Monday, 27 June 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #5

"MOVE!" I bellowed at Rose.
And she did. I tightened my grip on her hand and together we ran as fast as we could, heading towards the road. I recall wishing the night sky had not been so bright and clear, because as I looked back over my shoulder I saw the forest wall rustle, it seemed as if every tree shuddered as something huge moved within trying to break through. Another of the roaring screams filled the hot night air and at that a monstrous shape burst through the foliage and into the field.
"You gotta be friggin' kidding me!"
"What? What is it?" Rose asked panting as we ran.
"Just don't stop running."
We had reached the place where fence should have been, but it was nowhere to be seen, not that this surprised me given what was now running across the field after us.
"Where is the damn road?" Rose screamed.
I glanced again over my should and immediately wished I hadn't.
I could now feel the vibrations of our pursuer's foot falls through the ground beneath us, it was closing in. As we ran I noticed that the area around us was in no way familiar to me. About a hundred meters ahead of us I could make out a stunning vista in the star light and suddenly realized we were on some sort of plateau heading towards a cliff that stretched out in a crescent for kilometers. We were approaching the edge fast. Before us the land dropped away into a large flat forest filled expanse. Behind us I could now feel hot breath hitting the back of my neck. There was no place left to go. 
"WAIT!" Rose screamed.
But there was no time. I jumped out into nothingness taking her with me. I felt something slam against me as we went over the cliff and knew that our persistent friend was falling with us. I could barely make out anything as we fell, it felt like forever. All I could see where flashes of landscape bathed in silvery light, and nearer, leathery skin. Beside me I could here Rose screaming.
Then we hit. We fell for so long I, not for the first time that day, thought we would die. However hundreds of rakish arms seemed to reach out and catch us. They also succeeded in cut my arms all over. I came to rest in the fork of a large tree rather abruptly as Rose came tumbling down one of the larger branches that led into my fork and land right on top of me. For a moment she did not move, her arms looked about as shredded as mine and she had a nasty cut on her right cheek. I was starting to worry when she at last spoke.
"Ow!" She sighed not moving her head from my chest.
"You okay?"
"Yeah I know right, lucky this nice cotton soft tree broke my fall." I said feeling like I had landed on rock.
"Lucky I landed on something a little softer, thanks for having seconds at dinner." She looked up at me.
"Least I could do." I said and she leaned forward, for a moment I thought she was going to kiss me, when suddenly the tree we were in shook violently and the dreadful roaring scream returned. I had briefly forgotten about our falling friend. I had hoped it would not survive the fall, but somehow it had been just as lucky as us, even given it's size.
"You know what it is don't you Matt?" Rose's voice was barely a whisper. 
"Um not exactly." I said as the tree shook once more.
Peered over my shoulder down at the ground, Rose clambered over me a little to see, but the ground could not be seen, the light of the stars all got caught up in the jungle canopy above. All we could make out was the trunk of our tree and those around it running down into the gloom below. Lucky I could not make out the thing rocking the tree, I didn't really think Rose was ready for that yet. Jesus I wasn't ready for it yet. The tree shook once more and then the night seemed to go quiet once more as culprit moved off in the underbrush.
"What's with that cliff? and where the hell is the road?" Rose seemed to have decide to move on to other question.
"I don't think it's the road that has gone or the cliff that has appeared Rose." Rose looked at me and in the dappled light I knew she was waiting for more.
"I think we left, not the road and I think it was us that appeared not the cliff." She just lay there not moving. She was not a stupid girl. I knew she would have come to this conclusion herself but obviously needed me to confirm it.
"That light, the blue energy. It moved us?" The puzzled look on her face mirrored my own feelings.
"I think so." I sounded like I was telling her someone had died.
"Why? How?" She thought a moment then asked the more important question, "Where?"
"I am not too sure." I lied. I had a pretty good idea of where we were.
"I think we should wait up here till the morning." She said looking nervously down into the darkness below.
"Sounds like a good idea to me." Thoughts of the pursuing shadow flashing through my mind.
"Hey, look, the torch." Rose was pointing off into the thick black soup below.
I could see the torch about twenty meters away, laying on the ground. Some how in the fall the switched had been flicked on and now its little beam shone feebly amongst the tree trunks. 
"In the morning we can climb down and get it." I said.
"Shouldn't we get it now? it might be dead in the morning." She said peering down at it.
Movement in the torches light quickly put all thoughts of going down to get it out of her mind. As we watched something moved through the light, too fast to make out any detail. Just a flash of green and brown and I thought I saw feathers to. 
"What the hell?" Rose sounded slightly more than worried. 
"We will worry about that in the morning, lets just get some sleep."
"Matt?... What's that?" The calm way in which she said this was completely unsettling.
I looked back down into the tiny patch of light, at first I couldn't see what she was talking about. Then my eyes saw it. At the base of a large tree, poking out from behind it, into the light of the torch was a three clawed foot with a larger sickle shaped claw further up the ankle just past that the rest of the leg vanished behind the tree and nothing more could be seen. I continued to stare at the foot, then gasped, when I noticed that about seven feet from the base of the tree a pair of eyes were watching me, just as intently as I was watching them. But these eyes weren't like mine, these eyes were cold, unmoving, unblinking and although they were just watching, I instinctively knew they meant me harm.

