A possible prologue to something more….?

“Remember my young apprentice we strive to keep ourselves balanced. There cannot be light without darkness, life without death. Let others close their minds and align themselves towards something they do not fully understand,” closing the polished antique silver lid on the meditative brazier, before resuming “Awaken my apprentice, it is time to end your mediation.”

Watching my apprentice slowly awaken as the mind-altering smoke faded from the room. Allowing his body to begin purging the gas’ effects from his conscious. The mediation ritual was the second part of his studies that forcibly opened the mind’s true potential. Feeling the sheer power coming from my pupil at this distance even as walked across the ancient stone chamber. The strength I had felt from him when I discovered him in a partially burned down farmer’s shack had grown.

Wide hazel eyes looked up at me as I approached, the gas still having a slight effect on him. Staring at me in silence, hopefully adjusting quick enough to begin practicing some of the more straightforward lessons I have taught him. If what I noticed on my travels through the world grows, the balance will collapse. Leading to something ancient and remembered only in myths to awaken from its forced slumber. Making my innermost fears come true, the few who recalled the forgotten truths would need all the strength they could muster.

Advertisements

WEP 2018 December Contest

With the contest theme being Ribbons and Candles for the final challenge of the year, I wasn’t confident about what I wanted to do.  I considered doing a Victorian-inspired holiday celebration with a steam-punk aesthetic. Upon researching some Christmas/Yuletide traditions from the time, I realized it may not have been the best idea to attempt with this particular theme. Clearing the slate so to speak, I also consider doing a small town inspired Christmas through the eyes of a time traveler.  Which I thought would work well but after six-hundred words realized ending the idea without revealing the main character’s secret was impractical. There were just too many questions left unanswered for the ending to feel complete.  Trying to find something that would work within the festive theme,  I stopped thinking about the idea for a couple of days. 

Somehow that managed to shake an idea from my head. Using the 1920’s to imagine a world where jazz filled the airwaves, and the mob ruled entire cities. With that atmosphere in mind, I considered a few ideas before settling on the idea that would become my contest entry which I present below. 


The winter chill had filled the air the snow by the time I entered the speakeasy. Mr. Domino had renovated the place since my last visit. Art Deco laminate tile ran through the entire floor, giving it a hexagonal black and white pattern that reminded me of a piano. Vaulted stone painted white decorated the ceiling. Brass chandeliers hung by silver steel chains were dropped from the ceiling. Bright red and blue ribbons hung across the bottom of every light. The strong scent of tobacco and homemade moonshine filled the air. Brass-heavy jazz was playing from some unseen musicians intertwined with the aromas. Several young flappers were dancing to the music with their fellas.

Weaving my way through the crowd of dancers, I made my way to the bar. A burly bartender in a tailored three-piece grey suit stood behind the bar. Slicked back greasy black hair stopped at the man’s ear, adding to his clean-shaven face. Deep brown eyes watched the dancers for a few moments before glancing at me.

Asking me “Watcha drinkin tonight,” while his gaze hinted a silent message; either get your drink or leave.

Glancing around at the few other patrons who were standing at the bar, before responding “A Manhattan but first a message for the owner. Tell him Mr. Keys has arrived, he will know who I am.”

The bartender nodded before going to make my drink. My suspicious nature was forcing me to glance around. Looking for associates of the man I was looking forward to seeing. The iron in my pocket was feeling heavy as several men in all black tailored suits began approaching me. A gold domino lapel pin rested on the right side of the jacket of the suit. Black fedoras were tilted just enough to obscure their faces from view. Tommy guns with wooden stocks pressed against their shoulders.

I asked, “Escorting me to see Mr. Domino gentlemen?”

The men nodded in unison before directing the black barrels of their Tommy Guns up. I have enough odd jobs to know what that meant. Giving me little time to stand up before beginning to walk away. Raising myself from the stool, I followed them ignoring the chaos of dancers moving to the music.

The music had grown steadily quieter by the time Mr. Domino’s goons led me his office. They motioned for me to enter the door before taking a watching spot by the door. Finding Mr. Domino was waiting for me, tapping a cigarette between his thumb and forefinger of his right hand. A polished silver Colt M1911A1 was resting on his antique wooden desk, within arms reach if necessary.

Mr. Domino asked, “Is the deed done Mr. Keys?”

