The Diary of Alden Warner-Entry II

June 17, 1776

     I took a trip into the city today with Cyrus and, as could be expected, we did not leave without exchanging words with a group of Tories. Cyrus, more impassioned and contentious than I could ever be, found it fit to educate those poor ignorant gentlemen on the nuances of political theory.

     The shouting didn’t start until one of our royalist companions saw fit to, in the most austere of manner, condemn the “savagery” of Colonial opposition to England’s, as they called them, “sufficiently just and deserved disciplinary actions taken to curb the obstreperous children of her colonies.” Cyrus has followed the flow of political thought through writings and resolutions far longer than I, and bespoke this knowledge in his fervid response. He started with a lesson in the importance of governmental responsibility: “The right of parliament to legislate for us cannot be accounted for upon any reasonable grounds. The constitution of Great Britain is very properly called a limited monarchy, the people having reserved to themselves a share in the legislature, as a check upon the regal authority, to prevent its degenerating into despotism and tyranny.” The right of Britain’s citizens to protect their inherent freedoms, their liberty, by partaking in their own governance should be a privilege awarded to all of His Majesty’s subjects. So, why is it, he asked, these American colonies should be left impuissant in all matters concerning the laws and acts that govern the lives and welfare of those that reside here?  Cyrus’s sermon lasted well-nigh an hour before those insolent fops scuttled away to whatever dank pit they hauled themselves from.

     Our excursion eventually brought us to City Hall Park, the center of yet another British attempt at pulling down the colonies’ calls for liberty. The battle that took place, the Battle of Golden Hill, over the erection of these “Liberty Poles” should have given pause to any man or woman that cherishes their freedom from a despotic regime. Golden Hill and Boston evince the iron fist with which Britain intends to beat the spirit of egalitarianism out of these colonies.

     We spoke of various topics on our trip through the city; my intentions of King’s College, my father’s presence at the Congress, and our favorite writers. He revealed to me that, much to my surprise, much of his argument from earlier in the day had been comprised of another man’s words. Hamilton, he told me, a perspicacious student of my intended school had published a pamphlet entitled The Farmer Refuted in early 1775. Hamilton’s polished and imperious prose, his galvanizing disputation, is what drove Cyrus to hold him in such high approbation. The words that Cyrus spoke, that Hamilton wrote, bid me turn towards the future and wonder if all of this vociferation of liberty and freedom will ever yield any fruits, or will this American garden be forever marred by the poisons of its British begetter?


Tired Thoughts

in the night so late

that ghosts dare not haunt

and light is but pale shards of light

gleaming down from a pearl crescent

affixed upon raven skies

this is when I come alive

The Diary of Alden Warner- Entry I

June 15, 1776   

     Father left today. Philadelphia, the heart of the colonies, is abuzz with political fervor. The most influential men of North America have left their homes in search of answers to this quandary Parliament has confined us to. I have been reading Thomas Paine greatly since his publication. “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.” Years of subordination and mute submission have rendered these colonies meek and deferential to the Crown of a distant realm. Is it the divine and natural order of the world for us to be divided into such archaic conventions as Lords and Subjects?   His Common Sense, as it is so fittingly named, has created such a turmoil in me I have no way to quell it.

     Father has set off for Pennsylvania with intentions to denounce the dissentious cries of the colonies. For all the good work my father does here in New York, he is still an obstinate and unequivocal Tory. When I speak to him it is as if my very words are lost to the wind; he will hear nothing of reason let alone independence.

     With nothing but frustration to have from my family and our irresolute colonies, I can still find absolute reassurance in my own future. I will be off to King’s College soon enough, and with the erudition of my studies, I will begin work on my true desire; law. My family has always been one of tradesmen and merchants, not one of men of letters. I know my ambitions are silently deplored by my family. My father especially views the pursuit of justice as one of no consequence. He is a man of numbers, profit, and cares little for the “ trivial crimes and punishments that perforate His Majesty’s dependency”.

    I must sleep now, it must be now or I will never quiet my mind. But I will be hard at work at Sun’s rise. Mayhaps one day men like my father will see the truth. People were never meant to be subjugated, and no King or Parliament shall supersede those freedoms of which we are ordained at birth. Mayhaps one day we can be free.


