Read Stuff That I’m Working On

This page is for random stuff that I write and/or playing around with, ideas for short or longer stories if you will…essentially where every writer starts… ideas and story beginnings. If I post ideas or short stories, beginnings of stories here, I’m playing around with the possibility of turning them into a chapter book or middle grade novel. This is a place where young and older readers can help me with this process.

I hope that my younger readers take a liking to reading my drafty stuff, commenting, likes/dislikes and why, suggestions. This is a part of the writing process and I truly welcome beta stuff. (Beta) this means ideas and suggestions before getting a story or book published. If you are an adult, especially an aspiring writer, I welcome you to comment as well…maybe we can talk about your writing too!

Contact me by filling out my newsletter contact page. And “no” is the answer. I’m not trying to trick you into signing up for my newsletter:) However, if you think my newsletter may be interesting or helpful, sign away!

So, my first piece to share, well, please enjoy.

Oh, and just to let you know, none of these musings will be terribly long, trust me, terrible maybe, but not long:)

Longship

Jim Westcott

Very Short Fantasy – Middle Grade

viking-jpeg 

Lief must have taken one hard, certainly a blow to the head. One moment he endured yet another inane Viking festival, this time in a fake scrum with some bulbous middle age guy with a wooden axe, a burlap bag for a shirt and a coffee can with cut out eye holes….and!

“Row! Row! Row!”

Water violently sloshed from side to side on a wooden floor beneath his sodden, dark brown leathery boots.  The salty air pushed against his face and snot cascaded from his nostrils.

He gawked at the grunting grizzly bear of a human next to him. From within the most authentic Viking helmet he’d ever seen, a voice bellowed at Lief’s face.

“Take your head off right here and now! Get rowin!”  Lief shook uncontrollably, a combination of the cold, salty water, his soaking boots, and raw, instinctive fear.

“Now! Row!”

Lief lunged at the wooden shaft and did the best he could. The oar thrust him forward and yanked his entire body back and forth, threatening to take his rubbery arms from their sockets.

“Row! Row! Row!”

Splinters slid underneath the surface of Lief’s fingers but he managed to gain some control of the oar. Sitting inside some kind of an ancient boat, Lief climbed then plunged over what could only be a rolling sea. Nausea gripped him like a Boa Constrictor.

But where? But How? What was happening?

“That’s it! That’s it! You little man!”

The Viking bellowed adjacent to Lief, his body ensconced in a thick, black, furry parka, a metal shield across his back.

A putrid blast of hot rotting road kill came from the Viking’s mouth against Lief’s face.

“That’s it! That’s it! You little man!”

Lief dizzied from the stench.

This is real!  I’m on a long ship!  Lief knew this much, everyone and everything around him, all real.

The long ship and all fifty or so of its crew whooped and growled. Something out there was getting closer, getting louder, its smell getting stronger.

Lief turned his head to look over the right side of the boat and white caps broke over black jagged rocks only a handful of feet away. They looked like tips of spears exposed through the white foam waiting to pierce the underbelly of Lief’s boat. Just beyond Lief’s senses, beyond the rocks, at the edge of Lief’s crackling radar, a land blazed with fire and black smoke. In this midst, Lief heard swords, axes, and clubs clanking and pounding. The sounds were slow at first, then faster and faster, until the sound became furious.  Howling, the sound of bloodthirsty animals straight out of a horror movie, cleaved through all of the other sounds and through the thick, smoky air. Then he saw them all…hundreds of them.   They cackled now, like savages, like hungry hyenas, deep and fearless, gleeful for what was next.

This could not be happening. Lief closed his eyes and the pungent salt water, the battle shrieks, the shields thumping, all swirled into a twisted vortex, a loud sucking sound, like a drain on the sea bottom below.

Then silence.

He heard talking.

“I think he’s coming to.”

Lief opened his eyes.

“Lief. Are you okay?’’ his father asked.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt your son,” said a man in a burlap bag.

“We clashed heads, and well, he isn’t wearing a helmet.”

Lief’s father looked disappointed. “It’s not your fault. Lief refuses to wear a helmet during battles. He doesn’t take this seriously.”

Lief exhaled.

The guy in the burlap bag said, “sorry buddy, sure you’re okay?’’

Lief nodded.

Lief decided to go and wait in the car.

He rested his eyes in the front seat as his dad played Vikings. He tried to stop shaking, his fingers and arms performed a kind of dance to a strange new music vibrating nerves he had not known.

Something he can’t explain or even begin to understand just happened.

One thing certain, his dad and his pretend Viking friends were far from real Vikings.