I nodded, before producing a vanilla envelope from my pocket. Placing the container down by the gun, knowing the envelope’s contents would sway Mr. Domino’s immeasurable appreciation. Mr. Domino spilled the envelope’s content onto his desk. Ten severed ring fingers rolled onto his office, with their gold rings still attached. Each finger belonged to Mr. Domino’s competition.

Mr. Domino began to grin before commenting, “You have done well, Mr. Keys. These rings will make fantastic trophies for me to inspire fear from anyone else foolish enough to challenge me. As much as I would prefer to keep you around, I’m not foolish enough to cross my sister,” opening his desk and pulling out a small cloth bag. “Take this and my blessing to marry my sister,” standing and grabbing me the collar of my shirt. “Break her heart, and I will break you,” letting go of my collar.

“I know,” grabbing the cloth bag as I remarked.

Mr. Domino nodded once, before allowing me to leave his office. Shoving the money bag inside my pocket, trying my best to hide it from everyone. This money was my way of starting something new with my beloved Margaret. She knew the full extent of my past and didn’t care. Hoping between my reputation and her being the sister of Mr. Domino would be enough to scare any enemies away.

*****

A few hours later I arrived at Margaret’s house, the bag still hidden inside my pocket. She opened the door with a smile before I could knock. Leading me to her kitchen table, where a vibrant red unlit candle sat on a silver tray. A box of matches rested beside it, two of them poking out of it.

Margaret commented “Let’s light this candle and begin our new life together,” handing me a match with a smile spread across her face.

Smiling as I took the match, more than ready to start our new life together.


Word count: 774 Critique level: Full

Is too much creativity a good thing?

With the end of the year approaching, I’m looking back at the past year. Realizing I may have too many projects splitting my focus, without losing sight of one or another idea. Along with trying to learn the new WordPress format to create posts. It makes me wonder if an excess of creative energies is a good thing or a bad thing? 

 

Granted the excess is better than having creative blocks but can be overwhelming at times. Trying to balance the new and the old ideas without getting them muddled within each other. Even worse, losing the inspiration behind the idea in general. At a certain point, it conjures this image of a waiter carrying a tray of food. Each food representing an idea, with the waiter’s tray representing the mind. The more food you add, the heavier the load becomes until it becomes unmanageable. 

Does anyone else agree? Disagree? How do cope with both the excess and the dry spells? 

Hmm…Where to go from here?

“Remember my young apprentice we strive to keep ourselves balanced. There cannot be light without darkness, life without death. Let others close their minds and align themselves towards something they do not fully understand,” closing the polished antique silver lid on the meditative brazier, before resuming “Awaken my apprentice, it is time to end your mediation.”

Watching my apprentice slowly awaken as the mind-altering smoke faded from the room. Allowing his body to begin purging the gas’ effects from his conscious. The mediation ritual was the second part of his studies that forcibly opened the mind’s true potential. Feeling the sheer power coming from my pupil at this distance even as walked across the ancient stone chamber. The strength I had felt from him when I discovered him in a partially burned down farmer’s shack had grown.

Wide hazel eyes looked up at me as I approached, the gas still having a slight effect on him. Staring at me in silence, hopefully adjusting quick enough to begin practicing some of the more straightforward lessons I have taught him. If what I noticed on my travels through the world grows, the balance will collapse. Leading to something ancient and remembered only in myths to awaken from its forced slumber.

 


I can feel there is something here, I’m just not sure what. Granted I know the whole orphan protagonist is slightly cliche, but it is an acceptable cliche for some reason.

A start to something…

Honestly, I have no idea what inspired this story idea. Any thoughts on it would be much appreciated.


Glancing down with loving eyes, at my newborn son held precariously in my arms. Seeing him reach out to the world for the first time. His bright sapphire eyes reflecting me, while possessing a familiar but faintly glowing golden color. Doing my best to hide my surprise from my wife, I carefully handed him back to her. Knowing two things with great certainty; he was indeed my son, and his life would be more unusual than anything I wished for him because of it.

My wife, lovingly cradling our first born in a mixture of relief and exhaustion. Waiting for two doctors and nurse to leave the room before speaking. Agreeing only to tell the medical staff just what was absolutely necessary. Even though we had our guardian in the place with us, in case the medical staff turned out to be more malicious then their benign appearance suggested. Given how capable my wife and I were, our child had incredible potential brewing within him.

