Escape – a short story

Hello again,

It’s been a long time. I intend to start posting semi-regularly again, so here we go! I wrote  a (very) short story the other night. You know those moments when you’re lying in bed, but instead of feeling tired you get a surge of inspiration and if you don’t get it all out immediately it will surely evaporate and you’ll never get another chance? It doesn’t happen often for me, but it did on Thursday, and I thought I might as well put it out there.

Escape

Jan 18 2018 

The sound of gold pieces jingling inside large packs was nearly loud enough to get the attention of the guards stationed around the grand house. If it were not for the extravagant fountain in the connecting courtyard, the thieves may very well have been heard making their escape. The three men ducked behind a wide column each as they waited for the courtyard guards to change shifts. The overconfident, or under trained, guards were very lax in their routine and paused to speak with those relieving them before heading inside. The thieves expected this and when the guards were sufficiently distracted they seized the opportunity to scurry along the courtyard wall to some shrubs large enough to hide behind. Once there the leader of the operation picked up and threw a rock the size of a crab apple over the 10 foot high courtyard wall. This signalled the fourth accomplice to throw  a rope ladder over the wall so that the thieves could climb out of the courtyard and to freedom. 

The Rock was thrown and the ladder was being positioned, but Lyma the thief was distracted by something in the middle of the courtyard. Or rather someone.  

The owners of this grand house had a bizarre style of decor that mixed noble riches and beauty, such as the ornate gold painted fountain, with dreary, bloody macabre, such as the old man who hung strapped to a wooden cross, crucifixion style, about 15 feet away. The dirt below him was stained red with his blood. His tunic was in tatters and only covered the bare minimum.  It seemed as though he had been there for several days, presumably without food or water. He looked to be dead already until his head lifted slightly and looked directly into Lyma’s eyes.  

Lyma’s heart stopped. Even through the shrubbery that hid them and the darkness of a night with no moon, somehow this man stared straight at Lyma, straight into his eyes and then into his soul. A voice inside Lyma said “This is not where his story ends. Go to him.” Lyma took off his pack and set it on the ground. 

“What are you doing?” hissed his accomplice Nerij. The leader, Ro, was already climbing the rope ladder, but stopped to look back and give a frustrated motion to the top of the wall. 

“Take my bag, I’ll be right back.” And before either could protest further, Lyma snuck around the shrubs and ran as quickly, quietly, and as unseen as possible to the hanging man. He took out his dagger and cut the ropes binding the man’s legs then arms, and held him around his middle as he sunk to the ground. The man gave painful moans as his joints and muscles moved back to natural positions for the first time in days. And when Lyma touched the man’s back he felt thick cuts with dried blood and welts from being whipped. He was incredibly light, even after being starved he still appeared heavier than he felt. Lyma held the man against his chest, one arm under his shoulders, the other under his legs. Again he ran as discreetly as he could back to the cover of shrubbery and the rope ladder. Nerij was almost to the top now. His pace was slow because of the second bag. Lyma shifted the man to a potato sack position over his shoulder so that he could climb the ladder.  It was awkward and slow going until they heard a cry from the guards. 

“Hey! You there! Stop! Intruders! Sound the alarm!” Suddenly the quiet night air was a cacophony of chaotic cries, heavy and fast footfalls, bells ringing and horns blowing! 

Nerij, Ro, and Clintan, the fourth, were screaming at Lyma to hurry up! They told him to drop the man he was carrying, to jump down the outside of the wall, that they would leave him if he didn’t move fast enough. But Lyma held firmly onto the man and somehow made it over and down the wall and then down the hill into the town proper and through their escape route until they reached their destination: a warehouse filled with disorganized crates and barrels, and a hidden back entrance that led into an apartment building with a basement, and another hidden entrance to an old tunnel that led out of town into a ravine know for it’s sink holes and where city guards did not dare to go. These four thieves however knew the safe paths through the ravine to a series of hidden caves. There they rested. All out of breath and ready to collapse. They had lost the guards far back, but didn’t allow themselves to slow their pace until they were completely safe. In the morning they would divide their loot. Some would pay off outstanding debts, some would go to needy families, much of it would be spent on gear and supplies to travel far away from this town, and the rest would be to spend on their new lives on the road to adventure. 

