Category: Wednesday Words
Wednesday Words – The Job Part 1
This will be a multi-part story. Here’s the first. The second will follow next Wednesday.
By Grant Baciocco
Patrick had not been in the habit of answering CraigsList ads, but times had been tough. He had been unable to find a job through all the regular means, networking, Linkedin, Monster.com, etc.. So he’d begun trolling CraigsList. He ignored the ads for telemarketers, no matter how bad things got, he couldn’t do that. He also eschewed the ads for medical testing. Another thing he could not do. He sent resumes to local gluten free markets, martial arts studios and swimming pools looking for instructors, never once even receiving a ‘thank you for applying’ note in return. Yet, every morning and evening he returned to the bleak, black and white pages looking for something. It was a balmy Thursday morning when he saw a peculiar headline:
Opening for someone looking to change their life permanently. Start immediately, no experience needed. (Burbank, CA) (biotech/science)
Instantly thinking it was a pitch for another telemarketing job or pyramid scheme he was about to pass it up until he noticed the biotech/science classification. He clicked through to the body of the add.
Currently seeking a fit, able bodied person to assist in a groundbreaking scientific experiment. This is NOT a medical testing job, this is assisting in a technical science experiment that will have real world impact if successful. Candidates need no experience in any scientific field, they must be determined and dedicated to helping advance the field and have a desire to make a permanent, positive change to their life, as well as the lives of others. Please reply with contact info in order to set up an interview. Looking to fill this position immediately.
Patrick thought long and hard before hitting reply, but then figured he had nothing else to loose. He wrote a brief cover letter and attached his current resume and hit send. Frustrated at the prospect of no work he began to get dressed to go out for a run. He had promised himself that he would keep in shape physicall, even if the job search was wearing him down mentally.
His shoes laced, he picked up his phone to select his playlist for his run and as he did it buzzed in his hands. It was a text from a number he didn’t recognize.
Received your email expressing interest in the scientific assistant job. Can you meet today?
Patrick was a bit taken aback. That was quick. He replied back that he could, indeed, meet today. Then waited for the reply. No sense in heading out for a run if they wanted to meet him about the job. His phone buzzed again.
Can you meet at 4115 Hood Ave, Unit A in one hour?
Patrick thought for a moment. Hood was over by the studios. He could get dressed and then make it out there in an hour, no problem. He replied back in the affirmative. He set down his phone and walked to the bedroom and over to his closet, kicking off his running shoes as he did. He took out a dress shirt and picked out a tie that matched. He laid them on his bed. Out in the living room he heard his phone buzz. He went out and picked it up.
Great. See you then.
To be continued…
Wednesday Words – Porteros (A Puppet Piece)
By Grant Baciocco
Along time ago, when this land was young, there lived a god named Porteros. Porteros was the god of music. It was he who was responsible for all the music that filtered throughout the land. All the music the people of the land danced to, sang along with and tapped their feet to as they lived out their lives.
Every evening, at dusk, Porteros would go to the highest hill in all the land. There he would sit and, as the moon rose in front of him, he take his guitar from its case and he would play. The notes coming from his guitar would spread swiftly across the land and fill the heads of the musicians of the land who would, in the morning, wake and put these new songs to paper and play them for the enjoyment of the others. Porteros would play until the moon began to set and when it was completely gone, he would pack up his guitar and leave the hilltop for another day.
Porteros loved this job very much. He understood the job’s importance to the land, how the music fueled the people who lived there. But after so many years of doing so, the boredom had begun to eat away at him. It was a lonely job. Just Porteros and his guitar for those many long hours. On the night that this story takes place, Porteros had decided that it would be his last night. He wanted a break and, even though he knew the land needed music, he simply could not continue this nightly task any longer.
So, to the top of the tallest hill he trudged one last time. He sat and , as the moon rose big and full, began to play. When the moon had completely risen above the hilltop in front of him, there was movement on the hilltop that caught his eye. He looked up from his guitar and there, standing in front of the moon, in perfect silhouette, was a woman. He couldn’t see any of her features but he could tell that she had long flowing hair that tussled in the warm evening wind. She also wore a long, white, flowing dress that danced in the same. Porteros was puzzled. He’d never seen anyone on the hill before, but being a god he was not frightened and he kept playing.
Soon, he realized that his guitar was being joined in song. A soft, sweet voice had begun to accompany his strumming. It was almost imperceptible at first, there were no words, just quiet humming along with the notes he played. As he continued playing, continued, it grew stronger. He realized this mysterious woman was singing along with his guitar.
As they continued, him playing, her singing, she began to sing words. Words that filled Porteros’ music with feelings he’d never experienced before. Words that touched him deep in his heart. Filled him with joy, sadness, fear, pain, wonder, trust, kindness, envy, friendship, happiness and more. All the possible emotions one could feel.
