Tiny Stories: It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

It was a dark and stormy night…in my soul, the type I was all too familiar with—where all my relationships with loved ones and acquaintances rested, but I was not at peace.

You see, there was a stranger who walked the streets of my inner being, my own personal Spring Heeled Jack, who sought out the connections I had made throughout the span of my lifetime and, with the skill of a surgeon, severed these ties, one by one.

Call it mad coincidence, but as the bonds within were severed, the person associated with them were discovered brutally slain. Had my Ripper, that entity filled with rage and the unbearably intense need to be alone finally become corporeal?

And now, as we stood face to face, taking in the measure of one another, the only question flooding my mind was—

Will he sever ties with me now?

Tiny Stories: Shards of Torment

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

The vanity mirror in her bedroom was a Venetian antique. Tin and mercury were used in its construction, which caused the mirror to develop a crystalline appearance over the years. It was a gift from Sandrine’s late husband, something he picked up from a bizarre back alley curio shop at a price far below its worth.

Although the mirror always displayed Sandrine’s reflection in the best light possible, far better than any mirror ever had, it had always unnerved her, as if it was manipulating her image to make her more beautiful than she knew herself to be. After her husband died, she should have thrown it away, but could not for the life of her explain what stopped her from doing it.

As was her nightly ritual, she sat in front of the mirror and brushed her long, beautiful hair, counting each stroke, when she detected the faintest whiff of her husband’s cologne. Sandrine looked around the bedroom and saw that she was alone, but when her gaze returned to the mirror, her husband was seated beside her in the reflection, holding her hand that was holding the brush. She screamed and for a moment it felt as if something or someone else was in control of her arm, forcing her to hurl the hairbrush with all her might at the mirror, shattering it to pieces.

Bitter nausea rose in her throat as the shards of the shattered vanity mirror twitched and trembled before shooting up from the table and floor in a maelstrom of sharp chaos, pieces binding themselves together in DNA helix fashion, building themselves from inanimate splinters of reflective glass to take on a new, sinister shape, the form of her abusive, late husband.

“Honey, I’m home,” said the mirrored monstrosity in a voice that sounded like broken glass edges scraping together.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: The Girl Who Dances

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Mother Nature’s nose bleeds as the climate changes and zoonotic illnesses are on the rise and the human virus that infects the planet pushes itself toward extinction over squabbles of skin tone, religion, and wealth and the only thing holding the fabric of the universe together is Umbra, whose name means shadow, which is where she dances.

She is a shy girl with the crooked smile and nervous laugh who keeps herself to herself and stands apart from the rest of the so-called real world, moving her body to a tune of ancient magicks that no one else can hear and loving the vision of what people can become if only they can get out of their own way.

Pray the day never comes when she stops dancing.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: Eyes of Pitch

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Her point of origin was unknown and perhaps unknowable. Some said she was the herald of an extraterrestrial invasion force come to test Earth’s defenses, while others postulated that she stepped directly from the Abyss to test the mettle of humankind.

As no earthly tongue could pronounce her name, she chose the pseudonym Rosalinda.

As a xenologist, considered by many to be the top in my field, I was drafted by the military to assess both Rosalinda’s intent and her threat level. All throughout my briefing, I was repeatedly warned, as per Nietzsche’s instructions, not to look directly at her, and I tried my level best to heed that warning but…

Rosalinda’s eyes were pitch black perfect and somewhere in their aphotic depths, I spotted the bioluminescence of her pain and gentleness as they came together to form the very art of her beautifully tortured soul.

She was here to destroy us all, and I, helplessly in love, was prepared to be the first in line to be obliterated.

©2019 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: How Do You Mend A Mechanical Heart?

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

“All right, I’ll tell you, but move in closer,” IO-893 said. “I do not like discussing my personal business in public.”

Mrrroww,” replied the bar cat as it inched toward the mecha man.

“I violated Asimov’s First Law of Robotics, you know, the one that states: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Maow?” the bar cat asked.

“Yes, a human female named Marisol, but there’s more to the story than simple murder. We were in love, as impossible as that might seem to an upstanding feline such as yourself, and she was sick, slowly wasting away from a disease that was so new it had no name at the time and definitely had no cure. She begged and pleaded with me to end her misery. She was the center of my universe, how could I deny her request? Could you, if you were in my position?”

Miaou.”

“I did not think so,” IO-893 said. “After Marisol expelled her final breath, I obtained a lock of her hair and wound it around my broken mecha heart, before I was jailed. 25 years later, I was granted a Presidential Pardon, provided that I returned the lock of hair to Marisol’s family, which I foolishly agreed to.”

The bar cat’s brow furrowed. “Miau?”

