Monthly Archives: February 2014

Legend of Elenmitis Part 6

“I think so, Elenmitis.  Humans don’t want to agree.  Perhaps, you gave them too much power,” The World said, definitely sounding concerned.

Elenmitis couldn’t take the power back.  He frowned.  “It is done. There isn’t much I can do now.”

“Hopefully, it wasn’t a mistake.”

Elenmitis settled down and watched things change.

The humans became very different from one another.  They had different governments, different laws, and belief systems.  They started to develop a way to travel to each other, their anger was different.  No longer did they feel the need to change their neighbors.

The World and Elenmitis agreed this had managed to work itself out.  But, now Elenmitis grew antsy once again.  Everything had settled into the same boring patterns.

“Why don’t you make some more realms?  They have good and evil, but nothing else.  This world is of magic as well.” The World had tired of Elenmitis fussing.

Elenmitis made a realm of fire called Ixcoz.  He made a creature of flame and temper to live there.  Next came Honin the realm of Earth, creatures of life and steadiness for that one.  Water was called Dael with beings that were fluid and mutable.  And last he made Vayu a land of air.  The beings there were flighty and light.  Again, he observed.

The humans summoned those creatures. And used them the same they did the angels and their demons.  However, the elemental creatures were a bit more powerful, for they had been made by Elenmitis, and not a mortal mind.  Something strange happened, more powerful beings in these realms rose up to rule over the rest.

They became minor gods to the glory that was Elenmitis.  At first, he was a bit annoyed about it.  He wanted their worship for himself.

The World laughed at him.  “You wanted things to be interesting, but you fuss when they change.”

He admitted The World was right, and let them be.  And, because he hadn’t changed anything else, something completely unexpected happened.

The angels, demons, and elementals began to breed with human kind.  They made more powerful humans, who the humans called planeborn.  Every society had different opinions on them, and he found them fascinating.  Some were more like their plane parent, others were more human.  And they bred among each other, making a dizzying array of ancestry.

Elenmitis considered using his power to make sure the planeborn were accepted into society.  However, The World stopped him.  “Have you not noticed a trend, Elenmitis?”

“A trend, what trend?” Truly baffled he didn’t know what the World was referring to.

“Whenever you don’t allow things to take their normal course, you grow bored.  It is only when you don’t try to fix things that everything stays interesting.  You are getting too involved in their day to day affairs.”

Author’s Note: This was supposed to go last week, but some kind of user error occurred.  Sorry about that. 

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Flash Fiction: Twisted Love

This week’s challenge is pretty open ended.  Twisted love, probably in honor of V-day.  This story actually relates to the back story of a novel I’m currently working on.  Its how the parents of one of main character’s meet.  I had a lot of fun working on it.

Beautiful Mistake

 

“I wonder where I can find something to eat,” a handsome man with white skin and flaming mane muttered.  He leaned up against a pine tree rubbing his belly.  He braced his arms back to push off the tree, when he froze.

 

A young woman with dark hair and eyes walked down a dirt pathway going down the hillside.  Her robe was undyed linen and her only adornment was a carved, open book on a plain string around her slender neck.  She grasped a book in her hand, as she sang softly to herself.

 

“A Priest of the Unbidden,” he said.  He shifted in his chainmail and stepped forward.  “Excuse me. Do you know where there is somewhere to eat?”  His voice was smooth, and seductive.

 

The woman stopped and stared.  A blush came to her cheeks.  “Yes,” She said, averting her eyes.

 

The man winced.  He hadn’t meant to use his powers, but he hadn’t learned how to turn them off.  “Where do I need to go?”

 

The woman tipped her head. “Down by the Heart of Thought,” She looked away chewing on her lip.

 

The man mulled this over. He knew that meant the place where Priests of the Unbidden lived, but he didn’t have any interest in the bland food they ate.  “Is there a tavern or café there?”

 

“Yes, nearby in the village,” She said her face turning more crimson by the second.

