It’s been a while, I know.
I am trying to update this blog more often, but there will be some changes to how I do this. Also, I’ve been taking writing classes which is working out AMAZINGLY for me.
first off I would like to say that Skinner lake turned into a monster inside my head, to the point where it is now the first VOLUME in a series I have dubbed The Shadow Science Trilogy (Working Title)
So, like I said, I’ll still be offering it for free here, at least the first volume. Hopefully I can offer PDF’s of each complete volume for free. I don’t see why not, Cory Doctorow does it… of course as a write he already has an established readerbase.
Anyways, I like the idea of sharing, it’s what the internet was made fore, and even though I do have to suport myself and eat I want to share this story with you because I LOVE IT. lol (I’m not immodest or anything >.>)
Moving on to another subject I wanted to mention. I’ve been taking a web course on writing fiction (or non fiction, whatever). And besides affirming allot of what I intuitively knew, and giving said knowledge the proper industry key words, I’ve learned allot already. I’ve only been attending the classes for a month now, so I think that says something.
I recommend it to anyone who’s trying to write their first book, like me. And I’m sure even published authors can learn a bit from it. so for those who are interested check out Nina Munteanu at http://www.ninamunteanu.com/
So, to give you all a heads up, when I start posting the book again it will be from chapter 1. And for good reason! I’ve expanded backwards from the first scene.
I loved how scene 1 could really stand on its own, but once the rest of the story started piling on top of it I simple HAD to write in some extra in behind. But not to worry, these new scenes give you a better idea of Richard and Lilly’s relationship while simultaneously bringing up crucial questions about the valley and the town of Clearly.
so I’ll keep you guys updated on how everything’s going. and when everything done, we’ll see!
Writing to post two scenes a week isn’t going to work out. this scene is needing allot of research for one little paragraph. If It’s not perfect the entire story will look like a big farce. So far I’ve made sure everything has happened in a logical and realistic way
Although some of the events might seem odd it all makes sense in my head. and in time should make sense to you as well.
But this scene is a juicy two pages long already, and the following scene is close to finished as well so those are two updates you can be sure will come your way soon enough.
Thanks for keeping on reading, I really appreciate it. Any comments on the story thusfar are more then welcome :)
Next installment >
This scene might end up with one more edit, but it’s just going to be grammar and maybe a few word choices. There’s no plot holes though, so that’s good.
I need to write down the townsfolk of Clearly on a piece of paper, it’s starting to get a bit stressful keeping track of them all in my head.
The Scene from Mr. Williams point of view.
When the lunch bell rang, the students of grade 11 swarmed out of their desks and for the door in their attempt to leave the cluttered white walls, carved and marked desks, scuffed linoleum floors and flickering florescent lights of the classroom to their teacher, Mr.Williams.
Williams watched closely as they pushed and shoved, tapping his fountain pen on his plane wooden desk. His rhythm attempting to match the complex tempo of the children’s footsteps. With the rhythm, the way they dressed, and the way they spoke, each of those children was showing their true selves to Mr. Williams. Unknowingly, and completely.
The first kids to the door were some of the more energetic of the youth, the local computer geniuses, Al Hawk and Chris Babbage. Surrounded by their small circle of nerd worshippers; Ed Schriber, Edd Schriber, Lila Killinger, and Sorrel Jobs. Despite sitting at the back of the class they always found a way to beat everyone to the door. Williams remembered once overhearing them talk about ‘mapping the school for optimum efficiency’. He assumed that had something to do with their winning the race to the door.
Now they were flinging the door open, and literally leaping between its frame and out the classroom.
After them was Lulu De Pizan, the ‘brown noser’ as her pears liked to call her. She really wasn’t, Williams found her hard to deal with. She was always came up with the most ingenious conclusions on tests, which usually left Williams himself studying to make sure she was correct. Then she would hand in essays when Williams made sure there wasn’t any other homework, in an attempt to give himself a break.
