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For all my myLot friends - I would like to share some advice that some of my friends on myLot told me about. I thought I'd share it with you, since it can really multiply your earnings on myLot. I have been informed that, when you post/reply to discussions, if you write at least six lines, you will be paid a higher amount for that, than if you were to just write one or two lines. If you can keep your sentences short, then six lines is not a lot ! So friends, try to keep this advice in mind for your future discussions and the money start to add up quicker than it was before.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Business Book Summaries

    It is that time of the year again when I have to upgrade my skills in order to get a promotion besides getting a raise. Moving up to the next level is not as easy as it used to be as we also have to increase our knowledge base and pass a written test and go through numerous in house interviews to see if the candidate is fit for the next level. So the frantic book hunt was on to get the required books as I was lost in the sea of knowledge. The question that kept popping in my mind was where shall a person start to increase their knowledge database? It is a very difficult to choose the right books and once chosen then the place to purchase the books problem arises. Most companies have either courses or give funds to employees to increase their work related knowledge either through seminars or purchasing business books. Business books can be rather time consuming to read and these days there is a better option by opting for a site that has hired a lot of people who reads books and makes a few page abstracts that conveys the knowledge that specific book bring to the table. Currently there are thousands of Business books on the site, and it looked good, so I used some of the funds allotted to me by my employer to sponsor a subscription and get a head start on my career. There are a few sites which provide comprehensive, concise Business books of the best business books available. Using stringent criteria, only the top business books should published each year are selected to be summarized. Book summary help users meet performance improvement requirements, provide paths to career advancement, and improve soft skills such as leadership, people management and communication. Professional business people use these summaries in their leadership development programs as a valuable learning content resource, designed to close competency gaps and improve overall business acumen of their staff.

      Saturday, August 27, 2011

      What is Web conferencing

        Web conference refers to a service that allows conferencing events to be shared with remote locations. Most vendors also provide either a recorded copy of an event, or a means for a subscriber to record an event. The service allows information to be shared simultaneously, across geographically dispersed locations in nearly real-time. Applications for web conferencing include meeting training events, lectures, or presentation from any computer. A participant can be either an individual person or a group. System requirements that allow individuals within a group to participate as individuals (e.g. when an audience participant asks a question) depend on the size of the group. Handling such requirements is often the responsibility of the group. In general, system requirements depend on the vendor. The service is made possible by Internet technologies, particularly on IP/TCP connections. A Web conferencing solution is sometimes required and it can be in the form of additional software to be installed (usually via download) by the presenter and participants, while others eliminate this step by providing physical hardware. Sometimes vendors provide a complete solution while other vendors enhance existing technologies. Most also provide a means of interfacing with email and calendaring clients in order that customers can plan an event and share information about it, in advance.

        Support for planning a shared event is typically integrated with calendar and email applications. The method of controlling access to an event is provided by the vendor. Additional value-added features are included as desired by vendors who provide them. As with any technology, these features are limited only by the imagination. Read more...

          art in Amsterdam

            I have been working hard for a few years long and I have accumulated enough vacation time to take a month long break. Initially I did not know where to go or how to proceed in my travel search until I ran across an advertisement which drew me like a moth to a light. It was an ad by a travel agent which blared out that they have a solution to every would be vacationer questions. Making an appointment, I reached his office and was given a wide variety of choices each with multiple options. Pulling out a note pad, we got down to the details. One thing which kept popping up was visiting the art in Amsterdam'


            as it offered something which was lacking in other art cities around the world. A wide variety and depth was what the visitors commented when quizzed by the would be visitors. So, an European tour was decided and I decided that it would be incomplete without a visit to the amsterdam restaurants as I am a food fanatic and really look forward to trying out different dishes. The travel agent gave us tips on what to do and which art Amsterdam places are a must visit places.

            One should always plan ahead and avail the services of qualified people to reduce the stress points which people encounter while doing something. So our hunt finally started and we made a mad scramble to purchase appropriate vacation items, contacting the guys for cleaning out the pool, getting the landscaping done before we left and notifying the post office to hold our mail. There is no perfect way to enjoy ones vacation and each person will have to improvise according to their preferred mode of relaxation. Read more...

              Friday, August 19, 2011

              The dark forest

                I had been sitting here for what seemed like many long hours. My leg which seemed like it was bare just a moment back was covered in a blue colored jean. Rubbing my head gently against my leg, I got up to stretch my aching muscles as I tried to adjust to this new body.

