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Sunday Scribble – “Evolution”

Evolution

An older couple entered the lobby. I sat back in my seat from behind the counter, watching them walk forward with the kind of “We’re too old to give a shit about anything” air. A teenage boy shuffled in behind them, making no effort to hide his awe of the facility. His wandering gaze eventually spotted me and he beamed. One side of my lips quirked in response before my eyes returned to my book. Firm footsteps reached my ears and I glanced back up to see Dr. Levi catch up to the couple with an outstretched hand.

“Hello,” Dr. Levi said, and introduced himself. “This must be young Edward. How are you today, young man?”

“Fine.” Edward’s tone was light, confident, but curt. His hands were stuffed in his pockets and his torso was angled back toward the exit.

“Good to hear.” The doctor smiled at the teenager before returning his attention to the older couple. “Thank you for coming here today. I’m sure you’re curious as to why we are interested in your grandson.”

“You said it had to do with his music,” the grandfather said. “Is it all the rock and rap crap that he listens to nowadays? See, Edith, I told you that stuff would rot his brain.”

“It’s a freedom of expression, Hank,” the grandma retorted. Her raspy voice cracked when she had tried to speak louder. “As long as he’s not smoking, drinking, or going out and selling his body–”

“Nana!” Edward, with his face burning, reached over and settled a hand on his grandmother’s shoulder. To me, it looked as if he wanted to reach further and cover up her mouth.

Dr. Levi cleared his throat. “Well, that’s not exactly why we contacted you… Have you folks ever heard of mutants?”

“What, is that a new drug?” Hank asked.

“No, not at all,” the doctor said. “See, when a species evolves–”

“Evolution is blasphemy,” Edith interrupted, her lips pursing, and I thought she would spit on Dr. Levi’s shoes for even uttering the word. Edward’s head dropped into his hands as she ranted. “If you were a God-fearing Christian, you would know that. When was the last time you stepped foot in a church?”

Dr. Levi took a step back and realized that the other doctors had disappeared, none willing to help him with the crotchety old couple.

“Last Sunday,” I said. Hank jumped at the sound of my voice and I waved when he looked my way. I continued on. “God created us, yes, but he had to give us the ability to adapt to this growing world, right? I mean, He promised He wouldn’t destroy this world again, so we need some help to keep up with the changes.”

“Girlie, you’re saying that evolution is an act of God?” Edith asked.

I shrugged. “It must be,” I said. “I’m proof of that. And so is your grandson.”

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Posted by on June 11, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Wonder Woman

wonder-woman2

I didn’t realize how much I had needed this movie until I actually saw it.

I grew up with an uncle who had no problem introducing me to the likes of Batman and comic superheroes. While we focused more on the Dark Knight himself and the X-Men from Marvel, Wonder Woman was there in the background. I really got a sense of her when I had started watching the Justice League cartoon. With that said, I was really excited the more I heard about the Wonder Woman movie when it was getting closer to the release date.

Superhero movies are pretty much the norm now in theaters, and I remember being excited when I first heard about the giant plan to bring the Avengers together in an epic series of movies. Yet, while the movies that I saw were excellent, I got a bit burned out with the series. I saw the first two Iron Man movies, Captain America, Thor, the Guardians of the Galaxy and… I think that’s it for the Marvel movies, in all honesty. I would like to catch up one day.

Wonder Woman was the first of the DC movies that I saw, which is a bit surprising considering how much of a Batman fan I am. Of course, I heard that the DC movies were a bit weak compared to Marvel’s movies, but after seeing Wonder Woman, I am more willing to give the DC movies a try, if only to keep up for when Justice League comes out.

Wonder Woman as a movie was fantastic. I adored the story line, Diana herself, Steve Trevor, the supporting characters, the scenery (like, holy sugar, did you see how vibrant and gorgeous Themyscira was?!), and the action sequences, especially the action sequences. Seeing the Amazons charge into battle to protect each other and their home made me tear up.

