Monthly Archives: November 2013

Bound in Chain, Part 1

Bound in Chains is from the perspective that we haven’t had quite yet in my blog.  A slave who is serving the Nobles and Citizens.  Someone not well regarded enough to be a member of society.  Also happy Thanksgiving or happy Thursday depending on your location.

Neela foot scraped against the ground. She walked in a long chain of her fellow Alaget. The rough shapeless sack matched all the one around her. She used her good hand to force the loose tendrils away from her face. In heart of hearts she hoped to avoid this. A day ago she had stood before the slavery board to beg to be free.

The seven council members sat around a half circle table. All of them with the crystal fine features, which marked heavy genetic tinkering of a noble. The head of the council a round faced woman with russet hair and brown eyes. High Lady Cirl was her name. “I’m sorry Mistress Neela Giy, but there is no way we can reverse the ruling.”

“But, my mental score is nine. That is way over what one would consider a slave.” The bitterness of that never left Neela’s heart. Four points above a slave rating. Her intelligence was almost the same rating a minor noble.

High Lady Cirl shifted uncomfortably. “I realize. If your intelligence had been a ten we would have gladly looked over your physical, and constitutional scores. But, they are very low.”

Neela had looked at herself before. On leg warped and shorter the other, her face lumpy on one side, and arm so shrivelled she didn’t truly have a hand. To make matters worse her heart had too few valves, and her lungs too small. Sickly and misshaped made her a one in both of the other scores. “What use can I even be as a slave? I can’t do hard larbor.”

“Yes, that’s why I insisted we add an addendum to your slave documents. You won’t be used for anything rough. And, you’ll receive training in an intellectually stimulating professional. It won’t add to your debt, or be taken out of your wages. And, you’ll be provided with medications, proper room, and won’t be overworked.” High Lady Cirl sat up straight. “Anyone failing to comply will result in earning my attention, and annoyance.”

As mild as that sounded Neela knew it was a threat. First Chair, or head councilor of the Slavery Protection Board was a dangerous political opponent. “There is no agreement I may free myself in the standard time, then?”

Second chair cleared his throat, and shot a glance at High Lady Cirl before speaking. “No, your scores are simply too low. There is no chance we would allow you to go free. And, you won’t be allowed to breed. After you are purchased you are to render infertile.”

Neela mouth dropped open. Never before had she heard of such a strict reaction. Were her physical ailments so horrible? “And, what profession will you recommend for my owner?” A wince at her tone. As far as they were concerned she was a slave. Slaves needed to be respectful.

High Lady Cirl let the tone pass unmarked upon. “A doctor, you already have more empathy than most of those we train. And, there is technology to assist with you being one handed. A surgeon most likely not, but for every day concerns, and less vital problems you would work. Besides, replacement limb research is going well, perhaps one day you shall have a hand.”

Small comfort that. “Well, I suppose I should go say goodbye to family then. Since, you’ve decided.” Neela couldn’t believe this.

“Perhaps, it was wrong for your family to care for you, Mistress. Most slaves ranked people who have families never meet them. Unless, their family buys them.” High Lady Cirl waved her hands. “A kindness, unfair as it may have been.”

Having nothing to say to that statement, Neela had walked out of the conference room. Her parents waited with her older brother. They all shared the same honey blonde hair, and solemn gray eyes. A rarity in a citizen who almost uniformly were brown of hair, eye, and skin. “It failed.”

Her parents didn’t say anything except envelop her in a hug. Pata, her brother, snarled. “This is wrong. I’m a noble.” Not fully true, he had the rank, but not the genes. A minor noble, and probably would end up serving in another noble’s business as a reliable flunky at best. Neela often thought her brother over estimated how powerful his ranking of ten point two really made him. “I’ll buy you.”

Neela sighed. “They’re going to make me a doctor. That’s an expensive slave. I doubt you’ll be able to afford me.”

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200 Words at a Time, Part One

This Chuck Wendig challenge classic is pretty awesome.  Each week you write a 200 hundred word part of a flash fiction.  But, you will borrow parts from other blogs.  So, I’m probably more excited than I need to be.  Here we go, the beginning of a tale.

The Beginning

Another shot glass slammed down as Toops flashed her big, black eyes at me.  “Are you going to black out.”  Her tone as dry as the desert planet we had left.