                I wheel myself to the window which faces the road. The total darkness felt so soothing and I felt at home in the pool of darkness that this ageless house offered. Grasping my head with both hands, I jerked the head around forcefully so that it faced the right direction. Ignoring the sound of ripping muscles and bones, I licked the trickle of blood that flowed out of my mouth as a mischievous sparkle lit the eyes.

                Looking down from the window, I saw the dark forest where I roamed, called my home and released my prey so that I could hunt for food. The leaves, trees and the things that crawl underneath always seemed to whisper and sigh as I passed under the dark shades looking for the lost dreams. Taking a deep breath, I strained to break away from the hypnotic malevolent gaze that seemed to reach out with its tentacles and drag me through the window, into the forest and cradle me in its arm to feed me the dark dreams once more.

                The ground shook a bit and I heard a heavy slithering sound on the rough stone floor which seemed to be coming towards me. The sound came closer. The sudden splintering of the door startled me and brought me out of the thoughts I was in. A strong earthy smell permeated the room and the sound of shrieking cries of souls in torment filled my ears. Reddish yellow light spilled into the room as a huge demon snake hissed at me. Coiling itself up till it’s head touch the ceiling, its head swayed back and forth and its tongue flicked in and out as if to find where I was standing. The torch above my head drew its attention and as it drew close, a drop of its venom dripped on me and it started to burn like a hellish fire. Gritting my teeth tight, I grimaced in pain and suppressed a shriek or else even my death would be certain.

                Spinning its head around as if it heard a sound, it slithered out at a lightning speed. The glint slowly appeared back in my eyes as the darkness started to pool around my feet once more. The forest whispered as its leaves rustled. The hunger of the forest grew more pronounced with each moment as the footsteps drew deeper and deeper into the forest. The branches seemed to hook and tear at the clothes or the skin, yet they seemed not to notice. The whispering winds called out their names, startling them, causing them to spin around sharply, look around yet not see a soul. The brooding forest waited and waited as it could wait as its prey entangled more and more in its web while all the paths they used slowly disappeared as if they never existed. The wind as if remembering its child, slowly wound its way to the window where I stood and caressed my hair ever so gentle. It’s hand ran through my hair, caressed my face and teased me with the smell that caused my eyes to fly wide open. The sensory overload was painful as I grabbed my head and moaned. The scent of humans with their blood pumping through their veins was fueling my hunger and I felt like a rabid dog. Pulling the curtain aside to take a morning view, I gritted my teeth to suppress the desires, saw the sun was just peeking over the horizon, the passing landscape was covered in a fine mist and the sun bathed it in an orange light which slowly turned into yellow.

                Squinting my eyes while holding my head tightly between my hands, I stumbeled across the room. Not seeing the edge, I flew down the stairs and landed near the foot of the stairs. A soft hiss and then a cough from one of the kitchen guys who was taking orders for dinner brought me back to my senses. The body ached and it felt like every bone was broken and I let out a loud moan as pain shot through my body. Light spilled onto my face from the high intensity torch as one of the foul smelling creatures who had occupied this timeless eateries stomped impatiently on my chest to hiss at me and asked if I was heading off or not. With a loud curse, I headed off down the hallway to drive away the craving.

                The empty table, broken furniture, rotting curtains and the constant scurrying sounds of the rats hidden behind the walls felt so soothing and I wanted to reach through one of the dark holes to grab whatever was passing through to torment it a little more. A few flies buzzed around and their buzzing was as listless as the place. There were still a few bodies stacked in the corner which had not processed. The kitchen crew was slacking in processing the inward bound items and someone was going to do solitary time for this. A few pockets of mist solidified in the deep dark pools, merged into a one and started to twirl round and round while a banshee like sound was heard and the worked up spirits were pacified once I started to threaten them that if they don’t quiet down, they be sent to the lower levels to roast till eternity.

                The winds moaned as it found its way through the cracks in the wall and whispered dark tiding in my mind urging me to satiate my hunger while sharing the spoils with my siblings. As I stumbled down the hallway looking for the door, I saw two monstrous gargoyles which had been turned to stone by me sat on each side glaring menacing at me as if seeking vengeance. The door opened on its own as I was about to turn the handle. As I left the hellish plane of existence, out of the grassy plain, a footpath appeared.

