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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 40


Billy and Katee walked hand in hand as they crested the last hill, leading to a small valley where lay the town of Desperation. They shared a brief kiss and held each other tightly as they quickened their pace down the slight hill slope. Desperation was dark, though several lights still burned in the windows. It was still twilight and the early rays of the sun were still a few minutes away from breaking.

They followed the train tracks to the bottom of the hill and kept up their pace as they trotted the last mile to town. The tracks lay on a flat stretch of land and they kept a steady pace. Every few moments, Katee would look over at Billy. Both were bloody and beaten, from fighting and running and trying to stay alive, and each knew the other was pushing on for the other's sake. Katee saw a man who had risked everything to keep her safe. The first man she had looked at in a long time that didn't treat her like what she was. Or at least what she use to be. A man who loved her.

Billy saw a woman unlike any he had ever known. Fierce, tough, loyal, and independent, Katee was a woman who could take care of herself. She had a smile that was real and infectious, and Billy couldn't help but feel lighter, like his worries were fading away, with each smile she shared with him and each step he took beside her. As they neared town, he knew this was the woman he loved.

As they neared closer to the town, a dull glow appeared in the East, the first hint of the sunrise. Spurned on by this thought they moved quicker. As they reached the outskirts of town though, something caught Billy's eye that didn't seem right. He slowed his pace and looked over to Katee, who had been looking at him but turned back to the path ahead when he had slowed. The two were still holding hands when they reached it. There on the ground they looked at it. A man, heavyset, in a brown suit, laying face down in the dirt just outside of town.

Motioning for Katee to stay put, Billy let go of Katee's hand and crept forward. Crouching down, he set his rifle on the ground and cleared out the pistol he had recovered from the train. Slowly, he turned the body on its side wary all the time, never taking the barrel of the gun away from the body. Katee could see the expression on his face even before he had even finished turning the body. The man's face had grown yellow, mouth engorged and fanged, his expression narrow and angry. His stomach had been ripped open and stripped clean on its contents. The man's fingers ended in sharp dark red points, with the stains of blood and pus evident on his lips and in the dirt below.

Whatever had happened in Contention had followed them to Desperation.

Katee's eyes went wide with fear, and tears flowed down her dirt ridden face. Billy got up and put his arm around her. She buried her face in his chest and wept as Billy rubbed her hair. He watched as the sun broke the crest of the horizon, a sun grown black, illuminating the world in an unearthly dull light. It was then he could hear movement coming from the direction of the town. Slow, shambling steps that echoed across the valley walls. Billy knew then that there was no escaping this. No running away. They were trapped, wherever they went on this Earth, under a dead sun.

The End.

End of Line.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey all,

Wanted to wish everyone a good Turkey Day today, as well as apologize for the lateness of yesterday's post. The new chapter is up, though it's slightly smaller than my normal sized chapters of this serial. This chapter is really a bridge, where there is a lot of information to cover in the next installment, but you have to get the characters to where they need to be. I thought the chapter would be to big if I went into the next section, so I decided just to frame it this way. It's still a good size post though.

Anyway I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving and be sure to check in Sunday for the last chapter of Under a Dead Sun, with a super awesome bonus included!

End of Line.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 17

Bella was worse for wear, but alive at least. The van was fucking trashed though, no way we were gonna be able to drive it back to the church. I helped ease her out of the wreckage, though I quickly eased her to the ground when it became apparent that she couldn't put any weight on one of her legs. Bella's left arm may have been broken too, and she had that deep cut on her scalp. Bella let out a soft moan as she rested her head against the car door and I applied some pressure to stop the bleeding. Bella and I were silent as I watched her close her eyes and concentrate, while I kept the pressure up.

After a few moments, Bella opened them and I could see a sparking green flare fuse from her eyes. She reached behind her back with her right arm and drew out the short staff she had taken earlier. Affixed to the head of the staff was a green emerald. Driving the staff into the dirt she held hold of it, beginning a chant that sent the magic in her eyes through the gem and an to the ground. She kept up this chant for a few minutes as waves of Green energy flowed from the her eyes through the gem and back from the Earth.

Elementalism was magic from the elements, Earth, wind, fire, and water. Through it could also pull its energy from the plants and lifeforms that can be found within this world. Bella was using life force of the Earth to knit her wounds. While not as good as the healing magic of Holy, or even the self healing powers that Ethereal magic offers, it was a fuckload better than nothing.

When she finished her chant, she let out a long breath. The bleeding in her scalp had stopped, and she could move her arm and leg again, albeit very gingerly. We would need to get her to Quint asap for some proper healing. I jumped back up into the remains of the van and grabbed up Bell's bag and retrieved my weapons. I jacked new rounds into them before glancing at my watch, noting the time. Hopping back out, I leaned over to Bell and helped her up, letting her put her weight on me. We gingerly headed for the bridge that lead over the canal, and into the city proper.

"C'mon Bell, let's get you movin'. We'll get you to Father Quinton and he'll patch you up. I also don't want to get caught out during True Dawn, we need to get back to St. Augustine's for more than one reason quick."

"Okay Alex, I think your right. The fact that they were waiting for you outside the Acamy is really disturbing. It's like they knew where you were going. If they can rustle up two attack units like you faced tonight, who knows what they could do. They may have even taken another shot at the church."

I didn't like the sound of that. I have been underestimating these fuckers. If they can cast the kind of magic to control a planar demon and get onto holy ground, then send another team after me, I couldn't afford to take any more chances. Or make any more mistakes. I was afraid Bella may be right. Whatever happens next, I needed to be the one acting, not reacting to these assholes.

We got to the other side of the canal and despite casting that heal, I could see Bell's face twisted in pain. She was putting less and less weight on that leg. That heal was like putting a band aid on a knife wound. Yeah it helps, but really how much. I used my free hand and twisted out my cell. Fuck, I had cracked the damn screen again. I punched in the number for one of the local cab companies and promised a big fucking tip if they got here within the next 10 minutes.

We hobbled a little ways down the drag until we got to a lonely little bus stop. I eased Bella onto the bench and head her let go a little sigh of relief. She's a tough little girl, I had to give her that. I glanced up again at the moon, drawing lower in the sky and knew didn't have the time to waste. Out of habit I popped out another smoke. Stressful fucking shit I tell you. I offered one to Bella as I sat down beside her, who shook her head no. I took a long drag letting the smoke fill my lungs, then slowly exhaled it. Man that felt good. I used my free hand to caress my rosary beads as we sat there waiting for the cab, in the quiet early morning. Reminding myself of what those beads meant, and of what I had almost lost.

The cabbie showed up as I finished the smoke and I bustled Bell in. I threw a wad of bills on the front seat and told him to haul ass to St. Augustine's. His eyes widened and he floored the cab. I might have been using my "I'm gonna fucking kill someone" voice when I said it, but I didn't give a shit. I needed to check on Quint..... and Sera.

The cabbie kept his eyes half on us and half on the road as he sped through the streets. Traffic was light on the fringe of the city, but as we got deeper down it started to pick up. Santa Diego, needless to say, always had a healthy nightlife. With so many Walkers, there are entire districts of the city that are open only at night. I just hoped we wouldn't hit traffic, there would be a rush for our kind to get indoors before True Dawn and I really wasn't in the mood for that.

The cabbie made good time though and got us to the church. I dumped another $20 on the wad I had tossed him earlier and helped Bella out of the car. I had the cabbie drop us off in the back entrance, though I didn't see Brother Tristan's car yet. Worried, I eased Bella onto the stoop and slid my gun free.

"Bella... I'm gonna check out the church. I'm thinking you were right when you said that these guys had more resources than I gave them credit for. I already got you hurt once tonight, I can't have that happen again. Wait here, if you hear shots fire off a flare to the Academy. They'll come for you at least."

She tried protesting but I wasn't having any of it. I fixed her with a hard stare and she finally relented. I knew that she never gave in that easy, she must be more hurt than she was letting on. I knew one thing though, if I asked her to go in there, she would. It was like the years of tension between us was leeching away.She gave me a grim smile while she pulled out her gun and and staff as waited on the steps. Besides I knew she had ways to get a hold of help if things went to shit, though I doubt the Academy would care all that much about what else was going on. One of Merrin's key choices was to keep the school out of politics. Still, she had been going there long enough and had some contacts that would come and help. I just hoped it didn't come to that.

I nodded her my thanks and eased the back door open. As soon as I entered I knew that something was wrong. The place crackled with energy, ambient rays of broken Blue and Black magic still echoed across the building. I rushed through to the kitchen and found it destroyed. The entire room had exploded in a shower of magic. The backlash was so bright I could see it with my normal vision. There were several bodies strewn about the room, including that of several lesser flight demons, imps, familiars, and watchers alike. It looked like the pantry had seen the worst of it. The sigil that had held the secret room had been cracked and the entrance was opened in the blast.

I crept down the stairs though I didn't hear anything. As I reached the bottom, I saw the ground covered in burn marks and blood. The room was destroyed, furniture broken and burnt, ambient magical energies still coursing unchecked through the cracked sigils that had adorned the wall. It was what I saw next that nearly broke me though. On the far wall was Father Quinton. He had been crucified.

His hands were splayed to either side with long silver knives driven in them. His feet had been bound together and driven into the wall with another knife. His face was a bloody, puffy, broken mess. Thick tears formed in the corners of my eyes as I vaulted the distance between us.


I immediately sent the Orange tendrils of my magic to probe him. He was still alive! Just barely, his pulse and heartbeat weak and irregular. As I urged him to stay with me, his left eye fluttered open, his right to swollen to even move. He managed to utter one phrase before blacking out again.

