Week 107 – Fledglings, Success And Rhino Skin

For this week we have a wee change. Apparently it’s as good as a rest. So I will get on with the review and take it from there.

First up this week was our versatile colleague Mr Nik Eveleigh. It is wonderful to see him have two stories up so close together. I think he’s also competing for the more comments to story ratio prize! There’s always a lot of interest when Nik writes. He has stated that it is costing him a fortune!

On Monday we had his cutting look into reality shows with ‘Car Crash TV

There is nothing that I can say about our second author of the week except this is one of his best and if you look at Fred Foote’s back catalogue, that is a bold statement.

The Milk Of Human Kindness‘ was published on Tuesday.

‘Frantic and loud, desperate and brutal.’

‘Brutality, humanity, inhumanity, tragedy, love, all within such a short word count.’

‘Your mind fills in the blanks.’

On Wednesday we had a third time contributor. Hopefully Mr GJ Hart will add more to his back catalogue as he never fails to interest. ‘Get Away‘ was next up.

‘The ‘meaning’ students will analyse this to death!’

‘Weird, but I like weird.’

‘Smooth writing and I love some of the word play.’

Another third timer was published on Thursday and again, we hope that Fred Skolnik keeps sending us more of his work. ‘In The Diner‘ was our penultimate story of the week.

‘The tension built well and the character of Vernon was disturbing.’

‘Just enough of a reveal at a time’

‘Fred took this from someone playing watching games to something much more sinister.’

And a first for us. We can only say that our new writer is Kathryn Lord who is very close to another of our authors. Due to confidentiality (…well courtesy actually, it is up to them to reveal themselves if they want to!) we aren’t telling!

So Friday’s post was a bit special, ‘What Grows In The Garden‘ was the last of the week.

We welcome Kathryn and hope she sends us more of her work and enjoys the experience.

Now for something not so much different but a bit rare.

On a few occasions we’ve come across a story that’s either unusual or out-with our guidelines but we all agree that we’d like this piece of work on site. It’s only happened twice before in our two year history.

This week we’d like to showcase Noah Henwood. We felt that his work was very well presented, well written and the story was one that deserved to be told.

Noah is a fledgling writer and all of us have commented on how refreshing it is to see someone in his age bracket being happy to write three pages of text instead of texting text of three pages!

All of us involved with this site; readers, writers, editors and those shy souls who only give us a thumbs up have a love for the art and craft of writing short stories. So we thought it would be apt for us to give Noah a taste of seeing his work in print (So to speak)

We’ve all been there. Think back to when you first saw your words published. I myself thought:

‘Well I can die now because that will last longer than me.’

It’s just that writing does make you live a bit longer!

Not that I am saying any youngsters should think about death, of course they shouldn’t. It should take about twenty to thirty tears before they realise that there is no hope, the world sucks, dogs are better than people, publishers are out to get you, your body hurts and technology isn’t ‘a good thing’!!

The worry with seeing success is that failure can be hiding in the shadows. But again, all of us who have done this for a while realise that this is part of it. And that’s a lesson that we all have had to learn pretty damn quick. The thickness of our skin is measurable against a rhinos!

But the secret is simply to enjoy what you do. You must do it for that reason first. If you think that way, then any success is a bonus and any rejection doesn’t matter. If you send anything away, it all comes down to the opinions of who reads the story and if you don’t know what Mr Eastwood said about opinions, look it up!

We had Noah’s lovely teacher, Deborah, contact us looking for more information. (We know that you were checking us out!!) And we appreciate that.

We cannot stress how important it is for all of us to have someone to bounce ideas off and to be truthful to us. I have the other four editors and Gwen. I strive for the day she says ‘Christ…I can’t believe you wrote that!’ But unfortunately I can’t shock her anymore…Or the other editors!

But being truthful has to be, well, truthful. If the criticism hurts from someone who loves you or helps you, what chance have you got out in the big bad world. If that happens book in for a rhino skin transplant and you’ll be fine.

Last thing to anyone who reads this (You know who you are!) please comment and give Noah a taste of what all of Literally Stories is about!

Hugh

All I have to do now is introduce our spotlight author, Mr Noah Henwood

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Judgement Day by Noah Henwood

“Pst! Gabe wake up. Guess what today is.”

“Ugh, is it your son’s birthday again already?”

“Nope. Guess again.”

“No thanks. I give up. What’s today?”

“It’s judgement day! See, look at the calendar.” He holds up a large stone circle carved with intricate designs. Circle after circle of glyphs encircled the ferocious face in the center of the stone. “Look! The Mayans called it, and I’ve waited long enough. All those plagues and floods are chump change compared to this. Get out of bed so we can begin humanity’s final reckoning!”

“Alright, let’s go.” They don’t move. The clouds do. The once-still, fluffy, white clouds that extend all the way to the horizon from every angle now race past them at lighting speed. As the world around them moves forward, holes in the cloud barrier let rays of light shine through like pillars up into the air. The world stops.

Let’s get to it!” He raises one arm and the clouds follow. A large circular globe forms from the cloud as it moves. A brilliant light radiates from the sphere and as it fades, the earth is shown in the globe.

“Wow, that’s impressive” said Gabe.

“I know, right? Now watch this. So I’ve been thinking for the longest time about how the world ends, and here’s what I’ve got. A giant meteor moves in from the east.” As he points his finger into the globe, a gigantic mass of rock forms in the space.

“You want to end humanity the same way as you did the dinosaurs?  Kind of unoriginal don’t you think?”

“Ugh, fine!” The meteor shatters when he removes his hand. “How about this. A giant dinosaur approaches from the-”

“Okay, now you’re actually being insane.”

“You know why? I’ve been doing the same disasters for years, and I’m tunnel visioned. I can’t think up creative ways to destroy all life anymore!”

