Tag Archives: Short Story

Artist Feature: Shawn Speakman

We met Shawn Speakman back in Seattle in 2010. At the time, I learned that he was a writer, and I’ve been eager to find out more about his work ever since. In our interview, Shawn discusses writing about subjects that are relevant to our surroundings, but placed in fantasy, and how that juxtaposition can lead to a better understanding of the present reality. In the past few years, he’s published his book THE DARK THORN and a fantasy anthology he edited, UNFETTERED – and has recently been busy responding to requests for more literary work. We’re excited to have Shawn Speakman’s voice contributing to the Collective!

Shawn Speakman

Every story that I write comes from a “what-if” seed that takes root and grows.

– Shawn Speakman

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

SS: I grew up in the wilds of Washington State, near the southern base of the volcano Mt. St. Helens. It is a heavily conservative [area] and I fled, to Seattle, as soon as I was able. I have lived in the Emerald City ever since. Although I am just flippant to the second part of your question with, “I live in denial, as all writers do.”

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

SS: I am a fiction writer. In order to write believable fiction, it takes reflection. It is important to write about subjects pertinent to our world — to put those subjects in a fantasy world, add a bit more pressure, and see what happens. In this way, I gain a better understanding of my world. It costs less than therapy, I assure you. And I hope when someone finishes one of my stories that it leaves them thinking.

How do THE DARK THORN and your other Annwn Cycle tales fit in with that definition?

SS: Every story that I write comes from a “what-if” seed that takes root and grows. For THE DARK THORN, I thought “What if the first Christian crusades were not against the Middle East but, instead, against very real Celtic fey creatures in Britain?” Most of my work is influenced by the dichotomy in my mind between religion and faith. They are very different, in my opinion, and I like to explore that in my writing. Answering the “what-if” question is my response. I took a look at the good and the evil inherent in the Catholic Church as well as the relationship between a broken man, his past, and the faith it requires to overcome such hardship.

The Dark Thorn - Shawn Speakman

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

SS: Since the publication of THE DARK THORN and my fantasy anthology UNFETTERED, I’ve received a number of other short story anthology requests from other editors. I have written a short story and a novelette in the last month for those books. THE UNLOCKED TOME is the short story and its seed grew out of: “What lengths would a 10-year-old boy who has lost his family go to in order to assert some kind of power over his life?” It was a fun short story, featuring a character I will use again in a future novel. For the moment though, I am working on THE EVERWINTER WRAITH, the sequel to THE DARK THORN.

Who or what inspires you?

Continue reading

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The Porch Swing: Character Series

Character Series: The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones, Vol. VI, by Samuel Bostick.

Vol. VI is the final chapter in Samuel’s intricately crafted Character Series project: The Aventurs of SnakeMan Jones. The project was delivered to the Collective in bi-weekly installments over the past couple months: Vol. I, Vol. II, Vol. III, Vol. IV, and Vol. V, and before we kick off the final volume, we’ll take it back to where it all started, in Samuel’s words:

This is a new sort of writing experience and I feel like it’s off to a good start. This project actually originated as a collaboration piece with a student of mine who was often drawing these really fantastic monsters and such. I told him that I would write a story about the monsters he drew and this is the first of that run. On this past Saturday, I showed him the monster I had reworked and gave him a brief of the beginning of The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones. After studying the piece and seeing the development of the collaboration, he gave his 2 thumbs up approval and said he likes where the character and story are headed. This has been a really exciting adventure and experiment. Enjoy it!


SnakeMan Jones

Volume VI

The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones

As they stepped into the chamber, there was a spirit of awe that swept over each and everyone one of them. A beauty so divine it cause a silent reverence, there were no words that could express. Through time, it was told that in that moment each and every one who stepped in elevated from earth to another space.

Climbing through slim space, squeezing to find that next step, in the chamber there was so much to see. It was a dream. In the center of the space was a small island covered by the thickest lush grass any of them had ever seen. Even more amazing was the poppies that covered it, they grew in bushels; thick stems 6-8 inches out the ground each crowned with the most noble of gold petals leafed together dense and full of organic vitality. These were the fullest flowers any of them had ever seen. They must have been well nourished by the spring on the left hand side of the room. It was pouring in fresh water from the hills above; into the room spinning serenely around, filling the pool around the raised meadow.  Above it all the cave was open, the sky exposed as the rims of the chamber bit at the deep blue hue that canopied the sky. In the high of the night there she was, the moon, shinning down, pouring over into the scene.

