Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Excerpts from the beginning of CAUTION: This is a Book (2007-2009)

    In the yellow mountains of Promanganjubule there are tunnels leading deep into the ground, where short little men with armor dig with hammers to uncover useless sparkly things. The tunnels are small as the little men, sometimes smaller, forcing them to crawl toward their destinations, which are either a) jewels, b) food, c) battles, d) jewels, or e) jewels. It is rumored these little men don’t reproduce by the standard method, simply popping out of the ground and into existence. They are called by most others who can talk ‘dwarves’, which comes from phrases describing the characteristics of the little men, ‘do war’ and ‘dig for jewels’. Other have been known to call them ‘ugly people’, ‘mountain shorties’, ‘weird little mountain guys that wear armor even when underground how do they survive the heat?’ or simply ‘little men’, though in fact they share few characteristics of men, point-in-fact they don’t seem to have any women. It’s further said they’ve evolved out of having eyes from spending so long underground. Dwarves exist in mountains besides yellow ones, but the ones in Promanganjubule are particularly special to this story. The dwarf king at this time, meaning the one dwarf whom the others actually pay attention to, had Thoughts. Bad, bad, thing to do. His evil little mind got a-whirling, devising an evil plan. One dark and stormy night, unfelt by the dwarves in their tunnels, this dwarf king Ramajuju stood in a grand chamber, behind him a giant mirror twenty times his size and a huge lever two times his size.
    “My dwarves!” he called, pounding his breastplate with his calloused hands, “I have a plan!”
    “A plan…”
    “A plan…” the words echoed around the chamber.
    “Tonight, with this Lever-and-Mirror Thingy--“ he pointed dramatically “—we will conquer the world!”
    “Conquer…” echoed his statement.
    “We dwarves have always been stuck underground, away from the sun and treasures of the upper world. Why should other creatures have these things that we do not? Even the mighty dragon gets treasure, caves, and the outside world! Spurred by this indignation, this travesty, this injustice, I have built this mirror to reflect upon the world. When I pull the lever, it will open for us!”
    “Open…” came the calls, lacking any outcry against the use of mercury.
    Ramajuju placed his gauntleted hand on the lever, taking in a deep breath through his beard. “See the glory of the dwarves, and rejoice!”
    He pressed down on the lever.
    … Undaunted, he put both hands on and pushed with all his might. “See the glory of the dwarves!”
    … Still undaunted, he hung from the lever to the satisfaction of it giving a slight creak. “See the glory!”
    The lever came down still more, while “Glory…” sounded through the empty chamber.
    “See the--“ he managed once more to say before the whole thing smashed to the ground, throwing him away with a flash of brilliant light. It was done; this evil could never again be removed from the world, this evil of the Mirror….
Caution: This is a Book.
    I woke up screaming in my bed, sheets wound around my legs, streamy sweat on my brow from thrashing in my sleep. The screams died as coughing prevailed, remnant of the cold I was just getting over. Breathing heavily, not sure how I ended up with any sheets on my bed at all, I kicked them off. I distinctly remember turning on the fan, stripping the bed, going to sleep in nothing but my underclothes. The summer had been brutal, but the last couple days had been the highest temperatures the state ever faced. I was still in my underclothes, which was weird to me and made me feel uncomfortably exposed, but I couldn’t hear the fan. I looked at the clock and read through the sweat dripping in my eyes that it was just past dawn. Dammit. Getting to sleep in this heat wave was near impossible. It was a miracle I’d done it, I’d never be able to do it again....

