pace, we walked some more.
We had no idea how long have we been walking, none of us had a watch on. So we continued walking, until everyone's tired, we went to sleep.

We woke up, in the next morning, I think. Everything had changed, it's not Nowhereland anymore, we woke up in the corner on a city street, cars were honking and running, people are walking on the sidewalk, we just sat there, shocked.
"What's going on?" Asked Kylie.
"Um... I...don't know."
"I thought we're going to find the stone."
"How did we get here?"
"Are you dreaming?"
"NO, you aren't dreaming, what are you doing sitting on the street?"
We looked up, there was a policeman talking to us.
He took us for a ride in his police car; he said he's going to take us to the station.
"Where are we?"
"San Francisco."
"How what?"
"How did he get here?"
"How did who get here?"
I pointed out the car window, there was the tall bald man walking on the sidewalk.
"Who's that?"
"That's the man I saw the other day, in the mine."
"Are you sure?"
"Let's follow him," said Sid, "Mr. Police, can you follow that man over there?"
The car crashed. It passed a traffic light and crashed into another car. The car flipped an 180o degree, and crashed into a tree. Sparks and flames went everywhere.

"Are you alright?"
I woke up, lying on a bed, in a hospital.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes... I think. Where are the rest of us?"
The nurse cleared her throat, "They are … still alive."
I noticed something was wrong from the voice she spoke, "What happened to them?" I asked impatiently.
She didn’t answer.
I jumped out of the bed immediately, trying to find them.
I slipped on the floor, I had lost a leg.

I later found out Mary had lost her memory during crash. Sid is still in a coma, Kylie has been saved, just a minor bruise on the forehead, and Shannon was the only one of us not injured, miraculously.
Mr. Police died. Tragically.
Chapter V: The Stone

Time passed so slowly. I stayed in the bed that day, praying that Sid would soon wake up. 2 weeks later, he had awaked from the coma. I stayed in the hospital for 3 months to heal my leg. Kylie and Shannon stayed in the hospital with us. Mary still couldn’t remember anything.
Three months passed so slowly, it feels like it's been 3 years. We thought about Greensworth, and our home and where my dad would be right now. 3 months finally passed away.

It was a fine sunny day when I suggested it.
“I think we should find the egg. In that riddle thing.” I said.
“No, let’s just stay here.” Shannon said in a low voice, “It’s nice here. We could live a new life.”
I shook my head. “Are you stupid or something?” I yelled at her, “Haven’t you noticed some things, like how did that guy get here? Why the fruit here tastes strange? Or why no one has asked how we got here? It all seems too…nice.”
Shannon looked at me. “I don’t care if the fruit tastes funny you know why? Because here people are nice! No one at Greensworth cared about us. But they do!” Shannon cried. I grabbed my crutches and got up.
“I don’t care what the rest of you think but I’m going.” I said and began to go. Sid stood up from his chair.
“Marshal… I’m coming with you.” He said and walked over to me.
“If Sid goes I go.” Kylie said standing up. I looked Shannon straight in the eye.
“Where one goes we all go.” I said.
“What about Mary? What if we got lost?” Shannon shrieked.
“Look!” Mary yelled.
“It’s that bald old man! The person we saw when the car crashed!”
We didn’t have time to think how Mary gained her memory back. I just said.
"Follow him!"
We followed him, out of the hospital, passed the streets. He entered a zoo. We followed him, at a corner, he mysteriously vanished.
"Where did he go?"
"Maybe we went the wrong way."
"No, he was just here."
"I'm getting tired, let's rest a while."
We sat there for a while, and then Sid started to yell.
I looked the way he's pointing; I couldn’t believe what I saw.
"What's wrong?"
Mary was sitting on a stone – a green stone – a green stone big as a chicken.
"But where are the bears?"
The bear roared.
The real green stone is the one guarded by a bear, in the cage.
"How are we going to get it from the cage?"
"Stop asking questions, think!" Said Kylie. Sid ran forward, the bear swiped out at him. I walked forward trying to help Sid, but slipped on the ground. Kylie grabbed one of my crutches and hit the bear. The bear turned to her and let out a roar. Shannon grabbed the other crutch and also began hitting the bear. The bear swiped out at the crutches and broke them in two.
“Touch the stone!” I screamed to Mary. She ran forward but couldn’t reach it. The bear swung one of its hands at Sid. And its claws got him straight across the face. Blood rolled down his face; Sid fell to the ground dead. I had just stood up when the bear began to lumber over to me! I fell down and was trying to crawl away. But one of the bear’s claws came down on to my chest.
Chapter VI: The Return

