Monday, October 18, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Misadventures of Little Bo Peep

The Misadventures of Little Bo Peep

Little Bo Peep looked around. One minute, she was tending her sheep in a vast green meadow; the next she was surrounded by tall buildings and loud vehicles buzzing around at super speeds. She felt a nudge against her calf and looked down to see the  black face and egg-shell white coat of Serta, the littlest of her sheep.  He was staring up at her with questioning eyes.
“I don’t know where we are either, Serts,” Peep said tragically. These things happened from time to time in The Land – a rift in space and time would open up and transport its inhabitants to undisclosed locations. It had something to do with too much fantasy in the air, or some such thing. Peep never really paid that much attention to her lessons.
One thing she did know, however, was that she had to get home to Fairytale Pastures. Gripping her shepherd’s crook in one hand she scratched Serta’s head as the two set off in the unknown land.
The ground they walked on was hard and black, the sky a sickly shade of gray. People were dressed so strangely – black slacks and button-up shirts on both women and men. They all looked at her with confused or curious glances but quickly looked away when she met their eyes. These same oddly dressed people dined in fancy restaurants with crystal chandelliers and white tablecloths.  The buildings which didn’t look like farms of homesteads were packed narrowly together and reached up into the sky like spires. The giant metal vehicles whirred back and forth between them, occasionally emitting a loud “honk!” at unsuspecting foot traffic.
She saw a sign on one of the buildings that read “Liquor and Coffee” which she assumed made that building a tavern She went inside looking for a table but all she saw was a long bar with stools lined up against it.  Despite the raised eyebrows and nervous chuckles aimed in her direction, she marched resolutely up to the bar.
“Hello, I’m lost,” she told the barkeep.
“Oh,” he responded, “You must be looking for Pasteur’s Arena on 22nd and Main.”
Pastures Arena? She’d never heard it called that before, but the description seemed to fit.  Maybe they just had different names for things in this world. So she nodded to the barkeep and asked him for directions.  When he finished, she placed a large bronze coin on the bar counter and left with Serta. The little sheep made a worried bleat but Peep reassured him that they were going home. Shrugging his wooly shoulders gently, Serta ambled after the rushing Peep, doing what sheep do best.
Twenty-second and Main turned out to be nearby and as Peep approached she saw outfits more akin to what she was used to. Girls were wearing poof-skirts and corsets with little bonnets and Mary-Jane shoes, while men had tunics, leggings and swords.
“Hi!” Peep said, poking one girl in a pink and white floral dress, “My name is Little Bo Peep. Can you tell me where I am?”
“Ohhhhhh …” squealed the girl, “You DO look like Little Bo Peep! And you’ve even got a real sheep with you! What a cutie! Can I take a picture with you?”
Peep’s mouth dropped open,  “Uh thanks, his name’s Serta…and sure?” She responded to the second question.
One of the girl’s friends ran over with a camera and she threw her arm around Peep’s back and gave the camera a cheesy grin. “Make sure to get the sheep!” She called out to her friend.
‘Click’ went the camera.

The girl was talking a mile a minute, “I don’t think you’ll get in there with Serta though. There’s a no-dogs policy.”
Peep looked at the girl, “Where’s here?”
“Pasteur’s Arena, of cours, for SuperAnime Con!” The cute girl bubbled, biting her lip confusedly. When Peep gave her a blank stare she said, more hesitantly, “Washington, D.C.?”
Washington D.C.!? Peep groaned, she was definitely far away from Fairytale Land!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shermie Cat Moves - Flash Fiction #6

This story spanned over 2 days as I wrote it yesterday and rewrote 1/2 of it today. I tried to do the 5/5 paragraph thing again, but got a little carried away so there are a few extra sentences in there.

Though I still tried to stick to this format: Compound. Complex. Simple.



Shermie and the Move

Human was moving. She was leaving the House that she, Shermie Cat and Luna Cat shared and was moving to another House occupied by Other Human. New House came with some creatures that were very strange to Shermie. These weird creatures made The Move kind of scary for him. However, he didn’t have much choice and he believed that Human knew better on this one.