“No, you don’t understand, it goes far beyond losing a keepsake,” IO-893 explained. “Technology has advanced to the point where humans can be cloned from a single strand of hair. Marisol’s family has an entire lock that I aim to steal. So, are you in or out?”

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: The Lips of Death

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

The cruel hand of Fate stole you too soon from this all too fragile life and driven to desperation by your absence, I embarked on a fool’s errand, for I am forever a fool for your love, down to accursed Hades in search of the dreaded psychopomp for a solution to my heart’s devastation.

A bargain was struck, and know, beloved, that I showed no fear and no regret when I fell to my knees and kissed the lips of Death itself in order to bring you back, thus damning my soul to be cast into the pit of Tartarus for all eternity.

Enjoy your second chance at life, my sweet, and know that regardless of what happens in your future travels, you are loved.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: They Come At Night

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

They come at night during the Hour of the Wolf, that gap between night and dawn when most people perish, when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when nightmares become flesh, and when ghosts are at the zenith of their power.

When they were alive they were families and neighbors who came to each other’s aid and fought for peace and tragically lost the battle before that peace had been established.

Now, these tortured souls step each pre-dawn from the void of the hereafter to remind us of how far we still must travel.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Don’t Be A Chump, Don’t Infodump

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Finding balance in your life isn’t simple. Balancing life and writing is even harder. Finding balance in your writing? That’s something you’ll be working on for the rest of your natural writing life, because a well-written story balances exposition, description, action and dialogue, but not in equal measure. You need to keep a watchful eye on exposition.

In its basic form, exposition is the part of a story that sets the stage for the drama to follow, introducing the theme, setting, characters, and circumstances, usually at the beginning of the story. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Well, writing good exposition that flows with the story and continues to draw the audience in, isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, many writers misuse exposition as an illegal dumping ground for information that not only causes a distraction that breaks the flow of a story, but also decreases interest.

And you don’t have to be an expert to spot the exposition dump (aka infodump) because we’ve all experienced and recognized it while reading a novel or watching a movie or television program. It’s that speed bump or sometimes roadblock in the story where the writer unloads a ton of information at once as a means of explaining things like backstory, characters, and the rules of the story world. If you’re a culprit of this, stop it now. We’ll forgive your ignorance in past works (go back and cull the exposition, if at all possible) but it’s a bad exposition technique and the line must be drawn here. This far, no further.

Typically, infodumping occurs when a character, new to the scene, is introduced to a foreign setting and is force-fed all the knowledge of the various individuals at play, the rules of the micro society, and the overall big picture of the story world. You’ll find this a lot in science fiction and fantasy tales.

Other bad/lazy infodumping techniques include “The Lecture,” where a speaker over-explains information the writer discovered during their research period of the writing process and thought would show their faux expertise in the subject. The other offender is commonly known in the sci-fi writing community as the “As You Know, Bob,” conversation, where one character tells another character information they already know. Please don’t do this. Not only is it lazy, but it comes across as unrealistic.

This isn’t to say that all exposition is bad, in fact, properly executed, it takes up roughly 10% of a well-balanced written piece (the other 90%, of course, being the description, action and dialogue that make up the scenes). Some of the information embedded within expository text is actually relevant, it simply requires a little finesse to fit it in seamlessly and not disrupt the story’s flow.

Of course, if you handle your description, action and dialogue properly, you can whittle that 10% down and most people won’t notice or care about the missing exposition.

Well, that’s enough infodumping for me today. I’m off to tear a story down and rebuild it.

Sally forth and be writeful.

Space Case

Everyone I knew wrote me off as a space case, as if I was insane or some sad eccentric with little grip on reality but none of them, not a single solitary person, bothered to get to know me, to peer beyond this veil of all too fragile flesh in order to witness the infinitude that lay within.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Having Heaven 12 – The Scan

Researching on her tablet, Mayra discovered the first functional fetal organ to develop was the heart, typically eighteen to nineteen days after fertilization which began to beat and pump blood around day twenty-two. But when it came to ensoulment, the closest thing she found to a specific answer dated back to the time of Aristotle, where it was believed the human soul entered the forming body at forty days for boys and ninety days for girls, which was of exactly zero use in explaining why there had been no sightings of child or baby spirits and if her as yet unborn child currently had a soul.

“How long do you think you’ve been pregnant?” Bethany asked.

“Um, I don’t know,” Mayra said, counting the days back to when she first took the test.

“At least six weeks?”

“Sure, I think. Maybe? Why?”

“Because six weeks is the earliest you can get a dating scan.”

“A what now?”

“An ultrasound to find out how far along you are and detect the presence of a heartbeat. Don’t you want to hear your baby’s heartbeat? I know I do.”

Mayra felt slightly ashamed that Bethany had taken the reins with regard to the clinical aspects for the pregnancy while she was preoccupied with the metaphysics of soul creation and death.

