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.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fun excerpt for Learning CurveX2

Another excerpt of my new Indie novel Learning CurveX2

This one is a bit long at 4,500 and some words. It's long for two reasons. One is to get the feeling of the scene over to you, the reader, and for some fun. This isn't all of this scene, that would make it over 5,000; way too long. But the mages have some fun in this one as well as a serious situation develops for NA. I hope you have some fun too. 

The group of mages that my main character, NA, belongs to decide to have a cosplay meeting every few months. They dress up as any wizard, mage, witch, etc in any book, they decide on. This happened in the first book, Above My Pay GradeX2 and now in this one.

So for fun I thought it would be interesting to see if any reader would be able to figure out the costumes even though I give no names. However I did give clues. Some are easy and well known, others aren't.

I have done this type of thing before even though few ever type out their guesses. I would appreciate it if some did this time. 

Oh where I begin this excerpt there is a dog. She is special even though NA hasn't figured out how much she is special at this point. She looks like a specific dog in this scene.  

The attack she references took place in the first book. Anyone who read that book or this one up to this point will know what happened in the attack. 

Most of this has been edited but I could have missed something since I added a few sentences here and there so if there is anything bad please say something:


Two days later I woke and Puppy looked different again. This time she had more brown fur and it was fluffy with what could only be called a ruff around her neck. She looked like a dog from one series I was reading. I stared at her, “Okay dog have you been reading some of my books when I haven’t been home?” 
She just stared back and looked puzzled. That could be a show though. I rolled my eyes. Now I was thinking the dog could read. Even if it could understand the words how would it open the book? And flip pages? I shook my head and went on to work. At the same time I made a mental note to check the positions of my books.
I called some of the people I knew that worked for the police department of Boulder, to make sure the police found all the evidence against the Twins. The abuse charges would be hard to prove without Billie testifying but they found illegal guns and drugs plus some other evidence I wasn’t able to find out about. Some of that might involve a legal battle because of the way the evidence was found but I thought at least some of the various charges would stick. I asked my police friend to keep track of them.
Brittany and Kyle came over later. She was dressed in a new outfit with leggings and a skirt and a winter blouse. He wore his usual slacks and casual dress shirt. 
Puppy ran over to him and looked up at him. He bent over to scratch her ears. He said, “Hey, you got a new dog?”
“No, that’s Puppy.”
Kyle looked up at me with an expression that said he wasn’t sure if he should believe me. She nudged one hand. He again scratched her head and petted her back. She made a contented sound.
Brittany said, “That’s her dog.”
He said, “You know what type of dog she mostly looks like now?”
I nodded, “I think she must have been reading a couple of books I got recently.”
Brittany looked at me strangely but didn’t say anything. 
He said, “Yeah, I can see why you think that.”
Brittany looked puzzled like she knew she missed something but didn’t know what.
We talked some more and they asked if I was going to the special meeting. That surprised me because I didn’t know there was one. I usually hear about one three or five times before the date. They said it had been set up for the next day. Everyone was meeting at a certain shopping center, cosplay like usual for these get-togethers. I had nothing planned so I agreed to be there. Puppy would have to stay at home but I could take Bell along-if she wanted to come. She had come back that morning but then went out again.
I said, “We should have an indoor plan, it will probably be raining hard.”
“Kirby thought of that. He mentioned it the other day.”
Brittany made sure I knew where it was and they left. It bothered me that I hadn’t known about this meeting. Then I recalled I hadn’t been hanging out with members of the group all that much the past three weeks. I would change that the next evening. The rest of the day went along as usual: I practiced my drumming, went through the new scales that Christopher had given me-twice and took Puppy for a walk also twice. 
The next day I went to work. I saw Bell at the Rusty Bean. That surprised me. Did fairies like coffee? I had heard they drank alcohol and can over eat on cookies but coffee? 
