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.


Enjoy:
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.
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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.

2 comments:

  1. John Maher (On Google+)June 20, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    I've never met you and yet it is as if i have known you for years. I absolutely love that Psalm.
    A band name Boney M had a hit with it. At the time I lived in Harlesden in North London and one of the band were married in the local Church. A year before I listened to Don Maclean sing it at a concert in Limerick. It was a perfect moment.
    I have finished the second book in a trilogy know as The Hawkmoon Chronicles. The first one is up on Amazon. I have asked my friends to review it but so far nothing has come of it. Louis, I need some radical suggestions, if you can spare the time.
    John

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comments.

    Have you checked out goodreads.com? There are groups on there specifically for reviews. You may have to trade a review but that can be worked out.

    The same for Google+

    Yours sounds like fantasy so you could join a writing forum I am on.

    I know you want help now but I am trying to get my next book published so it could take me two months or more to do your review.

    I have been able to find a reviewer on goodreads and G+ so you should be able to. If you join goodreads send me a note and I can send a link to a couple of the groups there.

    ReplyDelete

I'm working on turning lead into Gold