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Envy

I hate it when the message tone pings behind my eyeballs, after too long floating in the black.

Those words always carry gravity across the weary beams of light. Worse? Sometimes, they miss.

For days and weeks and years, I'll hurtle on under some grand illusion of weightlessness, motionlessness, or lacking all direction. It's easier that way, after the hard part's over. Exit's a struggle, sure, but once you're past the blue? It's not even all that cold. It really just is.

But isn't any job? That is, until you get a heavy taste of home to remind you otherwise. 

You make it look so easy, you know. Peeling off a human skin, then putting it back on like it should fit. You slide out of the oily ugliness of casual labor and into something drier than a memory of vermouth. You reinvent yourself at least twice a day. You metamorphose.

I've been wearing the same thing every time you've pinged me. Synthetic, hairless skin. Wires.

We should have been born wearing snakeskins. I mean, you slither out of what you've worn so very well.I never could. I'm always cold at home and burning hot out in the black. I hate it when you tell me that changing's easy, because I know it is. I know it is. It has to be. It's the staying changed that's something out of hell for me. I always wake up floating at a staggering velocity.

That's never bothered you, though. You've never been one thing long enough to stick.

Or if you have, you regret it more than I'll ever know.

I like to pretend you're happier than me, though.

At least you remember which way is up.

Prompt: thebuonanno posted...

"I hate it when you…"

Still on the road. Still writing. What's your excuse?

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, questions, feedback, and exposure!

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Unprompted: Before Dawn (TW: Suicide)

Mary Shelley couldn't have made me any more romantic. I'm just a mess of moods and pieces.

I'm so tired.

It goes deeper than what's left of my  marrow, down to the hollow air inside of sawed-off bones. Nerve connectors whistle on the wind each morning as I wake up, a mix of phantom limb and dry socket. It isn't pain, not really. It's the core behind the sounds and syllables. It's not a scream. It's the older, aching silence.

That's the kind of tired I am.

The kind of tired I was. I've wanted to let go so many times; I tried twice, early on. The first time, nine years ago, only my life died. The second time? Well, I've been working in the blinking black for the last seven years. Just like the project, I'm living salvage. Plug and play prostheses.

When I close my right hand around the wrist of a ladder bar, I remember the taste of a man's sweat, the color of his mahogany smile on cream sheets. His schematics and missed goodbyes.

When my spider legs mag-lock onto a section of outer hull, I remember a woman's honey. The pain of children. The joy of childbirth. The howling, vast depression that follows the end of both.

My heart is wrapped in construction paper monsters and songs I've never sung. I hum along.

My spine is hard, tough, scarred and ruggedized. It's seen too much. Done more. But we survive.

They call it neuroplastic residue, a side-effect of skill retention. I call it my reason to wake up.

The parts survive. Debris storms. Fires. Machinery malfuctions. Even a terror crash.

The parts made it. Marcus. Diana. Dongmei. Sergeant Raines. Even a wreck like me.

They believed in a tomorrow made of scraps, salvage, or tired hearts. It's shaping up. I think.

So I keep waking up.

 

Today's piece is prompted by some events I ran into in my personal life. I won't go into details, but I will say this. We are the ones we're waiting for. You can listen. You can speak. You can help others - in fact, that's all you can do. You can't save anyone, but you can help everyone.

And as I've said before - Keep going.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins

 

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Nightfall

Writer’s Block
A picture says a thousand words. Write them.
Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a critique about this picture. Write something about this picture.
Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

(Prompt: Scarlet road by Northstar76, via writeworld)

Let me tell you a story. It even starts in a tree, just like this one. Staring up, just like now. There was a wind. There was a strong, rose scent over roasted air...

...There was a white star in the sky.

"Hey! Heeeeey! AC-895, do you read me? AZ-895, do you copy? Ace? AAAAAAACE!"

AC-895 watched the former flatline of the audio link spike like a heart attack.

Instead of dying, he sighed. "Negative, Zee. Comm inoperative, critical failure. Call back tomorrow. Over-"

"MORON! Get down from wherever you're hiding and get back to work!"

The leaves around him bristled, catching even the flight vibration of her stomps on the thin soil. Metal thunked just underneath. He hated that; no matter what, he was never all that far from metal guts and way too many people. They had to add a second alpha 16 cycles back.

He hopped from the tree and floated down. The mag-seal eased him to the floor, before clicking hard at the last inch. He rolled his neck in irritation, hugging his helmet like a pillow.

"Whaddya want from me, Zee? I already finished, so lay off!" He yawned at the exact frequency of her irritation. 

Tromping boots pinged sonar through the mist and scattered crimson leaves. "You expect me to believe you already serviced the Stinger?!"

Black branches and black blossoms shivered at his interrupted nap. He groaned. "I already serviced that squad!"

A helmet broke through the brush, inches from his face. "The whole squad?! That's fast..."