The walls danced with the reflection of the water and the room was well lit. Unfolding of the night’s magic was soon to beginning, the poppies began to stretch out their petals and reach toward the sky. The Fallians filed in drawn by the scene; without direction they found themselves lined up alongside the water. This place was a sanctuary, hidden in the heart of the land. The combination of the moon’s white light and the gold of the petals were as rich as milk and honey. Surely there was never such a fantastic sight as this. Each one of the StaggMooreFallians had forgotten about the usual feast that would be taking place and the ceremonial processes had been removed from all thought. This was the truest Full Bloom Festival.

Along the walls under the shining from the water were carvings. Pre-modern characters that vaguely resembled the literary code that they used in the current time; it was a sign that people had been there before. Years ago long past the memories most of them had. There were two women who could read the message. They came over with the assistance of some of the younger men. With a deep focused look at the carvings, they got closer. Still not completely convinced they were really seeing what was in front of them, they read it out loud, “Footsteps will fade, and the light of day may fall away, still in the night a glorious sight guided by light, we have again found the truth inside, the wave that moves this mountain’s tide.”

Beyond the island, Jones had just arrived to his humble refuge; that small island uncharted by any cartographer. His Bike parked next to a short palm tree, white sands stretch out under the soft lapping of the sea. He climbed onto the hammock as it swayed loungely in the night’s breeze; as he sat up reflecting on the day he untied his boots, and set them to rest. No need for a fire, the moon was bright enough to light up the eve. Swaying in the cool breeze, he grabbed his jugg and took a few easy swiggs. Back to the peace of his own space, the calm way he preferred to live. Looking up the stars were shining so bright, the constellations locked into an eternal battle of glory, elegance, and might. He pondered their story. Still, the Moon was the highlight; Jones felt he had never seen a moon so radiant, such a glorious moon. As the night grew deeper and the blue darker, Jones sank further into the hammock’s swing. His eyes settled into a soft close. As he drifted into rest, the jugg dropped from his hand and slumped into the sand. The tilt was so that some of the spirit splashed out onto a lone flower. Its amber color shone refreshing as the night’s dew, running down against a tight budd of golden petals. There he was again, that little lizard; scuttling zigg zagg traces across the sand making its way to the flower. Up he crawled and lapped away at the amber dew. As quickly as he came, he was gone; running back toward his hiding spot, this time with a little more zigg to his zagg. The flower opened in that moment, unfolding magically, reaching out toward the heavens.

She smiles down upon them, pouring into the scene with a beauty so divine, serene—The night’s queen.

The End.

Samuel Bostick



the LIFESTYLE’s role is to create collective space for active Reflection and Response through the arts. This space is built around dialogue, expression, collaboration, and artistic (ex)change involving international craftspeople and their realities. The Porch Swing series opens up a Reflection and Response residency where we feature a Collective member’s ongoing project through weekly installations.

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The Porch Swing: Character Series

Character Series: The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones, Vol. V, by Samuel Bostick.

 Following up on Vol. I, Vol. II, Vol. III, and Vol. IV, catch the fifth installment in Mr. Bostick’s intricately crafted Adventurs

Volume V

The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones

The head hit the floor, rolling away from the body to which it once belonged. It came to a stop, eyes open in a gaze of lifeless shock, halting at Jones’ boots. Deep red fresh on the sword’s blade, he was breathing hard, heart pounding, in a rage. Locked onto the next victim, his move was swift, as large as he is in build he was incredibly explosive and the quickness of his feet showed.

In the same moment, the militia pressed the Gnomads back, heels toward to sea, there was no hope for them. A fallen captain and a boat aflame were the only things waiting for them beyond the sands of the shore. Jones finished three of them off. The way he moved in the way of the martial arts was fiercely graceful and elegant. Seeing him in that state was to watch an artist paint; the way that he proceeded to cut through enemies with such form and accuracy was truly artistic. None could match his skill or bravery. There was no place for his enemies to neither run nor hide. The Gnomads’ greed had tied down their fate to fall on that day. SLASH, a diagonal sweep of the sword left a Gnomad body in two parts, THOP. The left side fell to the ground then the right bent at the knee and thudded down soon after not far behind. Chad-sama and the troops had taken on the rest of the Gnomad forces. Finally the last body had fallen.

