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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Bad Day

Hey all,

I had a really bad day today. It was my first day back in store from my vacation this past week (I had a couple of days of teaching class so that kind of held me out a little longer than usual). At any rate I walked into a complete cluster fuck. Missing cash, broken equipment, poor results, and poorer shift management. It was simply my assistant dropping the ball with the execution of running the business.

So needless to say I am grumpy as shit all day and the more I dig around the store, the angrier I get. He simply did not execute his action plan like he should have and he knows how to do the job. There is really no excuse. Its so bad I asked my boss to come in and help me out with him tomorrow.

I spent most of the day running around the store cleaning up stuff and repairing equipment and I took care of most of it for the main part. I hope to fix some of the cash tomorrow as well. The worst part came when I had to run out for some shorted product and I got in a car accident. Specifically a hit and run. The mother fucker hit my car, backed up, then hit it again as he peeled away. The damage isn't severe, but its enough that I am going to have to pay my deductible, and I really don't have that kind of scratch right now you know? It like 750 bucks.

Add that to the trouble I have been having sleeping at night and the fact that we haven't had hot water in the house for two days because the water heater was on the fritz. At least my Dad managed to walk me through some trouble shooting tonight top get it to work.

I just feel overwhelmed and exhausted and I don't know what to do with all of this emotion. I don't feel like I can dump my problems off on anyone or really talk it out. I feel really alone at work, like I am the only one trying to get things accomplished. Between my brother staring his family and both my parents moved away, I'm the last one holding the bag and today it feels really heavy.

On a more positive note I will try to post up some Halloween notes tomorrow and my review of Zach and Miri Make a Porno on Saturday or Sunday. I actually caught a free sneak preview earlier this week but I didn't want any early reviews going up before the films release. Stay tuned and i am always open to some feedback, especially if anyone wants to comment on any of the Flash Fiction that's gone up. Thanks for letting me rant about my problems.

End of Line.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 13

"Wait, let me get this straight. Me, Alex fucking Develin, is the savior of the free world? I can't even control all of my abilities, let alone to save the world! Are you sure your working those powers right?"

Sera gave me a sad little smile and nodded.

"Don't let my age fool you Alex. I am the best Diviner in my clan and my visions have shown that only you can return balance. You are born of light and raised of dark. Allegra was born of dark and raised of light. You are the opposite side of the same coin and only you can hope to contain her ambitions. For if you do not, she will extinguish those deemed unworthy, and her views of humanity do not match that of Him. It will be the end of everything you were sworn to protect."

Okay, this was some heavy shit. First, there is someone else like me but raised in Heaven. Seems like I got the short end of THAT stick. Now she is raising an army of Light Walkers to herald a return to Earth and mark the End of Days. Also there was somebody here on Earth that does not want this girl to talk because last time I checked, Demons and Angels don't exactly get along. That was the only way I could explain the fun time bunch from earlier. I was going to need more information and I was going to have to cash in a few favors to get it.

"Look Sera, even if what you say is true then why was a Greater Planar Demon sent to find you? Some serious power went into breaking the wards on this place. It would take someone really high up on the food chain to get through the protection spells on this church, its one of the most well guarded buildings in the city, off limits to any Dark Walker. Plus, why would the enemies of Heaven want to stop you? Shouldn't they be FOR what you're trying to do?"

Both Quint and Sera drew silent at the thought of that. Hell, Quint even dropped the shocked look off of his face for a few moments to process this. Quint was a wild card here, on one hand he had been trained his whole life to believe that the Walkers of Light worked at the hand of God and their path would lead him to Heaven. But if what Sera said was true this could shake his faith.

Here was an angel who had lied to him and manipulated herself to get to me through him and had put him in mortal danger. At the same time you could not argue with the fact that she WAS a Light Walker and somebody wanted her dead. Her return to Earth alone was fantastic enough to warrant concern. Finally, it was Sera who broke the silence.

"I know not why the Armies of the Dark have struck out at me nor who sent them Alex Develin. What I do know is that you hold the key to stopping the coming apocalypse and that the Armies of Heaven do not want me to help you. Only He who walks in shadow and light can find the balance,only you Alex Develin, this I believe. The answers to this mystery lay before us, you need but choose your path."

I looked over to Quint and he stared back at me. Whatever I did I knew one thing. Whoever sent that fucker was after Sera would not stop and if they thought I was involved (and I guess I was after that tussle upstairs) they would be coming for me. Besides, nobody gets away with trashing my turf. Fuck that.

"Okay Serapha, you just got a savior but we do this shit my way. We need information, backup, and a place to hide out. This sanctuary will probably last until dawn, but I think we should move by daybreak. We have to think that we got lucky and that they didn't know about this room but whomever sent them won't make the same mistake twice. The wards have fallen around most of the church and I don't want to be here if Heaven itself shows up looking for you. That puts me at a disadvantage and I don't want to take any chances."

"What about hiding out at your place Alex?"

The Padre had hit on another point home. Dear old Dad had ruined my wards so that was out. That left only two places I knew with enough protection to offer any kind of support. One was Vickers, and I wasn't sure that Able would be all that appreciative about showing up with a Light Walker looking for sanctuary after being told to keep out of his fucking business just last night. That left a visit to The Copper Cup, and to Julien. After telling the two of them my plan, I set into the next part. Backup.

"Padre, first thing I think you need to do is notify your superiors and get Brother Tristan down here. We are to need whatever help we can get, maybe a couple of Vatican Regulators even. You should probably clear out anyone who doesn't need to be here in the morning."

Tristan was Quint's initiate and watched the church during the times that our business drew us out. After what had happened with Father Malkin, the Order had provided each member with a backup in case something happened to them. That way you wouldn't have to train a completely new handler, they would know the ins and outs already. To be honest, Tristan was kind of a douche bag. Quint may not have been comfortable with what I was, but he never openly derided me and he always did his duty. Tristan let it be known that I was pretty much the bottom of his food chain in his book. He did it if Quint told him to, but he never made it easy. He may fucking hate my guts but at this point, we were going to need all the help we could get.

"You two stay here and I will be back before daybreak, I'm going to call in one other favor before we take off for The Cup. That's the only place that may give us some information and would be willing to hide us. If Julien's in a giving mood that is. Padre, you don't open this for anyone but me until I get back, including Tristan you got that?"

When he nodded yes I went back upstairs. After quickly checking the building to make it secure, I dragged the bodies inside and locked the doors. A quick rinse and change of clothes later (and I was going to have to restock this wardrobe soon!) I grabbed my jacket and rig and slipped everything into place. Picking up the balefire shotgun, I headed back downstairs to check in one last time and drop off a few additional supplies.

"Padre, take this, I know you'll know what to do with it and remember what I said."

I had tossed him the shotgun and left a few things on the table, including a first aide kit and some food and turned back towards the door. As I started up the stairwell I felt a hand on my shoulder so I turned around. It was Quint.

"Kneel my son."

As I lowered myself to my knees I realized how far Quint and me had come tonight. Whatever was going on with Serapha, I knew Quint was on my side. I listened as he gave a benediction and blessed me. It meant a lot to know that Quint was starting to trust me. I had forgotten what that felt like, someone trusting you. As I got got up, Serapha appeared. She leaned over and gently kissed me on the cheek.

"Safe travels Alex Develin."

In that instant I saw Juliet again and my vision swam. I closed my eyes and forced the images into my subconscious. This was no time for any fucking daydreaming, I had shit to do. When I opened my eyes again Sera had walked back to the couch and picked up her book so Quint walked me to the top of the stairs. As I left out the door I left him one more piece of advice.

"Look Quint, watch out. Not just for more bad guys, but watch her too. I still don't think she is giving us the full story. I believe that she needs our help, but don't trust her to much. Keep your guard up and your mind clear.'

"But she is an Angel Alex, a messenger of God."

"Yeah, and you once thought I was just another Night Walker."

With that little bit of wisdom, I waited until I heard the lock fall in place behind me and I could see the tell tale signs of Quint reaching into the weave for even more spells to protect the door. He was going to burn himself out at this rate. Still I cast a spell of my own, one of the tricks I had learned in my youth. I thread a small bit of my Ethereal weave around the threshold of the door. If anyone, or anything, crossed this door it would break the strand and alert me. It wasn't much but it would have to do until I could bring in the big guns.

After that I headed out the back door and around to the front. I dug through my pockets until I found what I was looking for, a set of keys. Out front a large black panel van sat and I had swiped the keys off one of the guys I had dropped. I was pretty sure that the User and his cronies had arrived in it earlier. It made a good vehicle to transport Walkers in, either Light or Day, as it would be protected from the sky at either time. It could also move that troll around pretty easily. I popped open the rear door, checking that out first. It was blocked off from the drivers compartment by a metal partition and padded in, though completely empty.

I moved around to the drivers seat and hopped in. Automatic, good. I never did learn to drive a stick. Hell, I could barely drive as it was. Somehow, my line of work wasn't all that conducive to hours at the DMV. Go figure. I slammed the tranny into drive and spun out. As I looked around the cab I saw a crumpled pack of smokes on the dash. I reached out and lit up.

Ugh, somebody smoked the cheap shit. Still, it was better than nothing. I smoked the cigarette down to the filter and immediately fired up another one. Better get all the relief I can now, Lord knows it only goes downhill from here. Not only was I going to have to go to Julien's later tonight, I had to visit another person I wasn't sure was going to be all that happy to see me.

