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Author Topic: Joel's Random Sketches  (Read 533 times)

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Offline JoelTopic starter

Joel's Random Sketches
« on: February 26, 2015, 12:25:12 PM »

These are story sketches I've accumulated over time.  They are more character vignettes than they are complete short stories.  I've used them in the past to flesh out characters and certain aspects of a story.  I'll try and post them in a coherent order and with some bit of a primer.  Enjoy!

Offline JoelTopic starter

Re: Joel's Random Sketches
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2015, 12:30:40 PM »
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
a sketch of a backstory for a modern day werewolf. as of yet, i haven't figured out the character's actual story, story but i do have lots of room for a potential RP with someone using this character.  The sequences are a little out of order and there's long periods of time between some of them.

From the deck of the troop transport they disembark at port, and he watches the placid blue of the ocean from the sandy esplanade of Saigon.  There is a beauty here, but he can't separate it from the carnage.  Plum blue, a puckered and feted smell, the rains reveal a face inside the mud.  He counts the days again in his head, and turns around to check that he is back inside the city.  But even on the coast the jungle spills in amongst those creeping mangroves and the cerulean lagoons, he watches a heron stand stalwart then lean down to spear a fish.  The sun lacquers the sweat to his brow and his skin pulsates dully with the minute pricks of a fly's feet dancing around his forehead.  He tries to remember crabbing, out in the Gulf, like he used to on the shoals with a string wrapped around his arm.  He can almost pretend to see his brother dragging the rowboat out into the surf, but the sun is too fierce, the air too strange, and the sound of everything is choked and confused. 

He tells himself that far out in the South China Sea, there's a private solace away from everything that had happened, on some gem of an island, like those postcards in the commissary, except he doesn't need the pretty girls -- just the soothing consistency of the waves crashing on the beach.

It's a little like death, and he realizes he's yearning for it.

When the Army asks for volunteers for a Ranger unit to be sent deep into enemy lines, he agrees to join, without hesitation.  It's half assumed to be a one way trip for most of them, a disavowed mission through Laos and a desperate strike on a Vietcong AAA battery.  He expects to die during this war and so the manner that it might arrive does not concern him anymore.  But however it happens, he intends to put as much hurt on the enemy as he can before the end.

He continues to write to Ava, but the letters are bundled together in his pack for months at a time.  She hasn't written him since '68.  The years blur together, but the letter sent out feel like the only regularity in his life.  Through Laos there is nowhere to post them, traveling like ghosts and unwanted guests in a hostile country, moving further and further away from support and into the utter wilderness of the Annamite Range.  He fights bitterly in the jungle running skirmishes between the Vietcong patrols as they press on for their objective battery nearly a month's journey away.  In utter secrecy there is barely any radio communication and they look up into the sky whenever they hear the passing of an American bomber.  Napalm bursts like popped corn, muffled and benign.  It's the fires shine off the bellies of the low hanging clouds.  *Rain again*. 

Sickness reduces the company where the pace of the march and the constant fighting have not bedraggled them.  They leave their dead behind in unmarked graves and he carries the dog tags of his compatriots. 


He's been watching her across the empty parking lot, hidden beneath the dogwood bramble and cotton wood sways.  A lingering fog permeates this mid November night with a sallow glow of a moon melting down from the sky.  It's past midnight at a tiny convenience store thirty miles outside of Mobile.  No cars, no trucks, there's nobody who's come or gone in over an hour.  The "Doors" plays shrilly in her headphones, cherry red like an artery.  She can't possibly hear him, prowling out of the darkness... a hulking shape that only lets itself be known when it casts its shadow over her.


Offline JoelTopic starter

Re: Joel's Random Sketches
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2015, 12:32:14 PM »


You are trying to tell her to stop. Because you need something from her. You want something from her hut, but she’s holding up her arms in terror. It’s nothing at all, just a drink of water, because even the puddles up here are shallower than the tongue can lick. You try and try again, with greater effort that brings yourself lower to the ground. Yet, she’s looking at you with a wide eye’d fright because you are a creature spoken about in fables alone and even on your knees you are terrifying. A face full of hair with gaunt cheeks and hollow eyes, a hungry stare – thirst.

The other men are less patient than you and your fumbling Vietnamese; stupid as you are to the fact that the language has changed two weeks ago in your company’s trek.

“Why!” You’d shout as they pulse a round of lead into her. She’s dead and dancing in her fall, too quick to realize what had happened. Your shock is pathetic.


The captain’s men drink themselves at the overflowing cistern where it’s spring washes itself out, eventually, to the sea. The water is refreshing, but it refuses our secrets.


You are crying with your head beneath your hands and your captain looks at you like he wishes you’d died a long time ago.