Upon survey, they realized that the attack was done. It was the town center again not a battle field. There was no more fighting to do; they could return to how things were before the invasion. Jones was off to the far side of the scene. The militia began to whoop and cheer and holler as they realized they had overcome the attack. Full of joy, pushed by their love for the land—their duty to their peoples, they had really done it; they won! A feeling that had not been on the island for so long was there again. The battle brought the town together; they regained the sense of camaraderie which had made this city great in its founding days. Its funny how things work out; the hardship, sacrifice and organized violence that characterized battle were the same thing that brought the people together.

Chad-sama was right in the midst of it all. He was sitting calmly, reflecting upon everything that had just happened. He admired his neighbors for the new sense of pride they had gained. “The StaggMooreFalls militia had really won, we really did it”, he told himself. A half smile pushed up his cheek as he silently laughed at the thought. Thinking about the way that everyone came together for such a cause, for what they believed in, moved him on the inside. He was touched by the scene. Just in that moment, his comrades ran frantically over to him yelling, “AAAAAHHHH!”, and in an instant without warning they jumped up and dog piled him. It was a riot to see grown men acting in such a youthful way, the magic of the full moon was exceptionally glorious that day. Even Jones had to smile seeing the way that the men acted as comrades of victory. He looked down at his sword, wiped it clean and returned it to its sheath. This sense of community he saw in the townspeople was something he never knew, in a way he did wonder what it felt like. He didn’t approach them though, he never really socialized with people and even though he fought in their benefit, he decided to keep his distance as he usually would.

Jones took in a deep breath and gathered the last memories of the battle field—the one place where he did feel fully welcomed. He turned and walked over to where he had left His Bike and jumped over giving it a wicked kick start. The thunder rumble under the engine assured him he was in his proper place. Just as he was about to put the bike in gear he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning around he saw Chad-sama’s face with a smile spread from ear to ear. Chad spoke to Jones giving thanks for all he did and for raising the spirits of the militia in their hardest moment. Not knowing how to respond, Jones simply nodded his head with reverence yet held his peace. Chad-sama understood well that Jones was a man short of word. Jones geared his bike up and took off across the open sea. Chad-sama shook his head in amazement then ran back to his comrades. Passing by where the Gnomad ship had been anchored there was wood adrift on the surface of the sea, Jones smirked at the demise that met them by the action of his fury. He sped away toward his little island. What an eventful day.

A young boy who was swift of feet and well spoken came up to Chad-sama and the militia. He explained he had been sent by the town folk to find out the status of the battle and to inform the troops that the people were safe in the cave. The militia was relieved by this news for even in the heat of battle and the joy of victory they had not forgotten about their families. Also the messenger brought word that the Full Bloom Festival would take place still that night. The only change was that the festivities would be held in the cave. One of the men questioned the rationale of this as he didn’t understand the function of celebrating the moon and golden poppies in a cave which presumably had neither. The messenger responded calmly, reassuring the militia that they would understand in due time. So they took to their feet in that moment and began the trek. By the time that they had arrived at the cave entrance they were in amazement by the magic and mystery by which they were led there. They were astonished having lived so long on the island and never known of these places.

The first chamber of the cave was like any cave could be imagined: dark, damp and stony. Again the militia questioned, yet this time the messenger did not answer, he continued to guide them further into the caves. Poppies soon started to show up against the walls of the cave. There were the largest, fullest flower buds any of them had ever seen. First one, then a few spread in small clusters; the walls of the cave seemed to change as well. It had become a deep green, a heavy emerald almost, which replaced the damp stones that composed the mouth of the cave. As they moved into the second chamber they were met by their families and friends. They all celebrated and expressed their joy at seeing one another.

