The Vampire’s Garden

I have a new book available: The Vampire’s Garden!

Follow Estelle Beausoleil, a centuries-old vampire along with her vampire sister, her librarian friend, Ediva, their immortal maid Tereza, and their guardian dragon, Kira, as they raise Henri on a path away from their evil ways — all while attempting to avoid the nature of his birth and how he came to be. Read a sample on the novel page here and the free associated short story, The Vampire’s Lullaby!

Get it from Smashwords and Amazon Kindle!

Threads of life

A theme I often find myself writing about is the concept of what I call “threads.” I doubt it is a new or unique concept; I am all but certain it is a very common theme in many works. In essence, it is the idea that there are things about our lives that are set in stone and some that can be changed by our own actions — or lack thereof. Threads are pathways that shift and alter, yet remain constant. They are mysterious, yet certain. They are malleable, yet forged. They are the roads of life that we unconsciously form through our own actions, inactions, the natural world we exist in, the influences of others, and so many other factors that result in our lives. A thread is something like fate, yet nothing like it.

A working example would be the death of my mother. What would things be like had she not died? What small and large differences would the past four years have been for me had she still been alive? There are so many uncountable changes that it is hard to predict. Maybe I would have found more success as an author. Perhaps I wouldn’t have met the friends that I have today — but perhaps I would’ve met others. My skills would be different due to pursuit of alternative objectives. Possibly there would be less of a rift between my sister and I. These changes then go beyond myself: what would life be like for my two nieces? My father? His friends? The people I know now? The effects are broad reaching, complex, and so chaotic. Trying to make sense of it could drive one to madness.

For me, this is what threads are. There are threads out there where my mother didn’t die. There are threads out there where I remained at Club Fed. There are threads out there where I was never deaf. But altering a thread alters more than just one individual; it alters the paths of many and as a result, the world as a whole. Sometimes, it becomes so very tempting to alter threads through our own wills. This is impossible, because threads cannot be changed like that. I often find myself trying to do so, to bring things back to a thread where my mother didn’t die or that I didn’t quit Club Fed. But this is short sighted, as painful as it may seem. Because if you go back and start making those changes, you’re left guessing what might result afterward. Further, why stop there? If I could go back even further, there are so many other things I would change on this thread that eventually, the very thread that makes me who and what I am would alter me to the point I wouldn’t be this person. You can’t manipulate a thread while maintaining a sense of self, because that comes from the thread as well.

Yes, it is painful to live on a thread where you feel as if so much has gone wrong, that you’ve made so many unforgivable mistakes. It seems impossible at times to move forward with the knowledge, the guilt of being so flawed. But that is the nature of what we are. A thread is an iteration of what could be, what has been, what will be, and what never will be. It is the stage of a play and we have no choice but to play our parts.

Four years on after my mother’s death, I still struggle to continue with this thread. Yet at the same time, I feel compelled to do so. There may be answers through the journey or at the end. Equally probable, there are just more threads. Perhaps, eventually, I will become content in the fact there may never be an answer. Simply threads.

A Curse of Memory

I’ve often heard it said that forgiving is for one’s self and not so much for the individual being forgiven. “Forget about them,” I was often told. “Don’t let them dictate you,” they said. I’ve never been able to reconcile that, because I have a hard time forgetting pain, real or perceived. In my mind, forgiveness first requires those who have harmed others to first show penance for what they’ve done. It shouldn’t be as simple as going to the god of your choice and groveling a bit, putting a bit of money in the poor box, and walking away with a clear conscience. Yes, sometimes, forgiveness requires more than just a few words and small actions.

If you talked to anyone at my workplace 5 years ago, they likely would’ve said that they did nothing wrong. That what they did to others was no big deal and that they ought to be forgiven for such small things, if they really need to be forgiven at all. A great many of them firmly believe to this day that they did everything right and no harm was done. Will they ever know? Will they ever gain the conscience necessary to understand not only the harm they did, but the evil they embraced? If you were to ask me, I would say that they will never learn that in this lifetime; only after it has passed will they have a chance to understand, at at that they may never come to terms with it. They may take many lifetimes to finally reconcile the evil they have done.

