Tuesday, November 1, 2016

On NaNoWriMo and What It Has Meant To Me

Firstly, if you can vote already, get that mess done. Get it out of the way. Do your civic duty, you will feel so much better. Yes, I know the choices suck. All of them. Unfortunately, it's pick one or abstain from the process and if you abstain from the process, you're a coward in my opinion. But hey, that's just my two cents and who am I to tell you, a red-blooded AMERICAN, what to do?

Moving on...

NANOWRIMO or National Novel writing Month. The amazing happening which occurs from the 1st of November and runs until the 30th in which thousands of people chain themselves to keyboards and pump out vast amounts of words in an utter unleashing of creativity the likes of which is rarely seen. This year, if I were doing it, would be my 12th year in the trenches. I know what you're thinking...HOLY CRAP 12 years? Seriously? Yes, seriously. In 2005, a close friend, you know her as D E Morris, author of the Heritage books messaged me on AIM (remember when that was a serious thing?) and said, "I think you should take this challenge." At the time, I had never heard of NaNo before. I was just one of those girls who wrote in their spare time (mostly X-men Fanfic) and though way in the back of my mind I had always wanted to write a book, I had never stepped out on that particular bough in case it might indeed break. So October of 2005, my friend presents me with this challenge and I look at it with absolute abject fear. I grew up reading Eddings, McCaffrey, Anthony, and then more recently (20 years ago) King, I had idols in my pantheon and I looked at my work (online rp and fanfic) and said "There ain't no way."

I refused the call to adventure, ladies and gents, but as anyone knows, the journey has already started for it begins in the mind. D sat back at that point and let me work on myself. I had all the voices in my head that kept saying No, but there was one, which is all you really need, saying "What if?" What if I could? What if I believed, even for just an hour or so a day, that I was good? What if? So on November 1st of 2005, I sat down at my computer and I attempted to write a book. That book, "Rain," sits on my computer today having grown beyond the initial 50k words I wrote in 2005. It is actually, if I should ever revisit it, the beginning of something longer. However, because it is really a way of me dealing with my parents' divorce (They got divorced circa 2001) I see no need to inflict it and its first book inadequacies on anyone else. What is important about "Rain" was that it taught me that I could produce 50k words of fiction in 30 days. The next year, 2006, I failed miserably. I blame grad school. But NaNoWriMo became something of an ongoing tradition for me. The urge to be a writer/author, to actually sell my books, would eventually kick in and I would begin to write all the time. So in a way, NaNo was my gateway to possibility, my Narnia wardrobe. Unfortunately, like all love affairs, they have to grow or they die.

I'm not doing NaNo this year. Not because I don't have time or such codswallow, but because I don't really need to. Just recently, at the behest of Isabella Darkwood, another author in my writing group, I cataloged the number of projects I had on my computer which had been written as first drafts and then essentially left to rot. I have a number of them. This begs the question: Why produce one more first draft when I have pieces begging for a second draft or more before they can be published? The three books of She Becomes Death are completed, but only one of them has had more than a first draft (Hint: It's the one available on Amazon.) The second book in Chains of Fate has also be completed, but it needs a second draft/editing. Then there are five other, unrelated, projects which have all been completed, THE END has been typed on them, but they languish awaiting me to take the time to finish them properly. This without the myriad of short stories I've written over the course of my 12 year love affair with writing my own characters and my own situations.

I still love NaNo. I do. I never would have stepped out and attempted what, at one point, my own mind told me was impossible without it. That is its strength. It offers the perfect space to give it a shot. You have a community cheering you on. You have others in the trenches with you. You have professionals teaching you as you go. And despite the fact that you have a goal, there is no expectation. If you don't make it, so what? If you falter, get behind, can't pump out the words, so what? The community still lifts you on its shoulders. There's no one pointing fingers and judging. It is amazing. I wish more learning experiences felt this way.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Five Things I Learned from My Best Friend

My bestie is getting married. The day which I sometimes wondered if it would ever come has. And there was much rejoicing in the village.