After greetings and such were exchanged they began to move down through and into the next chamber, the deeper they got into the cave, the more poppies appeared. At this point they had begun to fully cover the walls. At the end of the second chamber there was a slim passage leading to the third chamber. It was the only way to get through. They took a short rest before heading into the pathway. From the side they were standing it felt as if a breeze was coming through from the other side of the wall. The first few people made their way through and upon entering into the third chamber they each gave a sound of disbelief. The people waited in line patiently with their families and slipped in as was appropriate. Now, in the third chamber was the magic that left them all in awe.

To be continued…

Samuel Bostick



the LIFESTYLE’s role is to create collective space for active Reflection and Response through the arts. This space is built around dialogue, expression, collaboration, and artistic (ex)change involving international craftspeople and their realities. The Porch Swing series opens up a Reflection and Response residency where we feature a Collective member’s ongoing project through weekly installations.

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The Porch Swing: Character Series

Character Series: The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones, Vol. IV, by Samuel Bostick.

 Building on on Vol. I, Vol. II, and Vol. III, Mr. Bostick’s takes us on further Adventurs

Volume IV

Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones

…As the boat sank and flamed in the background of Jones’ ride, he headed into the island.

He found the Fallians still fighting and with the past time their comradery had grown ans they developed a collective identity. Teamwork built them strong. Something about alliance in struggle that makes difference take a back seat and brings out a congruency of shared experience. They had put up a strong frontline and strategies with their numbers and knowledge of the landscape. They were driving the Gnomad foot troops back to the shore.

Jones was set in position to hoist the perfect flank…a surprise to all sides. Moving quickly over the water; cutting through the air and mist he arrived at the Eastern cove, jumped off his bike and ran toward the commotion. StaggMooreFalls had transformed into a battle ground by this point. As he ran toward the center of the city the flames from the ongoing fires clawed at Jones from the heaps of timber that were once homes. There was a strong sense of urgency on his heels, onward was his ambition. The heat from the flames and the pressing duty in front of him charged his being; more than a man—he was a force controlled by senses and emotions, he continued closing in on the scene.

Chad and his troop had organized toward their strengths. They began to see the strategy of the play rather than just the move of attack. They made strategic method to make the most of the terrain—nobody could out maneuver them on their own land. The militia who had proven skillful in long distance attacks and projectiles had taken post among the hills; they rained down there offence onto their opponents. The front line fought as valiant as a sun rising frm winters darkest night. It was a battle of proud proportion. All hesitation had been lost and forgotten far back, constantly inspired by the resilience of Chad-Sama’s spirit in battle the militia had come to move as a unit rather than a collection of individuals. With a uniform cause they breathed fury against in invading forces.

Meanwhile, those who were not able to fight in the battle had found refuge on the back side of the hills. They had moved in search of a cave hidden away in the depth of the island, the elders were the only ones who actually knew how to access this place for it was never written down by map rather been a source of lived history. It had been a long time since anyone had stepped into these caves—a sacred space. The last time was when the elders where in their youth. Now it was tradition that would be passed on through the experience of the young folk who were now making the journey, generational gaps broke down and even away from the battle field there was a collective spirit among the Fallians.

No path would lead to the cave, no way of following footsteps of those who had walked the path years ago. The magic was in the moon. It was by moonlight that the group made the trek. Under the moonlight there was a certain and particular light would shine from the moon as it traversed the heavens and would reflect through the waterfall. This was the only guide that could show them how to get there. It was a legendary light told to be a brilliant blue with dazzles of purple throughout, a marvelous sight that was so mystic it sounded as if myth. Still they headed for the place where the supposed light could be found. It could only be seen from the foot of the hills where the river stream flowed most relaxed, the pooling wells were at there deepest and the grass grew ever more lush. The most spectacular part of the journey was how the light moved across the land as the moon moved across the sky, it served as a true host. Even in the mist of all the chaos one couldn’t help but to notice the beauty of StaggMooreFalls. The layout was so intricate yet so simple at the same time.

As the group waited by the stream and watched the moon move across the sky full in all of its elegance, the poppies began to bloom. Stretched out breaking out their pods, they grew open—reaching for the stars. The golden pollen danced on the wind as the pedals breathed with its flow; melodic respiration, in and out. Time took pause. In those moments, temporality seemed to fold away as the pedals spread their magic. It was as if the stars broke away from their place in heaven and graced the earth with their dance; a luring scene, a sight of awe and wonder. The stream trickled down against the bank and rolled melodic over smoothing stones. The nocturne was in fully dense yet the sky was illuminated with such brilliance from the moon’s shine. The poppies radiated a light as charismatic as the choicest gold cooling as freshly pulled from the heat of a refining flame. Serene silence set over the camp. Breaths moved under chest, life refreshed in cycles of rise and fall—the whole scene seemed to sway with the same cooperative rhythm. In the distance the pour from the falls powered out a baritone surge adding the low notes to the silent symphony.

