Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New thread

Obviously life got in the way again from the last 30 days.  (Which is ironic because the last thirty days were reflective upon life and death) however, I am moving forward into the next thirty days.
I have a novel I have been working on for about a year and I feel I need ot get it done. Since this is Nanowrimo I have decided to take this opportunity to complete this novel.
Instead of posting threads for 30 Days I will be posting my writing progress and updates to the work. I may even post my favorite line or two from my current WIP.
If I have time I will complete and publish the previous 30 Days thread this month as well. It's about 2/3rds done.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Robert Lee Daniels


March 3rd 1894-July 11th 1987

In loving memory. Greatly missed husband, father and grandfather

            I was missed when I was there. I don’t know if they cared enough to miss me when I was gone.

            There was no lacking in love in our household. I knew my wife loved me. We fell in love when we were eleven and never parted. Yes, I went off to war, fought in battles, came back scarred and damaged. She went off to school, became a teacher and waited for me to come back. She worked and saved and built a little nest and when I came back we married in a simple, quiet ceremony. It was the only beautiful moment we had.

            Our life wasn’t touched by the crash. I worked in a factory. She taught school. Her mother stayed at home and took care of the children. We always had food. We always had a home. We were always prepared. She didn’t want to work outside of the home when the children came, but we knew they wouldn’t have a future if we didn’t both work.

            I provided food on the table and a roof over our head and she provided the future for our children. Our children went to school, but the lessons didn’t end there. My beloved taught them to respect everyone, to save money, to contribute to society through work and service. She was a teacher to her core. I was the provider. I would go to work all day and show up right on time for dinner. I would listen to the children tell stories about their day, suffer through music lessons and attend school plays. I was the silent figure omnipresent in their lives.

            I would wait in the study during bath time and bed time. I would hear the bed time songs and stories and the pattering of feet of one more trip to the bathroom or the kitchen for one last drink of water. My heart was full of love and pride, but I had never been taught the words to say as my three little children grew into strong, independent, contributing members of society. I was father, always there, always silent.

            My beloved is resting here beside me. She came first, to prepare the way they say. She was the better part of the two of us and it only took six months to find my place beside her. My children put this stone up when they placed her body here. I’m sure my side wouldn’t have been nearly as grand if I had gone first. I’m sure there was a lot of discussion in my study about what exactly to do about father now that mother was gone. It was done quietly and the home the put me in was nice, if not perfect. I wish they had come to visit me more than once or twice. I wanted to listen to their stories one more time.

            I welcome the rest, if only because my beloved can rest here beside me. A lifetime of togetherness. An eternity together.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

William “Billy” Stevenson April 17th 1999- November 23rd 2002


Sleep well my child. May you find the peace in your new life you never had in this one.

            It is all so clear now. All those conversations I was missing. All the words anyone has ever wanted to say to me. All the words I ever wanted to say. I didn’t understand before. Why couldn’t I make sense of this before? There is hope in the world now.

            Before, I don’t even know how to describe before. It was like the world was rushing at me a million miles an hour and I was stuck in the slow lane. Every flash of light, every sound, every color, every taste, it was like I was covered over by stinging wasps constantly buzzing and stinging every sensory perception and I couldn’t get away.

            I couldn’t get anything out through the cloud surrounding me at all times. I was bound by my own limitations, but not anymore. There is nothing binding me any longer. I’m free. Free to find my voice. Free to feel without fearing what I am feeling.

            I can hear your voice now. It is coming through loud and clear. It is no longer just loud, pounding at every sense as if it was a wave overpowering me, oppressing me, keeping me from myself. I know who I am now. I know who you are now. This is what it means t think. To feel to understand.

            This is what it means to see color. I can see color now. It’s not just sound flooding my senses and scratching at the inside of my eyes. There is a rainbow of color to explore. I know what blue is now. I know what red and yellow and green and black and orange and purple means. It’s real for me now. I can see it with my eyes and with my heart and with my soul, too.

            It’s not too much for me anymore. I know what the world means. I understand. I might even understand even better than you.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Heather Marks March 11th 1953-July 2nd 1972


Forever in our Hearts. Taken from us too soon.

I want my mamma. Please. It’s so dark. I’m so alone. I’m so afraid.

            My life was supposed to be full of like and fun and hope. I was supposed to have the chance to live and love, have children, have a job. I was going to be a teacher or a nurse or, I don’t know. I was supposed to be something. I was supposed to help people. I had a chance to be something.

            I will never feel the touch of a lover’s kiss or hear the sound of my child’s laughter as she is tossed in the air. I want to feel the rain on my face again as I splash through puddles and dance defiantly through the storm. All my future storms were taken away from me It’s not fair. It’s not right.

            Mamma, I need you. It is dark and quiet. Too quiet. I need to hear the sound of your voice, feel your arms holding me tight. Don’t leave me here alone. I need help. I need love. I need you.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

# 87689 June 7th 1947


            Is this all I get? Really? I was more than this, this number. I was some one’s son. She held me in her arms and prayed for me and cried for me. She tended my injuries and cried real tears when they sentenced me to death. I mattered to her, even if I didn’t understand how she could love a sinner like me. I can guarantee there are people out there who will never forget me.

            I reveled in sin. If it made me feel good I consumed it. Alcohol, drugs, women, men.  I deserved to be remembered. I looked into the eyes of each of them as I tightened my hands around their throats. I sucked the last breath from their lips as they surrendered to me.

            I deserve more than a number. Look at me. Look at everything I did. I made my mark on the world. I changed the way everyone in the world lived their lives. Women no longer hitchhike alone. Parents don’t let their children take shortcuts through the woods. Men, men well, they will always be men. That’s what made them such an easy catch.

            I might be only a number here, but I changed the world. I changed you. Didn’t I?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Elaine Marcy Danes June 7 1967- June 10 1967

Memories linger of a little angel, heaven sent, who brightened our lives, but for a brief, fleeting moment.

All is quiet.

Even the sound of your heartbeat is gone.

Peace

Stillness

Love

It is all here.

There is an emptiness in the world where you exist.

But here all has been fulfilled.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dina Nussbaum Klien Jan 16 1923-June 2 2007


Wife, mother, grandmother. She lived through the horrors of the holocaust to bear witness against the evil one man does to another.

