December 2, 2014


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Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc.) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

Horror Trope: “Another Man's Terror. This trope takes place where one character is thrown into the shoes of a dead man to experience his final moments....or he has to complete a dead man's task, witnessing and experiencing what killed the person before you.”

Current Event: Though I can't find this idea exactly, I'm sure it's out there somewhere...“Sister dies, deadbeat brother channels her dreams”

Chengpao Yang stared at his mother and said, “What?” She explained again in Hmong this time, because her English was so bad, even his sister couldn't understand Mom right now. If Mom was saying it right, Victoria would never be able to try and understand her mother again. He said, “Are you trying to tell me that Victoria is dead?"

The affirmative was a wail of grief.

What followed was both a long explanation of what happened and an accusation that if he’d been home, she never would have tried to protect her mother against the robber and died of a knife wound that had looked like a nick, but turned out to be from a poisoned knife.

“You mean you would rather have had me die than her?” Mother looked at him for a long time, then buried her face in her hands and wept harder. She collapsed to the floor in a puddle of her house clothes and hair. Chengpao stared down at her for a long time, torn between the urge to kick her, break out into tears and weep, or curse the world, his mother, his dead father, and his overachieving sister.

She rolled over on to her back, staring through him and at the ceiling. Shaking his head, he felt tears welling and finally said, “Fine then. If that’s what you want,” he raised his arms into the air and shouted at the ceiling, “If the spirit of Victoria is hanging out anywhere nearby, go ahead, take over my...”

Without missing a beat, his voice abruptly pitched higher, his posture shifted, and he made a motion with one hand that would have pushed a long strand of hair from his face – if he didn’t have a crew cut. He’d had a crew cut since his thirteenth birthday. He said, “Don’t worry Mom, I’m baaaack…”

Names: England, Laos; Laos, Laos

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