Now she was dodging the flailing feet of the computer geeks and making her way, confidently, out of the classroom.
Following in her wake were the jocks, and Joseph Maxwell talking with each other in whispers juxtaposed by hardy laughs. The jocks didn’t do much more than play football in the summer and hockey in the winter. Their walk was uniform and slow, yet few of the others would move ahead of them. The fear the jocks had mastered over the other children was unfounded, but it provided Williams with moments like this. Moments to see his students in greater detail.
Maxwell appeared to be striking up a deal with the jocks, probably regarding another one of his experiments. Often Maxwell would use his charismatic personality to obtain test subjects for his various science projects, often disguising them as something his “preferred subject” would enjoy taking part in. More often than not they would be harmless, unless he involved the jocks. Williams would be sure to contact Josephs father, Minister Clerk, to ensure whatever this new plan was no one would be harmed.
But for now he was content in watching them sift out the door. All nine of the jocks and Joseph moving in co-operation, like sand in an hour glass with the doorway as their funnel.
Following closely was Penny Beadle, the class cheerleader, looking happy and bright as usual. Williams had a hard time believing it, though. Penny was at the bottom of the pecking order when it came to the cheer leading squad, since all the others in the squad were grade 12. And the only sports minded people in grade 11 were the jocks and Stewart, but penny wouldn’t be caught talking to a ‘bottom-feeder’ like Stew.
Now she was keeping just behind the jocks, doing her best to find a way out.
Coming up next was Basel. Williams was still getting to know her, but from what he’d observed she was depressed. When she’d moved in just over a week ago she was an orphan, coming through on the caravan. She wouldn’t say much about her home, but what she did say was more horrifying than anything Williams had heard of before. He would have offered to take her in, but Minister Clerk assigned her a good place to stay, with the Miller family.
Now she spotted Mr. Williams looking her way and quickly flowed into the mass of jocks, disappearing like a phantom.
Behind where Basel had been, were the art nerds, Anderson Hollis, Jackson Paul, and Sally Dolly, mingling with the journalism kids Dale Coop, and Angela Burton. Although two separate social groups, the five could not be understood without knowing them as one cohesive entity.
They were like a society unto themselves. The artists used the journalists to promote their artwork, the journalists often found their best stories in the artists as well as some good cover art for the paper. More then that, they shared a power over the school that few could claim. Even the jocks, when push came to shove, were at the mercy of the school paper.
Now they were slowly making their way to the door, content to wait behind their much larger and stronger classmates.
An anxious, one eyed, Richard was shifting and weaving trying to make his way through the artists and journalist to, presumably, reach Basel. It seamed like all his movement had disoriented him a little, and he grabbed on to his friends behind him.
Williams was guessing something was up between Richard and Basel. Often they would walk together, to lunch. Whatever choices had led Richard to Sheriff’s house, and lost him his eye, must have lost him his friend as well. Actually, It was better that the two children weren’t speaking. Richards parents had asked Williams to make sure the two kept any interaction to a minimum. Williams wasn’t one to stifle friendships, but when the Talheims ask for something it’s generally expected of you to do it.
Now Richard was regaining his composure and resigning himself to the speed of the classroom exodus.
Lastly there was Liam and Stewart, the slackers of the class. Williams knew they could do anything they put their minds to, and they did when they were outside of the classroom. Still, once their asses met the hard surface of their wooden desk chairs they were like walls instead of students. Even now he could tell by the way they were talking they were doing everything in their power to not do anything. To be honest, Williams felt responsible for their behaviour. He had taught this class when they were in grade 10, and felt as if he could have done more for them back then.
Suddenly, they slipped through the doorway and slammed it shut. The room fell quiet except for a few pieces of paper blown off the shelf next to the door. Williams didn’t bother getting up to sort them out, he’d do that in a few minutes. Right now he simply laid back in his chair, stretched his arms tall and let out a heavy sigh. Then, he leaned forward in his chair, feeling his stomach lurch. Covering his face, he quietly cried.
