Category Archives: character

In it to (Win?) It.

It keeps getting weirder. I have another tattoo, now. And I didn’t ask for this one.
I guess that statement is too random to start with. More strange shit is happening to me. I met this old guy in Mom’s nursing home. He gave me a black Stone carved with markings. I took it because he was old and senile and wouldn’t get off my ass about it, but after I got it… 
No. I can’t explain it. I really would sound crazy. And the thing is, I’d prefer crazy to this. But, that guy Quinn is helping me, or trying to, anyway. And he has an uncle named Wyatt. Wyatt’s been in town his whole life and seems to know things, things that might actually get me out of this mess I’m in. He’s really nice, too. He’s this calm presence that keeps me feeling like I just might make it through another day. 
And Quinn? Well, he’s–intense. He seems to have these ideas about what should happen and how, and if it doesn’t work out that way he gets weird, like his entire world has been disrupted. I guess he means well. Maybe he’s just eager to prove himself to his uncle, or maybe even to himself.
I’m glad these guys are around. I don’t know what I’d do if they weren’t, because it’s painfully clear now that I can’t run away from this. It’s too bad, too. I’m really good at avoidance. It’s the sticking around part I can’t get the hang of. 
There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.
If there are any gods out there willing to hear a prayer from me… Shit, there’s no point in going any farther with that, is there?
Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ll keep you posted.

How About a Little Crazy, to Go?

So, all that ranting I did about this town being strange and having this monster sense of foreboding? I was right. Now, ask me if that makes me feel any better.
Some really strange shit happened today. Mom got on one of her kicks and made me go to the college to register for classes. After a torturous round of ‘How Stupid is Res?’ with the resident bitch advisor, I headed back to the parking lot. Something happened on the way. Maybe it was just a gas leak somewhere on that old ass campus giving me hallucinations.  That’s what I’d like to think. The thing is, though, this guy, Quinn, popped up out of nowhere and acted like he not only saw it, but knew what it was all about. He said his uncle, some mortician guy whose been a lifelong resident of this town, told him all about some sort of power in Tyne that screws with people. Can you believe that? Chalking it up to too much inbreeding down his family line, I told the guy to leave me the hell alone.
I can’t figure out what exactly happened, even with some distance from the situation. My head gives me the rational explanation I want to hear. The rest of me says the exact opposite. Shit, I don’t know. All I do know is that I want to get the hell out of here as soon as fucking possible. 
Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.