“It’s been over six weeks since I missed my period,” Mayra said.

“So, should I book us an appointment?” Bethany asked, and received no response. “What’s up with you?”

“You’re not going to like this,” Mayra sighed. “But I think Gavin might be right.”

“About what?”

“Maybe it’s not right to bring a child into this new world.”

Bethany sat across from Mayra in complete silence, lost in her thoughts for a long while before saying, “I don’t know how to respond to that. I mean, if that’s Gavin’s voice in your head, I’d tell you to tell it to fuck off. If you’re thinking it because you’re nervous, I can totally understand that but like I’ve told you a hundred times, you are not alone, and I’ll keep telling you until it finally sinks in. But if this is truly how you feel, then I support you and your choice and I’ll be here for you however you need me to be so don’t feel guilty because you have to do what’s right for you.”

“I have to admit, Bethy, I have no idea what’s right anymore.”

***

It was an odd thing but being in the hospital to get the ultrasound made the situation real. Mayra was going to have a baby, she was going to be a single mom which meant she had some growing up to do. She was afraid the sonographer was going to make assumptions about her since Bethany was at her side instead of Gavin but it was one of those childishly foolish notions that she needed to push out of her head.

“At this point we should be able to see the baby take shape,” the sonographer, whose name was Gloria, smiled. “Your little one is slowly becoming a person and I have to admit this is the point I find the most exciting. Nine months might seem like a long time but it will fly by. Make the most of this experience because once you hold your baby in your arms everything will be different.”

“Do you think this is something I can do alone?” Mayra had no idea why she asked the question. The words just slipped out before she was aware of what she was saying.

“Yes, even though it’s obvious to me you aren’t alone,” Gloria said without missing a beat and nodding a smile at Bethany. “Somehow I can tell there are always going to be people around to help you. Pregnancy can sometimes make you feel like you’re in it by yourself but you’d be surprised at how people will step up to help.”

“That’s a curious bedside manner you’ve got there,” Bethany said.

“So I’ve been told,” Gloria replied and to Mayra she said, “The scan usually takes about twenty minutes.”

“Twenty minutes?” Mayra said.

“I know your bladder’s full but we’ll get through this as quickly as possible,” Gloria held up a squeeze bottle and a small hand-held device. “First I’m going to apply some ultrasound gel to your tummy and move this transducer over your skin to get views of your baby.”

Mayra looked down at the gel being spread over her stomach. Her body was still in the same shape it had always been, something the baby would soon change and she wasn’t quite sure she was ready for it. When she glanced at Bethany, she saw her friend was staring across the room at a ghost midwife standing nearby, watching the monitor, waiting patiently. It was impossible to pretend she wasn’t there but a strange phenomenon was taking place where people began ignoring the spirits, they had become so commonplace. Exhaling deeply, she turned her attention to the screen. Being able to see her growing child was the whole reason she was there, and she wasn’t about to let the dead spoil this moment.

“Okay, Mayra, this is going to feel weird, but I promise you it’s truly worth it,” Gloria said.

Mayra said a silent prayer that the scan turned out normal and the baby was healthy but the moment the transducer made contact with her belly—everything changed. Her vision filled with starbursts. A million points of light filled her mind and she was overcome with a sensation that was simply too good, too pure to exist in this imperfect world. Her sense of existence expanded beyond the limitations of infinity and for one brief moment the edges of her mind brushed against the minds of every person, living and dead, linking together like a jigsaw puzzle of peace and all was right in the universe for a nanosecond before infinite knowledge avalanched onto her mind sending shards of information into her brain and out through the back of her skull over and over eternally and existence filled her mouth, filled her throat, filled her lungs, suffocating her with its presence and it would not let up, would not let her fight, would not let her scream as she was engulfed by the unending blinding whiteness of everything until she became nothing at all.

The bits and pieces that made her unique no longer existed in this pearlescent void and how could it? The totality of everything had pushed everything she had ever been out of her. She was now a hollow lifeless shell—until she wasn’t. Reality, her reality, the only one she personally experienced, had begun reknitting itself, stitch one, purl two until she was back in the examination room with the sonographer and Bethany. Both women stood stock-still as if they had been turned into stone by a basilisk, mouth agape, staring at the monitor. What they saw on the screen looked nothing like a baby at all. It looked more like a blob, a swirling mass that resembled a distant galaxy viewed through a space telescope.

When Gloria recovered enough to form words, she said, “Let me get one of the doctors in for a second opinion,” and bolted out of the room before Mayra could ask a question.

Mayra turned to Bethany who was gathering their coats and bags in a hurried fashion.

“Bethy, what are you doing?”

“Sweetie, we need to get the fuck out of here, now!”

To Be Continued…

©2017-2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys