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.