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Thread: Brevity Works

  1. #1

    Brevity Works

    (These are short stories about getting the job done, where every moment is tight and no luxury is afforded. This is poetry that embraces an economy of play. This is also an exercise in writing with no traditional adjective or adverb use at all, so the nouns and verbs must be strong to carry the prose and poetry! Otherwise, how the tales unfold is a mystery and an adventure to us all!)

    -----------------------------------------

    Brevity Works

    Episodes:
    Discovering the Quintessential
    Last edited by Gebohq; 09-17-2012 at 05:00 PM. Reason: changed some names

  2. #2
    (To start, an introduction to Jeb!)

    Jacob Ernest Book, known as Jeb to the majority, leaned against a wall of boards cut from Brevity Woods. He stood over most, yet he hid with ease behind one of the tavern beams. The brick he called a gun hung holstered on his side as a hammer would on a carpenter. He eyed the monitor above the bar as the news reports limned the murder of Hannah Hill at the hands of an assailant known as Knomad. The corner of Jeb's mouth strained, fighting a force of fear and hatred as he would fight the force of gravity...
    A promise armed in a time before
    He reached fame in whispering lore
    Told over no fire lit
    Made when he was not fit
    Behind a closed and locked door
    To whom others would call whore
    That at the end of his wit
    After he would long to quit
    When his pressing mind tore
    And with his body too sore
    Down in the depths of Hell's pit
    Where his soul would scream and split
    He would not embrace his crackling core
    Where his hatred and fear did bore.
    He returned his attention towards the entrance. Jeb would need help if he embarked his job of jading justice, in secret his revenge of righteousness, but he did not expect to find any help in this town of Brevity. Still, he watched and waited. There was a chance he would spot a surprise, after all. He chuckled at the thought.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 09-17-2012 at 04:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Jeb turned his attention to the room's side, where a woman appeared to stand on a pallet platform of a stage. She stared at the floor rather than the patrons, only her chest and a child's dream blocked her view of the ground. A voice announced the performance of Miss Quintessential, followed by the continued murmur of the tavern. She closed her eyes, raised her head, and sang the following:

    "Limn a hymn
    Limn or dim
    The light on the rim
    Of the unending ends of the earth--"

    Her voice micro-fractured. She halted, hung her head, and hurried offstage. The announcer encouraged everyone to give a round of applause, but they opted to ignore.

    "A ro with awareness," Jeb muttered. He hummed in passing thought. "Can't bode a profiting fortune for this place. It's a wonder the ro continues serving here."

    A scream from the singer pierced the air from offstage.

    "Should have waited to speak," Jeb said as his hand dropped to the grip of his gun.

    (What's a "ro" you might ask? Who knows? I sure don't! Whether a ro is defined by their culture and upbringing, by their very nature and physical makeup, or something else entirely has yet to be revealed! All that has been suggested so far is that they are not commonly self-aware or self-conscious and are not likely valued for having such according to Jeb.)
    Last edited by Gebohq; 01-05-2011 at 10:16 PM. Reason: changed some names

  4. #4
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    (NSP: Aw, this story seems all serious! I want to be zany! Like have Jeb's gun actually turn into a brick! Ah, well, here I go.)

    ----

    Jeb stalked behind the curtain to see Miss Quintessential paralyzed by fear. She regarded him with eyes the size and color of saucers. Her skin was bone. "Thank God, someone to help me."

    "Ma'am? What happened?"

    "I..." Her voice falterd. "I need a brandy."

    "Not good for the voice," Jeb brushed aside her discomfort. "Tell me."

    She sucked in her breath as though she was Thor drinking the ocean. "The ghost."

    Jeb heaved a sigh. "Lady, I don't do Scooby Doo."

    She clutched his arm, the appearance of frailty belying the strength of panic. "It's real."

    Must I be a sucker for beauty?, he thought. "As you say, ma'am."

    Miss Quintessential nodded. "It's Ronaldo. The gypsy who sang here before I did."

    "How did he die?"

    She shook her head. "He didn't. I used to be a waitress here. He offered to read my fortune. He dealt the cards and-- Something happened. He wasn't himself. A trance, or something. Spoke in a voice like something out of a crypt. Possessed."

