Union [Writing Warm-Up #6, Final]

UNION [Writing Warm-Up #6, Final]
by T.A. Saunders

After five hundred and twenty years, I have returned. The last I saw this world, Europe was seeking trade routes to China, to trade silk, and Martin Luther sought to change the very foundations of your Christian religion. I saw Shakespeare rise, and Constantinople fall. It is truly a pity that the fine Muslim swordsman gutted the host I was using on that day, else I might have seen more of this world, slowly sinking into the mire of corruption. 

Oh, but my have things changed, and for the better I might add! As I soak the anguish, the rage and the despair from this host, I can also see his memories, his drugged delusions and I can see the hope he clung to till just now. There it goes! Out like a candle that’s burned down to its last, struggling to stay lit. Just a puddle of melted wax, and a charred bit of wick; that’s what’s left of his soul. Yes, Aaron was his name.

Going through his memories reads like a bad novel. All sadness, weeping and failure to live up to expectations. It’s this weakness I sup upon…well, all my kind do, really. Aaron wanted to be an astronaut as a boy. Loved his science, but struggled a bit with math. Grades. Yes, each ‘C’ was a lash from a father’s belt, between swigs of whiskey. He sought his mother’s eyes, but she always looked away, always said, “You should’ve done better. You need to obey your father.” Enablers are the best thing ever! Their passive role in torment, whether adult or child, is gasoline to the flame. Make it worse, make it so they break people like Aaron.

But he was spared a few lashes, wasn’t he? Spared because daddy was driving drunk and killed him and his mother both. That’s how he ended up with his grandfather. What that man lacked in the ability to inflict physical abuse, he certainly made up for in mental abuse. Honestly, if you’re going to abuse somebody, mental abuse is the best. No physical scars and you can claim the person is completely nuts. Another twelve years of being told he was a failure, being told he couldn’t go play with his friends and being forced to live like it was the 1950’s cracked what normality Aaron had. Fertile soil for the thing that lets me inside.

These early memories are the best. I can feel their deep, lingering pain like it was yesterday. Aaron still replays them in his head, sometimes even argues aloud, to himself. Says all the things he wanted to say then, to the dark, long after saying anything would have any meaning. So much easier to talk to the dark, when you want to say something, isn’t it? You don’t think anybody’s listening, but things do hear you. Things like me. Other things. Worse things.

All Aaron wanted was to be understood, to be accepted for who he was. But he wasn’t. Not at home, and not at school, where other children picked on him, pestered him and did what daddy wasn’t around to do anymore. Lashes of the belt were replaced with pummeling fists, hitting and smacking him for not conforming, not being as the rest of the herd was. Normal, normal, normal. Humans and their normal. Little prepubescent primates swinging their little arms, howling at whatever’s not like them and breaking it. It’s almost like having little, snot-dribbling minions really. Goblins that do my bidding, without me ever having to ask. Whatever resistance Aaron had to falling into the cool embrace of my shadow was destroyed by the monkey-goblins. Thank you monkey-goblins!

He never fought back once. Not one single time did he raise a hand to the monkey-goblin children, who beat their chests, howled at how different Aaron was, then beat him for not conforming. Not being a monkey-goblin. Aaron became something worse than a monkey-gobln. He became a dumpster for whatever chemical would make him forget, whatever he could drink to make him look cool to the monkey-goblins, or at least to other dumpsters like him. Misery does love company. Never forget that.

By the time everybody abandoned Aaron, he was a full dumpster. Full of anger, full of regret, full of dreams, visions and disjointed, impossible thoughts that could never be. The cracked glass of Aaron could never be a true, focused lense for anything real, anything that would be worth actually doing. Dealing meth, and smoking away half the product became more engaging than being an astronaut, or a physicist.

But even as drugs and misery sloshed and mingled inside broken Aaron, he never did quite become evil, did he? Angry at himself, weak-willed and tormented, but he never turned it on others. He always kept his torment to himself, let it harm himself, before he would let it harm others. Had this gentle side, hidden amongst the walls of pain and the gobs of drug-induced stupid. It’s why he felt so bad when he ran that poor beagle over with his grandfather’s Buick. The poor thing howled pitifully for a full half hour, after he sped away. Do old people always drive dog-killing Buicks?

