Empty

“Empty”
-Michael David Anderson-

Hello Empty,
I swore again to never let you back into me
But hearts were broken, another harmful spree
I was left, but I was right, and I was set free

I pulled up the manuscript of my life
I rewrote the passages that needed changing
I decided to omit the strife
And do some much needed rearranging

The faces began to blur by
But I didn’t care, I didn’t cry
Let them fly
These memories will not die

These wishes born inside
In you, I do confide

I will not let anyone hold me down
I will not let anyone leave me to drown
No regrets, no one forgets
I wouldn’t leave anyone here

Hello Empty,
The end is near, it’s time for you to leave
No more fear, I’m fairly sure I can finally breathe

Ghosts taunting
Smiles flaunting
Those eyes look over to recognize
There was no disguise

Face to face, damn this disgrace
Damn that luck, damn that misery
Damn her for ever bewitching me

You’re always born inside
In you, I do confide

I will not let anyone hold me down
I will not let anyone leave me to drown
No regrets, no one forgets
No one should ever be left here

Goodbye Empty,
Hit the road, up in smoke
This was all just a petty joke

You’re no longer on the inside
This is the last time I shall confide

I will not let anyone hold me down
I will not let anyone leave me to drown
No regrets, no one forgets
No one else will leave me here

Copyright © April 2016 by Michael David Anderson

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

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I’m going to say this right up front: I’ll forego the obvious jabs at this film as much as possible. I’m also going to avoid a synopsis of the film; I’m fairly certain we can ascertain a lot of what this film is about simply from the title – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which undoubtedly features some sort of conflict between the two named characters and, if we use our skills of deduction, also means there’s probably some connection to the Justice League – as well as the film trailers, which (as usual) tell us quite a bit.

A lot of critics are determined to crucify director Zack Snyder if at all possible, and while there are some odd choices made in this film, I cannot say all of them should be laid at Snyder’s feet. One such decision – to pack the film with a plethora of dream sequences – would feel right at home in A Nightmare on Elm Street (or one of my Teddy Dormer novels), but there is little to indicate the transition from life to dream. Even the opening sequence, which at first seems like a true flashback, is ultimately revealed to be little more than a dream. One sequence, with Batman taking on a force of Superman’s guard in a desolate city setting, could warrant a movie of its own; it is certainly intriguing enough to exist as a stand-alone project, but in the overall context of the film surrounding it, it’s an almost jarring transition, although it does luckily clue us into Bruce Wayne’s paranoid state of mind in regard to the Man of Steel.

So where do I stand on the film as a whole? The first forty-five minutes of the film feel almost like a disconnected series of scenes that initially seem unrelated to a large degree. Interjecting these scenes with the dreams I previously mentioned also create a discordant narrative that only begins to solidify during the film’s second half. A lot of this could have been easily resolved with better editing, but it may also hint at scenes excised from the final product in an attempt to reduce the film’s running time to its already two and a half hour length… scenes that may arise in the films R-rated cut that has already been promised for the film’s eventual home video release on DVD and/or BluRay.

Normally I have no complaints about not having any idea what’s going on in the plot during the first half of a film if there is a mystery at play, but the scenes need to build upon one another in a logical fashion, and as such BvS does not always do so, often hopping between various perspectives and locations in sometimes maddening fashion. However, the film’s second half is far more coherent, and the film finally constructs the narrative from the film’s first half after the fact into a state of coherence.

Many may disagree with my perception of the film’s first half, but it certainly had a way of hampering my enjoyment of Batman v Superman. There is good news, however; as many reviews have previously stated, Ben Affleck makes not only a great Batman but a superb Bruce Wayne, embodying both sides of the character in amazing fashion. One sequence shortly before the film’s climatic battle features a sequence of Batman taking out a warehouse of armed thugs in brutal fashion. As a gamer, this sequence reminded me of encounters during the Batman Arkham video games, especially with one particular move involving a box crate.

