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Archive for May, 2013

Another quick blog–just wanted to write a quick review on Pink’s newest CD. I have always liked Pink; I remember when she “broke into” the music scene, and even though I was also into the whole Britney Spears/Christina Aguilera/Backstreet Boys/etc thing, I loved Pink. But I have actually never bought any of her CDs until now! I have individually downloaded some of her songs here and there, but this is the first real purchase, and it honestly was because I was buying my mother another CD from amazon and I wanted free shipping…and someone had told me this CD was good, so I was like…why not?

I honestly really like it. I won’t say it’s my favorite, but it’s definitely been playing constantly in my car for the last week. There are some songs on there I could do without, but really none of them are horrid to me. I really love the two that you have heard on the radio if you listen to pop stations–“Just Give Me a Reason” and “Try”. And I was going to tell you the other two I really enjoy, but I couldn’t remember the names (just the track numbers), so I pulled it up on amazon…and realized it was actually released last year. Shows how current I am on everything. Anyways, I also really like “Here Comes the Weekend” and “Where Did the Beat Go?” as more upbeat tracks. The first track is really “jammy,” too.

But like I said…pop isn’t my first choice of music, but as far as pop goes, this is a good CD. I think Pink is very talented, and I’ve always had respect for her. I think she’s quite talented and quite pretty.

Looking forward, hopefully my next music purchase when my next paycheck comes will be 30 Seconds to Mars’ new CD. I didn’t even know they had a new one coming out, so I was super excited to hear about this! A lot of people I know don’t like them, but…I don’t care if people don’t like a band. I will still love them 🙂

AV

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Just a quick shout out to the internet periodical “The Feminist Observer” or TFO…it was started just four months ago (I believe) by a good friend of mine, and since then she has done wonders with it. It is quickly growing and expanding, and I am so excited for her! Recently she posted on facebook that she was looking for more contributors, and I decided to go ahead and offer…not as a monthly contributor, per se, but an every-one-and-a-while one. I still feel like my time is strange and limited being on a schedule that is essentially upside down from everyone else’s.
But here’s a link to the website:
http://thefeministobserver.biglaunch.net/

You can check out their past and most current issues here. They also do little “kickstarters” now and again to help with production costs, so if you read and like it, feel free to let them know you want to subscribe (free and sent to your email directly) and, if you can, donate.

Here’s their latest kickstarter…it’s only for nine days, so if you try to click on this link after nine days is up, it might not exist anymore.

(edited to add: after publishing this, I realized the kickstarter link turned into the video they have on the website…once you hit play, you will see the start and stop bar at the bottom…beside that on the right, there is a little circle thing with a “K” inside of it. If you click on the “K,” it will take you to the actual kickstarter site.)
–AV

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I unfortunately am addicted to my facebook, and this is my latest status:

There sometimes comes a point in which you have to choose between sticking up for yourself and staying true to your beliefs or making certain people in your life happy. It’s a truly sad thing, but I like to think the people worth being in my life are the ones who will stick with me whether they agree with everything I think or not. Stay true to yourself ❤

To make a long story short, I had a feeling that someone that I really liked (as a friend!) but, because of a fight with someone else, I hadn't talked to in a while, was going to "unfriend" me on facebook eventually. Here's the thing: I like to jokingly say, "It's not official unless it's on facebook!" But, in a weird way, it's *kind* of true. Here's why: If you like someone or, at the very least, don't care one way or the other about someone…if you're already friends with them on facebook, why delete them unless you don't plan on ever talking to them again or don't plan on ever wanting to know what's happening in their life? Now, by "ever," I mean in the foreseeable future. Obviously things can happen that change current thoughts, etc…but you know what I mean, I hope. So, by "unfriending" me…well, actually, I wish instead of doing that, she would have messaged me first. Not, like, warning me that she was going to…but telling me exactly why she was unfriending me. Because I never had a problem with her. I had a falling out with someone in her family. And I get it, I really do. I get her side. She is being loyal to her family member. But, I hope if it were in my case, I would have tried to be like…what do you have to say about this before I just decide to cut you out of my life? I feel like we were close enough (she was one of three bridesmaids in my wedding) that I can feel a little upset that she didn't ask me about it first.