            My life was neatly divided into two parts: the person I was before the camp and the person I was after being liberated. Every minute of my life was marked by the horror of those days spent in the camp. I did not understand why we were being herded like cattle into boxcars and being transported across our land to the work camps. I was seventeen and very pretty, even for a Jew. At least that’s what the Nazis would say when they walked by me when we lived in the ghettos.

            I don’t remember much of our times before we went into the ghetto. All I remember is my father coming home from work early one morning and telling my mother there wasn’t a job there for him any longer. My mother was a nurse, but the hospital wouldn’t let her work. I remember thinking my sister was lucky because she had been sponsored by our aunt in America and father had spent the last of our savings to get her papers and passage out of the country. I wanted to go too, but mother said I was too young and father would have to work and save two more years to get the money to get me out. I had asked why we couldn’t all go and I remember the look my parents gave each other before shushing me and sending me to bed. Then there was the ghettos and then the camps.

            Father was called first. He was ordered to march with many of the men and boys to the next village where they would be put on trains to go to the work camps. He promised to write. We never received any letters. A few days later a neighbor boy, one who had went with the men, came staggering back into town sometime in the middle of the night. My mother went to his home to care for him and when she came back she was pale and shaking. She told me my father was never coming home and we needed to take care of ourselves from now on. When the letter came for my mother and I to report to the work camps I knew we would never return.

            I don’t talk about my years in the camps, not even to my children, not even to my husband, not even to my God. I let the pictures and the scars and the numbers tattooed on my arm speak for me. My youth and beauty were given to the camp. My grandparents, my brother, my mother, were all given to the ovens when we arrived. I only learned this after I had been liberated. I was young. I was strong. I could work. I was allowed to live. My prettiness soon faded under the harsh conditions in the camp. The thing that had brought me treats from the soldiers, a little extra food here, a chocolate bar, a pair of shoes, did little to serve me here. I worked hard. I did what I was told. I stood for roll call every morning and every evening. When I was sick and didn’t want to get out of bed I still stood in line with the other women. Anyone who stayed in bed after roll call were taken away. We thought they were being cared for in the hospital. It was only later we learned they were being given to ovens.

            I remember when the English came. I remember the American soldiers. I remember being liberated from the camp, but I don’t remember when the suffering ended. I remembered I had an aunt in America and someone sent her a letter for me. I was still sick from malnutrition and weakened from the illnesses so prevalent in the camps when they received a response back from her. I was to be sent to America right away. My sister was there and they were waiting for me.

            It took years to get my strength back. My sister cared for me. She had never suffered. She was still pretty, even for a Jew. Her husband wasn’t even Jewish. Neither of them would understand what happened to me. They didn’t even know what happened to mother and father. I was alone in this world.

            My husband, he understands. We stood together, quiet witnesses to the horror. My children are named for my grandfather, my mother, my brother, my father. I wanted to keep going. I wanted to have enough children to carry the name of all of my lost relatives, but the doctor said no, I needed to stop. My children are my final witness to the horror. They will carry the names with them and pass them on to the next generation and the generation after that, least some future generations forget. Our names will stand witness to it all.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Rolf Maddox Acker 1927-1945



They buried my gun straight down into the ground and rested my helmet on the stock. They placed a board with my name, rank and serial number etched deep across the gun and left me there in the ground. Maybe someday they will come back and mark the place where I fell, but I doubt it since I was on the losing side.

I did not choose this side. I went where I was told. I did what I was told. I was a good soldier. My country needed me so I did what they said.

I was a good soldier. I left the home of my parents and joined with my new brothers. I protected my land from the enemy, from both within and without. I was told there were those who would destroy my way of life and I chose to believe them. I saw the evil in the eyes of my neighbors and quietly celebrated when they were taken away. The leaders told us our problems would be solved and our nation would be strong if we cleansed it of impurities. They told us what wasn’t pure and we cleansed. It was what we were told to do. Those who questioned would be cleansed as well. It was our responsibility to make our nation strong.

I lie here in the arms of my mother country knowing my mother was praying I would be home resting in her arms. I believed with my whole heart the words my leaders, after all, what would they benefit from these kind of lies.

So, I lie here, comforted by the truth of my convictions. Knowing my leaders would never lead me into the paths of evil. I need to be able to place my faith somewhere why not in the men who led us from ruin to prosperity?
Maybe my death will allow my mother to live in a peaceful land, safe from any harm. When the war is over I pray they find my resting place and bring my bones home. It does not matter if we won or lost, every son deserves to return home to his mother.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Mary Pretty Eagle April 6th 1884 Unknown Age


Lost Unto This World

            They took the beads from around my neck and laid them aside. My mother had given me the beads to wear so all those who saw would know I was of value. After all, I was the daughter of a chief, a strong warrior. I was more precious than the hand carved beads so painstakingly smoothed from stone and shell. I did not cry as I saw them cast the beads into a bin nearly overflowing with the remnants of the wealth of our people. White beads and blue beads, webs woven to catch the nightmares and allow us to sleep in the strange beds under blankets woven from the wool of very smelly animals. I missed the sweet smell of smoked tanned skins and the warmth of the hide during the cold darkness of the night.

            They took the braids from my hair. The two braids framing my face and tied so carefully with a pieces of leather cord. My father had given me a scrap of white rabbit fur and the feather of an eagle to bind at the end of my braids. He called me his brave child and said I must remember to soar like the eagle. I was going to fight in a new kind of battle and if I was strong enough I could touch the sky. During our long march to my new school I would feel the soft fur of the rabbit fur against my cheek and see the flutter of the feather out of the corner of my eye and remember my father and I would remember to be brave. I shed no tears as they unbound my hair, even when they allowed the feather to flutter to the ground. The feather of the eagle is meant to soar to the sky, not be crushed under the heeled boot of the pale-skinned man.

When no one was looking I picked up the scrap of rabbit fur and tucked it into my sleeve. At night, when I could not sleep, I took the fur out from under my sleeping gown and rubbed it against my cheek. It would remind me of wind storms on the plains and the smell of my father’s clothes in the last moments before they took me from his arms and brought me to this place.