    "What did he say?"

    " 'Five there are. Two are not but will be again. Two were and wait still. And one before me is born, and but not yet made.' " A shiver rippled through the paleness that sheathed her skin. "Then he passed out. In a coma ever since. I don't understand it."

    "You're the one he referred to, it seems," Jeb mused. "You were right before him when he said that."

    "Yes, but what does it mean?" Her eyes beseeched him, begged him to be a seer.

    Yes, because her luck with seers has brought joy before, the thought scratched its way across his brain. "Miss Quintessence, you have a destiny. You are born. You have a body. But you have not yet been made into who you will be. Trust me. Fate and I go back."

    "What do I do?" she asked.

    Jeb barked a laugh. "Do what you like. Destiny cannot be avoided. It will come, in a time and place it chooses."

    "Say it again," a voice rasped behind him. "I savor the irony."

    A chill snaked up his spine. He turned to see the one man he hoped to never see again...

    (NSP: What role will the prophecy from the crypt play? Who is the new mysterious man? Perhaps it'll be revealed in time!)
    Last edited by Gebohq; 01-07-2011 at 10:11 PM. Reason: changed names and tweaked some adjectives out.

  5. #5
    (NSN: For those who don't know, NSP stands for "Non-Story Post" -- an anachronism for tags such as NSN (Non-Story Note) and the role-playing equivalent, OOC (Out of Character). They all mean that the relevant text is not part of the story itself, such as this text in parentheses. While this story should likely aim not to be absurd, its style and story content is still up in the air, so go with it as you wish! Just be careful not to include those adverbs and adjectives, as they sneak up on us!)

    The voice belonged to a male whose appearance would take a man on the street by surprise, not because his looks would fit legends, but because he would be lost among the locals. He twirls a cigarette in his fingers. Jeb stared down at the man with despair and disdain.

    "Rore," Jeb growled. Miss Quintessential distances herself in discomfort.

    "You remember me," the man said. "I'm touched."

    "In the head," Jeb retorted.

    Miss Quintessential glanced towards the exit she saw. "I should tend to business--"

    "Stay," Jeb said to her.

    "Yes," the man said, "I wish to know you, Miss...?" He extended a hand.

    "Quintessential." She performed the formality of the handshake.

    "You may be an ease on the eyes, but an ease on the tongue, your name is not," the man said.

    She turned to Jeb for a moment, to gauge his reaction, before she returned her attention to the man. "You may call me Tess."

    "Well then," the man said to Tess, "Calvin Rore. You may call me Cal."

    The click from the cocking of Jeb's gun snapped silence into the room. The three froze in place, waiting for one of them to make a move. No one did.

    "I prayed not to meet you again in my life," Jeb said. "Destiny chooses to ignore my prayers..."

    Jeb disengaged and holstered his gun.

    "...so I choose to do as I wish, and not as I must. I hope you have a reason worth of this."

    "I feel the love," Cal said as he brushed the collar of his coat. "Rumors are spreading that the murders committed by Knomad are culminating toward a purpose even God fears."

    "Rumors are diseases which weaken the body of truth," Jeb said.

    "They are symptoms of sickness, not its cause," Cal replied. "Whatever the case, justice needs to be administered, and you need my help. Its cause is worth my life at risk."

    "If I may," Tess interrupted, "I wish to offer my services as well." She scratched the back of her head and added "There's naught to be had here at this room and board."

    Jeb sighed. "So be it. Fate f*cks us for fools, but I plan to play my part and take pleasure in its grindstone until Fate comes for me."

    Cal bursts into a smoker's laughter. "Good to hear, because it comes without notice."

    The noise of trouble broke out from the entrance of the board.

    "I may have neglected to mention that I needed help of my own," Cal said.

    Jeb grumbled. His hand fell in habit to the grip of his gun.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 01-05-2011 at 10:25 PM. Reason: editing some names

  6. #6
    (Non-Story Note: Uh-oh! Another attempt at poetry, this time revealing some of Cal's character. Someone show how poetry is actually done, please!)
    Calvin Rore was not one to roar
    Nor the fore among any four
    But did pore as the angels pore
    Until sore with core truths that soar.
    "The men are here to hurt us," Cal said.

