This has been a public service announcement (blogophilia v4.4) Zero Hour part 3

He walked all that night and much of the morning, before the wall loomed before him. A huge black granite nightmare, at least 20 feet tall, topped with barbed wire. A solitary gate led through to the other side. No one really knew where the wall came from. It hadn’t existed before the war, yet sometime after, it had appeared fully formed. Taking a deep breath, Zero started for the gate. He didn’t know why he needed to go to the wasteland, but that is what grandfather told him, so that is what he would do. Suddenly a voice rang out.

“Halt! You’ve reached the Oingo Boingo Gate. I’m Oingo…That’s Boingo. This is our gate! If you wish to pass, you must pay the toll.”

Zero stood speechless. Two furry man-like creatures stood in the shadows of the wall, flanking the gate. The wall actually dwarfed their stature, seeing as they were at most three feet tall. Shaking his head in amusement, he responded.

“A toll? To pass through to the Wasteland? You must be insane. Why would anyone pay you to go into the wasteland? You should be charging those that come the other way.”

“Shows how much you know about business, that does! No one in the wasteland has anything to pay with. What would we charge them? An arm? A leg? Actually, that might not be a bad idea. Anywho…back to the toll. Everyone wishing to use our gate must pay a toll. It’s not that much. Do you have any midnight oil? How about some bangles? I really want some bangles.”

“No…I don’t have those…I have a banana. Would that suffice?”

“Bananarama? Banana Republic? Oo…I know monkeys love bananas. Do you have any monkeys?”

“No. All I have is this rotten banana and an Atlas.”

“An Atlas? Is it Atlas Shrugged? I always wanted to read that.”

“No…It says world atlas on it and it has pictures and diagrams.”

“A world atlas Oingo! He has a world atlas. That means we can finally see what Europe and Asia looked like.”

“Shut up you fool! Keep up like that and he will end up only offering us a map of Boston or Kansas. Remember the old saying…take what you can…give nothing back. It is the sign of a shrewd politician.”

“I thought that was the sign of a great thief.”

“Politician, thief, same thing!”

The two began wrestling with each other. Two furry balls, flailing at each other with no sense of anything else. For a brief moment, Zero considered just walking by while they were busy, but he had to admit. They made him smile. It was the first time he smiled in quite a while. He couldn’t just ignore that.

“Hey! I’ll give you the World Atlas and, as a bonus to prove I’m not trying to rip you off, I’ll add in this old map of Chicago. It’s faded and torn, but you can still see some of it.”

Instantly the two were staring at him. Oingo reached out and took the atlas while Boingo, rather greedily, snatched at the map. They stepped aside and gestured for Zero to continue on. Then, almost as an afterthought, Oingo spoke up.

“Here…I guess I should give you this. It’s a map of the area. It will let you know where there is danger.”

Zero looked at the proffered paper. He saw a solid black line bisecting the page, with words written above and below.

“What kind of map is this? All it says is ‘stay here’ below the black line and ‘stay out’ above the black line.”

“Its’ obvious. North of the wall is death. No person in their right mind would go there. Hell, Boingo and I are insane and we won’t go there mate!”

“Well, I have to go, so I guess this won’t really help me. Thank you Oingo. Thank you Boingo. I hope you stay safe.”

With that, Zero turned and continued on towards the wall. With a growing dread, he felt his life slipping away.

“Hey, where’d he go?” Boingo asked his brother. “He was there just a minute ago.”

“I don’t know…but he gave us the atlas…Look…It’s Europe. I always thought it would be beautiful.”

Jaxes sat huddled in the small cage; crammed in with all the other survivors of his little village. Staring sullenly out at his captors, He found his thoughts drifting to Zerosta. Where was the little prick? He must have betrayed them. Otherwise the Others would have stuck him in the cage too. He never would have fought back, so they wouldn’t have killed him.

As he continued to stare out bleakly, he vowed that if he ever saw Zerosta again, he would kill him.

This was written for blogophilia. To join in the fun visit:

Blogophilia 4.4 Topic: “This Has Been a Public Service Announcement

Bonus Points:

(Hard, 2pts): Name three bands from the 1980s  * I promise I have at least 10 in there Marvin. 😀

(Easy, 1pt): include the words “take what you can… give nothing back!”

