Saturday, July 16, 2016

Short science fiction: The Logcutter

So back to my Science Fiction. This time it's an old story that has been revised three times now. Twice during the 5+ plus years since I wrote it, when I learned something new about writing, and once just now. This last one was actually half a revision, there are probably still spots that need work, but it's one of my stories that are on my top level. In other words I like. :)
It's 3,800 words long and Science Fiction and deals with the emotions of a soldier years after the war ended. 

Hopefully next week I can finish that new one I keep saying I will do. But this week I ended up with two short ones dealing with a dust bunnies of doom theme and other writing work.
As I have stated in earlier posts I don't mind comments including real criticisms.

So without further adieu :

The Logcutter

By L. E. Doggett

The condensed beam of light shot out. It took only an instant for it to cut through three two foot wide log. The roughly ten by ten clear area where he did his cutting was quiet as it should be. Trees started another five feet after that but something could wiggle its way here. The scent of burnt wood tickled Cal Jones’ nose. Burnt dirt also, for the laser cut into the soil under the wood. That’s why he set up a tripod so it would be aimed downward at all times. 
The six inch long piece dropped with a dull thud. He would wait until it cooled to place it with the others. The air this morning showed that he better work faster to get his wood cut for the winter. Thanks to the insulation and building materials, it looked rough like rock, heating the prefab two bedroom green and grey house behind him didn’t take a lot of wood. However cold hamburgers and soup didn’t taste good. Cold cut sandwiches wouldn’t be bad, but not for all winter.  
The ex-solider shook his head. He still didn’t like to use such a beautiful weapon to cut logs. If he didn't though he wouldn't have anything to warm his farm house, or cook his food with when winter started. Fall, what passed for fall on this planets, chilled the air. The wind picked up for a moment and blew dust, pollen and ash into the air. He spat, followed by a sneeze. It also blew it into his mouth and nose. He never did like the flavor of ash-it reminded him of all the times he had breathed it in, and tasted it, during the war.
Cal sighed, it would be better to use the laser against some of the dangerous, large animals that roamed this forest. They roamed further deeper however, and he didn’t really want to use it on them. He had used it on animals, but he tried to avoid them when possible.  
The pile of lasered logs grew. His house had solar panels, but the sun didn’t shine for long in the winter months. If there was an emergency he could use his bicycle generator, even though that supplied only enough power for certain appliances: such as his radio and his TV, when he was in the mood for movies that is.
He liked pretty much any type of movie except for war movies. After five years of fighting a real one Cal didn’t feel ready to watch a make believe war. War movies reminded him too much of what he had done during the real war, and the friends he had lost. Cal’s nightmares were strong enough now, he didn't need anymore reminders.
He bent down to adjust the laser, moving its tripod, so it could cut another six inch slice off the log.
The laser and his boots were the only things Cal brought home from that Godforsaken war. He still felt surprise that the people who signed him out let him keep the rifle and the boots. 
If I went crazy I could do a lot of harm with that rifle. The military hadn’t needed the number they had for peace though. My buddies decided to each keep something and after an argument I ended up agreeing. Evidently those that processed us also agreed. After I signed the release papers they turned their backs, literally, as I walked out of the processing center carrying both the laser and my boots in a sack that didn't hide their shape. They didn’t like the way the government just booted us out and at the same time they were grateful we had kept the Juggernaut at bay.  
At least the money the government gave me was enough to buy two acres and a small house out here in the middle of nowhere. The house is well built, with good installation, and all the appliances are well made. 
I bought these acres way out here, because I didn't want to be around people. I knew I needed to be alone to heal and at the same time I didn't want to be bothered by people. I felt like the hard work needed to farm in this half jungle was what the doctor ordered.
He shook his head, there's probably over two hundred of us out here on these two acre farms, and I know of two other communities with the same numbers. So many men, and a few women, with bad memories and feelings.
He sat down on the log tired. Maybe he should move to town. Teddy and John are coping in the city. They say it’s hard, but they both found the love of a good woman, which they said helped.
A scream interrupted his thoughts. A loud growl followed a second scream. The screams came from a human throat and the growl didn’t. He stopped to listen, all of his senses on alert. 
He heard another scream, this one was joined by softer ones. 
Oh oh, children, which probably means a family; one who came here to enjoy nature. It sounds like they are being attacked by a Gorillain-and they traveled in packs. 
Without further thought, he unhooked his laser from the tripod and took off. From his battle experience he knew how far away the screams came from and what direction. As he ran through the tall grass he didn’t feel the knee high, whip like red seed stalks as he crashed through them. Before he knew his senses slid into war mood. His speed increased, the trees and anything else along his sides blew by in a blur. He caught a whiff of a dead animal, he normally won’t have notice, he could see better in the dark shade under the trees.
On the way he glanced at the power setting. A curse slipped out. He already knew the power level, but out of habit he double checked it. He should have recharged it instead of waiting until after he finished with the logs. On the run, he used his thumb to change the weapon’s setting to just below medium. That would make it harder to kill any of the beasts, but it wouldn’t be good if the charge ran out before he chased them away.
He hoped he didn’t have to kill them, but bile came up when he thought of the children in the animals’ claws. At least he didn’t have to worry about where he set his foot. His boots had survived the last two years of the war and three years of living here. It wouldn’t matter if he stepped on a sharp twig, a snake or a sting beetle. 
It took him only seconds to enter the trees, even though he slowed a little he still ran almost full out, weaving in and out of the trees. The low branches he avoided for even the very thin ones felt as strong as battle steal when he ran into them. Which explained why he used the laser to cut the wood from these trees. They burned for a long time, but took for ever to saw through.
Seconds later he smelled the musk of the Grollians, very strong which meant they were upset. When he neared the clearing from where the screams and growls come from, he heard soft thuds, followed by growls of pain and anger. The air had warmed, sweat tickled his forehead, under his arms and back. 
He thought that the noises sounded like the humans were trying to drive away the beasts by throwing rocks at them. Not a good idea, as they were about to learn, but at the same time there wasn't much else they could do. 
He hurried through the last of the trees, instinctively moving with the wind blowing his way instead of toward the beasts. Without thinking he moved silently as he learned to do during the war. 
Cal came upon the scene from one side. The Gorilians stood still on one side of the clearing, which gave him a sense of relief. No one had been killed yet. A glance on the other side made bile raise in his mouth. Five people stood there: a woman and man with three children of various ages. The two oldest were boys and the youngest looked like a five year old girl. Even from his postion Cal could see tears as they ran down her cheeks and hear her sobs. All three children stood behind the couple. Both adults were holding thick sticks, ready to swat the first beast to come near them. Both wore terrified expressions on their faces. 
From the way they glanced at each other they more then likely knew their best efforts probably wouldn't slow down the animals. At the same time they looked determined to do something to protect their children. He thought he could smell their fear; it reminded him of the war. That stink always melded with his thoughts of the battles he had been in.
A breeze blew by him and carried their and the humans’s scent. He studied the animals for a moment. He knew them by sight and study, but it still amazed him that they looked so much like a cross between an earth gorilla and an earth bear. These like most of their kind, even the females, were seven feet tall. From his position he could make out females in this bunch. The females were not as board as the males, and Cal could easily make out where their six mummery glands would appear, as they filled with milk right after they gave birth. Their presence made this a family group. 
He wondered why they were attacking the humans. They usually left humans alone, preferring larger prey. Maybe they couldn’t find their usually prey and thought the family would make a communal meal. Or maybe the family had come upon them and started screaming and throwing rocks. Whatever the reason, their standoff was about to end. One male moved toward the humans.
Without having to think about it, Cal leaned against a rough tree and raised his rifle to a firing position and pressed the trigger. A red beam shot out hitting the moving gorillian in the claw it was reaching toward the adults. 
The beam could have been invisible, but the heads of military development thought it was better if soldiers could see the beam. That would help them not run into it on the battle field. They might have been right, he grudgingly admitted, for he had seen soldiers blunder into the laser beams, as bright as they were. If they couldn’t see the beams there would have been more accidents of that type. 
