Cracking the Writing Whip and Short Story Excerpt: 6th Street Lofts Part 1

Lately, I have been really feeling the urge to either begin a new story, or continue working on an old one. Preferably both. And just like I have done with my blogs, my freelance work and particularly when writing for HubPages, I just suck it up and delve in. So to get the writing whip cracking, I have unearthed a story I began probably 3 or 4 years ago (Gads, has it been so long??), and I'm including the first two chapters here, and will follow with another two chapters in a few days. I hope you enjoy it. I rather like where the story is going, but don't ask me where that is...I haven't a clue.

6th Street Lofts
 
In Aidan’s eyes, Seattle is lovely in October. Brisk mornings,
chilly but sun filled afternoons, cool, leafy evenings. ‘Who
cares that it rains 9 months out of the year? Rain keeps things
fresh and green and is beautiful to photograph.’ he is noted for
saying. He loves to stand on his balcony at the 6th Street Lofts
and look out over the lush Queen Anne area with its softly rolling
hills and exquisite architecture. It was one of the reasons he
moved here, to capture the Pacific Northwest in all its glory.

He checked his watch. “9:52. Time to head down to The Queen of
Cups. ” This was the neighborhood coffeehouse he frequented for
his caffeine fix and a friendly hangout. Aidan always treated
himself to coffee out after completing a chapter or processing
a roll of prints.
 
“ It always tastes better after accomplishing a small goal ”,
he thought.

Aidan dressed quickly, grabbed his keys and laptop and started
for the door. Sophie, his 2 year old tabby, blocked his path and
loudly demanded her pets. He nuzzled her affectionately and
scratched behind her ears-her favorite spot.

“ Yes Princess, I wouldn’t forget you. ”  

Sophie gave him a satisfied purr, and with a quick swish of her
tail, sauntered over to the window seat to watch the birds.

Down the street, The Queen of Cups was beginning to clear out.
Aidan liked this time best because it wasn’t too crowded; a bit
after the morning rush and well before the Lunchtime rush, and
his favorite seat was most likely empty; left side, near the
back--next to the biggest map of Seattle he’d ever seen. This
place always gave him a sense of security, of comfort. He wasn’t
sure if it was the famously strong coffee, or the always friendly
service provided by the staff.

“Maybe I’ll start Chapter 5 ” he thought with a glance at the
waiting chair and table where he often wound up writing for long
periods of time, losing himself in his created world.

“ The usual, Aidan? ” The pretty girl behind the counter asked.
“ Thanks Sandi, that’d be great. ”  he smiled. He could always
count on Sandi to know what he wanted almost immediately.
“ Anything to eat? We made fresh cinnamon rolls this morning… ”
Sandi said temptingly, pointing at the pastry case.
“ So I smell. Aidan said. “And they look positively wicked. ”
he said with a sigh. Aidian had always had a weak spot for
treats…proven by the ever-present extra 10 pounds he could never  
seem to shed.
Sandi gave a hearty chuckle, “Ahh, that they are Dear ”. Sandi
and Aidan had developed a comfortable rapport over the steady
months Aidan had been frequenting The Queen of Cups.

“ Hmm...better not. I have Chapter 5 brewing in my head,
and I don’t want any distractions.”  

“ SO disciplined!”  Sandi said with a wink.  “I’m impressed. ”  

“ Don’t be. It just means I’ll go home and polish off the
JaCiva cake when I’m done here. ” Aidan said dryly.

“ Gasp! A man after my own heart! ” Sandi smiled and passed over
his double shot.

Aidan grinned as he tossed a $5 bill into her tip jar. “Thanks
Sandi, you’re the best. ” This was another thing Aidan loved
about the Northwest, people were so openly friendly here, it gave
him hope for the future, for humanity.  

“ My pleasure Aidan, as always. ” Sandi murmured, secretly
checking out his behind as he sipped and strolled to his usual
spot. “Funny, smart and successful with a great butt to boot.
Sigh. ” she thought with a half smile.  “Too bad he’s married
to his work. ” Giving the counter a final wipe, Sandi started
making sandwiches for the upcoming Lunch crowd.

Aidan could easily slip into his writer mode, oblivious to the
outside world. But today something seemed different. He could
feel thoughts and words forming in his mind, but they seemed to
flow unnaturally, almost eerily easy from his brain, through his
fingertips and onto the screen of his laptop. Despite the
comfortable, familiar atmosphere, he began to pull himself out
of the chapter and go over the words in front of him-he almost
couldn’t remember what he’d just written….

“ Geez Sandi, you accidentally give me decaf this morning? ”
Aidan said out loud but to himself. He had been absentmindedly
sipping the stuff, keeping a steady flow of caffeine through his
veins. It didn’t taste any different this morning, although the
usual buzz was a bit slow at kicking in.

