Two Worlds

Air gently moved in and out, her heartbeat matched it, faster with every inhalation, slower with exhalation. Blood coursed through her veins, fast then slow then fast again with every beat of her heart. Electricity zapped along her nerves causing muscles to pull, push, and shift in nearly imperceptible movements.

“You’re doing it again, Tanya,” a quiet voice pulled her out of her meditation. She started, knocking the book on her lap to the floor where it landed with a muffled thud. “I don’t understand how you do that,” Diane whispered, as she placed her own books on the hardwood table and sat down on the mismatched chair next to Tanya. “It’s like you go into a trance or something. You’re here but no one is home.”

“It’s called meditation, you should try it sometime,” Tanya mumbled as she attempted to cover a yawn with a hand while arching her back and stretching out ridiculously long legs and arms.  She hadn’t realized she had been waiting in the still library long enough for her to fall so deeply into her subconscious mind and body. “You’re late.”

“Yep,” Diane said then pulled two large travel mugs from her bag, “the line at the café was ridiculously long.”

“You brought coffee? All is forgiven!” Tanya grabbed at one of them and popped open the sealed top. “Mmm, hazelnut,” she took a long drink and sighed. “Okay,” Tanya glanced at her watch, “I have to leave in about six hours, so do you wanna focus on bio or lit?”

“Bio, we’ve got that test on tomorrow. Your work hours have gotten weird, what do you even do there?”

“I switched to working the street rather than stare at a screen so it’s just wandering around and telling off people for trespassing.” Diane gave Tanya a long skeptical look then sighed and then flipped open a heavy textbook to a chapter near the middle.

“What’s the pain pathway and how does it work in the nervous system?”

 

Tanya stepped carefully into the alleyway. She should have waited for Dan but she had felt something that didn’t belong in the concrete jungle of the city. She was still a journeyman, not even an acolyte yet, working without a teacher was dangerous, but people had been hurt by things they couldn’t describe and this was what he was training her to do.

The only warning she had was a small huff followed by something furry and dense ramming into her side. Tanya flew through the air and hit the brick wall with her shoulder. “That’s going to bruise something fierce,” she muttered to herself and used the wall to climb back to her feet. In the poor alleyway light she could barely see the outline of a large canine. It growled then launched itself at her again. Not taken completely by surprise this time she spun to the left and reached out to grab the fur on its shoulders, pulling herself onto its back so she was straddling it. The canine shook itself so wildly that any thought of reaching for her knives was dismissed. “Whelp, here goes nothing,” she struggled to dig her hands deeper into its fur while using her legs to keep herself on its back and away from its snapping jaw or sharp claws. The fur was thick, dirty, and matted so that catching even a fingertip against the skin would have been near impossible in the best of circumstances. “Come on!” she grunted in pain as the beast threw itself against the wall, crushing her leg with its heavy body. Her hands began to feel hot as the hair on her arms and head stood on end. The creature’s fur was too tangled to respond readily but it tried, giving her a few millimeters of extra space to work with. A faint ozone smell gathered around them and the air crackled. She felt the leg of her jeans shredding as it was rubbed against the bricks just before she felt the sharp sting of hundreds of jagged edges grate and tear at her skin. She clenched her jaw tight, not now, focus! Finally, her fingers brushed against something more solid than fur and she channeled all the electric energy she could into the canine’s nervous system. It roared once then crumpled.

Tanya fell from its back, rolling several times before finally coming to rest on her back, her breath coming in quick, deep gasps. Muscles twitched and trembled all along her body in response to the left-over static that seemed to jump and sizzle across all her nerves. She felt like she had been hit by a bus. Using that much energy at once shocked her system almost as much as the thing she channeled it into. She closed her eyes to focus on her breathing, bringing it back down to a normal rhythm and calming her heart and her frazzled nerves.

She was still lying on her back when she heard gravel crunching under boots. They stopped right next to her torso and she resisted the urge to open her eyes immediately.

“You look a mess, Tanya. What the hell happened?” A deep, masculine voice asked from six feet above her. She waved in what she assumed was the direction of the still creature, wincing as the movement pulled at her injured shoulder. A silent moment then, “ah. I see.”  Concern touched the edge of his voice, “can you stand?” he asked from much closer to her head. She cracked open one eye. He was kneeling over her, his long face hardly more than shadows in the faint light filtering down the alley. It didn’t take much imagination for her to see the deep lines in forehead or worry in his brown eyes. She sighed before reaching her uninjured arm up for him to grab and help her sit up.

“Hey, Dan, you missed the fun,” she told him. She saw him looking at her leg, and answered the obvious question, “my leg’s a bit torn up.” She twisted to get a better look at the outside of her left leg. She moved her foot around in circles, fascinated by the way the muscles pulled and shifted. It hurt, but no more than her shoulder did. She used her good arm and leg to push herself up. “Right shoulder, left leg, at least I’m even.”

“That’s one way to look at it,” he mused. “Sorry, I lost track of time.” She waved his apology away. They both knew it wouldn’t have mattered much. He was much better at tracking and doing things from a distance, the glass cannon type. She was the tank.

“I left early anyway. Felt that thing nearby and didn’t want to let it get too far.” She gingerly put some of her weight on her left leg, wincing again at the pain, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been even a minute ago. One of the benefits of her talent with the energy that zipped through nerves and muscles was she could turn some of those nerves off and on. Most of it was subconscious, but her control was better now that she was using the ability daily. Small adjustments in the nerve pathways meant she could ignore it. For a time at least.

Dan held out an arm for her to lean on then led her over to the large creature against the wall. “What is it?” She asked. He pulled out a small flashlight and kneeled next to the creature. The light focused on its face. It looked like a dog in general shape, but its snout was much longer and broader than any normal canine. Its fur was a dark gray, mottled with spots of bare skin along its muzzle and side. Everything about it was exaggerated, like a caricature artist had drawn a demon dog and it somehow came to life.

“I’m not sure, I haven’t seen anything like it in real life,” he answered, while she slowly moved closer to it, “or smelled anything like it either.” He covered his mouth and nose with the collar of his shirt.  looked down at her shirt then and noted the dirt and greasy smears ground into the fabric. She brought it close to her face to inspect the damage and began gagging at the strong smell of dirty, greasy, wet dog. Nothing was going to get that out. “Another outfit gone. That’s the fourth one this month.”

Dan continued to inspect the beast, “it may be of the Wild Hunt… or a pooka?” he mumbled to himself. “What do you know of pookas?” He moved the flashlight so it was focused on her rather than the smelly… pooka. The stains and bloody leg looked worse in the harsh, white light. The thoughtful frown changed to one of concern when he got a better look at the damage to her leg.

