‘Artiguala’ – A Short Story

My name is Batalla and for many years now I have been travelling in search of T’Alistera – The Great Mystical city of which we were told when we were children.

Every 70,000 years ‘Artiguala’ occurs for just one quarter. It is then that the Four Sun’s and Three Moons form a perfect circle indicating the cycle when all living beings and creatures cease to exist – except those that are spared by The Great One.

That is when my journey began so many years ago because of Artiguala when all became void.

We were told as children that we must search for T’Alistera, The Mystical Land, when Artiguala ocurrs. She will create for us a new beginning and a new era. And this is why, in search of her, I have walked for so long.

Lammette, my trusted friend and companion travels along side me. She may be described as part Dis’aria (my race) and part land creature not unlike Earths Desert Camel. We communicate marginally by thought and she is the only family I have left.

The desert winds are at times incredibly harsh. Shelter is few and far between. But we are always provided for and hide away until the storms clear. This is also when we rest.

Food is scarce, we live off what little the land provides, mainly plants and vegetation. The Great One gives us what we need. Lammette and I are not entirely alone in our quest: The Great One is forever with us keeping us safe and well.

The wells of water still brim with liquid as fresh as that from the mountain dews that I grew up with. We are kept, we are sustained, we are replenished.

Along our travels we have met some of those who survived. Many Dis’arians have settled in small villages. Most are content with what they have built in creating the next generation. They have shown my friend and I much good grace. But we never stay.

I am and will forever search for T’Alistera, the place where in my heart my home lies.

Many tales have been told of this Great Mystical City. Yet it is only those who believe she exists, like myself, that helps to endure the harshness of this existence.

Lammette and I will keep on searching onward for when the day comes and our home is found.

Until then, I hope that our years of seeking will remain but a few.

 

* * * * *

 

Writing Prompts app (from HLAB Studios for Android) – ‘You’ve Been Walking for Years, Why?’

10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

Genre: Non-Fic Writing Related

 

 

Reading-is-to-the-mind-what-exercise-is-to-the-body.

I found this gem of an article on the benefits  of reading from Lifehack.org by Lana Winter-Hebert and found it to be the most comprehensive list of benefits I have come across. Naturally I want to share it with everyone! 

It’s a fast read and still packed full of information. And it serves as a good reminder to us writers/non-writers alike, just how great reading is on so many wonderful and varying levels. A definite keeper!

Enjoy!

~ Victoria

10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

When was the last time you read a book, or a substantial magazine article? Do your daily reading habits center around tweets, Facebook updates, or the directions on your instant oatmeal packet? If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out: reading has a significant number of benefits, and just a few benefits of reading are listed below.

1. Mental Stimulation

Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia, since keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind. Doing puzzles and playing games such as chess have also been found to be helpful with cognitive stimulation.

2. Stress Reduction

No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.

3. Knowledge

Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.

Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you.

4.Vocabulary Expansion

This goes with the above topic: the more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.

Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own speaking and writing fluency.

5. Memory Improvement

When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history, and nuances, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. That’s a fair bit to remember, but brains are marvellous things and can remember these things with relative ease. Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways)and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods. How cool is that?

6. Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills

Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunnit”.

That same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot; determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.

7. Improved Focus and Concentration

In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, skype, etc.), keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity.

When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

8. Better Writing Skills

This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.

9. Tranquility

In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it’s possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and tranquility. Readingspiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm, whilereading self-help books has been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disordersand mild mental illnesses.

10. Free Entertainment

Though many of us like to buy books so we can annotate them and dog-ear pages for future reference, they can be quite pricey. For low-budget entertainment, you can visit your local library and bask in the glory of the countless tomes available there for free. Libraries have books on every subject imaginable, and since they rotate their stock and constantly get new books, you’ll never run out of reading materials.

If you happen to live in an area that doesn’t have a local library, or if you’re mobility-impaired and can’t get to one easily, most libraries have their books available in PDF or ePub format so you can read them on your e-reader, iPad, or your computer screen. There are also many sources online where you can download free e-books, so go hunting for something new to read!

There’s a reading genre for every literate person on the planet, and whether your tastes lie in classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines, biographies, religious texts, young adult books, self-help guides, street lit, or romance novels, there’s something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination. Step away from your computer for a little while, crack open a book, and replenish your soul for a little while.

