Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bonjour, Guten tag, Bueno stias, Hello!

Harrison's Smashwords profile

Hello, readers!

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about me by visiting this blog. This is a neat way for introductions, but it can be a bit of an eyesore to read even short stories in a web browser. If you would prefer to get my work downloaded to any device-Kindle, and Nook or their respective apps, iBooks, any format at all!-then don't hesitate to follow the link at the top of this post to my Smashwords profile. From there it's just a few clicks until you're reading in whatever way you prefer. Of course, if you don't have any of these devices or apps you can still read everything in its entirety on any web browser.

Again, I can't express how much it means to me that you've visited. Come back often to check for updates. I'm working all the time to write new stuff! Take care.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

C'est la mort: A Knight Named Kathryn (Fan fiction from the world of Dark Souls the video game)

It smells like shit in here.
This is the first thought that enters my mind when I wake up naked on the stone floor. Well, I'm not entirely naked. I do have a rag around my waist to cover my cock, and a broken sword; whatever great gods or goddesses I have to thank for that, I don't know. The only other thing I have is a silver pendant which hangs down around my neck. Turning it over in my fingers, I find a name carved into the back, Kathryn. I suppose that's my name. I'm trying to remember my name, or anyone's name for that matter, but all my memories are like vapors in the wind. I'm not even sure what my own face looks like. I'm trying to remember my life before this prison cell, but perhaps this has been my life.
While I'm lying here among the filth and bugs contemplating the nature of my existence a door opens in the ceiling above me, and light pours through to blind my eyes. A body then falls hard to the floor. Up above in the opening there's a silver figure with black eyes staring down at me. For a moment, this apparition looks familiar, but at the same time looks like nothing I have ever seen. With a nod the only other soul I know is gone as mysteriously as it came.
As my eyes adjust back to the darkness of the cell, I find hope has found its way inside this dark place to take root in my heart; I find a way to persevere; I find a key
Its tied around the neck of my new cellmate, but I don't think he will mind. I'll have to remember to find whoever decided to help me. Perhaps he or she is the god I should thank for the hope I have, created from these small blessings of clothes, a weapon, and a key.
Perhaps he or she is the devil I should curse for putting me here, and giving me the hope to continue fighting a war I can't win- all in an excuse to torture me.
With the key in hand I place it inside the lock until I hear a click, then hesitate. My mind races back and forth from the world that lies outside these walls and what it may contain, to the spot where I was laying- cold, uncomfortable, but familiar. I look down again at the poor soul lying dead and decaying on the floor. We all rot somewhere, I suppose, and if I can choose, then I'm not going to spend the next eternity slowly going crazier than I already am, falling apart at the joints while the bugs eat my skin.
So I turn the key, open the door, and run. I run past the other beings stuck here with me. They seem so far gone as they're crying into their own hands, or laying about here and there on the floor paralyzed by their growing madness. I get the feeling they have been here for much longer than I. I fear I share their fate.
I take mind-dizzying turns and ladders, stairs and archways. I run until I lose the way back to my cell. I run until I find more hope, this time in the form of a bonfire. A few soft breaths into the coals and the warmth fills my body, and chases the chill out of my bones. I shiver in front of the flames, and squeeze myself into as little space as possible to warm up. As I'm staring into the fire absentmindedly, twiddling the pendant around my neck, I somehow find a will to keep moving. I run my thumb over the name over and over, each time saying it aloud in my head...Kathryn... Kathryn... Kathryn.
There's only one place I can go to find answers-onward. The stone double doors ahead beckon me through. They are quite beautifully adorned, but I can tell they are heavy just from looking at them. I summon all of my strength to push them open, but they barely budge. Harder, and harder I push until my bare feet begin to slide out from under me. I give it everything I have to move them a few inches. I'm exhausted already, but I don't see an other way out, so I keep pushing. Slowly, inch by inch they open enough for me to get through. I stop to catch my breath, before sliding myself sideways through the rock.
On the other side there's a courtyard with a small bit of sunlight pouring through the corner. As I walk though, still trying to regain my strength, an unholy beast at least ten times my size falls from above and mashes me hard into the ground. The monstrosity wields a club the size of one of the columns supporting the very building around us. He mashes me again and again with his hammer. I can no longer move. It's two hits before my vision goes black. As the demon continues to relentlessly punish me for my sin of trespassing on his ground, I fade out of thought and time.
"Kathryn...Kathryn," I can hear my own voice saying. "Kathryn, I'll come back for you....Kathryn." From the dark I see a light brighter than the sun approaching me from the distance. As it moves closer I can slowly make out a face. Then, I am engulfed in a memory
We stand surrounded by corn stalks. She is smiling her beautiful smile with her red hair flowing down around her face like a waterfall of flame.
My Kathryn.
She reaches out to take my hand, but I am slowly falling out of reach...then further...then further. Until the darkness takes me again.
It smells like shit in here. This is the first thought that enters my mind when I wake up beside a bonfire in a strange place. I am naked except for a single rag wrapped around my waist, a broken sword, and a silver pendant around my neck. Turning the metal over in my fingers I see a name engraved on the back, Kathryn. I suppose that's my name.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Everybody Knows Not to Ever Go Wishing at the Oak"