But that will change, now that I’m driving Aaron. What remains of his struggling soul, I will consume, and add to myself. It’s an honor! I have devoured souls of Egyptian thieves, Roman harlots and British mass murderers. Aaron’s distinction will be in fine company to the other souls I’ve consumed, and made a part of me. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to enjoy killing people. It’ll give a power that drugs could never give him. It will feed him in a way that no approval could ever nourish him. He’ll feel strength when he clasps somebody’s throat, and squeezes. When life escapes in a gasp, from open lips that ask the unvoiced question of, “Why?”

“The why is power, Miss Chaise Michaels. Thank you for bringing me Aaron. Thank you for also bringing me your neck to squeeze. Aaron appreciates it, for all the suffering you’ve put him through.”

Now, to find a damned beagle, and convert it into a Hound of Hell.




Evaluation [Writing Warm-Up #3]

By T.A. Saunders


“Are you ready, Aaron? Are you ready for a new life?”

The words were soft and warm on my ear, as the unseen voice whispered them to me. I heard her, and her voice and the way she used it immediately aroused me. She wanted me, whoever she was. Must be a dream though, fucking weird dream, because I feel cold, and when I reach out to pull her from the darkness, my arms are held back by chains, and my feet can’t move at all. Shackled.

“What the fuck do you mean? Is this some kind of kink dungeon?”

Her laugh had the same effect as her voice. I wanted to lay this crazy woman, and I almost didn’t care if she had a pitbull face. If she was going to linger in the dark, I could imagine she was Christina Hendricks. I was confused though, because the last thing I remembered, was waking up in a hospital, with my grouchy ass grandfather, and some doctor. Maybe that was it? Maybe a nurse took me home, and locked me in her kink dungeon. Best kidnapping ever!

“No, Aaron. I’m preparing you for evaluation. I’m Doctor Michaels. I oversaw your treatment at the hospital.” She explained.

“Evaluation? What kind of evaluation needs me to be chained up? Because I’m no subbie! I’m dom all the way! So, uh look here, unchain me or else!” It really sounded convincing in my head, but seemed to lack the gusto I intended when the words peeped out of my mouth like some panicked duckling that fell behind the duck line. I really don’t like ducks either. I definitely wasn’t a duck in a past life.

“The evaluation can be a little upsetting, Aaron.” Even in the dark, I could feel her lips were close to my left cheek. I really wanted to turn my head and kiss this bitch, just to prove chains don’t have shit on me, but I thought better of it. Her soft, gentle voice, combined with that warning, made me a little uneasy. I knew I got banged up in that fall, but what happened that I needed to be chained up?

“This isn’t the psycho ward, is it?” I already knew the answer, but I just wanted to make sure. I wasn’t completely sure I wasn’t hallucinating, or caught up in some vivid dream. I really wanted this to be a dream, because this bitch talking to me is going to have tits for days, and red hair, and…

“No. You’re in a special ‘facility,’ however.” Her soft voice shook me out of my attempting to make her come out a certain way in my imagination. “I’m afraid the restraints will have to remain on for a bit longer, Aaron. Please try to understand, it’s really for your own good.”

For my own good. I’ve heard that a lot. Getting sent to my grandfather’s when I was ten was for my own good. Him beating me unconscious was for my own good. Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of people doing things for my own good, but I really liked her voice. Maybe just this once it would be for my own good. Maybe.

“I’ll try.” It’s all I can give the mystery woman with the soft voice. A lot of things don’t make sense, and as I reflexively test the restraints again, with a soft clank of the chains, I realize that whatever sense I’m going to make out of whatever predicament I’ve gotten myself into is irrelevant.

“What am I being evaluated for, exactly?” I ask, because why not? I’m chained up near a probably beautiful woman I can’t see. Good as time as any to make small talk, right?

“For your spiritual feculence,” She replied in that same breathy voice. I don’t even know what feculence means, but this suddenly went New Age, fast.”If Y`Sil, Master of the Living Dark, finds you suitable, He will wipe your mind, your memories away, and make you his vessel.”

“Wait, he wants to make me his boat?” This really was a messed up dream!

Flying [Writing Warm Up #1]


By T.A. Saunders

I always dream of flying. It’s a world of grays, whites and overbrightness. It’s a world devoid of the joys of color, but one I’m pleased to suffer; I have a sense of elation, despite the minor sensory discomforts. I’m always squinting, always looking, but never quite finding. Flying around like a hawk maybe, but I imagine hawks usually catch things. Maybe more like one of those stupid finches that are always hitting windows, and mailboxes. I’m left unfulfilled by the end of the dream, which makes me think it’s more real than not. Makes me think I had been a bird once, in a past life. I really hope I wasn’t a finch though. Stupid finches.

