Stars of Brilliance

I sat in a deep lounge with my morning coffee.  The sun sector was always quietest at dawn.  While most slept, I basked in the suns radiance.

“Computer, .03% star power please.”

“Of course, Mark.” She promptly replied.

Like a punch in the face, I got an extra tenth of a percent of the suns rays.  Holding fast at only 30,000,000 miles from her destructive core, small increments were fierce.

Regardless, I took it all in.  Our ship “Constantine” contained special materials to allow the proper viewing of stars.  Without protective gear, we could stare directly at the ominous light with no adverse affects.  Her brilliance gave me a feeling of euphoria.  When the hair stands up in the back of your neck after hearing that “special song”, I could mimic the feeling with this room.

A long sofa lined the viewing panel, with a curved table to match.  This was my solitude.  My time to think.  I could be myself here.  I could remember every detail of my life.  People I missed, things of regret, but also pure unaltered joy.

A soft Ryo Nakamura track played as I drank my final sip of delicious double espresso.  My mind was clear.  I was free.  I was whole.

“Computer, 100% star power please,” I begged.

“Unable to comply.  Requested levels are fatal.”

“Override Jacobs N736-B,” I ordered.

“Code accepted.”

via Daily Prompt: Radiate

Odin’s Test

As a warrior of Valhalla, we are raised to enjoy pain. We welcome it, not fear it. As a child my brother and I often fought on the grassy knoll outside the village. Thrusting wooden swords at each other, hacking and slashing wildly, we rarely quit until exhaustion kicked in. We would come home to mother, covered in bruises with bloodied noses. The only time she became upset, was if the blood stained our fur lining that she had recently traded for. As we grew older, wood changed to Damascus blades and forged steel. We carried stifling shields that off set our stance. We swung wildly – channeling our inner berserker.

Although I showed no visual signs of distress to my tormentor, inside I was wondering how much more of this I could take. My once ox-like body dangled frivolously from the ceiling. Men who were once smaller and weaker than I, now seemed to tower over me. Punishing my torso day in, day out with whatever they could get their hands on – I was almost defeated. Unable to understand the language, they kept uttering something about a “Christ God” and referred to me as a “Pagan”. I know not what these words mean, but they seem to refer to me as an animal. Perhaps “Pagan” is animal.

When my chains gave slack, I am hoisted tight again. The men seem obsessed about my body being shaped in the form of a cross. They laugh as my arms pop from their sockets. My wrists bleed as much as my face and body from the constant adjusting of this “Christ” position.

The worst part about dying from torture is not the torture itself, it’s the fear of not being able to enter Valhalla. Without a sword in hand or dying gallantly in battle, Odin will not open his great hall to me. I will spent eternity in darkness.

The light in the room begins to fade, another night is upon me. Although I admit, was the room darker from night fall, blood in my eyes, or the loss of consciousness. I couldn’t tell anymore. If my time comes, I will let out one final ferocious battle cry, and show these heathens I fear them not.

As suddenly as I sank my head, I heard a commotion outside. I could see sparks in the distance. Swords met metal to metal. The tiny crack in the wall was my only window to the outside world – fighting, lots of fighting. They came flooding into the streets, dozens at a time. The sound was all too familiar, I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears.

With a second wind, a fury began to rage inside me. Shouting at the top of my lungs, letting out my battle cry for all in Valhalla to hear, I pulled heavily on my chains. One side crumbled, and then the other. Freedom.  I have passed Odin’s test, he thought me to be weak, but now I am strong.

The door flung open, and there stood Ragnar. My second in my command, my brother.

“We finally found you Lord, we had been looking for days. Most ships were lost, but the men,” he paused “the men survived!”

“My sword, brother!” I beckon as Ragnar tosses me the blade. The cool steel feels fresh against my skin; how I missed thee.

“Come, Ragnar. We have much work to do! It is time for the Christians to meet their end!”

via Daily Prompt: Reprieve

via Daily Prompt: Survive

Development Sun… Tuesday (Again)

Time flies.  When I look at my clock and see Sunday, I feel like I blink and it becomes Tuesday.

I thought I would post a bit of a ‘life update’.  As some readers know, I try to write a small prompt every day, while working on longer short stories come the weekend.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have become incredibly busy.  Even on days that are a bit slower, I find myself thinking so much about the future, and what I must do (tomorrow, the day after, next week) that by the time I can slow down and think a bit, it’s 10:00PM and all I want to do is curl up in bed and get some rest.

I’ve spent the majority of my day looking for work, and for anyone who is familiar with a job search you know just how taxing it can be.  Every job needs a new resume, and a cover letter that reflects said resume.  This in itself can take upwards of a couple of hours, just to apply for one job. Do 5 a day, and you’re exhausted.  I always throw an hour or so in there for myself to give my brain a break, and hit the gym.

Now that I have found work, I moved into phase 2.  I registered for my future career, something I intend to do for the next 30 years.  I’ve spent 15+ years trying to figure out what that was! Now that I have it sorted… I got wait listed.  Waitlisted for one year.  So, I decided to take something else while I wait.  I will be completing two trades, with a couple of weeks of over lap.  Three hours a day on the bus to campus, 8 hours of work, 1 hour of gym, 3-4 hours of homework, and somewhere in there I will be working at the job I just landed.