“Touch it Mary!” I yelled, “Touch it!”
“I can’t reach it!”
“Use the crutch!” Yelled Sid. He looks painful, lying on the ground.
Suddenly everything froze, and then the bear was gone. I looked around we were back in the forest next to the door. I looked down at me leg and gasped. It was growing back! Sid was standing up and the scars on his face where disappearing.
“What happened Marshal?” Mary asked me holding the stone. I looked at her smiling.
“We did it! You got the stone.” I said.
“Now what?” Asked Kylie. I shrugged.
“I guess we go through another door and complete what ever we have to do. We’ll keep on doing it until we get back to Greensworth.” I said.
“What if we never get back?” Shannon whispered.
“WE will.” I said and opened the door. Kylie, Mary, Sid and Shannon went through. I whispered to my self before I went though the door “We will.”
It was like that, in one blink of eyes, and we were back in the old woman's room in the mine.
"Did this really happen?
"Yeah, we're back."
"We're back in Greensworth?"
"I think so, wait a minute, how did you remember? I mean from when we’re in the zoo?”
"I don’t know, I just …”
Before she could finish her sentence.
Noises came from the kitchen.
"What was that?!"
We all ran into the other room.
The old woman is lying on the floor.
Sid went up to her, "She isn't breathing."
"She's dead?"
"I hope so."
"Let's get out of this place."
We exit the room, and exited the "right" hall that led us through this mishap. We passed the series of mines, while walking, we thought about the first sunlight we’ll see in Greensworth, ever since we were trapped in this hallucination. We thought about what it will be like when we exited the mine. Will there be grass, or even trees on the brownish plain that was once just plain, plain?
Chapter VII: The Crows

The paths led us into a really big cave.
Noises came from somewhere.
“What was that?”
“I don’t know. Let’s keep on walking.”
The noises started again.
“What’s going on!”
“Don’t panic, let’s follow it.”
“Why? Haven’t we experienced enough already?”
“Let’s go find the exit—”
And then there were screams.
“Cut it out!”
“It wasn’t me!”
“When are we getting out?”
“Soon, I hope.”
“Something is wrong her –”
“Something is definitely wrong!”
And then there were screams again, as we found a cave where I saw the tall bald man.
“I think so.”
There was the tall bald man, lying there, on the ground, with a knife stuck in his neck.
Suddenly heads began to pop out behind the rocks above us, and around us. Black heads, with beaks, crows!
Then the tall bold man lying on the grounds began to reform, he turned into another crow. It was Beaky.
We soon realized what was happening. The old woman was alive again; she walked over to us from a little cave in the wall.
She told us that the crows once ruled this mine; she was the king of them. And Beaky playing dead? He’s just a trap to get us here.
We’re now surrounded by cannibals.
Before I could finish shouting out the word, cannibals flew toward us, they’ve circled us.
“Don’t you think you can escape from the hands of me!”
“What do you want us for?”
“Simple, to tear your flesh into pieces small enough for us to eat.”
“And to drain your blood!”
“Take them to the dungeon!” Yelled the woman.
They took us into a cave in the wall, we passed through a series of doors, and the paths led us into a cell, they chained us with heavy rigid chains, manacles, fetters and shackles.
Soon after they chained us up they slammed the steel door and left.
The cell was freezing cold, and with the cold steel shackles on my ankles, it made me shiver.
None of us spoke for some time; the silence was as cold as the air. We hadn’t realized what was going on yet; all of these came so quick. We were just thinking of what to do when we get out of this mine, but suddenly …
Sid first broke the silence, “What … just happened?”
“Yeah, what just happened?” Mary followed.
“Are you all stupid or something? We’re trapped here in this cold bloody cell and we need to think of a way out!” Kylie said as she stood up.
She looked out the cell door, “Get us out of here!”
No one responded, after the echoes it was pure silent.
“But how?”
None of us answered. It was late, as we figured. We all become too tired and dozed off.
Chapter VIII: The Ending