I drove for about 30 minutes until I hit the outskirts of Santa Diego. I turned off the main road and down a dirt side street. The road was dark, but straight and I cruised along for a few minutes before I shifted my Second Sight on. In the distance, I saw my destination.

It was a huge spire towering in the air, over 40 stories tall. As I got closer I could see the smaller towers dotting up around the central spire. Colors of 5 of the 7 schools of magic could be seen alighting the sky. Reds and oranges of Evocation and Ethereal schools intermingled with the ribbons of white Divination, green Elementalism and yellow Creationism. The only absent colors were the blue of Holy and the black of Dark Magic.

As I crested the last hill the full building came into view. Five smaller towers which where connected by walls and ramparts around the central spire. Each tower fed a separate school of magic into the central spire, each color swirling about the complex before feeding into the peak, which contained a huge ball of massive energy. I looked up the the central spire, called the Master's Keep, and parked the van. I went to look at my watch, forgetting that I had broken it, to check the time. Fuck. Instead I tapped another smoke our of the pack.

The building was massive in size and scope, the energy almost to blinding for my Second Sight to handle. I couldn't turn it off though, it was the only way to see the place. Fuck magic sucked sometimes. It was just another trick to keep the place hidden from prying eyes. The only way to see it was to be taught the the spells of magic that allowed one to see the weave a caster makes, or to be lucky like me and have the Sight.

I walked up to the portal that acted as the doorway and looked for the sigil. See there wasn't any real doors here, if you didn't know magic, you weren't getting in, and you needed to know a helluva lot more magic before they would let you out. This wasn't for some half ass User who could do a couple of tricks, like had been pointed out to me several times before.

Still I kept looking for the sigil until I finally found it under a crenellation. I sent a small orange arc of magic into it, like Quint had done in the pantry back at St. Augustine's. I wasn't a User in any sense of the word, but I this was another trick I had picked up over the years. I watched the sigil glow and the beginning of a portal form in the wall. there were probably several Users in the city that would pay good money for this information. Even if you were a User, there was no guarantee that you could even get in the place. many a User had spent years learning to find the right sigil to gain entrance.

As the portal opened I turned to head inside but before I could get in I was greeted by a tall bearded man in flowing crimson robes.

"Hello Mr. Develin. Welcome back to the Academy."

Have I said fuck me yet?

End of Line.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Movie Time: Rewind: Freaks

Hey all,

Welcome to October's installment of the Rewind, where I turn back the clock to pick a classic film from before my birth year, 1976. This was an especially tough month, as I had two picks I wanted to do. In the end, I decided that it is almost Halloween, and I should go with a horror movie. It should be said that I am not a huge fan of the horror genre, I don't really enjoy scary movies or horror films. That being said, there are some films that should be seen.

In terms of the classics, actors like Lon Chaney, Lon Chaney, Jr, Bela Legosi, and Boris Karloff's original monster movies are must see films. The original Wolf-Man, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and Dracula are important to the history of the horror genre. The point of this column isn't always to pick the easy films though, that is why for this month I picked a personal favorite, MGM's 1932 counter culture classic, Freaks.

Freaks is a horror story about a group of carnival performers who are "freaks." Actual sideshow attractions like Peter Robinson ("the living skeleton"); Olga Roderick ("the bearded lady"); Frances O'Connor and Martha Morris ("armless wonders"); and the conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. There are also several microcephalics who appear in the film (and are referred to as "pinheads"), namely Zip and Pip (Elvira and Jenny Lee Snow) and Schlitzie, a male named Simon Metz who wore a dress mainly due to incontinence. Also featured were the intersexual Josephine Joseph, her/his divided gender running down the right and left side of her body; Johnny Eck, the legless man; the completely limbless Prince Randian (also known as The Human Torso, Elizabeth Green the Stork Woman; and Koo-Koo the Bird Girl, who suffered from Virchow-Seckel syndrome which is known as bird-headed dwarfism.

This group of people are led by Hans (Harry Earles) a sideshow midget who has recently come into a large inheritance. He is in love with the beautiful Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) the trapeze artist. She agrees to marry him, despite her obvious disgust, to get at his money. At their wedding reception, all the "freaks" pass around a massive goblet of wine and proclaim her (in the famous statement from the film) "One of Us. One of Us." They accept her as a fellow freak despite being "normal" and this scares her. In a drunken rant, she mocks the troupe and admits to having an affair with the circus strongman, Hercules (played by Henry Victor.)

Despite being humiliated Hans stays with Cleopatra, who is slowly poisoning him to get to his inheritance and run away with Hercules. One of the "freaks" overhears the two plotting against Hans and tells him and the rest of the troupe of Cleopatra's intentions.In the films climatic scene, the "freaks" attack the pair with guns and knives, horrifically mutilating them. In the end, they are both forced to become that which they hated. Cleopatra, once so beautiful, now a legless, tongueless, human chicken woman. In the end Hans returns to fellow sideshow midget Frieda (played by Daisy Earles) to find the love he so wanted.

The film plays on our preconceived notions that "freaks" are the inherent bad guys, when in truth the most horrible people are the normal ones in the film. There are many slice of life moments throughout the film, showing the deformed members of the troupe involved in the daily aspects of a normal life. Thus re-enforcing that they are as normal as you or I.

The movie was directed and produced by Tod Browning, who the year before had achieved fame with Dracula. Reaction to this film was so intense at the time, that he had trouble finding work afterword. At screenings of the film, people were so appalled at what they had seen that much of the film was cut being deemed to graphic, including the castration scene of strongman Hercules. The film was deemed so graphic, that in the UK is wasn't allowed to be shown for over 30 years, the longest ban of any film. The movie was also originally cast with many of MGM's stars at the time, including Myrna Loy, Victor McLagen and Jean Harlow, but they refused to do the film after reading the script and having to co-star with "freaks." One woman at a test screening even claimed that the film had caused her to miscarry her baby!

Browning had spent time in his youth working for an actual circus ans based some of the film around his expediences. It was also very loosely adapted from a story called Spurs by Clarence Robbins. When screenwriter Willis Goldbeck was given the task of adapting it, it was with the instruction that the script be "horrible." Between the adaptation and the theatrical cuts in the film, the only real recognizable parts from the book is the marriage of a midget and a beautiful woman and the wedding feast. Ironically, several days after turning in the script, Goldbeck was summoned to the producers office where studio boss Irving Thalberg proclaimed the script horrible, his head in his hands.

Freaks is a powerful movie that is creepy even after watching it today. To see some of these poor people dealing with the maladies they had to suffer through is tough to watch. Then to watch as people treat them poorly as a result is even more horrifying. Freaks holds up as one of the truly scariest films I have ever seen, and not because of a ghost or monster, or a chainsaw wielding maniac chasing young girls. Its scary because it IS real, this COULD happen. These are not some guys in makeup trying to scare you, these are real people with real problems. That is scary.

A few final notes on the film, one if you really want to see this movie, check out TCM on Halloween morning and cue up the DVR as they are broadcasting it as part of their Halloween film fest. Also check out the romantic relationship that develops between Hans and fellow midget Frieda. If it looks a little strange that is because it is, they are real life brother and sister. The romance was added as a means to satisfy some of the changes that had to be made to the theatrical cut to give the movie a "happier ending." That's creepy. One of my favorite scenes is when the Human Torso, a man with no arms or legs, draws a cigarette and lights it with a match, using only his tongue. It is incredible! Supposedly in the original cut, he also rolls the cigarette himself, which I find compelling, but footage of that is said to be lost.

Oh, I also added a publicity still from the film showing off most of the cast along with the films movie poster as sort of a bonus. Now you can get a better idea of what you are in for. This movie is a great way to get a little real life scare this Halloween. Check it out, 1932's Freaks, from MGM by Tod Browning.

End of Line.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 34

Billy could still hear Katee crying. It hadn't been easy killing Claire like that, but better by their hand than turning into one of them. The likelihood was that Reny probably wouldn't even make it to the train to see his baby, let along realize that Claire had died. Billy gathered up his rucksack and rifle and met Billy at the window.

It was almost time to make for the train, and while it had been quiet downstairs, they hadn't heard any gunshots from Reny in a while either. Root and Billy didn't say a word as they picked up the last of the supplies, Billy looking at Katee as she wiped the tears from her face. She had strapped the scattergun over her shoulder and had the pistol in her holster, Reny's last child in her arms.

"I'm ready."

Root led the way out the window and across the balcony. There were no signs of the creatures as he dropped to the street. Billy looked at the strange black sun lower against the western sky as he lowered Katee and the baby to Root's waiting arms, then dropping down himself. The three made their way along the side of the street, sticking to the shadows, heading towards the center of town and the train.

As they approached the depot, Billy could hear the first sounds of the trains whistle and he knew that it would attract the undead. It was important to get to the depot first and create a defensible position if they were going to have any chance of getting on board alive.

They reached the depot without meeting any of the creatures, much to their surprise and took up positions inside the clerks office. The office had been destroyed and signs of a fight were evident, the telegraph had been destroyed and there were blood splatters over the floors and walls. The group watched through teh windows for any sign of the creatures as the sounds of the train grew closer.


Sheriff Root had spotted it first, a lone straggler shuffling their direction, but more soon followed behind. Root brought up his rifle and took aim, but held his shot. There were so many....more and more the creatures streamed into the street, coming from the direction that Reny had gone.

"Look, all we have to do is hold out a few minutes, then we can break for the train and get the fuck out of here."