They placed my body here, beneath a stone with a strange symbol I did not understand. I was dressed in a thin gown of delicate white cloth designed to cover the darkness of my skin. Nothing of the gown tells the Spirit World to whom I belong. How will my mother and father recognize me in these strange rags and my hair pinned into a tight knot in the back of my head? They could have at least wrapped me in the deerskin robe my mother had given me to keep me warm on my journey.

I lay here in this strange land, far from the lands of my people and I do not cry. There are not enough tears to wash away this loneliness. Above me red poppies, yellow daffodils and white lilies spring to life. Their roots do not reach down to me so I cannot feel the lifeblood of the earth renewing itself each spring.

My spirit will wander in this strange land, so far from the homes of my people. In the darkness of the night I believe I can feel the whispered brush of rabbit fur against my face and I know my father is seeking for me. I will stay here, quiet, until he comes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Anna Marie Smith June 5 1792-March 22 1846


She lived to help others

            Why would they need to put up this gargantuan slab of gray marble to commemorate a life lived so quietly? I never wanted this. I wanted peace and quiet and to show love through all my life. This statue is not how I lived my life. Here they have outlined my deeds for all the world to see. The gentle nursing of a sick child, the staunching of the flow of blood from the wounds of a dying soldier, bringing the word of God into the heathen lands at great peril of my own life. All of these things were done quietly. Without fanfare. Without proclaiming them to the world.

            I will lay here quietly while the weather wears away the angels’ wings and carve the beauty away from their cherubic faces. The stone will become pitted and difficult to read. Long after the memory of my deeds have faded young children will come to this spot and wonder why I deserved this honor. All I ever did was fulfill my calling in life.

            This isn’t my final resting place. I will continue to do the work I have been called to do. My physical body only held me back from my purpose. So, come and visit my resting place. Worship at this idol built without my permission or guidance. I will not be here. I will be at the work for which I have been called.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Josiah Weaver 1907-1988


Here lies Josiah Weaver. Father. Husband. Son.

            This is all. I am resting now, behind this quiet, iron wrought fence. My life was full of everything I ever wanted. Work, family, home, love, faith. I earned my resting place, here beside my mother and father and his mother and father and every mother and father back for ten generations.

            I was the good son. I stayed on the land and cared for the crop and the stock. I put food on the table for my wife and children. My life may have looked boring to some. I know it looked boring to my brother. He left the first chance he had. He fought in wars and worked in factories and made his way through college and made way more money than I ever could. He had two wives, although not at the same time, and three children and died in a puddle of his own vomit with a bottle in his hand. He is buried here too, way in the back corner, but he still has the honor of his name. It is engraved there, on the front of the mausoleum for everyone to see. I objected when they brought his body home. He didn’t deserve a place of honor here among those who put their faith in family, but father reminded me he was his son too, he would join us in death even if he never joined us in life. In the end I came to terms with my brother being with us, after all, no matter what happened, he is still family.

            There is still room here. My wife has taken her place at my side and my son will come after me. My daughter will be buried under another name and her children with her. She understands, just as I do, family is everything. It is what we have here on this earth and it is what we will have in the next life.

            My callused hands, work-worn and strong, are folded over my heart. A smile of sweet repose rests upon my face. There is strength and peace radiating from me, even as I slowly fade to dust. I am left to wonder, why is there no doorknob on the inside?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ella Marie Schofield 1837-1870 33 years 5 months 3 days


Constant of Faith, Generous by Heart

            I called upon the only God I knew in those last moments. I prayed. I cried. I begged. I did everything in my power to bring life into the world. I wasn’t praying for myself. I was praying for her. After so many losses she was all I could ever hope for. I just wish I could have been there beyond the first moments of her life. The glimpse I had of her before I faded away wasn’t enough to satisfy my desire to hold her.

            All of those years I spent in service to God and others, those were cold replacement for my empty arms. I ached to hold my own child every time I brought food to a new mother, or hemmed a baptismal gown, or counseled a new father whose hands trembled the first time he held his child. I would hide my tears behind a forced smile and wait until I returned home to bury my face in my pillow to stifle the screams throbbing in my heart.

            Oh, my husband, I know how you loved me. You never blamed me for the times I carried a fragile life within my body only to be cast out by some misbegotten moment. Just like every man, you never understood why I would sob so bitterly for the barely formed life my body rejected, sometimes even before I was aware it was there. So, I would hide my tears behind a false mask of love and servitude. Your meals were always on time and your clothes were always well cared for, pressed and cleaned. You never had a need to complain about my ability to keep house or tend to the budget. I gave my whole self to you and to my service to others. And yet nothing I did could soothe the aching in my heart.

            You were my last hope. My last earthly desire, my child. From the moment you took root I knew you would be my last. I prayed for you. I begged for every moment of your life. I gave my whole self to you, even after the doctors said bringing you into this world would end my own life. I know your father resented you. After all, giving you life took my own. My greatest sorrow in life was knowing I was leaving you to be suckled at the breast of another woman. No other woman could love you as I loved you.

            Every moment I had with you gave me hope and strength. From the first moment I felt the butterfly wings of you flutter in my belly to the last moments of pain I endured as I ripped my body apart to allow you to breathe, I loved you. My last moments were spent studying your face, taking in every inch of your body so I could remember you and imagine you growing into the young woman I prayed you would become.

            I miss you, my child. I know this cold monument is a poor replacement for a mother’s arms. The woman I choose to be your nursemaid was kind and loving. I knew she would care for you, even if your father could not. You replaced the child she lost and even though her status would never equal my husband’s I know she gave him comfort in his bed, if not in his heart. I could never resent her. I had you.

            You were loved, oh child of mine. I know you were. I do not mind finding rest here. My soul has found solace in the service of my God and in the knowledge I have given you the world. I want joy for you and peace and love. All the things a mother could give a child. I will rest knowing you have life and the opportunity to find all these things. Be at peace my child. I am.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Richard Dransfield 1892-192


A beloved husband and generous father to his children. Loved by many and missed by all.

You paupered yourself for this monument. For the bronze medallion declaring to all who could see I had the faith in a God who would rescue my soul from all my failings. Why?

