Posted in Diary of a Man, Stories and Fiction

Weekly Serial Book 8 Chapter 5: Diary of a Man

(Author’s Note: Early on in my blogging, to honor the old pulp magazine serials, I began a weekly serial series of various of my stories. I have decided to repost those stories. Each Friday will feature a new chapter until a story ends. Then I will begin a new story. Enjoy!)

Chapter 1 – All Is Still

Chapter 2 – I Crawl

Chapter 3: I Weep

Chapter 4 – I Hear

Chapter 5 – We Sleep

June 7

Forgive me for these short entrees. I just don’t have the strength to write much anymore.We made it to the Tree today. We were right, it is alive. How, I don’t understand. Eveline has fallen into an exhausted sleep and so soon shall I.

June 8

Eveline died today.

I felt Life cease coursing through her hand, and I real­ize that soon I too must . . .

Written Sept. 12, 1985

Part of the Cold War Kid collection

Posted in Diary of a Man, Stories and Fiction

Weekly Serial Book 8 Chapter 4: Diary of a Man

(Author’s Note: Early on in my blogging, to honor the old pulp magazine serials, I began a weekly serial series of various of my stories. I have decided to repost those stories. Each Friday will feature a new chapter until a story ends. Then I will begin a new story. Enjoy!)

Chapter 1 – All Is Still

Chapter 2 – I Crawl

Chapter 3: I Weep

Chapter 4 – I Hear

June 2

I awoke to a scratching sound. A sound? A sound! A sound means life, doesn’t it? It took me awhile to figure out that the scratching came from behind me. I spoke and remembered how weird my own voice sounded in that gray dawn, “H-H-Hello.” Like an echo, it came back. The same huskiness from dis­use, the same uncertainty, the same disbelief. Another person? Someone to share my hurt, to lean on? Another to talk to?

The scratching became louder as the other began to dig more frantically. I too wished to help and began to eagerly cast boulders here and there. No boulder, however big, was a match for the awesome strength that coursed through my veins. Soon a tousled and dirtied head of hair appeared and then a face and then shoulders, arms, legs, a body! Suddenly, two strangers were embraced in each other’s arms. So began the happiest days of my life.

Eveline and I shared so much this afternoon. How she had struggled beneath tons of concrete to find a way outside, always clutching the book so special to her. She read from it today, sharing her favorite parts with me, and I too am finding that it is becoming special to me.

“Lo, I am with you always.”

“Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

“Aren’t you worth much more than sparrows?”

In deep contentment, we fell asleep in each other’s arms.

June 5

Eveline and I have spent these last couple of days just simply sharing with each other and to my shame, I realize that I have been neglecting this diary. Eveline feels it is impor­tant too. Maybe another future generation will read it and not make the same mistake our generation did.

June 6

Eveline and I have decided, realizing that our strength is almost gone, to crawl toward a distant pine tree outside of Town. It symbolizes the new life we shall share together soon. From what we can tell from here, it is still living. We start­ed today and slept on the outskirts of Town.

(Originally posted here March 2012. Written in 1985 at age 18).

Posted in Diary of a Man, Stories and Fiction

Weekly Serial Book 8 Chapter 3: Diary of a Man

(Author’s Note: Early on in my blogging, to honor the old pulp magazine serials, I began a weekly serial series of various of my stories. I have decided to repost those stories. Each Friday will feature a new chapter until a story ends. Then I will begin a new story. Enjoy!)

Chapter 1 – All Is Still

Chapter 2 – I Crawl

Chapter 3: I Weep

May 31

I have done nothing for the past few days but lie here and weep. The tears I have shed on this hill shall be my last, there are no more to cry. I only feel a nauseating feeling deep down inside. How long must I suffer? I am begin­ning to realize that those who died were the lucky ones.

June 1

A new month. Who cares. No one is keeping track.

It has come to me that I must explore the city before I die. Perhaps I will find a reason, an explanation, to justify this man-made ignorance other than the childish ones I heard all my life.

I spent the entire day crawling through the ruins of this lifeless city. Don’t know if there was anything important to see. Had my eyes closed.

Bedded down amongst the rocks and remains of a skyscraper that now barely scrapes the ground. ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” I wonder who said those things.

(Originally posted here March 2012. Written in 1985 at age 18).

