Ghosts

There is no good time for anything. No good time to say “I love you”. No good time to say “I don’t love you”. No good time to break up with someone, to ask someone out, to have a baby, to adopt, to marry someone, to have a wedding, to die, to tell someone you want to die, to leave a job or a home. There is no good time to move on with your life. Just as there is no good time to move on from this world.

Just recently I decided to travel back to a place that I hate. Winchester, Virginia. On a mission I have been curious about, but softly avoiding. Get medical testing done. My secondary mission was to visit my family and friends. I missed a few on the latter. The reason I hate going back to the place I was raised is because it’s full of ghosts. The type of entities whose hauntings would invoke insanity. I have many. One ghost in particular I had to visit. Wanted to, actually, because he was a dear friend of mine. I knew him when he was about 7? Maybe 8. Either way, I knew him and his family since the first day they moved up the street from me. My family and I helped his family move into their new house. We would play around the boxes of toys, kitchen supplies, bedroom sets; just forts of cardboard were our playground. I was about 12, I think. I hate the fact that so much of our time together are just ripped up pieces of paper floating through the fog. It’s like my memory doesn’t bother to remember the little joy I had as a child.

I do, however, remember the colorful shields and wooden swords we would fight with in the basement of his parents’ house. One shield was blue with a grey castle, another had a lion imprinted on a red background, and there was a green one. I saw them just last week and even now my memory is slipping. I had sat in the brown, suede, lounge chair of the Ballard’s home. My eyes focusing back and forth from the shields and swords resting atop the mantle of the fireplace to Mrs. Ballard’s eyes as she quickly voiced her concern of me finding a job at the school I dropped out of in order to go back. I visited the Ballards not only to catch up with them but also to check on them. It’s only been two years since the loss of their first and only son, John David. Whenever Mrs. Ballard came across a sentence when she had to mention her son or his passing there would be a pause. As if she was a video that had to buffer. That feeling I understod. I’m currently feeling it with every key stroke.

The Ballards were happy during my visit. Well, I guess I should say more at peace. I wasn’t there two years ago when they had John David’s wake and funeral. My mom told me it was lovely. Many of the town’s residents as well as the students were in attendance. Some people could see it as proof as how small Winchester was. I like to see it as how many lives were impacted by John David and his family. Mr. and Mrs. Ballard chatted with me for about an hour as they gave me an update on their children. Their oldest daughters were in college, but I did get to see and talk with their youngest, Kat. There was shock in my eyes when that five-foot-three, just-barely-went-through-puberty girl hugged me with so much warmth and positivity. Her brunette hair touching her shoulders just like her mother’s. Except, a little more straightened. Last, clear memory I had of Kat was when she was a toddler. It delighted me to hear about her life and how she was supporting her brother’s charity foundation. She was trying to get a support group going at Handley High for kids going through the same thing John David did. I knew right then that she had a bright future ahead of her.

In return I updated them on my current adventures. My writing projects, my search for a writing job, discontinuing college, they were the only loved ones I visited that I didn’t talk about my medical mishaps with. Which was nice. After Mr. and Mrs. Ballard walked me to the front door, I made a request. Mrs. Ballard hugged me after I asked to visit John David’s grave. I had expected to go to the cemetery the next day to pay my respects, but there was no need. I followed Cathy to the front room. I slowly approached the east corner where a tan, lightly warn desk had been. Actually, it might have been a covered piano. Apologies, my memory is actually remarkable. Just in other areas. Definitely not when it comes to visuals. Anyway, I approached a clear vase on top of some tan, lightly warn object. To the right of the vase was a family photo. To the left was a green bag with a furry texture. The yellow laces of the bag were loosened enough to reveal a white box. Mrs. Ballard told me it was biodegradable. She said cremating their son was better for the environment.

So many questions ran through my head before that moment, but after feeling John David’s presence first hand all I thought was, “I hope you’re at peace.” I thought to myself that I had no clue why he would do it. At least, not specifically. I can only understand what it’s like to be in that state. To feel alone amongst the smiles and laughter. To want to leave but always putting it off because deep down there is a whisper of hope. To not having anyone to talk to but the darkness. I know that feeling all too well.

I’ve heard people say that it’s cowardly to commit suicide. That those who did would end up in hell. That those who were brave continued living. Honestly…I’m not sure which is braver. Living in a world you aren’t happy in…or leaving for one you hope you will be. I think you must be pretty damn brave to commit to your ideals despite what others may think or say. What I am sure of is that John David is not in Hell. That kid is way too good to be in a place like that.

I, on the other hand, am destined to go to Hell. I’ve already tasted it with my own soul. I attempted suicide when I was ten years old. It was also my last attempt. I didn’t do it because I was brave, just like I didn’t choose to live because I had suddenly become more courageous. I stayed alive because I saw something, someone who convinced me to live amongst the cave of demonic voices giving convincing rebuttals in favor of the contrary. If you’re not one to believe in magic, you are welcome to believe that I had a hallucination – I was an insomniac – or that I made it up for some psychological reason. I don’t care. I know what I saw that night. I know the conversation I had in the kitchen of my parents’ home during the witching hour. I remember pointing a large knife with a black handle to my heart. The lack of tears running down my face, the voices in my head egging me on as I calculated the perfect angle for the knife to swing into me for a quick death. The cold, white tile floor holding my bare feet in place. The blank stare I held in my eyes during the entire affair. The blanket of despair and dread encompassing the entire house. That night is an image that remains ingrained in my memory. It has always been easier to recall the darkest moments of my life.

January 10th was my first, full day back to Winchester. One of my best friends since middle school, Jose, took me to brunch at a Chinese buffet called China Town. He knows Chinese is my favourite type of cuisine. The combination of simplicity and the delicate handling of ingredients and spices is fascinating as well as delicious. Fried rice might be my last meal, but I’m still deciding. At the restaurant, Jose and I did what friends always do. Talk about relationships, reminisce about the past together, talk about our near futures, express problems we have, joke about each other and our other friends, share tales of our time apart from one another. The usual. A popular topic when it comes to me, in particular, amongst many of my friends is how my love life is going. To many, I’m considered smooth and a bit of a womanizer. I always laugh at such remarks because they could not be more wrong. I’ll admit that at times I can be as silver-tongued as Justin Timberlake, but definitely not a womanizer. I’m more of a Peter Parker when it comes to women. I’m always surprised when a woman likes me. I’m always unsure that it’s true. I am always nervous. When I do hang out with a woman that is interested in me, I always fuck it up in the most idiotic way possible.