Ephemeral Elegance

gnarled oak and sullen birch

line a frosted brook

down near my home

they rest there upon

a somber potter’s field

the bare bones of spring

left forgotten in winter


Despondent Dreams

when I was too young to know

i sat staring at the stars

distant shrines to hope

wishing for the strength

to live out my dreams in full

then I grew and then I saw

the world made it clear

that my dreams were just like stars

dead long before I even knew

that they existed


An Uneventful Narrative-I,I



Hospital Room

The room is obscured by shadows with only a single, faint light between two figures, the PARENTS, with their backs turned. An uneasy calm permeates the room; a silent battle is waged within the minds of the PARENTS. A meek knock strikes the door and the two figures open to reveal an infant at rest between them. A wisp of a man, the DOCTOR, steps into the morose room.

DOCTOR(with his chin to his chest): I understand you’ve been waiting for quite some time.

The DOCTOR grabs a chair from the corner and wheels it next to the family. He signals for them to sit in the seats opposite him.

PARENTS(in unison): Please, we just want to know what’s wrong.

Their voices trail off and they cast a sympathetic look towards the child.

DOCTOR: Of course, I completely understand where you’re coming from. New parents, you two must be terrified.

The DOCTOR clears his throat and looks over a clipboard. The PARENTS wait in anxious anticipation.

DOCTOR: It would seem you brought him in just in time. We’ve looked over the tests and if I’m being quite frank, things don’t look right.

The PARENTS shutter at the DOCTOR’s words and jump from their chairs to be closer to the child. The DOCTOR awaits a response, but when there is none, he continues.

DOCTOR(solemnity dripping from his voice): The respiratory failure that we observed was most assuredly caused by the VSD which we confirmed through echo.

The DOCTOR stands and approaches the PARENTS.

DOCTOR: It would also appear (he adjusts his glasses; a nervous impulse) that during your pregnancy (he checks the clipboard to confirm) at your seven-month ultrasound, the attending physician cited that a VSD was already present in the child. An oversight…

The DOCTOR is interrupted by the blaring of the heart monitor. A team of nurses rushes into the room and the PARENTS are ushered away. The light fades as the child is surrounded by medical staff.


I Love You

from my pen bleeds the hurt

a river of anguish and despair

that has lingered and festered

long after you first said to me

those words that gave me hope

that perhaps I meant to you

what you had always meant to me


Annexed Affection

a whisper in the night

he drifted into my life and took

that which I did not know I could offer

from his neck, my heart now dangles

a fractured token of love once felt

and from the void whence his prize once dwelt

comes only the forlorn echoes of thrums now lost

desolation of the soul, despoilment of sincerity

these were his only valediction


Short Story-Sometimes

Here is a short story that I considered expanding, but as of now, this is the extent of the narrative.

     “Sometimes the dead don’t stay buried”, a saying that my grandfather would always use when I was growing up. It was something that he would say in even the most mundane of situations. If, for instance, there were a clogged toilet and the mucky water came flowing back up, there would be grandpa rattling off about how “the dead don’t stay buried”. He used the phrase in joking, of course, never meaning it in a dark or disturbing way. But, still, there was something unsettling about it, something chilling.

     Whenever he said it, my head was filled with images of boneyards and crypts crawling with its decaying, long since passed denizens. Their rotting and peeling skin oozing with the mangled remnants of horribly infected innards. The fog begins to thicken as these disfigured undead begin writhing up out of their holes. You suddenly find yourself in the middle of the necropolis now completely enshrouded in fog. With no other choice, you run, run as fast as you can just hoping you’re going in the right direction. As you run you heard it, they have found you. The grotesque hellspawn have found you and are all around.

     You keep running, if you keep running maybe you’ll find a way out or maybe someone will come to your rescue, all that matters is that you keep running and you don’t let them catch you. As you continue this race against evil, the sounds get louder. The groans become more audible, the click-clacking of their ancient bones and joints more clear, and worst of all their footsteps even closer. While the thoughts of their quickening pace fill your head you lose track of where you are at–not that paying attention in this fog would have made any difference–and strike a gravestone, bringing you to the ground.

