POW: Is fear the great motivator?

Hello, it’s me. I swear there is a meme opportunity hidden somewhere around here. Well, perhaps for an another time. Anyway, I am still pretty much alive, even if I feel far from it (really far from it) and I am trying my best to keep the site at least alive. I gave my best shot to keep at least this segment on a tight weekly schedule, but with work every damn day and the blasted heat I think I can be forgiven, at least a bit. But I promise you I am still hard at work on my writing stuff behind the scenes, even if I now occasionally pop by Twitter and say hi, I assure you the new book is being written and the old one edited. Let just say I had my best intentions and even a clean plan to make content weekly for the Word Den, but the limit of the human body kept me in place as it seems so easy to pass out every night when I come back. So at least I think I owe one POW even if I don’t have a recurring theme to talk about. Kinda planned POW to be constructed like that, think of it as an episode of the Simpsons, it starts with one event that somehow leads to a whole another one that becomes the theme of the episode. Jesus, I really must be done and dusted if I am starting to compare this to a cartoon. Well, be it that I am reaching the limit of the human body and the soreness of the muscles is slowly making its way to my brain or the lack of rest and sleep fuled my insanity even further and I am really beyond saving. But enough of rambling let’s do this!

Fear itself

I said perhaps now more then a dozen times I wanted to not just use this segment as an opportunity to connect, but to try and share, become more personal, not just as a writer but as a human being in general. So for this rare appearance on the site, I want to talk about fear. They say fear is the great motivator. Who the fuck even thought of that? Yea perhaps when you are trapped in a death binding situation where all is down to fight or flight, but how can fear be the great motivator if it is occurring in more then just a moment? What happens when it fills the entirety of our days, when it sleeps and wakes up, spending every waking hour next to our already near broken husks who really don’t need any more motivation to slow or completely shut down? Fear ain’t the great motivator it is the greatest set back in life that like a bully, you let it push you far enough, it shall never stop kicking you around. And lately it doesn’t let me stand up. I know it is the product of my mind, the depression followed now with constant anxiety where I fear even the sound of the passing car on the street, but combine it with work everyday which doesn’t just take a toll on you physically but mentally, you end up getting a jumpy depressed lad who is scared of his own shadow.

I can’t make excuses. I won’t. I am aware of my absence from the site and from twitter and Instagram and what not (follow me there, shameless plug), but I assign that level of absence on the crushing work schedule I have. Believe me when I say and I do not exaggerate, I come every night from a 10 hour shift just to pass out on the sofa, waking up just few hours away from my shift. But I reckon this unhealthy life style will last for maybe few weeks, till the end of the month tops. But faced with that kind of life I am living right now, barely eating one meal a day, combined with the anxiety and paranoia I feel, it makes things even harder. Concentration is gone, motivation withering and the only thing that I have left to fight it is to essentially forget about it. Forget that fear, just leave your mind blank. And that my friends is dangerous. Why? Simply because, if you manage somehow to leave your mind empty, not think about the things that break your mind and pull your soul down, sooner or later you are going to find yourself in a moment of peace, alone, where everything you managed to forget till then, that day comes crushing down on you. All of those bad emotions that you avoided hitting you simultaneously. And that leaves you down, without any hope of pulling yourself up. Fear is not the great motivator. Fear is the absence of hope that keeps us locked in a very dark corner of our mind. All we can do is push through it, in hope tomorrow will be better then yesterday.

The harder the life…

It says something about us writers. We need to be in a place of creativity, in a good feeling or even bad to suck that motivation to put those words down. I bet lot of you like me used those melancholic days as tool to write something that really needed to sound so bleak in the first place. But what happens when motivation is outclassed by other factors. Time, fear, anxiety, imposter syndrome and what not we face that prevents us to even write a single word? Motivation is the key in this line of work. I believe it is not being the best that will make you a great writer. It is purely hunger, wanting to do it, to do more, that divides the greats from the rest of us. Sheer and pure willpower is the key factor that is required to reach the upper level. Sometimes it is hard to keep that hunger. Other factors wave in, trying to persuade you to take it down a notch. And for the few months, especially after my work got too much to handle even for my writing and editing, I can’t stop thinking should I do it? Take a leap of faith, quit that job and pursue the thing I am passionate about? Don’t get me wrong. I have been working since I was 17. Worked quite some shitty jobs for even worse bosses, so I am no stranger to working like 14 hours shifts with no day off for months. But this, writing, is something I know I am good at, or at least that I have the ability to offer something to this community, to the readers,  something of value. I guess after you make so many mistakes in life, on a personal level and business, one really gets to know himself. But then again stands the question we all asks ourselves at some point. Is it worth it? Will my leap of faith be survived? Or shall I just go plummeting down in the ground?

Last few words of wisdom

I leave you with this. You know. Deep down in yourself you do know. Same as depression or anything that wavers heavy on your heart, you can talk to so many people, even professionals, but it’s you who knows the size of your strength to go through it. Same as this. Just, from my experience, nothing is worth doing quickly and over night. Be ready for that. Change won’t come tomorrow, it needs to be in the making for a while. So even if fear bothers you, even if life is uncertain, stop. Breathe. We came this far, right? Night will go down, the sun will rise and we will still be here. And tomorrow is a new opportunity to try again. Won’t say till next week, but hopefully so,

Harry.

POW: Life will sort itself out

What is it with the world and it’s undying compulsion to tell us what we are going to be? What are they to gain, those who shatter other peoples hope, dreams and aspirations? You are never going to amount for something,  you are  never going to be anything… Your amount won’t ever be worth something… My personal favourite. There is this person I know, who said, people enjoy other peoples suffering, as it is success that bothers them. So they scheme, gossip and turn on one another just so they can enjoy in other misery. And that is true. But why is it that no matter how hard we try not to give a fuck we always let others get to our hearts? Perhaps it is the universal flaw of humanity, that no matter what we want to be appreciated, respected, that no matter what we care…

Art of absence

I have been away for a while and for that I apologise, to whole six of you who actually enjoy reading my random and weird thoughts. It has been tough lately. You know how I said the few previous times it is hard for me to connect to others, especially on social media, the writers “must have” tool? Now with all going on, not even finding the time to open twitter, I find myself stunned, looking at the empty status, trying to figure out what funny words I can spew out. What am I suppose to say? What do people like me who do not have in a hindsight an interesting life, or a life at all, what do we say? But I digress. And I am well aware that there are more then six of you, thank you for that. It is a one year anniversary of the site. Yeay! Happy birthday Word Den. True, I haven’t committed fully to the site last year, but few months ago all changed. I am trying, learning and failing, but that’s what life is about. It’s a process. Hard. Unforgiving. Process. But hey, at least we can make the most of it since we are in for a ride, unvoluntarily I may add. I know this week is short considering the content promised, but I did had a good reason. First like I said last time now I am working every day for 10 hours (minimum) so it is hard for now to keep my mind focused. But even with a tight schedule I managed to pull the now weekly POW (oh yea!) and at least two poems. But I deserve a break, right? The other reason some of you might had guessed is the resurgence of my depression, but not to worry… I am curing it right now! As this week’s POW is posted I am right now with my mates, meat on the bbq and a free tap of beer running. It helps. And I have a confession to make. Where usually I would be my normal depressing self, it got me thinking about hope and goodness of life.

