Welcome and Thank You for Coming!
My name is Serge Drevlan and I am an avid RPer here on RpG. Some of you may have seen me around, some of you may not and I can only give my absolute thanks to you either way.
This is my Gallery of words and they will be of inconsistent theme, thus the name of the place. I will try to put things up that might interest people but for the most part I have this to entertain my caution. I want to know what other people think of my writing and I really like input from other people who I don't know. The things I will put up will either be short stories, poems, or sections for a larger piece I am writing. I'd like to thank you all ahead of time for your input.
Some of the pieces have subtext and metaphores and all the good stuff, as well as overarching themes. If you would like to know the theme ask, but for the most part I'd like to see people guess.
Without any further adieu:
This was my first, and admitedly only, WOTM piece. It got no votes but I like it for what it is right now; a draft.
Along the disconsolated faces and rushing soldiers was a small middle aged man who appeared lost. He stood in the sterile, white halls of the military base where he'd been sent. People in expensive combat armor pushed pass him in hurried self confidence. The awkward man was usually a foot shorter than most of the soldiers and had half as much muscles. He was in a forest of strong individuals who knew very well how to kill and had the tools to do it. The man was pale and sad, he was balding and his face was a strange mask of fear and annoyance, with his eyes being two brown orbs guarded by think bifocals. He wore a green and burgundy knitted sweater upon a white long sleeve shirt and brown chinos with white tennis shoes. In his right hand was a manila envelope while the other grasped a small note pad. This pathetic man's name was Stephan Levi, he was a newspaper man by his own admittance.
His job was the only thing that ever kept him semi happy, it was the only thing he was proud of and the only thing he would ever be decent at doing. He was never spectacularly intelligent or ambitious so he never really wanted to do anything. He never had friends so he spent the better part of this life in his home writing or looking at the moon through his telescope. He'd gotten into the newspaper business by the lowest means of writing, reviews. He reviewed books for an uncaptured audience in Georgia only deviating from that path to write even less successful dictionary reviews. But somewhere along the line of reviewing thirty year old Vonnegut books and the "Webster International Dictionary of the English Language: Fifth Revised Ed." he was chosen by President Gore to write an article about the war.
Somehow, among the strong soldiers, this weak man made his pathetic way into the generals office and now sat on a leather sofa, taking up as little space as his poor frame could, and he waited, like all sad men do, he waited to be called. A few moments later a tall blonde wrapped in a light green office suit peeked her head around a corner and looked at him. He looked at her and wondered if she was going to say anything, she was just standing there looking at him and not saying anything. Stephan began to panic and looked around the room, perhaps for a place to hid as the woman stared at him, her eyes squinting with judgment. But before the sad man could jump under a coffee table covered with gun magazines she called his name and wiggled her finger at him, asking him to come.
"Stephan Levi?" She asked.
He stood and shuffled his way to the door and lifted his glasses from the crook of his nose to where they should have been. "Yes, I'm he." The weak man said slowing his pace. The woman pointed toward a door down a long narrow path, he shuffled his way there, too. As he opened the door, a cringe upon his face, he heard a bottle being placed on wood. He peeked his balding head in and saw a huge man standing over an oak desk, strange occurrence, Stephan thought, up here all he saw was metal and glass. He let a small smile cross his chapped lips and he waved his skinny fingers as a type of greeting.
"Come in, you're the writer, right? The one who's doing the article?" The man asked, the man was named Kevin Trout, he was the general of this base. He was a tall man with large arms and chin. He wore the classic green general's outfit bedazzled with medals and held a glass of scotch in his hand. His voice was rough and slightly horse. Images of the man yelling orders at his troop atop a steed crossed Stephan's field of view for a moment and he began writing it down. The general eyed the man oddly and tilted his head. He sat down and waited for Stephen to stop.
"Sorry, just had a thought," Stephan said and he sat in the brown leather love seat across from the powerful general. "So shall we begin?" He asked. Trout simply nodded and sipped his scotch. "How is it up here? In general..."
"Cold," Trout interrupted. "Its cold and dark and the food sucks." He looked down at his glass and spun it in his hand. "Scotch is okay, though."
