Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh Dear Cthulhu, What Have I Done?!

I made a decision at the beginning of this month with which I am very uncomfortable.

I decided that I should celebrate Cthulhu Month on Flowers of Mundelein.  I feel this is very inappropriate, and the Flower Followers (I just coined that, you like?) are just not ready for such raw cosmic horror and insanity.

Next year Cthulhu month will return to Illini6.  For now, like being on a rollercoaster the only thing we can do it hold on and get through it.
They just weren't ready

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 6

Part 6:  Over Hills and Far Away

"Could I have a glass of water?"  Senaka Lincoln asked Maggie Pipp.  She stood shakily from casting her singing spell over the tiny droplets of blood.  Each droplet seemed to be vibrating in rhythm and Maggie wondered if it wasn't her imagination that she could hear the music they made.

"Were you successful?"

"I think so, but making magic always dries my mouth so."

Maggie fetched a glass of water from the kitchen.  When she brought it to Senaka the darker woman had been joined by the heavyset Jonny, the androgynous Sailor and a withered old man with dark leather skin and a ring of pure white around the back of his head.  He wore thick glasses and carried an ancient acoustic guitar.

"Ole-Man Rivers I'd like to introduce Margaret, "Maggie" Pipp, private detective and bedmate of Troy Green." Senaka said.

Ole-Man extended his hand and smiled broadly.  He had a full mouth of yellow, but straight, real teeth.  "Delighted to meet you Ms. Pipp.  They call me Ole-Man, though I've no idea a'tal why.  Ole-Man Rivers, and I must say it is a pure pleasure to meet someone so lovely as you, absolutely a pleasure."

"Thank you," Maggie took his rough and hard hand in a strong shake.

"Whelp, might as well get to hunting.  Where we headed?"

"I've cast a spell on the blood, I suspect it will lead us to the hospital or aid station they took the Gun."

"Guns, eh?"  Ole-Man adjusted his guitar on his chest and played a few notes.  "What tune we using to hunt them?"

"I was thinking of 'Further On Up the Road.'"

"Johnny Cash or Robert Jordan?"

"Why do you even have to ask?" Jonny said.

"Cash's tune is a good one, full of pain and longing, traveling and meeting."

"No magic stronger than Robert Jordan's," Sailor said.

"True, but I didn't want to assume nothing."

"Did you know Robert Jordan?"  Jonny asked with a smile.

"Stole this here guitar out his dead hands," Ole-Man quipped back and started strumming a blues progression.

Senaka touched Maggie's arm, "We're all going to cast a spell and travel by magic.  Do you have any weapons?"

"Um, some pepper spray I guess.  I'm not really that kind of detective.  I'm more the computer intelligence gathering type."

"That's fine.  Can you sing?"

Maggie's eyebrows did a bit of a dance as she struggled to decide how to answer, "Yes?"

"If you can harmonize and you know the tune then join in, but if you don't think you can, it's find you don't.  We'll all sit in a circle around the drops and hold hands.  No one will get lost."

They did exactly like Senaka described.  Jonny helped Ole-Man to sit.  They all crossed legs and took each other's hands except Senaka and Jonny on either side of Ole-Man each grabbed a belt loop so his hands would be free to play.

"Ready," Maggie said, but none seemed to be listening.

The song began.

Maggie was not that familiar with Robert Jordan.  She knew that he was a famous Blues musician who was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil for musical talent.  Maggie was only familiar with the Eric Clapton version of the song.

As Ole-Man played, Maggie wondered if he hadn't sold his soul as well, the music was every bit as good as Clapton and maybe even better.  When it was time for the singing part though, it was Jonny that actually led the group.

"Further on up the road
Someone's gonna hurt you like you hurt me.
Further on up the road
Someone's gonna hurt you like you hurt me.
Further on up the road,
Baby, just you wait and see."

His voice was soulful, throaty, manly and lusty.  On the second stanza Senaka joined in.

"You gotta reap just what you sow;
That old saying is true.
You gotta reap just what you sow;
That old saying is true.
Just like you mistreat someone,
Someone's gonna mistreat you."

