The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch. 5: A Touching Moment

From the author: Hi guys. Thanks to everyone who has been reading! I just want to apologize for font and size inconsistencies between chapters. It’s a matter of the original draft having been copied and pasted between different word editors, and then copied and pasted into WordPress. The layout I’m using on my blog has one font and size available… but I don’t want to choose a different blog template just for The Foreigner. Big sigh. I’ll try to get it all sussed out. In the mean time… think of it as… a novelty? See the double meaning there? Eh? Eh? 🙂 Also any comments or criticism are welcome! Thank you!

*~*~*~*~* On vis ze story! *~*~*~*~*

Benjamin Taggart is tossing and turning on his blocky king-sized mattress. He sits up, his dark hair in a tousle, his eyes wide. He can’t stop thinking about the little fish disappearing in a blink of light. He can’t stop thinking about outer-space.

His heavy, 13-size feet hit the rough wooden floor, as he sits for a moment before slowly rising. The house, like any, is a different animal at night. It floats peacefully underneath the stars, unnoticed until morning. Benny always liked being up at night, sharing in this pensive moment, but tonight his mind is elsewhere. Tonight, all he can think about is that strange, foreign creature lurking in the tank. He walks into the kitchen, past the long dining table, and retrieves a pitcher of water from the refrigerator, pouring himself a cup. But after just one sip he stands motionless, and he soon sets the glass down and walks back down the hall.

He contemplates the creature for a long while. He realizes that he hasn’t actually touched it: When he and Jane initially retrieved it, they used a towel. Abruptly, he stands, takes one step toward the cage, and dips his hand into the water.

Walls. These walls… stop me. If I am still, they do not assault me. If I try to leave, they attack me. My world is small here. It is simple here. It is still here. I stay here, not moving, and nothing happens. I dream, sometimes, of the great brilliant orbs of light, their homes in the darkness, dancing in circles; dancing in spirals.

I dream of smells and sights and colors… but they are distant… were they ever real?

I stay here in eternity. Nothing but my dreams and the lulling, soft caresses of this heavy air comfort me. Sometimes when I am very still, when I am not wallowing in miserable boredom, I sense this movement. It is outside me. It is outside the violent walls. It is outside of everything. It pulls me, gently, as though I am on the back of a great monster moving ever so slowly through existence. I take comfort with this monster. We move together.

THINGS ARE MOVING! Sudden change! The heavy air swirls, buffets against me, knocking me, turning me! VIOLENT AIR. And then… calmness. A touch. A firmness. A million little … tingling…

Little worlds. The center is chaotic, but held in order… like me, in my cage. Dancing, dancing planets… vibrating light, delicate balance. They clasp to each other. There is a universe of them. And then… rushing liquid, thumping rhythm, a machine made of sound and light, a dance of life, of memory and movement. The rhythm never stops. The dancers never stop.

Skin flakes. Hair follicles. Messengers! Always moving, running to and fro, they are sucked up, they are spit out, swimming, zipping around. Electrical currents zapping across the trees, lighting up the forest, dancing, sizzling, twinkling. On. Off. On. Off. A circus of sparks, an unending orchestra.

Oh, how this thing functions! And then… sights, sounds, colors, tastes… enveloping me, delighting me.

I am taller than everything else. My head swims above the ground, always pulling. My feet carry me, sway me forward, step to step. My limbs hang heavily. I am in the water. No, I am above the water. The surface below me is hard. Its colors are aligned. Boulders move in my head, gnashing, echoing in my ears.

I float above a smaller one like me, his eyes are round and blue, his hair is soft and shines like the sun. There is a connection to him, a bond. He does not speak, but I understand.

A stranger. Fiery head. Noises. My home is not my home. I feel her space.. it pushes and nudges me, little twinges in my brain.

Water. I am always on the water. The world is not still–it tilts, it sways. The sea is a god who gives me gifts. They make me think of the smaller one with sunshine hair. I dream of a monster, a beast, a different god. A god who would bring me glory, happiness, riches. I build the walls–the violent walls. I fill them with heavy air. And I wait.

Benjamin removes his hand from the water, his eyes drifting, and stumbles backward into the old lounge chair. He sits there for a long time.

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Writing Prompt: Heavy Lifting

This is a writing prompt I came up with: Think of a time you had to physically lift something you weren’t sure you would be able to. How did you feel facing the situation? Did you succeed? How did you feel afterwards?