The beast kept moving for two-seconds, as the beam burnt into its hand. It finally stopped and looked down at the claw, before letting out a howl of pain and rage. It pulled back the claw, but Cal managed to keep the laser on the hand with practiced ease. It finally burned all the way through the claw, as the beast screamed its fury. It turned from the family, glanced around, as it looked for the source of its pain. 
Cal switched targets, firing at another one, hitting it in the chest. It humphed in surprise before it screamed in pain with a deep throated growl, as the needle of light started to burn into its chest. The gorillian moved out of the beam, before it could burn all the way through its chest. From the blood and time Cal thought it might have cut halfway through the torso, but it looked like it missed everything fatal. 
A glance to his right told him that the first male he hit was headed his way. Moving with haste he backed into the trees. Without stopping he ran as quietly as possible against the wind. He came out of the trees closer to the band. This time he fired from the hip, another maneuver he had plenty of practice with. He hit another big male, keeping the beam on the creature long enough for it to burn all the way through its torso. Its yell lasted a long time and when it tried to move it fell. The wound didn't kill it immediately, but Cal thought it would eventually. 
He moved again when the one he had just shot started to move his way, probably after catching his scent. On the run, he let the beam score along the back of another male, who was headed for the family. It didn't go deep enough to do much damage, but the beast turned from the family, now headed his way. 
A glance told him that the family was edging toward the 
trees. A wide fallen tree lay behind them, that would slow them down. 
Cal made it to the other edge, turned, aimed and shot all in one movement. He hit one in the eye this time. He was able to keep it on it long enough to burn out the eye, but not long enough for the beam to reach its brain. The Gorillian whiplashed in pain, first moving its head up and back then falling to its knees.
Shaking his head, that wasn’t good, I wanted a fast kill. 
A shadow interrupted his thought. He pivoted out of the way of a claw swiping at him, then dropped to the ground to avoid the other claw. Rolling out of the way he thought that's it for the lower setting. If my shots are fast and precise I should be able to score death shots before the power is used up. 
Without even a glance he used his thumb to slide the setting to the second from the top. He rose up on one knee, raising the rifle up to an aiming position and fired, all in one movement. He hit one in its back. The beam cut in quickly, but the beast arched its back. The beam slide sideways burning a line across the back, but not staying in one place long enough to burn completely through. Keeping the beam on it Cal managed to finally hit its heart, destroying it in less then a second.  
Beetles scattered from where it dropped and a large carrion eater crowed its thanks to Cal. Tasting sweat on his lips Cal turned to the one whose eye he had burnt out, it still rested on its knees, in an all too human position. He moved to it behind it. When it started to turned toward him, he fired one quick shot at the base of its head. He smelled something new and realized that it wasn’t just humans that sometimes emptied their bowels when they died.
His stomach felt like it wanted to empty his last meal, as he turned; that felt too much like an execution. He watched two during the war and someone told him that the other side had killed one of his friends that way. In this case it was putting an animal out of its misery, but it still didn't feel right. 
As the gorillian fell, Cal ran to another position and fired 
at still another one. Before the beam could kill that one, he leaned backwards as a claw came out of nowhere again. This time his rifle went flying across the clearing. He observed a hole in that claw, and knew this one was the first gorillian he had shot. Somehow he missed it’s smell when it snuck up on him.
His hands stinging Cal dropped to the ground to avoid another swing meant to take his head off. He was surprised, but glad when the soft dirt under the trees, hard dirt can be just like rock. With a soft grunt he rolled to his back, fear grew while at the same time he would not let the thing win. He positioned a knife he had managed to pull on the way down. It was what used to be called a Bowie knife; long, thick and very sharp. He cursed himself for leaving his hand weapon back at the house. It may not be a military grade weapon, but it could still kill this Gorillian before it got him. A bullet in the chest, neck and head would do the job. But he didn't have it on him. 
The knife could do the job, if he was quick enough. He knew where the vital spots for a gorillian were. He picked up the habit of learning a potential enemy’s weaknesses during the war. It would be a fight with a real possibility he would end up dead. Or wounded bad enough to make him an easy target for one of the other members of the band. He couldn’t let the thing just kill him, or the family however.
Before he could move though something flew across his vision. He thought it hit the gorillian in the head. A second later another fist sized rock hit the beast. It ignored this rock, as it 
had ignored the first one. It also ignored the next three which hit it almost the same instant. Cal took a second to glance at the direction the rocks came from. He saw that the two older kids throwing the rocks. The father picked up a rock three times the size of the pervious ones and threw it as hard as he could. It hit the beast in the face, as it reared over Cal. Blood dripped from a gash left behind by the rock as it dropped almost hitting Cal. 
Roaring the beast turned toward the family. Cal readied the knife as another rock flew across the clearing. Slightly smaller then the one that left the gash it hit the beast as it roared again. By luck, or by planning, Cal didn't know, but it landed in the gorillian's mouth, sticking in the orifice. The beast let out a muffled roar, and shook its head, trying to dislodge the hard thing in its mouth. 
While it was occupied with the rock. Cal rolled out of its 
way, and on his hands and knees scuttled to where the laser lay. He could hear the other gorillians moving, so he raised up to a crouch, running the rest of the way in that position. He scooped up the rifle on the run, turning to face the animals, as he kept stepping backwards.
He again fired from the hip, scoring a hit on the gorillian, as it headed for the family. It screamed and pivoting before the beam could burn in far enough to kill it. The beam scored along the beast's side as it turned. Once it faced Cal, the beam started to burn into its stomach. He raised the beam burning a line upwards until he found its heart.  
Even before it started to fall, Cal aimed his weapon at another male heading his way. He kept the beam on its chest for 
the few seconds it took the beam to reach its heart. As it fell the rest of the band decided that they had enough damage. They ran off, using their hands, much like earthly gorillas, to increase their speed. 
Cal knew that one of them would die before too many days had passed. He better get home to radio a warning to anyone else that might come across that band in the next few days. 
He stood there a moment tasting blood from where he had bit his lip, but otherwise he seemed to be in one piece. Before he could move the family came over to thank him. They introduced themselves, and with tears in her eyes the mother hugged him. He smelled her sweat over a weakening perfume-deodorant. The father shook his hand expressing his thanks. The oldest boy shook his hand also, while the two youngest hugged his legs. 
Cal squatted down to let the two smaller children hug him, both stunk of dirt and he felt loose soil fall on his clothes, but he didn’t care. He thanked them for throwing the rocks and distracting the gorillian, while he was on the ground. They both shyly nodded a you're welcome.
Mr. Andrews asked him if he was ok. 
"I'm in one piece. Thanks for asking, I didn't take any serious injuries. This action wasn't any rougher then anything I experienced during the war."  
The father nodded, for he had heard stories about how bad some of the fighting had been during the war. They talked some more, as they walked to the family’s vehicle. With one last thank you, the family piled into it and drove off. As he watched them drive off, Cal smiled glad he was able to save them. He didn't want to think about them, especially the little girl, being torn apart and eaten. It hit him that the only reason he had been able to save the family, and that little girl was his training and more importantly his war experiences.
On the way back to his house, he realized how much he missed seeing children play. Once home, he sent out a general call to warn his neighbors about the wounded Gorillain. Then his stomach growled. He thought a shot of whisky would be good, but decided he didn’t need it after all. A quick meal of warmed up noodles and beef, though would be good. 
The next few days he thoughts of playing children stayed on his mind. In a sudden realization, it hit him, he hadn't been having very many nightmares since the rescue. He sat and thought about his experiences the pass few days. He used what he learned during the war to save the family. All that junk he had gone through had ended up for a good purpose. As he considered that, he remembered John and Teddy’s statements. The love of a good woman helped them to heal. 
Maybe it was time to move back to civilization. Not all at once though. He could sell this farm, he always was getting 
offers, and get a place in the town three hours from here. Only two to three thousand people lived there, a large portion of which were veterans like him. And just as importantly the population included single females.
He would miss this place. He liked working the land... maybe he would buy a farm next to the town. He would have to think about it, but by the way he felt he knew his mind was made up already. 