But, as always, I will be hurt, maybe a little mad because that's how I like to deal with being hurt because it's so much easier, and then I will force myself to get over it. I tell myself over and over again not to get close to people, not to make friends, not to depend on people..because ultimately, this happens. I feel badly for the few people who have never done anything like this to me, because I hold them at a bit of a distance because I expect this to happen now. Anyways…I did mean what I said, though. I could have made up with the person I had a falling out with because I knew it was going to have side effects for a long time, such as this one (losing more friends). Because it's a tough situation that will never not be tough for other reasons. But I feel like I would lose some respect for myself if I just gave up. I always let over people "win," and believe me when I say, it's not necessarily about "winning"…but the situation is so complex that it also is about "winning," lol. I know that makes no sense. Sorry. How about this:

When I wake up, I would rather feel a little guilty about being mad at someone and losing friends, but still respecting myself for not just caving on my beliefs and for not being one of very few people who stick up for myself, than to wake up with a less complicated life and feel depressed that I couldn't even stand up for myself. I feel depressed anyways, but at least I can say I have a backbone. Maybe that makes me horribly stubborn. Maybe I take grudges to a whole other level…but there you have it.

Just me,
AV

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This is what I got so far…not even the surest where I’m exactly going with this, but I thought I would throw this out there into the universe. Note: I am putting [] around sections that in my Word document, I have in different fonts to differentiate different “parts” of the document.

[Dark skies,
My lullaby
Siren-song, calling home…]

[I wear a mask, both inside and out. It is nighttime, and I am attending a party or a dance of some sort. My dress is far more risqué than anything I own or have ever worn before, but I cannot really see it…I just know that it is stunning and yet I feel incredibly awkward in it.

Despite the masks, we all know who each other are. The same, the usual…but then, but wait…who is that? He walks toward me, eyes locked onto mine. His eyes are black behind his mask. His mask is red, and it contrasts so brightly with his black suit, black hair, and those black, black eyes. I am stuck, frozen in spot. My mouth opens into an “O” of horror, though I cannot say why I am so terrified. The man stops in front of me. His mouth curves into a smile, though it is not entirely kind. No—I would say it is more of a knowing smirk.

“Don’t look so surprised,” I hear him say, but his mouth doesn’t move.

“Do I know you?” I whisper, and the words seem to take forever to come out.

He leans so closely to me that I can feel the heat coming off of his body, can feel the air from his breath when he answers. My body shivers; my heart races; I start to feel light headed; I am going to die.

“I know you.” And then he straightens up and strides past me. I am left, horrified, paralyzed, trying to scream but it just won’t come out…]

[“I don’t understand. What are you scared of happening?”
“I told you…I don’t know. I don’t know in the dream, and I don’t know when I’m awake and thinking about it.” Kerydwen sighed. “All I want to do is sleep.”

“You don’t have it every night.”

“I know. But I have it enough that I don’t want to sleep in case I have it again.”

Now Kyan sighed. “But there’s nothing scary in your dream. It shouldn’t bother you that much.”
“I know. That’s what I keep telling myself. But…” She hesitated. “It’s hard to explain in words. Despite the fact that I’ve had terrible dreams about death and dying, and there’s blood and fire and monsters…this just stops my heart. I just don’t want to go through it again.”

“Well, you’re going to have to,” Kyan pointedly out, logical as always. “You have to sleep. Why don’t you see if Father will give you some of his sleeping aid? Maybe you will sleep so deeply that you won’t dream.”

“Maybe.” She had already thought about that, too. But—

“I know you don’t want to tell him about the dream, and you don’t have to. Just say you’re dreaming in general. You’ve always done that…it’s not a secret.”

“Right.” Glumly, she turned her head to gaze out of the window she was sitting beside. It was raining outside, and the sky was so dark and dismal. It wasn’t the kind of rain she liked—it was cold and hard, unforgiving against anyone who dared to travel outside in it. She watched her father walk through their garden, no hat or any other protection against the weather except his usual outfit. Only a few feet from their door, and she could tell he was already completely drenched. His dark hair was matted against his face, but he didn’t bother to push it back.

“I don’t understand,” she said sadly. “What does it have to do with anything? Why am I dreaming it? Who is that man?”

“Well,” Kyan said, “isn’t that the point? That you don’t know who he is, but he knows who you are?”

“That’s creepy. Who knows me? Just the local people, and I know they all are.”

Kyan sighed again. “It’s probably just a dream, Kery. Someday you will wake up and realize that you hadn’t had it in weeks. Just give it time. If ones from real life eventually fade, so will this one.”

