EmotedLlama wrote something?

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I’m really not sure what’s gonna go on this blog with no sporks. I might start doing reviews again and I’m gonna try to get NekoShogun to post the haiku he’s been writing. In the meantime, I wrote a 1,000 word short story that I will share now.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Adam’s breath was ragged, even as he slept. It seemed he was asleep most of the time, anymore.

Malcolm sat in the hospital room chair. Past the bed Adam laid on, the room’s small table stood laden with wilted flowers, cards, books—but Malcolm’s gaze rested on Adam.

He lifted himself off the chair and stood over Adam, eased his head up off of the pillow and slipped it out, set his head back down. Malcolm picked up the pillow and gripped it, hard, till his fingers were numb. He took a long breath and brought the pillow down on his son’s face.

 

Malcolm stepped out of the hotel lobby. The street outside was deserted, save for a figure lounging on the bench outside the hotel.

“Can you leave me alone?” he said. “Just this one time.”

She turned to face him. Long, bronze horns glinted in the moonlight. “This was your choice, Malcolm.”

 

Malcolm weaved through the crowd, eyes darting to take in his surroundings. There was no reason for someone to recognize him, but he felt conspicuous in the bright red jacket—just the first thing he’d grabbed at the store. He kept the hood up and figured no one would get a good look at his face, anyway, and why would they suspect him? Nobody trying to stay hidden would wear something so noticeable.

There were two cops to his right. He ached to quicken his pace, to glance at them as he passed.

“Hey!” one of them called. Malcolm delved deeper into the crowd, just in case.

His gaze was fixed on the alley he would take, narrow and empty, then his eyes flicked to the alley to the right. The horns towered over the crowd. No go.

 

Malcolm blinked. The policewoman stood in front of him, face steely, hand on her gun. Why, Malcolm didn’t know; he wasn’t dangerous. He wasn’t a murderer.

She spoke again, but her words fell on deaf ears. He took a step forward. His foot found steady ground in the sky and the city was just a distant mass far below.

 

Malcolm was drenched by the rain. Nobody else was even out, umbrella or no—not in this downpour, and all he had was the jacket. He shivered, his teeth chattered. His arms were clenched, hugging himself not to gain warmth but to avoid the cold. He felt like death.

 

“What does it matter?” Malcolm said, interrupting the previous speaker. “He’s dying either way.”

All eyes went to him. The already serious atmosphere turned morbidly somber. The whole thing was morbid.

“Let’s change the subject,” Pete said. Uneasy smiles. Ignoring Malcolm.

Brush away the expectation of pain: it’s the only way to cope. Malcolm could never bring himself to do it.

 

White rooms. Adam’s bedroom. It wasn’t long before the former were more common. It felt a shame, to Malcolm, for his son to waste away in a place that wasn’t even his own. Slowly, the former was filled with the contents of the latter.

 

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Malcolm hadn’t seen the end that time. It was the best part and he’d been punished on top of his punishment to not see it.

His hands were clenched on the pillow. He cursed her, inwardly, and brought it down.

 

Malcolm was in the crowd. Every time he blinked he saw the horns, tormenting him. Blocking his escape.

He passed the policemen, stopped. Pulled his hood down and turned to face them, but neither were looking his way, springing in action to chase a purse snatcher. Malcolm watched them for a moment before walking away.

 

Malcolm stepped out of the hotel lobby. It was drizzling. His jacket hung from the balcony above his head, meant to dry in the sun. It wasn’t as waterproof as expected.

“You chose this. You should have anticipated the consequences.”

Her sharp fingernails dug into his neck. She stared into his heart for what felt like an eternity as he spluttered and clawed at her hand, should have passed out from lack of oxygen but just stood there, conscious every moment of the pain. And not just that in his neck.

“You’re weak,” she said, tossing him aside. He fell into the sky.

 

He stared at the stars above him. His neck ached. He looked away.

He went back in the house, stood in the doorway of Adam’s empty room. Pete was with Adam tonight. He said that Malcolm had been spending too much time at the hospital. Malcolm knew he was right, but it was another thing to admit it.

Pete understood, and he didn’t pry. Let Malcolm bottle it all up and, gradually, wilt. His empathy was letting his husband die with his son.

 

Malcolm stood on the balcony and looked down, over the railing, just in time to see a police officer enter the lobby. He pulled off the jacket and draped it on the railing and turned around.

 

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Malcolm sobbed. Adam’s breath rasped, in, out, in, out, dead in every languid pause.

