Creative Writing Post 1: Stray, Random Poem

I’m usually better for my promises, and I wish I had updated earlier.  In any case, it’s been busy in my corner of the world, and my forms of procrastonation cannot take the form of writing, or else, well, I’ll never stop procrastonating. So I’ll give you two old pieces of writing, and we’ll go from there.

My poetry tends to be an barrage of intense images, which is why I don’t really like writing poetry– it’s usually more about combinations of words and rhythm than it is about “stuff”.

Crimson slate wiped clear

All at once this eternity

Blazes higher and falls. Trounced.

The horizon, never ending,

Marred with deception.

Indulgent, destructive, inert deception.

Star the sky red

Swing forth like sparrows

Myriad shades of lies

Ignite the twilight

Hasten to the jade valences

The last thing to which might be clung

And turn this disillusioned fool.

The short fiction is part of a novella that I wrote. It’s the first of (I think) eight parts. It wants for a bit of research yet, but as a rough bit of writing I’m alright with it.

“G’day, mates.” Six was hanging all over Halo, and it was all Stray could do not to whirl around and punch the ghastly apparition.

Halo took no notice of the gangly, stark white thing that was using her as an elbow rest. Six was a phantom—a ghost, a ghoul, a phantasm, a hallucination, a side effect of Stray’s medicine, some unknown effect of acid… something of that sort. Six was an exasperating creature, and Stray was the only person unfortunate enough to bear witness to him and his incredible powers of irritation. He came and went as he pleased, and generally took whatever form he felt like. It was the voice that always gave him away. Today he was nearly albino, with white-blonde hair cropped close to his head. He had colorless eyes ringed in thick black eyeliner. Gender seemed to be optional to Six, and today it was entirely indiscernible. The most logical conclusion was that today’s version was cross-dressing, wearing a strange hodgepodge of crinoline, fishnet, and pleather that was too ghastly to properly behold.

“Studying hard, are we?” Six crooned. Stray decided to mimic Halo’s ignorance. Maybe, just maybe, if he gave Six a cold enough shoulder, he would go away. It had worked with a couple imaginary friends when he was younger.

It was an abnormally cold day in April—where some threat of snow still clung to the weather forecast. The sky had assumed a dark, ominous grey that suggested the forecasts weren’t just talk. A storm was coming.

It was the last period of the proper school day, and they were sitting in study hall. Stray had considered blowing off this last period all together, but there was no incentive in going home early—who would greet him, exactly? The other druggies at the rehab house? A drug counselor, if he was lucky? As it was, he needed to have someone proofread his essay before he turned it in. One more failing grade in that class and Lydia had promised she would take away his stipend.

Halo wasn’t exactly a great student herself, but he needed someone to look it over for him. Plus, she didn’t mind, as it made her feel like Stray enjoyed her company—which he did most of the time, but just couldn’t seem to communicate. “I think you spelled a word wrong, Stray.”

He peered over her shoulder, his nose perilously close to Six’s pleather-wrapped thigh. He determinedly ignored a threatening squeal of plastic leather and found the word she was looking at. “No, believe it or not, dysfunctional is spelled like that.”

“Not that. Next to it.”


“Yeah. Isn’t there a ‘k’ in there some place?”

“I don’t think so.” Six was muttering things in his ear that he really didn’t want to think about. Stray attempted to swat him away, at the same time trying to keep the motion covert enough that Halo wouldn’t notice.

She did notice, unfortunately. He scrambled for an explanation, but it turned out he didn’t need it. “This school has crazy cockroaches.” She muttered. “Hey, weren’t there monkeys in the French Revolution?”

“Definitely not.” Sometimes Halo said senseless things, he had discovered. This was one of those times. Six was imitating the sound that a cockroach made—or at least the sound that Stray thought the cockroaches made. A pale, fishnet-obscured arm snaked its way around Stray’s neck. Stray sat very still.

“Are you sure?” Halo tilted her head, staring straight at Six. He really wished Halo would look back at the paper again. “I mean, there was that whole big battle where men were fighting the monkeys and then there was that other thing with the humans being slaves for the monkey men, and also the…” She was babbling. Stray wasn’t listening. “Spacecrafts from the future that’s really now, and you know. It all ties into String Theory. Oh my god!”

“What?” Stray snapped to attention, panicked.

“String Theory! It was so invented during French Rev!”

“You’ve got to be kidding.” Six muttered incredulously. Halo had said something so astoundingly bizarre that even Six was out of snide, annoying remarks.

“It all makes perfect sense, now. The monkeys stormed the Bastille, and stole time machines leading to the further and perfect understanding of String Theory and—”

“String Theory…still isn’t perfectly understood.” Stray corrected her hesitantly. He had done a unit on string theory in a science class the year before, and the general information was still relatively fresh in his mind.

“Of course it is. You just have to have a time machine.” Halo said determinedly. “And possibly be a monkey.”

Stray had assumed an Six’s same expression, and the two continued to fixate on her, flabbergasted. “That makes no sense, Halo.”

“Of course it does.” She said fiercely. “Why else would Theodore Roosevelt have hit a bunch of Latinos with a big stick in the 1890s?”

Six snorted. Stray snorted.

“Did you sleep through every class in the past three years of history?” They asked in unison, their tones matched.

“Mostly. I stayed awake for the lessons with the laminated maps. I like writing on them. Maps are weird. Like what’s up with France’s border?”

“A monkey drew it.” Completely in sync. Neither could help it.

“That’s what I’m saying! The question is, then…” Halo trailed off, as if mulling over how to phrase it best, “Where did the monkeys go?”

Stray kept his mouth firmly shut.

“What if the monkeys never left?” Halo’s eyes had gotten very wide.

Stray drummed his fingers. He really wished she would pay attention to his paper. The teacher, sitting at the front of the classroom, was granting them a glare usually reserved for felons and radical leftists. They were about to be shushed.

Stray fiddled with his backpack, attempting to distract himself both from Halo’s tangent and from the pale hand on his face. Six always had painted black nails. Today was no exception. Stray’s skin crawled. No matter how invisible Six was, he felt like a real person. He was solid, and his fingers were cold. “I don’t know what to tell you.” Stray said finally. “Can you actually read my essay, now?”

“Sure. But it’s completely wrong, you know. There’s nothing about Roosevelt or the monkeys or String Theory or time machines. You’ll have to completely rewrite it. And that word ‘basically’ is definitely spelled wrong.”

“Yeah, okay.” He muttered, getting up to go to the bathroom. Six followed, back to his favorite pastime of jeering, taunting, and annoying Stray. In a way, he was relieved. He had been badly shaken the moment his apparition and he had slipped into sync. He didn’t want to believe that he and that thing had anything in common.

He returned from the bathroom alone, to see Halo sitting with a red editor’s pen cocked behind her ear. “Don’t worry.” She beamed. “I fixed your paper for you. The teacher will probably know it’s not all your own work, but I think you’ll still get a decent grade, even if you do get docked. At least you’re all right, now.”

“Yeah, I’m all right.” He repeated, more than a little numbly.

If the formatting goes to hell, I’m terribly sorry, I’ll try to fix it later. This is a new interface for me, and I’m sorting out the kinks still. Cheers!

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