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My Thoughts on Amon

Well, it’s been almost a year and half since I started this blog.   Now is a good time to put up another world. And, to explain that confusing and open to interruption statement, give me a second.

The original idea went I started this blog was to write about different universes IE ‘worlds’ I created in my fiction.  I tend to make a character and make a world to fit them.  Sometimes this character is later disregarded.  The worlds tend to stick around.  Amon was picked as my first, because it was the first one I dreamed up as a kid.   It fit the sort of darkness I could see in the everyday life.  Yet, it also fit the possibilities, and hopes I saw too.

I love Amon, because here are a people who have beaten on over and over.  Every time they achieve any sense of normalcy the universe conspires to take it from them.   Through nearly impossible odds they manage to survive.   The consequence being their race got darker and darker.   What originally started a small world still developing society, became a society where survival of the fittest was the only real rule.

One the concept I decided on early way back when I still couldn’t drive was to society to be slightly guided by a powerful being.  It took me a long time to come up with the idea of women who lived around a thousand years each, and passed on the wisdom of their lives to each other.   If you’ve been following along you’d know the first of which was Rilas.

Amon is also intriguing to me, because it is world on the edge.  It can either evolve into something better, or become a darker place.   Change, to me, is a great catalyst full of interesting storylines and interpersonal conflict.   What will become of this razor edge type dance?

I wish I knew.

Next week, I’ll be telling you a bit about the next world, which is Elenmitis.  It will be a fantasy world, a bit of a shift from science fiction.  It won’t be your typical fantasy universe, however.

This doesn’t mean I plan to never post another story on Amon every again, it won’t be the focus anymore is all.  In the next couple of months I’m planning for a lot of changes on the site.  I want to make a full-fledged time line and put up stories on there so you can see where they fall in the storyline.

In two weeks, I swear, we’ll be back to story time.

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200 Words at a Time, The End

Thanks to helped my story make it the final round.  I’m super happy to finish it off.  The whole challenge has been insanely fun.  My favorite challenge ever, for now anyway.   Go to here, to read more.

I picked up my own story this time.  It felt right, and dammit I wanted to know to know what was up the ring.

Galactic Mercs

First part by Me

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.

Second Part by Athena

The mark joined us not too long after that. I know they’re supposed to be clients, but I can’t help thinking of them as marks. Lancer likes to think of us as noble ruffians, taking on jobs to help the weak and disenfranchised. Truth is, we take on the jobs that pay the most. Sometimes that means we take the client for a bit of a ride.

Lancer was right about one thing: when the client arrives, I play boss. Pretty much have to; no one would buy me as the hired muscle – at least no one with all their bits in tact. Marks are always weary of a girl without a purpose. They’ll buy me as the brains, but not the brawn.

Lancer brought this one in. I let him do that once in a while because it makes him feel like we’re equal partners. More importantly, it makes the marks think that I’m hot stuff. They’re so lucky to get me, I send one of my peons first to see if they’re worthwhile instead of going myself. Doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s a much bigger payday.

Part Three by Ely

The man they called Helix walked into the bar, the sunlight rushing past his entourage, harshly drowning out the dank ambiance so welcoming to the regular patrons. I had met him through an old corps buddy whom I usually only call upon in the most dire of business droughts.

As predicted Toops straightened out immediately, her strength radiating from her core, demanding an elevated level of respect. She had a knack for nonverbal communication, in more ways than one.

“Not exactly discreet is he,” She said in a disapproving whisper.

“It’s a paying job. Rodge made it sound like it would be of particular interest to us.” I finished under my breath as the group neared, my lips spreading into an awkward greeting. I am just the muscleor I’ve had one too manyor both.

“Ms. Toops I presume,” Helix smiled, suave and somewhat greasily as he took her hand. He was dressed in a slick suit, all grey, matching tie, extravagantly out of place in this corner of the ‘verse. His three companions were obviously hired security.

“All presumptions aside, where they belong, I’ve heard you have work suitable for our expertise.”

Helix’s slimy smile grew, looking to me with positive regards to my choice of partners.

Part four by Paul Baughman

As soon as I saw Helix’s smile I mentally doubled the price we’d ask. I’ve seen smiles like that before. They never bode well. I also made a mental note to have a chat with Lancer. This buddy of his needs a talking to.

“Let’s move to a table where we can talk in private,” I said. I didn’t wait for an answer, I just turned away and headed for a corner table I had reserved earlier.

When I slid into one of the back chairs, I could tell Helix didn’t appreciate me turning my back on him. Lancer eased himself into the other back chair leaving the mark to have his back to the door.