 

Blackness surrounded him. Then the horns emerged, the vacant eyes, the teeth protruding straight from lips.

“I…” he said. “I won’t repent. But, I…”

She nodded.

 

Malcolm stared at the policewoman. She flinched at his gaze, tightened her hand on her gun. Tears fell from his cheeks and pattered on the ground, the pathetic things they were.

“Sir,” she said, and he stepped forward and she pulled her gun and he shoved her to the ground and ran.

And fell. He watched the stars as the hotel room balcony, distinct by the red jacket laid on its railing, found itself farther and farther away. His back cracked against the ground and his head hit and pain exploded.

 

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Malcom’s tears fell on the pillow. His breath was nearly as painful as his son’s and his knuckles were white but he didn’t loosen his grip.

Then, slowly, he did just that. His hands shook and he nearly dropped the pillow and he squeezed it to regain his grip. He carefully, slowly, laid it on the bed, put his hand under Adam’s head and slid the pillow underneath.

Beep.

Malcolm let out a deep breath and took a step backward, placed his hands on the chair’s arms, sat down.

Beep.

And he would go on sitting there.

Beep.

Forever.

So.

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The hiatus has stretched out a bit longer than I intended. This is because I’ve simply lost all motivation to spork. The interest is just… gone. And at the moment, I’m not willing to put in the time required to finish this book, let alone the series, when I won’t be enjoying it at all. The hiatus is thus extended indefinitely; I may come back to things, but it’s perfectly likely I won’t.

I feel bad for leaving my readers here, but if I were to continue, it wouldn’t be fun for me, and thus it wouldn’t be fun for you. I’m sorry, but this is the way the cards have fallen.

Haiku #34

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So I’ve been posting haiku one at a time as I write them over on tumblr, and now that I’ve got a few I figure it’s time to collect them here.

*

Untitled

Sometimes words fail me.

They jumble, crumble, turn to

Dust as they spill out.

*

Unrequited

Always, I miss you.

And yet, when we’re together,

I feel so alone.

*

Breath

And maybe we were

Fast and fleeting as a sigh,

But at least we breathed.

*

Untitled

I look in your eyes

And know what drowning feels like,

Breathless and alive.

(originally part of a larger piece)

~Michael Vest

Hiatus

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Sporks have been pretty scarce lately. This is a combination of business, forgetfulness, and most importantly, a lack of desire to spork. So I’m going to take a break for maybe a month or so, no more than six weeks, and come back fresh.

Maximum Ride: ANGEL Spork Part 6

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Gah, I was busy last week and never got around to sporking. Sorry.

Chapter 27

Okay, so, fight scene on the roof of the school Max decided to break into for no reason. We’re reading from Max’s perspective, and she initiated the fight, but for some reason we start by following Angel for a couple paragraphs. Then Max gets to her feet, despite the fact that she was never described as getting off her feet. So either there’s some super lazy writing going on or there was an arbitrary, unexplained timeskip. I’m not sure which is worse.

One of the guards backflips at Max (LOL) and hits her under the chin, sending her off balance. She falls backwards off the roof but “snags” the edge of it with her “fingers”. None of this causes her discernible damage and she instantly leaps back up with the aid of her wings. NOT BUYING IT, JPATTERSON.

Dylan magically realizes that the guards can’t see above them so he, Max, and Angel fly above the guards to keep them confused. Then the guards collapse, all three of them. Re-reading it seems I missed the fact that there were only three, so I guess I’ll point out now how weird it is that there were only three guards sent out. Also that they got randomly short-circuited by not being able to get a lock on their targets because they can’t see above themselves. Pretty crap security if you ask me.

After the third one fell, we snapped cord ties around their wrists. (pg 95)

And, uh, just where did these cord ties come from? Do you just carry them around with you all day in case you need to tie people up?

Angel takes off the hood of one of the guards. I’ll let the book describe him:

He looked just like a regular kid, but he had a small slit above his nose–a slit that ran around the circumference of his head, like a ring. And in that slit, I saw… many eyes. Tiny, dark orbs, angrily zipping back and forth. He wasn’t blind at all. He had 360-degree vision. They were virtually impossible to sneak up on, except from above, apparently. (pg 95)

Okay, two questions: one, how did he see through his hood? And two, why was he incapable of, I don’t know, craning his neck to look up?