The weak man began scribbling things down in illegible script. He opened his mouth to ask another question but was interrupted by a sort of smashing behind him. It sounded like a door but there were voices after which sort of changed the sound into something like a gun shot. Stephan's weak untrained senses were overwhelmed when the door behind him was almost kicked open and a soldier ran in. Stephan was forced to scream and jump on the floor. The soldier saluted and awaited for his general to respond. Trout stood and saluted the young man in return.
"What is it, son?" Trout asked leaving the glass of scotch on the table.
Stephan got up from the ground and cleared his throat. The young man looked nervous, yet he retained that classic soldier readiness, even in the most fearful of moments he was more courageous than Stephan Levi.
"Its the gate, its being brought down." The boy said. It was at this moment that Levi noticed, the soldier was but a teenager, no older than nineteen. He took a note but continued to kept in mind what was happening.
"Alright then, get a humvee ready, I'll be out there soon. Mr. Levi..." Trout spoke with sureness and confidence sending the boy away with a nod, he then turned to the weak newspaper man. "... You'll understand if I take a rain check."
Stephan nodded and was about to speak but decided not to since Trout had already left the room. Stephan spent the rest of the day walking around the base as much as he could, so much so he had to be detained in the cafeteria as to not make the soldiers more nervous then they already were. A few hours later the same tall blonde woman came into the cafeteria with a sad look about her. This time when she approached Stephan she didn't stare at him, she barely looked at him.
"General Trout..." She began but stopped. She gathered herself. "General Trout was killed in battle." She said plainly. Stephan caught a gasp and looked down at his hands. He felt responsible for some stupid childish reason.
"I'm sorry," he said.
"So am I," she responded, then left.
Stephan felt like a lost child who'd just been left behind in a mall. The General was the only person he knew on the base and now he was gone. Stephan then felt war, he felt it deep within his soul, it penetrated him like it had the soldiers. It was something akin to violation but that couldn't describe it correctly. He took out a fountain pen and began writing on his note pad, inspiration, coming from the war in conjunction with the sudden death and the view he just noticed, had struck him.
[I]".... And even now, as I sit on the observation deck of the base, with the news of Trout being dead still heavy on my heart, looking down at the cradle of humanity, the green and blue rock which houses our race, I feel a sudden peace. Even up here on this celestial white orb in space, surrounded by war against an enemy we could never quite imagine, I feel more human than I ever have. I look down at earth and picture myself, my sad teenage self, looking back up, seeing the moon as a wonder, not a war zone."
-Stephan Levi, "The War for Trout"
I've been thinking about writing something like this for a while. I'm glad I could finally type it out and put it somewhere. There are deep themes based around France in the late 1940's to early 1950's here.
There was something of a cacophony of life as one would walk along the streets of Marseille, an urban center in France. Fine cups clanked together after a stern promise of love forever and faraway business deals. The café's that dotted the busy streets were warm and inviting; they smelled like the fine French coffee bean. At street-side bistro's Artists spend their yearly earnings by cutting into a thick cut of steak. Smells wafted in the air and onto the heavily pedestrian street. Lovers departed and came together in glorious displays of passion.
Overhead, above the warblers, flew English Barrage Balloons which cast ominous shadows below. One such shadow made a young Mademoiselle below peer up at the strange device in the sky. She squinted as the sharp outline caused by the sun attacked her vision. She looked away and rubbed at her eye as the shadow passed.
A young french man almost passed by but stopped and chuckled at the girl as he noticed what happened. "You cannot look at the sun directly, Mademoiselle." He said. He had a sort of debonair quality which he was trying to exude. His classic French dress made him look like he was going to dinner when he was likely just taking a walk. He smiled as he awaited her innocent laughter and thanks.
She had finally regained her vision and turned, still squinting, to him. "I was not looking at the sun, le petite Monsieur. I was looking at the blasted balloon." She said, pointing up to the sky.
The young man looked up without turning his body, his hands still in his pockets. There was no longer a balloon. It was gone; as if it had vanished. "There is no balloon at all, Mademoiselle." He replied. At the title the girl rolled her eyes and almost sneered. "I'm sorry, I insult you when I call you that. Perhaps you could tell me your name."
She placed a well manicured hand on her hip and stared, annoyed, into the man's eyes. "Perhaps I'll never see you again and a name would be pointless. I seem to have embarrassed myself, Adieu."
