Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Librarians

We're playing X and Y... and I picked out Librarians and Heroes. And they come in all shapes, forms and types and styles, right? Well, they do! 


It wasn’t fair.

Well, not for me it wasn’t.

And not for her.

All she was doing was research for us to track down a demon to make sure we killed it properly; when it broke into our headquarters, found her sitting there in the beautifully kitted-out library, and it...

I wiped the mud and sweat from my forehead onto my sleeve as tears blurred my vision. My strength wasn’t supposed to be used for this – to bury the quiet heroes in our world, the ones who were the backbone to the whole good-guys machine.
Missy was just that. She was a huge font of knowledge about everything and anything to do with the demon world – in fact, she was part-demon, and that’s how she knew so much about that part of our world. But she didn’t want to hurt the Humans in our world, she wanted to help me and my kind.
Despite her pinkish skin and cute little horns – and yeah the tail she kept well-hidden – she was the kindest, sweetest little thing I’d ever come across. But man, I only saw her pissed off once or twice; and promised myself to never confront her like that personally.

And trust me, I haven’t.

I saw her rip apart another demon in three swift moves, I couldn’t do in for the life of me on my own in two weeks, and she didn’t break a sweat.

Lewis, our other street-wise guy, made a cross with her name carved into it out of two pieces of wood and shoved it into the head of her graved. As the mallet last struck the cross into the ground, he looked up at me. He had been crying, “We’re royally fucked, you know that, right?”
“Let’s get back.” I turned and walked back to the car, “This is where she wanted to be buried.”

Three days passed and we were still cleaning up the mess left behind by that demon and doing research on how to kill it – seeing it was still out there, and we had no idea which one it was or where it had disappeared to. This left us without a source to start on, what it looked like or anything.

So Lewis became the research guy for a while. He hit the books – and in between reading, eating and sleeping, he hit the streets and the home gym we had set up downstairs. I didn’t want him to become lazy just because he was taking over from Missy.

One night, just before dawn, Lewis and I came in from hunting on another case (don’t get us wrong, looking for Missy’s killer was on our list, but we had to make a living), when we found somebody sitting at the table reading in the Library.
Pulling a sword from above the mantle, I readied myself for a fight, but her voice chimed up, “Oh put that away, you idiot.” She turned and there was Missy covered in dirt and mud. Her skin was no longer pink, it was purple and her horns were a bright green. She smiled as she looked at my shocked face, “I’m so glad you guys have been looking for my killer, but there’s no need. It died weeks ago. I gave as good as I got just before it killed me.”
Lewis walked to her side, looking at her incredulously, “How?”
Her tail swished around from under the table, “Well, there’s a reason I hide the tail. It’s got a poisonous spike inside the feathery ends.” She took it up, separated the ends and showed us the spike dripping with venom. Then, she smoothed it over and the spike vanished and she hid the tail again.
I didn’t know what to do as I turned and hung the sword back up with its partner above the mantle, the warmth of the fire burning behind the fire guard, “How did you get out of your grave?”
“I clawed my way out.” She rose from the chair, “You see, my species doesn’t really die. We just hibernate for a few weeks when we’re badly injured; it looks like we’re dead. When we wake up again, we change – age a little – and then we get a little more mojo-ish and age a bit, then we get on with our lives.”
I turned and looked at her, “Well, any other colours I should know about with you?”
Laughing, she shook her head, “Just bright green, and that’s it. I’m not that old. But I know the demon hasn’t been found because I poisoned it. It would have died within a day or so in immense pain.”
“Went out with a bang and not a whimper, eh?” Lewis said.
“Yep.” She turned looking at him, then blinked slowly, “I’m so sorry you have had to take over my duties... and your family it has turned on you.”
He held up his hands towards her, “Stop that.”
“I can’t help it, you don’t have to sing for me to see this. Your aura is drenched in how angry you are right now.” She shook her head, “But we have bigger fish to fry.”
He frowned, “Like?”
“Well, there’s a good reason why I didn’t just go out and leave you guys alone. Somebody is coming... and you’re not gonna like them.”
“The Apocalypse.” I muttered sitting down in one of the chairs around the Library.
“Yes. But you’re late to the party.” She said, “Why do you think I’m here?”
Lewis and I exchanged quizzical glances, and he looked at her, “Well, it hasn’t started yet.”
“It’s been going for a while – since I was killed actually. Or didn’t you feel the world change just that little bit after you buried me?” she looked from me to Lewis and back, “You guys have no idea.”
She walked to me, “This is the end game, the last big kahoona, the last wave... everything is coming to a point and then falling apart on its own; and whoever – or whatever – is left over is going to rule this rotting planet.”
“What about God?” Lewis asked.
“Ha! He left the building a long time ago... so did the Angels and anyone else who gave a flying fuck about this place. Apollo is empty, so is Heaven. Only place that isn’t is Hell and maybe Purgatory, but who knows with that place – nobody knows what goes on with it.” Missy shrugged, “We have to go and jump right into the deep end feet first of this fiery pit of crap and fight the good fight to the best of our abilities. And I hope and pray we can come through the other side alive – well, mostly.”
“How do you know we can do this?”
She smiled, “Because I’m the Librarian, you’re the super heroes and guess what? The Devil and his disciples are out there following everything he has been doing, supporting every move he makes and you guys are the only positive ray of sunshine around.” She looked me up and down, “And if you don’t get your ass out there, you won’t be able to save your planet.”
I looked over at Lewis, “Well, I think our demon is right... it’s time to go to the mattresses but on our terms; and if needs be, we’ll die.”
She smiled that cheeky smile I’ve missed for so long, “I’ll look up what you need to get through tomorrow – and the next day – but you guys seriously need a witch to do some serious spell-work.”
“Well, it appears I’ve come here just in time.” A voice said from the door of the Library. We all turned to find a young, redheaded woman standing there with her bag of tricks and a suitcase, “I was sent here by the Powers to help you Missy. I wasn’t sure why... but now I am. So, where do I start?”

