Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Magician's Door

The inventor slumped against the wall, staring at the wooden door. Nothing was behind it, no flying ribbons, no escaping doves, no smiling magician to burst out just as he opened the door. Nothing would fall on him, nothing would fly out at him, nothing would scare him. He knew that.
So why was he so afraid to open the door?
He stood and put his hand to the bronzed doorknob, then stared at his hand, and slumped back against the wall. Nothing to be afraid of. Nothing.
The magician had nothing dangerous; the worst that he could expect was ribbon. He knew that, the man was about threatening as a basket of kittens. Or at least, he had been. Now...
He put his hand to the doorknob again. Opening the door in three, two, one...
He slumped back down, letting his hand slide from the doorknob like water. No, no, he couldn't do this. He was afraid. Why? What was so different about now? He'd never known if the magician was here...
That was it. That was what was different. That was why he was afraid.
He knew the magician wasn't here.
And that scared him.
He didn't want to walk into the empty room knowing that it would never be filled again, he didn't want to know, to see with his own eyes, to test and to verify the magician's absence. He knew it, he'd seen the man fall, but somehow, somehow...
Somehow, maybe, if he didn't open that door, the magician would still be in there. Still laughing, still smiling, still quietly reading the little book with golden pages. Still feeding the doves, opening the windows, throwing ribbon everywhere. Still living, still laughing, still loving.
And he didn't want to know that he wasn't.
Oh, he was not crying. No. No. He was not crying. He was not going to cry about this. Not because the magician had gone and gotten himself shot, darnit, not because that stupid magician had gone and stood in the way of that stupid, stupid idiot conqueror and took thirteen stupid shots to the chest and gotten the stupid crap beaten out of him, darnit, not because said magician had wound up in the stupid hospital on a respirator with no magic left and probably going to die within a few days, maybe a few hours, a few stupid lonely hours, darnit, not because that stupid magician was dying, not because he was dying, not because he'd never wake up, not because he was... not because the magician was his friend, his good friend, maybe his only friend, and his friend was dying, darnit, not because he was too much of a stupid coward to go and see the only friend he had before he was dead, darnit, stupid dead, stupid death, stupid stupid stupid stupid! Darnit, he was not going to cry!
The inventor was crying.

I wasn't sure if I needed to introduce the character of the inventor before I showed his response to the magician's death, but I'm posting this anyway. I've written some other magician stuff involving this character, but I didn't like it so much as I liked this. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


The world was falling.
This didn't see quite right. He opened his eyes.
Ok, so the world wasn't falling. He was falling.
This didn't seem quite right either.
The ocean below him seemed quite small still, so he had a ways to go. He looked back up. Nothing. He'd fallen out of nowhere.
Nothing seemed quite right today.
He looked all around him. Hello cloud, hello other cloud. Nothing else around. He looked back down.
The ocean was still very far away.
He stretched, then gathered up his hair and stuffed it in his collar. Nothing worse than hair getting in your face when you're falling to your death.
It momentarily occurred to him that he shouldn't be this calm about falling out of nowhere to his death. He considered panicking, then decided against it. It couldn't do him much good, and besides, it was a pleasant day today, if you discount the wind. No sense in ruining it. He looked down again.
The ocean didn't seem to be getting any closer. Probably because it was just so big.
Maybe this was a dream. Yeah, that must be it. He was having the flying dream again, and he'd wake up right before he hit.
If he ever hit. The ocean needed to hurry up and get here.
But he didn't remember the flying dream being quite so... cold. Or windy.
No matter. Clearly, he was dreaming. Which totally explained the lack of panicking. And how and why exactly he was falling.
He flapped his arms experimentally. No, he couldn't fly. No matter, it was just a dream. Too bad; he'd always wanted to fly.
He looked back down and wondered, momentarily, why the ocean was still an ocean. If this were a dream, it should logically have turned into lemon pudding by now. But no. Still water, still big, still very far away. How high up was he, anyway?
It pleased him that the ocean was getting a little closer. He rubbed his ears. Dreams shouldn't be so cold. He decided that as long as he was here, he might as well have fun with it, so he twisted around in midair until he appeared to be seated.
At that point, he began going through the motions of having a tea party.
Abe Lincoln stared at him. “You should be panicking,” he said over a cup of earl grey.
He nodded politely, and his mind's version of Abe Lincoln pulled the parachute cord and vanished.
He wondered why Abe Lincoln hadn't seemed quite himself today. He'd had to work much harder to bring him to the tea party.
He looked back down. The ocean was getting closer fast. He said goodbye to his imaginary tea party, gave the tiger a hug and waved goodbye as he drove away, and then turned his attention back to falling. Yes, he should be hitting the ground within a minute. Or the water, either way.
So he'd be waking up.
He stared down at the ocean calmly and politely, arms outstretched. It briefly flashed into his mind that he was going to do a bellyflop, and it would hurt like nothing else, so he pulled himself into a swan dive and waited.
He'd be waking up any minute now.
Any minute now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A few random shorts

I haven't written anything really worth posting recently, but I have quite a few small things that I like enough to share. Don't expect them to be complete or make sense; they're not, and they won't.

