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Friday, December 28, 2012

The Top 10 Letters of The Alphabet (Not In Alphabetical Order)

Here's the top 10 Letters of the alphabet. If your favorite letter isn't here, then you're an idiot and everyone you love is an idiot.

10. T - T is on for titties and that's why I love it.
9. D - D is for Double Ds and that is why I love it.
8. A - A is for Awesome Titties and that's why I love it.
7. L - L is for Lovely Titties and that's why I love it.
6. X - X is for X-rated Titties and that's why I love it.
5. W - W is for "Where's the Titties?" which is the question I'm always asking.
4. V - V is for Vagina, which is typically below a pair of titties.
3. P - P is for Penis, which typically goes into a vagina, which is typically below a pair of titties.
3. Q - Q is for "The Quest for Titties"
2. O -O is for "Oh, shit. There's Titties over there."
1. K - K is for Kittens, which are awesome, but not as awesome as titties.

Don't Have Kids

I was at the store the other night, at about ten o’clock. A squat-looking woman wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt came in with her six-year-old son. The son had little flakes of snow peppered in his curly, black hair and a mouth full of half-rotten teeth. He wore a pair of black shorts and a thin, sweatshirt. The boy and his mother went around the store, filling a shopping basket with junk food. The boy was bounding around the store, wide-eyed and excited to be somewhere warm. I didn’t know the entire situation behind this mother and her child, but I do think that she was the kind of woman who can’t see the consequences of the decisions she made.


She turned to me, her skin dried out and bags ringing underneath her eyes. Her eyes were bloodshot like twin cracked mirrors reflecting all the bad ideas she had agreed to. I could see a chubby-cheeked girl of eighteen taking the hand of a man with a different girl’s name tattooed on his neck. I could see him leaving bruises along the back of her head, ones that she could cover with her hair. I could see small, plastic bags filled with marijuana sending her into a decade long haze. The few times that she stepped from that haze, she realized that she wasn’t eighteen anymore, she realized that she had a kid, she realized that she didn’t have the kid’s father. It became easier and easier to remain in the haze because it was harder to come out of it.


She smirked at me after her son tossed a bag of corn chips across the sales floor and she said, “Don’t have kids.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Jackson 5

I'm just going to say that this song is weird. The subtext is that Little Michael's father is dressed up like Santa Claus and is kissing his mother, but Little Michael doesn't know that. As far as he knows, he just caught his mother in the arms of a stranger and he's eager, excited even, to cause conflict on Christmas morning. He's basically saying, "I won't be happy until my parents are divorced or my mom has a black eye. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day Zero: December 22, 2012

Hey, Look. Burt, the horny midget's still alive!

Burt - Born in a dumpster to a one-eyed Polecat and a toothless Deck worker named Skittles.
Burt - Never own, nor wore a pair of pants.
Burt -  Can't swim, but refuses to stay away from the pool.
Burt - Spent two years locked in a cage with a rabid monkey. Came out alive with a belly full of diseased monkey meat.
Burt - Ruined every Christmas party he's ever been invited to.
Burt - Bare-knuckle boxed a dog at the age of six.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day Zero: December 21, 2012

Four days from Christmas and the whole of America is silent. There is no difference between Zero Cell Virus victims and healthy people. They all lay dead in the street, blood dripping from eye-holes, nostrils and mouths. Blood spills from wounds and all the world was death, death, death. There is nothing more for the orld, nothing but meat for the carrion birds.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Little Honesty At the End Of The World

What If we've just crested into the last day on Earth, the Mayan Apocalypse. How would you feel about your last day on Earth. I've been thinking about it. If today was my last day, I would've wished I were more honest. Here's a little honest at the end of the world.

I'm a liar. I lie because I don't understand why people like me. I am blind in so many ways and I'm just left to guess at why a girl smiles at me, why someone chuckles at something I say, why I can be forgiven, why I can be missed.

I've come to believe that people aren't mistaken when they like me, but I honestly have no idea why they do. I like Quid-Pro-Quo relationships where I can say exactly why the person is around; they need someone to vent to, they need someone to cheer them up, they need someone to lift something heavy. I get why I'm there and I get why we're hanging out.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day Zero: December 17th, 2012

Wolves ripped through the night, howling and snarling. These night predators entered the city and brought slaughter to people hiding in their houses.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day Zero: December 10th, 2012

The whole of America was bathed in cold darkness as several power grids exploded. The cold, winter winds blew, but the Zero Virus victims seem not to be detoured.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lost In The Northlands: A Blogged Novel

Chapter One: Running
Cold water, briny and deep, bit at my waist as I moved through the darkness, through the moon-washed night. It was hard to keep my footing as the current tugged on me. My bare feet slipped and slid over the smooth, but somehow piercing, rocks lining the riverbed. Searchlights spun and glared through the fridged night and gunfire crackled through the air, but they weren't shooting at me, yet. I was pretty sure that they didn't even know I was here. I needed to get far away before they did.
There was a faint wind and screams were carried on it. It was a miserable thought, but I wished that the others would do their dying further away. One fo us had to escape and I had the best chance. Most of them still had their collars on. I got my collar off. Even less of them had slipped over the fence and down into the prickly underbrush. I had gotten over the fence and all the way down into the river. Others were blundering in my direction, leading Jack-booted soldiers with large automatic weapons to me. If they got any closer, I'd have to dive deep into the running current, let it drive me helplessly away. I didn't like the idea of being helpless.


Sticks snapped and dead leaves crunched aloud and for a moment, I wondered if the soldiers had shot one of the others dead, letting their body roll and pinwheel its way through the brush. It turned out not to be so. It was Macula. Macula was a moose of a man with a shaved head and shunken-in eyes, making him look like he was wearing his own skull. I didn't think that he would've been able to get this far, that he could've even got his collar off. He stole into the river, splashing wildly as he made his way towards me.
"Cherla, they're coming. The soldiers, they almost got me." Macula said, breathlessly. It was normally difficult for people to understand Macula. His nose had been smashed in at some point and had never healled properly. Him being breathlessly made it doublely difficult.
"Shut up." I hissed at him, ducking down low, putting the cold, churning waters at my chin. Macula didn't take my hint and kept standing. He scanned up the hill, studying the underbrush as if he was expecting others to imerge. That wasn't what we planned. It was everyone for themselves, everyone running in every direction. That way, at least one of us could make it out of the Northlands.
I started moving my way throguh the waters and away from Macula. If he wanted to get shot dead, then I'd let him. Hopefully, the soldiers would assume that Macula had followed the patterns of the others and was alone. Bullets zipped downward and into the riverwater. Macula shrieked aloud and started rushing towards me. I started rushing away from him until I couldn't. A bullet sliced through my leg like a hot knife through butter. I fell forward, into the water and for a moment, I breathed in the cold river. I rose up from the water as bullet whipped down into the river. I coughed the river out from my lungs as Macula ceased me about the shoulders, lifting up onto his shoulder and into easy firing range. I don't know how I ddin't die.
"Into the river, deeper into the river. Like it wash us away." I called Macula. Macula dove long and far, slamming backward into the faster currents. We were both washed away.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day Zero: December 3rd, 2012

President Obama and his family fled the Nation's capital today as Zero Virus victim swarmed across the White House lawn. Secret Service opened fire on the swarm, but Vice President Biden along with several cabinet members were lost in the attack.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Apocalypse as Self-Help

We are exactly twenty days away from the leged apocalypse.

I haven't been living the life I'd like to be leading. If I was going to die in 20 days than what would I want to do with my time.

Back in 2006, I did my very first 'Bucket List.'

I'm developing another one. I'm improvising this one so it'll be short.

