No Matter How Small… or Big

No Matter How Small… or Big

Ever watched or read, Horton Hears a Who!  ?

For those who might not necessarily have grown up with Dr.Seuss, or not seen the movie, it’s about an elephant named Horton (but of course), who, with his spectacular hearing, detects the faintest cry of someone very, very small on a tiny speck, which he rescues on a flower, and tries to get to a safe location before the small people and their world is destroyed.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the message of the story carried more than just your average pro-life meaning to it. No, this was much, much bigger:

This was about God, Himself.

Think about it. We go about our daily Christian lives, talking about God, and praying to Him, but we are surrounded by people who often doubt He’s even there. So when we pray, for instance, some may think we look like we’re only talking to ourselves, or worse, like Horton and his “speck,” that we’re crazy and basically just talking aloud to thin air.

But God doesn’t call us to doubt; he calls us to have faith in Him, to have faith in a plan that’s so much bigger than we are. As Horton says in the movie, what if WE’RE the small ones, and there’s Someone bigger out there? However, even the mayor of Whoville (the tiny people on the Speck) initially doubts Horton’s claims, until he sees proof for himself; even then, if he goes around telling others, he risks looking like a fool, because everyone’s already wrapped up in their pleasant, self-serving, complacent little lives, and it’s too much to ask them to believe the truth. Believing in the truth, the EXTRAORDINARY truth, removes their comfort, their security blanket, if you will. Beginning to sound familiar?

Things get even more intense when Horton is captured by an angry horde of animals, lead by the snooty kangaroo villain, who basically rules the jungle of Noo. The kangaroo gives Horton his options: He can either deny that there are such a thing as little people, and everything goes back to normal, or face the music– with both him and the speck with tiny people on it both getting demolished. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking, “Heck, easy choice; I’d deny it, but wouldn’t really admit that I still believe it, and that way they’ll leave me alone so I can get the speck and its inhabitants up to Mount Nool, so everyone’s happy.” And yet, Horton chooses not to. He chooses, instead, to stand his ground, and risk everything. But why?

If we look at this biblically, I would say it could be very well compared with being persecuted for our faith as believers. Often, though not always, the persecutors will demand of the persecutees that we deny our faith, openly, in front of them– deny Jesus, deny God’s real, deny everything that is truth at its core.

John, one of Jesus’s dearest disciples and friends, writes to us in 1 John 2: 21-24 (NIV): “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist– denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. As for you, see what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.”

Ouch.

Suddenly, things get a little more serious. Still life and death, but in a more serious fashion. Even if we denied outwardly, but believed inwardly, we would leave the situation perhaps physically unharmed, but deeply spiritually maimed, mentally tainted, and emotionally scarred– with the knowledge that we outright denied not only the One Who very generously saved us from our ucky sins, but also our very Creator. This is seriously convicting stuff, and even if Horton wasn’t denying his Maker, he’d at least be denying a serious truth outright, which would probably haunt him for the rest of his life (I mean, he IS an elephant, and elephants DO have excellent memories, so it’s not like it’d be easy to forget or anything…).

Even though Horton Hears a Who! is obviously fiction, it proves a very valid point: Truth IS Truth, whether you can physically see it, or not. You can deny it. You can claim that there are many so-called “truths,” based on differing perspectives. But you cannot alter the One Truth, the Real Truth, the Truth that is the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Spirit. You cannot change the fact that Jesus died on the cross (a historically documented FACT), and that His tomb alone, when contrasted with all other religious leaders/founders, was EMPTY, and remains so. You cannot alter the Truth of what God is doing here on Earth, and the fact that we are all characters in a bigger story– FAR bigger than any of us could EVER ask or imagine.

Before I close out, I’ll leave you guys with a final thought (and no, in saying this, I am not referring to cults, terrorists, etc.):

Why, realistically, would anyone be WILLING to die for a LIE?

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 (NIV)

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Image Credit: https://drafthouse.com/show/kids-camp-dr.-seuss-horton-hears-a-who

 

 

Letters from Eikon: FREEDOM?

Letters from Eikon: FREEDOM?

