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Old 07-07-2008
 
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BlizzForums Carnage
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So, I've pretty much became bored to death by Leviathan. In the meantime, enjoy this yarn about a ghost cowboy.

"Dry" (Working Title)

Kane needed to drive all night if he was going to make it to Chicago. With enough eye openers in his system, it shouldn’t have been too difficult.
Driving 80mph required his senses to be extra sharp. Gradually, he felt his consciousness slipping. He employed all his standard tricks to stay awake; he cranked up the radio, rolled down the windows, even sang along at the top of his lungs. The usual tactics proved futile. His eyelids weighed more heavily with every passing minute.
He dozed lightly, only to snap awake. He shifted in and out of reality. Upon realizing this, he reached again the small, plastic container that held his pills. He’d chew the bastards if he had to. He pressed it to his mouth, found it empty. Swearing loudly, he threw it out the open window.
He searched the glove compartment, his attention divided between the road and the search for another pill bottle. He felt the familiar plastic on the tip of his fingers, but could not wrap his hand around it. His eyes disregarded the road, seconds at a time.
Deciding to go for it, he leaned completely into the passenger seat; to increase his access to the glove compartment. While his other hand gripped the steering wheel, his free hand retrieved the pills.
The container slipped out of his grasp, rolling near his feet. Without hesitation, he bent completely forward to pick it up. He felt his car collide with something, heard the painful cry it made. He slammed on the brakes, already silently wishing it away.
A coyote, that’s what it was.
A man’s face, contorted in pain, flashed across his mind’s eye.
A coyote, nothing more. Not a man.
He considered driving off. His foot hovered momentarily over the acceleration pedal. Exhaling deeply, he made a U-Turn and backtracked, slowly. He continued pleading; that his imagination was only getting the best of him.
A coyote or a dog, please… let it be anything but what I think it is.
Slowing to a stop, his headlights confirmed his worst fear to be true. There lay the pedestrian he struck. A pool of blood surrounded him. Kane bit his lip. He hadn’t seen another vehicle for hours. He shifted into park.
Stepping out the car, he approached the still form. The headlights illuminated him clearly; a young man, barely out of his twenties, wearing leather jacket, jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat.
“Christ,” Kane said aloud. “I ran over a cowboy.”
What the hell’s a cowboy doing this far from Texas?
“Oh God,” Kane whispered. “What if he isn’t a hitcher? What if someone cares if he’s gone?”
Kane searched for a wallet, intent on finding some sort of identification. As he rummaged through the leather jacket, the cowboy stirred. His eyes fell on Kane. They were wide and full of such pain that Kane couldn’t help but jump back.
“Please,” he choked. “Please help me.”
Alive? How can you still be alive?
“Ambulance,” he continued. “Call an ambulance.”
“An ambulance?” Kane asked him, the notion more ridiculous than anything he’d ever heard. He tried to apologize, stammering, tried to tell him it was all an accident. Somehow, he suspected it wouldn’t matter. Accident or not, he had messed up badly tonight, may have even killed this man. He’d go away a long time for this. The cowboy’s pleas continued, but they were muffled in Kane’s ears. The flashing words VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER were the only thing on his mind.
I can’t go to jail. I haven’t been married a year. For God’s sake, we’re trying to have a kid. For all I know, one may be on the way.
Chicago. Kane needed to reach Chicago and secure his job, like he had planned. Once there, everything would work out for a change. He could start his baby’s college fund.
“But, not now,” He said aloud, staring at the cowboy at his feet.
This stupid bastard, this… cowboy, has gone and messed everything up.
“No,” Kane whispered. “I won’t let you.”
“Phone…” the cowboy coughed. Blood spotted his lips. “Do you, do you have a phone?”
Kane ignored him, heading back to his car. Under the seat, he kept a 9mm handgun. It would be simple enough; one bullet through the brain. He could bury him then, out here, in the middle of nowhere. It would be as if the whole thing never happened. Kane aimed the gun, the cowboy’s eyes widening in terror.
