Day 12 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Ah, yes.  After riding this Donkey Kong vibe for what seems like FOREVER, we finally have a monkey in the story.  So what on earth should I do with it?  Let’s try this:  (NOTE:  I need a running start, so the portion in italics is from the previous post.)

“Charlie, we have to get out of here.  That’s an Asura,” Aryana stepped out of the cave to grab my arm.  She tugged me in the direction of the tunnel.  “Run, Charlie,” she screamed, pulling on me.

I’m no Asura.  

The stranger stood outside of the cave and pulled back his hood.  Aryana and I just stared at the stranger in shock.

It was a monkey.  A very tall, dark-haired monkey draped in a long, black cloak.  He tilted his head to one side and studied me with surprisingly human eyes.    

Hello, Charlie.  I’ve been expecting you.

“Wh-Who are you?” I stammered.  My heart beat wildly at the sound of the deep baritone voice.  I could feel a rivulet of sweat drip down the back of my neck.  The monkey had to be at least six and a half feet tall.

Don’t you remember who I am?  

The monkey took a few steps towards us.  He bared his teeth.  I had the strange feeling that he was grinning at us, but since I couldn’t tell with certainty, I placed a hand on the hilt of my sword.  “Stay away from us,” I warned him, and stood in front of Aryana.  “I’m a Warrior.  I’ll fight you if I have to.”  It wasn’t a complete lie.  I wasn’t technically a Warrior, but I had watched Shivani and Ryan in enough fights with Asuras to get the gist of things.  I’m a strong guy.  How hard could it be to handle a sword?  Just swing and slice.

A strange sound came out of the monkey’s mouth.  He clutched his stomach and bent over at the waist, convulsing.  I thought he was having a fit, until it hit me.  “Are you laughing?” I demanded, while carefully rearranging my features to look stern.  My scowl did nothing to intimidate the monkey, since he continued to laugh.

“Who are you talking to?” Aryana asked, obviously perplexed.

“The monkey,” I replied automatically.

“You think you’re talking with this creature?  Charlie, it’s a monkey.  He can’t talk,” Aryana glanced at the shaking monkey and back at me.  She shook her head.  “I think we need someone to talk a look at you.  You’re hallucinating.  Let’s leave before you get worse.”

Of course I’m laughing.  You’re no Warrior.  The idea of you fighting me is absurd.  I could knock you down with just a flick of my tail.  

Something moved under the rear of his cloak.  I assumed that it was his tail.  Water streamed out of the the monkey’s eyes.  If he had been human, I would have said that he was laughing so hard that he was crying.

“Come on, Charlie,” Aryana said, as she wiped beads of sweat from her forehead.  The heat from the forest fire was getting stronger.  Tugging on my sleeve, she said hoarsely, “Get in the tunnel.  The fire is too close.  We can’t leave the cave now.”

The girl is right.  You have taken too long.  The fire is all around us.  Climb on my back.  I’ll have to carry both of you to safety.  

The monkey squatted down on his haunches.  He squared his shoulder and leaned over.

“I’m not going anywhere with you until I know who you are,” I replied sternly.

“Oh, for goodness sakes,” Aryana rolled her eyes, reached out and grabbed my shoulders.  She shook me gently.  “Charlie.  I am Aryana.  You aren’t thinking clearly.  Please listen to me.”  She said each sentence very slowly, as if speaking to a small child.  “The forest is on fire.  We have to get out of here.”

If a monkey could roll his eyes, then that’s what this monkey did.

Enough of this foolish banter.  

He raised a paw and stared at us.  His eyes changed color.  Brown to gold.

The dizziness hit me like a wall.  I gasped and tried to grab the side of the cave to support myself.  My limbs felt heavy.  I could feel my knees buckle under my weight.  I tried to crawl towards Aryana, but it took me a few moments to figure out where she was.  Turning my head in her direction took a lot of effort.

Aryana was still standing.  Before I could call out her name, her eyes rolled backwards.  I watched her hit the ground a few moments before I collapsed on the ground next to her.  The last thing I remember was the monkey standing over both of us.  And then there was nothing.

Day 11 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Day 11.  Time to ratchet up the level of absurdity in this story.  In the first chapter, Charlie Weaver “spoke” with telepathic “Yoda” cows.  I think Charlie needs to tap into this ability again.  Here goes:

Aryana and I stood at the cave entrance.  The ground beneath our feet rumbled, but neither of us moved.  We both just stared in wonder.  Even though I grew up on a farm, I had never seen so many animals panicked at the same time.  Bears, monkeys, lions, tigers, water buffalo, deer, and other wild animals rushed by the mouth of the cave.  My body tensed because they were uncaged, but none of them glanced in our direction.  After a few moments, I relaxed.

My eyes started to water.  The big clouds of dust caused by the rush of animals reached the cave.  I coughed and waved a hand in front of me, trying to clear the air.  A herd of water buffalo raced by us.  Their stampeding hooves echoed through the valley.  “Where are they going?” I asked loudly.