A slice of the sky, of heaven and angels, cut down and bound here, bound to the earth to walk, to walk forever and ever amen, always staring up, never quite remembering who, or what, she is. Never, ever knowing, always longing, never looking down, never looking back, always trying, striving, reaching higher and higher, seeking to pull herself up from here, from this empty dust of too many distractions and nothing is real, nothing is reliable, and yet far too steady and unchanging, she walks the earth. Her prison. She doesn't remember, doesn't, couldn't imagine what she is, who she was. Who she will be. The wind calls her name. She doesn't know it's hers.

Black. White. Black. White. 64 squares. He stared at them darkly. Chess, chess, how he hated chess. The boy that sat across from him apparently liked it. Oh, and how he hated this boy. Smug little... The boy stared at the board a moment longer. “You're sure.”
“Yes, good grief! I'm sure!”
“You're sure you're sure. You want to move your queen to take my pawn. You're sure.”
“I'm sure! Just take your turn already!”
The boy shrugged. “Fine then.” He gently picked up a the black rook with the delicacy of an artist. “My turn.”
The man sputtered in shock. “How the...”
“Checkmate.” The young face broke into a gentle smile as he tipped over the white queen with the rook. The small noise of it tapping to rest on the board sounded like the crash of an empire.
The sirens of the police sounded like a dirge.

Jack stumbled out of the smoking robot, coughing. He looked up with tired eyes through the shattered mask, and saw her.
“Amy...” he whispered.
She was running to him before she even knew she was standing up. He opened his arms just in time to catch her as she embraced him. “Jack...” she mumbled.
His heart skipped several beats as they stood there. He was holding her. He was holding her. He was holding her! He closed his eyes, savoring the moment, and was hardly embarrassed at all when he started crying. She was crying too, and he shushed her gently, reveling in this new role as the comforter, the pillar of strength.
Thirty feet away, Crash hauled himself up, and proceeded to pull the little robot up from the hole behind him. They stared at the pair for a while, and then Crash shook his head and sat down, smiling broadly.
“So. Who's his best man, you or me?”
Fixit sat down next to him, looked at him for a moment, and then pointed to himself.

“Cursed be the charcoal, cursed be the wood, cursed be the gasoline, cursed be the one that would. The world will burn, the world will burn, the world will burn and I will laugh and the world will turn and turn and turn and we'll be left behind.” Spindle offered his hand. “Shall we dance?”

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Jars and spiders

Love, Mike Queens thought between glancing behind him and not using his turn signal, was a very strange thing. It made a man do things, unmanly, unnecessary things, like buy flowers. Flowers. Dead plants. It was beyond him why dead plants were deemed necessary by love, but they were, and even an idiot like himself could look at flowers and say “I will buy these for Sadie” without having any comprehensive reason why.
And for some reason, dead plants made Sadie very happy with him. Sunflowers especially; roses seemed a little formal... How did he know this stuff?! He was male, for goodness sake. Men aren't supposed to think about roses and formality and piddly little stuff like that, they were supposed to think about guns, and lifting heavy things, and opening jars, and killing spiders, and other manly things.
But then, Sadie was his match with a gun any time, and heavy things were not his specialty.... But he was good with jars! And very good with spiders. Sadie didn't like spiders, and spiders didn't like rolled up newspaper. Mike glanced at the rolled up newspaper in the side pocket of his jeep door and smiled. Yes, he was good with spiders.
But then he glanced back at Sadie, sleeping peacefully through the bumpy jeep ride into the outback, and sighed again.
Why was he sighing? This was that whole love thing messing with his head again. It made him buy flowers, it made him sigh... What next, jewelry?
He glanced at Sadie again, then swerved slightly to miss an alarmed looking road-creature.
Ok, jewelry. Her ring size... seven maybe? Eight? What was the rule on this, guess high or guess low? But maybe rings were too formal, maybe he should start off with something less... committal.
Darnit, he was thinking about these things again! Jars and spiders, Mike, keep it together!
Bracelets... did she wear bracelets? Or earrings? Another glance in her direction made him almost hit a tree. Earrings. Small ones, maybe, she didn't seem like the type for big hoops or dangling things getting caught in her hair and in her way... Maybe just diamonds, set in...
Diamonds? No! Way too committal! What was he trying to do here, propose?
How the heck was he supposed to propose, anyway? The whole get down on one knee affair was a little... cliché, but a classic nonetheless. Maybe something a little more creative, like a scavenger hunt, or...
Good grief!
Mike shook his head in disbelief and pulled off. He didn't know whether it was love or just plain old lack of sleep that was making him think this stuff, but either way, he was in no condition to drive.