One of the creatures had four legs and fur and pointy ears just like a cat but was actually a Dog named Sidnie Frog. (Sherman would never understand why a Dog allowed herself to be called a Frog; it was all too confusing to him). Dog had some bizarre behavior that made Shermie’s cat-dignity cringe. She would follow Human and Other Human around New House all day then stare up at them with a longing doggy gaze. Dog was obedient to all of Human and Other Human’s commands and Sidnie Frog Dog had made it clear that she loved Other Human. That was silly to imagine for while Shermie cat did love Human, he would never stoop to admitting it, not even to himself.

The other creature was neither Cat nor Dog but not quite Human. The Humans called her Kid and she seemed to interact with them as if she was ALMOST a human. Sometimes she would act more like Animal, becoming prone to ear-shattering, vocal cries and unintelligible words (though no self-respecting Cat would ever would ever admit to doing THAT!). She also didn’t seem to understand that Shermie was Cat. She’d try to dress him up or treat him like a toy or *gasp* a Human! Being mistaken for a Human was almost the greatest embarrassment for cat, only below being mistaken for Dog.

In New House Dog chased and barked at Shermie. He returned the kind gesture by hissing and chirping and, sometimes on his bad days, he’d swipe Dog on the nose. She was so fun to tease that Shermie would creep up really close then dart away as Dog yapped and gnashed her teeth. Kid wasn’t so bad either. Shermie found her bed an ideal nap zone as it was full of pillows and blankets.

On the upside, New House, from now on referred to as just House, did have a lot of nooks and crannies to explore. It had new sunny spots that Shermie could spend hours in and it even had an outside area where he could sniff the breeze and watch the bugs! Most importantly, Human was there with the food while Other Human even provided a few head scratches. There were also new boundaries to push! He got himself shooed off the table multiple times a day for a great thrill. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad living in New House, after all!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shermie Cat and the Otherside - Flash Fiction #5

So this time each sentence of the middle 3 paragraphs had to be one each of Complex, Simple and Compound in that order. I might've failed, but here ya go.

Shermie Cat and the Otherside

Shermie Cat had always wondered what the world was like beyond Door. The Humans were always passing in and out as if it was no big deal. Why did the humans find the world outside Door so fascinating? They would disappear through Door for hours or days on end and return with both sadness and relief. Somehow, some way, Shermie cat was going to have to find a way through Door so he could see the wide, wide world.

Every day, he crouched by the entryway, peering with his keen yellow eyes at the land beyond. It was a long corridor of neutral tones that stretched as far as Shermie could see. Other portals, Doors, lined the sides of the hallway. They beckoned to Shermie and they enticed him with endless possibilities of exploration. Shermie yearned for the chance to dart out on his long legs and frolic in the wide spaces of the Otherside.

Then one day, his lucky break arrived! Human had taken Dog out so she could do her unsightly doggy business and left the door ajar. Other Human sat tapping away at his glowing picture box. Shermie was alone and he was going to make the most of this opportunity! Wedging a paw between Door and Wall he carefully pried it open. He gazed out into the Otherside.

Carefully he placed his fuzzy gray and white paw ove the threshhold between Door and House. He set it down on the Otherside so gently that even his sensitive cat ears couldn’t hear the tap. Miraculously, nothing happened! He raced out into Otherside as fast as his legs could carry him, and all he left behind was the tinkle of his little bell. Then he heard a “click” behind him as he spun around to see that Human had reentered House and closed Door behind her!

“Oh no!” he thought as he froze in his tracks, his little cat body trembling. He was stuck in the Otherside, forever!  He started to check all Doors for his own. Darting back and forth, he wove through Otherside. “Shermie Cat, what are you doing out here?” He heard Human say. Shermie saw one Door finally peep open and out poured light! Shermie looked around, shrugged his cat shoulders, Just out for a stroll, he said as he nonchalantly looked up at her. Sauntering back to House, he realized that his ears were flicking with a little bit too much excitement to be Home.  Hopefully, Human didn't notice...

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Adventures of Shermie Cat = Flash Fiction #4, Revised

So apparently, according to der Maan, I didn't do so well on my sentence challenge yesterday. Here are his definitions:

1). Simple Sentence - Sentence w/ the same subject for each verb.
  •  I ate steak.
  •  I ate steak and drank soda.
  •  I ate steak and I drank soda.
  • *I think that I ate steak last night.

