Category Archives: Beth’s Stories

Character Creation: Em (Part 4 – Here be Spiders)

This scene might be slightly familiar to some — but don’t worry, names have been changed to protect the scaredy-cat involved. Em was once again my character of choice…

Spider

Spiiiiiider

The word flickered through her brain like the creepy eight legged monster it portrayed; skittering across her subconscious with a terrifying kind of agility. She paused a moment before turning on the light, unwilling to believe what her mind was trying to tell her. The instant the light switched on she leapt backwards through the doorway, a scream bubbling up in her throat.

It’s bigger. How can it possibly be bigger???

He sat there in the sink, unafraid, knowing that to even consider challenging his dominance over the bathroom she would first need to conquer the crippling fear that prevented her from stepping back over the threshold into the room.

Can’t squish. Too big.

It was amazing how fear could abbreviate her usually long-winded thoughts.

A shudder wracked her body, starting at the hair follicles on the top of her head and working its way downward until there wasn’t a single hair lying flush against her skin. With sudden clarity she bolted for the kitchen and grabbed a bowl. She twisted the hot water tap and began to fill it when she realized that the two cups of liquid it held wouldn’t even phase the monster. Cursing her sleep addled brain she fished around in the bottom cupboard until she came up with the soup pot that she had never had occasion to use. A pot of soup made in this beast would feed at least 37 people. She didn’t even know 37 people.

Fully armed, Em returned to the bathroom, inching forward until she could just see the creature over the rim of the sink. She eyed the tap, knowing that it was far too close to him for her to hope that she might reach it first. Steeling herself, she swung the pot, water arched through the air, glistening with elemental power. It hit the spider with incredible force, dislodging it from its position at the bottom of the sink and sweeping it towards her with tidal strength.

The scream no longer bubbled, it ripped out of her, a primal challenge that managed to do nothing but accurately portray the depth of fear coursing through her veins.

The tidal wave settled as the water slowly drained down, leaving the creature standing, mighty and unphased, on the drain stopper. He hadn’t even had the decency to curl up into a spidery ball and show a smidgen of concern.

Hands shaking with the intensity of the confrontation, she returned to the kitchen and began to re-fill her weapon of choice.

He never should have been able to withstand that much water.

Visions of the spider being swept up in the water, carried over the rim of the sink and landing at her feet, played out before her. Unwilling to risk propelling him any closer, Em was much more careful with her second attack. This time she only emptied half of the pot but it didn’t do so much as dislodge the creature from its perch.

It’s inhuman.

She blinked.

Of course it is. Idiot.

The remainder of the water hit the sink with a great deal more force, once again dislodging the spider for a wild ride that ended with him swirling up the side of the sink, only to settle right back on the top of the drain plug.

If her scream was a whimper, at least there was no one around to witness her shame.

Collecting herself she filled the pot for a third time, taking a deep breath as she inched back towards the bathroom door. With a mighty screech she launched the entire contents of the container directly towards the spider, howling in victory as his fat body was finally forced down the drain.

With speed she didn’t know she had, Em dropped the pot where she stood and lunged toward the tap, wrenching it as far open as she could. After a moment’s hesitation she twisted the tap from lukewarm to scalding.

He would have done the same to me.

Leaving the steaming water to continue pouring down the drain, she let her shaking legs give way and collapsed beside the pot, giving it an affectionate pat.

I am king. None can defeat me!

A gentle touch against her nose had her on her feet and out of the room faster than a blink. Swiping frantically against her face, her heart stopped for a moment as her hand came away wet.

Oh god, I squished it on my nose.

But there was nothing on her hand but a faint smear of water. Confused she turned back to the washroom and took a moment to really look at the room. Moisture clung to every conceivable surface, there were puddles on the floor and there, from the ceiling – a drip.

The water from the tap became a roaring in her ears as she surveyed the damage to the once pristine room. Suddenly aware of a chill in the air she glanced down to discover that her pajamas were completely soaked through.

What… happened? …What have I done?!