To be continued...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #4

I have to be honest, in that instant, I thought I was about to die. To my surprise though my life didn't flash before my eyes. I didn't hear angels or trumpets, or any of that crap, just a ever growing roar. There was however plenty of the white light I have heard so much about although this was minus the pearly gates. In those last few seconds as the light came bearing down I grabbed Rose and put my arms around her, as I did the light hit.
I know what you're thinking, U.F.O or something like it right? If you were I am sorry but I am afraid I'm going to have to disappoint you. Just before the light erupted around us I caught a glimpse of the blazing object, it looked to be nothing more then a humble passenger plane. It ploughed into the field no less then a foot from the crop circle we still stood in, lunching dirt into the air. The resulting explosion should have killed us both. As we watched in stunned horror the explosion engulfed the circle but to our surprise never entered the ring of flattened grass. The fire and light arched up over our heads to form a dome of intense heat. Surely we would be roasted alive yet some how that did not happen.
"Look." I screamed over the roar of the concussive force.
The invisible walls of the circle's dome, that held back the explosion, started to crackle with a bright blue energy that gave off even more static, I could feel it rippling across my skin. We watched as the blue energy became brighter and brighter, whilst the flames and heat became less. To my eyes I couldn't help but think the dome was some how absorbing the explosive energy. The new blue light was intense and all the collected energy seemed to be swirling around the dome and gathering on top at the centre.
Just before the light became to much for us to bare I thought I could faintly make out the charred remains of a plane in the field beyond but I didn't have time to be sure, the light was blinding. I closed my eyes and squeezed Rose, I felt her trembling as she squeezed me back. Then suddenly there was an deafening crack as if lightning had stuck at our feat and every thing went black.

"ROSE!" I screamed into the still darkness.
At first I thought I must have been permanently blinded because I when I opened my eyes I was laying on the soft ground staring upwards unable to see anything. Slowly though, as my eyes began to adjust I began to make out the stars above. Some how the sight of them did little to comfort me, in fact for reasons I could not quite put my finger on it filled me with a mild panic.
"ROSE?" I bellowed again and thankfully this time I got a response.
"Matt?" Her voice was soft but not far away.
I crawled towards the sound of her and found her laying only a few feet away. I remember thinking just how quiet the night had become. It did little to ease that sense of panic.
"Are you okay?"
She considered this for a moment before she replied, "Yeah I think so. What the hell was that?"
"I have know idea. How are your eyes?"
"I was worried for a second, but no they are fine, you?"
"Fine. But I think we better go get some help real quick, there might be survivors on that plane."
"What plane?"
I was about to respond when I turned to the place I thought I had seen the plane, there was nothing. No fire, no wreckage that I could see. I wondered if maybe my eyes had still not become accustomed to the night again after the brightness of the dome, but if anything the night looked clearer then before. I looked back at Rose and could make her out perfectly. It was like being outside on a night of the full moon, yet the moon was no where to be seen.
"What plane Matt?" She seemed concerned for my sanity.
"I thought I saw one, I thought that was what hit us."
"Some thing is not right here," I had to agree with her on that, "We should really go."
"Yeah your right, come on."
I took her hand and turned to walk back towards the road as I did I kicked the handle of the torch. It's small but powerful beam flickered back to life and shone out across the grass. Rose bent down to pick it up.
"The grass is normal again."She said.
Sure enough all the blades of grass where standing straight up again, whats more they were no longer dry and brown like the kind that normally covered the field. The grass looked thick, fresh and green. What ever that circle had done had seemed to revitalise the soil or something. I pulled out my compass and checked it again, which seemed a lot easier by the light of the stars now. The needle sat still making no move which made me uncomfortable, as it did Rose to apparently.
"Lets get the hell out of here Matty, I really don't like this."
She tugged at my hand and we started back towards the fence. Rose shone the torch towards the road lighting our way. But its light now seemed harsh to me and I was suddenly over come with a spine chilling sense of mounting unease. My panic was nearing breaking point.
"Turn it off." My whisper was more an icy hiss.
"What's wrong?" She said turning off light, but the answer she got didn't come from me.
With out warning a wailing scream split the night. Despite the almost stiflingly warm air we both froze, my spine felt like it had turned to a pillar of ice as a second scream broke out and this time I could tell from which direction it had come. It was some place off to our left, further out into the field... No, I stared harder in the direction of the noise and there, where the field had once before stretched out for kilometres, now stood, barely two hundred metres away, what looked to be a thick dark forest.
"What the fuck?"
I can't remember whether it was Rose or myself who said it but it was all either of us could manage as the night was yet again broken by another, other worldly, scream. This time some thing primeval inside my brain clicked into place, like a key in a lock. A deep seated fear began to fill my body, drowning all rational thought in a sea of pure terror. As this tide finally swallowed me up and all else sunk beneath its roiling waves I found that only one thought remained.


To be continue...

Monday, 20 June 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #3

Dinner was amazing, Maggie had truly out done herself. It must've had something to do with Rose being there and her wanting to impress, we rarely had guests. The conversation at the table had been light and very entertaining. Rose smiled and laughed which kept me doing the same. Maggie played the part of 'awesome older sister' for the night, instead of her more straight edge mother type role. Not that there was much difference between the two. 
Afterwards I did the washing up while the girls chatted, to quietly for my liking, I only caught every second or third word that they said but it was all peppered with laughter so it couldn't have been that bad.
"Leave the drying up Matty. You should probably walk Rose home it's getting late."
"Oh... okay, no worries Mags." I was more then a little surprised. I had expected Maggie would tell me to wait at home while she dropped Rose off in her car. Ah! how surprisingly wonderful sisters can be at times. She came over and gently squeezed my shoulder.
"I am still pissed," although her voice did not sound like she was, "but she is gorgeous and I can't argue with your taste. I expect you back home in an hour and a half." She smiled. I looked at her with my mouth hanging slightly open from shock. Her smile broadened.
"The clocks runnin' buddy."
I dried my hands and headed over to the front door where Rose was already waiting for me, grinning form ear to ear.
"Told you it would be fine." She said.
"But how?" 
"If you're lucky I will tell you on the way. You got that compass?"
"Yeah and a torch." I replied handing her the small light.
"Ah... Good thinking." 
With that she grab my hand and led me out the door. I marvelled out how soft her skin was. When we had reached the end of the drive way I tried to get a little more information our of her as to how she had managed to let Maggie walk her home.
"I told her I liked you." At this I choked a little.
"Wha... I mean what?"
"I just told her I liked you and would it be okay if you walked me home."
"I... I see... um good thinking. But?" It was the only question I could come up with, I wasn't even sure it was a question, she obviously understood its meaning because I could make out her huge grin in the starlight.
"Thought you'd like that. Come on we don't have that long." 
She started jogging along the road towards Kreen's farm. Her had still firmly gripping mine and I just allowed my self to be pulled along. I was not totally capable thought yet. I was still stunned. It was a very clever thing to have said to Maggie but was there any thing else behind it. I was already beginning to see how a girl could perhaps drive a boy nuts. They were kind of all consuming.
We were both completely out of breath by the time we reached the spot in the fence where the big rock, which I had hit that morning, sat in the gutter marking the place. We both took a moment to catch our breath. It was around seven o'clock and the days heat, still stored in the ground, was not going to let us forget what a scorcher it had been. I looked towards the area in the field where I thought the circle had been. I at first I could not make out much, the birds seemed to have all left, then I noticed a lighter patch of ground and realised it was the crop circle.

