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  1. On January 2nd, 2011, I was trying to come up with an idea for a New Year’s Resolution that would get me writing on a regular basis. I was discussing the idea with my family as we finished cleaning up the breakfast dishes. My brother suggested that I try going online and joining a writing forum. Further discussion lead to the idea of writing one short story, at least a page long, each week and then posting them on this forum.

    Today is the last day of the year 2011 and this is the final post, number fifty-two of this year. I have written stories that were sad, funny or thoughtful (or attempted to at least), as well as character descriptions, dialogue-only tales and some stories that had no dialogue whatsoever. I even tried my hand at a serial story that was written in ten separate parts.

    Sometimes I missed my Saturday night deadline and certain stories are definitely not as well thought-out or written as others. Some I really liked and received no comments on. Others I thought were pretty awful only to receive praise for. Certain entries were read literally hundreds of times and some were read probably only by a few diehard relatives desperately trying to make me feel better.

    I have learned a lot over the course of this year and many things have changed in my life, either for better or worse. Overall 2011 was much better than 2010 and I am hoping that that trend will continue into 2012.

    It has only been the last two years that I have had resolutions and I stuck to both of them for the entire year. For 2012, I have made three resolutions for myself: 1) I want to start reading all of the books whose titles I have written down on little scraps of paper here and there and that I still have yet to get to, 2) I will write five pages EVERY WEEK for my book that I have been “working on” for the past nine years, 3) I want to edit and in some cases rewrite, all of my 2011 short stories and then pay to have them printed and bound into a book that will be the first ever to bear the name K. M. Lynch.

    These goals may not sound like very much, but for me they will take effort to fulfill them. I also hope to somehow manage to have a life at the same time…

    I have wanted to be a writer or more specifically an author of fiction novels, for more than a decade now. I have been told repeatedly that this will not be an easy road to take, but to me it is the only option I could ever imagine for my future.

    An author is someone who has managed to convince others that their writing is worth reading. A writer is someone who desperately struggles to communicate their dreams to others in written form. I want to become an author, but I already am a writer.

    I will not be posting many new stories in 2012 and although I may take the time to read entries from other members of this forum, I won’t be around as often as I have been this past year. I want to thank everyone who has taken a moment to read my writings and especially those who commented on my work.

    Above all I would really like to thank my family and friends who have supported me throughout this resolution and who continue to encourage me to keep writing.

    Happy New Year to everyone and all the best in 2012!
  2. Ten years of hard living, of hunger, disease and fighting, constant, bloody fighting and look where it had got him; inside a huge wooden horse. It was stuffy, cramped, hot and it smelled terrible. Yet for all this it was deadly silent within; no one dared to move a single muscle. Even though his body screamed in silent pain and with his entire left-side asleep, Aeolis wouldn’t so much as budge. After all the suffering and heartache, they finally had this one chance to win the war and no one was going to do anything that might jeopardize that potential victory.

    When he had first set sail with a thousand ships filled determined Greeks, they had believed themselves to be invincible. They had great heroes numbered among them; Ajax, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Odysseus, Hercules and Achilles himself. It had not seemed possible for them to lose. Ten years of constant struggle had humbled them greatly. Ajax was dead, Menelaus too and the great Achilles, killer of Hector had been felled by a mere arrow to the foot. Agamemnon, once seen as a great king and leader by his loyal warriors, had now become nothing more than one man among many.

    Aeolis had started out as a foot-soldier, but by the favor of the gods he had survived and slowly worked his way up through the ranks. It was a great honor for him to have been chosen by the wily Odysseus himself to head up the force that would fill the wooden horse.

    Their task was to wait silently within until the horse was drawn into the city of Troy and for the celebrations of the supposed Trojan victory to wane. Then when everyone was either asleep or passed out from the drink, Aeolis and his men would make their move. Creeping out of the hollow statue, they would climb to the top of the city walls, kill any guards on duty and then open the gate to let in their fellow Greeks who, after having apparently retreated onto their ships, would have turned around and sailed back while the Trojans partied.