The room started to vibrate.  It flowed like a hot breeze rising from the delta, swirling around, through their hair, through their clothes, into their souls.  It made Maggie feel lightheaded, but she bounced and swayed to the rhythm, just like the others.

Sailor joined in song, and Ole-Man hummed along, his guitar driving the tune, rippling through reality, opening eyes and minds and doorways.

"Further on up the road."

There was a road.  They spun round in their circle, cross-legged by floating on the music rather than sitting on the floor, the road stretched before them, but they moved along it, bouncing and sliding.

The road seemed to lead right into a room.  Their dirt country road spilled itself onto the wooden floor of a large bedroom.  The circle of singers suddenly found themselves seated cross-legged on the floor.

The room was full of Brixies.  Some were being bandaged, some bandaging, and others questioning the bandagees.  The questioners were the first to spot them and they did not look happy.

Maggie's head was full and wavering, like she had just had a very strong drink.  Senaka struggled to unfold her legs and stand up, cursing lightly under her breath.  Sailor and surprisingly Jonny sprang to their feet, seemingly ready for a brawl.

None of the Brixies were lavishly dressed, but one seemed more put together, cooler and more powerful than the others.  He turned slowly to look at the newly arrived, his arms folded.

Ole-Man had stopped strumming, but had made no attempt to rise.  He hung his head and said, "Too close, far too close.  Damn we're too good for our own good."

The Brixie leader gave a Shere Kahn smile, "So it would seem interlopers, so it would seem."

Friday, October 03, 2014

OMC - I Almost Forgot Cthulhu Month!

Oh
My
Cthulhu!

Here it is the third of October and I almost forgot Cthulhu month this year.  I'm so focused on learning Greek.

What a tragedy, a Greek tragedy.

I'll have to rectify that right now and catch up.  Here are three images to get you started.  I grabbed these pictures associated with H.P. Lovecraft's story, "From Beyond" because I am working on a story for an anthology based on this story.


These great pictures were the work of Christian Bravery.  He posted them on the Lovecraft Literary Podcast.  You should go to his site and check out all the other cool stuff he has done.  While you're there ask him to forgive Inner Prop for using his images.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 5

Bigger Hole to Fill

"I like that attitude, girl," Senaka Lincoln told Detective Maggie Pipp.  "Troy, did they bleed?"

"I'll show you," Maggie said.

"Sailor, go get Ole-Man up here, we're hunting Brixies."  Senaka instructed the androgynous person of their group who nodded and dashed off.

"Are just the four of you going to go after them?  There were a dozen of them and I'm sure there were more where they came from.  What about the rest of the band?"

"We'll keep them on call, just in case.  Jonny, would send the little bird?"

The flush heavyset young bald man nodded and pulled a ceramic bird from inside his jacket.  He held it close to his mouth and began to whistle.  The song was intricate and beautiful, whistled incredibly well by a master, but it was dark and full of menace.  Maggie had never heard a whistle with so much ill portent.  As the song grew Jonny's eyes seemed to take on that shine a drunkards do when he begins a bottle.

Eventually the bird sounded like it was echoing the song, in a hollow, clear flute of its own.  It matched Jonny's song until it began to move and floated out of his hand.  On a rainbow of music the porcelain bird darted out the window and into the sky.

"Homing pigeon?" Maggie asked.

"Something like that," Senaka said.  "When the others get up here we will circle some of the spilled blood from the Brixies and begin the spell that should take us to them."

There wasn't much blood, just a few tiny drops here and there, mostly from Dart's strikes to heads or from mouths struck by Abby.  Maggie let them to the only drop that still seemed wet.

"If it takes us right to them, won't they be expecting us?"  Maggie asked.

"They'll be expecting us to track them through the Hammer itself, still we will have to be very careful about our song so that we harmonize, not chorus.  Please be quiet now," she bent over the drop and began to sing softly to it.  It was a quiet call and response.  Senaka would sing and listen to the response.  She swayed as she did it and Maggie could see her lips move, but she could hear almost nothing.