My best friend, Corrine Vitek, is going to say her 'I Do's' to a wonderful man who has proven on more than one occasion that he is a match for every mood. I am pleased beyond Chatham Artillery Punch. I myself have had the honor of being a friend of hers for, at this point, sixteen years. We met during my first year of college, 2000, when I was first learning my way around the internet and stumbled into ChatRP. For those who remember, I will say one thing: CheetaChat. I then had to learn, quickly, how to moderate my time between going to class and getting work done and plumbing the depths of the imagination as represented by thousands of colors scrolling across my screen. I am INCREDIBLY lucky I didn't flunk out in my first year as much time as I spent making up fictional worlds with people I had never met. However, I digress. Corrine, or Callista as I first knew her, showed me a lot of things I might have never found on my own. For those of you who do not know, I'm insular and more than a little prickly, so me meeting people is a little difficult even with the anonymity of the internet. We hit it off, became friends, and eventually would meet in person, five years later. That was my first time at DragonCon and a story for an entirely different post. Over the years, I have realized that all the while she was being my friend, Corrine was also, by example, teaching me life lessons. Here are the top five things I have learned from our friendship.

1. Love What You Love. When she and I first met, I was a closet comic book geek. 90's Marvel was my jam, but I didn't really know any other girls who did that. I always sort of assumed there was something wrong with me because I would rather read comics. I knew more about the line up of the original X-men than I knew about shoes or anything even remotely girly. When the first X-men movie came out, I was pissed at what they had done to my favorite characters. And she was right there with me. This is not to say that we have always loved the same things though we share a lot in common, but talking to her about everything showed me it was safe for me to enjoy whatever it was that I was enjoying without worrying about whether or not someone else would enjoy it too.

2. It is totally 100% OK to Fangirl Your Friends. Friendship is something I have never fully understood. Fangirling is also something of a mystery to me. However, I have watched, from afar, as Corrine goes absolutely gaga over things that her friends do, including me. I will never forget getting a text message from her about "The Sacrament", a movie I was an extra in, saying that she had seen and heard me on film. Palpable excitement. I did a little happy dance. In that moment, however small, I was a celebrity and it felt awesome. Now, when I can, I fangirl for friends of mine because they deserve to feel awesome about their accomplishments.

3. Do That Thing. This is her response whenever I question what I should be doing. Translation: Do What You Want To Do. All things being equal, in a world without regret, what would you chose to do? I need this tattooed on my forehead.

4. Sometimes Humans Suck. Love Them Anyway. I can count on one hand the number of times Corrine has been actually mad at me over the course of our friendship. In every instance, she has had a reason: I did something that sucked. Thankfully, we have the kind of relationship that weathers such things or I would have lost out on having an amazing best friend. There have been times when we haven't spoken for months, but I never doubt her love for me.

5. Everything is a choice. Everything has consequences. Even doing nothing. If I am honest, and I generally am, I envy Corrine her ability to light up a room. She walks in, turns heads, and everyone wants to be her friend. It's stunning. Once upon a time, I wanted to be able to do that. These days, I realize how much it costs. She has the largest heart where she makes room for everyone who comes along, but not everyone takes care of the space she gives them. I've watched her weather betrayals and stood by as friendships crumbled. Yet she chooses to remain open hearted. And I stand in awe of that. It is a choice she makes despite being completely aware of the consequences.

In parting, I say, Congratulations to a beautiful lady who deserves all the best the world can give and more.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hacking My Brain [Attention Management]

Let's be honest, when you think of your resources as a writer, TIME always comes up. You cannot make it if you don't devote time to it. Super simple. Something I had not considered really was managing my ATTENTION.

Sure, sure, we all know one of the most important things a writer can do is finish. However, what you finish may be more important than just finishing in and of itself. For example, I just finished writing the first section (50 handwritten pages) of Keys of Eternity. I consider this an accomplishment because when I started writing it a month or so ago, my main worry was whether or not I would ever have an idea again. (I just came off a several week depression in which the words had fled. It was rough.) However, the reason I bring that up is at the same time I had just contracted with an editor to do a full revamp of Chains of Fate, my first published novel, in order to make it look and sound more professional. My last contact with my editor was at the end of July, in which I told her that I wasn't ready to send her the next chapter. By my personal deadline, I expected to have Chapter 2 revamped and sent in by July 31st. Instead, I hit a major depression and in a fit of panic, I switched gears and started writing a then unnamed piece (Keys of Eternity) longhand in a notebook. I published the first page of that on Creative Chaos on the 10th of August. For those of you keeping score at home, it is now the 13th of October. So my editor has been waiting on Chapter 2 of Chains of Fate since the end of July. That's two and half months for a single chapter, which legitimately should only take me about a week to read and polish. This is not a good use of my attention.