    The Trojans had pulled the horse into Troy and the drink had flowed, but the party was still far from over. Aeolis and his group had been inside the horse since before dawn and night had already fallen. He began to wonder if any of them would be able to walk when they finally crawled out.

    Part of him felt as though this was a dishonest trick and he had felt that way from the moment that he had heard Odysseus’ plan. The Aeolis of ten years ago would never have agreed to such an underhanded tactic, but after a decade of war, that Aeolis was long gone. Now all he wanted was to go home, get married, settle down and never have to pick up a sword again.

    Finally, the sounds of revelry faded and the bonfires died down to glowing embers. The increasingly bawdier songs that had rung through the city throughout the day faded and peace temporarily reigned in the streets of Troy for the first time in ten years.

    It was time; Aeolis gently unlatched the hidden door and pressed it open. With an extraordinary effort he and his men uncurled their bodies and one by one snuck out into the cool, night air. Pausing to listen, Aeolis took a deep breathe and letting it ease back out of his lungs, he lifted his hand and motioned for the men to climb the inner stairs of the walls of Troy.

    Soon, he thought, soon this hell will at last end. He was one step closer to home.
  3. I have always loved clever insults. I am sick of hearing all of the tired, old cliché snubs and am frequently, thoroughly disgusted with people who curse and swear at each other. I also really love alliteration.
    If you want to express your disdain for someone and in a unique way, then I suggest some of the following slights. If you are really lucky, you may even manage to insult someone without them realizing it!
    Enjoy.

    You are such a(n):

    Abominable, aggravating albatross
    Babbling, blithering braggart
    Crass, craven cretin
    Diabolic, disgusting, despotic demon
    Effeminate, exasperating egitt
    Frenzied, fanatical fiend
    Grasping, greedy gargoyle
    Hellish, horrible harpy
    Ignoble, ignorant, illiterate idiot
    Jealous, jaded jackanapes
    Kooky, kinky kleptomaniac
    Lying, lascivious libertine
    Malformed, malignant mongoloid
    Nattering, nagging Nancy
    Obnoxious, obsequious ostrich
    Pompous, pretentious, probably-petite prick
    Quivering, quail-hearted, querulous quack
    Rabid, rancid rapscallion
    Slithering, sneaky, slimy serpent
    Traitorous, treacherous tramp
    Unctuous, unbearable, ugly upstart
    Vicious, vindictive, vainglorious viper
    Wicked, wily wench
    Xenophobic Xanthippe
    Yellow-bellied, yammering yak
    Zany, zoophagous zealot

    If you want to insult someone, do it right. Be creative and quick and though they may hate you, at least they will come to respect your intellect.
  4. Her

    I met her at the beginning of a new period in my life. She was unique and very creative in her own way. I had never met anyone else before whose emotions were so on display. To me, she seemed fearless and yet somehow, also intensely human. She could be very trying at times, but than so could I.

    We became fast friends and whenever we needed someone the other was there. It was a friendship without depth. It was comforting however and that was something both of us needed at the time. We had little in common, but that’s what made everyday life more fun.

    Then things started to change. Cracks began to appear in the façade. We started speaking at each other rather than to each other. Times were still fun, but they now became strained as well. Days would go by and things were constantly put aside, not discussed, but instead left to fester in the dark. Occasionally, one would snap at the other and tensions would mount. However, neither of us wished to face losing our constant, if often reluctant companion and so we would back off. Sometimes it took days to cool down, but then we’d make the call and pretend nothing was wrong.

    Her life was filled with drama. My life was quiet. The two mixed like oil and water; we were never on the same plane. Secrets became crucial to the survival of the pact. She hid things from me for fear of harsh judgment. I hid things from her for fear of betrayal. It was no longer a friendship so much as a survival tactic. A raft with a potential leak was still better than no raft at all.

    I often wondered how she could ignore so much. At first, she created problems while trying to fix problems. Then she started to avoid problems completely. She covered her ears and closed her eyes and hoped that everything would fix itself. I wanted to help, but every time I tried to save her, I would sink further myself. She was racing for the bottom and worst still she was dragging me with her.

