Monday, April 12, 2010

Trappings (part 3)

Night came and the air grew cold. Gracie curled up and surrounded herself with leaves for insulation, but they didn't help. She eyed the lighter hopelessly and began to cry - eventually falling asleep.
She woke up again disoriented, no sense of time except that it was still night. A constant breeze blew through the pipe, biting Gracie with freezing air. She took the lighter in her numb fingers and tried to light it again. "It's no use," said an ambiguous voice in her head. She tried again. Nothing. "So cold out there. You're already freezing," the voice said. "Let it be a peaceful death." It was like being mocked by her own brain. Another try. It lit! But was instantly snuffed in the constant breeze. Gracie sat bolt upright in disbelief. Her heart raced. She struck the wheel again, and again came a brief flame. She turned her back to the wind and lit the flame again. It held. A single, minuscule, mesmerizing flame. It flickered and danced in a strange way she'd never seen fire do. Bringing it closer to her face for inspection, what she saw was unmistakable. It was a tiny person made of fire.
"Hello there, little big one!" the flame called, waving a wispy arm with delight. "I'd like you to know there's not much fuel in this tankard. I hope you don't want me to die."
Gracie could not speak or breathe or look away.
"I spy a handsome lot of dry leaves. If you could set me down right there I think we could help each other out," the wispy little person said.
Gracie blinked twice, eyes flicked toward the leaves on the ground.
"That's it. Set me down," the flame said.
Gracie set the lighter down onto a soft pile of leaves, and the flame jumped into them, instantly doubling in size.
"Ah yes! I have not had leaves in a very long while."
Gracie watched it curiously for a minute or so until becoming impatient. "Do you have a name or what?"
The flame put a hand on its chest and asked, "Are you addressing me?"
"Yeah, no one else is here."
"There is no need for rudeness, little big one. I am Gibilkrsnik Vondevan Ignipyros." He bowed very low. "If you find it too longwinded, you may call me Gibnik."
"Gibnik," Gracie said with a smile.
"I am."
"So, are you like a ghost?"
"I am unlike a ghost. Don't you see I am fire?" He waved a hand dismissively. "Please do keep the leaves coming. I have not had a meal in ages."
Gracie pushed leaves closer, keeping the bundle large as it burned away. "I haven't eaten either. I'm so hungry."
"Then go find something to eat. I think there might be squirrels in those trees," Gibnik said.
"I can't eat a squirrel. I want human food."
"Then have a human."
"That's not what I mean. I want to go home and eat dinner."
"Then go home and have your dinner. Just don't keep pouring your sorrows on me, or I'll have to snuff myself."
"You're rude."
"And you're impulsive."
Gracie grabbed her stomach and groaned. "I'm lost."
"All right. I will help you find food," Gibnik said.
"You will?"
"Yes. However, in order for me to move about, I need more fuel. Perhaps if you laid out a nice, thick path of leaves."
"Leading where?"
"A shop, deli, cafe, anywhere you might find food."
"I don't know where any are."
Gibnik put his hands on his hips and raised an eyebrow. "Well then, you truly are lost." Suddenly, the whole pile of leaves burst into flame, causing Gibnik to double, triple in size until he was big enough to reach the branches of nearby trees, and set them on fire.
"No! No! No! Gibnik, you're burning everything!" Gracie screamed and ran out of the woods, onto the road, and into the neighborhood. At one end of the street was a squad car parked at the curb. Before Gracie could react, the car roared to life, sirens wailing. It fishtailed and sped toward the fire, which had grown out of control. Gracie ran away in a panic. More sirens echoed through the streets, red and blue lights flashed on the walls of buildings. Only moments had passed; Gracie was deep in the neighborhood, surrounded by houses. She could no longer see the wooded area, but columns of smoke and glow of fire were only too easy to spot.
Guilt-ridden, she kept moving through the neighborhood, trying to get as far away from the fire and everyone as possible.
Out of the horizon came a glowing ember, swirling and swaying in the wind. Gracie's heart began to race as she strafed out of the ember's path; but it twisted and turned toward her like a consciousness. She batted at it, but the ember swung around her feeble arms and landed gracefully on her shirt. It began to burn at once. Gracie patted it in a panic, but the tip of her shirt caught flame.
"Thought you could run from me, little big one?" the small, steady flame spoke.
"Get away from me! You're crazy!" Gracie screamed.
"Is that so? Am I the one who could not control my urges? Am I the one who stole, and lied, and ran, and set the woods aflame?"
"Yes! The trees are still burning! Can't you hear the fire engines?"
"Certainly, little big one. I am looking down on them as we speak."
"Stop it! You have to stop the fire!"
"I don't have to do anything. Besides, that old spark is out of my hands now."
"What!? I thought you could control fire!"
"Dear me. Why would you make such an assumption?"
Gibnik tripled in size, a torso of flame jutting out of Gracie's shirt. He loomed over her and spoke fiercely. "No more commands out of you. I've been nothing but polite, and you give me this grief. Now it is my turn to have you do my bidding."
Gracie fell on her back, and trembled in fear. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
Gibnik brisked her tears with a wispy finger, drying them away. "There there, little big one. I promise, if you take me with you, I won't destroy your whole town."
"How am I supposed to take you anywhere?" Gracie asked, a huge lump of dread in her throat.
"The lighter. You've still got it."
"In your pocket! I can smell it. I would not easily forget the aura of my prison of decades."
Gracie had completely forgotten that she had but it back in her pocket. She drew it now, holding it up to Gibnik. "What do I do?"
"Ignite it."
Gracie struck the wheel, but it shot only sparks.
"Your shirt won't last much longer. Ignite it!"
She tried again, and it worked. Gibnik touched the tiny flame, shrinking into it, leaving Gracie's shirt hot and charred.
"Very good, Gracelynn. Now shut the lid, and put me in your pocket."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Toy Pusher

