Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 3

Hammer of the Gods

"It is said that when one strikes the Bell of the Universe with the Hammer of the Gods the path between worlds will open.  Some devout Brixies want to do this in order to enter a parallel universe in which Homo sapiens died out and only the Brixies are left.  Such a world is like heaven to them.  They call it Brixton.

"Some say that ringing the bell and rending the veil between universes will destroy them.  Some say it will destroy only ours.  Could you please pass the butter?"

Troy, Maggie, Abby and Dart were all sitting around Troy's breakfast nook table.  Abby had made an omelet for each of them, but only Troy ate as the others just sat and listened to him.

Doctor Troy Green drank some coffee and delightfully chewing his mushroom and cheese omelet.

They were all dressed: Maggie in the clothes she had worn the previous night, only at this time they were all completely on; Dart still wore the tux he came in on; and Abby was in Troy's robe.  Troy had washed and dressed in a tweed jacket, sweater vest, violet paisley tie, wool trousers with cargo pockets and boots.  The bulges of harmonicas were obvious in his pockets.

"This is delightful, Abby.  Everyone, eat up."

Everyone didn't eat up.  Only Abby, sensing her food would freeze on the plate, took a bite.

"But what is a Brixie?"  Dart asked, "Could it be involved with my daughter's abduction?"

Troy held up his empty fork, "Complicated and I don't know."  He filled his fork, filled his mouth and chewed thoughtfully.

"Brixies are a race of people, not at all closely related to Homo sapiens.  They are at least as intelligent as us, and as old a race, but they are not in the genus Homo nor did they evolve the way we did.  They have been beside or with us for many millennium. 

"Often they've been mistaken for Little People, fairies, pixies and such.  They do know and are capable of magic.  In fact, I learned my magic from Brixie friends.  The ones that came here and stole the Hammer were from a sect that call themselves the Guns of Brixton, dedicated to bringing about or even hastening the rise of Brixton.  Whether they or any other Brixies are involved with your daughter's abduction or who this wizard woman is, I don't know."  He shrugged, "The more pressing matter is, they've likely taken the hammer to -"

"Well, I'd like to know," Dart said.  "I thought you could help me."

Troy nodded, "I did give you that indication and I will help you.  The trouble is, I have very little information and two completely different sources.  You know your daughter was taken away.  I know the Hammer of the Gods has been taken away. We do not know the severity nor the likelihood of the risk to the former.  I do know the severity of the latter, but I don't know the likelihood.

"Still, I can't take a chance with something of this magnitude.  I must go after the Hammer first.  I don't ask any of you to come with, but I would appreciate and benefit if Abby would."

Dart slammed his palm on the table and stood, "I realize the world MAY end, but I know my daughter is in trouble and needs help."

Maggie spoke up.  She had been so silent it caused everyone to turn in silence, though she didn't speak loudly at all, "Why don't we do both?  Abby and I know Troy is very capable at handling two issues at the same time."  She was smiling when she started, but the blush blossomed on her face until even her ears were red.  She hid both her embarrassment and arousal by taking a large forkful of omelet and focusing on its delightful taste.

Troy cleared his throat and purposefully avoided Abby's smile, "Let's formulate a plan then.  The problem is, although I can handle, ahem, two issues at once; I cannot be in two places at once.  Only I know how to handle the Guns, and I'm the only one in the room that knows magic."

"Do we need magic to follow up on Dart's wizardess?"  Abby asked.

"What?"  Dart asked as he sat back down.

"You said you have too little information," Abby continued.  "Why not let us gather information from Dart's problem."

"Yes," Maggie said, "I can lead that."

"You can?"  Dart, Abby and Troy asked.

"Yes," she said as if saying, "Duh!"  She took another forkful of omelet, chewed and let them lean closer and closer.  "I'm a detective, didn't you know?"

Abby and Troy turned and stared at each other, "I had no idea," they chorused.  "What sort?"  Abby asked.

Dart looked at all of them for a moment, "You three were sleeping together, weren't you?"  He asked, his face brightening in knowledge, "And none of you know who the other is, do you?"

"I work for a private detective firm in Chicago called Acme Ace Advanced Detective Service."

Abby smiled broadly, "This sounds like a good idea.  Troy and I will pursue the Guns of Brixton, and Maggie - "

"They know nothing of magic.  Despite what I'm sure are excellent investigative skills, young Detective Pipp would not know what to look for nor how."

