These are the coolest things I have ever seen Reblogged this from Make something mondays at: http://makesomethingmondays.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/steampunk-insects/
Below you will see a short little story perhaps meant to be go on in serial form or as a full length novel perhaps . This might be what you call an origin story somewhat. Let me know what you think. It has been rejected a few times by publishers. I will be submitting it to other publishers soon, until then I just wanted some opinions of what others think of it. I will give you my thoughts on it after a few people have read it so as not to interject my opinion of the story into your thinking of it. I think I know what a good story is so I try to be objective with my work but it’s hard to be after editing, and revisions and reading it over twenty times. Honest constructive criticism is ALWAYS wanted and valued. Thanks!
Devils in the Details
He saw the old woman enter the library, a silver haired little lady, the real grandmotherly type, the kind that spoils the grandchildren when they come to visit. She didn’t look to weigh much over a hundred pounds, string bean and lean at five foot-four inches tall or so. He could picture her sitting in her creaky rocking chair, doing her knitting or cross-stitching and humming a forgotten tune from years gone by while her cat laid next her. He had been following her for quite some time now, waiting for his chance. Time to pay the piper milady; you are going to break like a cheap piece of lumber, he thought with no pleasure behind it.
His name was Willie, a slim but well-built wiry young man with dusty blonde hair, a young man with a future; or so he had been told by much older, wiser men who said they knew the score in life.
The score to him was beaten into him at a much younger age by his father and a few of his father’s perpetually drunk friends he had hung around with on occasion. His father and his friends found it entertaining to see how far they could push a kid around before he snapped. It hadn’t taken Willie too long to snap but not in the way they had intended. Willie was a survivor to the core and he knew he couldn’t just go crazy on them one night as they started to wail on him because they would have just kicked his ass more than they already had. So he did the clever thing. He broke into a liquor store one night and made off with as much alcohol as he could stuff into his school backpack. The next day, on a Saturday night, with his dad and all his buddies sitting around playing poker out in their garage at the card table he presented them with his little gift bag of ‘time to get wasted’. They thanked him and sent him on his way and drank well into the night. Willie found it easy pickings when he finally ventured out into the garage, asleep like babies they had been, even after he had kicked a few in the ribs as hard as he could for payback for all the beatings he took from them. That night they all had contributed to the Willie get the hell out of town fund. His dad’s little bank under his mattress had made the biggest contribution to that fund. So at the not so tender age of fourteen, Willie had taken a cab to downtown Grand Rapids and jumped on a Greyhound straight out of Dodge and never looked back.
He wandered a couple of years through life not knowing what job or town he would wind up in next after the money had run out. A man by the name of Jacob Ward took all his worries away when he had caught Willie hitchhiking in the dead of night along a lonely stretch of road. Ward had asked him almost nonchalantly if he’d liked to make a few bucks by doing a little a job for him. Willie remembered Ward hanging out the side of his car with one hand holding a lit cigarette like he could care less if Willie helped him or not.
“Just thought you might need some extra money by the looks of you.” he had said to Willie.
He had looked harmless enough to Jake at the time. Willie’s radar for trouble had served him well the last couple of years on the road, probably saving his ass from a handful of pedophiles and thieves looking to take advantage. It wasn’t pinging inside his head as he looked at Ward. He had always been good at sizing up people just by looking at them. It was the eyes, it didn’t matter whatever else they said or did, it was always the eyes that told the story. Ignore all the rest of the bullshit.
So Willie had said rather enthusiastically, “Sure, what the hell,” and jumped into his car.
Had Willie known that the job would have entailed help in burying a dead body that just happened to have ended up in the trunk of Jake’s car, he probably would have ran quicker than a Jake rabbit and never looked back. They had driven for awhile when Jake had come to a dirt road overgrown with weeds to his right; he turned the wheel sharply and drove on until the road had ended abruptly at a field of sparsely populated grass and sand. He beckoned Willie out of the car towards the back where the trunk was.
“It’s in here,” was all Ward had said at first. What’s in there, was Willie’s first thought.
“Take a good look at death boy, and see how pretty it can be,” Jake said as he turned the key to open the latch on the trunk, revealing his gruesome cargo.
Willie reluctantly approached the vehicle and fearfully peered into the trunk to check out the contents. The body had been wrapped in a big clear plastic bag tied with a neat bow of rope much like a present would be under the Christmas tree. Willie couldn’t see the face or much of the body due to the fact that the blood from the person was smeared everywhere, only an opaque likeness of the person could be imaged through it all. He knew it was a young woman due to the long dark hair and shoeless feet covered with tan silk stockings. The body seemed to be cut up into many pieces. A detached leg lay over the woman’s head blocking her face from view. When the full horror of what he had seen finally reached his brain, he felt like he was going to vomit.
Willie had fallen to his knees. “Oh God,” he had exclaimed in a cracked voice that had not yet fully changed. “I think I’m gonna be sick!” waves of nausea ran through him as he fought to control the twisting his stomach was taking.
Suddenly Jake had slapped him hard across the face and sent him reeling across the ground. Jake had then picked up Willie like a sack of nothing in his hands, and dug deep into him with his fingernails as he gripped Willie’s upper arms like a vise with his own. Willie let out a loud yelp filled with pain and fear, not knowing if he’d also be another body wrapped in a plastic bag buried somewhere in a field of weeds. Never had he felt so afraid in his whole life; not even when his own father had beaten him had he felt such terror as Jacob Ward instilled in him.
“Don’t cry for the likes of her, she ain’t even human. You might think she is by the look of her but you’d be wrong. So boy, yur gonna dig this hole and bury this damn body and yur not gonna say one damn word while yur doing it, and when yur done, yur gonna git the hell out of here and forget this ever happened.
“Git it?” He said this all with an insane scowl spread across his face as he held Willie close to him with his foul dead breath washing over him making Willie’s nausea even worse.
Willie helped dig the hole, and Willie helped bury the body, but Willie never did forget what happened and he never did leave Jacob Ward
For some reason all this had been running through Willie’s head as he had followed the old lady into the library. He guessed it was one of his usual pangs of guilt that he got every time he did a job. What a nice way to put it, he thought, a job, like he put on a suit and tie and went off to the office every morning. He had often wondered what life would have been like if he had walked down a different road those many years ago. What’s done is done, can’t change the past, he was the stupid shit that got messed up in it all anyway. Willie shrugged it all off like he usually did and concentrated on what he was here for; to kill a person. No not a person, something else. He was told this several times by Jake and a few others in the business not much higher up than himself. It always left him confused and wondering what the hell they meant. He was always told he wasn’t ready to know just yet.
The old woman, whose name he knew was Madelyn from the contract he was given last week, had just pushed the button on the elevator. He approached her from behind and came to stand two feet to her right. She turned and gave him a quick soft smile and a glance through her spectacles which were perched on her face. She looked back towards the elevator and adjusted the blue shawl draped over her thin bony shoulders and continued to wait for the elevator’s arrival.
She looked harmless enough, but he had not caught her eyes when she looked at him. Every contract he had done always had that same look. She would be no different he was sure. Still, it was small consolation. Who would want to put a hit on a grandmother, he thought almost bitterly to himself. He didn’t know, he never knew, he was just directed to do a job and do it right. That was it. Put it out of your mind, Willie kept telling himself, she’s probably as wicked as the rest of the world is, probably more as Jake always said.
He heard the audible ding of the elevator, the doors of the elevator open and the old lady enter. This was his chance, just me and her. I’ll take her down hard and easy like I was taught.
“Wrong, wrong you idiot, you jab with the right but you deliver a cross with the left. They hardly ever see it coming. How many times am I gonna haf’ta tell ya til ya git it right? Jesus, sometimes I wonder why I ever took you on with me in the first place,” Jake said as he circled Willie to keep him off balance. Jake smiled at him and Willie eyed him warily. He always did when he smiled like that.
“I’m trying Jake, I’m trying,” Willie breathed in deeply from the exertion Jake was putting him. Willie’s eyes warily followed Jake as he circled him in the backyard.
“Well try harder, boy. You wanna be rich and famous someday don’t cha? Jake snorted and threw another punch at him.
Jake had been in Special Forces with the marines back in the eighties, real hush hush as Jake always told him. Things you couldn’t tell your momma else you’d have to kill her. Willie was never sure if that was just a figure of speech or if Jake really meant it. Willie never asked.
Willie had stayed on with Jake after the incident because in the end he discovered Jake wasn’t crazy, at least not certifiable and was hooked up with a big organization in some far off place that paid him well, very well to take on certain contracts. Why had they picked Jake, who seemed a buck shy of a dollar? Well to hear Jake tell it you would think he walked on water with the people who did the hiring.
“They love me man. They know what I see. They need me man. There’re so many of them out there man they can’t keep up. It was either kill me or hire me and so here I am doing the lord’s work.”
Willie always asked him what he meant when he would say those things but he never explained it much beyond that.
That’s the way it had been with him and Jake, and Willie guessed it would have probably remained that way forever if he hadn’t killed him just two weeks ago, just another job. Funny thing is Willie had liked Jake, even for all his gruffness and being rough around the edges, he had liked him more than he had his own father by a far margin. Willie might be a killer but he had an integrity that his father never did.
They had given him Jake’s name though and he had done his job. Besides, Jake had started to change as of late and not for the better, like something dark had dug into him deep and wouldn’t let go. Jake had never been a picnic to work with but in the past few months he had been a different person, colder, more distant, dark was the last word that came to mind, and his eyes had changed.
He noticed he had been lost in thought, because he had to practically leap into the elevator before the doors closed on him. Not very professional, he thought. He saw the old woman give him a flat stare.
“Same floor?” the old woman asked him looking over at him, as the doors to the elevator went to close again.
“Yeah sure,” he half mumbled to her, not wanting to talk anymore than he had to. Not wanting to hear her voice. Not wanting to hear the voices in his head when he went to bed tonight. The voices which always asked him why….why? He didn’t have an answer to give them. The voices knew why, but he was the one afraid to ask the question. Sometimes he saw shadows dance on his bedroom walls as he tried to sleep and it scared him. In his dreams they taunted him with the question. The answer to the question hid from him, wanting to be seen, but not wanting to be caught.