“I never black out. “  I grinned motioning for another shot.  “I’m only resting my eyes.”

 

Toops rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.   “Yeah, I believe you, Lancer.  I really do.”  Her scarred fingers pushed her still full glass back and forth across the metal bar top.  “Didn’t you say we have a man coming in to offer us a job?

“You handle all the contracts.  I’m your simple minded muscle.”  I winked at her.  “Me big man.  Me hit things hard.”  The burning fire scalded my throat as I took another shot.

Her hand snapped out faster than my eye could follow.  Those strong fingers crushed mine into my palm.  “Do not call for another shot.  I swear I will break your fingers right now.”

A hearty chuckle rumbled up my throat.  “Alright, alright boss lady.”

My fingers were released.  “We are partners.”

“You say that now, but once the client gets here you’ll change your tune.”  She couldn’t deny it.  It was true.

 

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Walking in Shadow, Part 6

I dropped.  A tug as ripped them back stumbling toward the walls.  “Gulla, get away from the door.”  Her energy drifted to the center of the room.  Then, I let the bombs explode.

It was strange.  At first, there was no noise.  Everything was being thrown around.  The air seemed to be on fire as bits hit me, and cut into my flesh.  Then a strange soundless roar rose up. Once it faded I could hear the screams.  To my amazement even if the walls blown out there wasn’t much damage.  I took cover, and fired several shots.

The men panicked with no one to lead them.  Many fled.  Gulla’s gun fired as they ran. When, they got closer her knife slashed out. Some escaped, most died to her rage.

I limped over to her.  Blood ran down her body, her hair singed, but her eyes wild with excitement.  “That was unexpected.  Why did everything blow up?”

My gaze flicked back to Gabion. “He knew you’d come here.  He set up explosives.  I destroyed denator, but I realized we were overwhelmed.  I used my power to set them off.  After killing Gabion, of course.”

“One problem, did you ruin the medical supplies.”  A burned, bloodied brow lifted as Gulla laughed.

“Start looking,” as I turned to search I realized a massive metal rod in my leg.  My body braced against a counter, and tugged it out.  “Ouch,” I muttered.

A pleased whistle echoed over the room.  “A sealed medical lab back here, no damage outside the door.”

“Good, let’s get it and go.  I’m injured, your injured let’s go.”  My thumb flicked up toward the door.

Gulla chuckled.  “Keep yourself together.  We’ll go. Grumpy.”

“Keep myself together.” I repeated.

She grinned as the door whooshed and slide open. “You are kind prone to stuffiness and panic.”  The room was sprawling with no dust.  A wall of gleaming, glass cabinets stood out on the far wall.

Instead of entering I took a defensive stance by the door.  “Yes, I’m a fussy old woman. Go in, I keep guard.”

Her footsteps quiet as she made her way to the other side. “You don’t need to keep guard.”

“I think I’m done with surprises is all.”  Not that any time with Gulla wasn’t typically a surprise.

A sharp shout, as her feet raced back.  “I got the cache.”  She shook the box. “Let’s go.”

A smile forced its way onto my face.  “Let’s try to get back without any more injuries.”

“What’s the fun in that?”

<<<The End>>>

 

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Forgotten Bargain

Yay another Chuck Wendig challenge.  This time we had to pick one of last weeks opening lines and spin a tale.  I went with “It doesn’t mean death,” I told her. by Murgatroid98.  Enjoy. 

Forgotten Bargain

“It doesn’t mean death,” I told her.  The tarot card of death grinned up at the woman.

A smile on her dark lips, she brushed a strand of many colored hair from her face.  “I am aware.”

“Do you want me to continue with the reading?” I didn’t particularly like my side job.  But, it helped with the bills.

The woman lifted her eyes, they were a strange dark violet hue.  “No need, I came here to see you.”  The more she talked the more I noticed the compelling nature of her voice.  It reminded me of dark chocolate and really old red wine.

“See me?” I had three jobs, and was no one.  Average is about the only description that would apply to me.

She pulled out a several hundred dollar bills.  Each one smoothed out and placed on the table.  All and all there were six.  “Take two, the rest is so I may borrow you for the rest of your shift.  Your bosses won’t care where the money came from, only that it is here.”  Before  I could answer she opened the curtain in the dark reading room and left.