The film has proven to be divisive thus far. Is it a great film? No. Is it a good film? That is also debatable. This could also be one of those rare instances where its value is determined more by the audiences and the individual viewer. Therefore, I put it in your hands: make up your own damn mind. Love it, hate it, whichever. It’s your choice.

You Smiled Today

“You Smiled Today”
-Michael David Anderson-

You smiled today
It was the kind that didn’t just curve your lips
It reached your eyes, lighting them up
That smile was one of the reasons I fell in love with you

It was simply a trick, a silly flirtation
But in those moments, things were (almost) normal again
And I felt like I belonged there

Imagine how sad I was when I went to bed alone

Sometimes there are problems we cannot see
And when everything falls apart and we discover the source
We say, Of course
This is what caused all the misery

Sometimes the problem isn’t us
Sometimes it’s the things that precede

Seeing your smile today
Hearing you laugh
I remembered the girl I love
And saw you fresh for the first time in months
Oh, how I’ve missed you
Oh, how I’m going to miss you

 

Copyright © March 2016 by Michael David Anderson

Afterward

“Afterward”
-Michael David Anderson-

 
This battleground,
where our hearts lost each other
and our pride fought for supremacy,
was once a work of art,
and the beauty I beheld in that place
came crashing down
even as I sought to make repairs.

It takes two to build and mend,
but one or both can command the army
or opposing sides
to tear it all down,
to leave it in ruin,
and watch it burn and smolder
as a testament to what has been lost.

There were cracks in the foundation.
I think we found them after.

If anyone says I didn’t see this coming,
they’re fools,
and obviously don’t know me as well as they think they do.
I saw the signs.
I play my cards close to my chest,
hoping against logic and common sense
for the best.

I wouldn’t change who I was.
I learned long ago such an act is folly.
I can strive to better myself and grow,
but I can’t be someone else.
I just wanted you to want me
as much as I wanted you,
and although the words might have eluded me
in times of need
and my feelings didn’t always show on my face
(for even those of us who appear calm and reserved feel,
and damn, do we feel more deeply than you give us credit!)
I lost the feeling you wanted me too.

I never wanted to feel so lonely or unwanted.
Not with you.
Never with you.

This gulf divided us,
and I couldn’t cross it alone.

But I know who I am,
and I never lost sight of that.
I immersed myself in you and,
later,
dreams of you,
but I never lost myself.

I’m still me,
in pain,
and even the words I speak now – my peace – hurt like hell.

But I’m still me,
even after all that’s happened,
and there is no animosity.
Only pain,
and it reminds me that I do feel,
that I’m alive,
and I’d rather feel this
than be cold and numb…
lost.

 

Copyright © March 2016 by Michael David Anderson

 

Mass Hysteria Manifesto

“Mass Hysteria Manifesto”
-Michael David Anderson-

You,
with gunmetal in your hand
and a GoPro strapped to your chest,
thinking you’re tough shit,
thinking you’re oppressed,
thinking you’ll show the world,
deluded by misguided ideals,
determined to make your mark:

You disgust me.

How dare you take a life?
How dare you take a knife
and slash it with strife?
All you’re doing
is perpetuating senseless violence.
All you’re doing
is adding fuel to a fire.
All you’re doing
is serving as another link
in this endless chain.

The bullets were cheap.
The lives were not.
The blood you spilled
is worth more than your
twenty-three page manifesto,
which serves as your
last will and testament.
That blood is worth more
than every breath you ever took
in your worthless life.

Your life could have been worth more
than this senseless violence.
You are yet another name
that I will forget by hour’s end.
I will remember your victim’s names.
I will commit their faces to memory.
Yours I will condemn to the fog
of the memory graveyard
at the back of my mind,
in shadow.

That death is all you deserve,
not the one you delivered upon yourself
with one misplaced bullet.