It was hours later, noises waked us up; it was the old woman with a torch in her hand. Behind her were the crows. She opened up the cell door, released us from the steel restraints, and said it was time.
They brought us into another cave. There were small pieces of wood and leftover coal on the ground; the whole place was really filthy. They tied us to a wooden pole, and were ready for cannibalism.
All the crows flied around the pole, and sang in a mysterious tune. The woman stood beside the crows started yelling something in a crazy language. It was like a religious ritual.
“What do we do?” Whispered Shannon.
“Marshal, do you still have that knife?” Asked Sid.
I put my hand in my pocket and searched for it. “Got it!” I whispered.
The crows are still singing. I immediately started using the knife to cut the ropes.
“They’re escaping!” Yelled the woman.
“Cut the ropes! Cut it!”
We were soon released from the ropes, and dashed through the crows’ barrier. The place instantly became rampant. It was a pandemonium. Crows’ flying sounds, woman’s yelling sounds … it was an uncontrollable chaos, we sprinted out of the place and shut the steel door. The crows are still flying after us; the woman is pounding hard on the door. We tried our best to keep the door shut, but soon we were too tired to continue it anymore.
“Match! Match!” Yelled Sid.
Shannon searched in her pocket; there was the last match.
Sid took the match from Shannon’s hand, the door broke open.
We all ran in our fastest speed, the crows and the woman rushed after us. We passed through one cave, then another. We can’t continue this anymore, we rushed to the nearest door and slammed it shut, only four of us got there, Sid was still running.
“Sid! Come on!” We yelled.
Sid knew this couldn’t stop the crows from chasing after us; he stopped and lighted up the match.
The horde caught up with him.
Sid was soon in the crowd of crows; it was an unimaginable scene. Terror, fear, and horror happened in the same time. Sid threw the lightened match on the ground; the fire started burning on small pieces of wood. The place soon lightened up.
“Go! Get out of here now! Don’t care about me!”
It was only seconds after, the whole place burned up. Crows and people were all trapped in the flames.
“Go –” Sid yelled again in the fire.
We shut the door and ran, tear and sweat ran down our faces, we ran and ran. Somehow we’ve found the mine’s entrance.
We exited the mine and continued running.
We looked back at the mine: flames, sparks and fire surrounded it. We sat down on the ground. Kylie began to cry. It was a tragic moment unable to be expressed in words. Tears ran down our faces.
Chapter IX: Afterwards

It was days later. We had got back home, and the story of our experience was announced on every newspaper in Australia. Mount Greensworth soon became famous.
Looking back in the last few days, we can’t believe it was true. It seems to us all like a nightmare. We were invited to several news conferences to tell about our experience, including the woman, the crows, the stone, how we got to San Francisco and Nowhereland. It seems like a magical story to them, but to us, it wasn’t imagination. It was a true period of time in our lives we could never forget.
After weeks, they’ve finally identified the whole event. It was true. There have been several witnesses on seeing the car crash in San Francisco, how we just magically appeared on the street corner of San Francisco, and our disappearance in the zoo. However, only Sid’s body has been found. He was lying on the ground, still in the position of trying to struggle out of the crowd. But there wasn’t even a trace of the crows, not even a feather, nor was there any evidence of the woman.
Sid became a hero not only in Greensworth, in Australia, but in the whole world. Our story has been known all around the globe.
Greensworth was developed into a traveling town after that. The poor desert town is now booming, skyscrapers and superhighways were built. The ruins of the abandoned mine has been preserved into a visitor’s attraction. Next to the mine, there is a monument for Sid:

Sidney Davis
(1988 – 2001)
National Hero

We’ve never went camping again after that.

The End
Here's the beginning of a story I'm writing, just for the hell of it.