“’Tis only a flesh wound,” she joked as he pulled out a roll of gauze and tossed it to her. The gauze wouldn’t do much more than keep additional debris out, but it was better than nothing. Better first aid with ice packs and bandages would come after they finished tonight. She quickly wrapped her leg as best she could, tied a knot in the gauze, then gestured at the creature, “had enough time with the to be able to track it?”

“Yeah, I’ve got it,” he stood up, stretching and rolling his shoulders. “You sure you want to do this tonight?” he looked at her leg then up to her face. “If your leg-”

“If we wait this thing’s fellows may move off or attack someone else,” She didn’t add that she’d be lucky if she could move at all tomorrow. Her muscles were already complaining and she knew from experience it would only get worse.

“If you’re sure,” he sighed when he saw her nod. He took a deep breath then did something she couldn’t understand. Like her, he could do things most people considered impossible. A faint, purple mist gathered around his body, then with a gesture he directed it toward the dead creature. The mist seemed to sink into the dead pooka for a few heartbeats before it lifted away and stretched out into the night as a narrow ribbon. Dan set out slowly, giving her the opportunity to take the lead and set their pace.

Using Dan’s tracking mist they followed the route the monster had taken. It avoided main roads, sticking to roads or alleys with few lights and little traffic. After two miles the ribbon started to grow thicker and turn opaque. “I think we found its territory,” Dan whispered. The mist spread out to cover nearly the entire street, a smudge of smoke making the already rundown neighborhood they were in look like a horror movie set. Decrepit buildings and homes were separated by empty lots of land. All the yards were nearly uniform with bare dirt visible between clumps of weeds and detritus that the residents hadn’t bothered to put in the trash. It was an ideal place for things that didn’t belong but still needed to be near a source of food, humans.

Her turn. She took a deep breath before stretching out her senses. Her perspective shifted, as though she was viewing the environment from a few feet above her head in 360 degrees. The new view didn’t provide much more information than what her eyes had already seen, but at least she was less likely to be ambushed this time. Her hearing sharpened so that she could hear not only her heartbeat but also Dan’s and a few dozen small animals. Her mind automatically identified and dismissed irrelevant creatures too small to be another large creature like the pooka. Finally, her other sense, the one that felt for living things lifted away from her skin and slowly expanded in every direction. It confirmed the life she had already heard and dismissed, but just at the edge of what she could feel there was a large clump of things that didn’t fit anything she had encountered before tonight. She tapped Dan on the shoulder then pointed toward the source of energy. He nodded and took the lead as they carefully approached a large shed with broken windows and caving in walls on the far corner of a large plot of land. The house and shed had been abandoned long ago by the feel of the place.

Dan pulled what looked like a grenade from a pouch on the holsters crossing his chest. She gave him a questioning look, “new design,” he mouthed to her before tossing it into the center of the shed. His aim, as always, was spot on. “New design for what?” she whispered. Dan had a bad habit of testing new devices in the field. Sometimes they even worked that first use.

A soft hissing emanated from inside the building shortly followed by snuffling and huffing from several large mammals. The shed began to glow with a soft, ephemeral light, brightest near the center and weaker at the far edges. “Anything I should know before I charge in?” she asked as she pulled two knives from her belt. They were composed of a single piece of steel and veins of pure silver and iron along the length from the butt of the hilt to the tapering edges by way of a talented, magical, and expensive smith. They were worth every dollar. She needed silver and iron because she never knew what she was going to run into and some things from fairy tales were true, steel because there were things in the world even fairy tales couldn’t mention.

“Don’t breathe in the mist. It’s heavier than air so just try to stay on your feet,” he told her as he unslung a long rifle from his shoulder. She nodded sharply then dashed forward to jump through the window closest to them and hope there wasn’t anything sharp or painful for her to land on.

It had taken months of practice to move around without throwing up with her vision split in two.  Running, jumping, leaping, fighting, all that had taken thousands more hours of practice to keep from falling flat on her face. She leaped up, grabbed the top edge of the window frame to swing her legs through and released, controlling her fall. Her sky-view vision shifted inside with her, allowing her to see everything in the room. There were three pookas circling around each other, snarling and snapping in a sloppy drunk sort of way. The largest, seemed the most coordinated and broke off from the other two when she crashed through the window. It locked eyes with her for the barest of seconds before it ran headlong for her.

Tanya pivoted on her right foot, using the injured leg to push off the wall next to her and leap over the creature. She twisted midair while jabbing her knives into the pooka’s skin and channeling a sharp jolt of energy through them and directly into nerves along the its spine. It dropped to the floor with muscles still twitching. Not dead, but that pooka appeared to be down for the moment. Which was good since she was using far more of her energy tonight than she had on any other mission. She pulled her knives from its hide, wiped them on its fur and turned to face the other two. The smallest one dropped with a heavy thud at the same time that the sharp echoing retort of Dan’s rifle reached Tanya’s enhanced ears, making them ring loudly. Another monster was out of the fight. That left her with the last one until he reloaded.

She stalked forward, approaching the drunken pooka straight on, and took her first steps into the mist from Dan’s grenade. The gauze did little to protect the injured left leg from the mist and it began to burn like she had dumped a full bottle of antiseptic on it. The sudden change in pain made her breath hiss through her teeth and her eyes begin watering. I’m gonna punch him. Hard. First, she needed to punch the pooka in front of her.  Tanya closed her eyes to use only her clear, overhead vision which she shifted so that it focused forward on the creature in front of her. She turned her attention to her leg just long enough to turn off most of the pain receptors, she couldn’t afford the distraction. She struck at the pooka. It fell back on its haunches but whether from trying to move away from her or attack she didn’t know. She edged her way to its side, deeper into the painful mist, silvered knives weaved in front of her, as a warning that lunging at her would be painful.  Two more steps into the mist and her left knee gave out without warning, sending her sprawling alongside the pooka, knocking the air from her lungs, and plunging her entirely into the mist. The knife in her left hand skittered away but she had gripped the other tightly. Without thought she lashed out. The knife found flesh and she weakly pushed energy through, hopefully enough to knock the creature out.

Her lungs ached, and he was forced to inhale. Immediately she felt her careful control of her mind break apart, her vision splintered into a thousand pieces, she lost track of what was happening. She was tired. Some small part of her mind told her she couldn’t fall asleep. Something bad would happen. Her thoughts drifted, disjointed. Dan. Dan would have to clean up. He was good at that. She heard another loud retort, distorted as though it was traveling through water, and felt something heavy fall on her already damaged leg. She screamed. Her mind fractured and then she was falling down down down into a black oblivion.

