Fall (Fade Away)

Here’s a poem I wrote recently about losing touch with our past as we grow up. I hope you enjoy.

I don’t want to be replaceable.
Don’t want to fall away and be unknown.
Don’t want to be a voiceless face–
In the crowd.
But I don’t want to stand out on the sidelines.
Don’t want to have to force someone to love me.
I want to be known as me,
And loved for who I am.
Not by same faceless name on the other side of a computer screen. 
Want it to be as real as touch
What I feel when I’m hugged.
Just knock.
I’ll let you in.
Don’t want to be another thing that fades away as they grow up.
Don’t want to be a fall leaf falling off a tree.
Don’t want to be a bitter-sweet memory.
Don’t want to be thought about over a cup of tea.
I want to be me.
I want to be loved.
Don’t let them stay away.
Don’t let me fade away.
Don’t let it die in history.
I want to grow up, 
And never grow old.
Want to get and never lose,
But I’m losing my hold.
Remember me.
Remember me.
Never become part of my personal history.

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A Nasty Game

Hey guys! This is the sixth installment of our Life 2.0 story series. For more information on Life 2.0, go to our Life 2.0 page here. Hope you all enjoy!

  “The coward.”

  The sound of Julian grinding his teeth deafened anything that Marcus was trying to tell him. Vivek had run away like a scared bunny. He was still the only person who really knew what was going on, and he had abandoned them. Involuntarily, Julian tried to take a step toward the exit where the phantom had fled. A gentle bounce against his ribs brought to attention the alloy arm that had crossed his path. Julian stared at the owner’s hardened face. The statue’s golden features almost seemed to hold a sneer.

 “Let me through,”Julian demanded.

 Unexpected heat rose to his face as the statue continued to obstruct his way. Before he could push his way through, another golden figure stepped in line. Smoothly, the rest of the likenesses linked arms to create a semi-circle around the brothers. Recognition was like a slap to Julian’s face.

 “What in the?” Marcus was squinting at the statues curiously.

 Did he see what Julian saw? The bust that blocked Julian’s way had the face of Kristen Mavis, the stunning sophomore that Julian was dating. The one next to her bore the resemblance of Julian’s influential philosophy professor. In fact, most of the statues had features of people or things that Julian immediately recognized.

 “This is twisted!” Julian moved to stand three inches from Kristen’s face. This wasn’t her, but it seemed so life like, “What are you?”

  There was no response from the impassive being, only a mind numbing silence followed. Marcus stepped up beside him and grabbed his arm.

  “Isn’t that Baal?”

  His brother’s off hand comment seemed irrelevant to Julian. In fact, it made no sense. Julian creased his eyebrows at his brother who, moments earlier, had been a source of deep worry.

  “What are you talking about Marcus? What’s Baal got to do with this?” the retort had come out sharper than Julian had wanted it to, “That’s clearly a statue of Kristen Davis! Why a statue of my girlfriend is trapping us in this complete hell hole is beyond me.”

 Sending a searing glance at the figures, Julian ran his hands through his thick hair. Now it was Marcus’s turn to shake his head lightly.

 “Baal is a pagan god, usually depicted as a bull-man. He was mentioned in the Bible multiple times as an idol that the Israelites would often become distracted by. God would frequently punish the people of Israel by allowing them to become conquered by a foreign nation.”

 Julian threw his hands up in the air.

 “Well, I knew that! I’m a philosophy major if you don’t recall,” A concerned look crossed his face, “And how does Kristen Davis look like a bull-man? That could be slightly offensive, you know.”

 A nervous jitter suddenly passed through Julian, and he started involuntarily searching the ground for places where there might be a secret trapdoor. Did the outward image of these gold hunks really matter all that much when they could be trapped here forever? Marcus narrowed his eyes till they were only slits.

 “Julian, I’m positive that that is Baal,” he held up his brown hand before Julian could intrude, “And the one next to it is the Egyptian god Osiris,” he pointed to another bust, “That statue looks like Athena.”

  Julian scratched his scalp impatiently. He winced as his fingernail grazed a scrape in his head he had no recollection of getting. How did Marcus know so much about these deities when he had a major in psychology? For the sake of argument, Julian considered the weird possibility that they saw two different things. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Just minutes ago, Julian had seen a book in Vivek’s arms, instead of a candle, or torch or whatever it actually had been.

  “OK, so what do a bunch of gods have to do with this? And why do I see a bunch of…” Julian tried to survey the crowd of golden figures, but couldn’t bring a single word to describe what he saw. There were images of friends and certain professors; a statue that looked like it had dollar bills engraved into it; and even a bust with his favorite football team logo on it’s chest. Most of them were things that were only connected to Julian, “icons, I guess.”