2). Complex sentence - Sentence w/ two or more subjects, one for each verb, joined by a subordinating conjunction.
  • I think he ate steak.
  • I ran around the building while he ate steak.

3). Compound Sentence - Sentence w/ two or more subjects, one for each verb, joined by a coordinating conjunction. The two clauses are equal in weight and can stand alone.
  •  I went to the store and he ate steak.

Here's a list of coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.  So I'm not sure of der Maan's sources as I thought a simple sentence was only 1 subject an 1 verb, but I revised my story from yesterday to these specifications. I also took the time to make it a little more silly (with alliteration!). I feel like I could do a lot with The Adventures of Shermie Cat. =) And without further ado - FICTION!


Shermie Cat dipped his paw into the tide pool. Today, he was going to try to catch some fish. All the alley cats had laughed at his pampered lifestyle he lived with his human, but he’d show them. He could out-fish and out-mouse and out-hunt the best of those garbage-eating alley cats. A little splash to the left caught his attention, and he decided that was the place he was going to fish. 

Fish were a funny lot , always darting around at the slightest hint of danger. His claws were newly sharpened. His reflexes had been honed. He pranced around momentarily, stretching his legs. He was ready! 

He slapped the water with a paw , thinking that the fish would startle. He believed it worked as the fish swam this way and that, blinded by fear.. His claw shot out while he pawed the water furiously. However, no fish seemed to fall prey to his claws when he wrestled with the water. Maybe he’d have to think of another strategy to get those fickle fish to fly onto his dinner plate.

Shermie sauntered over to another place in the tide pool and there was movement under the sand. This was his opportunity to shine but would the fish allow itself to be caught? Crouching down low on his front paws, he wiggled his bottom in the air and he got ready to pounce. He leapt off the rock and his toes dug deep into the sand as he landed in the pool with a splash. His claws caught something wiggling but the fish struck back and bit him on the nose.

With a yowl he shot out of the water, flinging his prize onto the sand. But the prize would not let go of his sensitive sniffer so he rolled around in the sand, pawing at it furiously with his hind legs. It finally let go and scampered away as Shermie sat up wet, wounded and covered in sand.  He began licking his fur, and his wounded pride, in despair. Oh, how the alley cats would make fun of him when they found out he had mistaken a crab for a fish!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Adventures of Shermie Cat - Flash Fiction #4

So, it had to happen eventually. Here's a flash fiction about my cat. The rules of this one were: 5 paragraphs, 5 sentences each - Paragraph #2 should be all simple sentences, #3 should be complex and #4 should be compound. I tried to conceptualize the structure like I do dependency parsing, but I don't know if it worked.....

And I have no excuse for not posting yesterday, just that I was grumpy. Which is lame, I know. But I'm not apologizing. =P


Shermie Cat dipped his paw into the tide pool. Today he was going to catch some fish. All the alley cats had laughed at his pampered lifestyle, but he would show them. He could out-fish and out-mouse and out-hunt the best of those garbage-eating alley cats. A little splash to the left caught his attention, that was the place he was going to fish.

Fish were a funny lot. They were always darting around at the slightest hint of danger. His claws were newly sharpened. His reflexes had been honed. He was ready!

He slapped the water with a paw, hoping to startle the fish into confusion. It seemed to work as they swam this way and that, blinded by fear. His claw shot out so that he could paw the water furiously. However, no fish seemed to fall prey to his claws while he wrestled with the water. Maybe he’d have to think of another strategy that utilzed stealth and accuracy.

Shermie sauntered over to another place in the tide pool and he saw some movement under the sand. This was his opportunity to shine but would he make it? Crouching down low on his front paws, he wiggled his bottom in the air and he got ready to pounce. He lept off the rock and landed in the pool with a splash, claws digging deep into the sand. His claws caught something wiggling but then he remembered how much he hated water!

With a yowl he shot out of the water, flinging his prize onto the sand. But the prize had been angered now and it came after Shermie with a vengeance. The kitty, however, was not going to be afraid of a little fish. He pounced on it as it latched onto his nose with a tiny pincher. Oh no, how the alley cats would laugh when they found out he had mistaken a crab for a fish!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sci-Fi Short - Flash Fiction #3

 This is the same story as the previous two but this time, the entire story takes place in 1 minute. (This was hard!) Oh and if anyone has a name of for this storyline, I'm totally open. Maybe someday I'll develop all these into something bigger!