Life is a bitch?

Life has a tendency to sort itself out. Things do fall into places where they are supposed to be. Just takes time. The key is to survive until they do. Hard, I know. But then again, while I am reminiscing about some better times, when my mates were still here in one place, not scattered around the world where we are now forced to a yearly meet up, I kept on thinking how the stress and nervousness is unnecessary. Sure, it is in human nature to worry. But to what extent? If I worry about being hit by a car so much so, will I even cross the street? Sometimes all it takes is a leap of faith, a moment of self belief, that maybe, just maybe, things will work out for the better. We stress how we will come on to new people, what if we stay alone or what if our hard work was all for nothing? But thinking about the 14th step, we will be too afraid to even make the first one. Spinning the movie in our head to what might happen, we tend to forget what can happen. Makes sense? I hope so, bear in mind I am quite drunk. Like I said yearly meet up so we do have try out bbq night before the main event. My point is, for the entirety of my life I have tried, sometimes hard and often times giving up before even really giving a shot, applying for jobs that were way above me to jobs a monkey could do. That made the heartache bigger when I didn’t get any. My friends moved on, met new people and fell in love, while I stayed behind lingering in my darkness, drifting further away by doing stupid shit. But for the last year or so, I stopped thinking about the 14th step and kept on my focus on the first. And things are moving. Looking better? I dare to say so. Next year I will be a published author. (Stay tuned!) An achievement I am immensely grateful for, one I don’t take for granted, but one I will try to build on. For the first time in my life I feel like I know what I want. For the first time I feel like I am not pushed by anything or anyone to be something I am not. For the first time now, I am making my own damn path, my road of redemption, to be something I always was, but never admitted to myself I can become. A storyteller…

For better or for worse

Eh, it is a long road. Somehow I dropped out of college because I thought I couldn’t learn or was too stupid to make it. But now I am in a profession that teaches you something every day, where to make it you must want it and commit. Knowing something you want to do, something you want to be is only part of the journey. But damn it, it is a big part to play. Hey, who would had thought one POW where things ain’t so dark after all, you can practically smell the hope oozing out of the site now! But all jokes aside, we are the ones who make our journey, the ones who walk it and the ones who reap the benefits and the wrongs of it, along with blood, sweat and sacrifice that we spend on it. So don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life. They might assume, they always will because we are creatures of chaos and jealousy, we humans, but they will never know the struggles you face. It is your life, your responsibility and your future. Your hope.

Raising a pint to all your good health and may your dreams come true fellow warriors,

A reasonably drunk Harry.

POW: The unexpected life

I honestly don’t know how some of you manage to balance things! With day jobs, personal life and what not, I get it there is still time to write and do your thing, but is there a scenario where I don’t lose my sanity? Is it just just me or do you as well when you got at a certain point in writing, start to hate your day job (or hating more in my case) where you just want to get through the day and hurry home to write? They say the best ideas come when you are sitting on a toilet seat (or so I heard) but in my case they come when I am at work, I hurry up to hide from my boss so I can quickly open the notepad app and write a thing before my mind goes completely blank.

How life twists

It is strange to look back to where we were few years back and compare it to now. Sure we all made our fare share of mistakes, nudged a few inches of our path going astray, but man, for better or for worse, did any one of us think we would end up doing or pursuing things we are right now? Even in my busy schedule I managed to take some old trash from my room and while getting some boxes away I found a piece of paper. Must have been tucked away for years, probably written while I was still in high-school and on it, a blurb. Years ago, I remember writing stories on paper, old school by hand and this was one of those fragments of my past. The blurb of course was incomplete and messy, but the story itself not half bad. I must admit, lately I have fallen on some hard times, doubting myself if I can even do this, balancing work which now I have 10 hours of daily without a day off and just in general fighting depression. But seeing what young Harry wrote gave me hope. I sat on the floor, griping that old piece of paper and just laughing, almost even bursting into tears. It gave me joy, understanding, that even before I had dreams, aspirations. That was my ammo to fight back the depression that keeps on asking, questioning my ability of doing this, with the words “Are you even good?” constantly ringing in my ears. What I learned so far is that life has a sense of humor, a sense of irony particularly. I am constantly pressed down by my mistakes and everyone with mental illness will know it’s a battle each day. Even when you win (and you don’t always win) the pain is still there, the burden never goes away. I don’t like to speak about it, yet I made a promise to myself that I will get more personal. This became a therapy of sorts for me. Is it working? Perhaps, but like I said each day is a battle.

Am I alone out there?

Don’t worry won’t speak again about how when we fight our own demons we often tend to think we are alone in this fight, which it doesn’t have to be the case. No… As I was watching that piece of paper I remember fondly about the stories I created in my mind, my vast imagination running free and unshackled. By that time I thought how hard would be to write a book and I did try but never had the proper motivation. I remember when I was 11 I was at my old potato of a PC trying to write each day. Damn, if anyone told me back then how competitive this all is and how writing a book and pouring your soul into it is not even 50% of the whole process, who knows if I would write the first one. I remember how alone I was back then and how alone do I feel now. Perhaps that’s why it gets to me, when I post something here or on twitter and I get no response, perhaps that’s what makes the question of am I really even good louder… But perhaps it’s not just me. Perhaps there are more of you, who fight with the same questions I do as well. Well, I admire you, knowing what toll it takes on a human body, soul and mind, as the heart begins to break, bit by bit. But presented with a choice of that question, what are we to do? To just give up after our heart literary went in our work? No, of course not. We do the only thing we can, the only thing we know how to do. We bite our teeth, pushing forward. Because we know what’s behind, waiting for us. And everything, even the risk of a heartache, is better than that.

