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White: Chapter 2

White

WARNING: Contains drug use. You don’t want to read about people getting stoned and smoking, don’t read this then.

Chapter 2: Now and Again

Leon Obrenov

In a bleak world with little to show for itself, now and again, there was a little life, James thought. As he walked down the corridor and up the stairs towards his locker, little but disinterest picked at him. Disinterest, however, was not the word he would use to describe a collision with a tangled mess of brunette hair, nor the sound of his, or her, impact with the cold floor. In a glimpse of rarity, those were all interesting events.

He was the first to recover, standing up before she did. He offered a hand to the face that was nameless to him.

“Cheers,” she said coolly.

“Have we met?” James asked. She blinked at him, picking up her bag.

“Maybe. I’m Kate,” she said. Putting names to faces was what man was born for, James thought. Recognising people was something people did all the time, it was one of those little things that people did without noticing.

“James,” he said, offering his hand again. She looked down at it, looked back up at him, smirked.

“Shaking hands? Really? How… conformist,” she remarked, before brushing past him and walking off, leaving him standing there and looking at his hand in a deep stupor.

Only after she had completely disappeared did he realise that he might never meet somebody so individual again, at least, not for a very long time.

He continued down the corridor and up yet another flight of stairs, straight passed the huge windows that went almost from the floor to the ceiling. He arrived at his locker no less ceremoniously than he ever had before, and he entered his code (62-34-78) no differently than he ever had before.

Classes hadn’t become more interesting after the break. They never did. Breaks were there so people could take pauses from boring things, James thought. Uninteresting and depressing things, they were, classes. Oh, they said they would teach different subjects and different ideas and all these things. But that was all bullshit. They all taught knowledge, or tried to, at least. The problem with teaching knowledge is that it’s impossible to teach.

“Mr Michaels, perhaps you could enlighten us on what you thought Salinger’s book,” the teacher, some old lady, said. She was nice, mostly, but she was one of those old waspy characters that drove most people insane with their niceness and prying eyes.

“I think he has the right of it, truthfully. People are mostly two-faced and selfish, but we don’t like to talk about that. We like to talk about how nice we are, and how good we are, but Salinger realised that good things are useless if they’re based on lies,” James replied, setting his pen down, and looking up at the teacher.

“Is that so, James? You really believe society lies to itself?” she asked. James nodded. Society was like a petulant child. Practiced stupidity commonly, lied to everything and its mother twice a minute, and blamed the exposer when they were caught red-handed.

“I believe society is plagued by idiocy, and that idiots lie to themselves to make themselves feel better, instead of just accepting the fact that they’re idiots and moving on,” James said. “But I also believe that there are too many idiots for the people who can see through idiocy to deal with, so I don’t expect much to change. Not much of anything ever really changes, these days.”

And with those words, the flustered teacher abandoned asking James questions in favour of asking other their opinions on the text.

Classes went by slowly, but surely, they went by. James almost fell asleep in Math, but that was because he found the subject more boring than any subject ever deserved to be.

Lunch rolled around as it usually did, sometime around one; James had lost track of time at some point during the endless, mind-numbingly boring maths topic that was commonly referred to as Functions.

When Lunch rolled around, James, as he usually did, was wondering what exactly he should do during lunch. He wandered around until he saw the shed. It happened to be a well-known shed, this shed. It was green and sat against a wall, right next to the corner, but was famous about this shed was the little area between the shed and the wall with only one entrance.

James had never been behind this famous shed, nor had he ever visited the people that occupied the infamous space between the shed and the wall. He supposed, today, that if he wanted something to be less than static and more than unchanging, he would actually have to do something himself. So he wandered around the area and behind the shed.

There were about five people there, all of them smoking something. Three were just smoking normal fags, but the other two looked like they were stoned. James suspected weed. What really surprised him was that Kate was there. She was one of the ones with the ordinary fags.

“James! Didn’t think I’d see you here,” she exclaimed. He glanced between the ciggie in her hand and the smile on her face.

“Same,” he replied. “Have a spare smoke?”

“Maybe,” she replied. “I’ve never seen you here before. Ever smoked before?”

“Never,” he replied simply. She handed him a fag, and he nearly coughed at the smoke that came at him from hers. “A light?”

She tossed him one from her coat pocket, and he lit the ciggie. It burnt for a moment before he took a puff. A second passed. He started coughing coarsely and Kate laughed at him.

He had gotten used to it by the end of lunch.

