Session One

Session One (1,499 words)

“How do you….” I glance around in frustration, trying to find the words. “How do you do it? How do you resist the urge to just grab someone’s head and bash it into a wall? I don’t understand how I’m the—the only one here who feels the need t-t-to do that!”

“Marcle, I’m certain there are others who feel the same, however self-control is necessary. That’s why you’re here in this facility.”

He smiles at me, in an oddly feminine kind of way. I can never tell if it’s a male or female. He or she is wearing a dark loose fitting jump suit, the hair is shoulder length and tied at the nape of it’s neck. Therapist gestures to a chair.

“Would anyone like to comment on how Marcle feels? He seems distressed in regards to his temper. How can we help him?”

Therapist looks at the other three group members expectantly.

“Who gives a shit?”

Everyone looks up at Benaay. He bounces his right leg on his toes, un-waveringly, in that really annoying way, as he bites his finger nails. It’s like he’s trying to make his leg magically become a jack hammer. He leans forward. “Tell me, who really gives a shit?”

He leans back against the seat, spreading his legs in an laid-back manner, then leans forward again. “They pretend to care, but the credit they get for keeping us here is all that’s really important to them. The truth is: whether or not we get fixed doesn’t matter. Execution day is coming boys, and there’s no stopping it.”

“As always you seem…content with your current situation, Benaay,” says Therapist.

“I’ve been convicted for killing over one hundred and forty-seven people. I’m imprisoned here while your precious government hopes that I’ll show some remorse before I’m executed.”Benaay sneers, his teeth are yellow from what can be assured is smoking. “I got news for you programmable piece of shit.

Therapist shakes his head. “The purpose of this program is to help you not only realize your mistakes, but to help you redeem yourself. To make you better than who you were before.”

Benaay sneers at Therapist, crossing his arms over his broad chest. He’s defensive. His arms are pale, but bulky. You could tell he used to work out. I look down at his feet, chains of iron are on his ankles. He’s got anger problems, and from the data, so did everyone he ever killed. A case of self-hatred? Or maybe he thought it’d amusing to have someone fight back, a challenge. Either way he ‘s built like a brick house, as they say, and he doesn’t give a shit.

“Waste of time if you ask me.”

Therapist sighs and turns to the next member.

“You usually have a number of things to say Seraph. Is today a better day?” Therapist smiles, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to be as kind as it’s programmed to be.

Seraph watches us from her seat wearing a white summer dress with thin straps on her shoulders and no shoes. Her lips are a bright red, plump. Her hair is chocolate brown and her skin sun-tanned light brown. I could imagine it glowing in the bright sun outside.

I turn to Therapist. “I’m sorry. I thought this was solely a male group?”

“Usually it is. However, Seraph is a special case. Aren’t you?” Therapists smiles.

Seraph looks at the last group member, Thomas. He’s a quiet fellow, lanky. His hair, black and un-kept, is up to his shoulders. He looks like a metal rocker, maybe not. He smiles, his huge cheek bones turning pink. He has a round nose and thin lips, reminding me of a sleuth. She makes this low animalistic growl suddenly and his face drops. He turns pale and looks down at the floor.

She turns to me and says, “You’re fake.”

I stutter. “I’m—I’m sorry, what?”

“Everyone’s fake to you, you crazy bitch,” Benaay remarks.

“She’s not crazy.” Thomas pipes up under his black hair veil. “She’s…she’s just eccentric. That—that’s all. She can tell when people lie—it’s a common fact. I don’t lie Seraph.”

Seraph looks at Benaay, tilts her head, and turns to Thomas. To Thomas, she walks up to him slowly and brushes small child-like fingers under his chin. His face comes out of his black shoulder length hair. Thomas smiles nervously.

She brushes her hand across his left cheek. “You’re not bad, but don’t think that because you try to defend me, I’ll start to favor you.”

Seraph turns to me, tapping Thomas on the face. “You’re fake because you’re not like us at all. All that generic crap about questioning yourself. Benaay’s a mass murderer and Tommy-boy stole information on the stock market and several files from ten different governments. The fact is: we don’t give a crap. So, why are you really here?”

