Category Archives: Rule Of 3

Hence, the Exorcists

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house-e1525988601600

Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, et secta diabolica…
The exorcism was conducted three times by three priests: two blessed by Rome, one who got his degree online. Exhausted, the three stood, facing the evil abode. It looked down on them with disdained amusement.

The Arbor of Solomon they constructed trapped and halted the spread of its demonic ways. Before they came, it got the Weeping Willows, red droplets pooling around the roots. Mrs. Alto’s Victory Garden ate her dog, three cats, and the mailman’s left leg. Shrubbery wilted, foundations cracked, and Vampiric chipmunks invaded. Subverting the Women’s Weekly Book Club was the step too far; hence, the Exorcists.

After a quick call to the Vatican, all three packed up their bags and began to leave. The Online Priest pulled a sign from his bag, driving the stake into the thorn-laden lawn.

“House for Sale. Terms Negotiable.”

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The above little bit is from a Prompt Contest that was created (and is run by) Jo at A Creative PTSD Gal.  I “met” her during the AtoZ Blog Challenge. The rules are simple: the photo, above, is your prompt. Limit your story to 150 words exactly. This is a contest: if you decide to join in, there is a form provided by way of the link above. Jo says: “This could be in any genre you like, non-fiction, fiction or what strikes your fancy…”

You have until May 30 2018 to enter; she’ll post the winner(s?) soon after.

I just had fun with this. Originally wrote 188 words and had to edit it down. People who know me know I hate to edit, but I do follow rules. Usually. For the most part. When they make sense to me.

 

Mental Challenges (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Mental

“Mental Challenges”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Weeks after the fact, John Peters’ escape, en route from mental ward to jail, was still making news. Details kept leaking out, and the press were merciless with the police force by this point. They were too lax, inept. Criminally inept. His break out left one guard dead, shot with his own gun. Another guard was still in critical condition. The search for John Peters was growing cold, and the news was starting to focus in other directions, until something horrible was discovered: other bodies had been found, buried in the back yard of a home where Peters had previously lived.

The Palmont children also became news again. Janice, the oldest child, had tried to kill herself after the grisly discovery of other victims. Her parents had done their best to restrict any news filtering into their home, but…it happened. She had been sneaking  onto the internet, well after everyone went to bed, ever since Peters escaped. Police presence around their house now doubled, spilling over to the hospital while she was in recovery.

Chief Inspector Dole, Rovas’ old boss, insisted on keeping the Rovas house, and especially Berrak, under surveillance. After rebuffing Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros entreaties for the third time in as many weeks, the Chief Inspector made an unprecedented official appearance at their home. With Berrak present, Dole got Rovas to reconsider, after an hour of persuasion. It came down to, in Rovas’ mind, keeping Berrak as safe as possible. Hours after the Chief Inspector left, Gil showed up.

“You didn’t have to sic Dole on me, you know.” Rovas scowl at Gil had little effect. He drank the coffee Berrak laid out before him quietly.

“Yes, I did. You were being stubborn. Sadly, you are not an Inspector anymore, Inspector, Sir.” His smile was grim. “How many others have you insisted that surveillance was for their safety?”

Rovas was silent. Berrak patted his shoulder and sat down with them.

“You should have taken the Chief Inspector position when it was offered to you,” Gil said, pointing with his cup.

“Not that again, Gil. I wanted to solve cases, not send others out to do that for me. I’m not the political animal Dole is.”

Berrak broke in: “Gil, what about the other bodies that were found?”

“Initial reports indicate all three were girls. The ME estimates that they were all in their early teens, maybe younger. She had to do more tests for further determination. No infants, thank god. A search for any place Peters lived previously is undergoing. The ME knows that filing her report is her first priority.”

“Any luck with getting his military file opened?,” Rovas asked. “We know he was dishonorably discharged, but not the why. Although, I’m afraid we all can think of what he might have done, given this…pattern of his.”

“The military has been fighting us, but adding in the new bodies, even not confirmed they were his kills…I think we won’t have as much trouble getting his file unsealed.”

Through the evening the three went over every bit of information they had. Gil left close to midnight. Rovas sat in his chair, looking out his window, lights out in the room.

“You should come to bed, Zarian. Nothing we can do at this moment.”

“I’ll be up soon. Promise.”

She gave him a kiss and went upstairs. Rovas stayed in his study, falling asleep in his chair.

He was awakened at 7:14 in the morning by a call from Gil.