 

The shock of freezing cold brought Tanya out of her unconsciousness. She tried to stand up only to have her legs slip beneath her on a smooth surface. Her head dipped into icy water. A bathtub. She sat up, moving slower this time. Water streamed down her face and neck and sparks jumped along water and her exposed skin while she tried to place where she was. The walls and lighting were familiar. Her bathroom. Her bathtub. Filled with water and ice. She turned to the open doorway knowing she would find Dan nearby. He stood in the hallway with the bottom half of his legs soaked and wearing rubber boots and gloves. Hasty safety measures when dealing with someone who lashed out with electricity, not a bad idea. She glanced down and noted he had tossed her in fully dressed and the water was already turning a distinctly unpleasant shade of gray with swirls of bright red blood near her feet.

“Ice? Really?” She sank deeper into the bath, not bothering to fight the shivering and reveling in the numbing sensation edging its way along her bruised and bruising skin and tense muscles.

“You like ice packs, this seemed more efficient,” he hesitantly stepped toward the doorway, but stopped when she raised her hand, not sure what she was going to do.

“I’m still angry at you,” he merely nodded, expecting that from her, “a little better warning next time?” He shrugged and nodded again. He would remember for a week. Maybe two. They both knew it, but he would try. “Any chance there could be warm towels and PJs after this?” she gestured to the water.

“As you wish,” he said then laughed when a bar of soap bounced off the door jamb next to his head. The door shut as he moved away from her bathroom and she heard the dryer turn on a minute later. After what seemed like an hour later, but was probably only twenty minutes she was dry, warm, and tending to her leg. A quick glance at a clock told her it was nearly 6am. On Thursday. She had that bio test in four hours. Shit. Dan saw her shoulders slump and took a guess, “Test today?” She nodded sullenly, finishing up with the ace wrap. “You’re young, but you’ll need to choose soon, Tanya. You can’t continue to live two different lives.”

“I know. I just… I don’t know yet, Dan.”

 

Tanya hissed when she felt something connect hard with her leg. Her left leg. Her still shredded left leg. She looked to the side where Diane was glaring at her. “What was that for?” she mouthed silently. “You fell asleep. Again,” she hissed. Tanya just sighed then looked back at her test. She had just started the long answer questions and only had fifteen minutes left. Right. She could do this. What is nociception? Describe its pathway and process using as much detail as possible. She giggled to herself, if there was something she was intimately aware of at this moment, it was the perception of pain. Putting pencil to paper she began to write, the motions of her hand matching time to the throbbing in her leg.

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Choices

“Mama, you’re here! I missed you so much!” The young, shaggy brown haired boy shouted as he ran up to a woman who appeared to be in her mid-twenties. She held her arms up to catch him when he ran into her, knocking her onto her heels.

“Hey, honey, I’ve missed you, too,” she gently smoothed his disheveled hair so she could see his still baby blue eyes. His head reached up to her stomach now. “My goodness, you’ve grown like a weed, how old are you now, Taylor?”

“I’m six, Mama,” he pulled back from her, just an inch, “you’ve been gone forever.”

“I’m sorry baby, I didn’t mean to. I never wanted to leave you. I just couldn’t take you with me.” She paused before asking her next question, her voice fill of an emotion Taylor had only heard from all the other adults when she first left. “I didn’t expect to see you again for a much longer time, how are you here?”

“I dunno,”he replied. “I just kinda of woke up here,” he looked around as though for the first time. Everything looked really fuzzy, like when it was raining and foggy at the same time. The little he could make out looked a little bit like the house, the one he has been brought to only a few weeks so. The window for the bedroom he shared with two other boys, one in middle school and the other in 2nd grade, was the easiest to see though it was on the second floor. He even thought he saw the blond hair of the younger boy as he tried to hide while still looking out. Taylor figured he only watched so he could tattle on kids who broke the rules. There were a lot of rules here. More than the other two places he lived before. Mrs Williams seemed to like it when kids broke the rules. That meant she could spank them and send them to their room with only a peanut butter sandwich and water for dinner. Taylor hated her.

“Are you here to take me away, Mama? I don’t like it here very much. They’re so mean.”

“Oh sweetie, I don’t know. That depends on you.”

 

“Trauma room 3!” A woman in green scrubs yelled to the growing crowd of similarly dressed people. They all ran into a room to their left, splitting up into teams of two at different points in the white and steel room. They were immediately followed by the paramedics pushing a gurney with a small, bloody body barely covering half the bed. They talked loudly over the general chaos to give report to the doctor and nurse helping to guide the gurney.

“On the count of three,” two people in green reached across the bed in the middle of the room to grab the sheet below the child, “one, two, three!” The two paramedics and two ED staff lifted and pulled or pushed the child from the paramedics’ gurney to the ED one.

“He’s lost at least a liter of blood,” one of the paramedics said before stepping back to let the swarm of nurses, techs, and doctors replace them and the bed.

“Stacy, go get three bags of O-neg from the lab!” The woman at the foot of the bed called out, sending a young tech running out of the room. “Travis, you got that?” She asked without turning to see if the man furiously clicking and typing at the lone computer had indeed heard her.

“3 bags of O-neg, entered and acknowledged,” he reported back to her. “What are his vitals?” A tech yelled out a series of numbers. Without pause the man at the head of the bed began to call out various injuries and treatments. They had done this dozens of times just this week and knew what they needed to do. “We’ve lost his pulse!” The man at the head of the bed interrupted himself. One nurse pulled out a stool from beneath the bed and a second stepped up on it to start chest compressions. With each push on his chest bright red blood spattered from a deep gash on his head and pooled beneath him from multiple cuts and scrapes on his torso. “Where’s that blood?” the woman at the foot called out.

“Here!” Stacy wheezed and passed a small ice chest to the nurse next to the IV pole. The controlled chaos around the bed continued, people calling out observations, what they were doing, and the condition of the child.

 

“What do you mean it’s up to me, Mama?” Taylor asked with a quiver in his voice.

“You’re hurt really bad, baby. If you stay here with me you’ll be here with me as a six-year old kid, for even longer than I was gone,” she unwrapped her arms from around him then kneeled down to be face to face with him. “You won’t grow up, you won’t find someone to love, or have kids of your own.”

“That’s okay, Mama! I don’t want to go back,” he began to cry. “Mrs. Williams doesn’t like me. She hurts me all the time.”

“Oh, Taylor, sweetie, she won’t be in your life forever.”

“I don’t care. I want to stay here with you,” he stated with finality. He crossed his arms and his little jaw jutted out. He glared at her, daring her to try to change his mind.

“Okay baby, you don’t have to stay,” she stood up and held out her hand for him. He eagerly grabbed it, his hand disappearing inside hers. “All you have to do is walk with me, but don’t look back, okay? If you look back you’ll have to go back for a little while longer.” He nodded and started to drag her the direction they were facing.