The absurdity of those words is something that I both accept and further, feel no need to defend. Past lives are part of religions around the world, and there are people all over the world claiming to be Elvis, Jim Morrison or fucking Jesus. Jesus is the most popular reincarnated person I’ve never met. Considering these things, me thinking that I was once something so inconsequential as a bird in a past life, hardly seems insane, or even remotely far fetched.

Now, as then, I find myself unfulfilled. I’m trapped in this meat sack and I can’t get out. I can almost feel my brain wanting to claw its way out of this feeble body, with no care or consideration to bone, muscle or precious organs. Meat chains. I want to get out of this fucking body and fly like I once did, like I once could, but I can’t get out. I’m trapped in this reincarnation, I am trapped in this existence where I must heed the word of those who are my intellectual inferiors, I must smile, nod and seem pleasant to coworkers that, I’ve often postulated are really just well-trained chimps, that some asshole decided to shave and stick in a work force.

But there I remain. In here, trapped. Trapped with my thoughts, trapped with my dreams of a life that will not allow me to forget. The curse of a human mind is that it works so well. It remembers things you cannot make yourself forget. You cannot line item delete painful memories, sorrowful moments and the scars of abuse that the world, and people who say they love you carve into you. All I want to do is fly and escape that ‘love’ that does more to bleed than to nurture. Barbed wire round and round until its cutting from all directions and there’s no room to keep beating.

The dreams are so vivid, that I wake feeling more exhausted than I was when I went to sleep. I don’t believe in the Christian mythology, but I don’t believe in all the crazy New Age hoodoo either. This girl I know in Memphis claims to be a Wiccan and has had more abusive relatives, tragedies and heartaches than a season of “Supernatural,” and she tells me that I’m Astral Projecting. She also told me she can do it better than me. I think if she were any more full of shit, she would cause a fecal matter detonation of such monumental proportion, they would have to call the event, “The Really Incredible Shitstorm of 2015.” That, and I don’t believe in Astral Projection either, but something’s going on. Something I can’t explain, something that won’t stop, because my wonderful human mind won’t forget something my soul remembered. Should have been reincarnated as a fucking dog. I really like beagles.

So I’m standing here, doing the only thing I can do. The only thing that makes sense. The only way I can escape. Once I jump off the top of this building, I’ll know who I really am. I will know if I’m supposed to fly in this meat suit, or if I really am crazy. If I’m wrong, from this height, I won’t have to worry about medical expenses or a psychologist, that’s for sure. I’m not afraid though. Spent my whole life afraid of loved ones, not loved ones, afraid of everything. But I’m not afraid of this. I’m smiling. I’m smiling because either way, I’ll be free. Gonna fly now.

Oh shit, what if I was a beagle?


Where I am and Where I’m Going

I’ve taken to a more relaxed blogging schedule. As this is a lightly-traveled blog I don’t feel particularly bad about cutting down the time I spend on it to address other projects I have waiting for me. I’ve decided to let this blog sit for a little while to get those other projects off the ground and running.

I’ve had The World of Imarel hanging on my back on and off for 25 years now.  For those familiar with the archaic free form/semi-free form role-playing that takes place on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), it has dwindled down into a small, fractured but resilient community. My own channel, #imarel (yes, it’s hash-tagged, because that’s how channels were designated before the advent of Twitter) is growing in popularity despite the overall decline in people who wish to RP via a textual interface, but the rules, lore and other information isn’t complete. For the first time however, I can honestly say I’m pretty close to being done with it. So, while this blog sits idle for awhile, that will be one of the things I work on. It’s honestly a labor of love and nothing more, a labor of love I need to finally get off my plate.

More importantly I also need to put more time and effort into writing. I feel I’m growing as a writer that I now need to give just putting the words down to the proverbial paper a lot more time than I have been. I’ve been spending a few months doing character studies, writing down story ideas and generally researching how to flesh out my characters better. “Traveler” was a step in that direction.  I will eventually write Story Two for “Traveler” but for now that will sit until I feel I’ve given my writing the focus it deserves. I have the story idea already shaped out for the second series but like I said, I need to start looking at the bigger picture.

Till next time!