At first all I could do was gape at the money. Then, I grabbed two of the bills, walked out the curtain, opened the door to outside, and stepped out.  As I went I put up the closed sign.  The fortune telling hut painted with esoteric symbols seemed at odds next to the flashy tourist shops.

“I knew you’d follow.”  The voice seemed to reach down and wrap around me.

I turned.  The shock hit me as I realized she was more bizarre than I realized.  Skin deep, dark black that looked glossy under the afternoon sun.  Her hair was a mass of red, purple, brown, and black – thick and flowing.  Her outfit being only jeans and a plain black shirt made the differences stand out more.  “How’d you know that?”

Her head tipped right, and then left.  “You have no passion for this.  It is an old art.  Some who walk can tell you the truth.”  The delicate finger’s waved at me.  “You are fake, a liar.  You are here for the money.”

“More or less, ” I walked toward her.  “I gotta live.”

She nodded as if I spouted off wisdom for the ages.  “I need a favor.  Come with me.  We will talk in that coffee shop over there.”

This whole thing confused me.  Why was I worth six hundred dollars?  And, if I was a fake, why did she need a favor?  “Why me?”

“I’ll buy the coffee.  Have I not brought the time to explain my needs, Max.”  She had definitely paid for my time.  Even though I was creeped out she knew my name, I’d go.

We entered the shop.  She pointed upward toward the upstairs.  “Go, I’ll bring you a lemon ginger green tea that you like.”

I started up the stairs.  Then, the full meaning her words hit me.  “How do you know?”  Who was this woman?

She shook her head.  “Go upstairs, Max.”

The room was filled with cushy chairs and a few couches.  I took one as far from the stairs as possible.   Before I could work myself into frenzy she came up the stairs. From here I could see how evenly, and gracefully she moved.  The teapot sat down carefully on the side table.   The teacup meticulous positioned before she sat down across from me.  She drank from a coffee up.  “The favor I need you to do is to come with me.  Leave your life behind.  I need to train you.”

“I don’t even know who you are.”  The insanity of this caused me to start to stand up.

Her hand went out and pushed down.  My body leaned back down.  “I apologize, but you cannot not refuse my favor.”

“Why the hell not?” I snapped back.  My heart fought to burst out of my chest.  A dull ache started in the back my head.  She was keeping me here somehow.

A delicate sip of her coffee before setting it down.  “I’m afraid to say you are one of mine.  My touch is written on every fiber of your being.  You’ll never be free of me.  We made a deal you and I.”

“I don’t even know you.”  This time I screamed it.

“You do.  The name is written on the darkest part of your heart.”  She ran her dark fingers across the top of her cup.  “Say a name, any name.  It will come to you.”

“Any name at all?” I scoffed at the very idea.  “And, you are some powerful being who owns me. What are you the devil?”

She laughed a lovely, dark sensuous sound.  “Hardly,” Her eyes twinkled.  “The devil would likely be an afraid of me, if anything.”

The idea caused my hands to clench.  “What?”

“I’ll explain more when you say my name.”  She replied serene, unconcerned.

“Right, I’ll just know your name.”  The idea I would know this unstable woman’s name was unbelievable.  “I need to leave.”

“You cannot.”  She took another sip of coffee.  “Say a name, any name.  You’ll know it.”

My mouth opened to say the first name that came to me.  But a force welled up in me.  It felt as if my heart was being squeezed it hurt, unbearably.  “Nahara Vensari.”  The foreign name flowed off my tongue.  The pain faded.

“I knew, you’d know it.”  Nahara stood up.  Her hand held out for me.  “Now, we go.  Your new life begins.”

“I don’t understand.”  My body moved without my control.  Her warm hand wrapped around mine.

She smiled. “Don’t worry, you will.”

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Walking In Shadow, Part 5

“Not surprised you can’t hit.  Nobles think genetics make the fighter, when it is really killing, and a little brain power.  Your men were always short on that weren’t they Gabion?”  One could taste the loathing in Gulla’s voice.