We had only the four of us to work on saving the world. And so we could keep ourselves in complete contact with each other, we worked from the Library and used it as our core centre of operations.

The Librarian.

The Witch.

And the two Super Heroes.

We’re saving the world against the Devil and his son. How we’re doing that, we’re not quite sure. But stick around, we might just need you to help us out if you’re not scared of hard work, getting dirty or dying tomorrow if needs be.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

My Hero

Chuck is back with us again and has gotten us to choose between two sub-genres. I'm not sure where mine lands... a little bit of everything I think.


When you travel with a carnival, it’s not really a life. You never stay in one town for long, so you can’t put down roots. You’re always feeling as though nothing is permanent – because, let’s face it, it’s not. And you can’t really become close friends with anyone outside the carnival; so you keep to yourself a lot of the time.
I joined the carnival when all the hopes of finding a job in this one street town had run out. The electronics factory had closed down soon before I graduated high school. I didn’t make the right scores to get into university and I couldn’t scrape together enough money at the post office to pay rent anywhere in town.

Yep, this place was dying pretty darned quick.

And if I didn’t leave, I’d die with it.

So, when the Stephens Brothers Circus breeze through to fill up their trucks for the last haul until the next big city, I asked if there were any jobs going with the crew.
The manager looked over at me, one of his horns twitching a little as he sat in the driver’s seat of the eighteen-wheeler, “Do you really want to join us?”
“Yes... there’s nothing for me here.”
His brilliant green eyes regarded me, “Sure. Jump in, kid! I’ll find you something.”
I grabbed my duffle bag and raced around the other side of the cab, climbed up and sat in behind the manager, “Thank you!”
He looked over his shoulder at me, “Well, at least you know where to sit; and didn’t just assume you were going to sit next to me – that’s a good start right there.”

Weeks passed by and the Stephens Brothers Circus had hit the next big city on its tour of the country. I worked hard at whatever the manager gave me to do. From cleaning up after the animals, to cleaning up the big rings inside the place after a performance, I did the job. I never questioned the work Marcus (the manager) put to me. I wanted to earn money and so I did as I was told. In return, Marcus helped me out with accommodation, clothes, food and anything else I needed. He knew I wanted to travel, make a decent living and get myself out into the world... and he was doing that just for me.

Another few months passed and I had been given a proper place of my own to live – my very own RV for passing my driver’s license test! Now, all I needed to do was to fit it out the way I wanted; and it would be my home. Marcus made my life sweet. He let me work any hours I wanted and helped me keep my ride on the road.

He was my hero as he took me under his wing.

A year had flown by and Marcus and I were as close as employee and boss could get without it being weird. He had let me travel with the Stephens Brothers Circus and I felt as though I had been with this crew forever... forgetting that I had come from a town which had vanished into the dust bunnies of time soon after I left school. I hadn’t realised how long I had been on the road, not until he knocked on my door and sat down with me.
“We’re heading towards your home town, Laney.” He smiled, “Do you think it’s changed much?”
“Last I saw it, it wasn’t anything but empty.” I poured him a scotch neat and put it next to him, “How could it be any different?”
“You never know.” He said, “You may want to stay there.”
“I’m enjoying myself way too much.”
He sunk the drink in one gulp and stood looking at me with a small smile on his face, “Okay then. This means you’re on board for good?”
“Yes.” I nodded.
He left and I turned in. It was late and we had to get going early to make it to the next township.  Not long after I turned out my lights, I had weird dreams. Dreams about somebody drinking from my arm – and yet I couldn’t move. Then, I was given wine to drink... sweet, delicious... then darkness. A struggling stranger was shoved into my arms and I had a dangerous hunger overtake me – a hunger I’ve never experienced before.
“No!” I screamed sitting up, looking around, finding I was alone. But as I looked down I found marks on my arm, as though it had been pierced by... no it couldn’t have been. I sighed remembering, “After all, I work in a circus, anything is possible.” I laid back down and closed my eyes.