Here's eight things I want to do before the apocalypse:

1. I want to see a Stephen King Lecture.... (And I am  on the 7th)

2. I want to see some awe-inspiring...

3. I want to be a hero...

4. I want to smoke a cigarette while watching the sunrise...

5. I want to finish "Kid Silver: Alone"...

6. I want to fall head first into a new novel...

7. I want to tell someone I love them...

8. I want to go out to eat and drink a Vodka Cranberry made by a professional...


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Best of The Best Villains: The Joker

The Clown Prince of Crime, The Agent Of Chaos, The Harlequin of Hate, The Ace of Knives, The former Red Hood. He killed the second Robin, Jason Todd. He paralysized Barbara Gordon. If you name something truly horrible in the Batman Universe, this guy is probably responsible. I'm talking about the Joker, of course and I'm compiling the best incarnations of this killer clown in the post below.
The Whacky, Barefoot Richardson Joker
Kevin Michael Richardson is normally forgotten in his role as the Joker, but not here. A black guy finally gets to be the Joker.
The Campy Romero Joker
I prefer his more scary counterparts, but you have to give Cesar Romero a nod. An entire geeration grew up loving his wild energy and the fact that he wouldn't shave hsi mustache.
The Silly and Crazy Nicholson Joker
If Jack Nicholson could have done his Joker sometime outside of the the 90's, I'm pretty sure he would have been number one on this list. As it is, Nicholson had to deal with some cumbersome face prothetics and a weird music video wedge right in the middle. His placement on this list has nothing to do with Nicholson's performance and everything to do with Nicholson dancing while splattering paint on paintings.
The Creepy, Crazy Hamill Joker
A serialized Joker, in my opinion, is the best way to do Joker. Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill knocked it out of the park with his Joker. It was a very politically correct Joker, but you felt like he could have been the Joker from "The Killing Joker." His crazy and mean and you got glimpses of him being old and vicious, beating on Harley Quinn. He was funny, scary and almost perfect.
The Just Plain Scary Ledger Joker
Surprise, Surprise. A twenty-something who loves the Ledger Joker over the Nicholson Joker. Call me wrong. It's okay, but I feel like Heath's Joker is the best kind of Joker. This Joker wasn't a funny Joker. He did funny things, but he was a criminal, first. He felt worthy of Batman while more silly Joker don't. Some people love that. Some people don't.

Day Zero: November 28th 2012

The National Guard was called in to Ogden, Utah and was forced to open fire on a horde of Zero Virus victims. Though, the National Guard secured the area, soldiers sustained many injuries.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day Zero: November 21st, 2012

The night sky over America blazed as Scud missles etched across the nights. Night became day for thirty seconds and Michigan became silence, seemingly for the rest of eternity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day Zero - November 14, 2012

The National Guard was called in to Lowell, Massachusetts resulting in seventeen people infected with the "Zero Cell" virus being shot to death.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nano Battle Diaries: Day 10

They say it's always darkest just before dawn. I learned that fact today. Every minute grew into a gaping canyons saparating me from my victory and then, like a fleet of black hawks raining fire down on the eenemy, words came to launch me to my goal for today: 16,716 words. I love the sound of keys clacking in the morning.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nano Battle Diaries: Day 09

I've reaached 15,051 words and was nearly killed doing it. I'm running a virtual write-in on and going into work from 9 to 3 in the morning. Nano is hell.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nano Battle Diaries: Day 08

I've been late in reporting back to you. I've had my hands full, trying to get my word count up. I'm currently at 12,685 on my official Nano novel, Kid Silver: Alone.

The basic idea is, take Batman and Robin, make them mobsters, kidnap Batman and have Robin save the day. I've got to battle a bit more, trying to get to 13,333 words. If you don't hear from me, assume I'm dead.

Matt: Out-

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day Zero - November 7th, 2012

Gun fire broke out in the cold night air of Pitsburgh, claiming three lives as fears of the "Zero Cell" virus spread.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 2012 - Day Zero

"It is with a heavy heart, that I report to the people of America that Detroit is lost." - President Barack Obama said from the Rose Room noon on Friday.

Top 5 Favorite Horror Movies to Watch On Halloween

I'm not going to say anything about any of these movies. You probably know about all of these, but they are amazing.

5. The Exorist

28 Day Later
4. 28 Day Laters
The Evil Dead 2

2. Pan's Labyrinth

1. The Cabin In The Woods

Halloween Special: If Vampires Were Real...

What if Vampires were real? Not pallid teenagers wearing all black and sipping on Cranberry Juice or muscle-bound actors who gradually grow doughy as the series go on, but real, live/dead Vampires. What would they look like and how would they behave? I’ve been thinking about it and had been unwittingly researching it for some time.

Trope Number One: A Vampire’s Nest… 

It’s a common trope in vampire lore that vampires band together in packs or nest or families and inevitably, a headstrong vampire approaches the wise and aged leader of the vampires and suggests that humans are merely food.

“Why should we hide in the shadows, draining our victims in secret?” The young, headstrong vampire might ask.

“Because humans would come with their technologies and their wrath and they would slaughter us all. Humans outnumber us. They are 7 billion on this planet and we are but a few.” The wise vampires might respond.

Here’s the issue I have with this line of logic. It makes no sense. Technically, vampires are asexual, in that they only need one to reproduce. According to accepted vampire lore, any human can become a vampire. It could be argued, a bit of a reach, but it could be argued that a human being is a kind of larval vampire.

Certain predators in natures mirror the behavior of eating their own young. Male Cheetahs are known to cannibalize their young, as do spiders, as do Kimono Dragons and many other lizards. These predators share one telling similarity; they live and hunt alone. Solitary behavior would explain why vampires would hold such sparse numbers. This, of course, means that, in real-life, there would be no such thing as a nest of vampires.

Trope Number Two: Vampires Fear Of The Day

Now that we’ve stripped the vampire of all his buddies, let’s address the issue of the burning light of day. There are two lines of thought when it comes to a vampire and the sun. There’s the flashy screaming and hissing as the sunlight tears through the vampires skin like fire over paper. Then, there’s whimsical hissing as the vampire throws his cape over his face and scrabbles for his trusty pair of sunglasses. It’s been my consideration that it didn’t make much sense that any sort of predator could fall victim to such a violent and immediate end. What evolutionary advantage would there be in exploding in flames, what adaptation would cause that?

What would make sense is that vampires would be adapted to dark, wet environments. The pupils of their eyes would be dilated out so that they could seek their prey. Direct sunlight would hurt their eyes and their skin would dry out as the sun kissed their skin.. I kind of envision vampires as a kind of large, bipedal fish, much like the Creature From The Black Lagoon, except they drink blood rather than doing whatever the hell the Creature from The Black Lagoon does. I, honestly, have no idea.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24, 2012 - Day Zero

Alan North, Mayor of Maple, Arizona, has passed a law banning the burial of the dead early this morning in reaction to the concerns that the "Zero Cell" virus is reaching epidemic proportions.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review: Feed: ( News Flesh, Book 1)

Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1) by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) was published April  27th, 2010 by Orbit Book and camesecond for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2011.

Georgia and Shaun Mason are brother-and-sister reporters in the apocalyptic near-future. The two of them run an on-line newspaper and are tasked with following a Presidential candiate. Various calamities befall the campaign and the charming candiate and the intrepid reporters must uncover a great conspiracy. 

The more I read and the more I write, the less I find myself able to enjoy fiction. That being said, I fear that I couldn't judge this novel fairly. Know that before reading further. This novel got a lot of my writing instincts clattering, nothing more so than with the character of Peter Ryman. I kept getting the sense that Grant had liked  Ryman for the villain. All through out the first half of the novel, he has a sort of superificial, calculating way about him. The actual villain, David Tate, felt like a red harring because he was so obviously the bad guy. Georgia had even said, "Peter Ryman seems too good to be true." He's a prominate polictical figure who's staunchly middle-of-the-road and apparently no scandals, whatsoever. He's the leader of everyone's dreams and my writer and reader instincts compelled me to believe that he was evil because of it.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17th, 2012 - Day Zero

Roberto Dean-Lopez is scheduled to be arraigned in Lincoln Suprior Court for the shooting death of Dr. Miles Andrews late Sunday night, (October 15th).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

EPIC! Chapter 2

His name was Early and he was beaten, broken, bloody and heard a baby screech through the haze, red overglow. There were bodies scattered about like sunflower's seeds. There had been explosions and so many people running.

