Category Archives: anthologies

Nyctophilia: #defythedark contest

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Well, I’ve been away for over a month. During that time, I’ve started writing a number of things, but all of it was working towards story ideas I’ve had rolling around for a bit. All of them are in different stages…and almost every piece is for a future novel, or novella. Hence, not for Tale Spinning.

My SO brought a Figment contest to my attention that actually intrigued the two of us: the Defy the Dark New Author Contest. I had given up on submitting anything to Figment because of the usual  “heart (like) my story & I’ll like yours” mentality, which rarely ever translated into the merit of the story. Yes, I did that last year with Birdsongs: The Virtuous War. I learned my lesson and stayed clear of that type of “whoring” for votes.

What’s different about Defy the Dark New Author Contest? The likes/hearts don’t mean a thing: there is an actual YA editor (Ms. Saundra Mitchell)  who will read and judge the work on its merits. This is for eventual publication in an anthology by HarperCollins. Combined, the two things got me writing a just under 4,000 word short story entitled Nyctophilia.

FYI: Nyctophilia, as defined by Dictionary.com, is: a love or preference for night, darkness.

My description/”blurb”:

On the coast of the British Isles lies beautiful Bournemouth. At the turn of the 20th Century, it is a quiet, peaceful destination. A retired London Chief Inspector makes his home there with his wife, their house cared for by a local towns girl, Miranda. By day, most agree that the views of Bournemouth are spectacular. By night, the Spectacular views Bournemouth in an unsavory way…an old “friend” of the inspector comes to visit, and he  very much prefers all that the night has to offer.

Please CLICK HERE to take you to my newest story, Nyctophilia. If you with to leave comments, you can do so either at Figment or here on Tale Spinning.

Lisa Vooght entered the same contest with an extremely compelling tale called Rain’s Gonna Come.  Very powerful, a story you will be glad you read.

Thanks one and all for sticking with Tale Spinning. I hope I’m not gone another month before posting something new.

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Ashes

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Even after reading about all the possible side effects, Jean wore her mother around her neck daily. Others complimented her on her memorial diamond pendant, with many commenting about it afterwards, not all in a favorable light. Compressed into a stunning jewel, strung and embraced in an array of silver filigree,  the late Mrs. Deidre Ann Cabochon glared from her daughter’s chest.

Cremated only a month previously, the ashes were mixed with snippets of her hair, and all was distilled to the carbon left behind. These were sent into a press, to duplicate the forces of nature. Extreme heat, 1,000,000 p.s.i., and time…and from the passing of the deceased came a new jeweled existence.

Or so Jean thought, even though the price was high on many levels.

Her husband, Paul, disagreed to the cost, both financially and emotionally. He was never fond of Deidre, a woman he found narcissistic and shrewish, and if he had been honest with anyone he would have loudly pronounced how glad he was that his mother-in-law was dead. Paul saw how Jean suffered during her mother’s long lingering illness, how she put “that woman!” on a pedestal, even while being ordered about and verbally demeaned at every turn. Jean just turned the other cheek, said it was the woman who gave her birth and raised her, and that was that.

Paul moved out the day after the jewel was delivered.

When she got the package, Jean cried as she opened it, and cried as she held it out to examine it. Jean asked Paul to attach the clasp for her. He went behind her as she moved her hair aside and did as she asked. There was a soft “snkt” sound; Jean let her hair down and turned around to give Paul a hug. She held him, lowering her head onto his right shoulder, pressing her body against his, tears leaking down, which he felt through his shirt.

Paul also felt the diamond pendant digging into his chest. Uncomfortable as that was, he felt…more. There was something emanating, a negative grasping, and it hurt on a much deeper level then the prick of the necklace pressed against him. Pushing away was hard but Paul moved a few feet backwards, seeing the pain in Jean’s face but he found himself unable to answer her question of what was wrong.

She needed comforting the rest of the day, and each time Paul’s horrible feeling deepened. He felt lethargic, and depressive thoughts flayed him, making deeper cuts as the day progressed. By the time they went to bed-Jean still wearing “her mother”-Paul was ready to slash his wrists. In her sleep Jean rolled over to the edge of the bed, as Paul, awake, did rolled to the opposite side. There was a lessening in his chest, and things felt calmer as he went to the bathroom (down the hallway), and still when he went downstairs to the kitchen for a cold drink.

Sitting at the kitchen table until dawn, Paul went back upstairs. Each step was agony, and when he got to their bedroom door, he knew. Grabbing his clothes, he woke Jean up.

“Get rid of that necklace, Jean. Let her go, or I will…”

“You’ll what?” she said, belligerently, rubbing her eyes, up on one elbow.

“I’ll leave. That thing…something is wrong with it.”

An argument ensued, words were said, many that could not be taken back or apologized for, many that Paul had heard from Deidre’s mouth only months before. Jean came towards him in fury and tears; Paul bolted with his clothes, changing in the car before running away.

Jean grieved doubly now. She started to lose interest in eating, slept poorly, wandered aimlessly, and while all around her said she was in the grips of depression, none would say so to her face. She would talk about her mother in one breath and be scathing in ridicule in the next, tearing apart friends, family, and co-workers alike with a viciousness that was “not like her” (or so they said).

Hollow eyed, sallow skinned, Jean played with the jewel almost constantly. She shortened the chain the one time she removed it, making it a choker, in so many ways. Her belligerence became so brutal that she was told to leave her job, that she was creating an unhealthy work environment. She spat in her bosses coffee when she got up to leave, gave her the finger, and slammed the door on her way out.

Jean sat in the dark, in her living room, gripping the arm rests of the chair she had inherited from her mother. She contemplated many things, but they were about the others, what they had done to her, nothing was her fault, and why were they all crazy? She had bought a 1.4 litre of Irish Creme, Deidre’s favorite, and killed it in one sitting. Feeling queasy, Jean left the house to get some fresh air.

She thought getting in the car for a drive upstate was a good idea, at the time.

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Author’s Note:
There is more to write about Jean. 845 words is not enough, but it’s enough for me, today.
There actually is a business of putting the ashes of the deceased into jewelry. Some of it is done as described in the above story; the rest are hollow receptacles for the cremated ash. I was told about this by my SO, who loves medical and scientific things, and it has been filtering around my noggin…
until a short Associated Press piece caught my attention: “South Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from…”
….well, the rest would be telling where I want to take this whole thing. Suffice to say, reality is just as bad as fiction, n’est pas?

Click here to read The Complete AtoZ: Swan Rise Apartment Series

Only available for free until May 31st, 2012

Reflections of Swans (#AtoZChallenge)

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A to Z Reflections Post

From the hosts of the A to Z Challenge:

This is your time to tell us about your A to Z experience.   Share your pleasures, your pains, your setbacks, your gains.   Who did you meet along the way that you found to be especially helpful or inspiring?  Did you have a favorite blog post?   Or a favorite series?   Which blogs did you discover during April that you will be returning to in the future?

