Alone. {ANEWSIN VOL. 7 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

Another day, all alone.

He looks out the window as the sun slowly peeks over the horizon. No one is anywhere near him, and no one has been for a very long time. He is alone.

He has been alone for what feels like months.

There are two kinds of people. The decent people in the cities, and those who are in solitary and are forced to live that way because of how they have been in the past. They have been rude or violent. Even just inappropriate thoughts are enough to hide someone away from the rest of society. Those in cities are surrounded by others like them. It is all sorted by an algorithm, and the results are just accepted. Why wouldn’t they be?

He pours his coffee and prepares to eat his first meal of the day, like he always does. The windows are without blinds. The walls of civilization are kilometres away from his residence, so it is fair to think that no one would be looking in. So, imagine his shock when he looked outside to realize that there is a new house that he has never seen.

At least he was wearing pants today.

Not too far away sits a small, red brick, single floor, rather shabby looking house. He cannot make out if anyone is there right now, but it is close enough to hinder his view of the sun rising over the chicken wire of the city.

The house is situated perfectly as so trees do not block the view.

Whoever the owner is, they saw it fit to get window dressings. Probably to block the sun. Or the wind as most of the windows seem to have holes in the glass due to rocks being projected through them.

He puts on a thin top. He has a quick shower, then figures that it would be in his best interest to say hello.

Once he is ready, he makes the venture out to the new arrival. His stride did not hide the frustration and mild curiosity he felt. The distance is far from great, but it still takes him the better part of an hour.

The wall still stands a great pillar of truth and testament to everything he gave up for the solitude he was given. The cinder blocks remind him that he is guarded from all that it contains.

A batted young girl meets him part way to the house.

“Hello, there!” She yells. Her voice cuts sharply above the noise of silence that steeps the land. “Where the fuck am I?”

He laughs. “Nowhere and everywhere. I’ve been here forever, and you probably will be, as well.” Being lost is standard.

He now knows that there is no danger, he turns to head back towards his sanctuary. The dirt of the ground spins with his heel. That is to be the only mark left between the two houses, he thinks. He doesn’t want friends. He doesn’t want to be bothered. He just wants to open a beer and read things on the screen. All of his needs are taken care of in this place, and he has just enough entertainment to ignore just how incredibly crushing the isolation is.

“Where are you going?” The girl screams after him. “I have questions!”

“I don’t care. You’ll understand soon enough.” He replies, looking over his shoulder just long enough to make sure the girl heard him. He hoped that his body language would emphasize just how sure he was in his answer.

“Can I come over, then? I have things that I need answers!.” She continues to plead with him as he ventures further and farther away. “Please?”

He ignores her pleads. She’ll figure things out or disappear in a week. He thinks to himself. He has been in this area long enough to know how the process goes.

He gets back to his front door when he notices that he is not alone. The girl followed him. Her eyes are full of tears and her hair is full of blood. She is skinny and frail. This is the closest he has been to another being in a very long time.

“At least let me use your water. My place hasn’t been connected to the system as of yet, and I am a fucking wreck. This blood? Not sure where it came from. This place? I don’t remember how I got here.” Her voice strains in her frantic attempt to get everything said. She clearly was in shock.

She extended a hand. “Please.” She murmured between sobs. “I don’t know where I am or why I am here.”

“Fine. Come this way.” He felt he had no choice but to at least pretend to show compassion. “Do you like coffee? I was about to make another pot.”

“Yes. And thank you.” She replied, smiling for the first time since she had seen him. “We don’t need to talk anymore. Unless you want to. God knows I can talk a lot. Especially if I was asked not to talk or I feel the other person doesn’t want me to. But seriously, just let me know if you want me to be quiet, I can do that. I can I can…”

He puts his face into his hand and lets out a massive sigh.

“Don’t make me regret this.” He barks in her direction, then continues his stroll towards his residence. His direction lead right to the path me made lined with old broken brick that he found in his journeys around the land. He was proud of it.

“Bree.”

The girl exclaimed what he assumed was her name rather unceremoniously.

“It was awkward to me that we haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Bree. No one cares what it’s short for. Least of all me.” Bree then started to follow. “What are you called?”

“Keven.” he says with a tone of confusion. He never thought that he would be in a position again where he needed to introduce himself. “I’d appreciate it if you stopped ruining everything.”

A miasma of awkward tension levitated above the two for a moment. Keven never stopped walking, but Bree stumbled for a moment.

“Why do you hate me?” Bree asked. Her voice was audibly choked up.

“I don’t. I just haven’t seen other people in a very long time” Kevin replied without looking to see Bree’s face. He had a feeling that her eyes would break his rugged disposition.

