Thursday January 26th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: mayhem.

Took the boys to gym time at the community centre this morning. It was Miles' first time, and Max and I hadn't been there... in a very long time. It was a good chance for Max to run around and let off some steam for over an hour, and Miles seemed to enjoy it as well.

Fun side note: it's called Parent and Tot time, but my brain insists on calling it Toddler and Tot time. So I generally just refer to it as gym time.

Hit a few stumbling blocks with my writing project this afternoon, but I think I've figured out a way around them already. Shall see how that works out tomorrow.


Surrounded by rage personified, by the chaos of vengeance without direction, by the unraveling threads of kindness, politeness, civility, and sound judgment, I sit and I watch. And, perhaps because I am so still, not a soul takes notice of me.

I would like to take some pictures, perhaps record a video or two, but I suspect that such actions would draw attention. And I would not be at all surprised if it drew protest. Violent protest, obviously.

So I remain still, allowing my eyes to take in and record as much as they can in this swirling sea of humanity's wickedness unleashed. I note with some interest that no weapons are being put to use - other than fists and feet, of course. I suppose the knives and guns and homemade bombs of all shapes and sizes and sorts will come later.

I think I shall be long gone by then.

My gaze flicks toward my coffee, somehow still upright and unspilled on the table before me. I would very much like to take a sip before it goes entirely cold. I think it would increase my enjoyment of all this nonsense.

It might also be the last coffee this shop ever brews for anyone. So maybe I should preserve it instead?

Anyway. I should be keeping watch on the mob. It really would be for the best if I can take advantage of the very first opportunity to get out of here. So let's focus on that, shall we?

Yes, let's.


Greg said...

Toddler and Tot sounds like a fun time together and is an accurate description of Max and Miles, so I think your brain has it right. Glad to hear the writing is progressing! I read a book this weekend that was thoroughly depressing by the end of it -- it was Jonathan Dixon's account of his time at the Culinary Institute of America but it read like the loser's book of failure. Even when, 380 pages in, he finally had a revelation that he's afraid of succeeding he never makes anything of it.
It is well written though.
The word choice in your first paragraph is superb, and the detail of the undisturbed coffee later on is fantastic too. I am curious as to the background to this: how did it all start, what was the flashpoint -- but it stands well alone as a record of something important and independent.
I assume it's just what happened last time you and the boys were at your favourite coffee-shop? :-P

"A quetzal focus," said David. There was no loud or quiet in these words that appeared directly in the mind, but the ice-shelf seemed subdued and the waters underneath it were still and deep. "I would say that we should still try and isolate it. All focuses are inherently the same."
Being together in the mental map created a certain amount of overlap of thoughts, and for a moment there was a semi-shared memory, the same scene with the same teacher but out-of-focus as though two images were overlaid with not quite enough care. Professor Arquell stood in the centre of an ice sheet covering a lake just outside the school; the ice was thick and opaque and frost was visibly condensing on its surface from the moisture in the students's breaths. "The basis of a focus," he said, raising a gloved finger, "is the bringing together of strands of power that would be impossible or significantly difficult for a mage to handle simultaneously. The focus holds them so that the mage only needs to engage them in his or her working. Using a focus is easy provided it is your own: using someone else's focus has proven to be fatal on many occasions. The power of a focus is tied directly to the power of its creator."

Greg said...