Gabion the name echoed around in my head.  Gabion, could he be the one who killed her parents?  He must be.  I pressed myself against the wall allowed myself to sink into memories. Gulla powerful mental presence always pushed on my mental barriers. If I could pull of her memory of I could find him. There, he smiled down at her as a small child.

A half barked laugh, “Smart enough to kill your parents.  Maybe, they weren’t as smart as they always claimed.”

There I had him.  A tall, wide framed he stood in the back.  A device in his hands as he seemed confident and cool.  That worried me.  My instincts screamed to hurry, but I forced myself to move slow.

“They made the mistake of trusting you.  I won’t be making that one, ever.”  All the youth gone from Gulla’s voice.  It made my heart ache.  “Aren’t you going to attack?”

“I’m waiting for your friends to arrive.  I knew you’d be running out of supplies soon.  Especially with how strong your little rebellion has gotten.”  Apparently, he underestimated Gulla’s impulsive insanity.  If she could get away with only going out with me, that’s what she do.  If I’d let go out herself, she would.  Backup, a term she was utterly unfamiliar with.

The device in his hand was visible as I crept near him.  An automated trigger, he had something rigged to go off.  I needed to take out the device before anything else.  He shifted on his feet.  “Stay away from the walls, and doors, remind the troops.”

It won’t matter soon, Gabion, I thought to myself.  I’d have you soon.  My blade flashed out and the device shattered as I brought an elbow hard into Gabion.

He took the blow and rolled back.  A smirk on his lips.  “I knew she had a friend.”

Gulla liked to deal with taunts, I could care less.  I swept my blade down.  He scrambled out of the way.  “Fire, you eiaa, fire.”

The clang, and the echo of bullets were a tad distracting. I ignored it.  He pulled a gun.  The shadows and I were one as I ducked.

He cursed.  He lost sight of me.  A flare of gunfire as he shot at where I had been.

Still a bit blinded, I struck out my leg to trip him. As he fell I kicked hard. The blade snapped out cutting it into armor.

A shot hit me in the shoulder hard.  Another hack at, and I caught his hand.  Blood welled out as I heard the crack of bone.  Another shot caught me but from behind.  My eyes narrowed as I lowered onto him.  As we both started punching each other. A blow caught me in the face.  My finger wrapped around his throat.  Forcing my power through my fingers I slowed his heart. Each beat a struggle now.   His body began to thrash, one last desperate attempt to live.  I wrenched his neck.  He went still.

The fight still went on around me. They were taking controlled shots.  And, from what I could see they were edging around to flank her.  My gun started to fire.  However, they were ignoring my attacks.  Too many, in fear I reached out and found the edge of the demolitions.  I hesitated. What if Gulla got hurt?  I couldn’t bare it.  A cry of pain killed my concern.  They’d kill her either way.

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So, Here’s Something

So, every week, as many you may know, I post a Flash Fiction from Chuck Wendig.  This week he only had “Come up with the first sentence of a story.”  Even though this is nanowrimo -National Novel Writer’s Month- I figure I needed to post something.  So far, I haven’t missed a week.  I dug through my files.  And I found a review I wrote for a job, which I failed to get.  I liked the review, and I thought it might be nice to put up.  Or at least lazy.

Tears of Rage Series by M. Todd Gallowglas

I’ve been reading the Tears of Rage Series by M. Todd Gallowglas in the third book now, and thoroughly enjoying it.  The world reminds me a great deal of the Greek Patheon.  Mortals are at the whim, and the desire of greater and lesser gods who are more concerned with their own standing, than the people who worship them.

Gallowglas manages to make villains, whom I do like, but love to read. The best antagonist  are the ones you gleefully hope will fail.  Who is good and evil is a constant debate and a matter of perspective.

Another interesting aspect of the story is how the good god, I state that very loosely, isn’t really a warm and fuzzy fellow either.  Ruthless and disconnected you aren’t sure if you want to root for him or stab him in the face.

Which makes one ask who you want to win.  The answer to that is easy, the main character Julianna. Her circumstances are amazingly unfair from every angle. She handles it with vigor, and gravity without being too depressing.

And, you want to get behind the plight of the repressed Komati.  They are the natives forced to abandon their religion and customs due the crushing influence of the Florean.  Komati have been made into a lesser class their capital only tolerating them as slaves or servants.