 

He knew it was because his power was going more and more each second they spoke.  “I’m Voracan, by the way, what is your name?” He asked, hoping it might help offset his powers.

 

She bowed with a stiff movement.  “I’m Lillian High Priest of the Unbidden.”  A bit of the blush faded from her cheeks.

 

“Could you show me to the tavern, then?” Voracan thought he might be able to find it, but there seemed to be an awful lot of winding pathways here.

 

Lillian nodded, and started down the path.  For the first few moments the only sound was soft cooing of a bird.  “Why did your parents give you a name in demonic?”

 

His face scrunched up.  He knew he should have come up with a name that didn’t reveal what he was.  “I’m a demon.”

 

She whipped around to stare at him, all color draining from her face.  “Are you serious?”  Her hand went to clasp around the book symbol.  “Stay back.”

 

He shook his head.  “I was thrown out of Silt.  I’m no threat to you.”

 

“Do not lie to me, demon.”  Lillian’s voice turned hard.  Her eyes blazed with passion.  “We of the Unbidden have no power other than our knowledge.  I know all about the lies, and tricks demons play to gain humans to torment.”

 

Voracan was fascinated by the change.  When she wasn’t being cowed by his presence she was a strong woman.  “You are right. I have power to harm you. “He gave her his best disarming smile. “It would be more accurate to say I would not.  I was thrown up for sparing a human, not for harming one.”

 

“How do I know you were tossed out?” Her nostrils flared as her face tensed.  “Anyone could call themselves forsaken, it means nothing.”

 

He acknowledged that was true.  Then, he let go of his appearance that made him look human.  His skin turned deep ash gray, large horns curled from the side of his head, eyes the color of rubies and hair of living flame flowed down his back.   He knew in his form his features grew finer and whatever was more attractive to the viewer.  “I wouldn’t bother with words.”

 

“Seducer,” She swallowed hard.  “Why are you bothering with words?”

 

“I don’t like what I am. I never have. I want to live a normal, human, life.”  That’s all he really wanted.

 

The woman eyes narrowed and her grip tightened on the symbol of the Unbidden.  “And, how do I know that this isn’t some scheme to lower my guard so you can seduce me?  I’d be a prize wouldn’t I? The High Priest of the Unbidden.”

 

Voracan figured it was true.  High Priest was an eternal virgin untouched, and always raised with in the order.  “Why are they letting you wander around on your own?”

 

She huffed.  “I’m hardly wandering around on my own.  This is a short walk from the Heart.  You are the interloper here.”

 

Voracan couldn’t help it, he grinned.  She was adorably irritated. “Why are you walking by yourself, then?”

 

“As if it is any of your business, silt spawn,” she said.  A bit of the acid had faded from her voice and her features softened.

 

“I suppose it isn’t.”  Voracan was definitely surprised by the fire in her nature.  Who’d think for a scholarly little virgin would be so bold.  “But, it does seem your people would travel with you.”

 

“It is a short walk to the village. It is my duty and privilege to talk to the villagers and train them in words and numbers.”  She took a step back up the path watching him.  “And, to spread the word of knowledge.”

 

He ran his gray hand through his hair and changed his appearance back to the handsome man with flame colored hair.  “Well, if you’ll tell me the direction to the village I’ll head there now, and leave you to your preaching.”

 

She went still, and then her eyes went huge.  “I can’t let you in the village alone.  Those people are mine to protect.”

 

“Either I eat food or feed in more traditional way for my species.”  Voracan preferred to avoid that.  After youth of feeding at the order of the older demons, he didn’t want to indulge in anything carnal.

Lillian’s fingers went white, she chewed on her lip.  “Walk in front, I’ll keep my eyes on you.”

 

As he shifted to in front of her he took the path.  He could hear her talking in a softest of whispers.   The thick trees opened up to reveal a small village.  The houses were freshly painted and the roads paved with gravel.

 

A warm hand rested on his arm.  “The tavern is the first building on the right.”