The attitude of a loser

To my firends I seem overconfident because I say I will make it, I will be big. The truth is, it’s not my ego speaking but my pain. For years I tried to be more than no one, applying for countless jobs I can find and failing just because I wanted a career, a meaning. Like all of us I strive for meaning. I was told I won’t be anyone, I will die alone somewhere in a ditch. That’s the reason of my confidence. Its not a fake one, no. After I applied for jobs as all of my firends finished uni or had great careers even if I got to the next round of interviews and was close to getting it, it was the pain of telling them over and over again “Oh I didn’t get it…” that killed me. One by one I saw it in their eyes the same words many people spoke to me over the years. You won’t be anyone. You won’t matter. Perhaps it is the fear of those words, that I never won’t forget, that planted the seed for my depression. But perhaps those words, which will always follow me, are what make me say “Always forward!”

Still keeping up with it,

Harry.

Restful Night (poetry collection)

Now all poetry and later down the line the collection of short stories that I am currently working on (Live, Die, Repeat) will be available all on one place on Wattpad. Right now you can go check out “Restful Night” the poetry collection! Tomorrow as promised the second part of the short story is coming here! Hope you are all having a great day!

https://www.wattpad.com/story/270378037?utm_source=android&utm_medium=link&utm_content=story_info&wp_page=story_details_button&wp_uname=HarissonShaws&wp_originator=t5RHuPBv%2BVQ2SHWSBdEUloTmtC4yKPaosKSQ9%2B9G%2BVuPvYG3N%2BvNjBKiVyrFEW0ipSX%2BO6I2nhZTWsRTCqTYeoed8OTbBR7Kab0qWPDHsEi0W3eJPp4huaNsTkW6ex3p

Confession / Realization

Shattering thoughts

coursing through my veins,

it is not the night ,

that brings horrors to my mind,

It is the day I am fearing,

As with new light,

My mistakes are shined,

Opened and bare,

I am naked in front of the world…

Crossroad of life

Through darkness my soul wanders,

searching for meaning,

searching for the remnants of past times,

to remember when the heart was whole,

so once again for a brief moment it can taste the sweetness of peace,

remembrance of love and care,

but in vain.

As all withers so does my soul,

so does my peace,

now only chaos and discomfort fill the gaping hole that life left behind.

And I am left to wonder…

Did the meaning of it pass next to me with the passage of time,

as I know,

the world waits for no man,

as it couldn’t care less for petty problems of feeble life.

Now left on the crossroads of life,

I feel I reached my bitter end,

as dark thoughts as my only companion remain.

Hope vanished, but yet remains,

a fool of a man,

on the crossroads of life,

waiting for a better day…

Upcoming book: Last Viking of Norway, out 8th of August on Amazon

I am proud to present my debut in the literary world with my first book called “Last Viking of Norway”. Yesterday I posted a small part from it and I want to thank all for the good reception I received . As many of you who have several books under your belt know, the fear of publishing your first book is tremendous, weights heavy over you, almost wanting to crush you. So again I am thankful for all of your encouragement. What I found the hardest in this process was answering a simple question, that somehow was the first thing everyone asked. What is the book about? So few days before it is out on Amazon, I’ll try to answer that question.

Destiny. It is what binds is, connects us, it is what burdens us. As soon as we draw our first breath, entering this crazy and twisted world, we are burdened by one thing, finding a purpose. Old Vikings believed that their life is completely in the hands of destiny, from the moment of birth to the last breath they take, everything is planed. With that premonition they lost all fear, as what would they be afraid of when they have no say so in the next step. Our story starts with an unnamed boy, who came to Oslo, studying. But he wasn’t born there. He was raised in a remote village to the north, a place untouched by modern times, were old Viking tradition and stories still matter. But he is lost. Suddenly all he does feels unworthy, like all he does makes no difference. That boy is in pain, as he suffered a loss. His grandfather has passed away, his last living relative. A man he held so dear, a man who he considered a father. He wasn’t there to say his farewell, so now he needs to pick himself up, and face the fact that his father is gone and needs a burial. But the boy feels indebted. The old man was a warrior. Does he really deserve to be thrown in to the ground? Or perhaps he deserves the ultimate honor, of entering Valhalla? But no one is burned anymore. Like the old man said no more pyres for the fallen, as there is no more wars to fight in. But the young man knows that you can either deny the path destiny offers or embrace it. So he will do what he must, he will return to the village, face the elders and honor his fallen father, no matter the cost. Inspired by “Catcher in the rye”, “Perks of being a wallflower” and “Imaginary Friend”, “Last Viking of Norway” puts the perspective in the hands of a young adult, Ragnar, who asks the hard questions that even the adults are afraid of. It’s is a story about destiny and how loud can one man’s actions be. That after all, even the oldest of us, can’t see the errors of our ways, one man can be enough to redeem all. But then again if we take the path destiny offers, should we be afraid of the outcome of that path?

To many “The last Viking of Norway” is a tale of destiny and the question it often presents to us. The question of the story we leave after we are long gone. Be it glory, be it suffering, the echoes of the whispers we leave can ether shake throughout history or be silenced by one word. With our story we can inspire generations or warn them, to heed our steps we took that brought us to our despair. But this story, Ragnar’s story, does not just belong to him. He selflessly bows himself to the elements, to destiny herself, to offer a tale that will be told for years to come. A story of one man who dared to prove he was worthy, against the feeble hearts of men who dared to corrupt. Despite the heavy flow of the river he found himself in, he swam against it, against men who were older and thought with age comes wisdom, honor and respect, as if those were mere things that can be owned and bought. His story belongs to his people, all people, to never forget its hardship, the price it may take, but the story that the path to it entails, as on it we must prove our own worth, make our own honor and tell our own tale. And it is up to us how our story will be told. But the question of this tale perhaps is a more selfish one. Perhaps it is not the matter how others will tell our story even after we are gone, as they say history is written by the victor, or better yet to the ones who are left breathing after we pass. Perhaps the more important task is how we view our own story, as who is better to know the pain, the suffering and joy we endured, but ourselves. It is tale of a young man who goes against his elders, the ones many looked up to lead them. But our protagonist, Ragnar, sees their corruption, the betrayal of the old ways they hold so dear. Even if the truth was that they honor tradition and the past as it sees fit with the power they hold, no one would believe Ragnar, just a mere boy who dares to slander older and more experienced than himself . A son to a father who tried the same, bringing shame to the whole family. But the family name still holds value to his people, thanks to his Grandfather, who led them, helped them and was one of them. But after his grandfather passes away, Ragnar is faced with a choice to honor him, not as a man, but a true Viking. Which meant giving him a proper funeral in their old way. Even if the village held to the old traditions, Viking funerals were forbidden, as they were reserved for only the ones that fell in battle, not people like his Grandfather who died from natural causes. Still Ragnar feels in debt to a man who raised him and to who all looked up, seeing a true warrior. For that he is willing to go against the elders, who hold the power unchallenged. But honoring the old man was not the only thing that haunted the young Ragnar. When he last saw him, Grandfather confessed that his father was obsessed by a legend that even wasn’t told to Ragnar, a legend of a lone and lost warrior, the last Viking, who will be summoned by only the most worthy of his blood, to lead his people back to the age of glory, an age that Ragnar’s father, just like him, thought his people long forgot. His father got lost in that legend, which somehow made its way deep into Ragnar’s mind, making him follow the path to find the lost warrior and redeem his people. Just like Salinger’s Holden, Ragnar sees the world differently than the adults that live above him. He despises their power over all, as he sees the corrupt ways it led them too. Unlike Holden, Ragnar does not let pride or adolescent cockiness cloud his intention. He was raised on old stories of gods and heroes, filled with honor and glory, he understands the burden destiny provides, accepting the duty of bringing the long lost forgotten glory to his people. But even with that high dose of understanding, Ragnar is filled with rage towards the elders, the adults in his world and their blindness to things so obvious. But there are things higher than Ragnar, higher then the elders, his father or his grandfather. No matter what the price is, he is ready to pay it, to endure all the hardship, as the actions of one man can still matter, can still be enough to redeem them all. Because they are Norse, they endure.