 

“I’m calling it,” the green clad woman at the foot of the bed said with a weary sigh. “Time of death is eighteen twenty-four,” she stepped back to Travis, no longer needed to direct any of the activity around the small, pale and bloody body on the bed. “Could we have done anything else?” She asked him quietly. He only shook his head, “auto v ped, the fact we got a heartbeat again is amazing,” he patted her hand, “you did everything possible.” She nodded slowly, not bothering to blink back or hide her tears.

Fog

Anna woke up to screaming. She tried to stand but her body refused to respond, not even to turn her head. Only her eyes responded to her insistent need to do something, run, hide, fight, anything but lay on the hard, frozen pavement. Opening her eyes revealed only a heavy, oppressive fog obscuring everything around her, including her legs.

The screaming echoed through the fog, seeming to come from all directions at once, though it was weakening, coming in coarse gasps and underlying tears. The fog almost seemed to have a presence to it, pressing down on her, choking her, and making it difficult to breath. The screaming matched its rhythm to her breathing, cutting off suddenly when she began to cough. It’s me, I’m the one screaming. Her newfound insight seemed to be the cue her body needed to make it work again. She wished it hadn’t.

Searing pain raced up her limbs, burning her nerves, boiling her blood, tearing her muscles, and shattering her bones. Another more primal scream escaped her raw throat and the coppery smell of blood overloaded her sense of smell. The pain forced her back to arch, her hands clenched tightly, scraping her knuckles against the sharp pebbles littering the road, hardly registering over the other sensations overwhelming her system.

It stopped as abruptly as it had started. Her body dropped down hard on the pavement, and her breath came in short, deep gasps as though she had just run a marathon. But she could move now. She slowly pushed herself up, using the yellow guardrail next to her to lean on while her shaking legs adjusted to her body weight as well as the fog. The fog that seemed to cling to her like spiderwebs in a long-abandoned tomb. She left smears of blood along the guardrail, dark red coating the bright yellow.

Glass and gravel crunched beneath her feet, loud and distant at the same time. A car, there should be a car, she thought. She continued to stumble forward, searching with her hands and feet as much as with her eyes.

The crumpled wreak of her car fuzzed into being in front of her, ghostly and ghastly. The crumpled front looked like it had attempted to plow through a mountain and failed. The windshield no longer existed and the steering wheel was crushed into the driver seat along with the driver side door. Where she had been sitting, buckled in. She looked down at her chest and found herself staring at the torn, bloody shirt imbedded in her skin with chips of glass and a narrow metal rod. Her hand rose of its own volition, shaking violently as it tried to grasp and pull the rod from her left breast. Her blood slick hand only slid along it, but she knew already what it meant.

She lunged from the rail to the car, its blue paint barely present between the gouges in the carbon fiber. Her hands found the cold, wet vehicle, and she inched her way around to the driver window. Cold. Enough time had passed for the car to cool off. Her hair prickled, covering her in goose bumps as the cold had not and sending a shiver down her spine. She knew what she would find, but she needed to see for herself.

She reached the door where it had been forced at least six inches into the cab. Her eyes closed involuntarily, putting off the inevitable for a few extra seconds. Then they opened and she saw her own body, slumped into the passenger seat and covered in blood. From this perspective she could see her chest was crumpled into itself, her head hanging limp against her shoulder.

The screaming began again, something so primal and full of fear that the fog shifted away from her, afraid of her. Then, gathering itself into a swirling mist it engulfed her slowing only when she had been consumed entirely.

A Day in the Life of…

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty. And the innocent.**

**I feel really weird about posting this one cause it is something that happened but memory is a fickle thing. I have no idea how much I’ve exaggerated things in my mind over the nearly two years between these events and the original time of writing.

***I added a little to the ending that I couldn’t originally fit in the space limits so if the tone changes, please forgive me.

**** Yes, I still work at the same place, at least part-time since I’m currently in an accelerated BSN program.

 

“Where are you heading to?” one of the corridor deputies asked as I passed by him.

“Dog,” I responded. The metal tray full of medicine cups shifted slightly as I moved to the other side of the long hallway to let some inmates pass by. They had smiles on their faces and the pink slips in their hands that indicated they were on their way to release. I liked when people got released, especially on the second floor. Three fewer guys to yell and curse as me because I didn’t have a medication record for them or couldn’t give them something to help with their headaches or withdrawals.

“Are you sure? They’ve flooded three times today,” he commented to me then to the radio mic and speaker on his shoulder, “two CP to two Dog, you’ve got the nurse. Outer two Dog, please.”

“Thanks for the head’s up. Maybe they’ll chill out after they’ve gotten their medications,” I commented then turned left to face the green, heavy metal and hurricane glass door. It slid open, releasing a whoosh of fetid, humid air. Shit, piss, and a faint odor of burnt paper assaulted my senses, causing me to cough and my eyes to start watering.

“Amber! Great timing, we just finished cleaning up the last flood. The entire 200 side has their water turned off,” Turner, a young, tall, dark haired deputy hollered over the noise of people banging their cups on the windows and doors of their cells. I passed two shop vacs, three squeegee mops, and a broken broom on my way to the desk in the middle of a Y-junction.

“They broke a broom?” I asked loudly, as I noted that there was at least two feet of wood missing from the handle.

“Yeah, Smith, Thomas, and Gallegos used them to keep their door flaps open. Peters is stomping out the fires. Luckily they soaked the carpets enough that they’re only smoldering.”

“Wait, actual fire?” I looked to the right where Peters, a towering, heavy man was kicking at some blackened paper on the carpet just in front of the cells. “Holy shit, you weren’t kidding, there’s actually fucking fire!” I watched another flaming ball of paper fall from the second tier and roll in front of Peters. It puttered out just in front of him.

“Let’s start over on the 100 side. They’ve actually been good today. I’ll probably have Peters go to the 200 side. I’ve been antagonizing them all day,” he said with a sardonic smile.

“Okay, sounds good.” He clicked the mouse on his computer a few times and opened the slider between the desk and the 100 side of the pod then put on some gloves. We’d worked together multiple times and had the routine down. I told him who I had next on the tray and he opened the 18 inch by 4 inch flaps of each patient’s cell, or told me if they had moved within or out of the pod. By the time we had passed medications to nearly every one of the twenty four patient’s on that side Peters was back behind the desk.