   Marcus hesitated as he spared a hopeful glance behind them. His gaze did not settle on the stark door, which was still shut tight, but it hovered beyond the wall.

 “Not gods, there is only one God.”

Julian rolled his eyes at the cliche reference.

“These are idols; things that are put before God and worshiped,” Marcus continued, grabbing Julian’s arm while he tried to figure out a way out of the this semicircle, “Julian, I need to tell you about what I saw when I was separated from you and Vivek.”

  Why did he need to tell anything? He had left them out of stubbornness, and Julian had been willing to go back for him, even if it was only for a moment. Eventually, Julian had reached his limit of this laid back analyzing. He brushed off the nonexistent dirt on his pants. There had been no blemish in the seamless floor, no other route of escape. The gold statues’ grim expressions, full of egotistical pleasure, egged Julian into trying something desperate. As Marcus’s firm tone faded in the background, Julian focused on the height of the statue’s arms. He could make it.

  “Up those stairs, there were things that are hard to describe.”

  “Huh, sounds like this entire trip.”

   Julian prepared himself with a few light hops, his running shoes squeaking on the smooth floor.

   “Yeah, but these things were recognizable. It looked like an art gallery at the top of the stairs. There were dozens of pictures that lined the walls.”

    Pretending to listen, Julian nodded slowly. Vivek was beyond these… doofuses. This metal lump wasn’t his girlfriend, and the rest weren’t actually his companions. Whatever they were, he needed to get past them.

    “The pictures inside those frames moved like movies, but some of the scenes were so familiar I could swear I was there.The point of view was different though,” Marcus’s hand once more reached up to touch Julian’s shoulder, his gaze wasn’t distant anymore. It penetrated deep into Julian, “I was there. Julian, I think they were your memories.”

   The absurdness of his claim snapped Julian back into decision. His feet flew as he gained momentum. Soon, the eight feet between him and Kristen were gone. He pushed off with all his strength, hoping it would be enough to get him over the interlocked arms that blocked his way. The doorway was so close, he could just see a dark greenish hallway beyond it. One foot had almost made its way to the floor, when something roughly grabbed the back of his shirt. He felt it slam into his neck and choke him while halting his jump. His tee-shirt ripped slightly before a hand, strong beyond what Julian thought possible, gripped his forearm. Soon, Julian was sitting on the golden floor once more, with Kristen’s placid features tilted slightly at him. They mocked his incapabilities. He had struggled through his parents kicking him out of the house, three years of college, and maintaining being class president. Why was this so difficult!? This place seemed to counter attack every shred of confidence that Julian had.

 “I hate you!” Julian screamed ferociously at the statue’s fair, oval face that he had previously adored.

 A presence approached his right side. He didn’t want to see anyone right now as he lay on the floor in frustration

 “You don’t hate her though. She’s an idol. She’s your idol,” Marcus sympathetic face appeared as Julian opened his eyes, “Those memories I saw, I was in them. But it was you seeing me. It was from your perspective. All your pain and shame,” Marcus’s face became contorted, “The love for your little brother, even after our parents kicked you out of the house,” he sighed and the pieces of this puzzle seemed to shift around, trying to fit together, “Julian, what if this place is… connected to you somehow?”

 Julian clenched his teeth.

 “This place is not connected to me! I don’t care what you see,” He looked up at Marcus firmly, “No place this wretched would have anything to do with me.”

 The sound of metal sliding on metal brought Julian’s attention back to the statues. Something had changed. Their arms had, without any external reason, unlinked. In a deadly unison, they all took one step forward. Now they appeared to be under some unknown command, like an army of killer robots. Their permanent expressions seemed to meld into deep scowls.

 “What did you do, Julian?” Marcus panted.

  Julian hadn’t done anything! This wasn’t his fault. Kristen’s light features held deep, condemning, as she stared into his soul. Her high cheekbones and shoulder length hair held threat instead of the beauty that Julian had always adored. She was so lifelike, even the small scar above her left eye was included in the replica. Her face was literally morphing as Julian tried to think of a way to defend himself and Marcus from the steadily approaching mob. It looked like a bull was trying emerge from her forehead. How ironic.

“What do we do, Julian?!” Marcus asked in a low voice as the statues continued to advance, herding them into a corner.

  Once more, there was nothing Julian could do. There was a good possibility that their position was even because of him. What if these things were actually idols? Did he care about them that much? Had he taken his obsessions too far? Before Julian could do anything to prevent it, the statues had them pinned against the wall. Struggling was pointless, as they were literally made of metal. Kristen’s fist went back, ready to strike. Sparing one last desperate glance at Marcus, Julian found him with his eyes closed tight.