Posted in Diary of a Man, Stories and Fiction

Weekly Serial Book 8 Chapter 2: Diary of a Man

(Author’s Note: Early on in my blogging, to honor the old pulp magazine serials, I began a weekly serial series of various of my stories. I have decided to repost those stories. Each Friday will feature a new chapter until a story ends. Then I will begin a new story. Enjoy!)

Chapter 1 – All Is Still

Chapter 2 – I Crawl

May 26

Began crawling as soon as I awoke this morning. It’s the easiest way to forget about how still everything is. I crawled a few more precious hundred yards. At least I’m making some progress.

I hope the berries I’m eating and the streams I’ve been drinking from aren’t contaminated. It really doesn’t matter anyway. I’m probably contaminated.

I stopped crawling earlier today, knowing that my strength is giving out. Good night, or is it? Day is night to me and my days definitely aren’t good, so why should complete darkness be so much better? Perhaps because I can’t see the complete and total destruction about me. Well, it’s getting too dark to see to write so this definitely is, “Good night.”

May 27

All I did today was crawl, crawl, crawl. Don’t know how long I can take this constant pain. How much time do I have? W ill I ever know what really happened? Who am I gonna tell any­way?

May 28

Didn’t think I was even going to be able to move today, but I managed. It paid off.

I reached the bluff overlooking Town around midday as far as I can tell and just stared in horror. The city that had been considered the most beautiful in this part of the country lay in desolation. Nothing remained of Westminster Heights and the sprawling estates that had lain along its luscious, tree-lined avenues. Emerald Fountain, which had glittered like a beautiful jewel in the green velvet of abundant foliage that had surrounded it, now lay in ruins; a stony mass from which a meager trickle of greasy water ran. The mammoth office buildings that had risen so gracefully into the blue sky were no more than twisted hunks of concrete and metal.

The . .

Oh, I can’t go on. Such desolation and destruction only melts my soul within me and makes me sink into the pit of my waning existence. I know that all mortal things must return to the ashes and dust from which they arose, but why? Why so pre­maturely? “The answer’s blowin’ in the wind.”

(Originally posted here March 2012. Written in 1985 at age 18).

Posted in Diary of a Man, Stories and Fiction

Weekly Serial Book 8 Chapter 1: Diary of a Man

(Author’s Note: Early on in my blogging, to honor the old pulp magazine serials, I began a weekly serial series of various of my stories. I have decided to repost those stories. Each Friday will feature a new chapter until a story ends. Then I will begin a new story. Enjoy!)

Chapter 1 – All Is Still

Below, in a dark expanse of treeless land void of all life, stands a lone pine. Its needles are dying and begin to cover the two forms below it with a soft, brown carpet. The humans lie with their backs against the pine’s trunk, their hands clasped firmly even in death. In her other hand, the woman holds a small black book with worn edges close to her breast. The man grasps a sheaf of fast-yellowing papers. A broken pen lies on the ground beside him. Those papers hold a story that will soon be forgotten, but you must hear it anyway.
May 24

I awoke to a stillness I have never felt before, or shall again. I couldn’t hear the birds’ sweet singing or even the wind rustling through the trees. Where were the robin’s glad song and the pine’s whisperings?

My curiosity aroused, I struggled, with much pain and a­gony, to raise myself to my knees. This feat accomplished, I brushed the dirt and ash from my eyes and looked around. The sight that met my eyes made me begin to weep.

Of the pine? All trees I could see were but charred black stumps in a blackened ground. No longer would the breeze whisper through beautiful green foliage or waft a tree’s fresh scent throughout the land. The only scent that came through the air on the wings of the wind was the nauseating smell of . . .

Of the robin? The only bird I saw was a corpse lying in front of me, its beak still opened in song. His brightly­ colored feathers would no longer glisten in the sunlight. They were forever blackened by fire and ash.

Exhausted from the effort of getting up and with hope­lessness in my breast, I fell into a fitful slumber, weeping.
May 25

I awoke again to that same awful stillness. I probably will for the rest of my life. I suppose this is May 25, though I can barely see the sun through the dirty, hazy blanket Earth’s atmosphere has become. Anyway, I will enter this ac­count under that given date. It doesn’t matter what day it is anyway, I doubt anyone’s keeping track anymore. From what little sun I can see and the slope of the land where I lie, it seems tome that town is to-the north of me. I find that I haven’t the strength to get up so am beginning to crawl slowly and painfully northward. After crawling a few hun­dred yards through still-smoldering sand and ash, I collapse in an exhausted heap. There will be no more progress today. Still thinking about “progress” and where it had gotten humans, I fall into a fitful slumber. Darkness.