Their combined music spread out over the land and found the inhabitants that dwelled there. It made lovers find each other in the night. It soothed small babies back to sleep. It filled children’s heads with wonder and, in their dreams, made them invincible. Thieves about to commit acts of crime were deterred. It made those on the precipice of passing, calm and no longer frightened. The music made from his guitar and her voice combining was changing the land from what it was.
They played for hours. She never getting any closer than she was when she appeared. Usually, as the night wore on, his fingers ached, but tonight they longed to continue to play. Indeed, they wanted to play forever. But, as if by habit, when the last of the moon disappeared behind the hill, he strummed his final chord as she voiced her final note.
He looked up at her and she was gone. Faded into the night.
Porteros scoured the hilltop for any sign of this mysterious singer, but there was not a one.
The next night, Porteros went to the hilltop again, even though he had said he would no longer do so. He played again and looked for this woman, but she did not appear. He played louder to try and rouse her. He played softly to try and coax her. But still, she did not appear. His muse, it seems, was gone.
After that he returned to the hilltop every night playing, just for her, and he does still to this day. Hoping one day she’ll return to him and they can make music as they did before. His songs sound a little sadder than they did before. But he’s sure that if he returns here every night and plays with all his heart, one night, she will return and join him.
A week or so ago I saw a great puppet piece that was based on an old Chinese legend. It was really great and it sort of stuck in my head a little. A few nights ago when I sat down to write my daily 500 words, I decided that I wanted to write a legend in that style. Not based on anything, just a made up legend in a similar fashion. That night, I wrote the story above.
The next night I threw it all out and started over from scratch and expanded on the story. The result is the above piece. Once it was done I realized I had written out a puppet piece, much like the one that inspired it. So, adding to my list of goals (I guess this would be a mid-year goal) I’m going to find a way to workshop this piece as a puppet piece and then find somewhere to perform it. I really want to do this. A lot, a lot.
Below is a rough sketch I did last night. Somewhat what my idea for Porteros is. Would love to find a way to have Porteros actually play the guitar. For the girl, I’m thinking a live actress and the music would all be done live. Need to stew on it a bit more.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned.
Wednesday Words – The Dark
This is the first part of a multi-part short story I’m working on.
By Grant Baciocco
The door opened and Anthony looked out through the crack. It was night. Of course it was night, it was always night now.
He listened briefly for any sound. There was none. The trees had long since stopped making noise as they had stopped growing and so were bare of leaves.
He took a deep breath and then cinched the shoulder straps of his pack. It was secure. Another deep breath and he was out the door. He pulled the door tight behind him, quietly. Careful not to make any noise, to disturb the darkness. His key slid silently out of the bolt and he slipped it into his pocket. He turned, back towards the door and faced the night full on, took a deep breath and began walking. He walked with a slow, determined pace, doing what he could to make sure his footfalls didn’t make a sound. He kept a close watch, best he could on the ground, trying to avoid stepping on anything that would make any noise.
It had been six months since the darkness had begun to creep in here. Before that, the sky was a brilliant display of stars, moons and nearby planets. But six months ago he noticed the first corner of blackness that appeared in the East. Slowly swallowing the night sky.
The darkness was not a surprise. Several scientists had predicted this, before the war. They had said the darkness was a possible side effect be a result of the weapons used in the war. Though the scientists had predicted the darkness, they had not predicted that the weapons used in the Great Last War, would create a living darkness. Darkness that was mean, cruel and almost seemed full of vengeance. A darkness that existed to swallow everything whole.
This darkness moved. It moved slowly, but it moved. It also listened. This is why Anthony was treading so carefully in the dim sky light that was left. If he made a noise, any noise, the darkness would come for him. And then…well, it’s better if he didn’t think of that. He had a mission and it was vital for him, for his sanity, to complete that mission. But he had to be careful. He had to not alert the darkness to his presence.
He moved up the street. It was slow going, but, it had to be slow. His eyes, well adjusted by now, scanned the streets lined with vacant apartment buildings and storefronts, cars sitting unused and remembered when all these places were full of laughter. Full of love. Full of life. All that was gone. All that was left, as far as he could tell, was him and the darkness.
He realized as he continued forward that the dark was becoming lighter. Slivers of hints of just a microscopic more light were reaching his eyes. His pulse quickened, it made him want to run, but he didn’t dare. He kept his practiced paced as he past the old school and crossed the street into the park. He had to be more careful now as several of the trees had dropped whole limbs, making each footfall a possible noise making experience.