    "You are a master of disclosing the shown, Rore," Jeb retorted.

    The troublemakers of men turn their attention to Jeb and Cal.

    "Hand him over and no one has to be hurt," one of the men said.

    "Lying should be saved for those you wish to sleep with," Jeb quipped. Tess spots a man on the side draw out a pistol.

    "Watch out!"
    Last edited by Gebohq; 01-05-2011 at 10:27 PM.

  7. #7
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    A flicker of motion, and the man dropped his gun, a line of blood drawn across the back of his hand. Where darts in a dartboard by the man were found, a seven of clubs appeared to add to its company. Cal draws another card from his deck.

    "Didn't you use to have a deck of tarots?" Jeb asked.

    Cal shrugs. "Sacrificed it to save the world in November."

    "What happened in November?" Tess squeaked.

    "The ghost of Squanto."

    "Shaddup!" a thug ordered.

    Jeb arched an eyebrow. A whisper of movement, and three of the thugs dropped. Smoke curled from the barrel of his gun.

    A pause.

    Pandemonium. The thugs opened fire. Cal kicked over a table and took cover. "Down!" he ordered Tess, who dove behind it.

    Jeb's gun popped like firecrackers, and thugs fell. Cal called, "Night vision!" as he flinged a joker at the light. Darkness shrouded the bar, and thugs grunted in surprise.

    Jeb and Cal donned their sunglasses, and the room to them basked in the hue of an emerald. The room remained pitch to Tess, who huddled against the table.

    A voice from an earpiece barked in Cal's ear. "Roger, Control! Jeb - more on the way! Prepare yourself!"

    Priorities raced across the gunslinger's brain. "No!" Jeb bellowed. "We should leave - we have Tess!"

    Indignation built within her heart, but before she could express it, Cal grabbed her arm and jerked her behind the stage. Jeb hammered bullets into the ceiling, which collapsed upon the thugs. He rolled over the stage and landed beside the others.

    As they raced for the exterior, Cal smirked. "Hey, Jeb - Control wants to know why you're off the grid."

    Jeb recalled throwing away his earpiece. "Because I hate 1984."

    (NSN: What is the history between Jeb, Cal, and Control? Who or what is Control? What exactly is going on? Nobody knows yet, us writers the least, but perhaps more will be revealed in short time! For now, just enjoy the ride!)
    Last edited by Gebohq; 01-07-2011 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Turns out "now" is an adjective...

  8. #8
    The trio spilled from the tavern and onto the dirt, continuing to pour on toward their escape. Destiny favored them at this moment as the man Cal called Control stood waiting for them with their troans ready to ride. Adjusting his cap, Control glared at Jeb.

    "Stay on my radar," Control said, "and you will have all the help you need."

    "And trouble not of my own," Jeb said. "For all your foresight, you would not have heard the answer to our problems."

    Jeb gestures to Tess, who nods with politeness.

    "Time punishes our disrespect, folk," Cal said, glancing back towards the commotion following.

    "Then let's make haste and stick to the schedule," Control said.

    Jeb and Tess mounted their troan, and Cal swung atop the troan that remained. The three shifted gears, pulled their reins, and kicked their troans to move. The rods struck the ground and turned the wheels, propelling the company away from the doom in the tavern by Brevity Woods and toward a melting sunset.

    (Non-Story Note: And that concludes this particular episode. For clarification, I wanted to suggest that a "ro" was more or less androids that look human, though they could have easily been something else, and in this post, a "troan" is essentially a motorcycle that's more horse-like and train-like. I hope to continue this thread with more episodes in a short story sort of format which are between 1 to 10 posts in length, and I intend to watch a slew of Westerns before I do so. Future stories need not be collaborative in nature, though unless specified by an author, will be assumed to be by default, and there can certainly be reoccurring characters, though no story should be dependent on another to understand it.)
    Last edited by Gebohq; 09-17-2012 at 04:59 PM.

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