“John Peters father finally opened up. I was almost at my house when the station alerted me. I rushed over, called Mr. Peters back…I don’t think we will need the military files opened, except for trial when we catch him. I was on the phone with him for quite awhile. I know you wish I called you sooner, but…well, there was nothing we could do at that point. We gathered our information and set our plans.”

“He most likely molested other children on a tour of duty,” Rovas offered. “It probably would have been a political nightmare if they outright arrested him. That assumes there was no murder involved.”

Gil was quiet for only a second. “Pretty much right on the nose. It was a case of She said/He said, but in this case it was underage girls, two of them, according to the father. He said his son took the discharge since neither side could bring it to court, and he was getting hassled by members of his troop. Of course, he lied. Mr. Peters said he didn’t want to believe any of this about his son, but with the other bodies…”

“He had no choice. Hard to admit your child is a monster.”

“One more thing: we may have a lead to where Peters could be. There is a family vacation house under the mother’s maiden name. She inherited it before they were married and never changed the title. He was hesitant about mentioning it.”

“Where?”

“A few hours drive, up the coast line,” Gil was rustling paper in the background. “We’ve been coordinating with the law in that jurisdiction. They’re waiting until we get there to move in on the house. I have room in my car. Coming along?”

“I wouldn’t miss it, as long as Dole doesn’t interfere.”

“Good.  I’ll be right over.”

Rovas hung up the phone. He started to get Berrak, but briefly hesitated. He wanted to keep her safe, yet he knew she would not stand being left behind. With a sigh, he went upstairs to their bedroom. She was already awake.

“News?”

“Yes. Let’s get dressed. We may have a lead on Peters.”

She hustled out of bed, gave him a hug, and went to wash up.

Rovas thought this was too easy, but it was all they had to go on…for the moment.

*************************************************
“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1800 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

“…and Old Lace” (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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and old lace

“…and Old Lace”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

 

Being married for forty-one years, Berrak made coffee exactly how her husband liked it, az şekerli. She liked hers çok şekerli, sweet like her nature, and fixed it accordingly. Khazarian would never be called sweet by anyone except Berrak. He had no room for sentimentality when he was working, and only relaxed, just enough, when he was home with her.Now he was home all the time, and it grated on his nerves. Not Berrak. Never Berrak. But, not working, arresting criminals and bringing them to justice. He did not know how to retire.

Holding his demitasse cup still almost full, Khazarian stood, bent over to kiss Berrak, and went into his study. He licked his lips and smiled. “Yes, she is sweet,” he thought, as he made his was to his desk and sat.

Rovas stared at the folders on his desk, the one he looked over just the night before. He knew this was a major infraction, his having old case files at his house, him not on the job anymore. It weighed on his mind for more than a moment. Sighing, he also realized that these open cases would remain so if they just sat in a box in the department’s storage. Taking a sip of his coffee, he opened up the file.

Twelve years had passed since the last of three like murders occurred. The papers played puns with the way the three women had been murdered: strangled by their lace veils. The “(Arsenic and) Old Lace Murders” headline shouted out on the newsstands after the second murder, and even more so after the third.  Each of them a bride for only a week, only just returned from their honeymoon.

He went over the facts, as they had them, and reached nothing new in summation. Each newlywed was found in her bedroom, strangled, the twisted veil still wound around her neck. They had little in common besides being newlyweds, brunettes, and of medium build and height. Differing economic ranges, different positions (the last one didn’t hold a job). Different areas of the city. They were found in various states of undress, but no sexual violence. Each was sexually active, but…newlyweds.

And then it just stopped. No reason why it started that they could find, and nothing after the last murder. Frustrating. With no new evidence, the case eventually went cold. The husbands all had solid alibis, as did neighbors, co-workers, bridal parties, caterers, wedding photographers…the man hours they put in, and nothing.

Unsolved, and new evils coming in by the day, these finally became less of interest. But, not to Rovas. Each unsolved case stayed with him.

Turning on his laptop (grudgingly relied on at first; seeing it’s usefulness in the last years), Rovas went searching. His computer search lasted almost a week, which then led him to walking the crime scene areas again, after so many years. All three residences had changed hands. Two of the three allowed him inside, to just look around the room. The third residence (which was the second of the three murders) was not at home when he called, and had not gotten back to him. He retraced his steps, mentally and in person, all to no avail.