Inspired by J.D Salinger and Stephen Chbosky, “Last Viking of Norway” tells the story of a young adult who navigates his way in the adult world. But unlike “Catcher in the rye” or “Perks of being a wallflower”, “Last Viking of Norway” puts its corner stone on tradition, obligation and honor. Unlike Holden or Charlie, Ragnar is raised on premonition of honor and the fruits his actions bring. From childhood, he is raised as a Viking, under strict discipline and strong definition of honor and its important meaning. But the similarity to the two of them is that even if Ragnar is raised in different conditions, he like them tries his best to navigate life in his surroundings. The story asks questions do the young really see problems that the adults deny and can they make a difference, even if as the adults put it, they are merely children. It is a story about obligation, honor, about how important is one man towards many and how hard or important is to honor the old ways, the past, as it comes clashing with the way we live today.

“Last Viking of Norway” out on Amazon on Saturday, 8th of August, 2020.

Traces in the snow

                                                    TRACES IN THE SNOW

It was a just morning. That kind of morning where you hear the howling of the early frost wind striking the windows, testing their strength, where the coldness bites the glass trying to crack it with its fangs, showing the early morning frost on them, where the sun just above the grass rose above it, braking its rays in half. It was a morning made to stay in, warm up near the fire, drink something hot so your lungs warm your breath, as you stare at the entertainment of other and listen to old stories so you could imagine your place among the past that walked once here. Indeed,a morning to stay in. But that blessed silence or a whisper of a thought was broken by the barging in of a rather vigorous old man, who just ran in like he was in the prime of his youth, rather then his old age that the lack of hair and the posing gray ones told.

“Ah, you want to sleep again my son, but no, the morning has blessed us with a warm touch, we have much to do, don’t dwell on last days thoughts, rather gather the today’s ones!”

 He jumped around the room like a young man, gathering the curtains by the side, letting the sun break to the sleeping man inside, who showed less life then the wiser man. He let the window open, breathing the fresh air with full lungs, waving his arms around as if he was gathering it more and more, just to enjoy in the smell of the new snow that gave the air that special aroma.

“Come on, you lazy ox, do you intend to sleep away the whole day? Dra til helvete! When i was your age i was out with the first light and your father, well i never even caught him in his bed, because he was never in it. Stand up, or i swear i will bring the snow to you!”, as he finished his mumbling, he pulled the blanket of the bed as the man laid, grabbing his feet pulled to his stomach.

“Grandpa, i know i heard you the first time. Snow, air and you yelling.”, said the young man as his hands covered his eyes and ears.

“Besides, what is there to do? We gathered the wood, the snow will be shoveled, and the whole village is covered in snow, what is there to do?”, now a bit more aware of the situation, he looked at the older man looking down the window, not even paying attention.

“My dear boy, you are not in the city anymore. Here at the village, we always have something to do, or did you forget. A skite! After all you were raised here.”, as he said, he turned to his grandson, who was now almost up, giving his full attention to the old man.

“Look at him. My boy, living large in the city, at the collage. You make your grandfather so proud.”

He smiled at the boy, with such pride and joy as he looked at him. He knew what an achievement it was, as he raised him as his own son, and to see him grow in a man, made the elder happy.

“You make it sound like i do some great effort, grandfather. I am just studying, that is all.”, he stood up, stretching his stiff body, breathing the fresh air as the window was wide open now.

“Besides, like i said, is it not all done, we have nothing left to do, i was hoping for a nice and relaxing morning. Where would we go anyway, it’s snow everywhere.”

“Oh my dear boy…”, laughed the old man as he was about to leave the room, “…perhaps the city has made you soft, or you forgotten that work is never done here in the village, ha ha ha. Besides do this old man a favor son, and take him for a morning walk… I did miss you, and you know i look forward whenever you get your school vacation.”

As the old man said that, he smiled at the grandson, who smiled back, nodded and followed him to the living room.

The living room was a combination of a diner room and a living room. The big family table stood by the side, almost in the middle, made for big gatherings. He remembered how his grandparents every week invited some friends, how the house never was empty growing up, with huge meals that lasted for hours, all the wine and ale his grandfather and his friends drank while he was listening to the old stories and legends, and grandma was getting pissed how he always managed to find a new bottle. “A new story, a new bottle, my love. A storytellers mouth must never be dry.” He said something along that way, and she was still pissed until he would always kiss her and she would smile, decades together and still they were so young, true love. Then he would open a new ale, and such stories would be told.  And he would sit with them, as they were red and drunk, with his jaw dropped down to the floor as they would tell stories about Thor, Odin, Loki and Balder. As he would tell about Freya and her children. The stories of the Aesir and the Yotun, their war, Ymir and his builds. As he would look in awe about the legends of the old warriors and kings, about Beowulf and his adventures, about how he fought the dragon with his legendary sword, about King Ragnar, who pillaged even in France. But his grandfather, as a proud Norwegian, always loved to tell the history of the land. About how it was formed and he loved talking about king Harald. When he would tell the story of his efforts to form the united kingdom of Norway, the battles he fought, he could always imagine himself on the battlefield, in the mud of the fight, with swords drawn he would fight along side the King himself. Yes, grandfather was a good storyteller alright, especially when few ales were on the table or better in his stomach. He was proud, his grandfather, of his legacy, of the old ways and his ancestors, and as he raised his grandson in the same values, so was he. But it wasn’t just grandfathers pride and stories that made him cling and fondly remember the old ways, no. It was the whole village. He was not born here, but his father, and his grandfather like his father and father before him were all born here. And even of the village wasn’t his birth place, being raised by a man like his grandfather, made him not even remember such a trivial fact, as he was Norse as much as him, and he knew that made the old man especially happy and sometimes tearful. But it wasn’t just the old man, it was the whole village. They were north, deep in the snow, not jealous of the city life. Tradition was important here, as it was passed from generation to generation, and perhaps if the young would move to the city or abroad to work or to study, no one would forget this place, as they all one way or another would return, to visit as much often or to even move back. Grandfather, who was in some way like a village elder, would often joke and say “We are Norse, we are wanderers and explorers. In a way we always carry our home with us, and in a way we all return.” And perhaps the village didn’t have a mall, but just the regular small super market, it had the local village doctor, and the reception was bad, but the whole village knew each other, helped one another, and was proud in what little it had. Tradition and the old ways were important, so the young ones don’t forget, so the stories of old don’t get lost, so the old ways don’t get forgotten, so the ancestors in some way live as they had, in memory.

