Writing Challenge – Inspired by the Stars

This is my second endeavor in the Sentry project. These stories are written alongside Bryan and Strubberg as independent endeavors. Today’s endeavor was fueled by cheap coffee and music provided by Lindsey Stirling (check out her stuff here). Check back every third Saturday for new Sentry Stories and feel free to join the process! Members pick a random “anything” to inspire our writing (this one’s was a photo of the galaxy from the Hubble Telescope) and we start writing at 12:00pm CST. The only rules are 1) the “anything” must inspire the writing 2) we can’t take longer than one hour and 3) the post must be less than 500 words. Bryan’s can be found here, Strubberg’s here. Comment on this post to learn more.

stars

Looking Up at the Stars

Not a single cloud obstructed the view. The hill was high enough that the city’s noise did not interfere either. Richard did not mind the city’s distractions so much, but the occasional silence was always appreciated, particularly for certain events. The trek up the hill was harder than Richard remembered. He had done it only the year before with little exertion. Granted the added weight of his satchel did not help. Still after staggered steps and a few needed breaks, he reached the top. The perfect spot as always, thought Richard as he began to empty the contents of his bag.

He spread the blanket on the ground flattening it out to ensure no corner curled or turned getting as much space as possible covered. Finesse was never Richard’s strong point, but he tried to arrange the chocolates, fruits, and cheeses he had brought as best as possible. The wine was cold enough to stay out next to the simple platter for a while. His arrangement would never make a section of the local paper, much less a national magazine, but he made it as appealing as possible. It was a special night after all.

Setting up the telescope was no trouble. He had done it a hundred times. It was essentially muscle memory at this point. Unlike, his childhood friends, Richard had never really had any interest in the stars. He never wanted to be an astronaut nor travel in space. He was content to examine the mysteries and pleasures of the ground he stood on. Of course, that all changed, as with most things, when she came into the picture. Lucy, the starry eyed girl, from astronomy class. He had taken the class for an easy A and had found her. To think that he had chickened out of talking to her. Thankfully, she was not as timid as he was concerning the opposite sex.

They became inseparable. Her fascination with the stars became theirs and what was originally a cheap first date looking at the stars became a ritual of their relationship. Which is why everything has to be perfect, thought Richard returning from his haze of fond memories. The telescope was perfectly aligned. Finding a few flowers nearby to enhance his arrangement, Richard sat down and waited for a specter that would never show. He could hear church bells from below start to chime. He checked his watch, 9:00 p.m. on the dot. “Happy Anniversary, Lucy, my star.” The words felt ripped out of him as he spoke. The ring from his pocket was heavy as he placed it in his palm. Five years married. Five years of holding hands and looking at the constellations were all he had before she was taken from him. Richard could no longer hold back his tears. He laid back on the blanket and looked up at the stars praying that one day he would be able to see them once again with Lucy’s hand clasped in his.

***

So that was my submission. Hopefully some of you like it and others can provide suggestions for improvement in the comments or want to learn more about this crazy experiment.

The Sentry Gathers…

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“Damn You Kids and Your Silly Rules!!!”

http://nypost.com/2013/10/01/wwii-veterans-storm-memorial-after-shutdown-closes-park/?utm_source=SFnewyorkpost&utm_medium=SFnewyorkpost

Hopefully, you can see and or read this article above. As most of you are probably aware, the United States government has officially shut down. Whatever your view or opinion on this action is or whatever part of the political spectrum you happen to fall under, I think the overall consensus is that it sucks. It is with this sentiment in mind that I found this story to be particularly interesting. I don’t know if it would have been received with the same gravitas and levity had it been a bunch of tourists or college kids crossing the barrier, but at the same time they are veterans wanting to see their memorial so fuck it. Anyhow, hopefully everything is resolved soon and nothing gets too broken while the “grown ups” resolve things.

The Sentry Gathers…

Hard to Turn Off

My local library back home has an annual summer reading program for kids up to the age of 12. It’s pretty simple. You have 6 weeks to read a certain number of books usually around 10 if memory serves. If you managed to finish the task, you were rewarded with a party and prizes at the community pool. I started doing the program when I was eight and completed it every year until I was no longer eligible. I even managed to win the top prize a few times. This is not an attempt at humble brag or anything. In fact, if anything it demonstrates I had few friends and little social life when I was younger. (That was an attempt at sympathy through pity). What I remember most about those summer readings, besides my odd obsession with the Goosebumps and Wishbone series along with a few standout Stephen King titles that gave the librarian a bit of pause, is how I started continuing the lives of the characters beyond the pages in my head.

When I would get to the last page and everything “ended”, I would keep the story going. I mean the major characters were usually alive and it’s not like their journeys just stopped. So in my dumb kid brain I thought about what Wishbone as D’artanian would keep doing with the Musketeers or how the kid who stopped the possessed dummy would try to move on from that experience. It wasn’t a constant stream of consciousness, but every once in awhile in a quiet moment I would just be by myself and get lost in the continuing adventures I would make up.

It continues to this day. With every movie, television show, book, etc. I start to think ahead of what will happen and will imagine what could have happened after the credits roll. At times to the chagrin of my friends, but it is an odd skill that doesn’t ever really shut off. I suppose that is why I get bored with media at times because it becomes so predictable after you “read” so much of it. However, that is also what makes those few standouts all the more special. I love being surprised and perplexed by a scene or ending in a film and by that one glorious line in a novel.

Whenever I read a book now that truly makes an impact on me, I recall being that nerdy little bookworm in the library trying to read as many books as I can possibly get a hold of. No matter what else changes in my life, I know that my relationship with words will never end. It’s the longest relationship I have ever had and it started in my hometown library near the stacks weighed down with a few hardcovers and paperbacks. Never looked back.

The Sentry Gathers…