 “This isn’t the only way, Arianna! Halt your control of the idols!”

 A feminine voice crashed through the golden room, echoing ominously. Kristen stopped abruptly, rock solid. For three seconds, her golden fist was the only that filled Julian’s vision. Slowly, she moved away from Julian. Like a dog caught eating the pie, she slunked back to her pedestal in the corner of the room. Julian stared at Kristen uncertainly as she seemed to solidify once again into a regular statue.

 “Well at least she sees reason.”

  The new voice had an owner. A woman stood in the middle of the room, the open door behind her. She held a quill pen in her quivering hand, and wore a long purple robe that reminded Julian of fresh blood. Her pearly white hair stood out starkly against her dark clothes. She did not have the same aura of intimacy that Julian had felt with Vivek. Her pale face was lined with intimidating wrinkles. There was a heavy feeling of unknown about her. Was this how Marcus felt here?

 “Will you help us?” Marcus said abruptly, a face of hope displayed.

 She smiled grimly. Nodding her head, the woman sighed deeply.

 “It seems I already have,” she laughed nervously, “No turning back now. I am Sophie, and I live next door.”

  Julian felt like slamming his head against the wall. How could he make sense of any of this?

“We need to get to the Hall of Remembrance before Arianna arrives. She knows I’m here,” She stepped lightly through the door, “Follow me if you have faith, Julian.”

 How was that fair? Vivek was still down the hall straight ahead of them. He might know more than this woman who claimed to “live next door”. Marcus worked his way to stand beside his brother.

 “I’ll follow you wherever you go.”

  The fact that his brother was willing to conform to Julian’s way, impacted him deeply. He was obviously being influenced by the woman Sophie, but he trusted his brother’s judgement. Once more, the decision was left up to him.

 

Or you, the reader! What should Julian do? Go down the hall and find Vivek once more? Trust Sophie and let her lead them? Or something else?

 

Comment below and join the adventure!

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COL (Cry Out–Loud)

This week we’re taking a short break from Life 2.0 posts. Instead, I’m going to be posting a poem that I wrote more than a year-and-a-half ago. I’ve recently been reading old journals during my time with God, and came across this. I think it still rings true for now.

I smell like cologne.
I’m grabbing my phone.
I’m texting, “LOL,”
but I just can’t quite tell
if all this vanity
and the insanity of being a teen
Is really worth it.

All the worldly pleasures.
I’ll never count for anything
by these world’s measures.
I can always do more.
All the isles at the store
full of clothes and hair spray.

You make me free.
They make me bound.
I feel so lost,
But with you I’m found.

And you say
That I’m yours,
And maybe I hurt you when I run.
And maybe this isn’t all that fun.

I wear my hair up–my shirt unbuttoned with a T-shirt underneath.
I care about what they see.

But now I see you and it’s not about them and it’s not about me.
I care about what you see.

You make me free.
They make me bound.
I feel so lost,
But with you I’m found.

It might be absurd,
But I’m grabbing your Word.
And praying, “Save me!”
The world won’t make me free.
And you are all I need.

I can’t be defined by the lies.
Not by someone else, Lord, only by Your eyes.
I’m rubbish on my own,
But you promise to bring me home.
And you already payed,
And now I am yours.
I am changed by Your Spirit.
Not on my own merit.
The flesh says,
“I need more,
and this vain world’s lots more fun.”

But I choose to believe the Holy One.

You make me free.
They make me bound.
I feel so lost,
But with you I’m found.

I wear my hair up–my shirt unbuttoned with a T-shirt underneath.
I care about what they see.

But now I see you and it’s not about them and it’s not about me.
I care about what you see.

You make me free.
They make me bound.
I feel so lost,
But with you I’m found.
Continue reading

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In The Act

Hey guys! This is the fifth installment in our Life 2.0 story series! For more information on Life 2.0, go to our Life 2.0 page here!

With this new installment, Julian and Marcus followed Gloria’s advice. Thanks for commenting, Gloria!

Vivek raced down the hall, turning back every few moments at the two boys. Where he was running to he had no clue. Arianna would kill him, but she couldn’t, could she? The boys were running his way. He had to get away from them. He couldn’t handle them until he knew what to do.

He put his back against the wall and tried to make himself look invisible. Tried not to breathe.

But they didn’t make it into the halls. The golden idols were surrounding them. He couldn’t stay to watch. Vivek raced down the dark halls. Took a left turn. A right. Another left. The thought shook him that he might be walking right into a trap, but he had to keep going. If he couldn’t lure Julian, then he might as well. . .but he should be able to control his mind.