He slowed his pace and stepped carefully. Over and around the fallen debris. He remembered this park before the war. Families, couples, children playing. A respite in the noisy city. Now it was silent. The people gone. The squirrels, ducks and birds gone. No one worried if the park’s paths flooded anymore. No one cared if the gate on the dog park had been left open. There was no one left.
He had been down here before a week ago and had caught a glimpse of something while he’d been out for food, but the darkness had seemed extra sensitive that night. He wanted to make sure he could get to what he saw and back without the darkness closing in on him completely.
He had seen people get swallowed by the darkness. Once it had enveloped the sky it started moving down towards the surface. In those days the few people that remained just went about their scavenging. But on the first night it was found out that the darkness could overtake people, there was panic. And the panic made the darkness swell more and take more people. Anthony had just made it into his apartment before the darkness filled the street. The darkness slowly dripped onto people from the sky like hot tar and and then grew to overtook their whole body. They would scream until their their head was covered and they were gone. After the first time Anthony had seen it happen, he vowed it wouldn’t happen to him. A promise that was getting harder and harder to keep as they darkness was overtaking more things day by day and food was getting harder and harder to find. But he had ventured out this night to see if his eyes had been playing trick on him the other night.
He slowly worked his ways down the gentle slope of the park’s path. Careful that his shoes did not make noises on the pavement’s incline. He squinted in the darkness just as he had the other night and there, through the murk, he could just barely see it.
It was down by the water’s edge. Anthony could see it flickering faintly, but he was sure now. It was a light. A light in the darkness.
His heart raced, but he was measured and did not pick up his pace. He knew one false step would alert the darkness to his presence and it’d be over. He was further from his apartment than he’d been and if the darkness heard him, he wouldn’t be able to make it back before he was overtaken. As the minutes past, they brought him closer. The light got brighter as he came within one hundred yards of it. Seventy five yards. Fifty yards. Twenty five yards. Ten.
He could see it more clearly now. It was a ring of golden light. It was on the cement on walkway of a small bridge that traversed one of the tributaries of the creek. It was as if a golden ring of fire had been laid there. Shining, ignoring the dark, in fact, holding it off. Anthony could see now that the dark was actually being repelled by the light there. Pushed back. He had no idea what this ring of light was, but if it could repel the dark, he had to get closer.
He slowed his pace tremendously as he neared it. He got to his knees and crawled. Taking ten whole minutes to move just a couple feet. As he came right up to it he felt it was giving off heat. Not enough to burn, just enough to warm him. After living without electricity for so many months he smiled at the touch of the warmth against his face. He was now a foot away from the ring and saw that the dark was being pushed back enough that he could get to his feet. As he did and he looked down into the ring he saw, for the first time there was a small green circle of light in the middle of the large outer ring. He puzzled and looked down at it. Wondering it’s significance. Marveling at how whatever this thing was, this odd ring of light, it was pushing the darkness back.
Carefully he extended a finger and moved it towards the circle. The heat didn’t increase. It just felt warm. As his finger broke the circumference of the circle, he noticed the tip of his finger disappear.
He gasped in shock and quickly withdrew his finger which emerged from the light whole and intact. He instantly cursed himself. He’d made a noise. He had made a noise and the darkness heard him. All around him he could hear the darkness swelling. A low rumble filled the air. The darkness was pressing down on this spot. This tiny spot on a bridge where a circle of light, just big enough for maybe two people to stand in, was keeping it at bay. But with the rapid gathering of the darkness, how much longer would the darkness be held back?
Anthony looked around. The paths, normally flooded with water, were flooded with darkness. There was no way he could make a break for it. His choices became: Be swallowed by the darkness or step into the circle of light. He looked around, the park disappearing from his view as the darkness crept closer and closer to where he was.
He took a deep breath and stepped into the circle.
There was no noise. No heat. There was nothing but light. Light that bathed him. Surrounded him completely. He slammed his eyes shut. They hurt being subjected to such brightness after living in darkness for so long. His hands went to his eyes and held them shut until the pains subsided. He was warm. Not hot, but warm. It was nice.
Anthony slowly began to open his eyes. Timidly. Carefully. As he did, and his eyes adjusted he saw his feet. He was standing on pavement. As his eyes adjusted more, other things came into focus. He was on the bridge. The same bridge, but now colors began coming into view. Trees. The water. Ducks swimming nearby.
He smiled. He didn’t know where he was, but this was the park he remembered before the darkness. Behind him he heard some children laughing. He began to turn and as he did he realized someone was standing behind him. His eyes were still adjusting but he looked at the figure standing there, just feet from him.
“Hi.” She said.
Anthony smiled. He was no longer alone.
Wednesday Words – The Door
In my daily writing I’ve been playing with the western genre. I just free form these, only having a germ of an idea to start with then see where the story takes me. I’ve noticed in a few of them I’ve worked in supernatural elements. This story is the first I think is finished and ready to put out. Or at least good enough. Enjoy. Let me know what you think.
