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alive
11-14-2008, 10:18 AM
So the other day Jeremy, Mantha and I were talking about stories, and about writing them. I remembered some stuff I wrote a while ago, and mantha convinced me to translate it.
So yeah, I'd really appreciate it if you took the time to read and comment, especially on the translated ones, as I figure the language might be staggering at some places.

Alright, so I've added a new one. All comments, regarding anything from better title ideas to how to improve the story in itself are greatly appreciated.

The grass is greener


He stood on top of the mountain. On top of the world. He was an old man now. The land before him stretched thousands of miles in all directions, and he knew that it was his. From the smallest, shy rill, to the largest, raging river. Two thousand feet below he could see the ground, but it did not scare him. The ground welcomed him, it was his friend. As were every tree and waterfall, every stone, and every ant beneath it. It was all his own. He owned the land, and the land owned him. The old man had come to this place many years ago, when the trees were still young. He watched them as they grew older, but was careful not to interfere too much with them. They had a mutual agreement, the trees and him. He left them alone, and they left him alone. Sometimes, however, the flowers prepared food for him. On those rare occasions, he would work hard to satisfy their every need, for the plants’ berries could please kings. In solitude, he lived at the foot of the mountain, but he was never alone.

The old man did not entirely know why he was here. He had never had problems in school, nor in social life. He felt restricted and held back by the norms of society. The unconditional loyalty to parents, the preset courses for life and how generally accepted truths were never questioned. He never thought things could never change, but he always felt there was something wrong. For more than two years he had roamed the country, searching for something, before finally settling down in the mountains. From time to time he had resided elsewhere, in small towns, with good friends, and sometimes he had even worked, but he was never at ease. After a while he realised that he was not only searching for something different, but in fact also escaping the known and predetermined. Escaping from the society that trapped people in a pseudo-existence, bound by meaningless concepts of titles and rules. A society where beauty was a nice rack, and success was metal and paper. Instead of living in this society, and allowing it to form him like mould, he decided to break away from it. To deny it, and live life the way he wanted. On the road he experienced a different life than he was used to. He met and lived among people from the shadow side of society, those who had fallen out of the system. But even with them he felt too bound by rules, and could never sit back, relax and be satisfied. His thoughts wandered to nature. From a young age he had enjoyed spending time in the woods, living of the land in complete solitude. Nature was a force to be reckoned with; a challenge, but also, in itself, a reward.

When he first arrived at the foot of the mountain, he was intrigued by the vastness of everything. It all seemed like intricate parts of bigger machinery, and he was reluctant to engage it, afraid that his interference would push the machinery out of its delicate state. He knew however, that he, just like the birds and the rivers, was just another component. A component that had removed itself centuries ago, but whose return would not even raise an eyebrow. Therefore he decided to settle there, at the foot of the mountain, embraced by the beauty that was everything. Though sometimes he argued with nature, and storms, rain and flood could make life difficult, he was always alive, always satisfied. He never thought it would be easy, and every new challenge he faced with more vigour than the one before. At the foot of the mountain he could live, unrestricted by the rules of man, accepted thoughts of proper manners, and with no title to define him. He was only himself. No less and no more. No one could classify him based on social class or income. He was completely free.

For years his existence continued like this. He survived on whatever he could find, built primitive shelters, stocked up food for the winter season, and buried himself in the snow when it came. As he grew older he almost forgot all about the corrupt society he had left, but the beauty of nature never ceased to amaze him. How it could, in one moment, be tender and warm, like a mother caring for her only child, and in the next, evil and powerful, a mortal enemy in battle. When he saw this, feelings of pride and joy welled up inside him. It was all so tremendous, so vast, and he was a part of it. It was thoughts like these that kept him going through times of hunger and desolation, for life wasn’t always easy. It could go weeks between each time he saw any big game, and he had to be ready when it came. One winter he had to resort to eating the bark from trees to stay alive, carefully figuring out, through hit and miss experiments, exactly how much his body was able to digest, for the hunting season had been particularly bad that year. Still, his enormous joy for life kept him going. He refused to give up, and in the end, nature was always the one to falter. He could only climb to the mountaintop, look around at his world, and all the energy of his youth would return to him. One day, however, while the old man stood at his usual place on the top of the mountain, he could see something dark in the distance. Something evil and threatening. From the second he saw it, he knew exactly what it was.

In an instant, all the hate he had not felt for years came to the surface, as he realized that what he was looking at was the darkness of society. With its wagons and automobiles, illusionary titles, backward ideologies and destructive wars. He remembered how he, at the age of 22, had left his family, his friends and his job at the factory, without saying good-bye. He did not leave as much as a note, nor a resignation letter. He remembered how he donated most of his money away, and burned the rest. The concept of money had always bothered him, how we from a young age are forced to assign value to something meaningless, something worthless. It was impossible for a person to discard the concept of money, without discarding the concept of society. In his late teens he had tried to convince people that there was something fundamentally wrong, in the roots of their beliefs. He had held public speeches, but no one seemed to listen. They were already too consumed by the cycle, and he saw it as his only option to escape. But there was no escape from a constantly expanding evil. He had no distance left to run.

So the old man waited, and watched. Slowly, the dark clouds came closer and closer, and with them they brought sounds and confusion. In the distance he could hear cars, and he could smell the gas they produced. It had been weeks since he last had seen any game, and while surviving on berries, seeds and nuts were possible, it did not give him the surplus energy to hunt for extended periods of time. It seemed like the animals knew what was coming. The trees and flowers knew as well, but they were rooted to the ground. This sudden and unexpected invasion of his world scared him. For the first time in his life he was afraid. It was not that he was afraid of other people, or despised spending time with them, quite on the contrary; he enjoyed spending time with others, and from his time on the road, what he remembered best was the people he had met, some of whom he had tried to keep in touch with until he decided to live alone. No, he was scared because he knew what they would bring with them. The old man felt marooned on a small island, in an endless sea.