During the day, I tried to think of a get up. Not a green boy’s outfit though. A pirate’s, maybe? I called up a friend who had liked to cosplay and as I suspected they had a female pirate outfit close to my size. And a wig. The person I had in mind would not have had short purple hair. I still needed to make an appointment to get my hair color changed. I had a gig coming up where I would get paid and I thought I could use that. My bills were all caught up at the moment-miracle of miracles. I also wasn’t tall enough and I wondered how I could work into conversations that I can find objects. 
For now the wig would do. At the guy’s house I found a black leather outfit that looked both like pirate and a sneak thief at the same time. Just perfect for my character. Once home I put on the wig and tried to settled it just right. I looked in the mirror and shook my head, tried again, a third time, sighed. Maybe my head was too small for the wig. I flattened my hair down some and put it on one more time. That helped-a little. Well, they would know it’s me anyway. At least it mostly covered my hair and I knew my scalp was going to get sweaty but I couldn’t help that. So I half-hid two fake knives that went with the costume and one real blade that didn’t. I wasn’t sure why I took one of my weapons along with my bracelet, but I trusted my instincts. Maybe I still felt the effects of the attack in the alley two cosplay meetings ago. I frowned, for I still didn’t want to think about it. I have been back to that nightclub since, even to that alley, but I still had issues with the attack
Half of the group was there already. I walked in through one set of double doors. The first thing I noticed were three of our group dressed in robes. Each a different type. Of course one had a long grey bread with shoulder length hair. I thought that was Kirby. Light rock played over the loudspeakers. I heard the soft thrum of voices talking low. A mixture of food odors greeted me and reminded me I was hungry. 
There was the usual young guy with short hair, glasses, and a wand. Teens and children stared at the group. Parents looked around unsure if this was a good thing or not.
This time there was a man in a grey shirt who carried a staff and had a large, brown, hairy dog with him. I didn’t know where he got it, but I could tell it was friendly. One girl wore a black leather jacket with blue jeans. She had very sharp looking pointed ears. George, a new chubby member, wore an outfit from the old country and he also had brought big friendly dog. He talked about fighting EVIL. After I came in Kyle came in dressed in black, with a guitar slung over his back and he carried a small dog that looked something like a Jack Russell terrier. I wondered how they got all those dogs in here, they couldn’t all be disguised as service dogs. On second look though Kyle’s was fake. Brittany came in wearing a light blue gown with what appeared to be ice on the fringes. I rolled my eyes. She would choose someone who dressed elegantly like that. 
Ken arrived in an outfit that showed off his muscles: a pirate costume complete with sword. Not his katana though. I wondered how many he had. He was with a girl in denim pants and shirt that had an Irish look to it. She wore a necklace with a turquoise stones and a crow. One earring had a praying mantis on it while another had a rattler on it. 
We waited until everyone that was supposed to show did. Janice, the girl with the leather jacket, came over to talk to her. We spent more time greeting each other and guessing our names for the night. Kirby thought these events were fun and at the same time be a time for bonding. He was right they were fun, who knew that a little cosplay like this would be? Everyone seemed to like it, even the new people. The new Betty showed up too. She was decked out with green skin and a black dress and long hat. Her wheelchair had been made up like a throne. Easy to tell who she was but an interesting and intriguing choice. I wondered if it was from her subconscious or if she just like being out of the box.
One everyone gathered we discussed old business—they thanked me for solving the fairy problem, but there had been more sightings of other mythos. Someone was sure they had seen a leprechaun. Joey and Amrita swore a pack or tribe of wolves had gone through their camp while out in the wilds. They didn’t do any harm but many of the local wild life was scarce. We all knew what type of wolves she meant. 
Finally we had dinner at their food court. Kyle sat at another table and stared at me for a long second. I didn’t know what that was all about. I got distracted when I noticed that some of the kids stared at us—adults too—and some wanted to know if the staffs and wands were real. Joey said, “Of course it’s real,” and he waved his wand around. Bubbles came out. I could feel that he had made them with V-nergy. But the kids laughed. A few adults smiled too. Jack made music with his wand, and he made a quarter appear out one kid’s ear. 