It’s been finding its way through the process and will be finished before the end of the day. As for Thursdays instalment, That will be here Thursday. :)
Hopefully this weekend I can backlog enough scenes that I won’t be cram editing :D
But don’t worry, it took this long because of my stressing of continuity. So it will be good… or should. Whatever word makes you feel better about yourself.
Finally a chance to delve into the workings of the town. This is just the school structure, but education can really tell allot about a town. In the same way attendance records say things about a student. potentially vague and superficial unless they are an extreme.
But I’m rambling, check out the latest installment!
The school scene where Richard really wants to get out of his seat.
That morning Richards father rose early to join the search team for Lilly. The way he spoke with his friends the search had become almost a chore. It was, to Richard, as if they were acting out a role in a play. Wether it was to preserve hope for Richard and his peers, or some form of denial on the parents behalf. Richard didn’t really care. At least they were still looking.
The school bells chimed a tune across the clear blue sky as a few stragglers rushed in through the doors of Clearly Education Center. There weren’t allot of kids in Clearly, enough to fill about four classrooms, grades 8, 9, 11 and 12.
In total the school had about 120 kids. Last year there had been five grades, but that year’s grade 12 was now in apprenticeships around town. Richard didn’t mind the structure but he found it a bit limited. Especially when their teacher, Mr. Williams, tried teaching geometric proofs. He usually ended up bringing in a substitute for that class.
Richard sat comfortably in his eleventh grade classroom despite the strange stares and constant chatter about his eye. He had already prepared himself for this sort of response. Being a small town it wasn’t hard to assume the reaction to something as out of the ordinary as some kid loosing his eye; especialy if that kid was well known for getting out of the most dubious of situations, unscathed.
Richard had an excellent memory for faces and names, and knew pretty much everyone in every class. He only spoke with a few, and called even fewer friends. Those Friends included; Joseph Maxwell, Benny Frank, Liam Weinberg and Stewart Bell. The last two were standing over his desk, blabbing about something he couldn’t quite care to listen to. Benny was home sick, as usual, and Joseph was flirting with the schools blond bombshell Penny “Lane” Beadle despite his girlfriend, a grade below his, being the most jealous thing in the entire Valley.
Most of Richards attention was centered on the albino girl. A few rows in front of him, her shock white hair hanging over the back of her chair. She was looking through her textbook, apparently studying. Richard had noticed no one had spoken with her since arriving in the classroom. he hadn’t actually seen her outside of class so he only assumed no one had spoken to her at all.
He decided to go over and talk to her, but just as he was about to stand up Stewart slapped him across the back hard enough to make Richard stop to cough for a moment.
“Sorry about that, Richie, but you are gonna tell us all about it right?” Stewart smiled wide.
“It?” Richard asked, confused. The smile on Stewart’s face disappeared.
“Have you been ignoring me? The Cabin!”
“You know he’s not allowed to talk about it, it’s Cabin rules!” Liam gave Stewart the look that was meant to tell him ‘stop being so nosy and invasive’, but the message didn’t get across anyways so Stewart just kept complaining. Richard ignored Stewart again and looked over to Basel.
“Talheim!” A voice bellowed from the door, shaking Richard to the bone. Gui Cuvier, the oldest kid in school and the best athlete was standing in – more like filling up – the doorway. His broad chest covered in a shirt one size to small, showing off his muscular frame perfectly. Richard couldn’t help but think of all the women Gui could get, not that he really cared – but he did.
Gui stomped over to where Richard and his friends were standing. Stewart ran off to talk with Joseph instead, having recently come into bad terms with Gui’s younger brother.
“I don’t care Bell. Seriously.” Gui rolled his eyes and turned back to Richard. “So your rising in the ranks, I hear.”
“Pardon me?” Richard gave him a blank stare.