"Right, "Troy whispered, "We'll have to do something along the same lines.  Abby, why don't you get dressed and meet Dart and me in the office?"

She nodded and was gone in a flash.

"What's in the office?"  Dart asked.

"It has soundproofing.  I trust you have something of your daughters by which we can track her?"

"I have photos, I don't think anything else."

"Digital photos are far less than ideal, however she has half your genetics, that should help."

"Just the three of us are going after a wizardess and a pack of goons?"

"She is after me, Dart, so I suspect she will not anticipate my getting closer to her, also, I am a very powerful wizard, very powerful indeed."

"Yes you are," Abby had returned and nuzzled him close to him from behind.  Troy turned to admire her.

She wore her medium length hair in a wide violet ribbon and a summer dress different from the long black dress she had worn to the wedding the previous night.  She had replaced her heels with ballet flats, and carried her purse.

"You are quick.  Where did those clothes come from?"  Troy smiled.

"I was a Girl Scout, don't you know," she patted her purse and kissed him.  He returned her kiss a moment before he continued speaking to Dart, "Finally, you are quite handy with the stick and Abby is a mistress with the kicks.  I've no doubt of our success."

He held the office door open.

"I did mean to compliment you on that hockey-stick play this morning, "Abby said impressed.

"Well," Dart shrugged, "With a name like D'Artagnan you'd better be able to handle a sword.  I started with high school fencing, then kendo, then medieval swordplay, quarterstaff, bo, hanbo, and finally a little hockey.  I've never seen moves like you pulled this morning.  That was truly amazing and stunning to watch."

Abby smiled, "In addition to aerobics, yoga, Pilates and tai chi; I teach jujitsu and krav maga."

"Impressive," Dart said.

"Very impressive," Troy added and kissed her on the neck.

"And you are sure this wizardess wants you as an erotic toy; there could be no other motive?"

"No," Troy kissed Abby on the lips, "It is plain as day, which is why we specifically must be the ones to go after her."

They were just entering the office, but from across the room Senaka snorted derisively.  Laughing she lifted her head from her song-spell, "Won't you get a room, all these jokes are breaking my concentration."

"She doesn't think it could be that," Dart said.

"She's jealous," Abby said.  Dart remained unconvinced.

They entered the office and closed the door firmly.  Troy went to a wooden display case next to the one that had held the Hammer of the Gods.  He handed the contents, a sword and scabbard to Dart.

Dart took them and looked the sword over.  It was a plain and simple yet elegant and exquisite small-sword.  He gave it two practice swings and two perfect tones sang from it, as if the greatest soprano were singing to her lover, or angels were blowing across the strings of a Stradivarius.

"It's a singing sword," Troy beamed.

"Really?"  Dart sheathed the sword.

Troy shrugged, "I'm a collector."  He looked around the room and clapped his hands.  "You can both sing, right?"

Dart and Abby nodded.

"Hmm, we need something strong, powerful, demanding, something we three can sing, I believe rock, hard, metal, yes, I think I have the appropriate song.  Do you both know, 'I Can See for Miles' by The Who?"

"Yes."

Troy didn't say another word, but belted out the opening line, "I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise.  I know that you have 'cause there's magic in my eyes."

They all joined in, "I can see for miles and miles and miles..."

The song went on, winding around them.  It didn't take long before the room was spinning psychedelia.  A kaleidoscopic tube grew round them opening on a scene of green and blue and white, gold and silver, ivory, ruby, emerald, sapphire.

The song twisted and turned for, "Miles and miles and miles and miles" as they slid through the tube of color and music up and down, round and round until the tube ended, gently dropping them through the hole at the end into a whole new world.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 4

Join Together With the Band

"What is that?"  Dart insisted as all the doors and windows of Troy Green's apartment suddenly, magically flew open.

"Hello in the house!"  Called an alto woman's voice, clear and melodic.   Then came a chorus of at least three harmonized voices, "Is everything alright?"

The four at the breakfast nook, Troy, Abby Bancroft, Maggie Pipp and Dart Pneuman suddenly felt safer and happier than they had before the doors had opened.  They followed Troy as he got up and all closed doors and windows as they moved to the front door.