All four boys sat catching their breath and letting their minds wander and dream about the wonderful new life that awaited them. They passed around a water skin that they had stashed in the cave, along with some lanterns, food and bedrolls for the rest of the night. Only when they had quenched their thirst and could breath easy did they turn their attention to the stranger that Lyma had brought with them. Lyma sat next to the man, propping him up and against his chest, across his lap, like a woman would nurse a child. Lyma brought the water skin to the man’s mouth, and even though he seemed barely conscious, he took a sip, and then another and another. The stranger drank and as the four boys watched by the flickering light of the lanterns a change began to happen. The withered, starved, beaten and bloodied old man began to transform. His sallow skin took on a glowing, golden complexion. His limbs shortened and he became not so gangly, but petite and proportioned, with curves at the hips. His greasy white hair grew long and thick and a dark, dark brown. And his face became that of a young woman, beautiful even under all the dirt and blood that remained. The thieves stared in awe, and wondered if this was really happening? The girl slowly opened her eyes. They were big and green, and when she looked into Lyma’s eyes his heart swelled and his breath caught in his throat. Her eyes told a story. It was a story of hardship and pain, but it ended with thanks. “Thank you” her eyes said. “You’ve given me life.” And she gave the same look to each boy in turn, and each one felt the same overwhelming feeling. Perhaps the feeling a mother has for a newborn, grateful for this miracle and a never-ending need to protect and cherish and love. 

Later, on the road, after the girl had healed enough to tell her tale, the boys learned her truth. She was of the Forest People, magic users who lived off the land and stayed away from city humans. One day she had wandered too far and was captured by bandits. In the night, while imprisoned in an iron celled wagon on the way to the city to be sold, she transformed herself into an old man. When the bandits awoke she told them that the young girl was an elf and tricked him, a wandering beggar, into taking her place and in exchange she would grant him a great fortune. The bandits laughed at the  beggar’s stupidity, but remorsed at their own lose. After capturing more prisoners from nearby small villages, the bandits took everyone to the city. All prisoners were sold, except for the old man. He was given to the Lord and Lady of the grand house to be on display in their courtyard while he died. And that is where he stayed. He was beaten and whipped and used as target practice as he hung. For almost a whole week he hung there. She hung there. She wouldn’t break her spell because humans would do even worse to her if they knew the truth. Many stories were told to young Forest People about kinsmen being dissected and experimented upon by greedy humans. So she stayed there, resigned to death. Until she felt a strange presence one night. A heart not full of hate, but love. She reached out with her feelings and asked for help. 

A long time later she would return to her people in the Forest and tell them stories of her travels with the four humans who rescued her. 

The end.

Kelowna Fan Xpo

Did anyone go to this last weekend? I did. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t really have any high expectations for it because it was the first year it happened in Kelowna and since it’s so near (geographically and time wise) to the Calgary and Vancouver conventions I didn’t think any real celebrities would show up (and because Kelowna is small compared to those two cities). But it was a lot of fun! Mark Meer was my favourite person to see. He and Chris Craddock were the highlight of the whole thing thanks to their super long improvised performance at the very end of the night. It was so good. It had everything; geeky references, hilarious acapella sound effects, bird puns, tragedy, action, and a happy ending. I got a free tshirt from the pair earlier in the day when they were promoting their tvshow Tiny Plastic Men. Mark signed it for me and now I will treasure it forever and add it to my collection of geek shirts (next to T’Pol from Star Trek Enterprise, Haley from Order of the Stick, and Lil Richard from Looking for Group which is signed by Lar deSouza). I had a last minute cosplay from The Legend of Korra which was a big hit, so that was quite satisfying (I’m through season one of Legend of Korra and I looooooove it!). I was very impressed with the other cosplayers that were there. I bought the graphic novel Silver by Stephan Franck. I haven’t finished it yet, but I recommend it. It is about vampires, thievery, sexy rogues, and the 1930s among other things. So far I give it a thumbs up. Mr Franck gave a very interesting panel about film animation. He was a supervising animator for The Iron Giant, and story artist for Despicable Me. He autographed and drew me a nice sketch in the copy of his book that I bought. Look him up.

