Andrewsnafu's Blog

Writings.

Life in Last Place: Chapter 1

leave a comment »

That sick feeling prevails again. My body actually shakes as I prepare for the day ahead. Not with anticipation, not with excitement, but with fear. It requires a great deal of concentration to keep myself from cutting myself too much when I shave. I have a hard time shaving anyway, since I tend to not look at myself in the mirror much. Makes me wonder how often I walk about life with something on my face that I don’t even know about. Most people are too nice to say anything anyway. Just like me. I look at the clock again, 7:15 AM, I have to be at work by 8:00 AM. It takes me 15 minutes to drive there, and I’m already done getting ready.  Why do ties always look like they aren’t tied correctly? I fidget nervously with the knot of the tie trying to make it look better, but the more I fidget with it, the worse it looks, so I end up leaving it alone after a while.

School wasn’t any better in terms of my panic problems. If anything it was probably worse. People just have it in for you during the school days. A sort of school pecking order, and I always seemed to be somewhere near the bottom. I generally lived by the principle that if I didn’t bother anyone, then people generally wouldn’t bother me. That mostly seemed to work out, staying out of people’s way was probably the only thing that kept me alive.

I’ve never had any close friends, and after graduating college and getting my degree, I took the first opportunity to disconnect myself from my family. My family operates in a strange fashion. Or it seems strange to me anyway. It’s probably pretty normal really, just everyone is too worried about appearances to admit it. Everyone talks behind everyone else’s back, and yet they still smile and tell stories at the required family events. I hate family events. Some person’s birthday, some national holiday, somebody gets married, and so on. I’ve never been close to my family as far as I can tell, but everyone still acts friendly, since we’re family and all. I do my best to avoid such situations at any possibility.

My eye shifts towards the clock again, 7:20, time to go I suppose. As much as I try to convince myself that everything will be okay today, I have a hard time believing it. It seems like every time I’m on the verge of convincing myself that things will be okay, I end up having a bad day. I get chewed out at work for some pointless thing or another, some co-worker gives me grief, whatever. I often feel like life is merely leading me on, letting me get comfortable, than tugging the rug out from under my feet.

Pulling into the parking lot at work, I oddly feel a little calmer. I glance up at the office building, worrying thoughts flashing through my head. Will everything go okay today? As much as I try to convince myself of that, I know how things usually go. Here goes nothing.

Advertisements

Written by andrewsnafu

July 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Path Obscured: Chapter 3

leave a comment »

A beautiful day around me.  I stand awaiting the arrival of my father at the airport, he’s just arriving back from overseas.  His plane lands, the excitement begins to grow within me.  I look up at my mother, as she holds my hand smiling down back at me.  An old familiar smile.  One I feel like I haven’t seen in a long time.  The passengers slowly depart the plane and come down the line, I think I see my father, but it turns out not to be him.  The last person steps off the plane.  My father isn’t there.  A sense of bewilderment begins to fill my stomach, I look up at my mother, always austere.

“He probably just missed his flight.”

Suddenly, the world around me changes.  Another bright day, a large gathering of people.  The sun beats down on darkly clad people.  I don’t remember ever attending a funeral before, I look around, but I don’t feel like I recognize anyone there.  A feeling of confusion sweeps over me, I feel like asking someone who the funeral is for.. but that seems like an insensitive thing to do..

A flash of heat burns the side of my face.  My surroundings change suddenly again.  I feel different, heavier.  My vision is obscured by protective goggles and heavy gear.  Looking down I realize that I’m carrying a rifle, and am surrounded by similarly dressed people.  The wind blows violently, sand grinding against my clothing, trying to creep in anywhere it can.

An explosion knocks three people to my right off their feet, suddenly the world is in an uproar.  Automatic weapons fire echoes from all directions.  It feels as if someone struck me several times in chest and neck with a baseball bat, a searing heat emanating from there as I’m knocked to the ground.  I wheeze weakly as blood begins to pool around me.  I hear people shouting around me, in a language I don’t understand.