     You look down to seek that your leg has been broken, with the shattered bone jutting out of your now torn jeans. As you lie there thrashing in pain and blood spilling out onto the ground, they close in. Honed in on the smell of the freshly spilled blood, they descend in droves tearing at your clothes and into your flesh. You see, as they rip you piece by piece, that within their rotten mouths they posses discolored teeth dulled from years of underground imprisonment. The creatures tear away your flesh and begin tearing out every organ from inside your still living body. Just as you feel like you can no longer hold on, just as the pain and agony have felt too much burden to bare, the final blow is struck. A single bony claw, to whom it belongs you can no longer see now that your eyes have been wrenched from their sockets, reaches into your chest and extracts from it, your still beating heart.

     With your worldly body gone your spiritual body is forced to remain and watch the final atrocities performed on it. The claw you can now see belonged to the beast that lacked half a skull with brains pouring out the other side. With nothing left for them, they retreat, back to their crypt and demon-holes to await the next victim. You now feel yourself being taken away, to where you do not know, but before it all goes black you get a final glimpse of what you’ve become. A crimson stain on the earth, littered with bits of bone and cloth, no meat left remaining of what you once were.

     And then all at once, my visual torment would be broken by the pure and hearty laughter of my grandfather. Whenever Grandpa started in with that laugh of his I knew everything was going to be alright, no matter the situation. When I was younger the thought of being trapped inside a cemetery with nothing but undead monsters truly terrified me, it wasn’t until Grandpa sat me down and helped me through it. I remember the conversation so well despite the fact that so many years have passed and despite the fact that Grandpa is no longer with us.

     I was about eleven at the time and was just getting through another one of my waking nightmares that I would have nearly every day.It had finally been enough, Grandpa had witnessed each and every one of my trances and was equally terrified by my seemingly unprovoked convulsions and screams of terror. He came to visit us one day, he said he had something very special to give me. The morning sky was slightly overcast, the sun barely peeking out from behind the slate clouds. I had woken up early, about four hours early, so I could wait by the window and watch for Grandpa.

     It was a little after seven when I heard his old 1958 Packard haul its way up the driveway. When it sputtered to a stop at the foot of our garage I saw him through the windshield in his accustomed attire. He wore his beige Panama hat with a navy buttoned shirt and, although I couldn’t see them, I was sure he had on his black slacks. He pulled himself out of the car, using his plain, oak cane for support.  I leaped from in front of the window and made a dash for the door. Before he could even ring the bell I had the door opened. There was no sign of the something special that he said he would bring, instead, he hugged me and proceeded to our living room. He lowered himself onto the couch with a grunt and brought his cane to rest across his lap. The look on his face was pained like there was something that weighed heavily on him. When he noticed me staring he made an effort to appear less stressed, but not a very convincing one.

     We talked for a long time, well he did most of the talking. He talked about life and the “many intertwining fates of the people around us” and about how “sometimes the most ordinary of people have the greatest responsibilities.” Most of it went over my head, I was eleven at the time, but his words still stayed with me. But, it was the last thing he did that changed everything.

     After going on for about two hours, my grandfather fell silent and reached into his pocket. He produced from it a necklace with a crystal akin to that of Dionysius’ Amethysta. It had a faint glow resonating from the core, an aura of cold surrounded it. He placed it in my hand and said, “ You don’t realize it yet, but you have a very important role to play. You could be the difference between life and extinction for the human race.”

     We sat there until the Sun sank low and rested just above the horizon, not having anything to say. The silence broke when I let out a roar of laughter. It was ridiculous to think that anything my grandfather, no matter how serious he said it, told me was true. He was from the coach, straining as he did so, and patted me on the shoulder. Before he left, he gave me one last piece of advice, “ When the day comes that you have to use that, remember what you’re fighting for and never give in.” We hugged one final time before he left, it was the last time I saw him. Grandpa died in his sleep the next day.