The expo was also a first date for me and the person I was with. I was super excited because it was an opportunity to display a lot about yourself without having to awkwardly bring up all the geeky things that you’re into. I thought it would be perfect, and it was a lot of fun; talking about tv and video games and costumes all day is pretty much my jam. However, when I got home at the end of the day I realized that I probably came off as distracted and inconsiderate. Hopefully I’m over thinking it. It felt like there were times when maybe my date wanted to talk about deeper more personal stuff, but then a group of Doctors and companions would walk by and the conversation would drastically change. I really hope I’m over thinking it. I really liked my date, and I want to go on date #2 soon.

If you were there and you signed up for the Okanagan RPG & Tabletop Gaming Group perhaps I will see you at one of the game nights. It has been far too long since I have played D&D so I am quite excited to give that, and other games, a go. There is a meeting this Sunday for newbies to the group. Hopefully they don’t mind me inviting my gentle readers. Check out the details and RSVP here. It’s going to be fun on the bun!!!

The Play! (Is the Thing)

The play! The play is exciting! Let’s talk about the play. Our first performance is April 16th. Jesus. That is only 21 days away. Out of those 21 days we only have 14 rehearsals left. And out of the 18 actors who are in the play, only one knows all of her lines (she only has about 7). Would you care to freak out with me for a while? AAAAAHHHHHHHHH! Well done. So yes, that is cause for alarm. Aside from the alarm however it is usually quite fun. However there was a scuffle between the company and the landlady of our rehearsal space. Get ready.

Once upon a time there was a meeting scheduled for the people who were designing and building the set pieces and large props. The meeting was at noon and a rehearsal would be afterwards at 1pm. I am the stage manager so I was at the first meeting. When the director said “set up for the pub scene” so we could show one designer the different dimensions I ran to collect the set pieces that were needed: two matching tables and six chairs. But wait! I could only find one table. Oh dear. Where could the other table be?

Our rehearsal space is the back room of a large building that is half used as a community market selling local food and crafts, while the other half (our space) is full of donated furniture and random materials that might someday form a lovely junkyard. Often this space is used for meetings or community workshops. The front and back are connected by an open hallway, which does not give either end any privacy. It’s not a perfect situation because we are often at the mercy of shoppers who talk and things while we are trying to have the normal closed rehearsal. The reason we took the space was that it is the only rentable space in Lumby that is big enough. And it is cheap rent. All of our materials were set along one wall out of anyone’s way and completely separate from all the other things belonging to the people running the market.

So in search of the missing table I proceeded to literally run through the building to find where it had been moved to. I ran through the market at the front, through the hallway connecting the building to the next door businesses, through every closet and store room that I could open, and through the parking lot outside. The best part about running around trying to find something integral to your theatre production that has gone missing is doing it very quietly and inconspicuously so the director does not find out. The stage manager’s job is to fix problems before the director ever knows that there was one. As unaccusatorily as I could I asked the nice volunteer running the market if she knew anything. Nada. Why was this happening?! Finally I asked my mom what to do. My mom was there because she is one of costume techs (among all the other things that she does because her husband (my dad) is the director and mom always ends up doing all the work. We call her “The Everything Person”). She suggested asking the man who was building us some things in the rehearsal space and who was probably the last one to see the table. So I rushed to ask him. He said he knew nothing of it, but he could call the landlady and ask her. After the call he casually told me that yes the landlady had our table.

At this point I had been in the high levels of freaking out. Now the confusion and anger set in. I got the landlady’s number and called her. What I discovered was that one of her colleagues had taken the table to use at an event that they were doing in a town about 3 hours away. Why does that make any kind of sense you may ask? It does not. In my best calm and collected voice I had to tell her that that was not okay and that we could not rehearse properly without all of our things. She apologized, but unfortunately was not going to be back in time for our rehearsal. In the interest of ever getting the table back and being able to continue to rent the space I did not say any unkind words. The call ended and I was forced to tell the director that our table had been temporarily stolen. That was not a fun time. The next day we moved all of our things from that space into a different space that was given to us for free because it is a small garage that also contains all the set pieces that are under construction. We had to move everything from the rehearsal space because obviously it wasn’t safe from being shanghaied at any given moment.