“Annie.”

I can feel the tears in my eyes as the world changes again.  The world darkens and cools before I realize that my eyes are closed.  As I open them I realize I’m staring up at Jennifer, my manager from the restaurant I work at.  My head hurts terribly, as I look around I realize an entire tray of food has been dropped to the ground nearby me.

“Annie are you okay?” Jennifer asks, a look of concern on her face.

I raise my hand to my head, “Yeah, I think so..” I say weakly.  “Did I faint again?” I ask looking at Jennifer.

She nods her head, “Yes you did.. why don’t you go ahead and take the rest of the night off.” she smiles and pats me on the head.

The edges of my mouth quiver slightly as I look down towards the ground, “I’m sorry, I’ll clean this up first.” I say attempting a smile.

Jennifer nods her had, “No, it’s alright we’ll get a busser to do it, just make sure you get yourself home safely.  Do you have someone who can drive you?” she asks.

I nod my head, “I can call my father, I feel like I want to see him anyway.”

Jennifer nods, “Alright, take care of yourself.”

I slowly get myself up off the ground, if I have any luck, at least I collapsed back in the kitchen and not on the floor.  That would’ve been embarrassing.  Walking back towards my locker, the image still fills my head, ‘Was that a dream?’ I wonder.  I lift my cell phone out of my purse and dial my father’s phone number.  My father was in the military, but he certainly isn’t dead, and he certainly wasn’t wounded.  Yet that felt a little too close for comfort.

An annoying ringback tone plays, Bruce Springsteen, my father always liked Bruce Springsteen.

“Hello?  Annie?” the familiar voice on the other end chimes in.

“Yeah dad, it’s me, can you pick me up from work?  I.. collapsed again.” I say.

“No problem, I’ll be right there.  Are you alright?” he asks, I can already hear the sound of him walking around, probably looking for his keys.

“Yeah I’m fine, just need a ride home.” I reply.

“Alright I’ll be there soon.”

“Thanks dad,” I say with a smile before hanging up the phone.

It has been three months since the first time I collapsed.  The first time I collapsed during the track meet was the only time that I don’t remember having a sort of dream associated with fainting.  Since that time this is the sixth time I’ve fainted.  Every time I have one of the dream like events, it is usually of some terrible happening.

The time before this that I collapsed, I had a similar vision where I was seeing from the eyes of my mother instead of my father.  She was in a terrible car accident, and the pain I felt then, I can only imagine, felt as bad as it would during a real car accident.  I woke up with tears in my eyes that time too.  I’m beginning to become terribly afraid of these fainting spells, not so much from hurting myself when I fall, but the mental anguish that is beginning to takes it toll on me.  I’ve seen a therapist since about a month after my first fainting spell, shortly after the second one occurred.  She offers me little advice aside from having someone to talk to.

She suggests that it is simply stress, of arriving near a turning point in my life.  Graduating from high school, going to college.  A lot of people have trouble adjusting.  As far as I know, nobody I know collapses and has hellish visions in their head though.  I sit idly at a table in the break room resting my head in my hands.  I keep hoping that this will end soon.

Written by andrewsnafu

March 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Chapter 3

Tagged with , , , ,

Cheap Goggles: Chapter 2

leave a comment »

The smell of burning wood and plant material fills my nostrils. My ears are ringing so badly I feel like my thoughts are inaudible. I attempt to reestablish my bearings, but I find it difficult to focus my vision. My body feels overheated all over, as if I have been out in the sun for too long. As the world begins to focus I realize the general devastation around me. Most of the nearby trees are knocked over, the large oak I had originally hidden behind has been reduced to a small pile of ashes.