Chapter 28

They were just kids. Kids who had been cut open and experimented on, kids who had been programmed to kill us, but still. (pg 96)

Grammar nitpick: but only separating the first two clauses of the second sentence with a comma, it makes it look like the second clause is continuing the list of bad things that happened to the kids, when it’s intended to act as an opposing argument. If the comma were a dash or a period, the intended meaning would have been way stronger.

Max asks the now-awake kid who created him and why, and they end up arguing about basically the same thing as Max argued with Dr. Gunther-Hagen about in the last book. So, you know, “the world is going to end you need to be prepared blah blah blah” except the kid is coming from the perspective of him already being prepared. Max thinks the world can be saved but all of this is rather meaningless since we don’t even know what’s supposed to cause this apocalypse. Then the kids break free of their binding and Max and Angel and Dylan fly away.

Chapter 29

The three are flying back to Max’s mom’s house when Dylan spots a “kid” below them. According to Dylan the kid is “sunburned and staggering” and since he’s a far way away from civilization they decide to go down and help him. Or, as Dylan puts it:

“Heck, let’s go save ‘im, whether he wants it or not,” Dylan said in his best Scooby-Doo voice (pg 100)

Preeeetty sure Scooby-Doo never talked like that.

They descend on the kid, who’s the computer kid from back in book one. (He was obsessed with his laptop and lived in an abandoned subway tunnel in New York City, if that jogs your memory.) He rambles about how humanity has ruined everything and needs to die and then runs off, refusing to go with Max and Angel and Dylan. I really hope there’s going to be an explanation for this.

Chapter 30

We’re back with Fang, who’s talking to Maya.

Across the hotel room, the rest of his little ragtag collection actually seemed to be getting along. The new guy, Holden Squibb, had finally arrived, and Kate was explaining to the pale, scrawny kid how she and Star had been kidnapped by two men in lab coats on some school trip. (pg 103)

So apparently this was the source of their powers, told to us in an offhand sentence. Great writing! Also, really, the men were wearing lab coats when they kidnapped the girls? That’s just silly.

Fang explains to Maya that he found his group from “his blog”, through letters he got from kids who had been experimented on by scientists. He does specifically say letters, which is bizarre to say the least–just what address would he be giving people that someone out to get him couldn’t find him through? And, you know, why would a bunch of teenagers who met through a blog choose to communicate via letters and not email? JPatterson, your old man is showing.

Next Fang shows Maya the website for the group he saw on the news (the Doomsday Group), whose banner reads “Save the Planet. Kill the Humans.” Which, coming off that random encounter with the computer kid who said humanity was ruining the planet and needed to die… c’mon, JPatterson, don’t you think you’re laying it on a bit thick?

Fang also mentions that the Doomsday Group is big on “genetically modified kids” (though in what capacity he doesn’t mention, so I like to believe the website explicitly says “we experiment on kids!” because that’s about what I expect from a Maximum Ride book) and since the group he’s assembled “joined up because they’ve got a thing or two to tell the people who did this to them” he wants to find out more about the Doomsday Group. First, though, he gives Maya a run-down on his group members histories: Holden was “cut open” for a “potion” to be used and now he has healing powers. Ratchet has super senses, though through what means we don’t know. Kate and Star were “injected” and Kate has super-strength while Star is “part hummingbird or mouse” and can move fast at the expense of fast calorie burning. Fang speculates that she has the same “fast-twitch muscle fibers” the flock do. That makes little sense to me though so I’m just going to ignore it.

Throughout this chapter, by the way, Fang has been distracted by his attraction to Maya since she’s so similar to Max even in mannerisms. Now, right at the end of the chapter, he suddenly hopes that he and Maya can be friends like he and Max used to be. I’m not doing a very good job of describing how jarring the switch is but it’s pretty jarring since Fang didn’t stop being attracted to Maya or anything so I don’t get why he wouldn’t still be bothered by that. But whatever, it’s Maximum Ride, what do you expect.

Maximum Ride: ANGEL Spork Part 5

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Didn’t put this up yesterday since NekoShogun posted. Two posts in one day, that’s tacky as tacky glue. I am good at comparisons

Chapter 20

We’re back with Fang, at a hotel and adding Kate to our character list. Her character traits include being nice, being vegan, and being extremely beautiful. There’s a bit of painful character interaction (as in, painful because it’s bad) before Fang turns on the news and hears about the Doomsday Group, whose spokesperson talks about “taking control” and “cleansing the earth” but uses what are evidently mind-control powers to make Fang entranced by this idea until the channel gets changed. Fang decides that learning more about this group is his mission, implying that he had no mission before. Despite the fact that he was already assembling a team.