In fear of ruining something that makes me so happy, I take my time with relationships. So much, that my friends accuse me of taking too much time. This is the topic Jose and I had landed on. I admitted to him that I take my time, but for a very good reason. Jose continued to stare at me with a questioning glance as he hovered over me. I don’t remember why he was standing right next to me at that moment. I could see through his glasses that his eyes were ready to pounce with a retort against anything I was about to say. He was probably waiting to see if he needed to assist his retort with a slap upside my head. I said to him, “I take my time because I think the woman I date deserves to know about my past. I just think telling them everything at once would be too much and she would get scared of me and leave.” I paused for a moment. “That’s why I don’t tell anyone about my past. Not even friends.” I’m sure Jose saw the disappointment in my eyes so he didn’t hit me. Or the fact that he could’ve just didn’t cross his mind.

Instead, he said, “But you told us.” The “us” he was referring to were Sam, Andrew, and himself.

“Yeah, but that wasn’t until right before I left for college. I knew you guys for years and trusted that you wouldn’t leave me afterwards,” I said. I knew the guys for about 6 years before I told them about my past. they were the first to ever know about that. A couple days later I left for college. No, sorry, Sam knew before the other two.

I told Sam one night during the summer before college as we sat on the hill behind our high school. The moon was full, the grey clouds cascaded through the midnight sky. I told Sam my story in the form of a third person point of view narrative about a lost and depressed boy haunted and tortured by demons every night. Which was true. At the end of the story, the boy stopped his attempt at committing suicide because a mysterious, new voice in his head convinced him not to. But the boy did not live happily ever after. He had gotten rid of his soul and murdered all emotions. The girl he saw that night stayed with him until the boy made real friends and learned how to live life with the emotions he originally wanted nothing to do with.

As I hoped, those three guys continued to be my friends. However, I never did and still don’t expect that behaviour from anyone else. Especially, new friends. I have hope, yes. But I don’t expect anything from anyone. I understand if learning all of this ruins some of my friendships. I’m not doing this for that reason. I also don’t feel obligated to talk about this. I am writing this because I hope that my past, knowledge, experiences, mistakes, learned lessons might help someone else better improve their own life. Whether they be friends, family, or strangers, hopefully talking about my life will help them with their own.

The night I tried to take my own life, the spirit that I spoke to told me this: “I honestly don’t care if you live or die. It’s your choice. You can stab yourself in the heart and die alone now or you can keep living in the hopes that your life will eventually get better.”

I asked the girl, expressionless, monotone, “Is this supposed to be a pep talk?”

“Take it how you want it,” she said.

“What if my life doesn’t get better? What if I’m without friends? What if years from now I’m still not happy?”

“Why do you idolize the characters you watch in cartoons? Or the ones you read in those books? Why do you want to be the superheroes in your comics? Why do you spend all day daydreaming of being one of those characters? Of saving people? Of having a better life? Not giving up on themselves is something they all have in common.” I thought about her multitude of questions. I imagined all of my heroes and all of the characters I wanted to be and asked myself why I liked them so much. And she was right. Whenever I watched or read about them and their adventures, I would always get this feeling of resilience towards my own obstacles. My own villains.

“I…I don’t want to give up. But I’m tired. I hate feeling sad. Hate the voices inside my head. I don’t want them to torture me anymore. I don’t wanna lose control again and become them. I don’t have a reason to live.” Around this point in the conversation, my new silver haired, purple eyed friend sat in one of the black wooden chairs at the dining room table.

She sighed, “So don’t live for yourself.” I had no idea what she meant. “All of your heroes fight for other people. Do that.” I asked her who. “Who do you wanna live for?” She asked as if that was a simple question. I pondered it. Most importantly, I pondered who I was actually capable of helping. It’s not like I was strong, athletic, talented, intelligent. I just had my experience to go on.

“I wanna help the people like me,” I told her.

“Even if it means you’ll be sacrificing your own happiness?”

I nodded. “As long as I can help others be happy, I don’t need to be.” I didn’t feel confident in my answer, but I was committed.

“Okay then,” the girl said as she stood up and walked toward me. “I want you to make me a promise.” What sort of promise could I have possibly made to a girl from another world? Possibly even a hallucination? I just stared at her. She stood five feet in front of me. “Promise me that you’ll never commit suicide, not even attempt it.” I immediately wanted to say no. I wanted to tell her she can get out and never bother me again. Present me would have told her to suck it.

“Fine,” I told her. She leaned in closer to my face. A brilliant, golden aura started to glow around her.

“Promise me,” she said. My grip on the knife loosened and I let out a sigh.

“I promise that I will never attempt to commit suicide…” I paused for a moment. Once my thoughts had buffered, I told her, “…and that I will live my life in order to help others just like me.” The girl gave a smile. I found her odd and not funny in the slightest. But also magnificent. “Are you leaving now?”

“I think I’ll stick with you for a while. Help you out. Clearly you need it.” She wasn’t just referring to the voices still plaguing my mind, but my personality as well. I felt nothing. Wanted to feel nothing. It was easier that way.

Over a year ago I took a nonfiction workshop where I had to write a journal entry about why I wanted to be a writer. One of my first reasons was because I wanted to write stories that would help people learn how to improve their own lives. To inspire others to live out their dreams and to not give up on themselves. That’s true especially with this story. But I’m not being totally selfless here. I write stories and am choosing to be more open about my past because it helps me remember my roots and the lessons I have learned along the way. I keep telling my friends that looking back at your past and accepting it is how you can move toward the future, but I might as well just be talking to the wind. As Professor Josh Wilson told me, “show rather than tell.” So here I am.

I am definitely not the same kid I was back then, but that kid is still a part of me and I can’t ignore him or reject him any longer. He was a ghost nobody loved nor payed attention to. He was invisible to everyone unless needed. His imagination gave him insomnia, hallucinations, and tortured him almost every night. But no one could hear his hollow screams. Now, I am more or less in control of my imagination. I have people who care about me, I understand my emotions and how to deal with them, and I enjoy my life. I’m still kinda a ghost, I’ve made terrible choices in my life that will haunt me forever, but I am happy. I’m glad I didn’t kill myself twelve years ago because, let’s be honest, my sickle cell is gonna kill me by the time I’m 45 anyway. I feel like I have a soul again, however tainted it may be, but it’s mine. And I will live with it until the day I can finally rest in peace. Until then I have to keep my oath to death.