“What.. was that..” I mutter to myself. I begin to check myself over, checking for any bodily injury. My goggles are still in tact, satchel seems a little cooked but the contents inside prove unharmed. It’s after I reach my hand down to my side to check my pistol when I realize my arm is still on fire. I find myself feeling slightly confused by this before realizing how much of a problem it is, “Oh damn!” I shout as I begin frantically swatting at my sleeve with my opposite hand. My gloves have been burned down to my flesh, leaving only patchwork pieces of leather and cloth. My jacket seems relatively unharmed, save for the right sleeve being almost completely burned away, and a few minor burn holes here and there.

“Attention life-form.” a mechanical voice surprises me as I adeptly unholster my pistol in a very fluid way, swinging it from side to side within my view. As I pan my vision upwards I notice a metallic looking object floating nearby the once great oak tree.  A perfect sphere appears made out of black metal, around a foot in diameter, with a few strategically placed lights that almost give it a face. “Life-form, I regret to inform you that because of your presence the experiment has been deemed invalid due to contamination.”

I furrow my brows a bit, keeping the iron sights of the pistol aimed squarely on the floating sphere, “I’m sorry?” I say, not really knowing what else to say at that point.

The sphere lowers in altitude hovering about shoulder height with me, I find it disconcerting how silently the thing moves about. The lights of its “face” begin moving around, “The Northern Alliance is conducting military tests in this area, regrettably the tests will have to be rerun again thanks to your interference.”

I re-holster my sidearm giving the sphere an irritated look, “Well, I apologize for walking Mr. Sphere.”

The sphere’s lights suddenly change to red as an angry-looking face appears, “DO NOT REFER TO ME AS MR. SPHERE, LIFE-FORM, I AM..” the mechanical voice suddenly lowers in volume, “I am experimental bot SX-28.7, and I would appreciate it if you would refer to me as such.” the sphere says proudly, electrical face returning to a more calm looking shade of blue.

“Well, Mr. SX-28.7 I would prefer if you didn’t refer to me as “life-form”.” I say in rebuttal, “Also, I think this ‘Northern Alliance’ owes me a new jacket.” I say, displaying my destroyed sleeve.

A light emits from the sphere as it scans over my now bare right arm, and over the entirety of my jacket, “How does SX-28.7 know one did not destroy his own sleeve?” the mechanical voice asks hovering back in front of my face.

I blink uncomfortably at the closeness of the bot, “Why would I burn my sleeve?” I ask.

The sphere revolves a bit, as if thinking, “Perhaps this life-form is just maladroit.. clumsy, slept too close to a fire?” the bot offers.

I begin to feel increasingly irritated as I decide it pointless to argue with this thing, “Never mind. I guess I will just be on my way then, nice to meet you Mr. SX-28.7.” I say as I pivot around and begin to walk off in the opposite direction.

I immediately bump my forehead against the barrel of a rifle. Multiple cloaked forms suddenly appear from around the brush to the sides of me. A handful of black cloaked individuals, all wielding similar looking rifles, aimed squarely at me, approach slowly.

SX-28.7 hovers down to my side, “I’m afraid this life-form will need to come with us for debriefing.” it says.

I raise my hands above me, shaking my head, “Fine fine..” I mutter, what a miserable day I’m having. One of the cloaked figures moves forward swiftly and retrieves my pistol out of its holster, also removing my satchel.

“If you’ll come with us, life-form.”

For a moment I consider trying to fight for it, but from the looks of it, these folks are definitely not messing around. Besides, if they can do that to an oak tree, I don’t really want to know what they can do to me. “Right right.” I say, as I begin following the group of dark cloaked men, all with faces hidden behind dark scarves surrounding the lower half of their faces.  They lead off deeper into the woods, I follow closely, goggles fogging up with each breath I take.  First thing I’m going to do when I get out of this mess, is buy some decent eyewear.

