Old man Jedidiah burned alive last night.
He had come home from the bar dripping with alcohol. When Jedidiah got drunk his wits tended to leave him for dead, and he insulted the wrong man…again. The beautiful bottle of brandy the found it’s way to crack against his skull seemed almost like poetic justice to the onlookers.
He stumbled his way home, his crinkling thin grey hair caked with blood and soaked with alcohol. Tripping over the steps to his porch, he lost his footing banging his old knobby knees into the stairs before finally slumping into his rocking chair. Staring up at the night sky, with a pounding headache and a dull buzz, his fingers followed his usually ritual and lit the cigarette hanging limply from his lips.
They say he went quickly.
His death was the most interesting thing to happen in the town for years, certainly more exciting than the poor Kingsley boy drowning in the water tower.
Words like “spontaneous combustion” and “divine intervention” were thrown about. No one thought mean old Jedidiah didn’t deserve it, even if his pained screams still echoed through their houses at night.
Was published to Short Fiction Break: can find here
“I bet you didn’t think you’d die so soon,” Alister said, nail tapping against the patient monitor, to the rhythm of her thready heartbeat. A pair of aviators rested on the bridge of his nose, the lens so reflective it was almost like gazing into the surface of a mirror.
Banks had been avoiding mirrors. Avoided gazing upon her pallid complexion, upon her sunken features, her skin tight and sticking to her bones. Avoiding the bruised skin and flesh of her, the inside of her elbow a dot to dot of needle pricks from IV drips. She was a hollow shell, a bone cage with air rattling about inside her. She was a soul trapped in an all but rotting corpse.
“Any regrets?” he purred leaning forward, his thick dark brows rising above the edge of his glasses. Continue reading “Mortality”
<= Chapter 12 Chapter 14 Comming Soon=>
Olivia curled up on the couch tucking her legs tight against her body, leaning back into the cushions. “Ready?”
Holly nodded her head, her ballerina bun bouncing. With a deep breath, the little girl sank into a clumsy curtsy, and then she began to dance. She spun and twirled, and leapt, her little tight clad legs trembling from the exertion, but she was determined. She flew around the apartment, a brilliant little grin on her face, as she enjoyed the expression of the dance.
Continue reading “M.A.L.C.O.L.M. Chapter 13”
Went to Scotland this is a short story I wrote on the craziest supernatural creature I heard about while there. (Photo from the shores of Loch Ness, didn’t get to Loch Beg, needed a saltwater Loch for the story!)
The water was a dark frothing mass, broken only by the white tips of waves as they crested. Grabbing, curling fingers of wind, tugged at fabric, burned against skin. The sky darkened, the long twilight had begun. A wave crashed against rock, the spray scattered through the air, drenching down on a small figure. Isla could taste thick salt on her dry, cracked lips. The ocean was beautiful in its ferocity, and she lingered.
Continue reading “Nuckelavee”
Long and black, the object makes no attempt to obscure its purpose. Thick iron walls intended to keep the living out and the dead in the ground where they belong. Anatomist grubby hands like to dig down in the earth and violate the corpse left to rot there. The names of Burke and Hare float through the streets, reminding people of the desirability of dead flesh, for the pursuit of science of course. Continue reading “Iron Mortsafe”
This is an act of agency that cannot be shown by Ophelia, as she can no longer represent herself, but is instead seen by the most unlikely of characters, the man digging her grave, “SECOND MAN: The crowner hath sat on her and finds it Chris/tian burial /GRAVEDIGGER: How can this be, unless she drowned herself /In her own defense?” (5.1.5-7) This is a scene of paradoxical witticism and hints at a deeper truth of suicide as Ophelia’s “defense” against those who would have her perform a role and behave outside her own agency. There is a suggestion of intent and a recognition of the anger Ophelia faces, in the Gravediggers words. Continue reading “Ophelia’s Agency: Part 5”
The next time we meet Ophelia she is mad. In the previous scene she participated in a battle of wits with Hamlet, now she seems to have used up all her wit, all her play acting, the constraints on her agency and her attempts to express herself have drained her. Before I go into Ophelia’s last desperate act of agency, consider the most famous speech to grace the European stage the, “To be or not to be,” soliloquy. This scene is often considered a private moment of suicidal contemplation and a brilliant scene of overthinking and deep observation. What is often misconstrued and poorly portrayed in plays is that, Shakespeare never intended this speech to be interpreted as directed merely to the audience. Continue reading “Ophelia’s Agency: Part 4”
Ophelia is surrounded by performance, Hamlet’s acting at being mad, Claudius acting at being just, Polonius acting at wisdom, the Queen’s acting at innocence (if she helped kill Old Hamlet). Steenbergh further states, “the forms, moods, and shapes in which an emotion is expressed can change the course of the emotion itself” (95). As each of these characters perform and express emotions they are slowly altered by this acting. Polonius mistakingly thinks himself to be astute as he continuously misinterprets situations, Claudius thinks he is a just king and capable of planning murder (we saw how well that went the second time around). This is a world of false fronts and performance and the audience can see how Ophelia internalizes this behavior as she is ordered to act in certain ways, losing a little of herself and yet demanding recognition, seeking a form of expression that is her own. Continue reading “Ophelia’s Agency: Part 3”
If we now return to Laertes, Ophelia’s expression of agency in these constraints of being an unmarried noblewoman can be seen more clearly. At the moment of their parting, in an action that proves he really is Polonius’s son, Laertes gives his sisters advice in the form of a lengthy lecture. He describes the virtues of chastity and innocence, the need to distance herself from Hamlet since he knows his place as a prince and therefore can’t marry her. Safaei and Hashim state why this concern for chastity so deeply engrains this scene, “Within the context of Shakespeare’s era, a woman devoid of her virginity cannot exist, for it is chastity those constitutes all her existence” (311). Continue reading “Ophelia’s Agency: Part 2”
The character of Ophelia, or more accurately the bodily representation of Ophelia, has taken on a life of its own outside of William Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet. Most will acknowledge that when they hear the name Ophelia, images of a beautiful, overly sexualized girl trapped in a stream surrounded by flowers comes to mind. This image comes with ideas of naivety, innocence, and fragility, the traits many associate with the character of Ophelia. To be blunt, she has been reduced to little more than an object in the imagination of audiences. This reduction has been pervasive and shapes the way Hamlet is interpreted and viewed, particularly in high school classrooms. Interpreters, like Mohammad Safaei and Ruzy Suliza Hashim, see Ophelia as a character without agency, who plays no role outside that of a pawn to be moved by the whims of the male characters. One can understand this view in light of Ophelia’s submission to her father and her reality as the butt of many an obscene joke. However, despite these realities Ophelia is a more complicated and intriguing character than has been previously stated, and in recent years critics, like Magda Romanska and Alex Macconchie, have studied particular scenes in Hamlet and found them to reveal moments of female agency for Ophelia. Following in these scholars footsteps, I believe that Ophelia, in fact, expresses agency, despite common opinion. Working within the political constraints of a new power regime and the social role of noblewomen, Ophelia critiques men who try to control her behavior and demands their recognition of her desire in word and deed. There are three particular areas that reflect this attempt to exercise agency, her family relationships, her public persona, and her suicide. I will work to expose the nuances available in a theatrical text and show her character as being more than only submissive and fragile. Continue reading “Ophelia’s Agency: Part 1”