Archive for October 2012

Futzing with my website

Rather than do something useful, I have yet again decided to futz with my website. Though it was sort of needed. An I have to say I am quite impressed with the website debugging/developing tools in Google Chrome. The Chrome Developer Tools allow you to look at every element on a web page, all of its properties and edit them as you would like. Pretty damn nice.

Things are progressing pretty well in my class, now I need them to put out the list for next term to see what I want to do there. I think I might take something with a bit different time commitment. Right now I have ten stories to read and critique and one of my own to write. Which leaves me with about no time to work on anything else. Have given up the idea of having the novel project done for Thanksgiving, think I might shoot for Valentines Day now, given the wasteland that exists after Thanksgiving until after New Years (wasteland in the sense of getting anything done other than the 5 major holidays, including 13+ people over for Thanksgiving with 3 racks of ribs and a full sized turkey to smoke and a trip to Puerto Rico for Christmas and New Years). But, I enjoy talking and spending time working through stories and being around people who will argue the finer points of story craft and plot, so I am intending to take another course down at Grub Street.

Luke W. McCullough
Arlington, MA
Freezing my tush off waiting for the Frankenstorm

p.s. The design aesthetic I was shooting for was minimal with most of the accents through typography. I wanted to use Futura, but it is not available on the PC and the substitute is Verdana, a font I have a love hate relationship with. So, instead I thought I would try out the latest in Web/Font technology and embed a font to be downloaded for my site. And what do you know, it works. This future is pretty cool. So, I am using Open Sans here as the main font, pretty readable and has a bit of a different look. I think the site serves it purpose and is not offensive to look at. A bit spartan, but that was what I was shooting for. Maybe I will add back in some color, but for now the black and white with red accents for links works for me.

Story Number 4

I am taking a course right now that is called: “10 Stories in 10 Weeks.” Surprisingly, the goal of the class is to write 10 stories and have 9 of them critiqued in 10 weeks of class. So, here is my current story for this week. A sweet little tale I have decided to call: Lovesong.

Lovesong

Jackson opened the gate and entered the field. He was careful to close the gate behind him. He noticed that the daisies had stopped moving and everything was as still as death.

###

Jackson had moved the park-bench out here by the gate a few years back. He liked to sit and watch the field. He liked to watch the tall grasses and flowers on the other side of his fence. They were all his fences, the ones out here that faced out towards the field and the plains beyond. He walked the fences, made sure they were still secure and fixed them when they needed it.

He paced in front of the park-bench, back and forth, back and forth. His equipment, the shovel and the belt of tools he carried to fix the fences, were on the park-bench. He had been crying. His eyes were bloodshot and raw. He had run out of energy to cry anymore. He looked at a figure on the outside of the fence.

“It can’t end this way,” he said, again.

He paced for a while and then sat down next to his tools.

“You want me to walk away? Leave all this?”

The figure on the outside of the fence did not answer.

The field changed year after year as different species of grasses, flowers, and weeds fought for domination of the now abandoned plain. This year daisies had claimed a large swath of land in front of the gate. Daisies that were dancing in the early evening wind.

“Back in town, you know they opened up a new block today? Adults say it is only going to be a few more months, a year at most till they reach the library.”

He laughed.

“Yeah, yeah I know. They have been saying that for years. Don’t make it go any faster.”

He stood up and kicked at the ground. He managed to dig up a few small stones.

“Going to be a good party down there tonight. Bruce said there was a nightclub, so you know he was excited. The way they were packing, looks like Stella and her crew have found something down there as well.”

Jackson picked up a couple of the stones from the ground and tossed them at the fence. The figure outside the fence twitched as each stone hit. It was a ten foot tall cyclone fence, topped with razor wire. There was a gate here, locked up with a thick chain and a heavy lock. Tied to the gate was a girls sweater, white with a pink bow on one side, splash of blood on the other.

“You really don’t care, do you?” Jackson said.

The figure on the other side of the fence shuffled back and forth following Jackson as he paced.

“Here I am, prattling on about all the minutiae, all the crap that is going on around here. Doesn’t really matter any more, does it?”

The figure on the other side, mumbled a response.

“Yes, I guess that is the only reply you would give me. You know I can’t do it. Follow what was our plan, but leave without you. I wish I could.”

Jackson walked over to the gate, and pulling a key ring from his belt, unlocked the gate and started unwinding the chain.

“Come, follow me over here.” Jackson said.

He walked up along side the fence about ten paces, the figure on the other side shuffling along shadowing him the whole way.

“Can you believe that it was not always grasslands out there? That before, there were housing developments, and roads, and people out there? They all burned. Back in the day, when things changed.”

He smiled.

“You hated that. You hated when they tried to sugarcoat it. When the adults would hint at it, instead of talking about what happened. How they wouldn’t talk about it.”

Jackson took one look out of the fence and started to reach out to the figure, but he stopped himself. He turned around and walked quickly, almost ran, back to the bench and grabbed his shovel.

“Our parents were the survivors. This wasn’t supposed to happen any more. They trained us to survive here. To avoid this.”

He looked out at the field and the figure.

“I have to do this. I can’t walk away.”

Jackson opened the gate and entered the field. He was careful to close the gate behind him. He noticed that the daisies had stopped moving and everything was as still as death.

###

He was still carrying his shovel.

The figure shuffled over to where Jackson now stood. No one had ever figured out what animated the dead. What force allowed them after death to continue to walk, and eat, and kill. The figure had once been a girl about the same age as Jackson, but someone had slit her throat from ear to ear. She had short, cropped black hair that was caked in blood. She might have once been pretty, but her skin was ash grey and her eyes deep, black pits. She wore what was left of a white dress, that was stained brown with dried blood. Seeing he was on this side of the fence, she shuffled toward him even quicker.

“I am sorry Lisa. I am so sorry,” Jackson said.

He swung the shovel up over his head like he was chopping wood with an axe and brought it down on her head with a crunch.

She stopped shuffling forward.

Winding up he swung the shovel like a bat and struck her in the left hand side of her head.

His blow loosened her head from her neck. She fell to the ground, but her limbs were still twitching.

Jackson spun the shovel around and brought the handle, which had been sharpened for just this purpose, down and through her skull. She stopped moving.

“I’m sorry. But, someone did this to you. They tied your sweater here. They wanted me to find it. They wanted me to find you. I know you would want me to walk away. You would laugh at me promising to punish whoever did this, or anything like that. I can’t, I’m sorry. This isn’t for you. I need to know which one of those corpse pounders did it.”