             Express your gratitude or vent your frustrations.  If you’d do this again, let us know why.  If you hated it. tell us why.  We want you to tell your A to Z story to the rest of us and tell it in the way that suits you best.  Like the Challenge itself, this Reflection post is your creative outpouring.  Be it prose, verse, song, video, or images, you can express yourself in anyway that you like.

 What I have to admit was my frustration/failure:

My lack of really exploring and commenting on other blogs. I tried, but so many things just prevented me from doing anywhere near the number of visits I intended to do. That, to me, is my own let down.

I do intend to go back and visit some of the bloggers who have visited me, and to explore others, during May. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: late comments and views are better than no comments/no views.

My pleasure:

Just plain out discovering the characters of Swan Rise, and the building itself. This was (as tired as I got of writing/blogging at times during the month),  very satisfying as a writer. The feedback and encouragement was gratifying unto itself, but I found great satisfaction with what I was producing. Can’t always say that.

For all the links to MY A to Z stories, CLICK HERE! I’m very proud of what I produced.

My favorite:I have asked readers if they had a favorite story of the 26: the ones that did answer seemed to gravitate towards Mrs. Beatty. I really liked her; I’m also not sorry I killed her off (so there). She still has more to her story: I only covered a few periods of her life.

Amy, for some reason I haven’t figured out yet,  became my favorite character. She came out of nowhere;  I wrote the B post with no knowledge of her before that, no planning. I know I did not explore her enough (to my satisfaction). Not sure why, and I’m not sure (yet) what more there is to write about Amy. That will happen when I tackle the second draft.

Will I do the AtoZ Challenge again (and why is my pudding barking at me?):

In all honesty, I can’t answer where my head will be in a year (well, eleven months). It’s an amazing, frustrating, sometimes daunting, challenge. I did not write any of my posts months ahead of time. Most were written to order (I scheduled them to post at 12:15 am) the day before they were due to appear. Some were written the day due, sometimes scrambling to produce;  I only wrote ahead a few times, sometimes doing two or three in one day (had to do that the two weekends I went away). I’d just schedule them out. Nothing was written before the event began.

18,00+ words in 26 days. Ouch.

That, to me, is what the challenge was about. So..will I do it again? Ask me next Feb/March.

Impressions of Perfect Fifths

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Marc Chagall

His hands played along the surface of the violin, tracing the patterns worn into the wood. Slight depressions,  imprintings of someone’s fingering, their palm, chin, sweat. Empty of catgut, Avram, the luthier, caressed and stroked the violin that was given unto his care for restoration. He closed his eyes, held the violin to his nose, and breathed in its history.

The drawing of the horsehair bow that had slid along the strings left intermittent grooves in the wood. They showed where a well loved piece was played,  how the violinist drew against the grain of the violin itself. Clumsy or a style, it was all the same to Avram: this was a well loved instrument, that was apparent, and it would become one again.

He noticed the nicks, the dimples in the varnish, the grain of the wood, the stains not readily perceived, but there. There was a very slight crack near the base of the right F-hole, the chinrest needing to be replaced, a refastening of the tailpiece and scroll. Sitting on his wooden stool, Avram kept the violin out of direct sunlight, a strain for his eyes but a blessing for the instrument.

The tuning pegs were worn down, without sheen. Avram could tell that the strings had been replaced, often, their lifespan given to the music: either no longer playing true, losing the desired tone, or snapping in the frenzy of the player.  That did not matter to Avram. He would eventually make a new marriage, adding the G first, then the D, followed by the A and E. He would attach them at the base, up the bridge, along the neck and finally connect them all to the pegbox. All would then be tuned, in harmony, restored.

This though, was still a ways to come. All in due time…

Eventually, time for music to be lifted out and carried, vibrating its musical message to others. Time for this violin to find new hands, a new lover, to be held towards and against the player, to communicate and be in tune once again.

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Author’s Note:

I was given a newspaper article by my SO about Violins of Hope, a project of restored violins that had a history of pain: they came from musicians who “experienced” the horrors of the Holocaust. There was a concert in Charlotte, NC in April 2012. The violins are now back in Israel.

This immediately got my writing gears in motion: I have plotted out titles of chapters, an outline, for what I will be working on next. I plan to get a first draft done of all this while it is still “hot” for me; then, in June, I’ll put this aside and start working on the second draft of the Swan Rise stories.

This was just to whet your whistle. I will NOT be posting any of my Violin stories on Tale Spinning after this: I want it to be marketable for an agent/publisher, if worthy. I WILL be looking for readers along the way, to form a small core group, maybe our own writers group, so if you’re interested, please EMAIL me (please don’t post it here: my email can be located on the right sidebar).

As to Tale Spinning: I’ll be dropping some pieces here and there throughout May, as the story comes to me or I find a fun prompt that inspires. Please check out my backlog of past pieces; there is a lot here, and if you’re new, well…then they’ll be new to you as well.

Remember: comments are always welcome.

Trestle Press Bad Business Practices: Flash Over Removed

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This is one of those very rare times that I am not writing fiction here.

It is with a really sad heart that I am writing this: the “publisher” of Trestle Press has removed my eStory, Flash Over, from Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

Without any notice, I got an email this week from the head of Trestle Press:

We feel that it is best that we unpublish your work at this time. Maybe at some point in the future we can work together. Thank you for being nice enough to give us a try and work with us. The rights of your work now belong to you. We wish you the best of luck in your journey; hopefully you will realize your dreams.

I wrote him back, it taking three times to attain clarification as to why he was doing this. This is what I got from him hours later:

To be cold about it: sales are zero, you are not on the social media I have asked everyone to be on, and we are implementing some exciting new things.I need everybody to be on the same page, period.
I understand everyone is an individual and have different needs and forces pulling at them in their lives, but by the same token we have invested time and effort.

Sales are zero: can’t argue with that. I pushed this as much as I could with my readers, but only so many bought it.  He only pushed it one time, as far as I know. As to the social media, I was on everything asked: Goodreads and Facebook. If there was more, I don’t know about it.

What I am angry about is not so much parting ways with a “publishing” group whose owner has been involved in very underhanded methods dealing with unlicensed artwork (see below), but in the way that it was handled.

If I had gotten an email that I needed to step up and do certain things or I’d be let go of my “contract”, that would have been professional and a way for me to respond. I could have done as he wished or said no, let’s cut ties. The “publisher” was never a good communicator, and he handled both this and his other misadventures very poorly.

Many other authors associated with Trestle Press took back their work, not wishing to be associated with the owner. I left Flash Over as it was, deciding that instead of asking for it back it would just be the only piece I’d have with Trestle. Obviously, I am now sorry I didn’t pull it like others did at the time. Live and learn.

Writers Please Take Note/Beware of Trestle Press: If you have thought to work with Trestle Press, please look into their business dealings first before you decide to go with them. The following are only a few articles on what occurred in the early part of 2012. There are many other accounts of the situation.

