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I can't stand this emptiness

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Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 297
I can't stand this emptiness  Reply with quote  

(I'll break the ice. This is the first chapter in a story I wrote and continue to write. The subject was inspired by playing Dungeons & Dragons growing up. The style is inspired by CM's Lamb. And by inspired I mean out and out stolen.)

Swords and Whatnot

Chapter 1) Four Sided Dice

We lived in the shadow of an evil wizard’s tower. It sucks but what can you do? He had taken occupancy in the crumbling structure just outside our village which was called Longbottom. Several nights out of the month weird lights would emanate from the upper story windows and reflect eerily on the surface of Willow Lake which lay between the tower and the village. Distant screams and wails of torment could be heard on still nights when the wind was low. At first, the villagers would clear the streets on these nights, barring their doors and shuttering the windows tight. We would remain huddled under blankets; fearful of the unspeakable evil that might be lurching towards us in the night. But, after about six months of this, everyone sort of got used to it and began to pretty much ignore it. When the unholy cries rang out from the tower, men in the Copper Cup would look at each other, shrug and go back to drinking bitter beer and complaining about the gophers eating their crops. My friend Coe and I would sometimes sneak up to the roof of his house which faced the tower and eat pine nuts, enjoying the light show.
“Wow. That one was pretty good. What do you think? Seven?”
“Nah,” Coe said scratching his beard that wouldn’t come in for anther five years, “Four, maybe. Five at the most.”
“Yeah. Your right.”
“I mean, look; we ranked that one from last week a six and that one blinded an owl. So how can we call that little--”
“Fine, fine. I said you were right. Jeeze.” Coe, normally as relaxed and placid as a boneless cat, had been prickly for the last few weeks and our normal routines were becoming fraught with pointless bickering. I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what. My friend had always been quiet and closed about things that were important to him so I would need to draw him out carefully.
“So, what the fuck’s the matter with you lately?”
“I said, what the fuck’s the matter with you lately?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Where did I loose you?”
“Look Wren, why don’t you shut up and I won’t have to clock you in the jaw. Deal?” It was a pretty good deal, but I wasn’t in the mood for negotiations.
“You’ve been in a pissy mood for like a month now and it’s starting to get on everybody’s nerves!”
Coe’s brow furrowed for a moment. “Everybody’s?”
“Yes, everybody’s! Well…your families…and…and, well that dog that was begging at the east gate.”
“I petted him!”
“Yeah, but you were awfully rough about it.”
“My family?”
“Okay, not really them but I’m sure you’ll be on their nerves any day now at this rate. When they kick you out you can’t come live with me either!”
Coe considered this for a while. “You live in a hayloft.”
“That’s right! And there’s no room for you, so straighten up!”
We sat in silence for a while watching the tower flicker with the occasional flare of light, none of which rated above a three.
“So,” Coe said while tossing pine nuts at the rain barrel down below us, “I’m getting on everybody’s nerves?”
“Even Cainus the beggar?”
“What about Father Gobal?”
“And farmer…”
“ME! Alright?! ME! You’re getting on my nerves! Just mine! But I’m your best friend so that’s the same as everyone else’s as far as you should be concerned.”
We sat in silence again. The Evil Wizard's tower seemed to have given up its performance for the evening and the whole world seemed at rest.
“So what’s going on? Why are you so unhappy?”
“Well, look who I have for a best friend.”

The moon hung well over the town as Coe walked with me to the Dietz’s place where I stayed. Most of the village was fast asleep and only a handful of windows glowed with soft honeyed lantern light. We had the streets to ourselves for the most part.
“You know, there’s a new family moved in from Lullwater.”
“I know.” I said, keeping an eye out for lost change on the road.( I had once found a silver dime lying in the dirt and had scanned the streets like a vulture ever since.)
“They moved into the old Wiggins place.”
“I know.”
“Up past the west gate.”
“I know, Coe. I’ve seen them. So what?”
“They got a couple of sons. Two of them. Maybe they’d be okay to hang around with.”
“What? They’re like five years old or something. They’re little kids.” Coe and I having reached the noble and prestigious age of nine. “The only one of them close to our age is the daughter.”
“Oh. Well…what about her?”
“What about her?”
“Maybe she would like to hang out with us.”
“I’m sure she would.”
“You think that would be cool?”
“If she hung out with us?”
“Why not?”
“She’s a girl.”
“Where did I loose you?” .

Post Fri May 21, 2004 9:40 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 297
Swords and Whatnot Ch.2  Reply with quote  

First Level Thieving

I took to thieving as a way to stay alive, fed, and warm and just generally make ends meet. I’m not proud of it but as I’ve said; what can you do? I truly cared about the town and didn’t want to do anyone any real harm by taking too much so I tried to keep the pilfering to a minimum. I did a little pick pocketing from time to time and found that a few coins could make their way to my pocket after a day of stealth and cunning.

Not at first, I will confess. When I first started trying the whole pick-pocketing thing I wasn’t very good at it and would routinely get caught with an embarrassed expression on my face and my hand wrist deep in someone’s bag. Other than the occasional whack on the bottom, most everyone was pretty kind about it. No one ever called for the Watch or drug me off to the constables’ office. Most, in fact, would ruffle my hair and try to give me a coin or two. That always confused me a bit and made me think of times spent with my father begging in the town square and even though it would buy me some stew at the side window of the Copper Cup, I didn’t want any hand-outs and would run off. After a while, however, my thieving skills became well honed. Soon I was lifting monies from people and never getting caught.
I developed the ability to discern people’s paces and could always tell when the time was ready to strike. I would shadow someone and wait till they stopped looking over their shoulders and come to a stop, looking with interest at a store front or rain barrel or the empty sky or something; then I would ease my fingers into their open purses and latch onto the few coppers within. I had to remain absolutely silent, though it helped that most everyone would start whistling or talking out loud to themselves. Things like, “My, what a lovely cloud that is. I believe I’ll look up and enjoy the view” or stuff like that. The purses were always open, it seemed.
When I first started everyone kept them well tied and stowed out of reach which made them difficult to get to without tugging real hard and being noticed. But, after a while, everyone seemed to carry their loose change in purses or small bags that were never cinched or tied. It made it much easier for me and many folks lost a whole lot a spare change because of it, poor fools.

Post Sat May 22, 2004 6:59 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
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If you haven't seen this, watch it. I think it's one of the funniest things I've seen on the web:

Post Sun May 23, 2004 1:40 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 297
Oh my Lord...  Reply with quote  

Chris, you owe me a new keyboard. I just sprayed coffee all over mine.

I was going to go to the movies today.....but now I'm staying home and watching this over and over again......Jesus H. tap-dancing Christ that's funny.

Post Sun May 23, 2004 7:12 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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