I never worshiped your God. I worshiped at the altar of commerce, the church of power, the cross of the almighty dollar. Every moment of my life was consumed with chasing the next big investment. I built our home on falsehood and false promises. You were clothed in fabrics paid for by the blood of broken dreams.

My children never knew me. They never knew the sacrifices my father made to send me to school. I repaid his sacrifice by letting him know how shameful I found him. He spent his life plowing through the hard soil, fighting with the weather and the blight to put food on the table and shelter over our heads. We didn’t have a fancy house or fashionable clothes, but we were well-fed and safe and loved. He did more to provide for his children than I ever did for mine.

What did I have left in the end? The money was gone. I was left clutching worthless stocks and bonds to my failing heart. I was left thinking about what I could sell to keep food on our table. Your jewels, the house, my watch, the furniture. We could sell it all, but which of our friends could buy it? The man at the desk next to mine through himself through the window as soon as the news broke.

I should have spent my life on the land like my father. With the land you know the battle. You can see the storm clouds over the horizon. You can see the flood waters rising. We had been warned. No one could say they didn’t see this happening.

I was supposed to give love and life and joy to you, my wife. Instead I gave loneliness and the mask of a world built on deception. Our home was built of paper and our baubles created of paste. There is nothing of value there any more than there is anything of value found under this stone.

Perhaps our children learned from our mistakes. I know you sent our daughter to live with your maiden aunt and our son to live with my father on his farm. Our daughter learned the skills necessary to care for others and gained the skills you believed were beneath an individual of her status. Cooking, cleaning, sewing, creating a budget, all those things necessary to become a caregiver, a servant to those more fortunate than us.

Our son, ah, our son. He became my father’s apprentice. He gained the pride of working the land I could never develop. Perhaps he should have been born my father’s son instead of me. There is no shame in menial labor in him. He has found satisfaction in turning over the rich loam and burying the seed deep in the soil. Perhaps if they hadn’t planted me so deep I might have borne fruit like the land my father worked so hard to keep.

Did you even miss me? You are buried next to your second husband under some monument in a strange churchyard. Our daughter is buried in some Western state next to her husband. Her children place flowers on her grave and bring their children to visit. Our son is buried next to my parents on the same land still owned by his grandchildren. No one comes to my grave. There are no flowers bestrewing my resting place. I should find some satisfaction knowing our children didn’t visit your grave either, but her other children, the ones she had with him, they bring flowers to her grave. They are buried next to her and their children bring flowers to them.

I chased paper and the illusion of greatness it would provide and look what it left me. No one even remembers who I was. This monument tells the world what I was, not in the words it says, but in the words it could never contain.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Thread

So,
Not to be a flake, but things got a little too real in the real world and the Stream of Consciousness suffered. I found myself pushing through and the story suffered. I couldn't bring myself to continue the current Stream because it was too much work with my personal life. rather than force an artificial thought process I decided to abandon the current story until I can give it the time and attention it needs to be successful.
I will pick up this story where we left off sometime in the future so readers will not have to wonder what happened to our Hero on his Journey.
I will be starting a new thread soon. I'm really looking forward to this thread. Hopefully it will be as interesting for you as it will be for me.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Enemies


We have been in the city for months and still we have not seen the face of our enemy. They are here. I can sense them in every quarter, following our movements from their secret hiding places. We freed the common people from their oppressors and yet instead of welcoming us with grateful hearts they have poisoned our wells and set fire to our barracks. I was charged with leading our men into the city to round up the instigators, but all we found were old men and weak women huddled in their beds.

            We wade through streets ankle deep in filth and excrement only to the disdain of the people who we are trying to protect. Late in the day we captured a young woman trying to slip through a weak spot in the wall. I captured her and put her in chains. Her wailing nearly softened my heart to her pleas and I approached her to release the binds on her hands. As I reached towards her she grabbed my wrist and pulled it towards her face. I managed to twist away from her grip, but not before she bit into my flesh and tore out a chunk of my hand. I thought at first she was just trying to defend herself, but I could make out the movement of her throat as she swallowed down my flesh, licking her lips and grinning at me with blood stained lips.

            “Such sweet tasting flesh.” Her voice was raspy and harsh and I noticed her teeth were sharpened to a fine point. Not as tender as we are used to, but you’ve had more years to mature than our usual fare.”

            It took me some time to realize the kind of fare she was talking about. The city suffered from a lack of resources. Even the dogs and cats usually found roaming the alleyways seemed to be sorely lacking. There’s an overabundance of rats, but every city always has an overabundance of rats. It’s the lack of children I find particularly disturbing. There are a number of pregnant young females around, some of whom became pregnant not long after our takeover of the city. Some of the men are keeping their favorites close and the relief in their carriage speaks volumes. I want to tell the men if they want to protect their offspring from the cooking pots they need to either bring the girls with them through the rest of the war or find a way to bring food through the blockades and into the city.

            Of all the damage I have seen in this war it is the unseen horrors of those caught in the middle that disturbs me the most. There is no such thing as innocence here. We have brought the war to the city and the residents have expressed the desire to have the evil they know rather than the evil of the unknown. As long as they are unfed and unwashed we will be unwelcome. The people will gather at the gates and open them wide when the enemy wagons roll across the bridge and through the mud to entrench themselves around the city.

            We must clear out the rats and purge the city of the contagion. Now, I must soak the wound caused by the nails and teeth of the woman before they fester. My friends are gathering at the mess hall to eat their evening meal. The idea of eating the meat swimming in brown gravy churns my stomach. I’ve seen the hunks of dried beef they use to create our meals, but the knowledge of the meat being used throughout this city takes away my appetite. I will not eat tonight. If we are to protect the children from the feast we need to find a way to feed the people.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Companions

There’s something to be said about dodging enemy fire bringing friends together. Before this war the only people I really cared for was my family. My friends and I used to go out together at home. We would drink and play and act like fools. What kind of games would we play? I don’t think it really matters. We were young and we were fools.
We would play at war. “Look at me!” We would call out and beat our chests and tell anyone who came in range of our imaginary weapons to beware or we would kill them. We would play dead on the fields of battle. Our pristine, pale skin absorbing the sunlight as our bodies quivered with suppressed mirth at our attempts to create the most grotesque positions we could imagine. I’ve seen the contortions of death first hand now and know our attempts at horror paled in comparison.
The companions of my youth have melted away and now I am left with the survivors of the battles as my friends and companions. Each of us bear the scars of pain and death. Some of which can also be seen upon the surface of our skin, others can only be found deep within our minds and souls.
I had many friends when I first began this adventure, but the war has taken most of them from me. They have either faded away because of the horrors of this war or have been taken from us on the field of battle. Now, there are only the four of us standing. We are what remains.