These women were the epitome of strength and it was about damn time we saw that on the big screen. Because, while Black Widow is important and an awesome character, we need more powerful women fighting the good fight. Like, guys, it’s amazing what you can do and I totally understand how you all can seem so confident and ready to take on a thousand bad guys after seeing a superhero like you do the same.

Because, for the first time in my 27 years of life, I felt the same way.

I felt the same way after seeing Diana Prince unabashedly go out in the world to protect what is dear to her, to simply do something to save the world and the innocent people in it. She exuded confidence and power, perhaps not fully understanding how the world worked, but knowing that she could do something to help.

I’m just so proud of how well this movie has done and I’m so looking forward to more installments with Wonder Woman. I hope everyone else who has seen this movie enjoyed it as well!

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Home

 

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Reboots

I enjoy reading comic books. Combining stories with beautiful pictures was always fascinating to me.

Growing up, thanks to my uncle’s influence, I read a few superhero comics like Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I also fell in love with the Archie comics. The goofy situations of the perpetual high schoolers always amused me and I loved the friendship dynamic of the characters. For years, my uncle would get me a year’s worth of a subscription for the Archie comics. We recently stopped them only due to me not being able to spend as much time just lounging around and reading the comics lately.

25852959Nevertheless, I still pick up a digest of the comics every once in a while and, recently, my family and I visited the Amazon Bookstore where I picked up Volume One of the new Archie comics. I had mixed feelings on the reboot only due to nostalgia, but I was able to appreciate the new art style and the fact that the writers wanted to reach out to newer readers.

Volume One has the first six issues and I enjoyed the characters, finding many of them to be fairly true to the original series. There are a couple of characters (side characters, mind you) that I’m annoyed at for causing unnecessary strife, but I suppose it’s on par for high school conflicts. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t mind picking up the next volume at some point to see how the story continues.

Seeing how the comic book industry almost always has reboots going on — especially superhero series! — reminds me of when a novel itself goes through a rewrite. Novels go through several drafts, sometimes completely changing itself from the first draft to the last.

How many reboots and rewrites do your stories tend to go through until you deem them as finished?

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Home

 

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Superhero Story

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Home

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Ripple Effect Part Four”

Ripple Effect
Part Four

“You could stay an extra hour tonight if you want.”

I glanced at the register’s clock as I loaded up my tray with table nineteen’s coffees, muffins, and someone’s omelet, and realized I was only halfway through my shift. My eyes strayed to Betty’s carefully neutral face, but her façade cracked under my raised eyebrow. She knew the you-have-got-to-be-kidding look. She invented it.

“And how much will you pay me to want to stay?” I asked sarcastically before strolling through the restaurant to my table. Plastering on my fake smile, I passed out the patrons’ food, politely asked if they needed anything else, and bit back a groan as someone complained about needing a new fork because theirs had a spot on it. I mentioned that I would be more than happy to get them a clean fork and spun on my heel to return to the hostess’s podium and the kitchen beyond.

“Josh, a customer said you didn’t clean the forks,” I said as I tossed the offending utensil into the sink. The dishwasher glared at it before scrubbing the little spot off and handing it back to me.

“There’s a certain place you could tell her to shove–”

“Before you say anything else, remember that you would have to clean it,” I said before escaping back onto the restaurant floor and nearly running into Betty.

“So, is that a no?” she asked in regards to her earlier question. I returned the fork to the old lady, whom deemed it acceptable before using it on her muffin, and went back to Betty.

“Although I would love to volunteer more of my life to Rise and Shine,” I said, “I actually have plans tonight.”

“What, you close to the boss on one of those games you always play?”

I rolled my eyes before smiling at a young family that entered the restaurant. Betty greeted them and led them to table twelve while I went to the kitchen to see if table seventeen’s orders were ready. It took about fifteen minutes before Betty and I could exchange sentences again.

“I meant I actually have plans with other human beings,” I said. It was her turn to raise an eyebrow and I frowned. “I don’t spend every night on my computer!”