The clock glowed 10:24 a.m, though out here, you wouldn't know it, as dark as it was. Captain Thomas Gladion gripped the thrusters in his white knuckled hand, trying to keep the starship low and quiet. His eyes twitched from staring so long at the angry orange numbers of the console. Their pilot had been critically injured in an altercation with the locals not an hour before, so it was Thom's job to get his crew home safely.

“There's no way we're gonna get out of here without being spotted,” said his co-pilot, Lieutenant Zachary Ty, as the ship slid through the grizzled ether.

A dull thud sounded in Thom's brain as the ship made a sickening lurch sideways. He could feel them angle downward as a result of the impact, an orange glow billowing from one of the engines. The sound was accompanied by the smell of smoke that drifted through the cabin like a living thing, crawling through the crevices to the passenger deck. Thom's eyes stung as the bitter essence clawed its way up his nasal passages. Sparks erupting from the console snapped him back to reality as he noticed Zach fumbling for the extinguisher.

The crew behind them shouted, cursed and coughed as they clamored to their seats. All of them fought like stampeding cattle against each other, fear, and the ships own lurching. He heard a female - which was probably Anya, the ship's medic – shout that the smoke could be from burning chemicals leaking from the engine and it was highly toxic. The captain started to cover his nose with a bandanna, but soon realized that there were more important things he should be doing with his hands. Toxic smoke was the least of his concerns in a ship that was making a beeline straight to the waiting ground below.

The light flickered once as the console threw more sparks, then died all together. The ship was plunged into darkness equal to that of the outside world. Thom groped for the emergency power button as the ship pitched steeply and began to roll. The power came back on dimly and the captain was wrestling with the stabilizers under an eerie blue glow. A low hum vibrated through the bones – his and the ships – and slowly the power dimmed until it was nothing but black once again.

The engine must really be failing, he thought, as he leaned all his weight on the stabilizer rod. The ship ceased its haphazard rolling and began to steady and slow but unfortunately, they were still falling too fast. Lt. Ty had managed to open the air vents and now the smoke was creeping out of the ship as if seeking bigger adventures in the big black. The whistling sound from the vents buzzed in Thom's ears as he unceremoniously smashed at buttons attempting to pull the ship's parachute. It was released with a great yank that plastered everyone to their seats, just a moment before the ship made landfall by crunching violently into the ground.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sci-Fi Short - Flash Fiction #2

Ok so here's my #2 short.  This time I took the first body paragraph of my last story and wrote that into the whole story.


Captain Thomas Gladion yanked hard on the stabilizers in a futile attempt to right the plummeting craft. He wasn't even supposed to be flying the ship, but with their pilot being critically injured, it was his job as captain to get his unit to safety. The crew were cursing and stumbling to find their seats just as sparks erupted from the console, nearly blinding him. His co-pilot, Zachary Ty, shielded his dark brown eyes as his arms flailed out trying to grab the extinguisher. A hiss sounded by Thom's ear as soft white foam blanketed him and his instruments.

The fires had stopped, but now Thom had to scrape away the sticky repellent just to find the controls. He yanked again but the sinking feeling in his stomach told him that they were still falling, and fast. One engine was completely dead and the second was sputtering with its last breaths of life; this did not seem promising. And where they would land was uncertain as he was not able to see the world below through the cracked windshield. Then as if things couldn't get worse, he heard the low hum of the generators powering down forcefully as the ship was plunged into darkness.

Blinded now and still falling, Zach thrust the ship into a spin to try and slow the speed of their descent while Thom groped for the emergency parachute. After what seemed like an eternity, he flicked something and the ship jerked back suddenly, signaling that the parachute had been released. They slowed down dramatically, plastering everyone to their seats, but Thom didn't believe it was enough. His heart was racing when he realized that in this pitch blackness, he had no way to tell if the ship had righted fully. He pressed against the force of the slowing and grabbed the wing controls, jostling them wildly, trying to get them to catch the air.