The Move

Avery, here.  Before I post Resonance’s blog update I just wanted to apologize to you (and her) for my week-long absence.  She’s been chomping at the bit to post (she’s oddly down with this blogging thing) and I haven’t been around to do it for her.  But, I’m back, now, and she has a ton of new things to say to you.  So, here you go–Resonance Murphy blogging on “The Move”:
I’m in Tyne. Just like that. I packed my shit into boxes, helped Mom do the same, and watched four guys load it all onto a truck. 
It’s funny, I was thinking there’d be something to stop this, like some major embargo by Spider, or maybe my aunt finally driving into Mom’s head her theory that this change is all too soon. In my wilder visions, I thought maybe a massive sinkhole would suddenly open and swallow the entire town. None of that happened. In fact, nothing happened. 
For a major turning point in my life, it was pretty blah. 
Our house is in a relatively crappy section of town. Those pretty Victorians with their candy-colored shingles are a few blocks over. Because of the shitty economy mom lost her shirt on the house sale.  Dad’s insurance wasn’t much and their life savings was even less.  So, Mom and I live in the spartan section, where people built homes to be sturdy and utilitarian, and not much more. There are six other houses on our street, but so far I haven’t talked to anyone. It’s weird, I pictured this Mayberry-esque parade of portly old lady neighbors with tins of cookies or giant, unidentifiable casseroles. But, no one’s come. They must be cautious around strangers. Gotta give them points for that. 
I managed to find a bar—a dark, dirty place where the drink choices are tap beer and rail booze served as-is in chipped glasses. The people in there mind their own business and don’t ask stupid questions like what a young girl such as myself might be doing there alone at three p.m.
Mom has started her job. She’s busy trying to deal with the switch to her new director position. She’s always been more of a hands-on nurse, and I think the upgrade to bossing people around (no matter how well she does it with me) is kind of hard for her. Of course, despite her long hours she still finds enough time to ride my ass without remorse.
And my future occupation? There’s not much to this place as far as finding job opportunities go. Aside from the harbor shops (ugh, retail) and the surrounding business district (ugh, filing), there’s only houses, schools and parks. There’s a giant forest at the northwestern edge, but I don’t do outdoors or bugs — not that I’d want to be a ranger or tour guide, anyway. 
Yesterday, the dude at the bar says he needs a cocktail waitress. “But the pay’s shit.” 
That’s alright
“There’s no drinking on the job.” 
Losing me… 
Then he added the clincher. “And you’ll have to get rid of those–” referring to my combat boots, –“and buy yourself a pair of nice pumps.”
How ’bout I just stay on this side of the bar, then? I’m much happier being a patron, anyway. 
So, after scoping the town yesterday and today, I’ve decided the time’s not right for gainful employment. This place isn’t ready for me, and I’m sure as shit not ready for it. I consider trying not to set anything on fire out of boredom a full-time job, anyway.
As far as the rest goes — the town seems pretty okay. Not my dream location by a long shot, but not the freakshow I’d imagined it to be. No other weird shit has happened. I’m still having the dreams, but I’m pretty used to them, now. I guess that bizarre thing with the obelisk and that “coming home” feeling was just my mind trying to point me towards some sort of stability it’s been missing since Dad’s death, or maybe some weird sixth sense trying to tell me moving here could be a new start.
A new start, huh? That’s a thought. Can someone like me really have a totally fresh start? I don’t think my mom would see it that way. In her eyes, some things — or people, in this case — never change. She’s probably right.
Well, at least my adventures in fucking up have a new backdrop.

Blending In

Competition. Even as babies, we’re compared to others–who walked first, whose first word was bigger. From the moment we pop into this world we’re tossed into a society that’s bent on forcing competition down its member’s throats. 
We get older, it gets worse. First, it’s grades. A ‘C’ is considered ‘average,’ yet god forbid anyone earns just average marks. Average is just not good enough. Even ‘above average’ won’t get you too far. In my high school, there were thirty people with a straight ‘A’ average. Still, the system managed to break their accomplishments down into an ordered list of best to worst. How that can even be possible? Ranking perfect scores so just one person gets to be ‘the smartest,’ is beyond me. 
Then comes college. In this day, you have to go in order to be considered worthwhile by society. “What college are you going to?” is the favored question of aunts and uncles everywhere. Nosy neighbors inquire about your plans after school, and if you dare to speak the unspeakable, “I’m not going to college,” they either shake their heads and moan about what a mistake you’re making, or they subject you to a twenty-minute lecture about, “Getting ahead in this world.”
Has anyone stopped to think just how fucking stupid it all is? To push yourself beyond the limits of desire or ability in order to get that extra ten, twenty, or thirty thousand dollars a year? What, exactly will that get you? A bigger house? Better car? Nicer clothes? More attractive spouse? The keys to the door hiding the secrets of the universe?
And, we’re right back to that phenomena we were subjected to in infancy; sorting out who among the throngs of people out there is the very best. 
Society never stops to think some of us aren’t ready to be its bitch. Maybe we never will be. I can’t think of a fate worse than having to wear high heels and a tan business suit. I can’t imagine sitting in front of a computer hitting keys all day while my view of this world I’m supposed to be living in is blocked by a five-foot wall of partitioned blandness. I can’t stomach the idea of playing nice with people I loathe in order to get ahead, whoring myself out spiritually (or even physically) so I can get just that much closer to the slightly bigger cubicle in the slightly more prestigious corner of the office. 
Because of my aversion to the corporate/consumer/drone lifestyle, I am one of society’s fallen children. I have been ‘left behind.’ I am to be pitied, or maybe scorned–which is mostly all right, since I pity and scorn them. The problem is, it’s several hundred million to one. The pressure comes from all sides; parents, government, do-gooders. They want me to join them–as if becoming part of the collective will somehow validate their own submission. They can’t just leave me alone; they have to preach the gospel of ‘responsible adulthood.’ They have to convert me in order to save themselves. 
Another log for the fire.
I’m finding out as I get older, some of my friends are collapsing under the pressure. Ricketts just caved a few months ago. He shaved off the remains of his mohawk, rolled down the sleeves of his white, button-up shirt so his ink wouldn’t show, and applied for a job as a customer service representative. The lure of money, the siren song of things, pulled him in, made him want to be one of them. Now he has a car of his own, an apartment of his own, and is buried by more debt than he can possibly climb out from under when making only thirty grand a year. But, he’s got a girl and they’re getting serious. He has to show he’s a good provider. A man’s man. 
More than a C-average. 
I understand there has to be some sort of compromise. Money is needed to survive. We can’t just take a sling out into the forest and come back with dinner. Our hunt is the job. Our kill is our paycheck. 
But, do we have to lose so much of who we are in order to get it?
I’ll soon be twenty-three.  Mom keeps saying, “Resonance, you can’t fight your future forever.”  But, I think I can. Fighting is what I’ve been doing my entire life.  No reason to change that, now.