The End

For a break, a short, interesting mind picture

I was just discussing the Creation with someone about the need for light and heat before the sun etc. were made. 

An interesting mind picture formed as I finished my comments:

 God stood there, he wore a short white beard, large mustache that dropped over his upper lip. A half smile on his mouth. A railroad cap sat on his head and a delightful intense look in his eyes. He wore coveralls, like wood curves or mechanics wear sometimes. One hand was stretched out with the solar system, at least ours but maybe more, in the cup of that hand. Planets spun, and I could make out tiny blue and red planets and one covered with clouds. The planets spun around their sun(s). Blackness surrounded Him, but His spot could be clearly seen. 
  Spotlights shot out from his eyes lighting up the planets. His hand under the planets glowed with warmth. In his other hand he held a pair of tweezers much like those used by model ship makers. He inserted the point of the tweezers into the system to make last minute adjustments. His smile grew. 

More than likely that wasn't even close to what happened during creation except in the basic idea but still fun to think of. 

That's it for this post-said it was short. :) 

Two general fiction short tales

 I have been posting a lot of short stories lately but soon a post about my new book. Enjoy these stories and remember I don't mind comments and even a real criticism or two.

Again I post two flash stories from those 600 word tales I mentioned last week. So far these two are the shortest of the revised stories in that both are both under 900 words. This time there are both general fiction, even if the beginning of the first one might make people think horror. They are two completely different stories other than not being SF, fantasy, Urban Fantasy, steampunk etc, and being very short. 

Story One:
Mind Blob

I sat in the small chair they allowed me, next to my bed. No padding under my rear, on the arms or back, any occupant could chew on. He wouldn’t do that, just the thought dry stuffing filled with sweat and grim made his mouth go dry. However he had heard that some in here have done. I was dressed even though a bit warm in here. Voices and steps outside in the hallway drew my attention, but it wasn’t time yet. Then I will out of this room with its light blue and pink wallpaper.
That dream came again last night. I wish I knew where my subconscious came up with the idea: a dark blob, with uneven sides, with thicker sections here and there, and some missing spaces. Almost like a solid fog at night. It’s taller than I am and wider than my bed is long. It’s not a nightmare because I’m not afraid since it just sits there double my reach away. I have had that dream almost every night for the last three months. At first I was scared; woke up sweating, even though the air is cool, with a half yell, but it doesn’t do anything. I just watch it. Its shape changes a bit in every dream, but as I can figure out that’s just my subconscious adding a dimension to it. I think I know what the blacker areas are but not the empty spots. Areas of my life not effected by it? That would be good. I had to fight my reaction to it for eight months but it looks like I have it at bay. If it touches me, I get confused and usually freeze without knowing what to do next, sometimes I set out to do something that doesn’t need doing. 
A glance at the clock showed that I better get ready; my wife is coming, with our two kids, to pick me up and take me home. It will be nice to get away from the odors in here. They try to keep them down but vomit, piss and cleaning fluids are always in the background.  
It’s been a rough eight months, especially on Tammy. I’m glad she is still there. My recovery would be rougher without her.
I hear other patients walking up and down the hallway outside. I never did that, but I can see why some would. I had breakfast already, which I won’t miss. I hope we can go out to dinner tonight to celebrate, but Judy probably will want to stay home and get used to us being together again. That would be fine, maybe I can talk her into ordering pizza delivery. The food here is enough and eatable, but it’s not all that good.
After a few minutes I again make sure my few things are really packed and ready. Finally Doctor Jim comes to the door and tells me my wife is here. I shake his hand, thank him for his help. He tells me I helped myself and that he just directed me.
He takes me out to the lounge. There they are. I couldn’t help myself, I rush to Judy and hug her. Her body feels so good in my arms, her hands on my back are even better because of what they mean. I saw her only last week, but this is different. I hug my two kids. My eight year old daughter isn’t too sure about me.
I say, “I’m sorry for scaring you, I didn’t mean to. It didn’t have anything to do with you: I have a problem.”
She said, “I know mommy explained that you have a black blob in your head that makes you see things differently and confuses your thinking. It’s not your fault that it decided to hurt you.”
I blink at that, first in surprise, second because of tears. I look up at Judy, mouth “Thank you.”
But at the same time I realize that was my dream. Maybe she had mentioned her explanation to me and I had forgotten it, but my subconscious hadn’t. Or maybe I had spoken of it at one point. 
I stood, grabbed my small suitcase and we walk out to the car. Judy tensed, said, “You didn’t harm any of us, but you scared us. If you had harmed one of us, I wouldn’t be here.”
I nodded, “I understand and agree, if my blob ever made me hurt one of you, you should stay away. But now we know the signs of it moving my way and can deal with it before it touches me.”
She relaxed as if she hadn’t been sure of my response yet she still had to say it. She nodded, took my hand and, said, “Lets have pizza for dinner tonight at home.”
I smiled.
The end

Story Two

First Photograph

Deborah Chilled stared at the old, yellow Newspaper. It crinkled with age. This was one of the earlier editions of the Republican, now Fresno’s ex paper. It had been replaced by something else with a shorter name.
One could still make out the picture on the front page. She recalled the smell of the ink the day it came out-all of the papers in those days had that stink even two days after printing. This picture was the very first photograph to be ever printed in the Republican. It showed the Police Chief with a just caught bank robber. The Chief stood there in his blue uniform, you couldn’t tell the color in the picture, but she remembered the color and style, with a big smile. The robber had a frown. It was rumored that the Chief had had to threaten the guy with his billy club to make him stand there for as long as it took for the photographer to take the picture. However one couldn’t know when a rumor was true or not. In the picture you could make out the bank on one side of the Chief and a teller who happened to be standing in the door. She had known that teller. 
However more important to her was who stood on the other side. Two people. The woman’s side had been cut out but you could see her face well enough. The man’s face could be made out too. He had a huge smile on his face and Deborah could recall the sparkle in his eyes even to this day. Her expression showed doubt, but not because of what he had just asked, as some friends and relatives thought when the paper came out. She wore a new blue dress that day-he had wanted her to wear on their wedding day but she insisted on the traditional white gown. He had saved five copies of the paper. They still had this one.
After he had popped the question Jason had rushed them to be near the camera because he had heard that the photograph was to be taken. He wanted his big question to be recorded and printed in the paper. She had said yes almost immediately but then wasn’t sure why they were in that spot or why Jason had her turn to the sun and wait.
Deborah sat down, at seventy years old she couldn’t stand as long as she used to, such as on that day waiting for the photographer to get ready and to take the picture. It had taken seconds after he had set up everything, placed the hood over his head and snapped the button.
She figured it out as soon as she had seen that blinding flash. It had been so bright and unexpected that the Chief let out a curse word and had to publicly apologize later. The robber almost got away while everyone was blinded and the black smoke curled around in the air.
She slipped a kerchief out of her sleeve and whipped her eyes. No one would think an old woman in black as being silly for tears on this day. After all today was one year after Jason’s death. They had been married a full fifty years. She liked to think that no couple had been in love with each other as much as they had been the whole time. She knew that wasn’t true. Other couples had just as much love for each other.
It was easy to recall some of their arguments but easier to remember the day he saved her life at the cost of some bad injuries to himself, five years into their marriage. He never regretted the pain, or the fact that he almost died. She had though. Jason was not perfect, she knew that by experience, they had some bad fights the first couple of years but then they got used to each and the fights dropped dramtically. They didn’t disappeared though. And he could be stubborn at the most odd times. To the day he died he thought a woman’s place was in the home. They had some major disagreements over that. At the same time he hadn’t complained too loudly when she insisted in taking a couple of classes and too learn how to do new things. Now that she was so old she didn’t know if those classes would help her now. After all her fingers ached and she couldn’t bend over as well as she used to, nor move as quick. At the same time she was healthy and her mind still clear. Which meant that she would have to live without him from now on. 
She sighed. There were things she could do and she had some money—he had made sure about that—so she could work for charities or the church. She nodded, she would keep living as long as the Good Lord had her down here.