“The cabin, dude! I’m telling you, you’re gonna have a blast!” Gui sat down in Liam’s (possessive) seat, which was next to Richards. “You should come over to my place some time before we head out, I can give you a few pointers on how to pack. Also some Cabin etiquette I would have liked to know the first time I went.”
“That sounds really great. Thanks Gui.” Richard gave him a nod and tried to make it look mature and manly. Gui just laughed.
“This doesn’t mean you have to grow up Talheim. Trust me.” Gui stood back up and made his way to the door. Without looking back he waved and said “Peace, Dude!” Then he was gone.
Richard looked around and noticed everyone was staring at him. Joseph was the odd one out, he was just looking pissed at the fact that Penny was ogling Richard now. It didn’t matter though, Richard wouldn’t date her even if it was the end of the world.
Richard noticed that Basel was also looking at him. Her expression was blank, but her eyes were saying a million unheard things. Richard was about to stand up again to talk with her when Mr. Williams walked in and started writing on the chalk board and speaking.
“Alright kids, today’s English and writing class is going to focus a bit more on Essay structure.” he turns around to face the class and smiles at Richard. “And since Richard is just rejoining us, he’ll be interested in knowing the new word of the week; Consternation. That is ‘a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion.’ sounds fun!”
Next instalment >
New Schedule, Updates every Tuesday and Thursday! yay!
This scene has a bit of experimentation in it, If you have any comments or critiques about the instalment, and/or more specifically the dream sequence at the end, please share them by any means. :)
Now onto, the late night Internet scene.
Richard Sat alone in his room. swivelling in his chair, staring into the darkness. A pale moon shone through a thin slit between the brown drapes that hung over his window. Shining it’s light across half a picture frame, illuminating his fathers face. His serious expression contrasted by a small smirk across his lips as he holds up the head end of a giant bass. In the darkened half of the photo Richard knew he was standing there holding the other half of the fish, smiling wide.
Richard shifted the drapes to close them, when a shadow caught his eye. Across the gravel road and behind Stewart’s house, at the edge of the woods, the darkness leaped and climbed about in twisted, jarring movements. Then a bright flash and the bang of a shotgun came from Stewart’s backyard. The shadows flinched and danced about in the trees, then disappeared.
Nothing happened for some time, Richard just sat there thinking about Lilly and the new girl, Basel. He would have to find some time to talk with the albino girl, if it was true she’d had something to do with the dogfight at Sheriffs.
Having a hard time falling asleep, he decided to turn on his monitor and started up the Internet browser. Richard accessed a video sharing website and sifted through some of the tittles. He stopped on a clip from a crime show he liked to watch, set in a far away city called New York.
Richard moved from video to video, sometimes music sometimes TV clips. Clicking his quick keys for return whenever he came across a fatal error, which was often. He checked out a Vlog from someone in a place called Regina, Saskatchewan who’d apparently just tasted the best sushi in town.
At some point he realized it was passed two in the morning. He decided to watch one more video before heading to bed, making sure to tell his body not to get back into the grind. Then the light in the hallway turned on, shining through the space at the bottom of the door. Richard heard foot steps walking up to the door, they were his fathers. Heavy and consistent. They stopped just before the door, shadows cast where the feet were. Richard just looked down at them. Nervous tension mixed with tired delirium forced his mind to think of his childhood.
Images of his fathers steady finger wagging and wagging, his hand falling to the side of Richard’s own face. He fell back, farther into his memories and he was with his father at Skinner Lake, but Richard knew this had never happened. Still, he remembered being naked and covered in the gritty red water. Coughing up the same liquid from his lungs.
His father, hidden in the fog of his mind knelt next to him. Others stood far away, at the point where the docks began. They were saying something, chanting. Then the tubes, flailing everywhere. And blood dripping from Richards arms and legs and the back of his head and spine. His muscles ached.
How old was I? Richard was falling further into the dream. “Get some rest” came his fathers voice from somewhere in the distance. “Get some rest” it echoed. What am I thinking? The past and the present were blurring together. Why is everything so hot?