The missing home owner bothered him. Working at night, with Berrak asleep and all offices he needed information from closed for the evening, he took a chance.  Calling his old department, and speaking with Sargent Detective Katsaros, eventually yielded Rovas a name: Micheal Avgoustidis. Online searches revealed a bit about him: a lawyer, widowed, still single, no children. His ex-wife cause of death was listed as accidental, falling down a flight of stairs. Her death three months earlier than Rovas’s first victim. He checked for a photo, and stopped, staring.

The ex-Mrs. Avgoustidis was brunette, of medium build and height.

Rovas felt he needed to take a closer look at Micheal Avgoustidis.

…to be continued

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“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Twenty six case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve from this list of cold cases. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1800 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy what I’ve got planned.

One Lovely Blog Award…Yes, It Is Too

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It was the 2012 Memorial Day Weekend, and I get a pleasant surprise: I have been honored TWICE with the One Lovely Blog Award, as passed on to me by Allan Douglas of Simple Life Prattle and The Write Stuff (and fellow Triberr buddy).

How could he bestow this upon me twice? One is for here,Tale Spinning, the other is for my Non-Fiction blog, BornStoryteller.

The “rules” are simple:

  1. Thank the person who awarded the award (Thank you Allan) and link back to their blogs: Click HERE and HERE
  2. Tell SEVEN things about yourself that no one knows (but two blogs… 14.. but…14? TMI)
  3. Pass on the award to (15) blogs you follow and like/admire/wish they were yours.
    1. I’ll do as many as I can.

So…

Seven Things :

  1. I’ve lived on the East Coast of the USA all my life, but have visited more than half of the states now.
  2. I read SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries, and then the occasional other book. Existentialism, anyone?
  3. I wish the lyrics to John Lennon’s song Imagine were achievable.
  4. People find me unfocused in my field of interest (the arts); I find myself versatile.
  5. I believe in ghosts, but not vampires and werewolves. Especially not shimmery vampires.
  6. I like both cats and dogs; I do NOT like fish, as pets or otherwise.
  7. I have never gone to a demolition derby or a monster truck thingy; I’d like to, at least once.

In no particular order, blogs I pass this along to, and you should give them a look/leave a comment (tell ’em I said Hi):

Woman Wielding Words

The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective

Ghost Cities

My Rivendell

ZenCherry

The View Outside

David Powers King

Cherie Reich-Author

No Wasted Ink

Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World

Daily (W)Rite

Raising Amelie

Sonia Rumzi

A French Yummy Mummy in London

Rock the Kasbah

The Rule of Three Voting Now Commences!!

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For the month of October 60+ writers joined in The Rule of Three Blogfest. After tabulating all the points and making sure each of the writers met rules and regulations, we, the co-hosts can now announce our short list to be voted on:






If you click on each of the links you will find the complete story that these valiant writers wrote.
To vote for their stories after you’ve read them please visit our Welcome to Renaissance blog page.
The voting will go on for 72 hours and will and on Wednesday, November 9 at midnight GMT.
The final winners in order will appear on the same blog site  on Friday, November 11, 2011.
We congratulate all of the finalists and wish them  the best of luck. This was an extremely hard decision to make. There were many fine entries, and we deliberated with great thought. Everyone who made it through the whole period should feel proud of taking on the challenge and doing as well as they did.
NOW…Let the voting begin!

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!!!

The Misfortune of Sea Monsters (part two)

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Part One: The Misfortune of Sea Monsters

NOTE: if you have not read part one (link above), this  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.

Part Two: The Hafgufa and The Harpoon

Captain Magnus tried to stop Young Ned from leaping to a certain lost cause, but he was too late. The Return swayed, but no man was more made more steady on his feet than a captain whose ship was an extension of himself.  The large ripples the beast made, as it bore Meigs down, tried their best to topple him. He heard some of his men falter and gasp, but he would have none of that.

You’re a fool, Young Ned. A brave one, but a fool all the same.” The captain stayed at the side of his ship, speaking to an uncaring sea, waiting for any sign.

The foolish Young Ned was far below, swimming downward. His labor was fierce, as the creature tunneled the water as it  should, and Young Ned was handicapped by the harpoon he knew he must have. Meigs was a rag doll in the monster of the deep’s tentacles, and his mate, his friend,  felt it was already too late, but this feeling only propelled him to swim faster.

The “Vanishing Island” (for so the Hafgufa  has been called) belched a stream of, what Young Ned thought would be if one could smell underwater, noxious fumes.  Stopping it’s descent, it turned towards Young Ned, its eyes locking onto him. A tentacle was thrust towards him, then another and another.  Each time the attack was thwarted by a true blow of the exquisite sharpness of the harpoon that Young Ned wielded. Both he and the monster scored points, but none were as deep or as ruinous as what came from the well placed harpoon.