More importantly the book starts the gears in my mind turning. How would I feel living in a world where my fate and my soul was dictated by a being far more powerful? On top of it, my people held down by a harsh regime.  The desperation and hopelessness would eat at me. It does explain why so many people follow the gods regardless of their fickle vanity. Because, it gives them some power to affect the course of their own lives.

Here’s a question for you theoretical reader, would you choose to follow the gods to change your fate, or play the hand dealt?

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Walking in Shadow, Part 4

“Yeah, but you can do things normal Alaget can’t.  I’m not even sure how your abilities work.  Or, how the Soul Merchant’s could have given them to you.”  Her eyes widening as my skin stitched itself back together.

“I’m not fully certain either.”  The theory, I understood.  It took Soul People a long time to figure out how keep personality and traits consistent through each life time.  And, I gather, a lot of souls dissembled, and put back together to make me work they wanted.  Guilt hit me.  How many peoples’ souls had died to make me? I’d never know.  “I’m good enough to walk.”

A hop and Gulla was up.  She didn’t try to help me up.  This told me, she knew me too well.  “I’m starting to think this isn’t a good idea.”

My eyes blinked rapidly.  Gulla never acted unsure.  “Nothing you do is a good idea, why should today be any different?”

She flashed a grin before pulling out the map.  The blue-black paper pressed against the pitted metal wall, as her fingers traced patterns over it.  “The main lab should be nearby, up the hallway.  I couldn’t find any information on it.”  She shrugged at me before strolling down the hall.

Another companionable silence this time I was lost in thought.  Soul People had warned me twice in this lifetime.  And, both warnings had come due to some action involving Gulla.  They didn’t like her influence on me.   I hated the Soul People with every fiber of my stolen soul.  They used, and abused me without concern or care for how I’d feel about it.  They gave me commands, and never explained.  Soul People demanded I have a mind of my own, but became annoyed when I used it.  Gulla had been the only person to give me any peace.  Amass a contradiction that girl.  Brutal and caring, Vulnerable, and unbreakable, youthful excitement, and pain brought wisdom.   She was as much as a disaster as I was.

Gulla motioned for me to stop.  “The seal on the door is broken.”

I sent out my energy trying to read what’s in the room. My jaw clenched. “Noble guards, a lot of them.  They haven’t been there long.  We might not be able to take twenty of them.   They are too spread out for us to flank.  And, I bet they are on orders to keep us out, not kill us.”

“Ko, vaero nobles.” A hiss escaped her lips.  She kicked the door down, and screamed.  “Are you going to let me in here, or do I have to kill all of you.”

Fear lanced through me as I pressed myself behind a door frame.  I didn’t dare grab at her.  That would only anger her more.  “What are you doing?”  Even though, I knew.

The room went silent.  Instead ringing of gunshots, instead a voice shouted back.  “Gulla Valik, surrender, and submit to justice, and you won’t be harmed.”

Her emotions were so strong. I felt the memory of her family’s murder.  The rage twisted, as she sent it pounding it out an attacked followed by a generade.  “Never.”  Somehow, her voice echoed over the screams, and explosion.  She rolled into the room guns out.

I shook my feelings, and become one with the shadows.  They didn’t know I was here.  The room lights weren’t operationally, the room full of shadows.  A few would go down before I was discovered.  Shots rang out, no damage done yet.  Gulla knew how to wait.  The leader was would who I needed to find.  If I could take him out we would stand a fighting chance.  The problem was no one was talking.  And, my night vision was not nearly good enough to see individuals.  If I could see in the dark, I’d be able to tell the most enhanced person.  Their features always had an odd overly symmetrical appearance.  What I needed was for Gulla to annoy them.

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1,667 Words

For those who don’t know this is Nanowrimo – National Novel Writer’s Month.  It’s a time when writer’s, old and new, get together to try to write 50,000 words.  Sometimes you accomplish it, sometimes you don’t.  This is my third year of Nanowrimo participation, I pretty excited.  I’m pushing my boundaries beyond the challenge.  So far I’ve written 5,000 words.

Chuck Wendig Challenge is to post your first 1,667 words.  Which I have here from my current novel project.  Grey Eye Mind, which was inspired by Grey Eye Suicide a flash fiction challenge I did earlier in the year.