Yes, he remembers the table fondly, the stories and old friends, as he sits by its side, he looks around the room, the old fireplace, with fresh woods that was just lit up, giving a special warmth to the already inviting ambiance. By the fireplace so many frames filled with so many people. He stood up, as he noticed some new addition. First frame was him and Grandfather, first snow, as he fell in, just more then a year old was he there, and the old man laughing in the picture with more hair, but still same fire in that joy he carried on he smile. So many people in pictures, Grandpas hunting friends, summer by the village lake, old farmers and pictures by the summer fire. Then second to last picture, a man and a women, on their wedding day in their wedding attire, smiling together. No it wasn’t the old man, the smile and joy looked well alike as his, but the eyes told a different story, a story of another man, a man that had is own life to lead.

“You want your eggs scrambled or?”, voice of the old man came roaring from the kitchen as the whole house now was smelling good, like a stake house on a busy day, a smell that would make your stomach growl with such a sound you wouldn’t know was it you or a wild boar. But as his thought went from answering his grandfather to being obsessed with the smell of well cooked meat, his eyes went a bit down and saw another new picture. The old man and his love, smiling happy. Must been taken few years ago, they are kissing, being happy like younglings, must have been at the barbecue. When you would see them at first, you would say they are old and fragile. But stop and have a drink with the old man, let Grandma fill you up with her roast or the so tasty cake of blueberries she made, stop and give them a second and they will make you feel old. They had such life in them, such love, you would say they are in their early twenties and just married. And they were such a team. He was there to keep us all in one place, together and she kept him there, away from his stupid ideas.

“You there? Eggs or? Oh if i find you went back to the room and slept again i swear i will drag you to the snow and…”

As he was stepping out to see where he was, seeing him holding the picture, he stopped, leaving the pan back and coming to his grandsons side, putting his hand on his shoulder.

“She was so proud, when you came to say you are going to study. You know, even in the end she asked about you. She made me promise to her i will learn to cook so i won’t feed you with raw beef and ale all the time.”

They both laughed, with tears in both of theirs eyes.

“I miss her too. I regret that i couldn’t be here in her final moments”.

“No.”, grandfather interrupted him. “Don’t think about that. She knew you were with her in your thoughts. Like i said, she was proud that you were studying, proud of the boy she raised. She was happy in her final thoughts.”

As he said that, wiping the tears on his eyes, taking a big sniff in his nose. His grandfather was a big man, a strong man, and seeing him with tears was a rare picture for his mind. He laughed, he was sad, he was joyful and angry, but tears on his face he couldn’t remember seeing. She left a hole when she passed away, it was obvious. Grandfather tried to mask it as best as he could, he would laugh and joke like always, or he would say the boys from the hunt would come by to get a drink or two together so he would always had company, but he knew in the moments between he would catch him staring in an empty space. The old man didn’t had an easy life, from his early age he already experienced how life can be cruel and what joy and happiness he earned, he knew how much he had to give for it, how precious it is. He would after all that still laugh, smile and often say, “We are Norse, we were born in the harsh elements, to endure.” To endure. And that is why he was his hero. A man who knew hardship and still laughed and loved others, who loved life and who enjoyed in little things life had to offer. And that’s the one of many things he learned from his Grandfather, to enjoy life. To never dwell on mistakes, but rather to try and mend them. And Grandma… Well that woman was his mother, a woman who he could confide in, she showed him such love, such compassion. She was his warmth, not just to him, but to the both of them. A woman who took care of them both whenever they would think of a mischief or get in trouble. She was the one who kept them both in line, she was their love. She was family.

Thinking of her just made them both teary, as it was a big loss, a loss like no other, a loss of a piece of heart they felt burning. But they are Norse, they endure.

“So eggs?”, said Grandfather jokingly, wiping the tears, but not hiding them.

“Yes, and ale.”

That made them both giggle, remembering fondly of a memory that was only distant in time, but not in their heart.

Breakfast of champions. Meat smoked by the old man, so sweet and salty in the same time that makes a man yearn for a drink. When ever would someone ask him why does he make it so that you have to drink something right away, he would say, “Why do you think i keep the mead by?”

“So… what do you want to do today?”, filling his mouth the young man barely could get a word out.

“Breath, son. Last thing i want is for you to get suffocated by meat. Even tho it’s not a bad way to go, ha ha. Take some ale, you will feel better, i know i always do.”

He took a big swig  of ale probably just to demonstrate to the young one how to do it properly.

“Oh now take a drink of ale. Grandma would love to hear that. Salty meat and sweet ale, breakfast like none other.” He smiled to Grandfather as he followed and showed that is the family skill, that ale drinking.

“Oh let me take care of your Grandma. I know she would be pissed, but she always knew that i secretly fed you ale since you were six.”, said the old man in such pride that he always took for teaching him something that would always get them in trouble, especially with Grandma. She was the one who was in charge of the moral high ground, and trouble was Grandfathers stuff to teach. But as always when they were caught either drinking, or that time when Grandpa took him to hunting three days when he was five years old, or perhaps when they were feeling like eating grilled meat so they made a flame that almost caught half the house, Grandma would be mad, scold them both as if they were children, yell and even one time bite (But that was grandfathers fault, he did say “What if you bark like this, what is next biting?”) .