Kerydwen suddenly switched the subject. “Why does he never ask me to go with him?”

“Because it’s private,” Kyan answered her solemnly. “Some things are private and not meant to be shared with other people.”

“But I’m not other people,” she said sadly.

“We will go out later if you want,” he offered.

“No… No, I can’t think about two things at once. I will only go when this dream is not consuming my head.” She wrapped her blanket more tightly around her.

Kyan yawned. “Suit yourself. “ But then his voice turned accusing. “You haven’t been out in over a week.”

“Shut up.” She closed her eyes and rested her head against the curve of the bay window. “Shut up. I want to rest.”

And he just wasn’t there anymore. Sometimes he was a blessing, and sometimes he was a curse. She just couldn’t make up her mind. But she decided she couldn’t really blame herself for indecisiveness…sometimes he was just so understanding and helpful, saying things that she was too scared to admit to herself or accepting things that she was having trouble swallowing. And then, out of nowhere, he would turn mean and cruel. And if she didn’t get him out right then, she would end up hurt and crying. But he was always so…cold. Even when helpful, he just didn’t have any emotion. She couldn’t remember him ever laughing or smiling, or even looking happy, really.

“Another mystery of mysteries,” she muttered, remembering a quote from something she read years and years ago. She didn’t really sleep but simply drifted , letting her mind wander until she couldn’t even make sense of it.]

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The last story I completed was literally about a decade in the making. Which seems so sad when I realize that it’s not nearly as good as it probably should be, haha. But it’s not like I worked on it for a whole decade…I wrote the original idea when I was about 10-12 years old (I apparently didn’t really date things back then…I try to date everything now), and it was literally, likel, 18 pages long. It was a very complex idea, and I managed to pen it in 18 *written* pages. A few years later, I reread it and laugh about how awful it is, but I acknowledge that the idea is awesome (I think, anyways), so I try to rewrite it. It takes about two years, and it is about 418 pages written this time. I add backstory, more characters, more description…and I am so proud of it. I anonymously sent it to one of my high school English teachers to read after I typed it up (although, I suspect he knew who it was)…and I was absolutely crushed when one week later, he emailed me back and said he didn’t make it through one chapter because it was so boring and predictable. Apparently he thought I was better than I what I turned out to be, because he had seen me writing during school and always asked if I was ever going to let anyone read it. Well, that’s why I didn’t want to…because I seriously was very upset over that email. It still kind of haunts me to this day, because I was going into ninth grade at the time, and that was really the first time I tried to let someone other than family read something I wrote that wasn’t a school assignment.

So, I abandoned it. And yet, a few years later, I came back to it. Now, I had written some other stuff in between all of it..I wrote tons of poetry, probably all of it bad, and I had written some fanfictions and some original stories, some short, some longer. But this idea was driving me crazy! I just wanted to write it and read it later and still think it was good and accurately portrayed this awesome storyline I had in my head. I tried to rewrite it by simply going through the one I had most recently written and just changing things. It didn’t get far. I let it go again.

I’m pretty sure I tried that again, and it didn’t work. So finally, after writing a story that was about…I’m going to say, 115 pages typed that was completely original and kind of out of nowhere…I just started typing it one day and it went from there and took just a few months for me to complete…I seemed to have it again. I was sitting at work one day, and no one was in the store, which meant I could read or whatever if I wanted to (it was a book store, and it was awesome because I really could do what I wanted on some days if no one was in there), and I just started typing on our computer. And after I finished it, and it was about two pages, I realized…I wanted this to be the new start of my old story idea. I thought, “This will be the prologue, and I will not look at any of my old versions of this story.” Completely new, but using the core old idea. And…I finished it. I went through so many bouts of writer’s block even during this version, though. I have yet to figure out a good way to get through it.

It seems like the more I try to force myself to write, the worse it is, and the way my life has gone, it seems like when I am ready to write something, I will just sit down and write it. That’s how most of my school and especially college essays have gone. I will try to force myself to write it, and I will hate it…so I will put it off until there’s, like, two days left, and then I’m freaking out, so I just stop thinking about it, and then all of a sudden I will just pull up Word and start going at it. And once I start, I just have to do it all. I was known for just putting out a 14 page paper in one sitting, no matter how tired I got, because I knew if I quit, I wouldn’t be able to finish it. I hate that about myself, and I wonder if it’s just something I have in my head now and it’s not really true. And the worst part is, once I think about something for so long, once I write it, I have a lot of trouble going back through and trying to edit it.