“ Alright, where did I leave off….. ” Aidan quickly scanned the
brief paragraphs that had formed so effortlessly. The words
seemed to be his, however they did have a slightly distinctive
tone that wasn’t quite his own.

A slow frown formed on his handsome face,
brows gently drawn together. “Where in the hell did those come
from? ” he wondered. There were a few words he didn’t even
recognize as being part of the English language or any language,
for that matter.

“ Ungka Dabi? ” Quickly he changed screens, searching around the Web--nothing. No matches found anywhere. “What the hell? ” he muttered. “Did I stroke out for
a minute without knowing it? ”  

Truly perplexed, Aidan decided he could do with a walk, clear
his head. This strange passage would surely come to him.
Packing up his things, he tossed what was left of his coffee into
the trash and started to walk out.

“ Leaving so soon? ” Sandi said, genuinely surprised. He almost
always stayed for at least an hour or so, she thought to herself.

Distractedly, Aidan said,  “Oh yeah, sorry. Just felt like
getting a stroll in before the rain hits. ”  

“ Well as long as my cinnamon rolls didn’t force you out of
here… ” she said, flashing him a teasing smile.

“ Don’t be silly Sandi, I’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks, hon. ”
he said and gave her a wink while backing out the door.

“ See you tomorrow then, take care.”  Sandi said as she finished
wrapping a sandwich and gave him a quick smile.

Outside the air was cool and smelled of Fall and impending rain.
Aidan took a brief glance up at the sky and decided he had just
enough time to get at least one quick lap around the park in
before getting a second shower of the day.

What was it that was suddenly nagging at him? Why did he feel
like there was a blank spot on his memory where those few
paragraphs should be? He’d felt detached from his writing
before, but only because his heart wasn’t in a certain piece or
outside distractions kept him from immersing himself fully in
his written world. But never had he not remembered what he’d
just written! And words he’d never used or even seen
before??
 
“ So weird. Maybe Dean would know.”  he thought.

Dean had been a great friend to him over the past few years, a
quirky source of inspiration with his wealth of knowledge about
all things unusual. He was virtually a walking encyclopedia.
He had countless antiques and treasures, and knew the story behind
every piece in his vast collection. Aidan often visited Dean and
his wife Ingrid at their cozy little beach house. If people only
knew the stunning array of ancient artifacts this man has
lovingly displayed in his home, they wouldn’t believe it. Aidan
smiled softly to himself.

“ Yes, ” Aidan thought. “Dean will definitely know the answer. ”
Off he went, quickening his pace past the fountain, across the
street and around the block to the 6th Street Lofts.
 
2
 
"Dean here." Said a stern voice on the phone.
"Good morning, old friend!" Aidan said with a smile in his voice.
"Aidan! How are you my man!" Dean's tone brightened
significantly.
"Doing well, thanks. And you? Aidan almost immediately felt
better just hearing his friend’s voice.  
"Oh, same 'ol, same 'ol. Can't complain too much. To what do I
owe this pleasure?"
"Well, I've.." Aidan began hesitantly. ".…come across
some....foreign language that I'm unfamiliar with, and am hoping
you might shed some light on it with your vast knowledge...."
he trailed off. Aidan felt a tingle running up his arms just
thinking about it.
"Ha!" Dean chuckled. "Be happy to help if I can! What have you
got?" Dean got out a pencil and paper, ready to jot down the
information.

Aidan closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. "Well, just two
words so far....'Ungka Dabi'."
"Hmm.." Dean spelled it out as he wrote the words down. "Doesn't
ring a bell right off the bat, but I'm sure I'll be able to find
something. ” His curiosity genuinely peaked.  “Are you on a
deadline?" Dean’s brows furrowed slightly as he looked at the
two words on paper.

“ Not at all Dean, you take your time. Just a curiosity, really. ”
Aidan couldn’t bring himself to tell Dean the truth about how
he stumbled onto the odd words, or why they gave him such an
curious feeling.

“ All right Aidan, you should be hearing from me very soon then.
In fact, why don’t we do dinner say, Thursday at 7:00? Usual
place? I’ll make us a reservation.”  Dean jotted this down
quickly next to the strange words.

“ Oh great, looking forward to it Dean. Thanks a lot, really. ”
Aidan marked his calendar. Four days. Hopefully the mystery would
be solved in four days and he could continue with Chapter 5. Somehow
he couldn’t imagine going on with the story until this puzzle
was sorted out.

“ Excellent. See you then, my friend. ” Dean was suddenly anxious
to delve into one of his many old and trusted language reference
books, forever loving the hunt.