I scratch my head trying to stay calm. “It was either this or an actual prison, and let’s be honest I’ll live longer here.”

“You think this is better than a real prison? We’re stuck here and have to—to put up with this whole shit-fest and for what?! Just to do what?! Pre-occupy our time before they decide to execute us, while you sit and watch? You think we don’t know what’s really going on? I know for a fact that this is a load of crap! That whole thing about execution is just another lie. You’re monitoring us like lab rats; we’re gonna be here forever, aren’t we? Aren’t we?!”

Seraph turns to Therapist. “I’m getting sick of your face, you fucking piece of shit.”

Therapist simply smiles and responds, “I will not justify that comment with a response.”

She laughs, shyly covering her mouth with the back her hand. “Of course not. Can you? Are you even real? You’re just some computer program designed by some punk high schooler.”

“Why are you here?” I place my arms elbows my knees and lean forward, intertwining my fingers.

Seraph turns her head to the side slightly, as if debating whether or not to answer me. She straightens and says with a seductive smile, “I eat people.”

My face drops. My eyes never leave her face. Next thing I know she’s rushing towards me and Therapist jumps in front of me. It grabs her, twisting her around into a bear hug and seemingly crushing her in its arms.

She screams out, but I don’t think it’s in pain. Seraph screams louder, and I see Therapist glitch and get thrown through a firewall. Benaay is frozen, staring at Seraph, and Thomas keeps staring at the floor.

“Look, I’m not doing anything wrong. I just came here for some help.” I put my hands our, almost pleading. This is not going as planned.

“More than anything–more than anything, I hate liars! Get the hell up!”

Seraph takes a step forward, but Therapist appears between us suddenly. Pixels reassemble into what looks like a male figure, much more brawny than before .Its voice becomes monotone.

“Program protocol’s have been breached. Guest will now be ejected from program X-473. ”

The static overcomes my senses and all I can see is the dark lenses of my goggles. Taking them off, I find myself back at home out of program X-473. It is definitely more intense than Deek had led me to believe. I really thought I was going to get hurt. Two months from now and all the worlds criminals would be in the program. I couldn’t imagine a better case to study: The transference of the criminal consciousness into a virtual reality prison.

No, I’m lying. That girl, Seraph, was definitely interesting in and of herself. She was a subject all on her own. Her personality was volatile, and despite knowing the consequences of attacking a “guest” she still came after me.

How did she even know?

A chill runs down my spine as I swallow hard. It’s not just her I’m interested in either, is it? The truth is, more specifically, I want to know more about her smile. I can still remember it; how beautiful I thought she was when, for that split second, I saw her rose-red lips begin to curve up.

Her extremely white teeth. Those rose-red, no blood red, lips. The muscles slowly moving as her cheekbones began to go higher. The flush of her cheeks as her lips settled into place, spreading to reveal her perfectly aligned teeth.

Her shockingly white teeth.

How could they be so damn sharp?

Every single one was so jagged and yet so…so clean. No gaps, no chips or even a stain. Her teeth were sharp, almost like—the image of a shark comes to mind. Were they filed to a sharp edge? She couldn’t have been born that way, could she?

And was she serious?

All I can think about is how that bright white shine must have looked before she ripped someone’s neck out.

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Revision Announcement

Hey there everyone,

I’ve been running around back and forth, trying to figure out what to put up lately and honestly I haven’t been writing like I wish. I’ve been taking time to figure things out and get some other things down. In the end, I’ve been putting some things off and that’s never a good thing. So today, I finally took the time to revise at least one of my stories currently on the site. I received a critique a while back and never took the time to sit down and take it in.

I agreed with the critique and found some valid pointers in it. Because of this, I am going to take down the story on this site and I will place the revision instead. I think that anyone who has read it before may appreciate the refinement. There is a little more characterization and interaction between the characters as well as concrete detail. I cut some things that I realized, and felt, were unnecessary to the plot. I think it’s a little better, and hopefully more of you will read and like it.

A lot of the stories that I post here are usually raw, meaning that a great deal are revised on my own time and without critique. This is always a challenge because some writing needs to be seen through another’s perspective. It’s really difficult to disassociate myself from a work into which I’ve put a great deal.