“I’ll meet you up there,” he told me when I was in the small loft between the two sides of the pod. Turner went back the way we came to take over control of the doors and monitoring everyone on the cameras. The door to the 200 side popped open, the banging and yelling was overwhelming. Peters, easily six foot two, held the door open for me then allowed it to slam shut behind me and I got my first look at the mess that was the second tier walk way. There was at least a quarter inch of dirty water on most of it with things, I refused to actually acknowledge what they were, up against the railing. Three flaps were stuck open and the inmates in those cells were throwing out burning paper and fabric. I took a deep breath then turned to Peters, “Okay, let’s do this.” He opened the first flap.

“Mr. Taylor, what’s your birthday?”

“Why do you need my fucking birthday, just give me my pills you fucking whore bitch.”

“Come on man, is that the way you talk to a woman? She’s just verifying that she’s got the right person.”

“Fucking bitch, you don’t need to know that, just give me my damn Seroquel.”

“I’m sorry sir, but I cannot give you medication without verifying your birthday. Using a second patient identifier is standard nursing practice.” The response was rote, I wasn’t even aware that I was saying it until the end.

“Fuck you bitch,” he yelled before spitting at me. Angry guy next to me, fire in front, and I decided at that moment that I wasn’t going to deal with this shit.

“Nope, I’m out,” I turned and banged on the door to the loft. It felt like an eternity before it popped open, though was probably less than a few seconds. Enough time for raving man in the cell to make another go at spitting on me, but not enough for him to do much else.

“What happened?” Turner asked, genuine concern in his voice.

“Fucker spit at her, that’s what.” Peters commented.

“So… no meds tonight, got it.” The door back to the 100 side popped and Peters escorted me across the walkway, down the stairs, and back to the officer’s desk. It gave me enough time to shake off my surprise and for my anger and frustration to take over. “You want to press charges?”

“Huh, what?” I thought for a moment before shaking my head, “I don’t think so? He just got the corner of my top.” I looked across the way to the guys standing on the bottom tier at their cell windows, cups in hands. “I’ll come back for everyone else here after I’ve finished the rest of the floor. Can you let them know?” I asked, pointing to the ones at their windows.

“You sure?” Turner and Peters asked in stereo.

“Yeah, it’s not their fault the dumbasses up there decided to be worse than usual tonight,” I shrugged, “and, it’s, y’know, my job or something.”

“If you’re sure,” I nodded, “we’ll see you later then.”

“Try not to have too much fun!” I waved bye as the slider opened back to the hallway.

Rowan

Rowan pulled tight on the edges of her slightly too small blood-red cloak and wrapped her arms tight around her middle in a failed attempt to keep what little warmth it trapped next to her body. Despite her efforts the cold, winter wind cut through each layer of clothing even as the contrary, stronger gusts pulled the fur-lined cape and hood from her face and forced her to the edge of the trail. The crusty snow was deeper there and her oiled leather boots sunk up to her ankles each time, forcing her tired legs to work harder to pull them free to return to the hardened trail and continue moving forward.

She struggled to keep to the trail even without the wind pushing her about as it carried hard pellets of snow into her face, and more importantly, her eyes. Tall, hard wood trees, normally bright with great, green leaves, played the role of ghosts as she squinted through her frosted eye lashes. Her breath clouded and warmed the air around her face just enough to melt the snow as it approached her face but froze immediately upon hitting her cheeks, nose, and eyelashes. Every few minutes she gritted her teeth and forced herself to reach a hand through a tiny opening to wipe the frost away and dab at her nose. The wind took advantage of her distraction and attempted to steal the cloak, making it fly behind her and snap loudly in the woods. It startled her each time as it broke through the rhythm of the crunching snow under her boots and the wind rattling through naked tree branches. The wind and Rowan traveled the otherwise silent woods together, the only things that seemed even partially alive. Even the sun hid from the forest in perpetual twilight hardly sharing its muted, diffuse light. It reminded her of the unnatural stillness of a graveyard. The thought sent a shiver down her spine.

Finally, Rowan’s feet stepped on the little used path that led to her grandmother’s cabin. People came up with all sorts of stories to explain why her grandmother lived so far away from any settlement. Some people whispered salacious rumors, she consorted with the devil, or the fae touched her long ago. Rowan’s monthly visits resulted in those same people attaching similar rumors to her. She little cared for what they thought. Her grandmother told fantastic tales and shared her secrets and tricks with her granddaughter. Rowan, barely sixteen, knew much more about the world and the men and women that inhabited it than any of her peers in her own village.

A few yards onto the narrow path she began to feel uneasy though the source of her unease eluded her. After she passed through the last screen of trees and saw the cabin she realized what she missed; the smell of wood smoke. Without thinking about the consequences of her actions she broke into a run, her need to know overriding her need for caution.

She slipped and fumbled her way toward the now ominous cabin. Fifty yards from the door she fell fully into a deep snow drift and knocked all the air from her lungs. Her stunned diaphragm refused to move despite her heart and brain’s desperate need for air. I can’t breathe, she thought, panic building in her chest, further preventing her from gaining control over her muscles. Her vision clouded over, white and black and shimmering closed about her. The snow surrounding her grabbed at her and prevented her from being able to pull herself out. She struggled less and less as each limb gave up, the cold leaching her strength.

The distant sound of a wolf howling escorted Rowan into the deep, black depths of unconsciousness.

Writing prompts at random

“Describe an important item from your childhood. Why was it important and where is it now?”

It was her eleventh Christmas that she go the pink teddy bear from her grandparents. Pink wasn’t really her color. Her initial reaction was confusion and a touch of disappointment. Actually that disappointment was strong. Her parents were there and expecting something more from her so she smiled and laughed in what she hoped was delight. Her mother asked if it had a name and she said something akin to not yet. She hadn’t decided if was going to have a name yet. Did it deserve that level of personalisation? Perhaps. It was so pink, that pepto-bismul pink… It wasn’t fair to the poor bear for her to judge it so. Her cheeks flushed with embarrassment for dismissing it so quickly. Sure it was a strange color but that made it stand out amidst her blues and purples.

She hugged it to her chest. It was soft and smelled of the cardboard box and fudge. Her grandmother so enjoyed sending things to them. It probably made her feel closer to them despite the infrequent and bridg trips her family made to visit. It wasn’t her faluth that she didn’t know her grand daughter well enough to know that pink was nearly as abhorrent as red or orange. She probably thought it was a safe color for a pre-pubescent girl. She likely was right and her grand daughter was too inflexible to be grateful.

That night the teddy bear stayed on her bed. It actually made a decent pillow. The size of the belly and arms, just a few inches larger than her head, made it comfortable to lean on. That and how soft it was though the fur tickled her ears and nose.