Thanks for reading chapter 1 of my new autobiographical series. I will post more in order to explain…myself, I guess. I’ll go into more detail about my past life, the lessons I’ve learned, the people who have impacted my life, my family, friends, relationships, and my misadventures. If you have any questions about me, my life, and anything in this post, just email me or something. ‘Till next time.

So…Poetry?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I implore you
To explore the inner workings of my head
For this is what you’ve been waiting for
For me to wake from my bed
–  Eliasaph Maze Anderson

I am fully aware that I have been slacking on updating my blog and I deeply apologize, however, as a future professional writer I have become much more serious on how I want my writing to sound and look and to be read. Therefore, I take more time to write stories I would usually write in a day for the shits and giggles. So stay tuned for those wonderful treats because I am finishing up last edits on many projects as well as starting many more. However, today is all about poetry. Most of these poems I wrote at the beginning of this year while the last two I wrote in the past week. I wrote these in many different styles, moods, and degrees of “abstractness.” Also they vary in how well they’re written. The first was written to be terrible, so have fun with that. And my poem “Fools” can be read with the title as part of the poem or without, which is why I didn’t put the title in bold. Alrighty, no more disclaimers, have fun reading, friends. Be back soon.

 

Deliciously Bad Poem: Sanctuary

Coffee & coffee how I love thee
Books & even more books, so many to read
Movies all day satisfy me
And chili cheese dogs are thy feeds.
Groovy smoothies and rad tunes can be had in the kitchen
Gaze at the stars through the spectacular, amazing skylight
Which has been dubbed bitchin’.
I can do whatever my heart desires
I can forget all of my worldly troubles
For I am the key to my own wicked inner sanctum
My Sanctuary

 

Fools

Belonging wraps her arms around them

Hallucination

Sparks twitter around the clouds

Lightning yearning to dance

Suffocation

Broken fragments of red glass occupy sacred ground

Cuts are inflicted, but no scars show

Hollow

Rogues howl to their goddess for providence

Only to have a shadow’s breath whisper by

Loyalty

Men scurry through the wilderness into the clearing

Wolves waiting

 

Happy Days

The wheels turn on the rainbow road

My soles keep pushing clockwise

My will refuses to slow down and take a breath.

Cars zip through the Sahara as I follow

With my body seventy percent evaporated.

At long last, a decline appears and my body freezes in the plastic negative

My brain’s natural helmet rests on the bars of the metal ram

The tumbling rumble of the rumbling tum would not cease like

A lie being swished around a building of spies

You have reached your destination, my internal gps

One small step for man, though man has had one too many drinks of low spirits, man leans over towards the grass.

Red waterfall spews from my mouth with white chunks of mystery meat.

Vile as it may be, it smiles as it droops toward the sidewalk. I smile back, sincerely. The first one in months.

Up, once again I vomit

Joyful cries of children

Visions from childhood days of pancakes made by mom and naps in grassy fields

To feel bliss like that again makes this a successful day

 

To Feel

After months of submitting to the monochrome motions of the escalator of life, I have been able to run up and down the stairs. Laughter that lasts longer than NCIS, a zip tie wraps around the already swirling whirlpool in my stomach, slowly closing the knot upon itself, I might just die, as long as I continue to feel. Darkness begins to consume the periscopes attached to my face, but the care-free bliss that toasts my heart and sets my mind at serenity lets my soul fly alongside the musical notes of high-larity.

A mystical jewel rolls down my face as I remember that the funniest joke in existence…

Is me

 

Tiny Encyclopedia

I see you wave at me from afar and Technicolor embers burst out of my eyes

That dopey U appears.

As I sit at the table with a sixteen ounce cup of dark brown bean water, working on my new story, I find it trying to not gaze at those brilliant rays of light emphasizing your finely sculpted features. Two spoonfuls of sugar. A smidge of cream.

Burnt cocoa locks cascading down your white mocha shoulders

Rose gloss enticing your victims to lean in for their last meal

Even those bronze plates you use to glare at me when I make a jester’s joke shifts to gold in the right light

You don’t find me funny          but my foolishness amuses you

Talking to you is like speaking to the Mexican Sandy Olsson with more Sriracha

You catch me mesmerized by this elegant painting and tell me

You’re flattered but not interested in an unusually familiar deep tone

Blink and blink but Eugene’s clone is still in view        Pupils roll toward the sky

The mirage is gone

I glance at the tiny fluorescent screen and see you’re still waving

 

Dogs

How are we different

You and I?

I call and you come running, you call and I’m already there.

We both walk side by side without a chain to keep us from going too far, no matter what fabric it’s made out of

You could take a trip to Siberia and back if you desired and I wouldn’t mind

As long as you returned to me, I wouldn’t even need a souvenir, I just want you

Near, beside me, on the couch watching TV

I trust you and hope you trust me. I suppose you do because your grey and black fur is the infinite evidence that proves you lie with me at night

To protect me

From pain.

I may have bought you but you are not my slave or pet, you are my friend

In the truest sense of the word

You’re my

Wingman, but you’re getting all the numbers

You rigged the game, you mixed-eyed bandit

Change it back, so I can bask in fame.

Though I paid for you and you’re free to leave

Do you stay out of respect or obligation? Fondness or pity?

Am I your master or are you mine? Is anyone in control?

You bark for me to muzzle it as you stare at the vast and endless array of clouds

You’re fascinated by Mother Nature’s coloring of the floating cotton balls you love to eat so much. The navy blue splashed on top of the orange shmears accompanied by the pink accents.

Even you can’t look away from the visually delicious buffet of the world.

You’re right, there is no difference.