“They must be heading for the river,” Aryana replied.  She sniffed the air again and shook her head.  “I don’t want to leave without Paw Paw, but the fire is getting closer.  We have to get someplace safe.”

We finally agreed on something.  I nodded.  “Yeah, but where do we go?”

Follow the animals, Charlie Weaver.   

“What?  Did you just say something?” I turned to Aryana.  Despite the gravity of our situation, I couldn’t help thinking how pretty she looked.  All of those long dark waves and golden brown freckles made me forget my question for a moment.  I could have just stood there staring into her big blue eyes for hours.

“No,” Aryana shook her head, loosening a few dark curls.  I fought the urge to brush back the tiny tendrils around her forehead.  “Nothing other than we need to leave.  Why?”

Follow the animals, Charlie Weaver.  There it was again.  I pulled my gaze away from Aryana and looked outside of the cave.  That voice.  It sounded familiar.

I picked up my backpack and slipped the straps over my shoulders.  I squared them and hoped Aryana noticed how broad they were.  “We need to get out of here,” I said, deepening my voice.  I liked how authoritative I sounded.  It was time to start using this voice.

“I just said that,” Aryana said, picking up her backpack.  “Honestly, do you ever listen to anything I say?”  She rolled her eyes.  It was a perfect imitation of Shivani Roy.  Obviously, Aryana had been spending way too much time with my sarcastic sidekick.

Stop gawking at the girl, Charlie Weaver.

I started and looked around me.  There it was again.  The voice.  And it obviously wasn’t Aryana.  After a moment, I swear I heard the voice mutter something about always getting the slow ones.  It continued.

For the last time, Charlie Weaver, follow the animals.  They will lead you to safety.

“Who are you?”  I asked out loud, craning my neck to search around us.  There was no one else in the cave with us.

“Who?”  Aryana stared at me, confused.  She watched me look around the cave.  “Who are you talking to?”

Take the girl and follow the animals.  Do it now or be engulfed by the flames.  

“Let’s follow the animals,” I repeated, grabbing Aryana’s hand.  She pulled it away from me.  I shrugged and stepped just outside of the cave.  After spending so much time inside the dark cave, my eyes weren’t used to the light.  I squinted in the bright sunlight.

“Are you insane?” she asked, backing away from me.  “Those animals will trample us to death if we leave the cave.”  She pointed behind her. “There’s a tunnel.  Let’s follow it and see where it leads.”

No harm will befall you from the animals.  But Asura flames are almost here.  

The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.  I turned away from Aryana.  My gaze fell on a dark figure approaching us.  My first instinct told me that this was the creature I had seen on the cliff, but I dismissed the thought.  It was someone wearing a dark hooded cloak.

I don’t know why I didn’t immediately run into the tunnel with Aryana.  I just stood there, staring at the hooded stranger.  Whoever it was seemed to glide towards us.  I watched in amazement as it walked right into the stampede without losing pace.  The animals didn’t trample the stranger.  They continued to run, but left a wide berth around it.

“Charlie, we have to get out of here.  That’s an Asura,” Aryana stepped out of the cave to grab my arm.  She tugged me in the direction of the tunnel.  “Run, Charlie,” she screamed, pulling on me.

I’m no Asura.  The stranger stood outside of the cave and pulled back his hood.  Aryana and I just stared at the stranger in shock.

It was a monkey.

Day 10 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

It has been WAY too long since the last time I wrote something on this blog.  The New Year is approaching and I want to get back into writing fiction.  Well, to be more precise, writing “snarky” fiction.

For some people, this comes without effort.  For me, it takes work, which is strange, because in real life, most people would tell you that I’m a sarcastic person.  But how do I translate that into writing?  How does someone write an ENTIRE NOVEL filled with snark?  I won’t even call it satire, because I think that’s a little too cerebral for me.  I’d like my first book to be borderline “Sharknado” fiction (i.e. so absurd that people think it’s funny).

Well, time to stop procrastinating and start practicing.  Let’s get back to the Donkey Kong vibe, Charlie Weaver and whatever else pops into my head.  Here goes:

“Is that a monkey?”  I stared out of the cave.  It felt like we were being watched.  A movement caught my eye.

“What monkey?”  Aryana asked, as she rummaged through her back pack.  She pulled out two flash lights and handed one to me.

I took it from her.  My gaze settled on the cliff across the valley.  There was a figure lurking in the shadow.  When it moved again, I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed.  “There.  Do you see it?  I swear that it’s a monkey.”

“I don’t think that’s a monkey,” Aryana replied, squinting at the figure.  She pulled out a knife from her back pack and strapped it to her leg.  “It’s too big.”

I frowned.  Paw Paw had been gone for at least thirty minutes.  He said he wanted to scout the area before we moved ahead on the path, but it shouldn’t have taken this long.  I had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that the figure had something to do with his absence.

“We can’t leave,” Aryana replied, frowning at me.  “Paw Paw hasn’t returned.  He’ll be back momentarily.”