In wisdom we spend a lot of time highlighting “inner strength,” and it’s interesting to think about how our physical abilities effect us mentally–even something as simple as lifting a heavy object, or accomplishing a task you weren’t sure you could.

Ping me back!

The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch. 4: Gone

Phooooooh. Excuse me! Let me dust off my HTML skills for a moment. This chapter is very experimental. PLEASE let me know what you think!

On with Chapter 4:

The next day, the fisherman puts another fish in the tank. He sits back and watches for a long time, but the fish and the creature just face each other, as before. It looks like staring, but the creature has no visible eyes.

Swimming. Swimming. What’s this? Where is food? Predator? No escape. Swimming. Swimming. No food. Predator not attacking. Not predator…. but… shiny…

Benny can not believe his eyes. He has never seen a fish stay still for so long–he had been sitting there for an hour, munching on chips in the old recliner chair, the previous pile of junk it held on the floor beside him.

“Jane!”

This tank is getting bigger. The world is getting bigger. What are these shining lights?

“Jane!!” He remembers that she had gone out to set the boat up. He looks at the fish, and then the door.

****

LITTLE FISH HAS A BIG VISION

Once the world was a simple place.

I swam. I ate.

Sometimes food was available. Sometimes it was not, and I would wait. That was pretty much the gist of it–a good, simple life.

Then I find out my world is but a small one inside another, greater, endlessly vast world of land-plants, great loping monsters that move around, their long hairy limbs swinging. It was them all along–feeding me, lighting me. I am but a small existence in their giant universe. Catapulted, I am, through weightless, fluffy water as strange islands of white mist twirl around me, envelope me, caress me, blow me away like a great gust of sea tide. I am but a leaf tumbling in a hopeless wind, waiting for the ground to hit. But something much bigger hits me. As the ground beneath me floats away, the whole planet becomes a glimmering little blue-and-white balloon, and I am overwhelmed by a glorious shining light. Its brilliance is awe-inspiring. I am struck, frozen, shocked like a bone-shaking epiphany, a symphony of spirit, a catalyst of evolution. It glimmers at me like a God, like a big warm mother shining down on me. And then, as I am filled with the warmth of my mother, as I wish for her embrace, I turn away from her and my heart explodes.

There is a universe of lights.

They march in a line; floating, dancing around the universe, filling its void, curving around eternity. I spin around with them; I dance… I am… but a light… a shining light in the sky…

Now forever is my home, the void is my friend, and the lights are my family…

I am…

“Gone. It’s gone!”

“Seriously, Ben? C’mon, let’s go eat.” She pats his arm as he gapes at the tank.

“You don’t understand, it was very bizarre. The fish was just staring at the creature…”

Jane gives him a big sigh.

“It ate the fish.”

“No, I’m tellin yeh, I was looking–“

“You must have looked away. Or blinked. Hell you’ve been staring at that tank for hours, you probably zoned out.”

“It didn’t eat it!”

She just sighs again and walks into the kitchen.

“It’s from the sea, Benny,” she calls over her shoulder. “It eats fish.”

Uncategorized

Dark Glass–A Photo Prompt

ff

A slender hand of gentle apricot color reaches out to brush the dead flowers. A decorative shell of something once beautiful. She touches the sweet-smelling lavender sprig hanging before the window, and regards the dark glass. Jenny’s slender frame is draped with silk. The soft lace curtains are draped so delicately around the black glass–so harsh.

Breath coming quickly, voice coarse, she says through clenched teeth: “I hate everything.”

A slender hand swipes at the vase, knocking it to the floor. Soft feet delicately step around the shards of porcelain. The door slams shut behind her.

Inspired by Photo Prompt

The Foreigner

The Foreigner ch. 3: Feeding Time

A note from the author: For anyone reading, sorry there has been a delay in posting part 3. I have been conflicted over which characters and elements from the original draft I should include here in order to keep the finished story meaningful and consistent. The original draft has large chunks of comprehensive prose interspersed with just crazy rambling ramblingness. That’s kind of how Nanowrimo works–you write anything and everything you can, because please god please let me finish this 50k words in 30 days. I wrote the first part of the story without knowing there would be a second part. So the question “Where am I going with this?” comes up a lot. There are also some characters that were added way late in the game, so their insertion into the story is jarring, giving me a lot of bumps to smooth out unless I just want to delete large sections of my story (and I already have.) Anyway, if you are reading, thank you! Please remember this is an experiment and also my first novella.