“I’m surprised,” she said dryly. Then she grinned. “Our little Sierra has a date?”

“No,” I said. I grabbed the pitcher of fresh coffee that one of the cooks put on the table by the kitchen entrance and stuffed a fistful of cups of cream into my apron pocket. I took my time going around my tables and making small talk with the customers while I freshened up coffees.

“Then what are your plans?” Betty asked when I returned from cleaning up a table. I glanced at her while pooling the tips that were left behind in the jar hidden in the hostess’s podium.

“Why are you so nosy?” I asked in return.

“Not nosy,” she said, “just curious.”

“I’m going to a friend’s place for dinner,” I said. “That’s all.”

“Dinner?” Betty’s eyes widened and she wore a grin that would have made a fox proud. “What kind of dinner?”

“Not breakfast food,” I muttered, taking the tray of cinnamon rolls that a cook handed me at the kitchen’s threshold. I delivered the rolls to table twenty, and Betty followed me.

“What is wrong with breakfast food?” she asked. With her hands on her hips and a twinkle in her eyes, she was the image of an aunt who appeared stern in front of your parents but gave you candy behind their backs.

Directing my smile at the customers while I handed out their rolls, I said, “Absolutely nothing. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Is there anything else I can get you folks?” After the customers assured Betty and me that they were fine, we returned to the front of the restaurant.

“I think we’re having vegetable lasagna,” I said. “His housemate is rumored to be a good cook.”

“Maybe I’ll hire him,” Betty said. “Wait a minute, you’re going to have dinner with a boy at his place, and this isn’t a date?”

“I assure you it is not a date,” I said, “just a gathering between friends.”

“Uh-huh.”

“You don’t sound as if you believe me.”

“You know me too well.”

I huffed and startled one of the cooks when I snatched a plate of hash browns from her for table eighteen. Betty didn’t try to ask me any other questions (not that I stuck around her enough to let her), but her eyes still held that annoying twinkle. The end of my shift could not have come soon enough, and by the time my relief came, I was ready to grab my share of the tips and run out of there.

The clock read quarter-to-three when I walked into my apartment. I contemplated collapsing on my couch for a bit, but I dragged myself into the shower to get a head-start on getting ready for the dinner. It was discouraging how long it took me to pick out an outfit. Really, it was a casual dinner between friends – I shouldn’t have worried so much about how I looked. I knew it wasn’t a date (honestly, how many people invited their housemates to stick around for a date?), but a dinner at Alex’s place seemed like something of a special occasion.

On the other hand, they’re men. I was probably over thinking the situation.

With a sigh, and a chime of the clock that indicated it was three-thirty, I threw on a pair of my favorite jeans and a blouse. After giving myself one last look-over in the mirror, I grabbed my keys and headed back out of my apartment. I wondered what Alex could have created that was too big for his precious duffel bag. My inner geek started getting excited at the possibilities. Maybe he built a replica of the Batmobile!

It was about five minutes to four when I found the house. It was a modest ranch house, the kind that would be thought of whenever one talked about the perfect life with the perfect significant other and the perfect two-point-five kids. Although it looked nice, it didn’t seem like Alex’s kind of place and I double-checked the address just to be sure. I think I was expecting an automated gate or a robot to greet me.

When I rang the doorbell, I knew it was the right place. The buzzer sounded exactly like the first few notes of the original X-Men cartoon theme song.

I stood on the front steps and, after a few minutes of silence, doubt soon started to creep in again and my anxiety rose. Like déjà vu of our first meeting, I started wondering if I had the right date, time, house—

A slam of a car door made me jump, and I whirled around toward the driveway. A man that was definitely not Alex was gazing at me curiously while taking a few grocery bags out of the passenger seat. He was taller and darker than Alex, with evident muscles along his bare arms. He looked the opposite of the guy I was expecting to see.

“I hope you’re Sierra,” he said when he caught up to me at the front door, “otherwise I’ll have to chase you off.”

