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Things I've Written

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I'll be periodically posting some stuff I've written in this thread. Hope you guys enjoy it.


Comments/critiques/flamewars/bashing welcome.

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Hello, Al! You have a cool avatar.

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Picture a neighbourhood.  Any neighbourhood will do.


Got it?  Good.


Now, everything you’re imagining about this neighbourhood—the green pine trees, the yellow-breasted swallow making its nest, the breeze agitating the leaves—just forget all of that.  Forget it because this neighbourhood is nothing like that.  This neighbourhood is more than just boring brick houses with siding turning yellow from age.  It’s more than a few vans and a few sedans parked up and down the street.  This neighbourhood is more than just your typical mornin’-Sam-mornin’-Ralph daily sameness between the people who live there.


This place is much more than all of that.  It exists in a void, impregnable by outside negativity, despair.  Looking at it from up here, you can see the vibrant cheerfulness emanate like the rich white smoke that is pouring from the chimneys on the roofs of the quaint houses.  Let’s take a closer look.


We’re on the street now, an ocean of colour washing around us.  The sun smiles down, causing a haze of heat to rise up from the pavement.  The black asphalt looks smoky further down, stretching off into the distance until the yellow line merges in a blur with the dark road. 


At first glance, the palette of surrounding colours are abstract brushstrokes and blotches from the paintbrush of a wild artist.  Reds, blues, greens and yellows all twist and blend together to finally form the shape of the houses, the mailboxes, the lawn chairs, the cars and trucks.  Oranges and magentas dance, united, weaving in and out of one another before committing to form someone’s freshly shingled roof.


The houses themselves are drawn in pastel, vividly assembled products of artistry.  They sit organically atop the bright landscape, extensions of nature seemingly bursting from the earth.  Each house is coloured differently: an array of viridian, pewter, cerulean, vermillion and celadon homes, existing quintessentially together.


The sound of blue jays provides a melodic soundtrack to this picturesque scene, a whistled tune in perfect cadence with the light wind breathing through the trees.


Amongst all of this, there sits a familiar house.  A home, more so.  Its bright red bricks glow in the sun, with a large brown front door beckoning visitors inside.  An impressive, long gravel driveway curls up beside the recently-cut lawn, space enough for a few cars side by side, though, there’s only one car in the driveway. 


The floor of the entranceway is covered in dark, shiny hardwood.  There isn’t much furniture, and the white walls stand barren.  The foyer gives way to a lightless hallway, with rooms branching off from it, each equally unlit.  The first room on the left contains an outdated refrigerator, an old gas stove and an aged wooden table.  The only light in the room comes from outside, through a single window next to the refrigerator.  There are two men in here, sitting at the chipped brown table, chatting.  The man on the left seems complacent, resting his chin on his left hand, his elbow propped up by the table.  He has short brown hair, tanned skin and a white collared shirt on.


The man he’s talking to, he’s wearing a black t-shirt beneath a blood-red, long-sleeved sweater.  He seems to stare through the white-shirted man as he speaks, monotone in sound.  He looks deep in thought, his arms resting on each of his dark-blue denim covered legs.  He straightens his back, pushing his brown hair off of his forehead.


Their conversation is boring, dull drones—a discussion of little importance, clearly.  The man in the red sweater seems distant, far off on his own plane.  His eyes dart from left to right, and he exhales a long breath.  The room is getting darker and darker.  The man in the white shirt flicks a light switch on behind him from his seat, causing the man in the red sweater to jolt back into reality, his eyes widening.  We should take our leave, the street outside is sure to be glowing beautifully in the setting sun.


Take a look around.  Look at all of those houses you saw before.  In the dying sunlight, they look like they’re on fire.  The sky is blushing deep pink, white clouds elegantly strewn across it like stretched out balls of cotton.  Everything is coloured orange and yellow, now, especially the trees, the sunlight peeking through the spaces between the leaves and branches.  The streetlights spring to life, one by one, sending a beam of yellow-white illumination toward the ground.  As the sun takes its last breath, a set of shades on the red house are drawn, obstructing the window of the only lit room in the house.