    Logically the only solution left to me is to watch TV, wasting away on the couch with chips and soda watching worthless shows my mind doesn't even have to process they're so lame. I devised a plan to steal Marn's, it sounded so appealing to me. Unfortunately he's been keeping close guard on the thing, I suspect he could almost hear my motives through the walls. Port and Gina don't have TVs either, which makes me stuck. Already the second day of vacation, and I've done nothing fun. I tried walking around the first day in town, willing my body to not melt, to no avail. That's how I led myself to wasting the first day of vacation: I saw an ugly bookstore and sort of oozed inside, feeling my parts reform as the AC hit me. Holding my hands to the vent in thanks I didn't at first notice the old man sitting at the desk.
    "Whacha read?"
    I jumped about two feet in the air, his voice sounded so much like a bird's squawk.
    "Nothing," I said quickly, only realizing what he'd asked when he fixed his piercing eyes on me.
    I squirmed. "Um... comics and fantasy? But I never have any time," I blurted. "School, you know."
    His narrow eyes got narrower. I strode confidently over to a shelf.
    "But it's summer break." There were worse things than flipping through old books... like going back outside. "Don't you have anything new? All this stuff stinks. It smells like my grandma's old attic."
    Lips pursed in silence, he got down from his stool and stared up at me. In middle school, Kindergartners were taller than me. This old guy was like a dried up bean. I edged away from him, as if his tiny gnarly hands would suddenly shoot out. Instead he reached into his long coat and pulled out a dusty paperback. "This."
    I wrinkled my nose. "Do normal people keep books hidden in their coats?"
    His mouth opened showing perfect teeth... like a hyena.
    I took the book, my tongue sticking out. "It's still old, though not as much as you."
    He didn't change his grin. I looked at the title. "Cookies? What type of title is that? I'm not a baby."
    I pushed the book back into his hands, whence he returned it to his coat. His other hand slid into the same spot and pulled out a different book. This one looked like it had just come off the presses. I snatched it and flipped through. It even smelled new.
    "This is more like it."
    His lips closed, but he was still grinning. It felt like he would growl any moment. Eeew! I had a bad feeling about the whole thing.
    "Ok, I'll take it."

[Wallowing in self-pity, t]he tears kept flowing out of me, cooling my cheeks, cooling my neck, cooling my back... they died down as I felt wonderfully cool, like I was floating in water.... My eyes sprang open to see the floorboards level with my nose. I flailed, trying to grab onto something. All my hands found was that stupid book.
    "What the hell!" I screamed as I slipped through the floor, still in my underclothes.

Don’t try to tell me I could’ve figured it out, that ‘Book’ is an acronym standing for something stupid like ‘Bring Over to Other Kreality’ or whatever word you can think of that starts with K. It can’t be the book’s got anything to do with how I ended up sinking through a silvery substance and landing heels over head at the top of a hill and rolling the way down painfully. Grass is cushy, boney legs aren’t. I’m the kind of person who, by right, should be fat. But I don’t like shopping, cooking, or spending money, so it’s not like I’m thin ‘pretty figure’ thin, probably just malnourished.
    After figuring out how to put myself right up, finding I was still holding the book, I threw it to vent my frustration and confusion. It helped little. Whimpering slightly, I wondered if I’d broken anything.
    “What the hell?” I repeated, rubbing my side and viewing my surroundings. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any hidden plains of grass under my apartment. It was pitch black, the formerly rising sun nowhere to be seen. I looked up, half-expecting to see a ceiling, half not surprised to see stars. For the first time in my life I wished, for a brief moment, I knew some constellations. Ah, that would be too much work. There were too many stars to distinguish anything anyway.
    Around me wasn’t much of anything else helpful. “Grass, grass, darkness, and yes, grass. Just kill me now!” I screamed, falling over on the grass. At least it was nice and cool. So nice and cool, in fact, that I closed my eyes in appreciation and promptly fell asleep.

I started CAUTION in 2007 on a school computer, and continued writing sections here and there until in 2009 I finally sat down, completed the book, edited it a little, and sent it into a publisher (first EVER). It was rejected 4 months later, no surprise. It's just so fun to write! I can't sacrifice that for solid plot and intricate characters, right?

1 comment:

  1. Nothing to do with this story....just didnt know how to get in touch. I am Andy Street the composer of the piano music you said you liked in a review. I may be able to find the sheet music for you if you're interested. ANdy
    My website is if you'd like to contact me.