Bree started to raise her voice “But what about–“

“–I could have left you at the hovel you called home for-who-knows-how-long. I could have waited for you to give up then raided you for everything you have. Be happy I was in a good mood today.” Keven made sure his words were deliberate in their dictation. He wanted her to stop. He wanted her to realize that they were alone. They will always be alone. That things will go his way or she will be left behind.

If Keven had bothered to look over, he would have noticed that Bree had stopped in her tracks.

“Where is someone else to talk to?” Her voice quivers as she forces the words.

“There is no one else.” Keven screamed. “Why do I have to keep telling you this? We’re alone. We will be left alone for a long time.”

Bree fell to the ground and started shaking.

“Get up. There is no point in crying.” Keven’s demeanour started to soften. He felt bad for the girl. Yes, this place was his dream. That’s just it, though. It is his dream, and his alone. If he was left to his devices for the remainder of time, he would be okay with that. He was well aware that he was one of a few who would enjoy that.

Bree looked up. She wasn’t crying, but she was in the throws of diabolical laughter.

“So, why do you hate me?” Bree asked slowly between uncontrolled breathing. “Why do you have this urge to be nice yet still chastise me?” Her voice became louder as she regained control. “What made you think I needed to be saved?” Her voice was slowly increasing in volume.

“How is your day, now?” She almost shouted as she lunged. Keven did not see her pick up a shard of glass, but he did feel it enter his neck.

“You sad, pathetic, fool.” Bree chortled as Keven’s blood mixed with his sad attempts at breathing. She had pierced his wind pipe. He knew he was going to die.

Keven brought his hands to his neck trying to stop the bleeding. Sounds of Bree cackling in the distance as she continued up the path towards his sactuary.

She gave no reason. Keven’s dying thoughts was him trying to figure out if she had actually only been in the wastes a few days, or if she had done this before. Bree’s lack of confirmation of the kill was enough for him to consider this is far from her first time doing this.

Keven’s last thought was simply Why? He felt his body growing colder with every passing moment. Even his blood was getting colder.

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Martha {ANEWSIN VOL. 6 — Jason Garden}

The journey continues into the cold, empty void of space. Martha’s voyage takes her far beyond the scope of what we have explored.

She leaves another mark faintly with a pencil on the metal of the cockpit wall. One for every 24 hours she is contained in this cage.

Space is a horrible place to be left alone. She started this voyage in hopes of finding someone, or something. When traveling at 95 percent the speed of light with no objects nearby, one loses track of everything: speed, direction, purpose and reason. Her metal sarcophagus continues to drift through the great beyond.

“Just remember that your mission is knowledge for the masses. Not recognition. Not praise. ‘The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.’ You can do this.” Martha keeps repeating this to herself under her breath. She is alone with her thoughts. It would cost the agency too much to send anyone else on such a journey.

Recon and Discovery. That was her only criteria for the mission. She knew that it sounded too easy to be a good thing. One would imagine that sitting in front of flashing lights and knobs for hours would be the furthest thing from mentally taxing, but that is far from the case. There are times when she cannot remember not staring at them. There is a disconnection between reality and dreams. Just the other day, for instance, she saw everything go wrong: lights lit up warning of hull breaches and oxygen leaks. It was just a dream. She awoke to a completely ordinary spread in front of her.

Martha took this position with the promise of discovery, she took the job in spite of her dreams of reading over ancient texts discussing the possibilities of dragons. She wanted to better everyone, or at least she thought she did. She had to keep reminding herself that this was all to better the human race.

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding. You’re a fucking hero.” She was starting to question her beliefs.

It was clear at one time why she took this torch. She wanted to find something new in this vast universe. She could not believe that we are all alone. It would not make sense. She has been in the metal sarcophagus for over 100,000 hours so far, and found nothing. To assume that she would find the same in the next 100,000 hours is insanity.

She wasn’t expecting something as advanced as the human race. The idea of a civilization as developed as us in the same ways seems arrogant. The only way that could be possible is if there was some sort of agreement that we would remain ignorant on purpose, because we are a snapshot of evolution. She could not fathom that to be true for this long, unless it hasn’t been long in the grand scheme of everything.

We are just arrogant enough to think 300,000 or so years is impressive. Martha dwells on her view of the situation and realizes the irony in her declaration of arrogance.

Just then, the console lights start flashing. It is just like in her dreams. Martha feels the surge of sweat beads pouring from her brow as she scrambles to react to every warning. Then, something she was not expecting: the front window opens slowly to reveal a launch command centre.