The end

Hope you enjoyed them

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Two Urban Fantasy Flash tales by Me

So Happy Fourth of July for those in the US. A great country to celebrate .

Anyway, I am afraid I do n't have the story I promised for this week. Last week I said I would write one for today's post. But with a strong desire to get my novel ready to go along with losing chapter 8 I didn't get it started. It's barely started. So here are two stories I wrote a while back. I am doing a series of 600 word stories based on a picture which changes every week. At 22 stories I will do an anthology of them. Except they won't be 600 words any longer once I revise them. One of these two are over 1,000 now and the other is close behind. One of the other stories is now over 3,000 words. So I may call the book "Long 600 word tales". They are SF, fantasy, Romance, general fiction, Urban fantasy, steampunk and a couple of odd ones.
A few of you may have read one or both in their 600 word stories but they are slightly different now.
Anyway. These two have the same Main Character, an older dude I still haven't named. I will have to do that. I hope to do two more stories about him to include with the 22. Obviously I did revise them-today in fact-but I will do that again because they still need a wee bit of help.

So enjoy:

Number One
"A Bother"

I strode up to the man inside the little booth, ordered some of the roasted nuts he sold. He worked at a kiosk inside a large mall. I can’t help myself I always get some of that brand when I come here. He handed me the bag of mixed nuts with a receipt, I don’t like to go to. I nodded, turned around. People walked by, or through the doors of the stores. Their scents followed them if they got too close. Some weren’t bad: perfume, aftershaves , etc., but some smelled of cigarettes, sweat or drugs. I shook my head.
The lights and skylights produced enough visibility to get a good look at everyone. Since I was born fifty plus years ago I find it hard to get used to some of the outrageous and skimpy clothes some of them have on. A few of the girls are even worse. The new craze with tattoos was wild too.
With a sigh I backed off, I needed to get away from that cell phone kiosk, ten feet away. If something distracted me enough I would let enough cellular vibrational mystical energy out to blow each of those tiny computers. That was the second reason I hate going to the mall. Electricity and what some call V-nergy does not mix. Which is why I always drive an older car. 
The first reason I have mentioned already. Those nuts can be expensive.
I needed to be here today though. There was a problem. I backed up intill my back hit the wall, hard and smooth at the same time, even though my light blue shirt. I now stood in a wall enclave where I could watch for it for that problem. The designer of this mall thought wall enclaves made the place look more attractive. I liked them because I could hide out in one for a few minutes. A tiny “don’t look in here” Trick, just on the opening, kept me from observation while I looked around. Someone determined could still find me but it wouldn’t be easy and most shoppers are distracted by other concerns. With age and experience I’ve learned to be skimpy with my store of V-nergy.
Two people, who walked too close to me, lost their cell connections and maybe their batteries; I sighed again. At least they didn’t flare up into a fire, this time. Another thing I needed to get used to with age. I hadn’t had to worry about personal electronics when my ability to manipulate those tiny vibrations that make up everything first showed itself.
Ten minutes later a sailor walked through the mall, I hadn’t seen him enter. Not all that unusual for a navy reserve base sat near here. It has been in continual use for generations. This fellow though wore the clothes of a sailor from the 1800s. They were muddy and wet in places. I nodded, it was him. My problem for the day. I could feel the bubble of something-not the usual cellular mystical energy-around him. I studied that bubble. I have a special sight, I can turn off and on, which allows me to see energy a normal person can’t see or sense. I titled my had back and forth to look at it from different angles. I could see lightning like arcs and a greenish tinged transparent field around him. Why Green? I don’t know, maybe God likes that color or it’s symbolic. Green for nature and this energy we use is produced by nature. Or maybe my subconscious is playing a game with me and green has some type of physiological symbology only my subconscious knows. Which makes it hard to guess what it means.
The person who called me had experimented with Time Travel Tricks. Which is very stupid. Not only was Time hard to adjust or manipulate, but it had a tendency to do strange things when you tried to manipulate it. Thomas said he only tried to set up a viewing window, so we could watch what happened in places and times we knew very little about. Something went wrong-I rolled my eyes-as it usually did. Another friend once spent five years repairing the damage done by someone attempting to go back in time to undo some event. We just didn’t understand-maybe we are incapable of understanding-how Time works. It had its own logic, power, and order. I thought if I twisted his Trick right it would send him back. It might hurt him with a backlash but not that badly.
I concentrated decided on a spot in that filed and sent the Trick and used my will to modify the matrix of the Trick. I let it go.
Ouch-that hurt me? Damn, it didn’t work right. Time does have its own rules. I tried to send in a web of lines to see if I could read the field deeper. The fingers of the web fell away. I drew it back in.
Why not? interrupted my own study of that when I spotted something in that bubble. My head tilted to one side as I thought. Somehow Thomas had produced a bubble of time energy-or maybe it produced itself when this guy came forward in time. A protection?
Or as I looked closer at one matrix, it did more. So what would happen if the bubble would burst? Another study-maybe it had meant to but Thomas’ interference stopped that. I reached into it with my energy, soften his Trick, pulled his energy to me than let the bubble pop. It did. The man disappeared, back to his own time I hoped. I turned to go thinking-hoping that Thomas and I had learned some wisdom from this. Or just an excuse to get the nuts.

The end

Number Two
"To relax or not"
I sighed. I had come to watch a football game; to relax, the scent from the pine trees growing around this small town and its small high school was suppose to help with that. Even the smoke from the fireplaces in each house, was natural. I was born over fifty years ago and I knew how to relax. For me a forest can help. This small community sat in the foothills of the Rockies. I liked it for as a user of the cellular vibrational mystical energy I didn’t have to hold it in as much here. There were very few modern convinces and those that were here were very well protected from that cellular vibrational mystical energy, You could see the larger mountains these hills led up to. I came here to visit an old friend who liked living here, with few outside people and neighbors with the same type of “condition” he had.
His son was playing in the high school game that had started over two hours ago. The sun was setting so the lights had just come on.The son was huge and wide, but he was one quarter Troll so it was expected. A nice guy though. That was why my friend lived in a small town in the hill country. Some of those here had their own particular physical characteristics. Like that tall fullback: his shape and slightly pointed ears for instantness. Some of the girls had long pointed noses. No one minded.

The game had just finished-we won, partial thanks to my friend’s son-late; the field lights had come on for the sun had all but disappeared over the mountains I mentioned. The cheerleaders and couches were all on the field waiting to come in. The gym, both teams used, was behind and was a large, grey brick building. They didn’t have money for anything fancy which is why they had just the field with lights, bleachers, football markings and goalposts. I didn’t mind that.

Smoke started to blow over the field. My head turned in the direction it had come from. There had been no fires around earlier but the grass and bush surrounding the school could burn very fast for it was dry from summer. The players and cheerleaders started to look confused. A couch or ref-it was getting hard to see-had turned to stop someone I couldn’t see.

From the exclamations of the parents and other fans, I knew I wasn’t the only one to experience the fading light. The lights on the posts didn’t do much to shine through the smoke.

I sneezed, grabbed my handkerchief. Oh oh, something I was allergic to. My nose dripped, my eyes watered. Only a couple of things would affect me that way. That is why I knew my time for relaxation had come to an abrupt end and thus my sigh.

A moment later I stood and hurried down the bleachers. They trembled under me and clanged with each step, as I stood at an angle, which meant I could only go so fast. Once off and on the grass, I ran down to the field, wiped my nose and upper lip again on the way. I hate it when my mustache gets filled with snot especially when I licked it-yecch. Now I needed to concentrate on my job. As a I hurried out on the field I ran to where the smoke came from. Players were complaining about the rotten egg odor. I could barely smell it now because of my closed nose but that was probably a blessing. The players, couches and cheerleaders were all confused about which direction to go. The visibility was very low down here. The smoke blocked the light like a very thick gauzy burlap bag lay everywhere. I drew in the energy I needed and sent a blast toward the goalposts that now looked reddish. My Trick rebounded; I tripped and almost went down in pain caused by the backlash of my Trick being demolished. Of course it wouldn’t be easy. Even as I debated what to do more heat and smoke came through. I could feel the extreme heat from half a field from it. It had become thick enough to taste the ozone and rotten eggs. 
I decided I needed help and to get the kids off the field. I ran back to where they were grouped. I shook the tall kid-hoped his eyesight came from his heritage-to get his attention. Everyone seemed gob smacked. He looked at me.