“What are you doing?” the cowboy yelled for help, as if anyone would hear him.
“What am I doing?” Kane asked. “That’s a good question.”
He forgot that his gun was registered. If the cowboy’s body was ever found, the bullet would be traced back to him.
“That’s probably what you’d want, isn’t it?”
Kane returned the 9mm to its place under the seat, popping the car’s trunk. It was bare, but not entirely. He spotted what he would need almost immediately. He removed the tire iron, taking a few practice swings in the air.
One hard hit. It’ll be over; over and done with.
The cowboy was crawling away when Kane returned.
“Hey,” Kane smiled. “You’re not nearly as far gone as I thought you were.”
The cowboy looked over his shoulder, once again crying for help.
“Shut up,” Kane ordered. “This won’t take long, partner.”
“Wait,’ he pleaded. “Wait a minute, I…”
Kane swung as hard as he could at the back of the skull. Steeling himself, he struck twice more, trying to focus on all the good that would come of this. The cowboy was no longer moving.
But is he dead? How do I know he isn’t unconscious?
Half-closing his eyes, Kane began swinging. Before long, he could’ve painted the road with brains. The deed finished, he threw the tire iron into the wilderness.
He dragged the cowboy by the ankles; tried to keep any blood from staining his pants. This was his main concern, as he wearing these to work tomorrow. He couldn’t afford a single spot. By the time the body was inside his trunk, Kane was physically and psychologically exhausted, but realized he probably wouldn’t sleep for days.
His thoughts turned to how much work he would have to do to steam the stains out of his trunk. He felt somewhat relieved knowing that the worst of it was behind him. Kane decided to inspect the cowboy’s jacket. He found a wallet; inside were three crumbled five dollar bills, a library card for a city he’d never heard of, a map of Illinois, and a driver’s license he had no interest in seeing.
Let the bastard remain nameless.
Kane swallowed hard. There were several pictures of the cowboy with his arms around a smiling brunette, each one a memory he felt he had no right to experience, but couldn’t tear his eyes away from. The last picture caught his full attention. The brunette wore hospital gown and she was holding…
The bile rose in his throat.
A father, he had murdered a father tonight.
Kane cursed the dead man in his trunk, kicking his rear bumper.
“Forget you,” Kane spat. “Better you than me. Help wouldn’t have gotten here for hours. You’d still be dead, only you would’ve taken me down with you.”
The young man’s eyes stared sightlessly back at him.
“There would be two families without a father, instead of one. Is that what you’d want?”
The corpse offered no reply.
Then and there, Kane knew himself to be heartless, but the realization had little meaning. He would have a lifetime to deal with it. Once Sarah was in his arms again, Kane knew it would all be worth it.
And so his one-sided conversation with the dead cowboy ended with two words, drenched in apathy, but overflowing with truth.
“Shit happens,” Kane slammed the trunk shut.
Time passed, he drove along, thinking about how he could dispose of the body. He planned to bury him originally, but was now reconsidering it. Unsolved murders were common in large cities. All he would have to do is dump him in a dark alley. With the evidence far, far away, the chances of being caught were nil.
Mere hours remaining between him and freedom, Kane’s saw an exit sign for a local gas station. His dry tongue licked his lips. He could purchase one of those huge 72 ouncers. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.
Next exit: normality.
He pulled alongside one of the three gas pumps, leaving the keys in his ignition. Inside, he approached the unmanned checkout counter. He suddenly craved chocolate, grabbing the nearest thing with almonds.
“Hello?” he took a bite.
A wrinkled hand fell on his shoulder.
“I saw what you did,” a voice said.
Kane’s heart stopped.
“I hope you intend to pay for that, son.”
“Oh,” Kane blinked. “Yes, of course I do.”
He pulled a crumbled five dollar bill from his pocket. Remembering where it came from brought a disgusted look to his face that he hoped the old man wouldn’t notice.
“What brings you out so late?” the old man smiled. “Mr.…?”
“James,” Kane lied. He looked over the candy bar purchased with blood money.
The old man, introducing himself as Thomas or “Old Tom” talked, and talked. Kane heard little of what Old Tom said, but he smiled politely, occasionally nodding. He supposed graveyard shifts like this were lonely, and that the old man was genuinely happy to have someone to talk to.
Kane listened to him ramble on, wondering if he irritated other customers this much, wondering if he suspected that man before him had, only a few moments ago, murdered a man. Kane was about to excuse himself when heard his car horn blaring. His eyes widened and he felt the sweat begin to pour.
Strangely, Old Tom took no notice. Kane exited the store, promising to return. He ran across the parking lot, disregarding appearances. He found the driver’s door open, but even worse; his keys were missing from the ignition.
I’ve been robbed! But wait, why would they take the keys and not the car?
He started back for the store, but another thought made him stop dead in his tracks.
No, it couldn’t be.
As he feared, he found his trunk open, the keys inside the lock. He grabbed the lid, breathing heavily. He’d lift the trunk lid. The cowboy would still be there.
“He has to be,” Kane said aloud. “There’s no other explanation… it’s not like there’s roaming necrophiliacs or something.”
Like tearing a bandage from a wound, Kane threw the lid open. Much to his embarrassment, he realized his eyes were tightly closed. He slowly opened them.
“No,” Kane said.
Gone, the corpse was gone.
When he took a step back, his heel grazed against something. The distinct sound of metal clinking on asphalt echoed across the parking lot. He turned, immediately identifying the source; it was the blood-drenched tire iron. Unbidden, a deep moan escaped his throat. The 9mm in hand, Kane ran for the store as if Hell itself pursued him.
Inside, the old man was nowhere to be found. Behind the counter, in his place, was the cowboy. Kane looked into his eyes, no longer seeing fear or pain, only rage.
“You can’t be,” Kane protested. “I killed you.”
The cowboy removed his hat, placing it on the counter. Underneath, blood leaked from his crushed skull. It traveled down his temple, coating an eye. To Kane’s horror, he walked through the counter and approached him.
“What do you want?” Kane screamed. “Get away from me!”
Kane took aim and fired, loud report hurting his eardrums. Cartons of cigarettes and stacks of lottery tickets exploded behind the cowboy, but had no affect. Kane caught on immediately, lowering his gun. He laughed nervously.
“What are you gonna do now, partner?” Kane laughed, half-crying. “Kill me? Eye for an eye, is that it?”
The cowboy ran a hand through his hair; chunks of skull and gray matter fell to the floor. His eyes never left Kane’s, his gaze threatening to obliterate the remaining vestiges of his sanity. The dead man a few steps away, Kane threw his gun. It succeeded only in knocking over a jar full of charity change.
Before it hit the floor, Kane was running across the parking lot, screaming at the top of his lungs. He glanced over his shoulder, the cowboy always almost within reach.
“No,” Kane pleaded. “No!”
He ran for his life, abandoning his car. As he reached the highway, he turned and found the cowboy wasn’t there. He put his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath.
Turning, he came face to face with the ghost. Kane focused entirely on the dead man, paying no notice to the lights approaching from behind, casting his shadow on the ground.
“Why?” Kane cried.
The dead man lips mouthed words and, although no sound escaped his throat, Kane heard them resound clearly in his mind. They were the last thing on his mind before the 18-wheeler splattered him across the asphalt.
Shit happens.
*****
Gas station owner Thomas “Old Tom” Farman watched a white sheet cover what little remained of his last customer. Earlier, he watched another young man body pulled from the same customer’s trunk.
“Have you seen anything like this before?” asked a police officer.
“Son,” Old Tom smirked. “I’ve seen it all.”
“You’re lucky to be alive, Tom,” the officer continued in a tone more condescending than Tom cared for. “There’s no telling with these kinds of folks. He could’ve killed you too, for no reason whatsoever.”
“Luck had nothing to do with it…”
“What then? Fate? Karma? God?”
“You’re putting too much thought into this, son. The only reason I’m alive is because that boy had something far worse than me to contend with. Something in his heart so terrible that I can’t even imagine it, or maybe I just don’t want to. And what’s worse is that folks often live with it, some their entire lives, because they’re too afraid to face it.”
“What’s that?”
Old Tom smiled. The tables on condescending having turned, he patted the officer’s shoulder.
“Guilt.”
 

Last edited by Carnage; 07-11-2008 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 07-09-2008
 
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It appears to be nonexistent.
 
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Old 07-09-2008
 
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Yeah. I took it down. It was hella retarded.
I know this is Works in Progress, but still... damn.
 
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Old 07-10-2008
 
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Well. I donīt see any progress.

Not to pressure you Carnage, but start the fucking story already.
 
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Old 07-11-2008
 
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Blegh.

Okay, it's up.

Do your worst. Rip it apart.
 

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Old 07-11-2008
 
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The only thing I didn't like was the whole ghost twist. Before that it was going extremely good, because it had an intense Edgar Allen Poe-esque atmosphere. I was dead certain he was going to do something absolutely stupid, and he did, but his "guilt" manifested itself too physically. That was my only problem.

Also what were the pills?

This also brought in an interesting play of life or sacrifice equal to death. It makes people think what choice they would have taken themselves, whether murder is worth committing to keep a static life, for love and family and happiness. You should bring more questions like this to your audience because it helps them become part of what they are reading. You want people to feel your pain and confusion over the ethics of life, because that is an author's greatest weapon, his expression of his mind laid out in perfect narrative format, to provide real-life examples that only a creative mind could produce with such tightly fit circumstances. This would be short-story compilation material if the writing were enriched a little bit, but as it stands as recreational writing it's very good.
 

Last edited by Tim-and-Carl; 07-11-2008 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 07-11-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim-and-Carl
The only thing I didn't like was the whole ghost twist.
Just be glad I didn't go with the zombie version where he jumps out of the backseat. :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim-and-Carl
Before that it was going extremely good, because it had an intense Edgar Allen Poe-esque atmosphere.
Wow. Thank you very much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim-and-Carl
I was dead certain he was going to do something absolutely stupid, and he did, but his "guilt" manifested itself too physically. That was my only problem.
Yeah, I'll take another crack at the ghost thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim-and-Carl
Also what were the pills?
Stimulant drugs.
Maybe amphetamine.
Actually, the story can probably work without em.
Now that I think about it, he could probably just fall asleep and hit him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim-and-Carl
This also brought in an interesting play of life or sacrifice equal to death. It makes people think what choice they would have taken themselves, whether murder is worth committing to keep a static life, for love and family and happiness. You should bring more questions like this to your audience because it helps them become part of what they are reading. You want people to feel your pain and confusion over the ethics of life, because that is an author's greatest weapon, his expression of his mind laid out in perfect narrative format, to provide real-life examples that only a creative mind could produce with such tightly fit circumstances. This would be short-story compilation material if the writing were enriched a little bit, but as it stands as recreational writing it's very good.
Cool. Cool. I'll put 'er through the grinder again.
 

Last edited by Carnage; 07-11-2008 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 07-11-2008
 
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Well, you can keep the pills. In fact you should state what they are, because it helps develop what his personality is like in what little time you have to develop it. If it's prescription pills or tylenol we get the idea he is a good guy under stress or simply weary (positive or moderate personality). If it is something less legal it makes the character's eventual motives darker, like you will relate with him less because his morals are loose to begin with (negative personality). Either way works fine, it depends what feel you want to give the story. You can also do no pills, up to you.
 
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Old 07-11-2008
 
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Was the cowboy thing too much?
"What the hell’s a cowboy doing this far from Texas?"
XD

I'm mulling over the last 1/3rd of it, thinking of a better conclusion.
 
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Old 07-19-2008
 
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That was great man, I really enjoyed this one.Looking forward to the next ones.

And the cowboy was actually a nice touch, as far as I`m concerned.
 
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Old 09-23-2008
 
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Would have been cool if the story had taken a hard turn. Say he stopped on the side of the road to go to sleep and dreamed it all(being at the gas station and seeing the ghost) and was sleep walking when he got hit by a car and then was all "oh god help me" and then the person who hit him was like "oh fuck, I don't want to go to jail" and so the guy starts whacking him and it's almost the same as the cowboy but everything is in way more detail, every bone breaking, the description of everything that is out of place, the sounds, the pain and then maybe going back to the cowboys face as kind of a ghost getting his revenge kind of thing.
 

Last edited by Adovid; 09-23-2008 at 12:38 PM.

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