Wednesday, August 31

Story: Trim the Rat Girl

For this semester I'll be taking a break from writing Story Saturday's but don't worry, you'll still be getting a story once a week. I'm talking a writing class, Writing for Young People, where I have to do a piece of writing once a week and share it with my Tutorial class on Thursdays. Because I have to share my writing with my group 24 hours before class I have it ready on Wednesdays, thus Story Saturday has moved to Wednesdays.
This week we were supposed to be writing a character description so that is what I give you. Tell me what you think and let me know what age group it comes across as being for. I'm not sure it's right.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

There’s a girl who lives in the walls of the subway. People pretend she’s not real, but everyone knows she is. If the platform is empty enough, and it’s late enough in the evening, you can hear her moving about inside the walls when you’re waiting for the train. On the quietest of nights, the nights when you feel as if you’re the only person awake in the entire word, if you have a little food, you can tempt her out of the walls.

She always materialises out of nothing. One moment there is shadow and the next there she is. She scurried over and snatches the food from you before scurrying into a corner to eat. She scurries everywhere. She gnaws on the food, nibbling at it with her front teeth. She seems more rat than girl.

It’s not just the way she moves and eats, she looks almost like a rat. Her nose is long and thin, and her eyes squinted and startled as if she spent her life hiding in the darkness of the subway tunnels. Then again, she probably had. Her hair was that undefinable almost grey colour that is somewhere between blonde and brown. She looks about eight years old but she’s been living in the walls for as long as anyone can remember.

Her name is Trim. Everyone knows it, no one knows how, they just do. Trim the Rat Girl. Trim the Rat Girl who lives forever. “She can’t be human” people whisper on the rare occasions that they acknowledge her existence.

“What else can she be?”

“I don’t know. Don’t let the children near her.”

And what else can she be, if not human? People have all kinds of stories; that she really is descended from rats, that she’s an otherworldly spirit, a monster, alien, brownie, fairy, some kind of magical being. I think that she is Trim. Not defined by other names. Not catalogued into some group of mythical species. But there is no denying that she is special.

I wonder if she is happy; living such an unusual existence. She has no friends or family, unless the rats of the subway count. The subway patrons certainly don’t count. It’s only ever the really curious and fanciful commuters who ever try and tempt her from the walls and she’s more interested in the food than the person who gave it to her. She doesn’t talk to you, doesn’t answer your questions.

Sometimes you ask a question and she looks up with you with the brightest grey eyes. They’re so inquisitive and intelligent that I wonder if maybe she wants to answer you but she can’t. Perhaps she is mute. Perhaps she never learnt to talk.

She’s a mystery. Sometimes I think she should stay like that. Sometimes I want to know more. I want to know all there is about her. So I try again. I bring butternut cookies, her favourite from my experience, and go down to the subway after the late train is gone and all the commuters have left. I tempt her from the walls again.

Next week is picture book week. Not sure how well I'm going to work the illustrations, but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Saturday, August 27

Story Saturaday: Choose-Your-Way-Adventure Finale

It's been a long time, but here is the concluding chapter of the Choose-Your-Way-Adventure Story Saturday. If you missed the first parts they can be found here.

I am taking a writing class this semester, Writing For Young People, so instead of Story Saturday's you may be getting some of those stories for the next few months. It's just easier on me that way, and I can continue publishing something on my blog.

Anyway, enjoy the final chapter:

“Ice-cream! Ice-cream! Ice-cream!” Penguins cheered, jumping up and down with her mission well and truly forgotten. Penguins had an insane obsession for lemon sorbet. When it came to lemon sorbet everything else, no matter what, was put on hold. She pressed her hands together and looked at Laura with a pair of terrifyingly persuasive puppy-dog eyes. “Oh please can we?”

“Of course!” Laura hadn’t heard a better idea all day.