The lushness of the land struck as exceptionally remarkable as well, for that night it seemed as if all the foliage had risen up with the intention of greeting the long removed guests. Outstretched leaves rustled in the cool breeze, accents of deep green. The vines stretched their coils taut and flexed the strength of their reaching length as they covered the faces of rocks lining the path of the stream. The outline of the hills ahead caressed one another and built a backdrop contoured of fineness in full glory. On the most subtle of notes, an aroma rose from the poppies and caressed the nose; it was like an instant remedy to all stress. Shoulders relaxed and muscles once tensed eased their way into a peaceful state. The aroma was like nectar from the gods, divinely sweet yet so earthy and floral only heaven could hold together such juxtaposition. A beautiful spell spread across the scene.

He danced, a young man, in an instant as if his spirit had been enrapt by the moment and the nights allure pulled on his once woes as a nimble hand of a puppeteer do to his muse. It broke; something surely had. The tension from the battle was loosed and the Fallians were humbled by the rawness of the night’s presence. This was the night of the Full Bloom Festival after all. It was as if they had forgotten its essence as the evolution of the tradition came to revolve around feast and festivity.  Now was a return to the place of actually celebrating the blessings of the magic that held StaggMooreFalls together.

Some of the elders and ancients cheeks were watered by gentle tears as they were moved by the young man’s dance; he had no reserve it was not his body that moved but rather his spirit through. He was the heart of what the celebration should be. And they were all moved to join, each in their own way. Some of them playfully wade in the pond others laughed and joked, some danced, a few couples even found romance in the Full Moons warm hues… it came it struck them all as the presence of a god itself would…the light hit the space off the moon the same way it had in times long before…the guide show itself—ushered in by the reverence of the moment…it was there to lead the way. In an instant it began to move forward with no hesitation, a steady and slow-flow pace; the clan banned together and followed in suit. This was their shepherd, the angel of the night…

To be continued once more…

Samuel Bostick



the LIFESTYLE’s role is to create collective space for active Reflection and Response through the arts. This space is built around dialogue, expression, collaboration, and artistic (ex)change involving international craftspeople and their realities. The Porch Swing series opens up a Reflection and Response residency where we feature a Collective member’s ongoing project through weekly installations.

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The Porch Swing: Character Series

Character Series: The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones, Vol. III, by Samuel Bostick.

 Following up on Vol. I  and Vol. II, the intricately crafted Adventurs continue…

Volume III

The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones

The people on the island continued to put their best defense forward as the Gnomads continued their tirade. Chad-sama rejoined his comrades, the warring town folk and militia troop fighting to defend their town and honor.

Having just busted his way through the hull of the Gnomad ship, Jones still in a fury of rage set himself square toward the crew themselves. He took the bottom floor by storm. Seeing his face in such a fury was to see the anger of God. Fear gripped the boat by the throat, time froze. VROOM, VROOM, VROOM—the engine revved, as did the level of his anger. Then, he took off! He cut through the bottom of the ship like a knife to warm butter. Smooth destruction. Slashing away with his sword the crew fell into parts all across the floor. SnakeMan took no captives-heard no words. Red mixed into the water as it flooded into the hole he broke in the ship’s wall…sharks came…for the feed.

VROOM!! Speeding through the vessel he found himself soon in the storage room. A large cabin area with barrels of rum stacked three quarters along the walls. At this moment some of his senses returned to him, he felt oddly comforted and soothed by the presence of the barrels and peaceful solitude of the room. He lit a slim and took a moment to admire the room and the craft in front of him as he puffed and exhaled soulfully. The smoke clouds lingered and danced a slow rhythm as they moved upward until they dissipated into the air. An ash fell from the end of his pliff and the ember burned radiant red til it went cold to black and fell grey upon the floor. An idea arose in his scheming head.