You see, when I left Club Fed, I wasn’t just giving up a job. I wasn’t just giving up a career. It wasn’t just a paycheck, the benefits, or any material considerations. I was giving up a future. I was giving up hope. Those harmful words that I remember so clearly to this day will remain with me even after I die. “You just need to learn to hear better,” they told me. “She’s just trying to help you out,” they said after those words. Even as I write this now, I can feel anger and hatred within my heart. What would drive people to not only say such things, but to excuse them as well? The reasons are numerous, of course, not to mention varied. Each individual had their own justification, I’m sure. Maybe it was just too much trouble. It was a small thing; I shouldn’t have taken such offense over it. I should have kept it inside the organization; going for outside help was the wrong thing to do. It’s not their job to deal with it; they should just keep their heads down and wait til they finally reach retirement, then they might be able to do something about it.

In the end, people found ways to not take action because they feared that by taking a action that it might be the wrong one. Better to not be in a position where you have to answer why you did an action, because nobody got in trouble for not doing anything. Naturally, this has been proven wrong many times, but we’ll push that aside for now. So many individuals with responsibility who simply wanted the prestige of that responsibility without the actual duty of such. I shouldn’t be surprised, for this is a reflection of both culture and society as a whole.

I remember a great many things. I remember dreams I’ve had to the point I’m not sure if they are mere dreams or something more. Is the waking life the real one or a cover for something else? Are these events the experience of one person or of many? Is this reality or something merely playing at it? Perhaps these questions help with imagination and thus creative ordeals. But what is such if it leads to nothing but pain? Am I simply addicted to that pain, vainly holding onto it so I do not fade away? Is pain the only reason I have retained this life to this point? And if I were to let it go, what would I become?

Yes, I remember. I still hold that anger, that hatred, all so tightly that I fear what may become should it ever be released. For in this life, my greatest fear has never been the end of it, but instead what would happen should I be consumed by so much hate that I’ve kept buried deep within my heart. I fear that at some point, the people of this world will force me to embrace something far worse: apathy.

5 years on, my hope is but a mere candle. And with each passing day, I find less and less of a reason to not extinguish it.

The Strange World of Spam

I am not a prolific blogger, journalist, or social media person. In fact, it’s one of the least favorite things for me to do. To the point where I simply don’t do it (shocking, I know). You have to engage with an audience consistently and perfectly, or they’ll forget about you and move on — the worst thing that can happen when you’re dependent on selling entertainment to people! Some might believe the worst thing to happen would be to get cancelled; I would argue that’s the second worst thing to happen. If you irritate enough people for that to be a possibility, then it means you’re at least generating attention, and enough can bleed over into an audience that will buy your product regardless. There is a reason the Streisand Effect is a thing. And there’s my evil deed for the day: you are now spinning down the evil hell that is TVTropes! MUHAHAHA!

Anyway, as it relates to the title of this post: I recently checked the comment section on my website here. Why would I have comments enabled? Am I a glutton for punishment? Do I want to see shady pornographic videos, dirt cheap pharmaceuticals, cheap knock-off shoes from this totally legit seller in the comments section, or maybe Russian, Asian, older women really are desperate for dating options? Well, no, not really. The fact is this website is pretty small, with little real attention, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon (see the previous paragraph about social media). I don’t get that many spam comments per day, so I figure what few may come through I can easily filter out. That works well, if you can do regular upkeep and cleaning.

I did not do regular upkeep and cleaning, so I had a whopping 300 some odd spam comments waiting for permission (I’m not a total dunce and maybe those ladies might actually be legit; hope springs eternal). What I found curious about the vast majority of the comments was they had nothing at all to do with the subject matter of the post. All of them looked like they were farmed elsewhere across the web, from baking advice to writing advice to discussions on physics. Seriously, what the hell? Lowest effort I’ve seen in a while. Complete with the last three names, right in the comment body! I can’t even seem to get the important, tailor-made spam messages. Talk about a slap in the face!

One of the things about being a former IT worker is you never really lose your curiosity on the subject. The job and the tech are usually interesting, otherwise there would be little incentive to do it (I guarantee you it’s not the people, neither fellow IT workers or the customers). So when I look through spam comments, I like to see the patterns that emerge, and one of the key patterns was almost always the exact same mechanism for the comment body, with the actual spam payload held elsewhere — the username and user URL in this case. WordPress, probably for reasons owing to its community and origins as blogging software, includes a field for the commenter’s site URL. Presumably this was so bloggers would be able to connect with one another and thus increase their chances of building an audience and being noticed (remember, this predates big social media platforms like Facebook by a few years and came about in the post-AOL years). It is still there today because… Reasons? I suppose WordPress blogging is social media itself, so it has some utility there. Regardless, it seems rather pointless for those not linked to the whole system.