                Rounding the corner, the group of humans ran head long into what seemed like a stone wall. Bouncing off, one of them looked up from the bloodied footpath to see a shape in the shadows. Stepping into the flickering lamp light, a burly man emerged from the shadows. Pulling a shotgun from the shoulder, I started to insert shells one by one into the twin barrel while grimacing at the man sprawled before me. “Hi. My name is Saint Joe. You forgot to ask my permission before you started to wander around my little playground idiot. I live in that hell hole over there where unfortunate souls are devoured as a snack and then eternally damned to a painful existence for eternity. Let me introduce you to my colleagues, ok?” Was all I said as I snapped the gun and flipped the safety off. With sweat running down his neck and soaking his shirt, the unfortunate man started to run down the forest. Large braches started to swoop down upon the running man while the rest watched in terror. A shotgun rang out behind him and the pellets left their marks on his back and lower legs. Air was knocked out of him as he was tackled to the ground. As he started to lose consciousness, he saw a burly staring down at him. A pair of branches seemed to come alive and started to lower themselves towards the wayward intruders. The shadows seemed to come alive as one shriek after another rent the air. An eternity seemed to have passed and the forest seemed still once more.

                Wandering around a bit after I had my fill, the path eventually led to a familiar old bearded tree which seemed like the grandfather of all the trees, a pair of yellow eyes blinked and one of the thick branches beckoned me towards the chair as if it knew all along that I was coming. Ignoring the chair, I climbed onto one of its thick branches and started to tell how a certain event changed the course of my life forever.

                I always knew that I was different, yet I always tried to hide my difference and tried my hardest to blend in whichever town I was staying in. Life usually moved at a slow pace yet sometimes the hunger got the best of me. I usually ended up changing one town after another when the body of evidence kept piling up and the hunger just too great. The low life, vagabonds, drifters were such an easy prey and hardly anyone ever noticed them missing unless someone kept a tally.

                Life or death. Which one is better for the unfortunate ones, I cannot say. For the survivors many years will pass, yet they shall not forget their haunting ‘vision’ nor what they have lost. They will have nightmares almost every night where they wake up drenched in sweat and clutching the wrinkled bed sheets. They say that time heals all scars yet some memories will refuse to fade away. Many will think that moving out of the old neighborhood to live out the remaining years by the seashore will brings them peace and help them to forget. Yet, sometimes in the dark they will still see the red glint in the darkness or hear the rasping voice before the vicious bite as a shriek rents the air before the dark angel starts to chase them across the barren house from one room to another or through the empty roads. As they lie in their bed, they shall wonder how long these memories will keep on coming back to torment them before the dark angel goes on the final hunt.

                After what seemed many eons, I woke up from my deep slumber on the tree branch fully refreshed. The old age aches and pain gone, I felt the youth surging madly through me and it felt like I would burst any moment. Gentle winds were flowing through the forest swaying the leaves ever so softly. The old grandfather tree had interwoven his branches and was holding me in a cradle like a mother would hold a child while swinging it back and forth gently. The shrill cry of many hawks on the hunt was heard overhead and with a gasp and I realized that it was late in the afternoon the sun was burning away the last remnants of the sleep I was caught in. Sweat was pouring down my face and into my shirt which was soaking wet. The yellow eyes which was gentle and loving a moment ago suddenly turned into an evil glint as my lungs started to burn and the heart was pounding do hard that it felt like it was going to pop out. I felt intense pressure in my back, I shrieked out in pain as I felt my body shaking and my vision began to blur. After a moment, I crawled to my knees and finally stood up. Spreading and stretching the huge wings, I started to flap them till, I started to rise into the sky. Flapping my giant wings, I hung effortlessly hung in the sky. An evil glint appeared in my eye and I started to laugh hysterically and the manic laughter rang through the forest.