***

Character Creation: Em (Part 3 – Thoughts)

Em (which could be short for Emily, Emma or not an abbreviation at all – I haven’t decided yet), seems to be sticking around… Her story has only just begun, but I’m having a whole lot of fun delving into her mind. 

This won’t be the last you see of her.
*** 
 
Lake
It was peaceful here; the wind, the seagulls, the sound of the water gently lapping against the stones. She let herself get as comfortable as possible amidst the rocks that made up the little peninsula, let herself relax and just watched. The sun glinted off the water, crystalline and beautiful. The sky a blue so deep it took her breath away.
I’m only robbing myself when I can’t see the beauty around me.
She knew it was true. Deep down she always had. But when the world seems like it’s falling apart, beauty is too hard to find.
Liar.  
Her treacherous mind just couldn’t let her get away with anything.
You’ve just been giving up. It’s easier to tell yourself there is nothing you can do than to try to change your circumstances.
Her forehead creased in irritation and she tried to focus on the sole fluffy white cloud floating lazily across the sky.
You’ve convinced yourself that being alone prevents you from being happy. As if you only have worth when there is someone standing beside you. If you can’t see the worth in yourself how the hell do you expect anyone else to see it?
She hated it when she was right.

***

Character Creation: ‘Em’ (Part 2 – Break)

Em:

“There’s something you should know about me,” she whispered, her eyes fixed on their intertwined hands.
He just watched her, waiting for her to continue.
“I break easily.” She tripped on the words, hating the truth of them, the fragility she was owning up to.
“I won’t let you break.” Though quiet, his words were confident, sure and heart-wrenchingly honest.
shards of glass

Picture via Sasha Trubetskoy

 

Fragments: Parchment and Sand

Sometimes when I sit down to write, what the pen reveals isn’t quite what I intended. This was one of those moments. It doesn’t belong in any story I’m writing – but it found its way onto paper none-the-less.

time
Photo via graymalkn

Even to this day I think of you. It is no longer a matter of whether I should or I shouldn’t – at some point in time it became whether I could or couldn’t. I couldn’t stop, though I will be the first to admit that if I had succeeded I would have been a much happier man.
As true as I know that to be, I would not change my choices for all the contentment the world has to offer. There is no lasting happiness that could possibly eclipse the moments that you were mine, fleeting though they were.
Destiny may have had other plans but it could not wipe you from my thoughts.
Perhaps it is selfish of me after all this time, but I could not bear to think that I would leave this world behind while your hatred for me still lived. Though it may be easier if you did not know, I simply cannot keep silent any longer. I did it all for you, just you.

It was always you.”

The letter was unsigned, undoubtedly the writer had no concerns over whether or not the recipient would know whose hand had written it. If it had ever made it to her, Carin could only hope – such words were not meant to be lost within the sands of time. She brushed the last few grains of sand from the now-brittle parchment, noting the sure brushstrokes and the elegant calligraphy.

To her right sat a heap of trash; broken pieces of pottery, a doll missing an arm, the hilt of a dagger… With a degree of reverence she placed the letter in the much smaller pile of items to her left. It would be from them that she would choose what few relics would leave this place with her.

Taking a deep breath Carin plunged her hands back into the ever-shifting sand…

Character Creation: ‘Em’

Em doesn’t have a story, she doesn’t even really have a past. Not yet anyway. She’s one of the many characters I lug around with me on a day to day basis. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write her today, without even a tale to weave around her. Though I’m packing her away until I find out exactly where she fits – she can have her few minutes in the spotlight.

Cigarette girl, pt.1
Photo by Kr. B.

Em (Unedited)

Thinking too much. It was the curse of having above average intelligence, or perhaps the ability to see things that weren’t there. To be honest she was never really sure.

The only thing that Em was certain about was the fact that over thinking things only ever got her into trouble. It ruined perfect moments, lost her friends, and prevented her from forming relationships that would go beyond that first initial spark.

Aah, if only she could live carefree and on a whim. She would take that kind of life in a heartbeat. No more worrying about events that were beyond her control. No more obsessing over the tiniest details. It would be sheer and perfect bliss.