He stood in the middle of a dark hall, completely winded. The walls and carpet were a dark shade of green and on the far wall was a family portrait. Julian, age nine. Marcus, five. The youngest brother had not yet been born. The parents stood over their two boys protectively.

Vivek gasped. This was the painting. His subconscious had taken him straight to this painting, assuming he had a subconscious.

He wouldn’t tell Arianna. Not yet. But this was so daring! He’d never rebelled against her before. Why should working with Sophia be rebellion? If Julian’s only human connection at the moment was Marcus, then what better tool to use than Sophia.

But he knew it was more than that. He wanted freedom, and this was his chance.

Each step towards that painting felt like it was in slow-motion. The green carpet made contact with his toes. He lifted his leg. Took a step. Made contact with the carpet again. And still the painting looked so far away.

He could see the father’s face glaring at him. The mother, with the same deep, peaceful eyes as Marcus daring him to come one step closer. She wore a black hijab and dress. Marcus smiled up at him.

But already, a battle waged in Julian’s mind. Even in those years. Vivek had had a desire to understand. Had had a desire for freedom, but it had only led him to further bondage.

He stared at the painting now, each step bringing him closer and closer, and he knew that somewhere deep inside of him, he loved Julian.

The candle trembled in his hand. This was a daring move. Communications had been caught off with the father, though Vivek knew there was still at least one gateway to the mother. He hadn’t tried Marcus. Not for years. Not since Arianna had come. Could he do it now? Should he do it?

He was finally at the painting. He put the candle down.
Quietly, he put a hand on Julian’s boy face. So soft. So scared. He hadn’t changed that much.

He moved the candle away, close to the left wall and as far from the portrait as possible. He heard his heart pound in his chest. What if someone found him? What if Arianna found him?

His hands shook. He forced them to stop and slowly, cautiously grabbed the painting and lowered it to the floor.

He breathed hard. What if they caught him? What if the communications were tapped? He narrowed his eyes and spoke to himself now.

“Do this. For Julian’s sake. You live for Julian. Now die for Julian if you have to.”

He looked at the wall now. Underneath the painting, just as he had expected, now open for the world to see was the small microphone connected straight to the wall. It was still there, and from the light on the side of the microphone, he knew it was still on and in operation.

“Sophia,” his voice quaked. “Can you hear me?”

The other end was static.

“I’m here,” she said. “What do you want?”

Her voice was cold. She didn’t trust him. Just like Marcus didn’t trust him. Of course. What should he expect. He pressed on.

“Marcus and Julian are here. I think it’s time. I want to be free. Can you help me?”

Vivek could imagine her, rolling her eyes deep in their wrinkled sockets.

“Only a miracle could rescue you, but I’m coming. Does Ariana know?”

Vivek glared at the mic.

“You fool! Of course, she doesn’t know,” he hissed. “Can you imagine what she’d do to me if she knew?”

“Good,” Sophia whispered. “I’ll be there soon. I think it’s the only way.” She paused, cleared her throat, and then spoke, more loudly now but somehow, also more gently. “I want you to know you’re not the only one who loves Julian. We’ve been praying for him.”

Vivek breathed slowly at those words. Marcus was praying for him? Really? And he loved him.
“Over and. . .” Sophie started to whisper, but she was cut off with a buzz.

A voice hissed from behind him.

“Oh no. Of course, she doesn’t know. Can you imagine what she’d do to me if she knew?”

The voice sent a chill through Vivek’s spine. He felt like vomiting. Slowly, he turned around.

Arianna was walking towards him, donned with a golden sleeveless dress and shiney silver slippers.

Vivek stood frozen.

Arianna smiled at him, and her finger smoothed his beard.

“Oh Vivek, what have we here?” She looked down at the painting and candle on the floor. “Has someone lost their marbles.”

Her face was inches from his own, and she kept brushing his chin with her smooth fingers. She looked about ready to bite him and near enough to do it too.

“Come with me, Viv. I have something to show you.”

She laughed and turned around, her golden hair falling over her shoulders as she rocked her head back with each eruption of laughter.

Vivek didn’t move.

She turned her head back to glare at Vivek and screamed.

“I said, ‘Come with me!’”

Should Vivek. . .

Follow Ariana to try to stop her? Run away? Or something else?

Comment below and join the adventure!

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Without a Doubt

Hey guys! This is the fourth installment in our Life 2.0 story series! For more information on Life 2.0, go to our Life 2.0 page here!