So back to this story…I finished it. Problem is, I didn’t know if it was actually “good” or not. I put something on facebook to see if I would get any volunteers to read through it and give me real feedback. And I was very adamant about that–I wanted to know if it was actually good, or what I could try to change if it wasn’t. What aspects of writing did I need to work on? A few people actually volunteered, and I was so excited and so scared. I was scared of rejection again. But I emailed them all the story and said again…if you don’t like it, please tell me why and any pointers you have. I jokingly said they didn’t have to be cruel about it, but I wasn’t going to be mad at them if they thought it was awful.

So I waited, and waited…and waited…and never again did anyone of them mention it. None of them. I think four people got the email. One was my best friend at the time, and one was my sister. My sister was the only one I talked to about it, and she acknowledged that she was just too busy to read it, and unfortunately since she is my sister I had to forgive her, haha. But the other ones… ??? I was too scared to ask them and have them be like, It was so horrid that I didn’t want to embarrass you by even saying anything. And I was scared to ask them and they would be like, “Oh, I completely forgot about it! It was so boring I even forgot I was supposed to read it!”

So…to this day, the only person I had read all the way through it was a friend I made in college who lives in Korea. She speaks well enough that she went through an American college, but after going back to Korea, I think her English abilities waned some. She told me she really liked it, but also admitted that there were some parts she knew she didn’t quite understand. Which, I in no way am mad about…it was a fantasy-like story on top of everything else, and I tend to write in a poetic, not-straight-forward way at times, so I was just happy that she read it.

And here we are again, where there is another old story idea that I think is good, and now I think I can rewrite it and twist it to meet with the one I just finished. Kind of same-universe idea, or a prequel to the idea or something. But I once again have writer’s block. I have literally tried to start this story about four times now. And I think part of the problem is that I think–why bother? No one is ever going to read it; it’s not good; what’s the point? etc. …And I need to keep telling myself that my writings are for me. I need to get these down on paper (or the computer), because some day I may lose all my creativity, and then I will be sorry I didn’t try to keep the juices flowing, so to speak.

So if you’re as frustrated as me as often as I am, don’t give up! Do it for yourself, if no one else! And every once and awhile, you will just push out some story that you will look at and be all like, “Where the hell did that even come from?” Haha. Like I do every once and a while.

AV

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A coworker of mine said something interesting the other day, and I didn’t really think much of it at the time, but then the more I thought about it over the next few days, the more interesting it became to me. We were talking about the inevitable situation of losing a friend. It happens to everyone, but everyone handles it differently (and obviously there are different reasons for which one loses a friend…but for this discussion, I’m not including something like death). And I was telling my coworker that I was a bad person because I didn’t keep a lot of friends anyways…and it went on from there. But his last words on the subject at the time were: But don’t you just feel relieved when it’s all said and done? And I agreed, but then wasn’t sure how to think about it, and now I think I’m actually back to agreeing to a point.

Again, there are so many factors involved in something like this, especially your own personality, but I think after I was done being upset about whatever actually happened to make me not want to be friends with this person anymore…I *was* relieved to not have them as a friend anymore. And immediately someone will think, “Well, then they weren’t a good friend to begin with.” Which may or may not be true…maybe these people were actually horrible friends and I never really recognized that. But I realized that the lost friendships that I was heartbroken over…I think I was more crying because I couldn’t believe someone would treat me that way, more than because I was thinking, I’m never going to talk to this person again. And it sounds horrible to me even as I’m typing this, lol. Although, I can say that the people I knew for a long time that this happened to, I think of them now and am sad that we aren’t friends anymore…but it’s a saddness, not an unbearable desire to rekindle the friendship. I’m okay with not being friends with them. Maybe I’m some kind of freak that doesn’t really need a lot of friends (and I never really did…I was always different that way, because I seemed to be friends with people who couldn’t stand being alone ever).

So I was wondering how many other people felt this way, when they really thought about it. If you have a friend who does something really awful to you…are you instantly regretting not being friends with them anymore? Friend-breaking up with them? Or are you actually relieved?