A voice in the back of my head reminded me that Alex had a housemate, and I found my voice. “Yeah, I’m Sierra Parker. Uh, can I help you with the bags–”

He actually dropped the bags on the steps, not worried about anything being ruined, as he fished his keys out of his pocket. “I’m experienced enough in carrying them myself,” he said while opening the front door. “Darrien Lukas. C’mon in.”

“Thanks…” The door led to a small mudroom, and I copied Darrien when he kicked off his sneakers before following him down the hallway. We emerged in a small living room with a television, a couch, a bookshelf, and a punching bag in the corner. The bag was patched with duct tape, and the books’ spines were creased and worn from being read so often. I smiled at how comfortable the place seemed. It was homier than my parents’ pristine house.

Darrien had gone to the right to the kitchen and was simultaneously putting groceries away and preparing dinner. “Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked.

He gave me a crooked smile, but shook his head. “Thanks, but no. After Alex burned down half of our last stove, I don’t trust anyone else in here.” His smile widened at my horrified expression before he said, “Speaking of Alex, let me find him. I thought he would have appeared by now.”

I followed Darrien across the living room to a closed door next to the last hallway. “Wait up here,” he said. “There’s no telling what he’s up to down there.”

I smiled at Darrien’s smirk and he went down to the basement. Out of curiosity, I glanced further down the hallway. A washer and dryer were settled in a nook at the very end while a door on either side of the hallway led to what I assumed to be the guys’ bedrooms. Closer to me was the bathroom and I was startled and amused to see duct tape decorating the door around the handle.

Maybe the “Pen o’ Doom” existed after all.

The floor suddenly shook, and I braced myself against the wall to keep from falling. It only lasted for a couple of seconds, causing me to wonder if the tiny earthquake even happened. Darrien returned from the basement, his head shaking. “Sorry about that,” he said, his tone so casual it made me believe the house shook on a regular basis. “Alex will be up in a bit. Make yourself at home.”

I nodded and followed Darrien back through the house and took a seat on the couch while he went back to the kitchen. Instead of staying quiet, he asked me random questions about myself (“So, are you as big a geek as Alex?”) while also telling me little tidbits about his life.

“How did Alex and you become housemates?” I asked.

“We’ve known each other since we were kids.” Darrien glared at a zucchini that didn’t want to be cut up. “We were both the weird ones out, I suppose.”

I frowned. “I’m sorry. Kids can be mean.”

He shrugged, unperturbed, and got a very large knife out of a drawer and killed the stubborn vegetable. “We were fine. He pulled pranks on those that bothered me, and I beat up anyone who bothered him.”

“Sounds like a good system,” I said dryly. He gave me another smirk. “Okay, now I have the ultimate question.”

“The ‘ultimate,’ huh?” Darrien didn’t look up at me as he placed zucchini slices on the bed of noodles.

“Batman or Superman?”

He actually chuckled. “Superman. Alex has yet to convince me otherwise.”

“Why Superman?” I asked.

“He doesn’t appreciate all of Batman’s technology.” Alex finally emerged from his dungeon and gave me a sheepish grin. “Sorry I took so long, Sierra. I was doing some last-minute adjustments on my virtual reality system.”

I sat up straighter and looked at Alex in wonder. “Virtual reality?”

He beamed and his eyes shone with excitement. “Yeah! It’s–”

“You have soot in your hair,” Darrien interrupted. “Go clean yourself up. You can gush about your child during dinner.”

Alex ran a hand through his hair and sneezed when a touch of ash fell onto his nose. “Uh, right. I’ll be back then. Not that either of you may care since you’re getting along so well.”

We shared a grin, it being obvious that Alex was pleased with the development. Darrien’s monotonous tone said, “That’s right, so go away.”

“Okay, okay…!” Within a few minutes, the shower was running and Darrien had joined me on the couch.

“Do you know about his virtual reality system?” I asked excitedly.