By the time we arrived at my old home town, things had definitely changed. It had gone from a dustbowl and a dying community to a tiny township of brilliant colour and business. But I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to visit my parents – who had been searching for me since I left. I stayed within the grounds of the Stephen Brothers Circus, away from the normal people, because I knew there was something different about me. I knew because of how they made me feel as they walked past in the daytime, while I stood in the shade of the main tent.
“Laney.” Marcus’ large blue form dressed in his usual green suit was by my side, “I see you’re feeling better.”
“Who turned me into a freak?”
“You wanted to stay. To stay, you have to become a freak... this is what these places are about.” He said.
“Who?” I looked at him, “I loved the sunlight... sunrise was my favourite time of day. Now I can’t go outside without ... tell me.”
“I can’t.” He said, “When I heard you scream, I found him leaving your RV and killed him. He didn’t give you a choice; you should have been given a choice. Now, you can never leave.”
“Now, I’m stuck this way.”
“I’ve created a show for you, so you can earn your own keep.” He said.
“Oh, I can just imagine it... you put up a mirror and I’m not there... then you get me to drain some poor bastard!” I snapped, “What else are you going to do? Make me fly?”
“Well, not drain anyone, just show them you can drink blood from the vein – theirs.” He said.
“Nobody will do it.” I shook my head.

Surprisingly, people were quick to see if another human would drink their blood. Yes, you Humans are disgusting. You love to see others get hurt in the worst possible ways. And watching a vampire drink from your own arm is apparently a real turn-on.
And you lot think I’m weird.
Now, you have to understand, I didn’t like doing this. I was turned without my consent, and now I was taking your blood for money – and you all let me do this. It got to a point where you all seemed to blur into a long night of the same faces and reactions.
But then, I came across somebody who had the most amazing scent. I looked up at her and found she was beautiful. As soon as I touched her skin, she smiled, “Are you sure you want me to pierce your flesh?”
“I’m paying you to.” She said handing over the cash.
But this didn’t feel right. There was something about her where my senses screamed at me to run away. I squirmed in my seat slightly, frowned and looked around at the rest of the side show around my tent until I caught Marcus’ eye and he walked straight over to me.
“Is there a problem?” he asked.
“I’m getting bad vibes coming off her. She’s far too excited about this.” I said, “This is not the first time she’s been bitten.”
Marcus looked at her, “Recite a poem for me.”
“Could be a nursery rhyme; anything.” She started reciting ‘Three Blind Mice’ and he shoved her money back into her hands, “Get out of here! We don’t need a gypsy screwing up my work!”
“You don’t understand... I’m trying to help. I’m not a gypsy.”
I watched her leave and wondered if I knew her. Turning to Marcus, “What did you mean by ‘screwing up my work’?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Yes you did. And if she’s not a gypsy, what is she?”
“Don’t worry about it, Laney.”  He snapped, “You wanted to stay and now you’re staying.”
“Yeah, now I don’t have a choice. You asked if I wanted to leave, and when I wanted to stay, I was sired that night. So tell me, what could she do?” Marcus muttered something about getting to the main ring and walked off. I closed my tent flap as I had to think about what had just happened. Not long after, the girl came back, “What do you want?”
“I’m not a gypsy. I’m a witch. My name is Kelley, I can help you, Laney.” She sat down, put out her arm, “Marcus had you turned on purpose because you wanted to work the carnival circuit... so he could have you as his slave. But to have a slave, he needed you to be a freak. If you had a soul, you’d be useless to him; and you’ll find your way home.”
“And so?”
“Drink from me... it’s a blood spell. My coven is performing the rites as I sit here waiting. We’ve been waiting for you to return, Laney – especially your folks – so we can destroy this circus.”

I took up her arm, felt my face change and drank from her. Kelley became my hero, because she was right. My soul was something which helped me find my way home in more ways than one.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Force

It's Star Wars Day... and I thought to give it a go with a Star Wars theme. 


I don’t know what happened to me, but I do believe it was the car accident which caused it. The accident wasn’t my fault – as the dashcam footage given to the police showed it was some fuckwit who ran a red light high on some drug who totalled my car and nearly splattered my body and brains all over the intersection. But when I woke in a body cast with the doctors saying it was ‘a miracle’, I really wanted to die.

Months passed by and I slowly healed. 