One boy who looked twelve, made a rude comment about us being nothing but fakes. Joey said, “You better be careful, no one knows what happens to bad little boys.”
The kid turned away and headed back to his friends. In the middle of saying something to them he brayed like a donkey. He turned around with an incredulous expression on his face. I went over to Joey and in a louder than normal voice said, “Hey, wrong show. That was Pinocchio who almost turned into a donkey because he was being bad.”
Joey said, “That wasn’t me anyway, he did it himself. I can talk to snakes and beat the bad guy with no nose, but turning a boy into a donkey is not my trick. The building and bad acting did it, just like in Pinocchio.” He waved his hand upward taking in the whole roof.
The other older boys laughed. A moment later three stared the others in horror. One said, “You have donkey ears.”
The boy he spoke to said, “No, I don’t. “
Another one sounded like a donkey, I couldn’t tell which one, but three placed their hands on their mouths as if to hold it in. 
Two boys pointed at each other’s ears. I looked closer at them but couldn’t see anything strange. But they all started to panic. I looked around knowing it had to be a glamour made specific for individuals. I caught a secret smile on Kirby. Brittany let out a very short giggle that she covered up with a cough. More than one playing that game? Kirby I could see, but Brittany must have been practicing.  
The boys soon left, almost at a run. They would probably see donkey ears on the other boys until they got home. One of the other adults said something about us doing something and Brittany said that there were no blue fairies in our bunch. Besides in Pinocchio it was the building that did it not a person. They looked around with a suspicious glance for a second. Then went back to their pizza. 
We finished our meals, chatted some more, a couple of the group bought things in a store there and the meeting started to break up. I spent some longer time there, window shopping. Kyle stayed too, as did Brittany. He looked hurt. He had the whole time and I wondered if I should ask him what was the matter. The thought formed that a friend would go find out what was bothering him. But Brittany intercepted me on my way over to him. 
“If you are wondering why he stayed away from you tonight I can tell you.”
I looked at her blank. Come to think of it he hadn’t said more than hi. I had noticed he was always talking with someone else, but hadn’t thought much of it. 
“You didn’t even notice?”
Defensively I said, “Yes, I noticed, but I thought he was just spending time with other friends.”
“No, he was avoiding you.”
“What? Why?” I couldn’t think of anything I had said to him, or about him that would have gotten back to him, or anything I had done to him, or his dog.
“You went out on a date…”
“Yeah, girls do that.”
“Not after they turn him down by saying they don’t date.”
I opened my mouth, closed it, and stared at her, “But he said he wasn’t trying to date me.”
She nodded, “Young men sometimes say that, sometimes they even believe it when they say it.”
I blinked, “Uh, I mean, he still wants to go out with me?”
“He likes you.”
I wanted to say of course he likes me we are friends, but I knew what she meant. 
“He keeps saying you like me.”
She rolled her eyes at that and said, “NA,” her tone said she was disappointed in me but I couldn’t understand why, “He might be just saying that to distract you, or to disguise his feelings for you. You make it difficult for a guy to think of you like that.”
I sighed, I know I do, some of that was on purpose, some of it is because of my issues. I didn’t know what to say, a voice in the back of my mind said she was wrong, another said that she was playing me, but I didn’t feel that last. 
She said, “I know you didn’t do it on purpose, but you hurt him. He may not even realize how you did it-men can hide things from themselves pretty easily but he feels it just the same.”
I panted for a second, I believed her yet I still couldn’t wrap my mind around what she was saying; that he really wanted to go out with me despite the games we played. I had to make it up to him somehow. I wanted him as a friend, and I didn’t want to lose this relationship because of something I did wrong. I know I looked stricken. 
Brittany said, “He is good people. He will probably get over it, but it might take a while.”
There was a long pause as I tried to say something, first in my defense then to apologize but she wasn’t the one who needed that. I looked around, stared at Kyle for a moment.
I turned to Brittany and said, “I need to make it up to him,” I knew my voice had a touch of desperation in it.
With a severe warning in her tone she said, “Be careful what you do, men have fragile egos sometimes.”