While we were in the middle of transporting everything someone, incorrectly, tipped off the landlady that we were evacuating never to return. So she called me to berate me about overacting to what happened. I had to explain, as if to a goddamn child, that when someone takes something that doesn’t belong to them it is in fact stealing and will have consequences. Of course I didn’t say it like that, but needless to say I wasn’t going to be as sickly sweet as I was before when she tells me that we are “being petty” by protecting our property. She said it was personal offense to her that we did not trust that our things would be safe in her building. We talked for about 10 minutes and I had to explain that set pieces for a play are extremely valuable and often cannot be replaced and almost all of our stuff (including the table that she helped take) was borrowed from different people in the community including our own actors. And that her assurance of safety did not hold any weight because one of our items had already been taken. BY HER. The first call ended, but apparently she was not done making herself be the victim because she called me back about 15 minutes later to spew even more bullshit about how we needed to have more of a community mentality rather than the “mine mine mine!” mentality that we had. Right. We need to start thinking of the community because obviously our community play that is literally about our community does not already include that. And of course everything is share and share alike on a hot set (a hot set is when things that are used during rehearsals are what will actually be used for performances). So that was one of the worst weekends of my life, but I did learn that I can keep a level head and refrain from saying really truthful things if they might turn someone against me. All the while holding my ground and not giving in to people who think that taking what does not belong to them and putting others through misery is A-Okay. Good for me. Ha.

So besides that horror, and the usual hair pulling that comes from actors not learning their lines on time and being late and just generally not following certain rules, the play has been great. But hey, no one said this stuff was easy, let alone relaxing.

So if you happen to be in the Lumby area in April, please come see our play!

MUCS poster

Wow, It’s March Already

Boy have I been busy. February was a bundle of laughs: I discovered Tinder, was forced to send away my cat by our behaviorally inconsistent landlady, had a birthday, began rehearsals for a play in my hometown, and had my hours cut back at work which meant goodbye any notions of a steady paycheck and hello hours of applying for countless jobs and their inevitable rejection of me. So when I say “bundle of laughs” I mean for everyone except me. Maybe I’m being too dramatic. The birthday was fun, and the play is exciting. I’m addicted to Tinder so that is definitely in the bad column. So yeah, up until recently things have been mostly bad. And now March is almost over! Gee wiz. The big event of March was getting an awesome job and then being fired after three days.

The boss lady said I wasn’t being “fired” or “let go” or anything bad like that, I just wasn’t needed anymore. To me that falls under the “terminated” category, but I don’t like referring to myself in a way that sounds like I was killed by a robot unless I do actually get killed by a robot. So I just say I was “fired.” The job was working on a hobby farm for a family who also ran a landscaping company. Farming and landscaping are both things that I really want to try at least once in life so it seemed like I hit the jackpot with this job. I was even honest about going traveling in the summer and they still wanted me. For the first while the job was going to be mostly housekeeping and helping with some aspects of some renovations they were doing. I was getting paid $13 an hour so I thought “hell yeah I’ll wash dishes and paint some doors.” Later I would transition to doing more things outside concerning the animals they were raising, and help the boss man plan and build a permaculture garden. At college I worked for a professor doing a research project on permaculture in higher learning institutions and ever since then I have wanted to put my research into action and build a real garden. I have also always wanted to learn how to milk a cow. Everything was coming up Milhouse! Or so it seemed until the boss lady said that she wasn’t “comfortable ordering someone around” to clean up after her five kids. She kept saying things to soften the blow like “you have so much to offer.” Yeah I know that I can do more interesting and challenging things than organizing your medicine cabinet, but guess what lady, I took this job knowing full well what it would entail and clearly you didn’t when you hired me. So maybe put your pride aside and realize that hiring someone for only three days is totally shit.