Final date to post: March 29th, 2011 GMT midnight

Final date to post ALL GUESSES: March 26th, 2011 GMT midnight

I will say that DJ Myke provided the topic and that David II gave the picture.

bonus guesses *shadow dancing, pottery, synchronized dancing, leaping, hopping…


Posted by on March 26, 2011 in stories


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Zero Hour part 2 (blogophilia v 4.3)

Zero slowly made his way back towards home. He had stayed out way too long. Lately he found himself staying away from home longer and longer. He claimed it was because no one saw him, but that wasn’t really true. Sure, sometimes he seemed invisible, but most of the time it was just they treated him that way. No one listened to his suggestions. No one even bothered to ask what he thought. Of course, they noticed when he did something ‘wrong’. Especially Jaxes. He always found fault in Zero’s actions. It didn’t help that Jaxes was the son of the chief.

Jaxes’ family had always led their village. It was his great-great…well too many greats to remember grandfather that first gathered the refugees together after the War. It was said the family originated from Brussels. Zero didn’t know where Brussels was, but was sure it had been full of blowhards who thought they knew everything. At least it was if Jaxes was representative of the population. Simply put, Jaxes was an ass. He always criticized Zero, even when it was obvious that Zero was right. So, Zero avoided him at all costs now.

The sun had set hours ago, yet Zero still worried he’d see someone as he entered the small village. So he walked with a slow, methodical pace. Dreading the moment he arrived. It was probably that fear that caused him to hear the scuff of rocks up ahead. He froze, terrified of what it might be. His terror was well regarded.

An Other appeared in the path ahead. An Other! What brought it here? They never came this close to the wasteland. It was said they had drifted down from the wasteland after the firestorms and refused to return. No one knew for sure though. All that was really known was the Others sought out every human they could find. They enslaved those humans, forcing them to work the rest of their lives in misery while the others threatened them with death. Zero’s village was one of the small remaining enclaves of free men.

Zero could barely breathe. The thing was huge, nearly seven feet tall. Its skin was a motley grey and seemed made of scales rather than skin. A course hair covered most of its body. As he stood there, he watched the beast begin to sniff around. It seemed to have caught a whiff of something. It stared right at him.

Zero was so terrified he couldn’t even move to get away. His breath stuck in his throat. He was going to die! He knew it. Suddenly, a guttural bark shattered the night silence. The beast grunted in reply. It took one more sniff, then strangely turned and loped off into the night, towards the bark. Zero was alone again.

Zero couldn’t explain it. Sure, people seemed to ignore him, but he really thought it was only because they hated him. Now he wasn’t so sure. The Other had stared right at him. He was five feet away. The night sky was clear. No way could it have missed seeing him, yet that is what happened.

Then thought returned to Zero. The village! He had to warn them. The Others would enslave them!

Zero ran like the wind. Where just a minute before he hesitated in his return, he now raced through the darkness, worried he’d be too late. As he rounded the last corner and the village came into view, he realized how right he was. The village lay in ruins. Every hut seemed to be torn apart. Debris littered the area. Nothing moved.

Slowly he began to move among the desolation. The Others had missed nothing, it seemed. Not one building remained standing. Here and there, Zero saw a body torn apart. Mostly they were older villagers; ones who wouldn’t be able to work hard, he noted. Sadly, there were a few toddlers among the remains. No one between the age of 6 and 50 remained. Not among the dead. Perhaps some had escaped?

Just as he was about to give up the search, he heard a small gasp. Turning to his left, he felt his breath catch in his throat again. Quickly he rushed over to the old man lying in the tumbled remains.


“Zerosta. You are OK. The Others didn’t get you. I feared the worst when you were gone so long.”

“No grand-papa. They didn’t get me, though one almost did. I don’t know how it missed me. Stay still while I bandage these wounds.”

“There’s no time Zerosta. I don’t think anything can be done to save me. You can save yourself though. The Others will return. I doubt they are just looking for more slaves. They are planning on claiming this area too. You must be gone before they come back. You must go north over the wall.”

“Over the wall?!? That’s insane. No one goes over the wall. That’s certain death. It’s a barren wasteland there.”

“Yes, it’s a wasteland, but hardly barren. Before the War, a powerful nation of men existed. It existed north of the wall. Then the War brought death and destruction. Waves of fire tore through the land, destroying much. Yet I doubt it destroyed everything.”

“But grand-papa…”

“No buts. You must go. It has been prophesied. It is said in man’s greatest hour of need, when all seems hopeless, one will arise. He will be the travelling man. He will go north into the wasteland. In doing so, he will change what is. He will end what was. There’s more to it, but that is all you need to know. Shortly after you were born, I realized the prophecy was about you. I can’t tell you how I knew, I just did.”