“I make it a point to know all about his creations in the event that something knocks the house to the ground,” Darrien said. “I actually tried it out. It’s pretty cool, but I’m sure Alex will want to tell you all about it.”

I conceded to his point, but it was painful to make small talk when the idea of virtual reality was in the front of my mind. No, it wasn’t a new concept, but if Alex could make a laser pen…

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “After Effect Part 2”

After Effect
Part 2

Her bedroom was twice the size of the room she had become a squatter in back in the heart of the city. Of course, there was a second bed, and she was told not to get too used to having the room to herself. Apparently there was another girl that was slated to be her roommate within the next couple of days.

Hazel tossed her backpack onto the single bed next to the window and dropped her suitcase by the door. She pursed her lips at the plain bureau of drawers, of the neutral tan walls, of the gray carpet. Within a few minutes, she had her pencils and an old sketchbook out of her backpack where she began to scribble.

By the time someone had knocked on her door, her walls had purple stripes running diagonally across them, her carpet was a rich red, and her bureau had golden polka dots. When she called him in, the navy haired young man that had entered her room gazed around with an expression that was a cross between impressed and exasperated.

“Didn’t take too long to redecorate,” he commented, bringing his blue gaze back down to her.

Hazel grinned up at him. “It doesn’t take me too long to do much with these.” She waved around her sketchbook and pencil.

That earned her a crooked smile from the man. “I’m Roy. Roy Kingsley.”

“Hazel White.” She gave him a mock salute. “Are you the official welcoming committee? I mean, after that Willow girl? ”

“Not usually,” was Roy’s response. Hazel grinned, liking the honesty. “I was picked to come get you for dinner, though. Shall we?”

“Sure.” Hazel abandoned her supplies, kicked her suitcase out of the way, and reached Roy’s side. “It’s nice to be escorted to dinner by such a handsome guy.”

Roy gave her smile that was only polite as he walked beside her down the long hallway. Nonetheless, Hazel grinned and asked, “So, what do you do? Everyone around here does something fancy, right?”

“I’m hydrokinetic,” Roy said. “I do stuff with water. Control it, turn into it, shape it…” He ended his simple explanation with a shrug.

“Willow explained how she has a rapport with animals and shapeshifts,” Hazel said, wanting to hear Roy talk some more. “I also met Alex, who said he doesn’t do anything… Is that true?”

“Supposedly,” Roy said, “but he’s one of the smartest guys here. A few of my old classmates thought he had super intelligence, but the other teachers say that’s just him rather than an activated mutant gene.”

“Well, he’s smart enough to hang around mutants.”

“He helped found this place,” Roy said. “It was actually almost all him while the other teachers played the role of assistants.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Hazel said, but Roy shook his head. “How can a human do all this for mutants?”

“His smarts and motivation,” was Roy’s response. “The other teachers are his best friends. More, in the case of Darrien. Did you meet anyone else yet besides Alex and Willow?”

“Just you.” Hazel gave him a playful nudge, to which he only gave her a crooked smile. It seemed that the physical familiarity that Hazel was giving him only made him uncomfortable. With that conclusion, she looped her arm around his. She ignored how he stiffened at the contact. “How many others are around here?”

“A fair amount,” Roy said, shoving his hands into his pockets, but allowing Hazel’s arm to remain where it was. “A few of my classmates have moved on, but some of them are still around to help out with your class.”

“Anyone special to you?” She smiled up at him as he raised an eyebrow down at her.

He gave her the unexpected, “Yes,” as the pair entered the dining room. The two were separated among the crowd as Hazel allowed herself to get swept up by a few teenagers closer to her age. She was shown the buffet-style dinner, going through the line to pick out what she liked to eat, before finding herself seated between a girl with hair that kept shifting length as it helped her grab condiments from down the table and a boy who was cutting up his meat with his elongated fingernails.