Past, Present, and That Blurry, Vague Thing

(Before I get into my next post I wanted to remind you guys that this blog is the property of fantasy writer Avery DeBow.  I’m just a guest.  I suppose my actual existence is a matter of opinion, but I think I’m real enough, at least enough to entertain you guys for a bit. –Res)
Spider wants me to stay. That’s no real revelation. He’s made it clear he thought my leaving was a bad idea since I announced I was going to Tyne. But, last night while we were watching TV in his apartment, I think he was trying to make other things clear, too.
We’ve been friends since ninth grade, when I was new to the area and no one wanted to look at me, let alone utter a word in my direction. He was bad. So bad, he got my attention. Then, I became bad, too.
Over the next couple of years, our friendship expanded to include a few other people. First Ricketts, John-O, and Malice Alice. Later came Glory, Liz-Bet and Dino. But, we were the originators–the first, and closest. After another year or two, we closed the circle. We were happy with the eight people we hung with and thought maybe more people would disturb the ranks. But, the circle Spider and I sealed soon became irrevocably locked by the others, and external dating became nearly a taboo subject.  Even now, the others continue with their dysfunctional partner swapping. Every six months to a year, they start to pair up. Then, over the course of the next several months, the couples dissolve one-by-one until almost everyone is single and swearing off dating forever. Two months pass and the hormones kick in full force, and they start gravitating together again–Ricketts with Glory, and now Glory’s old flame, Dino, with her best friend, Alice. 
Like I said, it’s twisted.
Anyway, Spider and I never went for that. We teamed up, gluing ourselves together so no offensive moves could be made by anyone else. We had all the benefits of being a couple–companionship, snuggling, and laughing, everything but the sex. That, we got elsewhere.  But, last night, my partner of old threw me for a loop. He didn’t fall to his knees professing his love for me. It was much more subtle than that–a hint that could easily be explained away if rejection happened. It was simply, “Don’t go,” and an earnest look in those green eyes that went straight to some chord inside me, plucking it like a stretched rubber band until my entire body vibrated.
It almost happened. I almost let myself kiss him. And then I thought, “Do I love him?”
In that way?
*crickets chirping*

Bringing in the Cast

Several years ago, while walking around a small town, the Architect and I saw a store boasting a huge selection of handcrafted yarns harvested from all sorts of non-shedding quadrupeds. Curious, we stepped inside. Seated in a circle, each with their various projects on their laps, were six older women–all glaring at us as if we’d bumbled out of some crude dimension into their private, fluffy utopia.