 

He flicked around to look at his companion.  The tavern didn’t really stand out it look much like the other buildings.  The only difference was a sign of a bed and tankard on it.  “It’s more of an inn?”  He asked keeping his voice low.  Since, his powers weren’t under his control he figured he shouldn’t push his luck.

 

Lillian ignored the question as they stepped inside.  The walls were a bright blue, the tables and furniture white.   There is even lace curtains, Voracan thought with a shake of his head.  “Can you order for me, I’ll give you money? I don’t dare talk more than I need to.”

 

Those dark eyes seemed to pierce his mind.  “Why?”  There was an edge to her voice that he found compelling instead of terrifying.

 

“I can’t control my powers yet.  When I’m hungry I tend to…” He paused wondering if there might be a better way to phrase it.  Then, he gave up, “seduce them.”

 

Lillian didn’t look as if she believed him.  She let out a long, drawn out breath and held out her hand.  Voracan hurried to put a gold weight in it.  She lifted a brow at the amount.  When he didn’t respond she headed to the counter.

 

He picked a chair in the far corner away from all the windows, and the door.  He settled in so his back was to the wall and he could see everything.  Lillian sat a mug before him and glass before the seat beside him.

 

A sniff told him his was some kind of ale, and hers was water.  “You don’t drink?”

 

“Of course not,” She said.  “The only vice is the power of the word, the truth of knowledge. I indulge in no other.”

 

He’d forgotten.  She didn’t fit the picture he had in his mind for a Priest of the Unbidden.   He sipped at his ale, and gave her a grin.  “You are missing out, this is fine ale.”

 

Lillian ignored him and set her book on the table and began to read.   Her fingers were long, fine and had callous exactly where one would from holding a pen for long periods of time.  She kept the tip of her index finger under each word as she read.

 

A thunk caused Voracan to jerk his head up.   A metal plate landed next to his ale, it had a thick stew with a biscuit next on a napkin to the side.  He waited until the server walked off, before turning to Lillian.  “Aren’t you going to eat?”

 

She lifted her head looking puzzled. “It is forbidden to eat anything outside The Heart.  It is to flavorful, and carries with the risk of temptation.”

 

Voracan felt himself smile again.  “You are going to sit there and read while I eat?  Why don’t you go deal with your students?”

 

“I won’t leave you alone, who knows what you’ll do.”  She didn’t even look at him as she continued to read.

 

“Come on, eat a biscuit.  How flavorful can a biscuit really be?”  He held out the flaky thing toward her, the napkin still folded beneath it.

 

She lifted her head.  “Eat your meal, and leave me be.”

 

“No, I don’t think so.  I can’t enjoy my meal with you sitting there not having anything to eat.”   He waved the biscuit out in front of her.  “It wouldn’t be right.”

 

Lillian shut the book and grabbed the biscuit settling in front of her.  “No one talks to me this way, Forsaken.”

 

“I’m not a villager, and I’m certainly not a member of the Unbidden.  I never tried denying myself anything.”  Voracan enjoyed good food, good drink, and good clothes.  He’d never give them up voluntarily.

 

She sniffed.  “You should try it.”

 

“I’d never work.  I’m a demon. It is a part of my nature.  It the same reason I was banished from Silt.  I couldn’t be different than what I was.”  He shrugged.  “That’s life, you can only change so much.”

 

Lillian picked at the biscuit.  She started to break it up in tiny pieces.  “You are awfully philosophical for demon.”

 

He let out a bark of laughter.  “You know a lot of demons, do you?”

 

For the first time, she smiled.  It made her regular face into something of great beauty.  Her eyes sparkled and her face came alive.  “I suppose you are right.”  She nibbled on a bit of biscuit absently.  Then, her eyes widened.  “Gorinth’s Balls, I shouldn’t have done that.”

 

“Gorinth’s Balls?” Voracan felt his chest rumble.  “What language for a Priest.”