His mind returned from the dark place that it was in, back to the situation he had to take care of now. So why was he hesitating, why did he feel immobilized? He had to do it; she was nothing to him. He tensed his muscles in anticipation and breathed in deeply through his nose as he relaxed and prepared to do what he had come here to do.
The old lady did a strange thing just then, she flipped the stop button on the panel and the elevator came to an abrupt halt somewhere between the second and third floor.
“I wasn’t sure if you were the one until you had entered, your smell is ever so slight” The old woman said not looking over at him but still staring straight ahead. A small quiver of a smile crept into her mouth. The old woman adjusted her shawl again.
“Now in this enclosed space you reek of death. Do you enjoy killing?” This time the old lady did look over at him when she asked the question.
Willie turned to look at her and was taken aback as he looked her in the eyes. She was alien to him, just like Jacob had been, cold and distant.
“Aah, I see you recognize me. You must be getting the sight; not many do, especially as young as you. What color do you see? By your perplexed look no color as of yet. Well I assure you, mine are green but that means nothing to you, does it? It will become stronger in time and then we will be everywhere to your eyes. You will be very valuable to them in time. Maybe more than they even know. I asked you a question, answer quickly before my patience wears. I have no love for your kind and what you do.” She almost spat the last part as she said it.
Willie was numb, lost. He knew he should kill her, but he couldn’t. Not yet anyway, he had to know the truth. “No, it sickens me” was all he said to her.
“Hmmm….one with a conscience, that is a first.” The old woman’s eyes relaxed then and became less distant, less cold it seemed, but still alien.
“This body killed three hundred twenty four before we took hold of it. Some were honorable kills but most were off contract and some were children too young to know themselves in the light. She took pleasure in what she did. No matter if it was right or wrong there should never be pleasure in it. It disgusts me to inhabit it but I must. It is a duty which holds high honor for one so foul. It is lucky the red eyed ones did not find her first.”
“I don’t understand.” Willie muttered. He reached slowly into the pocket of his coat and gripped the knife within.
“Understanding only goes so far, but know my death serves no purpose today. Tell your betters
Tristol has taken command and they will understand.”
Willie moved like lighting in a bottle pinning the old woman into a corner of the elevator with the blade pressed deeply into her neck almost drawing blood.
“You don’t give me orders you simply die. I have a contract simple as that. No more bullshit. You’re like all the rest I’ve killed, cold, distant, ev….” Willie couldn’t finish the last.
“Evil you were about to say.” The old woman, who named herself Tristol, moved faster than a humming birds wings as she grabbed Willie’s hand holding the knife against her neck and turned it on him, shoving him back across the elevator floor towards the opposite wall until his back slammed hard against it sending stabs of pain into his shoulder blades. How can she be so strong, none of the others were like this, he thought.
“I see the turmoil in your heart. Do not worry you do a good thing young one. One day you will understand this, but some things must be even hidden from ourselves for a time. I will say this much, there are such things as demons in this world but the trick is knowing the right ones to let live and the wrong ones to kill. Choose wisely.” The old woman looked at him deeply as his pulse raced not six inches from his face with the blade held against his own neck. Willie thought his heart would explode in his chest. Was this how he was finally going to die? He looked into the old woman’s eyes deeply as she held him there tight against the wall. Suddenly the dark shade of brown of her eyes swirled around her black pupils and faded to be slowly replaced with bright flecks of green that swirled in the opposite direction around her pupils. When the swirling finally stopped her eyes were a bright neon green color.
“Now you see young one as many do not. Continue to see.” She disengaged from him and stepped back. She started up the elevator by flipping the switch to its previous position.
The elevator dinged and the doors opened. The old woman exited but Willie didn’t follow. He just stood there in the elevator. She turned around and looked at him over her glasses.
“Wrong floor Maam, I need the fourth, not the third. Have a good day.” Willie said.
“Thank you dear, you have a good day as well” she said almost motherly as he found himself nodding to her just as the elevator doors came to a close.
Willie walked through the double glass doors of the library to a sunlit street speckled with gold and orange fallen leaves. He gave himself a little smile and decided to go for a long walk to see what he could see.
The End…..or to be continued?
I’m trying to capture
a lit bit of magic.
Distill out the mundane,
filter out the impurities,
and infuse a little energy
into this tired body and brain.
You have always been that
catalyst, that additive, that chemical,
or heat to speed the reaction.
Give me just a dash of you and
I will change this lead to gold
or this chunk of coal
to a diamond that
sparkles like your
Your kiss may be the final
ingredient to the elixir of life
that I have long sought.
Oh how elusive that magic is
at being caught
and wrangled like
lightning in a bottle.
But I am an alchemist, and
with my books, my bottles, my studies
my mythos, my faith, and you…
I shall wrestle with the five mysteries of life;
air, earth, fire, water, and the
and condense their natures down into
a malleable creature from which
I can ride with you into the night.
by Philip Wardlow
My fortune has forsaken me for I am stranded in this cold wasteland
next to a flickering flame about to die.
All I have are my fears, a quilt to keep me warm and the labored breath of life.