Hazel spotted Roy sitting in between Willow and another man about their age, and smiled as she began to eat. She could get used to a place like this.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “After Effect”

After Effect

Roy watched as the cab drove away, leaving the young girl alone at the edge of the mansion’s driveway. She was glancing about the expansive grounds with only a suitcase and a backpack to her name before she trudged up the walkway to the front door. The echo over the doorbell rang over Roy’s head, but he didn’t move until she was already inside the house. Vaguely, he thought he heard Willow’s enthusiastic greeting rise through the open window and he shook his head fondly as he imagined Willow explaining in rapid detail what exactly happened at the Ripple Effect grounds.

“What can she do?” Roy glanced back at Sierra as he spoke, seeing the older woman typing on one of her computers while a second behind her scrolled on. No doubt Sierra was working on multiple projects again.

“What did she look like?” Sierra asked in return. Her gaze never wavered from her computer screen.

Roy knew Sierra’s mental rapports with the security systems around the manor had already told her who had just entered the mansion. “She was probably almost as tall as me,” Roy rattled off, “tanned skin, long dark hair kept down…”

“And?”

“Casually dressed,” Roy said, “in clothes that looked a bit worn down from what I could tell. She didn’t walk in a rush, but she wasn’t hesitating either, like she has nowhere else to be and isn’t afraid of a new place. Didn’t have many possessions, likely having come from a background where she didn’t have or didn’t need much. She came alone.”

Sierra’s eyes finally looked at him, but her typing never ceased. “Conclusions?”

“She came from a home,” Roy said, “either an orphanage or a foster system… Like me.”

The click-clacking stopped and Sierra gave him a crooked smile. “That’s one scenario,” she said. “Excellent observations, Roy. Most of them are true.”

Sierra glanced at the printer on one of her shelves and it turned on with her mental command. As the machine spewed out reports, Sierra continued speaking to Roy. “Rather than come from a foster home,” she said, “Hazel White was found on the streets in the city. She was a squatter in one of the abandoned clinics that are scheduled for demolition on the city’s outskirts. She earned money by drawing.”

Roy raised an eyebrow. “Drawing? She did portraits?”

“Of a sort,” Sierra said. “Her drawings are animated. That is her gift. Most assumed it was magic, merely illusions when her chalk birds flew off of the sidewalk.”

“Interesting.” Roy shoved his hands in his pockets. “Why did you feel the need to tell me all this about her?”

“You always were one of our most perceptive students,” Sierra said. “We’d like you to mentor her.”

“You’re joking.” Roy shook his head. “Why would you want me to do that? Eddie would be better at making someone else feel at home than me.”

“We have a few more students scheduled to join us,” Sierra said, “and Eddie will be a mentor for one of them. However, we feel as if Hazel will do well under your tutelage. You both come from similar backgrounds—”

“We’re both orphans,” Roy deadpanned.

Sierra carried off as if he said nothing. “And you have learned the importance of using your gift for defensive purposes, something that Hazel needs to learn. She can be reckless with her powers and doesn’t understand the danger she imposes on the world.” Sierra paused. “We found Hazel because she had drawn and brought to life a dragon in the middle of the park. She set it on a man that, as far as we are aware, had heckled her skills. Josh and Willow had lured the chalk dragon into one of the ponds in order to stop it, and Hazel was more upset about the loss of her dragon than the fact that it had nearly crushed a man.

“You used to have similar feelings for the world,” Sierra said pointedly, and Roy didn’t deny her words. “We feel as if you both could benefit from this mentorship.”

Roy ran a hand through his hair. “Nothing that I say will convince you to rethink this, would it?” She shook her head. “Then I won’t argue. When should I meet her?”

“Allow her a few minutes to let her get settled in first,” Sierra said. “One of us teachers will inform her of the mentorship program we have here after dinner, but it wouldn’t hurt to formally introduce yourself before then. Perhaps you can escort her to the dining room.”

“Alright.”

Sierra turned her attention back to her machines, and Roy took that as a silent dismissal. With a half-hearted wave, he left Sierra’s office.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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