Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fireflies - Day Eighteen (Live-Blogging A Story)

Okay, folks, here it is, the final segment of the story.  I made it to THE END.  That's always a good feeling.  Today, I put the final 825 words on the story.  The final word count wound up being 16,912.  I didn't quite make it to novella length, so this one is just another novelette in a long line of them for me.  I should try to write shorter things.  I could have written three regular-writer stories in the same amount of time if I'd done that.

Anyway, here you go:

He grabbed a plastic toy dump truck, and smashed it down on the thing, and cried out as the blow smashed the dragon’s spines deeper into his leg, but then smiled when the thing went limp, and released its grip on his leg.  He shook his leg, and it fell in a bloody heap on the carpeted steps.  He winced, realizing that all the blood in that heap was his own, not the creature’s.  Then he noticed that one of the thing’s spines was broken off and protruding from his leg right where he had bashed it with the toy.  He grabbed hold of it, and yanked it out.
That was a big mistake.  No sooner was the spine removed than a spray of blood began spurting from his leg so heavy it seemed as though someone had turned on a garden hose.  He realized two things in that moment.  One, the artery in his leg must have been cut, and two, he probably wasn’t going to make it alive, even if he managed to get up there and wake Trevon.  No one would be here in time to stop him from bleeding out.  His life was coming to an end, just as Simi’s had, at the hands of his child’s dream monsters.  Just as Simi’s had and also Mrs. Ingersoll’s had.  He would be the third death that could be attributed to his baby boy.  And that might not be all too.  With the number of strange creatures filling the streets, for all he knew there might be other casualties out there if any of his other neighbors had come out of their homes to see what was going on.
All of this was happening in a sort of casual manner too.  The baby was doing it in his sleep.  Not even lifting a finger.  He was a serial killer without even trying.  What would happen after Oscar died, and his son was taken to his mother’s house to be cared for as his will specified they should do?  Would his mother be able to figure what was going on when this insanity started happening in her home?  How long before some dream creature took his mother’s life as well?  From there, Trevon would probably go to Simi’s parents.  Would he take their lives as well?  And then what?  Where would he go and who would die because of it?
He had thought of Trevon as being like a unstable nuke, and the comparison only seemed more apt now that Oscar’s own life had been forfeited to Trevon’s chaos.  As Oscar turned to head up the stairs, brandishing the spine from the cucumber dragon and slipping in the puddles of his own life blood, he understood what his course of action had to be.  He had to put an end to this madness.  He had to stab his baby with that spine.  He had to kill Trevon.
The minute his mind settled on his course of action, it rebelled against it.  How could he kill Trevon, he was his son, his offspring?  Fathers are supposed to do everything they can to help their children and keep them safe.  He should be giving his life to save Trevon, not using the last seconds of his life to destroy him.  Images of his son smiling, laughing, and playing flashed through his mind.  He saw himself rocking Trevon to sleep, washing his hair in the bathtub, feeding him from one of those little bottles of pureed fruit, and he faltered on the top step of the stairs.  He didn’t want to do it.  He simply couldn’t do it.
Then another cucumber dragon crashed into him, wrapping its lithe body around his torso and squeezing.  Oh, shit, he thought, I’ve waited too long.  He felt the creature’s spines sliding into his flesh, puncturing muscle and organs.  Blood began to pour from a dozen holes in his flesh, and his vision started going hazy.  He had already lost so much blood before this new danger had arrived.  He didn’t feel like he would make it the four steps to Trevon’s crib.
Blood burst out of his mouth as the dragon squeezed tighter.  Oscar stumbled to his knees, catching himself on the bars of the crib.  Trevon lay there, mouth wrapped around a blue pacifier, breathing slowly and peacefully.  None of the chaos around him had penetrated his world.  Oscar’s hearth went out to him.  I’m sorry, Trevon, he thought, I love you! With his last bit of strength, he hauled himself upwards, raised the spine over his head, and plunged it downward.
Oscar fell to the carpet and came to rest in the enormous puddle of blood his body had pumped out the many holes in his flesh.  The cucumber dragon that had been wrapped so tightly around his torso disappeared before he reached the ground, and Trevon’s room slowly faded to black.



  1. Waaah! (And yes I have been waiting until you posted the end, like a crazy person). Such a sad, sad story, but really good! Although the first paragraph on this page makes it sound like Oscar shakes his leg off.

    Seriously though, great story!

  2. So Rish was right about you. You are a merciless master. Great story, but yes...very sad. I knew once he neighbor got killed that the baby wouldn't make it through the day, but I wasn't sure whether Oscar would make it or not. Probably better that he didn't. How would he explain what happened? I hink you should write an epilogue as a transcript of the news coverage, talking to the police trying to make sense of the scene.

  3. Ooh I like Marshall's idea of the epilogue of the news coverage.

  4. I think this is the best story of yours I've read/heard, Big! Apart from being an engaging story, it has some profound themes about the ways that children can devour and drain their parents, often quite innocently. It's a grim topic that people don't like discussing, because there is no easy answer. However, many of my writer friends have written stories along these lines while their children were small. It's a theme that resonates.

    For the most part, you bravely let the story go where it wanted to. You let your characters try the things that normal people would think to try. One place where I felt you missed an opportunity, though - Surely Oscar, in his grief and confusion, would have at least tried to communicate with the apparitions of Simi after she dies. Surely, he would wonder whether she was somehow alive in a dream world. I found it very odd that he didn't even attempt to speak to them.

    Also (and this is just me), I would not have put the sex scene where you have it. It seems gratuitous, in that it doesn't advance the plot or give us insight into the characters. I would have him attempt to make love to one of the apparitions, perhaps in a half-asleep state and with flashbacks of real encounters with Simi. Done well, this could really tug at the audience's heart-strings, give that sexy spice that you're after, and tell us things about the apparitions, all wrapped up in one hair-raising scene.

    Anyhow, I say you let it sit for a month, give it a polish, and then send it into the world.

  5. Thanks, everybody for your comments and encouragement through the process. I'll think about the epilogue news article idea. Not sure what people might say to explain it away, though. That'd be hard to come up with. The microburst thing I already had ahead of time, but how to explain a mob of cucumber dragons?

    I'm glad everyone liked it though. Thanks, Abbie, for the "this is your best yet" comment. If nothing else, it makes me feel like I'm improving. The whole process of doing this has gotten me really excited about writing again, which I haven't felt in a long time. I think I'm going to keep posting stories that I write here, and pretty soon, I'll get to the publishing of them on Amazon as well. So, really, thanks for the comments, everyone. You're words have made a differerence for me.