Monday, March 6, 2017

Three short short stories and a short writing update



It has been way too long since I have done anything with this blog. That's my fault. So for those who might be following this blog and those who know I am a writer I say that I have been doing a bunch of writing.
   I have one story at Writer's of the Future contest and have another one very close to being ready to send in for this quarter's contest. For those who don't know they have a contest every quarter. You can send in only one story per quarter but depending on how long they take in a quarter to decide on your story it is possible to have three stories in at one time. Usually it works out to be only two for two quarters.

   I am almost done with a new novel-The Courier. That is my novel with that title. There is a new novel out with that title but it isn't mine. Mine is steampunk set in our time. No computers so they have couriers to carry important papers and small devices, parts etc. Sometimes cash, gems, gold or silver too. The papers can be ordinary letters, contacts that need to be signed, blueprints, collage exams and thesis. Most anything else you can think of. The job can be dangerous so Couriers are armed. Kara, a young twenty-two year woman, knows self defense and how to shot and some about how to use a knife. She has a couple of steampunk type weapons in secret. One is to stun since she doesn't like actually shooting people even though she will.  I just need to finish revising a chapter a short chapter and redesign a couple of long chapters. Than off to a beta reader or two. Hopefully they don't find anything that needs fixing with the plot but that is their job.

I have done a quite a few very short stories inspired by certain sets of pictures on Google + That is where these three stories came from. I will be doing a 22 story anthology with the stories of one of those sets. At least one of these will be included in that anthology.


I have done more writing including finally for an On The Premises contest but this is all for now.

Now to the stories:


The second one is the third tale of an unnamed older mage, I have written. I hope to do two more about him. All shorter stories like this one.

The stories get longer with each tale. The first two are flash and the third is almost 1400 words. So 2,820 words altogether. They are each different; Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and SF. I think the third one might be sort of or almost cyberpunk.

Please enjoy them and if you do like them remember I do have novels for sell. :)

Dragon Celebration:

I had been staring down at the bridge that led to the city, Averiburg. The massive stone bridge that traveled over the city proper, had been adorned with wide ribbons as had the narrow castle with its tall towers and battlements and grand archways. The ends of the high stone water courses that fed water to the castle also had been decorated. We stood on a rocky crag that stuck out of the main mountain. Below us is a small valley they built the castle in. A large village had grown around it.
When that thought popped into my head, I spun around to face Qu’loff. Most people don’t realize that the last syllable is pronounced with more of a growl sounding tone. His lightly colored scales reflected my dragon jewel. I wore it over my gold colored armor. which had been polished for this day. I held my dragon spear, with its two 18 inch long blades one at each end, but I was so used to it, handling it so I didn’t stab or slice anyone it had finally become second nature.
I looked up to his solid blue eyes, no one could tell how they saw with no pupils but they did rather well. His breath smelled of heat and only slightly of burnt meat so I could tell he hadn’t eaten for a while, but I knew that anyway.
“Dragons don’t like human celebrations.”
“True,” he stated in a haughty tone, but continued in a normal one, “but this one is special. It is the only one we Flying, Fire People willing participate in.”
They have one word instead of “Flying, fire people”, but that is how my mind translates it.
The wind up here on the crag were we stood picked up, the padding under my armor protected me from cold winds on land or in the air, but my helm was up and my face felt the cold.
He paused for a moment, “I find myself eager for this one.”
Qu’loff stared at me for a moment with his head slightly tilted, so I knew I was the reason he was eager for this celebration. Most partnerships between humans and dragons happened between those of the same gender. You could count the mixed pairings in the last twenty years on both hands. I was one and the rider I liked, Jorume, was another. He had a female dragon, hatched a year before Qu’loff. It made certain behaviors of both beings easier to understand and cope with, but while certain thoughts, feelings, bodily functions were difficult to understand and go through, we understood each other well.
I watched the other dragons, most but not all with riders, fly around the castle or land on various spots. I was off duty but was expected to wear my armor, for the celebration and the show. I nodded sent a mental message of my joy of knowing him and that it was time to go, to my dragon. That had become second nature too.
I climbed up the leg he moved into position for me and settled onto my saddle. He took off with a sudden launch. I was used to that now and someday may even enjoy it.
We headed down to our place in the ceremony that memorialized the first team of a dragon and human pair.
end

Modern Golem:


“Hmmm”
My first thought when I saw her. No, she was made from plastic formed to look like the human body. I could make out the lines of the various stripes and larger panels they had used. Her head looked real: no lines, or plastic shine. I wondered if they had used a human one. If so it was fresh by the look. In my fifty years, thirty-three as a mage I hadn’t seen anything like her.
Would that make it a modern Frankenstein? Or more likely a modern golem, not made out of mud or clay, but of manmade materials.
Whatever. I shivered and not just from the cold air in here. I sensed power here even without using my special senses. She had the most but the tall narrow things behind her each had a large dose too.
The room I stood in smelled of a hospital: antiseptic and cleaners, with futuristic looking equipment in the background. I could hear electronic beeps like heart monitors produce.That supported the idea they had used a real head.
Had they tried for a resurrection? Someone died too young by her appearance? Someone who was very old wanted a new start? Either of those never worked out the way the builders thought it would. Surprising, I wasn’t able to see if they had made her complete since she wore a black dress. Shoulderless and sleeveless but still modest. I wasn’t sure what the clear shoulder coverings were for. They looked like shoulder paddings some woman fashions used.
I also wasn’t sure about that round light behind her. Part of her construction? Something wizardry to keep her going? Just coincidence? It produced some energy.
The round clear ball she held, about the width of the lid for a large drink, I did know. I came here for it. She held it between the forefinger and thumb of her left hand while her right hand bent at the wrist under it. Just coincidence or a magical stance? Could be either or neither.
The fact that it projected a larger mostly transparent ball-make that two balls-was of concern for me.
The more I looked at the ball the more I thought she was made to activate it. The real human head-alive probably-might be used to try to fool this wizardry device. For it had to be a human that operated it.
I shook my head. They had to be stopped. If she activated the ball, they would get something very bad. Worse than if this was a nuke or even a futuristic antimatter bomb. It was a potestatem-dunamas. A redunante name but it fit. The thing had skads of power. Therefore it was used for many things. As a wizardry nuke, a method to change a person into another creature, or change a section of the earth. Turn miles shaped like a splatter, into desert or lave lake or maybe even draw the moon to the earth. It might not be able to the last but one ancient wizard wanted one to try it. He was stopped before he could but that story says he destroyed Mu in the process.
A sudden change in the output of the device, caused the outer balls to start spinning.
Oh oh
I had been thinking in the wrong tense. It had already been activated and it neared its release.
I pulled in as much anergy in the room as I could get, she glanced up as the light behind her dimmed. I’m glad they had a lot already ready, for whatever reason.
I sent a Trick to pull the ball out of her hand. Nothing. Damn, as a golem she was immune to Tricks. I used more that I had gathered, created a large lightning to strike at the ball. That should knock it out of her hand. I shielded myself at the same time. I still felt heat and electricity in the air heard the crackle like roar.
However when the light dimmed enough for me to open my eyes, even though the streaks in my vision I saw she still held it. What? The floor had scorched marks and something still wobbled in the corner but not other harm anywhere. The room must have another protection.
For the next three minutes I tried various Tricks, even pulling it with a tractor Trick I invented, but nothing worked. One last thing; maybe a shield around her would keep the damage down to only the building-maybe. I pulled in all of the mystical energy I could. That light dimmed again and she sagged a tiny bit.
Oh?
I switched targets and hit that light hard. Nothing, so I pulled energy in, as much as I have ever used at one time in my long life as a mage. Hit it so hard in so many ways I lost track of then. She sagged but looked at me. Took a step my way, I slid sideways. The light went out, I hit the ball again with the last I had and this time it went flying. I felt hot, tried and used up, old but I ran, even as weak as I was I was faster than her for I was motivated. I grabbed the ball from the floor took off running for the door. It burned but I turned it off, when it started to disappear I went through the thick metal door, sealed it and welded it. 
 Yes, that part really was that easy. Maybe the switch was a failsafe or maybe the original designer never thought about the switch. I went home and crashed, rested and ate for three days. Glad I stopped them from doing whatever they had planned for it would have been very bad.