Slowly everyone turned to look at Maddog. He was likely to be a hard one to convince. Someone as cranky as him probably didn’t even like ice-cream. “Oh, all right.” He eventually agreed. Penguins’ puppy-dog eyes were somehow far more coercive then his own; maybe because his always had a little bit of a scowl to them.

Penguins and Laura each grabbed one of O’Malley’s hands and together, with Maddog at their side, they skipped off towards the ice-cream parlour.

Zella was offended that Till thought her loyalty could be so easily turned. “Betray the Chairman?” She squeaked (she’d been trying for indignant, but she had one of those voices that rose in octave when she got angry or scared. In this case, she was both). “I could never do such a thing! Tom, get me out of here!”

Tom immediately jumped to Zella’s rescue, throwing books off her and pulling her free. “Are you okay, Zella?” He gave her a little bow and she nodded in reply, glaring at Till. “I… I don’t really need a kiss.” Tom said, shuffling his feet bashfully. “I mean, it’s a bit sleazy… demanding a kiss. Maybe I could take you out for ice-cream first?”

Zella thought about this. He had rescued her. She’d feel a little cruel turning him down now. “Sure…” she replied cautiously. “Maybe you could come too!” She turned to Till. She didn’t want this to be a ‘date’.

Till glared. Going for ice-cream when she was supposed to be looking for the Chairman? It was a silly and frivolous activity, but maybe if she went along she might be able to find something out from Zella. Who knows, maybe Zella gets awfully talkative when faced with cake batter ice-cream with a marshmallow mix-in?

Zella gave a little cry of excitement when they entered the ice-cream shop. “Maddog! O’Malley! Fancy seeing you here?” He scurried over to a table where her colleagues were sitting with two girls.

Till was gobsmacked. “Penguins, Laura, you had better have a good reason why you’re here with the enemy.”

“We’re getting ice-cream” Penguins replied. Her teammates’ incompetence was too much for Till. She had to sit down.

Tom came over to join them, staring love-sickly at the girl Till had called Penguins. She was the most beautiful thing her had ever seen. In his mind Celine Dion was playing and he fancied rose petals and confetti were falling from the sky. “Can I get you anything?” He asked her breathlessly.

“Sure.” Penguins smiled, unaware of the dreamy way Tom looked at her. “I’d love some more lemon sorbet.”

Laura nudged O’Malley, “Hey, I think the ice-cream serving girl is smiling at you. Her name tag says Lara.”

“You really think so?” O’Malley blushed red.

“You should go ask her out.”

When Lara had finished her shift they all went back to Penguins’ place to watch zombie movies, much to Till’s and Maddog’s protests. Penguins had a few roommates and Donut, Pieman and Jack came out to join them in the zombie marathon. “My other roommate should be home soon.” Penguins told everyone.

They settled on the couch and a plethora of beanbags and switched on Night of the Living Dead. It was Donut's birthday, so they even had cake. O’Malley and Tom were both the happiest they’d ever been and even Till and Maddog were contented.

Halfway through Shaun of the Dead (one of Zella’s favourite films) the front door opened. “Hey, I’m home.” Penguins’ fourth roommate came into the room.

“Boss!” Zella squeaked.

“Eek! Ze Chairman!” O’Malley jumped about three feet in the air.

“WHAT. THE. HELL!!” Till Hammerette screamed.

“Uh… Hi.” The Chairman replied.

Happy birthday to my pal Pvt Donut. He's 12, I mean... 17 today.