 

***********

—————————–

lifehack.org MAY 21 BY LANA WINTER-HÉBERT IN LEISURE, LIFESTYLE

May 21st, 2013 view original

*All links come from the original article

REHAB: “..I’m gonna be famous..”

What a load of bollocks this is.

“Yeah, yeah, I know, heard it all before, Rehab, Rehab, Rehab. Fine, I’ll do it”

Anything to shut this woman up.

“Jacob, that‘s marvellous! This is the best decision you can make. But remember the rules, no messing about like last time, Okay? We really want to help you and you will feel so much better. You have a bright future waiting and we will be there with you the whole step of the way. We want to help because we care”.

So after the Doc’s speech and finally managing to escape from her sympathetic hand patting, it dawned on me: I’m going to meet some fit chicks in there! Getting a shag will be a piece of cake!

“Ok, Miss. Cotton, I’ll do it, I’ll go to Rehab”!

*

Six days later, after sweating my arse off with all the running around I had to do to get enough gear to last me the 30 days of bullshit, and concocting places to hide the gear where the sun don’t shine – I was ready.

I was so stoned on the way up to Bristol that the Pussy Cat Dolls lyrics, which I had down to a T, faded in and out of my comatoseness. But as long as I felt this good, I couldn’t care less even if I ended up in Scotland. The buzz was just too damn nice and I wished it would last forever….

“…. when I grow up I wanna be famous….”

*

This building looked like a bombed mansion that forgot to be rebuilt after WW2, but who cares? Food, bed and fit birds – that was the priority.

Stoned out of my head, I checked in at reception. Then came the usual ‘New person’ protocol which consisted of a bag search, a pat down, a piss test, the welcome spiel and then shown  my room for the next 4 weeks.

Bollocks, I’m sharing.

“Hi there! I’m Pete, well done you for coming here! You’ve made a great step in your recovery! What’s your name my friend? What brought you to us?”

Shit, how I wanted to punch this guy. If he pats my hand or even dares give me a hug….

“Yeah, alright? I’m Jacob. Yeah, really happy to be here. It’s my chance to turn my life around, I hate being an addict”

Like fuck did I.

“It’s Okay Jake; may I call you Jake? We are all friends in here and here to help. You have just taken the first step in your recovery – you have accepted that you are an addict, that’s fantastic Jake! You’re already a winner! Jake, you’re in a safe place, we’ve all been where you are; come here let me give you hug!”

I’m gonna kill him.

“I’ll let you settle in. Come and find me later. You’ll do great! Well done, well done!”

How the hell I kept it together is beyond me.

So with prick-face out of the room, I could finally lie down and enjoy my buzz. Cigarette lit, earphones in – bliss!…..

“….. when I grow up I wanna be famous…..”

*

For those of you that haven’t been in Rehab, here’s how a typical day goes:

7.30 am – A wake up call usually by an overweight, butt ugly ‘Matron’ who ain’t had a shag in years and probably never will either.

8.00 am – Breakfast in the canteen consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, the works: Yum!

8.30 am – House meeting which entails of ‘bedroom problem reporting’, ie; a missing curtain hook.

8.45 am – Find, as quickly as possible, other’s like self who are here to either:

  • Get out of a jail sentence
  • Came equipped with a stash of various narcotics
  • Has “This is a load of bull-crap me being here just to get everyone off my back”, printed on forehead
  • Has the full knowledge of the easiest birds to fuck

(Rehabs are places for getting a quick lay; just in case you didn’t know that)

8.55 am – Once like-minded pals found, a quick nip round the corner for a line or two of Coke. Then we are ready to go.

9.00 am – Group Therapy time where 4-5 people shout at the new comers or the no-hopers to ‘get with the program’ berating them for how much in denial they were; which prompted me to think how great a holiday in Egypt would be nice right now. And the usual take in turns to share how crap life is on drugs.

9.55 am – Group Therapy ending by forming a circle, holding hands – bobbing up and down in motion to the Serenity Prayer – with a big “We can do it” at the end with extra ‘bobbing force’ making you feel  like your arms gonna be yanked from its socket. And then, of course (again, standard Rehab protocol), a big group hug.