*~*~*~*~* On with Part 3! *~*~*~*~*


The misty harbor is home to boats of various size and color. They hover around, bobbing, waiting to be taken somewhere. Each one seems to be a little different–some with a flat bed, some with a large bed and small drivers cabin, others with a rather boastful drivers cabin and upper deck. They are all adorned with painted titles, proudly displayed on the helm of the cabin or across either side where they are sure to be seen; “Sea Mistress,” “Ol’ Nessa,” or “McConnally.” Mostly middle-aged men with hooded slickers stand around, sipping cups of coffee, shootin’ the shit before they have to get to work. The occasional shouts are heard from boat hands who are getting an early start untying boats from the dock.

Benny and his small son stroll by at a safe distance, Cecil’s eyes always wide, taking in every detail, as if he hadn’t seen the docks a hundred times before.

“Thank God it’s my day off,” Benny grumbles. “Oy!” He returns a wave from a fellow fisherman before veering toward the coffee stand. It is perched right off to the side of the harbor–a modest little stand nestled between houses which face the harbor and shops that run along the street leading into town.

“Benny! What’ll it be?” The shop’s main function is to supply fishers with much-needed caffeine in the wee hours of the morning.

“A coffee please.”

“Aye!”

The fish market is further into town, still on the edge, but more accessible than the docks. With two large bags of fish, Benny and Cecil make their way back home, just as the sky is lightening.

A lanky, skinny woman, lollops past them with drooping shoulders, her back slightly curved, her legs like sticks, her arms like spaghetti. Her face is pretty, but pointy, and covered in dark make-up. Her ears have several piercings and her hair is black and spiked upward.

“Who is that, da?” Cecil whispers when they are several paces past the strange woman.

Benny chuckles.

“New in town, I ‘spose, son. Looks different, eh?”

“Yeaaaaah,” Cecil says breathily, turning back to stare. His father yanks his little hand.

*~*~*~*~*

As the morning marches on, the sun is rising and the air is warming, lifting the mist from their comfortable resting place amongst the hills. The mists, like everyone else, must get up and get on with the day.

Little feet make small, muffled noises as their owner pitter patters through the house. They carry him through the kitchen, but it is empty. They carry him through the hall to the garage, but it is empty, the large work station oddly silent and lonely. The boy ponders for a moment, and then turns back into the house, crossing the hall to the old junk room.

“Da?” The boy finds his father sitting on the old maroon armchair, staring at the spectacle encased in glass walls.

“Oh ‘eya, son. How are yeh? Did yeh come to look at the creature?” He beckons his son to sit in his lap.

They peer at the tank together for a moment before Cecil twists around to look at his father.

“Are we gonna keep it, Da?”

Benny ponders a moment before answering, “I’m not sure, son. This could be yer father’s big discovery! Your da could have a species named after ‘im!” He smiles and ruffles Cecil’s hair, but the boy does not smile.

When Cecil continues to look worried, he adds, “Tell yeh what! We’ll go an’ feed it today, an’ you can watch it eat.”

Concern melts away and leaves confusion in its wake; “How do you know what it eats, da?”

Benny pauses.

“It’s from the ocean, Cecil. It probably eats fish.”

*~*~*~*~*

Dangling from his fingers is a squirming, brightly-colored minnow, before Benny drops it in the tank.

PLOOP.

Benny props his son up on his lap, and they sit in the old armchair, backs strait, eyes intent on the strange, silvery creature.

“Where is its mouth, Da?”

“Guess we’re about to find out,” Benny mumbles thoughtfully.

The creature, with its shiny skin and worm-like billowing tentacles, floats but does not move. The small fish, likewise, has stopped swimming and also stays motionless, save for some small movements of the fins to keep it from dropping to the bottom. The two seem to be having a staring contest–though the foreign creature has no eyes.

“What is it doing?”

“I don’t know, son.”

“Is it going to eat it?”

“Jane!” Benny yells, ignoring his son, and leaps to his feet, stumbling in a mad rush through the living room to find his house mate.

“What? What?”

“Come here! Look!”

The two of them hurry back to the junk room, Jane looking totally perplexed. They come to a halt in front of the tank, squatting down, staring into it.

Now it is Benny’s turn to look perplexed. Jane folds her arms and stares at him.

“Seriously, what?” she asks.

The creature floats in the tank, its many graceful appendages dancing about it. There is no fish.

Benny whirls around and looks at his son, who stares zombie-like at the creature.