Hey y’all,

Hey, don’t look at me funny. I know, I know, it’s been a while– AGAIN– but in my defense, Livva was too busy with finals to keep on MY bushy lil tail, so here we are. A couple weeks late, as per usual. (Hey, I go late with STYLE. A female Zorua’s gotta have class and sass, y’know what I’m sayin’?)

Anyways, so much has happened since last time I chattered your ears off. Livva was super-duper stressed a couple weeks ago, with school and everything else (and I sometimes still wonder if it keeps haunting her, but hey), but we made good time of it, and she got everything she needed done, I guess.

Oh oh oh and the weekend before we went to the zoo!!! THE FREAKING, FLIPPING ZOO!!! (To which I have never been.) I was kinda sad to see all those poor, unlucky little creatures all caged up instead of roaming free like Yours Truly, but not just anyone can be in my fur, hehehe… Anyways, I was really, really tempted to go and even let some animals loose, including a clouded leopard and even a lion (What? The poor guy looked so BORED, can’t say I’d blame him, with nothing to do all day but lounge around a cage watching ignorant little upstarts making faces at you… It’d get under MY fur, too…), but Livva found out and stopped me last minute. Reminded me of my promise to behave if I came along. To which I very reluctantly sighed and gave in. But hey, at least I got to hit the background tour with her. I got to lick a giraffe’s nose, up close and personal, snuck some of the fish that they were feeding the polar bears (don’t tell Livva, though), and even got to bump noses/paws with the latters (Livva could’ve throttled me by that point. Hehehe…). They’re pretty chill creatures, if ya catch ma drift. 😉

Livva says that even though we’re home now, she doesn’t want to completely STAY at home 24/7, or she’d go mad. I’m in complete agreement; I’d go loony too if I was shut up in an asylum all day long with practically nothing to do, no where to go, nothing to see. So she’s made it her mission that, every once a week, she’s gonna get outta the house to go someplace, and take us with her (thank heavens.).

Anyways, now that we’re back home, Livva says both she and I have no excuse NOT to write. Humph. As if. SHE can write all she wants for her blog thingy on here, for her internship thingy, and even for her study thingy with her adviser, but she is NOT making me do all the dirty work this summer. No sirree, three whole months is just too DANG FREAKING LOOOONNNGGG.

Cue me buttering up to Ginger, Karisse, and even Evvy, asking if they could swap out for me occasionally. They’re all my teammates, my Poke-sisters, after all, couldn’t they help out a sister? But nope, Karisse said I needed to learn how to be responsible, even for a Zorua; I reminded her that she too was once so, but her reply was something stupid like, “Blah, blah… I know, and that’s why I want you to do this… blah, blah…” Made almost no sense whatsoever, but clearly she wasn’t gonna go for it. So I turned to sweet, endearing, naive lil Evvy. Don’t get me wrong, I like Evvy… she’s just too sweet and almost too easy to prank. Plus, she’s even more sensitive than Livva, which is saying something, so I can’t really get away with pranking her unless I want that dam to burst. But, knowing how sweet and upbeat she could be, I politely asked if she could fill in for me. Her answer, “I don’t know… I mean, I really don’t…”

Me: “Whaddya mean, you don’t know?! How can you not know if you can do something?!”

Her: “Well, it’s not that I don’t wanna help… it’s that I CAN’T; I dunno how to write…” *licks front paw nervously, then looks up at me anxiously through one floppy ear*

Me: *sighs and pawpalms* “Well, that’s fine. Just fine. Forget I asked.”

Her: “Sowwee….”

Welp, you can clearly see how THAT turned out. So, instead, I turned to my last resort Poke-sista: Ginger. Ging and I have been known to butt heads on numerous occasions; I like to get down and messy, she’s a Miss Prim, Neat and Proper; Imma tomboy, she’s girly and into fashion and stuff; I’d bite Livva if she’d try to put a ribbon on me, Ging fusses if she’s not “properly” groomed and brushed and “ribbonified”. Good grief, she was the LAST Poke I wanted to ask. But I did, outta desperation. And I was shocked almost outta my fur when she said,

“Good, I knew you’d see reason enough to ask me eventually.”