“Well,” the slimeball said heartily, “what are we drinking?”

“We’re here for business,” I said, “what’s the job?”

“Nothing wrong with a little social interaction, is there?”

The way he said it, I knew exactly what kind of interaction he thought he was getting here. I tripled the price.

I tapped my ring on the table until it drew his eyes. It was just to derail his thoughts. Not many knew what it represented, so I was surprised when his eyes widened.

Part Five by Me (again)

“You’re the Hatchet.”  Helix eyes got wider and wider as he stared at Toops.

On the inside I let out a groan.  That woman’s bad temper was always getting us in trouble.  And, she was too proud of that ring.  “It doesn’t matter.  This is business, right, Helix?”

“You work with a murderer, a killer.”  Helix face flushed red as he stood up knocking the chair back.

To that I shrugged.  “I’m a mercenary not a priest.  You going hire us, or do we need to move on.”

Helix gave a rough shake of his head.  “Screw both of you.”  Without another word he strode out the bar.

Toops phone beeped and she took the message with a smile.  “Well, that’s good news.”

“Oh yeah, does it stack up with you being stupid and losing us a job.  Cause, that was pretty brilliant.”  I tipped my head toward the doorway our client had left through.

Her lips curled in a vicious, pleased smile. “I got a job for my sideline.  And, I now know why Helix didn’t want to work with the Hatchet.”

“Yeah, what’s that?”

“I just got hired to kill him.”  She said on a grin.

 

 

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200 Words at a Time, Part 4

Okay, I had a really hard time picking the next part to continue.  But, this one caught my attention.  So, check out Chuck Wendig, thanks to Megan, the Wanderer, and Dave Kearney

Stewart

(Meagan)

“Yes, this penthouse view is quite breathtaking,” I turned to the luscious blonde before me, “but not nearly as lovely as—

A thunder clap, and then I was standing in a small, glowing circle, surrounded by a gaggle of chanting fools in robes.

“Oh great Sorasel im Palat, lord of fire and darkness, fell devourer of the innocent, conqueror of—” Arcane symbols covered the speaker’s robes, nearly obscuring the heavy crimson fabric.

“Yes, yes, get on with it.” I gestured with my gin martini.

He paused, then finished in a post-pubescent squeak, “We invoke thy true name and bid thee do our will.”

“Oh you do, do you? Well I want you to send me back. I was having a smashing time, and that girl may not have two brain cells to rub together, but she looked quite likely to do some rubbing together. If you know what I mean.”

The robe-wearers shuffled, and whispered amongst themselves. The leader piped up again. “O great Sorasel im—

“Stop that, stop that,” I interrupted. “Only my dad calls me that. I prefer my middle name. If you must speak, call me Stewart.”

More shuffling and whispering from my summoners.

*****

 (Wanderer)

“Oh great and mightyStewart….” the leader—whose pasty face was mostly spots—began again. “We bind thee to our will.”

I took a sip of my martini—extra dirty, extra olives—and raised an eyebrow at the little prat. Summoners used to know what they were doing. I looked at the floor where their demon trap was sloppily drawn with what smelled unmistakably like fresh, store-bought spray paint. I sighed. What happened to the blood of a virgin? Or even the vital fluids of an unwilling Christian priest?

I noticed their silence; I could practically smell their fear—a mixture of piss and that foul deodorant that promised them flocks of women. I took another gulp of the martini—it was perfect. Almost as flawless as my blonde client who was no doubt currently working her minimal intelligence into a sweat in an effort to find me.

“Well? Get on with it.”

“We bound you, oh great Sora—er—Stewart.”

“I heard that part. So,” I made sure to smile with all of my teeth. “You’ve bound me. Congratulations. Now, what do you plan to do?”

“Jaime, this was your idea.” One of the other robed figures poked the leader.

*****

(Yours truly)

“Just give me a second to think.” The one called Jaime jabbed an elbow into his pimple-faced accomplice who tripped on his robe and stumbled out of the ring of table salt surrounding the group.

Amateurs.

Before the wannabe summoner could scramble back inside the protective circle, I bound his feet with a tendril of flame and pulled him kicking and screaming toward me. With a wink, I yanked out his entrails and sucked them down like a bowl of spaghetti. Normally, I’m not such a messy eater but I got caught up in the theatre of the moment. And besides, he made me spill my martini.

Licking my fingers, I turned to the trembling gaggle. “Alright my little binders,” I said.  “The time for playing has ended. Either command me or release me from your service.”

Sweating profusely, the one called Jaime fumbled inside his oversized robe. “Behold,” he shrieked, thrusting a small wooden crucifix in my direction.