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself, but if I'm going to be a professional writer, I need to have something that looks like professional standards. So how do I rein in my attention to keep it focused on the things which offer me the best long-term gains? I go back to my habit strategies. One of them is self-knowledge and another is scheduling (deadlines).

Self-knowledge (Gretchen Rubin: Better than Before), Knowing your Why (Steve Kamb: NerdFitness), Understanding your End Game (Self-Publishing Podcast), all of these things mean approximately the same thing: What is getting me up everyday to do this? I want to be a successful self-published author able to do my writing full time and make a living off of it. That means starting a new project at the drop of a hat when I have other projects languishing is not the proper use of my attention. I am not beating myself up over this because there are extenuating circumstances responsible for derailing me which have to be accounted for. This is mainly there for those days when I'm thinking of new ideas at a rate of three dozen a day and want to start on all of them while I have things I've already started or finished (but not edited) or am in the process of editing which require my attention. To become successful, I have to produce quality work at a workable rate. I have to finish the series I start. I have fans waiting (I think. Mom counts, right?). Then there is scheduling.

My daily schedule is pretty variable as I don't get off at the same time every day and there's not telling what I will actually end up being responsible for at home, so that feeds into it. Yet I can still assign myself a certain amount of time every day, such an hour, to work toward a goal and thus keep focused attention and momentum on my side. Deadlines, as much as I'm not a super fan, are also useful. They let me know when something needs to be done, when my inner office manager, Charlotte, is tapping her foot with her hand out saying "Assignment due". I imagine Charlotte as a rather prim little lady who likes charcoal pinstripe business suits with bright robin's egg blue blouses and patent leather heels (sensibly chunky of course) wearing her hair gathered at her neck to keep it out of her face while she types. She also has mismatched eyes she uses to her advantage to be slightly unnerving. So sue me, my inner landscape is well peopled. You should hear me talk about the insane asylum most of my characters come from. But I digress. Charlotte, voiced by Naomie Harris, reminds me to get things done. I will admit I've gotten bad about tuning her out. Good news, she doesn't hold that against me. Am I saying that everyone should imagine themselves a task master in order to keep up with their deadlines? No, but if it works do it. I also have a calendar, which I even occasionally update (gotta get better about that).

I hope this was helpful, ladies and gents.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

In the Days of Hurricane Matthew

So as most of the world undoubtedly knows, Hurricane Matthew hit the Southeastern coast of the North America and much of the Caribbean. Haiti is in the worst shape of everybody, but there is no avoiding that A LOT of people were affected. I was one of them. I live in what I commonly refer to as Sunny Savannah, GA. Truth be told, we have pretty decent weather almost year round and aside from the occasional thunderous rain storm that leads to flooding and, you guessed it, HURRICANES, we've got it pretty good.