“So tonight is the night pyre. We go celebrate the winter and all who returned. So we need to help the others find some wood, set it up.” Grandfather looked so happy as he was saying that, staring at his Grandson, especially when he took a big sip of ale.

“What?”, asked the Grandson, with it still dripping from his face.

“Nothing.”, said the old man so proud with a big smile on his face. “You just remind me of…”

As he was about to say, a knock on the door broke the almost said sentence.

He stood up to answer it, mimicking his hands to the grandson who jumped up to answer, to sit down and continue to eat.

“Oh Bron.”

“Hello. I just wanted to see are you fine gentlemen joining us this morning, or perhaps the city man is still in bed, ha ha.”, said the man in front of the door.

“Oh no, we managed to get him out. Somehow ale and the smell of meat gets that city mentality right out.” Grandfather somehow managed to brag about his ale in every second sentence.

“Get in, please there must be some ale left.”

As he went in, the grandson said hi, answering the already expected questions about how the life in the big city is, and how is the studying going.

The day went by, as the guys killed time profitably. They met the local friends, all from young to old and went by getting logs that were put in the middle of the village, standing tall and many. As night fell, the whole village came by, happy singing songs and dancing. It was freezing, you could feel your breaths weight as it left your mouth, somehow it seemed that if you cried, your tears would freeze on your cheeks, not even reaching the end. But, as Grandfather said, we are Norse. Cold troubles you less when there’s ale by, or when there’s song to be heard. A dance is hard to resist, as not just that it goes well with the ale, but the women make it harder to decline.

Everyone was out. If not because they wanted to have fun, then because they needed to. The pyre is a tradition. Few times a year they light it for students and workers that went away, in their honor for coming back home. Or as Grandfather said, “A light, for all who are away and couldn’t make it, so they know their way back home.”

The young man looked as the women his age danced, some with other men, some with their friends and some alone. Friends he grew up, all there, but his eyes were caught by a young blond, an old friend he saw years back, but never really caught up with. He saw her dance, alone, moving her body, touching as if she was calling him, her hair flowing with her every move and her hands going lower and lower down her tights. She was calling him, and he wanted to come, to go with her, grab her tight and kiss her lips, her red lips that stood out in the surrounding snow. But not today. Somehow, his mind was filled, but not with thought, rather with memories, with some grief and some bitter taste in mouth, that was not left by the ale. No, not tonight. He went further finding his Grandfather sitting in front of the pyre, alone with his thoughts, with ale in his hands.

“Look. What have i done wrong, my son?”, the grandson looked all confused as he sat down next to him.

“I must have done something wrong in raising you, my son. All these beautiful women there, dancing and drinking, and you come here sit next to an old man. I taught you how to handle ale, please don’t say i forgot to teach you how to handle women. If you need a quick lesson, it is same as ale, just they have a bigger kick.”

They both laughed, as they sat next to each other, two generations, different age, similar personalities.

“No, you taught me well…”, the young man said with a smile as he said that, pulling his grandfather closer, “And for all, to you and Grandma, i owe my life. You raised me, taught me everything i know. I can only hope to become half the man you are Grandpa.”

“You are cruel, my son. You are trying to make an old man cry. That is low.”

They smiled and laughed, as the old man pulled his grandsons closer and kissed his head, thanking him for the kind words.

“I… We, me and my love, we both raised you best we could. And we are ever so proud in what kind of man you became. But to your misfortune, i raised you, and i know when something troubles you. You don’t dance, you are here with me and not with your friends, with her. And i see her, it is obvious to me and then i know it’s obvious to you. And you sit here with ale in your hand and just drink looking ahead in nothingness, you remind me off…”

“My father…”, the grandson interrupted him.

The old man said nothing, just with a bitter look on his eyes he took a deep sip of his ale. Somehow, even though he was faced to the pyre, his eyes were focused in a empty void that was inside him. There was a hole in the old man, a life that was filled with tragedy and sadness. He never forgot it, he just learned how to handle with it.

“When i looked at the photos this morning, i stopped at dads. I noticed something. All the photos that were on that wall, all the people that found their way there, i knew about. I could even tell you where each picture was taken, what was done in that day and i could tell you the persons life story. The whole life story. And i even wasn’t born when half of them were taken. But when i came to the picture of my parents… I know about mom. I know her life well, you and Grandma talked plenty of her. I could tell Grandma loved her, and that she was hit especially hard when she passed away while giving birth to me. But dad… You never told me anything. I could tell you the story of all people in this village, all of their families and all of their friends, but the story of my own father i don’t know. Grandfather…”

He looked at the old man, still looking forth, almost as if he wondered off, not present.

“I know your life was hard. I know you knew sadness and despair. But you are the one person i know that even in the face of pain, you wear a smile.” The young man tried, but all the old man heard was the howling of the wind. No music, no sounds of voice came to his ears, he just drank the ale, one sip larger the the last. The only thing that ale did was left a sensation to tell the body he was still feeling something.

“I did my best with you. I raised you to the best of my knowledge, and you giving me the compliment of being half of a man i am was the greatest thing i ever heard since your Grandmother said, ‘I do.’ “

The old man spoke with such pain in his voice, such was the tenacity of sadness that graveled his throat, that he spoke deeper than usual.

“I loved your father. I did. In some ways you remind me of him and that scares me. Your father, like you, was raised here, in this village. And like you was taught to always remember and respect our old ways. He grew up listening to me telling the same old stories, stories i told you as well, stories of heroes and the tale of their quests and adventures. And like a kid he often dreamt to make his own quests. Boy, i tell you to get your father in the house was a task worthy of the gods. He always tried to find trouble.”

As he told the story, the look on his face told a look of regret, a look of pain, worse then when he spoke of Grandma.

“And then when he grew older, he grew tired of the quests but was more interested of the end…”

“The end?”, the grandson asked as he looked at the old man, who he loved more then anything in the world, now in such pain that he couldn’t even look at him in the eyes.

“Valhalla. We are Norse. We endure. Only because, to us it is the end that matters. Live life to the fullest, die in battle, for war, so Odin can offer you a seat in the endless halls where you fight forever with the heroes of the old, who earned their place. You eat, feast and drink, side by side with your brothers.” The old man drank one more sip, then just laughed.

“Look. A pyre. Now we burn them for our children to find a way home, used to we burned our warriors, who laid their lives in the battlefield. No more battles, no more barges with bodies to burn, bodies that were just our vessels, that carried the stubborn spirit worthy of the summoning by the gods themselves. But your father, inspired by my storytelling, was convinced that today we work, we love, we travel and fuck, but no meaning we give to it. Death. He once searched for dragons and swords, and suddenly he saw meaning in the end. And i can not blame him for it. All of us, like our fathers at one point were called by blood and steel. Hell, your grandmother saved my life by preventing my thoughts and idiotic ideas.”

