Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Did you mean "exercise"? (post editing)

So, Paul and I had an exercise. We were to construct a short story in the time it took to listen to The Forms' "Icarus" EP (around 12 minutes). The idea had to be original, one character had to be named Samuel and we had to use three random words from Tedd's collegiate dictionary. The words ended up being: monkeyshines, paralytic and thatch. We were allowed one read through for general repair, and one read through by the opposite party.

Mine is entitled "Samuel of Maron." Maron does not actually exist. I know this.

Paul's "Exercise One" is viewable at This Is Depression, one of my favorite things in the world.

NOTE: Please also read the post after this one, it's Tedd's new reflexive piece. It's wonderful. I didn't know it was there until after I put this up. Love him. Without further ado...

Samuel of Maron

Samuel the ghost haunted a thatched hut just outside of a village in Maron. He was not the typical spirit—one looking for vengeance or postmortem piece of mind. Instead, he sought relief from the despondency of death: a more calculated practice than his counterparts. His were monkeyshines; the kind of marginal pranks expected from a sophomoric child rather than an apparition.

Maron, with its diminutive populace, lay off the Ivory Coast. It was an island discovered by Samuel’s nearly conquered tribe. Retreating in the night, Samuel was killed by one of his warriors trying to board an escape boat bound for Maron.

Samuel apprenticed with a very peculiar and particular patron upon his passing. His master, Archimedes, a cripple even in afterlife, was an astute and oftentimes gentle soul. He was one of understanding and toleration, and he immediately took to Samuel. He felt a general disdain for the man responsible for Samuel’s death, and granted a petty grievance with the apparitions’ alliance for Samuel’s haunting license, good until his killer’s demise.

Maronian life expectancy was not fantastic, so Samuel had no choice but to train as quickly as possible. Archimedes worked with a professor’s cruelty—grading the gradient nature of Samuel’s ability yet leaving the feeling of impending doom when necessary. Being that Archimedes was paralytic, physical violence was out of the question. His was a psychological style. He would often say, “We’ll be spirits again by the time you learn to walk through inanimate objects, lad,” or “My my, tribal wars will be long gone when we finally get to interspecies communication.” Though frustrated, Samuel was able to grasp things quickly.

Archimedes granted him worthy after months of training, and Samuel immediately hovered over his oppressor. The killer was cowered over a bush defecating. His bones were feeble and weak from the lack of nutrition offered by the young island, and he was staring straight ahead with consternation. His hut, only ten feet away, was messy and badly constructed. Samuel, being lighthearted and hardworking in nature, knew the travails of his former counterpart. He recalled his own messy hut. He could see through the malice of his killer’s months-old actions, and Samuel half-smiled. His stopped heart warmed. He felt more alive than when living—more so than in conquest, sexual practice or rigid and determined conversation. He lost sight of the anger that had driven him during training. He could remember the compassion he reserved for his enemies in battle—killing them when they were so badly hurt. He was famous for reminding the dying of their families, and that they would remember the dead to their villages as heroes.

He turned and flew through the walls of the hut. He overturned a can of ashes near the bed and spelled his own name. Even that seemed too much, but it was at least a reminder of his killer’s error. Samuel thought later he would just fly—for an hour or so and then come back and set up an elaborate water trap; a humorous gesture of forgiveness between former warriors.


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