Written by andrewsnafu

February 25, 2010 at 1:27 am

Cheap Goggles: Introduction

leave a comment »

This story started formulating in my head only recently.  I think after reading Cherie Priest’s, Boneshaker (incredible book by the way), I got the itch to write something in the science fiction genre.  As this story is still “in the works” I’m not really sure where I’m going with it, however one central tenant in most of my stories is the main character inner monologues.  I always have trouble writing in third person omniscient because it feels too impersonal, so in a lot of my writing things will be told from first person view.  Or if I do include third person view, you can probably bet that it’ll be swapping into first person view, then perhaps dabbling in third person for a little narrator action (where’s Morgan Freeman when you need him).

My first thought here was simply to start writing and see where it goes.  Initially I worried about figuring out “where” and “when” this story takes place, but as I mulled over it for a long time I realized that I can’t really fit into the common Earth reality that we all know.  Therefore, I simply dubbed it “alternate reality” but very “Earthlike” in its happenings.  Once again, I hope you enjoy reading, and feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, criticisms, baked goods, and anything else you’d like!

Chapter 1 is here.

Written by andrewsnafu

February 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Path Obscured: Introduction

leave a comment »

I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head for a long time, and I finally decided to squeeze it out of there.  The story revolves around the character Anastasia Clarke, known as Annie or Anna to most of the people who know her.  Her life suddenly changes as she begins to suffer from fainting spells which occur randomly, and tend to last between half an hour and an hour in length.  She struggles to make sense of a life that keeps getting interrupted beyond her control.  I hope you enjoy it, and if you have comments, questions, suggestions, and criticisms please feel free to leave a comment!

Chapter 1 is here.

Written by andrewsnafu

February 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Path Obscured: Chapter 2

leave a comment »

I wonder if the sun ever feels depressed doing the same thing every day.

“Annie!” a faint voice interrupts my thoughts. A sick feeling engulfs me as my surroundings make me feel out-of-place.

“Annie!” the voice again, louder this time, I feel like the sun is burning my eyes as I stare into it. As I attempt to close my eyes, things around me suddenly change. Staring up at an unfamiliar face holding a light above me.

My head aches, I glance around beginning to recognize a few familiar faces. “Hey coach, what’s going on?” I ask, the words feel strained and disorganized, as if I hadn’t spoken for a long time.

The coach’s face changes to a smile as he lets out an exasperated sigh. “Seems you fainted during the 4×400, took a spill on the track.”

I blink tilting my head a bit, the dull ache from my arms brings the realization that they are bandaged. “Well, that’s not good. Hope I didn’t worry you too much coach.” I say flashing a bright grin.

“I think you may have taken a few years off my life.” he says with a chuckle. I notice that the coach is also bandaged, on his left cheek.

“How’d that happen?” I say pointing to his bandaged face, “Hit on the wrong track mom?”

The coach blushes suddenly, looking quite uncomfortable. The EMT who had packed his things chuckles softly. It’s Laura who answers with a laugh, “When you stopped and started falling coach tripped over himself and did a face-plant on the track.”

I feel bad as I burst out laughing, Coach Anderson places a hand on his forehead and tries to hide his face a bit, laughing as well. “At least you are okay, that’s what counts.” Coach Anderson says into hands.

“Sorry for the trouble, I’ll make you some cookies to make up for it, how’s that?” I say grinning again.

A slightly disgusted look comes over his face, “No offense Annie, but your cooking is terrible.” he says shaking his head. I click my tongue at the comment and begin to sit up, my head feels like it’s spinning a bit. The concern returns to Coach Anderson’s face as he leans forward, apparently readying to catch me should I fall again. “Maybe you should just stay lying down for a bit.” he says.

Laying back down I grumble lightly to myself, “Is the meet over? If not I need to go play cheerleader.” The spinning in my head alleviates slightly as I lie back down in the makeshift first aid station. “A little tumble isn’t going to keep me from that.”

“The meet is over, your event was almost the last one as it was, and besides that you were out for about an hour.” Coach Anderson recaps.