I nodded, I had had some experience with the male ego. Memories, of the guy who left town without me, opened up. And I had seen that in my dad too with some of my parents’ fights. That was one thing my mother mentioned about their counseling. She had been instructed about how to get her point across without attacking my dad’s ego or sounding like she was. She said it helped a lot. 
Brittany said, “I hate to leave you with that but I need to go.”
I nodded, I understood that, I would be home already if I had to work tomorrow morning. 
I said, “Thanks for that and sorry that I believed him that you liked me.”
She lifted one eyebrow and said, “I never said he was wrong you know.” With that she winked and walked away. It took a second for that to sink in then I started and stared after her. Did she say that just to get me or did she mean it? I had no way to know which. One thing at a time though. I looked at Kyle again.
He started to walk outside, I felt like I should go talk to him, so I followed him. I didn’t want him to reach his car and drive off before I could say anything but he turned to the right and headed for the park. Maybe he just wanted to be alone, but I still felt like I should go and talk to him. 
As I rushed after him I felt something. Some Mythos must be around here, one leaking v-nergy. It could be just passing by, it didn’t seem to be that close. I continued on and caught up with Kyle. He had just entered the tree line, bushes made up a barrier to one side, there could be a house over there or a road. From what I could see, there were a lot of dark shadows and among the trees. I caught up to him on a grassy knoll. It looked like a play area large enough for football or soccer, he turned and stared at me, his expression showed confusion.
He said, “I came here to walk by myself.” He had emphasis “by myself” and I almost flinched at his tone. I could hear the pain in it.
“I—thought I could talk to you in private out here.”
“What do you want?”
“I-I want to say I’m sorry-I didn’t realize.”
“For what?” His tone and expression showed real puzzlement. 
“That I dated Rudolph.”
“The reindeer? He is famous after all.”
But before I answer further, my head turned to another direction. A noise alerted me that something or someone was in the bushes. I searched the dark area. Something was there. 
Kyle must have heard it too or sensed something, because he stepped up closer to me and studied the same spot. I was just about to say, “Looks like just our imagination,” when something moved low to the ground. Something made me slip into fighting mode, I believe I crotched. I still said, “I meant the guy I work with.”
 I knew by his tone that he didn’t get what I meant, “The Rudolph I dated.”
“Oh that.”
Shadows moved our way low to the ground.
Through the corner of my eye I saw Kyle move slightly but he kept his eyes on the bush, “What is it?”
I realized he sensed the danger too, but he didn’t have my experience. He knew not to take his eyes off the danger though. Good. 
Shadows can hide many things. I tried to see through the gloom but couldn’t. I sniffed, because some mythos or drug addicts, stunk. I thought about making light, just enough to help us see in that gloom, when something reared out of the bush. Other somethings rushed toward us.
Before I realized it I had created a shield in front of us and sent a fire streak at the bunch of things. I jerked back when I saw what they were. People. Dead looking people: some looked decayed and zombie like. My flames broke up the attack. They all skittered backwards or to the side. The clothes of some burned, while others hair was on fire. They didn’t seem to care, even though some tried to beat out the flames. I stared, Kyle gasped. If they were zombies they were not the usual type.
Kyle said, “Are they zombies?” in a tone that indicated he knew enough to be puzzled.
I understood his confusion, I said, “No, I sense a string of v-nergy from that thing in there,” the being I pointed at was still in the dark. I couldn’t make out its form. It seemed to be a mass of flesh but it moved and swayed. It seemed to be covered with a lot of small bulges. Whatever it was I bet it controlled the zombies. They neared again, and when they got within a certain distance their smell hit us. I gaged and Kyle gasped and said, “Ugh, yecch.”
They had been dead way too long for them to walking around like that or as they neared attacking us. I wondered if that is how that thing got new bodies to control.
I said, “I didn’t plan to go out, but he drove me to work and when I got my car back he asked for date.”
Kyle tried a solid blow against it. His V-nergy dissipated even though some still hit the being with enough force to knock it backwards. It’s outer layer rippled. I had never seen a creature do that with its skin. He pulled in more V-nergy for another try, but at that moment the group all ran our way.
I said, “Don’t do that again,” I think he nodded as he increased the strength of the wall he had made already.