A shiver rippled through my body. I had not seen a sacramental of such power in millennia. How the Cross of St Michael came to be in the possession of this snot-nosed punk was a question that would have to wait. The more pressing question was whether he knew how to use it.

Me,  Myself, and I

Jamie’s hands shook as he held the crucifix in the air the wood gleaming.   He licked his lips as lines of sweat rolled down his face.

“Hurry up, Jamie, his dangerous.”  One of the cloaked figures squeaked.

Jamie nodded.  ” Meat esta animo…”  He stuttered, “That doesn’t sound right.” Then reached under his robe and jostled out a notepad.  “Okay, Mea est anima tua.”

His Latin accent was atrocious.  As upsetting as that was I started to worry.  This wool headed idiot seemed to know the words of the ritual.  “What are you doing?”

Jamie throat bulged out as he took a hard swallow.  “Voluntas quae tua sunt.  Et verba mea cor tuum.”

Not good, not good at all.  “Look, kid, tell me what you want.  Maybe we could work out a deal.”

Some of fear stink receded from the air.  Jamie fingers tightened around the notepad.  “Paenitentiam, angelus cecidit, paenitentiam.”

A pause as Jamie glanced around expectedly.   I felt a wellspring of relief.  He didn’t know the end part.  “Well, now that you’re done slaughtering Latin what are you doing to do with me?”

Jamie frowned for a moment, and then his expression brightened.   “Sorasel im Palat habeo vobis.”

Well crap.

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200 Words at a Time, Part 3

The telephone of writing continues.   This time I picked a story that stuck with me.  It was something I’d normally read being a horror with a religious bent.  But,  it compelled none the less.  Here’s my attempt.  

The beginning is from boydstun215.   The second part is from Adrienne.  And,  of course, the challenge is from good ole’ Chuck Wendig.

200 Words at time, Part 3

By Boydstun215

The soldiers carried the man across the narthex and through the nave. They lumbered along like some giant, wounded insect, three pairs of cold, stiff legs shuffling clumsily beneath a motley carapace of steel and leather. Close upon their heels, the master-of-arms was careful to avoid the hissing droplets of blood that the insect left in its wake. His sword was drawn.

At the end of the nave and standing at the foot of the chancel, the bishop held a gilded crosiers at arm’s length as if to thwart to advance of the shambling mass making its way toward the altar. In his other hand he grasped a large silver crucifix. Despite his advanced age and diminutive stature, the crimson-robed bishop made for an imposing figure. “No further,” he whispered. The soldiers stopped , unsure of themselves. One of the men looked down nervously into the pale face of the man he carried while the other two turned their heads in askance to the master-at-arms. For several moments the only sound was the steady hiss of the blood as fell from the lifeless man and met the cold marble floor.

“It must be done here,” said the master-at-arms. “Take him to the altar.”

By Adrienne

The bishop moved aside, letting the soldiers scramble up the few steps to the altar. His crimson robes did nothing to shield him from the cold radiating from their frozen armor. The slick marble stairs proved difficult for the exhausted soldiers as they stumbled and fell under their heavy load. Grim-faced, the master–at-arms followed their procession, only sheathing his sword to offer aid in heaving the unconscious man atop the bare altar.

The soldiers scurried away, stealing a glance at the stone table before fixing their gaze on their snow-crusted boots. The master-at-arms moved to the side of the altar where the man’s head rested. His shallow breaths produced a faint mist in the cold air. Steady drops of blood from his mouth had already created a small pool that hissed quietly on the stone. The master-at-arms looked down at the man’s face, searching for any hint of the soldier he once knew, but finding only the thing he had become. A sharp intake of air through the pale, bloodied lips tore the master-at-arms away from his thoughts.

The bishop joined the master-at-arms. Two terrified altar boys carrying trays covered with vials, books, crucifixes, and various cutting tools followed closely behind.

“It is time.”

By Me

The bishop took the vial from the boys with a slow deliberation he pulled the cork free.  The once dead soldier began to stir as he shook it, lightly, over him.  The liquid splashed against the body glowing for a moment as an acrid scent wafted upward.

The soldier’s lips pulled back bloodied teeth bared.  A low, animal like growl erupted from his mouth.

The bishop glanced at the master-at-arms.  “Hold him.”   And, he turned even as the man moved to obey.  He lifted up the cross with great reverence.   He muttered quiet words over the struggling thing.

The skin darkened, as more feral growls overwhelmed every other sound.  The soldier fought as the master-at-arms’ muscles strained to keep him still.

The bishop handed the cross back to the altar boys.  He took up a knife, and several empty vials.  He motioned to the book, “Read.”