The one doctor pulled down his dark green face mask before commenting, “We will give you four some privacy. Press the call button if you need something, and a nurse will be here to help,” giving a quick glance to his coworkers before walking out of the room. The nurse shutting the door behind her as she left the room.

Taking a deep breath, my wife commented “He has the gift inside him,” sighing some as our son reached for her pointer finger. “I know we never wanted this for him, but apparently the choice was out of our hands for once. He will need all of us if to protect him, including you, Zero,” glancing at the ex-soldier bodyguard the Protectorates assigned us. He had been standing in the far back of the room, watching in silence while the medical staff were working. “Promise us you will keep him safe if they find us. Even if that means leaving us behind.”

Zero remarked “The Protectorates may have something to say about that, but I will try my best to follow your wishes, Evaline,” bowing his head some. His phone audibly vibrating in his back pocket. Silently pulling it out of his pocket barely glancing down at the display, before putting it back into his pocket. “The escort has arrived to take us to a more secure location. They will be entering this hospital in five minutes. Gather everything you can with haste, Jason. Your son and wife will need protection as they recover.”

Taking a quick glance at Jason, I nodded moving to gather my wife’s things. Knowing that their protection was of the utmost priority for me. Pulling the barely unpacked duffle bag from the room’s faux wooden closet. The pregnancy pants and a loose fitting shirt was resting on top of the pack. Unzipping the bag about halfway, I shoved the clothes into the dark green duffle bag. Tossing a few clean white towels that were neatly folded into the bag as well. Sealing the zipper, before looking back at my wife and son. Evaline had our son neatly wrapped in the light blue blanket the nurses had placed him in. His tiny hand still grasping my wife’s pointer finger.
Setting the bag against the bed, before helping my wife move off the bed. She had swung her legs over the lowered bedrail, waiting for the escort party to arrive. Six heavily armed Protectorates bodyguards barged into the room. Each one looking intimidating with unmarked black armor covering them. Thin black cloth masks covered the lower part of their faces, from the nose down. One of them was pushing a wheelchair in front of them, moving towards the bed. With help from Zero, we slowly lifted my wife from the bed. Lowering her and our newborn son with care into the wheelchair’s padded dark blue cloth seat. Slinging the duffle bag over my right shoulder, before gripping the pale blue foam grips at the wheelchair’s back. Zero and two of the other Protectorates forming a small guard at the front of the wheelchair. The other three guarding our backside, as we began to leave the hospital room.

Happy Halloween everyone

All Hallow’s eve had arrived, bringing a thick supernatural like fog with it.  Spectral balls of concentrated white light were flying through the mist, leaving no trail of their existence behind. Leaving the illusion of misguiding bright spots in the fog. Fortunately, the small coven I belonged too, were already gathered in the forest. An old black iron cauldron resting in the center of a circle of mature white oak trees. Intricate symbols of long forgotten magics were precisely engraved into the metal. Blue and orange flames danced under the cauldron, heating the mixture to a boil.  Bubbles popping on the liquid’s surface released bittersweet aromas of its ingredients.

My companions and I exchanged quick glances over the cauldron, knowing our window had begun to open. Nodding in unison we began to chant, “On this night of divine power, we praise your name the almighty mother of darkness Hectacte. The full moon rises as the barriers between the worlds fall. We beg for your aid on this night to grant us the power we need to protect your faithful. Keep us safe against those that wish to harm our kind. With this sacrifice of blood, we beseech you to aid us,” each one of us drawing a simple silver coated dagger. Pricking our thumbs with blades’ tips. The blood dripping steadily into the solution, making it fizzle even more. “With this sacrifice of blood, we beseech you mighty Hectacte. Protect your faithful from those that wish to do us bodily harm,” going silent, as more blood dripped into the cauldron.

The trees creaking against a mighty wind that appeared without warning. A raspy voice followed answering our pleas, “I will give you the power you seek, but be weary my precious followers’ power can be consuming to those unready to accept it. ” Bringing another mighty wind that extinguished the flames, as the voice fell silent. The supernatural wind wrapping itself under the cauldron and lifting it into the air. Spinning it with incredible speed, before raining the contents of the kettle down upon us. The mixture soaking into our bare skin, as it emptied. All of five us exchanging quick glances, as Hectacte granted us our desire.