" Tristan. He....he took Serapha."

That fucking mother fucker.

End of line.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Word Balloon: Manhunter

Hey all,

For November's installment of the column, I thought a return to mainstream super heroics was in order. I've already highlighted Spider-Man from Marvel, this month i thought I would turn to my favorite DC super hero, Manhunter by Marc Andreyko, Javier Pina, Jesus Siaz and Michael Gaydos.

Manhunter stars a female protagonist by the name of Kate Spencer, a trial attorney by day, and street vigilante by night. With a failed marriage under her belt and raising a young son, Spencer turns to vigilantism in the instances where the legal system that she loves can't do it's job.

The character of Manhunter has had several incarnations over the years at DC, with Kate being the eighth person to take up the mantle. What sets this book apart from the rest of the DC universe is the books tone. DC is mostly known for its larger than life superheroes, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash. Even it's mid tier characters are usually more powerful, guys like The Green Lantern, Hawkman, Shazam, are all big time heroes. Manhunter is a book with a very "Marvel" feel. Kate is a street level hero who faces real problems in her everyday life. Her life is a mixture of failed romance, smoking addictions, parental issues, super powered villains, and a history richly involved with the DC universe itself.

The book goes through several artists over the current course of its run. The art, by Saiz, Pina, and Gaydos, is gritty and urban, re-enforcing the books approachability. Each artist has his own style, but throughout the book is the gritty and dark look. There is no mistaking Kate for Wonder Woman, she has not the shine or polish, she is her own woman willing to make the hard choice. Gaydos, the series current artist, is a great fit to give the book its street level approachability.

Andreyko provides a bit of a "Marvel Comics" feel to a very DC book. Manhunter is immersed in DC lore, linking the back stories of the previous men who took the name Manhunter, but he provides a reality in which the reader can gain real attachment. Places like Gotham City or Metropolis have clear identities to the reader. By setting his book in a real city, Los Angles, you don't have that same clear cut expectation. It can be the best and worst of whatever you want. As a writer, Andreyko keeps the book moving with great characters and villains, constantly upping the ante in Kate's personal life to keep both aspects of the book engaging and not another villain of the week slug fest.

The basic premise is that attorney Kate Spencer, divorced federal prosecutor, takes up the mantle of Manhunter when a case she is trying is turns against her. A super powered villain is found not guilty due to his genetic anomaly and gets free to kill again. Taking the law into her own hands, Kate takes a uniform, gauntlets, and a staff confiscated from a evidence locker, and sets out to right the wrongs of a legal system not designed to protect people from the villains of the world, permanently. Along the way she teams up with Dylan Battles, a former henchmen for hire to the various criminal elements of the DC Verse, a man she put into witness protection for his evidence. As she continues her crusade, she learns the origins of her equipment, and meets some of DC's heaviest hitters, creating both new allies and new enemies along the way.

Kate faces not just the legal trials of her day job, but the trials of raising a young son, the trials of facing people trying to kill her, and the trials of quitting smoking. She faces challenges in the origins of her family roots, and in the changes her new job brings out in her son. The book is fun, action packed, smart, and funny, and it is what I feel to be the best book in the DC Universe proper.

That being said, January will see the series draw to a close with issue 38. Manhunter, which started out strong, fell behind in terms of volume and was canceled. Unfortunately this is not the first time the book has been cancelled. It was canceled at issue #26, and issue #30. Both time fervent fans of the book have campaigned to save the book from cancellation and have done so successfully. This may be the books swan song though. Despite critical acclaim from both comics websites and from many notable comic book creators like Brian Michael Bendis, Brian K. Vaughn and Joss Whedon, the book may have seen its last issue. I wanted to take the time to turn the spotlight on this great series before it was gone.

Hopefully, strong trade paperback sales can prop the book for a fourth comeback, but regardless, Manhunter has been a truly surprising read for me, a noted Marvel Comics reader. I never got DC characters, they always seemed to perfect, to unrelatable. Marc Andreyko changed that for me. Do yourself a favor, and me one too, by checking out the first volume of DC Comics Manhunter: Street Justice, by Marc Andreyko and Jesus Saiz. Its really good stuff.

End of Line.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 39


The wind blew across the desert sands, brush and tumble weeds rustling through the prairie. The moon hung low in the western sky in the waning hours of twilight, just before the dawn. It was warm still in the desert as the final rays of moonlight fell across the secluded valley. The wind blew through the ragged remnants of the village that had lay there. You could still hear the slight flapping of the tent flaps and torn banners that lay strewn about the carcasses of the dead men in the camp sight.

Bodies, Indian and Cavalry alike, had been killed in a violent clash. The Armies of the Cavalry having descended in the isolated village. Each side had fought viciously, the Cavalry with superior numbers, the Indians with superior purpose. Each Indian had fought like 10 men, staying alive long after shots and swords had pierced their breast. After the last Indian had fallen, the wounded and dis-spirited Cavalry riders had left the accursed village behind, forgoing their own dead and beating a hard pace home.

Now as the first rays of dawn broke from the east, a terrible sight was beheld by all who watched it rise that day. A sun, black as the pitch of night, rose in the distance. Black rays of sun light plunging the Earth into a dim shadow, like a night sky with no stars. When the first rays shone down upon the ancient Indian Valley, across the bodies of the fallen who had spilled their blood in this most sacred of places, the Earth was reborn. For those who had died the day before, now life returned to their bodies. Each fallen rose, their bodies thick and bloated from the sun, shambled in different directions. Each with a wide razor sharp maw stretched open, waiting and hungry. For the flesh of those still alive.

End of line.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Hey all,

The past few days have been fairly crazy. Friday I was stuck at work and my brother and his wife went into labor! It was very cool. They had a very healthy baby boy and I spent the better part of Saturday hanging out with them. I got to hold the baby and see my brother really come into his own.

My relationship with my brother was always a very close one, and seeing him really accept the role of fatherhood in his life is great. He has really taken to his wife's daughter and she looks to him like a father, which he is. He is going to be great as a father to his son.

I am really proud of him. Its strange to think of him as so much more the family man than me. I knew my role in the family is that of a peacemaker, my brother and mother have a very volatile relationship and I am the bridge in the family. I now see my brother becoming the go to guy of the family, accepting the roles and responsibilities as an adult. Making at least an effort to come to terms with Mom and really becoming the adult that we all knew was there, but never surfaced.

I know both my parents are proud of what he has done in his life. I am proud to be an uncle and to have a measure of worth in his family. What I wonder is if there is a measure of worth in my own life. Have I done anything to be proud of? What measures a successful life? I don't have any good answers, I only know that my younger brother is now his own man. That may make me just a boy and I don't know how to feel about that. My identity in the family for so long was that of the responsible one, the dependable one. The rock for which things could be built upon. I think my brother has usurped this role. If he has where does that leave me? Maybe lost, maybe alone, in the end I have only myself to answer to. Though I don't think I am gong to like the answers.

End of Line.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Hey all,

So I have to credit the source of inspiration for this poem to my room mate. Not necessarily with the poem itself or the contents within, but in the theme. After reading my dark and brooding last poem, Jason pointed out to me that I never write any happy poetry that isn’t a love poem. So I set out to try to correct that with this poem. I tried to find a single thing that made me happy and construct a poem around that.

That didn’t work.

So I decided that instead I would take all the small moments of captured happiness and make that into a bigger poem. This poem is simply about finding the little moments of your day, whether in the moment or in your memory, that make you happy. I can’t say I really like the title though. I try to take all of my titles from an actual line in the poem itself and that was really the only word that captured what I was going for. I hope you enjoy the change of pace.


Where the softest light flutters through the blind,

When dusty motes are caught in kind.

And in the shadows there between,

Are the moments shared unseen.

For the smallest beat of measured time,

When the seconds tick off the prime,

We find ourselves with something more,

The stuff of storybooks and fancy lore.

Its the fall of a single drop in the pouring rain,

Or being on a beach and finding a certain sandy grain.

It’s the sound before the clash of thunder,

And the source of a child’s sense of wonder.

They are in all manner items that aren’t defined,

When you plunge the depths that can’t be mined.

It’s in our hearts and souls as they run unfettered,

Even the tactile things that make us feel better.

Like opening your presents on Christmas morn,

The emotion you felt when your child was newly born.

In feelings you had for your first crush,

Or the smell you get from a flower bloomed lush.

In each brave instance it's captured anew,

Another piece of a greater clue.

Happiness is faint and fleet,

So savor the things that cause your heart to beat.

They come not often or with reason,

And wax and wane with each new season.

But its the moments that make you smile,

That make even the darkest day worth the while.

End of Line.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 16

I perched myself in the passenger seat, arm wrapped around the seat belt strap as I watched the flatbed speed closer. I shifted my Second Sight and saw he whirling colors of Red and Black that attacked our van. Glancing at Bell, I could see the steady stream of Green following from her as she casted. She still had that maniacal smile affixed, but I could see the strain on her delicate face. I looked back at the truck, using my enhanced sight to pick out the targets.

There was no way that Bell could keep up this level of shielding and her focus on the road. We were getting near the city proper and despite the late hour, there would still be a helluva lot of traffic. I needed to take the fight to them and I needed to do it now. Bell eased off the accelerator and let the truck pull in close. I kept my grip around the seat belt and changed guns, switching from the one loaded with UV rounds to the grenade shells. Slowly I drew a bead on the truck, waiting until I had a clear shot at the User casting. I fired two times, the sound of the shot echoing in the small space. It was a good thing most of the roof was gone off this heap.