I winced at her tone.  She thought I was being a coward.  But I wasn’t.  “We can’t stay here if that’s an Asura.  What if that thing is the reason Paw Paw isn’t back yet?  He may need our help.”

“He told us to stay here until he returned,” Aryana said.  Her voice was firm.  “I’m not going anywhere without him.”

The ground beneath our feet started to rumble.  “What is that?” Aryana asked, eyes wide.

“Earthquake,” I yelled and pushed her to the ground.  I threw my body over her, like any good hero would do.

“Get off of me,” she shrieked.  Her small hands pushed against my chest.  The rest of her words were drowned out by the loud noises coming from just outside of the cave.

“No,” I yelled, and brushed a stray strand of dark hair from her face.  A surge of pride shot through me.  I was using my body to shield this poor, defenseless girl against falling rocks.  It was something a hero would do.  I placed one hand on each of her cheeks and looked into her deep blue eyes.  “It’s okay.  I’m saving you.”

The next thing I saw was her scowl.  Suddenly, I felt nothing but pain.  It took me a moment to realize that Aryana kneed me in the groin.  Whimpering, I couldn’t resist her when she pushed me off of her body.  “Why did you do that?” I asked hoarsely, doubling over in pain.  “I was trying to protect you from the earthquake.”

Aryana dusted herself off and stood up.  Her look was scathing.  “There’s no earthquake, you simpleton,” Aryana snarled, and pointed outside the cave.  “That’s a stampede.”

She walked over to the cave entrance.  After a few moments, I limped over and joined her.  Sure enough, hundreds of animals were running across the valley, towards the cliff.  “What on earth,” I muttered, confused.

“I smell smoke,” Aryana whispered.  Her pert little nose wrinkled, as she sniffed the air delicately.  “I think the forest is on fire.”




Day 9 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Well, this is starting to get interesting.  I’m kind of digging this Donkey Kong vibe.  On Day 8, I ended with the group of heroes getting attacked by something flying through the air. Were they fireballs?  Were they flaming barrels?  And how does a monkey fit into this?  Let’s move to the scene after the Asura attack and see how this goes:

“The Asuras are getting stronger,” Serenity said softly.  “It’s a good thing that Shivani was with us.”  The worry on her face was obvious.

“I agree,” Paw Paw nodded.  “We wouldn’t have defeated them without her.”

“Hey, what about me?” Ryan exclaimed, putting a hand on his hip.  I didn’t know him very well, but I already recognized mock outrage on his face when I saw it.  He lifted up his sword and slashed at the air.  “I was amazing in battle.  I knocked off at least ten Asuras all by myself.”

“Yes, yes, you’re very amazing.  We’ll give you a cookie later,” Shivani muttered.  When Ryan raised an eyebrow at her, Shivani raised her hands defensively.  “Okay, I admit it.  You’re a much better warrior than I expected you to be.”

“Such glowing praise,” Ryan replied, putting his sword on the ground.  He placed his hand over his heart.  “I’m overwhelmed.  Thank you, sunshine.  You’re not a bad warrior yourself.  For a girl.”

Shivani scowled.  Before she could say anything, Director Fussybottom said, “I have to return to the castle.  The Asuras will be back.”  He and Paw Paw exchanged glances.  “And now that they know about Shivani, they’ll use more force.”

Paw Paw exhaled in frustration.  “We need help.  But who?” His dark eyes surveyed the land before us and suddenly gleamed.  “The Vanaras.”

“Who?”  I asked, glancing at Shivani.  She shrugged.  Neither one of us knew who Paw Paw was talking about.

Aryana’s blue eyes widened in surprise.  She shook her head as her dark brows knit together.  “Surely you jest,” she said.  “They won’t help us.”

Director Fussybottom nodded.  “The girl is right.  They keep to themselves.”

“What are Vanaras?” Shivani asked.

“Forest dwellers.  They aren’t a part of civilization,” Professor Pedantic sniffed.  There was contempt in his voice.  “They prefer to live in the woods like animals.”

“The Vanaras are far more than that,” Paw Paw sighed, shaking his head.  He squared his shoulders and looked right at Aryana.  “Do you want to save your princess?”

“Of course,” Aryana said indignantly.

“Then we’ll need their help,” Paw Paw replied simply.  Aryana opened her mouth to protest, but then remained silent when he held up his hand. “The Devas are no match for the Asuras right now.  We’re outmanned and outnumbered.  If we can convince the Vanaras to fight with us, then we may have a chance.”

“If you can trust them,” Director Fussybottom muttered.

“There is no reason to distrust them,” Professor Serenity said mildly.  “I’ve only met a few, but the ones I knew were honorable.”

Paw Paw smiled slightly.  His eyes met hers.  “Perhaps you should be the one to lead a group to ask for their help.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Director Fussybottom frowned.  He looked at Serenity.  “You should come back to the castle with me.”

Serenity ignored him and nodded at Paw Paw.  “I’ll go, but I’ll need help finding them.”  She looked at the rest of the group.    “Who will come with me?”

“You’ll need at least one Warrior, so I’ll go,” Ryan said, smiling at his mother.