He couldn't even hear the gunshots because so many people screaming and he couldn't tell where the shooting was coming from. A bright spark like red lightening shot up in the air and brought down a hoover-mobile. Early had seen it, coming down like a flaming, steel fist. The mobile smashed into a street-walker and the both of them exploded. That had done the worst of the damage.

The ground shook beneath his feet, throwing him to the ground. He smacked his head hard, a concession and then a bullet bit the tip of his ear off, spilling blood donw the side of his face. He'd been screaming and didn't remember blacking out.

A name nearly slipped from his lips, but he remembered that his only son, Gabriel had died a long time before the attack. Instead of saying the name, he rolled onto his stomach and pushed himself up onto his  knees. Everything was red and everything hurt to look at. Early held his ribs and shuffled his way toward a squalling baby trapped in its bassinet.

It was up on its side with dirt smeared across the baby's face. Early righted the bassinet, released the child, taking the baby, a boy, into his arms. The baby squirked in outrage, though the shooting and the killing had ended.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10th, 2012 - Day Zero

"The Fort Devens Army Base is lost." - Colonel Miller Sparks announced before a room of reporters after the October 4th inicdent that claimed the lives of all residence on the facility.

Movie Review: The House at the End Of the Street (Spoilers)

The House at the End Of the Street was released September 21st, 2012 in the United States and a 101 minutes run time. Directed by Mark Tonderai. Screenplay by David Loucka. Starring Jennifer Lawerance, of Hunger Games fame.

A teen and her mother move from the crime ridden Chicago to a rural town.

The House at the End Of the Street is an able horror film, though it doesn't have much in the way of surprises. This film follows the time-tested horror film formula which has been subverted time and time again (i.e. The Last House on the Left, the original Scream and The Cabin in the Woods.) This time-tested, possibly out-dated formula relies on violation and punishment. The main character, Elisa, finds themselves punishment for violating the societal  expectations of her new town by befriending someone that the town had shunned, Ryan. Of course, because she did that, she has to be punished according to this formula.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3rd - Day Zero

"The Zero Cell virus is real and is a public hazard." - Dr. Miles Andrews at the Lincoln General Press Room after reports that the virus is a hoax building off of the odd violent crime.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26th - Day Zero

Dr. Miles Andrews has announced the discovery of a common viral agent among the re-animated dead. He has dubbed this viral agent "the Zero cell," due to the cell's unique shape.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19th - Day Zero

Dr. Miles Andrews of Lincoln General Hospital has released a statement claiming that several patients, pronounced dead, have revived and began attacking the living.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

EPIC! Chapter 1

o the His name was Rex Gunner and he was out on the town with a knife in his hand. Up above his head, hoover-cars puttered along like blue and red fireflies. On the street before him, spidery walker-mobiles chugged out smoke as they carried hooded men and women.

Rex slipped through a crowd of old men, slinking into an alleyway, tucking his knife into his sleeve. Three of the old men from the crowd dropped down to the ground, blood draining from dozens of wounds. A single droplet of blood slipped from the edge of Rex's knife. The three old men were dead before Rex left the crowd and Rex was, altogether, gone by the time the crowd sparked up into a panic.

Rex was one of three, but he was the spark while they were the explosion. His knife was quick and silent while they'd be loud with shotguns and grenades. None of them knew the others' names, but the two that remained had the same job, but from opposite sides. They were to herd the crowd into one other, cause a stampede, cause them to trample one another. Toward the end, with all the blood spilt and all the bone broken. All three had disappeared, having injected the right amount of chaos into Malm, the last city of Man.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12th - Day Zero

A Madison Frey of Lincoln, Nebreska reports that a group of men chased her through the streets of Lincoln. She claimed that the men "were bleedy as hell. One of them had his head caved in." She escaped into her Sports Utility Vehicle and called for the police.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Book Review: The Dark Tower (Book 1):The Gunslinger

The Dark Tower (Book 1): The Gunslinger by Stephen King was published as five short stories between the years of 1978-1981. The five stories were assembled into novel form in 1982 and was then revised in 2003.

Roland, a gunslinger, seeks a mysterious wizard known only as 'The Man in Black.' Allong the way,  Roland meets a young boy named Jake Chambers, who claims he's from 1972 New York City. The gunslinger takes Jake along,Roland fears Jake was placed in his path as a trap.

"The Man in Black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed."  This iconic line starts this novel and the entire Dark Tower series. I've read this one repeated. It's gritty, action-packed and just plain addictive. I've read all seven and went back for the 4.5 addition published in 2012.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5th - Day Zero

A spree of grave-robbings plague the small town of Appleton, Washington. Nearly twenty plots were reported to have been smashed open and body were removed.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book Review: Wizard's First Rule: Sword Of Truth (Book 1)

Wizard's First Rule: Sword Of Truth (Book 1) by Terry Goodkind was released in Hardcover on August 15th, 1994 and in Paperback on July 15th, 1997.

Richard Cypher is a young woodsman who encounters a mysterious woman named Kahlan. She is pursued by four men. As the story progresses, Richard's father is murdered and he learns that he is the Seeker and he is destined to confront Darken Rahl, an evil wizard seeking to rule the entire world.

I've read this novel from cover to cover and all the while, I rolled my eyes and laughed at how bad it was. There's this joke that I'm reminded of.

A customer at a resturant orders at steak. The steak is under-cooked, bloody and salted to hell. He complains to the manager, but only after finishing the steak.
"I'm sorry the steak was so bad." The Manager says. "But if you didn't like it than why did you eat it?" Not very funny, I know but it illustrates my issue with "Wizard's First Rule." It was bad, really bad at times, but I went from "Once upon a time" to "And they lived happily ever after."

Richard is given a sword, the Sword of Truth and it apparently has some strange magic that you and I might recognize as empathy. Zedd, the resident wizard, has a long, drawn-out explanation about how the sword wouldn't allow him to kill people he considered friends (as if a sane person would kill his friends.) and it would make him feel sorrow for those the sword allowed him to kill (i.e. empathy).

Even with this, I finished the book.

The resident Wizard, Zedd keeps expounding that evil people still have reasons for the things they do, as if we were children. (Note: For a while, I thought this was a YA novel from the way it spoke down to the reader, but then there was repeated mentions of child molestation and an attempted rape.)

Even with this, I finished the book.

I wanted to know why I read this novel, this crappy novel. The fact of the matter is, although the novel is broken, it still has hooks. It has a skilled protagonist pushing ever-forward toward an established goal. This novel illustrates exactly how hard it is to fuck up a story because this one fucked up a lot and still got me to the end.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28th: Day Zero

A unknown man in Forks, West Virgina was reported to have batten down on the neck of one, Mia Bloom, tearing her flesh and causing death before paramedics could arrive at the scene.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Motherfucking Birthday, Bitch-Dicks.

August 22, 1988

I was born, screaming, kicking and covering blood.

24 years later, I'll be screaming, kicking, covering in blood and very much so drunk.

This isn't a long post. Check out the other, more interesting posts.

Happy Birthday, Matt!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Excerpt from A New Story: One Rainy Night

They had called him Ro, although he didn't know why. His name, his birth-name was Christopher Allen, but everyone he knew, since he was a baby in a basket, had called him Ro. It had something to do with his parents and he would've asked them about it, but both of them were dead. Well, Ro was alone and lonesome in a rainy sort of city. They had wanted him to go to some orphanage outside of the city, away from the place where his parents had been buried. Instead, he slipped away. He had a talent for slipping away. He was small, but that wasn't all of it. The world seemed to open up for him. The night he slipped away from the backseat of the social worker's car, three things had happened. The first thing was the social worker's keys slipping from her hands and underneath the passenger's seat. The second was that the lock on the car door  failed to lock. Ro slipped away into that cold night with wet snow  fluttering down on his head. That had been the third thing. The snow kicked up into a flurry, eneveloping him concealing him from the social worker's eyes. It was an odd confluence of events that came instantly, one after another, beckoning Ro forward, allowing him to escape into the night.