But more importantly than Fang’s poor thinking, it seems this series is turning into some sort of teen X-Men ripoff. How… interesting.

Chapter 21

Max and Dylan can’t find the plane’s fuselage. They also take a closer look at the balloons and Dylan notes that he can see that the wires each have four sides. Max can’t see this. They don’t question what the balloons are or why they’re there because all of the characters in these books are idiots. Then they decide to head to the X-Men school after suggesting it at the same time. The whole chapter is extremely awkward and boring.

Chapter 22

Ratchet and Star argue and start to fight but Kate stops them and Fang says that they need to work together. You know, your typical “newly assembled team of people who don’t quite get along because of course they don’t” thing. Boooring.

Chapter 23

“Max” suddenly appears behind Fang and when he asks where she came from she “[points] at the sky”. A reminder: they’re indoors. It’s not actually Max, though, but the Max clone who appeared in book three and then disappeared again. I had actually forgotten about her since the number of random things that happen and are never addressed again in this series is too many to keep track of.

Fang quickly decides that asking Maya, as the Max clone calls herself, to work with him was a bad idea since she, you know, looks like Max and dredges up all those romantic feelings. (And I bet we’re never going to get any explanation of how Fang even contacted Maya.)

Book Two: What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, and World Destruction?

Okay, JPatterson, we need to have a talk. YOUR “BOOK” TITLES ARE NOT FUNNY. THEY ARE NOT CLEVER. THEY DO NOT ADD ANYTHING TO THE BOOK. JUST STOP.

Chapter 24

Max and Dylan decide to try to enter the X-Men school through the roof. Don’t ask me why. But oh no a door opens and

figures all in black complete with ninja hoods, leaped out. (pg 82)

Um, I’m preeeetty sure that if you’re going to end a parenthetical phrase with a comma, you should probably start it with one too. (Question: am I too technical with how I explain these criticisms? I always want to use the correct terminology but sometimes that’s at the expense of clarity. Here’s a link for parenthetical phrases if you don’t know what I was talking about just there.)

Max and Dylan immediately fly into the sky, but get shot at with sniper rifles which only nearly miss. And according to Dylan and his magic sight (which was sort of addressed last book–if you’ve forgotten, he basically has a mix of super-sight, X-ray vision, and clairvoyance. Nobody ever questions why this is) the guards who shot at them were kids who didn’t have eyes. Dylan is sad about this because frowny-face about evil scientists and their experiments.

Chapter 25

Dylan suggests he and Max camp out in the desert to spy on the X-Men school. As opposed to, I don’t know, going back to the rest of the flock and visiting the school under normal circumstances like they were initially going to? This sudden goal shift makes no sense, especially since there was no indication anything fishy was going on at the school. But I guess this is just another case of JPatterson having no clue if Jeb is a villain or not and therefor everything to do with him is in a constant state of flux.

“Hungry?” Dylan reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple of protein bars. I took the chocolate chip one. It tasted like sawdust mixed with chocolate chips. I was glad to have it. I contributed a bottle of warm water. We shared it in silence. (pg 85)

You know, JPatterson, it’s probably not a good thing that your book utilizes the same sentence structure I purposefully use to emphasize how boring your book is.

Max and Dylan talk a bit about random stuff.

I felt his deep turquoise eyes looking right into me. (pg 86)

…Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds this sentence creepy.

Dylan talks about how he’s luckier than Max because he knows he loves her whereas Max is unsure or whatever and blah blah blah, Max narrates about how she doesn’t show her emotions (which, frankly, I feel like she says that a lot more than she shows it), burgeoning romantic relationship, etc. etc.

Chapter 26

Angel wakes up Max, having decided to come check up on her. Max fills her in on the school’s guards, Angel tries and fails to telepathically check the school, and they decide to lure the guards out so Angel can try to mind control them.

Now, here’s a question: why? Haha as if we’re going to get an answer.

So they go to the school and Angel tries to get the guards to drop their weapons, but says that her power is being overridden by some sort of brainwashing programming. Max decides to close her wings and drop down to the roof  to see what happens regarding the eyeless guards’ inexplicable sight. They aren’t fazed by this and aim at her and turn off their safeties, because for some reason they weren’t firing on sight? Yeah, you see two intruders who you shot at yesterday flying above you and a third who tries to control your mind but you totally hold your fire.

Since Max’s spectacularly bizarre plan failed, she decides to fight the guards because of course she does. Whee, I can’t wait till next week to read another lifeless action scene. So excited you guys.