What the heck’s THAT supposed to mean?! But whatever. I’ve found a sometimes substitute; that’s ALL that matters now. And she can yap about whatever girly, prissy things she wants; I could really care less. Just as long as Livva doesn’t find out, and she doesn’t make ME look bad. But anywhooo…

Sayanara, people!

— Eikon

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Image Credit:

http://generalcirno.deviantart.com/art/Shiny-Zoura-Pixel-Art-188847712

The Incident

The Incident

This is a part of a story idea I’m test-running currently. I’ve decided against actually putting the full story on here– at least, for now– since I want to actually publish it, eventually. BUT I did want to give you guys a taste, just a little teaser of the prologue, before asking what you think of it, if it’s any good or anything. This story is entirely unrelated to my “Junk Collector” series, or my special aforementioned pet series that I will also not be posting on here. It is a part of an entirely different story, a story all of its own– a couple of ideas I’d like to play with. In short, I want to plan a sort of story that is similar to, in some ways, Marissa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles,” albeit NOT with fairy tales, but with something else, yet staying true to the truths in that “something else”. My own neat little twist on a classic, and this is only the prologue. Feel free to tell me what you think!

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“You can do it, can’t you?”

The young boy froze as the man’s equally icy tone came within hearing range. He knelt, further curling into a ball at the base of his father’s desk, hoping to remain hidden. Secret. Safe. Sneaking inside had been no easy feat; he’d nearly been caught one time too many, but he was silent, stealthy as a shadow. All the boys at the academy he went to knew where their fathers worked, were often proud of that fact. His best friend even had a grandfather that was a world-renown researcher. His had been the odd one out. He was lucky his father, who was currently seated at said desk, had not acknowledged his presence; the boy knew one thing, and one thing only: He was not supposed to be here.

The question of why was a complete mystery to him. But, perhaps now…

Shifting ever so slightly, the small boy managed to snag a glimpse of another lab coat clad scientist, back to them, talking with the man. The man with the stone-cold voice. The latter was tall, with a black suit and neatly combed dark brown hair, with coffee eyes that were as dark as his voice, his demeanor.

“It-It’s not that we can’t do it,” the boy heard the scientist say, and with a slight jolt he realized it was someone he knew: Dr. Isaiah Maple. “It’s more of a question of… of ethics, rather than ability or scien–”

“Ethics?” The black-suited man gave out a cold chuckle. “Are you saying you believe we’re paying you for the research on simple-minded ethics? Or do you not realize what’s at stake, here?” The boy heard a soft click, and he knew. He knew that sound, had heard it all too many times at the academy, during practice sessions.

It was the sound of a poke ball being dislodged from a belt.

The black suited man’s fingers encircled an orb half white, half red, about the size of a golf ball, but the boy knew that one click of the singular button in the orb’s center would enlarge it to the size of an orange. Two would release the deadly power it contained inside, enough to seriously harm or even kill. The man’s fingers lightly stroked the orb’s surface. “I am a fairly tolerant man, Dr. Maple, but the one thing I will not, and cannot, under any circumstances, tolerate is insubordination. Surely you were aware of that when you agreed to be a part of this pivotal project?” The man raised an eyebrow, regarding his companion carefully, as if he were a chess opponent, and was waiting for his next move. One click echoed faintly around the room. The boy sat stiller than the statues that adorned the lab. Why doesn’t father do anything? His father, above him, seemed only occupied by his computer monitor in front of him, completely ignoring the nearby scenario.

Dr. Maple gasped, backing slightly away. “I- I meant no disrespect, sir,” he stammered. “I only meant…”

“Can you do it or not?” The man’s cold and calculating voice had suddenly gone more lax, cooler. But it had not lost its dangerous edge. “One simple question that requires one simple answer, doctor.”

The boy saw Dr. Maple suddenly stiffen, as if a rod had been shoved down his narrow back. He couldn’t read the scientist’s face due to his position, but the he appeared more confident suddenly. “It’s not that I can’t do it– that would be the easy way out. It’s more of… I won’t do it. It is one thing to collect samples for research, to do fieldwork and collect information for you. What you’re talking about now is corrupting and mutating that research– literally– to create something else entirely. Something beyond our comprehension, beyond what any man should be allowed to create. You’ve passed the boundaries of ethics and science into an unknown and forbidden realm, and for what? Profit? Or something else?” Dr. Maple’s body quivered as he spoke, and the boy wondered if it was from defiance of orders, or fear– or both. “So, my answer is no. I will collect data, certainly. I will analyze results of that data. But I refuse to corrupt and mutate what is beyond human limitations. It is unnatural, inhuman, and immoral.” He folded his arms firmly across his chest, and the boy saw him wait with baited breath for this intimidating man’s response.