“Martha.” A man with a name tag that reads Jacob is speaking loudly to get her attention. “Martha, you’re okay.”

The lights are bright. She is in a large metal panel room. For a moment, she wonders if this is what happens after death. Martha is faced with her own mortality for the first time that she can remember.

“Okay, she’s not calming down. We need a debriefing team here on the…” Jacob was mid sentence when Martha’s brain shut down.

When she comes to, Martha is in some sort of hospital room with only “Jacob” by her side, sitting on a white stool.

“What happened?” Martha massages her face with her hands. “Where am I?”

“That was a simulation, Martha.” Jacob starts to talk disregarding her condition. “That was the seventh one that you have been a part of. We tried something different, remember? The last one was too muddled with delusions flashing back to prior events, so you went into this with your mind blanked.” Jacob’s voice is calm and he is doing everything he can to be deliberate with his words.

“Why would I agree to that? None of this makes sense, and it seems unnecessary.” Martha could feel rage building inside of her. She felt as if she has been tricked. She felt like this “trial” was just a financial burden on the agency, and a mental burden on her.

Jacob did not say a word and swiftly pulled a recorder from his pocket and pressed play.

“This is Martha. I understand that my mind will be cleared in hopes of bettering the practice. This recording is to be presented to me if I question the practice when I wake up.”

“That was you just the other day.” Jacob said with a slight of empathy in his voice. “The idea was yours. We all thought it brilliant! We did see the flaws, however. So we asked you to make this tape to prove the procedure to yourself in the event you would need to.”

Martha leaned back into the pillow and locked her eyes to the ceiling.
“If we’re done for now, I’d like to sleep.”

“Of course.” Jacob got out of the chair, nodded his head, and turned towards the door. He stopped. “I just want to tell you, because you may not remember me saying it before, but I am honoured to be working with you.”

Jacob shut the door behind him. Martha’s head started to fill with ideas and worries that were not answered so far.

I know of this time, but is this the first time? How many times have I been in through that procedure? What is the mission even about?

Martha’s eyes welled with tears as she thought of the most daunting of all of the ideas.

Did any of that happen? Or was I just told that it happened?

I am proud to announce that this was edited by the amazing Luka Riot! Because of fantastic donors over at Patreon, I am able to employ her for ansP editing. I hope her and I work together for a long time.

Sophie {ANEWSIN VOL.3 — JASON GARDEN}

“It just happened.”

Sophie’s brown eyes were dry but she still looked like she could cry at any moment.

“I was twenty three. I didn’t want to have a child, but I wasn’t against the whole concept.” She took a long drink from the glass of water in front of her.

“My boyfriend and I lived in a decent studio apartment. Yeah: it was a rental. It was our place, though. We spent days- maybe even weeks- making space for the new arrival. We couldn’t afford it- we knew that- but we were going to try. We were excited to try. We were together. We were happy. I thought we were happy…”

Sophie trailed off. Her eyes started to drift around the corners of the rather empty room. It just contained the table she was sitting at, the detective, a mirror, and a door. She did not know what she was doing there or why they wanted to know what drove her to the breaking point.

Her breaking point.

That time when everyone died around her.

She just knew that she had much to say.

“The child contracted something. It was coughing all the time and seemed distant.”

It was at this point that Sophie started to look visibly upset.

“Again: I didn’t want- that thing- my child to grow up around there. My boyfriend and I found that apartment decent, but it was far from suitable for a child. It was up a story, above a store. Fuck sakes: the shop below was a Goddamned head-shop!” Sophie was becoming more frantic as she continued the story. Her eyes were no longer dry, but she also did not look as if she was going to cry. She was upset. Her fists had balled so tightly that her nails had started digging into her palms.

“I cried for a very long time. I was destroyed for days. The child died. My boyfriend left me for a whore. My mother died. It probably was not in that order but I will be damned if I can remember the order of things, let alone the time between events.” She released her fingers from her hands long enough to take a drink of water to sooth her throat. If she actually yelled instead of trying to keep herself reserved, her voice would not have given out quickly.

“So yeah: the child died only a few days after coming home. The doctors didn’t say shit when I spoke up. I cried. Not because of the death. I wasn’t too attached yet. I know they say that carrying a child for nine months bonds the unborn to the mother, or something like that. I was numb. I didn’t know who that thing was. I barely even realized that it was mine, it died so fast. So, no: the death didn’t fuck me up too much.” A smirk appeared on Sophies face for the first time since she entered the room. “I cried because that’s what everyone wanted. I cried because I was supposed to.”

The detective, who found himself entranced by Sophie’s story, finally spoke up.