Ch 1

There are two things you should know if you live on Mars. One, the government really does know everything you are doing at all times. Two, the police force is little more than a group of organized thugs with heavy weaponry. Of course it had not always been this way, from the days of the great terraforming to the last democratic elections held in the capital city of New Berlin, Mars had once been an open, free, prosperous society. Back in the Golden Age, Mars was respected and glorified around the Sol system. Even on Earth, long since the hated rival of it’s young Martian cousins, there was a great pro-Mars movement. The military on Mars was once a peacekeeping tool, and the fleets based from its orbital stations once were the harbingers of freedom to oppressed people everywhere. But, then the Fallout occurred. Inherent to capitalist societies, Mars suffered from a great economic collapse because the Centithium reserves that were once so abundant beneath Martian soil ran out. The backbone of the chiefly industrial Martian society was gone overnight. Great civil unrest resulted from massive unemployment among average Martian citizens; at one point the unemployment rate among adults was an astonishing 47 per cent. Riots around the Martian globe literally brought the planet to its knees, if they were standing on their feet to begin with. It was at this shameful point that democracy on Mars died. The government drafted emergency resolutions granting the Premier supreme authority, and he promptly turned the guns of the Martian forces onto it’s own citizens. The most notorious such event occurred in the city of Lindonia. There was a crowd of some forty thousand rioters near the city hall, when suddenly the sky darkened as over two hundred hover-gunships appeared and fired their rockets and cannons into the crowd, killing over half the citizens there. Several more such slaughters took place around Mars, until finally open rioting died out completely. With order apparently restored, the Premier was urged by his Parliament to return power to the Elected Body. But no such event happened. He retained his totalitarian powers, and took measures to reduce unemployment, sometimes through forced labour, and returned Mars to the forefront of Sol interplanetary events. However, unlike before Mars was now universally hated. In the Lunar Accords of 2349, the governments of Earth and Venus both agreed to cut all trade with the fascist government on Mars. The Jovian and Saturn nations refused to come out of isolation to aid the Terran-Venutian alliance, and war seemed inevitable.

Praetor Nikolai Velyenko was not normally a praying man, considering that religion, while not forbidden on Venus, was widely rejected as irrational and pointless. Such was the way of things in the socialist republic that was Venus. Despite that, as he walked down the heavily decorated corridors of the Venutian government buildings, to present his report on the rapidly deteriorating Martian/Terran relations, he found himself silently hoping that this would not lead the Council to any rash decisions. He had a history with the Council, he was normally one to relay fleet status reports to and from the Council, but this time he feared that they would be premature in their judgement. He, like all military men on Venus, detested war and felt that the fleet should be used as a deterrent only, and some even wished that the Venutian government would adopt the isolationist policies of the Jovian and Saturn moon governments. Nevertheless, as the guards to the main chamber opened the huge wooden (forests had sprung up over vast portions of Venus during the first terraforming) doors, the council looked somewhat anxious to hear what he had to say. They were a collection of men, aged 35-60, who came from all over Venus from all walks of life. They had not been democratically elected, but as the Venutian socialist government had always ruled with great care for the people, there was never any pro-democracy issues on Venus. They were clearly in some kind of heated debate, and looked to Velyenko for some sort of moderation. He approached the long table at which the Council sat, and placed his small computer at the end.

“Gentlemen of the Council, I come before you today to present my report on the diplomatic relations between the National Republic of Mars, and the Democratic Federal Republic of Earth,” he began, pressing a small red button on his device which brought up a holographic display over the table, a 3d image of the inner Sol system. “As you already know, relations between Terra and Mars are not well. Mars has stepped up its armament efforts and Earth is building increasingly heavy amounts of planetary based defences. Whether they are both merely presenting themselves as ready to meet any challenge is not known at this time.”

He then pressed a button on a large screen in the wall nearest to the Council, which brought up data tables on known fleet strengths of the Sol powers. “As you can see, the Martian fleet possesses a substantial amount of heavy firepower in the form of its-“ One of the Council members interrupted him.

“Praetor, we did not bring you here to discuss the strength of the Martian military,” it was Sergei Grigorenko, the Minister of Defence on Venus. A man Velyenko did not particularly care for, since he found himself clashing with Grigorenko on the hot topic of war. “We have already spent hours ourselves analyzing these tables you bring before us. What we do want from you is your honest opinion of the role we could play should a Mars/Terra conflict break out. We know that the Terrans do not possess the strength to fight the Martians successfully in an offensive war, so could we, in your opinion, use this as leverage in dealings with the Terrans?”