So the saga of Matthew begins for me on Thursday the 6th day of the 10th month, after I arrived at work. He had been heralded as arriving in our area by Friday night with the chance that we would just get outer bands and thus the damage and disruption would be minimal, so I was fully prepared to sit this one out. The likelihood of losing power was always there, but let it not be said that Savannahians don't know how to weather some bad weather. However, grand poopaa CEMA had other plans. The evacuation of the islands and the low-lying areas, places notoriously hard hit even if inland things are pretty good, started out voluntary, then moved to mandatory, then they moved the line to take in the other islands further in. However, they had not called for an evacuation of Savannah proper by Thursday morning, so I wasn't really worried about it. I got to work, saddled up, and rode out. As I am out on my route, Shan, a co-worker, stops me and says, "Evacuation east of I-95 is now mandatory. We've got to hurry up so we can finish up, go home, and leave." The I-95 corridor is a pretty big marker for us. It's about approximately 10 miles west of Savannah running north and south. At this point, I call my future mother in law (FMIL) who lives west of I-95 and ask if I can stay with her and FIL. She tells me that there are a few people coming to weather the storm, but of course Fiance would love it if I came and stayed with them. Plan set. I just needed to get home, pack a bag, and boogey on up the road. I did exactly that, stopping to have a conversation with my mom about her plans. She and older brother were trooping down to H-ville to stay with my Aunt and her family and the grandparents. Younger bro said he was going to ride out the storm at home in Sav. I did not like this idea, but he's grown, can't make him do anything he don't wanna do. Packed up, headed out. Got to the Inlaws about 4 o'clock. Fiance went to work, so he was gone overnight. Went out for Mexican, since the likelihood of being trapped at home with no power was imminent, enjoyed ourselves. I relearned how to shell peas cause MIL had a big ol' crate of peas she'd been given by a grateful farmer. That was calming. Learned how to use Netflix. (I do not have Netflix at home, so it's always like alien technology to me when I'm confronted with it.) And the first night passed uneventful. End Day One.

Friday the 7th day of the 10th month. Woke up because Fiance has returned from work and while he has tried to be quiet, my brain is already primed to be up and moving because this would normally be a work day for me. We talk. He falls asleep. I crawl out of the bed and investigate whether there is coffee. Largely uneventful day as final preparations are made for the storm. Most of it had been done the day before, but just tying off loose ends and double checking the work while there was still some semblance of daylight. As the day got grayer, we migrated indoors and kept ourselves busy. Though there was one small expedition to go outside after it started raining. FIL wore a rain suit he had not worn before. This would prove to be an important decision. Whatever was in it caused him to develop a rash, which after a home remedy involving vinegar didn't work, he took some benadryl. Then for some reason we decided to watch disaster movies to pass the time. The power started flickering on and off in prelude of failing as we watched John Cusack in 2012 which several of the family had not seen. I had never seen all of it so I was content to watch it. Then the power went out and that was the unofficial notice that we all might wish to go to bed. End Day Two.

Saturday the 8th day of the 10th month. Matthew mostly battered us over the night with high winds and lots of rain. Several of the house occupants found this exciting. I slept through it. When I woke up, it was past time for the fiance to be home, however he was not there. So I rolled over and called him. He had decided, with some prompting, to remain at his job site until the weather died down unknowing that the weather in the area was not slated to die down much if at all for most of the day. I convinced him to come home where at least he would have company. Then I go into the kitchen, investigating for coffee, and come upon a communal scene. Several people are sitting in front of the back door sipping from their coffee cups and FIL looks like a combat veteran with a head wound. At first I wonder if I should ask how this happened, then I do. Apparently, we're blaming the benadryl, FIL took a nasty fall which included hitting his head on the rounded corner of the kitchen counter and cutting a not insignificant gash into his forehead. As per medical protocol, he stayed up a few hours to make sure he didn't have a concussion and wasn't going to slip into shock both of which would have been problems since FIL is not a small man and services were undoubtedly experiencing many of the same outages happening in the residential areas, so taking him to a doctor might have been an ordeal. After I had been up a few minutes, he retired back to his bed. Minutes later, in walks the fiance who looks as though he tried, and failed, to carry the entire weight of the world. Cue my relief. Give him a sit-rep and get him comfy, we talk, he goes to sleep, I get up again. By now, breakfast is on (gas stove, all you need is a source of fire and it will light) and decisions are being made about what to do today since it is definitely not time to start cleaning up yet. The rain is still coming in spurts and we've got 40+ m/hr wind gusts blowing through. I send texts to check on my family as I've been doing just to stay up to date on whether things are okay. No one is dead. Happy day. I can rest pretty easy. Day hums along. FIL gets back up and hooks up the generator which will keep the two fridges running and provide power for some lights and phone chargers. This is great news. No worries about food spoilage here. MIL makes more food. Once it stops raining, folks feel safe enough to take short trips out to look around. I don't go. I have no desire to see things we can do nothing about. I tried to write. I got about three workable paragraphs that don't go to anything I'm currently working on, but they have a range of interesting things going on, a couple different directions they could turn. I may explore it later. I also did not read though I had plenty of time to. Wasted opportunities maybe, but I'm not really worried about it. Thus ends Day Three.

