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


  1. Terrible writing and lots of typos.

    1. Hmm, my previous post didn't stay. It could show up later.

      Anyway a repeat:
      At least a comment

      Personally I don't think the writing is that bad. And with all of the work I put in there shouldn't be a lot of typos except in the last part 500 to 900 words.

      A comment


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