Writerly Wednesday: A question and “A Dream”

image00Help!

I desperately need an online writing group who is honest but also supportive of the not-so-professional writer. How do you go about finding a group that is right for you? And what is it that I need?

That part is  easy: I would like to meet people (online) who read and seriously critique each other’s writing. People who are interested in fantasy and science fiction. People who don’t mind looking for plot, but also grammar. People who don’t mind a non-native speaker in the group who sometimes uses funny phrases that need corrections. People who don’t want to push for publishing at all costs, but who write, who want to write, who want to give and receive encouragement, but also honest criticism. In other words: perfect people. 😉 I am willing to read and critique in return. While I can’t proof-read English grammar, I can look at plots and characters, and give my opinion if something works, or doesn’t. I have a good theoretical knowledge about how writing should be done, although I forget about most of it while I write… cough. Anyway, if you have an idea or suggestion how I can find such a group, I’d be very grateful.

Just to be brave, I’m putting a (un-beta-read) short story under the cut. I wrote this for a flash fiction challenge on Chuck Wendig’s site terribleminds.
The three phrases my random number generator gave me are these: A murder, The end of the world, Resurrection.

mars1

The Dream

I killed him. It was murder, but it was also an act of love.

I remained conscious—all senses dulled, sensations wrapped in cotton wool—until the day the world ended. When the meteor hit, the last thing I was aware of was a violent storm that sucked every last molecule of moisture out of the thin air and left our world a dry, barren place. I was glad I could spare him that. Darkness descended and then there was nothing. Death was gentle

Time does not pass when you are dead. You do not feel, you do not see, hear, smell, think—none of your senses survive; neither those that are flesh-bound nor those that are mind-bound. Or so I assumed.

You should never assume. He had taught me that, half in jest, half in earnest. I assume he had been right about it, he always was.

“Let it surprise you,” he would whisper to me. “Let them surprise you. Everything is much more exciting that way.”

I believed him. I enjoyed his surprises. So why was I surprised when I found that death was finite after all?

Resurrection turns out to be the complete opposite of extinction. A dim sensation wakes me from my slumber. It is not sight, nor sound, nor touch, but rather an all-surrounding vibration that penetrates my very being. I feel moisture seeping back into me; I am a sponge. The wetter I get, the better I feel, until I am sated and just lie there, marveling. Dimly I am aware that I am not alone. Others like me must have been resurrected—or survived? Can I contact them? I do not know how.

The pain is sharp. Something is hurting me. This reminds me of… an earlier agony. I have felt that before. It is the pain of birth, not death. The dim sensations disappear, pain takes their place. Cutting. Constriction. Attack of chemicals not natural to me. The sponge that seems to be my Self knows what to do. Acid is diluted, altered. Places are found, growth initiated, until what once was two becomes one. I am alive again, yet there is no “I” left. We are one. We see, we feel, we hear, we think. We are.

I dunno why I dream this over and over. I dunno how it happened, but I was, like, drowning on dry land. You know the red stuff, how it is in every nook and cranny. The dust, it was all around me and I gulped for air which wasn’t there. But, don’t ya think there must have been some, or I’d have died, right?

My throat was dry, I coughed and fell—Rad, I didn’t even know where I was heading or who I was, for that matter. I crawled, and crawled some more. I wanted to go somewhere, sure enough. Then I found a slope going downwards, and there was something moist there, I thought. A flash: it was blinding; shining like water when you have the sun reflecting.

I gave up and fell on my face like a baby. And then I just rolled down the slope. But there was no good water down there, I was wrong, and breathing got harder and harder. There was a small mud puddle though—this was a result of something someone I knew had made… sounds odd, no? I mean… don’t look at me like that… it wasn’t pee. Someone I knew had made it rain a few days before, but that is all I can remember from that dream. I knew that it wasn’t pee, and that was good enough for me.

mconcretionsPartly in the puddle, partly to its side lay some shining, egg-like things. They were oozing moisture. It looked disgusting, but still… They were, like, calling me to eat them; I can’t say it any other way.

There was something on my head, a helmet I guess. I dragged it off and tossed it—and then I thought I’d die. I couldn’t breathe, but that wasn’t a surprise. Somehow I knew. I took one of the eggs and bit into it. It was good, succulent and tasty. Best thing I ever ate. I didn’t bother biting chunks off, but took the whole thing into my mouth. It was chewy and juicy. I didn’t mean to, but come mag storm or high rad, I swallowed the whole thing. And then I passed out—all in my dream.

I woke up again, for real I thought, but I was still in that dream. I could breathe better. And something was new, in my head. Something that knew things. Something that said she’d love me and would stay with me forever—so maybe it wasn’t an it. Yeah, I think it was a she. And then I woke up in the infirmary: no dust, no eggs, it was for real this time.

But, you see, that’s why I wanted to talk. That feeling is still there. Something, someone’s in my head, listens to every word I say, knows about each thought I think. I’m scared, it’s very weird. And, this thing, it shows me stuff. Stuff I didn’t see before. Things in other people’s heads are clear like spoken words, but when I reply to their thoughts, they look scared. And after a while, they don’t look scared any longer, they hate me. They are afraid. They want to kill me… can you tell me what this is all about?

Yeah, I can see that you don’t believe a word. You wanna put me in that scanning tube there and look at my brain. You think the lack of oxygen did me in. Am I right? Right now you think that I’m more intelligent than I look, extrapolating a diagnosis only a sufficiently trained Astropsych can come up with. You think I would make a good subject for your thesis, don’t you? Don’t look scared, I told you. Hey, where are you going?

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