 

Her cheeks blushed deep red.  “Sometimes, I work in the stables.  The stable master isn’t a part of the Unbidden.”

 

“How was your biscuit?” Voracan asked before digging into the stew.  It wasn’t the finest thing he ever ate, but it was good.

 

She toyed with it bit longer before taking another bite.  “Wonderful and you eat the rest. I can’t take the risk of eating more.” She pushed it back over to him.

 

He swallowed.  “If you are the High Priest you have never got the opportunity to rebel.  I think eating a biscuit is safe enough.”

 

“One vice leads to another.  Each vice is a weight on the scale of balance.”  Lillian spoke each word with a sharp dictation.

 

“Quoting the tenants of the Unbidden,” He shook his head.  “You are interesting to talk to Lillian of the Unbidden.”

 

She tipped her head.  “How would I be interesting? All I do is read books.”

 

“You don’t act like it.  You are fiery, and quick with your wits.”  He watched the blush creep up her neck. “Then, you throw in the random odd saying of the Unbidden.”  After taking the last bite of stew he shoved it away. “I’m going to explore the village.”  He jumped up and rushed out the door.

 

He could hear Lillian scrambling behind him as he made it out the door.   For some reason, he didn’t want to leave her yet.  She was a mystery and he hadn’t met many of those in his life.  All around the paved square up a head there were merchants.  One was selling cups, tankards, and mugs.  He’d needed a metal travel cup for the road.   He took off toward him.

 

As he got closer the merchant had a huge selection of items.   The man smiled at Voracan.  “Greetings, good sir.  What can I help with on this fine day?”

 

“I need a set for travel.”  He motioned at the small travel bag attached to his side.  “A small set, I like to travel light.”

 

The man shook himself off.  Though, his eyes didn’t want to leave Voracan’s body.  He knew his powers were affecting him.  “I’ll gather up a simple set for you, sir.”  The man turned missing around in the back of his cart.

 

Lillian moved beside him a frown on her face. “Can’t you control yourself?”

 

He felt his cheeks heat up.   “I haven’t been out of my home very long, less than a month.”

 

Lillian’s brows disappeared into her hairline as her eyes widened.  “That’s not long at all.”  She pulled at a strand of hair.

 

Her eyes rested on a bright yellow mug, the color nearly glowed.   Her fingers ran down the side of it.  “That’s a happy color.”

 

Voracan stepped toward it.  “Do you like it?”

 

“I said it was a happy color.”  Lillian said her word’s sharp.  Voracan suspected she didn’t want to admit more than that.

 

The man returned with a small sack.  “Here you go, sir.  A plate, a mug, and cutlery.  Anything else you need?”  The man’s voice had grown husky.

Voracan made the effort to try to tone down his seductive power before speaking.  “May I also have that yellow mug over there?”

 

The man shook himself off, looking a bit more natural.  “Sure, sir,” he grabbed the mug wrapping it up with paper.  He placed in a paper sack.  “That will be half a weight.”

 

Voracan thought it seemed steep, but this area was very out of the way, and he had no trouble getting money.   Before he could hand it over, Lillian stepped in front of him, giving it to the man.  “Your change from your meal, Voracan.” She said before stepping away.

 

Voracan took his two sacks moved with her.  “The rest of my change?”  He grinned, thinking that she was keeping his money.

 

She held out her hand with the rest of the money.  “Take it.”

 

His fingers ran down her palm as picked up the coins.  He lingered touching her longer than necessary.

 

Her hand snapped back.  “Are you quite done?”

 

“Sorry, your skin is quite soft.”  He pulled up the sack and handed it over to her.  “Here, I bought the mug for you.”

 

Lillian glared at the bag. “It is forbidden to have such things.”

 

“Keep in your room, no one will know it’s there.”  He winked at her.  “I’ll keep your secret.”

 

She stiffened her hand still not taking the sack.  “Why would I keep it?”

 

“To remind you have the handsome, philosophical demon you met who trailed about town one morning.”  Voracan wasn’t sure if she’d want to remember.  He did.