Then a moment's impressed silence, before she grabbed the front of his fuzz-lined deck suit in both gloved fists. "So that's why those lazy assholes didn't report you! What'd I tell you about doing other people's work, Ace?!"

"Only yours?" Ace. From anyone else, he liked the name. From Zee? It sounded like tinnitus. He tried for a winning smile, forgetting his smile's actual service record.

"Why, you...!" Zee shook him, then groaned when he went limp. "This... is why you always fail the Expedition Test. You don't follow protocol! I mean, if you're going to be average at self-defense, average at analysis, average at navigation, and dismal at anything else, no wonder you're hopeless!"

He caught her wrists in a vice-hold, making her yelp. "Hey! My sim scores are great! And I'm great at-"

"Maintenance? Really?" She looked away, ignoring her failed attempts to break loose. The idea of Ace being stronger than her was just that intolerable in her mind. "Face it - your only talent is that you don't know when to quit. Speaking of which - how long have you been out here without a mask?"

Ace shrugged. "Hour or two?" Her eyes went wide. "Hey! It's practice, right? I'm fine!" He let go to wave away that killer gleam under her transparent visor. He much preferred the darker, military versions for a reason. When would she just graduate already?

"You're insane, you know that? Certifiable for duty dismissal! What could possibly-"

He put a finger to the re-breather of her mask. Against all reason, she blushed.

He just pointed up and grinned.

The mist had already begun to rise as a new current of wind carried it like a waterfall in reverse. The floating moisture parted to reveal an endless sky of stars, and at its heart, just above them?

The planet below. A great, gleaming coat of white parted as the sun fell out of their side's view. Great branches and woven webs of vine shook loose and parted, revealing seas and endless trunks below. The glistening white drank up the atmosphere and budded with petals of a bioluminescent green. Jungles and islands shone below like the arcology reactor. Like fire.

Like home. Ace was in love.

So was Zee, but Ace wasn't the sort of guy notice stars that close.

"I'm going up there, Zero-3. I promised. And you're gonna fly me there in a Stinger. Deal?"

DX-000 pouted. She hated her name. "They don't let cadets fly Stingers, Ace. I'm too young-"

He knocked on her helmet. "You can still test. I trust you. Deal?" he asked again.

She fumed a while, but underneath the spreading rings of fragrant flower petals, even she felt something. "...Deal. Now, c'mon. There's a defense scrimmage on Deck 5. You need it."

Already defeated, he followed her down the ladder to the cylinder city within. All that metal.

Miles of steam and wire. And not a single breath of rose air.

What a shame, huh? But this is just the beginning. For all of us.


I'd love to write this sci-fantastic story further. Steel and roses.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, review requests, and does anyone actually read this? Yes? No? Intern Dana lives...

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The Six Year Old Explains Sci Fi

I haven't really seen that many movies, but I do know which ones I like

and which ones I don't

 

And I don't really like the Titanic, and I'm not sure why that girl wasn't wearing any clothes, and the guy had to die at the end, or why my mom seems to like the movie so much, and my dad tells me we'll watch a real movie later next and he says sorry to me and my brother for bringing us along, but my younger brother is just learning to talk and I don't mind too much because of the popcorn and the soda because we never have popcorn at home and I never get to drink soda after it gets dark except for movie night.

 

Besides, whenever I got bored I just started thinking about Apollo 13 and I start thinking if they can fix a ship crashing in space, you'd think they'd be able to stop a ship sinking in the water and maybe I don't know too much about science, but I know that fixing things is a good thing and that both my mom and dad fix things, although my mom fixes people and my dad fixes ships, and my mom talks about the Titantic, she says words like 'broken hearts' and I ask her if she can fix them, and she smiles and says yes and when my dad talks about Apollo 13, he says words like differential equations and fluid dynamics, and I'm not really sure what any of that means, but dad says that one day, if I want to, I might learn.

 

So next week, we're going to see Jurassic Park with our new video tape player and dad says it's a pain in the word mom won't let him say to install, but we can watch movies on our little tv and I think that's really cool that we don't have to go out to see movies and that our tv doesn't just play cartoons. And when I see the dinosaurs on the screen and people getting hurt, I ask mom if she can fix them and I ask dad if he could stop the dinosaurs, but there's also this part of me that doesn't want to stop the dinosaur because they're really cool.

 

And when mom and dad realize this, they go on a computer and they use something called the internet and find a place that has real dinosaurs, except their not real, just moving models, but it's still the coolest thing and they take my picture with all of the cool dinosaurs.

 

And the week after that, my dad's away on a ship and he will be for a while, but he gives us a gift and says it was one of his favorite movies and it's called Star Wars and I'm hoping that there's more space, and more dinosaurs, and my mom works in the morning while we're in school, but the weekend is coming up and I show her my good grades in math and science and reading and she smiles and says okay, we'll watch one more.

 

And dad's going to be back soon. He has to fix things with science, like mom does only different. And I can't wait till I fix things.

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Where Pennies, Loose Change, and Singled-Out-Socks Go

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