Rain rolled down Ro's cheeks while he watched a truck trundle down a long, narrow street. He was perched up high on a rusted fire escape, boxes scattered over him and underneath him. None of the streetlights worked on this street and it seemed like the city just kept them up to hold up a false sense of security for the unfortunate pedestrians that regularly lost their wallets and purses. The streetlights lit up the streets on either side of that narrow lane. The truck rolled to a stop before an opened doorway, creating a wall out of the back-end. The trailer hitch rolled up with a chuckling chatter. A whitish-blue light spilled from the doorway and over the cracked and litter-scattered street, illuminating a man standing in the back of the trailer. The man wore a black, leather jacket that stretched to his knees and a pair of black, leather gloves over his hands. Another man, wearing the same thing, stepped out from the doorway, dragging a large, black bag about the size of a person. The man in the back of the truck took the body-sized bag and flopped it down on the truck's bed. The man from the doorway  came back with another body-sized bag and then another and another. There were fifteen bags in all and when it was done, the man in the back of the truck pulled a gun from inside his pocket. The man from the doorway saw the gun and cried out. Zip-zip. It didn't sound like the whip-crack of a gunshot, but the man from the doorway fell dead anyway. The trailer hinge rolled back down and the truck rolled away. Ro put his hand over his mouth to stop himself from screaming. A snigle tear rolled down hsi cheek and was washed away by the rain. 

It wasn't over, although Ro wished it was. The man from the doorway had kept crying out with the rain washing over his face. He was crawling, making a feeble path toward the lights at the end of the street. Go back...back in the doorway. Ro's mind urged him to go to where he came from. Maybe someone could help him back where he came from. Still, the man crawled, leaving a long trail of blood behind him. Ro's hands and feet began to work without his mind, climbing down the fire-escape. He was dropping faster and faster, knowing that he could do nothing for the man. He was on the ground, his hands shaking and raw from the hurried climb down. He had came down so fast, but he couldn't cross the few feet to the dying man. There were two options and one of them seemed too tempting. He could either go to the man or he could run down the street and away.  His head told him to run, but his feet moved closer to the man and knelt down. He was still crying out and Ro could understadn what the man was saying.

"They kill me. They kill me. They kill me." He kept saying it as he made a slow progress through the rain.

"Minster!" Ro called. His voice shook in his throat. The man stopped and then flopped onto his back. His eyes rolled to see Ro and then he gave a beckoning hand. Ro crept forward, his arms wrapped across his chest.

"Minster, you got to go back. Is there someone in there? Someone that could have you?" The man didn't answer. He just beckoned Ro closer. Ro knelt down and put his ear to the man's mouth.

"They kill me. They kill me. Do nothing but obey, but they kill me. Help me, boy. Let my brother know that they kill me."

"I don't know who he is."

"He is Roco. Find him, tell him they kill me, they kill Marcus." His fingers were wrapped up in Ro's jacket and it was trembling fiercely.

"Where is he?"

"Go to...go to... the Runner's Tavern." He exhaled for the last time.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Last Reich: The Killing Kind - Ch.7

Zoom. Zoom. The cars blasted by fast, pulling on Toby’s torn, dirty clothing. Toby was moving toward the distant, flickering lights because he didn’t know what else to do. Fiend had become unsettlingly quiet in Toby’s head. Fiend had been sure that Toby would be able to hear him in his head. Maybe the connection was still there, but Fiend was being quiet, testing him. Fiend brought pain. Fiend brought fear. Toby wasn’t willing to gamble at whether or not Fiend was playing at something. Best that Toby, at least,  try and follow Fiend’s instructions. What if Toby were to lay down somewhere, stretch out and sleep? What if he decided to do that instead of obeying Fiend? Fiend wouldn’t’ kill him. Possibly, Fiend would pull more of the dog in. The dog’s name was Autumn, although she didn’t think of herself as that. She didn’t think of herself as anything. Names were a distinctly human invention. Her mind was so utterly foreign to him. It was like oil and water, sea water where life had been. The oil technically sits on top of the water, but it still manages to kill everything in the water. He couldn’t remember his mother’s name. He could remember her face, if he really tried. If he really tried, he could see curly blonde hair streaked with brown highlights. He could see a pinched nosed and frown lines around her mouth. He couldn’t remember her name or where live before the Slavers had taken him. All that hurt his soul, but he knew that Fined could take more from him, feed more of it to the dog.

Now and now, he walked and every once and a while, a car honked at him, but he didn’t know what the honks meant. Maybe it was just noise. This entire place seemed to be built for and devoted to making noise. There was the whining of black cross-shaped figures in the deep purple sky. There were the puttering and rumbling of steel carriages rushing across long stretches of blacktop. They made zoom-zoom sounds that sounded different when they were going away. Toby didn’t think about it. He was tired. His face and body hurt, although Fiend was taking care of that. Fiend was taking care of him. Fiend was stealing his mind but Fined was stitching his body back together. The slash across his face was gone and only dried blood on unbroken skin. That girl, Macy her name was, she had hit him, hit him hard, but she left with some guy and his face didn’t hurt anymore.

Fiend, where are you? A steel carriage zoomed very close to him and he panicked, falling against the cold, dirty, metal side guard. The carriage beep-beeped at him as it disappeared into the night, its red lights glaring him like some predator’s eyes. Toby bored his teeth at the lights, but they didn’t seem to notice. They just kept on and were gone in seconds. Fiend, where are you? Toby saw the steel carriages running over something and the wheels running over it made a loud crunching sound. Crunch-crunch. Zoom-zoom. Beep-beep. This world was so loud and Toby knew that that had something to do with the dog. The dog was afraid of all that noise. Toby knew what it was, but they shared the same fear. He was afraid because the dog was afraid. Toby had the instinct of trying to straighten his back, raise his head. He wanted to  look big. His fingers kept curling into claws, but his fingernails weren’t big enough, sharp enough to cut anyone. There was a constant whine echoing in his head and the sound was driving him insane. That was the dog, crying at the foreign sounds. The sounds were foreign to him as well, but Toby thought that he wouldn’t make those noises. They weren’t human noises, although Toby wasn’t actually human anymore. Fiend, where are you?

Toby kept on walking, down along the blacktop road and away from the crunch-crunch of the metal that the steel carriage rode over. Toby hated the sound and wanted to be away from it. He started moving faster. Crunch-crunch. Toby moved into a fast walk, puffing hot air from his nose. His claw hands turned into clenched fists and tears were sealing down his cheeks. Toby, not Autumn, was upset. He didn’t like all these noises. He didn’t’ like the fast moving light rushing past him, toward him and away. Toward him and away. He didn’t like it, but Fined wanted him here, wanted him walking this blacktop road. Toby wrapped his arms around his chest, shivering and crying quietly. That girl, Macy was gone. Both parts of him, Toby and Autumn, wanted her to be close, wanted her comfort. Toby didn’t think that that girl, Macy would have given it to him. The dog wanted it anyway, acting like a petulant child. If Toby could speak to that dog, he would have explained that Macy would have no part of him because of what he did. He had spoiled it for the dog. He had wanted him. He wanted to touch her, to taste her lips, to smell her hair. He wanted to lay with her, make love to her, but she wouldn’t have any part of him because of what he did.

He remembered the gun in his hand. He remembered slapping it across her face. He had killed the dog and he was afraid of what might happen when the dog figured that out. He’d cut her and stabbed her and she still didn’t  die, so he shot her in the head. Somehow the dog didn’t remember. Maybe she did, but blocked it away because the two of them were stuck together. He thought that she did know that but she also knew, in a vague way, that she would die if he did. She was the unknown other, unpredictable and therefore dangerous.