By the time we had scrambled over the fence our eyes seemed to have well and truly adjusted to the starry light. One of the nicer points to living out in the middle of no where was that the stars were so much brighter then in the cities.
"Before we go any further we should check that compass." 
"Good idea." 
Rose took out the torch and I pulled the little compass out of my back pocket. Rose stood right next to me, closer then I thought she had to, not that I was complaining, and flicked the little light on. It turned out my hunch had been correct. The needle should have pointed off to some point behind us, north, but it did not. Instead it point straight out into the field ahead of us.
"Damn you're clever aren't you?" and I was rewarded with another kiss, this time on the cheek.
"I try." I said with a smile, "Come on, lets take another look."
As we got within a few feet of the flattened grass the hairs on the back of my neck began to stand up again.
"Is it just me getting that?"
"What? that static kinda feeling?" she asked.
"Yeah exactly."
"Nope it;s not just you." Sure enough in the light of the torch I could see strands of her red hair starting to stand up and I laughed.
"I wouldn't be laughing boy, your's no better." 
I ran my hand over the space four inches above my head and there it was all my hair up on its end to.
"Do you think its dangerous?" She sounded more excited then concerned.
"Maybe. It's definitely not normal, I know that much."
Suddenly stepping into that circle seemed very stupid and I knew in that moment she agreed because she squeezed my hand that much tighter. I am still not sure why, with that thought in my head, I did what I did next. Maybe I was trying to impress her or maybe there were other forces at work, I'll never know. 
"Shall we?" I said smiling at her. 
And with that we both stepped across the threshold and into the circle. Instantly the torch went out and things seemed a little darker.
"Did you turn it off?" I asked hoping the answer was yes.
"Nuh..uh." Just what I'd thought.
"But your watch is still working right?"
"Hang on, I can't see... Yeah it's working, but it's a old wind up one, my mums. Would that make a difference?"
"It might." If it had no electrical parts to it, that may explain why it was still running.
"A magnetic field wouldn't do that to the torch though, would it?"
"I wouldn't have thought so..." Then it hit me, "but an electomagnetic field might."
"How do you know all this stuff?"
"I read to much."
"No such thing." She said, "Check the compass." 
I had forgotten all about it so I took it back out. At first I could not make out the needle at all. In fact it appeared to have vanished but as I held it closer to my face I realised it was still there, it was just spinning to fast for me to see plainly it any more. I was starting to feel a little nervous about all this. When Rose yelled out.
"What the hell is that?"
I looked over my should, back towards the road, just in time to see, what I can only describe as straight lightening racing along the fence line. I blinked and it was gone leaving only a purple line in front of my eyes where it had once been.
"What was that?" This time I thought I heard the edge of panic creeping into Rose's voice.
"I have no idea. It kinda looked like purple lightning." I tried to keep my voice calm, I wanted to reassure her, even if I felt like I could do with a little reassuring myself.
"Yeah but lightning tends not to be purple and sorta comes down wards instead of racing along fences."
I had to admit she had me there. 
"Crap!" I said as more lightning zipped along the fence, this time it was not purple.
"That one wasn't purple?" She said.
"Now if it will only come downwards we are back in business right?" I smiled weakly at her then some thing stranger again caught my eye. The night sky. It was... moving? 
"Look." I said to Rose turning her head upward and away from the road.
"What the hell?" Was all she managed. 
The stars were moving, not as fast as the lightning had been but a lot quicker then they normally did. It was rather pretty to witness, I remember thinking at the time. But I didn't get much of a chance to dwell on that notion. It was then that I saw another light in the night sky. This one was moving a lot quicker. It was arcing across the sky like a shooting star coming out of the east, very very fast, and coming lower as it drew closer. Evidently Rose saw it to.
"Thats heading right for us isn't it?"
It was all I had time to say.

To be continued...