What Suit Gave Me

The rich, dark smell of coffee caused me to open my eyes.  Carina was setting a coffee cup on the side table next to my head.  She left it black, half full.  I’d mix in the heavy helping of cream and sugar once I got around to drinking it.  “Carina,” I muttered when I realized she was only wearing a think night gown of the sheerest pink silk.  Fuck, I’d forgotten how she liked to dress.

She glanced to my face. “Oh, go back to bed.  It’s only seven.  I’d figured you’d warm up your cup.”  Her finger tucked a loose tendril of hair behind her ear.  “Since, what you drink could hardly be called coffee.”

Yeah, she drank his as black as the night sky.  A woman of simplistic tastes, and a rich soul.  Stop thinking about her Mercer.  She doesn’t want to deal with your crap anymore.  “It’s fine.  I wasn’t really awake while that guy was in me.  I only needed to recharge.”  I got up grabbing the coffee and taking it to the kitchen.

Carina trailed behind me.  Her face pinched with worry.  “You need to take care of yourself.  I’m not so different from you, Mercer Liath.”

I loved how she said my name.  Lee-a.  She actually pronounced it correctly.  What was with me today, I really missed her, more than I had for a last couple of months.  “You aren’t a Grey Eye.  You are a Channeller.  The only thing we have in common is we both are different, and can see spirits.  The abilities aren’t remotely the same.”

A roll of those eyes as she poured herself a cup, and took a drink.  “You are such a martyr.”

No point in arguing, it was true.  I finished with my coffee and drank it while leaning against the counter.  “Did you have time to check the Suit’s information?”

“Yes, but I didn’t have time to do any sweeps to see if it lines up.”  She gave me a long look.  I could see her thinking over something.  “Plus, there is something odd about the spell.  It doesn’t seem to stack up the way I expected.  The spell is too complicated, and too odd for what they’re doing. There are easier ways to do what they’re doing.  The problem is I don’t really know if that is true for Bookers or not.  They don’t belong in our world.  Maybe, they can’t use the same spells, in the same way.”

“That’s true, I don’t know either to be honest.  I wonder would Violet know?”  Violet actually knew things I should know about the spirit world.  Besides, she pointed in the direction of the whole thing to begin with.

“You might…” Carina face tightened up as her glare overtook her whole face.  “Have to run the list by Billy-Joe he keeps track of supernatural people in the city.  He’d know about what way points there are, and where the spirits are disappearing.”

I couldn’t help it, I laughed.  “What do you hate Billy-Joe so much?”  They used to work together.  That’s all either of them would tell me.

“Doesn’t matter.  If he said he’ll help.”  A sneer, a very unfamiliar thing on her face, as said.  “His word is his bond.”

Right, I shouldn’t ask anymore questions.  “Can we print it out as a graph, or map or something.”

“Already did.”  She pointed to rolled up tube next the door.  “When you’re done drinking my coffee, and borrowing my couch you can run it over to your new friend.”

Apparently, talking to Billy-Joe in a legitimate way was nearly unforgivable.  “Thank you, Carina.”  I didn’t run out of here as she expected.

She huffed and strode back to her bedroom.  I’ll own up to it, I watched her go.  It didn’t take long to finish my coffee.  The tube in hand, I called Billy-Joe in the elevator.  “Billy-Joe how are you?”

“You do realize it’s seven thirty in the morning.”  He grumbled.  “I worked late last night.”

“Sorry, I didn’t really think about it.  What were you working on, anything to do with George?”  The cops poking into the guy would only make it more difficult for me to take care of the situation, I’d hope they’d stay out of it.

A sound of clacking pots filled my ears.  “No, it doesn’t.  A regular murder, I’m a detective, I don’t run around chasing ghosts all day.  What is it, Mercer?”  The annoyance practically crawled out of the phone to slap me in the face.

How do I explain it?  “A spirit offered to find out all the spirits destroyed and where.  He complied the list, as of two days ago, and I have printed off of where in the city it happened.  Carina said you know about where all the power spots, natural spirits, and so forth might be.”

A grunt, as I could hear the phone being moved around.  “Must be painful for her to admit.”  A little, smug chuckle, “She hates when she has to admit anything.”