Velyenko sighed audibly, an action he instantly regretted. “Comrade Minister, may I propose that war is not a certainty at this point. The Martians, while arming themselves as we speak, have not broken off diplomatic discussions from the Terrans and their government in Chicago. We must, at this point, assume that war will not happen,” he did as normally, giving as impartial advice as possible. Venus was a nation that punished corruption and rewarded honesty in all things. “The fleet is at an estimated 79 per cent readiness. We can deploy at a moments notice should something occur. The Terrans will undoubtedly turn to us should war break out, and I must caution you to only intervene if defeat for the Terrans appears near. The Terrans are not stupid, they realize that they lack the offensive strength to take the fight to the Martians, and will instead rely on the cover of their orbital based artillery platforms to destroy any attempts by the Martians to engage Terran fleet units in orbit of either Earth or their moon, Luna.”

“So you propose that the we should not declare war on the Martians when the first shots are fired? Hypothetically, of course.”

“That is exactly what I am saying. The Martians will not take on the combined strength of both Venus and Earth."

***Damn the message character limit, second part below***
Ch 2
The morning shuttle carrying the President of Mars and his entourage departed briskly in the early morning sky in the shadow of Olympus Mons. Typically they would head at a leisurely pace above the parades of Martian troops and war machines to the Presidential Office, where the daily bureaucracy involved with running a Martian dictatorship would take place. But today, however, was different. The President was in a hurry to attend a secret meeting with one of his ministers in a recently shut down factory on the outskirts of the capital city. So secret was the meeting, that the crew that was flying the shuttle was not the normal crew, but a special set of guards. The minister, in this case the Minister of Internal Economics, Minister Diamant, had told him that it was of the utmost urgency that the President meet with him to discuss matters of grave importance. Now, the President was not very worried, but for reasons that were all his own. He doubted the matter to which his attention had been brought was as severe as Diamant depicted, however, he did have an obligation to attend the meeting.
The shuttle set down on a landing pad on the roof of the building, which was beginning to show some signs of decay. The old turrets which had once been intended to defend the factory from foreign invasion still stood tall with pride, albeit they were rusting over badly. The smoke stacks and cranes were beginning to topple, indeed one had already collapse onto a former assembly line; this was four months ago, and no effort had been made to repair it, or even rezone the land for future development. But, like in all things on Mars, President Oulahen had other plans for this facility, and was somewhat suspicious when Minister Diamant had requested that this site be that for their meeting. But, nonetheless, the meeting stood.
Departing the shuttle, Oulahen looked around for a moment, taking in the scenery of the Martian sky. It was cold to be sure, the sun had not yet risen over Olympus Mons. But when she did, Sol would beam down immense heat onto the generators of the Martian capital, providing power for the planet. As he walked slowly towards the entrance and stairs leading down into the complex, the Minister arrived out of the shadows. He had a look of anxiousness on his face, and was clearly exasperated over something. Something.....important.
"President Oulahen, I bring you here under most dire circumstances," the Minister began, bowing slightly in front of the supreme Martian ruler. While Oulahen did prefer to rule with something of an iron fist officially, he preferred to have his ministers and cabinet act somewhat casual around him, he felt it was better for efficiency that way. Say what you may about the fascist Martians, they did run an efficient boat.
"Minister Diamant, I am sure that you have legitimate causes for breaking me away from the military parade in Lindonia this morning?" while he did not mind attending what was almost certainly a pointless meeting, he did enjoy watching his troops parade before him, and was somewhat irked by being torn away from them, especially since Lindonian parades only happen twice a year.
"President, yes I do," Diamant started out. "As you already are aware, we have been hit recently with a massive production slump in factories all over Mars. Many facilities that were once prosperous, such as this one we speak in, have been shut down, and despite the fact that record amounts of credits are being pumped into the Martian industries, production remains at an all time low. President, I am sorry, but the only conclusion I can make here is that someone is looting the Martian treasury. I have.....I have failed you, President Oulahen," there was a sincere tone of apology in his voice, but the President was well aware of the situation of which the Minister spoke. But he stood unflinching in his gaze, as he already knew that Diamant was incorrect.