As she turned to leave the man stepped in front of her and opened his arms wide, smiling. "No, please! I have embarrassed myself by seemingly embarrassing a lovely young lady and so for that I ask your name so I can properly apologize." He pleaded. He removed a package of cigarettes from his coat pocket and removed one.
"Anastasie." She said blankly. Anastasia.
"Ah!" He exclaimed. "Like the Grand Duchess!"
Anastasia rolled her eyes and clenched her jaw.
"Oh, no, no, no, no. Tch, tch, tch, do not do that." He chided. "It will ruin your teeth."
Anastasia exhaled as her eyes widened at the blonde fool who stood before her. He began pulling a cigarette from his package. "Am I now unable to make my own decisions now that I have met you? Shall you petition my father for my hand? Am I to now bear your six children and feed them till I am dry and barren?" She turned from him and began walking in the other direction.
The man stood still and lit his cigarette as she spoke. He puffed a few times before she finally turned and walked from him. "I haven't apologized yet!" He yelled to her.
She stopped and took a deep breath. Anastasia turned to him and shrugged. "Okay, then. Apologize."
The man walked over to her, got down on one knee and opened his arms wide, a dramatic portrayal of his feelings. "Anastasie, I am deeply sorry for my own ignorance and brutish stupidity and for embarrassing you further by saying I love you and I would like you to join me for lunch."
Anastasia was not amused. Though, on the inside, on some level, she was flattered. And it was that, the absurdity of her ego, which made her giggle.
"I know it is abrupt, Anastasie, but it is no laughing matter. Men die when they miss their soul mate."
"Oh, you are a fool, boy. What is you name so I may reject you with kindness."
He took a puff of his cigarette and slumped onto his knee, a playful smile on his face.
"Jean-Paul." He said.
Anastasia found this hilarious. She held her chest as her breath escaped her from the laughter. "Jean-Paul? If you were American your name would be Joe, no?"
Jean-Paul stood and smiled as Anastasia laughed. He offered her a cigarette and she took it. He'd grown on her like a fungus and she hated it. He lit her cigarette and she took a puff from it, her right hand resting on a gate from the bistro in front of which they stood.
"So tell me, Jean-Paul, how many women have fallen for your scheme?"
"Scheme? It is no scheme, Anastasie. I love you and there is no doubt about it."
Anastasia rolled her eyes once more, attempting to understand this stupid man. "I'm sorry, Jean, it would never work out."
Jean-Paul allowed for a moment of weakness as he exhaled loudly. His face contorted into annoyance and then into something resembling a pout.
"Why?" He asked.
Anastasia moved a stray hair from her lip and looked into the sky, looking for an answer. Out of the clouds, like a ghost, appeared the balloon. A part of her shuttered and she looked down at him. "It would never last. Besides, we want two different things."
Jean-Paul was confused and annoyed and his face showed it. Anastasia slowly walked away, cigarette in hand and a darkness in her eye. As she coyly shuffled off Jean-Paul yelled to her.
"How do you know what I want?"
She smiled at his ignorance. "It isn't about what you want, Jean. I don't want what you want!"
And with that, Anastasia ran off. Jean-Paul sulked off and looked up at the sky, there still wasn't a damn balloon in sight.
I wrote this for one of my Best friends on this site, Lillian Thorne, on her birthday. This is my attempt at writing in pentameter, very much like how Shakespeare wrote some of his verse.
A goddess is she,
With words like velvet
Does she move us all.
That she does braid,
Oh so carefully,
Within her pros.
Of soft words,
From the pantheon
She was stricken,
Cast down to earth,
And so here she is,
Our leader in,
A deity lost,
She does have a name:
Lillian, my love.
This is a thriller I am working on, it should develop into something quite large for once. NOT FINISHED.
Jeff woke up in a cold sweat. He inhaled heavily as he reached for the ceiling and some form of his own self; escaped with something, a rejection. It was the dream again.
He would hear whispers, like screams they would be, but quiet. They moved him, pushed him toward the picture. It was a portrait; a yellow vase on a table, rose peddles lying about it. In the vase were tulips. He would always note that, the absurdity. Rose peddles falling from tulips. He would see his hands reach out, grab it by the frame, cast it aside. The whispers accelerated. They raced toward a climaxing staccato. As his hands touched beige and green stripped wall the whispers crescendo’d into a wave of emotion and freedom and sometimes love and blood and, for Jeff, fear.