Sunday, August 14

Story Saturday: Tom and Laura Work Together

Tom and I were talking to each other and realised that I only had 15 minutes to do a Story Saturday. Together we tried our best to get you a story worth reading. Instead you get this:

Story Saturday
By Penguins and Tom

It was a dark and stormy night... Again. Penguins swore that if they didn't pass the Anti-Weather Magic Act soon she was going to do something that only the witch down the road would regret. It wasn’t that it rained every night, it was that the witch knew the nights that Penguins wasn’t busy and made it rain on those nights. It’d been two weeks now since she’d had the chance to do any washing and her underwear was reaching a critical shortage.
Penguins sighed and closed her book, “Tom” she said, “we have got to do something about this, I don’t see why you can’t do some washing for a change.”
“Well you see my dear Penguins, it’s really quite simple. I am a man.”
“And?” Penguins asked, looking angry.”I only have flippers! I can’t do it properly!”
“I don’t know how to wash clothes. All I know is how to cook Mi Goreng and play Minecraft.”
“Don’t stereotype! At least you can make Mi Goreng. I may be a woman but every time I cook I burn something!” She shook her head. “Remember that Greek salad last week?”
“I think everyone on the street remembers the Greek salad from last week. I still hold that you burnt it on purpose because you think the firefighter are cute.”
“If you’re not going to do any washing then you should at least stop that witch’s it stupid weather spells for me!”
“I don’t want to go by myself, you know how shy I am. I wouldn’t be able to knock on the door without anybody there. Can’t you just call her?”
“You know she doesn’t believe in phones.”
“What, she thinks it’s better to talk to people in person?”
“No, she honestly doesn’t believe they exist. I’ve shown here photos but she says that they’re photoshopped.”
“She believed in photoshop but not phones?”

Saturday, August 6

Story Saturaday: Choose-Your-Way-Adventure Part 6

If you missed them, you can find part one, two, three, four and five here

“Woah now.” Tom backed up, prying Till’s fingers away from his collar. “Let’s not go making threats, alright?” Till ignored Tom’s attempt at diplomacy. She wanted information and she wanted it now. She swung the hammer at Tom again.

Tom drew a sword from his belt and blocked Till’s strike, by the hammer was still forceful enough to push him back a few steps. “Now, now, hold up.” Tom raised his hands but quickly had to drop them and raise his sword again when Till swung her hammer a third time. “Hold up!” Tom blocked her blow and stepped back out of reach. “I don’t want to fight a woman.”

Till glared at him. "Were you born without balls or did you just recently lose them?"

“Hey now! That’s just mean!” Tom crossed his arms defensively across his chest. It was a rather awkward gesture, with him still holding his sword. He unfolded his arms crossly and pouted. “I should let you know I’m rather well endowed, thank you very much.”

"He's like a hormonal teenage girl in a mansuit when he gets his feelings hurt." Someone whispered from across the bar.

“Hey!” Tom glared at the man who had spoken, but next to Till’s magnificently well-formed glare his looked like a pathetic frown on a cranky infant. “What’s with everyone attacking me today?”

“You’re a pirate! Fight back!” Someone shouted.

“Fighting women is not fitting with my character profile.” Tom retorted. “I’m surprisingly chivalrous.”

“If your chivalrous you wouldn’t mind helping out the lady.” A third man pointed out.

Tom thought about this. It’s true. If he was as chivalrous as he thought himself to be he would help out the lady. He sheathed his sword. “Okay, Miss Hammerette. I’ll help you out. I’ll take you to talk to Zella.”

“Madpup! Will you be my friend?” Penguins begged, reaching out her hand to pat him.

“No.” Maddog snapped his teeth at her extended hand.

“Madpup! Will you please be my friend?” Penguins begged, reaching out to pat him.

“No.” Maddog snapped at her hand but then sighed. “How much longer are you going to keep this up? It’s tiring.”

“I know what you mean.” Penguins replied. “I feel like I’m a robot stuck in an infinite loop but without the cool buttons and weapons and I don’t make beeping sounds. All I have is this -” She waved her umbrella at Maddog, “and can imitate sounds like this – beep beep bop beep bop bop beep – “

Penguins continued to beep while Maddog curled up into a ball with his paws over his ears. "I am visualizing putting duct tape on your mouth.” He muttered.

Footsteps echoed from down the corridor from which Penguins had come followed by a shriek. Penguins stopped beeping and looked up to see Laura with a very eerie, eerie Goth clinging to her., terrified. “Oh god!” the Goth squealed, “Its Maddog! We have to run away!”

