Monday February 9th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something about: the maniac.

Yeah, there might be a bit of a darker theme to the prompts until I finish this book. You've been (belatedly) warned.

Speaking of prompts with connections to them, the plan is to return to The Colony on Wednesday. With the late start to things in January I wanted to gradually bring the yearlong prompt back into the first week of each month, without having them come too close together.

I'll aim for the first ten days of March and then we should be back on track come April.

I'm excited to get back to this one, and I'm very glad to see I'm not alone in that regard.


I'm sorry, beg pardon? Could you say that again for me, just one more time?

Ah, I see. I did, in fact, hear you correctly. What a terribly impolite thing to say to someone. Well, to a stranger at least. But to me? A man who has been such a dear and true friend to you for so very many years?

Ghastly. That's what it is, just ghastly.

I mean, is that really what you think of me? Like, really really? Way deep down, right in there where all your squishy bits are stored?

Well I've got news for you, pal. The whole world is crazy. Everybody here is nuts. That's just the way it is, buddy boy. Ain't nobody escaping that one. Just take a look in the mirror and try to tell me I'm wrong.

Not right now, maybe. You're not looking your best, if you don't mind me saying so. Your hair's a bit of a mess. You could use a shave. Those bruises are not very flattering, and all that blood ain't helping matters either.

I gotta tell you, I'm feeling pretty disappointed in you right now. I figured you'd put up more of a fight. You can't tell me you didn't see this coming, right? I mean, if you're such a smart guy - which is what you have always, always told me - then you should've had this figured out a long time ago. I just figured you didn't call the cops because we were such good friends.

Now? Well, now I guess I know better.


That word... that label... it just makes me so... so...

Ah, words are failing me. Again. I've never been good friends with 'em, I'll tell you that much. Not like you, Mr. Yalepants. Just not where my talents lie, I guess. So. Let us be done with all this blathering, shall we?

Let me show you how I feel.


Greg said...

I'm just grateful that it's the book that's inspiring these grimmer prompts and not the cold. I'm guessing your beard is in full growth again, so you'd make a pretty good Jack Nicholson in The Shining.... As for Mars, I'm excited too, but I'd guessed that you didn't want to think about it until the cold had finished doing its rounds :)
Ah, I was uncertain until about the middle who exactly the maniac was, with the description of the erstwhile victim. There's some very evocative prose there and I think you've picked up on a very plausible inner voice (I particularly liked "Mr. Yalepants" as a description) for a maniac. Huh. Now I'm back to thinking about The Shining again....

The maniac
Cadmus paused at the city gate. It wasn't a beautiful thing, but it was one that he had had erected when he was King. It was made of honest wood, surrounded by heavy stone. The stone itself was mason-crafted and needed no mortar to hold it in place, and this gate was still the preferred one that the merchants came through to bring their goods to the Agora. He laid a hand on the rough, lichen-mottled stones, feeling the heat of the day still held within them, slowly bleeding out, and then walked through.
Outside he adjusted the bear-fur around him; there was frost on the grass and branches already and his breath misted in the air before him. The sky was clear, no clouds to retain the heat today, and the hill where the Maenads were gathering was in front of him. He started the climb, and after five minutes, when sweat was running down the back of his neck despite the night's chill, he looked back at the city. He could still see those parts that had been his; they were darker and shrouded in shadow now. Pentheus's buildings climbed higher and shone more brightly, with hubris rather than honest toil. The bright star, the eternal light that had cost the lives of seventeen thousand men, robbing the countryside of the workforce it needed, shone from the top of the temple; the temple to the wrong God.
Cadmus shivered; he was still sweating but the heat of his exertions had bled away into the air too quickly. He turned back, trying not to think that it should be Pentheus climbing this hill, Pentheus going to look for his mother... Pentheus meeting the maniac.
An ululating howl sounded somewhere above him, and was taken up at the four points of the compass. Bowel-wrenching fear gripped Cadmus, and his knees trembled and threatened not to support him; they were behind him already. Something moved to his left; a naked woman raced past holding aloft her Wand of Dionysus; a spear to any man who observed. There was a wind behind him, more movement to his right; as he gulped air into a chest that was too hot and too tight he began to fall.
"We hunt the bear!" came his daughter's voice across the night.

[Strictly, maenad and maniac derive from the same room rather than from each other, but it still seemed like a nice combination]

morganna said...

More and more
All the time
Never can
I eliminate
All the

Chickweed = spreading herb native to North America that returns from even the smallest piece (thus, you cannot hoe it) and was planted under the front window of my house by one of the previous inhabitants (who moved away 8+ years ago, chickweed is still going strong). Moral: When you enjoy growing native herbs, please research their growth habits and do not plant aggressive plants in the ground (pots are fine). (And I will not spray herbicides, so that's out)

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, the beard is back in nearly full effect. I'll have to do something about that soon, as Max keeps complaining that my face is sharp when I kiss him.

Fascinating scene here. That's a neat connection to the prompt as well, thanks for explaining it :)

Morganna - ugh, that stuff is horrible. Good luck with eradicating it!