The man’s cold, dark eyes narrowed, appraising him; in one instant, his index finger lowered so rapidly the boy was certain that it would hit the ball’s button faster than he could blink. But then, it stopped. Hovering only slightly less than a millimeter above the button’s surface. Dr. Maple tensed, as if waiting for rebuke, punishment, a beating. The man slowly reattached the poke ball to his belt, beneath his suit coat. “I will give you one last warning, Maple: Do not defy me again, or you will pay the price. Do as you are ordered, and this incident will be conveniently… forgotten.” Then the man smiled, a cruel, casual little smile, like the kind the boy had only seen in his worst nightmares. The kind that suggested you were about to be ripped to pieces, no matter what you did. “That is all, doctor.” The man in the black suit calmly turned and walked out the door.

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Image Credit:

http://www.hermanmiller.com/solutions/healthcare/applications/laboratory.html

Over The Moon with”The Lunar Chronicles”

Over The Moon with”The Lunar Chronicles”

 

I’ve been meaning to post on here (eventually) about my newest love for a newer, non-Grisha-Trilogy book series, but haven’t really had the time… until now.

Enter the Lunar Chronicles. Dun dun dun duuuuunnnnn….

For those not in the know, “The Lunar Chronicles” is the series you want to delve into if you like fairy tales, “Once Upon A Time,” “Star Wars,” or just fantasy. Think SW meets the Grimm Brothers a la Terminator.

Now, while the idea of crime-fighting cyborgs GENERALLY doesn’t appeal to someone like yours truly, I will say I made the exception. Just this once, for this FANTASTIC series (besides, it’s portrayed in a manner very similar to extremely handy prosthetics.  I think I’ll live.). Not too long ago, I finished the series with hungry bravado, before finals even started, but unfortunately, have not begun to write said review until afterwards (Because busyness. I apologize profusely.). That being said, the read was worth it. And reviewing it tonight will be worth me forgoing and sacrificing the Taekwondo forms I was going to practice for exercise tonight(because, let’s be honest, I haven’t been practicing consistently for a week… :/ oh well, guess there’s always tomorrow… I have the whole danged week, after all…).

So anyways, enough chit chat; let’s get to the nitty gritty!

Pros/ What was done well:

  1. The Characters and Characterization. I seriously love what Marissa Meyer does here; she basically takes a classic fairy tale, puts her own spin on it, AND still has elements that causes it to remain true to the original stories. And if you look for the character parallels, you WILL find them. (i.e., Aimery Park= Queen’s Mirror; Jacin the royal guard= the huntsman in “Snow White,” etc.) If you look for storyline parallels, they are usually there, in some way, shape or form. But I also love what she did with all the characters. Cinderella= Cinder, the spunky, sassy cyborg mechanic who is (spoiler alert) the long-lost Lunar princess. The Big, Bad Wolf= semi-mutated human-wolf hybrid former soldier who went rogue, for the sake of his love, who happens to be Little Red’s counterpart. Rapunzel= expert and extra adorable hacker shell girl who has spent too much time in her satellite hovering around Earth, and little actual time in the real world. Her crush, Thorne, literally pilots a ship called the Rampion (another name for the plant called, “rapunzel”.). Snow White= an extremely kind princess, who is kind to the point that it literally costs her her sanity. Literally. In fact, the last one reminds me a LOT of Luna Lovegood, in a good, charming way. 🙂rampioncrew
  2. The SHIPS. Oh GOSH. THE FREAKING, FLIPPING SHIPS. Sooooooo many freaking ships, and while ordinarily this would bother me, Meyer pulls it off pretty well. They don’t obstruct the plot all that much; they contribute to it. Almost everyone is paired with SOMEONE suited for them and their story/situation, and none of the ships bother me (unless you count the possibly shipping Sir Hayle with Levana in Fairest. 😛 ). My fave ship is probably Kainder (Prince Kai + Cinder); they’re both royalties with the weight of nations upon their shoulders– I love it how they can connect and easily relate to each other, how Cinder doesn’t have to manipulate him to get him to like her, like some Lunars would. It’s adorable, almost as adorable as Cress. cress1
  3. I find the amount of “Star Wars” references almost… disturbing. Disturbingly GOOD, that is. Meyer herself admitted that Thorne and his beloved ship are (obviously) based off of Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon, Iko is kind of inspired by R2-D2, plus, we have some intergalatic political matters, and glamours (her own version of a “Jedi Mind Trick”) underway. So instead of “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” it becomes, “these aren’t the wanted criminals who are trying to take down the Lunar Queen that you’re looking for”. Add a touch of Panem fashion to some of the aristocratic Lunars’ fashion statements, and BAM! Brilliance. (OK, OK, I’m geek-biased… sue me. LOL)
  4. The sympathy for Levana does NOT ECLIPSE HER VILLAINY!!! First off, BRAVO. This is a very, very difficult thing to pull off, even for talented authors. I cannot honestly express this enough: give a little too much in the “sympathy” department, and people are going to feel sorry for them to the point of perhaps even defending the villain’s cruel actions, which you do not want. On the other hand, a boring, “mwa-ha-ha” villain often dulls the plot; complexity adds interest. Meyer does this pretty well; Levana is given something of a sympathetic backstory, having neglectful parents who were assassinated when she was young, along with an abusive older sister. BUT she chooses, from then on out, to make bad choices, purposely– and, with each bad choice, transforms her into a crueler person. From murdering her beloved so she could form a political alliance, to trying to kill her own niece to keep her throne, Levana has a beautiful glamour, and is vicious, with the right amount of an interesting story to keep the pages turning. I rarely hear voices of sympathy or defense of her actions from fans, it’s done so well. You, Ms. Meyer, get the medal of the evening. *applause*levana
  5. Research. Meyer obviously did extensive research on certain things in her books, whether it was mechanics, survival-based, etc. Not every author does this, and does it well; some people make stuff up without really looking into anything. But yeah, it goes to show you, a lot of research really pays off in the end.

Cons/ What could have been done better:

Honestly, not a whole lot, so I’m not even really going to make a list on this one. There were maybe one or two minor things in the storyline that either bothered me a tiny bit, or weren’t super believable. One such thing, for instance, was Winter and Scarlet winning the mutant soldiers to their side so quickly. I get that they were on a time crunch, Meyer was on a time crunch/deadline, but it felt slightly rushed at the least. At least give it more time to develop, like Wolf and Scarlet’s relationship, which started to blossom after at least several days, not just a few hours. I also never really got why the whole “Peony chip” thing held so much significance, since it was just tossed away in the Benoit field later and kind of forgotten. (I mean, I got WHY they showed what Peony meant to Cinder, and the fact of what the chips were being used for, but since both are so important, I would assume it wouldn’t be tossed aside so meaninglessly like that, without much thought afterwards.)

Overall, my rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars. I’m a tough rater, so kudos to whoever makes it to 4+ stars. 🙂 These books and series are usually ones that have earned it, and “The Lunar Chronicles definitely has.

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Image Credits:

http://maybeicantbesaved.tumblr.com/Books

Pre-Finals Week: How to De-Tox Your Brain Before Going in For the Academic Kill

Ahhh, the week before Finals Week. What better way to destress than to procrastinate, stay up late all night before that final paper’s due, etc?

OK, while I’ll admit to occasionally procrastinating, so far I’ve made it through college WITHOUT pulling an all-nighter (cue slow claps); however, that does not make me any less stressed now than it would the weekend directly BEFORE finals week, only a little over a week away.