“ Oh and Dean… ” Aidan said quickly, “please feel free to bring
Ingrid, I’d love to see her as well.”  Just the thought of Dean’s
wife’s smiling eyes gave him a little comfort over this strange
uneasiness.

“ Oh I’m afraid she’s left me for greener pastures. ”  Dean said
a bit distractedly.

“ What! ” Aidan exclaimed and sat bolt upright.

Dean laughed, “No, no…nothing like that. She’s in Mexico again
with Maria, won’t be back until Saturday. ” he said as he glanced
up at the calendar.

“ Jeez, you gave me a start! I thought…. ” Aidan didn’t even
want to finish  
the sentence.

“ Nah, she’s put up with me for this long, right? ”  Dean smiled
as he picked up a small framed picture at the corner of his desk.
It was of himself and Ingrid on their 25th wedding anniversary
in Morocco, 3 years ago. Ingrid was laughing up at him with those
sparkling, smiling eyes of hers. Dean had on his favorite 1940’s
fedora, a wide smile beaming across his kind, familiar face. His
arm lovingly around his wife.  “She can’t get rid of me that
easily. ” Dean set the frame back in its usual place and sat back
in his chair.  

“ Glad to hear it, although she will be missed. ” Aidan sighed
with relief. ” We’ll toast her on Thursday night, ” he
grinned.

“ Will do Aidan. See you Thursday then. I hope to have the answer
for you, my friend. ” Dean’s mind was already linking up possible
connections in his mind about the new words.

“Anything will help Dean, anything you find. Thanks again. ”
Aidan hung up the phone slowly as he tried to come out of the
fog he felt had crept up on him so quickly.  “Anything will
help. ” he said out loud.

Sophie jumped up on his lap, sensing Aidan’s distress. She rubbed
her head up against his chin, demanding attention.

“ Yes, love. You always know when I need some feminine
comforting. ” He stroked her silky fur gently. Sophie blinked
up at him and gave an inquisitive little mew.

“ I don’t know what’s wrong, Soph. I really don’t. ” Outside the
rain had started and some decidedly ominous clouds had begun to
form. Aidan gently set Sophie down on his chair and grabbed his
camera….  



The Stones
 
Mist swirled around the circle of stones as they gave off an
faint, eerie glow of their own. There would be no human
interaction with the stones today, for today was a sacred
celebration of the dead. The villagers quietly kept their
distance within this 24 hour period in October. They knew this
was their ancestors’ time, the day when the wheel of life turns
to the ancient ones who cherished and respected the stones in
an unseen and unheard ceremony.
The stones silently spoke to one another in their ancient
language. How old they all were, but the subtle vibration of
energy they shared brightened and strengthened slightly on this
day. Today brought a different race of humans….

Were they humans? These people that came from the time of the
stones? Gentle and immortal, like the stones themselves, they
lived in a distant world. A place that still revered the magic
of the stones and the beauty of the land. These people came to
this world on this particular day to keep their promise of yearly
devotion. To pay their respects as they journey to their Winter
World--or the place they spent one half of their year to protect
the mountains as well as the stones in the summer fields.

The Ungka Dabi people do not take their oaths lightly. It is the
largest part of their pride to fulfill a promise and preserve
their good name. Their honesty was just as large a portion of
their pride as their word, and as widely known. They did not
believe in deceit and untruths, yet they understood them
completely. To the Ungka Dabi lies were unnecessary, worthless
and offensive. They did not allow it in their presence. Humans
could not speak an untruth while near a member of this race. To
avoid potentially complicated situations, the Ungka Dabi
simply chose never to interact with the humans. This was why the
humans of this world were unable to see or hear the Dabi. Or
so they thought……

Thus bringing us to this day, the ancient ones’ day of
devotion--or the Day of the Dead as it is called in this present
time. However, there were no dead--the stones are alive, the
Dabi are immortal but things change over time. A lost
generation of humans believed it was better to think the Dabi
were the dead coming back to pray to the circle of stones. They
had learned over the years to keep clear of the mysterious Dabi
peoples, as strange things seemed to occur in the very air they
breathed, and every smell they smelled. It was as if their minds
and thoughts were not their own, and no one had any control over
it. The consequences of this brought fighting between the
humans, and they could never understand why this happened. So
they taught their future generations to believe that the Dabi
were the evil dead and must be avoided at all costs.
This was not so difficult for the humans, to leave the circle
of stones at peace one day out of the year. Nothing bad had come
of it, so the ritual had endured all these years. But today there
was something different in the energy of the Earth that the
stones could feel distinctly. As if a giant mole were steadily
burrowing its way toward the stones and disturbing their quiet
existence or worse yet, cause them harm…..

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