Root had tried to remain optimistic, but the three tired survivors knew the score. There were to many. Still Root took aim as the first of the creatures lumbered forth and fired. Katee bundled the baby of the floor in the corner and joined in, her revolver sounding shot after shot. Soon the dead began to pile in front of the small depot as each member hurriedly loaded and reloaded, shot after shot.


Billy peeled his eyes from the carnage in front of him to see the the train steaming at full speed. There was no sight of the engineer attempting to break as the train approached the station.


Root continued to fire into the masses as Billy turned back to grab his bag. That's when he heard Katee scream. Both men turned around to see Reny Cargill in the depots rear doorway, bloody and torn.

"Where is my daughter?"

End of Line.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Word Balloon: The Walking Dead

Hey all,

For October I thought I would pick a book with a horror theme and that meant there was really only one option for me, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard's The Walking Dead, from Image Comics. Started in 2003, writer Kirkman and original series artist Tony Moore wanted to do a black and white series about what happens to people trying to survive in a world stricken with zombies. Its a story of continuing horror survival.

What sets this series apart is the sense of depth and evolution in the characters. The book starts out with police officer Rick Grimes in a shootout with his partner Shane. Rick is shot and hospitalized only to awaken from a coma completely alone in the hospital. As he leaves the hospital he finds that zombies have overrun the facility and flees to his home, barely escaping alive. At his home he is hit in the head by a father and son team of survivors who mistake him for the dead.Once they fill him in after realizing that he is still alive, he decided to set out for Atlanta, where he believes his wife and son had retreated to.

Upon arrival to Atlanta, he discovers that the town is overrun, but a group of survivors had taken up residence on the towns outskirts, survivors that included his wife Lori, his son Carl, and his partner, Shane, among others. Quickly assimilating to the group, rick becomes the de-facto leader of the team of survivors, leading raids into Atlanta for supplies, and training the group on gun use, including his young son Carl against Lori's wishes.

Rick and Shane come to a disagreement after a zombie raid on the camp kills two members of the group. Shane wants to stay behind believing that rescue will come closer to town, Rick believing that they are in to much danger that close to the horde with winter approaching. They get into a fight with each other that ultimately young Carl gets involved in, all the while Rick unaware that Shane and Lori had an affair while Rick was "dead."

The story of The walking Dead (or TWD as its readers call it) isn't about what caused the plague or what happened after it first broke, the story is in the survivors continued plight. Writer Kirkman has kept his promise that no man is safe in the book and he has repeated shown throughout the books current 53 issue run that he keeps his word. There are times where he decompresses the book to get in characters heads, or issues that have little dialog and are just action. Its a blend of great character development and action.

Each member of the very large cast of characters employed are distinctive in their personality and you really get into the ebb and flow of the cast. Deaths are abundant throughout the series and characters that you have loved for 20 or 30 issues sometimes die in an instant. Its not just about the inhumanity of zombies, but what the effects of living in a post apocalyptic world can do to the survivors. Humanity can sometimes be worse than the things it rails against.

Let's talk about art. In the beginning, artist Tony Moore gave the series a very well defined and polished look. About 15 issues in or so, Charlie Adlard took over and gave the series a very washed out look, heavy on grey tones. It was a jarring change and many of the supporting cast, who were new to both artist and reader, were not as well defined visually. As the series progressed though, Adlard really makes the book his own, with a unique style that upon my reflection is more suited to the books tone.

The series draws definite influence form the like of George A. Romero's Living Dead films and classic zombie films. following the same sense of "rules" established by Romero. Zombies are slow moving, incapable of higher thought or motor function, and can only be killed by brain trauma. Even decapitation will allow the body to continue. TWD is about what happens to the characters after the movies over. What does a survivor due when the world is overrun by something you cannot stop?

I can tell you that TWD continues to excel past the first trade. The survivors look for a place to flourish but everything eventually ends. From safety in a community home, to a prison, to an encampment, can you ever be safe when the dead still walk?

The Walking Dead is a great series by one of the best new writers in comics today. his influence at Image is so profound, he was recently made a partner in the company. The first new partner since the original seven members left Marvel to form the company back in 1992. It's Halloween and the perfect time for a little zombie fun. The fact that it is possibly the best book being published by Image to date doesn't hurt. Check out Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead, Volume 1 : Days Gone By, collecting the first six issues, from Image Comics. The perfect treat this Halloween.

End of Line.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Hey all,

Last night was a McDonalds manager get together. The first one that I have ever organized so its success was solely on my shoulders. Our McDonalds gatherings have been fairly hit or miss, anytime we have gotten together on social situations over the past few years the party goers have been pretty critical of the event. I was happy to hear that so many people had such a good time. In fact many people told me it was the best outing we have had in a long while.

Our first stop was the Native New Yorker. We pulled in for company paid for appetizers, a wide range of french fries, buffalo wings, veggies, jalapeno poppers, and the like with refreshments. The food going section of the party went okay. People tend to fall into their little inner social cliques and I don't really have a clique within the structure. I just sort of fit into whatever situation is going on and get along with many of the team. Hey, I get along with everyone!

After the eats we headed over to a place called Fear Farm. It's a series of 5 corn mazes, 4 of which are haunted. Everyone had so much fun, including me. I have never been through a corn maze before, or a haunted house for that matter so each experience was new to me.

The first activity we turned into a team building event, sending 3 different teams of managers through the un-haunted maze with 2 members of the support staff. Then we blindfolded the rest of the team with the idea that at each checkpoint they could remove one blind fold, but that didn't last. After getting severely lost and finding only one checkpoint, we cashed in the blindfolds and proceeded to find a path out.We came in second but everyone had a great team and enjoyed the sense of team work that came from the event. To be honest we were lost in that corn for a good 45 minutes! Both my bosses were on my team and each of them liked the steady stream of jokes I kept up throughout, so that was a bit of a bonus.

After that we did each of the 4 themed mazes, an Insane Asylum, A Clown theme, a sort of Hills Have Eyes theme, and a traditional Children of the Corn complete with Headless Horseman. Everyone had such a fun time getting scared, and I kept my stream of jokes up musch to every ones delight. I really liked the Children of The Corn theme, they had some good shock moments with chainsaw wielding crazies and our own team jumping out with surprises.

I watched as one member of our team sneaked around one of the buildings built in the corn to wait on the opposite wall to scare us. Watching this I followed him around to scare him before he could strike. It was great fun and I would definitely go again.

At the end of the 5 mazes we all hung around the lot listening to music and talking, some of us even heading back to the bar for additional drinks, though I limited myself to 2 drinks as I had to babysit my niece this morning. Overall I would recommend this experience to anyone looking to have some fun with a group of people. Teams of three or more really seemed to be a good size to maximize the scares. That and solving a maze puzzle seemed really cool!

End of Line.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Hey all,

I wanted to throw up a bonus post today. Doing two chapters on this serial was a lot more work than I am use to on the blog. I approach my Flash Fiction on the blog a little different than most that may be writing. I don't like to write the posts more than one day in advance, I feel the spontaneity of each entry is compromised when I plan out to far. I write the posts over the course of a Tuesday and Wednesday, usually taking breaks and returning to them several times over the course of the two days. this is opposed to the shorted Dead Sun posts which I usually write in an hour or so. Sometimes less.

I mean I have the plot pretty mapped out but I leave a lot of room for side trips. These last two posts for instances I actually had designed to be just one, with the lead in for next weeks planned in as well. Its just showing how much more I have expanded on the mythos of the world. I like knowing that over the course of the week I may be adding or subtracting ideas as new ones come, I don't want to stymie creativity. The only real notes I keep are jotted down on a few crib sheets, and major plot ideas I keep in my head. Cementing something on paper could put me in a corner, and I want all my options.

At any rate despite the work, I really had a great time posting these up. I like doing this serial a lot. I'll be back tomorrow with a new post, I still have a lot of topics I want to cover this month so hopefully there will be new material everyday for the next week or so. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

End of Line.

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 12

It couldn't be. She was dead. I had held her body in my arms. I had watched her burial. Juliet. My Juliet.

She came from around the couch and walked closer and I saw her truly, realizing my mistake. It wasn't her, though. It was more like a slightly distorted reflection of her. The hair wasn't the same, this girls was lighter. Their faces were so close but little instanced were off, the nose a bit smaller, the smile a bit crooked. This girl was shorter and less defined. Younger. It was all the little things that made them different. She still looked so much like my Juliet.

She walked over to Quinton and stayed near him. I didn't need my Second Sight to know that she had thrown up wards, though when I did I could see she was surrounded in a white sheen of Divination. Mentalists. A lot of Light Walkers had Mental powers. That stuff you read in the Bible about Angels and such working through you? Light Walkers.

Unlike Night Walkers who take many shapes, Light Walkers have stayed with their form over the millenia. The original right hand of God they worked his will, first casting out the First Born (or Fell) as they are called now, then in guiding mankind. A Light Walkers true form is pretty much a variation of what you have come to view an angel as, angelic beings of light with wings, though with the ability to take human shape.

This one was young for a Light Walker. To young to be out in the wide world without an escort and too young to have been around when whatever caused her kind to retreat. This was about to be, pardon the pun, enlightening. Quint put his arm around the girl and whispered what I assumed was reassurances in her ear. I knew that she knew what I was and wasn't taking any chances. She may be at a disadvantage at night, but that didn't mean she wasn't dangerous. Finally Quint pulled her away and introduced us.

"Alex Develin, this is Serapha al'Shera, or Sera as she is called. Sera, this is Alex, Keeper of the Peace and Servant of God."