Everybody Knows Not to Ever Go Wishing at the Oak-

A Halloween narrative poem in iambic trimeter.

This took too long to write. Iambic is, to put it simply, ridiculously hard. I am not a kayaker(kayakist? Kayak enthusiast?), but I would say that writing in iambic is akin to kayaking through quicksand. You work, and work, and work, and then six hours later you have maybe four lines... which you will rewrite tomorrow after deciding you hate them. Maybe I am just bad at it. Yes, I most certainly am. I have a much deeper appreciation for metered prose after trying to write some myself. This makes me truly see Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for the masterpiece it truly is. How anyone found the patience to write an entire play in iambic is baffling. But I guess that's why he's the soul of the age and I'm just a guy with a blog.

I'm embarrassed to say that this took me four weeks to write. I wanted to publish it by Halloween since I was attempting the horror genre. It's a tribute to my favorite poet of all time, Edgar Alan Poe, whose horror short stories still keep me up some nights.
I hope you enjoy the poem. Thanks for visiting my blog. Please come back often to read more. Take care.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Substitute

I had a teacher once, a substitute. He was only there for two days while our regular teacher was at home nursing a cold. He wore a white oxford shirt with a black tie, black blazer, black pants, and black shoes; none of which actually fit him, but rather hung around his frame. His thinning hair was slicked back, and he wore a pair of plain-rimmed glasses over his long nose. When I saw him in the classroom instead of the usual Mrs. Chafin, I immediately glanced at the chalkboard to see “Mr. Tramble.” I was relieved. He was very silent; sitting still at the front of the class in the teacher’s chair as we students poured into the room, took our usual spots in the hard, wooden desks, and retrieved from our Power Ranger and Cinderella backpacks the appropriate workbooks, paper, and pencils.

“Clear your desks,” he said in a monotone voice. Now, I was confused at first, but looking at the stack of papers in his hand I assumed it was a test. No substitute had ever given a test. Substitutes put on movies or let us play games. Having a substitute meant you got an extra recess, basically. He remained silent and stoic as he passed each of us a single piece of white copy paper, and a black no.2 pencil sharpened perfectly to a point.

He grabbed a small, hardback book from the desk. Its cover was falling off, and its spine was tearing. He opened to his bookmark, and wrote in chalk on the board beside his name, “’Spirits of the Dead’ by Edgar Alan Poe.”

 I was only in the fourth grade.

As he dictated we diligently wrote the words of Poe. He had to stop every few words as all the hands raised in unison to ask for spelling. Around five lines in he just started spelling most of the words. However, all requests for definition, of which there were plenty, were denied. “Look it up in the dictionary,” he said, without even looking his head up from the page.