 

There’s a Difference

By

Eliasaph Maze Anderson

I want you
Not need you
That’s the difference

If I needed you, I wouldn’t care for you
Carry you
That’s the difference

I wouldn’t feel for you
Feel with you
I’d be bare with you
High with you, not driving by for you
Not being there when you want me to
That’s the difference

If I didn’t want you, my dreams wouldn’t involve you
Our bond wouldn’t be anywhere close to true

That’s the difference

 

Pay No Mind

By

Eliasaph Maze Anderson

How can I advert my eyes when you look at me like I am the only one at the bar?
A spotlight emphasizes my importance to you as if you are the only one to take the time to relight my spot on the chandelier.
I sit and stay and stare at the door after you leave me to myself,
Though my tail only flutters for the one I adore.
Clocks will tick, phones won’t ring,
Imagining angels appear in the audience as you sing.
My head drops down to the floor the same way a student sits their head upon their desk

My mind delves into what it deems best.

You pay me no mind like a free month subscription to Spotify premium
Chilling with friends and they ask you, what do you see in him?
You tell them, you don’t know
If you knew then you would care enough not to disrupt the flow
The flow of electricity you and I get to see and lose ourselves to while our souls travel across dimensions to a sanctuary
No one knows
Where I can be alone, but not with you
You may like the view, but nothing else
And it may not be what you’re thinking, but you’re also not speaking
‘Cause you pay me no mind
And it’s been a long time since we’ve spoken, yet you’re unable to tell me real quick that you’re feeling broken,
So go away
Or that you’ve been spending time with friends drinkin’
Can’t talk today

I want you to be blunt
Let me know it’s gonna be a few months
So I should sit back and keep smoking my blunts
Have my friends sit me in a corner and place on my head a hat that reads dunce
More than once
Spend the time thinking of how hard I fell for your magic like a romantic for Shakespeare’s tragics
I was warned not to let the idea of you into my bed, is what they said
And if I looked around and listened
I could hear other sweet sounds that make my eyes glisten
And like a clown, I smile
Send you a text and star gaze at the Nile
Check my phone and find my message idle

I could be in a tomb, solving a mystery with Scooby-Doo, unlike the rest of the gang, I’d continue to think, where are you?

Because I refuse to see the clue
Right in front me
I’m unable to set my mind right
But I have to see
‘Cause in hindsight
The thought of you makes my heart bite
Yearning to be held tight
And I get other calls
But I wait for yours
Because I’m patient
And hesitant to close doors
Especially, one so fantastic
It’s authentic, not plastic, I know for sure

Though your impending goodbye scares me
My world is not asunder
Like an Egyptian cat, I’ll shake it off and continue to be legendary
But you pay me no mind and that drifts me to wonder

 

 

If We Were Having Coffee: Leaving Home

Is it strange to be missing a home you haven’t even left yet? That’s the question I thought to myself at 2 am this morning as I packed for my trip back to Virginia. I’ve only lived in my new apartment in Tucson for four months, but I already consider it home. Why would I believe such a thing? Because of all the great times I have had there so far and because of the people that made it home. Like my roommate and friend, River Ludington. Strange guy, pretty groovy, lover of hiking and biking and all that jazz. He also has a knack for building random contraptions and brewing beer. We’re basically complete opposites in personality and activity wise, but we fit together well. The icing on the cake is that we work together at the Raging Sage Cafe and it’s tons of fun.

The Sage is also part of why I consider not just that apartment, but Tucson, home. My place is only a 15 minute walk from work, which is fantastic because I can just cruise down the street on my electric skateboard, Genie, and be enjoying some coffee and delightful conversation with my work friends. I’d love to say more about them, however, I don’t have the time. The North Carolina airport WiFi is about to run out and then it’s back to playing Pokemon for me.

Anyway, I know my visit to see my family in Virginia will only be for a month, but during that time, I won’t be working or napping in the back of cafe or watching Community with River and another friend of mine, Talya. I won’t be riding my skateboard or be sleeping in my own, comfy bed. And I won’t be able to hang out at my favorite place with the eccentric characters that have brought me joy these past 8 months while sipping a hazelnut cubano. It’s a little sad to think about, however, I am also pretty excited to enjoy a White Christmas in good old and crappy Winchester.

Pokemon 20th Anniversary!

Yo, readers. I’m returning to blogging in a spectacular way with an amazingly crazy story. A Pokemon fan fiction. And before you lose interest because you think Pokemon is for kids and dumb and whatever, I suggest giving my spin on one of my childhood favorite games. I am not only writing this fanfic to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Pokemon, but to also share what I have learned from my life in a world unfamiliar, meanwhile, similar to ours. For those who don’t know me, I am a realist. Therefore, this story, all though meant to be light and kid friendly is going to be written in a more young adult type of way. So, its’ more like rated pg-13 than pg. And to clarify, I am writing this more for myself than others because I love Pokemon. And because of that, I am throwing out all the rules to whatever writers follow and putting not just myself in the story, but everyone I know as well. Where and when a person from my life will appear in the story and how they will affect it will be more or less random. There’s not really a set plan with this one, I’m mostly making things up as I go along. That also means the writing style may change a teensy  bit throughout the work because I have 2 editors helping me create a more riveting narrative. My first editor is one of my best friends, Breanna Gushiken, while my second editor is my eldest sister, Elisha Frazer. So far, I’ve completed the 1st episode, which is 27 pages long, so I am gonna split the episode into small parts for easy and quick reading. Ok, I’m done rambling. Have fun reading.

 

Pokémon Generation Neo:

Episode I

The Adventure Begins

Part 1

            I ran up the hill to Professor Elm’s lab as fast as I could. I couldn’t believe my parents let me sleep in late! They knew how long I’ve been waiting for this day. This very dehydrating day. I slowed down as I stared up at the nearly cloudless sky. The summer sun was baking my body. Sweat rolled out of my beanie. I saw the guys in front of the lab as I arrived at the hilltop. My friends were sitting in the grass with a Cyndaquil I had never seen before.

Damn, I think I’m too late. I ran to them and put my hands on my knees. “Did…I make it?” I could barely breathe.

“No, bro. You’re thirty minutes late. There are no more starters for you to get,” Brett said as he gave Cyndaquil a pat on the head. The others just shook their heads in disapproval.

“Nice, Maze. You had one job,” Andrew laughed.

“Yea, Maze, we called like four times,” Sam chimed in. Jose just sat there and laughed. My friends suck sometimes. I sat down beside Brett.