Sunday the 9th day of the 10th month. I wake up expecting to go to church and realize that I am neither at home nor is our church open because of the storm. I lie there contemplating this. Fiance crawls into bed and we cuddle. He is very pleased his week is over and this is the official start of his weekend. I am pleased because that means I will see more of him. I am still learning to be okay with this idea of him being gone all night while I sleep and coming home in time for me to get up and go about my own day. At current this is forecast to be our reality once we get married in January, but I can't say that I like it so far. I felt a little rundown since my chest and head hurt, bad lungs plus candles burning in a room with no ventilation equals absolutely terrible plan. Nothing serious but it made me not want to be super social cause I was tired and short tempered. However, I did get up and pitch in to help get things from the store, cook, and clean because it needed doing. Everyone in the house pitched in somehow to get things going. I think everybody washed dishes at least once to make sure they didn't pile up. We needed the generator for more important things than the dishwasher. Other family members are dropping in to check on people since cell service is spotty with potential towers down. Things get quiet. I went back to bed for a while to build up more energy and get up in time for the family to play Baseball, which is a card game the Fiance introduced me to some months back. I opted to watch a while and then went to bed for the night. The return for residents opened at 5pm and ran through curfew at 10pm, I opted not to go home just yet. Out of Day Four.

Monday the 10th day of the 10th month. Happy Birthday to my wonderful niece, Patricia, who turned 11. I had no way to reach her, but I'm sure the family will do something to make her feel special at a later date with all the mess that's gone on. I woke up knowing I needed to see a doctor but with widespread power outages, I was also aware this might not yet be possible. I spent a great deal of the day in the bed with periodic moments of socialization until Fiance decided we were going to dinner at his best friend's. Despite my physical unwellness, I opted to go because I hadn't seen them in a while and it would have made him feel like he couldn't go if I didn't. After a lovely dinner and conversation which involved books (my favorite kind), we headed back to the house. It's 9:30 at night, Fiance asks if I'm going home. I point out that according to the curfew, I could be arrested trying to go into the county this late. I opt to simply go to work from his house the next morning. It's basically a 30 minute commute from his parents' to my job. We head to bed. End Day Five.

Tuesday the 11th day of the 10th month. Up early to make the commute in to work. Got to work after a quick stop for gas and breakfast. After a two minute conversation with my boss in which she listens to how raspy I sound, she sends me home. After eating what's left of my breakfast and checking in at home, I seek out info on my local UrgentCare center. They have power, so I head there to get checked out. In and out in under an hour with scripts for an antibiotic and steroid treatment, which I pretty much knew was going to happen. The local CVS is two doors further down, they also have power. I hung out in the store while they fill my scripts. In both places, there is a little unhappiness about how much medication was lost thanks to the power outages, but since nothing can be done about it, the complaining was mild. On the way home, I stopped at Whole Foods Market, which is the only grocery in my area open. Strange to see the boarded up windows, but since most of the storefront is glass, you can't be too prepared. I pick up some fancy water (regular water is still out) and a snack before heading back home to lie down. We have no power, so conserved the battery on my phone by turning it off, also helped me get better rest. After I wake up and turn my phone back on, I check on those whom I haven't seen on Facebook posting about the conditions of their properties. Several families were not as lucky as mine. We sustained no major damage and no death. I know families who got one, the other, or both. There was the usual round of complaining about power outages and city workers, which I largely had to tune out because truthfully it's just people letting off steam. I wish they would keep it to themselves because for someone who has been busting their ass to come home to kvetching on Facebook damages the spirit. Our power came back on about 8pm. I plugged up my phone, helped clean out fridges of anything that had gone rancid/icky, and made sure my computer hadn't been damaged. Then I went back to bed. End Day Six.