AV

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(Prologue is in a previous blog)

Chapter One

Kala dropped into the chair, throwing her head back and her hands up to cover her face. Exhaustion wasn’t exactly something new, but she wasn’t used to it by any means. The dance had gone well; she thought the story had been easy enough to see. Not that the crowd cared. She was, after all, performing in a seedy bar in the ghetto side of town to a bunch of rowdy drunks.

If only her old friends could see her now. Pretty porcelain complexion smudged with grim, thick black hair heavy with grease, emerald gold-flecked eyes glazed with fatigue—her nails were broken and uneven, her clothes all worn and ripped, her ribs and hips showing from unreliable meals. No, Kala was not the girl she used to be. On the verge of coming out of adolescence, but she knew the ugly side of life.

“Kala!” Rough pounding on the door followed the yelling.

Kala continued to sit, but she dropped her hands into her lap, allowing her blood-shot eyes to stare dully into the grimy mirror hanging on the wall several feet ahead of her. Grimy face in a grimy mirror. She was barely reflected, a fading specter. She may as well not be there at all.

“Kala!” Fists on the door. Chips of plaster crumbled from the door frame and dusted the floor. Numbness crept up her body. It started with her toes, then up her legs, her torso, her breasts, her fingers, arm, lips—her eyes were frozen in place and her vision began to fade away. There was nothing there. She didn’t exist.

“Oh, for God’s sake, Kala.” The man’s exasperated voice brought her back to the present. Kala shook her head. What was wrong with her? Melancholy. A deep melancholy had nestled inside of her and was content to stay. “I know you’re in there. I just wanted to ask if you wanted to come drink with us. How ‘bout it?”

No, she thought. No. No, no, no, no… It was all so wrong.

Gaston let out a gusty sigh from the other side of the door. “Fine, fine. I get it. You know, it’s not healthy—a pretty young thing like you—brooding in a dark room. At least think about having some fun tonight, ‘right? The offer still stands.”

The floorboards cracked enough to let her know that her coworker—because he didn’t know enough about her for her to consider him a friend—had finally left her alone. Kala let out her own sigh, but she felt it more than heard it. Maybe she should get out for a bit, not with Gaston and the rest of them, but just out for a walk. A quick turn around the block.

The wind was sharp, but she had simply shrugged a sweater onto her shoulders before creeping out of the bar. It didn’t take long for the dim lantern outside The Needle to evaporate into the night, but it wasn’t until the building was out of sight that the raucous shouts and crude laughter began to die out. Kala hunched her shoulders and willed herself to be as invisible as she usually was. Perhaps it was only her paranoid imagination that produced the crawling sensation on her back, that made every passerby seem like a demon staring her down with fire licking their hollow eye sockets. Kala shoved her hands into her pockets and walked faster.

Suddenly she was aware of a new coldness brushing upon her. Kala pulled her worn sweater tighter around her body, but this was not the night, not the breeze. She finally lifted her head and realized, with a start, that the sky was fully pocked with irregular, lumpy clouds splotched from the waxing moon and constellations as they fought to break the darkness. And the clouds seemed to be disintegrating before the world in the face of the celestial light. Tiny, perfect, lacey snowflakes floated down to dust the people and coat the ground. Kala drew to a stop. It just made everything so soft and new.

The snow began to fall more quickly, more thickly. Soon clumps were sticking to her hair and body, as if it hoped to bury her alive. She wondered what it would be like to die in the snow, such cold and muffled quiescence. Everything just seemed a little quieter, a little cleaner. Her need to walk had returned, and so Kala made her way steadily away from The Needle, away from the tavern whores who sneered at her, away from the filthy men who told her that her dancing nearly brought them to tears just to try to get in her pants, away—away—away—

Faster, faster, faster, her legs took her farther. Her intentions had only been to take a stroll, but now she could see that she just wasn’t meant to return. No, it was time to move on.

A slight smile graced her lips. Her face was again tilted down, her lids heavy over her cat eyes. When she stared up into the swirling snow, descending upon her like a devouring vortex, it made her dizzy, like she was twirling away into a tornado of shimmering lights.

Then she was away from the houses, the dilapidated shacks and apartments and shuttering streetlights. The river was before her. She loved the river. A contented sigh escaped her lips, and her feet stayed, her urgent need to move gone. Because it was cold, and it was quiet, and it was just so perfect. Kala would swear she could hear the snow at that moment, whispering its journey to the ground, the languid river bubbling the tales of its travails, the ground murmuring the names of all that had tread there, the trees sighing the secrets of life. And at that moment, Kala just let go. Just let it all go. The tension seeped out of her muscles, the stress drained from her head, the heaviness of hopelessness became evanescent and flew off in wisps into the night. She was there; she was alive; she was Kala Mira, and she was all right with that. For the first time since self-awareness swooped upon her and gobbled her up, she was content to just Be.