There was another carriage and loud unsettling music wafted out of it. The music was a loud boom-boom-boom spilling out of the tinted glass window of the carriage. Toby backed away, staring at a boy wearing a pair of blackened glasses. His hair was black and slicked back and he was smiling at Toby. Toby didn’t like it, but didn’t bear his teeth at the boy. He pulled his blackened glasses to show off his cloudy blue eyes and he studied Toby for a moment.
“Hey, man. You want to make some money?” The boy asked. Toby could smell hot spices that might have been meant to smell good, but were too strong. He also smelt liquor and something sharp and fecal. Toby knew that it was the dog that was really smelling it. Toby started to walk away.
“Hey! Hey! I’m talking to you.” Toby wanted to continue, but the dog stopped him in his tracks. Toby stopped and looked over to the boy in the car.
“Do you want to make some money or not?” The boy asked again, showing his smile again. Words were getting hard for Toby, but he found them anyway.
“What…What ….would I have to…do?” Toby asked, struggling through the words and expecting to fail. He knew what money was and he figured that he would need some if he wanted food. Food was a happy thought for the both of them, Toby and Autumn.
“You got good hands? Can you fight?” The boy asked. Toby remembered launching a knife off his fingertips and he remembered finding the dog’s old owner and slashing the boy’s throat. Toby knew the word that expressed the affirmative, but it came too slow so he just nodded his head.
“Good. Me and my buddies are running a bum fight under the bridge. I’ll pay you forty to fight.” There was an uproar of laughter from inside the car and it peaked the dog’s attention and roiled Toby’s nerves. There were two other boys in the car and none of them sounded sober. The dog gave him the image of running away, but Toby was hungry and he knew the dog was as well.
“Does that sound good?” The boy asked. Again, the word for the affirmative came too slow and Toby just nodded his head.
“Cooper, let him in. He’ll do fine.” The boy called, smiling at Toby. The dog was still sending the running away images. Cooper opened the door and he was pointing something at him.
Gun! Toby had first thought, but if it was a gun, he was holding it wrong and the barrel was  plugged up with a roll piece of glass. There was a blinking, red light to the bottom left of the barrel of the thing that wasn’t a gun. The boy that was Cooper was smiling and staring one eye through what might have been a scope on a gun, although this wasn’t a gun.
“Lights. Camera. Action.” The Cooper boy said and began to laugh. The other boys laughed as well.
“Come on in. Hurry or go to sleep hungry.” The boy with the blackened glasses said. Toby moved forward and sat inside the car beside the Cooper boy.
“What…What…What…would I have to do? Who… would I have to fight?” Toby asked, his hands resting on his knees.
“Just some other bum. Doesn’t matter.” The Cooper boy chuckled and the sharp, fecal smell and the liquor smell were worst with the door closed and him inside. Toby’s hands were shaking softly on his knees. The steel carriage lurched forward off down the blacktop road, the music pounding in his head.
“Tell the people your name.” The Cooper boy commanded, pointing the thing that wasn’t a gun at him.
“Full name makes it legal.” The Cooper boy said. Toby didn’t understand and the Cooper boy laughed at the look on his face.
“What’s your last name, partner?” The Cooper boy asked. Toby started to say his last name but he couldn’t remember it. Whatever it was, it began with a M. Toby Miles? Toby Mills? Toby Miller? The Cooper boy laughed again and the other two laughed with him.
“Picked up a fucking wet-brain.” The boy operating the steel carriage said. That boy slapped the hand that wasn’t controlling the vehicle against the chest of the boy with the blackened glasses.
“Mickey, give him the bottle. I bet this one would like a drink.” The boy behind the wheel said and Mickey, the boy with the blackened glasses, reached under his seat and pulled out a crinkled brown bag that had partially formed around the contents, a small oblong bottle. Mickey reached the bag and bottle back to Toby and smiled.
“Drink up, buddy. You’ll last longer in the ring.” Toby released the bottle from the bag and at first he thought it was glass, but glass didn’t give the way this did. Whatever it was, it was whiskey inside. There was a tag reading: 2.00. Beneath that, there was a label with a drawing of a battered, abused windmill and the legend: Old Mill Whiskey, 60 proof.
Drink up. You’ll last longer in the ring. They wanted him drunk and it wasn’t a horrible idea. Realizing that he didn’t know his own last name had upset him, not as much as not knowing his mother’s name but it upset him still. He unscrewed the cap and downed a quarter of the bottle. The boys found him drinking hilarious, but Toby was beginning not to care.

The trip wasn’t a long one, but Toby had managed to finish the bottle and a can of beer after that and all the while, the boy laughed and laughed and laughed. It was all so damn hilarious. They stopped the carriage in front of a house in a tight row of houses. The house wasn’t quite under the bridge, but in the shadow of it. The support of the bridge was like a stone, elephantine leg whose next step would crush them all. Toby could just barely make out looping scrawls made from red and blue paint jutting up the leg of the support.

Mickey had his hand on Toby’s shoulder and was leading him toward the small metal gate of a salmon colored house with all its lights on. The Cooper boy was following the both of them, saying something that Toby wasn’t paying attention to. The front door of the salmon colored house was open and a boy and girl was kissing feverishly on the front stoop. The boy had his hand down the girl’s jeans and it seemed to Toby, that he was scratching a particularly deep itch.
“Ronny!” Mickey shouted and laughed loudly in Toby’s ear. Ronny, the boy itching the girl’s scratch, parted lips with the girl and then called back to Mickey. Ronny never parted his hand from the girl’s pants. 
“That him? That the fucking punching bag?” Ronny asked, laughing.
“He’s a killer. He’s a murderer. He’ll smash your dude up.” Mickey called back. To demonstrate this, Mickey started to pummel Toby’s back with pulled punches. All the boys found this hilarious. Everything was so hilarious. Mickey, trailed by the Cooper boy and the other boy, guided Toby around the house and into waves of course, ugly music and course, ugly laughter. The lot behind the house wasn’t very big, but at least fifty boys and girls rubbed up against one another and blew hot, smelly air at Toby. Toby felt sick as Mickey moved him through the crowd. They bumped up against Toby and the dog grumbled from underneath the liquor Toby doused her in.

The crowd broke in the center and it was just Toby and an other man. Like Toby, this man was dirty and swaying. The man had watery eyes and crooked nose. His lips were chapped and his arms were corded with stringy muscle. Mickey came around behind him and was fussing with his shirt, trying to lift it. The other man pulled his shirt off and tossed it aside. Toby understood and took his shirt off by himself. Mickey and a few other people slapped Toby’s bare back, beckoning him deeper into the makeshift ring. The other man was making fists but he didn’t look like he wanted to fight. Someone deep in the crowd started to chant and the others followed in key. Fight. Fight. Fight. Fight. Fight. Fight. Fight. Fight.

Toby made fists and stepped forward, frowning at all the noise and attention. Toby had the sensation that he would have to fight all of them to get back out. He’d kill them all if he had to. He had made a bad mistake coming here. Forty dollars wasn’t worth being killed. The other man swung at Toby and Toby took the hit to the side of the face. He skittered away and the crowd kicked up a cheer. The man swung again, connecting with Toby’s chin. There was another hit and another and Toby went down. He was on his hands and knees and the man stopped. Somebody, probably Mickey or maybe Cooper, picked him up under the armpits and when he was on his feet, that somebody shoved him forward. Toby made fists again and the man made fists as well.

The man hit him again and while Toby’s head snapped away, Toby swung and smashed his closed fist into the man’s stomach. Toby swung again and again, connecting again and again. The man fell down and Toby fell with him, pummeling him again and again. Blood licked onto his knuckles and up his forearms and the crowd kept cheers, going wild. Toby couldn’t hear them anymore.

The world was only the pounding in Toby’s head as his lungs groped for air and his knuckles smashing against the man’s skull. Toby didn’t have hackles, but he felt them raising. His  hands were the dog’s jaws and he was clamping down hard. Toby hadn’t realized that the man had stopped fighting back and that the crowd wasn’t cheering anymore. He only stopped because some of the man’s blood spat up into his eyes, stinging him. His hands were covered in blood so he couldn’t quite wipe the blood from his eyes. The world seeped in like a wary animal and Toby realized that a girl was crying. He looked up and he was surrounded by wide, watery eyes and gaping mouths.

All of a sudden, Toby could feel the cold air. Goosebumps were rippled across his bare chest and arms and Toby had to get away. He had to run away now. His shirt, he needed it to hide the blood. He hadn’t realized that there was so much blood. He snatched the filthy, torn thing and then started through the crowd. The boys and girls parted away from him as he made his way to the front of the house, tears welling in his eyes. Why had he done that? He had trouble figuring out his shirt, driving his head into a sleeve as he charged forward. He settled for putting it on backward, knowing that him being so upset was making the operation impossible. Shirt didn’t matter anyway. He had made a bad mistake and he needed to get away before they stopped being stunned and started coming after him. Why had he done that? There was so much blood.