Both shots hit him, but exploded off the warded shielding the User had rigged up. I decided to test whether or not that shielding applied to the whole van. I dumped the last two rounds into the flatbed, one towards the engine casing and another towards the passenger wheel well. While the engine was warded, as well as the wheel, the asphalt around the wheel wasn't. The truck thundered hard into the pothole with a tearing sound and I knew that I had done some damage. Time to get up and ugly.

"Be right back Bell."

Forcing my leg into motion I let go off the seat belt, my fingers protesting. Fucking poison. I slammed the empty gun in my holster and planted my good foot on a section of roofing that looked mostly intact over Bell's head. I waited until the van slowed enough to give me a position and in one final heave, I vaulted off the roof and onto the truck.

My aim was a bit off and I landed hard on the hood, my momentum carrying me off the far side. I reached out with my bad left hand and forced it to clamp around one of the wipers. It protested, sending a stream of burning agony up my arm, but it did the job. I let my momentum carry me off the side and swung around to the drivers door, gripping a new handhold on the open window. I looked up to see the driver's shocked expression on his face as I flashed him a smile. I threw a punch square into his jaw and reached for the wheel. Before I could grab it though I jerked my hand back as a spurt of fire engulfed the front cab. FUCKING USERS!

I could feel my flesh sear as my good hand held onto the door but I bent the rest of my body backwards to allow the jet of flame to shoot over head. I grit my teeth and swung my body around to find a footfall on one of the center fenders, my back now to the truck. I planted my bad hand, not trusting it grip and vaulted up onto the flatbed. I dropped on my back as two red bolts of energy flew where I had just been and rolled forward. I had foamy green pus leaking out of my left hand and I couldn't keep a fist formed with it and now my right was a mess of burnt muscle and cracked flesh. Great.

I tried reaching down again, to summon my own brand of Ethereal Energy, but I had pushed myself to far already tonight. Between the demon and the ogre and that fucking troll, I was tapped out. I might have to take a shortcut, one I didn't want to do. Glancing about, I kept on the move and took stock. There were two others on the truck beside the User, one of which was shoving our flash fried driver out of his seat. That left one immediate concern outside of Merlin over there. I saw him pull the lever to load a fresh set of rounds into his sub machine gun, but I had no intention of letting him get a shot off.

I jumped up and rolled over a set of boxes that had been strapped down to the bed as he brought the gun up to bear. As I came across the top of the box I used my foot to kick free one of the clamps holding the box down and threw my body across the other strap. I heard the second strap snap at the measure of the weight and the boxes shifted. I hit hard on the bed of the truck and kicked my right foot behind me to keep moving, my left leg having gone almost totally numbed.

Glancing over my should I watched the boxes roll out hitting the second man, his gun shots chattering wide. The momentum of the boxes pinned him to the short wall of the truck with a crackling thud. I expected to feel fire or some other bolt of energy from the mage but was surprised when I didn't. I rolled on my back and saw why.

Great bolts of magic flew from the User, Red and Black sprays of color that clashed with a hail of Green and Red from Bella. I couldn't see her clearly, but I could tell she was losing. She still had the van in gear but the Green shield surrounding her, and it, was faltering as trails of Black leached into her web. I knew that she was out of her league here, this guy obviously was better than her in Evocation, and his understanding of the Black arts at least paralleled her Elemental skills. She may have had a better chance if she wasn't driving, she couldn't let the truck get out of her line of sight for fear of losing me, or the fight. Time to even the odds, for both of us.

I let go again for the second time of the night, feeling the oily blackness begin to coat my arms and legs. A cleansing burn erupted along my hand and leg as my bodies natural defenses kicked in fighting the poison. I kept my eyes on the driver who was tiring to keep the damaged truck moving and on the road. I felt the hunger deep within, a hunger from a body so empty. Before I could even control it I plunged my left hand, now so nimble, deep into the drivers back. My liquid self drank deep, flooding his body with my corruption and feeding me his life force.

I could feel his life force filling me, replacing the emptiness I felt with his glorious essence, his soul. Despite having fed earlier tonight, I hadn’t really had the chance to savor the moment. I also wasn’t as drained or hurt as I was earlier from when I had feasted. Now the temptation was there in full force, to suckle every morsel from his body. I pulled and pulled, feeling my body grow flush at the returning power, tiny sparks of Orange flickering around me. I have to admit, I almost gave in to the hunger, that is until I heard the scream.

It was so loud, I could hear it over the roar of the truck’s engine and the sounds of energy being fried back and forth. It was a girl’s scream. That’s when everything came flooding back. Belladonna. I snapped into my senses, shaking the cobwebs from my mind and hammering my thoughts into place. How could I have been so fucking weak! I felt even more guilty when I realized I had drained this poor sap into just a dusty whithered husk. That’s why I hated this form, and why I hated transforming. It played with my mind and if I wasn’t paying attention, or I was weak, it could take control. I didn't even take a small measure of comfort in that fact that I hadn't fully transformed, my wings still folded into the inky liquid of my back.

I jerked my head around to see what had happened to Belladonna. Her Green shielding had finally cracked and the feedback had slammed her onto her seat. The User had fired another blast that hit the front of the van and it reared off the road into the waning forest that surrounded Santa Diego. That’s when Merlin here looked back at me.

I had just run out of options really fast and I needed to check on Bell so I went back to Plan A. I reached in at the newly glowing ember of Ethereal energy that had formed since my feeding and I felt it flare into my muscles and skin, re-enforcing the oily black frame that surrounded me. Then I flashed the User my best “Fuck You” smile and jerked the wheel hard to the right and slammed on the breaks. Let’s see your fucking shielding help you now asshole.

The truck jackknifed hard flipping on its side in a spray of metal sparks and smoke. I watched the User go flying off the bed as I tucked myself under the wheel as tight as I could. The truck had been going at a pretty good clip and I felt the entire vehicle shake as it skidded off the road. It wasn’t until we hit the embankment an started rolling that it really hurt. The truck crashed through the fencing that surrounded the dry canal that ran along the outskirts of Santa Diego. The canal had been built to get water to the outlying farms in the early days, but now was mostly used to vent off flood waters. It was dry this time of year but as we hit the embanked walls the trucked tipped side over side I got thrown from the truck, sliding down the side of the canal.

I felt the gravel and pavement cut into my body, but my transformation offered me better protection. When I came to a stop at the bottom of the canal I rolled over and looked at the truck. It lay in a smoldering heap, small fires having started already. With a concentrated effort I pulled myself up. Concentrating, I closed my eyes and willed my body to transform back, the black liquid recessing into my pores. After several calming breaths, I opened them again and took stock. I had lost one of my guns somewhere and my shirt was ripped. My jacket, my precious jacket, had scuffs and gravel stains from sliding down the embankment. At least I hadn’t fully transformed, or the wings would have ripped out the back. I flushed my system with my magic, feeling its healing effects flow to damaged body parts before walking to the smoldering truck. It felt good to have use of my leg and hand again. I also knew that I would have to check on this fucking User before heading back to Bell, if he was alive, I needed to know first, as much as it hurt to know that Bell may be in worse shape.

I saw the User almost right away. His shielding had held initially, pretty impressive. He was trapped under the truck. It looked like he had gotten thrown forward and maybe caught up in the wheel as the truck hit him, carrying him over the side with me. Somewhere between that point and the impact on the canal floor, his shields cracked. His legs where broken and bloody under the truck, and his right arm hung at an unnatural angle. More impressive yet, he was still alive. I reached into my rig and freed one of my silver knives. Admiring my reflection in the gleaming blade, I bent down.

“My, my. Now, what have I found here? I think we need to discuss some business, and if I don’t like your answers, I can make your last few minutes here a LOT more fucking unpleasant. Now let’s start with something like who the fuck sent you after me?”

I accentuated the last point by placing the blade along his stomach, pressing the tip hard enough to see traces of red form on the fabric of his tunic. He looked me in the eyes for a moment before closing his. Blood began to trickle from his mouth, maybe internal bleeding.

“Half…breed, who sent me tonight…..should be the LEAST of your worries.”

He ended that with a short barking laugh, before smiling at me, all the while his eyes still close. I caught the whiff of ozone before I could detect the source. His arm caught fire, erupting in a flame that quickly consumed his whole body in a bright blue geyser. I flashed my Sight on, catching the waning glow of a sigil. Sigil magic was some dangerous shit to put on your arm, anyone who knew the sigil and could cast could trigger the effects, or even turn off whatever they did. The fact that this guy was rigged with a sigil to fucking kill him meant that whoever down here was trying to kill me didn’t want me finding out.

Shaking my head, I slipped the knife hack into its sheath and made my way back up the slope at a quick pace. I could see the damaged headlights of the van down the road and broke into a sprint. As I got close to the van, I could see Bell still slumped over the wheel, her body still slightly smoking. I gingerly leaned her head back and tried to assess her. She had a huge bump on her forehead and a pretty deep cut on her scalp. I sent a small probe of my essence into her, assessing any internal damage, gladly finding none.

"Bell? Belladonna? Can you hear me?”

She stirred slightly, her eyelids fluttering before she woke with a soft moan. She raised her left hand, trying to cup her head and winced, finding she couldn't move it. Finally she looked over to me, a small smile crossing her split lip.

“Fuck me Develin, your getting a fucking license. I don’t wanna drive anymore.”

End of Line.

Monday, November 17, 2008

True Story Time!