Trestle Press Dinged for Stealing Cover Art

Trestle Press, Art Thief

The Reprehensible Acts of Trestle Press

The Implosion of a Publishing Company

What the Mourning Brings (Variations, in the key of Numb)

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First things first:

I have a guest blog up at Polka Dot Banner: Driving Traffic to your Blog via a Fiction Series

It’s a bit(more) about how I write, and why I’ve been so sporadic lately. Hope you enjoy it.

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Second things second:


Thanks to Lisa at Woman Wielding Words, I found another prompt challenge. This time, it’s the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups.

Pretty straight forward: you get a prompt (this week the prompt is the word Wednesday); you get to write a piece that must include that word in the 100 word allotment; you have until Monday, February 6th to post; add a link back, check the other participants out, and voila. 100 words.

What the Mourning Brings (100 Words)

A cold, wind driven rain confronted Cassie early Wednesday morning. Leaving the hospice, she craved for any feeling other than numb. Cassie had held her father’s hand all night, praying for a chance, a difference. It happened; a little after five. The machines screamed flat line.

Cassie clung to the cold hand, bowing her head as tears streamed down her face, dampening the bed sheet. She was aware of the others only when they pried her hand from his. Cassie left the words of condolence, shucking them off, as she slipped out of the building.

She saw the truck coming.

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Third Things Third:

Bluebell Books Short Story Slam Week #20, is hosting a challenge to write a story in 55 words.  I’ve used their prompts before, and JUST got this in my email:

we challenge you to write a short story or a poem in exactly 55 words, you have about 4 weeks to work out your entry, the submission is from today to February 31, 2012, which means you have enough time to make your effort, this helps you improve your creative writing skills by restricting your word counts in 55 words.

I’m taking this one step further for myself: to trim the same story I wrote above by 45 words.

What the Mourning Brings (55 Words)

A cold, wind driven rain confronted Cassie; craving any feeling, numb. Cassie held her father’s hand all night, praying…the machines screamed flat line.

Cassie clung on as tears streamed down her face. They pried her hand from his. Cassie left words of condolence as she slipped out the hospice.

She saw the truck coming.

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No challenge, except to myself…

What the Mourning Brings (a Haiku)

Numb is how I feel
Withered prayers; Condolences…
The truck comes to me
 
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The Prologue: The Kitsune-Mochi Saga

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Part One: The Kitsune-Mochi and Tora Baku

Chiyoko had bribed Kitsune, the trickster fox, with his favorite food, a freshly caught kunimasu salmon that was ready to spawn. A rice ball, expertly made, sealed the pact. Chiyoko gained her familiar: Kitsune’s magical prowess was hers, as she had wished for. Spirit Fox hissed his displeasure, but still licked his whiskers clean.

“What do you wish of me, Kitsune-mochi? You have fed me well, and must now continue to do so, if you want my services. Tell me your story, and we shall dream together such cruel delights.”

Chiyoko told him, as she prepared another fish…

Nobou had not lived up to his name. He took what woman or girl he wanted, all the time professing his deepest love for me. I accepted, at first, the shame he brought upon me, for I truly believed in the love he professed. I did believe his lies, until he ruined Fumiko, my younger sister. Nobou crushed her delicate beauty in an afternoon by the still waters of Saiko lake, near Mount Fuji.

Fumiko tried to fight his advances off, to the regret of all. She was found unconscious, bloodied from head to delicate toe, naked and feverish from infected wounds. Fumiko drifted in and out of delirium for close to a week, uttering only “iie Nobu…iie!” once, before she drifted away into the shadow lands of Yomi.

What little law was practiced was of no use to my family. Nobou had been seen leaving the village the morning after Fumiko was found, in “quite a haste”, or so it appeared to the farmer who passed him by just as the sun was rising for the day.

“Masanori-san,” I said, gaze averted and bowing to the farmer. “Did you talk to Nabou? Please, did he say where he was off to?” Masanori the farmer only shook his head and continued working in his field. Four days later Fumiko was dead, and I approached the farmer again, with the same result.

Two weeks after the funeral ceremony, my mother passed away into Yomi as well. Father took off after Nabou a day later, in a rage like I had never seen before in so gentle a man. Weeks passed, then a month, then two…and my father has never returned. I decided that to have the justice that was deserving it must be mine to deal out. I returned to this spot off of Saiko Lake, where we found Fumiko. It is March, when the kunimasu salmon would spawn, and I set this plan in motion. Great Fox, you are that plan.

As a child I had sat at the feet of my grandmother and aunts, listening to the tales of the Kitsune-Mochi, the solitary witch who plied the trickster fox with food. Thus, fox became their thrall, and the evil and vengeance that would ensue from such a pairing. Instead of frightening me, as it did Fumiko, I had dreamt of having that power myself, and woe to any who would hurt me or those I loved.

Chiyoko’s tears of the telling mixed into the preparation of the second salmon, and this doubly satisfied Kitsune as he gobbled up this treat. “Chiyoko, your wish is mine now. Come, let us find this Nobou.”

For two years, two months, two weeks and three days, Nobou escaped Chiyoko’s wrath. The story of the fox witch reached him no matter where he went, his name attached in waves of threats and horrors to be visited upon “The Man Who So Deserved His Fate!” Changing names did not deter their coming, nor clothing nor disguise nor distance. Always coming closer, always leaving others whose evils were as great crushed beneath the power of the Kitsune-mochi! Those stories grew in those two years plus, each one driving more fear into Nabou’s dwindling soul.

It was on that third night that Chiyoko and Fox caught up to Nobou. Fox, as directed, disguised himself as a woman of such exquisite beauty that none were immune to her lure. Nobou was easily entrapped, and set to have this delicacy as his own. But, Fox played his part well. Fox pushed and pulled, flirted and flared, delicately balanced demure and distance with demand and desire. Enjoying the dance, Fox led Nobou through the illusions of love like one never experienced before.

As Nobou slept, Chiyoko, with Fox’s powers at her command, drew to her Tora Baku, the dream-devouring Tiger spirit. “What is your wish, Kitsune-mochi? What pleasures can I assist you with?”

Smiling, Chiyoko brought Tora Baku to the sleeping world that Nobou floated through. “Take his dreams of wanton pleasures, O great Tora, O great one, and eat to your own pleasure. Leave him the horror of his deeds, leave him the blood and fear and shattered lives, leave him the gaping raw edges of despair and pain and suffering. It is his want, his needs, his blessings upon himself.”

So Tora Baku ate the dream life of Nobou, and was more than pleasantly sated. Nightmare upon nightmare visited Nobou in his sleep, and even upon waking the nightmares did not cease. No matter where he turned, no matter where he ran, no matter where he sought help, the nightmare of his life descended upon him.

Nobou took his life, what living shell that was left, and was mourned by none. His broken body, upon the rocks at the bottom of the cliff, fed the animals and birds, and it was just. No one found his bones for many, many years, and then only a few, for the rest were scattered by those who had fed well. Nobou’s slim spirit remained beside that cliff, and every now and then Fox would return to laugh at him and urinate on the spot where Nobou’s body had first landed.