(Originally posted here March 2012. Written in 1985 at age 18).

Posted in Stories and Fiction

CAMPFIRE TALES – Firestorm

Shadowy forms moved slowly through the red mist. Conversation was at a minimum; there was nothing to say. All present realized the impor­tance of their task, and its possible failure rested heavily upon them. The five humans continued steadily on their way; few hours remained for the accomplishment of the Mission.

Presently, the group stepped through the last of the scarlet mist, lone wisps of the fog clinging to their clothes, reluctant to relin­quish its hold on the five who had dared to brave its power. A look of horror would have spread across the face of the onlooker, if one had been alive, had he seen the features revealed in the sickening orange glow of the moon. Bulging eyes stared out from bloated faces where unhealed sores bled a yellowish ooze. Human though they were, or had been, few features, save four limbs, a functioning brain, and an upright walk, remained to give notice to this fact. By their own hands they had destroyed themselves and warped the genius of the Creator. Now, even the roaches were better off than they.

The leader motioned to the others to follow her and moved off a­cross the meadow before them, her eyes on a small building in the center of this barren expanse of ground. Soon, the burdens she and her com­patriots carried would be relinquished forever, maybe to be seen and listened to by a future, less-ignorant generation.

Upon arriving at the building, the leader wrenched the heavy door open and began relieving her friends of their burdens, placing them in the dark, protective interior of the vault. A portable communications system, complete with a video screen and laser disc set, went in first, followed by a case containing various laser discs and video cassettes with the complete history of the human race, from Eden to the Tron Wars to the most recent Holocaust. Tears trickled down the scarred cheeks of those present as they realized they would probably be the last intelligent creatures to view their precious memories in many an eon. Various other articles, including phonograph records, picture albums, and art objects, were placed into the vault as well. Then the leader sealed its occupants forever, at least to them. The group of humans turned away from their labor and started back to the Base, beginning again the struggle for survival on this barren planet.

Elsewhere, in the Sahara Desert, another of the nuclear-magnetic earthquakes and firestorms that rocked Earth constantly occurred. At last, the wall of fire and radiation broke through the barrier of the Pacific Ocean and engulfed the remainder of the world. In their tiny base, the last of humankind felt the pains of death and then felt no more. Fate had decreed that they be given a respite from their pitiful attempts at survival on this Hell, this Hell spawned by humans.

And throughout Earth, Creation was cleansed of humankind’s gross sin and ultimate act of disobedience by fire; pure, white-hot fire.

The End

Written Feb. 17, 1985, age 17

Originally published here August 2010

Part of the Cold War Kid Collection

Posted in Prayers and the Sacred

Of Fire and Fury

Be thou not afraid or enamored with the rhetoric of noise,
or the bright flashes of bomb and missle,
of fire and fury.

Go now unto Horeb and wait.
Let the flames and blustering winds pass by.
You will find that God still resides in the silence that remains.

Then,
place your mantle around your shoulders, step out from your cave of fear, and enter into the powerful quiet of God’s loving embrace.

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Nub

Life is what is Life is what Life was

Questions – Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? Okay, now we have all of the tools suggested for writing the introductory paragraph of a feature story for a leading national newspaper:

Man was found dead today beneath the remnants of Planet Earth, his suicidal tendencies rewarded with a fierce jab of a pudgy finger on a flashing red button beneath a mountain somewhere. A preliminary autopsy revealed three possibilities as to the cause of death – suicide, homicide, or genocide. Police have only one suspect in this case – Man. A phone call was made to Man’s residence for further comment but there was no answer.

Why?
Well we almost answered all of the questions.
The dog kept chasing his tail until he bit it right off.
Nub.

1987
Reposted from October 2011 – part of the Cold War Kid series

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Slaughterhouse

wpid-wounded-warriors-by-kmls.jpg.jpegOn a hill in the distance a building stands, a tribute to strength, power and brutal force. The setting sun gleams off of its bright gilded walls, making it into a tiny thing of beauty like a trinket to be worn. Suddenly, it swells. Its walls quiver and become bloated, choking the one around whose neck it was hung. From above its doorstep, a scarlet-stained sign screams, “WAR! WAR! WAR!”