Quint was probably laying it on a little thick with the servant of god stuff but I knew it was with the best of intentions. This girl, who looked younger each second I stood by her, had to be scared and a big fucked-up looking guy in blood stained rags with two big fucking guns didn't exactly scream serenity you know. I tried to be as polite as I could.

"Sera, I'm glad your safe. We took care of the men who were after you. It will be okay."

I thought that sounded pretty good but she was shaking her head. Hey we just beat a Greater Plane Demon for Christ's sake. What could be worse! Though if I knew what was to come I'd have kept my big mouth closed.

Sera slowly just shook her head. The more she stood there, so close, the more I could see my mind playing tricks on me. The more her features changed, the more she looked younger and younger. I'd have sworn she was in her late 20's when I walked in, yet now she couldn't be more than 18. If that. Things just kept getting deeper.

"Alex, Sera is special. Even for a Light Walker. She doesn't speak but she has communicated through me. She told me she was sent here to complete a mission laid forth to her by God himself. She was sent here for us to protect her until she completes that mission. She won't tell me what His will is, but that we must help her."

I looked her over again as Quint talked and still got the feeling I was missing something. Slowly I calmed my breathing and probed her with my Second Sight, cutting through to the truth below. She was a Mentalist, she was using a glamour. I had heard that some really good Diviners could read minds and project images based on what the viewer wanted to see. She was trying to put on a face that I would find pleasing to get what she wanted. It might have worked if I didn't have the Sight.

"Look Padre, Sera, if she needs protecting I'll do my job. I've proven that I think, but first things first. We cut the bullshit. She drops the glamour and deals with us face up."

"What are you talking about Alex? She is a Light Walker returned to guide the House of God?"

I looked at Quint and smiled, she was good to get through his protection spells but my Sight always sees true. Its one of the few good things about my condition.

"Look Sera, I have Second Sight I know you are casting an concealment spell. If you want help, you have to be straight up with us. After what the Padre and I just went through, I think we deserve that."

She looked to Quint and scowled but dropped the glamour. Quint seemed taken aback when he saw her true form. She was young. Maybe 15, with long blond hair and blue eyes. Her skin was golden and smooth, unblemished and perfect. She wore a simple white shift under a robe, her white feathered wings curled around her body. White and blue magic ran in circling rings about her body as she looked a me, sullen and scared.

"She was using Divination on us Padre, she is a Light Walker all right and this is her true form. She probably projected an image to you that you would associate with an angel, for me she looked too much like Juliet for my mind to accept."

"Now that we've got the introductions out of the way, what say you tell my why your here Serapha."

Quint took the transformation better than I would have thought, and handled what she did next even better, especially after the finding out the first angel he has ever met lied to him.

"My name IS Serapha al'Shera. I am of the Lesser Flight of Heavens legions, though my skills in Divination are accounted among the best of my people. In my sleep I have had a vision, a terrible vision that will mark the End of Days. The return of He Who Waits Belows and the coming of He Who Waits Above to meet in a clash of fire and flame, or darkness and light on this Earthly coil. The time is coming, something that started with the withdrawal of my people and the birth of the children of dusk and dawn."

That last line sounded a lot like it was about me, but I was the only one that anyone had ever heard of. She spoke these words with her own voice, in a sing song melody that could only herald from Heaven. She could talk and had clouded our minds with a glamour but I felt that deep down, she needed us. I needed more information though. Her people had began pulling out of Earth after my birth, but no one had known why. Was it because of who I was? Of what I represented? I decided to keep pressing.

"So what brings you back to Earth Sera? Why not return with your armies in preparation for dear old Satan's return?"

She smiled sadly at me, "For the return will start with the Armies of Heaven descending onto the people of this world to usher a cleansing. One like you has been raised among the Light Walkers, one who walks in the dusk and the dawn. One who has raised the armies to return back the Earth and expunge all those unworthy in God's eyes from it."

"It is said that God talks to her, though it has been many a year since God has spoken to our people. Though he remains in his Kingdom, he has shut us out, listening only to prayers, telling us to follow the paths of our hearts. She of the dusk and dawn has claimed that it is now our time to show the true power of faith."

There was a lot of shit to worry about in that statement. One God not directing the sides of Light anymore was concerning. It was common knowledge that mankind had been given free will, though species like the Fell had fallen from favor through lack of faith and jealously with the arrival of mans place in God's eyes. Still Light Walkers had always been at his hand to do his will.

Second was that the Armies of Heaven were preparing to march on Earth. They could cause some serious shit not just for Fell and Dark Walkers, but Norms as well. If whoever was in charge had deemed mankind unworthy of his love. As shaky as my faith may be at times, I don't think that God's the kind of guy to expunge all those unworthy before their time. At least I hoped so.

Third was the fact that there was another like me. The opposite side of the same coin. Raised by Light Walkers, could she control both sides of her powers? Did she even have the same powers. So many questions, so little answers.

"Is that why your here Sera? To tell of His return?"

The Padre had posed the million dollar question. Though I feared that something darker was in store than Quint was expecting. Why was this girl here and not someone fully grown into their powers?

"Not all of our kind believe this to be God's true path Father. God told us to follow our hearts, and not all of us believe in the daughter of dusk and dawn, her name is Allegra de'Vaine and I have seen her in my dreams. What I have seen is darkness and death around her, and she is the key to Armageddon. She has many followers in our Kingdom and as such my views are not popular or believed. They say I am to young to understand my visions or the portents of the future. I believe his to be a test of Gods faith that my people are failing, and I was chosen to return to this plan and seek out the bringer of balance. The person that my visions of the future have marked. You, Alex Develin."

Okay now I was fucked.

End of Line.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 11

We both laid on the floor of St. Augustine's for what seemed like a long time. Father Quinton had just called more magic in the span of five minutes than he probably had in his whole life. From summoning down holy bolts to banishing a demon, to healing the wounds I had suffered, he had pushed himself to hard... and to far.

The same could be said of me I guess. I was drained, both physically and spiritually. The duality of my heritage made me unique among my species, able to walk both in the dark and the light. By day, exposure to sunlight causes me to shift to my light form, a burning creature composed of light and heat. By night, the moon calls my dark form, a creature of swirling blackness. The essence of both natures, with the needs and hungers that go with both.

In my youth I was taught how to manage my night form by my father and his tutors, but I had to hide by day. There was no one to teach me how to control my other form as the light walkers had pulled from this world shortly after my birth. With no way to control that part I simply learned to hide, learned to live like a Night Walker.

It had been so long since I had transformed into that creature I forgot how changing back made me feel. I had also never expelled so much energy during a transformation. I could feel the emptiness inside me, not just from hunger but from draining so much of my own self in that fight.

I continued to sit there, looking over at Quint, knowing I would need to check on him. He had proved his worth tonight, talking me back from the edge, but I was so tired. I looked down at the rosary still in my hand and wondered if Quint knew what it meant to me. Next to Jules jacket, nothing else I owned meant more to me. This rosary represented everything I did this job for. Father Malkin's rosary.

Malkin was my first handler from the church before Quint had came. Mal was a pretty progressive thinker for a man of God. There had been an Uprising that had killed a lot of Norms. A really bad one. Some User had tapped into a Well of Souls, a sort of device that if you channel enough dark magic into it you could raise the dead back to life. Unfortunately the more magic you channel, the more sentient it becomes. The guy had become obsessed with reviving his wife and he poured to much of himself into the artifact.

After it took control of him it began raising armies, scores of walking dead that attacked Norm, Fell and Night Walker alike. The church, long mankind's only defense, helped rally against the User and the dead, forging an uneasy peace in the process. Between this act and what happened to Juliet at The Copper Cup in the months prior, everyone knew something had to be done. To protect this peace, someone would police each city with the full backing of all three factions. I was chosen through my fathers will, though I think it had more to do with no one caring if a half breed died or not. The important thing was that I didn't play sides, my stance among Night Walkers was well known, and the Fell vouched for my affection for Norms based on what had happened with Juliet. Father Malkin was chosen to assist me by the church.

Mal had been one of the lead supporters of the treaty and forging a peace. He accepted me for what I was, and proved himself to be a capable and determined friend. Through him he helped me cope with the guilt I faced over Jules, and offered my salvation through God.

I took his death hard, he had trusted me to save him like I had trusted him to save me and again I let someone I cared about down. Again I wasn't there to protect him. I could still see the dead pulling him apart piece by piece as I arrived to late to save him, though his sacrifice had saved the young girl he had been protecting. I had taken his rosary as a reminder of my failure. A reminder that allowed someone of my ilk, someone damned, to walk the same halls as he had.

I closed my fingers around the rosary and shoved those thoughts into the corner of my mind. I had to much to deal with without a trip down fucking memory lane. I picked myself up slowly off the floor and felt the stabbing sensation of pins run down my legs as the blood flow began circulating. Gingerly I limped over to Quint and fell to the floor beside him.

I checked his vitals really fast and everything seemed okay. He had simply passed out from the exertion. I pulled his fingers apart from around the shotgun and maneuvered him into a sitting position.

"Padre......Padre.....You still with me?"

His eyes fluttered open and he let out a soft groan. Rubbing his head head he sat forward and stretched.

"Our Lord in Heaven, mercy."

That was about as close as I have ever heard Quint to cursing in the time I had known him. It was all the more surreal to watch him throw up seconds later. That usually happens when you draw to much power, sort of your bodies way of fighting back. He leaned back against the wall beside me and looked over.

"You okay Alex? I've.....I've never seen you do that before. I've also never seen you take that many wounds..."