One of the boys opened the book.  His eyes stretched wide and hands unsteady began to read. The archaic words weaved in between the snaps and snarls.

Bishop made a careful slash across the flesh of the soldier.  The blood was a dark violet against its skin.  He held the vial against the trickle allowing it to fill with blood.  “Soon, we can finish this.”

 

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200 Words at a Time, Part Two

Chuck Wendig has set up a flash of writing a story 200 words at a time.  Last week I wrote my first 200 words.  This week I had to continue someone’s else story.  I went with my fellow blogger Urban Spaceman.  Check out there to see the beginning of this story.

200 More Words

 

“Is this about the Manhattan project? I’ve heard all all I want to hear about that.”  Everyone had a theory and a conspiracy.

He took another sip then cackled. “Everyone thinks the atom bomb is the worst thing. There are atrocities that you never hear about. “   His filmy eyes turned flatter, more haunted. “The government wanted me.  They needed the expert in the field of Magnetics. I was the best.”

“You used to be a world leading scientist.” 

He took another sip of his drink.   “You think I was always a drunk? A mess of a man who had no purpose?”   The pitch of his voice rose with each word.   Then, he slumped.  All fire and life fled from him. “The bomb would be flashy. They wanted less flash, but more effect. “ 

“Are you trying to say, that’s some powerful super weapon waiting in the wings.”  The whole story was sounding like a bad pulp fiction.

The man shook his head, and dragged his hand over his face. “I’ve already done it.  Every day the earth spins, it gets stronger.  Soon, it will be ready.”

 

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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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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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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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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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Ownership

This week the Chuck Wendig challenge was a genre mash up.  I got Dieselpunk and Vampires.  I keep getting the undead in these mash ups, and considering I don’t enjoy horror, the dice gods are cruel.

Ownership

The deep rumble always filled Burnsville. One didn’t hear it during the day. Too many people talking, driving their huge bikes, and the dirty business of living. Of course I never heard it during the day. During the day I was dead. At night there wasn’t much else to hear. It made the city seem like a large slumbering creature.

My eyes flickered open. The automatic lighting started to flicker on around me.  I slipped off plush bed, and stood up. Already, my throat burned. The hunger thrummed in my veins begging for someone, anyone. I opened the door, and headed up the small stairway.

Before I reached the top I could smell the burning gas, and loud laughter. The clave was up.

The living room filled with old style furniture with brightly burning lamps. All three of them sat passing around a liquor bottle. “Aren’t one of you supposed be guarding the door?”

Heaven and Trix stilled their eyes widening in fear.  Trigger laughed.  “Screw you, Urien.  We are partners not your thralls.  If you want some lackeys make some.”  He chugged whatever swill he’d been drinking.  “My babies are all over it.”

“Forgive me if I don’t trust animals to our safety.”  I couldn’t stop from throwing up my hands in disgust.

Trigger’s face darkened.  “There’s nothing wrong with my rotts.  They’re more than smart enough.”

“They drink out of the toilet.”  Before Trigger got more upset about me slandering his ‘babies’, I strode over to the couches.  “Did you get the blood, or is there a someone to feed me?”

Heaven brushed her honey blonde hair from her face.  “Sorry, Urien. These huge tanks rolled in, and everyone scattered.  The military is making the move.  They want to own Burnsville.”  In a self-conscious gesture she rubbed her neck.

The scattered government of what used to be America couldn’t stand that Burnsville had enough weapons to be free of their influence. For weeks they’d been threatening a takeover.  There was one thing they didn’t know. Burnsville was mine.  No one gets to have what’s mine. “Did they?”

A heavy silence hung over my allies, and perhaps friends. None of them were my people, who are singularly untrustworthy in any case.  Each one shot side glances at the others, they were worried. Trigger snorted. “You’re a scary asshat.”

“Isn’t that why you are with me, and not my pathetic, strutting rivals?”  I shifted to sit in the gray brocade wing chair next to them.

Trix patted her knee.  Her body was strapped head to toe in knives.  “Do you need me to round up the men?”

I considered it. “Yes, that would be best. Let’s not allow those usurpers to get comfortable in my city.” Trix stood bowed before striding out.

“Urien,” Trigger started.  “Are you going to feed off Heaven, or what? What do you need us to do?”

Feeding off Heaven was less than ideal.  My witch needed to be at full power.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t feed off Trigger at all.  For whatever reasons his blood was poisonous.  “Animal blood from the butcher’s?” As terrible as it tasted it would work for now.