Hey all,

It's been a while since I shared another True Story from my past. This past week on more than one occasion, conversations with my friends have turned around to early sexual experiences. I think it started out when we were watching TV and a character was seeing their first set of boobs. So needless to say, we get to talking about the first naked bodies we have seen.

Now realize that this conversation occur ed not just with my room mate, but with other friends at work, so it was kind of a weird coincidence. Anyway, everyone else tells these awesome tales of catching visions of young, nubile boobs in their youth and it quickly becomes my turn to share my story about the first naked woman I saw. I am nothing if not honest here, a fault I HAVE to work on. So I proceed to relate about not only the first boobs I have ever seen, but the first naked woman I have ever seen. What I'd have to say is that the bitch had to be in her 80's. Yeah, that's not a typo, 80 fucking years old.

In high school I worked in hospitals as part of a class experience and got credit for it. So for about 8 hours a week over a two day period, I would leave school and go to a hospital or local medical facility instead of class. I would work in one branch of medicine for a while, then after a few weeks or so, I would go to another. I got to work in obstetrics, OR, emergency service, funeral homes, EMT departments, X-Ray, you name it. I really wanted to be in medicine when I was younger and this was just the kinds of opportunities I was looking for. On the very first day of my very first rotation in my first class, I was assigned to Endoscopy, which is the practice of feeding a flexible tube shaped camera down your throat or up your anus to check for abnormal growths along your intestine wall.

My first patient is this 80 plus year old lady, who disrobes from her gown and assumes an ass up position on the table. Yeah, you could see all the loose saggy gray haired goods. I can still see it. Then we proceeded to take the camera tube and lube it, and her, up. We fed it in her anus and up her intestine. Mind you, I am 16 years old here watching as the doctor does this. He invites me over to look at the monitor, and into a mounted monitor on the camera tube, place me about a foot away from this naked senior citizen's privates. I didn't know how to react.

Oh, I also failed to mention that she is farting while this is happening. She was given a slight sedative before the procedure started to ease the pain and in order to feed the camera that far up her rectum (which is all the way to through the small and large intestine to the valve between the intestines and the stomach.) To do so we have to blow air up her bum. The air expands the intestine, allowing the camera to feed up, but once the air is shot up, it must escape, which it does in the means of farts.

I can tell you that this experience should be no boy's first view of some boobs. I know that for the rest of my rotation, all I could see was that old vagina staring back at me when I closed my eyes. I mean that kind of shit can scar someone you know. I have heard of wanting to catch a 40's something cougar and see it naked, but never an 80 year old sabre tooth tiger!

End of Line.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 38

The explosion was deafening. The bridge shattering in an array of metal and wood that showered Billy and Katee on the engine. The trailing cars tumbled down Hicken's Gorge, end of over end as they erupted in flames and smoke. The lead engine cleared the edge of the track just as the final final explosion ripped the rails from the mooring brackets.

Billy pulled himself off of Katee having covered her from the debris. He put his arm around her and looked behind them at the smoke wafting from the bottom of the gorge. Bits of wood and metal were lodged in Katee's tousled hair, and the two of them were covered in cuts and scrapes. Billy turned to look at Katee, hair askew, face covered in soot and blood, her dress tattered, and smiled. He brushed a stray strand of hair away and pulled her in close, sharing a long and hard kiss.

They kissed for a long time as the train slowly lost speed along the tracks, the only sound the coughing sputter of the dying engine. Finally they pulled apart and Katee looked up at Billy, her Billy. His face was a mess of cuts and dirt, dark trails of dried blood along his ears, and she smiled back. They held each other together, Katee's face buried deep into his chest as she cried until the engine finally died and drew to a stop.

"Come on Katee. If we walk through the night we can make Desperation by mornin'. We can find some help, and tell people what happened. If they believe us."

"As long as I am with you, I'll be okay."

They gathered up their meager supplies and weapons and headed west along the tracks. Walking hand in hand, they watched as the black sun overhead finally drew to a close and the moon rise in the east. They were almost free.

End of Line.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Line Up

Hey all,

As we are significantly into the fall season I have come out with some good interpretations of many of the programs I am watching. Overall, a very weak fall roster. I guess that is to be expected with the writer's strike really cutting into production time, many networks didn't have that wide range to pick from that they normally would.

Of all the new shows I think my favorite is Life on Mars, about a cop from today who is trapped in 1973. After the shoe string premise, it really dives into being a cop in Ne York in the early 1970's, a city chock full of change and racial divides. The characters are all very different, each filling in a needed niche.

Other than that I am not sold on any of the new shoes. Shows like My Own Worst Enemy with Christian Slater and Lipstick Jungle are nearing the axe, as well as Knight Rider and even my beloved Pushing Daisies. I think Daisies, which started off so strong, got hurt the most by the strike. With only a 9 episode first season and ABC not bringing in new episodes until almost 9 months later, they lost any momentum they may have had. That is what is hurting them now, they have been out of people's minds for to long.

Fridays continue to stay dismal with Crusoe and Sanctuary, two highly touted genre shows that haven't lived up to their potential. I feel the same way with Kath and Kim. I want to like the show more than I do because I think the casting is great, it just hasn't found a balance between the awkward humor of the Office and the straight up fun of My Name is Earl.

Speaking of the Office, this has to be the best returning show of the season. Each episode has been better than the last. It continues its well worn path of awkward hilarity.

Mondays continue to chug on with Terminator, a show I hope continues to do well, but is up against stiff competition. I feel the same way with Chuck, a program that I really like for its general fun and sense of life. A lot of people seem to want to rip Heroes, but I have been okay with the seasons so far. I know that several of the producers of the show were let go and I am hoping that will provide a springboard to some more action.

A pleasant surprise, for me at least, is Legend of the Seeker, a genre fantasy show based on author Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books. Its one part Adventures of Hercules, one part faithful adaptation. It is definitely a bit camp, but a show that I have come to look forward to.

I think the strongest launches have been in the field of animation. Family Guy and South Park continue to show they are proven hits over the years. I come to look forward to their shows with more regularity than many of my old stalwarts. I even have to give props to Cartoon Network's Clone Wars, which has really rebounded against the camp of the film version.

Hopefully January will revive the TV doldrums with the return of Lost and the debut of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. As new stuff rolls out I'll try to keep you abreast of what you should be watching. Thanks!

End of Line.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The End

Hey all,

Very different poem here today. Dark and tragic to be sure. I am not even really that moody today, I mean at all. There is a lot of different inspiration in this poem today I think, from the medley of music I listened to, to the conversations I had today at work about the state of America. I don't know. I really like how it turned out.

For me this is a poem meant to be read aloud, the repeating lines enforcing the message. I really went different with the pattern, using kind of book end patterns to the rhyming couplets. I also didn't use the same couplets throughout the poem, which is something else I have never done. Overall I was very happy with the outcome as it was so different from my normal patterns. Read on and let me know what you think.

The End.

The old has come to the end,

As religion cannot defend.

Birthed now are deities of new.

With a whole new faith to accrue.

And churches now are stores,

As our hearts turn into whores.

For there is no God.

For there is no God.

For there is no God.

For there is no God.

It's an entire nation,

in a conflagration,

of desperation,

and aggravation,

to the revelation,

That our God is dead.

We worship our new found faith.

In dollar bills,

Through popping pills.

Or in movie stars,

By driving brand new cars.

The message to the world,

Worship yourself,

Hoard all your wealth.

Cheat on your wife,

And sell out your life.

Now our God is dead.

False idols on the rise,

So ignore your neighbor,

Go fuck a stranger,

Hold no moral ground,

To the pleasures around.

Because our God is dead.

We few are left here crying,

the truth denying,

our faith belying,

as I lay here dying,

and the world relying.

That our God is dead.

As you go to your grave,

You were once so brave,

But now your fading away,

Having wasted all your days.

And on your final night,

You'll see no gates of white.

For there is no God.

For there is no God.

For there is no God.

For there is no God.

End of Line.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 15

Bella led me downstairs and out into the courtyard in silence. It was hard for me to think of Bella as my own age, she still looked so much younger than me. I could see the difference in how she carried herself though. Her walk had once been bouncy and full of life, a gift from her nymph heritage. She now carried herself with a purpose, tightly controlled. Like me she had been self-conscious about losing control of her heritage, in her case releasing pheromones that could get most guys in a very aroused state. The ability would come out whenever she was threatened or excited, or scared.

Now those traces seemed so much more faint. Still so much the girl, but more a woman. I've spent so much of the last few years trying to burying my life, it was hard to imagine seeing the two most important women in my life come back to me in the span of just one. Well in some senses at least. On tonight of all nights. I watched Bell as she walked ahead of me towards the portal outside. The colors of magic still flowed and I gazed on at the central spire as the surrounding towers fed into it. So much power.

Looking at Bella, I can't say I had been surprised by her first field of magic, Elementalism. Being scared and afraid of what you can do at such a young age often times leads to a need for protection or a fear of the unknown. Elementalism used the surrounding environment, including vegetation or any of the four elements as its primary resource. You could augment personal shielding or create fortifications. It is a similar school to Holy magic, in that you can do healing and protection, but offered a broader range of protection against Evocation.

Some folks argue that Holy magic isn't really a school of magic at all, just merely abilities granted to those who follow the faith by a higher power. That God, or whatever being you worship, channels his powers through you like a conduit, much like Users here can, like at the Church. You can only learn holy magic from the Church and faith plays a large role in your powers so it may be a decent theory. It's the only school of magic not taught at the Academy, well that and Dark magic as it is outlawed.