"We have to try, don't we?"  Dart said.

Troy opened his mouth to answer, but he was interrupted by a bass chord at least as loud as the magical notes he had played on the didgeridoo.  The vibrations permeated them all and they could feel another magical spell winding its way around and through them.

The chord pounded again; then on the third time all the windows and doors, including the oven and microwave, opened at the same time.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So, Part 2

The Guns of Brixton

Troy put the didgeridoo to his lips and began to blow.  The tones came out with an unexpected power, a beauty entrancing.  He weaved the instrument through the air and the music followed developing, growing, becoming physical.  The colors of the room swam and time seemed to slow.

The invaders drew truncheons from within their hoods.  The ones holding Maggie Pipp yanked her back by the hair.  Others moved forward on Abby, who dropped to the ground.

Troy stood weaving a spell all around the room.  While it developed, slowing growing, blossoming, spreading; Dart stepped out of the office brandishing a hockey stick as a kendo shinai.  With a shrill cry he leapt at the intruders.

As four of the strangers neared Abby, prostrate on the floor, she spun and with a leg sweep took down two assailants.  In one graceful movement she was up with their truncheons in each hand.  She became beautiful mayhem.  Her movements were graceful, fluid, expert and precise.  She looked like she was dancing through the men, striking and bringing them down.

In their defense, it is quite distracting to get your butt handed to you by a beautiful naked woman using what looks like gymnastic ballet moves.

Dart too was having quite a bit of success.  His long, thin limbs in black tie made him look like a cross between one of Sinbad's fighting skeletons and Jack Skellington, but the reach and skill were masterfully effective.  The intruders fell left and right.  Though many of them returned to their feet, they didn't remain there long.

Even Maggie was fighting back.  She brought her foot up behind her to plant her heal in the groin of one of her restrainers.  She stamped down on the instep of the other, though in her bare feet the effect was painful but not debilitating.

The music Troy was knitting through the room was starting to envelope them all palpably.  There was a feeling of the magic through them, touching their souls.

Suddenly, just as Abby's foot arched to land on a face, the face was gone.  The owner of the face had vanished.

Across the room, as Dart was swinging down to waylay one of the interlopers still holding Maggie, that man too vanished, blinked away.

Maggie, finding a hand free, swung a fist at the other detainer.  Again, the blow was too light to make any real impact, but as it struck home he disappeared.

The music built up, layering upon itself.  It seemed that notes, chords, the tune itself was lingering and lacing itself around the gatecrashers.  Suddenly, in a great crescendo, with music filling the room, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, the climax was reached and every hooded ruffian ceased to be there.

The whirling Amazonian devastation came to a halt near Troy, who, as he took the tubular instrument from his mouth, pulled Abby to him and kissed her long and deep.  She came away smiling.

"Who were they?"  Dart asked.

"What did they want?"  Maggie asked.

"Hammer of the Gods, Guns of Brixton," Troy slurred slightly.

There was a crashing sound from the office.  They rushed into the room, led by Troy.  There they found a case shattered and a hooded intruder standing with a meter long bell mallet in his hands.  He threw his head back and sang a single note, pure and clear.  Then he vanished.

"That was the Hammer of the Gods?"

"Hammers, mallets, same thing, translation error," Troy shrugged.  "Let's have that coffee and brush our teeth.  I have to make a few phone calls.  Then I'll go after him."

"Coffee?  Don't we need to go now?"  Abby asked.

"Listen, I need coffee right now.  Also, I am brushing my teeth and getting dressed.   I have no intention of gallivanting around Arthur Dent-esque."

Saturday, August 02, 2014

End of Poll(s)

The last poll we had is going to be the last poll we're going to do for a while.  They are not generating as much discussion or replying as I had hoped, and I often have trouble coming up with ideas for them.

Our last poll was for what is your favorite movie/literary monster.  The results were two vampire types and one Other.  I like cosmic horror which I think would fall under other.

Thanks to everyone who has participated.  If you want more polls please let me know.  If you have ideas for polls let me know as well.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So - Part 1

Kiss Off

"Troy Green!"

The pounding was incessant.

"Mr. Green!" 

He wondered how on earth she was able to keep up that level of knocking on apartment door.

He rolled over and bumped into a girl.  He hadn't remembered there being a girl there, hadn't remembered bringing her home; but he had done a lot of magic the previous night.