“Run away?” Laura asked. “It’s a dog.”

“Maddog is the terrifying guardian of the Chairman’s lair. He’ll kill us all!”

“Don’t be silly.” Penguins told him. “Madpup’s my friend.”

“We never decided that.” Maddog growled.

Penguins rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. We all know you would have caved first.” O’Malley and Laura nodded and even Maddog had to agree.

Laura introduced O’Malley and explained how they were going to the Chairman. “Oh! I’m coming too!” Penguins hopped from foot to foot, excited and anxious to be on their way. Everyone glanced at Maddog.

“Fine,” He growled, “but I better get to maul someone.”

The group hadn’t gone far when O’Malley stopped. Laura turned to him, questioningly, and Maddog growled with impatience. “You know…” O’Malley began, “Now zat I have friends, scoldink the Chairman doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore.” He stroked his chin thoughtfully. “I don’t really need to go tell ze Chairman how I veel about him. I’d much rather go vor ice-cream.”

Zella was not what Till had been expecting. She had The Chairman’s right hand built up in her head as something of a James Bond villain – a black leather seductress – but instead she found a lanky college student with messy, waist length hair stuck under a collapsed pile of books.

“Are you sure this is the Chairman’s subordinate?” Till whispered to Tom, sure she had been misled.

“Yup. I’m certain.” He replied. “Isn’t she cute?”

Zella wriggled, trying to free herself from the pile of books. The pile was dislodged and books went spilling over her face. Zella whimpered as she disappeared under the avalanche. “Help! Someone! Get me out of here!” She cried.

“I will,” Tom announced, “in exchange for a kiss.”

“I know that’s you, Tom!” Zella cried from under the books, “And for the last time, I’m not kissing you! Now get me out from under here!”

“Alright,” Till stepped forward, “in exchange for some information on the Chairman.”

Does Laura

a) Go for Ice-cream with O’Malley

b) Continue with her mission to find the Chairman

Does Penguins

a) Go for Ice-cream with O’Malley

b) Continue with her mission to find the Chairman

Does Maddog

a) Go for Ice-cream with O’Malley

b) Go find the Chairman so he has someone to maul

c) Attack his new friends instead :O

Does Zella

a) Accept Till’s offer and tell her where the Chairman is

b) Accept Tom’s offer and give him a kiss

Wednesday, August 3

Everyone's a Hero

So I'm bored and haven't blogged in ages and for lack of anything interesting to write, I'm going to do this think Zella recently did on her blog where you put your Ipod/MP3 player on shuffle and answer the following questions with the song titles that appear. I've done it before in a note on Facebook where my iPod was obviously keen to embarrass me, but now I'm going to try again. I'll also link the songs, like Zella did. Sorry about the ads at the start of the Blink songs.

1. What do you like in a guy?
Over My Head (Cable Car) (the A Day to Remember cover). I don't like the implications of this...

2. What is your life's purpose?
Enjoy Your Day (Alkaline Trio). From the title, I'd say my purpose is simply to enjoy myself, from the lyrics, it's to be miserable while wishing happiness on others.

3. What is your motto?
Always (Blink-182). I guess I'll always try something? I guess?

4. What do your friends think of you?
Corporate Rock (Anti-Flag) My friends think I'm commercially oriented!? Well, I guess I deserve this after I told O'Malley that "if we were in a band and our manager suggested changing our sound I'd do it, after all, it's just good business". I'm such a sell out! *tears*

5. What do you think about very often?
The Ink and the Quill (Be Afraid) (Anti-Flag) One of my favourite songs that defined summer for me. When I think of summer I think of kites and driving around town with this song playing. So I guess I do think of it often, because summer was great and remembered fondly.