Elementalism is sometimes called Life magic, it has such a broad range of powers. It is the opposite of Dark magic, but it can lead to the same results if left unchecked. The difference is that you can control Life magic with a strong enough mind and willpower. In the end, Dark Magic will take its toll one way or another. It's just not meant for human conduits.

Don't get me wrong, every school can do the same basic spells, limited offensive and defensive capabilities, it's in specializing that you make the money. The shields an Evoker can cast won't work for shit if someone casts Evocation magic on them. That's why you need an Elementalist. Why Bella chose to learn Evocation was another matter. With her natural abilities most assumed she would go into Divination, including myself. Her nymph biological make-up would lend to that. That species can get inside your head to find out what you like, what your fantasies are. It's just a bit more of a stretch to get into Divining. I could guess though, like me, she was scared of who she was and what she could do, so she pushed that part of her far away.

As she began to channel I watched the sigil light up and the portal begin to form. I needed to quit fucking daydreaming and get back to the matter at hand. We stepped outside the grounds I walked over to the panel van. I fished in my pockets and pulled out the keys, jangling them, breaking the silence between us for the first time since leaving her room.

"Seriously Alex? You want me to drive? You still haven't learned how to fucking drive? How did you even get out here?"

"One, I DO know how to drive, I drove it out here. It's just that I never got all that good at it. Two, that's why I live in the city. So I don't fucking have to! That's why everyone lives in the city!"

I tossed her the keys as she sighed, though I could see that once familiar smile creep out beneath. I reached into my pockets for one of those shitty smokes I had picked up earlier and hauled into the passenger seat. Bell got into the drivers side and adjusted the seat.

"Christ... what stinks in here?"

I took a few whiffs, kind of surprised that I hadn't noticed it before.

"Must of been that fuckin' ogre they were hauling around earlier. I really didn't notice it."

"You need to quit smoking, that shit is fucking up your senses. They also say it will kill you you know."

She said that last part with another tilting laugh and I joined in. It had been a long time since I laughed like that and I wondered if she was trying to adjust the mood with her powers. I guess it didn't matter really, things had been a cluster fuck today already so I guess a laugh couldn't hurt.

"Gimme one of those."

She grabbed the smoke and lit up making a face at the taste and that brought on another laugh. She slid into reverse and backed up, before turning down the dark road back to the main drag. We smoked as we discussed the details, including my father's cryptic warnings and the spell power that it would take for a demon to get through the wards at St. Augustine's. As we turned onto the main road, Bell stopped talking. Her eyes narrowed and I could sense her channeling. Immediately I reached for my gun when the roof of the van exploded.

The van pitched wildly and spun 360 degrees but somehow Bell kept it on the road. I looked at Bell, her face covered in blood, but I could see her grit her teeth and I felt the van lurch forward as she slammed on the gas. I could feel blood running down my face as I cleared my gun. There was a sound of heavy breathing as I grabbed the back of the seat and looked into the rear of the van.

"Hey Bell... I found out what that smell was."

Somehow, there was a fucking troll in the back of the van. He must have been planted when I was inside and had waited until I was clear of the Academy. Attacking me there would have been suicide. Wait until I get to the main drag and no one at the Academy would give two shits. Bell glanced over her shoulder, eyes widening.

"SHIT! We also got at least one User out there!"

Over the shoulder of the troll I could see a large flatbed truck speeding up behind us. With my Sight I could see the strands of red and black that surrounded the vehicle. The troll, on the other hand, wanted to say hi.

The thing was a mixture of mottled green and black, it's whole body covered in oozing, pussy sores. It's long ears and point face ended in a huge mouth will rows of yellow pointy teeth. It lurched up, using one of it's four arms to grab the side wall of the van. Without most of the roof and rear doors it had more room to maneuver. Yay for me.

I snapped off several shots to the creatures face as I vaulted over my seat. Bell was chanting as she kept the pedal pressed to the floor but I didn't have time to listen to the details. The bullets hit square and I watched as the troll's face split and burned under the shells impact. Still had those shredder rounds loaded and they made quite an impact. I kept moving forward in the cramped space as I slammed into the creature using my shoulder, driving it back. I could smell it's fetid breath as I got in close. It brought two of its arms up to grab me and drove a third at my face. I quickly drew my feet up and planted one in it's chest. The second foot lashed out at the arm driving it wide.

Propped against its body, I slid my free hand into the folds of my coat, drawing a long silver knife. I could see the troll's regenerative features kick in at he brought his face around to take a bite out at me. Using my first foot I tried to push off, but the trolls grip was to strong. Instead I reversed my position and planted my boot directly into the trolls mouth. I kicked hard, once, twice, until I could feel the crunch of sinew and bone.

The thing finally let out a roar of pain and I brought the knife around. Trolls have incredible healing and rejuvenating properties, they can regrow severed limbs, and even sprout into separate trolls if cut apart. That's why silver is so handy. Loo Mom, not just for Were's anymore! Using my left hand I grabbed at one of the troll's hands and pulled it back. Using the knife in the other I pushed off the troll's body with both feet to create as much tension as I could, then brought the knife across the troll's arm. With a burning hiss the knife melted through like butter. I was greeted with another roar of pain as the troll's arm was cut free. Fuck you fucker, that ain't growing back!

Between the shock and the tension I had put on it, the troll let go and I fell with a thud, the knife falling from my grip. Seeing my pistol out of the corner of my eye I rolled right and grabbed it. Rolling back again I brought up the gun as the troll drove one of it's clawed hands down. I grunted as I felt the pain of the claw sink into my leg and it's poison course through my veins. No time for that now Alex, stay focused!. I fired twice as the creature's head snapped back, then fired again at the hand that was plunged into my leg. The gun clicked empty as I rolled to my feet, though my left leg was already sluggish with poison.

Suddenly it felt as if all the air had been sucked out of my body and I saw the vehicle become surrounded by flames. I risked a glance to Bella, still clutching the wheel, green energy flowing from her body. She had put up a shield, though how strong it was with half her attention driving was the question. I needed to finish of Chuckles here and quick.

I reached into my coat and pulled out a silver ball. With my left I pulled out my spare gun from behind my back and fired off. I only had UV rounds loaded in this one, and while it hurt, the troll could heal from it. With my right hand I shook the ball and flicked the pull cap off. The ball began fizzing as I once again through myself into the creature. Dropping the gun I tightened my fingers into a fist, and drove my knuckles up into the top of the trolls mouth. I was met once again with the tearing of flesh and coursing of poison as its teeth cut into my skin but I succeeded in driving the troll's mouth wide. What are the odds of this move working twice! With the right hand I tossed the fizzing ball into it's open mouth.

Immediately the troll's mouth began melting. Holy water was pretty handy stuff, especially when held in a silver container. It held just enough of the silver's properties on the magically infused water to add it to it's skills. Now, while holy water would hurt a troll, as it would with any Night Walker, a troll can heal from it. With the slight infusion of silver, it had added damage, especially to trolls. By getting it ingested, it would slowly eat the troll up from the inside out. I didn't have that kind of time. The mouth continued to fizz and burn as the agitated holy water sprayed out of the canister. The troll flailed wildly as it's skin and face burned away.


Bella glanced over her shoulder, her face a knit of concentration but she nodded. She jerked the van to the right and I could see the headlights of the flatbed behind us. I reached into my rig until I found the clip I was looking for and retrieved one of my guns. I jerked the barrel open and fed the speed loader in, locking all eight rounds in place. I took aim, held the gun up with both hands, and fired.

With a thunderous clap the gun went off and hit the troll with tremendous force. The troll's head and chest was a gaping cavity as the grenade round did its job. The blast had knocked it back, and another round launched the creature out the rear of the van. I watched as the troll hit the cement with a wet smack, and then watched the flatbed truck bounce up and down as it ran over the troll. Fuck, I was hoping that would have caused more damage. I crawled back up to the front seat, my left leg and hand becoming more inflamed with each second.

"Heya Bell. How we doing?"

Her face was still a mask of concentration as she channeled to keep the shields up and the truck on the road. The engine had started to make a rough knocking noise too. Between the engine noise and the colorful array of red and black magic cast from the flatbed surrounding our shields, we were quickly running out of time.

"Whoever they got over there, he knows about shielding. He's throwing every spell he has it me. I can even feel tendrils of Dark magic creeping around my barriers. You weren't fucking around when you said someone was really pissed off at you. We are going to have to do something soon Alex."

"Must be my charming fucking personality. What say you Belladonna? Wanna take the party to them?"

She met my eye for a few seconds before that slow smile appeared again. I pulled my gun free and wrapped my free hand around the seat belt strap, half standing in the passenger seat. The flatbed sped closer as we lost speed and I could hear Bella start to laugh, that long tilting laugh I use to remember her having when we would sneak out of the Academy.

"Alex, you always did know how to show a girl a good time!"

End of Line.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Hey all,

Below is a sort of bonus Flash Fiction story. Somehow I erased the installment of The Darkest Dawn I wrote on my break at work this week because it is not on my laptop. Truthfully hitting this Wednesday deadline is getting harder as my schedule has changed at work and I am working more Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I am off from work tomorrow and I will be back online with a newly written chapter.

I will probably move new The Darkest Dawn installments to Sundays after this month as we are into the final three chapters of Under a Dead Sun. Forty chapters seemed like a good number to end at and I think I have pretty much run the course with the characters. I am tossing several ideas for a replacement series to act as a bridge between Dawn and Dead Sun. We will see what ideas I can come up with.