Serenity returned his smile, before raising an eyebrow at the rest of us. “Anyone else?  Shivani?  Charlie?  I could use another Warrior.”

“I’ll go,” Shivani nodded slowly, before shooting a wary glance at Ryan.  “But your son has to stop trying to make me mad.”

Serenity’s face broke out into a smile.  Her mischievous grin startled me.  She looked so much like Ryan.  “If he so much as breathes on you inappropriately, he’ll have to deal with me.”

Both women looked at Ryan.  He held up his right hand and placed it over his heart.  “I promise.  I will be on my best behavior.”

“What about the rest of you?” Serenity asked.

Paw Paw shook his head.  “I need the others to help me.  The Elders will need protection on their journey home.  But after we see them safely to the castle, we’ll catch up to you.  Are you headed for Dandaka Forest?”

Serenity nodded.  “Yes.  That’s the last place they were spotted.  We can start there.”

Day 8 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

For those of you who are new to this blog, I’ve been trying to write 15-minutes of absurdity a day.  For a while, I was doing really well.  During that wave of snark momentum, I began a story called “Charlie Weaver and the Prophecy of Doom.”  It’s a satire that mocks the entire young adult fantasy genre.  The two main characters are Charlie Weaver and Shivani Roy.  Charlie Weaver is a likable, incompetent hero who stumbles ass-backwards into good things.  Shivani Roy is intense, sarcastic, and saves Charlie on several occasions.

I know that I’m going to age myself with this one, but for some reason, I’m feeling a Donkey Kong vibe.  I need a quest.  And a princess.  Maybe some fireballs and a barrel or two?  I’m not sure.  Let’s start this and see where it goes:

Ryan tossed the apple in the air, caught it, and grinned at us.  “Well, there’s nothing like a good quest to start the summer.”  He took large bite and started chomping on it loudly.  “So, what’s all of this about?”

Shivani rolled her eyes, before turning her attention to Aryana.  “What do you need us to do?”

“We need your help,” Aryana said, pushing a long strand of dark, wavy brown hair over her shoulder.  “The princess is missing.”

“What princess?” I asked gently, looking down into her large blue eyes.  They were framed by the longest eyelashes I had ever seen in my life.  She looked so sad that I wanted to pick her up and hug her.

“Is she hot?”  Ryan asked at the same time.

Aryana shifted her eyes towards him.  She looked confused.  “Hot?”

“Really?  Hot?”  Shivani shook her head in disgust.  “What does that have to do with anything?”  She placed her hands on her hips and stared at him.

“Now, Vani, don’t get upset,” Ryan replied.  I could almost picture the steam coming out of Shivani’s ears at the name ‘Vani.’  He grinned at her and continued.  “You know that I think you’re hot too.  In an angry sort of way.  But I need the information for this quest.”  He leaned against the side of the cave and looked at Aryana.  “So, you were about to tell us what she looks like?”

“She is a lovely person,” Aryana said, her voice wistful.

“Oh, for the love of,” Shivani muttered.  “You don’t have to answer his questions, Aryana.”

Ryan ignored Shivani.  His brow furrowed.  “Does that mean she has a good personality?”

“Oh, yes,” Aryana replied, nodding her head.  One dark curl escaped from her hair band.  “The princess has been wonderful to my family and me.”

“Well, that’s great that she’s a nice person,” Ryan said, before taking another bite of his apple.  “But how does she look?”

“She has an alabaster brow,” Aryan began.

I interrupted.  “What’s an alabaster brow?”

Aryana frowned at me.  “I’m not sure, but she has one”

“Enough,” Shivani shot Ryan and me a look of disgust.  “Will both of you please be quiet and let her finish? ” she snapped and turned towards Aryana.  Her face softened.  “Aryana, please continue.”

“Princess Poppycock is the most beautiful Bharatian in the land,” Aryana replied in surprise.  “I thought everyone knew that.”

“Princess Poopcup?” I repeated, confused.  I had never heard of her before.  Was she the leader of the dwarves?  Or Aryana’s people?

Shivani choked, covered her mouth with her hand, and turned away from Aryana.  Ryan saw her and grinned, but he quickly changed his expression to look serious.  He nodded at Aryana to continue.

“Princess Poppycock,” Aryana repeated.  She didn’t notice Shivani’s shoulders shaking.  “Her hair is the color of a raven’s wing, her lips are as red as cherries.  Her skin is as soft as a lotus petal and her eyes sparkle like jewels.  She is so beautiful that birds sing on her approach and small, woodland creatures offer her flowers when she crosses their paths,” Aryana turned her serious gaze on us.  “Men have died for her.”

“She’s that good-looking, eh?” Ryan’s eyebrows raised.  He tossed the apple core away and slapped his hand on his thigh.  “Well, then by all means, count me in.  I’ll find your hot, I mean, your princess.”  He picked up his bag, threw it over his shoulder and took a few steps before stopping.  “Oh, by the way, does this princess have money?”