Two hours later, and with little input from James, the school day ended without much fanfare, much as it always did on these normal days during the week. He was walking down towards the main gate. He felt a grip on his arm, and swivelled around to find himself face to face with a girl who was fast becoming familiar.

“Hey,” she greeted, letting go of his arm. He rubbed softly.

“Hell of a grip,” he remarked, and she smirked. “Any reason why you grabbed me?”

She glanced left, right, down at her toes, before looking up at him.

“A bunch of us are coming to my place for a get-together kind of thing; I’m inviting you,” she said. This time he looked around.

“When?” he asked.

“Now,” she replied.

“Spontaneity; how not conformist,” James said.

And much like they arrived, they left. Without any fanfare at all. The only difference was they were together when they left.

The trip to her house was short; she was an inner city bug. They hopped on a tram, simple and easy, and they were there. It was a three storey building, modern, and pretty cool. It was clean inside, and most things were nicely organised. But, it was a house. James liked homes more.

“Parents not home?” he asked. She shrugged nonchalantly.

“Business trip. Won’t be home ‘til the weekend,” she replied. “Beer?”

He nodded. “Sure. Why not?”

“Exactly. That’s what I think, anyway. You can do peaceful, healthy shit when you’re dead, right?” she asked. He nodded again.

“I suppose. Some stuff is just too crap, though,” James replied. Kate laughed, and handed him his beer, the first of the day, he thought.

“Don’t knock what’ll kill ‘til you try it,” she replied, and quite suddenly, James got the feeling that he was a little out of his depth with this girl. Was that normal?

“Why?” he asked.

“There’s something about escaping, hiding from the world in happiness and ecstasy,” Kate replied. “Sometimes it’s what people need.”

Are you one of those people, Kate? James thought. Very out of his depth. This was going to be fun.                                     

Author’s Note:

If anybody has any responses, I would appreciate them. Comments on the post will be responded to, guys from MHS can facebook me, or my email is obrenov.leon@gmail.com

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The Right ‘Right’

The Right ‘Right’

Leon Obrenov


The bitter cold of the invisible wind, unseeable in the cold night came as a mere draught through
printing room. Dimly lit, and about to be filled with the sound of presses creating tomorrow’s
papers, filled with the striking smell of ink, and with just one man in the whole room, the basement
of the International General was filled with volumes about to be spoken. The question at this point,
in the middle of the night, was which volumes they would be speaking. The one man in the room, he
hoped it would be the truth.

The sliding door opened, metallic and creaky.

“What are you doing here, Tom?” an older man asked. A slight beard and greying hair, this man was
Jimmy, chief editor and manager.

“Changing their truth to the real truth, Jimmy,” Tom said. They both knew who he was talking about.

In the 22nd century, what was written was printed and swallowed as truth. And the writers, they
worked for people higher up with only one point of view: the one that benefitted them.

“Come up to the office, Tom. Let’s talk,” Jimmy said. Tom didn’t move, hand on a button.
This was the modern world. One button decided who saw the ‘truth’ and who saw the truth. People
had become controlled. The philosophers, just before they had been abolished, had said that
the death of truth would mean the destruction of morality. Now, truth was whatever suited the
powerful, whatever suited the so-called ‘stability of society.’

“Let’s talk, Tom,” Jimmy repeated. Tom nodded. Acquiesced.

“About what? Your cowardice?”

A blank stare.

“What’re you printing?” Jimmy asked. Tom nodded. Kept on nodding.

“What people need to see. Children with bullet holes put there under orders,” Tom replied
bluntly. “The truth that everyone needs to see and hear.”

Kept on nodding. It was a self-convincing argument, pitiful righteousness at its heart.

“The funny thing about the truth, Tom, is that people don’t believe it. You can put it in front of them,
evidence… undeniable even,” Jimmy said. Tom kept on nodding, a shrug at Jimmy’s words.

“You think so? Bullshit,” Tom said.

Jimmy blinked. Tom’s hand lingered nervously next to the button that he believed could change the
world.

“That’s the trick though. People don’t believe the truth, they believe what they’re told to believe.

“That’s what we do, isn’t it?” Tom asked.

There was a pause. Nobody spoke. Nobody needed to.

“What’s the hardest thing in this world to kill, Jimmy?” Tom asked. The non sequitur surprised Jimmy.

“I don’t know. A leader?”

Tom laughed. “Leaders are men. Men are easy to kill. An idea, Jimmy. Once it’s in your mind, it sits
and festers and grows until you can’t just keep it in, and like a virus, it spreads faster than wildfire.
The only way to kill thought is to kill people, but the funny thing about ideas, Jimmy, is that they
travel faster than bullets.”