TRAVELER — PART VII, An Unexpected Answer


An Unexpected Answer

Mars had declared its independence from the governments of the Earth something like thirty years ago. There had been a concern about history’s first interplanetary war, but it didn’t go down like that. The colonies of Mars were self sufficient and simply wanted their autonomy from their respective governments (in this case, the United States and China) to exist how they wished.

Donna had been working as a US Ambassador to Mars at the time and she had been back and forth between Earth and the Red Planet more times than I’d like to recall. We had just gotten married and it put a strain on things, but we managed. It helped knowing she was doing something important for not only Earth but for Mars as well. When it was finally done, I remember the marathon sex and her unending need to eat real food, instead of that stuff they make with the food replicators.

I think of this now as Earl and I touch down on Mars, because right now we’re looking at the very colony Donna had gone to in order to do her work. The Armstrong Colony was situated in the Valles Marineris and had been the site for many of the negotiations between the US, China and the United Colonies of Mars. They didn’t have much of a military back then, but what they did have was enough to make taking the colonies back by force more expensive than either nation was willing to pay. In the end, it always comes down to money. As we look at the massive anti-starship batteries and the milling of troops coming in and out of the large, domed complex I see a lot has changed in those thirty years.

“Shit,” Earl began, “Look at all that hardware. Those are M-76D hover-tanks!”

“Yeah, US military hardware, but how did they get those? Any of this stuff?”

“Dunno. But this doesn’t look like a colony anymore than my mother-in-law looks like a woman. Suppose we have a look around and see what’s goin’ on here?”

“Probably a good idea. Let’s go.”

My first inclination was that they were on high alert because the Earth was basically obliterated. Without the Earth, Mars’ own orbit would be effected, though it’s impossible to say how. Could it be the result of an alien invader? We’ve not exactly scored well diplomatically with the Alpha Centarians or the Skull Nebula Confederacy but neither has been war-like. Not like this. Even as advanced as the Skull Nebula Confederacy is, they were more interested in hustling us their old technology for mining rights on the Moon than blowing us up. The implications of what could have happened were staggering.

Earl and I floated past the myriad of soldiers and military equipment towards the colony proper. It was a huge, domed complex that was built around a giant terra-forming tower. Because the fusion reactor within it gave off so much heat, a thermal dome was built around it to help create a habitable environment for humans while the atmosphere composition was being changed. It would likely be another fifty or so years before people will be able to live outside these domes, but the change will be a leap for Mankind.

It was amusing to me that Earl and I could simply cross the threshold and move about the busy colony complex without being detected, detained or questioned. We drifted through bustling crowds and the botanical garden stations that made up the majority of the colony dome’s interior, until we came to the center pavilion. What I saw there struck me dumbfounded.

“T-That’s Donna.” I managed to stammer. “Why is she kneeling before that Alpha Centurian?”


 End of Story One



To Mars!

I’ve traveled a few times through space via solar sail but to travel through space as a ghost, as living energy was an experience that I couldn’t possibly been prepared for. The solar sail takes a month to make the voyage and you have all the creature comforts of a cruise ship but it’s sterile. You really don’t have a concept of traveling because its so comfortable, so smooth. But as a ghost I’m naked to the space around me. Distant stars streak by and I can move as fast as I want to. I can see Earl next to me and we like a pair of translucent comets streaking across the great expanse of space with no limits to how fast we can go and where we can go.

I don’t know if I still exist because of the unresolved issues with Donna or if I’m simply going to always be this way, but since nobody throws a manual at your head and says, ‘This is how to be a spirit!’ I’m sort of learning it as I go. Earl, between fart jokes, stories of his sexual escapades and his lamenting that he’ll never see the Tennessee Titans play football again, has actually been some help with the week or so he has on me in ghost time. Also assuring (and terrifying) is that a spirit seems to be able to survive the destruction of a planet. It makes sense though, being incorporeal. I suppose I always assumed the destruction of a place a ghost haunts would mean the release of the ghost. Maybe there is still some truth to that, but not in Earl’s case.

I’m distracted from my random thoughts as Mars rushes up on us. As we crest over Deimos, the Red Planet rises to greet us. While not nearly as populated as the Earth was, the small Terra-forming colonies and scientific laboratories the United States and China have peppered the surface with have given it a sense of newness. Like life can go on despite the horror that I’ve witnessed not terribly long ago.