end


She Is the Best:

The smell of soldering filled the air. Sideborg-a name to say that he was on his own side-watched her. She was the best there was at cybernetic repair and related fields, even as young as she looked; twenty-one. He always wondered if she really was the age she appeared to be. Her experience and her knowledge made him think not, but she was a genius after all so maybe. A few of the sparks from the soldering bounced to his face, but he didn’t care. Even though he felt them he didn’t need eye protection, for his arms were not the only manmade devices he was now made form.
Sideborg looked around, Kilner’s place looked like it was filled with junk, but there was more here than most thought. That was one reason she kept the place dark, so no one could see the real stuff, mixed in with the junk. She had proven that she knew where every piece lay.
He looked at her. The hiss of the special welder filled his ears. Even though the flickering high light and sparks, her goggles looked well used, with burn spots, nicks and faded colors. They were made from a mixture of super tough ceramics and metal, designed to take very high temperatures and were very hard to damage, yet she, or someone else who had them first, had done both. He thought it had been her, maybe her teacher and her.
Kilner looked down. She was pretty and in shape-she would have to be with some of the lifting she had to do and that she needed to run very fast at times down here here where they lived. Her mid length over red-for today-hair was tired back with a heat resistance cloth, but some strands still had scorch marks and the ends lay uneven. Today her work stunk more than usual, for the unique metal they had to use and because it was a very strong alloy, therefore took a very high temperature to fuse together. It needed to be for the use he put it through almost every day.
When she finished repairing the damage she readjusted and recalibrated the computer in his shoulder. The last job he had done had damaged it, but it had been overdue for an overhaul anyway, which, of course, had made the damage worse.
The clicking of the recalibration continued as did the hiss of the torch she used even though she had sit it aside for now. The best models didn’t produce any noise, but here they didn’t have the top line stuff. Much of it wasn’t even third level. Some in fact were throw away junk that had been modified or refixed a number of times. It all worked though. Of course his cybernetics were one of the few exceptions. It had been top stuff, now though it had been repaired so many times it he was surprised it all worked. Plus his reconstruction had been a few years ago so they probably had even more advanced products up top.
He breathed in some of the heat and soldering gas one of his few remaining human functions, when he thought of the last job. His tastebuds still worked and he wanted to spit out the taste all that produced but he held it in since he was in her shop.
Sideborg sighed, last night had been a furball. The guards around that diamond had been some of the best, but he had snuck past them anyway. That was one reason he was popular with certain people. He didn’t just use his strength and augmentations. He could stay in shadows and use distractions as well as the best of them. Sometimes no one knew he had taken anything.
This time was different and so far, as he had heard anyway, no one knew his real job had been to steal the chip with Barney’s safe houses, secret accounts and hiding places for illegally gotten goods. That last was what his costumer had wanted. One of Barney’s men had stolen a very old item that could lead to something valuable, maybe a weapon or a carrying case with a pocket universe in it, Sideborg suspected. He now knew the three places that item could be but decided to give the whole chip to the customer, who had been very happy to get the knowledge. He should be on his way to the second place already-if he hadn’t found what he wanted at the first one. More than likely the customer wouldn’t use the extra info that came with it because he just needed that one bit, and he would be off planet soon.
The rest of what Sideborg found could be worth a lot of extra money, before Barney realized the knowledge had been stolen and redid everything. But that might not happen for a day or week.
One good thing though during the fight with the hidden two guards-both huge and augmented-Sideborg had destroyed the side of the room where the chip had been stored. It hadn’t been planned, but the fight had been messy. The whole room would need restoring; all types of devices and storage drawers and cabinets had been destroyed. Some of it on purpose but much in a death fight. He managed to finally get out with what he wanted but it had been closer than usual. Sideborg shook his head. He had missed that information about the secret guards and had gotten careless in his arrogance. During the fight he had feared discovery or even destruction twice. But he had used his cunning and with a bit of luck, that resulted in the electrocution of that one hulk, he had made it. He had made sure any recording devices, including in the bodies of the guards, had been totally wiped out.
He had barely made it out even after he had what he wanted. Other parts of him had been damaged plus his face and other real skin spots had been badly bruised. But he had left no blood or skin behind to be shifted or analyzed.
Kilmer stepped back and smiled at him. For reasons unknown to him he was one of her favorites. That he paid on time probably helped, as well as the fact that he didn’t call her names or felt the need to show off. He didn’t compliment her much but he did pay extra when he had it. That could be why she fixed him on credit twice, she knew he was good for it eventually. She had other favorites but they were few. Plus she liked doing a job no one else could do, or do as fast and as well as she could. When she smiled like that her work was exceptional.
When she went to get his arm, he smiled, for he would be back to work tomorrow with no one the wiser to the damage done to him. The bruises weren’t matter because he usually had a couple. And with no one being able to take advantage of his “injury”. Or suspect that he had been involved with the break-in. He would take the next few days off, to rest and to see about what else he had, he had made a copy of the chip. Sideborg knew he would have to be very careful who he let in on his knowledge and how he partialed out that data. He knew what people who would be careful with its use and would know how to use the info without letting on they had gotten it from Barney himself. That meant money and favors owed.
He smiled this time.

end

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Two Christmas Tales from me to you-2016

Merry Christmas. Christmas a day for Joy, Peace, Love and Hope-very good words and worth being happy over. For more information on why go to the main page of my blog and scroll down one. 

For now two Christmas stories. One is older one-written around five years ago and a second that I wrote this week. The first one-The Announcer" has been revised at least four times over the years, the latest just yesterday and today. The second-"The Red Sleigh" was revised one and a half times.



You might say the first one is fantasy, or perhaps paranormal, with a Christian bent. The second is steampunk. A total of 3,325 words


Enjoy:


The Announcer

By L. E. Doggett

“What are you doing way out here?”