It might have been wishful thinking, but he didn’t think he killed the man. Toby thought that the man was making wet choking sounds, breathing through a mouthful of blood. Breathing through a mouthful of blood, but still breathing. Maybe they weren’t chasing him because they were busy tending to him. Maybe. Toby stole onto the sidewalk and passed all the steel carriages, rubbing his hands on his dirty shirt and on his dirty pants. Toby felt like there was a bag being drawn around him. He had a vague memory that might have been nothing at all. He didn’t know the context, but he remembered seeing a cat going into a sack and the sack being tossed into a river or maybe it was a lake. The water  wasn’t moving fast if it was moving at all. He thought about that because he was thinking about the bad trouble he was in. He was the cat in the bag and the bag was being cinched tight. Where are you, Fiend?
“If you want me to do something, I need you to tell me what to do?” Toby said to the absent Fiend and to the cold night. He surprised himself with the clarity of the thought.
“You can put your hands on your head, son.” A voice said and for a moment, Toby thought that Fiend had finally spoken. He spun around and saw a tall, gaunt man wearing an old, worn out leather jacket and a gun on his hip. He had his hand on the gun and snap that secured the gun had been undone. That had been Toby’s first impressions. The next was the jagged scar stretching up the side of the man’s left cheek. Someone had cut on the man, trying to give him a permanent smile. That somebody had only gotten the one cheek.
“Hands on your head, son.” Toby obeyed. The man pulled a black box from his belt and it made noises. The Slavers had something like that.               

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Portrait Of A Dying Man

Down on his back, Lee Thomas was dying. His hand was pressed down on his belly as hot blood trickled between his figertips. Tears rolled away, stealing into the his thicket of curly brown hair. He'd been shot one single time and that was enough to kill him.

Lee Thomas walked home from his late-night cashier's position and up a single flight of steps. He heard one gunshot and he ducked down, breathing harshly. He didn't hear the second blast. The second blast was as loud as the first but Lee Thomas's brain was too occupied with pain. He tumbled down that single flight of stairs and came to rest at the bottom landing. He didn't know who shot him or why. He just knew that a gunshot hurt, a lot.

The pain was bad enough that his body couldn't hold it at first. Lee Thomas thought that he would have exploded like an overfull balloon. He didn't explode. He just blacked out at the bottom of the stairs. There was no reason for anyone to go up or down those stairs, so Lee Thomas laid unconscious for a full four hours. When he awoke, his black, button-up work shirt and black slacks were soaked in about a few pints of cooling, red blood. Urine joined the pool of blood because all the blood terrified Lee Thomas. He felt the kind of terror that only children felt about the monsters under their beds. It was only blood and it screamed until he pissed himself.

He knew vaguely that the red stuff had to stay in. The stuff that was already on the floor was a lost cause. pressed down on the bullet wound and hot pain like being stuck with a glowing hot fireplace poker shot through his body. He kicked out against the wall and screamed. He slapped his hand against the ground. He knew he had to keep the red stuff in, but it hurt so damn bad.

Lee Thomas died alone at the bottom of a stairwell, his eyes bugged half-way out of his head and his mouth lolling open. He didn't know why he died or why he died alone.

No Magic For Luke Peters - Ch. 6

Chapter Six: No Such Thing As A Random Wolf

Perkins had Luke snake the old Ford through the heart of Lowell. Looming building with crumbling brick faces and smashed, boarded-up windows glared down at the two of them and Cesar.  Litter and wispy weeds fluttered from side to side in the early spring wind. They past by rusted metal skeletons high over head and tall, chain-linked fences. All around, there was the fishy, earthy smell of the flowing river and the fainter smell of pollen. Luke and Perkins moved down streets partially paved by asphalt and by old cobblestones. The road was rocky as Luke guided the Ford down a narrow street before he stopped the truck at the end of a one-way street.

“This it?” Luke asked, looking up at a three-story house made from rain-softened wood. The house sat behind a rusted, sagging chain-link fence. Little, dead weeds snaked up from underneath the bare wood porch. The front door was hung ajar, leading up a dark, carpeted stairwell.

“Yeah.” Perkins said, looking out the window. He formed a grimace on his face and then popped the passenger seat door open. Luke did the same, stepping out and moving to the other side to help Perkins. By the time he got around, Perkins was already out and standing, waving Luke away.

“Get the dog.” Perkins said, limping his way toward the dark wood building. Perkins swung open the front gate, causing it to clatter against the fence. Luke followed, with Cesar in his arms. The dog hadn’t protested as much as he had in Luke’s yard. Luke had a suspicion that the dog could have limped on his own. Perkins had somehow split the pain of a cracked rib with the dog. As ridiculous as it sounded, Luke had to keep an open mind. It was a very weird day. Luke followed Perkins up the carpeted steps, leading up toward a hallway bathed in dusty, cold sunlight. The hallway smelt of spices and festering meat.

The hallway continued up to the third floor, but Perkins stopped at a thin wooden door and knocked three times. A wide-eyed teenaged girl wearing a man’s flannel shirt answered the door and peered at the both of them for a  long moment. She had black, feathered hair draping a pair of clear blue eyes. She skirted past Perkins and darted right towards Luke or rather Cesar who was in Luke’s arms. She pressed her face into the dog’s fur as Cesar’s tail wagged. The dog was trying to better greet the girl, but Luke holding him made his attempts more difficult. Luke  struggled to keep a hold on the dog and finally conceded, lowering the dog to the ground while the girl cooed and ran her fingers through the dog’s black and tan fur. Cesar must have overestimated the power of his enthusiasm to prop him up because after a few moments of sitting right side up, he elected to collapse on to his side and pepper her face with kisses from the ground.

“Luke. That’s Sadie.” Perkins said, pointing to the girl pampering the dog on the floor.

“What have you been doing? Why is Cesar hurt? Why are you hurt?” Sadie asked, looking up to the Perkins and Luke.

“I’ll tell you if I can get my dog back. Let’s get this out of the damn hallway.” Perkins said, stepping through the door and leaving Luke to gather up the dog from Sadie’s cuddling. Luke took up the dog and took up Cesar and followed Sadie past the threshold. The apartment inside mostly dark with the exception of an open window filtering in indirect sunlight. Immediately across from the door, there was a saggy, tan couch where a young man with short black hair slept. He had lean muscles and a  sharp jaw. Sadie came over to the young man and slapped him on the stomach. He jerked awake, but didn’t cry out in surprise or pain.

“Get up. We need to put Cesar down.” Sadie said to the young man. He tilted his head in Luke’s direction.

“That’s Luke. Perkins brought him here.” Sadie said. With that, the young  man climbed up off the couch, came over to Luke and scooped Cesar from his arms. He had a mildly miserable look on his face. He gave up his seat to the old dog all the same and elected to remain standing even though there was enough room for him to seat. Sadie had taken up a post at one side of Cesar and there was another clear, vacant spot. Luke turned his head, looking for Perkins. The old man had disappeared into small kitchen illuminated by a flickering bulb. Luke spotted him peering into a room beyond the kitchen and then he turned a corner and was out of sight. Luke had just met him this morning, but Luke felt a hard pang, a need to follow him.

“Come. Sit.” Sadie said to Luke. She had her feet up on the couch underneath Cesar’s resting head. She was playing with his ears. Luke looked to the young man that Sadie had ousted for Cesar. The young man looked back and then moved past Luke, heading into the kitchen and then into the room where Perkins had peered into.

“Come and sit.” Sadie said again. Luke sat on the other side of Cesar and Cesar stretched out his back paws, pressing them up against his outer thigh. Cesar made a happy, little groan and Sadie cooed at the sound.

“Who was he?” Luke asked, tilting his head in the direction the young man had went in.

“Drew. He can’t talk. He was born without a voice.” Sadie said, working her thin fingers through Cesar’s fur and Cesar drove his back paws into Luke’s outer thigh.