"My dear friend Diamant, you worry far too easily," Oulahen stated. Then, in his mind, he made a quick decision. "Minister, how long have I known you, how long have we been close friends?"
"About, thirty years, President Oulahen," the Minister was slightly taken aback by the President's laid back approach to what seemed to him to be a national crisis.
"And in that time, you have proven yourself trustworthy time and again. I have no reason not to tell you what I am about to," the President took in a deep breath as he stood about to explain everything he had been planning for two years to his dearest friend, and closest ally. "Diamant, there is no looting of the Martian treasury. In fact, no facilities have ever been shut down on Mars in the past seven years. Things are not what they appear to be, and in fact you do not have all the facts as a Minister should. I apologize for this, but I have been unable to tell all but a handful of generals in the navy. This facility itself is still fully operational, albeit mostly automated. Come, let me show you," Oulahen led his friend to an elevator, and selected to travel to the bottom floor, which resided seventy feet below the surface of Mars. Diamant noticed that as they rode the elevator down, that the President's guards were no longer with them. They must've stayed up at the shuttle pad, he thought to himself.
As they reached the level which the President selected, Diamant was shocked as the door opened and he stood no more than ten metres from a fully automated assembly line. It looked as though some sort of wing was being assembled here, probably for military spacecraft, he decided. He couldn't make any sense of this, Oulahen had put this facility out of official commission under the pretense of a failing economy, but here it was, secretly putting together military craft. What was going on?
"Minister, as you can see, I am secretly building my military up, as if the economy of Mars was on a war footing, producing military goods at a massively increased rate. I have done this because I know that the Terrans and Venutians have operatives all over Mars, despite our earnest efforts to rid ourselves of their watchful eyes. I could not order the official buildup of weaponry; that would raise too many red flags on Earth and Venus, and perhaps even Ganymede as well."
"But President, we already have a military well sized enough to defend ourselves from even Jovian agression, let alone Terran and Venutian. Why secretly build up a defence force so large?" Diamant was still confused.
"My dear Minster Diamant, these forces which you see being built before you are not for defence....they are for conquest," the President declared. "We Martians have a destiny to fulfill, and that is rulers of the Sol system. Martian life was the first life to exist, and although we as humans are not indigenous Martians, we must take the legacy that ancient Martians left, and rule the Sol system. For too long have the Terrans, the Venutians, and even the Jovians ruled, we must cast them down with one fell swoop, and take our rightful place as dominators."
The Minister stood with his jaw gaping. He could barely believe what he was hearing. "But Oulahen, you cannot plunge us into another war! This one will surely destroy us all! You must not do this!"
"Minister, it has already been done, the plans are too far along to be stopped now, and the Terrans and Venutians have no inkling of what I am doing. They shall soon learn the wrath of the Martian people!" Oulahen was slightly angered by his friend's take on the projected Martian conquest of every human in existence. To him, this plan could not and would not fail.
"But President Oulahen, I cannot allow you to do this. I will take whatever means necessary to stop you!"
Now he had the president enraged. "You threaten me? You dare to threaten me, the President of the Martian Commonwealth? Because of your insubordination, and apparent lack of patriotism for the Martian cause, I'm afraid I'm going to have to remove you from your post. I will also have to take certain measures to ensure that the information that you have received this day does not leak out to my enemies."
Wide eyed, the Minister knew exactly what this meant: a one way trip to a Martian psychiatric facility where he would have an operation that would reduce him to all but a vegetable. "Tis a shame too, you were one of my most talented officials, but far too weak to be of any use to me in the future. I have had enough of your insolence," he motioned to the two guards whom had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. "Take him away."
" cannot do this.....war will destroy us all!" His cries faded into the background, and soon disappeared, and a smug grin came across the President's face, and he gazed upon the aircraft which would soon enough fly across the entire system, bringing death to all who opposed his rule. Truly, this was a moment he would remember for a long time.
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