He stood on top of the mountain. On top of the world. He was an old man now. The land before him stretched thousands of miles in all directions, and he knew that it was his. Two thousand feet below he could see the ground, but it did not scare him. The ground welcomed him, it was his friend. “The grass is greener,” he thought, “on the other side of the ground.” Then he jumped.


The second is a short story, originally written in and translated from Nynorsk (literally "New Norwegian"), a dialect of normal norwegian that we are required to learn in school.
I guess it's titled "To live on a dream"

I take my helmet off. The world is gray and dirty. The sun doesn’t shine. No birds are singing. Summer is not in the air. There’s no air at all.

I look at the world. Apart from some boulders, spread randomly around, everything is flat. As if a big bomb exploded and took it all away. It has been like this for as long as I can remember. Dad says that once there were trees and mountains on earth, just like in the movies. I don’t believe him. Old people are always rambling about how everything used to be better in the old days. Before the helmets. Before the catastrophe.

Nobody knows when the catastrophe happened. We don’t count time no more. Time is only causing problems. Everybody knows that the catastrophe happened. Some said the were there, here. They are lying. If they were they wouldn’t live to talk about it. I did not live before the catastrophe, but I like to pretend I did. When I do I’m living in a green world, with air, animals and noise. A world without silence. Now everything is silence. Silence and ash.

Even with today’s technology we can’t breath forever. I have to put my helmet back on. The world is green and beautiful. Birds are singing and there is summer in the air. I am living on a dream.

The third is another short story, also originally written in nynorsk.
I guess this one is called "The man who bought time"

Once upon a time there was an old man. One morning he woke up 5:30, ate breakfast and went to work. There he archived papers for nine hours, before he went back home, made dinner, ate the dinner, read a book and went to bed. Before he fell asleep he thought about what he wanted to do the following day. The next morning he woke up 5:30, ate breakfast and went to work. There he archived papers for nine hours, before he went back home, made dinner, ate the dinner, read a book and went to bed. Before he fell asleep he thought about what he wanted to do the following day. For twenty years the old man’s days had passed like this. Twenty very long years.

As a youth he had not been without ambitions, quite the contrary. He wanted to be a mathematician or a scientist, he wanted to make the world a better place and he had the abilities necessary to do so. He had been a talented young man. No, it was not languor or hardship that had stopped him earlier in his life. It was time. Time had always stood there like an impenetrable wall for the man. If it weren’t for time, the old man would probably have been mathematician, scientist and rock star already.

You see, even though the man had many talents, he lacked one. As they say: “Nobody’s perfect,” and this man certainly wasn’t nobody. He was only unable to manage his time. One day he was playing the guitar, the second he was skiing and the third he was writing a book. He could never settle for anything. In the end he archived paper.

One gray summer day, only minutes after the old man had eaten his dinner, someone knocked on his door. This was an unusual event in the man’s normally monotone life, and it was not without enthusiasm he opened the door. He was met by a neatly dressed man with suit, tie and thin hair. “Excuse me sir,” said the neatly dressed man “but I would like to offer you time, all the time in the world in fact. Less than a penny, suit and tie included.” “Less than a penny” was obviously an enormous understatement, after all they were bargaining about all the time in the world, but it is still an offer no sensible old man with a time problem can refuse. After twenty years of archiving the man had just enough money to accept the offer, so he did.

Everything went smooth, and faster than one would think. The old man wrote his name on some papers, paid less than a penny in cash, and viola, he suddenly had all the time in the world. A fair trade.

The old man did not sleep that night. For eight hours he lay still in his bed, thinking about how his life with time would be. What about a walk in the park tomorrow, maybe even two? The old man took seven walks in the park. That night a happy old man went to bed; a man looking forward to sleeping, and looking forward to waking up. But the old man didn’t sleep. All night he lay in his bed, waiting for dawn. He didn’t sleep the following night either. The days passed as they usually do, but the nights stood still. Frozen in time. Every single the old man night went to bed, praying, even though he had never believed in any gods, for sleep. Every night he was awake.

One day the old man put on his suit and tie. He walked out of his house and was met by a gray summer day. The old man found a lonely house, similar to the one he himself owned, and knocked on the door. An old man opened. After a fair trade the old man went home to sleep.

The next morning he woke up at 5:30.

52xM
11-14-2008, 10:35 AM
I really liked the 2nd and 3rd ones.
I think you could continue the second one actually, it was really nice.
And the third one had a really nice twist to it in the end.
Good work, do post more.

Jeremy
11-15-2008, 06:15 AM
Really great dude, in fact most of the problems I have with it would be covered with the translation. I would also like you to finish the second one, you have a really great atmosphere going, would be a waste to not finish it.

Mantha
11-17-2008, 05:05 AM
Yeah, blame it all on me. <_<

I already commented on the 1st one.

The second one IS NOT FINISHED. So you finish it, then I'll comment. :P

The third one is really awesome. It's so mystical.

I knew you can come up with great stuff. Keep writing!

MoD
11-17-2008, 08:27 AM
The second one reminds me a little of the world of Fallout, and what it would be like in the days after the explosion, wandering the wastelands.

alive
01-22-2009, 11:08 AM
Alright, I've added a new one. All comments greatly appreciated.

MoD
01-22-2009, 11:12 AM
The new one was beautiful, but all of your stories have this grey undertone which depresses me, no matter how pretty they are.

alive
02-16-2009, 11:03 AM
Thanks. I am working on a detective short story at the moment. Should be up soon.