Today, Wednesday, the 12th day of the 10th month. My grandfather (father of my mother) turned 79 today. Happy Birthday to Grandpa Platts. So glad to see you have done it again, another circle around the sun. Got up. Went to work. Came home and made a spam, egg, and cheese sandwich and some coffee before sitting down to write this blog post. I have once again returned to Sunny Savannah, GA. The weather here is no longer trying to kill us and we are in the stages of cleaning up and going on with our lives, many of us aware of exactly how good God is despite whether or not we deserve it. Onward through Day Seven.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

One Page: Keys of Eternity

Still leapfrogging around in the manuscript, but nearing the end of what I have already written. In the meantime, I'm also collecting everything so that I can offer it as a short story for those who would like to read the whole thing. I hope you're enjoying things so far.
With a bang of the screen door, Kelly and The Hound appeared. As usual, Kelly was dressed in what Elise lovingly referred to as rainbow vomit. Next to the unrelieved black of his mother, anything with one of the bold colors he favored would be an improvement. The problem was he generally chose several loud clashing colors which only accentuated his ghostly Irish transparency he got from his deceased father. The Hound, a deep brown dog of indeterminate breeding and speculative age, trotted over and pushed his head into Zara's lap begging for attention as Kelly locked up.

"You big baby," Kelly said. "C'mere so I can put your leash on."

Obedient, The Hound ceased its begging and sat down with its head up to be properly attired for his trip to the park.

Before the pair headed off, Kelly said,

"Miss Zara, I'm really sorry about your sister."

"Thanks, Kelly."

"Did you hear that they lost the body of the guy Mom shot? There was some kind of accident up on Liberty and the body went poof. Weirdest shit."

Zara stared. Kelly waited a few seconds before waving a hand in front of her face.

"Man, you can practically see the loading screen. You okay?"

"Yeah, yeah. Fine." She scratched her temple. "Just like you said, weird shit."

After another pause and Kelly shuffling his feet back and forth like an anxious five year old, he said,

"You know, Mom probably wouldn't mind if you stayed with us until this whole thing is sorted.."

"Sure. I'll think about it." Zara rose from the stair. "You better go before Hound poops in your Momma's plants."

The dog sniffed around the little purple pansies at the side of the stairs with gusto.

"Right! Bye, Miss Zara." He took off at a jog toward Forsyth with The Hound keeping pace. Zara let herself into her apartment.

So the body was missing? That didn't really mean anything. Somebody misplaced it or mislabeled it. The accident caused it to go up in flames. Whatever. No reason to worry about it. After securing the door, she trudged up the stairs. The headache brewing behind her eyes had reached max volume. Time to put her feet up and close her eyes. She could make more phone calls later.
And things continue.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One Page: Keys of Eternity Part 1

Firstly, ladies and gentlemen, this project finally has a title. (WOOT! WOOT!) It is called Keys of Eternity. I have finished writing the first fifty pages longhand and am working on typing them in so that they will be available for all readers. I may even offer it free here on the blog as I work on the next part.

This section is from page 35-37. I started with the last paragraph on page 35 and followed it all the way through the end of the last sentence which is found on the top of page 37. I hope everyone is enjoying the story so far. Leave me comments, questions, concerns, kudos, or anything else you'd like in the comments section.
Jason ran a hand through his hair. "Where do I begin?"

Zara offered him nothing but a stare of studious attention that made him a tad uncomfortable. With the light still low her eyes glittered. He imagined they glowed the way a wolf's did when creeping close to a hunter's fire to remind him he is never quite alone, or safe, in the woods. The urge to comfort her in her obvious pain warred with the awareness that she, should she desire, could snap him in half on a whim.

Despite his discomfort, he wondered if the ghost girl was there with them. Would she weigh in on what he said.

"You're not talking."

"I don't know what to say." He paused and sighed. "Do you believe in magic?"

"Are you going to try some cheesy card trick or disappear into thin air?"

"No." For a heartbeat he considered another way, less flashy, but nothing else would break the shell of disbelief she built around herself. If he wanted her to believe in the supernatural, he would have to show it to her. With a slow breath, he relinquished his control a bit at a time. The room brightened as his wings appeared and his armor manifested.

She didn't gasp, hide, or even really blink. When the transformation was done and he stood in her living room in full regalia she moved from her chair. Without looking him in the eye, she ran one hand down his wing. The caress caused an involuntary flex. Then she yanked out a feather. Turning it before her eyes, she said,

"Falcon."