For our brave spammers, only a few put actual URLs inside the comment field, and those were mostly older spambots. The more recent ones stuck to a comment + first name + middle name + last name format. Their usernames however, contained the usual spam stuff like “videos,” “drugs,” and so on. The user URL field was utilized for the actual spam site location. I guess too many anti-spam systems became good at parsing the comment field for this kind of nonsense, so shifting to user names and user URLs became the spam meta. No doubt that will eventually change, as while the internet may be forever, it is never forever unchanged.

You can’t always succeed

I am a failure. Yes, you read that right: I am admitting I am a failure.

Why do we fail? Sometimes, we just didn’t try hard enough. Maybe we didn’t have the experience necessary. Perhaps the conditions were just wrong. Whatever the cause, the end result is the same: failure. But we shouldn’t fear it; failure is common and it is necessary. To fail is to indicate that something wasn’t right — that, for reasons we don’t understand at the time, the conditions for success weren’t there. That isn’t a personal slight, that is simply life. Sometimes we can do everything right and still fail.

My mother once told me that she was the world’s greatest quitter. She rarely held a job for more than a few months before quitting, with the longest she ever held being after college for 3 years. She quit that one for much the same reasons I quit club fed: it drove her to absolute madness. For people like us, working with others is a difficult grind, especially in person. Something about us just makes others dislike us, for reasons unknown. Perhaps appearance; mannerisms; speech; or some other aspect of our character. Whatever the case, it makes jobs difficult. As a result, we quit a lot — and fail a lot.

For 5 years now, I’ve been writing novels. I started when I still worked at club fed, mostly as a mechanism to create that was easier to do than a lot of my other hobbies. It didn’t take a lot of preparation and I could go as slow or as fast as I wanted to. It was a way to make sense of the machinations within my mind, to make those nightmares I always had to be good for something. As things got worse with my job, the harder I wrote. As the rage built up, so did the words. After my grandfather’s death, my mother suggested I try writing full time; I didn’t think it was a good idea, until I had a vivid dream of suicide.

It’s a hell of a thing to die by suicide. In the United States, it’s the 10th leading cause of death. Many factors can drive it: loneliness, poor health, lack of opportunity, community — even jobs. Especially jobs. I can remember my suicide quite well: a stainless revolver, rotating around to my forehead, then the cylinder rotating and the shot going out. Everything goes blank and I felt the bullet trail through my skull. Then I woke up. I decided that it wasn’t worth dealing with the unending discrimination at club fed; it wasn’t worth dreading going to work every day, dealing with the endless stream of nonsense by lazy, fat, government bureaucrats who made sure everyone around them were as miserable as they were. I gave them one last chance: I still had a mediation scheduled with the director the next month, so I told myself that if he could at least not lie to me, then I’d stay.

The director lied to me. “I can’t do anything about them,” he told me, when I asked him about why my two bosses were allowed to discriminate my hearing. That isn’t true — it’s far from true. The proper words were: “I don’t want to do anything about them.” I handed in my resignation that afternoon, simply saying I had a better opportunity elsewhere. I lied, of course; there are no opportunities out there for people like me. There is only worse and slightly less worse.

I sometimes wonder if I actually am alive and that dream was reality. That I’m not really here, writing these words. That this is death and simply an extension of what things might’ve been like. Ever since my mother died, it’s felt as if things are steadily slipping out of my grasp and reality is slowly falling to pieces. Nothing makes sense — and how could it? How is it supposed to be anything but fragmented chaos? It only makes sense as words in a story.

As Terra completes another rotation around Sol for the third time since my mother’s death, I’m just as lost and confused as I ever was. I am a failure, yet I still write these words, hear these thoughts, and draw these breaths. It will never make any sense and perhaps it’s not supposed to. I continue marching down the path of failure, for no other path exists. I am failure, and failure is me.

Time is what you make of it

As I write this, it is the last day of the year 2020. I’m not going to lie; it’s been a bad year for a lot of people. There’s been a worldwide economic downturn, a pandemic, and a huge shift in most everyone’s lives. It has been a huge and challenging time for the world and I’ve no doubt it will be no harder next year. But for us, time is finite. We are not given limitless amounts of it and you never know how much you really have, from start to end. Sometimes, it seems as if those who do not deserve it have an abundance of it, while those who clearly deserved more have it all cut short in tragic circumstances. It all seemingly mocks us, as if to hammer home the point that life isn’t fair and it never will be. Or is it?