“Yeah, we got some.”  Trigger gave me a once over with his green eyes. “I don’t know why you care about Burnsville.  The military is going to use the city, just like you.”  He was always the one to ask the questions.  Often, I wondered why.  Did the fact I couldn’t feed off him make him brave?  Or, did he merely lack the common sense to be afraid.

I moved faster than the human eye could follow.  My fingers wrapped lightly around his neck.  His fear perfumed the air as I leaned in my lips brushing his ear.  “It is mine.  I have lived for centuries.  And never, ever have allowed anyone to take what’s mine.”  I let go.

His green eyes widened, but his fear lessened.  A slow smile lifted his lips in a daring grin.  “I’m happy to be yours.  Sometimes, you need to be shook up.  You don’t want to end up like the others.”

The other vampires who’d gone insane.  When the world started to burn diesel, coating everything with a permanent layer of grim they went insane.  What caused it, none of my people know.  Yet the possibility of losing my mind weighed on me.  It is the only reason I told my three how to kill me.  I’d not be a beast roaming the streets.

“I’ll see you at their base at midnight.  We’ll show them what the Lord of Burnsville can do.”

***

Ash hung in the air.  The humans couldn’t feel it, but I could.  My lungs felt clogged with a thick morass of it.  However, I ignored it.  The battered, massive tanks bulky forms rested against the backdrop of the power plant.  From here I could see they were attaching tubing to siphon off my gas.  A snarl pulled my lips up.  The urge to charge in nearly overwhelmed me.  I needed to wait until they were in place.   A sweet whisper of honey, and raspberries floated into my mind.  “Everything is in place.”  Heaven deliciousness faded.

I cut the leash I held on my power.  The blood pounded in my ears, I could feel them.  My tongue ached to taste them all.   The leader, I needed to kill the leader.  A slow, agonized walk as I got closer scanning for the huge, stripped tent would be the officer’s.  I spotted it.  A fierce joy unfurled in me.  Blood would run.

Shots fired at the soldiers rolled out their gleaming Gatling guns fired back.  A flaming explosion landed in camp causing as even larger one as some of the diesel caught fire.  The screams and burned flesh bloomed around me.  My heart raced faster, and faster.  Soon, I promised, soon.  Finally, the commander stumbled out, a gun in hand.  I flashed forward tackling him back into his tent my body pressing him to the ground.  “I’m hungry.”

“What the hell?” He struggled trying to throw me off.

I laughed, maniacal and loud.  Yet, I knew no one could hear me.  The noise was too loud, too thick.  I shredded his coat exposing his neck. I bit down.  The warm, thick liquid wet my parched body.  So desperately I wanted to sink into the sensation forget the outside world.  With my will alone I remained aware.  Once his body was free of blood, I dragged him upward.  A megaphone rested next to the tent.  Hefting the body, I snatched it and raced up to the top of the tank.

I pressed the megaphone to my mouth.  “Your captain is dead.”  The body flopped as a bright light rested on him.  “Fire, your bullets won’t kill me.  I’m the Lord of Burnsville.”  Many of the humans didn’t believe I was real.  Instead of running, or hiding, I waited for a bullet to hit me.  A barrage them cut through my body, they burned.  I cackled into the megaphone and the shots slowed, and stopped.

“You tried to take Burnsville from me.  I could kill all of you, bathe in your blood.”  A smile pulled up my right corner of my lip. “I want to. It would be decadent in the extreme.”  My tongue rubbed over my teeth.  “Either way, you are mine.  Choose how you wish to serve.”  As I spoke my people closed in around them.  Surrounded, their leader dead, and a vampire wanting to taste them.  They did the smart thing and dropped to their knees.  I sent out a mental command.  “Any who are not cowed, knock them out.  I’ll drain, and store their blood.”

I stepped down throwing the commander’s body down.  A man had bars on his chest,   “Are you his first?”

“First?” He asked his voice shaking.

The word escaped me.  “Are you now the commander of this…”  My mind searched for the word.  The air outside caused my brain to work slower.  “Unit?”

He nodded.  “Yes, sir.”

“Good, you are mine.”  Fear rolled off him in waves.  The speed of his heart so fast.  “Are you happy to be mine?”

His head bounced up and down rapidly.  “Of course, sir.  I am happy to serve.”

My fingers wrapped around his chin as I peered into his eyes.  “You don’t need to lie.  You will like it.  Don’t worry I take care of what’s mine.  Serve me well, you will be well.  Make sure your men now they are mine, forever.  Can you do that?”

“Yes, sir.”

I shook my head.  “Yes, Master Urien.  You will serve me very well.”  I let go the man collapsed at my feet.  His sobs punctuated my steps.  Burnsville was mine fully, once more.

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