Chiyoko, Kitsune-mochi, and Fox traveled together for a long, long time. They created their own legends as they lived them.

Those stories are for another time.

Watch your sleep, for Tora Baku still prowls, and is hungry.

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Part Two: He Does Not Dream

Tora Baku does not dream
So he eats the dreams of others
He sups on ones hidden hopes
Prowls around forbidden needs
Luxuriates among the flowers
Of unspoken desires.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
Snarling as he enters ethereally
Into the lands of in between.
Ah…but when he dines
The things that sate him, now divine
Bring forth a further hunger
Creating an ever growing spiral
Of emptiness and fear
That he leaves behind to fill.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
He lives inside what others do
And romps among the lovers
And romps among the dancers
And romps around the floaters
The philosophers and tramps.
He eats the dreams that matter
The small and of the large
He nestles in the wondrous
As he soars within the stars.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
But stands proudly as he devours
The Damask Rose
A green sphere
An embrace, a hug,
A skip, a jump,
An orgasm of sound,
A silence of relief,
A house in the trees,
A life running wild,
And more
And more
AND MORE…
 
Tora Baku does not dream
And in eating the inside fancies
What’s left is not a gift;
The darkness that festers in the mind
The horror of untouched hearts
The fear of devastation running wild
The gnawing of emptiness
The rendering of the soul
The peeling of the flesh
The pain of the unveiled
The pounding of the impure
The shriving, the burning,
The tearing, the wails…
He takes what gives him sustenance
Leaves behind what is unclean.
 
Tora Baku does not dream
So he eats the dreams of others.
 

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Part Three: Kitsune-Mochi and The Bara Oni

The bramble hugged Hisoka the tailor’s body, his blood pooling on the ground as the prickly shrub tightened around him. He had screamed when it first began, then plead for help, then looked into the eyes of the beautiful rose woman before him, gasped three times, and died. Keikyoku, the Bara Oni, smiled, dipping her toes into the red liquid. She closed her eyes, head back, threw her arms open, and sang as she drank in his essence.

Chiyoko, the Kitsune-Mochi, and Fox had watched all of this occur in silence, sitting on a rock out of the way. Fox looked around him, licking his lips, hoping Bara Oni would leave some fluid for him to lap up, but he knew that wasn’t going to happen.

The Bara Oni stopped singing once all the blood had been absorbed. The roses that ran across her body grew deeper in color, standing out against her milk white skin like a beacon of life. The rose petals were moving of their own accord as she lowered her arms and turned around to face Chiyoko and Fox. Her smile did not waver.

“Did this please you, Kisune-Mochi? Was this all that you wished?” sang out the Oni.

Chiyoko nodded. “Hai. It was well done.” Fox ignored them, cleaning himself as they ignored him. “He knew, at the end, did he not?”

Taking root where she was, the Bara Oni nodded. “He knew, when he looked into my eyes, all that brought him to this. He was not a good man at all.”

“No, he wasn’t,” Fox chimed in. “Chiyoko, I could have done for him. Why did we need…her?”

“Hush, Fox. She is our guest, and has done a great service. Honor her, or no salmon tonight.”

“Hmmpphh,” Fox swished his tail, licking his lips as well at the thought of Chiyoko’s preparation of salmon and wild onions. “I am sorry if I did offer you any offense, Bara Oni.”

The demon stared at him with wide red rimmed eyes. “The tailor will make a fine addition for Maoh Mikoto in his Oni realm. Do you wish to join him, Fox?”

A slight shudder passed through Fox, but he would not let it show. “Try what you will, Keikyoku. You are no match for me.”

“Enough of this pissing contest! The two of you!” Chiyoko demanded. Both Bara Oni and Fox turned to the Kitsune-Mochi and bowed acquiescence. “Good. There is no need for this. Fox, we have many, many more vile ones to take vengeance on. Your nature will remain sated. In this case, it was good to enlist the help of our honored guest.”

“I saw what he did, as he died. It was good of you to call me for this. I am in your favor, and will come again when you call. Farewell, Chiyoko.” The Bara Oni faded away, leaving behind an exquisite Blood Rose bush with hungry thorns in her place.

“What about ‘Farewell, Fox’?” he humphed.

“HUSH! You are too full of yourself today. This was just, and you know it. Hisoka killed many, many women. He lured them to his home, raped them, then slit their throats in his back garden, feeding their blood into the soil and burying their bodies in patches, where he later planted rose bushes. This one belonged to Keikyoku. Now Keikyoku owes us a favor as well, and our allies grow. This was handled in the way I deemed it proper. Do you not agree?”

Fox sat silently, staring at the glistening bramble where the body of the tailor was encased. “Salmon?” he asked, finally.

Chiyoko sighed. To keep her familiar happy, he must be fed. To keep her powers ready for what lay ahead, he must dine well. “Yes, Fox, yes. Let us go catch and prepare our dinner. Come.”

The Kitsune-Mochi rose and walked east towards the river. Fox stared after the witch, then, when she was out of sight, padded over to the rose bush and tore out one of the largest roses, chewing it up and spitting it out. A thorn pierced his nose, he yelped, and a drop of his blood fed the bush.

“Hmmpphh,” Fox said, as he sauntered off towards his soon to be prepared meal. The Bara Oni savored her meal of Fox blood.

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Part Four:  She Unfolds

Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
And the red, red rose upon her breast
And upon her lips, and upon her, adorn;
And she seizes the wicked and leaves the rest.
She kisses the thorns, the bramble and the brier,
Leaving ruby read lips
Leaving red rimmed eyes
Leaving blood red nails traveling through the mire.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
And the miscreant merchants tremble in bed
The liars, the thieves, the breakers of dreams
She brings her prickly sensations with screams.
Both soft and harsh,
Hard and pliant,
The Bara Oni comes all defiant
In the wake of the wailing,
The flesh asundered,
The demon of thorns comes not failing.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
Often she’ll creep silently into your bed
But not stealing dreams, no-
That’s for Tora Baku!
But…to create new nightmares
Where others have been.
Bara Oni is harsh
Bara Oni is soft
Bara Oni is patient
Bara Oni will bray.
 
Keikyoku unfolds, her petals dread,
She’s growing a path leading to you
She’s taking root, in the darkest of places
Trailing bloody rivulets along the way.
Her needs are simple
Her ways are severe
Keikyoku unfolds,
and her petals are dread.
 

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Part Five: The Kitsune-Mochi and Red Helen

Drinking in the nectar of the kabosu, Red Helen sat and savored the sour orange taste. Chiyoko had chosen the best fruits of the flowering plant, intending to add their citrus flavor to the sashimi once the raw fish had been sliced. She had pricked her finger on one of the sharp thorns, giving tribute to Keikyoku, the Bara Oni. This assured her that the kabosu she picked were the ripest.

Fox was eager to feast on the masu, the Kingfish, that his Kitsune-Mochi had bartered for. Fox smiled at the memory of that very morning.