With this new installment, Marcus followed Gloria’s advice. Thanks for commenting, Gloria!

He would buckle. He had to. There was no one more dependent than Marcus.

“Come on Marcus! Vivek knows more about this,” Julian threw his hands into the air, slicing through the tension filled atmosphere, “stupid place than we ever will. We’re lost without him!”

As he presented his case to Marcus, who stood with one foot precariously on the dark step, Julian felt like a thread between him and Vivek, turned into a triple corded rope.

Without Vivek, there was no survival.

His countless wrinkles held wisdom, and wisdom was a treasure. Wasn’t that from somewhere in the Bible?

“Julian, he’s not what he looks like,” Marcus stated strongly, dark eyebrows creased.

The surety in his tone was like a slap to Julian’s face. He chuckled nervously. What had come over the guy?

“What. Are. You. Talking about? He looks like our life line!”

Julian spared a glance at the man and caught a fleeting expression of regret on his face. It disappeared quicker than Julian’s parents had disowned him after learning he was an atheist.

What was that about? Gulping down the bile of nervousness that had collected in his throat, Julian turned firmly towards Marcus.

“Please don’t be stubborn!” Julian’s frustration grew as Marcus shook his head, almost like he was empathetic. “You need to follow Vivek and I! We need to get out of here!”

Marcus didn’t see their obvious circumstance. And he called Julian blind!

Marcus looked so torn. Time passed without words as both of their minds raced for a better option. His breath steadily turned into a slow pant. Vivek fidgeted nervously behind Julian.

A cascade of doubt ran from Julian’s feet all the way up to the tips of his ears.

A desperate plea escaped his lips that made his stomach churn and head swim.

“Don’t be a stupid Christian!”

Abruptly, Marcus’ amber gaze hardened, and his fists clenched violently. Julian involuntarily took a step forward towards his brother.

“No!” Spittle flew onto Julian’s collared shirt, “I am not disillusioned to the threats that are in this place,” Marcus backed away from Julian’s out turned palm, “Whatever undeniable confidence you have in him,” he threw a shaking finger out at a wide eyed Vivek, “I do not share in the least. He’s not… trustworthy.”

Julian clenched his teeth against a rebuke. Marcus would vent, and then he would see that his brother was actually right. Almost audible, Julian could sense all of Marcus’s vertebrae cracking as he straightened his back.

A small comment, no more than a word, had almost left Julian’s cracked lips.

Marcus left no question with his own, “I’m going up these stairs, and nothing can stop me.”

Julian knew it was coming. Against what seemed possible, Marcus had stood up to Julian. The younger man had proven Julian’s logic wrong, perhaps for the first time.

Marcus’s sandaled foot hesitated at the first step, and he glanced at his older brother harshly. Julian could feel anger and confusion radiating from his gaze.

It was the same gaze that had stared at him while he strode away from their childhood home, all his earthly belongings packed away in a duffel bag hanging from his right hand.

Before Julian could do anything to stop him, Marcus was gone. There was no echoing of footsteps as he climbed the stairs. Only an empty silence that was about as inviting as a graveyard.

Vivek’s breath rushed over his neck, “We need to go now!”

The phrase was cut abruptly short, as the man standing directly behind Julian bit his lip unsurely.

“I know! But…” Julian gaped and struggled for an answer.

There was no way he could just leave Marcus. They were family, no matter what was in between them.

Staring after where his brother had just stood, Julian felt a deep bleakness cloud his head. He ran his hands through his thick brown hair. Vivek’s cheek twitched jerkily, almost in synch with Julian’s conscience. His grey eyes seared above his wire rimmed glasses. An aggressive step forward from the stranger, he was a complete stranger after all, caused Julian to flinch.

“The door will close soon, and guess where it will land?” Vivek’s bony fingers suddenly wrapped around Julian’s wrist in a vise-like grip. He jerked Julian’s hand up, pointing with the thick book at his tan fingers. A fierce heat radiated from the tome. “Right. On. Your. Spindly. Little. Fingers.”

Julian forcefully shoved away from the man’s grip, heart racing. His fingers felt burnt. Vivek’s lips were pursed so tightly, they had turned white. His chest heaved, like the act of onset had taken more effort than he had expected.

“Fi- fine,” Julian’s throat constricted with every passing word, “Lead on.”

Some of the boldness faded from his eyes. He had expected more.

As Vivek briskly turned to the starkingly black, fancily designed door to unlock it, Julian promised himself that he would go back for Marcus in fifteen minutes. Maybe ten. Already, a deep loneliness had settled.

The locks to the entryway loudly snapped open. Julian didn’t even know it was locked. Would he be able to get back out?