The thick heavy fabric enfolds me in warmth from my head to my feet.
It is a comfort as I try to calm my restless mind and fall
I feel warmer yet still as I pull it closer to me in the night.
This warmth seems to come from a different place as I hold
the quilt to me tight.
Like a close friend it is a barrier against the bitter cold that wants
to suck the life from my chest with every stolen breath.
I began to reflect in my minds wanderings
Does this quilt have a story, a past to explore?
I picture strong delicate hands, patient hands, cutting and sewing in
endless hours to reach an end.
A quiet anticipation to see the job done with the reward of creating
a piece of art as a gift for a friend.
Did her mind wander while she worked? Did she daydream and get lost
in a world of mystery of her own design while her fingers danced from
seam to seam with the passage of time?
From mind to hand, to hand to cloth, did these wanderings, these dreams seep
into the fabric?
Is that why I feel as I lay on this cold hard ground like I could float up to the
dark heavens above me and touch the stars that twinkle down.
Is this quilt that I’m wrapped in imbued with a magic that I cannot see for it seems to
be reaching inside me and guiding me to a place where I can be free.
I dream of a woman and see her smile. Is she the one who has sewn this quilt for me?
Am I now part of her wanderings and fancies?
Is that why my heart is so light?
Is that her embrace I feel as the quilt consoles me in the night.
My mind is not restless , my body is at peace.
I lay wrapped in my quilt next to a fire long
gone out and forever asleep.
You may already know this but I wanted to mention this very important current event, Ray Bradbury, the great Horror,Fantasy, Science Fiction writer died this Tuesday June 5th 2012 at the age of 91. I heard coincidentally it was during the time Venus was in transit across the sun as viewed by us Earthbound aliens. So I think that is fitting. Venus won’t transit the Earth for another 100+yrs as viewed by us down here and we probably won’t get a writer to come along like him for just as long.
I’d say he lived a pretty full life, filled with magic, love, good friendships, and genuine appreciation by his critics and readers. What more could you ask for in a life as a writer. His legacy will live on for many years. He has certainly influenced me in what I see I want to be as a writer. I grew up with a lot of his stories. From the aforementioned title of this blog – “Something Wicked this way Comes” a little Horror/Fantasy horror yarn about a diabolical carnival coming to a small town, to Fahrenheit 451 – a dysotopian story so many other writers have tried to illuminate often in their own writing.
What I love I about him as a writer, was that he was so electic. He could go from writing a short love story like the “Laurel and Hardy Love Affair” to a fantasical endearing friends epoch little adventure set on the night of Halloween in the story called “Halloween Tree.” to his Science Fiction piece – “Martian Chronicles” and do them all so convincingly with new ideas never before explored, along with new perspectives to be pondered.
You believe the characters. You believe the fantastic situations. You believed the emotions. You believe the possibilites. He will simply be missed as a voice in all these genres.
I know many other authors and writers who followed his work have probably benefited from his many teachings whether they realized it or not when trying to translate their own stories from their inner minds to pen and paper. I know I have greatly.
I hope to do him and writers like him justice one day. Thank you Ray Bradbury for being a part of my life eventhough you didn’t know you were.
Marek ran hard through the thick underbrush, wary of outlying limbs or wet patches of dew covered grass. No need to go down in a tumble, then he would should surely be dead. Almost there, he thought wildly. Almost there, was still not near enough. Do these things ever tire? The gods know I am, he thought.
He could hear their caterwauling screeches all around him as they communicated to each other in some inane language he couldn’t began to understand, cooperating, trying to box him, trying to trap him. Intelligent little bastards, he wouldn’t have thought as much. Out the corner of his eye he saw a flit of shadowed forms appear and then disappear suddenly out of the darkened mists which collected in clumps on the forest floor like a rolling wispy snake crawling across the ground.
They were gaining on him. If they surrounded him he would be hard pressed to fight through them. One creature no problem,two no problem,hell not to boast but ten would probably be no problem for his strong sword arm, but to his estimation there were hundreds. So he ran like the dog he was.
It didn’t help that as he ran he was hindered, with one hand having to hold the large package that he was hired to steal back from a temple of zealots buried deep in this god forsaken forest he now ran in. Half his job was done, now he was entrusted to return the package to its rightful owner, King Erris; whose contract he had foolishly taken on. The second half of the deal was looking to be harder than the first had been.
Knowing of his reputation as a cunning fighter and fearless warrior they had offered him a payment of twenty thousand in gold, literally a Kings ransom indeed! How could he refuse! The few meager coppers he had in his pouch along with the pitcher of ale in his hand when the King’s men approached him in the bar had been his only possessions besides the sword and the clothes on his back. The meager coin and ale looked more inviting at this moment, not to mention the big hipped serving wench who had been giving him the eye all through the night while he drank his weight in spirits.
Let this be a lesson learned if he survived. Some jobs were just to big for any amount of gold to be had.