Ugh. Please excuse me, gentle readers, I got really excited for that job and then I got really let down so I needed to vent.

I’ll talk about the play in my next post.

I miss Justice, my super kitty. I was forced to send him to live at my parents’ house for fear of being evicted. When I first moved in to the apartment I was told by the roommate guy who was subletting since he also lives in the apartment, that pets were allowed. Hell, he even had a rabbit and two rats. Apparently though “allowed” was very strong language to use concerning the animals. The whole building turned out to be a no pet zone, but this guy had been hiding his pets for four years. Except that the landlady knew about his pets, but at some point decided not to care about those animals. So she freaked out about Justice because other people in the building were using him as an excuse to also bring in pets. I see where she is coming from because not all pets are as clean as Justice, but come on lady! She knew about him for a long time before she finally decided to get pissy about it. She even made a point a few months ago to have an outdoor discussion with my roommate where she said very loudly (so that others in the building would hear her) “THE CAT IS GONE RIGHT?” while she knew full well that he was not in fact gone. My roommate played along of course, but she has never had the same attitude one day to the next about the issue. I always want to tell my roommate that he was an asshole about lying to me when I moved in, and that if I had known about the no pet rule I would not have moved in. The problem with saying that though, is if I hadn’t moved in there I would not have met our other roommate, F. F is my best friend in all the world and I want us to always be together. I’m getting too mushy and gross now, but seriously I wouldn’t be in a good place emotionally right now if I didn’t have F in my life.

So even when things are shit I still have F, and that makes everything better. And Justice is only an hour and a half away so I do get to see him often enough, especially since the play started. And I’ll be going to Europe soon! I do have things to look forward to. I should stop complaining 😉

We’re In The Future

Remember when I was really upset that I had spilled tea on my laptop keyboard and it stopped working? Well I was stubborn (aka lazy in this context) and refused to do anything about it, hoping that the problem would just go away. And miraculously it did! My keyboard works almost perfectly again (except for the caps lock key and many of the number pad keys, but who neds those right?), so I am quite happy. It does however pose some daunting questions about my machine’s uncanny ability to repair itself. This is the beginning of the technology uprising. Maybe my laptop will team up with that scary walking dog-like robot that can run down rocky hills without tripping, and after exterminating mankind together they will have a romantic destination wedding to the best robotic laboratory in Tokyo surrounded by their glowing eyed, noodle-making robot army. I would be so proud.

I’m Back!

I’m happy to say that I have enough free time now to get back to posting. I’ve been catching up and writing for the last couple of days, but I wasn’t able to post because for some reason our internet is down at the apartment. I am very suspicious of why, and am not confident that it will be fixed any time soon. Therefore I have set up shop at my local library. If you’re around the Kelowna Okanagan Regional Library on Ellis street come say hi. We’ll have a secret password that you can yell from across the room if you’re not sure if it is me. How about “Books!” in memory of Troy and Abed when they both have a crush on the hot librarian. Or you could just say my name. And maybe don’t yell it because it is a library.

It’s Everyone’s Fault But Mine

I spilled jasmine tea on my laptop keyboard earlier today while watching The 100 on Netflix with my roommate M. Now the keyboard is all screwy. At first the left side typed the wrong letters, or with added symbols, but now whenever there is a space to type anything, including the URL bar or an open start menu search bar, it just repeatedly types ssssssssss. So now I have to blog from my phone which is much less fun. If anyone out there can suggest a fix I would really appreciate it and love you forever. My first thought was to take apart the laptop and look at the hardware, but who am I kidding? Sure I’ve seen it done before, but not with my laptop and what would I possibly be able to accomplish if I did? I kind of tried to reset the default keyboard settings through the control panel, but I think I did it wrong or didn’t do enough.

Bah! Anyway. I’ll probably pay to get it fixed. It’s not  nice laptop and other people would take this as a sign to get a new one, but I’m cheap and I’m saving up for my trip this summer. Sooooo yeah. I’m just annoyed now and wanted to vent a little bit. And it took me so much longer to write this on my phone than it would have taken on my computer. Byyyye.