“I overslept. I went to bed late last night and, and, well this happened.” I was mad at myself, but at the same time, I just didn’t care. I always ended up messing things up for myself that I became used to it. Even now, I continually screw things up. “Sorry, Brett, I guess we’ll be leaving town tomorrow instead.” We’ve planned this for over a year. Brett would finally graduate high school and we’d travel the world as Pokémon trainers. I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t you get your starter when you turned ten? Well, it’s because the laws were changed years ago.

You see, the generation before my friends and I was called the “hero” generation because they solved so much of the turmoil that started occurring in the world. The numerous world threatening events caused the governments of every region to change the trainer age from ten years old, to fourteen. However, many parents saw the raise in age to force their children to finish high school before being trainers, just like my parents. I know, my life sucks, but not after today.

“How about you spend the night at my house, Maze, so we make sure you wake up on time.” Jose was almost always helpful. It was a good idea though.

“Yea, then we can play games and watch movies all night.” Sam didn’t understand the point of us hanging out tonight.

“No, you idiot, we don’t want Maze to stay up all night because then he’ll be late again.” Andrew understood, but he didn’t need to be so harsh. I just laid down in the grass and watched the clouds go by. I was in no mood to argue with them today. After a few minutes, I saw the professor looking down at me. I swear that guy’s wardrobe is filled with the same outfit. A green dress shirt, brown khakis and loafers, and his lab coat. The five of us turned our attention to him.

“Hey, doc. What’s up?” I said. He pushed up his glasses.

“Hey, guys. Maze, I was sad to see you didn’t show up today. Are you alright?”

“Yea, I just overslept, everything’s groovy,” I reassured.

“Oh ok, then I’ll be glad to see you tomorrow to get your Pokémon, right?” I nodded. “I’ll be here as early as eight in the morning, so you’re welcome to stop by then.”

“Will do.”

“Very good. Now, to the business at hand. I wanted to ask you all a favor.” We all gave him questioning glances. Cyndaquil was also paying attention.

“Okay…” Brett said. It wasn’t very often the professor would ask us a favor.

“Sure, professor, whatever you need,” Sam said. If any of us wanted to back out before, it was too late now. Thanks, Sam.

“Great. You see, I lost a small black case in the woods this morning and don’t have time to look for it until tomorrow because I have a ton of research to do today. I’d be grateful if you could search for it.” The professor gave us a smile. The five of us shared shrugs and nods.

“Yea, we’ll look for it for you. Which part of the woods did you lose it?” Brett asked.

“I lost it somewhere near the path that leads to Tohjo Falls. Thank you guys so much for your help. Just let me know if you find it or not,” Professor Elm said as he walked back into his lab.

“I know what I’m not doing today,” Andrew pronounced. We just glared at him. That behavior was expected from Andrew. He was always too lazy to do anything helpful, but in the end, he helped anyway. “I’m joking, I’m going, don’t worry.” And good thing he was helping because I sure couldn’t.

“Well, have fun with that, I’ll catch up with you guys later and help,” I said as I got up.

“Where are you going?” Brett asked. Cyndaquil was eating an Oran berry from his hand.

“I’ve got work at the café until six. I’ll search after, though, I promise.”

“You better, we’re not searching on our own!” Brett yelled as I walked down the hill. There’s four of them and a Cyndaquil, so I didn’t understand what he meant by ‘on their own,’ but whatever. I just waved and went off to work.

Later that night, I went off into the woods. I was pretty tired, but I said I would look for that mysterious case, so I had no choice. I called Jose right after work and he told me him and the others were taking a break from searching, so I went searching on my own.

It didn’t take me long to reach the area that the professor told us about, however, I could not find that case for the life of me. The area near Tohjo Falls was big. The trees grew so high that for many of them, it wasn’t possible to see the top. And this wasn’t one of those bright green, nicely cut grass type of woods, it’s one of those woods with the semi-tall grass and leaves of shades of brown and dark green covering the ground. I spent an hour and a half looking and decided to take a break. I just decided to go exploring and hang out with the Pokémon in the area. Pidgeys and Spearow flew over me while Caterpie and Rattata scurried through the grass and climbed up the trees. As I walked randomly through the forest I had come across the weirdest phenomena ever. Not really, but it was weird. A guy in a black uniform with a giant red ‘R’ on his chest was walking several feet in front of me until he just disappeared. It was like he walked through space time because the entire space he walked passed rippled like a pebble in water.

I was shocked for sure, but I was more intrigued than anything else. Have you ever had that moment when you are surprised by something and should be scared and question everything, but instead you are like, ‘cool! How’d that happen?’ That’s exactly how I felt. I ran up to the spot where that guy disappeared and investigated the area. Nothing seemed wrong. The grass was grass, the trees were trees, and the leaves were definitely leaves. I stretched my arm out in front of me and part of it went through the ripple in space. Like when Alice and Eevee went through the looking glass only this was even trippier. My success in finding this anomaly made me smile. I walked into the ripple and was surprised to find on the other side…the same stupid forest. Like no space station or different part of the world, no, I was still in the same place. Except now, there was a two story red and white building that wasn’t there before. I looked to the sky to find a huge grid-like field surrounding the area above the building that spread to the ground. It must have been what I stepped through to find this place. And what was being used to keep this place a secret. No wonder no one had ever seen this random building in the middle of the stupid woods before.

I spotted the guy I saw moments before go inside the building. I tried to follow him in, but I needed to scan an I.D. badge at the door. Like I was gonna get one of those. Instead, I snuck around, looking for another way inside. I looked through the windows to see what was going on inside and found even more people wearing black uniforms. I couldn’t place where I saw that ‘R’ logo before, but right at that moment, I remembered. It was the Team Rocket logo. A bunch of them were running around with vials of colorful fluids, huge cables, and stacks of papers. Some of them even had lab coats on. The inside was well kept too. It had the same messy but organized layout as a hospital. Sparkling floors, sterilized walls, and random computers and tech at one side of the room. I didn’t know what the heck these weirdos were up to, but I knew I had to find out.

As I lurked around to the back of the building, I caught a glimpse of a girl with long, black hair enter the hideout. I caught the door before it closed and held it ajar just a tiny bit so that it looked closed from far away. I walked right in after seeing no one in the hall. I was really proud of myself for obvious reasons. Who wouldn’t be happy about successfully sneaking into some place you obviously shouldn’t be entering. I didn’t need a bunch of signs reading ‘Danger’ and ‘Do not enter’ to know that I was doing something extremely stupid and dangerous, but, you know, yolo. Anyway, that hallway had nothing in it, except for one entryway to the basement level. Like I was going to do something as dumb as go down into the creepy basement. I just decided to observe the rest of the place and get evidence to show the police later.