“Lead everyone to the bleachers” I pointed, “go now!”

He looked at the bleachers and I knew my guess had been right, he could see them. He yelled for everyone to follow him. I yelled encouragement for them to do it. That he could see where to go. I went to my friend’s son, led him to the right spot, told him he should run and hit that darkness with all he had, he would be a hero.
My surprise, he did. He hit the space between the goalposts three times. The first two didn’t do much but the last time he ran from further back. He had time to build speed. He smacked it hard enough to bounce. It flickered, I sent the Trick I had readied. Cracks appeared in the air, another smaller blast and it shattered. I used what V-nergy I had left and closed the pathway. That took effort and hurt for someone else had made the gateway. I knew what to do though so it closed. I panted and knew I would hurt in the morning but it had worked. The smoke would dissipate now. I would need to find who did it. I suspected it was one of those girls with the long noses. Someone practicing beyond what she knew, or trying of revenge, or maybe just to show off. The town elders would be able to find them and find a suitable punishment for the motivation. It could involve writing out in long hand, something like I will be more careful ten thousand times. 
However, first, I needed a rest and the BBQ they said was after the game. I am getting old for this. 

The end

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 25th exciting excerpt of Learning Curve X2

I had planned on doing a story this week, but didn't get to it before my operation. And didn't feel like working on it last night.

So Here is one more excerpt of Learning Curve X2 

Another beginning of an exciting fight. 2,600 words this time. I have the feeling that I did this already but I couldn't find it when I looked. Maybe I placed it elsewhere or my memory is playing tricks with me. But if so it will be slightly different.

The fact that I leaked V-nergy bothered me. After a short rest I drummed some more, which included practicing with other percussion instruments this time. I thought I could expand on what I played and get more gigs. Three months ago someone had given me a set of two large tambourines set on a stand with cow bells above them, and I had one African Djembe drum already. After a set of drumming, I wished for a gig. I could use the money, but I also needed the experience of playing with a band in front of an audience. It had been a couple of months since my last performance and I missed it. 
After a while I realized it was dinner time and--I looked at the puppy who woofed--time to take her out for a walk. A thought formed, I could head for the Rounder Meal and walk the dog at the same time. I grabbed the money from the table, my sweater, one of my purses and my bracelet. I usually don‘t take a purse with me, that is what pockets are for after all, I only usually carry a few items. I had three purses though. One was very nice with leather and custom jewels that looked real. I used it for the few times I go some place nice or even rarer on a date. This time grabbed the black one with brown trim. It looked like denim and was small. I placed it over my shoulder.
I looked at the puppy and said, “We are going somewhere new. You will have to wait outside while I get my dinner. You will behave yourself because I still don’t have a leash for you, so no wandering.” 
Just before I started down the stairs, a thought popped into my head. I told the pooch, one moment, and got an old pizza box that I hadn’t recycled yet. I found the number for the place and called them. It was early for dinner so I expected they wouldn’t be busy yet. I ordered, a small pizza with extra cheese, jalapeƱos, pepperoni and mushrooms. After a moment I said to double the jalapeƱos and mushrooms. The person on the phone sounded like one of the staff there who knew me. For some reason I added that I had more money than usual after a job I had done. He probably wouldn’t have cared how I got the money but I think I wanted to assure him that I had the money. The management had changed since Brittany discovered it over a year ago. She no longer stopped there, since they had gotten cheap with the ingredients. And with phone orders, if you didn’t have a card. That went along with the fact that I had heard a couple of ex-employees had sued the new owners, but I didn’t hear why.
They said it would be ready about the same amount of time it took me to walk there. I said good and that I would be there very soon after it was done. We left.
The walk took longer than I thought it would, since the puppy wanted to sniff at almost everything and had to stop twice for business in the bushes. We rounded a street corner and headed down the street. A strip mall took up half of the block, the pizza place was one of the few businesses still open. Most of the businesses had closed and half the houses in the first part of the block had no one living in the them-except for homeless people in one. That surprised me since two months ago more of them had people in them. I wondered how long the exodus had been going on and why I had never noticed. 
About half way down small mall, I saw three guys standing around near an open business next to the pizza joint. I looked them over from where I had spotted them, but didn’t see anything I couldn’t handle with my V-nergy and MMA training. We continued our walk. Half way there though, the puppy growled and looked in the shadows. I stopped looked at her mystified. She had never growled like that before. Once she gave a half hearted menacing snarl, but this was new. 
I saw a deeper shadow when I turned the way she looked. Three men stepped out and another two shadows moved. To what I assumed was an attack position. I didn’t have to think about the situation. I was in fighting mode before the three men came all the way into view. I readied three Tricks and pulled in more V-nergy from instinct along. One pulled out a hand gun and I saw glints off of two in the belts of the other two with him. I assumed the ones still in the shadows had them too. I glanced down the street to see what the men I had seen were doing. They were gone. I didn’t know if they had been some type of lookout and diversion, therefore would join these five, or if they just disappeared when trouble started.  
With the thought of throwing them a loop, and because I would enjoy myself, I gave them my best predatory smile. Two did look unsure for a moment, the leader didn’t look worried though. Okay, let’s see about scaring them off first. I held out my hand; I thought about translocking all of their bullets, that included the two still in the shadows, to my hand and letting them drop out from between my closed fist, but decided that long of a translock would take a lot energy from me. I have watched someone do that, it can be very effective when the bad guys pull their triggers and nothing happens. So I just sent out a Trick like a wave, it would make gunpowder unable to react to the spark that would set off the gunpowder. That included all ammo; in other weapons, or in clips or loose in their pockets. 
The puppy let out a woof, when I glanced down she looked at me puzzled. She must have felt me send out the Trick. I would have to explore that later. She turned back to face them and growled loudly. She even looked at the ones in the shadows. 
The leader took a step forward and pointed the gun at me, “Give us your purse lady and tell your dog to shut up.”
I sighed as loud as I could, “It’s not my dog, she can control herself, too bad you can’t control yourself.”
“Just give me your purse and any other money you have. I’ll take those earrings too.”
My hand almost went up to the side of my ear to check on what earrings. Oh, those nice ones Daisy had given me. I had forgotten I had put them on this morning. 
I shook my head, “They aren’t yours. They wouldn’t fit your ears anyway, and the colors won’t go with your outfit tonight.” I may have heard someone snigger. 
He snarled and said, “Give them to me,” in a loud voice. 
Again he stepped forward-he smelled of BO, alcohol, and something else, probably pot. Up this close I saw his mouth moving, he might be chewing gum I thought. Could use a piece right now. The flavor would get rid of any bile that came up and the taste caused by his odors. 
“Lady, give us the money or we will leave you in bad shape.”
I rolled my eyes, “Can’t you think of something original, that is so bad and overused it’s boring.”
He snarled, let out a string of obscenities and ended with him saying he would shove a certain body part down my throat. 
I said, “No, that’s not original. All the guys like you say that. At least one time.”
Through the corner of one eye, I saw one guy’s expression turn incredulous as if to say How many guys like him has she had dealings with? And she is still alive to be a smart aleck? Of course they wouldn’t use “aleck”.
The leader grabbed my purse and I swatted his hand away. Now he looked amazed and angry at the same time. I formed an image behind me. A huge bold man with muscles and the tips of wings showing behind him. I heard three “Damns”. The leader took a step back, pointed his gun at the image and fired. Nothing happened. He pulled the trigger three more times with the same result, just a click. He looked at it puzzled. A moment later he recovered though and gestured at one of his men. That guy lifted a gun and fired it. Same result. 
The leader turned to me and said, “You’re one of them. I know how to take care of you.”
He ignored the angel that reached for him, pulled a handful of something out of his pocket and tossed it. A wad of dust flew through the air. 
I dove one side. I didn’t know if that was ground up Witch’s Hazel, but after being poisoned by it once, I really didn’t want to go through that again. The substance spread out and some made it my way. I breathed in and coughed. Something that left a taste of plant, talcum powder with a gritty texture settled in my mouth. Even as I rolled away as far and fast as I could, I spat it out. What did he do grand up ricks? 
A hard section of the building grazed one side of my head and I dropped over something. It rolled and took my middle section with it. It stopped and left me in an undignified heap, with arms and legs pointed every direction. I quickly got up though, almost stepped on a skateboard someone unwisely left behind. My stance was awkward for I had stepped wide to avoid the board. I threw out my hands with a Trick, but it seemed to sputter out after it left my hands. What? I tried again with the same results. 
A source of reflected light came at me, it took me a single heartbeat to realize it was a long knife in the hand of the leader. He lounged my way. My personal V-nergy seemed to be having problems so I raised the hand with my bracelet and muttered a command word. A wavering in the air with a slight glow showed the shield had activated. I relaxed for it had its own store of V-nergy so wasn’t depended on mine or the surroundings. I would stop the knife easy. 
It didn’t. The blade came through my V-nergy shield as if only air tried to stop it. I resisted the temptation to gawk at it and stepped backwards. My foot hit a surface that moved and my foot slid sideways. I fell again. My rear end stopped me, hard enough to create a bruise on each butt cheek. My instinct reacted, with the beginning of a certain MMA technique, but my body was in no position to finish it. I rolled to the side. A sudden stop bruised me again. Damn, I was in a narrow storefront with only so far I could go either way. That along with that skateboard and my ability stalled out placed me in a hell of a situation. I snarled at him and myself for allowing myself to get into this damnable, ridicules position. No matter what though I refused to be done in by something as ordinary as a knife. My mind couldn’t come up with any defensive move that fit the specific idiotic situation I was in. A Cross followed up by a Choke would be good, I could do the first one much less the second. Maybe a Hook.
Light from the street lamps reflected off that sharp piece of metal headed my way too fast. It appeared to be a whole lot longer and thicker than usual. I hoped that was my imagination. My elbow ached, but that shouldn’t stop me. That dust he had thrown still lay around my mouth. I got some more when I licked my lips out of habit. 
Again my subconscious saved me. It scooted my butt away. 
I heard a tear, but no pain. When I pulled away further my shirt jerked me back. Part of it stayed behind until he raised the knife again. I might be exposing my side or even my belly but he didn’t seem interested in seeing more. Too upset or high I thought.
The same moment he drove it down again, I grabbed my purse—finally worked out what bumped me—pulled it up. The strap wrenched my side. A harder yank got it up in time to block the point. Another shorter tear. The purse was made from stronger cloth than my shirt. I twisted the purse with a wrench, with the hope the knife would leave his hand, as I had been taught. It didn’t work. Maybe he knew that technique. Or I couldn’t get the right leverage where I lay. Another stab by him and again I caught the blade. This time it went all the way through the purse, I saw the large, very sharp point inches from my face. Again I tried to pull the blade out of his grip. Again he held onto it but I must have moved it for when he yanked his hand back, he had to readjust his grip on it. That gave me a couple of seconds. I pushed myself down, away from the door, with the idea of scooting between his legs. He leapt backward. At that moment one of his men came up beside him. The guy tried to shoot me, but like last time it didn’t work. So why did my first Trick work, but not the next three? He saw through the angel image, the two attempts at caging them failed, and my shield didn’t stop him. 
The knife came down three more times, fast and hard each attempt. I managed to scoot, or lean to one side to avoid it. He scored a shallow cut along my side. I moved down again, but my feet hit something—the new guy’s legs I thought.
That guy switched his gun to his other hand so he held it by the barrel like a club. A very short one, but very hard at the same time. It would do some damage if it connected. He held his hand ready to use it if he got the chance. The leader snarled and moved his hand, but his elbow bumped his man. He spat out something that sounded like “Move Pig.” I smelled sweat, and dope, tasted bile. 
He tried to kick me. Somehow I moved my leg to intersect his foot. I couldn’t stop the “aww.” Another deep bruise. Another kick, followed by one from his man. That one missed though. The Idiot couldn’t get a good swing in. 
I targeted their knees with my feet. All I needed was one to connect with one knee per man. I pulled my legs up and kicked out. I missed the knee of the leader when he moved, but hit his upper shin. It rocked him. Too bad he recovered. I hit the right target with the other guy who didn’t move fast enough, but only a glancing blow. One of the bad aspects of being short, my reach wasn’t much. He swore and rubbed his leg.  
A voice said, “He bit me and won’t let go.”
My heart dropped more. Puppy must have joined in and they would hurt her.