He wakes from a nightmare, knotted in sheets, and rolls around immediately to find he is not alone. “What is it…” she growls with a groan of a trucker spitting of out a hightop window. Nothing about it draws him. He feels like wrenching, but the morning’s peace has a way of subsuming sound as does a hangover. Despite all that, he knows he’s gonna need more than a drink to get through this day and its certainly gonna require getting rid of company.

Offline JoelTopic starter

Re: Joel's Random Sketches
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2015, 12:37:49 PM »

The foreman bangs his clipboard against the forklift window, red faced and glaring up at Earle.  What the fuck, the man is saying with his straining eyes and puffed lips as if Earle was to blame for the foreman's pay cut, his balding truck tires, and erectile dysfunction.  "Alright, alright..." Earle says squeezing the sleep from his eyes and rousing himself from his ill timed nap.  He sits forward to the controls and gives the foreman a two fingered salute before rumbling back out into the lot.  His boss is shouting something at him, but Earle's not really interested in listening.


The florescent lights are too bright and there's a funny pulse to them that makes Earle's eyes strain to see what's in front of him.  The shadows get smudged out into this mono-tonal gray that wraps his meal in what feels like cellophane.  He realizes he's lost his appetite and pushes aside the paper plate of fried rice and chow mien.  A strange rendition of Y.M.C.A plays on a synthesizer and it's so low over the speakers that he would have missed it if he wasn't curious.  He feels a little like being in a waiting room.

"Happy New Year!" 

"What?" Earle looks up, squinting to the proprietress, passing with a broom in hand and a tin tea pot.

"Happy - New - Year!" she exclaims with a brightening grin.

"Oh... yeah.  You too..."  Earle leaves an extra buck behind.


He's wrapped up in his jacket, shivering although it's nearly ninety degrees outside with humidity.  Mobile approaches like a gigantic mortuary with causeways pulsing green with verdancy.  He wishes he'd found his sunglasses before catching the Greyhound out of D.C... The colors are too fierce, and he has to squint to keep them out because the effect is nauseating.  If he hadn't smoked his last cigarette ten miles ago, he would have lighted another one up.  The bus is starting to feel very small and although it is nearly full, no one sits next to him.  A traveling mother redirects her daughter's curious stare, but casts her own cautious look his way.  From beneath his bushy brows, he looks back and realizes that he hasn't bathed in weeks.  He could offer an explanation, but guys like him are a common sight after the war and it's easier to just play the part. 

New England hadn't treated him well, but he's got his hopes set on the South.  It's home he reminds himself, even if he'd avoided it for years.  For one thing it's brighter down here, he thinks.  There are less shadows for it to hide inside and the Southern pinelands are not like the low woodlands of New Hampshire.  It's open and clear.  There's no where to hide. 

He smiles up at the glaring, afternoon sun, hazy through the thick glass window.  The intensity of the light makes him want to gag, but the sensation is like rubbing out a bruise.


Three quarters of the company's gone and there's at least a dozen different patrols circling after you.  The captain's still set on the objective, but everyone down to the man knows that that's impossible even without the pursuit.  By now it was clear to the enemy what their intentions were, and the Vietcong would have moved their battery if they felt it under threat, which was unlikely.  Samson had fallen down a gorge with practically all the C4.  There were other ways sure.  A grenade down the barrels, but you've already lobbed all of yours into the dark shouting after the skirting feet in the night, those same faced ghosts that you cannot understand.  The mission's lost, and it's been like that for days.  Everyone stares after the captain because there's no other answer except to keep moving and besides, somebody has to pick a direction.  It doesn't even matter if it's the right one.


"Who gives a f--!" You shout, dousing the hut's walls and throwing the remainder of the cooking oil over that hut's dry, grass thatch.  Inside you'd left the tied up prisoners that your company had routed earlier in the morning.  They are really nothing more than boys, probably barely fourteen although it's hard for you to tell sometimes.  They are shouting propaganda at you like it's some sort of ward against what you intend to do to them; as if it'll strike you down with the name of God.  You can hardly acknowledge the fear in their faces, and the adrenaline that is running through you at what you are about to do is like some sort of ecstasy.  No one's telling you to stop, and the remaining men in your company stand in a semicircle outside of the hut with their cigarettes close to their lips.  The supplies pilfered from the Vietcong patrol are scattered in the mud, broken open first for the cigarettes and then the wrappers of dry tack.  Somebody's told you to stop, but he's not speaking up again when you shoot him that eye that tells him he could be next. 

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
and it gets R-rated soon after so I'll have to continue this in a different location

Offline JoelTopic starter

Re: Joel's Random Sketches
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2015, 02:35:44 AM »


Consensus based storytelling and multi-narrative roleplay,
consisting of parallel threads beneath a central story arc.
A roleplay that is suited to a small but creative group.
A mythological supernatural 'set' in the modern age,
where the twilight world is just a whimper,
of a monster not yet dead.
Please consult the proceeding posts for more information
on the plot, setting, and character types.
Join the open discussion at:
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 03:42:18 AM by Joel »