He grabbed at his body as he tried to console himself. He shivered violently; the rough winds swimming in through the window were partly to blame. He closed the window with a weak grunt as he tried to warm his muscles again. He looked at the clock to see it was just turning five. The dew settled on the window well as he watched the vacant street fill. Jeff drew a small circle on the window and let the condensation dribble down the pane. His coffee maker had started and Jeff’s apartment began to stink of the stuff.
Like every day, a newspaper was slid through the mail slip on his door. It fell to the hardwood floor with a terrible thump as it begged his attention. Jeff picked the hard and weighty roll of paper from the floor and smelled it. It smelled like comfortable mornings. It smelled like college and all things from his past and something intangible from his future. A terrible revelation which rocked his very foundations. It was a memory of the future.
Jeff sat at his kitchen bar and sipped his coffee as he read the Arts and Leisure section. A small acting troupe called “Theatre Kids” were preforming select plays by Oscar Wilde. Jeff highlighted it and flipped the page.
Before he left his home Jeff put on his lab coat and his name tag which read:
“Jeffery Philips, Co-Head Technician in charge of Bonding Research”
That’s how Jeff described his life in one phrase on the rare occasion he was asked; “Co-Head Technician in charge of Bonding Research”. He would say this in an even more monotone voice than he was familiar with—it was often dripping with venom and distaste as it slid from his lips. It was almost always mumbled and forgotten. People never remembered much of him. They only ever asked him questions so he would ask them something in return, those were the rules of life it seemed; both the quid pro quo and the forgetting of Jeffery Philips, Co-Head Technician in charge of Bonding Research—the latter more often than one would ever imagine.
So, Jeff drove through the damp streets of Chicago; down the avenue, around the corner and into the aged warehouse with bright blue lettering on top. It read, almost always, “Jackson & Peters’ Pharmaceuticals”, sometimes it read “Ja son & Pe ers’ Pharm “. Those days excited Jeff, made him feel like he worked somewhere else; in a farm. On those days he would imagine his Carolla was a tractor and that he was walking past cornstalks not lamp posts as he went to work. He would imagine the guards and people inside were cows and ducks and horses. Jeff would milk them, pet them, slaughter them.
Today wasn’t such a day. He parked his silver Corolla perfectly between the lines and disembarked his vehicle. He always thought of those words. It was a sort of supplement, it reminded him of a police officer. His life was never so exciting that he would ever be pulled over.
Jeff walked through the doors into Jackson & Peters, and through to the security checkpoint. He showed his badge and passed through. The security guards didn’t even look at it though, they knew Jeffery Philips, Co-Head Technician in charge of Bonding Research, and knew that he was chicken shit, or yellow, or pussy, or a bitch—and they knew that Jeffery Philips was too much of a chicken shit, yellow, pussy, bitch to do anything dangerous.
I bet he’s a fuckin’ fag, they’d probably say. I don’t even look at the fuckers badge when he comes in, they’d likely laugh behind his back, he aint going nowhere!
In the elevator Jeff’s hands were sweaty and his heart raced as he pictured what he would do in his head:
He’d go into the lab. He would take three vials of Hydrofloric acid and take the elevator down stairs. Anyone who tried to stop him would get some acid in the face. He’d run to the lowlife security officers who laughed at him and resented him and humiliated him, and he would throw the stuff in their faces. They’d scream and squirm on the floor as the liquid burned into their skin. They’d ask for forgiveness and he would laugh and spit on them and take their gun and shoot them…himself in the head.
It always went back to that. He would always turn the gun on himself. He would never—could never-- finish them, end them for his years of torment. Jeff could see his reflection in the stainless steel elevator doors. He had an average face and dull Grey eyes which would be striking if he were anyone else. His tie was tight and he felt sorry for himself. He would punch his reflection if he could. He would tell it to punch him, kill him, destroy him, take him over, become him, put those striking grey eyes and average looks to good use. He wanted to stab himself with his pen and end it all, let his reflection take over. The effigy in the door screamed at him, a sly smile crossed his disgusting lips when he didn’t. Jeff heard the whispers again, they attacked him, struck his mind, made him double over. The doors parted and the whispers left.