 We were only in the fourth grade.

Just as he finished spelling the last word of the last line the bell rang. He closed the book, and didn’t say a word as we all ran out of the classroom in a mad dash for the double doors to freedom at the end of the hall. I got on the bus, and unfolded the white piece of copy paper. I read it. I read it again. I read it ten times on the way home, and twenty times before dinner. I couldn’t pronounce most of the words, but after finding a dictionary I did my best to learn what they meant. After dinner, I sat in the floor of my room with pencil in hand staring at that other side of the creased copy paper. I wrote line after line, doing my best to rhyme. I erased, I wrote, I erased, and then wrote some more. I worked hard until bedtime on a poem of my own. “Dead Spirits” I titled it. Granted, not the most inventive name, but I was quite satisfied. I went to sleep smiling with the knowledge that Mr. Tramble would read my poem and love it. I imagined him loving it so much that he would read it aloud to the class, who would love it also. He would run to other teacher’s classrooms, and read it to them.

They would all think I was so smart for a kid in the fourth grade.

Tomorrow passed with my masterpiece snug inside my pocket. I reached down several times to feel the paper outline just to be sure I had not lost it. I read my poem at lunch and recess, and each time I read it I loved it more. As we entered the last class of the day, Mr. Tramble was seated at the teacher’s desk again. I could barely contain my excitement as I walked over, pulled the creased, worn paper out of my pocket, unfolded it, and placed it on the desk in front of him. He picked it up, and read down the page in silence while his face showed no sign of approval or distaste.

“What is the 8th line of your poem?” he asked. I had no idea. I rattled my brain for a moment, but could not answer. My smile faded. “How long did it take you to write this?”

“I wrote it yesterday after dinner,” I responded.

“So, one day?”


He glanced over it one more time before handing it back to me. “You should have spent more time on it.”

I was only in the fourth grade.

I was crushed. During the rest of the class I could not think of anything other than how much I hated my poem. What was I thinking? I basically stole the words from the other poem, and rearranged them into something new. It was so stupid. I couldn’t believe the fool I had made of myself.

That night I read the poem to my parents. They loved it.

“Honey, can you believe how smart our kid is? And he is only in the fourth grade,” they said to each other.

The next day our regular teacher, Mrs. Chafin, was back to teach. I showed my poem to her, and she loved it. She went to all the other teachers to show them. They all stopped me in the hallway to tell me how great it was or how proud they were of me.

“I read your poem! Great job, kid!”

“Hey, here comes the next Dr. Seuss!”

"I read your poem! It was so good! You're so smart to just be in the fourth grade!"

I threw the poem in the trash on my way to the school bus. I should’ve spent more time on it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Pale Horse

A long stretch of beach.  A sun hung permanently halfway below the horizon of a crystal clear ocean among orange and red clouds.  Cold water washes my feet.  Every few minutes a swell surprises me, and washes my entire body in a cold bath that smells of salt.  Laying there I am content.

Laying there no shadow touches me.  I am alone to reflect on my every memory.  Everyone I have ever known passes through my mind.  Every kiss, and all the moments that came before it.  Every goodbye, and all the years leading up to them.  I can put everything into perfect perspective framed by forgiveness and understanding.  Yet, a great weight exists on my shoulders which fills my heart with sadness.  The burden of saying a final goodbye is too much to bear.

Turn my head to the left I see the lush green forest from whence I came.  The tall trees thick together in a mess of weeds, insects, and animals.  I hacked my way through in a fury in search of this beach.  I fought hard in the effort to reach the peace I feel now.  I spent all my time slashing through brush and thorns in search of something better.  Now, after all these years I have found it.  Turning to my right I see the cave where the sand ends.  A hole in the side of the grass-covered knoll which no light penetrates.  I know that I can't go back the way I came. As sad as that makes me I know life only travels in one direction.