A white light filtered from the room as the door opened silently, piercing the shadows on the cold floor.

It only opened a few inches before stopping, not even enough for Julian to see what was inside.

Vivek slipped in quickly, like a rat that needed to get away. His now-annoying voice soon floated in a loud whisper into Julian’s tired ears.

“Please, this is the best way.”

Taking a deep breath, Julian squeezed through the gap. He felt the heaviness of the dark door, which didn’t even move as he pressed against it, brush against his ribs uncomfortably.

“Remember that your fingers aren’t titanium, that door won’t stay open forever,” Vivek warned.

A memory of Marcus and him riding bikes through the empty cul de sac they had lived on, flitted across his racing mind. Even after Julian had fell off and scraped his finger to the bone, they still had faithfully rode their bikes together every afternoon, sun or rain.

It had been an escape from the strict atmosphere of their household. Freedom from the endless prayers of Salat, and the constant reminders to be a good Muslim boy. They had done everything together- inseparable.

Except… share their beliefs.

Julian tried to ignore the pull at his heart as he pushed his body through the final inches into the room.

He stopped abruptly.

Vivek’s desperate eyes stared at him. His fingers twitched against the book and his mouth gaped open in what seemed disbelief. His bony body covered all of Julian’s sight, but glimpses of the room showed gold.

“I can’t,” Julian uttered slowly, meeting Vivek’s stare, “Everything you say seems true, but you truly are twisted in some way.”

Vivek suddenly gasped, and his lip curled viciously. His eyebrows creased like paper. Julian could see a struggle happening inside.

Taking two steps backwards, the lanky man glanced around the room hesitantly. He stopped. One look at his precious book seemed to make up his decision.

“I need to be free,” his book suddenly transformed into a flaming torch, “And you’re the only way to become released.”

Vivek’s torch stretched towards Julian, and he felt the flames lick at his nose. Beyond the orange light, the phantom clenched his pearly white teeth.

There was a grinding that came from the door, and Julian felt another person’s coarse palm on his one hand that was still left out of the room. He held onto it for dear life.

Launching himself inside without a second thought, Julian felt a second body crash into his as he fell to the floor.

A tremendous blast of air whooshed over him as the door closed a split second after. The sheer force shook the room.

“Well that was close,” squeaked Marcus as he lay beside Julian.

A sigh and a laugh from Julian followed. He had actually made it. Reaching over, Julian hugged his brother tightly. When he pulled away, his brother’s eyes seemed troubled, a secret that could not be held any longer lingered underneath.

“You aren’t supposed to be here!” Vivek groaned.

The brothers leapt to their feet. They were in a golden walled room, with statues of the same hue lining the walls. Vivek stood in the middle, torch lifted high.

“Julian! Why didn’t you listen to me?” Vivek rubbed his brow like he was speaking to a toddler that had stolen another cookie, “I was so close…” His leathery tongue swept out of his mouth to moisten his lips, “Of all the times for you to ignore my insight! She will not be pleased.”

Julian caught Marcus’s eye as they watched the phantom talk to himself. They were both ready to pin down the man, and bombard him with questions.

But before they could, all the golden statues started moving. First slowly. Then more quickly, surrounding the brothers. It was like watching water flow across stone, their actions were so fluid. Each had a scowl on their chiseled features. Mindless obedience was their only preference.

Before either could react, Vivek ran down an unseen hallway to their right.

Should they…

Run as fast as they can after Vivek? Stay and figure out who the statues are? Or something else?

Comment below and join the adventure!

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Leibster Blog Award

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Hey everyone! Jason and I have had a unique opportunity to partake in a supportive blogging community activity. How fancy!? Evelyn/Idazle from A Country Girl’s Writing, has nominated us for the Liebster Blog Award! Thank you so much Idazle.This Award was invented as a way for bloggers to support each other in their writing, and also build their following. Now, it is our turn to appoint other bloggers.

Here are some amazing bloggers that we are nominating!
Dylan Yarbrough – Lost in the Write World
Zach Phillip – Zach’s Musings
Rebekah – Stuffie Adventures
Kirstie Rhys – Father’s Joy
Gloria – Reflections
Kiki Stanton – Dystopian Logic
Melody Zimmerman – MelodyZimmerman.com
Rebekah Rosamilia – The Wanderer

Our eleven questions for you guys:

What do you most appreciate in a blog?
What inspires you most?
If you could choose to live in any particular year in history, which would it be?
Favorite animal, and why?
Which do you prefer to write on: computer, type writer, or pen and paper?
Which book of the Bible do you love most?
Who’s your least favorite author? Why?
What’s your biggest writing pet peeve?
If you could be any character from the Lord of the Rings who would it be?
What’s your least favorite thing about blogging?
What’s your favorite blog post you’ve ever published?