Shivani’s dark brows knit together.  Before she could retort, the fireball landed just a few feet away from Ryan.  “Asuras,” he shouted at us, and pulled out a sword.  “Run for cover!”

Shivani dove into Aryana just as another fireball landed a few feet away from the cave entrance.  She scrambled to her feet as I ran over to them.  “Charlie, get her into the cave,” Shivani shouted at me, and pulled Aryana to her feet.  She pushed the two of us towards the cave, before pulling something out of her pocket.  It was the necklace from Big Bucks.  She slipped it over her head and looked at us.  Her eyes changed color.  They were topaz.  The color of the Asuras.




Day 7 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Well, it’s been a few days since I wrote anything.  Life, holidays and sick little children have a way of stopping me from writing.  But I wanted to get back into the groove of things, even if this will be short.  I’m jumping back to the aftermath of the fight in “Big Bucks.”  Charie Weaver lost consciousness.  He’s about to wake up.  Here goes:

A loud noise cut through the blackness.  I struggled to open my eyes, but my lids felt heavy.  A hand rested gently on my head.  I could feel soft breathe whisper across my cheek.  “Play dead.”

I knew that voice.  I wanted to move, but lay still.  It was coming back to me.  That voice belonged to the girl behind the counter.  The one with the dark hair and golden eyes.  Kelli.

The last image in my mind was her lying sprawled across the floor.  Alive but unconscious.  I was supposed to help her escape from the lunatic who attacked her.  And there was something about Paw Paw.  He had been helping another hooded stranger.  A woman who had helped me.

I heard another crash.  Unable to restrain myself, I opened my eyes.  The tiny sliver startled me.  Maybe I was still unconscious.

The sight that greeted me couldn’t be real.  Kelli was sitting on the back of the hooded stranger.  She was smashing his head repeatedly into the ground.  After a few minutes, he lay still.

I blinked, trying to clear the mist from my eyes.  None of this made sense.  Kelli pulled the hood back from the stranger.  She yanked something from the back of his neck and slipped it into her pocket.

I thought it was a necklace, but couldn’t be sure.  Paw Paw called out to her.  “Here,” he said and threw something in the air.  It looked like a knife.  “Send him back.  It will give us some time.”

She caught it easily, before turning him over and plunging it into his chest.  Stunned, I watched to the floor, expecting to see blood.  But there was nothing.  The stranger vanished.  When Kelli stood up, there were empty clothes beneath her feet.

“Did you get it?” Paw Paw asked Kelli.  When Kelli nodded, Paw Paw gestured for her to walk over to him.  The hooded woman was lying on the floor beside him.  “Put the necklace on.  It will help you.”

Kelli slipped the stranger’s necklace over her head.  I continued to lie on the floor, but craned my head to watch.  She knelt beside Paw Paw.  Both of them placed their hands on the woman’s chest and closed their eyes.  Their breathing changed.

I closed my eyes too.  The hairs on my arm stood up as the air around us hummed.  It was the same thing that happened when the hooded woman healed me.  Only this time, she was the one who needed help.


Day 6 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”  AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!  Why can’t I get that line out of my head today?  I can’t shake this Star Wars vibe…..

Hey!  I’ve got an idea!  Let’s work with it…..  Resistance is futile.  The hero and the ally need a getaway vehicle after being attacked at “Big Bucks” by a demon (Asura).  Here goes:

“We have to get out of here.  More Asuras are coming,” Paw Paw said, as he pulled Serenity to her feet.  She winced in pain as he tightened his arm around her.  “I have to patch Serenity up.  While I’m doing that, go get us a car.”

“From where?”  I asked.

“There’s a car rental place over there,” Paw Paw gestured across the water fountain.  “Go get it and wait for us.

I felt around in my pocket.  It was empty.  I left my wallet back in Big Bucks.  “I don’t have any more money,” I said, turning to Kelli.  “I dropped my wallet.  We have to go get it.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Kelli grabbed my arm.  She nodded towards Paw Paw and Serenity.  “Meet us in the parking lot at the north entrance.  I’ll have a car.”

We split up.  Kelli and I sprinted over to the rental place.  After a few minutes, we were called up to the counter.

“We need a car,” I said breathlessly.

The woman behind the counter adjusted her glasses and looked us over.  She frowned.  “Do you have a reservation?”

“Yes,” Kelli replied.

“No,” I replied at the same time, crestfallen.  What were we going to do if we couldn’t get a car?

I heard Kelli mutter something about dopey do-gooders before shoving me to the side.  “Let me handle this,” Kelli barked at me.  She leaned over the counter and stared at the woman.  “We don’t need a reservation.”

The woman pursed her lips together.  Something in her temple twitched.  Her head twisted towards the computer screen.  “I’m going to need to see some identification.”

Kelli shook her head and waved her hand in front of the woman’s face.  “You don’t need any identification.”

“I don’t need any identification,” the woman said.  Her face was expressionless, but her eyes followed Kelli’s hand.

“You’re going to give us a car,” Kelli said, waving her hand again..

“I’m going to give you a car,” the woman said as her fingers moved over her keyboard.