Saturday, 18 June 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #2

Before I could comment on what I saw Rose had jumped the fence. I must say I was impressed with her lack of apprehension at the scene in the field. I quickly scrambled over the barbed wire myself and picked up my pace so as to catch her up. By the time I did she was reaching into her back pocket, which I now  noticed contained a small round bulge. True I hadn't been looking at her pockets last time I was taking in that particular view.
Rose pulled out a roll of metre liquorice, the kind you get in the two packs, and started to unroll the end. She broke a piece off with her teeth and handed it to me with out even taking her eyes off the surging black cloud. I took the offering gladly and stuffed the whole strap into my mouth. I really shouldn't. Last time I had eaten the stuff it had ripped out one of my fillings. But it was from her so i figured what the hell.
As we drew within a few metres of the circle the hairs on the back of my neck began to stand on end. It was rather peculiar and felt kind of the same as when you rub a balloon on your head and your hair sticks to it, except this was a lot stronger. Whether Rose noticed this or not I never asked. She just simply stepped straight into the ring and stopped. At first I thought something might have been wrong because she just stood there not moving. I walked over to her and put my hand on her shoulder.
"You okay?"
"Yeah fine, why?"
But I didn't get a chance to answer her I just doubled over in pain gripping the right side of my month and almost choking on my liquorice. For a split second it felt like there was an intense pressure building in my mouth, then pop! It was gone and my filling fell onto my tongue.
"Are you okay?" Rose was standing looking worried.
"I think that liquorice pulled out my filling."
"You are having a good day aren't you." She put her hand on my arm and I suddenly forgot about my mouth and the pain. For a few weeks after I even convinced myself she had some amazing healing power.
"Maggie is not going to be happy." I said looking at my filling.
"Who's Maggie?" She asked as she strolled around the flattened area.
"My sister."
"Why would she care?"
"Maggie is, well she is, it's complicated." 
Rose glanced at me briefly then said, "Fair enough."
The crop circle itself appeared genuine enough. I had read an old book on the phenomenon that I had found in the tiny school library. The grass was all bent, not broken, and at a perfect ninety degree angle. It swirled around in a circle and I myself could see no foot prints or tracks leading into the area. A few times Rose asked me what I was doing or what I was looking for and I told her. She didn't laugh or look at me strange, just helped me.
"Do you s'pose any one else knows this is out here?"
"I don't think so, otherwise they'd be here." I said looking round. There was no sign of any one at all.
"Lets come back after school?" She looked at her watch, "crap, we're really gonna be late. Come on." With that she grabbed my hand and lead me back towards the road. As she pulled me out of the circle I had a strange sensation for just a moment, like she was pulling me across an ocean or from a great distance, then it was gone.

We made it to school and heard the bell ring. All in all we had only spent around ten minutes investigating our find and looked to be only a few moments late for first period. We both could not wait for the school day to be over so we could go back. As we made our way towards the front door of the B building. The doors erupted on all eight buildings and it seemed as if all two hundred and fifty odd students that attended the school came bursting out into the yard. All of them making their way out to the parking lot and piling into their parents cars or starting their long walks home.
Rose stared at me and I stared back. Although my reasons for staring may have been different. God she was pretty. 
"Oh shit!" Rose had spotted him before I had. Mr Johnston was walking down the path towards us. To my surprise Maggie was walking with him. They both saw us and walked over. Maggie looked some what miffed and Mr Johnston couldn't seem to keep his eyes off Maggie's backside.
"I shall let you deal with Matt Miss Bennett. As for you Ms McLellan," He sprayed looking at Rose, "I will be phoning your parents tomorrow." And with that and a final look at Maggie's arse he moved off to the car park.
"What the hell was that all about Mags and whats the hell is going on here?"  I said looking around the at the departing school crowd. She looked a little shocked when I said this.
"You are kidding right? You think you can just skip school and get away with it do you?"
"WHAT! What are you talking about? We just got here?"
"I know! and where the hell have you been all day?" She stopped for a moment and looked at Rose.
"Hi honey, I am Maggie, Matts sister. You must be Rose." With that Maggie shook Roses hand, turned around and stared at me.
"Well? I want some answers Matt and what have you done to your arm."
"What do you mean all day? The bell just rang. Me and Rose were on our way to english when every one comes pouring out."
"Thats what kids do when its home time Matt. My question to you is what were you two doing between eight and three o'clock today?..." She trailed off, looked at me then at Rose and back again. I thought I saw a hint of a smirk at this point but could not be sure.
"Not that Maggie! Jesus, we... hang on. What do you mean since eight till three?" I looked at Rose and she just stared straight back at me then looked at her watch.
"But it's only just past eight thirty?" She said looking at Maggie.
"I swear if you have be taking something your in big trouble buddy. We are not done talking about this Matt. Rose honey do you have plans this afternoon?"
"Mum and Dad aren't usually home till about seven..."
"Perfect!" said Maggie, "Then you'll join us for dinner? Yes?"
"That would be lovely, thank you. Yes." As if she heard my silent pleas.
"What happened to that arm Matt?"

We all piled into Maggie's little Datsun 180 B and she drove us home. We both stared out the window as we went past Kreen's Farm, the birds were gone but we could still make of the indentation in the dry grass, still undisturbed. When we got home Maggie told us to take a seat and turn on the telly while she made us a snack.
I flicked on the T.V and we caught the last of the news headlines. Same old stuff, war some where, people killing each other and something about a passenger plane off course on its way to Brisbane. Boring stuff. Pretty soon Maggie brought us a sandwich each and we both ate silence still extremely puzzled at what had taken place. It seemed that some how we had skipped a whole day of school with out ever meaning to.
Later we retreated to my room. Rose looked at me and was about to say something when my door opened and Maggie put her head round the corner.
"We'll just keep this open shall we?" To her credit Rose just giggled. I on the other hand shot Maggie a withering glance.
"Thank you sister dear." I muttered and she smiled and headed off into the kitchen to start dinner.
"I like her." said Rose.
"Yeah. She is great."
"So what the hell happened today? Did what I think happen actually happen?"
"Depends," I said "on what you think happened. Because could swear I only woke up about three hours ago."
"Some how we didn't just skip school..." She started.
"We skipped the whole day." I finished.
"But how?"
"Well the only other odd thing that has happened today is that circle. It has to have something to do with that."
"How though?" she seemed excitedly interested at it all and sat forward on the edge of my bed to look more closely at me sitting on the chair opposite. Suddenly I didn't know what to do with myself, finding my filling in my jeans pocket I started fiddling with it. Then it hit me.
"My filling!" I exclaimed.
"Yeah, its sort of nasty, you might wanna throw it away."
"No, I mean yeah it is but I don't think it was the liquorice that pulled it out."
"Then what?" Even more excited now and leaning closer.
"Those birds..."
"The birds pulled out your filling?" she interrupted.
"No, birds migrate, they use a special chemical in their brains to navigate. It has something to do with magnetic forces. The same kind of forces that could maybe pull a filling out of my head." She just stared at me. Then darted forward the remaining few feet separating us and kissed me quickly on the lips. I almost passed out right then and there.
"Thats very clever thinking." She said. "We should go back and check it out."
"Okay." I said still a little dazed. I tired to think of something else clever to say in hopes of another reward. 
"I have a compass in my draw, we could see what happens with that out there."
"Great idea. After dinner then?"
"Okay. As long as Maggie is okay with it."
Rose just winked at me and said "She will be, trust me." and I did, completely.