“Did it eat it, Cecil?”

“No, Da,” he says, giving his father the same shocked, wide-eyed stare. “The fish is just gone! BAM!”–he hits his little fist in his other hand–”with a flash of light!”

The Foreigner

The Foreigner ch. 2: Nameless

Benny’s long, rectangular, cabin-like house is divided into two halves by one short hallway. One wing is an open area holding the living, kitchen, and dining rooms with nary a wall between them. The other wing holds three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a den. This particular den has, as dens often do, become a junk room. On one wall of the junk room is a large wooden box nearly as long as the wall it sits against. Made of simple pine wood with a hinged top, it was meant to be a storage unit and coffee table. Now it serves well to hold an over-sized tank, a solid 20 gallons, made proudly by Benny himself out of glass, iron, and a custom plastic lid. The tank, usually empty, was recently vacated by a rather impressive Wahoo, and now holds something totally different.

Benny and Jane squat, hands on their knees, peering through the murky sea water. The creature’s bulky body is propelled by a host of long, stringy tentacles. It sinks―it tumbles―it rolls.

Seems a bit confused,” Benny says.

“Aye.”

A miniature, soft hand and small frame peak around the door, wide eyes looking in the tank. The boy only reaches his father’s waste, his face with delicate features including a round chin that comes to a point and a small nose unlike his father’s.

“What is it, Da?”

Benny, tall and willowy, stoops down to meet his son eye-to-eye.

“I don’t know, Cecil. Some sort of exotic fish!”

“Are we keepin’ it?” He asks, stepping closer to the tank, his voice raising half an octave.

Benny gives an affectionate chuckle, “Sure son. Fer now. Until we know wha’ we’re gonna do with it.”

“Come on, you lot,” he adds, “I’ll get started on dinner.”

Tearing themselves from the spectacle, Cecil looking back over his shoulder and nearly missing the doorway, the two follow Benny back to the kitchen, where they all perch themselves on bench-seated dining table.

Soon enough, the latest catch is grilled and served up. With a bite rationed and properly stabbed on her fork, Jane pipes up:

“So… pretty big deal, eh? Discovery of the very first alien to land on Earth!” She gives a little wink and Cecil’s eyes light up.

“Is it an alien Da?”

“Well, I don’t know. What else it could be? Some undiscovered form of fish? Do we really think this thing came from outer space though? Wouldn’t the atmosphere eat it up or something?”

Jane smiles wryly, “This one, with his degree in astrophysics.”

Ignoring this exchange, Cecil adds, buzzing with excitement, “Maybe it has…a, a, a…  force-field or something.”

“A wha’..?”

“A force-field, Da! Like… like… Violet! From The Incredibles!”

The Incredibles?” He gives out a booming laugh, “I hate to break it to yeh, son. It is clearly from the sea. We found it in the sea. And it knows how to swim. And there weren’t any crater around it, was there? Yeah? So how yeh figurin’ it came from outer space?”

Cecil drops his head, directing his eyes to stare glumly at his plate. But when he catches Jane’s eye again, she gives him another wink and he smiles.

*~*~*~*~*

“Time for bed son!”

“Da…” his son groans.

“Come on,” his father bids, leading the boy to his room.

With his son bundled up in bed, Benny takes a small plate of left-overs and plops down on their old couch. Its broad, soft cushions sink in and devour the sitter, which is just how Benny likes a couch to be. Balanced gingerly on the worn arm is an old paperback. Jane sits near him in a rocking chair, one foot pulled up onto the seat, hugging her knee, flipping through channels on the television, sipping on a beer.

“Did you know,” he says suddenly lifting himself up from his book, “they have a computer program where you can hook up one person’s brain to another and they can trade thoughts? Trade thoughts over a computer program?!”

Jane looks bored.

“Look Ben, we’re friends and all, but I really don’t care.”

“Are yeh kidding?” He asks incredulously, eyebrows raised dramatically., One of the men controlled the actions of the other! He moved the other man’s hand for ‘im! Like a puppet! Could you imagine someone movin’ you around like a puppet?”

There is a moment of silence.

“Sounds like torture,” he adds thoughtfully.

Jane shakes her head, not saying a thing, and takes another sip of beer, hits NEXT on the remote control.

“Madam, you are truly unintellectual if you don’ think tha’s interestin’.”

Jane makes a rude hand gesture which is not befitting of young ladies, which only makes the man give a hearty chuckle, returning to his book and taking a large bite of food.