Now the real reason for this addendum post is the Flash Fiction post I put up previous. I thought because I lost my usual Wednesday chapter, I would upload this story. I wrote it earlier this year for my room mate who wanted to take a turn at drawing a short short horror story so I did this. This story, and some ideas I cribbed from writer Warren Ellis who would post up micro fiction on his MySpace led me to do my Flash Fiction stories. Now I am not sure if Jason is ever going to use the story, but I thought it would be fun to post it up.

This story was actually the starting point for The Darkest Dawn, where I wanted to do something using classic monster characters, though admittedly other genres have crept into that world, especially with the fantasy elements. I have really changed the world from what my initial idea called for but as each week folds out I try to add another wrinkle in creating a more complex world.

Enjoy the tale, and I'll be back tomorrow with new Dawn, where the action picks back up. Be sure to tune in,

End of Line.

Flash Fiction: Moon Cycle

Moon Cycle

Carrie Ann Miller was late again. For her whole life she had always been a late person. As a baby she had been late to walk, late to talk, even late to start school. The only thing about her that wasn’t late were her growth spurts. Carrie was a big girl. Her body had grown rapidly, but it seemed to never mature. By the time she had started third grade she was the biggest girl in the class. Despite her size though, she was always picked last at sports, her arms and legs a jungle of confusion. She was never popular, always being too tall or too gangly and was the point of many cruel jokes by her classmates. She had been the last girl in her grade to wear a bra, and now she was the last girl in her class who hadn’t had a period yet. Some of her friends were dating and even having SEX! But not Carrie, she just wanted to be like everyone else. Something was wrong with her. She knew the truth.

Carrie had even made her Mom take her to her doctor, but he had been no help. Telling her things like she was simply a late bloomer and she had nothing to worry about. Plenty of girls like her came of age late. He even said she shouldn’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Well he wasn’t the one being teased in high school, she was.

Despite all this, all Carrie was thinking about was that she was late again. Today of all days, her 16th birthday. Carrie clutched her books tighter as she ran around the corner, her house finally in sight. Her parents had been planning a surprise party, which one of her classmates had let slip, and she was late in getting home. That had probably been why her parents had said they were going to celebrate her birthday tomorrow, to throw her off their plans. Like her Dad would really have to fly out of town on his little girl’s Sweet Sixteen. Carrie’s long brown hair flew behind her as she clutched her books tight to her school uniform, her pleated skirt bustling in the breeze. Carrie bounded up the stairs two at a time into her house and burst through the door.

She immediately wondered if she was so late that she had missed the party entirely. The house was empty, though it seems her Mom had forgot to lock the front door again. She wandered from room to room, each time expecting someone to jump out and yell surprise. But as she opened the door to the last room, her bedroom, she felt a sinking feeling in her stomach. There, on her desk lay a note from her mother, an emergency at the hospital, and she had been called in. There had been more on the note, promises to make it up tomorrow at her big party, but Carrie only glanced at it.

Crestfallen, Carrie slumped down on her bed, and dropped her books on the floor. Carrie stayed in the silent room for what seemed like hours, small tears falling from her cheeks. Why was she so cursed? Why could she never be right? Today, her very own sweet sixteen, not yet a woman, not still a girl. And she was all alone.

As dusk began to fall, Carrie’s room slowly filled with the night. The fullness of the moon bathed her room in a soft light. Part of her was still sad about her parents not being here, another part angry at believing the joke her school mate had played on her. As she stood up to go to the bathroom, she noticed an odd stain on her sheets. Dark red, spread directly under where she was sitting. Immediately she checked her panties, finding the tell tale signs that womanhood had finally come.

As she stood looking at the stain, an odd feeling crept into her stomach. Must be cramps, though strange as it was to feel that now. The feeling slowly tightened on her midsection, causing her to double over in pain. Grabbing one of the corners of her four poster bed, she hung on with one arm, the other clutching her stomach. Carrie stumbled to her bathroom, feeling nauseous and wincing in pain. As she lurched into her bathroom she fell to the floor, curling up like an infant.

The pain, once confined to her stomach had spread, into her arms and legs, her head felt like it was being split apart. She tried to cry out in pain, but only a sharp barking cough came out, flecked with spit, bile, and blood. Carrie pulled her hands to her face, trying to soothe what felt like cracked flesh, and that’s when she first saw the Change.

Her hands, though always big for her age, had lengthened, turning dark and sinewy. The nails, once painted red, had turned hard and thick, ending in dark yellow points. Her long brown hair seemed everywhere she looked. Panicking, Carrie reached for the lip of the sink, trying to pull herself up, to see what was happening to her in the mirror. As she pulled herself into a crouch, she heard the tearing of clothes and saw her legs. Her plaid skirt hung in tattered around her waist, socks and shoes spilt off her feet. Long, course brown hair covered her legs, which had grown thick with muscle. She could feel the popping and stretching of the tendons as her bones reknitted themselves, her knees reversing like that of some giant dog.

Crying out in pain and terror,Carrie pushed herself up and clutched the mirror. What she saw in the reflection she didn’t even recognize. Her face was no longer her own, ending in a long fanged snout, her brown hair covering her face and chest, visible through the tattered remains of her shirt and undergarments. Long ears poked from beneath the fur, as sensations she wasn’t aware of a moment ago came flooding to her. The smells of the house and from down the street, the sounds of dogs and other animals from blocks away, all as clear as if they were in the room with her. There was another sensation Carrie felt, one she instinctively knew to follow. The hunger. The hunger for blood.

She let out a long howl, piercing the quiet neighborhood. Carrie bounded from the mirror to the bedroom window and gazed up to the moon, it’s shine seemingly brighter. Sniffing the air, Carrie Ann Miller knew one thing. She was late. She was late for dinner.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun

Chapter 37

Katee watched from the car as the train sped out of Contention. She saw the undead creatures swarm the station but couldn't get that final image out of her head, the freshly bloodstained face of Reny Cargill, simple General Store owner, who had killed his own child. She felt Bill's hand on her shoulder as he pulled her into a half hug.

"It'll be okay Katee. It'll be okay. We're safe now."

Katee turned back into Billy and he held her tight as she quietly wept. The three of them stood there for several moments as Katee wept, Billy holding gently and Sheriff Root looking on. Finally Katee stopped crying and looked up to Billy, a grateful smile lighting up her watery eyes.

"Thanks Billy..."

Billy nodded, and the three of them picked up their equipment. They had boarded the train towards the rear of the car, though there were several between them and the caboose. Their car was strangely empty. Billy watched Root ease his gun out of his holster and look around.

"I don't like this. The train didn't stop and no one is on this car, or has come back to see us. We should head for the engine, check on the the conductor, or whoever the fuck is drivin' this thing. Billy, check the car behind us and I'll check out the next one. Whatever is going on, I don't wanna take any fucking chances."

Billy moved around Katee and held up his rifle. Katee eased the old Navy revolver clear and covered Root as he entered the next car. Root eased through the car slowly, alert, before he heard Billy shout.

"There on the FUCKIN' TRAIN!"

Billy looked as a group of the creatures pulled off of the body they had been feeding on. They were covered in the same gore and blood, wide jaws stretched beyond recognition, yellowed teeth ending in sharp spikes.


Billy worked his rifle twice, one shot spraying the head of one of the creatures against the window, the other blowing out ones knee. Billy bolted across the gap in the carts as he watched the crippled one pull itself towards him still. As he dived through the original carts opening Katee slammed the door shut, throwing the simple lock.

Root looked down to Billy and held out his hand, helping him up.

"Billy, I'm thinking next time we take the fuckin' stage!"

End of Line.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Movie Time: Rewind: Dolemite

Hey all!

I am back very early in the month with this installment of the Rewind,where we turn back the clock on some great films from before my birth year, 1976. This month's film I almost did last month, which is why I am posting it so close to the previous post. The film just makes the cut off having been released in 1975 and stars an actor who recently passed away this past October. Rudy Ray Moore's blaxpoitation classic, Dolemite.

The 1960's was a very trying time for studio bosses. They had lost most of the stars that had been carrying them for years, either to age of box office appeal and spent much of the 60's establishing new routines and stars. Gone were the days of the studio system and creating new actors, actors were now freelance and work for hire. They could go to any studio they wanted and set their own prices. By the time the mid 70's came around, films were able to be made by any number of people. Small studios and independent features sprung up and from this came the exploitation genre.

Exploitation films were usually cheaply made, designed to be viewed for their often racy or lurid subject matter. As the case, the films were usually low quality in terms of acting, scripts, or film production, though not always. They also tried to exploit certain aspects of films that you couldn't find in major studio films, like sex, violence, and horror for shock value. This is sometimes called Grindhouse Cinema, as you produce the films (or grind them out) as fast as you can with little care for the technical aspect so you can turn around and produce another film in the same manner. Blaxpoitation arrived as grindhouse films made specifically by the black and African American community. They often featured tough male leads or sexy female heroes fighting against a disparate white majority. Some of these films were major steps in social relevance, like Shaft with Richard Roundtree or Coffey with Pam Grier or Super Fly.

Dolemite was not one of those groundbreaking films. Though it is by far the funniest and my favorite blaxpoitation genre. Dolemite is written, produced, and directed by Rudy Ray Moore, who is also the title character. Moore started out as a stand up comedian who did Dolemite as a character in his act, then spun him out into this film and several sequels, Like Dolemite 2: The Human Tornado, Shaolin Dolemite, and Return of Dolemite. Though to be honest, my favorite title of a Moore film is Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son in Law, about a man who marries the Devil's ugly daughter to go back to Earth to get revenge on the men who killed him. I got turned onto Dolemite after seeing a snippet of the film in the 1996 comedy The Great White Hype with Damon Wayans and Samuel. L. Jackson. That movie was about an egotistical boxer played by Wayans who agrees to fight the next great white contender, who has been promoted by a fast talking Don King type of promoter played by Jackson. Wayans character watches Dolemite before the fight to get ready. i was so enamoured with that small piece of footage from a very bad film that I tracked Dolemite down at a video store. It was so much fun to watch the film with a group of my friends, all of us groaning and laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the movie.