He look at his grandson, at the boy he raised, the best of his knowledge and smiled.

“When your mother died…”, he continued, “…he brought you here. The look on my sons eyes, scared me. Like you said, i knew sadness of life, and little to nothing scares me, but his look of determination made my bones shake. You were just a little child, barely red from blood that made you survive the snow of mountains.”

“I never knew my father came here after i was born.”, asked the boy with such confusion in his voice.

“Yes.”, the old man continued, “He came. For one day. Like i said, the boy had determination in his eyes. But i paid little to none attention to it back then. I thought, he just lost his wife, it must had been grief. But after he took me out, on the porch, we had a drink of ale. I though the boy wants to share his sadness with his old man, or to reminiscence the life of his dear. But he did not want to remember the loved memories or to open up.”

The young man, now even more confused tried to uncover the truth he wanted to hear for so long.

But nothing made sense, but he didn’t expect to understand yet his grandfather never spoke of his father.  

“Then what did my father talk about?”, asked the young man.

The old man took one more big sip and shook the bottle upside down.

“Damn, no more. He took a deep sip of mead, just like me, and asked me to tell him a story. A story that i never told you before.”

“Which one, Grandfather? I thought you told me all the stories you knew?”

The young man grew ever so eager to find the truth, the fact that haunted him all his entire life.

“It’s an old legend. Of the first king of Norway, king Harald. You see, his life’s wish was for him to transcend the Jarls of our land and country, to unite us all and become the first king of a united nation of Norway.  A dream that took almost a life time, a dream that was almost impossible. Well, that’s what they all thought. Well, he did prove them all wrong, he united all the jarls, all the vikings, and we became a strong nation. But when there were no jarls to fight among themselves, an outer threat appeared. A force that proved too much to handle. The king found his forces overwhelmed, and him greatly wounded. While a nearby viking helped the king retreat, he told him to stop. ‘Wait’, he said. ‘Even if i fall, here, even if i go to Valhalla, i need you to honor one final order from your king. Go, retreat, to the highest peak, of the highest mountain, where winds blow hard as our steel, where the snow won’t allow any outsider to step on its white face. Find your way up to it and wait. ‘ The young viking, shocked of his kings words answered. ‘My king, i respect and serve you, i answered your call to arms to defend our homeland, but you would deny me Valhalla, to fight and die with my brothers, to be summoned to dine with Odin himself. My king, you ask me to betray our way, to betray lord Odin and all the gods. ‘ The king, badly wounded looked at the young warrior, smiled and said. ‘ I hope lord Odin and all his Aesir will forgive us, as i fear this might not be just the end of Norway, but of Viking as well. Look at them. Such number, such ferocity they showed, and no matter if one of our Viking worth is like dozen of them, no matter if one of our Shield Maiden can take entire legion of their warriors, they will keep coming. And i know i deny you what all Viking dream, death of a warrior. But i beg you, to sacrifice your dream for the dream of our Nation, for the way of Viking can be no more. I beg you, not as king, but as your brother, so that my death, our brothers deaths won’t be in vain or forgotten. ‘ The young warrior looked long at the king who asked a lot, but he saw the truth and wisdom of his words. ‘But my king…’, he asked, ‘ what am i to do on the top of the mountain? ‘ The king just smiled and said, ‘Go and when you reach the top of it, stab your sword in the cold snow, lay your shield on it and put your helmet on top of it. And wait. When the Vikings are needed once more, a warrior of our steel will come and get you, a Viking with like minded heart and strength will ask you to raise your sword and pick your shield once more again. ‘ The warrior with pride in his heart asked, ‘But my king, if i go on the highest peak of the highest mountain, against the strongest iced wind through the deep snow, how will anyone know where i am, where to find me? ‘ The king grabbed his head, brought his forehead on his, laid his head on top of his own and said, ‘ To a brother, or a sister, who comes from the blood of your blood, who is born in the cold as we are and survives, they will know where you lay, to them your footsteps won’t be covered in snow. They will find you, sitting on top of that mountain and they will ask you to fight once more. Because as long as one Viking lives, we all live. Norway lives. We are Norse. We endure. ‘ And the young warrior, went to the highest mountain, found the highest peak, and on top of it, in the thick snow he struck his sword deep, on it he laid his shield, and his helmet on its hilt. And to this day he still waits, to a call by someone who is from his blood, who is worthy to be called a warrior, to be summoned to when the Viking will be needed once more.”

The young man looked at the pyre, thinking of his grandfathers story.

“That story… you never told me.” The young man searched meaning in his grandfathers story, but to no avail. “Why you told me about all the gods, about all the heroes and about all the realms, but never about that tale. Why? And why did my father brought you out and why does it hurt to speak about him?”

The old man tried to talk, but looking at the boy, who reminded him much of his son, just brought sadness to his heart, sadness that no ale or battle could heal or mend.

“Boy. I never tried to tell you that story because i blame me and my storytelling for making your father search meaning in them. I was bitter for long and blamed all and most of them me. I tried to give him, as i did you, the life of happiness, raising you both to my best capabilities…”

He looked at him, holding his shoulder.

“He left you that day in our care. I don’t blame him. You brought such happiness and joy to my beloved. And him… he went up in the mountains. Days we searched for him, but no equipment, no food or water, he never could make it. And i regret that we never found the body, to give him some rest. All that was left were the footsteps in snow that even the hard dropping blizzard couldn’t hide. He fell under grief of the lost love, and he loved you, son. He knew we would take care of you, that we will love you. So i beg of you, don’t hate him, for leaving. Know he loved you a lot. But your mother was the light of his life, his joy, and when you take a mans joy, you condemn him to such darkness it eats his soul.”

“I know. I know he loved me, Grandpa. He left me to you… To Grandma. And you gave me such joy. And for that i love you. And i love him, as well as my mother. I love you, Grandfather.”

As he said that, he hugged the old man so hard that he felt his heart, his breath and the old mans tears. He loved him. Not just for raising him, teaching him about life and love and the values of preserving and honoring the ancestors, he loved him immensely for the strength he showed when he needed him most. To him he was his hero, and right now sitting by his side seemed way better then the dance of the stunning nature that called him before, that stunning and mesmerizing moving blond. 