                  Monday, August 15, 2011

                  The bittersweet night

                    I had not been down this beach in what seems like ages. The setting sun, sandy beach and the waves as they lap up against the feet always seemed to mesmerize me. Pulling up a beach chair, my eyes start to wander down the beach and see that life is in full swing. Children building sand castles, pretty young things tanning themselves and an odd couple or two walking down the beach whispering sweet nothing to all that were willing to hear their secret enlightening messages. Time seemed to float by at its own pace as the sun lazily made its way across the clear blue sky. Packing my stuff, I dropped off the chair and umbrella at the drop point and started to wander off to the lone building to satiate my hunger. The lingering smell of perfume and cologne mixed with the heavy smoke greeted me as I entered my long forgotten hunting ground. Time had flown by, yet it seemed to have stood still in this place. The juke box near the entrance was still there pumping out some long forgotten Willy Nelson song, an empty stage once full seemed to cry out for attention while the bar at the other end seemed as lively as ever. The burly bartender who was once young and now old and balding still seemed to the only permanent structure besides the other items and his eyes seemed to light up seeing me. Pulling up a stool, my hands reached out as a tall frosty slid comfortably into my hands.

                    Time seemed to flow by slowly and I had lost track of time. It was almost closing time when I heard a voice as soft as s yet as silk yet as sharp as the sharpest knife reminding me its closing time. Turning my head around, I saw a sight that seemed to mesmerize me and kept me under its spell till a booming laughter startled me. A chiding voice asked me if I didn’t recognize her whom I had last seen many moons back. The deep blackness of the eyes hypnotized me and drew me in like a moth to a lone street lamp. As I started to tumble into those depthless eyes, I realized time had indeed flown by and the young lady which I had left behind in pursuit of other adventures had transformed into a young lady which I simply could not recognize.

                    I had known Jane since childhood, yet she was always the type that kept to herself and mingled only when she wanted to. Today was one of those days which reminded me of my childhood days when the fireside talks and camping trips used to last from dusk to the break of dawn when she suddenly used to disappear without a word. Once in awhile, I used to see a stark fear in her eyes as she used to break free of my hold and disappear into the night not to be seen again till dusk. Not a word used to be said and I let it be as her soft silky voice and hypnotizing eyes used to melt my heart. Time flew by as the food was finished, drinks ordered and drained to the last drops and the food joint emptied out till there was no soul in sight yet it seemed like we had not caught up on our lost lives. The joint slowly started to shut down and we were forced to seek refuge upstairs to seek other adventures.

                    The dreamless sleep in which I was lost in was shattered by the radio alarm which blared out some song as the faceless man moaned about the changing weather patterns and sudden storm which might hit the town in the night. The constant chatter of the radio jockey started to push the bone deep sleep ever so slowly away. He talked just about everything under the sun and I really seemed to enjoy the monologue which consisted of how awful the weather was, the food joints, who bashed whom last night at the bar and how much the town had changed in the last ten years.

                    Still half asleep, I started to mumble Jane’s name and started to extend my arm to drag her a little closer. An empty bed, wrinkled bed sheet, the smell of perfume and cologne hung heavy in the air, an empty pillow yet no warm body. My hand started frantically run back and forth as my mind became agitated and sleep lost its hold on me. The sound of a tugboat while blaring out its whistle drew me out the dark thoughts I was floating in. I slowly came to the senses like a snake waking up from deep sleep. The bone deep weariness fell off me and I slowly started to felt refreshed. The sounds of men and heavy machinery were heard humming by below and another lonesome ships horn went off somewhere in the distance reminding me how far from home I was.

                    Waking up from a deep sleep, I got out of the bed. My body was stiff and muscles sore from the events of last night. Looking at the empty bed, I called out Jane’s name out loud yet the empty house just echoed back. The room was once more as empty as it was the day before. Throwing the bed sheet off, I sat on the edge and wondered what happened and what my next course of action will be. The old clock hanging on the wall down in the hallway boomed as the hand struck ten. It startled me out of the deep thought I was in and I only realized this by the fact that the alarm clock radio had stopped playing the same old songs I had heard for the last many years and the lights were shut off except for the place where we were lying on bed. The clothes were scattered all over the room. The little diversion had turned minutes into hours. The bed sheets were soaked and I hunted for a new set before the maid came in the morning to chide us for making such a mess. I turned my head to look out the window. Rubbing my face to drive away the weariness, I started to massage my neck and the bittersweet memories flooded back into my mind. A tinge of sadness at the loss of my humanity and the promise of immortality made me wonder why I agreed and I realized that I was ready to give it all up for the lady I loved. I saw that there it was partly cloudy sky; a full moon seemed to look down at the land as if looking for something. The star lit night made me wonder what my future holds.