To be continued...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #1

I am about to try and describe to you the events of October 5th 1998. As cliche as this may sound, I remember it as if it were yesterday. The weeks had been heating up in my small home town of Hillvale. A tiny town close to the New South Wales border in Queensland Australia. I hated the place. Not really because of the town itself or its population of around eight hundred fairly friendly people. But mainly due to the fact that I had recently turned fifteen and I hated every thing. A true teenager of the nineties.
It was a Monday and it started out like most others that had come before. At around 7am my sister, Maggie, woke me in her usual fashion for breakfast. Maggie was about the one person in the world I didn't hate at that my point in my life. She was ten years older then myself and had been taking care of me since mum and dad had died five years earlier. It really must have been no easy task for a girl of twenty to start raising her ten year old brother. But there was no way in hell she was going to let me go live with my grandparents. Idiots, the both of them and thats not just the fifteen year old talking.
"Matt, your gonna be late for school! Last time buddy, get up!" even when she was frustrated with me I still loved her. I grunted some response and that seemed to satisfy her because I heard her move off into the kitchen and get working on breakfast. I really wish I had told her how much I appreciated her more often. But is was young and took a lot for granted.
Rolling out of bed, I dug through the clothes that carpeted my floor. It was never about finding something clean to wear only something less dirty. I remember in those days my walls where still blanketed in trophies of my youth. I was some what of a nerd and depending on who you ask, I guess I still am. Posters of films like BACK TO THE FUTURE, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES still held pride of place, all of them stollen from the towns weak excuse for a cinema. It was things like my decorative sensibilities that made me less then popular at school.
As I shuffled down the hall and into the shower that Monday morning I do remember thinking about how different all my old friends had become over the past few years. While I myself would wait patiently for my next subscription of Turtles comics to arrive, the Mirage issues not the Archie ones, my old mates would be out trying to lock lips with one of the town tarts. 
I had no real problem with girls or even the idea of lip locking. It was more that the local talent left a lot to be desired, a whole lot. I preferred intelligent conversation as opposed to a series of "yeahs" "likes" and "buts". So it was clear to me from the out set that even though my hormones had started knocking I was not going to find what I was looking for in Hillvale. That was until Rose moved to town a week prior.  
After Maggie knocked on the bathroom door for the second time, telling me to "Hurry up!" I decided to cut her a break. I dried off and put on my school uniform which consisted of a maroon t-shirt with delightful yellow trim and what ever the hell else I felt like wearing that day.
I walked into the kitchen to find the usual fantastic morning spread. Maggie could cook like no other. She was even better in the kitchen then Mum had been. 
"There ya go Matty, hope you like."
"Thanks Mags, looks great." Every morning with out fail she would say the same thing or a variation on it "I hope you like." I often got the feeling that She was constantly second guessing the job she was doing raising me based largely on how well she cooked for me. No matter how fast I ate or how much enthusiasm I showed towards her meals the question would always return at the start of each new day.
She really was wonderful. She reminded me a lot of mum, except a lot prettier. Most the local meat heads would turn when ever she walked down the main street but not once did I ever see her pay it any attention. She worked in the small supermarket in town and made just enough for us to get by. Out of the three lanes at the checkout it was usually hers that had the longest line up. Full of men and even a few of the older boys. I was surprised I was not more popular.
"That was great Sis, really, thank you."
"My pleasure Matty, now get going or you'll be late again and I don't wanna have to talk to that creepy Mr Johnston again."
"In that case I will run Mags, I would hate to put you through that 'car wash' again."
Last week I had been late twice and Mr Johnston, the mustache with a man attached that had some how become principle, had called Maggie in for a 'chat'. He had proceeded to try chat her up, the whole time showering her with spit, such was his manner when he spoke. This coupled with the face fuzz had earned him the nick name The Carwash. Some one really need to tell him that only Saddam Hussein and Tom Selleck could pull off that kind facial hair these days. 
I kissed Mag on the check, grabbed my bag and was out the door. Our house was about five kilometres outside of town and surrounded by farm land, sheep mainly and a few cows here and there. I pulled my bike out of the back shed and set off. The air was dry and dusty and the sun was already blistering on the back of my neck before I made it to the end of the drive way. Man I hated that place. The only pleasant thing I remember about those rides to school was the scent of the eucalyptus in the still air. 
After about a kilometre the back of my t-shirt was already drenched in sweat. Fusing my shirt to my backpack. I remember I had forgotten to put on any deodorant before I left. I was a skinny kid and didn't sweet all that much but in that kind heat any one would have been loosing kilos. If I didn't address the issue then and there I was not going to be pleasant to sit next to for the rest of the day. I didn't think a smelly Matt was going to impress Rose all that much either.
Being monday I had a double lesson of english straight up. Over the weekend I had decided it would be today that I would casually take the seat next to Rose and strike up and nice little conversation. All the other girls at school where simpering fools but Rose was different, don't ask me how I knew that with out ever having spoken to her, but I just did. It also help that she was about the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Her red hair and big blue eyes had been enough to help me fail last weeks english test.
Yes, it was today that I intended to find out some more about this girl. And find out more I did, a lot sooner then first period to as it turned out. I had just come to the corner of the Kreen's farm, still a good three kilometres out of town, when I noticed Rose walking on the side of the road, bag over her shoulder, her red hair shining in the sun. To late I realised I was staring and not watching where I was going. Much to late to avoid the huge rock laying on the side of the road which I promptly hit and flew right over my bikes handle bars, landing half on the Kreen's fence half in the dirt.
It was incredibly smooth for a first impression. Rose came running over and proceed to help me untangle myself from the barbed wire. Amazingly I had only one cut although it did run the entire length of my forearm. With out a word. Rose pulled a green scarf, made of a soft thin material, from her school bag and started wrapping it around my arm.
"Sorry, just hold still." she said working carefully.
"What on earth do you have a scarf in your bag for? It's a hundred degrees out here."
"Mum packs my bag, old habits I guess. We're from Wellington." It was the first time I had heard her speak and I noticed her mild accent.
"New Zealand?"
"That's where they tend to keep Wellington."
I laughed, "Yeah I know, but why did you move here?"
"It's a long story." Something about the way she said it told me not to ask to hear it. I looked at my arm, it was wrapped firmly in her scarf, blood still seemed to be coming through the material but it was slowing. The scarf smelt amazing, just like her.
"Thanks Rose."
"No worries, Matt isn't it?"
"How did you manage that any way? That rocks huge." There was a look in her blue eyes that told me she knew exactly how I had done it.
"Just lost concentration for a sec." I said as she helped me to my feet. "Thanks for not laughing." At that she started. Her laughter did nothing to cure me of my growing fondness for her.
"Not a problem, it was rather impressive." She smiled. I walked over to my bike and picked it up.
"Mind if I walk with you the rest of the way?"
"This is the only road to school right?" Smiling again.
"Yeah." I laughed.
"Then be my guest."
She chatted with me, keeping to the pleasantries, obviously aware I was more then a little nervous. We had barely gone more then five hundred metres when Rose suddenly stopped in her tracks. For a second I though I had said something wrong. Then I realised she wasn't looking at me. I followed her gaze. She was staring out into the Kreen's Field. When I saw what had gotten her attention I dropped my bike.
Out in the field, maybe two hundred metres from the road, birds of every kind were circling. Crows, magpies, and many smaller unrecognisable birds, the air was thick with them. They looked more like a swarm of bees then any thing else. You could not see through the cloud they created the sky was that thick with them. Directly above them there was another cloud higher up in the air. Roses eyes were obviously better then mine.
"They are eagles and other birds of prey." Her voice seemed far off.
"What the hell are they doing? I have never seen any thing like it." I turned to her in time to see her jaw drop. She said nothing, just pointed. I trace the line of her finger out into the foot high light brown grass, no breeze stirred it. Then I saw. Underneath the living cloud the grass had been flattened. But even from where we stood it was obvious it had not been done with a machine. It looked to be a perfect circle, the grass bent over in a vast swirl. It looked very much like a crop circle.