“…do you feel like that lead to you killing four people with that knife, then?”

Sophie laughed harder than was appropriate for the situation.

“Fuck no!”

“Then why would you tell me about that?” The detective was astounded by how frank her response was. “We have footage of you stabbing four patrons of a bar who were out for a smoke. They were all in their late 30’s, of average health and status, so we cannot figure out the motive. We have looked at this from every angle!”

The detective wiped a beed of sweat from his brow. This interrogation was taking place in the hottest room in the precinct, and he was started to feel his everything give up and give in.

“Just tell me what I need so we can leave this forsaken place and you can go back to your cell.” The detective was done with this emotional rollercoaster and he was too warm to sit here much longer.

Sophie smiled keeping her lips sealed to hide her perfect teeth. “There was no motivation to do it. Well, I guess there was: I wanted to do it. I wanted to know what taking a life felt like instead of having life taken from me.” She followed up her statement with a hearty laugh. “Can I smoke in here? I need a cigarette.”

The detective felt played. He had a very hard time believing that someone just wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.

“Go nuts.” the detective said. He gives her one of his last cigarettes from his pack. She put it in her mouth, and the detective lights a match and puts the flame next to the tobacco and lights it for her.

Sophie takes a deep drag and sighs. “Reliving all of that is better than sex. I haven’t talked about that kid dying since it happened five years ago. Don’t really need to.”

The detective cannot decide what he finds more disturbing: the complete disregard for guilt over killing four people, or the detachment from her own child.

“I noticed that you never specify gender. Why is that?” the detective just craved answers. He had a small family back home: a husband, and a beautiful boy. He could not fathom why she refused to recognize anything about the child.

“Why?” Sophie asks, sounding very curious. “The baby wasn’t part of my life for long enough to even care.”

Astonished, the detective retreated back into the comfort of things he could understand. “Fine. Why the stabbing, though? They were from out of town, so it is unlikely personal. Why, then? We can’t figure it out. I cannot figure it out!”

“They asked me to.” Replied Sophie, her tone was hollow and cold. There was not even a hint of self-assurance in her voice. She was convinced they asked.

Just then, the door burst open, disrupting the peace and quiet.

“Okay, detective. I’m Sophie’s lawyer, Jenny Silvana. She doesn’t have to answer more of your questions, and we ask for a moment to get everything squared away.”

The detective looked defeated. “Fine. I’ll be just down the hall, please let me know when I can re-enter.”

He grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair as he got up. He stormed out, mildly frustrated. He was sure that he could have gotten the full story eventually, but the law is the law. The detective left the room and their eyes followed him to the door as he left.

In the hall, he shut the interrogation room door and knocked on another wood door right next to it. A large man swung it open, letting it hit the wall. He was clearly frustrated.

“Fred!” The detective’s voice was stern. “I know you’re frustrated, but you know that we can’t do anything. Calm down!”

“I know. Just… FUCK! It felt so close to getting a full confession!” Fred screamed, his face red and sweat pouring off his brow. “I just wanted to sleep tonight.”

“I know. Again, you know we can’t do anything in those situations. We might even get a decent deal at the end of everything. We can’t risk ruining the case, though.” The detective tried to sooth the large man with his tone. He remained calm and kept his volume low to direct the mood to a calmer place.

This is all uncharted ground for me, so I hope that I did okay. Please support me on Patreon.

I am proud to thank the few people who have made it financially viable for me to do this for three months in a row.

If you wish to support this piece, but do not wish to fight with Patreon, here is the PayPal link where you can offer what you want.