“That’s what you want to do, isn’t it Tom? You want to spread doubt. Change the world. Make this a
better place,” Jimmy prompted. Tom looked at him, dead pan eyes, and laughed.

“You see doubt and chaos, Jimmy. You see revolts and revolutions, and you know what I see?” Tom
asked. Jimmy shrugged. “I see what needs to be done. I see people. I see spirits doing what they
were meant to do.”

Jimmy couldn’t help it. He laughed. At the idea, and Tom. Enraged, Tom moved his hand closer to
that all important button. Jimmy stopped, abruptly.

“You this place as well as I do, Tom. People don’t care about other people, they care about
themselves. When the going gets tough, the most selfish man survives,” Jimmy replied. “Do you
know what’ll happen if you push that button? People will get up off their couches and do something,
yeah. How long do you think the Authority will let them protest before somebody gets tired of
listening?”

Hundreds of people would die. Bullets would rip through crowds, like babies.

“What’s so great about your truth that means that thousands should have to die for it?” Jimmy
asked.

Thousands would. This wouldn’t be a peaceful revolution. The Authority only believed in one-sided
peaceful revolutions, and it was never their side that was peaceful.

“It’s who we are, Jimmy. We want the truth, and we deserve it. You’re just a coward. If I don’t do
this now, then somebody else will, and it’ll happen anyway!” Tom replied. “You’re just a coward who
can’t bear the thought of the world falling apart while you’re still around.”

Jimmy nodded. It was true, after all.

There was a soft thud, and then all the lights came on.

Some Resources For Writers

Some time ago, when I first started writing, I began with websites like, strange and odd as this may seem, fanfiction.net and fictionpress.com. Both sites may seem strange to go to, and odd to recommend, but both are highly useful in their own rights.

Fanfiction.net is great for writers who aren’t confident in their imaginative talents and their ability to come up with drawn out, cohesive plots. It’s useful because you can pick almost any TV Show, movie or book that you like and find an area for it, where you can create stories based on already invented characters, settings and general storylines. I myself have written for Harry Potter, Castle and other communities. If you like the TV Show Castle, which airs on Channel Seven in Australia, I highly recommend the Castle community on ff.net (shorthand for fanfiction.net). The community is great, and very helpful to new authors.

If any of you want to sign up here, or get into contact with some of the better authors, or even get into contact with me on this site, you can let me know, and I can recommend some great starting points and some great people to get into touch with.

The other site I mentioned earlier is fictionpress.com, or fp.com. This site is great for authors who are confident in their ability to create a plot, but who don’t want to enter competitions with somewhat faceless judges. I’m less familiar with fp.com, as I’ve been using it less, but I can tell that the community across the whole site, which is divided into genre categories, is welcoming, nice and helpful.

Both sites have a reviewing mechanism, whereby people who come across your story can leave productive reviews. I found this to be really helpful when I was beginning as a writer, and some of the best advice that I’ve been given has been by the people in those communities, who are fantastic. 

Ms Sheko asked me to talk about this next meeting, after I raise it on the facebook page. 

On a final note, and with a shameless plug, please read the first chapter of my story White, which is on this blog.

Cheers,

Leon

p.s: If you want to get into contact with me, the easiest way is to email me at: obrenov.leon@gmail.com

White (new story)

Author’s Note: 

This is something I just started writing a couple of days ago, and I wanted to see what you guys thought. This is the first chapter of what will become an extended work of fiction. Already working on the second chapter.

Cheers,

Leon

Chapter 1: Everyday

With a sweaty brow, a startled James woke with ruffled hair and a pant on his lips. Breathing in heavily, he groped in the blind darkness for the bottle of water that always sat between him and as his bedside table. Taking a long sip, he plopped back down onto the pillow and snuggled back into his doona. The first morning light had yet to shine through his window, but tweeting birds were the sure sign that dawn was near. He debated whether to stay awake or simply go back to sleep.

Unfortunately, his resolution to sleep through a school day yet to eventuate, owing, as these things usually did, to his mother. And this morning was no different. At the right time, seven in the morning, she knocked on his door.

“Wake up! It’s seven!” she called. And soggily, and with little to no stretching and a half a dozen muscle knots and pains, he would get up and leave the comfort of his soft doona to venture into the far rougher world.

The same as every other morning, and unfortunately, the same as every coming morning, James would first go have a morning shower. A person of terrible habit, drilled into him as a necessity by his mother, a woman who blankly appalled chaos of any kind or description, James’ morning routine was similarly identical every day. He would get up, have his morning shower, allow the water to run to down his back and so forth, those nice little relaxing things about showers would be enjoyed, and then, much like leaving his comfortable bed, he would leave his relaxing shower.