To be continued...

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Revolving Doors

Tonight it's life... or something like it.

Strange, it's so much easier to hide what your really thinking between the words of a story. Putting them right out there for people to see, now that's a bitch. My blog has gotten more hits since my last two post were about my thoughts. No idea why but any way here is another...

'A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts.' Dr Manhattan (Watchmen the Graphic Novel). 

A line that sets me thinking. What about that novel doesn't though? But any way... there is no discernible difference between alive and dead besides the obvious... you cease to be. So what is it that makes the difference? What is it that separates us the living from them the dead? For me the answer has always been energy. Simple as that. One day the energy that powers you and helps to make you who you are is needed some place else. The universe recycles, it is a thrifty mutha fecker with the motto of 'waste not want not'. Atoms, all of it, reused. Broken down and put to use building some thing new.
So what of our energy? This is where I step away from science. I think life energy is unique in that it has and always will be life energy. It starts out raw and unrefined and through the process of life its used and reused and in this fashion is polished and shined. Until one day it reaches a state of perfection and is no longer called back into use.
Come July 9th, some time twenty seven years ago, maybe exactly maybe years before then, a man died. I believe this man to have been a good person who lived an honest life and who worked hard at being kind and caring. I have my theories as to just who and what this man was and where he lived. I have learnt to not share so much of this over time though. But I know this, that mans energy is now my own.
I do not believe that man was the first to use the energy that now powers me. I believe many an man, woman and animal, good and bad, has no doubt had use of it. To them all I owe thanks for its refinement but its only the man previous to me that I remember in any detail. He is with me in all that I do. Some times I feel the burden of all those that have come before me and all those that will come after. I am only a candle burning till my wick runs low and the flame I carry is passed on to the next.
It is to honour the man before me that I try to live an honest and decent life just as I believe he would have wanted but I also do this to lay a solid foundation for the being that comes next. I have carried my predecessor with me through my years and at every turn he has offered me guidance and answers to questions I couldn't possibly hold the answers for. I hope to some day do the same for my successor. I think this is the point of life to some extent. 
Life is bigger then the moment, bigger then just us, we are but pieces of the puzzle. We are merely one stage in the grander scheme of things. We have a responsibility to enjoy life and make life a pleasant experience for all those around us. I know I screw up a lot of the time. I fuck up some thing awful some times but I am never going to stop. I am never going to give up trying to be a better man. It is the only thing I will ever have some control over.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Pulling The Puzzles Apart

I have decided to take a wee break from the story telling. Primarily because I am focusing on writing my book and wish to use the blog for a week or two as a way to flush out certain thoughts floating around the bowl of my mind. Hopefully they prove to be consumable to those of you reading them. I am well aware right now that the mixing of the previous two metaphors has had an unpleasant out come. Sorry.