Tonid gazed at the star field one last time, he knew what this who called him but he didn’t know why—this time. He studied the lights for he wanted to remember those bright reds, cool greens, and that new color he couldn’t name. Their fires smelled very new. They must have been formed recently-compared to the whole universe that is. The combination solar rays from all those stars tingled in a different way. These stars each made a sound, combined they made him think of an unusual chour. If he opened his mouth he could taste their radiation. Very sharp and in a way spicy.
He turned. The newcomer hovered not far away. All nine feet tall-two feet taller than Tonid-and broad shoulders of him. His shiny hair hung down to his shoulders. As usual for a warrior, he wore bright golden armor. This set had five dents from a particular battle eons ago. A sixth one made very recently because of an accident with a sword married his lower side. Like Tonid his wings were extended to their fullest.
After a moment Tonid said, “I’m exploring creation.”
“I have been calling for you, for some time.”
“I know but this star nebular is interesting. I’ve never seen those colors before and it smells of a new creation.”
The newcomer looked around and saw what looked like a
thunder cloud in space. The inside rolled, as if colored oil boiled inside an invisible pot. Colors formed, disappeared and reformed in different areas. His eyes widened when he saw two certain colors form for half a second.
“It is beautiful and unique. I have seen those colors only once before...”
With a wench of his head he turned to Tonid with a level gaze, “But I have orders for you.”
With a sigh Tonid said, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t feel like being called on the carpet again, this time for something I can’t remember doing.”
He paused then with a sigh said, “Michael, I know I am the least of the Master’s servants. I try, but my actions do not always work the way I wanted them to. Out here it’s peaceful. I can enjoy creation like it was made to be enjoyed.”
Michael shook his head, “You have done nothing wrong. I have a special assignment for you. One you were designed for.”
“Is that possible?”
“It is—come. Hurry we do not have much time.”
With a flap of his wings Tonid followed his boss. In just moments they swept past stars, outdistanced comets-even felt the pull of a black hole they brushed. Their speed increased until they both out raced sunbeams. As always at this speed a certain noise made him think of time.
One near their destination Tonid slowed, came in for a landing. He settled his wings as he touched down on pavement, a second behind his supervisor. Tonid glanced at the short buildings and shiny pavement that made up their Headquarters. It had been a while since he had seen them, but as always they felt like home.
The complex was larger than any city on Earth. Winged beings like Tonid, and a species with six pairs of wings filled the buildings. Some flew through open high raise windows while others walked the shiny streets, and still more flew upwards and outwards, going on unknown errands.
Once he settled down he folded his wings out of the way. An unbidden image popped into his mind, of what happened the one time he didn’t fold his wings up. Of course no one was hurt, but it still hadn’t been pretty.
Tonid took a deep breath, he enjoyed the fresh scent here. Like a new day after a rain. His body relaxed when he felt the breezes caused by various angels as they arrived or took off.
He followed Michael into the building through a wide door-it looked wider than it had been Tonid thought with a grimace-, through a long corridor with doors everywhere. Finally to the assignment room. As soon as their feet touched the room’s floor an image formed in the middle of the room.
Michael said, “You are to give a message to the humans.”
“Me?”
“Yes you. You have dealt with them before,”
Tonid winced,
“You look the least threatening of all of us. You’re smaller and carry no sword.”
“Did you have to remind me of that? I still smart over the fact that it was taken away from me.”
Michael probably unconsciously, brushed the newer dent in his armor and said, “Don’t worry no one was hurt and you know you’ll get it back if you have need of it.”
With a blush Tonid nodded.
“Now you’re to go to this location.”
A scene that showed short, rolling hills formed in the center of the room. Tonid noticed that the hills were treeless and covered in grass. Medium sized furry animals grazed around the hills.
Tonid turned back to his supervisor.
“You sure you want me to do this?”
“The message is short, only three sentences. You should be able to give it without problems.”
“I hope so. What is the message?”
The other spoke the three sentences. When he was done Tonid stared at him wide eyed, he tasted shock and his skin cooled.
“What? So soon? It can’t be time for that yet.”
“It is. Can’t you feel it? All of the preparations have been made. It’s going to happen and someone needs to warn the humans.”
“But you can’t want me to give that message. It’s too big-too important. You’re an archangel, you should give it.”
“I have given my message already, this one is yours.”
“But...”
“Remember you were designed to not to scare the humans out of their wits. I am a warrior you aren’t, which is good for this.”
“Okay I get that, but what if I’m attacked? That is very important event”
“Don’t worry you will have a large back up. They will also be there to back up you up for something else. No more stalling, this request came from Upstairs.”
Shock appeared on Tonid’s face as he stepped back, “He wanted me to give this message?”
“Yes, He was quite insistence about you doing it, obviously He knows you can do this. If you really want to you can tell Him He is mistaken. I would not advise it though…”
“No, no, no. I wouldn’t tell Him that. Okay, whe...when do I leave?”
“Right now. You’re cutting it close, but if you hurry you still have time.”
Tonid pointed to the image, “Where are those hills?”
“You’ll know.”
Tinod nodded.
“You got the message?”
Tonid repeated it.
The other nodded.
Tonid turned, hurried out of the room, then practically ran out of the building. On the way back to the landing area he felt tempted to take off from early that was frowned upon with good reason. With a last look at his supervisor he took off even as his wings unfolded.
As he headed for Earth he thought, he was right I do know where to go.
Within a very short period of time he entered the atmosphere of earth. He could feel the heat made by his passage, I wish I could land like a shooting star, like we used to do before the trouble started, but that would scare the humans, so no fireworks.
As he neared the ground, he smelled grass and...sheep manure.
He thought, oops better make sure they can see me.
Less then an eye blink later he became visible above a group of men. They either stood, or sat on rocks near the animals Tonid had seen earlier.
As they looked up; some shouted, while others ran, two backed up while they stared at him.
Tonid felt a bad taste in his mouth, he almost blew it before he could get the message out. He changed his form to one like a normal man, with a white, robe-type garment instead of armor.
Hmm, I can feel the other angels waiting for their part...I need to look my most unthreateningly--maybe it’s good I
don’t have a sword after all...I still think Michael should have given this message...here goes.
With his empty hands spread out on either side he opened his mouth, in a voice he hoped sounded calm but would carry to them all, he said, “Be not afraid, I bring you...”
Without a conscious decision Tonid straightened, in a loud clear nice sounding voice he continued,
“Good tidings of great Joy....”


The End

The Red Sleigh


The red sleigh jerked as the onboard steam boiler started. The quiet night burst with the hiss of a fire and melting ice. I watched the scene from the shadows under a mass of pine trees, many other trees surrounded the complex with workshops and a cabin that looked like a home.