Almighty Human {ANEWSIN VOL.2 — HANNAH JORDAN}

I look up to see something blocking out the sun.
That something grows larger until it falls on me.
My first reaction is to lift my arms to stop it.
After opening my eyes, I am surprised to find that I have actually caught the thing.
My legs tremble beneath me.
My arms shake.
I cannot guess what it is or how this giant thing is not crushing me.
I am not strong enough to hold it.
Based on its sheer weight I should be flattened right now.
So then why am I not?
This giant thing hangs by some force other than my own.
What is saving me right now?
I groan at the weight of my predicament.
Glancing skywards I catch a glimpse of a shiny thing glinting in the sunlight.
Am I holding this thing up, or is it holding me down?
Another grunt.
I look towards the safety of home a short distance away.
From here I can see members of my family.
I can see the rocks marking entry to the colony moved by some power to now block the hole instead.
My family is trapped.
I can see them.
Panicking.
Running.
Attacking.
Defending.
Something terrible is happening.
I wince and shake beneath the incredible burden pinning me.
I cannot get out from under this thing without being crushed.
I, too, am trapped.
Is there purpose behind all this?
I glance up at the shiny thing hovering over home and watch the sunlight focus through it.
It magnifies into a pure point that directs at the earth.
I keep my arms pressed under the giant crushing thing.
What else can I do?
I look back at home.
I can’t save them.
My family is lost.
They run in all directions.
Why is this happening?
I can hear their screams.
I watch that point follow my sister as she flees.
It lights her up.
Then she screams.
She starts to smoke from the inside out.
Then she blackens and chars.
Then she combusts.
Nothing is left of her.
What sort of being would allow this to happen?
Where is God?
The beam of light moves again.
Another sister is caught as she flees.
She burns up before she can cry out.
So I cry for her.
Is the thing that holds me down the same that is killing my family?
I watch the shiny thing methodically direct that light of burning terror and death at my family.
My whole family is panicking.
Does it know what it is doing?
This thing about to crush me into oblivion?
Was this misery inflicted by choice?
Some sick joke a giant plays on those it is bigger than?
I cannot think of a prayer that will save me.
Almighty, spare this poor ant from being crus—.

That concludes the second anewsin Publication! I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you to Hannah Jordan for submitting this work a little while ago. Please, leave her some love at this link to help support her.

As always, there are goals on Patreon to get this dream off the ground. If you have ideas for more rewards/better rewards, leave a comment here or find me on FaceBook.

~Early ANSP Sample Release

I have made available the first bit of Octobers release titled “Sophie” over on the anewsin Publications page. Take a look, let me know what you think!

Also, the Patreons have had the upcoming Almighty Human release sent to their inbox as of last week. If you would like to receive releases a few weeks early, consider donating! It is only 3+ a month!

Also, the next blog post (September 2nd) will be on the books that I recommended a while ago, but with purchase links for Amazon! I will also be touching up what I said, and making it more coherent. Also might contain a book that I forgot to put on the initial list because I am horrible…

I talk too much…

This blog post commends my 200th permanent blog post on WordPress! If you are one of those strange individuals who follow my every post, I’m sorry. If you just feel the urge to check in every once-in-a-while: I am also, very sorry.

I kid. I play. Thank you all so much for lending me your eyes as I type out whatever is on my mind.

I know that I have digressed hard from my initial regiment of posting about wheelchair life and my personal condition. It is not from lack of new information, just from me being far too overwhelmed at the incredible pace that everything moves at. I hope that I will have something substantial very soon.

As I have mentioned, the story from Hannah Jordan posts on the first of September. It is fantastic, and I am very excited to share it with you all!

As far as life things go, the biggest news that I have going right now is: I AM STILL ALIVE! Is that not cool?

Speaking of not being dead, You’re Not Dead is no longer in production. It is still available on iTunes, Kindle, Kobo, and Google Play, but nothing physical will be released again. I am sorry if you wanted a copy, but THANK YOU to those who picked one up!

Anyway, I will let you carry on with your day. Have a fantastic one!

Oh: to those keeping track. This marks 8hrs after my first anniversary with my beautiful wife. Also, exciting news: TOMORROW IS HER BIRTHDAY! So, please, leave love for her in comments and on social media.

One Week Later.

Last week, I published the first anewsinPublication. I got very little in the way of feedback, either constructive or otherwise. I am not offended, just insecure. I am, after all, an artist of sorts.

There is something rather troubling when you get no feedback versus bad feedback. If someone hated your work, then they at least read it and felt strongly enough to say “that was crap!” before moving on with their life. When there is no feedback, you worry that what you produced did not touch anyone in anyway.

I remember playing shows and intentionally ruining a song or two just to find out if someone would call me out on it. Ironically, those shows were always met with reviews praising us. I say ‘us’ because I did that with pretty much every musical outfit I was with at the time.

What is the point that I am trying to drive home? Read the story, and respond how you see fit. Share with friends and tell them to read it ONLY if you see that as a fit action. Tell me you hated it if you hate it, but please tell me why. I am doing this to better my writing, and I will not learn anything if I am just left to my own devices. ESPECIALLY not now, being as I am editing my own work. If something is crap, if it does not blend, if the timeline of events is off, please tell me. There is a good chance that it was NOT on purpose.

Now for an explanation of this post: I did not know what to upload with this week. I have a couple of topics I would like to explore, but it became Friday before I even wrote the first word of this piece. Please forgive me.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: I fixed the PayPal link on the last article. So sorry about that.

EQUALLY IMPORTANT: There is a hint of what’s to come up on the anewsin Publication page for September.