When we started this we were promised honor and glory, but there is nothing honorable in the death I have seen and the heavens have not showered glories upon my head. I scramble in the dirt to find cover. I sometimes shoot first, before I have even taken aim at the enemy and sometimes wonder if it was my weapon that pierced the skin of my companions. Death will come to us all in the end. I do not fear death; He has become as much of a companion to me as the friends who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me upon the field of battle. When He comes I will greet Him with a smile, wrap my arms around Him and give Him a welcome kiss.

I am returning to my 30 days.

Thank you for allowing me this pause. I have been fighting my own personal battle and I had ot let something go. Now I am getting back to writing. I will continue the 30 days story from where we left off and try to get this next beeok out by the end of the month.
Who knows what battle will be coming up next.

Monday, June 13, 2016

On Hold

The 30 Days Stream of Consciousness is on hole for the next little while. The author is dealing with a family emergency. When the blog returns it will pick up where the story left off. Let's let the characters rest for a few days.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Belly of the Whale

We have taken the shore and have managed to build our defenses. Claiming this tiny strip of land has cost us dearly. Nearly a third of our men are left soulless near the water’s edge. We have gathered their bodies and prepared them for burial. They will be lauded the hero’s death and given wreaths and laurels and their family will receive their death benefits, but they will never behold the faces of their loved ones again. I have found too many of my friends and companions in the breakers where the rocks meet the waves. The gaping wounds on their bodies didn’t bother me. it was the look of surprise on their faces, as if they were seeing the gates open to the afterlife before their eyes and it wasn’t what they expected.
All the nests are cleared and our encampment is secure. We will be receiving reinforcements soon. Now that other nations have seen the enemy can be destroyed they will be sending in their own troops. It has taken this forward push to show the others what can be accomplished if we don’t allow this evil to spread. The enemy can be held back. We can force our way into their strongholds and prevent further incursions into our homes.
We came to one of their strongholds in the night. I was terrified of what I would find. The walls were thick and from where I was standing I couldn’t see a way inside. Everything was silent as we approached and I wondered if the fortress had been abandoned, but just as we established our lines the sudden clash of the enemies’ weapons being brought to bear shattered the silence of the night and suddenly the air was filled with the smell of burning sulfur and torn flesh. Our entire front line melted and we had to pull back out of weapons range.
We would have been entrenched around the city if the city council hadn’t been terrified when they saw our army approach and tried to take off through a bolt-hole. We spotted them coming out of a cave entrance and captured them. Our commanding officers questioned them throughout the night. We could hear their cries as the questions became more intense. It seems the enemy promised the city protection as long as they kept the supply lines open from the coast. Our arrival on the shore effectively cut off the major supply lines into the city and therefore dried up the flow of supplies to the front. The enemy has other ways to get supplies, but if we can take out the three major cities along the coastal region we will leave them without a surplus and we will be able to create our own supplies lines without fear of attack by sea. A war can’t be fought by soldiers with empty stomachs.
It seems the enemy was unprepared for our incursion and only left a minimal complement of defenders along the shore. Hopefully it will be too late by the time they realize their mistake and we will have already taken the cities before they turn their eyes to this shore.
The city was left with few defenses by the time we arrived and the first volley of weapons was its last. My companions and I disguised ourselves with enemy armor and painted our faces with ashes from the fire. We didn’t look exactly like the enemy, but it was dark enough we were able to make our way into the city through the bolt-hole and clear the way for our companions.
The tunnel into the city started as a natural formation in the rocks. It was too small to really be considered a cave. We were only able to enter one at a time through the narrow opening. Even then we had to duck low and a few of us had to wiggle in order to squeeze our frames through. Once inside the opening had been carved out to allow two people to stand abreast. There was a tunnel leading under the city walls that had obviously been carved out by hand. The tunnel must have been started early on the war and was intended to reach out more than just under the city. We didn’t have time to completely explore the side passages, but now that we’ve taken the city we will be able to use the passageways to our advantage. We will expand it and build our entrenchments under the city.
Every moment we were in the tunnels I kept expecting to be attacked. I wanted to open my heart to my God, but every time I tried to pray my heart seized and the tortured faces of the dead burned through my brain. I knew when we reached the end of the tunnel we would either be meeting our death or dealing the death blow ourselves.
The tunnel led to the back storeroom of a bakery. An empty bakery. Most of the shops on the street were empty. Most of the streets in the city were empty. The few soldiers left in the city surrendered as soon as they saw they were outnumbered. They are locked in the tunnels with the rats and empty storerooms. I would be concerned about the health of the prisoners but when I saw the faces of the townspeople my sympathy waned. The baker and his family had the same fearful, staring expressions of the dead bodies in the trenches. It was nearly as startling to see the expression on the faces of the living as it was to see it on the dead.
We will fortify the city on the morrow and prepare for incursions on the other cities. Our scouts have reported these cities are as poorly defended as this one. Attacking both cities would mean dividing our troops three ways. I wouldn’t know which city I would want to attack first. Perhaps I will be with the troops staying behind to defend the city we already have. The least we could do is offer these people food and safety. We would offer to shelter their pets as well but I haven’t seen a dog or a cat in any home. There are no animals beyond a stray rodent or two and I have a feeling those have ended up in some kitchen-wife’s stewpot yet.