So, here’s what I suggest to you, so you, like me, don’t end up committing seppuku when you’re THIS CLOSE *holds fingers less than an inch apart* from finishing good, hard, and strong (Complete with the slam-academic-dunk.):

  1. DON’T cram last minute. Seriously, don’t, unless you are literally so busy with everything else, it. Isn’t. Worth. Knocking. Your. Grade. Down. A few notches, at that.
  2. PRIORITIZE!!! Stuff that is due earlier, tackle first. Hard stuff, big projects and presentations, get a jump on them right away, so you have more time to plan and stuff. You’ll be more prepared that way, and will be less liable to cram it all into one night.
  3. Work ahead of schedule, if you can. No, seriously. I know, it’s a pain in the rear, but if you try to get more of your stuff done a week ahead of schedule (when you usually have less actual homework, since classes are winding down), you’ll have like half your things done (at least!) by the time the dreaded Finals Week actually arrives. Sure, there are scheduled exams and tests you can’t NOT avoid taking that week, but with papers, projects, and presentations, well, trying to get them done ASAP will help you in the long run. Not to mention, the HUGE burden it’ll lift from your shoulders!
  4. Don’t forget about rooming, taking books back, classes for next semester (if you aren’t graduating), cleaning your dorm/apartment, etc. At the college I go to, all of these things are a MUST. In fact, for the last one, they will actually FINE you if it’s not cleaned up, and everything moved out/put back into place. Makes me wish we had a room check every other week, like my besties down in PCC…. hint, hint…
  5. Lastly, through it all, DON’T forget…to relax, and also to SLEEP. Surprised? Well, logically speaking, there’s no real point in trying to work on a paper or presentation if you’re nodding off, and can barely focus on keeping those peepers open, let alone be awake enough to study. Take care of your body, the body God’s entrusted to your care, and it will serve you well in return. Also, relaxing. Don’t forget to take little breaks here and there. Get up, stretch, go for a short walk to stretch those leg muscles after sitting for so long. Play with playdough or one of those de-stresser squeezy ball thingies. Leisure read a chapter of a book you’ve been dying to finish (ONLY one chapter, though!!). Take a brief nap if you’re wiped out. Just chill and take a little breather. Life’s not going to totally stop and come to a complete crash if you do that the week before finals.
  6. ABOVE ALL ELSE, REMEMBER: Your grades do NOT make you, you. I’ll reiterate: They do NOT make you, you. A lot of people (myself included) tend to slightly obsess about their GPAs… not that this is ALWAYS a bad thing. But when you practically pin your identity on it, it becomes a HUGE problem. Seriously, some things and some classes/subjects I struggle more in than others, and I took it all so seriously that it had a DEVASTATING toll on my self-esteem, and how I viewed myself as a person (and I already beat myself up enough, as it is…). But seriously, they. Don’t. Make. You. You. A wise young woman once told me, “Just because you got a “C” paper does not make you a “C” student, “C” smart, or a “C” person.” Well said.

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Image Credit:

15 Memes That Summarize Finals Week Better Than Words Ever Could

The Cameraman Can: A Junk Collector Prequel Story

He was underwater.

He must have been, because all of the voices he heard above him were muffled. Low. Barely audible, and quite unintelligible. 

The boy felt numb. Numb to the world around him, numb to himself, numb to the talkers, numb to his own identity. Who was he? Where was he? Why couldn’t he see? He felt as though thousands of tiny needles had sewn and pinched his lids tightly shut, and the thought of attempting to wrench them open, even a crack, was mortifying. What if he tore off tissue, damaged nerves and veins, and then was unable to shut his eyes, ever again? What then?

These thoughts drove the boy deeper into seclusion, all the more a recluse from the dark and distant outside world.

“Hey, HEY!” A strong, masculine voice filled his ear suddenly; it had the effect of a megaphone.

Hey, yourself.

The boy flinched, ears practically twitching with sensitivity. Whoever yelled must have seen, because the boy sensed hesitation, then a quieter, “Sorry. It’s just… you okay? Can you try opening your eyes?” Strong arms were lifting him up into a sitting position– he was lying down?–and another equally worried-sounding, deeper male voice said, “Can– Can you open your eyes?”

What?