Anyway, the thin plot of Dolemite is as follow. Dolemite is a pimp/hustler who runs a nightclub called The Total Experience. When two white detectives frame him on behalf of his rival Willie Greene, he is sent to jail for having stolen furs and narcotics in the trunk of his Cadillac. While he is jailed, Willie Green takes over his nightclub and starts a drug trafficking ring.

In jail, Dolemite ultimately gets freed by the warden (the only non evil or incompetent white actor in the movie) to get revenge and right the name of Dolemite on the street. Dolemite returns to his girlfriend, the Club's Madame called Queen Bee. The good news is that Dolemite knows kung fu, the better news is that Queen Bee sent all of Dolemite's "ho's" to kung fu school while he was jailed. Can Dolemite and his all girl army of Kung fu ho's take back the club from Willie Green or will the man hold him down?

Look, let's be honest here. You have to have a real love for truly bad cinema to enjoy this movie. For me, it's so bad that it enters a kind of cult status, Like Plan 9 From Outer Space. It has to be experienced to be believed. Don't really try to follow the story, because characters wander in and out with little reason, like my personal favorite The Hamburger Pimp. I don't even know what he does, but he's the Hamburger Pimp. The kung fu is terrible as most of the action is so badly choreographed that you can see the actors hardly hitting. The fight sequences are so bad you can see the space between the punch and the actors body. The boom mike also appears in numerous scenes and many times crew members can be seen in shots. I would also like to point out that their is some really exploitative nudity on the film, and not the good kind. Let's just say that some people take their clothes off that proably shouldn't!

The dialog is a 70's smorgasbord of jive talk. It's so funny and outrageous, that even 10 years after watching it, my friends still walk around throwing lines from the movie. Just remember that I am not saying the dialog is good, the acting is so stilted and forced that it kills anything. The true value of the film is in it's exploitative nature. The film doesn't take itself seriously and neither should you. Sit back and take in the awful splendor of Dolemite. There is nothing quite like it. I can guarantee that you might (okay probably won't) like it, but you will never forget 1975's Dolemite, starring Rudy Ray Moore from C.I.E. Studios.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Hey all,

I promised to update on the true origins of yesterdays poem. It all started on Monday as I officiated my second wedding as a minister. It wasn't my best work as I presented everything. I really felt like the whole ceremony was kind of off. The wedding planner they had picked had never done this before, and while I have only done one wedding, I might have been able to at least keep on a set pace. The timing was off the whole ceremony with people walking at the wrong times. The groom and I didn't take our spots until after the best man and two bridesmaids went down the aisle! I just think that the ceremony could have been more consistent, and as a result so could I. I felt like we were never all on the same page.

Anyway, the truth is this was kind of an awkward wedding. I really only knew the groom and one other guest. Basically I spent a lot of time on my own. Sure I danced and whatnot, but I never felt a part of something bigger. My friend Yuji (the groom) looked so happy. Far happier than I had seen him look for a long time. Smiling, joking, he was like a different person. Me? I just felt more alone.

I remember thinking that there is nothing as singularly lonely than being by yourself at a family wedding. To see groups of people happy and smiling, and to be the one behind looking on. What is wrong with me that I keep waiting for a situation to change that never does. I just want an opportunity. Even that is better than nothing. It falls back to my own fear and cowardice. I am alone and I am scared to be rejected. The only thing worse than being alone is knowing that someone else would rather be alone than with you. That is what really scares me.

Then maybe I think that there is a part of me that wants to be alone, a part that wants to justify my actions and self pity. A part that knows that not trying means not getting hurt any worse. I don't know. How do you change a habit born of fear? As each day ticks off the year I get one day farther away, one more day that reinforces this behavior. I seem to get fairly reflective on this same topic every month I know. It helps to put to words what I can't say in words. To admit that I am scared, to admit that maybe I need help. It's hard to show weakness when you think of yourself as self sufficient. I don't want people to worry about me, yet I don't want people to know the real thoughts I have inside either. A conundrum of doubt.

In the end I guess it really does fall down to me. Me and my ability to face what I see in the mirror and like what I see, to see a person worthy of the things he wants, when for so many years I just see the person who wasn't. I'd like to think that I am strong enough to overcome, but I feel like the truth is a far more certain thing.

End of Line.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Hey all,

I'll be commenting more on the real origins of this poem tomorrow, but suffice it to say I attended a wedding on Monday and this poem is what I felt during the ceremony and reception. The trick in this poem is the repeating word, they. It represents everything that both unites me and tears me apart. I think it came out pretty well considering.


How softly they touch,

Oh how jealous I feel.

So slowly they dance,

As my fate sets to seal.

Now in passion they kiss,

While I longingly gaze on.

The embraces they share,

Find me life's bitter pawn.

These looks that they stare,

Are some I've not known,

And these moments they treasure,

Become something I cannot own.

Why are they happy,

When I am so sad?

When is it my turn,

To get what they had?

The music they play,

Sounds me in sorrow.

They have so many loved ones,

And I can find no tomorrow.

They cheer and they clap,

Yet I am so solemn.

They are pillars of love,

While I'm just a lone column.

Vows they have made,

Are pledges I've not taken.

They are united in marriage,

And I am forsaken.

Why are they happy,

When I know not cheers.

When did just a day,

Turn to bitter years.

End of Line,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 14

"Greetings Mr. Develin."

The portal to The Academy had opened up but inside was the last person I had hoped to run into. Alaine Merrin was the head of the school, an epic User of the highest order. He had wild black hair and a bushy black beard that ran over his crimson robes. Each finger wore a ring that crackled with an energy that swirled about his knuckles, even when he wasn't channeling. Alaine had ran the school for the last 80 years or so and was regarded as one of the best Users not just in Santa Diego, but most of the America's.

The Academy had been established about 120 years ago as a place of education for Night Walker, Light Walker, Norm, and Fell alike. It was the only place in town where you weren't treated differently due to your race, but your power ranking. Sure a lot of students still carried grudges and prejudices, but one of the first things you learned was to not mess with someone stronger than you in power. Alaine had been in one of the first classes and had shown enormous potential. As a Fell (elf) his long life and skill had set him above other Users, something he had used to place himself in charge of the school. He is a regarded master in Evocation, Creationism, and Elementalism. It is also suspected that he knows a few bits of Divination and Dark Magic to boot. Most Users push their abilities mastering one school, let alone three. He was not the kind of guy you wanted to piss off, and from the looks of those robes, I had just woken him up.

"Heya Alaine. I never meant to trouble you or the school, it was just important that I see Bella."

Alaine looked over me, his grey eyes piercing through my simple wards and appraising me. He had never liked the fact that I knew the secret to gaining entrance to the Academy, but he liked it even worse that I knew the tricks to getting out too. It was like I said, once you enrolled and began to learn of the craft, their is no quitting. Tapping into the weave will drive an unprepared mind mad and it takes years of practice before you can even recognize the right symbol, let alone work the magic to activate it. My ...unique nature made some of those trappings less of a problem, and Bella taught me the rest.

The entire time Alaine never took his eyes off me. Each movement of his pupils seemed to bore onto my flesh, almost a if he was trying to burn the skin off of my bones. Unfortunately for him this wasn't the first time I have been stared down by a User, or stared down by Alaine even. I calmly reached into my pocket and fished out another shitty smoke from the pack I had swiped and lit up. We both knew the score, Alaine didn't have to like me, but he couldn't change the rules of the school, if you could work the gate you could come and go as you wish. Working the gate is the right of passage for these Users, the fact that I didn't stick around to study anything else didn't mean shit, no matter how much posturing he did. Still, Alaine could make it very difficult for me and it didn't pay to piss off someone as connected as him. It was probably in my best interest right now to play ball with him, besides I didn't have time to be fucking around.

I met his eyes for a few seconds and I swore I could see sparks fly from his, but I tried to stay as calm as I could. Finally I broke the silence that hung in the air, thick, between us.

"Master Merrin, I apologize for any inconvenience. I am on urgent official business for The Church. There has been a serious violation of the Treaty as a Planar Demon has breached St. Augustine's walls. I need to see Bella about setting up some extra protection."

Alaine's eyes actually widened at the mention of the demon and he finally pulled back from the portal to allow me entry.

"She has moved from the Green Tower Develin. She has moved into the Red. Fourth floor."

I nodded my thanks and headed off to the Red Tower.He watched me for a few moments before he turned his back in a flutter of cloak and set off for the central spire, muttering to himself.

I set out at a brisk pace towards the Red Tower. This is where most of the Evocers lived and studies. Evocation was concerned with the destructive and combat elements of spell casting. The most popular brand of magic for most, and the best to have in a fight. The kicker was, it had been a long time since I had seen Bella, and I wasn't so sure that she would even want to see me again. I had to admit though, to have already bcome a recognized master of one school was almost unheard of, to already be a fourth level initiate in Red was even more impressive.

As I approached the tower door I channeled again to run a small current of energy through the sigil. As the portal opened wide I stepped in and up the spiral staircase. It had been almost 4 years since I had talked to Bella, and to be honest, I was nervous. Let's face it, I fight fucking monsters for a living here so that's saying something. I stood in front of her doorway for several minutes before I knocked. Other students eyed me as I stood in the hall, but I paid them no heed. Then she opened the door.