 I will find out my destiny in the morning. In the mean time I will enjoy my meal and try to find my voice for prayer. Perhaps there will be some miracle in the morning and the enemy will surrender. My deepest desire is to return home and see my children grow. I imagine my son is learning to roll over and is exploring the world by sticking everything he can grab into his mouth. I have been looking around the city for a child near the age of my own two, but I haven’t seen a child under the age of five years anywhere in the city. I wonder if they were being kept hidden away so they didn’t interfere with the soldiers. Tomorrow we will explore the city and discover its secrets.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Crossing the First Threshold

We have come to the shores of our enemy and now it is time to confront the evil they have brought upon us. There are the mechanisms of offensive power in front of us. With these weapons we will be able to breach walls, attack from every angle, dig deep into the ground, set traps, spy and destroy any who come against us.
All my companions have followed my example and have named their weapons of war. As we move forward we will be riding on the Dragon Slayer and Demon Seeker. Our forward phalanx carries their weapons with pride, polishing them until they shine.
I am ready to face the hordes. The beaching was hard. There are nests of enemy buried along the beach. They are prepared for us and they know this land. Our shiny weapons with their fancy names don’t help us much when the enemy is able to hide from our attack. Our forward progress has been halted by the enemy lines spread across the beach. We are holed up in an encampment in a copse of trees.
The enemy lines are spread thin to protect the border and we have found the high ground. It will take time to sniff out the nests of the enemy and eradicate them. I fear the toll these nests of contention will be more than any of us should give.
We sit here by the soft glow of the lantern and study the faces of my companions. I want to know more about them, but I’m afraid if I get close I will feel nothing but sorrow and pain when they lose their life.
Today we routed out a nest of contagions and fired them up with every weapon in our arsenal.  The light from the resulting fire flared into the sky and burned the foliage for miles around. Even now the memory of the screams of fear and pain from our enemies echoes in my soul and pierces my brain. I wonder if killing them is really necessary, but then I think of leaving an enemy behind is as we move forward to pick away at our rear guard and know the only way to protect ourselves is to destroy every hiding place and burn away any weapons and supplies they leave behind.
My companions. They come from all corners of the land. Each of them are seeking their own glory. Each has their own reason for fighting the enemy. I had never met any of these soldiers before making their mark on the conscription papers. I wonder what name they used to sign the papers, or even if they remember their real names. We have all been given names more fitting for our roles.
They call me the Spearhead, because I am first in when it comes to fight. I decide where and when we attack. My voice is the one they hear as we approach every enemy outpost.
My closest ally is the man they call Bull. He is built like his name, big and fearless. I have seen him grab a man by the throat with one hand and crush the life out of him. The enemy weapons seem to have no effect on him. I’ve seen blades turn aside before they can penetrate his skin.
There is one here we called the Old Man. He followed his son to the recruiter, begging him not to join in this time of war, and joined himself when he realized his son was ignoring his desperate pleas. His mark is on the paper so even though his son died in the first rush at the beach, he had no choice but to stay with us. He said he had no desire to return home to his wife and daughter only to tell them about the of death of their son and brother. Now, he watches over all the young men and tries to teach them ways to defend themselves from attacks.
There are many others here. I wonder how many of them have left loved ones behind. How many of them have a wife or a sweetheart? Do they have children or a mother sitting at a table begging for news of a child she may never see again?
Even now, as I try to sleep, I am hearing the screams of my enemy echoing in my mind and I wonder who they have left behind. How many members of their families will never hear their loved one’s voice or hold them in their arms?
I remember holding my children in my arms and comforting them as they cried. My enemy was someone’s child, too. Some woman labored for hours to bring them into the world. Held them when they cried. Let them go into the world. And now, because of a moment of anger and hate, will never see their child again.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Supernatural Help


I went to the temple to pray today. It was the last bastion of hope I had. I wanted to pray to every deity ever imagined in the history of humankind, but as I knelt before the alter with the only thing I had left to sacrifice, my own heart and hands and life, I couldn’t think of the words to say. How do you take all the fears of war and pray them away?

What am I supposed to ask for when I pray for war? Do I ask for the ability to win at any cost? I’m sure, somewhere across the seas and over the hills and mountains and rivers and lakes and every other body of water and expanse of land there is another soldier kneeling in a temple, praying to the same God I am praying to now. The God may hold a different form and have a different name, but aren’t all Gods the one God or isn’t the one God all Gods? Sometimes I don’t even know to whom it is I pray.

God can guide my steps and keep me safe and lead me into the right paths, but can he truly preserve me in the face of mine enemies? What would it take for me to be safe when the wolf is at the door? Will it help when I take their life if I think of them as no better than the wild creatures who threaten my home and livestock?

What if my enemy is praying for the same guidance as me? What do you pray for in war?

I will pray for safety. I will pray my family is cared for in the face of devastation. I will pray for the ability to take the next hill, the next town, the next target, even if it means taking a life. I will pray for strength and courage and pray the enemy isn’t praying for the same things.

Which one of us will the Gods listen to when we pray? Am I in the right in going to this war? Am I right to bring God into this war? Sometimes I wonder if God even has a hand in the field of battle. I know my God exists. I have felt the power of the hand of God lifting me to the heights and supporting me at my lowest points. The path has made clear before my eyes, and the power of the Gods has been revealed before me.

Can the might of a God overcome the strength of the enemies’ weapon? I don’t know how much good a prayer will be when the enemy has a blade at my throat.

I brought my armor and my weapons to the gate of the temple to be blessed and imbued with the power of God, but they stopped me at the gate. War needs to be stopped in the gates of the Gods.

I pray the offerings I bring to the temple will satisfy my God. I have little to offer except my heart, my head, my hands. I need my lands so my family can be cared for while I am away. There is nothing more I can give. I hope it is enough to save me.

I am marching into battle with armor and weapons and companions, but I fear I am moving forward without my God. My faith is strong and I will continue to offer sacrifices upon the alter of the temple as I push forward into my death. Will my God be with me as I go or will my enemy’s God prove to be all powerful in the face of destruction?

I did not bring my armor and weapons into the temple to be blessed. I prayed to my God and asked if he could bless the armor even without the priests and priestesses to sanctify them. I begged the Gods to strengthen my arm and give my heart courage, even if they can’t be beside me in battle. I prayed to all the Gods, even the ones I didn’t believe in because I can’t take any chances.