“You don’t appear to be blind,” said the first voice; the boy detected a hint of amusement in the tone. “So why don’t you open those peepers, and…”

“NO!” The boy thrashed blindly, flailing his limbs about. He couldn’t see, but he could hear, could feel, and perhaps that was enough…

“Hey, hey, hey! Calm, down, kid, I’m not trying to hurt you! We just found you lying in the middle of our woods unconscious, and thought–”

The flailing stopped. The boy’s curiosity overtook his fear, and all in a single abrupt motion yanked open his eyelids.

They were not stitched together, after all.

Light nearly blinded him; he fell back onto earthy, leaf-ridden ground, shielding his face from the novel, unwelcome intruder. The one voice’s owner stood over him, half blocking the sun’s vicious torrent of pinpricking needles. He looked not much older than the boy, mid to late teens, perhaps? He was broad shouldered, hair shaved off the sides of his head, topped with a mop of straight dark brown hair. He had a small, rather short goatee, which he now stroked, crouching low to the boy’s level, as if to better inspect him, bright blue eyes locking his in almost a challenge.

The voice that had come from the boy’s side, the one belonging to the man who had helped him sit, was a much older man with graying dark brown hair; the physical similarities made the boy instantly realize the twosome were related– most likely parent and child.

“How did you get here?” the man asked him. “Why were you out? What happened?”

“Easy, Dad. Give the kid some space. He looks like he’s been out for a while.” When the other boy spoke, his tone was brotherly, bantering.

The boy squinted. “I don’t recall asking either of you for help. And anyways…” he shrugged, “I don’t remember.”

They both jolted in alarm. “Your– Your parents?” asked the man. “They must be worried sick. Do you remember their faces? Names? Where you live, what your house looks like– anything at all?” The boy clenched his eyes tightly shut, starting to wish they’d never been opened. Anything better than interrogation. The only thing ingrained into his mind, into his memory and being, was the forest, the vague shapes of trees, the faint memory of being carried, the scent of… blackberries. Blackberries, rosewater, and pine. He clearly recalled being near something that smelled like that, that it couldn’t have been the forest’s scent, but everything was all blurred; a picture his mind refused to clear, a language it couldn’t– no, refused to– interpret. “Nothing but blurs and shapes of blurs. Then… dark. Lots and lots of black darkness.”

Eyes still closed, his arms encircled his legs, drawing them in tightly, close to his chest. He ducked his head, pinning it downward, towards his stomach. “I was lost in the black, felt like I WAS the darkness, but I– I was drowning in it. Terrified of it. I can’t explain it. I know I had to get out, to get away, but each time I tried…” He fought down a sob in his throat.

“Hey, hey… Chin up, it’ll be okay.” He felt a hand on his shoulder, and risked a brief peek. The other boy was eyeing him sympathetically. “Do you.. remember at least your name? Something we can call you?”

The boy lifted his head, slowly, defiantly, chin out firmly. He scanned his surroundings, taking in everything the way a dehydrated body soaks up every last drop of moisture. He closed his eyes, trying to recall, to remember. Something. Anything.

Brief images flooded his mind’s eye, but he had no idea what they were, what they meant. It was like trying to put together a puzzle with several pieces from several different puzzles. Nothing made sense. Woods. Running. Birds. Sky. Muscles flexing. Falling. A feather. A golden bracelet with pink fingernails. Dim light, accompanied by that same scent. Leaves. Then dark. Dark, dark, dark…

His eyes flashed open, images fresh in his mind, without any understanding or meaning. But still there– a mystery waiting to be unraveling. His mind not giving him any answers, but clues. Little snapshots.

Like a camera. 

Like a Kodiac camera.

The boy shook his head, small dreads swishing around his skull. “Kodi.”

“What?”

“I want you to call me Kodi. Like the Kodiac camera.”

The man glanced worriedly over at the other boy, then back at “Kodi”: “Are you sure you can’t remember your name, son?”

“I can’t,” snapped Kodi, suddenly bristling, “and I’m not your son, old man.”

“Easy, there,” chuckled the other boy, finally extending a hand to help Kodi to his feet. “My old man’s technically the one who FOUND you, after all. I’m Guy, by the way. Nice to meet you.”

Kodi at last recognized the other boy for who he was– not a threat, but a friend. Equal. Brother, even. “Same.” He taking Guy’s hand, Guy hauled him to his feet.

“C’mon, let’s get you outta here– the woods isn’t always safe at night.”