A week later she gave it a name. Lacie, the same as her half-sister. She loved Lacie, both the bear and her sister, in a rather abstract way. After all, it wasn’t Lacie’s fault she lived so far away and that her younger sister didn’t even know she existed until 3 years earlier. Lacie visiting always meant adventures and her parents taking time off from work. Lacie’s presence helped to bring them together. Her parents didn’t fight or get so angry. That bear could be a tiny piece of her sister and all the things she meant. Those nights when there was yelling and screaming and crying were the worst. The bear was there though, a tangible thing of comfort.

She would write to the bear and talk to it late night, imaging what it would be like to have her sister there instead. In a sense she was with a wee bit of herself within the bear, though her sister would never admit it.

A few months passed before her mother noted how much she fell asleep with the bear in her arms. “What’s your bear’s name?” she asked again.

“Lacie,” was all that the girl said. Her mother nodded slowly, understanding instantly the importance of that name. Fast forward fifteen years and she still has Lacie with her. She no longer sleeps with it, that right is now reserved for her cats who get as much comfort from the soft bear. They are smaller than it, a perfect companion for them to snuggle up to. Sometimes she still talks to Lacie, sharing her thoughts with that wee, tiny piece of her sister. She may not speak with the bear’s namesake but much like that abstract love her bear shifted into something deeper and real, so has the love for the person that is her sister. Each monologue to the smaller Lacie ends the same, “I love you, Lacie.”

What’s worth doing even if I fail?

Look! Another post inspired by Brene Brown, this time from Daring Greatly. “What’s worth doing even if I fail?” She whispered this phrase to herself as she was walking out on stage at her 2012 TED talk. I think I have to step back further from where she’s at though and just start with “what’s worth doing?” What is something that needs to be done, what is something that I feel I need to do? I want to do some sort of deep introspection and thinking here but honestly I am too internally blocked to go that far. That will eventually be my answer to “what’s worth doing even if I fail?” but I’m not quite there yet.

That leads to the question of what is worth doing in a more general sense. Superficially I want to create whether it is to create a difference, create an object, or create a thought.

Creating a difference is important to me because I have always desperately wanted to be needed. So much of my self-worth and identity is tied into being a helper, being available for people when they have little else. It’s probably the primary reason why I’ve been entrenched in mental health nursing since I became a nurse nearly a decade ago. (Side note-holy shit that was 10 years ago!) If there’s one group of people that don’t have much it’s the people described as severe and persistently mentally ill. All of the agencies I have worked at served a population of people that were homeless or only one flat tire away from it. I could be something for them: a smile, a greeting, a “how are you?” with the actual desire to know, a quiet presence to cry with, or a guide when the voices, self-contempt, or anxiety got to be too much. (This is where my tendency towards over functioning comes in but that’s a blog for another day)

You see, in working at places where my need to be needed was satisfied with little effort on my part I was able to continue to do without having to stretch out and be uncomfortable. Sure there are always the discomforts of learning new systems, new people, and figuring out my place in the system but I could always figure out a way to create a difference because there was always at least one person around that needed something.

Creating things has become a large focus for me in my knitting and crochet projects. I can make things that are useful and have an art to them. They aren’t perfect but often I’m the only one that knows how imperfect they are. Other people see the things I’ve made and appreciate them and all is good in the world. I’ve even slowly been pushing past my fears of different techniques and projects because this is a challenge I can do. If it doesn’t work out I can just rip back the yarn and watch my work shrink away until the mistakes disappear. (Note that more often than not this is an accidental thing and results in cursing at the tiny loops until I get everything back to where it’s supposed to be.) I can take chances and risks with little waste except my time and patience. This is a safe place to challenge myself and do something daring.

Lastly, creating a thought is actually the other two forms of creating mixed into one. A thought is an unformed object budding from someone who has been bit by the inspiration bug. I’m still working on how to do that with any consistency. There’s an unhealthy level of criticism and fear around creating a thought… oh. Right. I think that is probably what I need to focus more on. A something that is so important and worth doing despite the risk of failure would be an act of creation so long standing as to inspire thought, discussion, debate. Writing is one of those things for me.

Perhaps that is enough honesty and being vulnerable for the night. I know that my something worth doing despite the risk of failure is doing something that can inspire thoughtful discussion, ideas, and perhaps action. It’s still a rather broad concept at this point in my journey but I now have a direction to wander while I let this percolate a bit more. Hopefully the process of finding out what’s worth doing even if you fail isn’t so vague or hidden from yourself as what I’ve found my something to be.

Rising Strong means writing

Earlier today, well yesterday by the time this is posted, I started a new audio book Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I’ve had it on my phone for several months now but only just recently felt like I was maybe ready to hear her words. I’ve got several of her other books and have read some, but not all, of them. Honestly they have been too much for me to process all at once. They inspire deep introspection and assessment of yourself in a most painful way. The primary focus is on shame, guilt, blame, fear, vulnerability, trauma, self-doubt, and avoidance. Heavy, heavy topics, especially for those who have, ahem, avoided such intense personal awareness.

Despite the heavy topics I felt that this book was easier to listen to than to read as the slower pace enabled me to process the implications more. Also, hearing Brene speak directly about her own experiences and stories that others have trusted her with makes it feel more intimate. There’s power in a person speaking their own story, their own struggles and triumphs. It’s also relieving to hear that someone with such a strong background in social work has to battle through understanding these hard concepts and that it’s not an automatic thing for her. She has been able to learn and gain greater awareness and understanding so that she can recognize when she’s falling into the trap of blaming, getting even, or avoiding what she is experiencing.

There are people who figured out how to be vulnerable and aware of their self-worth but there is at least one other person who hasn’t figured that out for every one who has. The ones that have already do something that is both obvious and hard; they write out their story each day. It doesn’t have to be for a particular amount of time or have a true focus or method of narration. Some people write short stories, some draw it out, some use blogs or diaries, some write letters that will never be sent. All of these are things I’ve encouraged patients to do in the past. “Write out what you’re feeling, give yourself permission to be honest with yourself.” It’s so easy to give the advice, not so easy to follow it yourself.

I’m going to try this idea. Writing for just a little bit of time, sometimes just for me but other times it will be to share. It may not always be on this blog but one of the others I’ve got, depending upon what’s more appropriate. Some of my stories for the day would be what Brene called “shitty first drafts” SFD for short and they won’t be shared. Some may be fiction narratives for me to explore what’s going on in my head. Others may be rants or complaints or pleas for understanding. Regardless I feel that bringing this whole blogging idea back to life is probably healthy. Plus, I’m starting a new chapter in my work life and since I can’t do something funky with my hair I can at least make some other visible change in my life. Blogging is visible, if less so than my hair, and is probably far more likely to result in moments of revelation. Those are pretty cool when they happen even if they are infrequent.

Anywho, writing, it’s a thing and a thing I hope to do more often.