The King said the treasure stolen by the religious fanatics was more priceless than anything, worth more than a thousand kingdoms he had told him. If this treasure was not returned, kingdoms would fall, men would die, destinies would be denied. What was this treasure that the King had stolen from , Marek had asked. The King would not say even when Marek had pressed him. Only that he would know it when he came upon it. Four other contracts such as him had already failed, some individuals like him, others who had went in teams of three or four. Only one man had returned of them all, empty-handed and had died three days later from his inflicted wounds but not before giving them the valuable information of where the treasure was being held inside the temple.
Know it Marek soon did , as he had crept into the inner sanctum of the black veined marbled temple after scaling up the almost vertical walls to the uppermost parapets where he was told it would be housed in a circular chamber guarded by the blackest of demon dogs you never would wish to encounter. The three dogs surrounded its circumference , all clad in steel mail over their entire body with the color of the darkest pitch stealing the light as it hit its surface. Sharp canines dripped spittle from their massive muzzles to burn like acid upon the stones they walked.
Marek had quickly rushed one catching it by surprise sending it over the edge to tumble and bounce against the hard stone far below. The other two well, they had been a little tougher to deal with not being caught by surprise.
Luckily they had never been trained to work together against a common foe. As they advanced on him they actually more than once snarled and bit at each other to see who could get to kill Marek first.
He had used their dislike for each other to his advantage by keeping one always in front him with the other behind its companion causing the rear dog to lash out at the other dog’s heels in frustration.
He had taken the front demon dog in the eye with the point of his sword when it was distracted sending it into a wild spasm as his sword entered into its brain and scrambled it like eggs in a frying pan.
The other dog had advanced on Marek slowly, weary now that its two companions had been so quickly dealt with by this new adversary.
Marek knew he had to dispatch this thing soon before any others came along, but he didn’t dare go in for a strike to the thing’s mailed body and risk the creatures bite or even drippings of its spittle on him which could cause him to lose the use of his arm in an instant. So he did what he was good at, he ran.
The creature thought him scared and running for his life so it had become emboldened and ran after him. Marek ran faster and gained some distance on him and then he suddenly stopped. The creature’s momentum carried it forward and with blade held at eye level, Marek jumped high into the air toward the creature as it came in its headlong rush at him. He came down in a stabbing arc to the top of the creature’s head to bury his blade in deep dead center between the dogs ears punching through the black mail covering its skull. It quivered and died.
With the last of the beasts dispatched he had entered through the bronze doors to the inner chamber. There inside on a raised dais made of white marble inside a crystal bowl of the palest blue was a baby wrapped in a red silk blanket. Nothing else had been in the room chamber save that. So he knew what the treasure was as the King said he would.
These creatures that chased him now were different than the foul dogs he had faced. These things seemed almost human in nature but twisted with thin whip like bodies and elongated distorted limbs propelled them through the forest after him. He only caught glimpses of them as he ran but that had been enough to spur him to a faster pace.
Through it all the baby had been as quiet as a mouse not saying a word. It just looked up at him as he had run with its deep blue eyes with all the confidence in the world it seemed, that Marek would carry him from out of this place, safe and sound back to his home. For very personal reasons one being his own neck, Marek didn’t want to let the little imp down.
The day was coming up fast as the sun was just breaking the horizon ahead through the trees. Soon he would be able to see clearly what was chasing him. The trees were becoming more spread out and the vegetation less dominate in places. He was nearing the edge, he may yet have a chance. These creatures he was told, feared the desert, that was why the other man had made it out and back to tell the tale. He just had to get there first.
Then the thing happened he did not wish to have happened, his right foot caught the edge of a wet moss-covered rock throwing him off-balance. He instinctively rolled into the fall across the ground smothering the baby in a loose but tight protective cocoon with his arms and hands as he did so. Marek ended up on his back looking up at the nighttime sky through the forest trees, it was a dim blue with a wisp of white creeping in.
He heard the chattering of many voices draw near. Marek tried to stand but was met with pain in his left ankle. It felt like he had twisted it. Gods that ale would taste good right about now, he thought idly.
They drew in closer, from behind, to the left, right and now they closed the circle, in the front. His exit to the east was closed.
He forced himself to stand. fighting through the pain and drew his sword, leaning against a nearby tree for support. He saw an army of them crawling over the ground to him. Their eyes started to glow gold in the burgeoning light of day as they neared.
He looked down at the baby he held still with its eyes blue and confident in him. The treasure to topple Kingdoms the King had said, for destinies to be lost or made. What will they say of me little one?
Marek reached out a finger to touch the little one’s cheek. The babe held up its to little hand to grab it. Marek noticed a tattoo, better yet a birthmark it seemed on its small forearm in the shape of a Crescent moon with a pale mist of cloud passing in front of it.
Marek made a sharp intake of breath. Could it be. The Redeemer?
He had heard the prophecies but he had never thought to see it come in his lifetime.
He gripped his sword tighter in his hand and looked out at the horde. They were all but twenty feet away in tight circle about him. They had stopped. They were waiting for me to turn him over to them.
They stood motionless shoulder to shoulder. A hair could not have slid between the space they allowed.
Arms ending with three sharp talons rested on the ground twitched occasionally, perhaps in anticipation of his imminent death at their hands and the fulfillment of their task the creatures had been sent for..