The bubbling of the hot water soon joined the other noises. Snow that had lain on the top white edges of both sides of the sleigh fell and joined the deep snow already on the ground. A device set in the back portion of the sleigh soon hummed.
My clothes were a dark blue which helped to cancel me even though my white scarf might be seen if anyone looked in my direction. I knew though I would need to move closer. I did but before I could step out of the shadow of the trees, someone moved. I stopped with such a jerk. I thought he might notice, but he went about his job of checking the device and the sleigh.
A cold wind blew on my face. A sniff brought with it pine scents and cold. But something else. Certain chemicals must be in some of those buildings whose shadows I could see. They might be paint and clue scents. I knew those odors well. Where toys storied in those buildings I could barely see? I wondered if I had walked a lot further than I thought. This place looked kinda of familiar but…
I had heard of some strange lights and noises out here and had decided to check them out on my way to my church. I had walked a lot further than I thought I would need to. As I watched s silver nitrate liquid, which glowed, began to flow through silver and copper pipes along the sides of the conveyance. The pipes had been hooked onto the sides in three rows, each of which continued under it and, I presumed, around the other side and back the rear end where they went up and connected to one large tank. Two of the pipes split off to travel along two long wooden frames. Eight four-footed animals waited in-between those support arms. The pipes continued on along around the front of the two lead animals and, I again assumed, continued on the other side to rejoin the ones on the sleigh. Or so I thought from what I could see.
It didn’t take long for enough ozone to form for me to be able to taste it on the air I breathed in, even though I stood many yards away from this contraption. Not only did the shadows formed by the forest trees hide me but the fact that the only light came from the moon and the lanterns that hung around the large cabin nearby. It had a porch and a steeped roof with two chimneys and three windows that I could see. A door should be around the corner. Three lanterns shown from the sleigh also. Other buildings, which included a large workshop sat further away in darkness, I could just make out the outlines of a some of them.
When the chubby man in a red suit with white fur trim and tiny bells, was preoccupied with something. I stepped out and moved closer. The man straighten, I froze pretended I was a tree, while he climbed on board. He wiped a hand over his white beard and thick mustache.
The glow from the liquid spread outward from the pipes. After a minute it enveloped the animals and sleigh. Once that happened, the whole unit lifted off of the snow. Only a couple of inches though.
Cold started to seep through my thick clothes so I hoped this show would get over fast. I figured another minute, maybe two to get the thing flying. I rubbed some of the snow from a branch next to my check, onto my lips. I would rather have hot chocolate but this would do. It melted fast and helped with my thirst. It had been a while since I had finished dinner, or had anything to drink. I had expected to have something hot to drink at my next stop but that report of strange lights, led me this way.
I never expected to see a bearded man in a red suit with a sleigh and what might be reindeer. All of that noise and steam didn’t fit the image of songs and stories, though. Of course the steam and white smoke could be mistaken for clouds or snow when the flew through the air, and high enough anyone who saw them wouldn’t hear the sounds. I stepped closer to see if I could tell who the person was.
Damn, the angle was bad. The steam created something akin to fog. I would need to get even closer.
Hey, the cloud of steam blocked me from his view also. So I stepped to another tree significantly nearer the contraption. It looked so real, but with certain differences.
He turned to the house and shouted, “I’ll be back just before sunrise. They will be greatly surprised when I show up tonight afterall.”
I startled again, I hadn’t seen anyone near the cabin or at a window. I must be losing it, I hoped they hadn’t seen me. Now though I noticed a curtain move. The head of a woman showed. She only looked at the man without fear so I suspected I was safe from view.
The animals started to run at a command from the man. The unit rose higher and the movement of the hoofs seem to push it forward. Of course there could be another aethery engine I couldn’t see. These reindeer must be very well trained and used to this, for they didn’t rear in fear or let out any scared sounds. I had gotten a good look at the sleight and contraption. It was as I suspected. I had gotten close enough to see the man’s winkled face and the make up of the sleigh
Now that it was roof high, it didn’t take long for the sleigh to fly away. No shout of good night and a Merry christmas though. I suppose the rider couldn’t think of everything.
I shook my head and the thought came to mind to see if he left anything here, but that woman could hear or see me. I figured it had been assembled here. I didn’t know where those reindeer-if that was what they were-had come from, but I now that I stood significantly closer I recognized that chemical smell as sliver nitrate, probably in tanks in those buildings and the burnt copper stink that came from heating up those pipes to bend them in the correct way. Maybe from melting the metal and pouring it in molds of some type also. There was some paint odor too which may have confused me earlier.
With a shake of my head I turned and continued on to my church. As pastor the people who lived around here-which included a scientist who was also a mechanic and tinker-expected me to be there tonight for the Christmas Eve celebration of Christ’s birth. I was cold anyway, that wasn’t good on these evenings.
After fifteen minutes I found the road: dirt in the summer and fall, mud in the spring and beaten down snow in the winter, and continued on. No shelter from the wind but I made better time along it. The way to the church was quiet but I thought I heard the steam pumps a couple of time carried on the wind. I thought of the hot chocolate, popcorn and candy canes that would be at the church.
Later that night, after the songs, skits and plenty of hot chocolate and candy canes, I headed home again. I thought about going in one of the steamautos or flatbed steam-trucks, but I wanted to check back at that workshop. It was, of course, even colder, but if I kept moving I would be okay. The moon was full now and even though few lights around I could see the road well enough. The quiet always helped me think on my sermons. I found my steps in the snow and took a side trip back to where I had seen the contraption. All was still there. Two of the cabin’s lanterns had gone out, but others still burned. Nothing moved but I didn’t see the sleigh or the animals. They could have been put away but I thought they were still out flying.
I turned back and headed home. I kept half an eye on the sky. Once at him though I saw something move through the sky. I stared at it. There would be no airship or even full zeppelins out tonight.
The object grew and passed overhead very quickly. I heard jingle bells-no hissing, but they could be coasting. I sniffed, smelled pine trees and snow. For a second I thought I smelled peppermint, oranges and of all things cookies. But that had to be my imagination fed by my memory. Pictures of a certain workshop invaded my conscious mind. I had been there a whole year. A lot longer than any other human. How I stayed there for so long was another story though.
I went inside, but didn’t go to sleep. I finally had that hot chocolate, a recipe 500 years in the making, if I was told correctly.
While I drank I recalled a conversation, my last day at that other snow covered workshop.
“Spilsong, we will miss you.”
“I must say that I miss you, the Mrs. and this grand workshop.”
He went on to add that, “I know you missed the calling you had which was given on this most Holy night at an earlier time. I can’t hold you back from it, but you can still visit.”
“Aye, I can.”
As the chocolate flavor washed through my mouth, I surprised myself by thinking that I wanted to visit that workshop and that home again, when though I didn’t know.
I shook my head at that thought. After a sip I stared at my cup.
I thought about how a real leather harness flexes and how another sleigh had a huge red bag in the back. Not to mention reindeer that could land anywhere they wanted to, effortlessly and with a precision that was remarkable. I had ridden in one like that.
Was the fake one I saw tonight part of some nefarious plan, just the man having fun, or if someone had challenged him, saying that not even he could make a sleigh fly? I shrugged, maybe I should find out, but not tonight. Better be off to sleep, I had to get up early to deliver presents, to receive some, have more hot chocolate and sing praises to our God and Savior. I smiled at that and at old memories. I could go in a day or two, maybe with a couple of men just to make sure.
I nodded and finished the cup, went to bed.

end

Monday, December 19, 2016

The why of Christmas Words:Joy, Peace, Hope, Love

Christmas is almost upon us which makes it time for my yearly note on Christmas. The last couple of years I have talked about why Christmas and the fact of a relationship with Jesus. This year I decided to talk about some of the words associated with Christmas. In most Christmas displays and books on Christmas you see some certain words: Joy, Peace, Hope, Love. 
    Love comes from the fact that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten-or born-son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. And that God showed His great love toward us while we were yet enemies of God Christ died for us. The Just for the Unjust. God is Love and even though we-each one of us-blew it and became separated from God, He still wants us back and decided to do whatever it took to allow us the choice of forgiveness and a right relationship with Him.
   Hope comes from the fact that God loves each one of us. It matters not what we have done, how many times we have done it, or what was done to us. God is good at wiping away tears and healing our inner hurts and emotional issues. Again it doesn’t matter who we are, what we have done-or not done. God, The Creator, Loves You. He proved it in a simple way everyone can see and understand. And God gives us second chances in our lives. There is a judgement coming for He is the perfect Judge, but He has given us a way to be declared innocent and to skip the judgement. God is Love and will heal and forgive you. 
   Peace. Jesus said that He will gives us a peace that goes beyond understanding. It is there at all times and in all situations. God is there with you and is able to help in any situation. He is powerful, caring, all knowing and able to heal and help. He knows what we need, He knows our hearts and He is with us. That last is part of the Christmas message. God with us. As a people-as humankind, but also He is with us individually. Once we have the forgiveness for our sins He offers, we can know His peace and Know He Is With Us.
   Joy. This comes from a personal relationship with God. Jesus was born on the day we celebrate as Christmas, a very important event worthy of celebration. But He came to live as a perfect Human-He put aside His God powers and walked as a man. He then not only taught us about God and did wonderful things, but He died as an innocent man in our place. Each of our places. This wonderful gift brings Joy unspeakable. I have experienced this Joy and know how much above happiness it is. It is good to be happy, but this is above that. You can have this Joy in any circumstances, even in hurt, and trouble. It comes from Hope which I mentioned already, from knowing God is with us and from Jesus Himself. He promised to give us Joy and He keeps His promises.    
    The promise of Christmas is great and wonderful. Love for the whole world-love for each of us individually makes it fantastic. The promise that God is with us makes live worth living even if we feel the opposite. The promise, that came later, that Jesus would die for us thereby showing His great Love and allowing us forgiveness of sin and right standing with God gives us Hope. For salvation but for a changed live and healing also. Joy and Peace follow those like puppy dogs can follow their master. 