He kind of trailed off toward the end and I knew he was feeling awkward. He had taken a leap of faith in casting healing magic on me. If he didn't truly believe in his heart that I was worthy it wouldn't have worked and I would have bled to death. That spell had saved my life, just as his swift action had before that. If he hadn't of acted when he did, I wouldn't be here and I made sure to tell him.

"Look Padre... You did great. I'm not going to be winning any beauty pageants for a while but the way you handled that demon and that User, you earned it today. You saved my life not once, but twice tonight and I owe you."

Quint kind of sheepishly grinned and looked around. The church was really torn up. He was going to have to get some major Church Users in here to get protection spells on this place. Now that we knew what they were capable off, they wouldn't be able to pull this trick twice. Still I didn't know why those fuckers had shown up or what they wanted. Or better yet who they worked for. I also didn't know why Quint had insisted I come over tonight. Most importantly though, I didn't know who the girl they were looking for was, and if she really was a Light Walker.

I slowly stood up and walked over to where I had shed my rig and jacket. My shirt and pants where nearly torn off my body, covered in burn marks, claw scrapes, and blood. I needed to change, and I needed some answers. We were also gonna need a place to hole up, with my apartment without wards and the church compromised we were in danger.

I looked over to Quint who was finally picking himself off of the floor. he wiped his arm against his mouth and wobbled towards the living quarters. I grabbed my gear off the floor and helped him to the back. Pulling up to the same chairs we had sat in last night, I threw my gear over the back of the chair and made some coffee. We had been silent most of the time. I had been trying to allow Quint some time to gather his thoughts, get his wits about him. It was now time for some questions. I poured the coffee into a mug and slid it in front of him.

"Look Padre, time to lay it all out for me. What the fuck just happened here? Who is the girl they are looking for?"

Quint took a long pull of the coffee and looked back at me.

"Maybe its better that I show you."

Unsteadily he got to his feet and headed towards the pantry. Opening it he waved his hand in an arcane motion and I could see the blue aura of holy magic flow forth. Across the floor a sigil lit in the tell tale shades of blue as Quint repeated a prayer. As he approached the climax of the incantation, the floor shifted downward, as the stone blocks reformed themselves into a spiral staircase descending into the depths of the Church.

Now I knew about the church's catacombs and what was interred in the basement. There was some nasty shit downstairs. This was completely knew to me though. Even Mal had never shown me this.

"I'm sorry Alex. What I am about to show you we who serve the Order were sworn to secrecy to preserve. In the years before the Treaty the Church had dedicated itself to protecting its people from the things they couldn't fight or comprehend. This section of the catacombs were sealed off and warded by the highest of our order to be protected. Warded by angels, or what you call Light Walkers, its protections with our own would protect it from detection or entrance without consent. Just as with divine healing, should you not prove worthy no amount of protection would save you from the spells within."

"This was our base of operations wherein we would monitor the actions of the others. A sanctuary within a sanctuary. When you came to work for us, we knew not how much we could trust you. With your duality, you may have been able to pass into the room due to your Light Walker heritage, we also knew that you had been raised by the Night and could still owe loyalty to them. So we hid it."

I can't say I was surprised. I knew the Church had been protecting Norms before the treaty, we just didn't realize they had been this organized. I was impressed. As we winded back down the staircase Quint continued.

"After tonight there can be no doubt in my mind where your heart lies. The trust Father Malkin had in you I understand now, for many of our order do not trust you. In showing you this, I hope you can understand the importance of who lies below."

As we got to the bottom of the stairs I was filled with questions concerning our mystery woman. If the Light Walkers had returned it could mean many different things, and I didn't see to many good options in any of them. I watched as Quint lit another sigil and opened another door at the bottom of the stairs. We walked in and I could see the back of a girls head reading a book. As the door opened she turned her head and stood up.

I dropped my rig and coat with a clatter as my breath left my body. It was Juliet. My Juliet.

End of Line.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fair Games

Hey all,

Time for post 2 of my birthday fun with my rundown of the Arizona State Fair. After Weezer let out Stef and me headed into the Fair to meet Jason and Autumn. I really enjoy the Fair and hanging out with three of my best friends was fantastic. We started out with grabbing some Fair food. I picked up some loaded fries with cheese and bacon and a truly great cherry lemonade that everyone enjoyed. Stef grabbed a French Bread Pizza that was bigger than my head. Autumn and Jason had already eaten, a pulled pork sandwich and chicken and rice bowl respectively.

Then we made our way over to the place that deep fries everything and had a sampler platter of goodies, including deep fried brownies, snickers bars, cheesecake, and M and M's. A wild assortment to be sure. I didn't care for the cheesecake, I don't like my cheesecake hot and the M and M's were not what I was expecting, sort of a corn dog shaped confection loaded with the candy inside.

After gorging ourselves there we headed to hit a few rides. Last year was the first time I had ever ridden a Ferris Wheel and I wanted to ride an open air one this time. The Grande Wheel, which we rode last year had you in an enclosed cabin and it wasn't very cool. The Wheel this year was open and felt a lot more fun. To be able to see out and feel the wind in your face while taking in the surrounding sights. I was really upset that I forgot my camera, I should have taken some pictures. Stef and me also rode the giant swinging chairs. A ride where you sit in a chair by twos and you are pulled up high and in a circle. It was like a swing set but over a 100 feet in the air. Exhilarating.

Next up was some shopping. I bought a cool belt buckle in the shape of the Russian Hammer and Sickle, while Stef checked out the Nightmare Before Christmas bonanza. We walked around after that before calling it a night at the close of the Fair and I can honestly say it was one of the best times I have ever had. Getting to hand out with Jason and Autumn, and just being around Stef always makes me feel better.

After I dropped Stef off at her house I headed over to the local bar, Old Chicago, and met up with my friends Bill and Carmen, who drove down from Flagstaff specifically for my birthday. Carmen took off as I came up but I got to spend some good time with her and thank her for coming down. Bill and I headed back in to the bar to meet up with Jason's brother Danny and his wife.

Though it was late we managed to still get in a few rounds and tell old stories. I even tried a new drink, an old fashioned. Since watching the show Mad Men on AMC I have wanted to try it as the main character has that as his drink of choice. I got to say that it was terrible. The first drink that I never wanted to finish or order again. It was made with whisky, sugar mixed with bitters (an alcohol designed to be mixed with sugar with a really bitter taste)ice, soda water, and an orange slice with a cherry. It was overly complex and all I could taste was the bitters and soda water. Just horrible.

In the end it was okay because I chased it with a rusty nail and an Old Milwaukee so all's well that ended well. Overall it was such a good day. Growing older never seemed more fun.

Also up top is a post of a young me, boy how times have changed.

End of Line.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Concert Time: Weezer!

Hey all,

Saturday was my birthday and as such it may have been the busiest birthday I have had in a long time, so busy that I decided to split my posts on it into two. I got the chance to go see a great show and go to the Arizona State Fair. I'll post on the Fair Tuesday, but I thought that the concert alone deserved its own post.

My favorite band is Weezer. I love Rancid, I love Social Distortion, I love a lot of bands, but Weezer is straight up my favorite. To have the chance to see my favorite band, on my birthday, with dead center row 6 seats was unbelievable. I had never seen Weezer before, and when I heard they were playing at the Coliseum, I knew I had to go and that I needed some sweet seats. I went with my good friend Stephanie who totally enjoyed the show, though maybe not as much as me.

The concert started at 6 so we got the the venue about 5:45. We got in with no wait and found that there were opening acts. You see, according to all the websites I had visited and checked out for info on the tour, the other bands were not on this bill. But there they were. Tokyo Police Club started it off, but we missed the entirety of their set. We spent so much time trying to navigate the pitch black staircase to the floor that I actually had to carry Stef down the last flight. It was fucking dark!

We grabbed out seats and settled in for the next band, Angels and Airwaves. Fronted by Tom DeLong of Blink 182 fame, they had a really solid set. Stef was really into them having never heard of them before and not realizing that Tom of Blink was the lead singer (of which she was a huge fan). I had heard a few songs on the radio but was more preferable to the other members of Blink's band, Plus 44. That being said they were a good opening act and really got the crowd prepped. I really like some of the cool lighting effects that they did, using palm based lights and laser beam goggles to create a sort of mini light show during the song.

When Weezer came out they blew the doors off the place. Dressed in matching white jump suits against a very plain white tarped backdrop, they kicked off with my favorite song, My Name is Jonas. Then they followed it up with consecutive hit after consecutive hit. I had a small wish list of songs going in that I was hoping to hear, Jonas of course, but also Perfect Situation of their previous album Make Believe, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived off their current album Red, and if I was really lucky, El Scortcho off of Pinkerton. Weezer did not disappoint, they played it all. Even digging out a song I didn't think they would play in Susanne off the Mallrats soundtrack.

There were so many things that impressed me about the band. Each member of the four man band got a moment in the spotlight during the opening few songs. The drummer did vocals to Jonas, the lead guitarist and bass player sang on the songs and Rivers Cuomo did Pink Triangle off of their album Pinkerton. After each band member took center stage, they dumped the Clockwork Orange white jumpsuits and shed down to some red jumpsuits, then they pulled the tarp to reveal the backdrop, a huge light board from the floor to the ceiling and kicked it into high gear with Say It Aint' So.

There were several moments in the concert that were extraordinary. One was when Rivers rode on a guys back through the crowd during El Scortcho playing the guitar. High fiving and smiling, he looked to be genuinely enjoying himself.