Hungry, as always, Fox had persuaded Chiyoko for something other than salmon. Coming to the small fishing village, his Kitsune-Mochi found a fisherman unloading a catch of fresh Sea Trout. Having no money to purchase it, she did as Kamehameha the fisherman had begged, divining that his first two sons were not really his. Fox had laughed and laughed at this, reveling in the sharpness of the fisherman’s intake of breath, and the tears that formed in his eyes. Chiyoko chided him for this behavior as they left the beach.

“He was sad. He loved his wife and children so much, Fox. To find out he was betrayed..aie.”

“Obviously,” Fox said, swishing his tail,”he could not have been so surprised, otherwise why ask at all? Those boys looked nothing like him. His tears were untrue and smelled of self deceit.”

“It is easy to deny what your heart does not want to believe.” Chiyoko stopped walking. “Did you summon Red Helen as I asked?”

Fox smiled and started to groom himself. “Red Helen will meet us at the kabosu plant we passed on the way into the village.”

Red Helen had been true. The Kitsune-Mochi noticed Red Helen forming from the hundred-hundreds of Oni butterflies that surrounded the plant as they approached. Becoming the nude beauty of the Chou Chou Oni. Chiyoko bowed deeply, the flapping of all those wings creating a current of wind and soft sound. The wind was refreshing. The sound…not so much. It tore into Chiyoko’s mind, sending slivers of thought drifting away faster than she could recapture their moments. Calling on the powers imbued through Fox, Chiyoko righted herself.

“Stop that now!” she commanded of Red Helen. “I am in no mood for your testing me. We have played this out before. Enough.” The sound abated to silence, with only one last cacophonous bleat as the Oni stood fully formed. Fox inwardly was pleased for that last show of defiance. His Kistune-Mochi needed some humbling.

Chide me, will you?” he thought, and planned.

“Tell me what you want, O powerful Kitsune-Mochi,” the words from Red Helen flew about. “I have other places to be.”

Chiyoko sighed but continued the meal preparation. “There is a woman in that village-there,” she pointed, “who has been unfaithful, a deceiver and hurtful to the man who loved her. I have seen into his heart, and besides being a simple soul, there is no reason to have been so betrayed. I did not tell him that although she bore two to other men, her legs have parted for many, many more. I answered only of what he asked.”

“This woman’s name?” asked Red Helen.

“Rin, wife of Kamehameha the fisherman.”

The Chou Chou Oni broke apart into a hundred-hundred Swallowtails, it’s white patched wings tinged in red. The sound of flapping died down quickly, leaving Chiyoko to finish the sashimi and serve Fox and herself. They ate in silence, until the many voiced screams came to their ears.

Chiyoko dropped her meal and ran towards the village. Fox did not follow until he finished eating (and devouring his Witch’s portion as well, feeling a truly great meal of Masu should not go to waste). He crested the ridge that slightly hid the village as it wandered down to the sea and sat back on his haunch, taking in the sights before him.

The ground of the small fishing community was littered with the shredded bodies of men and women. 128 in all lay dead, or dying, as Red Helen, en masse, sliced through them, taking in their souls as they died. The red tinged wings became a deeper red.

“No! NO! NONONO!” screamed Chiyoko. The Red Helen laughed a hundred-hundred laughs in response.

The backdrop of crying and anguish surrounded the Kitsune-Mochi as Red Helen formed again, taking a stance too close for Chiyoko’s comfort. Glaring into the witch’s eyes, Red Helen smiled a blood smile.

“Rin was not the only who deceived and hurt in their lust, known or unknown, in this ‘lovely’ little squat. I just saved YOU the trouble of calling upon me again. Thank you for all the delicious souls,” Red Helen bowed her head.

Floating over to stand even closer to Chiyoko, the Chou Chou Oni lowered her voice. “We are done, you and I. Call upon me again, and there will be one soul I will be more than happy to feast on.” With that, an explosion of wings passed around, and Red Helen was gone.

Fox sauntered up to find Chiyoko sitting on the ground. He had passed the fisherman standing amidst what was left of his unfaithful wife and unfaithful friends. Kamehameha was there in body only, hands outstretched in pleading form. Fox chuckled as he saw the empty minded husk. For once, he kept information like this to himself. His Kitsune-Mochi did serve up a truly fine meal, and he was pleased in many ways.

Head bowed, Chiyoko knew Fox approached. “She went too far. She went…too far. Fox,” she said, glaring at him, “we must take action.”

“Against Red Helen? You are madder than normal, witch. I am just one to her hundreds. Forget it. Done is done, and, in truth, you got what you asked for. It just was a larger wish of retribution then you envisioned.”

Chiyoko stood and let the sand on her clothing stay. She stared down at Fox.

“I will not forget this. Done is not done. You say you are one, she is hundreds. You, Fox, are wrong. WE are two, and we are only beginning our journey. Allies await us. Red Helen will regret what she did in my name.” Chiyoko turned away from Fox and went to find the fisherman. She took him by his hand and guided him to his home, where his children, and the ones he brought up as his, waited.

Fox stayed where he was. “You truck with Oni, you get what you deserve, witch!” he thought. He stayed where he was until night fell, and then went off to find his Kitsune-Mochi. After all, it was dinner time.


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Part Six: A Hundred-Hundreds of Wings

Red Helen dines on souls
Fine filigrees of nothings that make her whole
She sups not on dreams as Tora Baku does
Nor is she a Bara Oni, prickle twiner she,
Nor scheming Fox,
Nor hated Kitsune-Mochi…
Red Helen delves deep
and takes, making others her own.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
And turns the bodies raw
Her wings rip and shred
The earth covered in gore.
Her Hundred-Hundred wings
That she does breathe out
As she savors in the delicacies
Of the hateful and un-devout.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
The feast of it is without compare
The reaving is delicious
The terror is without compare
The shucking of the life forces
The smiles it leaves with her
The unyielding open wounds
Left in her wake
Yet for butterflies, in beauty,
No horror is more great.
 
Red Helen dines on souls
But some she waits for in glee
Wanting to exact revenges,
To bring them to their knees.
The thought of what’s to come
As things proceed upon their path
Will bring the soul she wishes to devour
To her soon, facing her exquisite wrath.
 
Red Helen dines on souls,
Chiyoko…wait and see.
Fox will do what Fox will do
And Red Helen will delve deep.

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This will be the last section of the Kitsune-Mochi and Fox storyline I will post on Tale Spinning…or, at least, for quite a while.  I plan to make this, the beginning, into a novel. This is already 3,500+ words, and I have so much more I want to do with this. My main antagonist (NOT the only one) is now set up; I have my plans where I’d like to take this, and yes, I have my ending. I just need to get there.

As commercial as Redhead Riding? No; I know that, but I also feel I kinda have said all I wanted to say with Katie and David, at this point. I also want to tackle Birdsongs: The Virtuous War, as well as my The Abysmal Dollhouse series.  I am battling with myself on which way I will go.  I also have plans for the brutal That…Boy stories, as I’ve seen it flows into another novel idea Ive had for years. So…we’ll see where I go.