It is easy to believe this even if we think it isn’t. You really are one step away from this forgiveness and right standing with God and a healing relationship with Jesus. Tell God what you want, tell Him of your doubts, of your pain, of your sin. Even of your anger. He is a big God and knows how to deal with that too. 

There are churches, web sites, and individual people who can tell you more. The Bible is good for that too. 


Below are two places online where you can talk to people but there are a huge number of other places. 


A prayer for salvation

A Christmas message from Billy Graham    

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Third tale for the Halloween Trilogy

This, as I promised last week, will be a continuation of my trilogy. I posted the first two stories of a Halloween trilogy on the last Saturday of Oct. Or the post below this one. Now for the third tale.

The first two were inspired by pictures but this one wasn't. And again I say this is darker than usual for me, some may even be surprised by it. I am planning to do two more stories set earlier then this one, and place them all in an Indie story set-after another revision. One of those new tales will have ghosts in it-this is a Halloween themed project after all. I don't think I will be using vampires but something else to do with Halloween Maybe eery clowns. :)

I made one mistake when I wrote it. The first two are in First Person but this is in Third. And I include the hero's name this time. I couldn't find anyplace in the first two where I actually named him.
Anyway this story is kinda of long at 7,180 words. Urban Fantasy since it takes place in our time.


Enjoy:

Still Beautiful But She Went Too Far

Jason jumped up from his cheap, plastic seat, ran to the door of the fast food restaurant, looked out. He chewed fast to finished the bite he had just taken. He didn’t taste it, only swallowed as quick as possible. He had been eating by himself, thinking of a halloween three years ago, when something had caught his attention. Other customers; some dressed in monster outfits, a Captain America, two obviously fake zombies, just sat there. They wouldn’t have felt anything. He had though so knew that something big had just happened.
As a mage, one of the few who could manipulate an energy created by nature, he knew when someone used that energy in a big way. Someone just did and not far from him.
This time it didn’t take long to see what this Trick was. Figures came out of the dark gloom that happened on foggy nights even in early evening. They came around the various cars parked in the mall’s lot. They wore ragged clothes and shuffled along. He thought he could hear moans on the wind that blew through the door when it opened. It had more than a bit of cold for this time of year. Jason also caught a whiff of something that could be decay. So slight that the scent of mass produced not so authentic Mexican food, almost covered it. Of course that odor might come from the full trash bins to the side of the eating establishment he stood in.
A transparent faded white figure drifted by in the wind. A movement made him glance back at the human like figures. One of them had to stop at the tail end of a newer sedan. It reached out and shoved it to one side, out of its way.The car collided with a bronze SUV. The crunch sound of metal against metal sounded-the SUV’s alarm went off.
The few people outside around turned to look. One young woman screamed when one of the figures reached for her. She wasn’t that close to it but she evidently felt like it didn’t matter. Others ran. Jason concentrated and sent a mage blast at one. It didn’t harm the zombie-like creature. He frowned sent out a larger blast, it too did no harm. Jason tilted his head to one side, his eyes narrowed. He tried to think of why it wouldn’t. Sweat popped on his forehead .
He sent out a tentacle of his power to see who these guys were. They seemed unaware of his attempts to stop them. A moment later his power came back to him. Something didn’t look right so he sent a more powerful sensor spell. It came back fast. His eyes widened, his mouth narrowed and his eyes became hard. They were illusions, very strong ones with scents and sounds-more importantly though, he recognized the imprint of the mage who had created them.
What did she want? This was Halloween so almost anything. A picture came to mind of a report he had seen early afternoon, of a group of people scared badly this morning by something unknown. Two had died of heart attacks. Another one killed by a stampede of people running in blind panic for some reason and another two died by unknown reasons, perhaps drug overdoses. That could be what she wanted here.
He looked out at the illusion, fear grew in him. No, around him. More people screamed while others turned and ran. One man tried to climb the wall just outside of where Jason stood. So a spell to multiple fear, to induce panic. People would probably be killed. He shook his head and frowned.
Jason waved his hand in front of his face, recited a poem he had made many years ago. Before he had met Durasa. He concentrated his will and pulled up his arms so that his palms were facing the window, energy burst forth from each hand. It spread out and enveloped the zombies and ghosts. A second later the fear vanished. The illusion still existed, but the desire to extreme panic left.
Durasa had to be near to make sure the illusion went as planned and that events, like the car being shoved into the SUV could be done. The man who had tried to go up the side of the store, settled down, looked around, straightened his clothes then hurried away. One man helped another up. The zombies began to fade. Another ghost slid by but it had become even more transparent. Soon it would be gone. Since the illusion would no longer serve its purpose she would do away with it and save the energy. She probably knew he had undone it even though there were others here in the city that could have undone it.
His lips narrowed, he breathed in slowly, let it out in a rush. She would do this again tonight. Which meant that she had killed innocents now, and would again.
“Damn”
Jason felt his eyes harden, his mouth twist, his heart stalled, even his breath stopped for a long moment when he thought about what he needed to do. He had put off even thinking about it. He would sacrifice almost anything, even his own life, to keep from having to do this. The tacos he had eaten made his stomach hurt, but he knew it wasn’t them. Bile came up. Tonight of all nights would be it—but she would keep working at scaring people to death.
Without a backward glance at the food still on his table he rushed out the door, barely felt when he brushed against the man who had tried to climb the wall who must have come back for something, hurried to his car and drove home. He went faster than the police would like, but none noticed him. Once at his place he got out, hurried to the front door-the front yard smelled of pine with a bit of pollution and pollen, from the three pine trees. In other words everything appeared normal. He liked the brown with pastel red trim, now though he ignored it. The three bedroom, two bath house had been built only ten years old, with a modern design, that included a smaller pouch. When he ran up the steps he tripped on a planter that stood near the edge of the steps that led up to the pouch, recovered-mostly. Took a moment to stop, took a deep breath than even though he knew the house he took his time to make sure no one had set up a trap for him. She might do that depending on what she wanted. Nothing he could see yet. Once inside he rushed to the room in the back. Once he found the special closet-hidden along a wall, he pulled out a chest and undid three locks, the wards connected with the locks and the lid knew him, so stayed quiet. He carefully took special objects out. When he had them secured in various pockets in his outfit he made sure the chest was locked again and shoved it back into the hidden closet. He set off the special wards that would activate if he didn’t come back, to make sure nothing in here could be discovered by the police, someone else normal, or a grave hunter who knew what he was. He double checked his wards, added one with the help of an enchanted lock. Once in his car he headed for a spot he thought she would be at. Most probably she would go back there with the energy she had gathered from those who had died or just terrified. Again Jason drove faster than the speed limit.
On the way he thought she may or may know he knew where she worked, but she would have set up protections. They would be deadly and mean.
Two miles away from that spot in a secluded woods not far out of town, he felt her presence. Any mage would register on his “sensors” but he knew her “call letters” as it were. That place had a bad rep already so it would make sense, in more than one way, for her to choose it. He hoped he wasn’t as predictable as she seemed to have become.
Fog appeared with a suddenness that didn’t surprise him. He parked off the road, near a couple of very large trees; as far away as he dared from her and the road, made sure everything still lay in his pockets, got out. He set subtle wards around the car for other dark mages could feel the usual wards but not these unless they tried hard to find them. Jason hurried through the trees. The dark and fog made it hard to see some of them, but he quickly stepped around those that appeared right in front of him. Even though he tried to be silent, he didn’t believe she would be thinking about listening for invaders. She probably knew he was there anyway. He tried to hide the extent of his power but that may or may not work. If it did she may think he was a lesser mage and underestimate him, until she saw him. As arrogant as she was he might be fool her even when she knew it was him.
Tree limps brushed against his face and pulled on his clothes. At one point he realized that for the tenth time he found that his hand went to his pockets to check on their contents. Ozone filled the air along with the usual scents of pine and the ground mulch. Blood too he thought. It’s possible that she killed some forest visitor: hunter, park ranger or a family out for a picnic. He wouldn’t worry if it was a drug dealer growing pot or selling heavier stuff out here. He hoped it hadn’t been a family or a husband and father out looking for firewood.
The cold grew as if he had crossed a line, which he might have. He saw what looked like an area of fog on the other side of some trees. Jason’s skin started to crawl, almost as if it knew instinctively to go in the other direction. The forest scents died down but didn’t quite disappeared. The blood, ozone and something he wasn’t sure of, grew. The blood still wasn’t too strong. Eery sounds: wind blowing over a graveyard, very faint growls, thumps in the distance but getting closer, bats flying too close and other noises grew in the night. The darkness became darker with gloom, and a feeling of doom.
Good, maybe this would chase away anyone up here. Not everyone, unless that blood smell was part of eery feeling spell. He continued on. Maybe five minutes later a light appeared. He made a beeline for it. It moved, he curved over to it.
It moved, so he made a slight adjustment. Jumped when something next to him chirped. For a second it had sounded like a moan from a person. After his head swung that way, faster than he could think, he saw nothing. He licked his upper lip, tasted salt. So he was sweating, no surprise there. He hadn’t noticed, probably because of the cold, but under these circumstances anyone would.
Half a minute later he came to a clearing. He saw a tree with deeper shadows and slipped over to it.
Not dressed for sneaking around in a dark forest, but he suspected that she knew he was there anyway.
As silent as possible Jason hurried to a large tree near a clearing. He pressed up against the large round pine tree-something seemed off about its scent. The bark wasn’t right either a part of his mind warned him, but it was a tree. The air was course with ozone and magic-it filled his sinuses and coated his tongue. The first meant she had been doing magic for a while. She must have come straight here from that parking lot. But by the looks of things here she had spent the day here preparing this area. Why here?
She stood to the right of Jason, on the other side of the clearing. She had her arms raised and was nude. He rolled his eyes, that was so stereotypical of this type of magic, surprised she did it. As much as he didn’t want to admit it, her body was distracting too.
A motion to one side, within the edge of the clearing, made him turn his eyes that way, while he still faced her. A man stood there. A longer look showed he wore dirty clothes and just seemed out of it, but as if he was on drugs. Or as if he was asleep-or dead? With a sudden thought he looked over the clearing better. There were five more of these. They could be fresh zombies but didn’t have to be dead. Whatever the case he knew they were under her control.
His eyes widened as he stared at one to the left of her about six feet. His head jerked slightly when he recognized the man. Mr. Stumblefield, an older man and a lesser mage. A very nice guy who didn’t deserve to be forced into servitude whether he was dead or not. Jason wondered if he had come here to investigate why he had felt power here or to look for someone. Whatever the case Jason could do something to help him out now. He concentrated, pictured what he wanted, sent his will out very quickly and found the key to her control over his body. Since he and her had been very close he knew the key to her spells and the matrix of her energy signature. So he used that to trace over the energy lines within her matrix. Once there he sent a charge through that newest line and it exploded like a charge of plastic.
He heard her cry out when her spell was broken. Mr. Stumblefield crumbled to the ground. Jason didn’t know if he was dead or alive, but she no longer had control over him. She screeched, glared all over the clearing, probably knew it was him by now, if she hadn’t felt him come up.