                    The memories still seemed to haunt me as I had asked her “You still awake?” as I had ran my fingers down her bare arm. Taking a deep breath, she shook her head she mumbled in the negative. Not able to find neither my pants nor shirt, I walked around the bed to stretch my legs hoping that the curtains were drawn and hoped to find my way back home before I fell asleep here. Looking out the door, I saw that the street lights showed empty streets and the town seemed deserted except for the few drunks who weaved through the roads and the sounds stray dogs that were busy chasing a few cars that passed through the town main intersection lulled me off to sleep once more.

                    Time flew by and I finally regained consciousness as I rose from the well of darkness and into this plane of existence. The sensory overload was painful as I grabbed my head and moaned. The scent of humans with their blood pumping through their veins was fueling my hunger and I felt like a rabid dog. Pulling the curtain aside to take a morning view, I saw the sun was just peeking over the horizon and the passing landscape was covered in a fine mist and the sun bathed it in an orange light which slowly turned into yellow. Pulling the heavy curtains shut as quickly as possible, I suppressed the painful scream that was rising from my throat. Tilting my hat back and wiping the day old sweat off my brow, I looked down into the valley through the open crack between the window and curtain and saw a dust cloud swirling crazily and throwing debris all over. Looking at the meandering river which flowed next to the window, the river looked so cool, refreshing and it seemed to call me out. I wanted to hop off and walk barefoot on the green grass and slip into the river to drive away the coiled up stress. Rivers always had a free and untamed look to it and it always seemed to hold me under a spell whenever I ventured near.

                    Feeling a little sore, I stood up and started to wander down the aisle to break the monotony. I eventually found myself in the kitchen where I grabbed the coffee jar and poured some into my mug to banish the cobwebs from my mind and to see if I can pick up the threads of the dreams I was having once more.

                    I finished of the last remnants of the food and gulped down the coffee before it got warm. I found my way to the small cubicle which they called the restroom and took a moment which seemed like an eternity to wash off all the dust, grime and sweat off me. The weariness fell off me and I felt refreshed. Looking at the mirror while the water dripped off my head and face made me realize where once stood a young man now I saw a white haired wrinkled man who had the haunted look in his eyes. I sat awhile by the heavily draped window and smoked the remaining part of my cigar. As if sensing something, I felt drawn to the door leading down to the basement. Turning the brass knob, I started to venture into the darkness, yet could see and sense all. Reaching my hand out, I shook the shoulder of the figure that was rolled into a ball and deep asleep. Head snapped up, a feral growl let out as the jaws seemed to quickly descend towards me yet stopped as recognition dawned upon Jane. As I sunk into a sleep of forgetfulness to wait for the darkness to return, the sounds of long haul trucks were heard humming nearby and a lonesome train horn went off somewhere in the distance reminding me how far from home I was.


                      Thursday, August 11, 2011

                      The hunter in the darkness

                        A neglected dirt road led to a deserted town where the creaking, weather worn swinging board at the entrance said Welcome to Indian Wells and it showed a barren land where the harsh winds refused to die down. A coyote let out a lonesome howl somewhere in the distance. The moonlit town seemed deserted except for the stray dog that was asleep under the front porch of the towns’ lone house that stood out like eyesore on a barren landscape. It seemed to be lost in some fleeting dream as it let out a growl and then a bark before quieting down once more.

                        It was a lonesome Sunday night as the white shirt man sat on the porch, smoked the last of his cigarette and finished off his beer. Looking upwards, one could see nothing but a few stray clouds as they floated past the full moon and seemed to mesmerize the viewer with its light. Tilting the hat back and wiping the sweat off his brow, the man looked down the valley, heard the rumble, rattle of some vehicle that sounded like it was about to fall apart and saw a dust cloud approaching. It might either be the hired help that was overdue or someone who might be just passing thru this barren landscape. Hardly anyone ever stops at this place as it seems all but forgotten unless it was hired help or if they wanted something from the Smith folks over at the other side of the hill.

                        The seasons had flown by and it was already early spring. Age had not taken its toll as the youth had slipped through the tightly clutched hands like swiftly flowing grains of sand and an ageing man now stood in the young mans place. His only faithful companions now were the moon and stars which lit his path. The coyotes had gone quiet as they had their fill and would the farm alone this night. Looking down at the field now overgrown with weeds, wild grass and shrubs, he wondered if it was possible to keep on farming in these inhospitable lands all by himself.