     I’m twenty-seven now, and the world is in flames. Six months ago, February 2016, they appeared. The virus ripped through everything a few weeks before that, sixty percent of the population gone just like that. We thought that would be the worst of it, it had seemed to go away. No more sick people, and no more deaths. Then, in a more terrifyingly grotesque display, the bodies started rising. All over the world, the infected dead started coming back and ravaging everything in sight. No one knows how or why, but then again there aren’t many left after this new plague. I was lost and afraid, didn’t know where to turn, but then it gave me a sign. The crystal, my grandfather’s, began to shine, began to release these waves of energy. The waves, they cleared me a path. A path straight through the ‘Fecs. It was then that everything he told me, everything I laughed at, was preparing me for this moment. The World needs a beacon, something to put their hope into, something to show them that they can fight this. I can be that guiding light. I can be their hope.


Excerpt-Club Crescent

Here is an excerpt from a story I’ve been working on (struggling with) recently.      


     The day had been wholly uneventful, as most days are around here. The usuals stopped by of course. Frankie with his lazy eye and a need for “god damned quality lager” even if he only had two bucks and a dead fly in his pockets. Judging by the smell, it was like he took a swim in a brewery, he probably wouldn’t have been able to tell piss from New Castle. And Mich managed to dislodge herself from whatever sleaze infested motel she stayed in the night before. I really wish she’d take better care of herself. It’s hard seeing someone treat their body like a pincushion for every needle out there. I’ve tried talking to her about it but she honestly doesn’t know how to function, a word I would use loosely at this point, if she’s not putting all of her money into her arm. It doesn’t help that I’m less than half her age and trying to lecture her on how to live her life. “ What would a kid like you know about livin’? Now I ain’t gonna hear ‘nother peep outta you ‘bout the way I choose to spend my money and my God given time,” she would always say to me in her hoarse, southern drawl.

     Slowly, the last half dozen or so drunks that littered the bar found their way to the door and became lost to the wind like so many inebriated dandelions. But, lucky me, they left plenty of reminders of today’s visit. Amber liquid glistened up and down the hard oak bar top. I also found a collection of new nicks and chips to commemorate this blistering February day.

     The cleaning worked my arms sore and I had accumulated a line of sweat on my brow by the time I had finished. I tossed the rag into the makeshift laundry bin I have behind the bar and prepared to close up shop for the night. My nightly ritual consists of emptying the already scant funds from the register into my deposit box. The box isn’t pretty to look at but it’s sturdy and gets the job done. The deposit box then goes securely into the backpack that I’ve had since the tenth grade and only after that am I free to lock doors until sunup. This night, however, my routine was intruded upon by a cavalcade of noises that were unmistakably drunk coming from outside the Crescent.

     A rugged man, early forties with unkempt hair and threadbare clothes, stumbled through the door and onto a stool. He smelled like the sea, briny and lonesome. His image brought to mind a down on his luck fisherman who spent most of his time wandering by the docks, peering out over the steely water that he used to call home.It was sort of pitiful, in an “at least I haven’t hit that level of rock bottom” kind of way. I pulled out a glass and filled it with the club specialty. We call it a “specialty” but it’s just Colt 45 with a twist of cherry. Hell, we even call this a club, and it’s just another ratty dive in the middle of smog central.

     Behind the glasses are those felt pads that pass for coasters in bars. I grabbed one and plopped it down in front of the man before setting down his drink. He didn’t move to grab it, just shifted in his seat a bit. I paused a second to see what he’d do next, but when he remained still I went back to cleaning the beer stained mugs and glasses that reeked of vodka. I had hoped to be able to pack up early and, assuming it was still there, return home and contemplate my position in the universe. Or, you know order pizza, whichever seemed more appealing once I got there. But, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to get the cleaning out of the way now and make a couple of bucks before lights out.

     The radio sputtered in the corner, making it sound like The McCoys were playing around a bonfire. Between the static cracks, I could just make out that “Hang on Sloopy” is what the DJ had queued up for our late night pleasure. There’s something about 60s rock that gives me this internal serenity, this stillness that other music just can’t deliver. I started to lazily sway side to side, like the flame of a candle might flutter in disrupted calm, behind the bar. I let my eyes close, and for the briefest of moments, allowed myself to feel at peace with the world around me. This, of course, did not last.