Creation ~ Echoterre

The young boy quarreled each time she tried to put him abed, and would never settle between the old linen sheets until she promised to tell him a story. He did not seem to mind which story, or whether or not he had heard it a thousand times before. It mattered only that she sit at the foot of his bed and regale him as he drifted off to sleep.

“Is there a story you’d especially prefer tonight?” Alyson asked the orphan, settling on his straw mattress. Whilst all the other boys and girls slept snugly, exhausted by long days of chores and play and lulled by the sound of waves that permeated the orphanage’s wooden walls. The sea air always tired them out, but not this one.

“Any old tale will do,” Thomas said blandly, rolling about and half burying his head beneath the carefully stitched goose down pillow. “Just so long as it is true.”

Alyson took a deep breath and simply started with the first story that came to mind. She had attended mass that day and the subject of the sermon still sang in her heart.

“Have you ever heard of the Godsland, far out in God’s Domain?” She asked, putting a note of myster in her tone.

“T’isn’t a story if you ask questions,” Thomas growled irritably, voice muffled by the pillow. Alyson took another deep breath, expanding her lungs as that her laced bodice would allow.

“Well the Godlsand is where all good boys and girls, and all true men and women aye, go after they die in this life.” Alyson untangled her hands from her brown woolen skirts as she relaxed into the familiar story. “There they feast and make merry and the greatest and noblest of them are chosen as the Lord’s servants, called angels. He gives them wings and the power to become invisible and they help him in bringing the chaste souls to the Godsland to prosper in eternity.”

Thomas rolled slightly, emitting small suckling sounds around his thumb. He was not out yet; Alyson knew that the moment she rose he would come up with some question or another, and so she went on.

“God made his land first, and the land of men second, and surrounded it by the great Razor Reefs and put monsters in the sea so that not even the most skilled skipper would ever sail out of the land of men and live. Last he made two more great lands far to the north and south, invisible in the greatness of his domain. Far from where their inhabitants might ever reach the Godsland or the land of men. For only the evilest and darkest souls are sent to those isles…”

Thomas wriggled and stretched and then lay still, breathing evenly; asleep.

“But that dear boy,” Alyson whispered as she rose deftly and tucked the sheets up around his chin, “is a tale for another time, perhaps when you’re old enough to attend the church mass yourself.” She moved away on the balls of her feet, as silent as a spirit.


84 ways TBI can make your life really interesting

Broken Brain - Brilliant Mind

Some time back, I compiled a list of possible issues TBI can introduce into your life. I combed through a bunch of sources and then put them all together, took out the duplicates, and came up with a list of common complaints related to traumatic brain injury. I’ve refined the list over the past couple of years, and I’m sure there are more issues I’ve missed, but this is what I’ve  been working with, thus far.  These apply to mild, moderate, and severe. And a lot of them are problems I have dealt with on a regular basis throughout the course of my life.

Here’s the list, broken down by category:

1. Impulsiveness
2. Aggression (verbal/physical)
3. Raging behavior

4. Trouble being understood
5. Trouble understanding
6. Trouble finding words
7. Trouble communicating in general

8. Agitated, can’t settle down
9. Angerrrrrr!!!
10. Anxiety – Feeling vague…

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Combat vs. Communication

One winter I worked security at a big music festival’s final evening performance. It was a volunteer gig, and our team comprised of a fairly laughable security squad. Of the nine of us three were underage, none over six foot or 160 pounds, and only two prepared to deal with a potentially violent altercation. Since this was a goodwill event attended mostly by a crowd of professionally connected couples and singles in their late thirties and forties, violence seemed unlikely. At most we would have to bounce a drunk, and I’d done that before.

The heads of security were a pair of senior citizens who were content to sit at the front desk, and asked us to cover the rest of the lobby, hall, and auditorium. By the time we’d been assigned badges and yellow SECURITY T-shirts and begun taking up stations in the halls I needed a cigarette, so I nipped outside and found a quiet place to smoke.

On re-entry I noticed my teammates were mostly clumped in pairs and trios in the lobby and hall close to the reception desk. I walked the perimeter and identified potential danger zones and then retraced my steps and spoke with each member of the team individually. Within a half hour I had them on individual stations set in a zig-zag pattern that covered the lobby, the hall, and the auditorium, and enabled each yellow-shirted youngster to see at least two others at all times. After that I set them on a fifteen minute rotation to keep them alert and incorporate regular bathroom checks.

The guests arrived dressed to impress and flowed past the reception desk, mingled through the lobby and hall, and eventually found seats in the auditorium. I took off my badge and yellow shirt and walked among them alert for threats and detecting none. Once the majority of the attendees had settled in seats the speeches began, and shortly afterwards the band took the stage.

Seeing nothing but responsible adults having a good time, I checked on my teammates and then returned to the reception desk. I asked the heads of security if they needed anything and they told me guests had been exiting and re-entering the auditorium through the side door, which was supposed to be reserved for staff and emergency purposes. They asked me to stand inside the auditorium and deter guests from using the side doors, which sounded good to me because the band rocked around the lead of a charismatic stand-up bass player.

I stationed myself in front of the side doors and listened to the music and watched the band and apologetically turned away the occasional guest and pointed them to the back doors. After an hour or so a man approached carrying a small child in his arms.

“I need to get through here,” he informed me.

“Sorry sir,” I responded as I had to all the other guests, “the side doors are reserved for emergency purposes, if you could please proceed to the main exits at the back I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.”

The man took a good look at me, and then a good look at himself. I was wearing cargo shorts and a cheap yellow SECURITY T-shirt and army green crocs. He wore a three piece suit that probably cost as many thousands of dollars and fine leather shoes, and he was taller than me, and heavier, and broader across the shoulders.

“Look buddy,” he told me, “I own this building. I’m the one who paid for this whole event, and I could have you fired in a snap. So you’re going to let me through those doors.”

I chuckled and took a deep breath.

“Listen buddy,” I said, catching his eyes and not looking away. “I’m a volunteer so I’m not sure you can fire me, and even if you do I’m the head of security, so no one will escort me from the premises for you. Also, these doors are reserved for emergency purposes. Unless there’s a fire, you’re not going through them.”

The man took a surprised step back, staring at me and then looking away and then checking his very expensive watch. Even with a few drinks in his system he didn’t have the courage to respond.

The little girl in his arms wriggled and whispered something in his ear.

“She has to go to the bathroom,” the man said blankly.

“You should have started with that,” I informed him, stepping aside and holding the door open for them to pass. I smiled at the child. “Bathroom emergencies count.”

My Ten Word Story

Not too long ago I entered a 10-word story contest via Twitter… I’m guessing I didn’t win, but I liked the story I wrote and figured I’d share it with everyone here. Be careful; if you blink you may miss it.


The starving wolf chased the sheep right off the cliff.


Not bad eh? Feel free to comment with a ten word story of your own – apparently that’s all the rage these days!