Maybe Not So Crazy – Writing Idea

Mostly still not really edited but some revision to go with what the character wanted anyway. Still don’t know if I like the way the end went.

It had always been assumed I was crazy. My parents, friends, distant relatives, even me, we all knew I was crazy. Not the sort of crazy you see on street corners with people holding signs and talking to themselves and smelling really bad. Not like the crazy that rages against people and assumes the government is out to get them and that everyone is poisoning them. I don’t think I’m God or Jesus or a rock star or anything like that. But I have heard voices for as long as I can remember. I stopped talking back to them around middle-school. They never responded to me and never seemed to be talking about anything that was going on around me. They just… were. That’s all. I hardly notice them anymore to be honest. I stopped listening to them in high school. Well, mostly. I would listen to them at night sometimes, those times when I couldn’t fall asleep. It was my version of counting sheep. I’d listen to them ramble and soon would drift off to dream land and that was it.

Well, I guess that wasn’t entirely it. There are all the crazy, weird-ass dreams, too. Those don’t bother me much either. I do use them as jump off points for short stories. I’m told that I do talk when I’m dreaming. Loudly. My parents shunted me to the basement as soon as they could so they wouldn’t have to listen to me yammer anymore. That’s what they called it around me, but I’ve overheard them whispering about how scary it really is. Apparently I talk about assassination and plots and some sort of war that I don’t understand. Kind of fantasy stuff that only old school fairy tales are willing to hint at – Rumpelstiltskin sort of evil creatures. They’re really night-terrors actually. I don’t think of them that way anymore, but when I was little I did.

Really though, I’m not as crazy as I sound. I was a straight-A student all the way through school and college. I’ve got my bachelors in creative writing and have published most of my short stories and am in the midst of a novel. I have never been fired even though I have always worked at least one job from the age of fifteen and two or three jobs since college. Strangers at the bookstore and coffee shops I work at don’t know I’m different. My editor doesn’t know where all my crazy ideas come from. Publishers don’t care as long as my stuff sells.

So, I guess, in the long run it doesn’t really matter that I hear voices. According to psychiatrists that I’ve seen I’m not really diagnosable as anything because I lead a perfectly normal life. They’ve tried meds just to see if the voices will react but all that happened was that I slept. A lot. And felt really fuzzy in my head. My own internal voice was all jumbled and mumbling and couldn’t track at all (especially on Haldol, that stuff messes with you) but none of them fazed the voices. That was the part that really freaked out the psychiatrists. Nothing worked on the voices and I responded to the drugs the same way that a “normal” person would.

Thinking about that makes me feel even more crazy. A weird sort of crazy. The sort that even people who deal with crazies can’t figure out. That’s about when I stopped thinking about them at all. I wrote down my dreams when I woke up, went to the coffee shop, stocked books and answered the ridiculous questions customers came up with, went home to my cat and wrote then went to bed. The routine blurred the days and those blurred days dulled the voices.

Until about a year ago that is. Then they got loud. Really loud. Like I couldn’t move because of migraines and was having seizures and ended up in the hospital for so many tests that I am still paying for them even with decent insurance sort of loud. Again, the neurologists and psychiatrists were just as stumped as the previous psychiatrists were. According to the CT scans and MRIs and EKGs and sleep studies and whatever other tests they did my brain and body were perfectly normal. Absolutely normal. Like the sort of normal that is used in presentations that doesn’t really exist sort of normal. Well, there were some weird spots that would light up when I was asleep, but they’ve seen that in other people who have vivid dreams, so again, not really all that weird. Actually, I think they said that activity was absolutely textbook standard for night-terror brain activity. I think they were split on whether to use me as a case study, destroy all the evidence because it was too weirdly-normal or conclude that I was making everything up and just wanted a break from my dull life. I gave those last two a nicely worded letter telling them to go fuck themselves. Hindsight says it wasn’t the best idea but they pissed me off. Anyway, I sort of agree with the second group of docs. I basically think of my brain as so normal that it’s no longer normal but just on the other side of the dividing line between normal and freaking weird. Not schizophrenic. Not bipolar. Not depressed. No growths. No abscesses. Not even any concussions. Just weird. Basically the story of my life.

So I was crazy and weird but normal all at once. It probably should have freaked me out and led to some sort of breakdown at least sometime in my life. But that’s just not how I roll. Probably because my brain is too weirdly normal to accommodate such a normal response to so many weird things. Which sucks by the way.

I got out of the hospital after about a week when everything stopped. Just stopped. Migraine gone. Seizures none-existent. Voices missing. I never thought I’d say it but I was suddenly very lonely.

That lasted for about three days.

Then they started up again. Only this time they were aware. That’s the only way I can describe it. They started talking about what I was seeing and hearing and even feeling. They were violently loud the first hour then it was like a volume knob was dialed back. Not on my side, but on theirs. I don’t know how to say why that’s how it was, but I just know that my brain wasn’t capable of dialing anything down at that point. I was back in the fetal position and wishing I could find my way into a nice medication induced coma again. After a day or so to recover from that hour of arguing and my name being yelled back and forth, oh yeah, I forgot to mention that they knew my name, didn’t I? Well, they knew my name and they were saying it for the first time since I can remember, and they seemed to be arguing over what to do about me. Like whether to kidnap me or kill me sort of what to do with me. Awesome. That’s not disturbing or anything.

After the volume got dialed back and I more or less recovered from the blast of argument I still heard voices, but it seemed like they were only saying things that they wanted me to hear. I wasn’t hearing just random crap anymore, but intentional stuff. There were even times when they seemed to be able to blur the words, sort of like if you’re at the beach trying to listen to someone talking twenty feet away but the waves and wind are too loud to hear more than that they are saying words in what is most likely a language you understand.

While there were fewer voices overall, I finally figured out that there were two groups, one wanted to kill me, the other kidnap me and both were trying to figure out how to do it without the other knowing. Or me.

I already knew I was crazy. That was never in question. But now… now I was edging toward the sort of paranoid crazy that the people on street corners shout about. People were after me. They wanted to hurt me. Only they were still all in my head. It’s really hard to ignore voices that talk about how you need to die. I tried, I really did, but there’s only so much I’m capable of, even with my supernaturally normal brain.

Then there came the voice that started talking to me. Well, there were two eventually. One guy, one lady. They seemed to think I should know them and they started talking about how they were sending some people out to rescue me and just to wait and I’ll be back home and some other bizarre stuff. I initially ignored them. Then I protested that I was home, that I didn’t need to be rescued. I tried asking them what in the world they were going on about. They told me. I think. But it was more conspiracy theory stuff only they claimed to be from some alternate reality. Yeah, I stopped listening at that point. Like I said, conspiracy theory crap. And we had already established that I am crazy. Was crazy. I was crazy. I’m pretty sure I still am. Maybe I’m in an asylum somewhere and just don’t realize it. Perhaps it’s better not to know for certain. I had always assumed the old saying was true, “Only crazy people don’t question their sanity” or however it goes.