“Is that what you wanted to come out here to say?”
I shoved one of these controlled zombies back into another one. Both went down in front of a third. I heard double cracks and looked behind me for a moment. Two large tree limbs had broken off, now they flew toward the attackers. They started to hit them over the head as if they were held by invisible people. Come to think of it, they had floated through the air at hand level. 
I said, “I didn’t realize you wanted really wanted to go out. If you still do we can. And augment your physical body.”
Two-seconds later he back handed one that had come in from the side. It stumbled backwards three feet.
“You saying you will go out on date with me?”
He punched two more with enough force to break their jaws. One fell backwards and the other stumbled to one side.
He said, “Hm, these people are dead aren’t they?”
Now he thinks to ask, “I think so, the way they are decayed…”
I think he nodded, I sent a Trick to start a fire next to the bumpy thing. It leapt backwards and stumbled. Its our skin flipped and quivered. I stared at it.
Kyle repeated his question.
Took a moment to say, “Yes”
A tree the thing had been next to caught fire. Oops, too much heat, I willed it back some. Three of the people hit his wall and bounced, evidently they couldn’t see it. One hit my shield, back up and hit it. I mean that second time they punched it.
Kyle said, “That didn’t look dead or zombie like to me.”
He sounded worried, maybe because of the way he had hit those three. I said, “That thing is controlling the bodies.”
“Oh, I hadn’t of anything like that.”
“My neither but I can feel it.”
He concentrated for a moment said, “Oh yes, I see the strands. Can you cut them?”
I should have thought of that. I concentrated. There were too many bodies but I managed to cut the strands leading to the three closest to us. They each collapsed .
 He said, “Good, but not good about you dating me.”
My head spun his way, “What? You changed your mind?”
Then what was all this anger and hurt for?
“No, I don’t need a mercy date,” he sounded hurt even more.
I couldn’t help it, I stared at him for a moment, before I got my mind over to stopping another two animated bodies. They dropped in a way that was just plain gross. I heard a noise that sounded frustrated. It didn’t come from Kyle. Three of the bodies came our way from the side again-how many were there and how spread out where they? Before I could do anything they just stopped their froward movement. They tried to come our way though. I looked closer and they feet were stick in the ground. Kyle must have made the dirt soft there, than harder then before after they sunk into it. 
I said, “No! It’s not a mercy date. It’s a-a-friendship date-or a make up date and no they are not the same thing. I made a mistake and misunderstood our relationship. Because of that I hurt you. And now it looks like I made another one talking to you.”
I couldn’t keep the frustration out of my voice, but yet I still managed to cut the strands to three more bodies. But a motion showed me that the first three had been taken over again. They stood with blank expressions on their faces but they still conveyed anger and maybe hatred. I figured it was the thing. Kyle squatted half way down and shot out his hand. Streams of light like lasers shot out of his fingers. They hit the thing. It screamed in pain and flapped that odd skin again. I looked again and something clicked in my mind. That strange skin with the bulges was really tentacles with bulges. It turned toward Kyle with a human expression on what passed for its face. It lifted three tentacles and stepped forward. Four bodies came our way. I shot out v-nergy blades. They looked like long wide scimitars. They spun in circles but hit the necks of all three with the sharp part against the skin. Each of the heads popped off.
Kyle said, “Actually I am glad you re out here, I may not be able to handle this thing by myself.”
I said, “Damn,” not for what he said but the fact that the now headless bodies kept up walking. I interrupted him, “I don’t know what to do. I want you as a friend, I want to be around you, but I did something wrong. I want to make it up to you.”
Again frustration and my own pain came through. A body came my way, I tried to moved the shield over but it leapt through a had its fingers around my neck. I raised my hands to knock its hands away. But when I hit it, two things happened. The first was that it felt like I had hit a steal bar. Second, skin came off onto my arm. I almost threw up, which it probably would not mind. I concentrated on something but before I could release it, it was torn from my front. It spun around then went flying. It hit another one coming in fast. Both went down hard in tangle of arms and legs. Kyle turned and smiled at me, “Didn’t know I had that in me did you?”
Before I could respond he added, “I didn’t either,” than gave me a grin. 

End excerpt