Your so-called manifesto
was a rant, undeserving
of our attention.
You praised others of your ilk
and blamed your actions
on persecution,
on race,
on homophobia.
You are responsible for your own actions.
You are responsible for your own outcome.

Why do you,
like so many others,
contribute to this growing
mass hysteria manifesto?
Why do you,
like so many others,
take lives for attention,
for fame,
for nothing at all?

Race is no reason,
racism a filthy excuse.
Why does race have to be
the reason a dumb boy
unleashed a fatal volley
in a church
earlier this year?
Why should it matter
he was white
and they were black?
Why should it matter
you were black
and they were white?
Why should it matter
you were gay
and they were straight?
It shouldn’t.
We’re humans.
There is no division of race.
There are only shades
to one race: humanity.
Where is yours?
Where is your humanity?
Did you shed it
like reptilian skin?
Did you leave it behind –

a horrible reminder
of the violence you committed
and now refuse to answer for,
in death?

I hope you wallow in the misery you’ve caused.

I will not remember your name.
No one will after today.

Only those that perpetuate
your mass hysteria manifesto,
like all those that came before,
will.

Why won’t you all write
an epilogue of peace?
There are better stories to tell.

Copyright © August 26, 2015 by Michael David Anderson
In memory of Alison Parker and Adam Ward,
and all those we have lost to this perpetual cycle of senseless violence.

In the House of Wolves – excerpt

That’s right: I’m working, ever so slowly, on a new novel entitled In the House of Wolves. It’s a psychological haunted house novel, and as you’ll be able to tell from the work-in-progress below, some weird things will most definitely happen.

I’m posting this early draft of the first part of the book, which serves as a sort of prologue, to whet appetites and gauge reaction mostly. I’m still early on, and it’s hard to say how much of what is written here – which I assure you is in extreme rough draft format – will stick.

Either way, here is a glimpse at what comes next.

-MDA

___

in the

House

of

Wolves

 

Michael David Anderson

BEFORE

One

Elaine Salmon called the police after half an hour of long debate, wondering if she wasn’t simply overreacting. After all, there was no crime against taking your child to the park. It shouldn’t matter it was only eight in the morning and below freezing, nor should it matter the snow which had been falling overnight was now nearly six inches deep, which around these parts constituted an emergency for most people. This wasn’t the north, after all, and people around these parts about lost their damn minds when flurries descended and left the lightest of dustings. Six inches? Yes, that was something to write home about, which is why Elaine worried so much about the lady pushing her son on the swing in the middle of the park across the street.

Elaine was an early bird – she knew it, as did her husband Harold, who preferred staying up late and getting a bit more shut-eye in the mornings – and she knew what the neighbors called her: a damned busy body. She was the one always looking out the windows, looking after every person walking up and down the sidewalk or taking a supposed leisurely stroll through the park. Crime wasn’t a worry here, everyone said so, and yet Elaine held the opinion it was only a matter of time before someone tried breaking into a house to rip their brand new LED television off the wall. Why, it wouldn’t surprise her if it was one of those geek agents, or whatever they called themselves, who installed the system; they spent long enough in people’s houses and saw everything they owned, everything from their computers to their home entertainment systems and other personal effects. They couldn’t all be uppity up, oh no. And wouldn’t those neighbors who called her a damned busy body be absolutely thankful she kept a vengeful eye on the neighborhood? Yes, they would! Most definitely!

So why did the lady in the park ruffle her feathers? What was it about her and the boy that bothered her? Other than the snow, of course. It took her a while to puzzle it out, but once the answer dawned on her, it was obvious.

The two hardly moved at all. Perhaps it was the cold leeching the energy from her limbs, but the lady put very little effort into pushing the child on the swing. The arc of the saddle itself was only six inches or so, it seemed from her kitchen window, and the boy… was he even holding onto the chains? Was he wearing gloves? My, he must be freezing.