“Who are you?” I asked out loud, gaping at Kelli.  When she shook her head at me, I dropped my voice.  Something occurred to me.  “We don’t have any money,” I whispered in her ear.

Kelli nodded and waved her hand again.  “You’re going to give us a car for free.”

“I’m going to give you a car for free,” the woman repeated, as she typed on her keyboard.

It was so cool.  We could get any car we wanted and it wouldn’t cost us a thing.  I felt a pang of guilt, but shoved it aside to exclaim, “We need an SUV.”

“What difference does it make?”  Kelli shot me a withering glance.  “This isn’t a road trip.”

I leaned against the counter, mind whirling.  I suddenly smiled at her.  “Well, don’t blame me when the Asuras catch up to us in your slow car.”

Kelli sighed.  “Fine.” She waved her hand in front of the clerk.  “You’re going to give us an SUV for free.”

“I’m going to give you an SUV for free.”

“Something with a lot of horsepower,” I added.  Another thought occurred to me.  “And low-end torque.”

Kelli rolled her eyes.  “Really?”

“I’m telling you,” I insisted, looking into her golden eyes.  Her long, dark lashes distracted me for a moment before I continued.  “Based on what I saw back there, we’re gonna need it.”

Kelli nodded grudgingly.  “Okay,” she said slowly, waving her hand in front of the clerk again.  “You’re going to give us an SUV with a lot of horsepower and low-end torque.”  She glanced at me.  “Was that right?”

“Yep,” I said, grinning at her.  It was nice that she finally saw that I added something to this fight.

“I’m going to give you an SUV with a lot of horsepower and low-end torque,” the clerk repeated, typing furiously into the computer.  She turned her screen towards us and pointed.  “Will this do?”

Kelli and I exchanged glances.  The clerk had pulled up a high-end SUV that may have had a six-figure sticker price.  “Uh, yeah,” I replied, trying to contain my excitement.  I ignored the fleeting thought that something wasn’t right about a rental place carrying this vehicle.  “That’ll do.”

Day 5 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

When I was younger, I learned a song about the twelve days of Christmas.  (Hopefully, I haven’t offended anyone by saying “Christmas.”  I’m drinking coffee from a plain, red mug, so this should negate any mention of the holiday.)  Several decades later, I have embarked on a “30-Days of Snark Challenge.”  Today is Day 5.

The italicized portion is from yesterday.  I’m just using it to get back into the groove of this scene.  This story needs a bad guy (a.k.a. Darth Vader, anyone?), so here goes:

I felt someone behind me.  The throbbing in my temples intensified.  Before I could turn around, my muscles tensed into rigidity.

Kelli’s golden eyes widened.  I couldn’t turn around to see who had driven the contempt from her eyes.  They were filled with fear.

“Hello, Shivani,” a deep voice said.  I felt a chill down my spine.  “I’ve been looking for you for a very long time.”

“I know you,” Kelli whispered.  Her face turned pale.  “You tried to kidnap me when I was twelve.”

Her words made my stomach drop.  I wanted to grab Kelli and get her out of the cafe.  Frustrated, I focused on closing my fingers into a fist to take a swing at the person standing behind me.  Nothing happened.  I tried to lift my feet from the floor, but they were glued to the ground.  My arms remained motionless on each side of me.  I couldn’t even turn my head to see what the guy looked like.  I was just frozen in place, staring at Kelli, like a victim instead of a hero.

“Where are they?” the voice asked.  The air around me shifted as he moved into my range of vision.  I wanted to scream at Kelli to run, but no words left my mouth.

Kelli winced when he wrapped a hand around her long dark hair and yanked it backwards.  When she didn’t fight him, I wondered if she was stuck like I was.  But unlike me, she could still talk.  “Who?” she whispered.  “I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“Tell me where they are, and I’ll be merciful,” he snarled, leaning over her.  The hood on his black cloak covered most of his face.  He grabbed her throat with one hand and dug into her hair with his other hand.  After a few seconds, she cried out.  Tears streamed down her face.  “Don’t fight me,” he said softly, when she cried out again.  His fingers traced her scalp.  “It hurts more when you resist.”

My heart pounded as Kelli whimpered.  I had to help her, but I still couldn’t move anything.  Not my arms, legs, shoulders or neck.  The stranger was breaking Kelli right in front of me, and nothing about me worked.

Except for my thoughts.  Suddenly, Paw Paw’s face flooded my mind.  Where are you, Paw Paw?  I need your help, I thought.  It felt like an eternity, before I heard someone else behind me.

“Let her go.”  It was Paw Paw.  Astonished, I watched Kelli sink behind the counter and the stranger slam into the wall.  I collapsed onto the floor, writhing in pain.  When I looked up, a woman in a hooded cloak knelt beside me.  She placed her hands on my temples.  Something warm seeped through me.  The pain receded, as I slowly flexed my arms and legs.  I could move again.

The stranger approached the woman from behind.  Before I could warn her, he lifted her up and threw her across the room.  I watched in horror as she landed on the floor in a crumpled heap.