I hope you enjoyed this in one piece. I haven not written anything more on this since August, and I think I should, What do you think? Would you like me to finish this, although it’d be in an eBook?

Comments are always appreciated!!


The Misfortune of Sea Monsters (part three)

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Part One: The Misfortune of Sea Monsters

Part Two: The Hafgufa and The Harpoon

NOTE: if you have not read parts one and two (links above), the following will make little to no sense. I am trying my hand at a serialized story, and you really do need to read it, part by part. Thank you.

… And now ladies and gentlemen, for your reading edification, the further exploits of Young Ned and his harpoon.

Chapter 3: Thus Sundering, and The Call

The Return groaned as the coils of the Hafgufa tightened around the span of the ship. As it tilted and cracked, Young Ned held onto the rail with one arm while he jabbed with his razor sharp weapon. The many tentacled creature screamed its rage with each piercing. The thrashing beast of the deep blue continued its crushing actions.

Many of the crew members put up a valiant fight but were soon tossed into the sea…many losing their battle immediately. The stronger swam away; too many were swept under by the beating of one tentacle or another. Capt. Magnus had strapped himself to the wheel of his ship, brandishing his cutlas with  accurate and deadly aim. The realization that all was lost for The Return came upon him almost too late.

“Save yourself Young Ned!,” yelled the captain.” The Return is lost.” and, cutting the straps that held him to his beloved vessel, the captain dove into the waiting seas.

Young Ned would not go so easily. As The Return  tilted and broke apart, Young Ned continued his battle against his most hated foe. Even dangling from the rail he would not give up. It was not until the ship’s began to break into kindling that Young Ned was forced to cede this horrible skirmish and find shelter in the cold waiting waters.

Swimming as if his life depended on it, which it did, Young Ned strove to haul himself as far away from the ship as he could. The Return began its descent to the bottom of the sea, being escorted by the Hafgufa. It squelched and ripped and tore apart the once mighty ship, and there was nothing that could save it. Many of the seamen went down with the ship, caught in the whirlpool of the returns drowning, and their own lack of strength. Young Ned, the last in the water, made excellent headway and was saved from going down with the ship.

Yet, there was no land in sight. He had out swam the flotsam and jetsam of the dying ship. As strong and determined as he was, Young Ned could not but grew tired. For a while he alternated between floating and his failed attempts at swimming for a non-existent shore. It took a lot to discourage him, what with all that he and his family have been through. This, though, seemed to Young Ned to be his last hurrah. The last of his strength ebbing away, Young Ned laid his arms at his side, still holding onto the tool which he still hoped, as he drifted away, would slay the Hafgufa.

************

Young Ned was prodded awake with something sharp in the side of his head. Rousing himself, he got up on one elbow and found himself to be on dry ground; a copse overlooking the sea. Looking around he was startled at first by the empty landscape in front of him. Poked again from behind, he was equally startled (if not more so) than what was now before him.

” You do know, I would think twice before eating you.” She smiled, and the smile sent shivers through Young Ned… But not in a good way.

to be continued…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Complete Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show (#REN3)

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The Complete Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show

Renaissance was smack in the middle of nowhere, as far as Lil felt. She was tired of being run out-of-town after town, them taking unkindly to Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine show rolling in and fleecing the rubes out of their money.  Renaissance looked like more of the same. They had passed through a sparse forest (Doc called it The Culdees), but she just wanted to keep on passing through. Home was north, past the mountain range, and for the first time in years all she wanted to do was go home.

“…and now, the paragon of deliciousness, the temptress of all men’s dreams-ladies, watch your husbands!-the cream of feminine beauty, our very own…MISSISSIPPI LIL!” Doc waved his trademark stovepipe hat with a flourish and Lil came out from behind the draped sheet to a cacophony of applause and whistles (the men) and gasps of outrage (the women). She couldn’t blame the women: she wasn’t comfortable, really, with what little she wore. Calf high laced boots, stockings, a too short flounce black skirt and a red trimmed bustier that had seen better days. Her shawl of a feathered boa protected her chest only so much. Tall feathers also adorned her hat. They gave her some shade and a prop to use, especially if there was a problem with her costume during the dance. There always was one.

Lil danced to the percussive tapping of Doc’s feet and his banjo picking fingers. He was gifted, the bastard, she’d give him that. It had just been a long time since she had loved him enough to run away with him. Lil sang, she acted in his little skits, she was flirty. All things  “good” Medicine Show acts needed to be.  She looked for diversion while she forced the smile that would help sell his piss water elixir. She had to if they wanted to eat tonight. Lil had other plans besides eating dinner as well.

Not that one. Nope. OK…kinda cute… nope…she’s clinging too tight and oh, the language. Nope. Nope. Hummm...” Lil thought all along, as she scanned the men. One stood out. “Not too tall, not short at all, a worker, by the looks of him. Not one to be in a store. Good.”

While hawking, Lil sidled up to the young man-younger than she was by a good ten years, she figured-and found out his name was Gid. Gid Jacobs, farmer’s son, farmer’s hands and back and arms. But clean, no dirt under his nails, and fairly well-groomed. His mama did a good job with him. Lil approved. She felt the strength of his arm, grasping it when she “accidentally” stumbled into him. “Meet me behind the wagon after the show,” she whispered to Gid. He nodded, transfixed, as she had brushed her breast against him before passing the hat around the crowd.

Doc’s routine to seek out a saloon after a show served her well. Lil seduced the farm boy, letting him take her against the buckboard. She promised him more of the same, much more, if Gid would just do one little thing for her. Gid said he would, that he had never in his life seen anyone as pretty or as wonderful as she was. He told her he loved her.

Mississippi Lil smiled as she folded her arms around Gid, pulling him against her as he shuddered. His head drooped onto her shoulder and both of them closed their eyes, panting.

Doc saw the whole thing, out of plain sight, hiding  behind a shed.  The magics sparked off of his clenched  fist.

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Doc watched Lil and the farm boy go at it. The magics sparked off of Doc Stovepipe’s clenched fists. “Damn her!” he scowled deep inside. “Damn this Renaissance!” he said out loud, but, not too loud. He fought the urge to lash out. Now was not the time. “Soon. Very soon.

Life on the road was getting harder. Breathable air was getting worse; domes were going up; the major roadways were closing down. Traveling in a steam powered Medicine Show was not going to last much longer. There was a chance for him to retire well off. He had a plan, but Lil was supposed to “entice” the patsy, not screw him. “Did she know? She aint stupid. Hell, I should have killed her already.”

Doc made his way into Renaissance proper. He passed by The Barking Cat and Heriot’s Pass saloons. They were both too busy, too noisy. His show drew a large crown, and he had bilked enough suckers out of the entertainment and “Magical Elixir”, and now most of that crowd was in the bars, trying out his wares.

He closed his eyes and concentrated. “HERE!” came that soft tickling throughout his head. “Here.” Doc followed the mental invite and wound up at of The Last Stinkin’ Battalion. A rat hole of rat holes. A quiet hole, and just what the doctor ordered.

He laughed at his own stupid joke as he entered, drawing the attention of the bartender. She drew Doc’s attention, and took away his breath at the same time. Long, curly red hair, green eyes, and pale smooth skin.

“You going to gawk or you going to order?” she said, folding her arms across her chest.

“Beer, whatever you have that you’ll drink yourself.”

She poured him a dark brew with a heavy head. “Renascence Brown,” she answered to his raised eyebrow question.

Stop drooling and turn around; I’m sitting by the staircase,” came the mental tickling, much clearer this time. Doc did as told, grabbed his beer, turned, walked over, and sat down. He locked eyes with another redhead, but this one was not jaw dropping sexy. A scraggy bearded, scared and craggy mien faced him. “Doc,” Digger said out loud, tipping his head.

Doc asked, “How did you contact me ‘that’ way? The magics were forbidden out here. I thought ‘long sending’ was a lost practice.”

“Obviously, it’s not lost. Just few can hear it now. You can. That’s why I called out.”

Doc was meeting fewer and fewer of those with the knacks. “You sent me the info. We set up camp near the Gauche. I dowsed the deposits the idiots here missed in the mines.  Lil is getting the male sacrifice right now.”

Digger just stared at Doc. “As one of those idiots, I might take exception to that remark. I’ll let it pass, as I know reaching out to you was the right thing to do.” Digger closed his eyes, then opened them abruptly. “Drink up. They’re almost here.”

They weren’t  long in waiting. The door opened. Mississippi Lil held onto Gid, arms entwined. Gid was stealing glances at her, smiling. Lil saw Doc and dragged Gid over.

“Here’s the love of my life,” Doc said out loud, leaning over to kiss Lil on the cheek.

Liar,” thought back Digger, smiling.

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Gid looked at both men, and did not like the way they felt.  Something was very wrong here. Lil held onto his arm in a bear hug way. He liked the way her body pressed into his, bringing back instant tactile memory of their recent coupling, but he did not like that she brought him to Doc Stovepipe. He especially did not like Digger, who all in Renaissance knew as trouble, and Gid had stayed out of his way.

Gid invoked a silent protection chant. He saw Lil look at him just then. “Huh?,” he thought. “She felt that. Lil’s more than she lets on.” Gid tried to put some space between him and Mississippi Lil, but she was not letting him. Physically she held onto his arm. Magically, she had bound him. Gid felt it, deep.

She whispered in his ear: “When you came, you came to me completely. Don’t doubt that for a second.” Out loud, she said to Doc and Digger: “He’s mine, so let’s get this over with.”

Digger laughed a dry dirty guffaw and got up. Doc glared at Gid, then rose and put on his Stovepipe hat. He picked up his mug of Renaissance Brown Ale and downed it in one swig, wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his coat. Gid noticed this, disgusted, hating the man even more, which  he thought would have been impossible.

Lil had told him of the sexual degradations Doc had imposed on her. Gid took great affront to all she told him. He knew she wasn’t chaste, and Gid wasn’t a choir boy himself, but he never once forced himself on anyone, never beat a woman, never treated one like a slave.

When he looked at her, first on that stage, and then later, he thought he felt what love at first sight must be like. Lil was nothing like the girls he knew in Renaissance. There weren’t that many his age, and he hadn’t felt much of anything about any one of them. Lil was different, and he had hoped…

Gid was compelled to follow along, side by side with Lil, behind Digger and Doc. He tried to yell out to Amy, the bartender, or any of the other few patrons he knew in The Last Stinkin’ Battalion, but his mouth would not work. “Shhh, lover…don’t get all worked up. Remember, Lil has a plan all of her own,” she said into his ear, as the group made their way through the darkened town streets.

The foursome make their way out of the town limits and wound up at the base of the Main Gauche mining hills. The opening to Heriot’s Pass had been boarded up; Doc and Digger were undoing that now, removing a few planks. Enough for all of them to squeeze into. Gid noticed Digger had a lantern which he had not noticed before; they must have had this here already, and planned out, he thought alongside the inner chants he hoped would give him some chance of escape. Gid was kicking himself for skipping out on too much of his trainings.

They came to an opening, where four tunnels branched off, and Gid noticed the chalk markings on the rocky ground. “Damnation, Doc’s a Schiavonaist,” he wailed inside, finally finding a fear he held off. Digger came and extracted Gid from Lil’s deathlike embrace, putting him dead center of the markings…but not before she had passed him something cold and hard into his hand.

Lil caught Gid’s eye and nodded, mouthing to him “Use it well!”

***************

Heriot’s Pass smelled like rotten eggs, and Gid was nauseous. Fear roiled in his guts. “Schiavonaist bastards” he thought, trying to move, to no avail. Whatever was magicked was done well. Gid saw that Doc had taken off his hat and coat and handed them to Digger (who tossed them on the ground). He was advancing on Gid, rolling up his shirt sleeves.  Doc was mumbling, and it was hurting Gid. For salvation sake, he looked at his hand, which was clutching whatever Lil had given him. “A compass?

Doc smiled; a very disturbing one. His intelligible  murmuring became a series of yelps, yowls and ancient foul sounding language. The air started to whip around the cavern, all feeling the growing thrusts, but none more so than Gid. Doc closed his eyes, feeling the pleasure of letting himself go, his magics free. He was forcing the farm boy to his knees, and Doc was taking extra pleasure after what he saw…”Now, Digger!” he thought-sent. “NOW!”

Lil had her eyes glued on Gid and did not see Digger come upon her. He hosted her off the ground, picked her up over his head, and was getting ready to toss Lil. She had no time to compensate and free herself, but she had something already in her hand: an open Capsule of Dragon Scale Dust. She flung it in Digger’s face just as he hurled her towards Gid. She landed hard, and the magics swirling hurt more, but she got satisfaction in hearing Digger scream a death wail.

An awful humming filled the cave crossroad. Lil was sprawled at Gid’s feet, both unable to move. Both beginning to feel their insides churning.

Lil croaked: “Open the damned compass, Gid. Open the back cover.”

A small glass dagger was lodged in the back. “Talisman of the Triad! Huh! ..what do I…”

“Palm it,” Lil said, tears startng to stream. She felt herself being crushed, a hot liquid running down her legs, and she saw blood on her legs. “Palm it, damn you! How did you know?”

“Later,” Gid had trouble saying. He palmed the 2″ blade into his open hand. It started to grow as it landed. Growing to its full length, it began to glow and emit a sound that was the counterpoint to the noise growing from beneath them. The sword levitated and circled the pair three times, twirling its tip into the ground, breaking up the chalk outlines.

“GO!” whispered Lil, forcing her focus onto the compass and its once hidden weapon. The blade shot forward and found its sheath in Doc Stovepipe’s chest. Surprised, he clutched the handle and screamed.

“Close your eyes, Gid.”

They both did, and the glass dagger lit up like twelve years of fireworks. Gid felt heat, and he ducked down, covering Lil with his body.  It died down as quick as it started, and with the pressure off, they were able to stand. Gid was amazed they were whole. Doc Stovepipe was gone, Digger’s body was a charred husk, and all the chalk markings…like nothing was ever there.

“What did they want?” Gid asked, once they were free from The Pass.

Lil looked up at the sky. “The Moondust Stone is way down below. Powerful magic, worth a lot in money and for power. He betrayed me, just as I was gonna do the same to him. You stood up well, farm boy,” the last said, with a smile.

“Huh! Thought it was just folklore, nothing more. You betrayed me,” he said with some menace.

“I gave you the compass. I knew you’d do well. Knew it,” and she flung herself, this time, to Gid, kissing him hard and with real meaning. Down they went, in a fumble and tearing of clothes, and they yelped and yowled accordingly, together, and sometimes in harmony.

Gid woke alone that morning; Mississippi Lil gone and Doc Stovepipe’s steam driven Medicine Show Wagon with her. He tended to his studies after that, learning what he needed to protect the Moondust Stone. His father was surprised he knew where it was hidden, as only the Waykeeper (his dad) was supposed to know. Gid trained hard, ready to take on the mantle, when the time came.

A bit more than nine months after “the incident”, Gid’s mother found a baby girl outside their door. There was a note: “Gid, meet your daughter, Chrystal. Lil (no longer Mississippi)”.

Gid loved his girl to pieces, and as she grew she returned it. She met her mother one time…but that’s a tale for another day.

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Postscript

Cough. “Daddy, I’m not tired. I want a story. PLeeeeeaaazzzeeeee,” George wheezed, looking up at his father.

“Shhh little one. You know they are lowering the air volume for the night. It’s late, Georgie, it’s late. Can I tell you one tomorrow?”

Looking as miserable as he felt, George signed “No.”

Pauldyne shook his head and sighed at the insistence of his only son. He looked over at the sleeping/living area where Bethel was already asleep, cradling Sara. Why did we have another child in this horrible world, he thought. Because we love her, as we love George, he answered his own question. As hard as it was to live in Renaissance Dome 7, it was made better by his family. Tolerable.

I’m tired. We’re all so tired, he wanted to say out loud, but, Georgie wouldn’t understand it, and Bethel understood it all too well.

He nodded OK to his son, and using DSL  he signed a tale of the past…

Before the domes, before The Great Devastation, there was the town of Renaissance, and it lived in the open air. Yes,little one, open, clean fresh and, most importantly, free air. There were real trees, grass, fresh flowing water, things that FLEW in the skies…yes, no domes! Sky. My great great grandfather told me about this just before he passed on. He told me he had had a great adventure-well, one among many-shhh..I’m getting to it. Shtill, remain shtill.

There used to be three main roads leading into Renaissance; now we only have the balloon drops from dome to dome. Gid…his name was Gid.  One day, along the Kris trade route, came an entertainment drawn by an engine of steam. It was led by a Doctor and, from what Gid said, the most beautiful, but wicked, woman in the whole world.

Soon after meeting her, this woman (no, I don’t know her name; he would not tell me her name. He said it was like a curse, now) brought Gid to the top of Minor Gauche, which is Dome 3 area now. She taught him some little magics there, and through that night and a day Gid learned, and learned well. Then, she told him why she taught him this. Gid said he was angry, to be used in such a way, but this woman, this beautiful horrible woman…he loved her.

Gid said there was a great fight soon after, with magic sparking off this way and that, causing not a small amount of damage…

“Georgie?” he said, even though he knew his son was  asleep. He had been drifting to begin with, and with the air pressure lowered, it had only been a matter of time.

Pauldyne lay down, between his son, wife and daughter, and closed his eyes. The evening dome lights flickered over his skin like a caressing dance of light. The warmth they gave off felt good, and he slowed his breathing rate for maximum rest, as he had practiced for too long a time.

He sighed, coughed twice, and knew Georgie would want the whole story when he woke in the morning. In the morning, he thought, as he shut down for sleep.

The End

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Author’s Note

For those of you tuning in for the first time, or who don’t follow me religiously (why not? I’m a nice guy and I won’t bite…unless you want me to 😉  ): This posting puts all of my The Rule of Three Blogfest (#REN3) stories together. Well, the Doc Stovepipe tales. There are a few more, and I need to finish that thread. Soon. Real soon. You might also notice that in the postscript, Pauldyne tells his son a story that is not wholly reflected in the main part of the DSMS tale. Shhhh…spoilers. 😉

As a co-host of the writers challenge, I just had a blast not only playing in my own world (see Amlokiblog: Writing n A Shared World)  but reading over 60 others playing alongside of me. So many different takes, and it was good.

This was such a success. We (Damyanti Biswas,  Lisa Vooght and JC Martin) have decided to run the next phase of this blogfest again in May 21012. There is now a brand spanking new dedicated blogpage, Welcome To Renaissance, for all things #REN3 (and yes, we are on Twitter AND have a #REN3 paper.li published daily).

AND….we will be working on at least one volume of a Renaissance eBook. All proceeds will go to charity. News on that will be coming, soon.

Speaking of eBooks…have you purchased my very first eStory (short story category) from Trestle Press? Flash Over, only          $ .99!!   The story is available on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.. You can read Flash Over on your PC, MAC or other device. They have plenty of options beyond owning a Kindle or Nook. If you go, rate it, tag it, read it (first, natch).

Thanks all!!!

My Life On The Amazon!

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“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook

ANNOUNCING…

My very first solo eStory on Amazon

My first solo eStory!!

Flash Over is only the first (hopefully) of my ePublications. I hinted at this before, and now it’s the start of the reality.

Thanks to the fine people at Trestle Press I now have an eStory published that is not part of an anthology. It’s 4,000 words long, and it costs just $ .99. I get 70% of that, so…yeah, the more the merrier. Won’t you make me merry? 😉

Product Description: Seth had been devoured by fire. What does a man do when the life of flame becomes as real as his waking life? When the sound of fire is the beat of his blood through his body? When what he sees he lives?

You can find it at Amazon: Flash Over

I have two more stories published, both in charity anthologies, supporting Doctors Without Borders through Ethics Trading (two great ladies: Thank You Sarah & Catrina). You can find them on my brand new Amazon Authors Page. Two volumes, both $3.99, and both support a worthy cause. Please give them a try.

After Dark has my paranormal luv tale of two Trolls and the Ferryperson who tries to come between them. Tongue in cheek fun, with some punnery from me.

Seven other authors make out this wonderful volume of paranormal fun.

Only $3.99; proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders!!!

Dawn of Indie Romance was the first anthology I have a story in. Redhead Riding is, yes, a romance, from ME. That might surprise those who enjoy my creepy stuff.

Again, seven other writers lead to a great book.

As above, Only $3.99; proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders!!!

More to come as I journey down the Amazon.