 

Her lips twitched and she took the sack.  “You are interesting, Voracan.  I still do not trust you.  This could be a game, demons are fond of them.”

 

“That’s true, we are.”  He knew he should go, but he couldn’t make himself.  “I’ll earn your trust.”

 

“Earn my trust?” Her voice went a pitch higher as she clutched at the sack.  “What does that mean?”

 

“I think I shall stay around town a bit.  Perhaps, I’ll take you up on your advice and join the Unbidden.  It might be good for me to learn the wisdom of the ages.”  He had to grin at that. “At least use the library at any rate.  I could learn more about the Northern Kingdoms, perhaps pick a name that’s more common.”

 

“Right,” She spun around.  “I’ll keep tabs on you. If I have to I’ll call my friend, who is a priest of Gorinth to banish you.”

 

He watched her rush off.  “Don’t worry, I’ll behave, Lillian.”  He whispered as his heart clenched.

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Review: God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

It took me a little while to settle into the Immortal Empire universe.  This is a good thing.  Too often it’s easy to rely on what’s been done before to set your world.  The writing community has gotten lots of wonderful books from that, but it’s fantastic to mix it up now and again.

Also, the fact I’m not much into punk fiction, or know pretty much nothing about London, besides important historical footnotes, was a slight barrier.  However, I could infer most of the meanings easily enough, and I never really felt lost.  This screams well-crafted to me.

The book itself did a lot of things that impressed me.  It actually surprised me here and there.  I’ve read a lot of books, and I usually can figure what’s happening, and when the tide is going to turn.  This time I was caught off guard several times.

I also enjoyed the strangeness of the world, I was transported to.  A plague ridden world where the have and have nots are strongly divided i all kinds of ways.

The main character is a blast to read.  Xandra shouldn’t be.  She’s a bigot. She’s way aggressive, and too impulsive.  Yet, she’s compelling, and has plenty of good points too.   She’s a very balanced character that is being molded by the events in the book.

This book is almost a book of series of What ifs? Which makes it really fun, because I often ask those sort of questions when I read.  In this world the royalty is better than the masses, because they are kick ass vampires, werewolves, or goblins.  As one of the masses, that sounds pretty much like the worst thing ever.  Imagine how easy would for them to lord anything over you.

“How come I don’t know have enough to eat?”  “You aren’t a noble obviously because the plague will kill you, where it turned me into a beautiful creature with super powers.”  Slap in the fact argument right there.

 

Instant sympathy from reader gets that goes around the main character, freakin’ slick writing right there.

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Flash Fiction: Voice Mail from the FUTURE!

This week’s flash fiction challenge is a little different.  First of all, Chuck Wendig is farming it out.  And second of all we have to make an actual voice recording of a voicemail of the future.  I totally love this idea.  It reminds me of the Artifacts of the Future that show up in the Wired magazine, which I love.  My voicemail is mom calling for tech advice with a twist.

Voicemail

Son, I don’t know how to get this piece of crap to work.

 

<sigh>

I went to the doctor and got the port installed.  But, I can’t get the damn hangy bits to attach.  And, I know you said to hold down the start button, but it just keeps restarting over and over.

<pacing speed up>

And, don’t say I need to read the manual I read the manual.  And, you know what? It doesn’t make any damn sense.  Not a bit.  If you want me to use this stupid thing, you need to come over and help me.  I’m done messing with it.

<bright and happy voice>

Love ya, bye.

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Review: Dead Weight: The Tombs

Dead Weight: The Tombs by M. Todd Gallowglas

Before I really dig in, let me say I really loved this novel.   It does things that most of the time would have made me put it down.   Yet, I didn’t care.  Gallowglas pulled off doing things that shouldn’t have worked.  Which is freakin’ cool. 