On my mind of late has been the topic of science! 

Let me begin by saying this. I am a boy, or man depending on who you ask, who has grown up watching such classics as Back To The Future (I love part III), Jurassic Park and Star Wars. So as you might imagine for a youngster watching films of this nature I had certain questions. I needed to know how exactly does one travel through time? Can you bring dinosaurs back to life using advanced cloning techniques? and would it some day be possible to make point five past light speed in a ship as beautifully ugly as the Millennium Falcon?
So growing up I delved. Finding every book then later every website that I could on such topics. Devouring all the knowledge I could set my eyes on. I would regale my sister, mother and any one else within ear shot with tails of scientific theories, possiblities and hopes. Science gave me what seemed to be all the answers a young man could possibly want or so I thought. 
Even as far back as I can remember there was something amiss about it all. It did not escape my attention that Doc Brown and Marty McFly caused a lot of trouble to the space time continuum with that Delorean and that the only marvellous discovery most of the people in Jurassic Park ended up making was what exactly the T-Rex had eaten before them. It was the words of one particular character in that film that ended up staying with me as I grew up. When addressing the creator of Jurassic Park, Dr Malcolm (Played so well by Jeff Goldblum) says some thing along the lines of 'Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop and think if they should'.
As time went on I came to see just how right this one little line from that film was. I would stop and think about it when ever I saw new science applied in some way around the world. Cures, explorations, vaccines, newer faster computers the list went and still goes on. I would wonder whether these scientists ever stopped and asked themselves 'should I be doing this?' or 'what are the long term ramifications tied into what I am doing'.
Now before I say what I am about to let me point out this. As a boy I watched my Grandmother wither and die. The beautiful lady that she was turned yellow before the cancer in her liver finally claimed her life. So I say what I am about to say knowing what loss means to people. There are scientists out there right now busting their asses trying to develop cures for all the diseases plaguing mankind, but should they be?
As a race we seem to struggle to accept the time we are given like a petulant child always wanting more. Our worlds becoming more then just a little over crowded. 7 Billion people as it now stands which is close to double its size since my birth 27 years ago. Nature keeps on putting up various road blocks to stop us but we refuse to even slow down. Every thing in nature has its purpose and reason for being. Disease is a form of natural control. Yet instead of asking ourselves why these diseases exist we just go on looking for a way to beat them so as to extend our years. Buy ourselves a few more seconds on the clock.
However I digress because by far my biggest problem with science these days is mystery. Humans fear the unknown and rush to find answers to all things. It all must be explained to us. It is in this way that I feel like science is slowly killing the mystery and magic in life. We don't need these kind answers and the ones we do need we shall not find within the realms of chemistry and physics. The unknown is exciting. Excitement is the spice of life. No matter how hard science tries to explain life it will never find an answer befitting the questions in our souls. The universe was not meant to be scrutinised and studied but enjoyed. It is within us, that worth while study will be done.
In summing up I mentioned earlier that Back To The Future Part III is my favourite. This wasn't always the case though. Originally as a younger man it was the first two that appealed to me the most. I loved the Docs techno babble and Marty's desperation when trying to wrap his head around how many versions of himself were present in his current time frame. Who's heart didn't race as the Delorean hit 88 miles an hour and the light show began? But as I have gotten older, don't get me wrong they are all fantastic, Part III has become the one I cherish. Marty and the Doc in touch with nature in the Old West. Away from the technology, camping out and having to use simple low tech ideas to get themselves home. Not to mention Doc Brown, the avid man of science falling in love. Magic stuff.
In my opinion it is these things that are the keys to our survival on this fair planet. Getting back in touch with our roots so to speak and love in all its forms will be what saves us. I may sound like a clapped out old hippy and if so then so be it. These days I am convinced that just like the characters in Jurassic Park it is our pursuits in science that will be our downfall.

But what the hell do I know? I would trust any thing Jeff Goldblum told me. The guy looks like he knows a thing or two.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Little About The Below 3 Stories

The below 3 stories are, I guess, a tiny trilogy. Each about the vastness within single short periods of time. Minutes stretching out to seem a lot longer. Hours becoming weeks. Stuff like that. Each was planted in my head by a song I was listening to and coupled with old conversations I had with people about thought and theories I have at one point or another grappled with. Loneliness, The value of life today and in the first story Death and what that means to me. I am really aware reading them now that they are filled with literary problems. But every journey needs its jumping off point right? … let me know what you think.