A moment later something of hers found him. He should have realized what was beside him that looked like a tree. As soon a tentacle touched him, he knew what had smelled funny. The tree had been an illusion to cover up this thing. Durasa had to tried to get the scent right, but hadn’t succeed.
Before he could take a breath to react the tentacle was around him and squeezing. His breath rushed out, and pain took over his ribs. He tried to suck in air but it held him too tight. He thrashed, kicked against the ground to push himself away but it held tight. He tried to suck in air but not much made it to his lungs. It lifted him off the ground. He wasn’t sure if it would take him to her or throw him across the clearing, crush him until is insides dripped on the ground, to fertilize its roots or even eat him, but either option was bad.
He told himself to stop panicking and to use his power. He concentrated, sent a spike of energy at it then created a coating of fire around his body. The creature jerked, before it let out a noise that sounded like a scream and let go of him as the tentacle whipped backwards away from him. The whole thing shifted away from him even as he landed with a thump. What air he had just sucked in on the way down, rushed out. Ohhh-he would have a bruise after that landing. To go along with all of the other bruises that thing had given him.
The mulch under him started to smolder and a knee high seedling caught fire. Of course, the fire had been one way so he wouldn’t get burnt so he had forgotten it. He drew the energy back into himself and tried to stand, fell back down. A small fire and smoke drifted into his face and he coughed as he breathed in ashes and heat. A wave of his hand sent all of the burning grass, mulch and leaves toward the creature. It made more sounds and backup even more.
A noise and a presence made him look up. She stood five feet away. He looked down at the dirt. If she thought about the fact that she was nude at all she may think it would be a distraction. He had to admit that it might be. He had seen her in shorts and bikinis so knew she had a good figure, this confirmed it. Her beasts had a good shape and looked healthy, the same with her legs. It was too dark to see much else but he didn’t have to. His arousal built in his mind and desire grew.
This wasn’t like him. He still had a desire for her but this was so far beyond that, even if you added in the love he had for her. She had changed so much and now all he wanted to do was slam her on the ground and jump her. He gritted his teeth and willed his body back a foot.
Why did he desire her this strongly?
Damn, of course. Should have thought of that.
Jason concentrated and formed a wider range blocker around him, she would know how his normal defenses worked and his signature, but this was new and he twisted it slightly. A heartbeat later he sighed, for his body and mind relaxed make to a normal state.
She looked down at him, probably not surprised by his response to her lust spell.
“So you did show up after all. I have been thinking of you and wondered if you would come to save the day. You have stopped me too often and cost me, I will enjoy sucking away your power and your life.”
He stood, glad he had a moment to rest, in one easy motion and stared at her-at her eyes.
Out loud and for her benefit he shook his head said, “No!”
A word with more than one meaning. Her threat, her trying to force him into desire for her, and whatever else she may offer him. He knew her power after all and how it changed, she didn’t know that. He took a step forward and lowered his eyes. She gave a small smile, in the middle of another step he raised a hand with a sudden movement and sent a blast her way. She ducked, probably instinctively he thought, but the energy flipped back and smacked him in the face. He found himself in the air, blood came out of his nose and splattered. He landed with a crunch and a groan. Another bruise, or two. That defense was much stronger than he had expected, that she should have been able to do after their last battle.
Before he could level himself up she was there with a foot on his chest. Did she teleport herself or did he pass out for a few seconds? No way to tell right now-not that it matter because there she was. He could easily see her bare leg. He knew that scar on her knee and how the muscles and skin were shaped. He didn’t look up at her though. A moment later he wasn’t able to for his concentration was full of pain. He had to get that foot off. Somehow it had gotten heavier, he didn’t think she was pressing down harder though. His side hurt already and his energy level was down. If she continued to make her foot weight more, his chest wall would be crushed—but he wasn’t out of it yet.
“I will pull your power and you in so you can be with me, helping me as you wanted to but it will be in a better way. A part of you will always be inside me to sustain me and so I can show you what I am capable of.”
He frowned but not because of the pain.The physical pain anyway. She had twisted herself so far. He groaned as her foot became heavier but he continued that thought for a moment, she still had something like love for him but she saw it through her deep inner desires, which warped it.
Better do something and think later, he wouldn’t be able to carry out his plan like this. He would dead or worse still aware while inside her being used for her plans.
Urg, I need to do something now, IIIwwwggg.
With a pull at his will, he ignored the pain to send an attack. It failed! He managed to follow up with three quick attacks but each one dissipated without harm to her. Where did she get that strength? His failure bite at him as bad as the physical pain, she would be free to do as she willed, because he blew it.
She smiled because she knew him and how he attacked, but…
Or so she thought.
He sent another smaller attacker, and almost smiled back, but too much pain and too big a danger of losing kept his lips pressed together. In a heartbeat her expression changed to a quizzical one, then to shock, she almost giggled but controlled it and jumped back. As her foot left his sternum he pushed himself backward on his back until his head wracked to tree, he managed to grip the tree and used its rough bark to pull himself up. That hurt! In so many places. Much easier to just lay there and let whatever happens, he had fought her well, but she knew his secrets and probably remembered parts of his journal. She may think what she got form him if she drew his strength into her, was enough and leave anymore innocent people alive tonight. There were other wizards more powerful than him that could take her down. He held his side once he was all the way up.
He couldn’t let her win, but where was she getting that strength? He recalled that star she had stood next to. Was there something in it?
He called on his reservoirs, used that and a magicked can, that he had storied healing energy in, and created healing energy. Meanwhile she had dealt with the feet tickle attack. He had remembered the bottoms of her feet were sensitive and figured that more than likely unguarded for a simple attack. He stood and moved her way to a spot under a tree with wide branches.
He looked at her as she came his way, the fact that she had to walk that far to get to him increased her anger.
Now that he was up and still had some power, this could still work with his original plan that he now stood in position to carry it out. He had been worried he wouldn’t be able to work it because of his failure to recognize that creature disguised as a tree. He hadn’t seen one like it before but he should have planned for her to have a surprise or two. He activated another weapon. This one needed time though to build.
He took in two deep breaths, he could smell the clean air and the pine scents and something else. Puzzled he took another look at her with his special senses, found a strand of magical energy, followed it. His eyebrows went up, so that was it.
She was still beautiful and evidently still felt something for him. Maybe a good talking to, or what? Banishing those thoughts and ignoring the feelings that came with them he thought, now to keep her talking. She may not notice in this shadow of the tree before it was too late.
Jason breathed in deep again, said, “You still trying to be number one?”
He tried to make it sound like a curse.
She said, “Of course, why would I stop? Even though you got lucky twice, by trickery, I am still better and stronger.”
“Stronger? Really?”
She smiled nodded once, “You’re too weak, I wonder what I liked about you once. Surprisingly I still feel something toward you, but I can use it against you, because I am strong. I can kill. We should have had sex, but you probably wouldn’t last long nor know how to be good lover.”
Ouch, he thought, hitting below the belt. Probably to get back at him or distract him. He thought it was good they hadn’t had sex. What she could do with his semen now, would be bad for him. Maybe even have gotten through his wards at his place, or turned his reproductive organs against him somehow, a number of things none good.
“You never did understand me. You assumed things because of the way you thought and Because of lazy thinking. Lazy everything.”
Just keep her talking a little bit more, it’s building quite nicely.
He said more, “You should have realized how tough I am and persistent I am. You considered something that you didn’t understand to be a weakness. That is never a good assumption. You find it too easy to take shortcuts or forcing yourself to get what you want by any means instead of the best way. That twists and harms your personality and who you are.”
She snarled and said, “I was always like this, you didn’t understand me, because you wanted me to be something I wasn’t.”
He nodded once, “Yes, there was some of that. But you acted like it was the true you.”
Jason paused as her expression changed to one of puzzlement, her eyes went above his shoulders. So she saw it. In this gloom it might look just like wings-black perhaps Raven wings but she would soon see that it wasn’t.
Her expression changed to anger, then half gloating, “You twisted yourself, to fight me.”
Jason shook his head twice, “If you had paid attention or read far enough along in my journal you would know that I have experimented with the Dark. I wanted to know how it worked and what it took from someone using it. So I knew how to do this before you came along.”
Her expression changed to-disappointment?
“I didn’t read your journal because you destroyed it.”
He nodded once in acknowledgement of that. It had been hard to relearn and to remember it all but he had and learned more besides.
“You never realized that by learning things and working Tricks out that you learn them from the inside out. That isn’t weakness, its strength.”
 She opened her mouth to say something more but it was time.
Jason waved his hand toward her and the blackness behind him rolled over his head and shoulders like a wave. She took a step back in surprise, lifted her arms for a defense but it reached her first. His would be stringer than hers. It a heartbeat the blackness had covered her. The force of the impact knocked her backwards onto the ground. She landed with a muffled thud. A sound that came from the shroud that could have been a scream, or a yell of rage.
He moved over out of her range and into the clear. A footfall behind him warned him, but he turned too late. A figure ran into him. As they went down together he got a glimpse of others. He hit the ground and rolled. Bark and torn grass rolled down the back of his shirt. He smelled the grass and mulch but no decay. That surprised a corner of his mind while the rest of it readied himself for a different fight. He spat out crashed leaves and decayed matter that had gotten into his mouth when his face smashed into the ground.
She must have set her zombies to attack anyone who got the better of her, he should have thought of that when he saw them. Jason shook his head, he should have thought of that after their last encounter. This time he didn’t know if they were true zombies-there were different types-or she just used her will to control them, but it didn’t matter at the moment.