                        The shrill cry of the winged creatures which circled over the fields ebbed and rose seemed never ending, yet seemed to break the deadening monotony of the silent field. The over grown field needed to be plowed, leveled, seeded and fertilizer spread evenly so that another bountiful harvest could be harvested, yet the hired help hasn’t arrived yet. Shaking his clenched fist at the sky while squinting his eyes, the aging man grumbled about the slim chance of rain and how it might ruin the harvest if the drought continued much longer. Looking across the field and into the barn, he decided to check the harvester, tractor and the trucks to see if they were up to the task.

                        Firing up the harvester was easier than the tractor which refused to cooperate. The starter coil needed to be replaced and pistons were worn out. After loading the truck with drums for diesel, he hollered at the man sitting in the shadows that the hired help might arrive at time soon and that he needed to head off to town to see what can be done about certain expected guests. Grunting back an acknowledgment, the giant beast hobbled down the dusty path to light the lanterns near the entrance of the farm and wait for the hired help to show up. Driving down the road towards town excited him since trips down there were rare and it gave him an opportunity to stock up on essentials and get in touch with what was happening in town. Time flew by and the huge farm fields came to an end and the truck soon started to follow a lonesome river. Looking over his shoulder, Ralph Fiennes realized that the river looked so cool and refreshing and he wanted to walk barefoot on the green grass. The river looked so free and untamed and it seemed to call him out so strongly that truck seemed to hesitate for a moment.

                        Time started to move on ever so slowly like thickening molasses in a cold winter day. The meandering river throws him back in time to an era long forgotten. Gasping for breath he started to drown in time. One after the other, memories start to sweep past her. The dark thoughts flowing like a raging thought sweeping him into the hunt looking for the fish for whom the net is cast.

                        The sound of a truck horn barreling past like demon on a hunt drew him out the dark thoughts he was floating in. He slowly came to them senses like a snake waking up from deep sleep. The bone deep weariness fell off him and he slowly started to felt refreshed. She slowly drove on and on and the remaining part of the journey was uneventful as the town grew nearer. Electricity poles, town lights and small houses started to dot the moving landscape.

                        It was getting late, the moon would soon start sinking lower into the horizon and the sun would follow behind and it was time to get ready before the town appeared. Ralph found his way to the edge of the stream and took a moment which seemed like an eternity to wash off all the dust, grime and sweat off. Looking at the reflection in the water while the water dripped off his head and face made him realize where once stood a young man now stood a white haired wrinkled man who had the haunted look in his eyes. He sat awhile under the outstretched limbs of the tree and realized how lonesome his life was and wondered where he had gone wrong. Time flew by and by the time he started to look around once more; countryside replaced the dry dusty lands. The river had disappeared off into some other direction and heavily populated roads were seen running near the dusty road from which the lonesome traveler emerged. The sounds of long haul trucks were heard humming nearby and a lonesome train horn went off somewhere in the distance reminding her how far from home she was.

                        This old mans life seemed like one of those never ending journeys which had been long and hard. The gentle swaying lulled him down the oft travelled memory lanes and all she could see is a dusty winding road broken every so often by an oasis. The hard journey has taken its toll on him as he tried to carry the burden which seems too much for it. Sometimes he felt like he was another one of those mules which people sometimes run across in some nameless town whose inner fire had died while navigating this parched land.

                        A town square emerged and the dusty truck pulled into the only rest stop. Emerging from the shadows, a large burly man stepped up to the cab door, yanked it open and started to drag the wildly thrashing man inside. A soft hiss and then a cough from one of the kitchen guys who was taking orders for dinner brought him out of the thoughts he was in. Light spilled onto his face from the high intensity torch as one of the gargoyles who had occupied this timeless eateries stomped impatiently once more to hiss at him that the slop was ready and asked if he was heading off to the eating section or not. With a loud curse, the infuriated man headed off down the hallway and into the eating area.

                        Ralph was pacing back and forth across the train platform waiting for the new arrival which he had requested. The train finally arrived though very late. The train was dead empty as none of the boxes had any passengers in it except the very last one. Realizing that they had reached their destination, the boys started to dismount the train and made their way to the exit near the side. The small group checked their bags once more to see if everything was unloaded from the train before it was put them in the trunk of the car. The constant chatter of the boys kept the old mans mind away from the grim thoughts. The oldest of the boys introduced himself as Tom who talked just about everything under the sun and everyone really seemed to enjoy the monologue which consisted of how awful the town was doing, the mysterious disappearance of people, the food joints, who bashed whom last night at the bar and how his girlfriend always gave him an ear full for coming home late. Pretty soon, the wandering group fell asleep one by one and the only sounds heard was the occasional snore or some deep sleep mumble as if someone was plagued by some bad dream.