I knelt down as I snuck a peak into the main lobby. It wasn’t really a lobby as it was just a huge area with tons of computers and crap, but let’s just call it a lobby. So, this lobby was the same room that I saw through the window earlier. What I didn’t see earlier was this big red and white platform in the middle of the room with the random pedestal on one side of it. Above the platform was this metal frame-worked indoor balcony that made up the second level. Several Team Rocket goons were setting up video cameras that were looking down at the stage. Apparently, they were getting ready for some kind of show or experiment or something.

“Help us…”

            The feeling of anxiety washed over me after I heard the disembodied voice. It was like it came from my own head, but I know I wasn’t thinking it. Deciding to just brush that incident as nonsense, I took a few snapshots of the lobby with my Pokégear.

“Please…help us.”

            There it was again. At that point, I started to get some very eerie vibes that I just couldn’t ignore. I had to figure out who was calling me. Unfortunately, the place where I thought the voice was coming from was the creepy basement I was trying so hard to avoid. But, you know, fuck me, right? The voice called again and I whispered, “I know, I heard you the first two times. Just hold on, alright? Geez.”

The basement level was just as haunting as I thought it would be. There was light in the halls, but it was dim and blue, making it possible to see down them while retaining the ‘beware-of-jump-scare’ vibe. That disembodied voice could’ve been behind anyone of the many doors down there, but I didn’t want to take the chance to open a door and be caught by a bunch of Team Rocket nerds. The further I walked through the halls, the more my vibes grew. It felt like my body knew where to go without explaining why. I guess that’s what they call instinct. One hallway I walked down felt strange. Like I was close to something important. That feeling got stronger the closer I reached the door at the end of the hallway. I reached for the doorknob when it suddenly turned on its own. Out of fear, I jumped into an open room behind me and hid behind this huge bookshelf. I listened to the echoed footsteps go past the room and I slowly peeked down the hall. The woman walking down it had an empty cage in her hand. Whatever that thing was used for must be in that room, I thought.

Creeping closer to the source of my wonky vibes felt like one of those points in your life when you think to yourself, If I do this? How could it possibly affect my life? And then you do the thing in question and realize, How could it not?

What I saw in that room was the worst thing I had ever witnessed firsthand. At first, I couldn’t see much because one light was barely on in the center of the ceiling, so all I saw were tuba sized cages with small, glowing eyes in some of them. All those eyes staring at me made me incapable of moving my legs.

Over here,” the voice reached out. I hesitantly crept further down the aisle of cages. I heard a soft purr coming from one cage and went toward it.

“Are you the one I keep hearing?” I asked as I peeked inside the cage. The glowing brown eyes seemed to get a bit closer and then in an instant, they appeared mere inches from my face and the creature bearing them would have clawed my face if I hadn’t jumped back and fallen on my ass already. “Okay, groovy, not you. I won’t bother you anymore.” That’s when I recognized the creature in the cage. It was an Eevee. An angry and defensive one at that. It paced around, keeping eye contact with me. A few Pokémon in the other cells started to purr as well and it was in that moment that I realized Eevee and all of its evolutionary forms were being held against their will by Team Rocket. But for what?

Glad to see you found us, human.”

            I looked around at the icy blue Glaceon, to the blazing Flareon, and to this colorful Sylveon that laid in a corner of its cage licking off a wound on its arm. Then I felt a cold chill at the back of my neck like I was being watched. I turned around and in the cage to the right of the sleeping Umbreon were the piercing purple eyes of an Espeon. I looked through those unblinking eyes and felt empowered as if this ball of light purple fluff was determined and confident. In what? I had no idea, but I knew that I wanted to do whatever was in my power to help it. I just needed to know one thing. Standing in front of its cell, I asked it, “Are you a boy or a girl?” Espeon’s eyes shifted from seriousness to curiosity. “Your voice sounded female, but it’s really hard to tell with most Pokémon, so I thought I’d ask.” Espeon gave a smile as I heard it chuckle in my head.

“You are a very amusing human. Yes, I am female, but I do not know how that matters at all.”

“I don’t know. I was just curious.”

“More curious than knowing about this dungeon? Than knowing what this place and what my siblings and I are here for?”

“I mean, those were definitely gonna be my next few questions,” I said. It was strange. This Pokémon wasn’t as jumpy and ferocious as the others. She was calm and kind. “So, what is Team Rocket doing to you and your siblings?” I took a seat. Espeon’s eyes turned blue before she spoke.

“About a month ago, we were brought here as the humans’ test dummies. You call them, ‘Team Rocket’?” I nodded. As she told me her story, images of her and her family being captured and caged up by Team Rocket appeared in my head.

            “To test what?”

“I’m not sure. However, we are put on a stage of sorts and our energy is drained into different crystals that the humans study.” More images surfaced. I could see an Eevee and a Sylveon be chained to a round stage and electrocuted until they fell unconscious. I also witnessed a few of Espeon’s siblings being tossed into the kennels with fresh, bleeding, wounds on their bodies. The images were so graphic and depressing, that I started to tear up. I could not believe what had happened to these Pokémon.

The platform I saw upstairs must be what she’s talking about, I thought as I wiped my eyes. Though, that didn’t explain any of their behaviors. “How is it that you’re so calm while your siblings are…?”

“Hostile? Mistrusting?” She knew the exact words I was thinking of using. “The experiments affected each of us differently. At first, the fatigue was bearable, however, after so long, most of us have lost hope and have grown spiteful and melancholy. I, on the other hand, still remember what it was like to be free and remain hopeful for my family’s sake.”

            “You still trust humans? And why me of all people?” Why did she ask for my help?

“I know that not all humans are terrible. And it’s not like I chose to have you help us. You were just the only person to hear my voice.”

“Oh, so I was just a lucky coincidence, huh?” I muttered. A bit disappointed in the fact that I wasn’t chosen for any particular reason.

“Yep, that’s basically it,” she said with a laugh.