Something heavy landed with a force, followed by another one. He gasped in pain as his injured side became pain again. It hadn’t been healed all the way.
They tried to grab him to tear him apart but the number, another one joined them, hindered that. He managed to use his magic to lift them enough to crawl out. It took them a moment to understand that. How to stop them without killing them-if they were still alive. He had stopped one already. He could use that. He concentrated and sent out a blocker. One of the zombies fell back to the ground before it got up all the way. Another blocker and another fell, but he had to run. They others closed in too quick. He could only do one at a time and that took some seconds to complete the action.
He expanded a force around him, which blew them backwards. One hit a tree with a hard thud, but soon got back up. All of the others stood too even though some took longer to untangle themselves.
What to do?
She was almost out of her cocoon as he had expected. Durasa had all of that energy inside the star to use after all.
Hey, yeah I can use that.
He gathered more energy from inside the star on the ground, formed another mass of blackness. He ran to a certain tree, then to a rock a few feet away and back into the center of the small space he had been in. By then the zombies were in one group. He commanded the mass to envelope them. It did.
He stood and panted. Narrowed his eyes. New injuries abounded. One wrist ached, a huge bruise in the middle of his back where a knee had landed. He hoped that was all it was.
Something on his nose was blood but not too much. A moment later with a yell from her, the cocoon burst, it flew everywhere. She hurriedly stood with a flash of well made legs and other parts.
That lust spell must still be working.
She glared at him, cursed snarled. “You are too stupid and worthless. I am used to the dark energies, I can control it better than you.”
She seemed upset at his supposed ineptness as his attack. He gave her another nod, not letting his pain show, or that he was physically weak. He still had his storage rod, which he now tapped. No time for healing instead he placed his arms out form his sides started a process.
“You still do not understand. Still assuming things. You know I have killed. I don’t like to, would do anything to keep from killing. You misinterpreted why;it is not a weakness.”
A hot glow formed around his hands. He raised them, the glow brighten. It hadn’t built up as much as he wanted but she was forming some type of dark shield. He didn’t think it would stop this but with what had happened already he didn’t want to take a chance. He sent a command to the power around his hands. Two streaks of sun energy shot out A moment later both cut through the shield she had half formed and impacted her. She shot backwards, fell and tumbled. She managed to get back up and looked at the very bad burn on abdomen near her right hip. The skin there already looked bright red and perhaps a large blister had started to form already, it was hard to tell. A look of pain crossed her face, then concentration. A red disk shot his way. More sun power shot from one hand. It hit and exploded the disk. She drew more power from within the star and shot out a purpled black object that spun like a memorizer. But a beam shot from his other hand. The object dropped to the ground on fire. He decided to use his soul power to make sure the next shot was final. That was something she didn’t know about, something that hadn’t been in his journal. But she may not be able to use anyway.
She screamed in rage and leapt back in time to avoid another shot. It hit the ground in a burst of flame. A fire started in the grass and low bushes. She ducked dirt and grass that shot everywhere. The fire crackled and sputtered, it heated up the air quickly. His sinuses wanted to sneeze the odor back out.
Fear crossed her face, turned to panic. She shot over half a dozen spells his away. Some missed, three hit new fireballs. The last and most powerful one slammed through it all and impacted his shoulder before he could step aside.
Awww, that hurt. It may have broken his shoulder, but his shield had held most of it away from him. She panted probably hoping that it had hurt him more than it did. He knew through she had drawn strength and energy from whatever was in the star. He had to deal with that or Durasa might still win. He sent a fresh fireball her way. It wobbled on its course and missed. She gave a half smile and prepared something even stronger. He could feel it would be her strongest attack yet. He was tired and in pain both of which played havoc with his concentration.
With a deep breath that sent pain through one side, he tasted salt-hoped it was just the sweat that covered his face and not blood from inside. That last might be why she again thought she could beat him.
Jason shook his head, raised his good hand and fired one more shot of plasma formed from the energy he could use. It sped her way faster than the previous shots-fueled by his own soul energy. It impacted a shield she must have thrown up. A powerful one for some its energy was used up when it still ripped through the shield and hit her just under one breast. It had enough power left to burn a hole the size of two fists through her body. It burst out of her back hard enough he could see parts of a shower of blood and flesh. Her scream of pain reverberated through the clearing. She staggered backwards,almost fell bit somehow managed to keep standing. A brunt skin odor made him gag-the effect on him was doubled because of where it came from and that he was the cause of it. A blood stink filled his nose.
Damn, that was suppose to have gone through her heart.
He wondered if that would have killed her.
He lifted his eyes to behind her. The fireball that missed had landed on its real target: the far side of the star she had made on the ground. The fire bubbled for a long moment then burst into a flame that soared up shoulder high. Quicker than snake attacking a lizard it spread along the lines that made up the star. It would have been pretty and something to behold if it didn’t mean death.
He had half watched her face. She looked down at the hole, looked back at him as if she couldn’t believe what he had done. Fear grew again, she now knew she could lose. As the flame spread over the occultic lines she realized she had lost already. Her expression showed that. She began a panicked healing spell, but before it could do much the shoulder high flames reached where she stood in the middle of one line. She glanced at the fire, knew what it meant and screamed. This time the sound expressed her lose and frustration as well as pain. The flames burned higher and she collapsed. The stench grew a heartbeat after one last shorter scream. To make it worse it became so strong that he thought he could taste the stink. He spat three times, and willed himself not to vomit.
At the same time Jason fought the desire-the need-to look away, he had to make sure. He fired another fireball. It landed on the bulge that showed where her body lay. In less than a minute even the new flames died down. Nothing was left, he had made sure even her bones had been consumed. He called up a wind and had it blow over the spot. He used his power to grab a mass of ashes and shoved them down very deep into the ground. Most of what was left were blown for miles over a wide area. Some were lifted up and traveled for tens of miles before the wind let them fall over an area miles long and wide.
He dropped his hand and finally turned around. Whatever was in the star was gone. He didn’t know if it had been just a mass of power and energy she had collected for some scheme therefore it had dissipated or if it was a creature that had been freed to go back home to whatever dimension she had grabbed it from, or it could something that was now free in our world and he would have to deal with it at a later time.
Tears wanted to swell up, but none would fall. A coldness enveloped him, memories flashed through his brain. He stared at nothing for a period he didn’t know. After a certain period his injuries let it be known that they still existed and needed to be taken care of. He shook his head-he was too tired for that and besides he had to heal at least some of the ground here. Deep holes pocked the ground, blacken trees and burnt out bushes lay around. The area where the thing had rested looked dark and lifeless.
He pulled much of the loose energy, added that to what he had left over from what he had grabbed from the circle. She had never expected that he could so that-he shook head twice, let his fell downward. A moment later he called on what was in his storage devices. He concentrated on good thoughts and changed the structure of the bad energy then he sent it to accomplish something good. A fog formed around trees and the sections of the ground.
A groan made him spin around
Could it be?
No, the sound had been male. And it came from a different direction, where he had last seen his friend. He ran, limped over to where a figure sat up. It shook its head and bent over like it might be sick but nothing came up. Closer Jason could make out Mr. Stumblefield's face. He looked sick but also relieved.
“What happened to her and how did you?…”
He stopped after he looked at Jason. Something in the expression on his face must have caught Bill’s attention.
“You fight her?”
Jason just nodded.
“Boy she put you through the winger. You have blood all of your face, you look dead on your feet. By your expression it was a hairy battle and close. You okay?”
Jason started to say yes, but groaned and wobbled instead.
Mr. Stumblefield stood up as quick as he could given that he was still weak himself. He stepped to Jason and put an arm around him, “We can support each other until we get back to our cars.”
Jason nodded again. They started to move off but another groan sounded. Jason looked at Mr. Stumblefield who shrugged, “That wasn’t me.”
Jason pulled him toward the noise. Jason plopped down by another body, checked the person out.
“This one is still alive but I think he needs medical help.”
Mr. Stumblefield said, “That spell she used was rough. I came here to check out some magical energy I felt, I thought it might be kids or even young adults that were playing with something they didn’t understand since this was halloween but I found something else. I wasn’t as careful as I thought I was for this tentacle creature caught me. I fought but she approached me with this smile I knew meant something bad was about to happen. It was painful and having to obey her like some robot took a great deal out of me. I think my mind fought her the whole time but it couldn’t win. I just want to go home and sleep for days, after I eat something.”
Jason nodded, it didn’t surprise him that she would use that spell. “We can call from my car. My phone is in it. But I want to check on everyone else here. Someone else might be alive.”
With difficulty he stood and they went to every body they could find. Along the way Bill made a comment about the battle Jason had fought, for even the tentacle thing was dead. Bill didn’t know what it was. Jason had to admit he didn’t know it either. They found only one other person alive. They couldn’t do much to help those two so he had Bill help down the mountain. On the way Mr. Stumblefield said. “You checked me out.”
Jason said, “I had be sure.”
“I understand. She was powerful and could have sent her mind and spirit into another body. Mine was the healthiest here.”
After they reached his car, Mr. Stumblefield said that his was down the road a bit. He could find it okay.
Jason still didn’t say much but nodded and got in. He called 911 and told them they had been a fire with people being injuried-some type of explosion he thought. They said they would send a team.
As he drove away he thought that he needed to sleep too but the nightmares would come-he knew. That scream haunted him already. But at least he was able to save three people through this. That counted for something. His heart screamed that it wasn’t a good trade-part of him felt that she had been beautiful up to the end-but his mind said it wasn’t a bad trade. She had gone too far. Her death meant three people along with those that would have been killed if she had carried out her plan, could now live. His life was changed forever, but at the same time it wasn’t was bad as it could have been. Maybe he could sleep now after all.

The end