One year. One whole year spent spiraling further and further into the real crazy realm. Fun times. I have a lot more sympathy for the dudes on street corners now.

So yeah, I stopped wondering about conspiracy theories around the same time that two incredibly beautiful/handsome/oh my, can I bang you now, guys show up at my apartment and try to tell me that I need to leave with them right away before I get murdered. I don’t know why but I invited them in for tea instead of running off with them. Maybe I was hoping for some action, it had been a while after all. Instead they drank tea with me, tried to convince me I’m some sort of inhuman creature called Sidhe or Fae or whatever. I didn’t believe them, stopped listening and was trying to figure out the best way to kick the pranksters out on their asses when they killed a man.

To be fair he did sort of have it coming. A man jumping through a window with a lot of wicked looking knives probably doesn’t want to sit down for a cup of tea. Two of those knives would have impaled themselves in my chest had one of my actually invited in guests not knocked me out of my chair while his buddy wrestled the other dude into my kitchen. Which he spent the better part of three hours cleaning up afterward. Or so I’m told. I spent most of those three hours plus another twelve in my bathroom throwing up every meal I’ve ever had. While my tea guests/rescuers slept somewhere out front, I slept in my bathtub clutching my cat. I think I slept. I’m assuming they slept. I don’t actually know. The next morning they were still in my apartment and insisted I leave with them. I refused at first, but then they pointed out the daggers that were still embedded in the wall and said something about more killers on their way and that I was lucky and yadda yadda yadda. I didn’t argue much more. I’m sure they disagree with my point there. They didn’t want me to bring my cat, Snickers. I refused to leave without him. Made sense to me at the time. I didn’t want to come home to find him dead waiting in front of the door. They complained, something about cats being a massive nuisance and not welcome where we were going. They relented after I told them they could go fuck themselves if they thought I was leaving without my cat. Apparently that’s my fall back when I’m pissed. I need to come up with something else more creative to say.

Three days and a lot of miles later we ended up in BFE (that means butt-fuck Egypt, just in case you were wondering) nowhere Pennsylvania and hung out there for days. I didn’t know what we were waiting for. They kept saying we’re waiting for the right moon or something, but I didn’t really understand why and they said they can’t tell me why until I see it for myself.

On the plus side I haven’t heard much in the way of voices in my head since they showed up. Oh, the occasional thing from the lady and man that keep trying to tell me that they’re so glad I’m on my way “home”. On the bad side I recognized both these guys voices when they asked to come in to my home. I forgot to mention that, hadn’t I? That was probably why I invited them in for tea. Why shouldn’t I? My voices materialized in the form of some of the most handsome guys I’ve ever seen, may as well take advantage of the eye candy before I get hauled away to the funny farm. In this case they were the ones that did the hauling rather than the police like I had expected.

You know, I’m sure you’re as confused as I am, well was. Let’s go back a bit. A little more detail would probably be good. It’s not like I don’t have time. It seems like all I’ve got is time.

So, from the beginning. Maybe not the very beginning. That’d be too boring. Let’s start with the day that I met my two rescuers, captors, whatever. The day that I found out I’m a Changeling and the daughter of ambassadors for the Seelie Court to the Unseelie Court. The day I found out I’m either crazy as a loon or never was crazy. Man, do I wish I was still crazy. That’d be so much easier than the other. I really hope I’m locked away somewhere, else this is going to be the most unbelievable thing ever. So here goes, story time.

Not so long ago a crazy lady was startled from her manuscript by three loud knocks on her front door…

Bits and Pieces of Thoughts While I Think on my Next Bit o’Fiction

First things first, or at least things that excite me – My English teach really liked my video game essay. There are a few teensy things I need to clean up, mainly a few awkward word choices and left over “on”s and things from my massive number of edits. Once I’ve done that, she wants me to enter it into an essay contest that happens at the school every year. The winner gets $50 and entrants get to put their name out there for teachers to get to know. When it comes to more subjective classes like English, psych, etc. I feel it’s important to have your name associated with the idea that you are a good writer before you enter a teacher’s classroom. Perception means so much and teachers are more willing to gloss over errors if they already “know” you can write, as humans are wont to do. Even my current teacher did something like that for my 2nd essay when I had two really bad cut/copy/paste-based errors. She didn’t take off points for those like what I would have expected her to because she knew that they were editing fails, not writing fails, if that makes any sense.

I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m going to use as my topic for my next argument essay, but haven’t really had anything stick out to me. Well, I’ve got two things, but I can’t decide if I really can argue either of them effectively because I am just a wee bit passionate about them.
The first is equal marriage rights. I’d end arguing for a case that would include marriage licenses being granted to two or more people above the legal age of consent who are willingly entering into the civil contract regardless of gender, sex, procreation status etc. Most people have an issue once the “more” part is added in, and to be fair, with the way current laws are written that affect civil marriage law contracts it would get really convoluted and tricksy. Especially things like inheritance and social security benefits and whatnot. Especially if the primary bread winner/head of house passes or decides to divorce one or more of the other parties. What happens to the rest of the contracts? Are they will that primary person or binding amongst all parties? Oy, such a headache and the primary argument against such marriages.
The second is abstinence only versus full disclosure sex ed. I (luckily) grew up in county that taught full disclosure sex ed by default and started in fifth grade. Yes, parents always had to sign permission slips to say “sure, teach my kid about sex” or “find them something else to do cause I want to be the one to educate them about sex” or not educate them as the case would likely be. I think I only saw maybe three kids not have permission to be educated in sex ed from fifth through twelfth grade. That’s pretty awesome in my opinion, especially considering that it was a requirement for every year of school up to high school and then was taught in bio and two or three other classes that were required for graduation.
Anywho, the point is that I feel pretty strongly about these topics, but think I could maybe argue either one of them. My teacher did give me the okay to write my essays on more divisive topics should I choose to because I could “handle” them maturely. On the other hand, this next essay is going to be sent out to the rest of the English dept. and I’m not sure that I want to write about anything so politically charged, no matter how well written, and be known as the student that is too opinionated/liberal/socialist/controversial at the end of my first semester of school.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m excited about the weather here. We’re supposed to get a pretty decent amount of snow between tonight and tomorrow night and I have nowhere to go and no one to meet until Wednesday morning, which means I get to just enjoy the snowfall. Huzzah! Pretty weather will be nice.