So, today, I put on my Gods’ blessed armor and strap on my weapon. I will call it Redeemer. Without my Redeemer I will be lost and alone. When I am deep in the heat of battle I will call upon my Redeemer and he will save me. It may be my only hope.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Refusal of the Call

The time has come. They have called for me to join in the battle and this time I cannot escape my fate. The enemy has approached our shore and if I do not go out and join in the battle everything I hope to give my children will be destroyed. I thought they would never come and we would be safe, here in the home I built with my own hands. But now I know I had been deceived. I cannot trust the fate of those I love in the hands of others.
The first time they came for me I begged for time to make sure my fields were in order and my crops were planted so my family would be assured of a bountiful harvest. I did not know how long this war would last and I wanted to make sure there would be food on the table no matter how many years I was away. They sent me a crew of young boys and old men to sow my fields and return for the harvest season. The promise of help assuages much of my concern, but what will happen when they call for the old men and the young boys?
The second time they came for me I cried out ‘But, my children needs their father. My wife needs her husband. Shouldn’t we put our families and homes before our duty to the government.’ They reminded me my government is what allows me to have my family and my home and if I did not do my duty everything I loved would be destroyed. I studied the face of my daughter and my son and I knew I could not allow the enemy to land upon our shore.
And when they came for me this, the third and final time, I tried to find a reason I could not go. There were no words I could find to express my fears and prevent them from taking me away. I belong to the War as my father did before me and his father before him.
My daughter clung to my robes and cried out to me. Even now her cries echoes in my soul. ‘Father, don’t go. Don’t let them take you away.’ Her tiny fingers wrapped themselves into the fabric of my sleeves and her tears dampened my bosom. They had to pry her from my arms before I could join my column and march away from the shelter of my home. I could not look into the eyes of my beloved wife for fear I would find my destiny swimming in their depth. The last image I had of my home was of my wife standing in the entryway with my son in her arms and my daughter clinging to the gate, tears streaming from her eyes and the puppy huddled at her feet. I gave her the puppy so she would have something to hold in the night while I was away.
Even now, as I entrench myself in the training grounds, I am begging for the chance to return home. This war is not for me. I have no stake in the game. The enemy will strike out at military targets before attacking fields and homes. As long as the battlefield was across the sea I could believe this was true. But now, as I see the damage the attacks have caused, the scars the enemy has left on the very earth itself, I know I am deluding myself. The enemy will not stop at the killing fields, picking only the soldiers who defend the land.
The enemy at the gate will destroy any thing standing in its way. That is what they say, these men who are teaching us the best way to kill. Our fields will be left bare. Our wives will be raped and killed or killed and then raped. Our children tortured and left orphaned and starving or dead. I find the last image of my family shifting in my mind and I close my eyes so I don’t have to picture the broken and dead bodies of my wife and children against the backdrop of a sky blackened with the smoke of my burning crops.
I will fight to protect my family. I will fight to protect my land. This is the banner we cling to as we learn the ways of the enemy.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Call to Adventure

The call has gone out. All who are able must come and fight. Messengers are being sent to the far corners of the land to gather all able-bodied soldiers to the training grounds. It is impossible to refuse the call. Even as the words reach across the abyss of time, I can feel them pulling at my soul and telling me my destiny lies upon the field of battle.
You, my son, you are too young to understand. Even your sister, with her fresh, young face and innocent eyes, can comprehend a little bit about the fear spreading in the world. I think she can sense our fears, mine and your mother’s. It is too much for her little heart to take. I understand when she wakes up in the night, crying out for fear of the monsters who destroy her sleep and threaten her peace. No soothing words or checking of the dark hiding places assuage away the terror coming for her in the night. I wonder who she will call out for in the night when I am no longer here to comfort her?
They are not calling for me, yet. There is time for us to be together, to be a family. The war is far away and does not touch our shores. As long as we stay here, quiet, and don’t interfere in other’s battles we will be safe. This war may be over long before they call for me. They are calling for the young, those without families, those without responsibility to come first. Like any war, they will take all who come to fight, but they don’t need me, yet. Maybe they will never need me.
When will this war be done? What damage will be inflected upon the world by the mechanisms of battle? How many young lives will be sacrificed upon the fields of glory before they call ‘mercy’ and beg for peace?
There was war in my grandfather’s time. There was a great battle and it was fought only a few days’ journey from here. My grandfather fought in the battle and he was left with scars upon his body and mind we could never understand. He took us there once and showed us the ground where his generation watered the crops with their life’s blood. I was expecting to see deep trenches lined with the bones of fallen soldiers and the dark stain of pain and suffering marking the ground where an entire generation lost their innocence, instead we found a field of grass and cows placidly chewing their cud.
I asked the farmer “where are the battle scars? Why are there no monuments giving homage to the unnumbered dead?” The farmer looked at me and said. “Why commemorate the battle field of a lost war?” My heart broke in two as I thought of the loss my grandfather suffered and realized the world would forget the pain war causes if they refuse to remember.
The world has forgotten the pain of war. Even now I can hear the hateful words spewing from the mouths of those who should know better. The names they call the enemy vibrate through the air, warning children to fear anyone and anything that is different.
“They are not like you. They will take what you have and destroy your way of life.” The words seep into the minds of the future generation, teaching them to hate. We are not born hating another. We need to learn hate and fear. I learned the hateful words as I sat at the feet of my grandfather and listened to the stories he told of battles fought so long ago only to be relived in his memory like a diseased fog taking over his mind.
I do not want to be my grandfather. I do not want to hate for hates sake. I want to teach you and your sister of nothing but love and peace, but how can I teach you a concept I barely understand myself.
I can hear the war drums beating. They are not beating in the streets or calling from the shore. They are vibrating in my chest and pulling at my gut. I want to answer their call and drive the enemy back into the hole they climbed out of before they tear apart the world.
Would you be able to forgive me if I went to battle when you needed a father to show you what it means to be a man? Maybe we have moved past the time when a boy needs a father. How many generations of fathers before us have been claimed by war and yet we still have an entire world full of boys who learned what it takes to be a man without their fathers to guide them.
I will not go away tonight. This will be our time together. Maybe I will be able to stay forever. They haven’t called for me and I will try to find a way to stay.