What must be hours come and go. I can't be sure of what time has passed since the sun still sets in the same position in which I found it. Time seems to stand still as I simply rest, and take each second at a time in a manner of pure existence.  I know the next move, but I am too scared to make it.  I am stalling.

A pale horse emerges from the forest galloping along the wet sand, and kicking water up its legs defined by more muscles than I could care to count.  A long, white tail trails behind it like a stream of light behind a falling star.  He stops at me, kneels, and rolls onto his side to place his head in my lap as if he were an old pet I have known for many years.  I do not know him, but it would seem he knows me.

More time passes in a standstill. It all feels the same. I realize that no amount of time will ever make the inevitable easier. The horse seems to sense this epiphany inside me, and stands up to face the cave.  As the waves continues to bathe his hooves and my feet, I feel a different swell inside my eyes.  I look up at my newest friend full of questions the answers to which I know he can't give me.

 "Will there be a light at the end of the tunnel?"  As expected, he does not respond.  He only turns his head back toward the cave.

One foot at a time I pick myself up. I pet his mane of soft, white hair so long that it drapes down to his knees.  Reluctantly, I swing a leg over his statuesque frame, and place my hands on either side of his neck to balance.  He doesn't move at first.  For a moment he stands so perfectly still that I would have thought he stopped breathing.  Then his weight shifts on his back legs, and he begins to walk.  he slowly picks up speed as we  ride down the beach with the sun at our side and the wind blowing so furiously it seems to cut through us with its salty mist.  Faster, and faster he picks up pace.  I sink lower to his neck, wrapping my hands around him, and clutching his hair tight in my fingers.

The cave approaches quickly.  My fear grows, and my heart seems to beat right out of my chest.  For a moment I think to jump off and dive into the sand speeding below me. Instead I reaffirm my grip into his long mane, and hug his neck tighter as the darkness approaches both of us.  Closer.  Closer.  The rocky threshold is just before us when I close my eyes, ball my fists of his hair, and take in one final breathe.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Leaving Selv"

I always forget where I am.
When I wake up to the bright fluorescent light
My expectations of seeing the ceiling of my childhood bedroom
come down hard like a judge's gavel.

Every morning is a disappointment in Selv Prison.

The cold tile meets my naked feet.
I am groggy, tired.
Reality settles into focus;
I remember how I got here.

A sliver of sunlight falls through the narrow window on my left.
I stand up, and cross the floor to rest my shoulder against the corner of the window;
My morning routine for 40 years.
I stretch, and yawn in the small rays of sunshine.
And though the space is too small for my body to fit through
My soul can escape to the world outside.
It is a taste of the life I used to have.
A life of freedom.

Against my view of the hall competes the metal bars.
The iron obstructed my will, at first,
Now I have no will, no desire.
Against the steadfast metal bars no free man can survive.
The only way one learns to live here is by giving up on everything.
Losing hope means keeping sanity.

But now my ears deceive me, I think.
The usual noise of the corridor is absent,
The guards I know by footstep are not stepping.

I move to observe why everything is so strangely quiet.
Leaning against the bars of my heavy metal door
I suddenly find it moving forward with my weight; swinging open.
I stumble to my knee, then run back inside to stand against the wall
Like I have been made to do for years during inspections.

The open door seems to stare into my soul;
Blowing the flames of a fire long burned down.

I creep toward the exit.
Slowly, I walk on eggshells.
Standing in the doorway, I find
No guards walking, no inmates talking

The spirit of the place is gone.
Who knew this place could ever feel more hollow.
Now, I am truly alone.

I turn my head back toward the window,
It has got me through all this time.
I then turn my head at the exit sign,
Glowing red above the double doors on the first floor below me.

Truth is, forty years will prepare someone to be alone.
To live alone, laugh alone.
Die alone.

Now I can live the life I once feared.
Its the only life I know how to live anymore.
My desire for freedom was broken a long time ago.

I take my usual position by the window.
I don’t want the whole thing, I just want a taste.