They did not chatter at each other or at him. They just looked at him with cold dead stares. Their thin slit likes mouths were all closed tight in a devilish grin as if to say game over my friend.
He did the only thing he could. He tigtened his grip on his sword and the little one and grinned right back and said,
“Come on.” He whispered softly.
The babes tattoo began to burn bright against its flesh, the moon glowing on its skin as if set high in a nighttime sky.
The pain in his ankle was gone, his strength had returned tenfold.
He raised his sword high and came at them with a growl…
Into the Woods
The young man walked into the darkening woods
few dared tread even in daylight,
for there were many a tale of a sly fey or evil
sprite who walked there at night.
Not caring for rogue or dark highwayman to
lay upon him on the open road as he slept,
he sought the sanctuary of the deep forest
instead for his bed.
He bunkered down next to a dead fallen tree
and built a small fire against the cold that crept
as the sun crawled deep and fled into a hole
in the ground as he prepared for sleep.
He stared into the fire and being young let his
fancies take flight, beginning to imagine eyes in
the woods contemplating him, waiting for him
in the burgeoning night.
He wasn’t a child to lose himself,
so he shook off his disquiet and the cold and closed
his weary eyes pretending to be bold and found sleep
even through his fear of the unknown.
Into the night he slept until the crescent moon
shone high overhead casting pale blue shadows
across his face and breast as he slept on his
Now some say if the moon finds you in the forest
other things may as well, like a beacon to a boat
far off shore.
The young man started awake to the feeling
of a finger lightly brushing his cheek,
cold but oddly yet full of heat.
The fire was mere embers casting a feeble light,
but he could see the outline of a figure nearby, one arm
outstretched toward him, sitting in a low crouch
swaying to and fro and cooing as if in love.
The young man sprang up and backed over and
behind the tree and clutched at the hag bone which
hung around his neck for encounters such as these.
A good thing his talisman he wore for he may have
found himself dead in the morn.
“Come hither, Come closer.” It seemed to whisper in
his very ear, even though the creature was across from him
and not near.
It moved closer and the light from the dying fire
caught its face just so to reveal black pupils set against
black orbs which should have been bone white.
The face sneered at him with a clown like grin showing
a full set of razor sharp teeth within, while all the while green
flecked saliva dripped and slipped down its pointy chin.
It licked its lips with a tongue as red as blood and smelled the
air seeming to mark the man’s scent if he should run.
“Sit and talk brother, I am alone I just wish a little company
in my forest home.”
“I am no brother of yours darkling, be gone from my sight!”
the young man yelled back shaking his talisman as he held
“You are more kin than you know, do you think it mere
happenstance that I appear before you so?”
The creature looked at him from across the dim fire and
stared into him deep. Shadows danced on the creature’s face
as its dead eyes bore into him full of dead life and fathomless heat.
“You are my brother, for your heart is as dark as mine, for it beats
within you and called to me for it keeps the same time.
No moon called me to this place, nothing but your blackheart
pulled me to your presence and this forest space.”
The young man said nothing but continued to clutch the talisman he wore.
The creature smiled and looked at what he held so desperately to his breast
for it knew the man’s secrets and oh so much more.
“Why should that help you in a time such as this? Should it not turn
on its owner and prove itself dead instead?”
“You will die as they did, oh yes. I see your eyes tell the lie on your lips
as you twist the truth you try to spit.”
“You saw the little farm house, deep in the wood and all alone?”
“A husband, wife and daughter safe in their home
in the night, as you stared in their window and
crouched like I do now so low.”
“You crept inside when the night was still and killed the man while fast asleep.
Then you had your way with mother and daughter both and
all the while you smiled and laughed as if it all a joke.”
Like a lightning stroke the creature grabbed the young man’s hand and
ripped open his grasp and flung the worthless talisman from the young man’s
hands into the cold dewy grass.
The young man eyes opened wide and
implored to the creature “Please I don’t want to die.”
“Hmm..that was the same said by the mother and child”
“Remember what you replied?”
Then you should not have taken up residence so deep in these woods.
With that the creature buried its teeth
into the young’s man’s neck and drank deep
of his brother all the while the young man
screamed for release.
Now the tales say if you go deep into the woods you
may run afoul of dark things at night, but the tales also
say be wary of the darkness in your own heart.
Your skin breaks just like
the skin of an apple would
as my teeth sink in.
The taste of you floods
my dead mind with memories
of sweet Riesling fair,
Days gone, best left dead,
parties of friends buried deep,
a grave gone long cold.
Content I had been,
but did not yet know it then.
Death opened my eyes.
now follows me everywhere,
a pale hallow friend.
My blood lust sated,
you fall to the rocks below,
a victim of me.
I could have turned you,
forced a light friendship to dark,
misery to share.
But love lingered still,
trapped in these immortal cells.
I did all I could.
You sleep the sleep I
seek in my dreams while I sleep
on a bed of nails.
Come to me lost ones,
I will take away the pain,
drink it into me.
I am your pardon
to a life God has sidelined,
your dark god on earth.
Your skin breaks just like
the skin of an apple would
as my teeth sink in.