6. What does 2+2 equal?
Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial) (Coheed and Cambria) In BASE 4! (Wow. That worked out well! Also, I find this song hilarious because it's about an author arguing with his bicycle over whether or not he should kill off his favourite character, based on his ex-fiance, that he is still in love with. The line "What would you know, you're just a bicycle" cracks me up every time)

7. What do you think of your best friends?
Chemical Warfare (The Dead Kennedy's) When my friends and I get together we unleash deadly chemicals on country clubs. Just ask O'Malley.

8. What do you think of the person you like?
Paper Wings (Rise Against) A love song. Of course. One that says I'm not waiting for you.

9. What is your life story?
Andy, You're a Star (the Killers) Damn right, I'm a star. But my name's not Andy...

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Elf Tower New Mexico (Coheed and Cambria) Yep. I want to be a fantasy creature.

11. What do you think when you see the person you like?
Down (Blink-182) Feeling depressed because you love someone who doesn't respond. Adequate.

12. What do your parents think of you?
My List (the Killers) (This is making it look like I only have about four bands on my iPod) Well, it's basically a love song, but I guess you could apply it to caring about your children?

13. What will you dance to at your wedding?
Paperthin Hymn (Anberlin) A song of a dying loved one? Great.

14. What will they play at your funeral?
Cold War Transmissions (Anberlin) Sorry, iPod, but I've already chosen my funeral song. I'm having There Will be No Violins When You Die by I Killed the Prom Queen. Sorry.

15. What is your hobby?
Veronica Sawyer Smokes (AFI) This song is about Winona Ryder's character in Heathers, which I have not seen. So either it means I like smoking (I don't) or Winona Ryder films (I've only seen a couple). I'm going to say my hobby is making things smoke, thus, catching stuff on fire. Ask my old chemistry teacher. I love fire.

16. What is your biggest secret?
Shell Shock (New Order) Either I'm hiding a case of combat stress reaction or heartbreak. I guess.

17. What do you think of your friends?
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie) I've spent the entire of the song and more trying to figure out what this could mean. My friends are rock stars? Persona's of David Bowie? Well hung alien guitarists? I don't know.

18. What's the worst thing that could happen?
Seventeen Ain't So Sweet (The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus) The worst thing that could happen? People could start using the word "ain't" instead of "is not". Ain't is not a word. Use isn't, thank you very much.

19. How will you die?
Girl's Not Grey (AFI) I think... from the lyrics... maybe... I'm just doing to lay down and die one day. In saddened sleep.

20. What is the one thing you regret?
Hello Again (Lost Prophets) My biggest regret is hiding away from the world.

21. What makes you laugh?
From Heads Unworthy (Rise Against) This is a song about taking a stand and apparently I laugh at that. Why? Because I think it's funny that you think you could change anything. Hahahahaha.

22. What makes you cry?
Second Solution (The Living End) What can I say? Death Row is scary.

23. Will you ever get married?
The Tale of Sir Robin (Monty Python) I'm not afraid of marriage , but I might bravely run away.

24. What scares you the most?
Stationary Stationery (Anberlin) Being ditched by the guy I like, simply put.

25. Does anyone like you?
The Unwinding Cable Car (Anberlin) (Enough with the Anberlin already!) I guess? Not exactly a love song but it does have the line "I'll guard your heart".

26. If you could go back in time, what would you change?
Historia Calamitatum (Rise Against) The history of my calamities. When I go back in time I'm going to exploit it for the sole purpose of fixing the things that went wrong in my past. Because I'm selfish.

27. What hurts right now?
I Feel So (Box Car Racer) Everything hurts.

28. What will you post this as?
Everyone's a Hero (Nathan Fillion/Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) I shall do as you wish.

Well, unlike when I did this on Facebook, I didn't get too embarrassed by my music. There's no Naruto soundtrack playing at my funeral this time. I have to defend my iPod, though, I do have a greater variety of music then what is shown here. It's not only Anberlin and Blink-182. My shuffle just wasn't very inventive today.