Taken aback, we stood for a moment, surreptitiously eyeballing the door to see if we’d interrupted a class. There was no sign posted. Neither of us dared open our mouths to ask; the air was thick with the unspoken words of the conversation we’d just interrupted. Adding our own voices to that suspended witches’ brew would have crashed it down on our heads, invoking–no doubt–the worst of repercussions. If not for the Stooge-like treading on one another’s toes a quick retreat would have involved, we would have backed out that very instant. But, out of concern for our dignity, we instead made a hasty circuit of the single room, pretending to gaze with interest at the cubby holes filled with yarns of all sizes, textures and colors. In reality, we were edging along the narrow margins of the circle, trying to graze past the duplicated forms of Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos without touching them as we gauged the remaining distance to the door.

The memory of this experience popped into my head yesterday when I tried to decide how I’ll introduce the characters in this next novel. Because I generally don’t think clearly (or at least specifically) in the beginning stages of plotting, I had imagined everyone (new and old) in the first scene. In my head, they were just hanging around together, waiting for me to tap them with some dialogue. The characters are so familiar to me even at this point that stumbling into a room full of them would be like walking into a welcome surprise party (if such a thing exists). But, to readers it would be like my experience with the Fates–overwhelming and utterly intimidating, a jarring intrusion into a distant world. As the readers’ eyes darted across the first sentence, the gaggle of characters would seem to stop their action, swivel their heads in the readers’ direction and ask, “What do you want?”

So, now it’s down to deciding who gets to go first and why. Of course, Res will be there. But who else? Her new sidekick or her old one? Her new boss? Mini-Me? I’m not sure yet. I need to study the story more. Once I figure out what I want to happen in the first five or six chapters, I should have an idea of who needs to be there and how they arrive.

In the meantime, if you’re ever in a small town in Maryland and have the misfortune of stumbling across the home of the Fates, would you help me out with something I’ve long wondered about? Casually walk over, snatch the ball of yarn from Atropos and run like hell. It will be the world’s greatest existential experiment; if Lachesis measures the thread of life (marking its end for each soul) but Atropos can’t cut it, what happens? Eternal life for everyone? Lots of zombies?

(Avery eyes hornet’s nest, and then the stick on the ground. Picks up the stick. “Wonder what this will do?” Poke. Poke)

Being Not

I thought I was done writing Not chapters. But, during my editing today, I decided she needed one last hurrah. I haven’t really talked about her, or any of my characters, really (aside from Resonance’s/Spider’s blog on MySpace). She’s a prisoner of a dark magickian named Arhreton who has used her since infancy to complete monthly rituals that will bring him the power of the legendary warrior, the Middu. He tortures and torments her not only for his magickal gain, but also because the Middu is everything, and she is — Not.

Not can’t speak, has no capacity for real human interaction and is a victim in every sense of the word. Her only saving grace is the ability to bi-locate — to transport her consciousness to another body in ancient Sumer, where Eight gods once ruled over humans. The interactions between the warring deities are viewed through her skewed perspective.

Despite the disturbing research I had to do on feral children (the photo above is of Victor, the wild boy of Aveyron), and the horrific conditions of her upbringing, she surprised me by being a fun character to write. With my other characters — even Resonance (sorry, Res) — I’m easily distracted. I get irritated because the words don’t readily flow like they do with her. I wander to the refrigerator, which is perilously close to my desk. I wander back and peck out a few more words. But with Not, I get lost. She’s tragic, funny, and sometimes fairly evil. Her thought processes waver between insightful and hopelessly jumbled. I always have to be on my toes when she’s around, because she’ll take me off on some wayward journey and once it starts, all I can do is go along, just to see where she leads me.

Not was never intended to be a point-of-view character. I thought I had enough going on with three POV’s. Then I realized if I wanted to explain the gods’ back-story without the main characters having to read about them from dusty texts, I’d have to have someone experiencing their past along with them. So Not became a major player and the story of the gods was sprinkled throughout the book with more lively (if somewhat muddled) interpretation of events provided by her.

The majority of the book had been written when I made this executive decision. I worried that it was the wrong choice, that I’d be spoiling an otherwise good book. Luckily for me it turned out not (small pun intended) to be the case. I feel she’s given this story a depth it previously lacked, and I hope that readers can, if not actually like her, find her interesting. If it isn’t too pretentious to say — I do.