Well, the votes are in. I asked my readers a few weeks ago to check out the sixteen Bad Ass Woman of Fantasy and Horror I listed in my Blog to see which TWO they would wish to see in a fight and to find who would win (at least in my mind anyways). After tallying the over overabundance of votes from my readers and followers we have a MATCH UP!
Actually I am being sarcastic. I did not get ONE VOTE from any of my followers or readers to my page. Thank you very much.
I guess BADASS WOMAN are not that important in the world! No respect I tell you..Oh well, be that as it may, I promised a fight and I’m gonna give you a fight DAMMIT! Besides this was not only a challenge to my readers, it was also to myself as a writer to work on creating good fight sequences….practice practice practice ya know.
I randomly pulled two names from my list out of a hat for the bout and came up with Ta Da !: Trinity from the Matrix Movie VS Lara Croft from Tomb Raider the game (and movies I guess): I think that is actually a pretty even match up considering the rest of the women on the list. So here it goes below!
Rumble in the Jungle:
Trinity leaned back in the soft black leather chair as Neo adjusted her straps.
Neo came in close and whispered in her ear. “I think you’ll like this program. I made it myself, you might say it’s a fantasy of mine.” Neo smiled at her.
Trinity gave him a curious smile back but said nothing as she settled into the chair.
“We’re ready Neo, we can go anytime.” Link said standing behind them next to the control panel.
Neo nodded to Link and gave Trinity a light kiss on the lips. “Ready?” he asked her.
“Always – I wanna see how good of a programmer you’ve become my dear.” she grinned at him challengely.
Neo shoved the connection port into the back of Trinitys skull…and her world went white.
5 milliseconds later …Loading Training Program 4212.10. Jungle Scene – Sequencing..Overlaying…Initiationing Insertion –
Trinity found herself standing next to a slow running stream on a fallen log mottled with green moss and overrun with brown fungi clinging to its bark. A myriad of different trees surrounded the spot she stood, most reached fifty to hundred feet in the air with a few others reaching higher yet up to maybe two-hundred feet or more high above the main canopy of the the jungle she now seemd to be in. – Dense foliage spread out along the ground forming the landscape at ground level enveloping her in a cocoon of rich green plant life.
After taking in the beautiful scenery, the second thing that struck Trinity was that it was hot as hell, sweat was all already starting to collect and drip from her. She looked down at what she was wearing and had to smile.
On her feet were a set of sturdy brown hiking boots, light but durable with probably good traction. A pair of skin tight brown cotton shorts came up just shy of her belly button to ride on her hips, the shorts reached no lower than mid thigh level if that. A well made sports bra of the same brown color covered the top of her. Two highly polished silver semi-autos each with a fifteen round clip were strapped to her on either side of her breasts tucked just underneath her armpits. She also noticed she had two throwing knives strapped to each wrist as well.
Neo you naughty boy.
“Why have you been following me, who sent you?” a womans voice asked from out of the jungle unseen. A british woman’s voice by the sound of it, Trinity thought. What is Neo playing it. I”ll play along…for now.
“Just out fishing, see.” Trinity pointed at the stream as if to say, isn’t it obvious, and gave the woman where ever she was a wide smile; Trinity thought perhaps twenty meters to her left on an out cropping of rock downriver behind a some dense bushes but she had to be sure.
The woman laughed , “Most people use a pole when fishing. I don’t have time for games, tell me who sent you.”
Got her, Trinity thought, definitly twenty meters up on the cropping and defiinitely British. I didnt know Neo had a thing for British women, she mused.
“Well I’m not most people.” Trinity casually walked over to the stream and watched the water for a moment until she spied what she was looking for. Lighting quick she bent and reached into the stream and pulled out a struggling striped fish at the base of its tail. It was as big as her head, Trinity held it up for the mystery woman to see. That oughta impress her.
“I must say I’m impre-” The brish woman voice cut off as Trinity dropped the fish and spun towards the sound of the woman’s voice and let go with one of the throwing knives on her wrist towards the spot. Trinity’s knife flew straight and true and hit dead center into the foliage. She was greeted with a solid thunk as it stuck into wood.
Dammit, Trinity thought, missed.
Trinity sprinted directly towards the spot along the stream weaving as she did so whoever it was could not get a bead on her at a distance. She pulled both her guns at the same time firing as she ran directly into the bush ahead of her.
No one jumped out at her. No one fired at. No one said a word. Hmmm, perhaps I got her. Trinity approached the bush and came to a halt in front of it. Most of the bush was destroyed, leaves hung in tatters from its branches with not much left to speak of to call it a bush. The blade she had thrown was stuck deep into the base of it, but no dead woman behind it. Trinity realize she had emptied both her clips from her guns into the now very dead bush and she had not been given a single extra clip to replace them from the vast inventory of supplies she had been given. Thanks Neo, love you to.
“Just a fishing eh?” the womans voice now seemed to be coming from where she had been standing before – perhaps behind that tall thick cacao tree some ten feet beyond the point.
“Didnt know you needed a gun to go fishing, I estimate you have no bullets left in that gun and only one of those knives left on your person unless I’m mistaken.” The woman sounded very sure of herself , Trinity thought. She was begininning not to like her very much. Hope your enjoying the show Neo.