Another was the hootenanny jam they performed for their FIRST encore. They invited like 35 people up onto the stage, all of whom had their own instruments, and did a huge ensemble jam session covering Island in the Sun and Beverly Hills. It sounded really great, a combination of guitars, drums, horns, flutes, trumpets, even a didgeridoo! It was incredible!

The next was the two great covers they played. Time from Pink Floyd I think caught everyone off guard but they nailed it and I am not a Pink Floyd kind of guy. The second was during their SECOND encore. They left after the jam session with the musicians and a grip came out with a little red record player. He hooked it up and put on Weezers new album to play their song Heart Songs. Its an ode to all the bands that influenced them over the course of their life, from Eddie Rabbit in the 1970's to Nirvana in the 90's. Just as the lyric came to Nirvana, the band came on stage and kicked the record player over and busted into a killer cover of Sliver (Grandma Take me Home) by Nirvana. It was amazing. I was a little disappointed to see so many people not know the lyrics (or maybe even the song) to Sliver, but I loved it.

It was incredible to listen to so many people sing along with the music. I have never been to a concert where I knew the lyrics to every song they played, and sang along with every note. Even bands like Rancid played a few that I didn't know, but Weezer torched everything. The more I reflect on it, the more I wish I could go again. They could have ended after the first 5 songs and I would have been content. The fact that they played for almost 2 hours...well it was incredible.

After Nirvana they closed the show with Buddy Holly and the whole crowd was still singing along. It was maybe the most fun I have ever got to spend at a show. Getting to go with Stephanie was just icing on the cake. I may not know exactly where I stand, but I felt very close to her during the show and the rest of the night. It was all I could have asked for in a birthday, and the night had just begun.

End of Line.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 33

Billy looked at the group of ragged survivors. Root seemed to be holding up well enough still, but the rest didn't look as good. Katee was weary, her hands shaking every time she glanced at Reny or Claire. Claire lay curled in a ball at her fathers feet as he caressed his baby. Reny was streaked with blood and cuts, and Katee had already told him of the bite marks she had seen on both of them.

"Listen.. we can't stay here and we can't ignore what we know."

Billy looked meaningfully at Root and Reny.

"We are gonna have to make for the train. Its the only chance we got of gettin' out of town and gettin' to some help. We stay here we are gonna die. The longer we wait... well let's be fuckin' honest here Reny, your gonna turn into one of them. We seen the marks."

Reny held his baby tightly, tears streaking down his face. He slowly lowered himself to pull his other daughter even closer.

"I.....know. Look... I'll draw them away from the store.... just....just promise me that you'll keep my babies safe."

Katee, tears flowing down her face, slowly lowered herself down to Reny's level. She reached out and took the baby from his arms. Reny, slowly giving the daughter away, reached out to Claire afterward, drawing her close as well.

In the embrace he looked up to Katee, Billy, and Root.

"Look, I don't know when this will happen. But I will fight it with all my being to meet you at the train. I want to see my daughters off safely and if it comes down to it...if I become one of them.... don't you fucking hesitate."

The three of them nodded as Reny pushed his daughter away. She was already growing fevery and flushed, sweat on her brow. Katee took her hand and led her to the bedroom, the little girl never making a sound.

Reny picked himself up, and strapped on his gun belt and grabbed his rifle. He checked his ammunition and put on his hat, then went out the door to the balcony. He looked back over his shoulders.

"I'll see you in 20 minutes."

With that, he hopped over the railing, and ran towards the undead.

End of Line.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Wish

Hey all,

As promised I am posting another birthday poem. I wanted to do something positive this year. Last years poem wasn't exactly sparkling in its positivity. This year I wanted to pick a moment that captured the possibility of the new year while you could reflect on what happened the past year. So I picked the moment when you blow out your candles.

For me that is the point when you are thinking about what is to come and what has past. Where last year meets this year. Where what you did meets what you will do. Anyway, enjoy the poem and I'll be back tomorrow.

My Wish

I draw a deep breath,

To be gathered in lung,

Preparing to blow,

My birthdays now begun.

We are gathered together,

To hear a happy song sung.

I've grown a year older,

But still feel so young.

A birthday wish is held,

Flickering at candles wick,

Snuffing out the flame,

To capture it the trick.

With so many choices,

What wish should I pick,

Now the songs nearly over,

I must think quick.

They've come to the end,

And sang the final line,

I close my eyes,

And pray for the divine.

Holding the wish in my mind,

If spoken aloud its chances decline.

Now exhale my breath,

And the candles flame resign.

Gathered friends now cheer,

And clap their hands.

The cake is cut,

At the crowds demands.

I've cast my wish,

With the best of plans.

Now I must wait,

To see where it stands.

If my wish comes true,

My dream I'll gladly receive.

If it fails to pass,

Then I've just been naive.

As my birthday draws close,

And gathered friend take leave,

I look back on the year,

And all I did achieve.

Another year gone by,

And the stories I've tended,

Of the times we've shared,

And the people befriended.

I've grown in my heart,

My hope and dreams have ascended.

And though the year is over,

My wish is unended.

End of Line.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Missing in Action..

Hey all,

Okay I did it. I missed completely my first deadline. I should have posted new Flash Fiction for The Darkest Dawn like 2 days ago, and yet this is the first time I have cracked the PC since Monday morning. Regardless there has been a ton of stuff going on at work gearing up for another big inspection, that has caused me to run over on my time and as a result, not post up.

Thursday also had me serving at a charity function late into the night. One of the local High Schools was engaging the community and many neighboring schools in a town hall event. This had over 1200 students and family members attending the event to learn about options for post high school education. Needless to say, our patch of stores was called on to cater the event. Mostly I was on delivery and pickup duty, gathering product and delivering it to the school. It felt good to help out the community. That was a hell of a lot of kids to feed!

Today I got a surprise visit from my boss who spent like 9 hours in my restaurant. So that didn't work out as planned. I left late and didn't get what I needed done accomplished. He did drop the fact that we would potentially be testing a new menu item. As you may or may not know, working at McDonalds you get to test certain items out to see how they could fare throughout the country. Phoenix is a high percentage Big Mac mover, well over national normals. We under perform in the new snack wraps. The concept is to combine the two with a Big Mac Snack Wrap. Half a slice of quarter pound hamburger, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a tortilla. Sounds gross... tastes really good surprisingly. We will see if that rolls out.

Anyway here is the plan for the next few days. Tomorrow is my birthday and I will post up some new work for that day. Sunday is new Flash Fiction with Under a Dead Sun. Monday will roll out with my take on Weezer's concert tomorrow. Tuesday will reflect my visit to the fair, and then Wednesday and Thursday will be double doses of The Darkest Dawn to make up for my shoddy posting schedule. Stay tuned...

End of Line.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Hey all,

Time to get a bit reflective again. What is attraction? What makes one person become drawn to another? I often wonder what about me can be attractive. Do women really look for things like personality or a sense of humor? Or does physical attraction hold the key.

Some people believe in love at first sight. That you know within the first minutes of meeting someone that you are meant for each other. That instant sense of attraction. Others believe that attraction can be created over time. Time may pass by and one day you realize that all you ever wanted has been right there all along.

I don't know that I believe in either path right now. I would like to think that I could find qualities in myself that others may one day come to appreciate, but it's hard in a world so geared to physical perfection and all I see is the imperfections of life. I want to think that each day brings me closer to somebody seeing something in me that I don't.

When looking outward, I often wonder how people can be attracted to the wrong type of person. So many times I see people taking the same paths following what they find attractive, only to realize the result is still the same. That is a lot of why I think many girls like the bad boy or the rebel figure. Something so mysterious or outside of their norm that the lure of the unknown becomes intoxicating. Yet afterward I see these same people ask why they become attached to the wrong person so often when it is their choice in the end.

This brings me to ask the question, is attraction even important in a relationship? If you are consistently attracted to the wrong person, or find that others aren't attracted to you in the same way, do you even follow your instincts. I'd like to think that attraction is important. A means to keep the spark of the relationship lit and as a foundation for growth. Does this mean that attraction cannot be experienced over time? Again I think not, as repeated exposure can lend to familiarity, which in turn can lead to even more.

And yet if all this I hold true, why do I feel no closer to finding a relationship today than I did 1 year ago? Or 3? Or 10? It becomes defeating each and every day the same path yields the same results. This is something that shouldn't surprise me. Failure simply leads to more failure. What fear in me lies so deep to allow me to become rooted, anchored to one spot. It is the fear of the unknown, it is fear of more failure, it is fear of the truth. The truth that all the things I do believe are wrong and the world is really a harsh reality. That what I see is what I get and that I am destined for only that which I have. That my failure is my own. That my failure has no right answer.

Who am I to judge another persons attractiveness. What they may find lovely, I may find plain. At least they have found someone. It may be the wrong person and another notch on the belt of failure, but each time they try they get closer to finding the answer. Each time I look to this test, I do not succeed, only fail through not trying.

Stare long enough into the sun and you will go blind. Close your eyes long enough and you'll not know the difference.

End of Line.

The Line Up

Hey all,

I have been meaning to get to this column for like 2 weeks and something just keeps coming up. We are about a month into the Fall season and already we are separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak. Overall, this season is going a lot like I figured it would, a whole lot of pomp, not so much circumstance.