He was fast losing the last of his air reserves when a well placed jab freed the sea undulating body of SM Meigs. Young Ned grabbed his comrade and began his ascent. The creature, leaking foul fluids from the many contact hits delivered,  sent out a spasm of its own pain and struck Young Ned across his back,  sending the harpoon spiraling out of Young Ned’s  hand and knocking him unconscious.

***

The deck of The Return was hard and wet under Young Ned’s back,  as he coughed up the bracken sea water. Retching was a rude awakening, but any revival from what seemed like certain death was a good one. Captain Magnus gave his one good hand to Young Ned and helped him stand. Young Ned politely shook him off, bent at the knees, and expelled the last of the wretched substance.

Standing up, Young Ned looked around him. There, amidships, by the mizzenmast, lay the body of SM Meigs. Nothing was said: he knew Meigs was dead as sure as he knew the Hafgufa would pay, and pay dearly. Young Ned also noticed one other thing: the harpoon he carried into battle lay at his feet.

Puzzled, he bent and picked it up. “Captain, how…” he began.

“I know, lad, I know. You should have been as dead as poor Meigs.  Too much time had passed, and the lads and, sadly, I, had given up all hope. The sea waters were thrashing for all to see, then they went still. I had said my prayers and sent you Godspeed to Davey Jones embrace, when…well…”

“What? Please Captain. I don’t understand why I am still alive, here on deck. I felt a blow across my back, a shattering pain lanced through, and I felt the sea enter me as I quickly lost all awareness.”

Captain Magnus stared hard at Young Ned. He turned his head and spat over the rail. Turning back, it was the first time the captain would not make eye contact.

“You know me for an honest man, as honest as the sea will allow one to  be. The crew saw this too, or I wouldn’t have believed it myself. We had given up all hope, but…the mysteries of the seas are deep. The still water broke apart, Young Ned, and you, Meigs and that harpoon were on the back of a narwhal. This one was male, a lovely helical tusk, as woven as a twisted knot of hair. It floated long enough for us to retrieve you and poor Meigs. We thought you were gone too, but, well, you coughed up the sea as it coughed up yourself.”

“The narwhal?” Young Ned inquired.

“Slid away and gone. Come…no use scratching our heads about this. You are alive, Young Ned, and I am glad that I can keep my promise to your sister that you stay that way. Well, at least for today.” Captain Magnus smiled, slapped Young Ned on the back, and turned, barking orders to set course for land and home.

Walking over to the body of his friend, Young Ned knelt and said some prayers. He also vowed, in these moments of silence, to seek vengeance, so dreadful and sincere. Lost in his moments of grief, it was only the collision of the boatswain, Mr. Diggs, that brought him around to a deck that was beginning to tilt and the noses of men in a panic.

“Diggs…what is it, man?”

The boatswain, face ashen, said “Look starboard; look what you’ve brought upon us!”

Pushing the man away, harpoon still in hand, Ned rushed starboard an pulled himself up and looking over the rail:

The Hafgufa’s tentacles were climbing the sides of The Return, tilting the ship. One passed by his head and twisted onto the mizzenmast behind him. One solid jerk, and the Hafgufa and Young Ned were staring at one another, connected by sea, wood, and bone.

The Return cried a mournful sound upon the waters.

to be continued…

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The Rule of Three Blogfest for 2011 is done; voting will soon be open, and our long list of finalists can be found at our brand new Welcome to Renaissance blog page!!!  Eleven great writers/stories out of about 60 participants. It was not easy. Please read the stories in order (links will be on the above link). ENJOY!!!!

Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show: Sacrifices and Retribution (#REN3 Finale)

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Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show: Sacrifices and Retribution (#REN3 Finale)

The Final prompts:

  1. The misfortune is resolved/accepted.
  2. Relationships are mended/are torn asunder.
  3. The final event becomes another secret for generations to come.
  4. There is a new arrival in town.

The Serialized Doc Stovepipe, for your reading pleasure:

Part One: Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show: Mississippi Lil

Part Two: Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show: Doc Stovepipe

Part Three: Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show: Gid

Special: Renaissance: Missing Air (set in the future and has ties to the Doc Stovepipe story)

Part Four: Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show: Sacrifices and Retribution

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 shearth 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.