As I’ve aged, I’ve less looked at life at being about whether or not it’s fair; it simply is. You have a life and a certain amount of time and it is up to you what to do with both. You may use then to accomplish nothing more than that which makes you happy; you may utilize them to reach for the stars and create grand works of humanity; or you may use them to simply sit back and rage about how the hand dealt was unfair, unjust, cruel, and so forth. Whether or not these are legitimate uses of either is not my job to decide. Nor is it for anyone else to judge. You, and you alone, determine whether or not life and time are well spent.

There are those that say a life not spent pursuing traditional paths are wasted, that getting a good job, a home, a marriage, and starting a family are the only way to live a meaningful life. There are those that say that the only life pursuing is doing that which makes you alone happy — that no one but you is important in the world. There are those that say unless you do everything in your power to serve humanity, you’re a waste of subhuman filth and how dare you think of only yourself. Don’t let popular sentiment determine the path you take. Everything should be done in moderation: consider others, but don’t neglect yourself; work, but don’t let it dominate your life; pursue your own happiness, but remember that of others as you do so. Walking that path is the difficult part and we all stray now and again. That’s part of being human — making mistakes.

Time, like life, is what you make of it. A year, like any other, can be good or bad. You can decide to take this time and call it the worst period ever, or you can simply take it for what it is: neither good nor bad, but merely time. And time, like our lives, eventually fades.

Green’s Dragons

My latest book, Green’s Dragons, will be available soon! In this new and exciting series, delve into an alternate history where the United States broke up after a disastrous war with Iran, leaving behind a divided military force that turns to piracy and mercenary work. Follow Ronald Green as he founds Green’s Dragons and attempts to forge a unique ethical and moral mercenary unit in a business where treachery and betrayal are commonplace. But it will take more than skill in the seat of a fighter jet to outsmart dishonest clients and insidious machinations by those looking to change the foundations of power in the world…

See the page for a free sample as well as the free short story, The Art of the Arms Deal!

UPDATE: it’s live on Amazon and Smashwords!

Misadventures at Club Fed

On October 4, 2010, I got up early for my first day working for the Department of the Army, part of the United States Department of Defense. I had made sure that everything was ready: my car insurance was up to date, drivers license checked out, nothing bad in the car, etc. as I didn’t want to be delayed at the gate. I had been on post a few days prior for a security background check, which I had my father take me on post for as he was a serving member of the Guard at the time. This time around, it would be all me.

My destination was the CPAC, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center — the place where all civilian employee affairs were handled. That morning, I had been scheduled for my swearing-in, whereupon I would swear allegiance to the United States Government as well as the duties of office. The CPAC was in temporary housing at the time due to flooding in their main office, so I stopped outside the post’s airfield and parked across from an old OH-58C helicopter, long since abandoned as a gate guard. I was apparently quite early and there was only one person in the office, but they were helpful and gave me the paperwork I needed to fill out. It was more of the same that I had filled out in the months prior; full name, social security, maiden names, what I had for breakfast, did I howl at the moon with a rubber chicken, and so on — the usual government paperwork in triplicate.

After the paperwork was filled out, filed, and forgotten, the final part was swearing in. What you’re supposed to do is face the flag, hold your right hand up, and repeat the words that the official says while standing next to you. At the time, I didn’t have a hearing aid in my left ear, so I was completely deaf out of that side, and my implant was still a processor from 2004 — not the latest and greatest tech. I asked the official if it was OK if I asked him to repeat the words if I didn’t hear them. He said that was fine, so we got started and I proudly repeated the words, stopping a couple times for repeats and clarifications, before it was finally complete. For the first time in my life, I actually felt a sense of pride: I was contributing toward my country, an ideal larger than myself. I was actually doing something good for the people, for the nation. My youthful idealism seems so quaint in hindsight, but that’s a topic for another time.