A protagonist I didn’t like, yet I cared about, hoped he’d succeed.   The story started off in a very weird way, (which to avoid spoilers, I won’t go into), and wasn’t part of the meat of the plot, but it worked beautifully. There were a lot of references thrown in, but none of it is overdone. And, frankly, I loved the concept of the arts being a way to look into another world. The tale is very dark, gritty, depressing, yet still manages to have a thread of hope running through it.   It truly feels like a mirror into another reality.

The novel manages to bring some very interesting concepts without beating you over the head with them.  What defines goodness, is one that I felt came up a lot.   Is it a person’s actions?  Is it what a person does? Is it their intentions?  Perhaps, it is a combination of all these things.  I don’t know.  The book doesn’t know either, but that’s what makes it interesting.

As I read another question occurred to me.  What does society lose when cultures change, are absorbed, and destroyed?  Is there really a loss? Should such things be preserved in some way?  I’m not sure the author intended me to think of that.  However, this book made lots of odd questions like that show up to plague me, in only the very best way.

An excellent start to what I hope will be a continuing book series.

 

 

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Legend of Elenmitis Part 5

Elenmitis actually thought The World was making sense.  “I won’t give too much away, a touch to every person.”

He flew over the world, giving an equal amount to each human.  Even as he did so he realized some had better access to the power.  And others, even simply could absorb and use more.   Excitement built up in him.  He then told his priests to spread the world that everyone now had power.  And he stood back and waited to see what happened.

At first they were thrilled that they could do magic.  It started simple.  They used it to light fires, attack each other, hunt, and make shelters.  Slowly, they grew more sophisticated, they healed each other, and they made protective spells.  Eventually, they began to disagree with how magic should be used.  And then something happened Elenmitis would have never predicted.

They made a realm of Evil and Chaos, and a realm of Good and Peace.  They called the realm of Good was Vita.  And the realm of Evil was Silt.  And, the humans had made it with their own god touched power.   As the years moved forward, each realm was inhabited by creatures of the human’s creations.  Creatures who were the embodiment of human beauty, power, and grace.  Elenmitis was thrilled.

As the world was one continent the people began to war more heavily.  They would summon and be used by these creatures they made.  The wars grew bloodier, and darker.  And Elenmitis realized if he left well enough alone, they would kill themselves off.  In response, he spilt the world into four parts.

Northern parts he put the people who believed in freedom and independence.  This was a cold place with mountains and rolling hills.  In the Southern kingdoms, people who give anything to the family, and power.  A dry land filled with rich rivers, and harsh winds that blew sand everlasting.  In the Eastern kingdom, he put people who believed in the importance of nature, and living one with the world.  Lush forests, deep jungles had dangerous creatures living beside them.  And the last kingdom for those who believed in keeping their word over any other concern.  This land had a variety of landscapes, cold and hot in turns.

He waited to see the results.  The fighting continued, but to a lesser degree.  A bit of relief swept through him, he hadn’t wanted his marvelous creation to ruin itself.  “Do you think that was well done, World?”

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Flash Fiction: Bah Ra

Chuck Wendig’s challenge this week is to make an alcoholic drink (imagined or not) and write a story relating  to it.  I brought back Soul Merchants, cause they’re fun.

Bah Ra

“I like being in Woellian body.  You guys know how to make a cocktail.”  I fluttered with strands of white hair I’d streaked black.  The deep blue skin I wasn’t quite used to, but I’d only been in this body a week.

The Woellian bartender skin was a pale blue with multi colored swirls painted on his skin with only narrow strips, bright red over his body, and blocking the important bits.  He frowned, those snowy white brows like two beautiful clouds in the sky.  “You are a Woellian.”

“Try again, sweet cheeks.”  I sipped drink, it was acidic, fruity, and kicked me in the teeth.

His eyes glanced downward.  An infinity symbol made out of hourglasses rested between my breasts.  “Soul Merchant.” He bared back his lips around his predatory sharp teeth with a hiss.   “Your kind isn’t allowed in here.”