In the musty, smoky dawn, the soldiers moved, a dark mass of brown weaving to and fro like a serpent. Holes appeared in the line as men were cut down but the rest continued to worm their way through razor-edged barbwire strewn across a sodden marshland.

Niobe crouched in a muddy ditch, gripping his machine gun until his hand ached, spitting fire across the gray expanse at the approaching troops. He ignored the corpses piling up in the field before him, his mindless and ignorant hate driving the bullets into the enemy, mowing them down as if a huge scythe was sweeping across the battle line.

He felt a sting in his chest, the other bullets splattering in the mud around him. He glanced up to see his assailant no more than three feet away, his gun still smoking in his hands. Then the man’s mouth made a silent “O.” The weapon fell from lifeless fingers and he tumbled dead into the trench onto Niobe.

In the bottom of the ditch their blood mingled. In his last glance, Niobe saw his reflection in the pool at his feet. He saw a haggard face, deep-sunken haunted eyes, heavy furrows in his brow, so much like a skeleton. In that scarlet mirror, he saw the horrors of war; the widows, the orphans, the childless, the homeless, the helpless. But he also saw the truth, the truth that he wished that he had known so long ago, that no cause is right enough or good enough to justify the killing of another human being, regardless how great the differences.

Oh the building is bright and shiny on the outside. Fame and fortune await the victor, the most powerful of all. But let us step inside into that which is hidden from the public so that they can believe the propaganda that is fed to them each day, every hour, every minute, every second. This propaganda rots as does the carcasses hanging from the walls within the Slaughterhouse, still oozing the lifeblood of war’s victims.

Funereal cowered in the musty damp culvert, shivering with more than cold. But his fear was grounded. He had heard the announcement on the radio a few minutes before and had run to the nearest reasonably decent shelter. The button had been pushed. Why? The thought would not leave his mind. Why had it happened? Wasn’t it only yesterday when he had expressed his views?

“Of course I’m gonna vote for him. He wants us to have a good defense. Sure, missiles are bad, but how else are we gonna keep the enemy from getting us? Yep, he’s got my vote.”

He realized his mistake now, but it didn’t matter anymore. The end had come. But what if hadn’t, ever? Would it have mattered? No, he answered himself. Man would have continued to put his trust in weapons, hiding behind a defense guaranteed to wipe out the enemy. What enemy? There shouldn’t have been any. All men should have lived as brothers and striven for peace. But they hadn’t and now all of creation was undone.

Funereal felt the tremendous blast and shock wave as the missile struck nearby. Then he felt no more.

Actually, the Slaughterhouse is a monument to all victims of war, those whose lives have been shattered by its violence and hate. It is the truth of war and the truth cannot be destroyed. But it can be twisted, painted up to look bright and beautiful, the grim facts hidden from view. The Slaughterhouse’s dark secret lingers in the back of everyone’s mind, but it is ignored. The shadow is passed down from generation to generation even unto the children thereby strengthening its painful grasp on countless millions.

Johnny carefully pulled his toy soldiers out of their protective wrappings and began to place them in battle formation. Of all his toys, Johnny enjoyed his toy soldiers most. His favorite one on the good side was the Axeman, dressed in a dapple gray field uniform, edged with silver and gold. In John’s battles he would throw stones at each of the battle lines in turn, those soldiers falling down being “dead.” So far, and Johnny had played his game many times, his Axeman had never fallen. Johnny believed his hero to be invincible.

He began to pelt each side with pebbles. A gray fireman fell here. A blue cavalryman collapsed there. And then it happened. A rock struck the Axeman in his chest and he toppled over, “dead.” Johnny screamed and in a childish rage, picked his hero up and flung him crashing through the window.

The Axeman lay broken in the grass amidst shattered glass. The places on his body chipped by the impact seemed to be scarlet-tinged. Could it be blood gushing from the toy soldier’s wounds or the last rays of a dying sun reflecting off his pieces?

On a hill far away stands an old rugged tree, the emblem of suffering and shame. As the morning sun rises, the figure prostrate on the cross’ frame lurches and breathes his last. The Prince of Peace has given his life as a ransom for all people, the shedding of his blood to stop any other in the world.

But has the bloodshed stopped? The victims of war cry out from their graves. Who will hear the dead and the dying’s silent cries? Hold thy sword, Mortal, lest you cut thine own heart!

(Journal entry from October 21, 1984 written when I was 17 years old, included here as part of the Cold War Kid Collection)