10.00 am – I’m going back to bed.

11.00 am – Miss. Frigid the Matron wakes me and orders me to the office.

(This is unusual as the rest of the day comprises of ‘group activities’, sports and more food. So I’m afraid my ‘day in a Rehab’ narration has to now cease. Sorry)

“Jacob, we’ve got great news for you! Your Parents have successfully paid the fees for you to stay the whole 3 months! Isn’t that fantastic!”

Chills went down my neck, back and butt – I’ve only got 30 days worth of drugs with me.

“Nah, nah, Miss, I think 30 days is plenty for me, I’m already feeling like a star”

“Yes but Jacob, not many people that come here have the opportunity to stay the whole 12 weeks. You stand a much better chance of being clean”.

That’s what I was afraid of.

“Miss look, my Nan is coming out of hospital in 4 weeks and I’m moving in with her to help her while she gets better – she’s very ill”

“Come now Jacob, we know that your Grand Mother died 6 years ago: You’re afraid aren’t you?”

Shit. And hell yeah I was afraid!

“Anyway Jacob, you’re parents have finalized this wonderful opportunity for you. You’ll be drug free!”

I’m gonna fucking kill ‘em. See. I’m only 15 and have no control over this decision –  I’m gonna kill the pair of them.

“It’s okay Jacob, what’s 3 months out of your life when you have years and years of a happy, bright and drug free life ahead of you?! You’re future begins here, with us”

I feel sick. And in 4 weeks I literally will be sick.

* *

That night in my bed of imprisonment; I prayed.

“Dear God, Please get some more gear to me to last the 12 weeks. Or if you can’t do that, please kill my Parents so they can’t keep me here. And if you can’t do that, please then, please burn this building down tomorrow; me not in it of course”

Now, a typical day in Rehab, for me anyhow, has changed. I will do everything in my power to get kicked out. It’s easily done – just DON’T follow the rules.

Day 3 – Woo-Hoo! I got kicked out! Yes!!

Back on the Coach to London; sitting, chilling, nicely stoned, high and happy. Once again in my lovely comatose state, I listened to the Pussy Cat Doll’s – this time with the added image of the girls doing their moves all around me. I drifted into oblivion…

“… when I grow up I’m gonna be famous…”

* * *

————

Daily Post ‘Weekly Writing Challenge’: The Best Medicine

A Little too late

Genre: Tragedy

 

Alan Smith was a 40 something, single, never been married, Accounts Administrator.

He kept mainly to himself at work, though in an office of nearly 30 colleagues, he wished he could get to know his co-workers. Unable to, Alan not only felt alone in his personal life but in his work life as well.

It was a Tuesday in mid August. Alan sat at his desk, read his latest memo to do with the boss wanting to see him at 1.30pm. Brett Parker was the firms Senior Manager but Alan thought nothing of it and just carried on with his day’s work.

1.30pm.

“Hi Alan, come in, take a seat”

Obediently he sat down and that’s when the unexpected, shocking blow came.

“Alan we’ve had several complaints from your co-workers”

Feeling anxious and not wanting to even dare ask what this was about – he adjusted his now tight collar and thought he had best say something.

“About what Mr.Parker? I do my job well, I’m always on time and I never have missed a day; Is there something I have overlooked? Is my work not satisfactory?”

Brett sighed.

“It’s not about your work Alan. How can I put this:

Your personal hygiene is upsetting the other members of the team”

Brett held his gaze on Alan’s eyes who swallowed back a choke. Yes he was large in size and quite flabby, but ‘offending’ his co-workers on that just didn’t make sense. He actually couldn’t understand their issue with him.

Brett continued.

“They are complaining that there is an awful stench in the office, especially it being so warm, and it is coming from you. I’m afraid the guys simply cannot tolerate it any longer”

Stench? What stench? Automatically Alan sniffed his armpits; he couldn’t smell anything. This isn’t about his supposed smell, it’s about his work and Parker hasn’t got the balls to tell him the truth.

“I don’t smell!” He retorted.

“Alan, look, we’ve discussed the matter and decided it’s time to let you go”

He stood up, looked at Parker – yelling so load that the whole office could hear him:

“This is not the last that you will hear from me. Expect a letter from my Lawyer on the grounds of a bullshit unfair dismissal. You’ll pay for this!”