“You’re telling me. 

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Image Credit:

http://keywordsuggest.org/gallery/374917.html

“Fine, Make Me Your Villain”: The Lowdown on Villains, Monsters, and Criminal Masterminds

“Fine, Make Me Your Villain”: The Lowdown on Villains, Monsters, and Criminal Masterminds

As many a character has stated and even questioned, “Are villains really bad? Are they even born bad– or just MADE that way?”

I’ve already gone into antags a bit; now I’m going to elaborate a little on a few specific kinds.

While I won’t bore you to tears with my little rave on the Darkling ( see, In Defense of the Darkling, for those interested), I will say it is a very interesting question to pose in general. After all, what’s a bad guy without character? Would Voldemort be Voldemort if he had a loving wizarding family? Was Sauron always that bad, and why? What would have become of the faction system, and more specifically, the Erudite, if Jeanine Matthews hadn’t taken it over?

As mentioned many, many times before, there are exceptions to humanizing or making sympathetic villains or antagonists: motiveless maligniters and traditional villains being the two primary candidates. Sauron, for instance, is a traditional villain. He’s simply oozing evil out his pores, because, well, just because (I mean, does he REALLY need to have a reason? He IS Sauron, after all…). Similarly, motiveless maligniters are essentially the same thing: their motives are either well-concealed, non-existent, or extremely muddied– so muddied you can’t quite piece together why it is that they do things. It’s so confusing, so perplexing, that there’s little chance you’ll feel for them.

Another kind of antagonist I am particularly fond of is the “Seems like a Good Guy at the Time, But Turns out to Be a Cruel, Villainous Jerk” guy (or girl). (For all you “Frozen” fans, think of Hans…) You may not think it, but these are actually fun to write up; you never know what they may do, and it’s a joy ride for both you and the reader– in fact, if you end up surprising yourself in writing a dramatic bad guy reveal towards the climax or end, there’s probably a pretty high chance you’ve surprised your readers, as well. If you want to write this character, be CONVINCING. This is one villain you want to play the sympathy card with (at the very least, temporarily), so they’ll expect it even less. Make them human. Relatable. Friendly, even sweet, unsuspecting, Machiavellian. Then, when the reader’s and other characters’ guard is lowered… BAM!

plottwistmeme

The only real danger with these villains is, however, that they may seem so completely sincere, so devoted to their cause, so human and kind at first, that even when the villainous reveal comes, you may have the readers defending their bad actions in favor of their pasts, and their personas, rather than simply be just shocked and horrified. If you were to write this kind of villain, I’d recommend doing so CAREFULLY (it depends what kind of reaction YOU want from your readers, too.).

Then there’s monsters. No, I’m not talking what you call a cruel but cunning and intelligent villain, though they may seem like it. I’m talking CREATURES. Maybe the antagonist isn’t even human, but a beast– a savage, heartless, mindless beast that thinks of nothing but destruction, its hunger unsatisfied, or even manipulation. Of course, if you wanted an interesting creature as a monster-antag, you could always take a leaf out of Mary Shelley’s book, in Frankenstein. The creature, as he is often called (Victor Frankenstein did not even bother giving him a name. Pathetic.), is very much human, and just wants companionship. The loneliness practically drives him to insanity, and certainly drives him to desperation, and soon he is killing with a vengeance, simply because Victor made him.

Lastly, the criminal masterminds. These are fairly easy to write up, namely because their primary objective is typically to either rule the world, or riches, or both (think Giovanni of Team Rocket.). Criminal masterminds are often wealthy, but not always. You don’t have to have the wealth or manners of a gentleman to be a genius, and you don’t need either to be a criminal. Genius is partly what separates the common thug from the brilliant, extraordinary masterminds. These are the people orchestrating oh so elegantly the conspiracies and grand heists of the century. And getting away with it… until YOUR protagonist steps out onto the scene to halt them dead in their tracks.

Of course, you could always pull an Artemis Fowl, too…

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Image Credit:

http://memeguy.com/photo/75830/misunderstood-disney-villain

https://memesuper.com/categories/view/74deb09ddf50c10eeed212fb0a3654da5e25269e/plot-twist-memes.html