Lilly’s face appeared to him then, emerging from the waters of Skinner Lake. Her eyes were dark and she began shouting nonsense. Then there were the tubes again. Then the pale skin of Basel came into view as she grabbed at him, and they were running through the woods. Unearthly screams came from behind them. Gunfire rang through his ears. He fell into darkness, Basel by his side.
They fell into infinity, the world gone and only their bodies holding close to each other. Everything was wrong, but Richard knew the future would turn out all right.
Suddenly Richards alarm buzzed loudly. He was in bed and the sun was shining through the gap in his drapes. He felt cold and his body was sweating. He feared that the dream would fade, and at first it felt as if it would. He spoke it out loud and slowly, but surely, he forced it into his memory. He knew now that he must speak with Basel. She was the only one who could make sense of the twisted fragments in Richards mind.
So a quick message from me before we get into the story.
first off, I’m starting up a schedule where you’ll get two installments a week.
Secondly, I have a very serious request that will need a few paragraphs to explain.
I’m moving, looking for a place, looking for work to pay for this place, and trying to eat and all those other “life necessities” that many artists tend have trouble keeping up with. And the fact that I have three projects on the go that I’m giving away for free (A documentary channel, a web-comic, and Skinner Lake.) I’m facing a dilemma.
I’m going to have to either cut back, monetize, or ask for donations on these projects. Donations seam like the best choice right now, since it means you can pay if you can, and only as much as you feel it’s worth. See the Paypal button at the top of the page.
To re-assure you as best I can, I do have a plot-line for this story. There is a logical progression of events taking place already, and the valley has so many mysteries that want to be revealed, I’m already anxious. lol.
I hope you don’t feel this is an unreasonable request, I know the story is only in its infancy but I have already put a lot of work and heart into it and I always look forward to sharing my work with my readers.
SO! without further a due. the fourth installment of Skinner Lake. The supper scene.
6:00, dinner was served. Richards mother had cooked Chicken, seasoned with lemon and a local herb called Stumpweed. placed breast side down in a pan so as to allow gravity to pull the juices into the breast meet. Then there were mashed potatoes mixed with butter, a salad of spinach, peas, garlic and olive oil for dressing. Lastly, the meal was topped off with a choice of goats milk from Mr. Kamps farm, or mint tea.
The table had been dressed in Ms. Talheim’s finest table cloth, The one she normally used for holidays and other special occasions. It was her way of trying to make a hard situation better. Richard watched his father methodically eat through his meal, Picking up one peace at a time; starting with the chicken, moving on to the potatoes, then to the salad. Chewing each peace exactly ten times before swallowing and picking up the next. Richard kept an eye on the clock, it took his father exactly 22 minutes and 13 seconds to finish the entire dish. Then his father looked over at his son.
“You’ve barely touched anything. Eat up now, your mother worked hard on this meal.” His low, solid tone of voice was not demanding, it was more like he was stating a fact. Richard knew to take it as such and started to eat.
His fork didn’t hit the right spot more often then it did. But there was enough chicken that he still got something. Getting it in his mouth wasn’t as hard, but he still fumbled the first few times and now and again after that.
Richards mind wandered still, as he ate. He looked around the room, seeing it now without any depth of field was strange. It felt like he was looking at a photograph, almost surreal. Looking at actual photographs started to feel like he was looking through windows into the past. Strange still moments in time that weren’t any less flat then the world around him.
Richard came to as his fathers fork dug into his potatoes and tasted them. The invasion set him on edge and he almost let his face show his irritation, but he kept his cool.
“These potatoes have gone cold, what did I tell you.”
“Sorry, I’ll still eat them.”
“No, you’ll eat your food while it’s warm. This will go in the trash.” With that his father stood up and took the plate into the kitchen. It was supposed to make Richard feel guilty, he knew that, so he acted the part, but really he was glad. Eating just made him feel like he was going to puke.