Too bad it would never be in the cards for her. Short of a lobotomy there was little chance that her obsessive compulsive analytics would ever fade into the background.
It wasn’t as though she had never tried to turn it off; during that first kiss, that moment that you’re supposed to be able to remember, she didn’t want her own rambling thoughts to be the focus. But they were – breaking it down, determining if it was the right moment, if he really was someone she should be kissing, wondering if she’d brushed her teeth recently enough… when it was over she couldn’t even recall how the shape of his lips fit hers. There wasn’t a chance for a flame to ignite, let alone a spark, she’d been too busy dousing it in a deluge of pointless thoughts.
Em sighed and took a long drag on the cigarette dangling limply between her fingers. The stupidity of it, the risks, how nasty she was going to smell when she walked inside to escape the frigid air, it was all right there in her brain. She ignored it, as she generally did, but even the little cancer-stick was unable to calm her frustration.
Flicking the remnants carelessly on the ground she smashed her heel vengefully into the still glowing embers, feeling a brief moment of satisfaction as they were instantly snuffed out. Then, with a discontented moue, she bent over to pick up the cigarette butt and toss it into the nearest trash can instead. If she’d dared to leave it there she wouldn’t have been able to escape the incessant guilty feeling that would inevitably arise.
Shoving her hands into the deep pockets of her knee length jacket she shuffled off in the general direction of the small train station that dominated this particular section of town. As she walked along the pavement she alternated between stepping on the cracks and attempting to avoid them altogether, wondering the whole while when it was decided that stepping on cracks was unlucky, just who had come to this conclusion, and if it were true, what bad luck she might expect to see in her future.
…Nothing was ever simple.

Grey

Fog

I used to dream in black and white, beautiful in its simplicity. But as I’ve lived and as I’ve learnt the stark contrast began to fade, revealing then, a hint of grey. An in-between, a mystery place; where nothing was as simple as it seemed. A place that brought uncertainty into a certain, ordered world.

Standing in the black and white, the uncertainty seems to be everything that should be feared. But take a step into the grey and uncertainty becomes possibility. Chances and dreams that could never have existed within the perfect black and white suddenly spring into reality.

Sometimes I long for black and white, that ability to never doubt. Until I fade into a dream that carries me away; a dream that’s always filled with grey.

Picture via kozlozay

Random Excerpt: Change

Sometimes you can feel it in your blood, the gentle boiling that sings of things to come. It’s much like that first gust of wind, gentle, subtle – but the scent of rain and power is hidden within it and you know instantly that the night will bring a storm, fierce and unyielding. You prepare for that storm, though the evidence is nothing more than a slight tease to your senses.
I can feel this change coming. I might not be able to smell it in the wind, but my very soul knows that it is nearly upon us.

Pause.

12-53-32-30_950x510

Time stands still in moments like these; you forget to breathe, the world becomes silent and the tears well in your eyes but do not fall, shrouding your sight in a watery haze. No thoughts would dare enter your mind, the wind doesn’t blow and the sun, for just that brief moment, ceases to shine. Inevitably, time carries on. You blink, and the heavy tears slide down your cheeks, cold and wet. Air fills your lungs and your heart beats, strong and fast – reminding you that you are still alive.

As long as you are alive, you feel, for time will not stand still again. That one brief respite is all that you will ever have; the moment has ended, and life must carry on.

The Long Morning…

When I woke up this morning I was shocked… and unsure whether to be horrified or delighted that someone had washed my dishes, tidied the living room and somehow painted my nails. While I was admiring the amazingly clean state of my house and trying to figure out if I had started sleep-cleaning (which would be totally ok with me) I woke up to discover that it was all a dream. When I crawled out of bed I found my house just as messy as it was the night before.

Feeling somewhat cheated I phoned my mother and told her the whole sad story. As I was talking to her I happened to glance outside and realized that IT WAS SNOWING… on May long. We shared a long moment of extreme disappointment over the weather, until I blinked and found myself once again lying in bed.

After getting up for the third time, I realized the house is still a mess, I didn’t get a manicure and no, it isn’t snowing — but damn it all if I’m not more exhausted than I was when I went to bed. And I still have to clean the house!