Come to my arms and I will tell you the stories of my father and my grandfather. They proved themselves in fields of battle so the future generations would not have to fear the evils of the world. But, now we are here again. The next generation being called to action. I will answer the call, if it comes and hope you will never hear the drums of war.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Ordinary World

The War drums are beating my son. Yes, on this, the day you were born, the trumpets have sounded and War has begun. I had hoped to spare you from the horrors of this world. You were to be born into a time of peace and prosperity. And now all you will know is terror and fear.
I knew war was a possibility. A person cannot live in the world and hear of the destruction and hate one group of humans have for another and believe war isn’t a possibility. Will there ever be a generation born into this land that never sees the bloody bane of war? I don’t think so. My generation won’t and it looks like neither will yours.
I had blocked out the happenings of the world in the last moments before your birth. For just those moments I was so terrified. Your mother was in so much pain I thought she would break into pieces. I was afraid you wouldn’t be perfect. I was afraid I would drop you. I was afraid I wouldn’t know what to do. I thought this is the most scared I will ever be. I thought ‘Nothing can frighten me more than this moment right here, right now’. Now, I know better. Now, I know what real fear is.
I heard the word ‘War’ and I knew they would be coming for me. My entire life I have trained and learned and developed into a fine specimen of manhood. I am a leader amongst men, a soldier, a fighter, a real man’s man and I am terrified. Oh, I’m not afraid of war. I’ve seen bloody battles. I’ve even had the blood of my enemies on my hand. I felt the faint pulse of fading life as I held my companions in my arms as they lay dying. It is the nature of this world to baptize our young men in the blood of our enemies. I’m not afraid of dealing out death. I’m not even afraid of dying. I’m afraid for you.
What kind of a father am I? The only thing I have to offer you in my strength, my body, my mind and I won’t even be here to give you those precious little gifts.
I don’t know what this war will do to me. I have seen battles tear soldiers apart. They come home with scars from the battle field on their bodies and their souls. Every weapon ever invented is designed to do as much damage as possible to the human body and leave the victim as torn and afraid as possible. Even this, the most recent attack, even this has left damage on every living creature in its wake. We may not have bleeding gashes on our bodies or open wounds, gaping and spilling our guts on to the ground, but we are all damaged. The injuries we have sustained as a people drives deep into our minds and our souls. It makes us afraid. It terrorizes us until all the best we can do is board up our houses, gather those we love close to our hearts and huddle in a corner.
Do you think if I do hide us in a tiny little corner of our home they will leave us in peace? Maybe if we are very quiet they will not even realize we are there.
No, they will find me and they will drag me from the corner as I kick and scream and cry out I don’t belong to them. You won’t remember me, my son, but your sister will and your mother. They will know I was afraid, that I didn’t want to go. Your sister will cry tears of fear. She doesn’t yet know what it is to show a brave face to the world. Your sister, four years ago I sat with her like this, in my arms, promising her I would protect her for all of my days. Now, I know my days will be short. Your mother will have to be strong enough to protect you both until I come again. If I hide with you in a corner your mother will look at me with sad eyes. Not really blaming me. She will understand. She will not want me to go to be a soldier to maybe bleed out my life on a foreign shore. But she will know I was afraid and then there will be no more trust in me.
It will be your blood I spill too, when I die. I know I will die if I go to war. It is written in my destiny. All men must die, even me. My blood flows through your veins, making you strong and healthy. You have the blood of a warrior running through your veins. It will be a long time before you need to take up arms and defend your life. Maybe this war will be the last war. I doubt it. We will never see peace in our lifetime.
As long as there is hate or desire in this world there will be war. The only words I hear in the world are words of hate and desire. The enemy hates your way of life and wants to destroy you. The enemy wants what you have and since you won’t give it them they will come and take it, by force. Hiding with you in the corner would be inviting them to take everything I have to give you to keep you happy and healthy and safe.
Your mother will be here for you. She will have to be mother and father, too. She would want to go and fight. If the war is long enough she may yet need to take up arms and fight a battle or two or more. If the enemies come to our shore she will need to pick up a weapon designed for war and defend this family, too. If I am called, I will make sure to leave enough weapons for her to defend our home. Will it be enough to sustain you through life when I die?
I don’t need to go, yet. I won’t need to go until they come for me. Maybe they won’t come for me at all. There is time. I will sit here and enjoy you for the moments I can be by your side. In this moment we can find perfection, you and I. You are my perfect little son and soon you will be able to meet your perfect older sister.

There is no need to talk of the war. They haven’t come for me, yet.

The Next Thirty Days

The romance is over and the Journey Begins.
It is now time to take on the next thirty days.
If you would like to see how the last story ended or want to see what wasn't told here then take a look here:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GGL8QUM

Monday, May 30, 2016

Glacier

This is our last bastion of glory. We will stand here, in the glory of what we have become and defend ourselves against everything the world can throw at us. I will take all the impurities of the world and bury them deep within the folds of my existence. I will grind down the edges of pain and force the world to conform to me.
We will confront the enemy together. You have sanctified the world and prepared the way for me to carve out the path I have determined for myself. We have created the perfect crucible together and have tested its powers.
You rage across the world and purify the path in moments while I sit here layered in quiet benisons of silent blessings slowly taking my affect upon time until, together, we have created a pure, quiet existence only we can understand.
I can see your glory reflected deep within my soul. I will preserve everything you create to be reformed and made new again. Deep within the womb of my form I will create a new life to be reborn into the world we have created.
This moment of love, this joining together, this power from within, is all we need to create the world in which we want to live.
Do not keep me at a distance. I am not a delicate, weak being meant to be put on display for the world to marvel at until I fade away. I have made myself strong enough to carry the weight of the world. There is nothing you can give me that I cannot take. Your power, your rage, your strength, your love. I can take every ounce of what you pile on me and reform it until it’s ready to present to the world.
I will keep you safe. I will preserve your love until the world is ready to see as we are meant to be. Oh my love, we have held the secrets of the world within our hearts until it has grown to large to be contained. They world will never see us for what we can be unless we learn to carve a new existence into the surface of the earth and display what we cn be.

You are strong and beautiful, raging through the world and purifying my existence. I will be here, waiting, as you move before me, preparing the way for me to create. 

Great Lines Think Alike

Every once in a while a line will pop into my head and I find myself needing to write it into a story. My most recent line: I will die a ...