    I started to hate the person I had become. I felt preachy when I stood up to her and tried to assert my own morals and beliefs. I felt cruel when I avoided her for the sake of a quiet moment of my own. I felt trapped and indescribably alone. My world crumbled and I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to stop it from happening. I had avoided all my problems by focusing on hers.

    Finally, I was forced to face what I had become. It hurt and it was hard. I struggled. Once I thought I had made it only to have it implode all over again. I picked myself up a second time. I finally let others in and they helped hold me up. I had hurt them with my lies and in return they forgave and aided me. I remembered what it felt like to be able to trust myself again.

    I had distanced myself from her and my life became better for it. I rediscovered who I was and I restarted my life. She was still there though. She lurked at the edges. She tried to break back into my life. This time I knew her tricks and I stood firm against them. So she learned a new one. She tried to become me.

    In the time I had been away, she had altered further. Like me she started hating herself. However, I faced my hate and beat it whereas she ran from hers. She decided that if she couldn’t be herself than she would be someone else. Her personality took on the traits of others. Her sense of style disappeared and she started dressing like the rest. Her appearance changed, her mannerisms changed, she changed. All these alterations did not save her though; she was worse off than she started. This was when she looked at me. I had been hurting too, but now I was putting myself back together. I now had what she so desperately craved: hope.

    I look at her now and I miss the girl she once was. I find it so had to believe that the person I met all those years ago is the same person now standing in front of me. I don’t like what she has become. I have the choice to walk away. I faced my demons and I am still fighting them, but that doesn’t mean I have to fight hers too. The more she tries to be me, the less I want to be around her.

    I want her to know: You will never be me. You simply aren’t strong enough.
  5. The rain poured down and everywhere he looked people ran for cover. The mother and daughter walking in front of him both playfully screeched and ran into the nearest shop, helplessly giggling and shaking raindrops from their shoulders. A business man across the street swore up at the sky and motioned impatiently for a taxi.

    The city became a dark and mysterious place and small pinpoints of electric light blazed brightly in the blackness. He continued on his way, head held high, smiling up at the roiling clouds. Lightning flashed and thunder quickly broke above the sheltering concrete and metal girders.

    He had always loved storms; they made a person feel like they were alive. There was so much power in the air. It was as though Mother Nature was reminding the human race that she alone ruled this earth. No matter how much humanity had reshaped the world, no matter how much knowledge we acquired or how many hidden secrets we exposed and studied, we would always cower before nature’s furies.

    To him, a storm created the same feeling as when he looked up at the infinite number of stars in the night sky and realized that we are all insignificant within the universe. Some people did not like that thought; but if human beings are insignificant than so too are our problems. He found that this thought made him stop stressing so much over the decisions he made in his life.

    Oddly the effect of this belief actually made being outside in the middle of a storm calming for him. At the same time though, it was pretty dangerous and he knew that he should get inside before too long. Lightning may look awesome, but he was fairly certain that it didn’t feel so great.

    Looking around for shelter he spotted a coffee shop just off to the left. Sprinting to make a light, he raced to the doors and ducked inside. He was drenched to the skin and his coat started to steam a little in the warm indoor air. Water dripped down his face and into his eyes. A small puddle was already forming at his feet.

    People were scattered about sitting at little tables, talking and watching the rain come down. Sipping coffee and tea, they looked warm and cozy as they ate their pastries. Digging in his pocket for some change, he walked up to the counter and ordered a black coffee and a chocolate donut.

    Grabbing one of the last empty tables, he sat down and took a bite out of his donut. The rain was coming down in torrents and with a healthy wind to carry it, the drops were driven sideways. The streets were now empty of all but the hardiest of pedestrians and traffic had slowed to a crawl.

    A blanket of black clouds covered the sky and occasionally lightning sparked and thunder crashed in the distance. Sitting with a warm drink and surrounded by strangers, unable to go rushing off on yet more errands, he felt peace wash over him.

    This was the type of calm that only came with a storm.