Look, here it comes.  The sun has finally woken up.  The neighbourhood sits serenely, and golden light sweeps over the houses and the street.  The blue jays are out this morning, cheeping and chirping a jovial tune.  Can you hear them?  What’s that other sound?  Long, drawn out caws.  Crows.  A flock of them.  Wait, that’s not the right word.  Oh, well.  Look, there’s a few here and there, sitting on a day-old cut lawn, the gravel driveway next to it.  There are two cars in the driveway now. 


We’re in the dark hardwood entranceway again.  There’s dim light reflecting on the floors, exposing the bumps and scratches.  The floors are even shinier than yesterday.  There’s a single light on in the house again, coming from a room at the end of the hallway. The sound of a woman’s voice travels down the hall—she’s babbling unintelligibly. 


Her voice is quivering, with quick, sharp breaths laced in between.  Peering around the doorframe into the lit room reveals the red-sweatered man, looking just as intrigued as ever, his eyes following the source of the panic-stricken voice.  She is petite, pacing up and down the small room with vigorous footing.  The man is sitting on a charcoal coloured sofa, distaste strewn across his face.  She grips her hair in her hands, her short straight haircut dyed blonde and red.  Her voice continues to grow in volume and pitch, nearly shaking the empty white walls, as her black mascara streams down her cheeks, staining her yellow dress.  She brings her left hand up to wipe her eyes, blackening the golden ring around her finger.  This is private.  Let’s leave them to their business.


It’s happier out here.  You don’t need to see that.  Out here we can listen to those blue jays, feel the breeze trickle past us, gently caressing our skin.  We can sit way up high, on the tallest peak overlooking the neighbourhood, and watch the colours shimmer and dance below us.  We can pass the time up there. 


As new light washes over us again, and the neighbourhood wakes up, the cheeping and chirping of the blue jays is nearly drowned out by a distinct caw-ing sound.  The jet black crows seem to have multiplied, taking up residence on a familiar lawn.  A two-day old cut lawn. 

There’s a third car in the driveway now, next to the other two.  A man’s loud angry voice can be heard from outside, and it’s only getting louder.


In the house, through the large door and down the dark hallway, that same light in that same room is on.  Looking in this time, we can see where the yelling is coming from.  There’s our red-sweatered acquaintance, still wearing that sweater, sitting on that same charcoal couch, with that same look of distaste on his face.  His eyes follow the man who is pacing up and down the room—a familiar sight.  In fact, the man himself almost looks familiar.  He has tanned skin and is wearing a collared grey shirt.  He holds his wet glasses in his hand, the lens fogged, while his other hand pulls at his short brown hair.  Placing his glasses back on his face, he begins to twirl the ring on his third finger, a single golden band.  The man is beginning to turn a deep shade of red, his voice hoarse as he bellows at the red-sweatered man.  This isn’t the place for us.  Let’s go somewhere quiet.


Even from the highest point, this place overlooking the neighbourhood, that man’s shouting seems to follow us.  Even as the light begins to fade, the noise continues.  It’s getting darker and darker, and he’s getting louder and louder.  The sun bows down into the horizon, and the screaming abruptly stops.  Finally, some peace and quiet.


The dawn of a new day.  The sun rises from its grave, and the neighbourhood is revealed in a sweeping wave of pale light.  The deafening caws of crows overtake all other sounds, and the blue jays are nowhere to be seen or heard.  The street is cracked and broken, its yellow dividing line faded, nearly invisible.  The houses are brown and rusted, dilapidated and abandoned.  They sit, tombstones and testaments to a time passed, indications of life that once existed.  The sky is a pale grey, the sun covered in overcast.  The trees stand barren, leafless and lifeless, their crooked limbs swaying in the harsh wind. 


The only source of color comes from one house.  A familiar house.  Bright red against the backdrop of a decaying ruin.  The crows have gathered here, on the three-day old cut lawn, on the perfectly kept gravel driveway, atop the three cars that still sit there.

Beyond the large front door, the polished, gleaming dark hardwood, a single light is on in a room branching off the hall.  This is a room we haven’t explored, though there isn’t much to see.  In it, the walls are as barren as ever, white, with a picture window overlooking the empty street.  There is a single couch, jet black leather, and on it sits our red-sweatered friend, a smile curled across his face.  The curtains are open, though outside provides little luminance to the room.  The sound of tires crunching on gravel pierce through the caws of the crows.  A fourth car pulls into the driveway. 


The man’s smile creeps further up his face.

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