When he bumped her she groaned and slid out her side of the bed.  The sound of it was like the toll booth warning strips to his hung-over ears.

"I think someone's at the door.  I gotta pee."  She stood and walked naked to the bathroom.  She was far too skinny for her own good and far too young for his.

"Mr. Green?"  The voice was plaintive, and he realized the pounding was mostly in his own head.  He took a deep breath, grit his teeth and got himself up.  His world spun for a moment.  He waited for it to stop before he put a robe over his boxers and went to answer the door.

In the front room of his Chicago two flat he found another girl, or rather he found a woman, healthier and older than his bedmate.  She was under blankets on the couch but he would have guessed she too was naked.  He had done a lot of magic the night before.

The knocking and calling had stopped.  He picked up his pace and answered the door as quickly as he could while fighting back vomit.

Beyond the door was no one, the hallway empty.

"May I help you?"  He called, cursing his esoteric oath under his breath.

"Um, Mr. Green?"  A woman called from outside his field of view.

"Doctor, actually; may I help you?"

A head appeared just above the floor from the stairway below.  It was not the head of a woman unless she was the kind of woman with a full beard and male patterned baldness.  His very high pitched voice matched his body like fingernails match a chalkboard (go ask your grandfather what a chalkboard is).

He walked back up the stairs, getting taller and taller until Troy expected him to have to duck or hit his head on the ceiling. The ring of hair starting above his ears was long and braided.  He wore a soiled, wrinkled and skewed tuxedo.

He smiled hopefully at Troy and stuck out a boat oar of a hand.  "I'm D'Artagnan Pneuman.  The "P" is silent."

"Of course it is."

"I'm so glad you're home.  I'm a very desperate man."

"Why don't you come inside and sit down before I fall down.  What did you say your name was?"

"D'Artagnan Pneuman, P-N-E-U-M-A-N, like pneumonia.  My friends call me, 'Dart' for short."

"I refuse to believe there is anything short about you."

Dart laughed and a girl slipped out the door while the men were trying to go in.

"I think you just lost a friend," Dart said.

"He has plenty," a deep womanly voice said from the kitchen.  Troy expected the older one would be difficult to dislodge.  It was the skinny one that had scampered out, wearing some clothes and clutching the rest.

"Can I get you two gentlemen some coffee?"  Her voice was deep and rich like Kathleen Turner eating dark chocolate covered strawberries.  She was at least ten years older than Troy, curvy but fit, she wore the blanket seductively off her shoulders and one ashen lock fell over an eye.  It made Troy stammer.

"In my office, please," Troy pointed in the direction of the office and then forced his feet to follow his finger.  He just had to remember her name, or at lease who she was. 

He led Dart into a book, artifact and musical instrument filled room.  Dart had to duck under each doorway.

"Have a seat, Mr. Pneuman and tell me why you're desperate."

"A curse has been put on my house and family.  My daughter has been put under a magical spell and I think she is going to be kidnapped today."

"What makes you think that?"

"I got this note," he handed Troy a small scrap of velum.  In a brown ink it said, "We're coming to get Barbara tomorrow."

"Can you help us, Dr. Green?"

"You got this at the wedding, no?"

"What?  How did you know we were at a wedding?"

"The tux."

"It was Susan's wedding, Barbara's sister.  We were all having a lovely time.  Everyone was dancing and then the music got louder and faster, and faster.  It was too fast but nobody could stop dancing.  Suddenly it stopped and a woman appeared on the stage with the band.  The room was also surrounded by dark, ominous figures in robes, or hooded sweatshirts.

"The woman raised a stick and waived it around.  Then she sang some chant I couldn't understand.  The hoodie guys sang too.  They started swaying until suddenly Barbara collapsed in the middle of the floor."



"She had a staff, not a stick.  Go on."

"Barbara fell to the floor.  The band tried to grab the old woman, but she snatched up the accordion, squeezed it and with a G minor chord she vanished.  One of the hoodie fellas gave me the note."

"A G minor chord, hmm."

"Can you help us?"  Dart asked, but his voice seemed to be deeper on certain words.

"Say that again."

"Help, can you help us?"

That time it was clear that the words, "Help" were far deeper and coming from the other room.

Doctor Troy Green sprang from his chair and snatching a didgeridoo from beside the office door he rushed into the front room.

The older woman, Abby, Abby Bancroft, mother of the groom, what a relief that was to Troy.  Abby was standing naked in the front room with the blanket she had been wearing fallen around her.