Jeff sat in his stool, a beaker in one hand and dropper in the other. He slowly let a bonding chemical fall into the solution below. It smelled faintly like mushrooms and he knew it worked. He placed the agent under a microscope and began inspecting. The blobs in the microscope changed, they shifted into something else, something violent and dangerous. It bubbled and multiplied aggressively. It was unnatural and Jeff would have ripped his vision from it if it weren’t so mesmerizing. The things contorted and contracted and convulsed in a manner never seen in science before. They formed a mouth and began devouring every other oblong in the area. It was disgusting and frightening. The shape produced more—larger, more contrast shapes. It fed on the other shapes to fuel its own creation. It erupted in colors; red yellow, blue, orange. Red fell in sparse tear drops on the surface of something flat. Yellow formed into an hourglass shape and orange flowers spilled from its head. Jeff shuddered but watched, he always watched and always would. The picture burst and behind was the yellow and green stripped wall. It lashed out and pulled Jeff through the microscope, it tried. He pulled back and screamed.
“Fuck!” He yelled, pulling his head from the shadow’s tight grip. He looked around, at his coworkers, superiors, peers they were called. He tried to regain his breathing and sat at a further off stool.
Jeff ran to his direct superior, Keller James, Head in charge of Bonding Research. He had character. He would tap his pen in his head when filling out a report and bite the end. He would flick dust off his shoulder mid conversation and make jokes that he never laughed at, just smiled, laughing was for the audience. Jeff had no character. He never tapped his pen, never noticed dust, never told jokes and never smiled. Jeff tacked a note on Keller’s door.
“Taking that long overdue vacation. Call me for any questions or emergencies” it read. Jeff almost felt bad by including the bit about emergencies, as if he’d be needed. That was Jeff being vicious. He almost erased it. He didn’t, though; he needed some sort of outlet, that was it.
Taking a Leave
Jeff drove back down the avenue. He drove to his apartment building and ran upstairs. He ran faster than he ever did, glancing behind him sometimes, as if he were being chased. All that was behind him was his shadow. It moved with him; unnaturally it stretched its elongated limbs and moved along the wall. It dragged itself behind him in long disgusting strides; pulling itself closer, faster and closer. Jeff ran faster as he approached his apartment, he tried to get away from the menacing shadow as his breath escaped him. He pulled open the door and was sucked in. There was something, a force, moving him about. It forced him to do things. It forced him to write the note, it forced him to get in his car and drive down the avenue. The shadow forced him up the stairs and now an enigmatic power moved him to pack his bags. It wasn’t so much a power, actually; it was a being. It was a physical being which existed in time and in his head. He heard the whispers as he packed clothing and toiletries, accelerating in rhythm and gaining volume exponentially. They beat against his skull as if trying to escape and all he could do was hum. His apartment was silent except for the wistful humming of Jeff as he tried to drown out the powerful whispers which collided with his own consciousness. Decisively, Jeff closed his suitcase and the whispers stopped, they were content—for now.
It was a short moment before Jeff was in his car and riding down the avenue. He had decided this, for the first time in his life he had truly decided. He drove past his job, past his mother’s house and even past his sister’s. He had become brave; there was a swiftness to his motions in the car, as if he was trying to trick himself. He made a quick right, an almost motionless turn to the left and finally onto the Kennedy expressway toward the O’Hare airport.
Without thought Jeff parked his car in front of the airport, grabbed his bags and marched inside. A guard tried to stop him but he just kept walking.
“Sir,” He would yell. “Sir, your car will get toed!” Jeff ignored him, as he always did, but the man kept screaming, as he always did. It was in that one moment, the moment which always existed and always will exist, like all the others, that Jeff knew he could no longer turn back. As he approached the counter and the woman asked for his tickets he wanted to turn back. He wanted to drop his bags, turn around, heed the guards call, and drive back home. He wanted to drive back down the avenue, into the farm and get back to work. He wanted to ignore the security and the oblongs in the microscope and just do his job. He wanted to get to work. He wanted to head up the bonding research—cooperatively, of course, with Keller James.