With grace in his step and quickness under his heels he pulled the plugs out of all the exposed barrels. Their faces seemed to smile with relief and mischief as their liquid contents spilled out and began to pour onto the cabin floor. The once stagnant air became quite flavorful with an earthy spice aroma as the dark elixir flowed seemingly without end upon the floor. Jones’ feet pitter-pattered as he stepped away from the barrels and the liquid lapped at his boots. The sound of the fountaining rum only added a more peaceful sound to the already comforting room…the fragrance was warm. Jones stepped over and mounted his Bike, he kicked it into a rumbling start. The purring growl always aroused his primal side. Again he reached into the front pocket of his jacket where he kept his matches and smokes. He lit the pliff once more and this time let it burn to its end. Slowly he rolled out of the room. Without looking back he struck another match, a smirk now on his face resembled that of the still pouring barrels. He dropped the flaming match and took off with a wicked speed full speed ahead. The match hit the floor. The flame grew. As soon as it met the liquid and the flame and elixir kissed there was an explosion of growing fire. The unquenchable hunger of the flame consumed…free untamed ardor. It crawled up to the barrels and jumped into the spout. Searching for more to consume, more fuel, more destruction; there it found its crave satisfied. BOOM!! The barrels exploded and the room instantly burst into an engulfing flame of fire and heat. SnakeMan’s smirk spread into a cynical full smile as he heard the explosion at his back and felt the wave of air rush hot past him. It warmed his cold blooded body. He aimed his direction straight for the deck.

Jones moved quickly as he burst from the superstructure of the ship out onto the sunbathed deck. His was as dramatic as it was telling. He and his Bike bust through a hatch that was previously closed and jumped into the air off the shipping cargo ramp. They came to a skidding halt. The crew froze. The captain stopped in his tracks, mid word. He turned slowly as he felt danger at his back. As he completed his about face he met SnakeMan’s eyes with his own. There was a deep force aligned between the two of them, an energy that the whole deck could feel. It was the presence of fate entering the scene. Someone would surely meet their last moment by the end of this exchange.

Again fear gripped the ship by the throat…silence was the only language…there was a heavy sense of doom looming over the craft. It settled heavy like a morning fog. Both captain and crew looked at him, bewildered, in awe at such a being with power apparent in his shoulders, arms, thighs, calves, chest and back. Anger again rose in Jones, he could hear the screams and cries from the island and could see the flames rising from the burning town. The Captain held his peace for he understood the dynamics of this moment. His first mate spoke up, breaking the silence—cutting the fog; he asked, “who are you?” no response from SnakeMan. The first mate continued his prodding, “Who are you? What do you want?” still no response. Jones had yet to break his eyes from those of the Captain; this was to be a showdown. No man nor beast could get in between this quarrel.

This time the captain spoke, “Sir my question to you is simple, are you man, demon, or god?” SnakeMan took in a deep breath, then exhaled and a shifted his weight; flames broke from under the deck and began to peek between the deck boards and out through the open hatch. The smell of the flame met Jones’ nose and flashed an image of the town and the pain they had been subjected to by the craft of the Gnomads’ greed. He clenched his fists and tensed his jaw…climbing off his bike he pulled off his jacket and felt the weight fall off his shoulder, he then pulled down the shield of his helmet and gave his full reply in one booming word. “YARR!!”

In that moment the ship quaked from the second and larger explosion from the storage room under the deck as the rest of the barrels had been found by the flames’ hunger. Upon the boom that sent the ship rocking Jones Revved his engine and hit the bike into top gear—full speed ahead, gunning straight for the Captain. Right before impact the captain leaped aside. Quickly clearing the path and escaping the head on attack. Jones was impressed by the Captain’s speed especially since he was such a big form. As quick as the first attack Jones spun his bike around and re-attempted his head on charge. Again the captain jumped out of the bike’s line, this time Jones too jumped off the bike and ran to the side of the ship where he grabbed the anchor up and heaved it up with one mighty tug. As the heavy iron was yet high suspended in the air, the Captain caught SnakeMan across his chest with a slashing sword. The blade’s pressure burst the skin and into the muscles of Jones torso. The blood spurt forward through his skin with the exploding wound as it opened and poured…just like the barrels did below the deck. The thought of the similarity of the imagery brought that unrestrained smile back to Jones’ face. Time froze. The salted air called Jones’ awareness again to his wound. The anchor hit the deck and fractured several floorboards with its weight.