“Get the girl out of here,” Paw Paw yelled at me, as he raced over to the woman.  I scrambled to my feet and rushed behind the counter.  I didn’t know where the stranger was, but Kelli was still lying on the floor.  I gently turned her head and looked at her face.  She was breathing, but unconscious.  I looked around for another way out.  There was a door behind the counter.  I bent over to pick Kelli up.  But before I could gather her in my arms, the stranger stood in front of me, blocking my path.

He took two steps towards me and stared at me.  His gaze narrowed.  “You’re one of them,” he said, tilting his head to study me.  A flash of insight told me that he hadn’t expected me.  My mind whirled, wondering how I could use this information.  But as I watched him, his eyes changed color.  They were molten gold, like Kelli’s.  I couldn’t look away.  He wrapped his fingers around my neck and whispered, “Maybe I was wrong about the girl.”  His eyes flashed, as his lips curved.  “Maybe you’re the one my master wants.”

My legs flailed as he lifted me off the ground.  Gasping, I tried to wrench myself free from his grasp.  His grip tightened.  I felt something burrowing through my chin.  It traveled along my jawline, up to my temples.  I wanted to cry out as the pain ripped through me.

“Where are your parents, boy?” the stranger’s deep voice was all I heard before blacking out.


Day 4 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

It’s Day 4 of this 30-day writing challenge.  I feel like making fun of something today – can you guess what it is?  Here goes:

“I know that place,” Paw Paw pointed to a shop called “Big Bucks” on the mall directory.  “You should be safe over there.  Stay there until I come for you, Charlie.”  I nodded and we walked in opposite directions.

I found the place that he was talking about at the other end of the mall.  My stomach growled as I walked inside.  I hadn’t eaten for several hours and something smelled really good.  When I approached the counter, I nearly drooled at the sight of all of those pastries in the display case.  Paw Paw and I were running away from demons, but surely we had enough time for a snack?  As I leaned over, trying to decide what I wanted, I heard a voice.

“Hi, welcome to Big Bucks.  Can I take your order?”  A dark-haired girl about my age looked at me expectantly.  Her name tag said “Kelli.”

“Uh,” I stammered.  My mind went blank as I looked into her large, golden eyes.  I ordered the first thing that popped into my head.  “I’ll just have a cup of coffee.”

She studied her nails.  “What size?”

I don’t drink coffee, but it was too late to ask for a pop.  “Uh, small?”

“We don’t have small.”

“You don’t have small,” I repeated.  When she rolled her eyes, I hastened to adjust my order.  “Well, how about a large?”

She shook her head.  “We don’t have large, either.”

Confused, I said.  “Do you sell coffee?”

She scowled at me and placed on hand on her hip.  “Look, I’ve got things to do.  I don’t have time for some loser trying to be a smartass with me.”

I glanced behind me.  There was only one other person in the place and he was sitting in a booth in the back.  “I’m not trying to be a smartass.  I really wanted to know if you sell coffee.”

“Of course we do,” she snapped.  “This is a cafe.  But I need to know what size you want.”

It felt like her eyes were boring a hole in my face.  Flustered, I asked, “What size do you have?”

The girl looked at me with disgust.  She sighed deeply, turned around and pointed to the sign above her head.  “We have fawn, doe, buck and big buck.”

My temples throbbed.  There were pictures of animals on the chalkboard.  I didn’t understand what wildlife had to do with coffee.  “Is the fawn small?”

“It’s smaller than the doe.”

I stared at the blackboard.  She was right.  A fawn is smaller than the doe or the buck.  “I guess I’ll take a fawn?”

The girl pushed a button on her register.  “Regular or skim?”

I didn’t know what she was talking about, but I didn’t want to upset her again.  I wasn’t sure how someone would skim water for making coffee, so I chose the safer option.  “Regular.”

“What type do you want?”

“Coffee,” I said confidently.

Kelli frowned at me.  It was obvious that I answered incorrectly.  She waved at the board behind her.  “All of this is coffee.  Pick which type you want.”

At my confused look, Kelli sighed deeply again.  “I’ll decide for you.  How about a latte?”

“That sounds good,” I said, smiling gratefully at her.

She avoided my gaze and pushed more buttons on the register.  “Will that be all?”

I suddenly remembered how drained Paw Paw looked.  “I’d like a pop.”

“We don’t have pop,” Kelli said.  Her shoulders slumped.  “We have italian soda.”

Before I could respond, I felt someone behind me.  The throbbing in my temples intensified.  Before I could turn around, my muscles tensed into rigidity.

Kelli’s golden eyes widened.  I couldn’t turn around to see who had driven the contempt from her eyes.  They were filled with fear.

“Hello, Shivani,” a deep voice said.  I felt a chill down my spine.  “I’ve been looking for you for a very long time.”