“Come on Al, it needn’t come to that” Brett said suddenly acting all chummy.

But Alan was indignant.

“I’ll see you in court”.

                                             

* *

About a week later after some seriously heavy drinking Alan wondered that maybe they were right, he did stink. He read that some people simply cannot smell their own odour – obviously that was the case and the answer as to why he could never mingle with his colleagues and have a girlfriend.

It was time to change.

He washed every single item he owned; the bed sheets; got cleaners in to freshen his place, everything he could to get rid of the stench ( which he still couldn’t smell). He took a shower every morning, went out for a jog to lose his weight and then showered when he came back.

Alan was now a new man.

They actually did him a favour. He’d lost a ton of weight – toned, not flabby anymore. He was clean and looked happy now at his own reflection. Opportunities can come from unlikely places, Alan thought, even the negative ones.

                                                                   

*

The Paramedics were at the scene within 4 minutes after dispatch had reported of a hit and run.

Alan was dead.

The car had hit him while he headed for the Park. He was full of life and looking forward to his morning jog. So wrapped up in his own happiness he just never heard the car coming.

Cathy shook her head.

“What an effing waste. He obviously took a hell of a lot of pride in himself”

“Yeah, good looking guy”. The other Medic said.

“What an effing waste” Cathy repeated again.

“You know how fussy I am when it comes to men Matt?

“Yeah!”

“But this guy?

I sure wouldn’t of minded a date with him”.

“Next time Cath”.

_______

* * *

Prompt from Three Word Wednesday – Flabby, Indignant & Stench.

Love Captured!

Genre: Romance

 

Insight came easily to her, it was a gift that she was born with, well that’s how it felt to her.

Her first kiss and she knew that this would be a boy with whom it would go no further. The 2nd, 3rd and the many others after, her gut just told her that “It’s not Him”.

Then it was one hot summers day and she sat alone under the tree which provided the most shade. The College Campus had been a hive of activity as it was the ‘Annual Summer Fest’ Carlton University always threw in its hottest month of July – ever since it opened in 1926.

So as Sophie sat, drowning out the buzz of people around her, she opened up her text book: ‘The modern view of surgical development since the 18oo’’s’ when she came across a note. On it were the words:

“Call Me. Jake. 07640 562 623”

Sophie felt an unfamiliar sensation right in her belly. It was a feeling constituting of seriousness, strength, hardness and a depth she had never felt before. She put the note in her back pocket and continued to read.

It was around 10.30pm and a noise coming from the TV woke her. She had wondered that she must have fallen asleep; books and papers strewn all over the bed. Studying was hard work and she figured that she must have nodded off.

As she stretched and came through the fuzziness, she felt that feeling again – in her abdomen – the feeling she had when she had found Jakes note. Remembering, she pulled the piece of paper from her pocket, reached for the phone and rang the number. It felt the natural thing to do, it was almost as if it was totally normal – and they spoke.

They arranged to meet in the Park the next day. It was a beautiful, sunny, clear-skied Saturday morning. Jake had, for the past 30 minutes, been telling Sophie his whole life story. Sophie didn’t mind, no words actually crossed her mind actually and it felt like she was running on pure feeling with no involvement of  rationale.

“And that’s it”

Were Jakes last words.

And it was then that they looked at each other and her whole world suddenly felt at peace. There was something magical at that moment.

Then simultaneously their faces met, each hand on the other’s cheek, and they kissed. Unaware of space, reality nor time – it was right, correct, perfect. And she knew he was ‘Him’.

After that, they never parted.

*   *

My name is Jane and I am Sophie and Jakes Grand daughter. I’m 15 years old and I was given a story to write on ‘The concept of Love and what it means in Today’s Culture where Divorce Rates are at an all-time high of 50%’.

This is a tribute to my Nan and Grand Dad who passed a few months ago.

The Doctors and Nurses were all baffled, the family too, as both Grandma Sophie and Grandpa Jake died of Natural causes. But there was one thing that they all could never work out:

How did it come that they died in each others arms at exactly the same time?

 

Prompt #375 ‘Insight’ from Sunday Scribblings  545 words long