Anyway, I hope that this will be a better revision of Session One, which was originally on my first blog “Its All In Your Head.” So please, check it out tomorrow when you get a chance.I’d love for comments and suggestions.

See you all soon.

Critiquing

I found something to share!

I’ve been off the deep end lately. I haven’t put my hand to that fantastic thing that is made from a tree. (I’m sorry Mr. Tree) that is known as paper. My house sucks the literary out of me.

Anyway! I was looking on twitter, because I actually have one of those now. (I promise that I am not that person who writes every little thing they are doing throughout the day). I usually post something I think is interesting about writing. Albeit, not very often, but just the same it is important…to me.

The thing I am sharing today is an article that I found through twitter.

This article (from Writer’s Digest) in question is about critiques. I thought the articles was really interesting because many new comers to the writing world aren’t really sure about what they are supposed to say or do, which is why many need practice. If you read the article it shows you what you expect may not be what you get.

Check it out here: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/how-to-critique-friends-writing

Writing is the life and soul of a writer. Many say that if you can live without writing, then maybe this profession, this lifestyle, isn’t for you. And sometimes I agree, for the most part. I could go days, even months without writing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not dreaming up a new scenario or story. Although, getting it down to paper is what differentiates you and me from any other person. Putting that dream, that hope, despair or insanity is what separates the writers from the dreamers. We’re actually doing something.

But I digress.

My point is that this article talks about critiques. Now, when you meet other writers who have written longer than you have it’s perfectly natural to want to impress or give as much as they do. But be honest. If you’re are not good at critiquing, then ask the other person what they expect or would like to hear from you. It always helps to see what concerns the other person.

This article points out the key word in relationships between writers: Reciprocity. I fully agree with this idea. Don’t give me this couple of sentences long thing saying “I really liked your story. You should work on your ending though, I didn’t like it much.”

Excuse me?!

What did you not like? Why not? Were my characters inconsistent? Ending unbelieveable? Too cliche? Too out of place?

What do you want from my soul?!

You just gave me air. You’re not giving me anything. You are being vague and open-ended, and where is your detail? Tell me exactly what you love about my work, what you hate it, and why? How is it that so difficult?

But it is, for those who don’t know what they’re doing. For a long time things like this were all that I could write when in class. I get it; it’s difficult to be specific, to tear someone else’s work apart. But that’s what they want. They want to know what you, as the reader, took from the work. Don’t tell me what you WANT to see, hear, or envision. Tell me what you were led to believe based on my writing. What did I convey, according to your interpretation of the piece. Tell me what I showed you, and then say what sucked about it, if possible.

Many think that writers don’t want this kind of criticism. Well, let me tell you something. If they can’t take criticism, then they are not a real writer. I’ve learned to thrive on constructive criticism. I need to know what you thought, what you heard, what you felt when you read in those pages that I took maybe days, weeks, months, even years of time and sweat. I want to know.

And I will do the same as much as I can on your work when it’s my turn to tell you what I think.

I recently joined an online group from my college and every month we submit a piece to be critiqued. It’s a lottery system, so everyone picks a genre to write and a genre to critique. We randomly get matched, and two weeks later we have to have submitted a critique.

The moment I got that email, I was immediately told what the writer wanted me to look at in their piece. I finished it the next day, but I didn’t submit it for several more days, maybe a week. The reason I did this was because I didn’t want to give a generic, “this was good, this was bad; loved it!” critique. I wanted to look back at what I wrote and try to see what I could improve. I gave constructive criticism, which isn’t what I get back most of the time. I only hope it was helpful enough. The point of criticism is to work with the writer, find flaws, inconsistences, errors in logic, plot holes, etc. in order to refine their work. Editing can be a pain, so why not get an outward perspective.

When I get a critique I want to see this kind of response. I recently got my critique back, maybe an hour ago. I’m not sure how to take it. It definitely gives insight as to what can be improved, though no solid suggestions, only pointing out flaws. I think, nonetheless it can be helpful. I can’t have everything handed to me on a platter. I have to work this out on my own. Some challenges are worth having.