End excerpt

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Exciting action packed except of Learning Curve X2

 Hey it's time for another excerpt of my novel Learning Curve X2.

This one should have very few typos but I did do some last minute revising on about six sentences so there could be a couple. Or the way things go with me(Rolls eyes) a ton of them even though they shouldn't be any.

Again a bit long at 4,500 words but there are two events I wanted to show. One very small one and one long one. The longer one is part of a flashback to NA's first time fighting someone more powerful than her to protect someone. Or many someones in this case. One of them shows up later in the novel. The whole fight is easily twice as long as the section I have here. I couldn't find a good cliff hanger until hundreds of words later so I end it with a comment about something that keeps showing up in her life.

Next week might be another excerpt or nothing. I am having an operation Friday, June 24, and even though it's one of those in and out things I am not sure what type of shape I will be in Saturday. Nor am I sure if I can get to it before Friday.

A moment later my head spun around and I faced outward. I studied the world before I realized why. I had felt something huge. It seemed to be associated with that force I had been sensing the last few months. The event died down before I could get a reading on what it was or where it came from.
I couldn’t see any explosion—I half expected one—nor any type of gate opening, nor any large sudden construct. Maybe someone had just formed a zombie. I have never seen that done or even been close to it happening. It would take a lot of power though, I imagined. Then again there could be a very good illusion laid over the result of a blast. It would be a fantastic one to cover flames, the smell and the sight of an explosion or fire. Put up by someone who had a lot of power and experience. They would have had to slam it down wholly made at just the right moment. I sniffed the air again to make sure I didn’t smell smoke. A small whiff of not-so-fresh cut grass—the gardeners must have come by today. Other than that, the air smelled normal.
I thought about taking a walk to see what it could have been, but all signs were gone now. I looked around with my V-nergy sight and found nothing out of the ordinary. I could have been a one time event. Some type of translock to somewhere, perhaps. If so they took their whole car with them—a car that was a Hummer, fully armored up.
With thought though I shook my head. The power I had felt just then and twice earlier, didn’t seem the same as I was used to. I have been told that some Adepts almost have the power of a god-demigod that is. Patricia and Jainy both thought that some of the Greek, Latin, Viking and other gods were really Adepts that let their ability go to their heads. At the same time I was sure this wasn’t one of them.
A dog barked, I thought it sounded like my friend that had saved me from the labyrinth pocket universe Mr Majestic had made to trap me. It had been designed to keep me going around in circles with walls that moved with me, but the dog’s barking had led me out. I have seen him twice and given him a special treat, so he knew me. I waited for a while, but he didn’t show up. Maybe his owner took him another way, or maybe it was another dog. I went inside.
Even though I should have gone to bed, I decided to have some cookies. Only three though; they were a very good brand that someone had given me and I wanted them to last awhile. Not too long, though they could get stale.
After I finished them, okay and a fourth one, along with two of a lesser variety, one of my first adventures came to mind. Billy’s story about the little fairies connected with a memory.
It had been years ago but I had met fairies three different times. During the first meeting nothing bad happened. They just flew around me and made chiming noises. I tried to understand what they were saying. They were a nuisance, but not a danger. The second time, I actually helped a small clan, flock, nest or village with a problem. I got hurt the third time even though not by them. There were the ones in danger.