He seemed destined to leave his comforts and venture into a world filled with chaos, disorder and unknown things, uncontrollable things.

After his shower, he moved to his breakfast, enjoying his two pieces of toast and one cup of yoghurt, but not nearly as much as his shower or his bed before his shower. Enjoyment seemed to decrease as he came closer to the real world, the one outside his window that he rarely looked through.

“Packed your bag?” his mother asked him, sitting down beside him. She asked him every day, this same question, and every day, the answer was exactly the same as it would be today, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow and so forth.

“Yes, mom,” he said, as he always did. And with that much repeated sentence, he finished his toast, got up, grabbed his bag and left, his mother still slowly eating her food.

The air wasn’t warm, and it wasn’t cold. It wasn’t raining, nor was it sunny. Typical weather for this time of year. It never rained but it never got warmer than twenty degrees. It was hard to be happy when the weather was depressed, he thought. If nature itself is depressed, it’s difficult to try and see the good in things.

Wisdom was leaving the world, he thought. The time when independent thought was valued was leaving the world, and it was becoming just as monotonously boring and uninterested in anything but itself as it was when everybody wore grey suits, that had fraying cuffs, and worked in factories and went to the pub down the street every other night. The world was becoming polluted by inelegant simplicity and people had lost the depth that they once had had, he thought. The world was rather like that story about that man who aged backwards, he thought. Instead of growing more mature as time passes, as one goes from a baby to a child, to a teenager to an adult, gaining in wisdom with each step, the world was reversing this process. The times of genius had long been forgotten and the premium was now on the ability to look intelligent, rather than actually being intelligent.

The world was becoming as dull and grey and boring, as the sky. That was why nature was depressed, he thought, because there was nothing really to be not depressed about.

So James walked down the road he walked down, every day, every morning, to the train station that he caught his train on. Of course, this train station was small, as was everything else in his life, and trains were always late and strange and old and otherwise useless, and much as depressing as poor old Mother Nature.

But he had to catch these trains, he thought, because there wasn’t any other train station nearby, and there wasn’t another way to get to his school, which he also had to go to. So he went to his decrepit train station and waited under grey sky for a train that was going to five minutes late. Luckily, he planned ahead, and came three minutes late himself. This was the trick, he knew, to know that the trains were going to come late and plan accordingly.

James stood on that train for twenty minutes, constantly lamenting the fact that he wasn’t quite at his probationary license. Standing in a miserable train, humid as Thailand in the rainy season, and being jammed next to four other people, because, inevitably, at least two people boarded the train at every one of the ten stops between his station and his destination, was, much like the train, miserable.

So he stood there and lamented the fact that he couldn’t drive himself to school in his own car, and begged for the next two months to pass by faster. Rather predictably, the train arrived at his destination some ten minutes later than it should have. This was a rather strange phenomenon, James thought, because the train was only five minutes late when he had boarded, and somehow, in the space of ten ordinary stations, time seemed to have disappeared. Curious. Really rather curious.

He walked down the pathway, as narrow as it was, through the larger buildings that stood before his school. He ducked into a smallish alleyway, damp with puddles from the night rain and rank with the stink of bins that had been left out, only to be emptied and refilled to half with water. But he continued down this path, because not far into the alleyway was a gem. A little coffee ship with nice baristas and homely music, and the most delicious cappuccino he had ever tasted. The muffins were good too, but the coffee was considerably more important.

Strangely, he couldn’t understand why. Why the coffee was more important, that is. There was just some kind of want for coffee, but it was a good want in his mind so he didn’t complain and simply kept buying this brilliant cappuccino from this nice coffee shop.

He walked in, and the barista turned up to face him.

“Hey James,” she said. She said this almost every day. “How was that party on the weekend?”

That was reserved for every second Monday.

“Good. It was decent. Yourself? What do artsy uni students like yourself do?” he asked. It was their thing. They would talk about their days, while gave her five dollars for the coffee and the muffin.

“The same thing artsy uni students have done for years and years,” she replied, handing him the muffin.

“Oh and what’s that?” he asked. The machine made strange sounds, like a dog trying to make a mechanical whizzing sound, only, the dog was being strangled at the time.

“Get stoned,” she replied.

And that was the end of their conversation. James picked up his coffee, smiled, told her to have a nice day, and then walked out the door. Tomorrow morning, he’d walk back in, and conversations would resume.