Once my swearing in was done, I was released for work, so I reported in at the building I was told I’d be at the week prior. I met a bunch of the people in the building, who were mostly network cable and phone installers, my boss, and my coworker. Pretty much all of them were — and are — excellent people and we got along great. My boss was the wild card, someone who you really weren’t sure why they were there. He wasn’t a bad person, but very much out of his element. Well-meaning, but inept. My coworker, on the other hand, had a lot of experience under his belt and his head in the game — a very customer oriented person. He was that way because he had hated how civilian employees had treated him when he was serving in the active army and refused to be that way himself. Into this came me: a deaf man in his 20s, on a student position, with a degree and a certification under his belt, with little real experience in the IT field. Lots of theories, short of practice. Yet I was pursuing more education than either my coworker or my boss had, on a student position that mandated I maintain half a course load — on my own time. It made for a very surreal start.

The first week was strange. I couldn’t use a computer, as you needed the Common Access Card to get online, plus an account on Army Online. Getting that took a couple days, then even more time to get an account at Army Online — because my father was a service member, my account’s approval was somehow tied to him, and I had to get the authority to verify it transferred to my coworker so I could finally use a computer. That took two days and lots of frustrated calls before it finally got sorted out. I did so much “training” — holy cow, did I do “training.” Sexual harassment training, computer usage training, IT policy training, management training… All of which was thoroughly useless and only used as a “check the block” sort of deal. Little did I know that I had 6 years of that to look forward to.

By the end of that first week, I thought I was finally on the road to doing something real and tangible with myself. I wasn’t going to be the useless deaf guy, leeching away from the country; I was actually going to contribute. I was going to help the United States Army, and by extension, the people of America. My idealism knew no bounds — I might not have been wearing a uniform, but I was helping all the same. Finally, like my father, my sister, and my grandfathers before me, I was serving the country with honor and distinction. That idealism, so long part of my core values, was finally in a place where it was not only appreciated and understood, but also embraced by others. Or so I had thought.

Predators come in many forms. Sometimes it is very obvious, like a lion, a tiger, a bear, or a spider. Other times, it is more insidious and subtle, harder to detect. I had unwittingly walked into the trap of the latter the moment I had sworn in. You see, for many people, the idea of serving in the government isn’t service to a grander ideal — it’s all about them and what they can get out of it. These people look at those with ideals and manipulate them for their own ends. I was young and impressionable, full of idealism, and ripe for the harvest. Cracks started to form, small at first, then growing larger as time went on. It is only in hindsight that I look back at myself and find anger within for not having seen it sooner.

The first exposure was seemingly innocent at first: I had worked there for almost a month, getting good results and doing good work, settling in and becoming comfortable. My coworker saw this and felt it was wrong that I was in a mere student position when I should’ve instead been a full time employee. There was a full position open in our section, one that paid far more than I was making, as well as no student requirements. He brought me aside and taught me how to fill out the application to ensure that I would be on the “list.” As with much in personnel resources in the modern age, what determines your ability to get into a job is not your skills or experience, but how well you can game the system. In this case, fooling the automated routine. Essentially, it’s about padding your resume as much as possible, using key terms from the job description to make the computer mark your application as “high potential.” You look at the job listing and copy entire parts of it, filtering it down to keywords, and putting them all on your 10 page long resume — which, by the way, contains as much ancillary information as possible. Doing this, I was able to make the first list, but not the second — as everyone does the same thing, you’re up against the people best capable of spewing nonsense, not the most skilled person for a job.

That first application turned into nothing and we were eventually stuck with one of the worst employees ever hired on to the section, all because the system is not composed of idealists, but predators. You see, when your system encourages dishonesty in place of honesty, lies in place of truth, and shadow in place of light, you will find that the very people you get in such a system are not those with integrity, but those with no morals and ideals beyond themselves. In the end, you are left with nothing but evil — a simple, petty evil, but evil nonetheless. At the time, I simply ascribed it to my own lack of experience; my coworker was far more irritated, saying that it didn’t have to work that way. I now know he was right, but that’s beside the point.

Ten years later, what should’ve been something to look back on with fondness, has turned into something that fills me with shame. Shame that I was part of a system that so willingly embraced evil. I curse myself for my own stupidity, my narrowness of vision, my own blinding idealism. And yet, despite all that, the system charges on. The system charges on because those within it feel powerless to change it. And more still within it will fight any change to it — even if it costs them their lives. A behemoth that serves itself, exactly as those predators intended for it to become.

Welcome to Club Fed.

September Update

Once again, time has crept up on me and rather than get regular updates out, I’ve blown off 6 months worth! Then again, it’s been a pretty hairy 6 months.

As pretty much everybody knows, COVID-19 has spread worldwide and left a ton of chaos in its wake. I had some plans set up for this year (menial job hunting, home maintenance, junk cleaning, etc.) that got pushed by the wayside due to how things turned out. In particular, job hunting has been very difficult due to everyone’s insistence on using phones for interviews, which makes it almost impossible for me to get my foot in the door. This is compounded by the general state of the economy, which doesn’t leave much room. In light of all this, I tried to focus on writing and drawing, and hopefully before long I’ll have another novel published. Small victories!

Another anniversary is creeping up on me, this time the start date of working for Club Fed. I’ll make a separate post on that date and detail a bit more about how that whole ordeal worked out. I’ll only say that the past decade has certainly gone through many twists and turns that I never would’ve predicted back then — or cared to.

As I am writing this on the last 30 minutes of this month (my time), I’ll end it here and promise to come back later.

Two Years

Two years ago, it was Sunday. As per the usual Sunday tradition, I had been helping my mother clean out her rabbit cages; it was a task I had helped her with since I had left my job at the Department of Defense. In the winter prior, she had gone through some elective surgery which turned into a big mess, and I had taken care of her rabbits for about a full month. My sister had only just come back a week prior, having been deployed for the duration of 2017. So many events in that short period of time feel like a blur, all spun together in such a way that sometimes I’m not sure they were real. I don’t remember the work that day being particularly hard, easier than it usually was now that I think about it. Much like it was today, it was a pleasant day, relatively warm for March. We knew it wasn’t going to last, so we made the best of it.

After we had completed our cleaning routine, we had gone inside for a cup of coffee and my mother wanted to work on some art concepts as potential covers for The Fifth Letter. I spent some time refining a few of my own concepts, then had to leave to take care of a few things of my own. I told my mother I would see her later; she said the same.

Those were the last words between my mother and I.

That evening, the last message my mother ever sent to me was the latest work she had been doing, to get my input on it. An hour later, she was gone. I can remember the time between, having a sudden feeling of imbalance and temporarily being unable to stand up straight; I figured I was simply too tired or something, and my usual inner ear balance difficulties were cropping up. I sometimes wonder if it was just a shock wave rumbling through my world, letting me know that everything was going to change.

As a child, one adjusts to the idea that they will eventually have to bury their parents. It’s a fact of life that I saw my mother go through and know that soon, my father will go through as well. But one doesn’t anticipate sudden loss in this day and age; one doesn’t expire from an unknown affliction so quickly, with no idea it was there. But it happens and we deceive ourselves into thinking it won’t. That only happens to others and it won’t happen to us. That it is a numbers game we will all beat.

On March 25, 2018, my mother died at her desk. A problem with her heart, they said. It was sudden and quick, yet despite everything that’s happened since, I always ask myself what would’ve happened had I stayed? What if I’d put off my usual chores and stuck around a bit longer? Worked on my artwork a bit longer there? Written something? Done anything except leave her alone? Would things have been different? I don’t know; I don’t have the power to speculate. Things might’ve just continued as they did.

In the time since, I’ve been listless and aimless; stagnant and alone. I wasn’t sure if it was worth continuing to be an author, even an unsuccessful one. In this day and age, how does one make it in such an industry that is highly dependent on one’s social skills? I had made the jump because my mother had told me so as long as I wrote, it didn’t matter; she would handle all the social aspects of it. Then, as now, I was a very pessimistic individual, not prone to believing I could hack it in such a competitive industry. I often ask myself if she had just suggested I pursue it to keep me from being driven to madness by the United States Government.

As time goes on, I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort. I’m not sure if it’s worth trying to keep going, screaming into a faceless void at the edge of an abyss. I’m not sure if I’m no longer beholden to my mother’s promise, that as long as she was alive I couldn’t kill myself. I’m not sure if all those dreams of suicide during my last year working for the Department of Defense were a vision of the future or just subconscious nonsense. I keep going, in what feels a vain endeavor, towards a future I don’t know if I can be a part of. Or, more succinctly, if I want to be a part of it. I don’t know if tonight, I’ll put a bullet in my head and leave this forsaken place, continuing my journey to elsewhere, where hopefully I’m not rejected as this world has rejected me. But I also don’t know if there’s any place out there where I’ll be accepted; it often feels that there’s no place for me to go, in this world or beyond. The one thing I can be certain of is no one will miss me, which is good because I’d hate for what few friends and family I have left to cry over old bones.

It’s been two years. Wherever you are, mother: I miss you.