After a hard week at high school and practicing my ability, I sat in a park in the town I grew up in. No one was about which was fine with me. I just wanted to relax. My hair was its natural boring black with no dyes, for a change. I had started to dye my hair as soon as I could figure out how to. Maybe because my sister did, even though hers was normal colors. Every now and then I gave it a rest for a few months, usually when my parents were low on money. As I rested I made sure that no one was really close to me, or about to come upon me. I did feel something not far away, but it was faint. Once I knew the park was in the clear, I made a ball out of V-nergy and started to toss it back and forth in my hands. I used to do that to help me relax and to think; better than that set of five chrome balls that swing back and forth into each other. My ball wasn’t solid, just made from energy. You could see an electrical framework that made up the outer shell with arcs and tiny bolts inside. None were powerful enough to do any harm, even to a bird or kitten, but they looked powerful.  
The ball started out pink. Every few seconds I changed its color. At the moment it was purple, I liked the electric shade, wished I could do my hair that color, so I kept that color for a few minutes. Something caught my attention; I looked around expecting someone to be watching me-wondered how I would explain the ball, but nothing. I tried my V-nergy sense to see if there was a glamour, illusion or related Trick hiding someone. More than likely I wouldn’t be able to see through it, but I could detect V-nergy use. I was good at that; lousy at translocking, especially myself, and healing was almost a lost cause, but I knew I had certain gifts.
A motion made me look to one side. Nothing. I heard a very slight buzzing. In a second it got louder. A bumblebee I thought, if so it was huge by the sound. A motion zipped past me. Oh, from the yellow comet trail behind it I realized what was going on. Fairies. Of the small, glowing variety. I say that because there are fairies almost human size also. Rarer even than this type, they looked like small adults with a narrow shape and pointed ears. Much like elves I have been told.
After a moment I looked down quickly. Whoa, there were a crowd of them. A nest must exist in the woods that were a part of the park. Either a really new one, or I just never noticed before.
Through all this I kept my hands and the ball moving, but I stopped for a moment as I wondered if they were up to no good, or just playing. They could be mischievous and even ferocious if provoked, but usually only curious and a nuisance at worse. If they thought you had invaded their nest, watch out and run-fast. They could be worse than hornets and bees together, even killer bees. I have read up on them and asked Patricia—she gave me the books I read. She also gave me a lesson on them.
One female flew up to my face, I blinked. First they usually didn’t come that close to a stranger and second she looked young. They usually all do, until they are old enough to be an elder, but this one appeared to be a young teenager instead of a young woman. She was only half the size of ones I have had dealings with before. That would explain why all of these around me seemed even smaller than usual. I gave the area a quick look for an adult. None that I could see, but maybe they didn’t have to be supervised. I got my attention back to the female. As was normal she glowed yellow, even though she didn’t have to. This one twitted, chimed and whistled, like a small flute. Finally, I understood that she wanted me to continue with the ball. They liked it for some reason. I shrugged, it wouldn’t do any harm and I didn’t want a bunch of adolescent fairies upset at me.
A moment later, in the middle of a toss, I caught a whiff of something. I wasn’t sure what, but I looked some of them over to see if any of the really small ones wore diapers. Not that I could tell, most zipped around too fast to be sure. If so they needed to be changed badly. I almost shrugged again, I was just being snarky, I doubted they really wore them.
I played with the ball; I threw it up, caught it when it fell juggled it, spun it on my open palm. Next I changed the colors as it spun through a toss. Each turn changed the shade, I went through the whole rainbow and added brown and a bright grey to the mix. They seemed to like it.
A new smell made me wrinkle my nose and look up. They didn’t act like anything had changed, but I knew something was up. The hair on the back of my neck raised for one thing. That had happened only twice before, and each time it wasn’t for a good reason. A bear chased me the first time. I knew it was near before I saws it. I wasn’t sure how I got away but I did. A couple of years later I was attacked by another mage my age the second time. I had met Patricia six months before this, so I knew the basics of throwing out a Trick. I had been walking home through a small wooded area, and I froze when the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. A boy came out of nowhere. I realized at once that he was a mage, obviously my age and I thought, on my level of training. I still don’t know if he was just being a bully, Patricia would jerk the slack out of him if that was the case. However I felt then and still do that his attack was more serious. Maybe he was a dark lord in training, whatever the case we had a short bout. I have had other fights, but they were pretty much just scuffles, this was serious.
He moved almost faster than I knew and grabbed me around my middle. One arm was pinned between him and me. I almost screamed but shouted, “Hey, you think you’re an octopus? Let Go!” I said it more to cover my fear than to sound tough. I rocked us to break his hold and as I did used what I had learned recently. I carried out a quick search and found a patch of V-nergy nearby. I pulled some in and used that to shock him. The shock seemed to be my only way out of that hug. After the buzz, he backed off, rubbed his elbow and stomach. I formed a shield like a big Roman shield that I had read about in school. He threw some Tricks my way, but I managed to use the shield to block them and even to bounce one back along with a new one from me. Eight months ago I would not have been able to do that, but even though it didn’t always seem like it I did take my lessons seriously, now I am glad I did.
Three heartbeats later I launched myself his way, he somehow deflected the shield—his expression had turned desperate—but it had become a distraction for my real plan. I punched him. The punch knocked him backwards a step and he cried out, rubbed his chest where I thought he would have a fist shaped bruise. He looked startled for a moment, frowned, then snarled. He tried to spit at me-I wondered if it was a Trick that failed. He threw a quadruple itch Trick my way. Only one part of it made it through my shield. I ignored the itch and ducked a swing kick by him. The side of his foot grazed my side, but no real harm done. I threw the shield at him hard enough to knock him down and for it to lay on top of him. I took the seconds I had to undo the itch on my arm. It had started to bleed. He managed to undo my shield and to absorb the V-nergy. I staggered because it hurt when he did that. I frowned and snarled at him again. He seemed surprised that I was still willing to fight on. We traded a couple of more attacks, but when I started to form a larger Trick to send something worse his way, he took off at a run. I converted the Trick I was doing and threw it as a slap Trick at him—taught to me by Patricia—because he hadn’t kept his hands to himself. It could have been by accident, but I didn’t care. I didn’t like abusers. I heard a surprised yip just before he ran around a tree and vanished. I thought about chasing him, but I was tired, sore and low on V-nergy. I panted for a couple of minutes, drew in some spare V-nergy and went home. I hadn’t recognized him and never saw him again. Maybe he had been sent to attack someone at random or his Master wanted me for some reason or he had seen me and decided he could use me for something. Rape would be just one option. There were many. After I told Patricia about the attack she taught me some defensive Tricks and physical defenses.
I pushed away that memory where my mind tried to distract me, but I kept those defensive Tricks in the front of my mind while I looked around to find something odd. I studied spots with deeper shadows. Nothing, I used my V sight. Something was there, but I couldn’t tell exactly what or where. I wondered if I should warn the fairies somehow, but maybe it was their elders, or parents? I didn’t know how that worked with fairies. In either case they might be angry at me, or think I was trying to harm their children.
My concentration concentrated on the danger I couldn’t see and I dropped the ball. At first the little fairies seemed to think I had planned it, but when I didn’t pick it up, three came to eye level and chitted at me-musically of course. Others tried to pick up the ball. My hair was pulled. I looked to one side, a male fairy-about the size as the female who had talked to me-stood on my shoulder and pulled my hair. He seemed upset. It was hard to tell while I looked at him with my V sight, it made him fuzzy with a different V-nergy. I didn’t have time to explore that.
I shook my head and said in my sternest voice, “No, danger!”
He just looked at me like he didn’t know what I meant, but he let go of my hair. I stood and he grabbed it again. This time I think it was to hold on from my sudden movement.
With a growing unease I turned to face the trees behind me. I still couldn’t see anything, but something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t make out what.