Let's look at the returning favorites first. For me one of the best shows back on the air this season is NBC's Chuck. It has that great blend of action, humor, and sex appeal that doesn't take itself to seriously. It picked up right where it left off last season, building the relationship between Chuck and Sarah, the tension of the will they or won't they get together melodrama. Adam Baldwin is great as Agent Casey, the tough guy of the group who is slowly getting won over by Chuck's charm. Definitely a keeper. So much fun.

Coming up right behind (or maybe even slightly ahead) is ABC's Pushing Daisies. I love the chemistry between Ned the pie maker and Chuck the alive again girlfriend. Chi McBride is simply one of the funniest characters in TV as detective Emerson Cod. It is a show full of light hearted humor, fantastic set and costume design, and the show is so unlike anything else on TV that I want it to be successful. The supporting cast is top notch and I want the return of the love triangle with Chuck, Ned, and wayward pie waitress Olive. Please watch this show!

Rounding out my top 3 returning shows is The Office. When did painful awkwardness become so funny. I miss Pam being in the Office, having moved onto bigger things, but the addition of the new HR rep for the Scranton branch was a stroke of genius. She is a perfect counterpart for Steve Carrell, I can't wait to see what my favorite sitcom has in store.

Onto new shows! While I think the strike has hurt this season more than they would care to admit, I haven't been that impressed with the new line up this fall. The worst of the bunch was the CBS sitcom The Worst Week, maybe the most unfunny half hour of TV I have ever watched. I also have quickly dropped the Mentalist, confirming my suspicions that it was an unfunny combination of USA's Monk and Psych.

I did like the first episode of the Aussie sitcom by way of America Kath and Kim with Molly Shannon and Selma Blair. It has a very different feel to it than most sitcoms and I find that I can get behind quirkiness. I also think that Selma Blair is just really funny as the spoiled brat and I am inclined to give it some more air time.

I also watched the first episode of the Sci-fi original series Sanctuary, about a group of people who have pledged to help find a safe place for people with special abilities or heritages to stay...or held depending on their disposition. The first episode had fairly good effects and decent acting. I have hopes for the best as this show has warranted a few more viewings on my part.

The first episode of Life on Mars, a BBC remake about a cop from 2008 who is hit by a car and awakens in 1973 also dropped last week. While the first episode was a bit spotty, I am hoping that now the the admittedly thin premise is set, we can get on with the show. I am definitely giving it more time. My guess is that the adventures he has in the 70's is what is going on in his mind while he is in a coma, but that the results somehow effect the modern world he is trying to get back to. Worth a bit more exploration.

Now let's look at a few other shows. Heroes, in my opinion, is the show with the most prove this season. After what many perceived to be a lackluster and rushed second season, Heroes needed to start with a bang. I think the two hour intro was more of a whimper. With the promises of villains, most of them are defeated rather quickly. That leaves current heroes to become villains and I don't know that you want to change up the status qua like that after a rocky season 2. I will say this, they did start amping it up in the third episode and I am very anxious to see Monday's continuation. If they keep up with what they started last week, Heroes will be to the top of the pack again. I also think more Kristen Bell wouldn't hurt.

Fringe is a new series still on the bubble for me. I like the X-Files meets Lost concept a lot. I don't like that all the characters, except the older professor, are all pretty blase. I am not ready to give it up, but I am ready for the show to make me commit to the characters more. It is hard to stay excited about a show when you can invest some of yourself into the action.

The old standbys, namely The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy, South Park and My Name is Earl continue to stay in rotation. Particularly Family Guy and South Park. Last weeks episode where the boys of South Park bring George Lucas and Steven Spielberg up on rape charges against Indiana Jones was priceless. With Family Guy, we are still singing that stupid Bird song from their season opener. It is a good time for animation right now.

Speaking of animation really quickly, I also watched the first two episodes of Cartoon Networks Star Wars: The Clone Wars and I have to admit, I was impressed. Downplaying the kid centric view of the film, these shows try to find a balance between humor, action, and quality. The show seems to be doing a better job than the film and I for one am happy to be able to like Star Wars again.

Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles is also a show that has be scared. As my choice, I wanted a show with a lot of action and adventure and Terminator is still struggling to find its identity. For every great episode that builds towards the shows quality potential, we get one of two filler episodes that don't quite measure up. I am looking for the same consistency that they had in the first season. Something to find a measuring stick against and to start working on a big picture.

The best show I was introduced to this year that I didn't know about is Mad Men, AMC's series about the men of New York's Madison Ave and the advertising agencies they work for in the early 1960's. A show where the they really show how men behaved back then, infidelity, booze, smoking, more women, all in reckless abandon. Yet everything is in such a perfectly written shell. The writing is some of the best on TV, the characters are rich, deep and varied. All the character can do unforgivable things, yet you find yourself rooting for people to find happiness.

I got through season 1 on DVD in about 3 days, and caught up with a lucky DVR block of season 2 after that. I am currently up to date on all the episodes and I eagerly look forward to Sundays and new shows.

That being said, there are still a few shows that either haven't started or I haven't watched yet. My Own Worst Enemy with Christian Slater and NBC's redux of the classic Crusoe still drop this week. Be on the lookout early next week for another update on the Line Up and the shows we all love. Thanks for reading and happy viewing.

End of Line.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Flash FIction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 32

Elma let out a wail as Claire slipped on the steps, falling in a clatter of ammunition. She tumbled backwards hitting her head in the stair frame as the undead lay in wait below. Reny, still covered in blood and pus, looked on helplessly as Billy and Sheriff Root pulled him up the stairs forcibly. Katee, already at the top of the stairs, moved aside as Root and Billy pulled him up.


Elma flashed Root a murderous look and plunged down the stair case. Over and over she fired the rifle, working the rifle's lever, ejecting the spent shells faster than she would have thought herself capable, obsessed only with the saving of her daughter. Katee drew her revolver to try to pick shots to help her, but Elma was a woman possessed. When her rifle finally clicked empty she simply struck the first creature she saw with the barrel, catching it across the jaw. At the bottom of the stairs, she saw Claire.

The little girl was a fighter, despite the nasty fall and the bruise on the back of her head, she was feebly kicking at the creatures, trying to keep the hungry mouths at bay. Elma waded into the creatures uncaring as to the cuts or bites she sustained, solely locked on her daughter.


Root was screaming as he held back Reny, sure that if the door stayed open to long they would be unable to hold their position. Katee looked to him, then to Billy, and turned down the stairs. She held her gun out, ready to fire but Elma was thrashing so much that a clean shot continued to be impossible. She watched as Elma, in what seemed a superhuman effort, pulled her girl up and headed up the stairs.

Elma was hurt and hurt bad. Her right leg was shredded and she had long claw and bite marks along her neck, arms and back. Katee could see in her eyes that she was going to die. In a final shove, Elma pushed Clair forward with a soft murmur, into Katee's waiting arms.

"Save her."

With that Elma turned back to the monsters and threw herself at them, distracting them in a feeding frenzy long enough for Katee to get Claire to the second floor. Billy shut the door behind her and proceeded to barricade it as Katee gave a sobbing Claire to her father. The two sat on the floor holding each others as tears ran down their faces. Katee left them to help Root and Billy, all the more concerned for the bite marks she saw on the both of them. Out of one fire....and into another.

End of Line.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thought Balloon!

Hey all!

I wanted to drop a line about how much fun I have been having writing the Darkest Dawn. This is the first time I have written for the blog a story that didn't feel like work. Under a Dead Sun is great, but that is a story I had written in my head long before I got to it on paper. With Dawn, I have the general outline established as to where it is going to go, but each week I sit down at the computer and write and it takes me to a different place than I previously thought. I like that I know the destination, but not the journey.

Truth be told, I am excited to be amping up these final Dead Sun chapters as well. Knowing that there are so few chapters left makes me happy to know that I am going to complete something I started a long time ago. That blogger has the function to label and that I can go back and easily read each chapter is even better.

I have even begun pre-work on my next set of stories to see if there is anything to them. Currently I am tossing around a time travel storyline, and if I can wrangle up a good McGuffin, that may be something to look forward to next month.

End of Line.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 10

I could feel my body begin to shift, taking its true form. My skin turning into an inky black, like oil taken shape. It flowed over my clothes, covering me. I wanted to scream as my muscles ripped and tore, rebuilding themselves bigger and stronger but I couldn't as the black tar poured from my skin and down my throat, stifling any cries. My eyes flaring from the ethereal orange to a glowing black, it was almost bright compared to my skin. I could feel my fingers turning to claws as I felt the first burst of tearing flesh as oily wings grew from my back.

I stood, pulling at the blackness around my throat, trying futilely to breathe as every nerve ending in my body felt like it was on fire. The oily substance continued to cover me as I dropped on my hands and knees, the pain sharpening with each second. The transformation seemed to take an eternity, the trailing whispers of smoke and the flowing black swirls of dark magic enveloping me. I could do nothing but wait until my body stabilized, until I could take control.

Being the son of a Night Walker and a Light Walker, my body was unique among my kind. Instead of being half vampire or half angel, I was something else entirely. During the day exposure to light would reveal one form, which I couldn't control, and during the night I could transform into another form, this form, that my Father had taught me to control. I hated the transformation, not just for the pain, but for what this form reminded me of, that the darkness inside me had a hunger, one that I had to control.

Finally my body stopped changing and I picked myself off of the floor. My entire body was covered in a thick black substance, like shiny water my skin flowed over my form. My eyes were aglow in a black light that seemed so bright when compared to the rest of me and my body had grew, raising close to 7 feet tall, thick with muscle. Huge wings grew from my back, dark liquid coursing across their wingspan. Though in this form I couldn't fly, the wings still enabled me greater leaping and gliding abilities. Finally I looked to my hands, my fingers ending in barbed points, like the tips my fangs and they were both hungry to feed.