By Grant Baciocco
Simon’s left eye opened first, followed by his right. A light hung in the darkness above him. As his vision focused he realized it was the moon, full, sitting quietly in the sky above him. As this realization focused in his brain, so did the realization that there wasn’t one inch of his body that didn’t hurt. Everything hurt. Everything. It was as if his entire body was on giant, throbbing mass of hurt.
He figured he start slow, try to wiggle a finger or two. He chose the pinky and ring fingers on his left hand. As they twitched it felt as if they hadn’t moved in days. They practically creaked when they moved. As more fingers joined the movement, he realized that his finger were wet. Sticky.
He grit his teeth and lifted his left arm at the elbow to bring his hand up into view of his eyes. They focused on the digits and he saw they were covered in red. Blood. This revelation was followed by the revelation that his the reason his shirt and pants were pressing heavy against his body is that they, like his hand, were drenched in blood.
As he dropped his hand back down to the ground with a thud, he nodded, ignoring the pain. It made sense. He couldn’t be in this much pain without there being some blood. Or a lot of blood.
He tried his best to look around for his horse, but he couldn’t see it anywhere. “Probably long gone,” he thought,” or in worse condition than me.” It seemed as if he was alone.
Simon thought hard. How did he wind up here? How did he wind like this? Lying here, on the ground, under the moon, wracked with pain and covered in blood? He thought hard, pushing the pain that consumed him out his head, and for a brief moment he saw a door. A large metal door.
He let the pain flow back in and concentrated on that door. The door. He’d seen that door before. Before he woke up here. He looked up at the moon hanging high above him. As he traced the circle of the ball of yellow hanging above him, he realized he’d opened the door.
He had opened the door. That was the last thing he remembered. He had opened the door and had wound up in his present condition. This brought to mind his brother Charlie.
SImon had been riding through the plains on the way to Yuma with Charlie when they had found the door. They’d promised their mother they’d be their when their father was released from prison to ride back home with him. The trip was over 1500 miles, but their mother was not going to leave them alone until they agreed to go. They were only about sixty miles into the journey when they came across the door.
They’d both been dumbstruck to find it. A big iron door built into the ground in the middle of the prairie, sixty miles out of Yankton. They’d circled around it for a few minutes on their horses until Simon had hopped off of his horse to get a closer look.
Charlie immediately began chastising Simon saying they needed to keep riding. Simon waved him off as he knelt next to the door.
He had run his hand along the iron, warm from the day’s sun. Both horses shifted nervously the first time Simon’s hand had grasped the big metal wheel that served as the handle for the door. Simon and Charlie locked eyes. Had the ground just shook a little when he grabbed it? Simon looked back down at the handle.
“Don’t open that door Simon.” Charlie called out, his voice wavering.
“Why not?” Simon replied, not looking up at his brother.
“A door that heavy, that big was put there to keep something big behind it. You ain’t got no idea what’s in the ground under that door. We ain’t got no business opening it.”
“Its a door in the middle of the prairie. What’s it doing here?”
“I don’t know, but I do know that however it got here it took a lot of doing, we’re miles from anywhere. Whatever’s under that door, it ain’t for us. So let’s just keep ridin’.”
“I want to see what’s inside.”
“I don’t. Let’s go Simon. No good is going to come from you openin’ that damn door.”
Simon didn’t reply, he just looked down at the door. Charlie shifted nervously in his saddle.
“You hear me Simon? Don’t touch that door again.”
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
“You don’t know and that’s the point. Do not open it.”
Simon looked back down at the door to study it closer. As he did, his eyes landed on a metal plaque that was bolted to the door just above the wheel. He hand’t noticed it before because it was covered with months of windswept dirt. He bent down and dusted off the dirt and in doing so revealed a single word. A word that gave him faith that opening the door would be okay. He gripped his hands tighter on the wheel of the door.
“That’s it Simon. I’m not going to be around when you open that door. You can find your own way to Yuma, because I’m not waiting anymore.”
Simon didn’t look back at Charlie. “Fine. Go. I’m going to see what’s in here. It ain’t going to hurt us on account of what it says on the plaque here.”
Charlie didn’t wait around to hear Simon finish his sentence, He rode off south as fast as his horse could carry him, never once looking back to see what his brother was doing.
Simon thought of all this as he stared up at the moon, the throb of his mangled body becoming louder. Drowning out the visions of earlier. Of his brother. As they faded, he focused his mind on trying to remember the word. The word inscribed on the plaque on the door.
It had four letters. Yes. Four letters.
He thought hard.
That was it.
Simon’s last breath escaped him.