“You don’t have to agree with me,” I snapped. I felt offended, but Espeon’s smile made it hard to be too hurt, so I just laughed along with her. Though, I knew that it was not the time to lollygag. I had to find a way to free all of those Pokémon. I stood up and investigated the cage. A card reader was positioned as the lock of the cell. I had to get my hands on an I.D. card. “I’ll have to grab a Team Rocket I.D. to open this cell.” I was speaking to Espeon, but I could swear that the Umbreon beside us scoffed at me. “What? Do you have a better idea?” I asked it. It just looked at me, looked at Espeon, growled something to her, and went back to sleep. Like, I was standing right there and was completely ignored. I’m pretty sure it insulted me also. Espeon turned to me.

“My brother means well. He just doesn’t believe in you like I do.” That did not make me feel any better. I had to stick it to that Umbreon.

“Well, I’ll just have to prove him wrong. I’m gonna get the key and I’ll be back as fast as I can.” I walked back towards the hall and as I passed Umbreon I said, “And you can suck it.”

Creeping through the hallways was easy, the hard part was finding empty rooms with an I.D. card randomly in it. The best way for me to get my hands on an I.D. was to snatch one off someone. I found one woman who had her card swinging off the side of her skirt. I clung to the wall as I followed her down the hall. She went from room to room collecting papers from scientists, so I guessed she was just an assistant or something. Finally, she stopped to answer a phone call from her boss. As she stood still, giving a progress report of the work being done, I tiptoed behind her, carefully snatched her card, and snuck back towards Espeon and the others. Unfortunately, I was a little late.

            While staying in the shadows, I witnessed a guy walk past me with two small kennels. My heart skipped a beat when I saw Umbreon and Espeon inside them, trying to break free. I couldn’t let them get their energies drained again. They couldn’t suffer any more abuse. I didn’t know how, but I was going to stop Team Rocket’s experiments.

To be continued…

I’m Still Awake

Hey, Everyone. To those who still read this blog, I am here to say…I’m ready. I’m back, I’m alive, and I’m ready to get back to what I love doing. Writing fun stories. I have spent all summer on one giant and epic story that will probably run till the end of time. It’s the story I’m choosing to make my return with because it’s about life. Not just life, though, but my life. I’m going to share with everyone what I learn and have learned from life from my perspective with everyone that I know, have known, or come across on my journeys. Couldn’t I just write journal entries on my life? Yes, whoever is asking that question, I could, but that’s a little more personal than I would like and my way is more fun. Also, I already write about my life in a journal, so that would be redundant.

Anyway, I would like to tell everyone where I am at in life and it’s sort of a weird place. Albeit, it’s my apartment, but it is also a place of peace. I am going to school, earning my creative writing degree, working at my kick-ass job, the Raging Sage Cafe, as a barista, and paying bills for my cozy and cheap condo with my 2 roommates and I am sincerely happy. I am at a happy and nervous and exciting place in my life and I honestly don’t know what to do but to keep walking and explore. This condo I’m living in is officially my first apartment and I ended up in a very nice place for how cheap the rent is. It became even nicer after finally got a bed after the first month here. And then it became even better after my roommates and I bought a kitchen table and a second couch. I like to refer to my new couch as my napping couch because, well, the obvious. Ever since we got the couch, I made it my mission to nap on it as much as possible. When I come home from class, sleep on the couch. Come home from work, sleep on the couch. Finished homework at four in the morning, I might as well sleep on the couch because I got class at eight.

Speaking of which, it’s 2 a.m. and I’m still awake. Why? Because one of my roommates had a barbecue today, which turned into a party that lasted until 12:30 and my place was a mess. I’m not mad or anything. I had a ton of fun, actually. I finished work late, so I missed the BBQ, but I enjoyed the party. We watched Pokemon on Netflix and played drinking games – with the good beer, thank the gods – and played volleyball and Cards Against Humanity. I had a blast. It was the first college party that I didn’t regret going to. That wasn’t just a waste of time. My roommates goofy friends and the laid back and geeky atmosphere of the party reminded me of hanging out with my friends back on the east coast and our laid back, geeky activities. But without the alcohol. After everyone finally decided to leave, so I could sleep, the apartment was a mess. chips and dip all over the table and counter; Cards and various empty beer and vodka bottles on the floor; leftover lettuce and tomatoes on the kitchen counter and dirty dishes lying around. But guess what? We had one roll of paper towels left; a swiffer and wet jet, but no pads; no broom or dustpan; and we were out of trash bags. So, being the only sober and conscious person, I walked down the street to the grocery store and bought all the cleaning supplies we needed. Needless to say, my apartment is clean once again and I can now go to sleep without any worries. The best part is is that all the food and drinks leftover is mine to devour for the next week. And no, not the booze, I mean the sodas.

Anyway, after all of that, I successfully received the notes of edits on my latest story from my second editor and am ready to publish part one on here. However, before I just come out with my story, I wanted to make a not so brief introduction. This was all just to let the world know that I am still awake.

 

If We Were Having Coffee…

If we were having coffee, we’d be in my favorite cafe, The Espresso Bar, and I’d be drinking the best chai latte I have ever had called the chai way to heaven. It’s the chai latte of the gods. We’d sit down at the table in the middle of the dining area with the chess board. The best table in the house. After we took our seats, I’d tell you why I haven’t written any new stories in the past month. For those who truly know me, you’ve seen my serious face. I don’t show that face very often because it is the side of me I hate to bring out. Many terrible memories come with my serious, no bullshit personality.

I would look at you with my serious face and tell you I’ve been busy lately. That and I’ve had a bit of writer’s block. I would tell you that I have relapsed into the darkness. You would then put on a questionable look or if you know what I’m talking about, a look of concern would appear. I would continue my story nonetheless, not caring if you understood me or not. I had recently flew back to my parents place in Virginia. Winchester was a place I used to call home, no matter how much I hated it. I’d then tell you it was the place itself I hated, not the people. I went home for one reason and that was to help my friends. For the most part, it was a pretty good week. I visited my favorite band director and got tips on how to play the bass guitar. I spent a few days with one of my best friends since middle school. And those who know him, know that this friend can be a bit of an ass, however, I enjoy hanging out with him because no matter how bad he may treat me or how much he insults or makes fun of me, I know that he will always have my back. He supports me in almost all of my decisions and is completely honest with me. During my trip he did something I, nor anyone who knows him for that matter, would expect. He gave me an early birthday celebration and bought me a coconut cream pie, my favorite pie, and a Legend of Zelda journal to write in. This is the same friend who has known me for 10 years and never remembers when my birthday is. The last time I asked him when it was he thought the month it was in didn’t even exist, so the fact that he did that was a big deal to me. It meant that no matter what, our friendship would never wither away.