“Oh.” Luke said.

“Sheila’s going to help you, isn’t she?” Sadie said to Cesar, scratching a spot in between his ears. She kissed him on that spot and he licked her under her chin and on her cheek.

“Is Sheila your mom?” Luke asked and instantly felt stupid. She called Sheila by her first name. Children seldom did that with their parents. Possibly, Sheila was an older sister or just a mother-hen style friend.

“No. Sheila is…” Sadie started. There was nothing stopping her from finishing the sentence except for her inability to define what Sheila was to her. Sadie smiled and then looked away.

“Sheila takes care of things.” Sadie finally said.

“How do you know Perkins?” Luke asked.

“Perkins is…He’s my…He was… my father.” Sadie said. The smile had evaporated from her face. Luke wanted to know why Perkins wasn’t her father anymore, but didn’t think he should ask.

“I should be in school right now.” Luke said because he didn’t know what to say. The smile reappeared on Sadie’s face and she bit her bottom lip.

“You go to school?” She asked.

“You don’t?” Luke asked.

“Home-schooled. Sheila teaches me and the twins.” Sadie said.

“The twin?” Luke asked.

“Coral and Murphy. They’re somewhere around here. Probably feeding the dogs.” Sadie said.

“Cool.” Luke said. The two of them were silent for a long while with Cesar groaning happily as Sadie scratched the flat plain of his head or rubbed the fur on his meaty shoulder. Luke kept thinking that Sadie would end up hurting the dog, but the dog kept on loving it and loving her.

Cesar fell asleep and fell asleep hard, snoring loudly and kicking his back paw against Luke’s outer thigh. He had closed his eyes to better relish Sadie rubbing a spot behind his ear and then suddenly, he was out like a light and had his tongue slightly sticking out from his mouth. A bead of drool escaped his mouth and rolled onto the bare flesh of Sadie’s foot. Somehow, Sadie found it funny and Luke found it funny because Sadie found it funny. The two of them laughed, rocking back and forward and waking the sleeping dog in the process. Cesar gave another groan, sounding more indignant than happy. Sadie found this more funny and laughed harder. Luke’s eyes stole to Sadie’s lips. He realized that he was looking at her lips; thin, glossy, pink curves that parted slightly. Luke thought about her tongue and then looked away.

Sadie massaged behind Cesar’s ear and Cesar seemed to forgive her for waking him. He closed his eyes and fell under again, snoring and kicking like he had before. She kept massaging that spot behind Cesar’s ear and Luke felt the need to say something, but he didn’t.

“ Do you know what’s going on?” Sadie asked.

“With what?” Luke asked.

“With you? With Perkins?” Sadie asked.

“No. Somebody came with a baseball bat. That’s how Perkins and Cesar got hurt. Somebody else might have attempted to kill me last night. Perkins showed up and helped me. I’m really just taking things as they come. It’s the best I can do.”

“Do you know where he’s taking you?” Sadie asked.

“No. I’m guessing not here.” Luke said.

“No. Not here. Think of this as a safe house for a little while. Perkins is taking you back with him to the Exiles. You’re going to be in neutral space.” Sadie said.

“He said that I’d cause more damage if he had let them kill me. He wouldn’t say what that meant.” Luke said.

“That’s Exile business. I wouldn’t know about that.” Sadie said.

“Who are the Exiles?” Luke asked.

“The people who made sure you didn’t die.” Perkins said from over Luke’s shoulder. Luke jumped at Perkins’s dark, harsh voice. Perkins had managed to sour further in the short time since the two of them had parted. His wrinkled, pock-marked face had formed new creases and his eyes had grown dark.

“Bring my dog.” Perkins said. Luke pushed himself up out of the sunken-in couch and lifted the groggy, half-asleep Cesar into his arms. Sadie thinned her lips and  frowned. Luke noticed her lips again, but it scared him now that Perkins was so near.

Luke followed Perkins through the small kitchen and past it. Luke stole a glance through the doorway that Perkins had looked through not long before. The door to the room was only slightly ajar, but Luke could see a man stretched out, sleeping on a twin-sized bed. His bare feet spilled off the end of it and his toenails were sharp, yellowed and ragged. His chest was bare and peppered with curly, black hair. His face was clean, but he had a thick, black beard covering the lower half of his face and long black hair covering the top. Beneath the beard and the hair, the man looked almost exactly the same as Perkins. Luke passed the door and didn’t ask who the man was. Perkins turned a corner and passed another room. This one was empty but for a tall, wooden dresser, a floor scattered with clothing and bunk beds with a red, metal frame. 

There was one more room with a closed door before Perkins had stopped. Perkins stood in an open doorway. The room beyond was lit by cool sunlight filtering in from a window. Luke could see a Queen sized bed bathed in purple silk over Perkins’s shoulder. There was a warm smell of lavender wafting past Perkins as he led them inside. Sitting on the bed, there was a mocha skinned woman with long, slender legs. She was swaddled in a thick cloak made from thick, gray and brown fur. She was a bald woman, but the most striking feature was the size of her. She was nearly seven-feet tall and Luke could see that a lot of it was lined with lean muscles.

“Put the dog on the bed.” Perkins said and Luke deposited Cesar down on the purple silk sheets. The woman looked from Cesar to Luke and curved her lips into a cool, narrowed smile. She had big, brown, almond-shaped eyes and Luke realized, too late, that his jaw had gone unhinged. He closed his mouth and his face reddened.

“Hello, Luke. You have encountered the Random.” The woman said. Luke wasn’t sure if what she had said made sense.

“What?” Luke said.

“What?” Perkins said, adopting a slight edge in his voice. Luke was looking to the woman, but Perkins had turned to see Luke.

“Very recently, you have spoken with an agent of the Random. I know their smell. We are not enemies. There’s no such thing as a random wolf, so neither are we friends.” The woman said coolly.

“What did he say to you?” Perkins asked, nearly growling.

“Nothing. He just told me to keep my eyes open. He asked me if I knew what was happening. I don’t, but I think I should.” Luke said, realizing that he was dangerously close to squaring off with Perkins.

“It is unimportant.” The woman said and her voice was clear and piercing.

“To you.” Perkins said, but his voice was calm.

“Need I remind you, you’ve kept your own secrets. My concern lays with you allowing this boy to live. The Exiles have made you soft, Dale.” The woman said. Perkin’s jaw tensed  and a frown etched onto his face.

“Luke, as you may have assumed, I am Sheila of The Wolves.” The woman said, nodding her head. She extended her hands off from under her cloak and towards Cesar. Her fingernails were black, sharpened tips and for a moment, Luke thought she might have sliced him open. Instead, she caressed his fur and Cesar stretched out across the purple sheets.

“Who are the Exiles?” Luke asked. Sheila had some sort of authority over Perkins, but she didn’t have that over Luke. What was important to Luke was that he’d been thrown into something and was kept in the dark about it. Sheila flicked an eye over to Luke and he stepped back a step.

“ There is a war and there are those who do not fight. They are the Exiles.”

“Why was I singled out?” Luke asked.

“No one knows why. We hardly know who we’re fighting until we’re killing them.” Sheila said, running her long nailed fingers through Cesar’s fur. She flicked her eyes to Luke and smiled thinly.

“Who tried to kill me?” Luke asked.

“The war is largely between two sides. Neither side works in the light, but we assume that one is less evil because the other actively and recklessly slaughters people such as yourself. There is an invisible war, but their bullets and bombshells are all too real.” Sheila said. Luke looked from the statuesque woman to the sprawled out German Shepherd. They were faint, but Luke could see silvery tendrils like very fine, glowing hairs snaking from Sheila’s fingertips into the dog’s fur.

“What…” Luke began, his voice petered off into nothing. More of those faint, slightly opaque hairs appeared in the air, swaying softly as if pulled by a lackluster wind. They were working through the air from Sheila and towards Perkins. Something in the tendrils clung to something inside Perkins and soon there was a silvery, glowing vine linking Perkins and Sheila. The vine pulsed with a faint golden glow and then it was gone as if it was never there.  

“That brings me to the matter of note. You’ve come here for aid. I give it. You may stay under my protection.” Sheila said.