Keller was a man which everyone in the office respected. Jeff had always suspected it was because Keller was a homosexual, they were always very charismatic, but he couldn’t prove it. Jeff never became so involved in other people’s lives, anyway. He would always go home after work, drink some coffee, take a shower, watch Rachael Maddow and head to sleep. Keller James would go out. He would go to a place in the unfashionable side of Chicago and dive into all sorts of bars. He would visit places like the “Mocking Bird”, a famously homosexual bar, in which he performed all sorts of homosexual misconduct; or so society perceived it. If Jeff would venture out, if he would at one point during his endless existence take a risk, follow Keller, he would have confirmed his suspicions. Keller, however, was busy being a Mocking Bird and Jeff was always too busy sleeping and waking up to the dream.
He wanted to mix chemicals and agents and acid. He wanted to throw the acid. Spit. Take their gun. Point it. To himself and shoot. He never did. He always smiled at the clerk, placed his bag on the scale, and pulled out his wallet. He would always slip his credit card from his wallet and hand it to the clerk. He would always hear her question.
“Where are you going, sir?” She would ask.
The whispers would pipe up then. They would always scream at him, liven up. They would play drums to the beat of his heart and boost his morale. They would always chant. London, they’d say. They’d repeat it over and over and over again.
“Where are you going, Sir?” She would ask again. He smile was disturbing and on her shirt hung a name tag. It read, “Sandra”. It was always slanted slightly. Jeff would always want to fix it.
London, they’d chant. The drum would beat faster along with his heart and his brain would pulse rhythmically. It was something Jeff was oddly comfortable with. The music consoled him and appreciated him. They would reinforce his decisions, or make them for him.
“London.” He’d say.
In the plane Jeff would sleep. The whispers would stop, they never left. His shadow sat right next to him, it took up a seat and held him as he slept. It would sing him sweet lullabies. It’s voice was many and metallic; like a knife against a whet stone.
Sleep, it would say. Sleep, my baby.
A comment on Human being's dependency on fossil fuels. NOT FINISHED.
Stephan Whit drove down the George Washington Bridge in his Count’s new BMW. “Counts” are what the donors called their employers. “Donors” are what both the Counts and the Donors called the Hemo-altruists; it sounded far better than slave.
Stephan gripped the tight leather of the wheel as he sped down the bridge. He raced passionately across the thing, passing a few cars, spending whatever of his sacrifice was left in the machine. He glanced at the electronic clock on the dashboard; it read 7:24 AM. It was what was once considered “rush hour”, those sort of things didn’t exist anymore—traffic. Stephan turned violently at the end of the bridge and into a hemo-station. He parked the car at one of the pumps and pulled the key from the ignition. He stepped out from the car and walked over to the pump. It looked like they used to but it was different. The actual pump that would be inserted into the car was still there; Stephan did just that. On the side, however, were additions. There was a chair and a sphygmomanometer attached to the right side of it. Stephan sat on the chair, as he was meant to, and tied the Sphygmomanometer to his upper arm, another mandatory precedent. It tightened, like a python that’d just caught its prey, and deployed its needle. It penetrated his rough dermis, Stephan didn’t even flinch; the feeling was all too familiar. The thing began sucking Stephan’s life force. After a while he was lightheaded, as always, and his mind began to wander, as always.
Stephan remembered when he’d first heard about the Indentured hemo-servitude industry. He was on craigslist one day, looking for a job—he was a handyman at some point in his life, he couldn’t remember when—and he saw an ad for a blood donor. He clicked it for pure laughs until he read its contents. The person was willing to pay a decent salary and provide the donor with a room to stay in; this was before the industry became institutionalized and regulated. The pay was far more than minimum pay was now and to house a hemo-altruist the employer would need to have his house inspected. Stephan regarded this ad as a joke at best and ignored it. From then on though, the idea was constantly nagging him. As he fixed a broken toilet or his wife was screaming at him about their bills, he couldn’t help but think about that ad and the idea of being a blood donor—a hemo-altruist was the most recent, proper term.
Stephan checked the gauge on the side of the hemo-pump and saw that it still wasn’t half way full. He sat back once again, becoming more slipping further from lucidity. Another car pulled up to the station and parked in front of a pump. He went through the same motions Stephan did but with far more severity, this pained him. He wasn’t a hemo-altruist so this whole process affected him far more. He looked over to Stephan and smiled, made an effort to bring some normalcy to the situation.
There is more to come!