Feeling empowered by the mixture, I commented “The time has come to strike back at this severe persecution of our kind. Let us began while the barriers are down and our power is fresh,” beginning to walk back towards the town. Knowing I was being followed without hesitation by the others of my coven.

 

 

 

WEP October 2018 Contest Entry

Struggling to create something for this month’s contest, I considered skipping and rejoining in December. Challenging myself to write something that was a fit for the themes of Deja Vu or Voodoo. Writing a few different ideas but failing to get past a couple of paragraphs with each idea. Which honestly, was incredibly frustrating and annoying for me. Yet, apparently, the pressure from an encroaching deadline was the key to turning the spigot of inspiration on. Inspiring this Tesla-punk themed atmosphere of voodoo and science. Oddly enough the title came easily enough to me, entitling the piece Mad Science.


With thunder and rain making a symphony against the cracked window, I glanced at the massive machine that constructed in the middle of my empty red brick warehouse. Spheres of pure copper rested on top of ten-foot-tall copper wrapped steel beams. The positions of the poles, even the warehouse itself was carefully determined by occultist Aleister Crowley. Ancient and powerful runes etched into the ground around the machine. Etch dusted with copper shavings and white chalk. Bringing in Nikola Tesla himself to design and construct unique Tesla Coils for this project. Making sure the two never knew the plans true aim. This project more akin to technological voodoo. Then it was to either science or the occult. If this worked, I would be reborn into out of this body riddled with a fatal sickness. It didn’t matter if it failed, death would be claiming me soon enough.

Hobbling down the iron staircase, descending with my hand tightly wrapped around the rail. Setting the bottom of my cane on the ground to aid me, before taking my last step off the stairs. Knowing how much I had come to rely on the simple device to move in the past few months. Planning each action on the cement floor with great care, knowing how fragile my ailing body was becoming. Limping to the large steel encased control panel that was parallel to the lowest stairs. Pulling down on the lever to activate the many Tesla Coils simultaneously. Hearing a slight hum as the machines started to warm up. Moments later pure white lightning crackled throughout the warehouse. Striking the ground with growing frequency making the lights glow steadily brighter.

Unsteadily walking into the middle of the machine, the few hairs I had left standing on end. The iron chair I had bolted to the floor waiting for me. Polished copper restraints were attached to the chair, waiting to secure me into the chair. Lowering myself into the chair, letting the cold metal force me entirely into the chair. Watching the lights flicker out as a storm of white lightning strengthened around the machine. Focusing itself around the runes, forcing the copper dust and chalk mixture to glow faintly. The glow was steadily getting brighter, while I watched unwilling to move from the storm’s center. Lightning was beginning to strike the chair at random. Feeling the electrical energy work its way through my chest. A sharp and intense pain started to wrap around my body. Screaming into the air, as the frequency of the lightning strikes increased. Within minutes the pain was unbearable, forcing my conscious to fade away slowly.

Looking down on my empty shell of a crippled body, somehow no longer bound to it. My spiritual form forcibly contained to the area by the mixture of science and the occult. Observing helplessly, as the lightning produced the by Tesla Coils rapidly struck at my body. Feeling a slight tremor even though I was no longer attached to my physical body. The quivers were steadily getting stronger, waiting for the machines to finish discharging their energy.

It could have been a few minutes or a couple of hours before the remaining discharge struck my body simultaneously. The final release was powerful enough to forcibly recall my spirit into my physical body in a union of technology and voodoo. My body was tingling slightly as the metal restraints opened. Being filled with a feeling of robustness that I haven’t possessed since my youth. Tossing my cane across the warehouse testing out this new body before standing. Walking out of the mechanization created by creating a union of occultism and science. My once frail body reborn strengthened with the aid of mad science. Eager to not have to deal with constant hospital visits and doctors that restrained so much of my life. With a new-found spring in my step, I was ready to take on the world.


Critque level: Full

Word Count: 653

Ummm…where was I going with this?

Looking past my platform, I carefully glancing over the bloodstained white masked faces of the surviving graduates of this year’s trails.  Out of the fifty potential candidates who were eligible for the trails, only eight remained alive. The trails had eliminated the weakness from the group. Leaving behind the ruthless and toughest survivors. Each one more than capable of doing anything and everything required to survive the dangerous world they were about to enter.