“Yeah, this is cute and everything, but when can you look at it.”  The Billy-Joe – Carina feud didn’t involve me, and I didn’t want to have to take sides.  I’d take Carina’s, then I’d be out a police detective.

“It’s my day off.  Why don’t you come back my house.” Billy-Joe rattled off the address.

“Okay, but I thought someone died.”  I figured he’d be working.  Catching evil bad guys, and making them pay, maybe with Bad Boys playing on the radio.

“Real life isn’t a cop show.  We already have lab techs running stuff.  A few suspects who are being interviewed today.  The matter will be resolved in a few days, it wasn’t all that mysterious. Why don’t you worry about your little murderer, and you let the SPD worry about the others.”  The eye rolling nearly made a sound.  Forgive a guy for asking an innocent question.

Since Billy-Joe was clearly in a good mood, I kept  any smart retorts to myself.  “I’ll be there in a few.  You want me to bring something eat?”

“Sure,” Then he paused.  “It better not be fucking doughnuts, Mercer.  Unless, you want to really piss me off.”

Yeah, he was in a great mood.  “Bye, Billy-Joe.”  I hung up the phone before stepping out of the elevator and into the lobby.  I got a few sandwiches from a coffee shop, and took a cab to his apartment.

A small apartment with brick walls, with a well maintained yard.  Nothing fancy, but middle class,  I knocked on the door.  He opened in stained, ratty sweatpants, a worn T-shirt, and a flannel robe.  “Mercer.”

I waved the coffee, and sandwiches back and forth.  “You know, I was really craving a donut.”

His eyes narrowed before he pushed the door the rest of the way open.  “If you get shot, I’m not going to be surprised.”

The place was clear, organized, but very impersonal.  There were no nick knacks, no throws, besides the small laptop next the couch, I’d think it was staged. “Nice place.”

“Set the stuff on the coffee table, I’ll get plates.”  He walked through a swing door into what I’ll assume is the kitchen.  I  set the items down, and settled on the couch.  The tube resting on my knees.  He flopped down next to me with a huffing sound and pulled out the food setting in on the plates.  Billy-Joe lifted my coffee and put a brown leather coaster under it.  He did the same for his own.  “In this house, we use coasters.  Like adults.”

“Yeah.”  I sipped my coffee and took a bite out of my sandwich. “I got the map here, whenever you think you’re awake enough for it.”

He nodded.  “Let me eat, and drink my coffee.”

I did the same.  After we were finished he stacked the plates, and the paper coffee cups on top of them.  He took the tube from me, pulling out the map and laid it out to the table.  The whole Seattle area filled with dots, dark red ones.  “Shit, how many spirits died?”

Billy-Joe ran his finger over the bottom. “Looks about sixty.  Not good, a lot of them are around the Space Needle monument too, and according to this they didn’t usually hang around there.”

Didn’t surprise me.  The energy there was dark, and twisted.  Despair, horror, betrayal, hopelessness, loss, and pain are not happy emotions.  The whole place was coated in them.  I went there once to look at it, I couldn’t even make it within a mile of it without hearing the wails of spirits.  And, I’m far less sensitive to it as I should be as a Grey Eye.  I couldn’t imagine would it would sound like the spirits there.

“Carina thinks they are dying in waves, not at a steady pace.”  Actually, this combined with what Carina said.  But, perversely, I didn’t want Billy-Joe to feel as if he was better than here.  As stupid as that is.

Billy-Joe sat back.  “The rest died next to some powerful natural magic centers.  They are clustered around them.”  He pointed to the fact there were only three other areas the seemed to be dying at.”

“Yeah.” This didn’t sound good at all.  In fact, it was making me worried.  This was sounding like a very complicated, and potentially powerful spell. Why the hell it would occur to a Booker to do, I had not idea.  They’d have to have a very good grasp of the supernatural world for them to even conceive of this sort of idea.

Billy-Joe rubbed his chin.  “You think this George Hopkins is involved in this.”

“I got the information from a spirit.  He seemed to be honest, but he’s a spirit.  You know, I don’t trust them except for those I know really well.”  They wanted to live.  They didn’t care how they did it.  And since, I was the only way to really  live again, they tended toward lies.

 

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