The rules for the Award:

Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
Answer eleven questions that the blogger gives you.
List eleven random facts about yourself.
Nominate eleven other bloggers that you think are deserving of this award (with less than 200 followers).
Let the bloggers know you nominate them.
Give them eleven questions to answer.

These are the questions that Evelyn asked us.

What do you like about blogging?

Peter’s response: Well, Jason actually asked me to help out with his blog. I really enjoy putting my work out there on the World Wide Web, so that others may tell me what they think.

Jason’s response: I like being able to share my thoughts and imaginings with the world. It’s a really exciting feeling to write a poem (or story,) and then be like, “Hey, look. Somebody liked it.”

Why did you start writing?

Peter’s response: It was really just a drive that I’ve had from a young age. I think I have to owe it all to my crazy imagination. I loved reading books like Redwall, and I tried writing on a laptop before I even knew how to type.

Jason’s response: I started writing after going to the a thousand islands in Canada when I was about 9. They were really beautiful and the architecture just sparked my imagination in such a way that I knew I had to make something out of it.

If you could pick anything to do what would it be?

Peter’s response: Jason’s wish is pretty sweet.

Jason’s response: I wish I could go be part of a revival here in America.

Favorite food?

Peter’s response: I’m a mint freak, so probably something with mint and chocolate. Pasta is also amazing (Italian roots)

Jason’s response: I love my mom’s empanadas.

Which season do you prefer: spring, summer, fall, or winter?

Peter’s response: Can I pick two? Summer and fall!

Jason’s response: Same as Peter. In summer you get to not have school. My birthday (and Peter’s) are in fall.

Who’s your favorite author?

Peter’s response: Ah! That’s always such a hard question for me to answer! I would probably have to say either Chuck Black, John Flannagan, Lois Lowry, or Ted Dekker

Jason’s response: Other than God, I would have to say this is a hard question. I love Lois Lowry and Madeleine Le’engle. Ted Dekker and Lucy Maud Montgomery are also very cool, but I could just keep on naming authors for a LONG time. Lewis’s nonfiction is amazing!

What is your favorite quote?

Peter’s response: “Yet do not cast all hope away. Tomorrow is unknown. Rede oft is found at the rising Sun.” ~ Legolas

Jason’s response: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”—C.S. Lewis

Favorite movie?

Peter’s response: The Incredibles or Spiderman: Homecoming

Jason’s response: Toy Story 3 or Frozen. (I know. . .but. . .) I also really love LOTR.

Favorite sport or activity?

Peter’s response: Dance, acting, and parkour!

Jason’s response: Dance and acting

What Bible verse comforts you the most?

Peter’s response: 1 Peter 2:9

Jason’s response: Philippians 1:6

Best loved memory?

Peter’s response: Staying home and eating monkey bread (basically cinnamon rolls), while opening stockings at 6:30 in the morning on Christmas day.

Jason’s response: SO hard! I love memories so much. . .maybe when I ripped my pants in front of my cousin and one of our other friends. I actually wrote a story based off of a different memory that I posted on here.

11 random facts about Peter

1. I chew mint (go figure) gum frequently
2. My middle name is “Thrasher”
3. Parkour is my favorite sport
4. I’m part of a Christian dance studio
5. I love cracking my knuckles
6. My favorite music genres are rap and rock
7. I do not play any instrument
8. I once had to help put out a fire that had started in our mower
9. I referee soccer
10. To me, organizing clothes is therapeutic
11. I’m terrible at most sports

11 random facts about Jason

1. I have to get implants for my teeth.
2. I love dramatic death scenes.
3. For a while, I was slightly koala obsessed.
4. I like outlining more than writing (I think. . .)
5. Brett Harris is my brother-in-law.
6. I’ve seen a bear just outside my front porch.
7. I’m terrified of bees.
8. My mom’s from Argentina.
9. My dad started flying ultralight airplanes when he was 14.
10. My book was originally based off of a world I created with my stuffed animals.
11. I’m the only boy in my family.

That was a ton of fun! Hope you guys enjoyed this, and please participate as well!

Jason and Peter

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The Man Called Vivek

Hi guys! This is the third installment in our Life 2.0 story series! For more information on Life 2.0, go to our Life 2.0 page.

With this new installment, Julian and Marcus followed Koryn’s advice (to have an argument,) which they honestly don’t find very hard to do. 😉 But the questions still up in the air as to whether they will actually, finally, split up. Thanks for commenting, Koryn!