                        The passing trucks horn made Ralph realize that they were well out of town and nearing the farmlands once more. The old abandoned boarded up farmhouse located next to the meandering river loomed ahead and it seemed no different than the others in the area. The moon was lazily moving through the sky, yet it seemed like the old man’s hunger was growing stronger by the mmoment. He tried to shrug it off till she reached her own farmlands, yet its hold on hi was getting stronger with each passing moment. He sat awhile gripping the seat tight, yet the vortex was dragging him deeper into itself. A strange hypnotic trance was overtaking him and he felt the urge grow stronger with each passing moment while darkness grew upon the land.

                        His malevolent eyes roamed around till it focused on the blood soaked driver seat. The eyes started to rove around the small front area until they suddenly stopped on man who seeing the gaze fixated upon him started to hyperventilate and become wide eyed. The deep red stains on the floor in the far corner of the left hand side door made him slowly let out a long throaty growl and the hunger grew in him stronger with each passing moment. Squirming backwards, the only surviving boy kept begging him to let him go while he started looking for an escape till he reached the very edge of the cab while his fumbling hands tried to unlock the door. The only response he heard was harsh laughter, a snarl and a swift slap which snapped his head around till it slammed into the windshield. Not being able to back any further, he started to push himself up with his back towards the windshield while grimacing in pain. The last sounds that were heard before abandoning the cab after pushing it into dense undergrowth was the gasping breath of a man on his last leg. It was only a matter of time till they came home and he’ll be waiting like he did for the rest.

                        An old pickup truck slowly rumbled past the wooded area as if searching for something. A giant beast of a shadow leaned out and whispered the old mans name. A few leaves rustled as a shadowy figure emerged from the woods and rushed into the waiting vehicle. A moment of silence and then the rumbling truck switched off its headlights, backed into the wooded area. A door was heard opening, truck swayed a bit and grunting sounds as if something heavy being lifted and dropped. A door slammed shut and the engine roared to life once more. Without a sound, the truck wound its way around the bend and into the dusty hills.

                        As the truck slowly wound its way back to the farm, a shadowy figure on the passenger side whispered “Have they arrived yet?” A momentary silence and then “Yes master. I’ve lodged them in their rooms and I’ve put their luggage in their as well. They are waiting for you to return and then they’ll start their work.” Was the reply. Fiercely glowing lantern lit the entrance of the farm and the truck took a turn into the barren farm and finally stopped in front of the porch. Yellow light spilled out of the partially open door and in its light revealed not the stooped aging man but a vibrant, youthful man who had seen it all. “Back the truck into the barn and dump it all in the back. Make sure you tie them all down to the pole in the back. Don’t want them wandering off till they are ready” barked the man. The night was drawing to a close as the moon was sinking deeper and deeper into the horizon. Walking inside, the man shut the door waiting till the darkness covered the land once more.


                          Tuesday, August 9, 2011

                          When past sins become due

                            The lonesome howl of a wolf wakes me up from the deep sleep whose tentacles refused to let go. Sticking my head out the bed sheet, I looked out of the solitary window and saw the moon making its journey westward to other lands. It is a misty morning with a hint of sunshine. The birds are just starting shake their sleep off and the town in the valley is still shrouded in darkness. The lights of the long haul trucks can be seen as they snake through the town and one can hear the engine hum and the occasional horn blaring nonstop and the abandoned train station through which the single track railway line runs always reminded me of a bygone era.

                            Sleep slowly lost its hold on me as I got out of the bed. My body was stiff and muscles sore from the events of last night. Looking at the room, I felt a deep emptiness that refused to go away yet the house just started back with is dead eyes as if to mock me with its empties. The room was once more as empty as it was the day before. Throwing the bed sheet off, I sat on the edge and wondered what my next course of action will be. I ran my hand across my face and thought of getting a shave and a bath before heading down to clear up the cobwebs in my mind some hearty breakfast and plan out my next move.