"Yes." He blinked. "How did you know that?"

"Artists study the things they want to depict."

Clinical. Emotionless. Her eyes had gone dry and remained stony as she regarded him.

Shifting under that gaze, he considered his next words. He had to get through to her.

"I realize I should have been there for Amara, but I wasn't and I don't want you to die too."

She paused where she had reseated herself with an apple slice almost to her lips. Zara's eyes darkened from their attractive maple to mahogany then progressed to ebony. A wave of anguish mixed with rage flooded the room.
Anybody else think maybe he said exactly the wrong thing?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

One Page: Untitled [Plus Bonus]

The supernatural elements of this story have been popping up in and off for a little while now. However, on page 28, they come out in full force. Jason Phobos (he hadn't appeared in any of the postings here on the blog) goes head to head against a creature threatening K'Zara's life. Since this is my fifth post, I decided I should throw in a little bonus aka more story, so I'm going to follow this scene all the way through to the end. Enjoy!


Jason came striding down the sidewalk seeking Zara just as the coroner's team guided the gurney with its massive black bag down the shallow porch steps. Stopping, two forces tugged at him. One he recognized as Zara. The other came from the black bag.

Corpses shouldn't pull.

Something with enough power to be killed by human means and survive would endanger his mission.

They packed it away as he considered his options. Go to Zara and try to convince her she was in graver danger than she thought or go after the threat himself. She seemed to innocent to be caught up in a wars tarted before man understood fire.

The van pulled away from the curb. He watched it turn the corner at the end of the street, marking its direction. Then he looked up into the empty windows of Zara's apartment. He had to protect her. She had already lost too much. He trotted down the street after the van and when he turned the corner unfurled his wings to fly. 

The blaze of his office made him appear as a haze flying so close to the ground.

The van turned onto a busier street and merged into traffic. Then it weaved hard and knocked up on two wheels before almost landing on a white sedan. Even from above, Jason saw the blood on the driver's side window before it shattered out. What crawled through the hole was human in shape and size but not color. Its mottled flesh under the remains of a bloody white shirt was blistered black and green. The entry wounds of the bullets in his face oozed black. It leapt from the van to the median and walked away, straightening its ruined clothes as if it were nothing but a business man leaving a dinner with friends. It even checked its cuff links. One was missing. 

Jason dropped on it like a comet.

The creature deflected his sword stroke with thick unyielding claws.

"Kimbu," it said as they faced off under a tree with the faint early stars overhead "Get in my way and I'll kill you."

"You are not supposed to be here."

"When I'm done, I'll leave."

It attempted to proceed and Jason cut off its exit with his sword. It did not look amused.

"Little kimbu, you know not what you defend." It thrust the sword away. "Get out of my way."

Sirens blasted and wailed, drawing closer. In this age, there would be video. They needed to flee the scene. With any luck, they'd be mistaken for weirdos in a city full of them. Cars stood still in both directions as people tried to make sense of the accident. The demon slid across the hood of a small red Honda and disappeared into a nearby parking garage. Jason couldn't remember if it was one of those with cameras or not, but he didn't chance it. He skirted the outside and headed for the back. 

They met again on a backstreet where Jason lunged in for the kill his sword put another rip in an already mutilated sleeve and drew more black blood. With a hiss, the demon went for the medallion st Jason's neck. Without it, he would lose his physical body and become a lost one. Not a fate he wished to endure. He snatched back and the demon kept coming, bowling him over before continuing to run away.

It was going back for Zara.

"No, you don't." Springing to his feet, he gathered his strength. The demon was getting away. Then the bolt Jason threw hit him square between the shoulders and knocked him flat. Jogging over, he tried not to smell the frying he could clearly hear. 

You don't know what you defend.

The demon groaned and the stubby remains of its destroyed wings tried to take flight. Jason brought his sword down to the creature's neck. Now was not the time to contemplate. He crunched the point through the demon's neck bringing up a spray from the wound. The spray hardly touched him before the entire scene turned to the ash of long dead fires.

_______

All together three pages. Any thoughts on Jason?