It was not enough, however, as they hit the ground with a sickening crunch. Rocks and dirt sprayed over them as they literally bore into the soft earth. The cabin began filling with smoke and Thom feared that another fire had started in the engine which would ruin it for good. Finally they slowed to a faltering stop, rocking this way and that until they settled almost peacefully in silent, velvet night. It was at this time that Thom found the emergency power button, illuminating the world around them including the red, scaled faces of the native Etiri.

The crew sat in silence for a moment staring blankly into the Etiri's angry golden eyes and patting themselves to make sure all their pieces were still in place.  Finally, it was determined, as the air cleared of smoke, that the crew would have to go the way of the smoke – out. They were all a bit wary of appearing in the midst of an Etiri village – no, a city – but they pried the battered doors open anyway. Hundreds of Etiri rushed in, grabbing at the soldiers' hair, limbs and clothes and dragging them roughly into the Etirian Night.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sci-Fi Short - Flash Fiction #1

Look! I wrote something!

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Captain Thomas Gladion clutched the controls of the starship in his white-knuckled fists, it was difficult to fly a ship this big at such a low altitude.

“There's no way we'll make it off this planet without being spotted, especially not with a damaged engine,” said his co-pilot Lieutenant Zachary Ty.

 The Captain ignored him and tried to focus only on flying, with their pilot critically injured, it was his job to get the soldiers home safely. A dull thud sounded in the back of his mind and the ship tilted suddenly while sparks erupted from the front console. They front of the ship jolted downward and at that moment, it occurred to Thom that they were going to crash.

“Everybody hang on!” he shouted into the com as he braced himself for impact.

Thom yanked hard on the stabilizers in a futile attempt to right them, but the effort was in vain as they continued losing altitude faster and faster. He could hear the crew stumbling and cursing as they tried to buckle themselves into their seats. A mechanical whir signaled that the power had failed an instant before the ship was drowned in inky darkness, the captain groping for the emergency power switch with one hand and the parachute release with the other. Still, the earth met them with shocking immediacy and the vessel violently crunched to the ground. Smoke filled the cabin as they skidded to a stop in god-knows-what forsaken country.

The whole crew had fallen into numb silence for a few long moments as everyone patted himself to make sure all the pieces were in the right places. Lt. Ty had had the foresight to open the air vents and now the smoke was drifting lazily out into the alien world.

 Medic Anya Reese's thin voice floated throught the blackness, “If we stay here too long I don't know what the radiation will do to us...maybe kill us...or worse.”

“If the natives don't get to us first,” said Ty sarcastically.

“We'll figure something out,” Thom said, finally igniting the emergency power and illuminating their surroundings – including the red scaled faces of the local Etiri, their angry golden eyes peering at the crew through the windshield.

Unfortunately, there was nowhere to go but out where hundreds of Etiri would meet them. With a resigned sigh Damon “Spike” Haversaque shoved the doors open, his burly frame straining against the cold steel. In rushed the Etiri, speaking rapidly in their language consisting of clicks and whistles, grabbing the soldiers by their limbs, their hair and their clothing, dragging them all across the blackened ground. Captain Gladion was tense, nervous, afraid – his crew had never encountered aliens in this way before, aliens who probably wanted to kill them and throw their bodies down a ravine. As he was roughly shoved along, he realized that they had landed right in the middle of a village – no, a city – and were being led down a wide avenue to a large building, looming shadowy in the lamplight and bearing the crest of the ruler of Eteriea.

And then they sat, the whole crew of the Broken Talon, in a dim, ten by ten foot concrete room, waiting.  For what, no one knew. The Etiri never spoke to them and the only glimpses they got were of the delicately-scaled guard faces through the food slot. No one could keep track of how long they were prisoners as the vaguely bland and visually frightening meals seemed to come at very long intervals (Spike tried to keep track using the length of his beard, but in the perpetual, misty near-darkness even that became hard to measure).

However, one day (or night) was different, the door slid silently open and just stayed like that until the Captain peered out side and one. Carefully, the crew crept out and emerged into the blinding Eterian sunlight to see their ship, repaired and humming, patiently awaiting their arrival and Lt. Ty commented: “So why were we trying to kill these people, again?”


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