“That’s a comfort. Thank you, Sheila. I’ll make a call out to the Ranch. See if I can’t secure some safe passage.” Perkins said. The iron gray hair on Perkins’s head had darkened a shade and some of them more prominent grooves and wrinkles on his face had faded away.     

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Superpowers: A Closer Look

I'm in a superhero kind of mood today. That being said, I've decided to think up some interesting superpowers along with pose some theories about some famed superpwers.

1. Hands Of Death....

One of the most interesting aspects of Superman is the fact that he is basically a god among mortals. super-speed, super-strength, super-lungs, x-ray vision, heat vision. He can basically do anything, but he struggles with taming that power. He doesn't want to subjecate the people of his fictional world, he wants to protect them and live among them. What if a superhero had a supervillain's power? What if a good guy had hands that could kill with a single touch? It'd be an interesting struggle, using a purely destructive power to do good.

2. Intangibility...

I've always wondered if a superhero could twist their powers to match another hero's abilities, none more than with the power to go through walls. To go through a wall, one would assume, you'd have affect one of two things; yourself or the wall. If you're vibrating the atoms in the wall, theoretically, you'd be able to tear it apart if you just continued to vibrate the atoms. If you're vibrating the atoms in yourself, you would need to have some sort fo bio-default setting that you return to or you'd be ripped apart like the wall in the other example. This, theoretically, could be twisted into immortality. If you reset everytime you go through a wall, you'd never grow old, you'd heal instantly or as instantly as going through a wall. An interesting conflict would be someone who gains this power just after getting cancer. They get treatment and everytime they go through a wall, they get sick again.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Last Reich: The Killing Kind - Ch. 6

There were twelve small beds lined up in two rows and eleven of them were empty. Twelve children crowded on and around a single bed, kneeling on their knees with thin wool blankets shrouded around their shoulders and heads. The children’s eyes were wide in the darkness which was disbursed by quick lightening strikes and the moon shrouded in its blanket of clouds. Outside the stone windows, across the grayish green lawn and beyond the beyond the tall, black, rod iron fence, the world creaked and groaned in the eerie, evil silence of nighttime. Trees creaked and whined with the salvo of heavy rain. Somewhere distant but also close, there was a rabble of wheels atop of uneven cobblestone sounding like broken-throated laughter. The wind was catching the heavy iron gate, forcing it creak and forcing a sign to clang, metal against metal, that read: Low City Home for Orphans and Wayward Youth. Back inside, the eleven children stared up, with their mouths open, at the twelfth who was standing on the bed and telling stories.

The twelfth child was named Alfred and was completely called Elf. The boy had black, prickly hair, a skinny frame and eyes that might have belong to an old man. Elf had gotten the Elf because a younger child had difficulty pronouncing Alfred. The child’s eyes had grown glossy with frustrated tears as he tried to make his words obey him. The best he could do is, “Elf-Head.” He had told the child, whose name was Murphy, that he like the name “Elf-Head” because it reminded him of the king of the elves.
“The King of the elves?” Murphy asked.
“Yeah. The boss of all the elves. The Head of All Elves. You know how he got to be the boss?”
“Elves aren’t real.” Murphy said, apparently old enough to know skepticism.
“They are too. Who do you think slue the dragons?”
“There aren’t any dragons.” Murphy reminded Elf.
“Exactly. They’re all dead and they died before they could gobble everything up. Who do you think did that?”
“The elves?” The child had bitten and Elf began to reel him in, slowly.
“That’s right, the elves and the king of the elves had showed them how. Elves aren’t very big, hardly any taller than you.”
“How’d they kill dragons, then?” 
“Well, all sorts of people tried to slay the dragons. There were really big guys who showed up to kill them and they didn’t. They got the giants from the end of the world to try and they were turned away. They got vampires and wizards and all sort of people and they all failed.”
“Then how did they kill the dragons?” Murphy urged.
“Well, the problem was that they were all too big. None of the people who tried had attacked the dragons from below. The king of elves, before he was actually the king, came forward to kill the dragon and everybody laughed at him. He ignored them and went for the dragon with a sharp stick.”
“A stick?”
“Yeah. A sharp one. You know what he did with that stick?”
“Killed the dragon?”
“You bet he did. He pointed that dragon in his belly, which was really soft. Everyone else was too big and nobody could get at their bellies. Everyone was attacking from above and they were all beaten. The king of the elves killed the dragon and everyone was cheering and applauding and they put the king on their shoulders and they made him king. I really don’t mind being called Elf-head. It makes me feel like a dragon slayer.” Elf had said, smiling down to Murphy. Murphy had smiled back, his tears forgotten. Elf had made the story up on the spot, but Elf heard Murphy retold the story over and again.
Now, amongst the eerie night sounds and the rain, Elf was telling the other children about vampires. He had started the tale mostly because Murphy and some of the other children had been harassing him for a new one. He would have rather closed his eyes and slept, but he gave in and beckoned them close. He figured that he’d give them a scary one. Like the one about the elves and the dragons, Elf pulled the story straight out of air, closing his eyes and actually seeing how it was supposed to start. In his mind’s eye, he saw a boy in the woods. The boy had shaggy, black hair and ragged clothes made from burlap. The boy didn’t look exactly like Murphy, but the image put Elf in the mood for a little prophecy. He locked eyes with the small boy, who had curled up at the edge of his bed and gave a crooked, cracked smile.
“Yeah, Elf?”
“Do you know about the dark men?”
“No.” Murphy said. Elf’s eyes swayed across the faces of the other children.
“Do any of you know?”
“Do you mean Africans?” A small, ginger haired girl chanced.
“No. I mean bloodsuckers. Night walkers. I’m talking about vampires. They’re out there.” Elf said, pointing out the window and into the stormy darkness. The children peered out the window and at that perfect moment, lightening flared through the night.
“Out beyond the city limits and among the trees, they’re out there, looking back toward us. You know what keeps them from coming over?” He swayed his eyes across the children, their eyes wide and glowing. No one ventured a guess as to why.
“Because the watchmen, of course. They hide in the shadows waiting for the vampires and turn them away. How will do you think they can in this weather, though?” The iron gate whined aloud and the Low city  sign clanged against the gate. Possibly, the sound of someone slipping past the gate and across the grayish green lawn.
“Ever heard of what vampires do to people?” Elf asked. “Drink blood, of course. But they also crush bones and rip up throats. They squeeze all of the blood out of you like water out of a sponge.” Elf made a ringing motion with his hand for the effect. Elf’s eyes had been narrowed and his smile curled up the side of his face.
“Vampires are fast and they’re strong and they love to eat little children like you guys. You guys are little snacks to them.” There was a crash in the hallway and the children breathed in shocked air.
“And if they don’t drain you dry, you become just like them. You can’t go out into the sunlight and the watchmen come after you.” There was another crash and this one was closer. Elf’s face began to crack and curl into a ghoul’s face and he began to issue a fizzy laughter like tar pit bubbling. At the end of the row of beds and beyond the tall wooden doors, there was a fleeting scream. It sounded like Mistress Song, one of their more beloved caretakers. The children had stopped listening to Elf talk about vampires. There were heavy footfalls thudding against the old, hollow wood of the outside hall. The children could hear ragged breathing like some colossal beast. All their eyes shone in the darkness and tears stole down some of the children’s tears. They stopped listening to Elf’s story, even Elf, because the story had become real. Fingers rapped and drummed against the wood of the door leading to the hall.

 The door creaked open on whining, rusted hinges and again, the lightening struck at the perfect moment. The lightening strike threw a man-shaped figure into view, head lowered and arms hanging slack. He stepped forward, making those heavy footfalls. Another lightening strike illuminated his face, porcelain white skin shocked with a goatee of tacky blood. The children screamed, the sound slapping at the walls. Elf did not, his mouth went slack and his face went pale. A number of children scurried toward the door and the man-shaped figure snatched up two of them. The rest filtered around him, only to see the door swing close. There was a man that might have only been a shadow. He stepped into view and slammed the door shut before the children could get out. They battered at the door, screaming and crying. Soon, even that was gone.