Saturday, 4 June 2011

I Think It's Going To Be A Long Long Time

The man awoke with a start. He could have fooled himself into thinking he had opened his eyes. All around him was black, the darkness was so complete he could not even see his hand approach his face as he ran it through the thick beard he had been cultivating the last six months. He really should shave but the simple daily task had become such a procedure out here that he could no longer be bothered. He had decided he would continue to grow it until he got back home.
He reached for the clip that connected to his sleeping bag to the hull situated just behind his neck. With a soft click the plastic clip released and the strap came away. Normally he would unzip the bag get dressed and begin the days routine. For the past few weeks this had not been the case. Instead he doubled over and reached for the second and then the third clip at his feet and they to came free. Pushing off against the wall he had been attached to his cocooned body drifted across the small distance towards the control station and he began to cycle up the ships power for the day.
Routine was apparently meant to keep you sane out here. For the past fourteen days he had wondered at this. He thought he could feel his mind slipping. His sleeping patterns had become strange and irregular. This line of thought bought to his attention that his morning alarm had not gone off. What had woken him? Had it been another of those dreams in which he was suddenly out side the protective walls of the ship, suffocating in the blackness of space? Or had the disturbance be an external one coming from outside of himself?
Looking around at the instruments he could see no warning lights registering any problems on the small displays. The absence of an external issue did little to calm him. His thoughts slowly returned to his internal struggles. Loneliness. It had been six months since he had touched another human being or heard some ones voice minus the heavy static that peppered his communications with earth. I miss the earth... I miss my wife! She was at the forefront of his mind most days. Recently though, just like his little vessel his mind had drifted away from her.
His mind had instead turned to strange things. It would dive into the depths of random topics and not resurface for days at a time. Usually the subject was darkness that surrounded him, no wonder a mind could get lost for days, it was seemingly endless. How could he not think about it when it encompassed him utterly. No wonder people go mad out here.
With the dark on his mind he floated to the forward window, peering out into the void he could see the red planet. It seemed to have grown whilst he was asleep but he doubted wether he would have noticed it after only a few hours more travel. The dusty red ball he was heading to had come to represent many things inside his head. It was his destination, his goal and thus his life for the next few years. It was also the object responsible for pulling him away from his wife and home. His thoughts had turned on the planet this last week. He now felt nothing but hate for it. He hated that damn window. Like a picture of some ghastly red bubble that kept growing out of the wall, threatening to engulf him. 
He turned making is way down the length of the ship, drifting weightlessly, he came to the window where he did most his days thinking. He pulled the neck of his sleeping bag tight around his shoulders to keep the cold at bay and gazed out the rear window. The ships engines blocked his view of the earth but the darkness as always was as always there to greet him.
After the view from the front of the craft it was a welcome sight. With out realising it this new series of morning events had become a new routine. A ritual of sorts replacing his actual duties. He would float there most of his waking hours peering out into space. The dark of the vacuum had become is solace, a place he could retreat into to escape his tiresome journey. He shunned the light of the red planet.
Looking out into the dark his eyes seemed to draw out and away from himself far beyond his window past the local planets of his solar system and way out amongst the stars. Tiny pin pricks in the veil of black velvet. He had heard them describe this way once before and had thought it poetic at the time.  Now the description seemed wholly inadequate. Pin pricks implied something could actually pierce the darkness permanently. He had come to realise this was not true at all.
He had heard it said that the universe was always carefully balanced between the good and evil, light and dark. But out here looking upon the stars by himself he had come to understand the truth. Darkness was the true nature of the universe it was the way things were when things were at a their natural state of rest. Light was a rare commodity. Stars where born and for a short time they managed to keep back the black tide but eventually their light went out or they ended up becoming an even more potent form of the darkness not even allowing other light to escape.
Darkness always out lasted the light. It would wait long enough to consume or until it corrupted the light and it turned into a consuming darkness. A metaphor he found himself applying to all things including life back on earth. His consciousness would return to him from out in the vast reaches of space each day and bring with it a piece of the puzzle, slowly forming the picture of his new realisation. Each piece crystallising his new position on the order of things.
Piggy backed amongst his thoughts each time was a little of that consuming dark. Slowly it would ebb away at his spirit putting out his own light. It was inevitable. Eventually he to would be swallowed by the tide and no longer be able to keep it at bay.
He come back to himself. Making his way back to the consoles in the forward compartment. He found the shut down command for the ships computers. The screens the only things still giving off light in the dim interior. It had been days since he last booted up the ships lights. He punched in the override code and the panels and displays went dead. With all illumination gone he noticed the faint red light coming in through the window near by. Unzipping a small pouch on the wall above he pulled out a small tube of adhesive and found several sheets of note paper.
Smearing the glue on the reinforced glass that housed the grotesque image of the growing red planet he plastered sheet after sheet of paper until the red glow was no more. By feel alone he made his way back, in the now pitch black cabin, to the clips mounted on the wall. Attaching all three he settled inside his sleeping bag. The cold began to condense, biting at his face. Things were returning to normal, to there natural state.
Unsure of whether he had closed his eyes or not his mind wandered off again out into the star fields. Dreams and reality merging underneath the blanket of darkness.

Kids With Guns

He stood there, the gun aimed squarely at the other mans forehead. With the squeeze of one finger his targets life would be ended. It was such a simple gesture with such permanent ramifications. The question now racing through his mind was one that most people, at one point or another, have ask themselves. When faced with the situation, the decision, could you actually make that seemingly simple gesture?
The muzzle of the cold weapon trembled slightly in his hand. The targets eyes flickered from the barrel of the gun to the face of the man pointing it, silently pleading for his life. The gun mans heart barely missed a beat as he regained full control over the power he held in his hand. Less then a second was all that it would take to end it, but given how slowly time was currently dealing out those seconds, he feared it would last an age. Could he complete the task at hand as that aged passed, with that tear stained face searching his for some small sign of mercy.
The ability to take a life was something that could be found in the nature of every man the world over. The ability to spare one was a much more elusive trait. At the end of the day why should he fight nature, this man lying in the damp ally surely deserved what was about to be handed to him. What is one less human germ running about the face of the earth going to matter? The thought was a double sided coin flipping through the mans mind. One could find on it both reason to strike or reason to stay their hand. It was clear on one side that there were plenty more out there just like this one and that ridding the world of one of its issues would not cure it of its other seven billion. Yet on the opposing side was that very same idea only viewed from a different angle. In a world of so many problems how badly would just one be missed.
It was hard to think of life as precious when the globe was piled high with it and at the top sat the most destructive of all known species. But again that was only nature was it not? Only the most violent could rise to take that coveted position, to lead the pack. If it had not been the human race then something else would now hold that place. The truth of the matter was that life would continue on, well past this moment, no matter what choice he made. The implications of his actions, be they large or small, were still meaningless in the grand scheme of things. His current predicament was no more meaningful then that of the ants you may casually crush beneath you heal in your day to day life and pay no further mind. Life was life, no life worth any more more or less then another. His final realisation, as he made that tiny gesture, brought him a sense of peace that could not be broken buy the firing of the gun. We are all killers, some lives we just do not value as being equal to our own.