Without second through SnakeMan whirled it above his head with all his might. Using the anchor of their own ship he took to the crew like in a medieval manner. Swiftly he slaid them all…nobody had ever seen combat so fearsome. As quickly as it began it had ended. The crew was slewn about. He was quick to take after the Captain as well, who put up a good fight. His sword skills were of amazing tactic and form as was his strength mighty.  Still, he could not compete with the fury that moved Jones’ attacks. The captain fell alongside the helm of the ship and pleaded for his life. Jones looked once at him. He dropped the impossibly heavy anchor upon him and walked away leaving the Captain to share the same fate as his sinking vessel that was once a ship. Jones climbed slowly onto his Bike and headed out leaping off the deck of the ship, leaving destruction behind.

He headed straight for StaggMoreFalls with the intention to complete the termination of the Gnomad attack.

To be continued…

Samuel Bostick



the LIFESTYLE’s role is to create collective space for active Reflection and Response through the arts. This space is built around dialogue, expression, collaboration, and artistic (ex)change involving international craftspeople and their realities. The Porch Swing series opens up a Reflection and Response residency where we feature a Collective member’s ongoing project through weekly installations.

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The Porch Swing: Character Series

Character Series: The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones, Vol. II, by Samuel Bostick.

SnakeMan Jones is back!! This is Vol. II of Samuel’s short story The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones. Vol. I was featured a couple weeks back, and we’re super excited to see this project continue to build and expand. Check it!

Volume II

The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones

As dawn reached its rosey fingers upward and pulled above the horizon, the Gnomads set the attack. Wasting no time they caught the morning breeze as it lifted and moved across the south side of the island. With the wind strong at their tail and the greed growing dark into the depths of their hearts they ascended upon StaggMoreFalls. Seeing the port ahead, the Gnomad Captain let loose the order for the crew to set up and prepare for a full on attack. With swiftness of motion the commanding mates kicked their respective bands into gear.

The artillery was first to be set, cannons loaded with no lack of extra rounds positioned at the side of the mechanic catapults. There were 12 on each side of the ship, 24 in all. Next in position were the ground force, set up in small groups—5 each. There were 3 lean mates, one squad leader and one Brawny giant in each set. There were 3 small boats on each side of the ship, 6 total, which allowed for each of them to reach shore and set havoc to the content of their malicious hearts.  Finally the ship bound mates, archers and deck hands prepared their places. The archers took post on the 3 masts of the ship and set aiming measures from a distance. They unbound their arrows and bowed them, stretching the hide strings taunt and holding for further instruction. The crew that were to man the ship took the oars and rowed with all their might, the others that were set to stay post close to the Captain and tend to his orders did so.

The Captain let out a loud groan of a yell and the entire crew called back. Their blood rushed. Again the Captain let out the yell and again they responded—the anticipation and energy grew as they built the hype and pulled closer to the shore. One last time the captain let out his shout and the crew responded. This was the green light. He ordered first for the ground attack to launch, and then called for the archers and cannons to shoot as soon as the boats hit land. They did just that. As soon as the 6 boats rammed against the shore and the 30 men reached the pebbly coast and began to climb up the green landscape the archers set flame to their arrows and let them loose. Only a second later the cannons burst, kicked and recoiled…smoke filled the lungs of the shooters as the heavy lead projected out toward the island. It had started. Ill intention was closing in on the town and commotion was soon to spread across the land.

In that moment the StaggMoreFallians had converged in the center of the island and began to commence the morning celebrations. Again, everyone was in attendance – Women, children, and men, young and old alike—all of course except for the monks who had dedicated their time to attending the fireworks and preparing the show for the evening. There were rows of heavy oak tables and benches, amber in color, set with wreaths so lush they shined as if they still had morning dew on them.  Each table had a center piece, built upward toward the heavens and mounted with a three set stock of the golden poppies that the Full Moon Festival was intended to celebrate. The scene was as elegant as the moon that would rise that night and light the day’s most revered moments.