My bones painfully mended together and physio started up with me learning to walk again, teaching my legs, feet and muscles to talk to each other again. I had to reteach my hands and fingers how to write again – and found my handwriting changed because some of the tendons in my forearm had been damaged so badly they couldn’t repair them.

But something else happened to me – something I hadn’t counted on. Something I thought was my imagination, until I reached for the wheelchair just out of my reach and it suddenly rolled towards me pushing against the brakes on the hard rubber tyres.

The nurse didn’t see it, but I did.

And like I said, I thought it was my imagination.

I didn’t say anything at the time, not to anyone because I didn’t know what to make of it.

So, I waited until I was alone and asked the nurse to just leave my magazines on the table so I could make myself reach for them – make myself stretch for them – as they were supposed to do for me.
“You really do want to get out of here.” She smiled placing the remote near the end of the bed and my art magazines on the table at the end, leaving me alone for the afternoon where the ward went quiet.

I wanted to watch television.

I had slept for over three months and didn’t want to sleep anymore.

I wanted out of this place to see if I really could do something more interesting than wobble around on my feet or get stuck in a chair for the rest of my life.
Reaching out my right hand to the remote, I ordered it to my hand. But it didn’t move. I wanted to watch television, so I thought of the words ‘remote control, come.’ And it slid quickly along the bed into my fingers, where I fumbled with it and turned on the television on the wall. I found the afternoon movie and found it was ‘Starman’ and smiled at the irony of it.

I had to live with my folks for a little while – which is fair enough. They had built me a small granny-flat like place with a yard, a large bathroom, a studio out the back and all the room I’d ever want.

But I was stuck in the chair for now – how fortunate it wasn’t an electric one.

“He’s quieter than he used to be.” Mum said as I looked around my new art studio, wondering if I’d ever get back into painting or drawing again.
“Relax, he’s probably still feeling as though he’s institutionalised.” Dad’s voice whispered, but I still heard him, “Hey.” I turned and he was at the door of the studio, “Do you want a cuppa?”
“Yeah, a coffee.” I nodded following him out to the kitchen where everything was at my height.

The first few weeks I felt as though they were watching my every move because every time I turned around, they always seemed to be right there asking if I was okay.

It was frustrating.

One night, I was awoken by muscle spasms and had to struggle with the painkillers in the bathroom as I rubbed my legs and arms, crying into my arms on the vanity, “Dammit! Dammit! Damn it all to fucking hell!” I screamed.
I looked up as everything on the counter dropped onto it.
Thankfully, all my things (aftershave, shaving lotion and soap dispensers) were in plastic containers otherwise they would have shattered.
By coincidence, the spasms disappeared after I lost my temper.

It made me wonder exactly what happened to me.

I kept going to physio and talked to my doctors about how my progress was going. They did brain scans to keep an eye on me as well. But on the third scan something happened to the MRI machine – it shorted out on us and they pulled me out immediately.
“Man, do you have any metal plates in your head?” the technician asked.
“No.” I said looking at the machine from the door in the paper gown and booties, before I realised I had jumped off the bed and walked there.
“Hey. You walked there!” he smiled.
“Do you think I blew up that machine?”
They looked at me and one shook his head, “No. It’s something of short in it. Don’t blame yourself.”

I sat at home in the studio wondering what to draw and ended up drawing a scene outside on the veranda, just to get the fresh air. It was nice to sit there with my apron on with my art gear out there and an easel getting my hands dirty with my mobile just out of reach.
The phone rang about an hour into my session.
I turned and put my hand out to it, and my phone flew to my hand, I opened it quickly and I found I didn’t have to touch the screen to answer it, “Hello?” it was automatically on speaker.
“Doctor is that you?”
“Yes. We must talk. You’ve been observed by people doing things, and an institute is interested in our... discoveries about you since your accident.” He had hesitated slightly.
“Why are you afraid?”
“I’m not.”
“Tell me what you’re afraid of about me?”
“I’m not the droid you’re looking for.” He voice droned through my phone, knowing I was probing him for answers, “But I’d like you to come in and see me about this.”

The hospital wasn’t a place I liked to go to – seeing I’d spent a lot of time there – but the doctor wanted to see me. However, it wasn’t actually me he wanted to talk to; I got stuck out in the waiting room while he spoke to my parents. What they didn’t know was I could hear them very clearly behind the closed door.
“Now, take a seat and be careful what you say. Luke can hear us, even with the door closed.” The doctor said.
Mum whispered, “What?”
“Whispering doesn’t do anything, he can still hear you.”
Dad sighed, “Something else is wrong with him, isn’t there?”
“Yes... but in a good way.” The doctor’s voice reassured them, “He’s picked up something since the accident. Something in his brain has been woken up... something we have called The Force – because it’s very sci-fi Star Wars-like. And believe me when I say: The Force is strong in this one.”