"Alex fucking Develin. Now this IS a surprise."

Belladonna Dellacroix was about as exotic woman as you can meet in my line of work. The daughter of a nymph and a vampire, she was half Fell and half Night Walker, a dual nature that had been a common ground in our youth. Her father had been my Father's Lesser and was given me the task of teaching me to control my abilities, well the Night Walker side at least. I never got the full story from Bella, but her mother had died too so that had been another factor to bring us together. As special children growing up, we had a close bond, a bond that had grown intimate by the time we had reached our teens.

Bella was a natural User and had been sent to The Academy at 13, the youngest User to be trained since Alaine himself. At 13 I was neither skilled enough to follow, nor old enough for my Father's vow to be fulfilled. So at night we would sneak out and meet each other. My Sight showing me the symbols, her magic opening the doors. Eventually she taught me to do it alone and we made it a regular habit, sneaking out of the Academy to meet in the night.

Our childhood friendship had grown into something more over the years. I was young and angry, at my Father and at the world and I took a lot of my anger out on those around me. For her part, Bella had tried to help me. Aging is a tough matter for people like us. Vamps age fairly normally until they hit puberty, then their hungers kick in and it starts to slow. My natures similar but it kicks in later. As I grew older, Bella stayed younger.

Looking at her now was just like it had been those years ago. She still looked so young, barely 17 or 18, though I knew her true age to be much closer to mine. She had long black hair, decorated with gems and trinkets of power woven in. She wore a dark green dress that set off her eyes and was cut low to reveal her decolletage. Bella's father had been turned in the French Creole area of the Americas and her mother had been a wild nymph, giving her a a curious Asian Southern blend. Diminutive, but powerful.

"Hey Bella, long time."

Probably the lamest greeting I could have said. We hadn't exactly parted on great terms. On one of our nightly rendezvous, I lingered to long and got caught out at True Dawn. I had turned and hurt a lot of people. I felt guilty about what I had done and I took a lot of that anger out on Bella, unfairly. For several years we hadn't talked, as I descended into darkness and regret, our friendship strained.

It wasn't until after I met Juliet that I managed to try to patch things up. Jules had brought me back to life, so to speak, and Bella had managed to get into some trouble with a couple if Users. When she came to me looking for help, I took care of it. She had tried to help me through things after Juliet died, even going so far as to try to track the User who had caused it and escaped, but she had little luck. After Juliet's death I was inconsolable, and then the death of Father Malkin 2 years later, I withdrew more. I pushed her away. I didn't want any more people I cared about getting hurt because of me.

Bella smiled, that seductive smile that could cloud men's minds if they weren't ready for it. You could smell the cloying incense and pheromones she put out, all part of her nymph heritage. It usually happened when she was excited or angry and I wasn't sure which one she was right now. Bella was a dangerous woman when crossed, a User, a vampire and a Fell.

"What brings Alex Develin to my doorstep this night? When last we spoke I believe he said that he was to dangerous to be around anymore. Though from what I have read about your latest work I may be right. Taking on Were's now?"

She had ended that with a titling kind of laughter and I knew, she was angry. I reached in again to pull at my Ethereal energies to block off of her scent. I needed to be clear headed and not lose control here.

"Look Bella, I know we ended things.. or at least I ended things badly for us before. You've been there for me at the two worst times of my life. But I got no choice in the matter any more. I need help. I need your help. I don't know who to trust anymore, and if I can't trust you then I am more fucked than I thought I was. I need you to help me Bella. Please."

I could sense her pulling back her pheromones as she looked me over, her green eyes cutting into me much like Master Merrin's had. I stood there, my gaze not wavering as she appraised me. Finally, she opened the door fully and gestured me in. Her room was much different than the last time I had been here, though I shouldn't be surprised. She had been on the top floor of the Green Tower, a Master of Elementalism. Now she was a fourth grade initiate, our of the community rooms and dorms below and into her own room now, small as it was. Each time you started a new school, you started at the bottom. Most people who have mastered one school quickly get out of the community rooms or initiates and into dorms, the fact that she had her own already was something.

I looked around her room. A great bookshelf adorned one wall next to her wardrobe and bed. The other half of the room was a workstation, her spells and ingredients neatly filed into cubbys and racks. There were electric bulbs in the room, but the only light came from the well worn fireplace across from her bed. Bella pulled up a chair from her desk and motioned for me to have a seat on a small couch that had been shoved into the opposite corner of her workstation.

"Okay Alex, I have to admit you have piqued my interest. How much trouble are you in if you have turned to me? You broke my heart not once but twice and while I know you loved Jules in a way that you never loved me, it didn't make it any easier when you pushed me away. What have you gotten yourself into?"

She leaned back in the chair, her lithe form stretched like a cat ready to pounce, still so beautiful and still so deadly. I regretted hurting her, I really did, but I tried to stay on topic. I proceeded to tell her about everything. From Kade telling me to avoid Vickers to my Father's visit to my house. About the demon inside St. Augustine's and about Serapha. That I needed someone at my back that I could trust, and someone skilled in magic to let me know what I was up against.

"Look Bell, I need someone to help me. If what Sera says is true, and I believe her, I am in some serious shit. Your the best User in Santa Diego, and your my friend, or at least you use to be. Use your powers to help me find the truth, and if what she said is real, no one is safe, not even you."

Bella had said nothing to me throughout the entire rundown, she just looked at me like she hadn't seen me in a long time. When I was done, she stood up and headed to her wardrobe.

"All right Alex. I'll help you. I once came to you looking for help and you were there. Even if half of what you say is true, there is a greater power here at work that even I would need to know more about. The sheer amount of power to crack the wards at St. Augustine's shouldn't even be possible. I will go with you. Besides, I know what tonight meant for you and your being here.. well you must be in deep."

She began changing, oblivious to my being there. Bella never did have much modesty about her body. I turned my head away as she changed. Damn this woman was perceptive, I had forgotten how smart she was, recognizing the date. Still this had gone easier than I had thought it would. Bell helping out meant not only did I have a User on my side, but one skilled in Elementalism and Evocation, defense and offense. She could set up some serious wards once we found a place to hole up and figure out what was going on.

When Bella finished, she gathered up some equipment from her station. She was dressed in a tight white shirt, cut off at the sleeves and tight black breeches tucked into leather boots. She had two long strands of hair that framed her face as the rest was pulled under a black shawl. Around her neck she wore a choker with a large red ruby inset, and she wore several rings on her fingers. After clasping on a belt with several pouches, she grabbed a black cloak with dark red trim from a hook, and slid a small gun into her holster. The last thing she grabbed was a short metal staff that she tucked behind her back.

"A gun Bella? Not something you type normally use."

She arched her eyebrows and gave another little laugh, this time without the trace of anger.

"I believe you once said a tool for every occasion Alex."

I grinned as we headed down the staircase and towards the portal. At least something had gone right today. Of course, I'd be regretting that optimism a few minutes from now.

End of Line.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Movie Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Hey all,

I have been meaning to post on this film for almost a week, having caught it in a sneak preview screening last Tuesday. Part of the delay was to allow my roommate to watch the film on his own, with no preconceived notions from my review.

Overall I found this film to be pretty good. Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a pretty straight forward plot, two life long friends, Zack (played by Seth Rogan, and Miri )played by Elizabeth Banks) are down on their luck and having trouble paying their bills. After attending a 10 year high school reunion, Miri finds out her high school crush (played by Brandon Routh) is dating a gay porn star (played by Justin Long). After seeing how much money is in porn and accidentally getting minor celebrity status from two kids filming Miri changing clothes that was posted on the Internet, they decide that they can pay off everything by making a porno. Complications ensue in finding funding and actors, and underlying it all is the growing feelings that these two are sharing, especially after having sex. Making a porno may pay their bills, but can their friendship survive it?

The plot is very simple. Two friends who have never seen each other as a romantic option, find that sex can change everything. This simple message is hidden within director Kevin Smith's usual array of crude humor. Crude humor I happen to like a lot. By masking his message of love and romance around a package of porn stars and sex jokes, he actually tells a very nice story. I thought this was an important film for Smith, who has struggled to find success in films outside of his Jay and Silent bob films. He creates a good balance, carrying over some trappings from his earlier works in actors Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson, but creates a new dynamic with Rogan and Banks. Its the Kevin Smith humor you want, and a story to carry it.

Don't get me wrong, there is some serious boundary pushing in the film. It is very easy to see how it scored an NC-17 rating initially, for language alone. Don't let that deter you, Rogan is great in this film, I found his character far more redeeming and likable than the one in Knocked Up. Hopefully this will be the movie to launch Elizabeth Banks as well. I have been waiting for her to bust out (so to speak) since her turn in The 40 Year Old Virgin and here she carries her weight. Jason Mewes also has a good role as a whacked out porn star, coining a new phrase that I found particularly funny, the dutch rudder. (You will have to watch the film to get that definition!)

I don't have any complaints about this film to be honest. Smith's directorial vision continues to grow as his films grow in scale, hopefully he can continue to show a maturation as a film maker, despite whatever topics he covers. I think he can ride that line better than other directors, balancing the perverse with the sentiment and not fall to far on either path. I can honestly say that in terms of content and direction, this is Kevin Smith's best film since Chasing Amy, and perhaps his best work period. I like to see him expand his horizons. It is easily my favorite comedy of the year, beating Step Brothers out. You should check it out. Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks in Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno.