The Beginning

Dear fellow readers of the world. I cannot tell you how much I admire and respect that you actually do read. So many times these days, someone will leave the safe haven of education and step into the real world, in which, their eyes never focus (or ears, for those of you partial to audio books) on any book, essay, or intelligently stringed sentence again. You are they exception to the rule. Or, maybe, they are. But either way, you are appreciated. I plan to write in instalments, at least once a week. You may find short stories, short essays, and possibly poetry.  There may even be a serial story or two. Who knows? Welcome, reader, to my mind.

Character Description: Milo Reed

After a thirteen year stay, a West Berlin mental hospital releases Milo Reed back to England. 30 year old Milo has the ability to touch people and see snapshots of their lives. The mental and emotional trauma it causes, results in his avoiding physical contact. Because of his years of isolation he is afraid of forming relationships with new people. The changes in the world since his capture in 1943 shock and intimidate Milo.

He constantly wears a pair of black leather gloves so that he won’t touch someone by accident. His appearance at the beginning of the show lacks conviction. Once a strong young soldier, Milo’s full, muscular body has become lean and slender. Clothes he wears are almost always too big on him and his long hair conveniently hides his face.

During the show Milo learns to open himself to the others. He learns how to rely on his peers. He also gains more confidence in himself as he progresses in using his ability. However, the strain of keeping his clairvoyance classified becomes too much for him. He has to chose at the end of the season, whether to abandon his friends or to keep his secret. If he reveals his ability, he risks going back to the mental hospital.

New Food

I met a merman, as he
Clambered out of my tub.
I asked him if he was
Hungry and he replied,
“Give me some food from
this foreign land, that my
tongue has not tasted before.”
So, I went to the fridge and I
Pulled out some pasta and
Heated it on the stove.
I went back to the man-fish
And found him stretched
Out on the bathroom
Floor tiles. He was cooked
To the gills, from his fin
That was stuck in the
Outlet close to the door.
So, I though to myself,
“Why let such fine fish
Go to waste?”
I cooked him all up,
So here eat your pasta
And pass me your plate
For more.

Ashwood Pitch

In 1956, England, after two years as a German prisoner of war and eleven years of near isolation in a psychiatric hospital, Milo Reed is released back into society. He begins to live at Ashwood Inn, owned by Greg Birger, Milo’s one and only friend. Greg alone knows Milo’s secret: limited clairvoyance triggered by touch, courtesy of Nazi experiments. In order to stay out of the psychiatric hospital, Milo must guard his ability.

Milo must confront his past and try to create lasting connections with the other permanent residents who live at the inn. Guests that come and go at the inn pull Milo into situations that demand the use of his ability. Milo and the residents grow closer to each other, building trust within their strange family. It is only a matter of time before Milo accidentally reveals his ability. How long will he be able to keep it a secret, and if he is found out, will the trust he has worked so hard to build survive?

Diagnosis

I sit in darkness wondering if that
Redundant ringing in my ears will cease,
But lurid plundering of combat in
My warring brain expands, spreading disease.
No sense in finger tips, but needles pricks
Of fine sand trapped beneath the skin and mix
Of shore’s cold water. Grows more viscous now
And dull. The symptoms gather as fatigue
Sets in. The words, they dangle down
From lips that spill regrets with no intrigue.
In yawning darkness tribulations stay,
Before my pride is scorched and falls away
Towards the shame of sickness holding rule
To eat my independence. Stubborn fool.

Ashwood Intro

I am writing a TV show. The show’s name is Ashwood. I will be periodically posting information about what the show is about, character descriptions, and episode synopses. During this time, I will be working on the pilot episode script, which I am planning to get done by the end of May. Feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think! I’m looking for feedback!

About the Road

The rush of cars brings peace and guilt.
Never ending sssssshhhhhhhhhhh of the way
on asphalt. Artificial wind bogged by the
grumble of engines lulling as they traverse
the world on the black cuts that gut the ground.
Naturally the Wind is angry. In the trees it
calls the leaves, shifting, shouting whispers
only into the ears of passerbys that hear nothing
but buildings at their backs. Too loud here, to hear.
Calm clams up and dark drags dejected when the
boys come to town to build a seamlessly sectioned
city. Only the rain can mend the wound, when, on
night given rest from the violence of interaction
during devils hour, the world beneath wheels is
upturned down and the black tar becomes a mirror,
soft lighting our world and painting with light
A guiltless reflection.

Strings

Moonlight splashed the forest and torches leapt up, hungrily eating away any lasting darkness. Drums beat, keeping the rhythm. Trum tata trum, trum tata trum, trum tata trum. One woman stood in the clearing rising above the crowd sitting below her. She looked at the sky and raising her arms, began to move.

Strong sinewy muscles swam to the rhythm, bending beams around their curves. Beads of liquid slipped down her rolling flesh in the air. So she danced.

She danced the seasons tonight. Spring buds joyously leaped from where the cool muddy ground hit her heel, hatchlings emerging into the wet world, the spotted fawn bounced across the tender green fields. She danced the blister of the hot sun in the summer and the robust buzz of the bees on wild flowers. The whispers of the wind as it plucked its due from the trees and spread leaves like carpet on the woolly ground. The winter frost stretching its fragile fingers across the land until the world was embrace encased. And then she stopped.

Time stood still waiting for the performance to go on until it could wait no longer and was forced to leave its dancer behind. The people stood and they smiled and whispered, and one man called out that it was a good show. They all filed past the woman quickly forgetting her and all but a few forgot to drop a small coin into the pouch she was holding out.

The woman’s name was Selena and she stared up at the trees as she felt chains weigh down her feet once again. Trees never judged, but their ancient gazes were heavy and she looked away. She was a slave. The thin chains around Selena’s ankles were what kept her from getting away. They did not bite at her skin but their caress was something unwanted and perverted. Grasping at her feet, hobbling her gait, the only time she was free of them was when she danced. A wise woman had told her that dead was the worst anyone could ever become. Selena didn’t believe her. Other slaves were far worse off than she, but Selena still lingered on the hope that someday time might speed up the process and she would be set free.

Selena’s master drove the wagon to keep her from getting wet and muddy in the fog; she was a valuable asset to him and she sat perched within, out of the cold. He did not want to risk ruining her in the bad weather. It had rained the night before and though her master was trying to keep Selena dry his efforts were soon forgotten as the wagon got stuck in a deep mud puddle.

Lifting her skirts Selena dropped to the ground in a squish, the cold mud slipping between her toes. Her master was harmless but he thought himself rough and grim. He was absolutely useless when it came to driving wagons.

“Jonas, did you have to go right through the puddle?” She asked. No use trying to deny it; the other side of the road was as dry as a rock. Her master’s chest puffed out in defense giving his skinny arms a stick-like look as he weakly pulled her around to the back of the wagon.

“Don’t cha start mouffin offa’ me! I di’ bessas I could! S’ides you was sit’n inda wagon! You should’a been adrive’n!”

His hurt pride spoke for him and Selena shook her head, tied up her skirt round her knees and pushed. The muggy air made her breathing labored, her thick brown hair plastered against her head. The wagon shifted as Jonas lead the old nag forward and Selena clambered up top and took the reins, clicking with her tongue.

There was another performance tonight. She would dance forgetting the world for a while. She danced at every town. They would pay their tiny silver and copper coins. Selena really didn’t mind, in fact she loved the dance but the money she earned didn’t go to her, it went to her master. Jonas kept her well fed, healthy, and even bought her new clothes. He didn’t even buy new clothes for himself; said that he would wear his weathered old clothes till the day he died.

Tonight was different though. It wasn’t the little towns that she danced for tonight. It was the Traders Fair. Hundreds of people from everywhere congregated to show their worth and skills. Little copper and silver coins were sometimes even graced with the company of gold. Mysteries and stories surrounded the Traders Fair like bees swarming a hive.

Having reached the fairgrounds successfully without getting the wagon stuck in anymore mud puddles, Selena asked if she could spend the time before the performance walking among the tents and campsites of the other merchants and performers.

The smells of the fair were overwhelming. Sweat, horseflesh and smoke mingled and wafted between the colorful tents with the pleasing scents of pies, roasting meats, candied fruit, sugared ham, spices and herbs. Booths and tents of every size pressed down on the walking paths creating a never-ending, winding trial. As Selena meandered through the maze she happened across a curious looking man that piqued her interest. His face was pointed and faint age lines etched it. His black hair was sprinkled with grey and his clothes were well patched and worn but clean. He was carving what looked like a tiny human face.

“What’re doing, sir?” Selena asked. He looked up, startled, and smiled. It was a strange smile, like he knew something that she didn’t. Selena didn’t like it.

“I’m carving this face for my puppet collection. I’ll be doing a show tonight and my main character his lost his head so I thought I would make a new one for him.” He laughed at her confused face and beckoned her closer. He held his hand out showing her the half-carved face. Selena’s eyes traced the delicate lines and tiny sloping nose of the figurehead. It looked like Jonas.

“I’m a puppeteer. Best in the world. Name’s Nicolai. What’s yours?” His face smiled confidently up at Selena.

“I’m Selena. I dance.” Her words were narrow and cautious, but even in her suspicion she was mesmerized by his flying fingers.

“Wait till you see the show that I give, Selena Dancer. I can make you laugh and cry and fear. But then again I’m sure you could do the same for me. No?” Selena shrugged, still watching the man’s hands.

The sky was beginning to darken and the time of the performance near.

“I must go. My show starts soon. My master will be worried.” Nicolai glanced up from his wooden friend.

“You are a slave?” He asked. Selena looked at him with hard eyes.