The torches were being lit and the ceremony commenced, in that same moment the arrows hit, one after another, wave after wave. Without warning cannonballs boomed into the buildings and homes that were located in the center of the island. The first and most natural response was shock. A split second later they realized that they were under attack and began to move into a panic. The women and men grabbed their children and held each other tight as they ran toward anywhere that looked safe and didn’t bear holes from the cannon or flame from the arrows. Screams and cries filled the once peaceful air as the people ran and the chaos grew.

The Gnomads were empowered by the wildness of the scene and the people who were usually a peaceful folk quickly set post and created a militia as best as they could. There was one young man who stood out as leader among the ranks, his name was Chad-sama. He had never been in battle; still, his intuition and boldness made him a natural leader.

As the 30 Gnomads ran up and invaded the festival space, the village set to fight back. The women and children built post at the houses and armed themselves with anything that could do damage. The men had divided themselves into five squads of 20 and took on the invaders from each side as they entered. They were no match though. The Gnomads were highly skilled in head on attacks and well experienced in combat. Chad-sama realized that even though his team was greater in numbers that the Gnomads were advancing with incredible force. Even as the islanders fought as hard as they could they found themselves constantly being backed down by the attack. Chad-sama took quick notice and with determination at his heels he swiftly broke from the pack, grabbed one of the torches and slipped away up the nearest hill. There at the base of the hill he met one of the monks who were in charge of the evening’s firework ceremony. They spoke quickly and as the monk understood the growing urgency of the situation he provided direction and urged Chad-sama along his way.

He began the climb. First moving along the narrow path at the bottom of the hill and up into the mouth of the forest selvage, then racing through and through the muddy way. As he climbed deeper into the hill and ascended up the lengths of the land the heat and steam of the humidity met his face, nose and mouth with its smolder of earth and foliage pressing into his lungs. Further and further he went, as his companions battled below against invasion, his fight was against that hill. He took on the mountain for all it was worth. The large leaves reached out to impede his path, vines grabbed at his limbs, fallen branches tugged at his feet and from time to time his face would be blasted with a flurry of bugs that had swarmed in the path. Finally he made it to the top and wasting no time he set the torch aflame and shot one of the large explosives into the air.

The firework shot into the sky and plumed bright red and spread across the heavens. Another one shot up even higher and exploded with a large yellow plume into the sky. One more went up and out with a bang. This time a sparkling champagne blue—with a sigh of relief Chad-sama send his prayers up to the heavens the same as he did the three pluming flares and hoped that some sort of help would come by divine guidance.

SnakeMan Jones was taking his bike on a morning spin as he caught glimpse of the high off plumes. They struck him as odd and something inside moved him to cruise a bit closer and investigate. As he often preferred to be alone, he had never been to the island, still he had seen the celebration many years and never had a firework climbed the sky before nightfall.

Chad-sama took his last breaths to regain his strength at the top of the hill and began his descent. Jones routed himself to close in on the island just to check in on the rare sighting. In the same moment that Chad-sama reached the bottom of the hill SnakeMan heard the commotion from the island and saw the ship harbored at the south dock. As the arrows and cannons continued to rain onto the island and the celebration, Jones felt the anger swell up within him. His face down to his fingertips and feet all burned instantly with anger and that intensity fueled his ambition directly towards the ship. His vision was red as he sped past the cove where the Gnomads had hid out the night before and his grip on the bars of his bike was vice tight.

The closer he got to the Gnomads ship and the more he realized the havoc that had been taking place on the island the less his senses connected and his primal instincts heightened. As he approached the ship he increased his speed and with a fury even he himself had never known he busted into the ship with his bike and tore a hole in the side of the vessel. Wood planks, dust and water sprayed everywhere. His eyes glowed. Quickly the hole began to fill with water and the bottom level of the ship began to flood. Jones revved his engine and spun round for further wreckage. Without a thought, he was sure he would finish what the Gnomads had started.

His eyes were as red as an angry autumn moon and his spirit aflame with rage.

To be continued…

Samuel Bostick



the LIFESTYLE’s role is to create collective space for active Reflection and Response through the arts. This space is built around dialogue, expression, collaboration, and artistic (ex)change involving international craftspeople and their realities. The Porch Swing series opens up a Reflection and Response residency where we feature a Collective member’s ongoing project through weekly installations.

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