I looked closer at the trees and shadows, even swept the grass with my eyes. I saw what could only be stringers or bits of V-nergy that leaked from someone. Some came my way. I knew that was my way of drawing in V-nergy. I practiced doing it without thinking, since that fight in the woods, and I had been pulling some in since I sat down. That was one reason I liked this park, there always was some extra V-nergy here. Either no one used what was here so it could pool or something here made more than normal. That last could explain the fairies being here. They liked it or perhaps the fairies produced it.
Not sure what to do, I sent out gentle probes to see if I could pick up anything. Two connected something. I tried again, a sudden pull jerked me forward. Yikes, someone had caught the probe and used its connection to me to pull me toward them. A bad taste formed in my mouth, bile I later learned. He had to be powerful.
I looked around at the fairies, none of them looked old enough to be of help. They were very tough, and can fly like a helicopter-UFO fusion, but they can be harmed and captured. I pulled in more V-nergy, a bit more than I can usually handle, but I had the feeling it wouldn’t be there for long. With that thought, I also pictured how to do shields, fire and to use real objects as weapons and for defense. Patricia had showed me some methods of fighting. She taught that peace and getting along were better, but be prepared to fight if you really need to. Illusion could be good too, but I wasn’t so hot with that yet.
A strong whiff of something dead came my way. Maybe that was what I had smelled earlier instead of baby fairies. A moment later I blinked. A man now stood half way between the trees and the bench I stood near. He just appeared, with no flash, or ripple in the air that happens when a glamour is turned off. The guy must have been there a second or two before I noticed.
He looked like a man but a dead one. On oh, not a zombie Mage. What did he want us for? I had heard that dark Mages made zombies as cheap servants and to terrorize people, but how could a zombie be a Mage? He would have to be under the control of someone else. Maybe since he was a powerful Mage enabled him to break free from the other person’s control and have a mind his own.
He moved in closer. I studied him. He looked pale, with shrunken cheeks, and hair like straw. One ear had three earrings in it and the other two. I couldn’t be sure, but there seemed to be a piercing in his lower lip. Both lips looked swollen and decayed, so the skin partially hid anything whatever might be there. The clothes he wore looked black, with tears and stains here and there.
When he reached a certain point he lifted one hand, moved it like he shook out something and a net appeared strung along his fingers. It looked like an odd fishing net, but I knew from the surge that happened when he created it that it wasn’t. I looked at the fairies. Did he want to eat a bunch of fairy brains? Or mine?
My feet spread out into a better fighting stance and I readied a shield, like the Roman shield I made weeks ago, but wider with wings on each side. I had practiced and read up on V-nergy shields.
I assumed that he knew I planned to fight him. Something high pitched buzzed next to my ear. I waved my hand there to shoo away whatever insect flew there. It took me a second to realize it was him.
The sound adjusted and I heard, “I have no beef with you. I don’t care what you do, just leave me alone. I have an experiment to do.”
I goggled at him; a necromancer not a zombie. Even though I have never met, or even seen one I should have known at once. A zombie Mage wouldn’t work. I would have been greatly surprised if he had been one, even though that description fit what I saw-and smelled. From what I heard and read, this guy was not unusual in his clothes and body odor even though many dress and act like a normal person. They also can be very powerful and dangerous when crossed. And I was about to cross one, one who seemed way too strong. 
My heart thudded in my chest, sweat popped out on my forehead, I hoped it wouldn’t fall into my eyes. If it did I would just have to live with it though, I doubted he would give me time to wipe it out of my eyes. I placed both hands behind me like the at ease position I’ve seen in military movies. I thought it might do two things. The first is to make him think I was relaxed and wasn’t going to attack him, the second thing was to hide the ball of energy I wanted to form very slowly.
His odor increased, but I also caught a different scent. It seemed to be related to V-nergy, but somehow off-big time. Maybe he bathed or soaked in the V-nergy from the dead? I pictured him standing in the middle of a bunch of dead animals and people with hands raised and drawing in power from each one like a black hole absorbs all that comes its way. I shivered, that sounded way gross, but if true, it would explain his smell and the yecch feeling that came from his presence. My mind tried to distract me but I kept it on him.
No more thinking, he had moved with slow motions, now though he swirled the net around. I didn’t know if it was for me, or if he expected that I would stay out of it even though I hadn’t left.  
He glanced at me, but also eyed the fairies. They flew around, making various musical noises. I almost giggled when I thought about them tooting and what else that term meant for humans. A giggle would not be appropriate right now, even though one might distract him, or make him think I was crazy and unpredictable. The moment was gone though so I stood there with what I hoped was a half smile.
Power grew, I felt it and knew it came from him. He kept on eye on my as he stalked the fairies. The oldest ones now knew they were in danger. One squeaked at me, the girl-I thought it was the first adolescent who talked to me-flew by one ear and chimed, she zipped to the other one and chimed louder. I didn’t know if she asked for help or warned me to run, but I ignored her without even a glance. Through the corner of my eye I saw her pout and it looked like she wanted to hop up and down, but you can’t do that effectively when you are flying.
The necromancy had the net ready, he swung it faster and at the moment he slung it out toward a group of five to eight fairies--I couldn’t tell for sure they buzzed around too quick--I threw my energy ball where it seemed headed for. My aim was off a bit, which didn’t surprise me. It missed the middle of the net, I had a loud “damn!” ready but my ball touched the far edge. It was enough, the net closed in around it. After a moment the net sizzled and started to be consumed by an expanding ball of energy that rolled and pitched in bright colors. He turned his head toward me with a disappointed expression. He threw three fat disk shapes at me. They all expanded and burst forth in fire and smoke. The bench got charred as did the grass in one spot and the air around that spot. It stunk of burnt grass and wood as well whatever was in the air.
None of it harmed me, for I no longer stood by the bench. As soon as my ball left my hand, I dove to one side, rolled, got up and ran as hard and fast as I could move. It wasn’t very fast though. I huffed and puffed my way to a stop. I ran in a curve so that I now stood and panted behind him. I formed the shield in front of me and formed a thunder cloud that would rain fire on him. I had heard of that in a Sunday School Class years ago.
He spun around and threw an arm in my direction. Something impacted the shield, hard. I almost fell backwards, but it held and I kept my balance. Two more quick throws, each one harder. The last one hurt, but my shield protected me. It had weakened though. I figured it would, but I hoped to distract him while the fairies ran for home. Once they left I could run.
My plan didn’t work. For they didn’t flee. I mumbled under my breath that they were stupid. I wanted to shout, “RUN," but figured he would hear and chase them down if they did. Where were their adults? I had no time for that mystery, but the parents needed to be here.
By that time my cloud reached him and started to rain large fiery hail stones. The first two hit his head and one shoulder. He grimaced, looked up, I thought that was an idiotic since that is where they came from, but when two other bounced off something invisible I knew he had formed a shield of his own. A few missed the shield and landed on the grass. They smoldered, two rolled toward his feet. I helped four more along. He didn’t notice until one burned through his shoe. He yelped and hopped up and down three times. This time I let out one bark of laughter.
Deep down I knew I was in too much danger to really laugh, but that one bark still came up. It looked too much like the Three Stooges. At the same time though I wondered what I was doing. Deep inside I felt confused and like a Christian in the Roman arena, armed with a very short dull sword and facing a Troll. More stories from that Sunday School class mixed with what I knew about Mythos.
Beyond my mind trying to distract me, I wanted to run, at the same time I wanted to protect the young fairies. On top of that I felt anger at this bully who would hurt them. They were just children and they were in harm’s way because of me. By accident on my part, but still my doing. A voice inside me-maybe my inner garden-yelled for me to “go girl and fight” and to forget everything else until I won. I had heard that voice during my fight with the young dark Mage and during various tests Patricia put me through. I didn’t like that voice-the idea of it scared me, but I seemed to be getting used to it.
I snorted and realized that I needed to help them, it wasn’t an option to run like a badly dressed young woman from a bunch of fashion divas.

End excerpt.