Mr. Talheim didn’t say much more, but he did take his time before excusing his son from the table. Once Richard had gone up stairs, his wife held his hand and they spoke.
“You didn’t have to take his food, he’s going through allot right now.”
“Pity won’t do him any good Martha, you have to be consistent with the boy. Besides he’s been through enough in his life time, he’ll get through this as well.”
“I dunno, with the past two weeks…” she stopped, as if she was about to mention something forbidden, “and this Basel girl. I’m not sure what we can do about her.”
“She won’t speak with him, she knows better now.”
“But what if he speaks to her, David. What if he starts investigating again.” Martha placed her hand on her husbands shoulder. Her concerned tone of voice made its way into the mans body and for a moment his face took on an expression of concern, it was short lived.
“If – IF that happens, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I’ll keep him on the right track, don’t you worry.”
My editor pointed out to me that Richard takes quite a while to address Lilly. We discussed it and his disorientation after scene two doesn’t really justify this in my personal opinion.
so I say to her “Thanks allot! you have me all obsessed over this now! :P” lol.
You’ll also notice I shifted the paragraph that describes Richards mothers dress over to this chapter. I will edit this paragraph out of the third instalment at a later date.
Now, on to part 2.5!
(I will do my best to avoid decimal updates, but this is a must this time.)
Richard regained consciousness fairly quickly, and by the time his parents arrived at the doctors office he was sitting up and talking. The sheriff had already gone, from the tone of Doctor French’s voice, he’d made sure of that.
His mother entered the room without his father, who avoided French like the plague. Or perhaps, to avoid finding out he had the plague, whichever way you looked at it doctors weren’t friends of Mr. Talheim.
His mother was wearing her flowery Sunday dress; the one she wore whenever something important happened, except to funerals. She had a black suit for those occasions. As she approached her son, Richard opened his mouth to ask something, but his mother responded on an assumption. “He’s in the car, wanted to finish a radio program.”
Richard shrugged the interruption off and said “Has there been a search for Lilly? Did you find her yet?” Despite the hopefulness in his voice, something in the back of Richards mind was telling him she was gone.
“Well, there’ve been search parties out there every day Honey. Don’t you remember?”
“Not really, mom. I can’t remember much from the past two weeks.” He looked into her eyes and saw his mothers concern. She looked over to Doctor French for answers.
“It’s natural for anyone to experience memory loss from a traumatic event like this. Chances are his memories will come back to him.” French walked over to his desk and picked up a card. “Until they do, he’ll need to see Karoline, to deal with any anxiety’s or stresses.” Doctor French handed the town psychiatrists calling card to Richards mother, She took it and thanked Doctor French.
“I don’t need to see Karoline, Doc, honest.” Richard said with a sly grin, but French didn’t buy it.
“Now Richard, don’t you go taking after your father with his aversion to the doctors office. This is important.” He chuckled and smiled, then walked back over to his desk and scribbled some notes into a shiny black notebook . Richard noticed how different it was from the rest of the light blue decor.
“Your father’s going out with the guys again later today, to looks for Lilly. We should get home so he can get ready.” Ms. Talheim said with her sweetest voice. She helped Richard down from the chair and they both walked over to the door.
“Go to the car hun.” She told Richard, and he went on ahead of her.
“Tell your husband to drive slow, will you?” French spoke to her, now looking through his notebook and referencing various things. “The boy shouldn’t really be in a car at all right now.”
“Is it dangerous?” She walked over to where French was standing and peaked over his shoulder. He snapped the book shut.
“Oh, no. It may be extremely uncomfortable though.”
“Oh, well I’ll be sure to tell David that.” She turned and walked over to the doorway. then turned back into the room one last time. “French, do you mind if I ask you something?”
“If you hear anything about why Richy was at Sheriffs place you come straight to me, okay?” She smiled, stiff and sweet, at the doctor, who nodded in reply.
“Will do ma’am.” He returned her smile in kind, and she left the room.