“You must go into the wasteland. You must find a way to free our people. I know you will. You are the one. Perhaps you will find a clue in that land. It was said that during their time of influence, the world was connected in a way it has never seen before or since. There was something called the World Wide Web. I don’t know what that was, though it makes me think of giant spiders. Never mind that though. Time grows short. Perhaps you will find answers in that ‘web’.”

“How will I know what to look for? Even if I find this web, how will I understand what it says? I can’t do this grand-papa. I want to stay with you. I will make you better.”

“No Zerosta. It’s too late for me. You must go. You must promise me that you will find answers. You are humanity’s only remaining hope. Please say you’ll go.”

As he finished his request, Zero’s grand-papa wheezed out one last gasp and collapsed. Tears welled up in Zero’s eyes as he held the limp body in his arms, crushing it to his chest. He seemed to be trying to urge him back to life with sheer willpower.

Finally, as the sun crested the horizon and a new day began, Zero realized it was hopeless. Nothing would bring life back to the dead. He wiped the remaining tears from his eyes. Then, he reached out reverently and closed his grandfather’s eyes, whispering “I will grand-papa. I promise I will find a way.”

Zero stood and began to move around the village remains, gathering what he could for the journey north. Within an hour he was ready. Resolutely he started out on the path that led to the wall. He never looked back, though before the village was out of sight, tears were once again flowing from his eyes.



This was written for blogophilia on facebook:


Blogophilia 3.4 Topic: “Traveling Man

Bonus Points:

(Hard, 2pts): include the ‘web’ (as in world wide web)

(Easy, 1pt): mention Brussells


Final date to post: March 22nd, 2011 GMT midnight

Final date to post ALL GUESSES: March 19th, 2011 GMT midnight

I will say that Colleen provided the topic and that Dahlia provided the picture. Picture guess is these boots were made for walking.


Posted by on March 14, 2011 in stories, writing



Zero Hour (blogophilia v4.2)

Zero stood quietly contemplating as the sun, making its final gasps, inched beneath the horizon. Where moments before a blaze of hues, scarlet foremost, lit the sky, there now existed a weird moment of half-light. Night had finally arrived to end another day of his useless existence.

As long as he could remember, life meant nothing to Zero. Well no, that wasn’t exactly true. He supposed he would pay a peso for his life. It certainly wasn’t worth anything more. As he watched the darkness creep closer, he wondered what it would be like to actually matter.

Nothing he did ever made a difference in this madness the world had slipped into. In fact, he didn’t even think anyone saw him. He may take up space in this world. He may breathe oxygen, thereby actually living. Words sometimes crossed his lips. Through all of this, physics stated he existed, yet in the end did he? No one ever noticed him, instead they kept on walking right past him. No matter the occasion, nor if he even made an attempt at standing out.

That is why he now solely went by the name Zero. He was nothing. He was a zero. He didn’t even remember what name he used to use. It didn’t matter. No one else knew the name either. At least not in connection to him.

Yet tonight was different. There was no single thing that he could point to, but he knew that a change was in the offing. There was something in the air tonight. Something inexplicable that signified…he didn’t know. Hell, the world could be heading for Armageddon right this second. He didn’t believe it was that, but you never knew.

Of course, whatever was to come didn’t necessarily mean he would be noticed. It could mean that he would just cease to exist. Physics might decide, just like the rest of the world, he was not there. What would that be like? He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer. In the end, all that mattered was that a change was coming. He had to be ready to face that change. He had to embrace that change, for in his mind it was the only hope he had left.



This was written for Blogophilia


Blogophilia 2.4 Topic: “Something in the Air

Bonus Points:

(Hard, 2pts):  use a word starting with “Z” three times (we take this to mean the same word three times – NOT three different “Z” words)

(Easy, 1pt): incorporate a type of currency


Final date to post: March 15th, 2011 GMT midnight

Final date to post ALL GUESSES: March 12th, 2011 GMT midnight


I’ll say SLJ for the topic and Joanie for the picture.


Posted by on March 8, 2011 in stories, writing



The Awakening (blogophilia)

The Awakening

Wandering aimlessly through life
as the half-healed wounds of the past, bleeding
scarlet, fester and break open anew.
These wounds I barely remember
incurring, assault my thoughts
through memories dark and deprived.
These wounds—insomnia inducing—remind
me of all that I lack.

And yet, I kept searching…for something,
someone to make it better, a connection
that would transcend space and time,
place a salve upon this scarlet-tinged
trauma, so that the gashes
upon my psyche disappear—I heal.

I found that in you, a shining beacon
of love and hope. A gentle soul
that gives so much, yet asks so little;
only desiring a confirmation
that your sending of love
has been delivered.
IT HAS—in so many ways
I could never enumerate:
in the soft giggles over a phone line,
in the bombardment of emotes
interspersed with the abbreviated
English of cyber-speech.

I could never mistake your love.
For it has saved me,
from the pain of the past.
It has reminded me
of what life can be.
It has freed me
to live for today,
and desire to reach tomorrow.
And in so doing, it has awoken
the beast—that is my own
passionate love for you.

© March 5, 2011 CRF


This has been written for the blogophilia writing group that originated on MySpace and has somewhat continued on Facebook.

I chose the topic Connections that Can Heal and used bonus options of

1) mention insomnia, 2) include cyberspeech, 3) include confirmation of delivery and 4) use the color scarlet twice.

I promise all are in there, though some are expanded or rearranged in words for poetic license.


Posted by on March 5, 2011 in poetry


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Northern wastes, where white, as forever fields
hold the cold sun captive in ice shackles.
An old, lone wolf growls—raising its hackles
as gusts swoop down to gather; white death they wield.
Howling…scouring, it shall never yield
to the whims of man, frigid blast tackles
till all that’s seen in blindness—frost sparkles.
Silent, blinding tomb—storm erected shield.
Hunker down, ride it out…your life depends
upon the warmth within the offered shroud;
shared heat that flows, through the touch of a hand.
When all is said and done, the madness ends.
The sun returning, banishes the clouds
leaving not a sign that death stalked the land.

© February 24, 2011 CRF

This is a sonnet I wrote for a challenge at Alabaster and Mercury. The challenge was to write a sonnet utilizing one of three lines. The line I chose was “where white as forever fields hold the cold sun.”



Posted by on February 24, 2011 in poetry, sonnet


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Illusory (5 minute poetry)


As I wander through the streets of life,
I watch as history repeats (rewrites) itself;
and I wonder what is real. Do we even know?
Could we even know? Is everything as it seems,
or is life nothing but a dream?

Will I wake up tomorrow, to see nothing changed?
Or perhaps my blinders shall be shed,
and the illusory reality of our lives be proven false.
I’ll see with newfound clarity
that what I thought was true was never ever so,
and yet what I knew in my heart was false
turns out to be the only truth left.

Time moves forward…tomorrow will come,
this life will end, and so to the dream.
That’s one truth that holds for all, not some;
maybe then true peace will reign supreme.

© January 7, 2011 CRF


I wrote this for a 5 minute poetry challenge given by the Alabaster and Mercury group on facebook. The topic was illusory.


Posted by on January 7, 2011 in poetry


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The Mist

Misty valley - swifts creek02

Image via Wikipedia

The Mist

I think back to the day that was,
the day the mist arose—around me.
It swirled up, surrounded…obscuring
what used to be so clear to see.
This hazy murkiness that enveloped
my clarity, till all that was left
faded into shadows of what was.

I’d stare for hours into that grey fog;
hoping to find just one clue,
one simple sign marking the path
to take, to bring me out of this Stygian life.
Yet there was nothing (discernible) amongst
the shadows. Nothing, to provide even a glimpse
of what could be (would be)…if I stepped forth.

So I stayed rooted to that spot;
holding my breath…silent for fear
of breaking (revealing) myself.
The shadows around made little sense,
and yet—I knew with but a little more light
my clarity would return. All would be well
again, and the shadows would breed
familiarity…but would it ever come.

Shapes shifted, sounds drifted,
half forgotten truths lay
tantalizingly out of reach.
The mist clung to me;
refusing to release
its damp hold upon my life.
This mist—a jealous lover,
a tormenting tyrant…
a diabolical deity.

Till finally, out of the dark sprang forth
a brilliance my eyes could barely see.
A fiery orange hue shifting to gold,
burnishing the leaves upon the path,
that was right there beneath my feet.
A luminescence, that with each breath
grew in scope, melting away the cringing
tendrils of mist, baring me (and all around)
to sight once again—revealing the path.
A path, that had I just trusted (in faith)
would have led me out of this mist
so long ago. I see now—I’m free.

© January 5, 2011 CRF


Posted by on January 5, 2011 in poetry


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