                            Electricity poles, town lights and small houses started to turn off their lights as the night slowly turned into day. Time rolled on till I lost track of time. I had all but forgotten about the last few nights and the events that seemed like happened in another lifetime until I pulled the sheets and pillow covers out onto the floor, I heard a sound which not only startled me but took my breath away. It seemed like a ghost from my past had returned to haunt me once more.

                            Minutes turned into hours as I started at the door wondering what to do. The sudden rough knock in the door had startled me and had thrown me into panic as I was able to feel what was beyond the door. The door creaked open on its own and a strong earthy smell permeated the room and the sound of mountains grinding against each other filled my ears. The yellow light from the lamp hanging above started to shake and swing wildly throwing shadows which cast wildly gyrating shadows into the room which seemed to leer and mock my very existence as the resident God of this forsaken outpost eyed me with his lone eye and hissed that the past sins were due asked if I was coming down or not. I growled at him to leave me be and I’ll be there in a bit. Looking out the window one last time before I left, I felt the storm still raging inside me as the dim grey light filtered through the curtains.

                            I could feel the static build up behind me. As I turned around, I saw the strange being grinding his teeth , clenching and unclenching his hands in sheer anger. Pushing the chair away, I got up and started to walk to escape its anger. I twirled around as I heard a wooden board splinter near me. Running blindly down the empty corridor, my heart started to pound and felt like it was ready to pop out of my chest. Looking back, I saw that the corridor was empty except for me. Unsure of what I heard, I started to back up until I reached the walls. I got the sensation that the walls were smooth, rough, and alive as it seemed to move and pulsate under my skin. Stepping forward and turning around, I grimaced as if I had touched a burning piece of charcoal, I let out a gasp. Heavy footsteps were heard running towards me, yet I paid no heed to them as a crack in the wall appeared. The crack slowly widened to reveal a staircase leading to some dark room below. A hand roughly grasped my arm and yanked me around. A face which had gone blood red and was mashing his teeth together like a beast gone mad. “How dare you think you could escape my wrath? It is the time for you to test your sanity and humanity. Some things are not meant to be seeked out. You shall pay a heavy price for disturbing the sleep of the elder Gods.” Was all he said as he stood besides me as at the horrors that seemed to spill forth from the very depths of hell and pooled around him as if waiting for some unspoken command.

                            I felt hypnotized and drawn by the deep dark well of darkness that lay within the door, yet I was torn between paralyzing fear and the desire to embrace the darkness. As I started to lose my mind to the horrors that seemed to eat away my sanity, I started to squirm backwards looking for an escape till I reached the very edge of the room. The only sound I heard was harsh laughter and a snarl. Not being able to back any further, I started to push myself up with my back towards the wall while grimacing in fear as one nightmarish scene after another played through my mind. Something seemed to slither and tighten around me as I lost consciousness. The darkness began to clear as I groggily regained my senses and claw back from the nameless horror pits which I had been dragged to. I woke up after what seemed like many eons as the horrors which flooded my mind seemed just to nibble at the very edges for the moment and I slowly started to sit up. I could not recall how I got down here

                            The rolling and churning wall of darkness seemed to surround me. Standing there hypnotized, I stared at the shapeless wisps of smoke which descended down towards me, whispered strange hypnotic words and melted into nothing once more. I really don’t know how much time passed by, yet when I came back to my senses I noticed utter silence. A few pockets of mist solidified in the deep dark pools, merged into a one and started to twirl round and round while a banshee like sound was heard. Looking for an escape from this madness, I looked upwards and saw a staircase with an open door which seemed to call me out. It looked familiar yet different at the same time. In the near total darkness, I stumbled and fell a few times. As I neared the staircase, the stench became unbearable. In the dim light, I saw that what thought was water was blood and there were a few bodies stacked under the stairs out of which one seemed like a new addition. There was a gaping wound in the chest and the throat seemed to be slit. Blood still seemed to be oozing out and pooling around the body. As I took a closer look, I recoiled in horror as it seemed like my own.

                            As I started to take one hesitant step after another, I felt the darkness solidify around me and intrude into my mind once more. The images which I thought long gone returned with a vengeance as I fell to my knees and cried out in pain and utter horror. The darkness that gripped me relaxed and the horrors receded into the fringes. Something seemed to growl, snap and nip at my heels as if it wanted me to leave quickly as if it was done toying with me for the moment. I started to back up the stairs while trying to look into the darkness that seemed to follow me to the very top.