“Oh come on now.  I’m not a regular Soul Merchant.  You should know that.  I’m what your people call an eiaa of my kind.  Your leaders have given me special privileges.”  The drink smelled good.  Ripe, lush, like you could bite into and juice would run down your chin.

“I’ll confirm that myself.” He stepped away to near the bouncer.  In all my many lives, I never got along with bouncers.  Wild drunken women never seemed to appeal to them.

With a twist of my hip I swiveled on the bar stool.  The decorating here was odd.  Well, odd for anybody but a Woellian.  The ceiling was a splattered with every color imaginable, then overlaid with sparkling net of diamonds.   The walls were ever changing light patterns of red, blue, yellow.  And, the floor was painted black to look as it was the middle of a fireworks display.  They had weird taste.

The music at least whispered deep in my soul.  Rhythmic, dark, and fast paced, it made me want to give into my emotions and dance.

“You are cleared to be here.”  A rumbling little growl from behind me, the bartender didn’t like me.  Unfair, really, I’m so likable.

“What’s in this?” I asked as I turned back around to face him.

“Jul berry, three smashed, bactium tincture, and heart of leora flower.”   He recited those pretty gray eyes hostile.

I wish I hadn’t asked.  Ignorance is bliss, as I well knew.  “Not all Soul Merchants are bad.  We are like genies. We grant people wishes, you know.”  I gave him my best pretty girl smile.

His eyes flattened as they flared red for a second.  Oh, man hunting red was coming out. I must have pissed him off.  “You give people what they want, if you deem it in your own interest.  And, they pay you in something that they don’t understand.”

“How’d you figure? You know your own worth don’t you.”  I took another drink.

“Nothing would know the value of a soul as much as Soul Merchant. “  He shook his head.  “Therefore, you offer the deal with false pretenses.  You could say anything you wanted. I would have no frame of reference for the deal.  Nor anyone to counter the deal.”

I chewed on my lip in thought. Right now, I could go for a smoke.  However, Woellian lungs did not handle any kind of inhaled substance well.  Maybe, that’s why they enjoyed their liquor so much.  “True, but I’m not like the rest.  Can’t you tell? Don’t I seem sweet, and fun? The rest of them are so stuffy and by the rules.”

“I can see the age in your eyes.  You might act young, but you are not.”  His lip curled.  “You are pretending to be what you are not.”

A laugh burst out before I could censor it.  “I’m not trying to act young, I am only enjoying life.  I love drinking, partying, dancing, getting into trouble.  The rest of them, they hate all the stimulation, the lack of power over the physical.  Not me. The first time I was in a body I got into a fist fight.  It was amazing. The feel of flesh against flesh, the burst of pain, it was life.  Soul Merchants we kind of exist, that’s about it.”

The bartender mixed up another drink.  This one was vibrant blue with speckles of yellow inside.  He handed it off a female Woellian with red dyed hair, and crimson tattoos all over her skin.  I can say all over, because she was only wearing thin gauze over herself.

“What’s this called anyway?”  I tapped out a beat on the polished metal counter.

“Bah Ra,” He didn’t even look up from making the drink.

“Of the fruit, nice.” I finished it off.  My stomach roiled at the pickling.  All good, I enjoyed the feeling.

“You’re Wol is excellent.”  He took the glass away.  “You want another?”

“Oh yeah, hit me.  And, of course my Wol is perfect.  I’m a Woellian.”

He pulled up a shaker pouring three different liquors at once.  Then, he spun it on his hand.  With a flourish, he took off the top and poured it into another glass.  “You aren’t a Woellian, you are a Soul Merchant.”

“No, darling dear, I’m both.  That’s the thing. I can hear your leaders whisper in my ears.  They want me to conform.  I never will, but the whispers will stick around until I die.”  I licked the outside of the glass.  I let the fresh, berry smell to tickle my brain.

“Why are you here? Is to share your strangeness?”

“No way.  I’m here to get drunk.”

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Filed under Single Shot Stories, Writing Challenges