Elaine brewed her morning coffee. She bustled back and forth, worrying about it, checking out the window every so often to see if the lady and the little boy were still out there, and every time, without fail, they were.

Elaine stood there, peering out the window through her bifocals, tapping her teeth with her nails – one of her many nervous tics. Once she realized she was doing it, she yanked her hand away from her mouth and shoved it deep into her robe’s pocket. Instead, she ran her tongue over the front of her teeth, feeling every crevice between every tooth, caressing the gums above them.

She eyed the clock. At this point, she had already been in the kitchen for fifteen long minutes, wondering and worrying about the lady in the park. Elaine saw the lady was wearing a long scarf. It reminded her of one of the Doctors from that long-running BBC show Harold liked to watch, Doctor Who. Which one was it again? The third doctor? No. It might have been the fourth. All the purists loved that Doctor, Harold often told her.

In addition to the scarf, she was wearing a coat with a hoodie, but the hoodie itself was down, leaving her brown hair exposed to the elements. The snow melted as it touched her at first, but over time her brown hair succumbed to the white until she looked more like an old lady than a young one. The boy was wearing a hat at least – stark red, like blood – but other than that, his clothes were nondescript. Whether he was wearing jeans or pants, Elaine couldn’t tell, not from this far away. She couldn’t even tell if the poor thing was wearing a coat.

After the coffee was finished brewing, she poured herself a cup and stirred creamer in. She tasted it afterward, making sure it was to her liking, staring at the lady and the boy all the while. The longer Elaine watched them, the more she decided something was wrong.

She set the coffee down on the counter. Brooks, her tabby cat, jumped onto the counter to sniff it, but he knew better than to drink it, especially while it was hot. Elaine left him be; she wasn’t worried.

She went to the bedroom, where Harold lay on his back in bed, snoring loud enough to wake the dead. It was a miracle she ever got any sleep at night. Luckily she was always asleep by the time he finally came to bed, so she was never aware of that sonorous timbre until around the time she was rising from sleep in the half hour or so before her morning alarm went off. Normally, it would be another two or three hours before Harold even thought about climbing out of bed, but not this morning.

Elaine shook him awake. When Harold opened his eyes, his disorientation and confusion were evident. “What’s wrong?” he asked first, only thinking afterward to also ask, “What time is it?”

“Harold, come with me.”

He did so slowly, throwing the covers off and sliding his feet into his slippers. He stood, yawning and stretching, before slumping along after her. “What’s going on?”

“There’s a lady and her boy in the park,” Elaine said.

“What about her?”

“There’s something wrong with them.”

“Oh, Elaine honey,” Harold grumbled, “there’s something wrong with everybody in the park.”

She turned back to him, slapping him lightly on the arm. “Not like that!” she snapped. “This is serious, Harold.”

She hadn’t been sure until then, but now that the words were out of her mouth, she was quite certain: this was serious.

A look of exasperation crossed Harold’s tired face, but he came as she bid if for no other reason than he knew she’d never let him go back to sleep otherwise. Little did he know that he wouldn’t be getting back to sleep this morning.

In the kitchen once more, with Harold this time, Elaine went to the window and, with a snappish wave of her hand, said, “Take a look!”

Harold did. He squinted at first, leaning forward against the counter. He cocked his head to the side, and slowly his eyes widened. “Something’s… wrong with that little boy,” he said, his voice tinged with concern.

“Yes, there most definitely is!” Elaine agreed. “That does it. I’m calling the police.”

As she went to retrieve the wireless phone from its cradle, Harold turned from the window. “Wait,” he said. “Are you sure it’s really necessary?”

Elaine gave Harold a look, one he knew all too well, which told him yes, it was really necessary. She dialed, pressed the phone to her ear, and waited.

Two

The call came in at 8:18 a.m. Officer Swan and his partner Hawke were the first on the scene approximately six minutes later. They parked their cruiser in the snow-encrusted parking lot three hundred yards from the swing set where the lady, even then, continued to push the little boy in small, lethargic swings.