I looked for the demon and his three henchmen, they had entered the church. The demon looked hurt, the holy bolts haven taken its toll on him. The three henchmen all had guns, I didn't see any Users in the lot, though if i was to have any chance, I would need to finish of the one outside while this fucker was on holy ground. It was the only way I could banish him from this plane, and my only way of beating him.

I looked over to Father Quinton, who had pulled himself up, rubbing the burns from where the demon had touched him. When he finally looked at me, what little color he had left in his skin paled and he made the motion of the cross. He had never seen me in this form, hell few people have and for Quint it was another reminder of just what I really am.

"Pull it together Padre, we ain't done yet."

My voice sounded like wet gravel and Quint seemed even more shaken. No time to worry about that though, it seems our house guests needed attending. I broke into a sprint, just a blur as black shadow as I headed for Tch'Karta's cronies first. I could feel the sting of their guns as they opened fire, but I just seemed to melt around the bulk of it, my form shimmering as I crashed into the first one.

I plunged my hand over his face and felt myself flow in through his mouth and nose. Deep inside I bled and I could feel his body shake and jerk as I drained the life from him. I reached out with my other hand and willed myself forward, my barbed fingers flowing out like a rope to grab the next man. As I pulled the last traces of life from the first, I curled my claws around the second as pulled. There was a terrible scream as the liquid claws burned through his body, leaving the severed remains behind.

After the first two died, the third began to back away and I simply fired a bolt of black magic at him. His body stiffened and began to whither, like a flower decomposing too fast, leaving just a blackened husk behind. Having tasted human flesh for the first time in years, my body felt more alive than it had in a long time, and I was still hungry.

The demon had watched me tear through his underlings and beckoned me on. My magics would have less effect on him, being wrought of the same material himself, but in this form the same was true of me. I slowly began stalking towards him. The demon smiled, an ugly thing of fangs as it pulled itself to its full height.

We met in a tremendous crash. The demon breathed fire and tore at my skin with his poisoned claws. I sank my own deep into its flesh and poured myself in through them, clinging to him as he ripped at me. I could feel his claws shred into my wings and my skin boil and bubble as his flames licked at me, but still I held on. I pulled every last vestige of dark magic I could, inverting my shielding in an attempt to slow the monster. Finally, the demon roared and sank both sets of claws deep into my back, so far inside that they popped out of my chest.

I let go with a gravelly cry as the demon threw me hard, his claws making a sick sucking noise as I slid free. I hit hard into the pews, going end over end to land in a broken pile of bones and wood. I tried to draw more energy in to heal my wounds, but it was so hard to concentrate. I could feel my body trying to knit itself back together as I coughed out red-tinged blackness.

Tch'Karta moved towards me slowly. He was hurt I knew. Those holy bolts had done some damage, and I had done more with my powers but let's be fucking real here. This was a Greater Plane demon. Unless it was daytime, I didn't have the powers to do anything significant to this thing, and as long as that User was outside masking its presence in here, Quinton wasn't strong enough to call down any more magic on this thing. I may be seeing Juliet sooner than I thought and right now that didn't sound all that bad. I knew one thing though, as long as I could move, I wouldn't give in yet. I owed her that much.

I pulled myself up, leaning on the back of one of the pews. Twin rows of holes bled out my chest and my wings were nearly shredded off my back. The glow in my eyes had faded and I knew I was close to cashing it in. The demon stopped steps from me and spoke again, his voice scraping across my skull like a knife.

"I ask again half breed. Answer me and your death shall be quick. Where is the girl? Where is the Light Walker?"

I still didn't know what this guy was talking about but even if I did I wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

"Fuck off asshole."

It's eyes sparked in flames and you could feel the energy in the room draw to him. I really have to work on having this kind of effect on people. Must be my sunny fucking disposition.

My left arm hung pretty limply so I raised my right, concentrating my energies into my hand. I quickly felt light headed as the magics that were healing my body stooped working and answered the call. That was okay, I wasn't going to need to stay on my feet that much longer anyway. Time to punch the clock one last time.

Coming up in a rush I dove into the shadows cast by the rows of pews, melding with the darkness. The demon breathed fire at the shadows but I was no longer there. I had merged with the shadows, this form along me travel across them as one. Emerging behind the demon from its own shadow I raked my claws down its wings, leaving long bloody rends. If only we had been outside still, I could have drawn closer to the User, but to much space lay between us and I didn't have the time or strength for that many jumps.

Quicker than I could have imagined such a huge monster capable of, the demon turned breathing fire on me. True balefire this time and I felt my body burst into flames, catching me before merging with the shadows again. It was agony but I forced myself around to meet the demons charge. It let out a swipe with its right hand that I forced my limp left up to block. I was answered with a sickening crunch as the bones beneath my flowing skin broke. The costly parry had worked though and had drove the demons arm wide. Using my right, still covered in balefire, I struck my claw as hard as I could into its chest, releasing the last of my magical energies in one contained burst. My hand tore into the hole and I had burst through. No longer caring I willed my body to pour into the demon and I could feel its organs and body as I tore at it from the inside.

It let out another terrible shriek as it reached down, wrenching my head back from its body. Still I held tight forcing more of myself into it. As it raised its claws again, drawing aim at my head, I knew I would see Juliet soon.

It was then I heard the first shot, followed by another, and Tch'Karta erupted in flames himself. Hot white flames this time, with the blue flicker of holy magic entwined. The fires of heaven. Caught in his grasp, the balefire that covered me clashed with the heavenly flames, exploding together in an array of magical fire. With so much of myself caught inside the demon, the resulting explosion ripped us apart as I was flung against the pews again. I landed in a smoldering heap, the opposing flames canceling each other out.

I pulled my head up to see Quint standing over the User, the shotgun in one hand, his cross in the other. He had broken the spell of protection and the demon was caught on consecrated ground. Quint limped toward the demon, trailing blood behind him. I watched him fall into his Work, drawing holy spells of banishment on the creature as it writhed in pain, trapped inside the church. He continued his chant as I tried to pull myself into a sitting position, but I was simply to broken, to beaten.

Finally in a final flourish, Quint cast the spell as the demon was surrounded by a column of blue. The demon rose inside the column as it shrunk in upon itself, collapsing into a sphere. It drew tighter and together until finally exploding into nothingness. Spent from the casting, Quint fell to the floor.

We both lay there for what seemed a long time and I could feel my life force ebb away. I had pulled to much power and had burnt myself out. I had nothing left. I had done my job though. I had held it off long enough for Quint to kill the User. I was okay that this was the end.

I will say I was surprised when Quint pulled himself up. He was hurt pretty bad but he edged himself towards me. I have to say this, I knew this form scared the shit out of Quint. This was proof of the darkness inside me and just another reason why Quint had never really trusted me. How could somebody hunt what they were? Quint though, looked me straight in the eye without flinching.

"Change back Alex. I will call for Him to heal you."

This was a big step for Quint. He had never offered me healing before. Sure, he had given me blessings and benedictions as his job called for him to do, but he had only given what he had to. He had never really trusted me, his order were trained to protect against me so I guess it made sense. Still he had done as he had been ordered to. Now he needed me to change back, holy healing doesn't work on night Walkers, you know.. polar opposites and such. Still, I guess this is what they call a bonding moment.

"I 'preciate that Padre.... but don't worry. It's to late. I ...haven't got the strength to turn back now."

"Yes you do Alex. Before tonight I never trusted you. I have been taught my whole life about what lies in the dark and that I am its warden. Through the Power of God, I felt like nothing could hurt me and that it was my duty to protect the world from what i thought you could do. The darkness was in you, and I thought if you ever gave in you would lose control. Tonight though, tonight you did something you have never allowed yourself to changed, and to protect me and this house. You can do anything Alex. Concentrate and change back. Change for me, change for yourself....change for her. Remember the rosary."

When he mentioned Juliet my promise came flooding back. To fight on in her name, to protect those who can't protect themselves. I looked down to my wrist and saw the rosary still wrapped around it, the only part of my body not covered in the oily darkness. I rubbed the cross with my fingers and delved deep into myself. I could feel my dark half and I began to wrestle control from it away. It slipped and slid across my thoughts, it was like trying to catch water, flowing through my fingers. I slowed my breathing and thought of her, remembering the happiness and love we shared, each thought a reminder of why I held control. A reminder of the person who showed me my true form, neither Light nor Dark, just Alex.

With a final exhale I opened my eyes to see my form returned to me. It also brought back all the pain of real life and my injuries. My original transformation had healed all of my previous hurts, but everything that had happened as I was transformed carried back. My left arm hung shattered and my back was ripped into shreds. Worse yet were the huge holes in my chest that let out a sickly sucking noise when I breathed. As blood trickled from my mouth and darkness closed around my vision, I could hear Quinton chanting, as if though far away. My body was bathed in a blue glow as I felt warmth flow through my body.

My body began knitting itself together as I felt His love for the first time. Every fiber of my being felt at peace, a peace I hadn't known since Juliet. My torn limbs and back smoothed over and I breathed easier. I gripped the rosary tighter as the healing waves covered me.

All to soon it was over and I opened my eyes. My Second Sight could see the tell tale blue glow of healing and blessings around me as my orange magics began weaving around them, restored through His magic. I looked to Quinton to thank him, a grateful smile at my lips. He finished his incantation with a final marking of the cross, and collapsed.

End of Line.