All of this was quite taxing on my brain, keeping me up at night, making decisions, filing paper work and taking assessment tests.  The last thing on my mind, was writing.

Over the next several months, there may only be one small story a week.  I would love to continue to write every day, but I simply do not have the time.  For me, thinking of a 500 word short story every day, takes time.  What only takes 15 minutes to write and revise, sometimes takes an hour of planning.

I hope all of you are well, are having continued success with your blogs and life, and I will do my best to continue posting when I can.

Jacobs, out.

Violent Seas and a Stubborn Leader

“The sea is angry, Lord,” my second in command muttered.
I agreed with his assessment, “the ships are strong, the men are ready.”

In the early hours of our 40th day at sea, we had no choice but to enter the storm. Ominous clouds expanded across the whole horizon. No way round, only through.
I’ve spent half my life at sea. I’ve seen angry swells and vicious white caps, but nothing like this. Njord must have disagreed with Odin on our journey, and he was doing his damnedest to stop us.

I gave the order to leave the sail up. Our armada was losing ships fast, and I would rather risk a couple more than face certain death of all my men. If the sail was down, we would be relying solely on man power. Viking or not, no man could power through these seas. The wind to our advantage, some damage was acceptable. We could get out of this mess faster with the power of the sea behind us.

For 3 days and 3 nights we fought the storm. Never in my life had a seen a storm last through the following day. We could not see the sun, nor birds or any sea dwelling mammal. Constant rain and wind became our chanting tune. With our armada dwindling, something had to change. Something had to release us from this salt-drenched fury. A rogue wave appeared on our starboard side…

“Og það er það síðasta sem ég man eftir. Hvar eru menn mínir!” (“And that, is the last thing I remember. Where are my men!”) I shouted ferociously.

“Keep this man chained, I’ll have more questions soon. Get the priest! We need a translator for this, thing.” King Edward scolded.

I spent several days tied to a cage, hanging just high enough from the ground so I couldn’t stand. I had no idea what had happened to my men. Had they survived, or drowned. Were they tied to cages? Or plotting my rescue? It killed me inside not to know. Why had Odin betrayed us so? We were on his path of glory. The Wise One blessed our journey. I had so many questions, with no one to answer them.

via Daily Prompt: Adrift

Magenta Fears and the Working Class

I always wanted to follow in my fathers foot steps. Our entirely family had been miners, and it was my dream to be one too. My father, Ray, always wanted a different life for me. He worked hard so I wouldn’t have to go deep into that chasm, and I felt bad. I felt bad for how hard he had to work to support us and a better life, but also because I still wanted to go down and work the coal. He often referred to me as the ‘stubborn son’.

We lived in a small town, and to be honest, I didn’t have much drive to leave it. I didn’t care much for seeing the world. I had friends here, a woman I loved, and I see nothing wrong with earning a hard days pay. People these days are afraid to get dirty. They want the desk jobs, the sedentary lifestyle. When I come home and see the bottom of the shower swirl with grime, I can go to bed happy. Happy with the mark I put on the world today.

Arriving earlier than most, I sat in my truck eating my breakfast sandwich and cold coffee. I enjoyed the quiet in the rain before the crunching, grinding, grunting, stress and sweat of the mine. I planned the day in my head, while waiting for the rest of our crew to show.

At 0500, the screech of the morning horn caused a flock of birds to scatter from the tired elevator cage. The cage where we see the last bit of sunlight for the day. Twelve hours of hard work, coming up.

As we descend into the darkness, we all begin to check each others gear. Lights, belt, tools, eye wear hardhat, ears and boots. A quick shoulder tap lets the man in front of you know they’re good to go. Slowly clanking down into the abyss, I close my eyes to gain composure. I say a little prayer. Some read, some listen to music, others talk about the game. There is a lot a man can think about during that 20 minute descent.

Ten minutes into our journey, what I can only describe as a small bead of light shot through the elevator, and vanished as suddenly as it appeared – into the rocky walls surrounding us. The objected dawned a purple shimmer and emitted the sound of an EMP grenade. Much like the sound you hear in those shitty Michael Bay movies. Not deafening, but loud enough. No one had their ear protection on yet. Some had trickles of blood coming from their nose.

Chains snapped, belts broke, like some invisible blade had cut them. A free fall as imminent.

The dirt was cold and dry. Laying in a slight puddle of water, the muck had become a plaster on my face. I knew I had to move. I had to get up. Yet I couldn’t. Simply too frightened to move, I wanted to lay there forever. It would be easier than confronting the fear of what just happened.

Putting my left hand to my chest first, followed slowly by my right, I pushed hard, wincing as I pressed. My eyes half caked in mud, I saw a purple glow in the shaft directly ahead of me. It was calling to me, like a signal.

The purplish glow grew more and more intense, until an oblong shape came into view. It was lighter in the middle, growing cold in depth as your eyes graced the exterior. Small particles seemed to be pulled into this unknown entity.

I had an idea in my mind of what it could be, but that was something of science fiction. Not so crazy, considering what I am staring at is science fiction in itself.

I put my leg in first, feeling a warm pull. I decided right then and there to step away from this world, and journey through the gate way.

via Daily Prompt: Descend