Day 3 of 30: Write 15 Minutes of Absurdity

Okay, it’s Day 3 and I’m still feeling this Star Wars vibe.  I know that I’m leaving some gaps in the story, but I’ll go back and fill them in later.  The “heralds” need to bring a message to the “Obi-Wan” in my story.  So, here goes:

A man wearing a hooded cloak exited the cave.  He swung a bag off from his shoulder and placed it on the ground.  I could see him pulling something out of the bag and putting it down on a rock in front of him.  “Look,” I pointed.  “That must be him.  The Great Ghost Warrior.”  I sprinted up the hill towards him.  I could hear the others in our group follow me.

“Excuse me, sir,” I called out, as I maneuvered around the rocky terrain.  I could feel the sand slide under my boots, so I kept an eye on the ground in front of me.  “Are you the Great Ghost Warrior?”

The man in the hooded cloak stopped what he was doing to stare at me.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out something.  It was a sword.

“Charlie,” Shivani shrieked behind me, as the man lifted his sword.  “Get down.”

I felt her shove me from behind.  I landed behind a rock, just as the man brought down his sword.  A few moments passed before I heard it.  Laughter.  The man in the cloak was laughing hysterically.

Shivani marched up to him and snarled.  “What’s so funny?”

“You guys,” the man said, laughing.  “You’re all like, oh, my God, duck.  Here comes a dude with a sword.”  He collapsed on the ground, convulsing in mirth.  “And I was just cutting my sandwich.”

I sat up and looked at the rock.  Sure enough, there was a whole sandwich resting on a napkin.  I stood up and dusted the dirt from my pants.

Shivani stood over the man, arms on her hip.  I recognized the flash in her gold eyes.  She was about to punch him.  Since we needed his help, I scrambled between them.  “I’m okay, Shivani,” I said, before turning to extend my hand to the laughing guy.  “Hi, I’m Charlie Weaver.  You must be the Great Ghost Warrior.”

“I am?” The man stood up and looked around.  I felt a pang when I realized that he was as tall as I was.  My gaze narrowed.  He looked like someone who could be a hero.  Like me. “Okay.”

Aryana stepped forward, visibly trembling with excitement.  Her cheeks were flushed a pretty pink.  “I’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

The man’s eyes widened.  He smiled and pulled back the hood on his cloak.  I blinked.  The Great Ghost Warrior was a lot younger than I was expecting.  Like not much older than I was.  “You have?  Well, sweetheart, here I am.”  He took her small hand in his and touched his lips to it.  She flushed a deeper red.  “How can I help you?”  His gaze lingered on her face.

Shivani snorted and stepped between Aryana and the man, breaking their grip.  “Oh, please.  This isn’t the Great Ghost Warrior.”

“No, it is not,” Professor Serenity said.  I glanced behind me.  The rest of the Elders had caught up with us.  Professor Serenity raised an eyebrow.  “Hello, Ryan.”

The young man grinned at her.  With perfect white teeth.  I should have allowed Shivani to punch him.  “Hi, Mom.”

“Mom?” Shivani sputtered.  All of us stared at the two of them in shock.  The resemblance between them was more apparent when they stood next to each other.  Despite his dark blond hair, Ryan’s face was very similar in to Professor Serenity’s.  They shared the same green eyes.

“You have a son?” I asked, feeling slightly injured.  I understood Shivani’s outrage.  Ever since I arrived in Bharat, Professor Serenity had been like a parent to me.  But it was all an act.  She already had a son.  This guy who was eyeing Aryana like she was a piece of meat.  My irritation grew when I saw Aryana smile back at him.

“Yes.  This is Ryan,” Serenity nodded.  “Ryan, this is Charlie Weaver.”

When I extended my hand again, Ryan slapped it.  I pulled it back, unsure of what to make of him.  “Hey, Charlie, nice to meet you,” he said easily.

Professor Serenity, who was the most cordial person I’ve ever met in my life, actually rolled her eyes.  I felt a tinge of satisfaction.  “You’ll have to excuse Ryan.  He’s spent a lot of time in your realm.”  She gestured towards Shivani.  “And this is….”

“Oh, you don’t have to tell me who this is, Mom,” Ryan said, winking at Shivani.  “I know all about the Warrior girl.  What’s up, fist fighter?”  He smirked at her.  “Has it been a punch-free day?  Is that what’s making you cranky?  No chance to work out all of that aggression.”

Ryan grinned, when Shivani scowled at him.  He walked around her, looking her up and down.  “You know, you’d be hot if you’d smile once in awhile.”  He pointed to her all-black attire.  “And maybe wear something pretty for a change.  With color.”

“That’s it,” Shivani took at step towards him, raising a fist.  I wrapped my arms around her waist and held her back.

Director Fussybottom frowned at Shivani, before turning his attention to Ryan.  His face actually lit up.  “Ryan, my boy, it’s good to see you.”

Ryan’s entire expression changed.  His smile was sincere.  “Robert, it’s good to see you too.”  The two of them actually embraced.

“I should have known,” Shivani muttered.

There was genuine concern on Ryan’s face when he asked, “What brings you to my territory?”

“We’re looking for,” Director Fussybottom hesitated.  He glanced at Professor Serenity.  “Your father.”