“Jesus,” Hawke said, setting his coffee aside as he looked through the windshield. “Doesn’t that lady realize how cold it is outside?”

Swan said nothing. He didn’t think the lady was paying the cold any mind. Just the site of her gave him the creeps though. Calls like this seldom lent to a good night’s sleep in his experience. He got out of the cruiser, and Hawke did likewise, their shoes crunching the snow underfoot.

The officers followed the faint outline of the concrete path into the park, accentuated at the edges where it gave way to grass, until they approached the lady and the boy, both of whom faced away from the officers. Neither of them had reacted to Hawke and Swan’s approach.

Something’s seriously wrong here, Swan thought.

It wasn’t Swan who identified himself but Hawke. “Ma’am, I’m Officer Hawke with JCPD, and this is Officer Swan. Are you and your boy okay?”

The lady didn’t even stiffen. She pushed the boy again. It was like he and Hawke weren’t even there.

Swan rested his hand on the butt of his service pistol. Stepping off the path, he crossed the to the swingset, approaching the perimeter of two-by-fours that separated the grass outside the play area from the wood chips and mulch within, his feet sinking deeper into the snow as he did so.

“Ma’am?” he asked tentatively, leaning forward as he flanked her to get a look at her face if possible, or even the boy. He looked back to Hawke. The man wasn’t easily rattled, but Swan could see the anxiety in his features, just as he was certain Hawke could see the same in his.

Circling around farther, the little boy finally came into view… and from the first glimpse of his face, Swan knew the kid was dead. His mouth hung slack. His eyes stared at nothing in particular. The look on the boy’s face, not of fear but of acquiescence to fate, was nothing compared to his horrible complexion, which looked as if the pigment had been leeched from his epidermis until it was a grotesque shading of various whites and blues.

My God, what happened to him? Swan wondered, swallowing an awful gorge. He looked back to Hawke, his face contorted with emotion. “11-44,” Swan told him. “Call it in.”

Hawke’s eyes widened, but he did as Swan asked, reaching for the radio clipped to his uniform to alert dispatch.

Swan never pulled his weapon, but he left his hand on it all the same. He approached the lady, who never turned to look at him, and slowly, steadily reached out to grasp her shoulder. Even then she didn’t look at him. She pushed the boy again, and the body didn’t move in the swing, not even to slump from the slight shift in momentum or the pressure of the lady’s push. It was as if rigor mortis had already set in, and the boy’s tiny hands held the swing’s chains in a death grip.

“Step away, ma’am,” Swan said. It was a wonder his voice didn’t waver.

It was only then she looked at him. Her eyes shifted the tiniest bit, just enough to acknowledge his presence, but she was hardly there, Swan knew. Yes, she was here physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually she was elsewhere. Only after she looked at him did he notice the trails of frozen tears running down her cheeks.

Swan didn’t know what had happened, but he had a feeling he wouldn’t be sleeping well tonight.

Copyright © August 2015 by Michael David Anderson

10 Questions With Michael David Anderson

I recently did an interview over at the Leighgendarium, and it went live today! Check it out!

The Leighgendarium

Welcome Leighgendaries to the fifteenth edition of 10 Questions With…

Today, our guest is:

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Michael David Anderson

Horror and suspense novelist Michael David Anderson was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, in 1985. He spent his childhood years in Georgia and Tennessee. At the age of seven, Anderson began writing short stories, and in 8th grade he published his first poem “Dog,” which he later included in his poetry collection Delusions of Grandeur & Illusions of Eloquence. He graduated from Karns High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2003, and he possesses degrees in both Psychology and English.

Anderson has published several books of poetry as well as a handful of short stories. He has published two novels, both of which are installments of the Teddy Dormer series: Teddy and Wake. He recently began work on his next novel.

He lives with his significant other, Heather Moira Green. Bandit, his dog, is a German…

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