As we sit there sipping our drinks, I would then remember that I went too far off topic and get back to the main story. I was glad and flew back to see that friend because he was one of the people I was worried about, but not as much as some others. I spent time with 3 more friends during that week. One goofy guy who was down on himself last time I saw him because he didn’t believe in himself. He felt insecure because he felt that what he wanted to do with his life wasn’t as meaningful as his other friends. He wanted to be in the FBI while his friends wanted to be engineers. I told him that he shouldn’t feel bad because what he was doing was kickass and just as important as his friends stuff. I mean, he’s going to be a cop. That’s not only cool, but a noble and courageous profession. In return for lifting his spirits, he made me feel better about myself for some problems I had been going through. That weekend though, he had been as happy as can be. He had some girl troubles and we talked about it, watched a movie, and left him in good tidings. The last 2 friends were harder to help, I’m afraid, and I would soon tell you about the reason I’ve been so down.

The next friend of mine was a guy I love hanging out with because we get along so well and I feel like he understands my pain more than most. He was a bit depressed because of his college classes and he was having trouble with this girl that he was crushing on real hard. He loved spending time with this girl and became sad when she suddenly stopped talking to him. Turns out that girl’s sister had just been diagnosed with a serious illness and was deeply distraught. Not knowing that girl’s family struggle at that time he asked her something he regretted because it made him seem like a dick, which made him ashamed. We spent a lot of time together that week, however, when I left he was still in bad shape. I failed him. He also helped me bring happiness to another friend that week. A girl who fell so deep in the abyss of darkness that she made a bed there and slept in it all the time. She didn’t want to move. I don’t blame her all that much because I was the same way in my childhood. Except I walked through the darkness, instead. Even found the edge once. Almost jumped. This girl’s father had just died and she had no one to talk to. She had no real friends. On top of that, she hurt herself and was the most insecure person I’ve ever met. She had no self-confidence whatsoever.

I would ask you, “Have you ever met a gorgeous girl who thought they were ugly?” That was my first time and no matter how much I told her she was not ugly, she didn’t believe me. One day in that week, she had skipped school for a few hours, yes, she’s in high school, and my other friend and I drove her around town. We had a good day. And I could tell she had a great time. But her happiness was temporary. The warmth we showed her, the amazing light that overcame her darkness whisked away just as fast as it came. I failed her as well. I flew back home to Tucson knowing that I had failed to help 2 of my friends. I had the warmth of the desert sun on my back and felt cold.

At this point, you would probably tell me that I shouldn’t feel bad. I tried my best and that’s what matters. That I told them what I felt they needed to hear and now it’s up to them. Well, I would tell you that that’s bullshit. You may tell me that their problems are not my own, but to me, that not true. I don’t see it that way. I see it as my friends are in pain and I need to do everything in my power to make them happy. Even if it makes me sad. I have this ability that I’ve been cursed with since birth. The power of empathy. I feel the emotions of others and my emotions are affected by them. This past week, I had a chat with a friend about her depression. She didn’t show it, but she was so depressed that she wanted to cry and I knew that because I spent much of that day with her and even though it wasn’t a bad day for me, I felt stressed and empty inside and felt like crying.

As I finish the rest of my chai tea and take a moment for you to take this all in, I would tell you about something one of the most influential people in my life had said. This person is Cory Matthews from the TV show Boy Meets World. He is now in the hit TV show Girl Meets World. On the show, her taught the audience and his history class the secret of life. And that secret is that people change people. I would explain that people’s lives are determined by those who surround them, and that people’s happiness, love and strength come from others. That secret is like playing guess who with someone you barely know. It’s like trying to solve a riddle on the app of your phone. It’s like playing ‘Who’s That Pokemon’ back when you were little and you barely knew any of the Pokemon. Once you saw the person’s face, or spent points to automatically answer the riddle, or waited for the commercial break for them to tell you what Pokemon it was, the answer seemed so freaking easy. It makes so much sense right then and there that you feel like an idiot for not knowing it.

I would tell you that I live a complicated life. Not just because of my own problems, which are more than I care to admit, but because I take it upon myself to support the lives of my friends and family so they can live one filled with more joy than my own. Am I a good person? No. I’m just a dumbass who doesn’t have anything better to do. A guy who’s soul is tainted by guilt and sadness that he feels he will seek redemption by helping others. Actually, that’s not very accurate. Is my soul tainted? Yes. Have I done bad things. Yep. Do I seek redemption? No, I don’t care for that. I just feel that helping others achieve a joyful life is the right thing to do, so I do it. Meanwhile, in doing so, I have ended up making myself feel a little depressed and it’s affecting my school work, my writing, and my time with my friends who do nothing but make me laugh.

At this time, I would stare into my empty cup and wish I had enough money to buy another. I would then lighten the mood by putting on a smile and telling you about this cute girl I met on my flight and about the fun time I had with my parents and my old boss at the museum I used to work at. I would look and ask you for advice on what I should do and finally realize that you were never there to begin with. That you were just a figment of my imagination. Then the entire cafe would dissipate into the air and leave me back in the tiny park next my dorm. I had been staring at the stars when I drifted off to sleep around 4 am. Then I’d walk back to my room and go to sleep for another few hours until I had to get up for class. That dream would be pushed to the back of my mind, soon to be forgotten.

I apologize for my readers for not posting a story this time, however, this technically was a story. I usually would never share any of these things with people I thought couldn’t handle it, but I know not many people actually read my blog, so it wouldn’t matter anyway. And that it is my blog and I don’t really care at this time to reveal a bit about myself. This is something that I needed to get off my chest and hopefully, in doing so, some people have gained something out of this story. I have no idea what that should be, but I have this strong vibe that this post might be a tiny bit helpful to someone somewhere besides myself. Expect plenty of new stories to be posted this month and my usual joking self. To my friends and family…thank you.