“An hour?” I say, feeling disconcerted, “Is that normal for someone who faints?” I say looking towards the coach with a raised brow. The corners of his mouth twitch slightly as if he doesn’t really want to answer the question.

“No, it’s not particularly normal, however the EMT said your vital signs were fine.  Was probably just a case of overexertion and exhaustion.”  he leans back in the folding chair he is sitting in, “Still, they suggested you see a doctor about it, just to be sure.”

The coach’s answer doesn’t offer me a lot of comfort, but I smile anyway, “Alright coach.  I’ll do that.”

Written by andrewsnafu

February 16, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Cheap Goggles: Chapter 1

leave a comment »

It always feels cold here.  Even with so many layers.  I take another puff of my cigarette, my hands are freezing, as I scan the area around me.  As I exhale deeply my goggles begin to fog up.  Should not have cheaped out on the goggles.  At least it keeps the wind out of my eyes, even though I can’t see very well for half of every breath I take.

I glance down at the ground, my boots crunch softly on the frozen landscape.  I always feel like I’m going to slip and embarrass myself, at least there aren’t too many people around maybe I could get away with falling on my butt.  At least I didn’t cheap out on the footwear, seeing is fine, but not being mobile provides a greater danger to my safety.

I raise the cigarette to take another puff when a loud thud startles me from off to my left.  My hand instinctively drops to my side grasping the handle of my pistol, didn’t cheap out on that either.  My breathing begins to increase, the goggles fogging up with each large exhale as my eyes dart from left to right trying to find the source of the sound.

“Woah there!” a gruff voice shouts from in the distance.  “Damn it I said woah!”

I blink uncomfortably wondering if the voice is referring to me or something else.  Can he see me?  My attire isn’t exactly camouflage but..  I barely have time to finish my thought before the loud sound happens again, closer.  Suddenly I recognize the sound, galloping.  The brush ahead of me shifts violently as a large horse comes bursting through.  Broken reins streaming behind it, well that explains the sound I suppose.

My heavy breathing continues, each time the foggy lenses clear the horse keeps charging towards me.

“You’ve got to be kidding me..” I mutter to myself as I begin dashing back towards the treeline.  Boots crunching loudly on the ground with each step, satchel banging against my side.  It won’t run into the tree, just need to get to the treeline.  A large oak comes into view and in one swift motion I orbit around and drop down behind it.  Taking refuge behind the large oak tree I continue listening for the sound.  It’s still getting closer, louder.  Suddenly, the large oak I had taken refuge behind shakes violently with a large thud.

For a moment I’m speechless as I peer around the side of the tree.  The horse teeters about drunkenly and collapses to one knee.  It really did run into the tree..

“How stupid can you be Frank!  Running into trees, for goodness sake!”  The apparent owner of the horse approaches.  Frank neighs quietly still clearly disoriented.  “Not only that you seem to have given this fellow here a fright.” the man glances at rubbing a gloved hand over his full beard.  “Sorry about that stranger, Frank isn’t the smartest horse around, but he’s the strongest if that means anything.  Name’s Joe by the way.” he finishes as he extends a gloved hand.

The grin on his face is oddly comforting, and he doesn’t seem armed so I get to my feet shuffling forward to shake his hand.  “Allen.” my muffled voice doesn’t travel well through the scarf.

“Nice to meet you Allen.  Well, Frank let’s get you back to the convoy, never knew trees would be your great weakness.  Safe travels Allen.” Joe says grabbing the broken reins of Frank and begins leading him off in the direction he had come.

I wrinkle my nose a bit, well that was uncomfortable.  Pivoting around I make back towards the treeline when another large sound knocks me off my feet.  The sound of collapsing tree branches begin to surround me, ears ringing from the shockwave of the explosion.

“What the..” I begin to think to myself, quickly becoming disoriented, before the world suddenly goes black.

Written by andrewsnafu

February 10, 2010 at 11:42 pm