Kala thought, I could die right now and I would be fine with that. I never knew how to go about making peace with myself, but I see it now. I am here, and that is all that Is. I am me, and that’s all that I’ll ever Be. If I die, then I will die. Because she was at peace with the world. And she knew, from the sudden sickening drop in her stomach, that this moment was in no way meant to last. Oh, no, because it was simply too perfect. So that’s how she knew—knew that the man was going to come up behind her and pull a rope around her neck.

It was a silent struggle, or perhaps her ears had merely given up on her. The sky was white, as her head was forced upward. Snow fell faster than ever, and cold bit her eyes when tears sprang to them. Was it possible for your eyes to ice over? When she was on the verge of passing out, the rope slacked. Air rushed into her lungs like blades cutting tissue paper, and a circus of dots danced in her eyes.

Breathe, breathe, just breathe…

Her heart, pounding, galloping, slightly off rhythm, but solidly there.

Then she became aware of the hands groping her, and an absolute black dread dropped on top of her. ‘God, no. God, no. Please, God…no.’ Kala wasn’t even sure if there were a god or God or gods, but in that moment all her being froze into a moment of clarity that there had to be something, someone, and they just couldn’t allow her to be raped.

Then her mind lurched back to the present, and the man’s hands were running all over her. Seeking. They were rough, calloused—she could picture chewed nails with dirt as thick as sludge beneath the brittle bones and in the cracks of his skin. Old hands. Desperate hands. On her stomach, in her pockets, down her pant legs, over her arms. But she had not even a coin on her. In her shoes, under her collar… No, she was as penniless as he.

‘A thief,’ she thought in such relief that a cold seat broke out across her body. She was specifically aware of the sweat pooling underneath her breasts. Then his face was over hers. Kala realized abruptly that she was on the ground, in the snow, the lake near her feet. He was crouched beside her and leaning over her. His teeth were rotten, his breath sour. Stubble, dirt, bloodshot old eyes…a homeless thief.

‘Oh, he just wants money.’ But his eyes screamed at her of despair, of death-—his eyes were like death itself staring right at her. She couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t plead. Couldn’t move her lips and exhale enough to beg for her life. She had nothing to trade.

He was surprisingly strong, considering he looked long starved. The man gripped her shoulders, bone digging into bone—surely he had seen how worn, how angular she was—and hauled her up. She wanted to say something, to blurt out something stupid—I won’t tell; I’ll let you leave; I won’t hurt you back. But his mind was long fried on drugs and cold, paranoia and starvation, and his mind was made up. Her fate was decided.

Listless, dull, resigned, Kala felt the wetness of the snow seeping through her clothes to her skin. Already she felt cold, cold as death.

Struggle! Fight! Live! Her mind suddenly snapped awake. Her limbs still felt like jelly, but energy shot down her body. She was awake.

Kala must have surprised him by going from limp to springing away, because he lost his grip. She managed to only stumble, and then she was facing him.

She was done.

It was a lightning second, too quick to see. But she was able to feel it, but only when it was too late. Sharp, digging, piercing—Kala heard the air rattle into her lungs, felt her heartbeat slow to stop in shock, heard the snow crunch as the heel of her foot hit the ground to steady her off-balanced body. She could smell flowers in the air, could hear the moon breathing, could feel the absolute solitude of her surroundings.

Kala opened her mouth, sucked in air as the pain from the knife began to register, and was ready to scream. Not that it would have mattered. The man shoved her once, hard. The knife slid cleanly out of her abdomen as her body choicelessly fell backward. His dead eyes stared straight into hers. Watching, with seeming disinterest, her pending death.

Kala stumbled with no hope of recovering, lost her balance completely as the ground sloped down in rocky unevenness, and crashed into the black water. It was much too dark to discern the blood from the water. Kala’s skin quickly grew numb from the cold and her brain shut down, clamped down in hopes of a peaceful death. Perhaps she succeeded in blocking out the pain.

No one was near the river that night to witness the lithe body floating down, down the river, away and away and away…

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