“I don’t think you should destroy the earth yet.”

“What? This is the day we’ve both been waiting for and you want me to wait another few millennia? I think you’re the insane one here, Gabe.”

“No, hear me out. I think humanity still has some purity left in them. They can still achieve greatness in your eyes!”

“Okay, I’ll tell you what. If you can prove to me that humanity is “pure” and that they can achieve “greatness,” then I won’t destroy them. Sound good to you? Just kidding I seriously don’t care. I’m going to go put on my earth crushing gloves and then we can get this thing done.”

“Hold on! I accept your deal because I know that I can prove it.”

“Okay, I’m kind of interested. Go.”

“Look here.” Gabe puts his hands on the globe and slides them outwards. The earth zooms in and shows a young woman walking down the sidewalk.

“Who’s that?”

“That…is Barbara.”

“Who’s Barbara?”

“Well let’s look at your plans and find out.” Gabe turns and reaches down into the clouds. He pulls up an interconnected series of globes, similar to the one they were looking at. These globes are much smaller and they are all connected by strings of light. “Alright, look here. That’s Barbara walking down the street right there.” Gabe pointed at the orb stringing off of the one he had just pointed at. “Now as we keep going through her life you can see she is struggling.” Barbara is sitting down and eating a cheap meal while doing her college work. An alarm rings, so she gets up and grabs her coat before walking out the door and heading to work. “This is where things get special.” Gabe moves along the strings until he gets to an especially brilliant orb.

“A key event? So what? How does that make me not want to end the earth’s existence?”

“Look.” Barbara is in a lab coat and is looking through a microscope at a petri dish. She drops a small amount of some liquid into the dish. Within seconds her eyes widen as she realizes what she has created. She runs out of the lab.

“What was that? What did she find?”

“Barbara is proof that humanity has purity, and can still achieve greatness. Barbara isn’t given a thing in her life. She works hard every day in school until she finally is able to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor. She discovers the cure for cancer. She does nothing but good for the world, proving that people have goodness in them. Who are we to stop them from conquering the hardest obstacles that we set for them?” Gabe looked at him expectantly.

“I’m literally God! And you are my angel Gabriel! We have every right to stop them! We are the ones who created them!”

“Have I still not proven my point? If you destroy the world now, Barbara will never achieve her destiny. And after that what will we have proven? That God is a cruel being who only wants to snuff the very flame he set? By not letting Barbara complete her life and help the world, how can you say that you are loving? Maybe humanity has more purity than you realize. Maybe more purity than even you.”

“Pure, shmure. You haven’t shown me anything that I didn’t already know. I’m going to destroy the earth now.” He places both of his hands on the large globe and focuses on China. With his finger he creates a green gas ready to descend upon the country. The gas falls and morphs around in the air.”

“Wait! Stop!”

“What is it now Gabe?” He holds one hand in place on the globe and the earth stops spinning. The gas stands still. Time in the universe is put on hold.

“Don’t you think that the zombie apocalypse gas is kind of overused nowadays?”

“I thought that it was kind of creative. Way to shut down my creative spirit, Gabe.”

“You don’t have a creative spirit. You have a holy spirit and that thing sucks. Remember Halloween? The spirit went to the costume party as a spirate and went around saying “Have you accepted Jesus into your h-AAR-t? That thing is so annoying.”

“Okay! Let’s get back on task here. I won’t use the gas. I’ll just crush the earth and get this whole thing over with. You’ve taken all of the fun out of today.” He raises both of his hands, one on either side of the planet, and starts moving them towards each other. The earth is going to be pulverized in his grasp.

“Hold on one more time. Give me one last chance to show you what I meant. Look here.” The globe zooms in on a towering cathedral. “This is the National Cathedral. It is one of the largest religious monuments in all of America. It took 83 years to build and it is 676 feet tall. This statuesque monument to your glory was created by humanity. Don’t you see how great and creative they can be? Look it this.” The globe spins down to a giant statue. “This is Christ the Redeemer. It was built because after the separation of church and state in the Brazilian Republic, the people still wanted to be close to you. Humanity has done so many great and awesome things in your name. How can you say they are impure, or have failed you? You can’t simply wipe them out in this instant.” He lowered his hands.

“I guess you’re right Gabe. My children have created so much for me and this is how I would repay them? I can’t destroy them. Not yet.”

“Thank you. Now that that situation is dealt with, can I go back to bed?”

“In a bit Gabe. But first we have to make the new calendar. When should I schedule the end of the world? How does next year, same time sound?”

“Not so great. I have that vacation planned for this week next year.”

“Really? Where are you going?”

“Hell.”

“That sounds awful.”

“Well it’s a heck of a lot better than this place. At least they get barbecue. It’s going to be a devil of a time.”

“Alright then. I’ll schedule the apocalypse in 5 years. That okay?”

“Yeah I guess that will do fine. I’m going to get some sleep. See you in 5 years.”

“See you in 2017.”

***************

Images: Pixabay.com

6 thoughts on “Week 107 – Fledglings, Success And Rhino Skin

  1. I enjoyed the story very much. Yet it seems to me that those who hold the keys and codes that activate the End of Days Machine are paid by the hour, and that they are content to keep on piling up the overtime. Once again my serenity is perturbed by the heading image. Stick a mullet and a goatee on the otherwise handsome beast up there and you’ll have the person who lives in apartment 43–it looks a bit like HER boyfriend as well.
    L.A.

    Like

    • I can’t say it’s my aim to cause perturbation but must admit that any reaction makes me grin! He is a rather magnificent creature isn’t he, oh – yes, or she!!!

      Like

  2. Just a quick wee note to thank everyone who commented.
    And Noah, I wish you every success in your writing. You’ve made a damn fine start!!

    All the best.
    Hugh

    Like

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