Also around her, around the room in fact were a dozen or so stocky short figures in hoods. One of which was holding the younger woman, Maggie Pipp, boy it was all coming back to him now.

"Give us what we want, Green or the girls get it," the leader said menacingly.

Troy Green Associate Professor of Ethnology and Comparative Religions brandished his oddly painted and carved Australian Aboriginally inspired musical instrument and said, "Kiss off!"

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Καλό Μήνα Ιούλιος - Good Month, July!

I've changed the background in the blog.  I thought I needed a change.  I love that picture I was using.  I took that picture myself, but I need to change my approach, my attitude and I'm starting with the theme.

I'll be changing it again.  I don't have much time tonight and I need to find the right picture.  Like a favorite song, a cherished aroma, comfort food, an inspirational picture can make a dramatic difference.

I'm going to write.  I'm going to post.  It may be sloppy, ugly and short at first, but I'm sure it will grow on me, and hopefully on my readers as well.

I went back and read, "Barfight at Simplicity Genoid" as well as the Empire Beyond Mars stuff I have on this blog.  I'm fairly inspired. I've also been listening to the Indiana Jones theme and the weather has been very inspirational.  This blog post is a good first step.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Surrender, June!

As June draws to a close I look here at this blog and realize that I did not post once this month.  That is inexcusable.  I had intended to post regularly, once a week. I wanted to post fun things.  I was going to post about world building through a character.  I didn't do any of it.

What was wrong; why didn't I?  I don't think I was moving in the right direction.  I am absolutely swamped with things to do.  I have family, work, scouts, etc and as it stands I relax maybe a few hours a week while sleeping about five hours a night.  I literally don't have enough time in the day.

That's still no excuse.  I get a great deal of pleasure from writing.  I am proud, entertained, happy, thrifty, accomplished, tickled and so much more.  I need to find some way to write here and share that in a way that is consumable by others.

I tell myself stories all the time.  That was one of the major reasons I started writing.  I figured I was already doing it, I might as well do it so that others can read and enjoy.  If I could make money doing it all the better.  I will never make money writing if I can't write regularly.  I won't even get to enjoy it unless I do it.

So, as we say goodbye to June, I also say goodbye to Zoso Angrybarn, at least for now.  She is a lovely girl and her country is a very nice and interesting place.  I just couldn't really find her, nor could I find an actual story for her to live in.  It just wasn't coming together.

I am itching to write.  I will be doing some writing very soon and it will be the kind of writing I can share here.

June?  I'm afraid I'm going
to have to let you go.
The good news is, I have been writing.  I finished a story this year and had some help editing it.  It is a rather long short story, but I was aiming at a particular market.  Unfortunately that market is not accepting submissions right now.  Missed that boat.

I may be throwing some questionable stuff on this blog in the near future.  It may not be my best stuff, but I resolve not to start something and not finish it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Movie Poll Review - New Poll (don't be frightened)

Gene Hackman as Polish MG Sosabowski
Our last poll was a movie one.  What is your favorite Chicago movie.  Blogger dumped our results lately, but if I remember correctly it was one Ferris Bueller, one Blues Brothers and one Other.

My next poll is regarding horror stories.  What is your favorite type of monster?

Stephen King in his non-fiction book, Danse Macabre describes four basic archetypal
"monsters."  He names them The Frankenstein, The Vampire, The Werewolf and The Ghost.  In our poll we'll look at them another way.  This other way perhaps may expand the tropes is (respectively):

  • The Thing that Should Not Be
    • Frankenstein
    • Cruel intelligences
    • Demons and devils
    • Evil incarnate
    • Mindless destroyers
  • The Thing that Devours Us
    • The Vampire
    • Animal predators
    • Parasites
    • Possessing demons
    • Succubi
    • Viruses
    • Zombies 
  • The Thing with Two Faces
    • The Werewolf
    • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    • Dictators
    • Serial killers
    • Transmorgifiers
  • The Thing that Would Not Die
    • The Ghost
    • Banshees
    • Liches
    • Slashers
    • Spectres
    • That which demands revenge
    • That which seeks death
    • Wraiths
I'm not sure where Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror falls.  I suppose some of it is Mindless Destroyers, but not always.  I just don't know.  If you don't know what your favorite monster fall under, please  put in a comment and we can try to figure it out together.