"We don't know who created it," said Magdalena. "So we really know nothing about it."
"So we assume it's overpowered and take precautions," said David. The ice-shelf shuddered as though anticipating. There was a moment of tension between fire and ice and then Magdalena sighed, a puff of black smoke from the eruption that turned into a smoke ring and slowly broke apart.
"We can't leave it alone now we know about it," she said. "I know more about these foci I suppose, so I will handle the internal containment. Will you handle the external wards? They reached silent agreement, and David let the map fade away. Magdalena looked worried, and she ran a hand through her hair. He smiled.
"Just containment," he said. "Nothing too complex; we can get the Lords Magical in for the analysis."
"Just containment of a focus that's almost unknown to us," said Magdalena. "Let's get started."
An onlooker would have seen the two fall silent, close their eyes, and then nothing seem to happen for fifteen minutes. A magically trained observer could have seen -- and felt -- the invocation of power, the imposition of will and the steady drawing in of large amounts of magical energy. Magdalena built an annulus, a doughnut of power intended to slide over and around the quetzal focus so that she could then draw the hole in at the top and bottom and contain the focus completely within a sphere of power. David constructed a skeletal frame with many inner contact points that would fold around the sphere allowing for safe access to the focus inside through controlled, easy-to-break-off routes. The only indication of the effort this cost them was a steady increase in their rate of breathing.
Finally they were ready and Magdalena moved her annulus into place above the quetzal focus and then slowly lowered it. Nothing happened, and she gently squeezed it shut and then held it, waiting as David brought the framework into place. As it snapped shut around the sphere there was a moment of brightness like a lightning strike, and then mayhem erupted around them.
Waves of purple light streaked out across the hallway and there was a smell of burning feathers in the air. For a moment a demonic, bird-like face appeared in the air, eyes burning like oil-fires in the night and then it was gone. There was a shrieking like tropical birds sounding an alarm, and beneath it a growing wail that could have been anger or anguish. The waves of light changed from purple to orange and there was a sudden chill. Frost formed on the carpet and walls and then the metallic smell of breaking wards rose up. Tiny black implosions occurred randomly across the hallway as spells lost cohesion and tore apart. David shouted "Get down!" There was a noise like a steam-train venting at maximum volume and the air around them seemed to shimmer and strain; the walls flexed and bent as though made of rubber, and green-yellow flames raced across the ceiling.
The whole corridor seemed to be on the point of turning itself inside out when the energy ran out: with a jolt like a falling elevator catching itself and coming to rest the world stabilised suddenly and the lights, sounds and feelings stopped as abruptly as they'd started. David was lying on the carpet, which was blackened and stained at random places across the whole hallway. The walls were scorched and the ceiling looked as though it had been melted and reformed: it was glassy smooth but as irregular as the ocean surface in a storm. All the decoration was gone, and there was a smell of burnt hair and a taste of tin to the air.
Magdalena was frozen in place, unmoving, unbreathing, insensate.

Marc said...

Greg - that does sound like a rather difficult read to get through. At least it was well written?

Thank you for the kind words, once more. And I don't think I'd be quite that calm if the boys were with me :P

Gah, knowing that the prompt was mayhem lead to extra tension and foreboding while I was reading this. And you, of course, didn't disappoint.

Poor Magdalena :( I hope she can be helped!

Unknown said...

This is the first time I have done anything like this so I didn't know how to really do it, but non the less I tried my best.

Beautiful Mayhem

What can I say about mayhem other than it's chaos. But chaos can be beautiful, but what does beauty signify if not tranquility. Mayhem cannot be tranquil it goes against the very definition of tranquility. So that sets in stone that mayhem cannot be beautiful, or does it? To say that everything in this world is not beautiful is a weak opinion that can be turned around. How? By using the very thing it is, an opinion. Everyone has an opinion on everything. For example, someone may think that the skunks spray is the foulest thing ever but in my opinion I like the smell of skunk. Now that is aside let's get back to mayhem. What one person sees as meaningless destruction and well mayhem another sees as a beautiful masterpiece of colors, shapes, and sounds. And that's the way mayhem can be beautiful through the power of opinion.

Kelsey Jarrett said...

Mayhem a word that sums up my everyday life. The stress of school, the pressure to fit in, everyday responsibilities, relationships, and life changing choices. You never imagine at such a young age of only 19 you would have to endure such mayhem such pain. You look forward to growing up your entire life… until you actually get here. You have to take charge of your life, decide who you want to be and how you can make it to that point, and it’s not easy. You think growing up is fun, freedom, right? Well it’s not all fun. You work and take care of yourself, no help from mommy and daddy. If you’re like me, you get thrown into this life thing as soon as you turn 18. It’s like throwing a child into a pool, telling them to swim and try not and drowned. Take your life make it yours, though it’s going to be difficult the best thing you can do is embrace the mayhem, accept it because it’s going to happen that’s called life. Life is mayhem, but I love it.