“Always thought Mars looked like a big, round sky turd. Like a Space Rabbit took a dump and hopped off to Jupiter.” I could always count on Earl to offer deep though-breaking commentary.

“That’s really…I really don’t know what to say to that Earl.” I muttered

He was giving me that satisfied smile, like he said something profound and stumped me. I begin to wonder if my new spectral powers include the ability to steal that stupid hat of his and hit him with it every time he gives me that look.

“Well, we’re here. Now what?” he asks.

“They must have had some sort of news on it.” I explained. We’re going to have to just start looking until we find out what people there know. It’s weak, but it’s a start, right?”

“Hey, maybe while you’re doin’ that I can go possess a woman and have me some alone time!”

“Earl will you shut up? I—wait a second. Yo know how to possess people?

“Sure. It’s not that hard. You just have to be real smooth about it.”

“You’re going to have to show me that trick later. Might come in handy.”

“Man you have no idea! Woo!”

“Let’s go back to, shut up Earl.”

I could almost feel him flipping me off as I flew ahead of him and allowed myself to plummet through the thin atmosphere. There was a certain rush knowing that I could free-fall like this and be in no danger of dying, since I’m already dead. It’s strange how we always think of death as something horrible and initially it is. But if it weren’t for the grievous circumstances of my death and that of eight billion others, I might actually enjoy being dead.




I closed my eyes and attempted to focus. Earl’s dialog about having the urge to scratch his privates as a ghost, despite having no reason to itch them was distracting to say the least. Rather than the less than savory image he presented, I filled my mind with visions of my wife, my Donna.

She was wearing a pale yellow sundress last night at our BBQ, it brought out the gentle tanning of her skin and brought out the straw color of her hair. I could almost smell the chicken and bratwurst I had been grilling while she laughed and carried on with our friends, Peggy and Kevin. The light from the stupid tiki lanterns she had insisted on filled the area around the pool in a pleasant glow. I remember looking up at the stars as I grilled, thinking that the night had been especially clear. Certainly not the sort of night that you’d expect the Earth to just end like it had.

I’m floating in those stars now, not unlike the debris that marks the remains of my home, my world. I reach out with my conscious and attempt to feel her presence somewhere in the vast, drifting wasteland of Once-Earth, but I find nothing. I’m greeted with a sense of great emptiness, speckled with pinpoints of passing energy, possibly other spirits that are doing what I’m doing. Maybe they’re looking for loved ones or just a stranger in the void. Somebody to assure them that they’re not alone in the world. Should I ever encounter one of those lost souls, I’ll give them Earl.

“You know what I really miss? Pork rinds! Mmm! Dip those bad boys in hot sauce and watch your eyes tear up and your pants burn off!” Earl is supposed to be not distracting me and his answer to that task is to distract himself by babbling.

I don’t bother dignifying his prattle with an answer. I reach out with my mind once more, further this time. Beyond the scope of the debris field, beyond the space I can see. I feel as though I’m attempting to fill a jug of water with just enough pinholes in the bottom that water never quite fills it but never quite runs out either. I’m at a mental stalemate with the Universe, as I allow my mind to extend out as far as it will go. Besides a momentary itch at the edge of my perception, there’s nothing. No sign of Donna and for that I’m pleased and sad. I can’t remember my last words to her because I was so drunk I’m sure I stammered them. I remember her laughter as light and amused. She was happy. I’ll have to be satisfied with that and the fact she won’t be caught in this Purgatory like I am.

“Think we’re done here.” I announce. “I can’t sense her.”

“Probably for the best. Means she probably died painlessly.”

I stared at Earl for a long and uncomfortable moment, long enough to make my burly ghost companion slightly self-conscious. But it’s not anger at him, it’s befuddlement at myself for not even considering why the Earth exploded or broke apart or whatever the hell it did. I had done the same thing with Donna; it was as if, as a spirit I’m designed to have a measure of apathy for living matters. Earl displays the same thing in his own crude way. What ghost tries to make fart noises with his armpit, while somebody’s looking for their loved ones? Perhaps its a coping mechanism for those who pass on, so they can finally leave this world. A depletion of one’s humanity to forget and to fade away. Except I wasn’t ready to fade yet. I was ready for some answers.

“So now what?” Earl looked like he was eager to explore the girl ghost possibility again.

“We’re going to Mars. I want to know how this happened.” Maybe then I could fade away. Maybe then I could be with Donna again, once the questions in my mind were answered.