I was interviewed last month by Christine Rivera-Reyes (seen to the left, saluting the world at large). She's a blogger who was impressed by my range of artistry coupled with my toy-collecting habits, and thought it fit to interview me. She's also interviewed other artists and collectors, SO GET COLLECTING!

The interview is a little outdated in that my DeviantArt account isn't an active place to view my artwork anymore. I've since disowned DeviantArt (for the most part).

In the interview, you'll learn such things as my real name, the sort of crap I collect, my hobbies, and how big my penis is. Okay, that last part is a lie.

The Last Autobot

If you're one of my Watchers on DeviantArt, you may have already seen this, although set against a black background. I've posted it here because I believe my blog followers would like to see it as well; with a white background because it befits my blog layout.

I original drew it for a contest at a Transformers fansite (one I recommend you stay away from, since it is run by pigheaded jerkoffs with double standards). The contest called for fans to create live-action style designs for any character of their choosing, be it an original or official one. I chose the Last Autobot, and gave him a hardcore protoform. Longtime Transformers fans may be keen to spot one particular detail that hearkens to G1 - aside from the obvious and necessary Autobot insignia-inspired face.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trappings (part 2)

Gracie was up early the next morning; the lighter was still on her dresser. She shot glances at it as she popped in and out of her room while getting ready for school. At breakfast Gracie asked, "How many cats have been killed by curiosity?"
"That's a weird question, Grace," her father said. "What are you curious about?"
"I just don't know why they say curiosity killed the cat," Grace replied. "I mean, whose cat was it?"
"It isn't curiosity that kills the cat; it's what they find when they're not cautious that does it," her mother answered.
"Grace, are you positive you haven't found Mr. Kohren's lighter?" her father asked very sternly.
"Yes daddy," Gracie lied.
"Honey, those things are very dangerous. They can hurt people."
"I understand, daddy. I sweat I haven't seen any lighters."

She took it to school. During class, she impulsively touched it through the bump in her pocket over and over.
"Why do you keep poking your pocket?" Kayleigh asked at lunch. Gracie led her to the girls' restroom and brought out the lighter.
"Is that a lighter?" Kayleigh said in awe, with a bit of fear.
"I think so," Gracie said.
"They're not safe. They burn things," Kayleigh said.
"Everybody keeps telling me that, but I don't think this one works."
"Why not?"
"Because it hasn't made any fire."
"Here, let me see it." Kayleigh took the lighter and opened it. She pushed on the flint wheel, but it was stiff with age. "Try to spin that circle thingy," she said, handing it back.
"What do we do if it makes fire?" Gracie said.
"Throw it in the toilet."
They moved into a stall to be ready.
"It's too hard," Gracie said. "It won't budge."
"You've gotta push hard. I've seen the older kids do it."
Gracie pushed so hard her fingers hurt, and the wheel spun a little. After a few more spins, they were making sparks, but still no flame.
The stall filled with the scratching sound of the flint wheel, rendering the girls deaf to everything beyond. Suddenly the stall door swung open, a teacher loomed over the girls with crossed arms and a contemptuous expression. "Hand it over right now!" she ordered. "We'll see what the principal has to say about this!"
They marched down the hall; Gracie and Kayleigh at the front, the teacher in back, lighter in hand. The girls looked gloomily at one another.
"Face forward. No talking," the teacher quipped. Gracie took the warning as an excuse to glance at the teacher, taking note of the lighter in her hand. She wanted it back, but mulled over the consequences. The principal's office was drawing near. Dread and anxiety swelled inside her until compulsion took over. She spun around, snatched the lighter away and ran.
"Come back here this instant, young woman!" The teacher's calls had no effect; and in a few short moments, Gracie was beyond school grounds making her way into the neighborhood.
It was only after finding cover inside a large drainage pipe below a road that it dawned on her - she was in way over her head. "Oh no. What have I done? What's so special about this dumb old thing?" She poised to throw the lighter, but couldn't bring herself to do it. She couldn't explain why she was drawn to it. "You dumb old thing! Why won't you light?" She tried the wheel again, but only got sparks. "I go through all this, and you still won't give me any fire!? I don't even know where I am. All my things are still at school. I am in big trouble." She tried again to throw the lighter, but couldn't.
A breeze came through. Gracie curled up against the wall of the pipe.
"Why am I still here? I should go home. I'm starving."
Dead leaves blew into the pipe and collected at her feet. She dozed off, and awoke when the sun was setting. Golden light and long shadows in the breeze emphasized the loneliness she now felt.