The woman who was only a voice until now suddenly stepped from behind the tree Trinity had suspected. She was a fair complected woman with very long dark brown hair done up in a single braid down her back. She was wearing pretty much the same outfit as Trinity but with her guns strapped at mid-thigh but less the knives and was just as tall Trinity.. Trinity saw she had a small grey metal cube in her left hand which she held lightly with her thumb hovering over two buttons and she was very pretty. Neo.
“Now, I will ask you one last time, who are you and who sent you, please don’t make me ask you again.” she said grinning at her.
“PAUSE PROGRAM” Trinity said aloud. All was quiet.,no jungle heat assaulted her body, no birds chirped, no branches swayed in the wind high up in the canopy, the stream was frozen in its bed not moving, most of all the bitch wasn’t talking, she was just standing there not moving. I am not jealous, she told herself she’s just a program.
“Scenery is nice but is this best you can do Neo, a jungle girl archeologist in tight brown shorts and a pony tail with a british accent?” She said to the forest knowing he could hear her.
“Let’s get this over with. RE-Commence PROGRAM” she said. Sound and movement along with the oppressive heat returned.
“My name is Trinity, and Neo sent me to kick your ass. Satisfied” Trinity said. Time to try something new even he hasn’t see me do yet.
She slowy pulled the small throwing blade from its holder on her wrist and held it up to reflect the light through the trees then just let it drop to the ground as if to say to the other woman, See I mean you know harm. Trinity concentrated then very hard on the metal of the blade she had just dropped, the look of it , the feel, the weight. She felt it. Ready. She had a theory she wanted to try now.
She drew both of her guns and and pointed them at the woman ” You forgot about the extra bullet in each of the chambers” . Trinity blinked and the woman suddenly wasn’t there. Just empty space where she had once been followed by a popping sound.
Trinity whirled to her right in a heart beat when she heard another popping sound not far away and fired both her guns. Click with the Hammer on both guns. Nothing and Nothing again.
“You were bluffing, why you little bugger.” She smiled again at Trinity with that wicked grin she was beginning to come to hate already.
“How are you doing that?” Trinity asked calmly behind her sun glasses as she lowered her guns.
“Aah, a little thing I picked up from a Techie friend of mine, certified genuis really.” She wiggled the little box she held in her hand.
“It creates an inversion in space-time in a localized area and pulls me into it and pops me out the other side. Kinda tickles.” she said and smiled again at Trinity.
“It’s kind of fun, you oughta try it” she smiled again Trinity.
“Thanks, maybe I will.” The knife Trinity had thrown slammed into the womans hand piercing the palm holding the small cube.
Trinity ran for the woman has she sat clutching her bleeding left hand. The woman looked up and saw her running towards her and went for one of her guns. Trinity did the only thing she could do, and that was to throw one of her own guns directly at her. The woman was good, she had her gun drawn and was just about to pull the trigger before the butt of Trinity’s gun caught her full in the chin propelling back and hard to the jungle floor.
Trinity walked over to her and shoved her with her foot so she laid faced up. She squatted down and grabbed her by her pony-tail and slapped her lightly on the face.
“Wake up.” Trinity slapped her a little harder. The woman moaned and her eyes fluttered opened.
“Now, I wanna know something . What’s your name?” Trinity asked
“You don’t know? It’s Lara, Lara Croft” the woman said weakly.
“Well Lara Croft, I’m sorry to say this, but it’s Game Over” The last thing Lara saw was Trinity’s fist connecting with her face.
Training Program 4212.10. Jungle Scene Concluded – Initiationing De-Insertion – System Purge of Program – Ready for acquisition of new program
Trinity opened her eyes slowly, readjusting to the momentary vertigo sometimes felt coming out.
“She’s back” Link said.
“Well, how did you like my new program I will admit I concentrated more on the visuals than the fighting but it was meant to be a strategic training session more so than a combat one and I had to have the setting just so, and what was that with the knife at the end…I’ve never seen you do that before.” Neo asked looking intently at her.
“I can see you worked hard on the visuals. But I still kicked the visual’s ass, as for the knife, every girl’s got to have her secrets now doesn’t she.” Trinity leaned in as if she was going to kiss him, but instead got up out of the chair and walked down the gangplank to go back to her quarters.
She gave Neo a backwards glance, “You coming, I have to change first, maybe into some shorts, it’s so hot in here” and then she continued on.
Neo followed after and Link just smiled to himself alone next to his console.
All of us in this world
are made up of bits and pieces.
The failure of a father, the loving
kiss of a mother, the slap to the face,
the hug when most needed, the stomp
to the head, the shove in the right direction,
the mysteries from out of the elusive aether.
Puzzle pieces from an endless box
are continuously being dumped on to our table top
of life that you must pick up
and put together to form
a solid picture from.
Place your pieces carefully one at a time
into the spaces that fit.
Dwell not on the picture you think you see forming,
for it is an illusion, a trick
most dire to the eye and mind.
Your puzzle is not yet finished,
if it ever can be,
for how are we
to ever know
when so many
yet to be
by Philip Wardlow