“You eight are the only survivors of your class. Enabling you to leave the academy you have called home since you were nothing more than mere children.  With the skills and lessons instilled in you here, you will endure any and every hardship you may encounter in your work above.  The custom built gear is waiting in suitcases in your rooms. Welcome to the Legion, graduates of this year’s class.”


I’m not even sure what I thought when I typed this. There is something more here, but my mind fails to recall what it is. Any ideas?

Where to go from here?

Starring out through the cracked screen of my cryo-chamber, I tried looking around. Barely able to look around, before realizing I was still locked inside the cryo-chamber. Knowing trying to break free the titanium alloy restraints would be pointless. Bright, sterile looking light bulbs hung motionless on a long polished chrome pipe. Contrasting with the long dark brown pipes that ran perpendicular to it along the ceiling. Making me wonder where I was since it didn’t look like anywhere I could recall.

Hearing someone shouting nearby in alarm, unable to see them. Seconds later an older looking man with a slightly wrinkled face, and graying hair was peering at me. A dark framed pair of glasses rested against the man’s nose. Tapping lightly with a single finger against the cryo-chamber glass, before commenting “Try to stay calm. I imagine this is startling to you. Technicians are on their way to break the cyropod’s seal, and let you out. Nod if you understand.”

Nodding my head the best I could manage, I waited. Tapping my fingers against the cold metal backing. Surprised by the old man’s diction, and politeness in which he spoke. Assuming even the most basic of principles of civilization would have been eliminated in the impact. Leaving me to wonder if the collision was as dangerous as it was predicted to be. Did humanity endure the impact outside the Arks? Could the old man have been on one the Arks? Had more time passed then planned initially when the creation of the Arks began?

The old man said “Good, you understand,” pausing for a brief moment, glancing at the top the cryo-chamber.”It appears your nameplate has been eaten away by rust. I’m guessing we will have to search the pre-impact data storage for your identity. Given the Ark, was filled with a random mix of people in it, I’m curious to find out,” stopping, and turning around. “The technicians are here, to let you out. It seems I will have to get the answers I seek elsewhere,” vanishing from view. Being replaced by two technicians in stained white bodysuits, and tinted face masks.

Hmm…

With the heat bearing down on us, my father and I continued walking through the desert. Our shadows continuing to grow as sweat continued to drip down our faces. The trail of our footsteps refusing to fade in the seemingly endless dry sea of yellow sand. Not understanding why my father insisted on coming along with me on my spirit-walk. It was meant to be the rite of passage into manhood.  To commune with my ancestors before returning to the tribe.

Dusk was beginning to fall by the time we arrived at Cave of Souls. Without saying a word my father, handed me an ivory smoking pipe. Feathers of blue, crimson, and black hung loosely all around it. Knowing what that meant, I took the smoking pipe with both hands. Taking a breath before walking into the cave. Relieved by the coolness of the dark cave, I walked blindly. Letting my hands guide me in the darkness.

Stopping when I felt something other than the smoothness of weathered stone. Knowing it was buds of the plant,  Hyrbicus. Carefully plucking the bud from the cave-dwelling flower. Grinding it with my hands before putting it into the smoking pipe. Letting it rest in the pipe for a few seconds before taking a long puff into my body. The effects of the flower’s bud were immediate. Seeming to bath the cave with this light, I saw through the darkness. Seeing a narrow stone bridge that led deeper into the cave.

Walking across the stone bridge, I found a vast, smooth stone chamber. Six skeletons protected by a bright blue aura rested in the chamber.  A small raised circle of stone sat in the middle of the room. Walking into the circle, I took a seat in the middle. Taking another puff of the smoking pipe, before taking the smoke into my body. Beginning to notice that the blue aura that surrounded the skeleton had started to take a more human shape.  The one directly in front of me began to look like my grandfather. His spirit twinkling inside almost as if he had come directly from the night sky. Reaching out towards him, I felt a sudden intense burst of blinding pain.  The pain filling my mind with images of my grandfather’s life.

Suddenly the pain and images vanished from my body. While slightly grateful for that, I carefully stood up. The cave much brighter then it was before I entered.  Ready to head back to the village, knowing what my life was about to become.