The End

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OK… yes, way over the word limit. As one of the hosts here, well, I’m cheating because I can. I have SO much more to write, so much I DID delete, and…yes, as Stephen King wrote: “sometimes you have to kill your babies.” Sorry..this time I’m just ignoring the rules. We set em up, i can slightly ignore them. Lisa may frown upon me, but…I’ll plead the pain in my hands and feet, and the meds I am taking made me go loco.

Need to acknowledge our winnahs from the “Name What Lil Put In Gid’s Hand” contest:

Winner: The Compass with a hidden weapon: Richard Hughes of Writing and Living

Runner up: Small Glass Dager: Sonja of Chapter by Chapter

Richard will be interviewed by me, and that will appear in the next week on BornStoryteller. Sonja gets the honor of having her item be so effective, and I threw in a few other of the suggestions. Thank you, one and all.

OUR BIG ANNOUNCEMENT…

will, sadly have to wait a day or so. We are ironing out the details, and we all want to be on the same page, so to speak.

The announcements (ooopss…more than one) SHOULD make you happy. We hope so.

So…if you are one of the REN3 writers, give yourselves  a pat on the back for a job well done. I’ll be reading ALL  of the blog entries, so to save some sanity I will not be leaving any comments this time around. Hope you understand: we now have to read all four sections, about 2,200 words each. OUCH.

See you soon with the news.

Sonnet: Where Shall We Go? (plus: #REN3 side contest winner)

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Where Shall We Go?

Where shall we go, my friend, on open sea?

Taking a journey,  together alone,

Looking forward to what we could so be

Seeing how far, how soon,  we match in tone.

No one to rush us headfirst into storm

We move as we need to; no right; no wrong.

Comfortable, we, no need to perform

Expectations tossed; our closeness is strong.

But, clouds will darken, oh yes, sad  but true,

Trying to unravel the good cares sown

Escalating fears, making old seem new

Setting us off course, untrue…ill winds blown.

O, stay the long path alongside of me.

O, take what is offered, no strings, deeply.

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…AND THE WINNER IS…

I asked for suggestions, created a poll, people voted on what those suggestions…and…we have a winnah!

The Compass w/Hidden Weapon, as suggested by Richard Hughes of Writing and Living blog got the nods in the poll voting.

And..since this is my gig, and I can kinda do what I want…the runner up in #’s with six votes (to Richard’s eight) will be the hidden weapon: Sonja of Chapter by Chapter gets a nod for suggesting a Small Glass Knife!

For those not in the know, and for those known who do know, and all those in-between, I offered a contest to my readers and (especially) the amazing writers of The Rule of Three blogfest. As a co-host, (Damyanti Biswas, Lisa Vooght and JC Martin my partners in crime) of this blogfest, I have a wee bit of leeway to do a few things extra. So…I ran a side contest due to an opening I had in the last part of my serialized story: Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show.

I had an item given to one character from another, “something cold and hard.” Nothing specific, not a good writing (or improv) thing to do.

Thank you Richard & Sonja,  and all others who submitted (and for those who voted).  I will now attempt  to finish my story using this item to help Gid…or, not. Yes, I have not written the story yet. Haven’t even thought about it. Really.

Richard & Sonja  will get a nod, somehow, in the story, will appear in the afterword, AND…I will be doing an email interview with Richard that will appear on my other blog, BornStoryteller.

Something Cold and Hard: Poll and Contest (#REN3)

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Rule of Three Blogfest Side Contest

After the last part of my #REN3 story, a question arose: What did Mississippi Lil give to Gid? All I had said was it was “something cold and hard.”

Thus a Contest and Poll was born. The #REN3 writers were tasked to offer up one specific idea as to what that something is. I gave everyone of our writers four days to add an idea. The closing time to add anything was Sunday,  October 23 at 5pm EST.

Then, from those offerings, I would create a Poll, for any and all to vote on. The item with the most votes is the item that I will use in my story. The winning submitter get many mentions on the final story and I will do a Writers Interview with them, to be posted on BornStoryteller (my other blog)

THE RULES

  1. Please vote only one time for one item
  2. Poll opens at 9:30 pm EST on Sunday October 23, 2011 and closes at 9:30 pm Monday October 24, 2011 (24 hours sharp)
  3. Please do not write in an “other” idea. The call for submissions ran  close to four days. I will only accept votes on the item on the created poll.
  4. I will post the winning item on Monday around 10pm/11pm EST and I’ll then write the item into my story.