“Yes. What of it? I dance for myself and no one else,” she said.

He looked away a frown on his face engraving wrinkles on his forehead. His eyes glazed over as if deep in thought.

“I understand,” he said.

“Please, I must go.” Selena skittered away from the fire and walked as quickly as she could in her hobbles back towards the wagon. When she looked over her shoulder, Nicolai was gone.

When Selena reached her camp Jonas was ringing his hands nervously. There was already a crowd forming.

“You git intha tent there! Git ready! You daf’ girl! Go’on git ready quick! You hasta dance!” Jonas ushered her to the tent flaps.

Selena rushed into her tent and grabbed a wet rag and bucket of water, cleaning the mud and grime off her feet and calves. Her bangles rattled as they fell onto her wrists. She slipped on her skirts. They glided as she walked, slipping slightly. Her hair she put up into pins braiding and twisting until she was satisfied; leaving some of her hair to flow down her back as she stepped out into the night. A hush fell over the campsite as she slid into the firelight. Jonas moved in, low to the ground like a timid dog begging to eat from the rest of the pack, and he unlocked her shackles, releasing her feet. Shadows melted across her skin as the beat began.

A fiddle began to play, purring at first, then screeching faster and faster, matching her tumbling dance. She danced the heavens tonight, stars—icy and cold and white. Black sky and grey shattering storms clouds, the clash of thunder, and peals of lightning were all at her hand and hip. The breeze she caressed and the song’s beat burned her feet as she flew through the open space of the wind’s domain. The sun shone on her arms and the moon shimmered on her face. And then she stopped.

The audience held their breath waiting, wanting more, but she did not go on. She relished the freedom of her song and stood silent and still, not willing to give it up. The crowd after a minute clapped softly in awe and pressed coins into her hands. She gathered her earnings and gave them to her master to count and keep.

She turned and saw Nicolai. He flipped her a coin, a gold coin and walked away through the crowd. She clutched the small coin to her chest. Jonas was busy and her feet, still light with labor followed the puppeteer as he walked away.

When she reached his campfire there was a group of people waiting for the show to begin. A small stage was set up. He bowed to the audience and stepped behind the waist high world. His salt and pepper hair looked silver in the night as he began his show.

Selena wondered at the way he moved the tiny people. His puppets chased and frolicked and jumped and sang and laughed and talked and played. She finally saw the secret. Pale thin lines ran up from the puppets’ limbs to his fingers and he moved them deftly, pulling some tight, keeping some loose. He moved the puppets to his will as he talked in the false voices of his characters.

One of the characters looked remarkably like her master. It must have been the face he was carving earlier. He was the comedic relief, and ended up hanging from the rafter of the miniature stage, unable to move, from some curse put on him by a witch. The crowd found it delightful, and laughed and laughed.

As the show went on, Selena noticed a flip in the performance. A slight twitch in the face, a jerk of the fingers. When the crowd laughed, Nicolai danced, and when the crowd booed he cursed. He wasn’t controlling the puppets, the audience was controlling him.

The show ended and the audience laughed and joked. A few good people remembered to give a coin or two throwing them up towards the stage. They landed in the dirt. Nicolai ignored the money as the crowd trickled away. He stood staring at Selena.

“Did you enjoy the show?” He asked.

“My master will be looking for me,” she said.

“He won’t,” Nicolai said.

“Why?”

“Didn’t you notice?” he said, gesturing to the puppet hanging from the stage, “He’s a bit tied up right now.”

“You lied to me.” Selena’s hands were sweating, and the coin in her fist was so tightly clenched it was leaving a brand on her palm.

“What?” Nicolai’s confused face contorted in the dim, flickering light, twisting it into a knot.

“You said, you understood. You lied. You are tied up in your own puppets strings, Nicolai. You let the people tie you up and flail you around as if you were a puppet,” she said.

Nicolai’s face darkened.

“One day your puppet strings will catch you around your neck and you will hang and jerk and fall to the ground dead. Untangle yourself, before that happens.” Selena whispered. She dropped the gold coin in the dust at Nicolai’s feet. He crouched slowly and picked it up.

“You know nothing. Run back to your master,” He said, still crouching below her. His voice was so low she barely heard him.

Selena turned and ran.

On her way back to the wagon, she heard screams. She slowed to listen. They were close. A woman next to her leaned over.

“Heard they found a horse thief.”

Selena walked to the edge of the fair clearing and swinging in the tree line was Jonas. He was fresh dead. His tongue hung out of his mouth in a macabre grin, teeth yellow and eyes wide, ready to be plucked out by crows. He died in his old muddy clothes, just like he said he would. Selena remembered his puppet swinging from the stage. Jonas didn’t steal horses. He wasn’t smart enough.

She backed away and set off to find the old nag and the wagon. She wished she had kept that gold coin. The firelight flickered on her back shifting her into shadow and leaving only faint footprints in the dust.