Troy sang out, "Welcome to the band!"

In the front room, coming in the door were three people who couldn't have been more different.  They were led by a tall, leggy woman with ebony skin and caramel-cotton candy hair.  Her clothes were well tailored, but oddly mismatched in color.  She was followed by a young, but heavy bald man the color of an uncooked crab and covered with acne scars.  The third person was almost indescribable only because it was nearly impossible to say anything definite about the person, not hair, eye or skin color; not height or weight; not shape or even gender.  The only thing that could be said was the person looked healthy in a loose fitting top and jeans.

"This is your band?"  Dart asked.

"Don't I remember it being bigger last night?"  Maggie asked.

"This is just most of the rhythm section.  This is Senaka Lincoln."

The dark woman smiled and said, "Bass."  She held up the electric bass in her hands.

"Jonny Wales, piano," Troy continued.

"Pleased to meet you," the heavy man said in a tenor voice with a Welsh accent and yellow but straight teeth.  The others would have thought of it as a British accent.  He was carrying an amp for Senaka's bass.

"And this is Sailor Yamidori, our drummer.  I imagine Ole-Man Rivers couldn't make it up the stairs."

"He's in the van," Senaka said.  She was watching the women, and smiling at Troy.  "He won't drive it," she explained to them, "but he loves to sit in it."

"We all had attack nightmares and then this morning, we heard the didgeridoo and figured we best come straight away."

"That instrument is strictly defensive, and very powerful," Troy explained.  "We were accosted, but made good account of ourselves until -"

"I think your good account started last night."  Senaka smiled at Maggie and Abby, who both smiled back and each grabbed one of Troy's hands.  Senaka laughed.

"What's an attack nightmare?"  Maggie asked.

"Someone can enter your mind through your dreams and enchant you.  If you are familiar with magic you can defend against it, otherwise you might just wake up with a desire to do something you hadn't thought to do before."

"It's like long distance hypnotism."  Troy said, "What was the nature?"

"Trying to find you I think," Senaka said, the other two agreed.

"I got a feminine sense too," Jonny added.

"Then it's not likely our attackers.  I can't imagine they were only just trying to find my location the night before an attack like that.  They made off with the Hammer of the Gods."

"I thought you made a good account of yourself?"  Senaka was suddenly angry.

"We did," Maggie institsted, "They rescued me and drove off the attackers."

"None of that means anything if they use the Hammer.  Did he tell you about it?"

"He did," Abby said, "and we were just going to go after it."

"And my daughter.  If this attack nightmare wasn't about this Hammer, maybe it was about her."

"Yes," Troy said, his hand on his chin thinking, "Tell me more about the dream."

"Are you kidding," Senaka said, "We need to go after the ones that got the Hammer.

"We have to do both.  Jonny, what was that about a feminine feel?"

"There was desire there, I think, and sexuality."

"You always want sexuality in your dreams," Senaka said.

"I think there were monkeys and dancing."  Sailor nodded behind him.

"That's it, Dart," Troy said.  He turned to the bandmembers, "Dart Pneuman came to me this morning for help, as he daughter was abducted last night at a wedding by a woman and dark henchmen."

He turned to Dart, "The Wizardess has kidnapped your daughter and used the attack nightmares to find me."

"But why?"  Dart asked.

"Isn't it obvious?  She's infatuated with me and wants to trap me into a sexual prison of her own misguided desires."

Senaka laughed and Dart looked confused.  Maggie squeezed Troy's hand, stepped closer to him and batted her eyes while nodding.

Abby looked furious, "I am willing to share, but I will never let you be taken like that.  Just let the bitch try.  We are going after her!"

Senaka forced herself to straighten up and wiped tears from her eyes, "That actually makes some sense.  Jonny, Sailor, Ole-Man and I can go after the Hammer.  You don't know where they took it do you?"

"No, I'm afraid I don't."

"I'm going with you," Maggie said.

"Us?"  Senaka asked, "Who are you?"

"I'm Margret Pipp, Private Detective and I'm the kidnap victim that's going to come back and bite them in the behind."

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."