The girl of the dawn

Dreams were always her sanctuary. It was understandable when the last beacon of peace is interrupted, she would be distressed. But this dream, unlike the rest, the good, was too real. The running around make her lungs heavy, as if it all happened in reality. The strain it took to get away from him left her body feeling so tired, in pain, sore. So much pain, so much fear that made her postpone opening her beautiful green eyes. But shutting them tight wouldn’t prove useful, as the day was gonna go on it’s way, not minding her or her problems. But the bed was her place. That brief fraction of a second where she laid still, without a single care in the world, not belonging to the fade of the dreamland nor the horrifying depiction of reality, where she just… exists, forgotten in time by the world, in that mere second where no obligation can be tangled with her. But it was just a second after all, and not a moment more, as the alarm clock went off. Can she knock it off? Will it brake and reward those few precious minutes that she would normally take for granted? Nah… she can’t afford to destroy it, as broke was the definition of her current monetary status. But who’s fault was it then? Was it perhaps some complex conspiracy theory where the shadowy figures behind the stage curtains were plotting her demise? Nah, nothing of that sort… It was her fault, and unfortunately she was well aware of it, but never admitting to it openly. All those little acts of rebellion that she showed the world (mostly her parents) that independence ran through her veins, resulted in a shitty job signing names in a leger, a 20 square meter apartment that by the looks of it used as her closet, as the little furniture she had was covered in dirty clothes. They wanted her to go for higher education, but to her it wasn’t useful, she probably made some stupid remark how it poisons the mind of scared youth that already don’t know what to do with their life, something along that line. Then came the cold shoulder, not talking or listening to anyone, acting like a complete asshole, cutting her hair far too short, putting a single strain of light neon green in her hair. Then the famous while you live under my roof speech came. And she was gone. She wanted to prove everyone that she needs no one. But the glamourous dream of a stylish city life turned into a struggle. But there was no backing up now. She couldn’t take her tail between her legs. So she started to see goodness in every ugly moment, in every crack she saw an opportunity.

But right as she laid on the bed the opportunity had slipped. The crack between the ringing of that ugly sound made her realize this was one of those moments she couldn’t make pretty, no matter how much she tried. And with one growl of an angry beast, she managed to pull up, throw something on herself from that pile and run off to the mindless work of a drone she was forced to do. Because, hey, we all have to eat, right?

The routine of the morning made it possible to shut her mind off, as the body knew what route to take, what steps to get down, what tram to get in. And suddenly she found her consciousness awake, holding a railing, looking at the floor. Looking around she noticed everyone lost their focus looking down, below, at their devices, probably wanting to numb the pain of the meaningless life they led. But no device, no book or video would make her forget her problems of being irrelevant. Because she was. If she jumped out of this tram, hitting her head on the ground and passing away, who would really care? Parents, who were constantly disappointed by her choices? Her friends, who didn’t muster up the nerve to see even if she was still alive? Yea somehow it seemed like no one really gave a damn, not even her. Gazing through the window she had let her mind wonder, in hopes it would bring a thought of freedom, of salvation. She imagined running on the rooftops, jumping around, soaring through the air, flying as the wind caressed her green hair. But as the tram sped up near those buildings, with the blink of the eye, something about them changed. With every eye movement, those skyscrapers changed their shape, some new became old, rusted and destroyed, while in the places where there was nothing, a new one appeared. She closed her eyes and opened them back again in fast intervals, making it seem more like the affection of a stroke then self will. And with every time her sight was clear, she would be greeted by a new image, as if the environment changed in front of her every time she would open her eyes. Panic trapped her heart, as she wasn’t sure what was going on. Was she losing her mind? Whatever it was, her safest bet was to get her head down bellow, again watching the floor, minding her own business. And so she did. Panting, hyperventilating, she dropped her head down below as much as she could, just trying to catch a whiff of fresh air into her lungs. But all it had done was bringing her body to the point of passing out. Luckily the voice on the intercom informed the passengers that they were getting near the station. Her stop, now she could get out of this tin can that somehow seemed getting smaller and smaller.

As soon as the door opened, she was the first out, rushing out, bumping into people, knocking their things to the ground, not wasting a second to apologize. She didn’t want to risk it. Not now. Something was wrong. The images in front of her changed shape and size, with every blink new objects would appear that usually weren’t there. She required a sanctuary of walls, a safe haven where she knew every crack on the wall, there no more illusions and hallucinations would make real. As much as she hated her workplace, right now it was the only place that would keep her mind safe. Right now what she required was the dullness of that four walls. But to get there she needed to go through all these people, to get down from the platform to the street. Like one of those little cars on the festivals, she bumped her way through the massive crowd, with her head bowed down. No strength was left that was enough for her to lift her eyes straight. Somehow she managed to get down from the platform to the street, navigating herself from memory. “Just few more steps.” She thought to herself, shaking with fear from the unknown. As her feared induced brain was preoccupied with how many steps there were left, she didn’t notice a man standing in the middle of the street as she walked straight in him. “I am so, so sorry!” She extended her apologies to the man, while she still looked down below. But the man didn’t say a word, not even being agitated by her rushing into him. “I apologize sir! I hope you are all right?” No response. She looked at his shoes, noticing how strange they were, almost metal like. “Well I hope you have a nice day, I have to go otherwise I’ll be late for work..” The man still didn’t say a word, neither did he move away, still holding his ground in the exact same position as before. “Oh come on man, do I really need…” As she raised her head to see what was wrong with him, a thunderous scream came from her lungs. The man was motionless, almost as if he was dead, standing on his two feet. His face mutilated, with several scars on his bald head that had some kind of metal plating, and his left eye glowed with a bright red color, as if it was mechanical. His clothes resembled rags of your average homeless man, but with a strange material that she haven’t seen before. As she screamed, the man stared at her, slowly pulling his hand to her, as if he wanted to grab her. From sheer fear, she closer her eyes tight, peeing a little as that was the only action her body seemed to deem worthy in a situation like this. As she held them shut, awaiting her end, she thought about her life and all the poor choices that brought her here. Oh boy what poor choices she made. The pointless rebellion, the failed relationships and friendships. She thought what would life be if only she listened to her parents, to her friends, when everyone around her told her what a massive mistake she was making. She imagined herself in collage, graduating to be something important, someone big, not a loser. She imagined big houses and grand vacations and… She realized that she imagined for a bit too long. Why is nothing happening? Should she open her eyes? No, no way! Perhaps just running away with her eyes shut would prove fruitful. Nah she can’t. She must. She is stronger then this. OK. One. Two. Three! As she immediately opened her eyes, she saw no on was in front of her. Turning around she saw no one was there. “What the…” No! She won’t stay here and think about it. Her legs became again her own, as she used them to run the rest of the way, grabbing what little safety she had from work.

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