Vivek stared at the newcomers for a full two seconds–his eyes drawn to the taller boy. He recognized him, as if. . .but it couldn’t be.

Their eyes had obviously still not adjusted to the darkness. The taller one was squinting, the younger craning his neck. He had a hoodie tied around his waist.

But the taller boy. Vivek felt he knew him. Was he the one they had waited for? Arianna would be so proud. Had Vivek found him? But she would kill him if he got it wrong.

Vivek waited in the darkness by the stairs, eyeing the lowest portrait. He couldn’t let himself be seen. Not yet.

His hands were wrinkled, and old. His face was caved in. He knew the dark, golden staircase behind him and the black door down in the Priority Room where the two boys had fallen just as well as he knew the back of his own hand. He also knew that at this precise moment his hand, which was holding the candle, was trembling.

He covered the flame and crept down the last few steps towards the door. When he was ready, he would uncover the flame and let himself be seen.

But not yet.

The taller boy pushed himself up to a sitting position and whimpered.

Vivek lifted his hand. The candle shone to illuminate his old, cracked face and long hair and beard. He fixed his glasses and watched, waiting for either boy to say something. Anything.

He could hardly hold the candle. The taller boy. . .could he whisper the thought. . .could this be Julian? Prince, no king, Julian? Julian, Vivek’s slave.

The boy with the hoodie crawled towards the one Vivek thought was Julian. He was pointing at him. Grimacing and pointing at him.

“Who is he?”

Julian shrugged, paused, and then spoke.

“Should we go deeper?”

Vivek had to force himself not to shake his head.

No. No. No. Don’t go further. Not without me. I need you. Here.

Julian was looking up at the staircase—Vivek wondered if he could see the pictures on the walls. It had to be. It had to be Julian.

The boy gave him a strange look. He had brown hair and deep, brown skin and eyes. No boy. He was a man, and he was staring as if he recognized Vivek.

A chill went down Vivek’s spine. How much longer could he be silent?

He wanted to say something. He had to say something.

Julian brushed off his clothes.

Vivek looked into his eyes. They were the eyes of a genius, of a soul with a mind. Vivek trembled as he realized who that mind was. . .

“Will you follow me into my home?” he said, lips still trembling as he waved over to the door, not wanting to lose hold of his candle. “It’s obviously your best option.”

He didn’t know why he said the last part. Probably because he wanted Julian to follow him so much. But it made him sound sketchy. The other boy, with the hoodie, how could he be here if he wasn’t Julian? But how could Julian be here at all?

Vivek didn’t know. Arianna would have to answer his questions.

Vivek waited for Julian to make up his mind. He couldn’t very well get out now, but he might try something risky. Vivek was risky, which meant Julian was risky—if Vivek was who he thought he was.

“You’re human?” Julian said. “You’re not going to hurt us? You don’t have any weapons?”

Vivek had to think hard about the answer to each question, except the second one.

“No. I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. His lip was still trembling. “I suppose you could call me human, though. . .I’m only part-human.” He held up the candle in his left hand. “I have this, but I won’t use it to hurt you.”

The last part was a lie.

Julian laughed a little.

“I like you. A book isn’t a weapon, old man.”

Vivek looked down at his candle, confused.

“A book?”

“That’s what you’re holding, isn’t it?”

The boy with the hoodie was silent the whole time. Vivek stared down to where he had been.

Actually, he was gone. He was on the staircase.

“Will you come with me, Julian?” Vivek said.

Using his name was risky, but it might prove worth it.

Julian looked up the staircase to see the other boy.

“Marcus! Come back here. We’re going to follow this man. He knows my name.”

Marcus! So that was who the other boy was. Not good. Well, not good unless Vivek could be freed, but who ever was freed from Arianna?

“I’m not going anywhere with that person. I think he’s dangerous,” Marcus called back downstairs.

“Fine! You go up that staircase by yourself, but I’m going with this. . .” Julian turned his head to Vivek. “What’s your name, sir?”

“Vivek.”

Julian shouted up the stairs again.

“I’m going with Vivek. You can either come with me or go by yourself and possibly get lost. It’s up to you!”

Something had snapped, and Vivek couldn’t say he didn’t like it. He had a thought. If he used his will, could he control Julian’s?

Marcus stood at the edge of the stairs. He looked unsure what to do. Follow Julian, his brother, who was lost because Vivek was locked up. . .or go up the stairs. He would see the pictures if he did that, Vivek realized.

Should Marcus. . .

Follow Julian and Vivek through the door? Go up the staircase—alone? Or something else?

Comment below and join the adventure!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments