Saturday, October 29, 2016

First two tales in a Halloween trilogy

Oct 29 just before Halloween. And speaking of Halloween I decided to post three stories for Halloween. All three are Urban Fantasy. However the third one, which I just wrote in the last two weeks, is way too long to add this week so it will be the only story next week.

The first one I write at least three years ago. I was inspired by a cover on a Dean Wesley Smith short story-you can buy e-versions of all of his stories and most books, now everywhere. His tale is a romance, I believe, and mine is sort of, kinda of, in a way. Sad. I spend twenty plus minutes last night trying to find that cover but he has out too many stories now. But it is the setting of my story, you can read of it in the first page or two. If you see his story, buy it for he is a great writer.

The second one was inspired by a pic of a T-shirt last year. Again I spent over half an hour looking for it and failed. It is the description of Durasa when he first sees her in this story. That is why I spent so much time describing that scene and the opening setting in the first story, to get across what was in the pictures. I did shorten the second some when I revised it, even as I added some to make it more enjoyable reading.

I hadn't planned on doing anymore of their story after the first one, but after I did the second I decided to do three more and make it an Indie published set. I will still do two more. But I will probably change the second one a bit to make it the third story.  

Both stories are around 8,000 words this week which is a lot for this type of thing, so I hope you do enjoy them.

Remember these, and the ending, are different more dark than what I usually do. Some, who know me, might be surprised by the way I end it-next week. But...

She’s Beautiful But...
By L. E. Doggett

Durasa looked beautiful as she stood in her study. I sighed, even now my feelings for her still influenced my sight. I still had to stop her from using my journal, with what little power I had left.
The room looked barely large enough to held us and her shelves. I knew the room except for one added piece on the floor.
A frown twisted her lips. I made a point not to glance at the book on a waist hight, gilded, round stand in front of her. I kept my eye on her and the shelves behind her that held her souvenirs: rings, a tiny statue of a lion, large gems, a blue geode, and more. And her power instruments; two more large rings, a tiny steampowered still, books with metal covers etc. The still functioned, I could just hear its boiler and “see” very tiny whiffs of power come from it. Her perfume caught my attention: much like she use to wear around me, but with subtle differences. A very light power in it for one. The aroma, while not super string still slipped into my mouth along with some of the energy in this place. A subtle attempt to control me more?
Magical energy filled the air around her, some came from that book. Her shoulder length black hair whipped around like she stood in a hurricane yet I felt no wind five feet from her. Her red and black halloween dress didn’t move. She had worn it for a special occasion, my captivity. A reminder of when we met on a Halloween.
A movement caught my attention; loose energy flipped the pages of my journal. A multicolored mini tornado twisted up from the book-what looked like a small flame burned at its top.
I could taste the peppery, ozone flavor of her power-now too strong. My eyes moved to the ruby and turquoise necklace she wore; a power necklace, for protection-I knew it for I had made it.
Earlier today I had tried to compel my journal back to me. While seated I had meditated on me, my power and what I had written in my book. I calmed myself, shut off my hearing and smell so less stuff could distract me, and let my mind drift to what had been mine. Memories of what I had written drifted through my thoughts. My will touched it, after a time, I found a way inside of her Guard. I thought I had it, but once I commanded it to be mine again, it kicked me out. Sweated coated my skin, but I ignored it, even when some dripped into my mouth and I could taste it. I tried twice more, where I went deeper. But she had too strong of a hold on it. When I let it go, I decided it needed to be destroyed.
In the here and now, somehow I had to distract her enough so, even with her new powers, she wouldn’t notice tiny voids of magic headed this way.
The notebook-journal not only described my lessons in “magic"; the ability to manipulate the vibrational energy molecules produced by nature, but it also served as a battery and source of energy for me. Like most wizards I can store only a little of that energy. Much of my ability to do Tricks lay with the book. I made it, poured my own energy into it, wrote the lessons and thoughts in it and communed with it. Without it I could do very little.
Durasa and I had been in love at one point, not long ago. Now I wondered if she had ever really loved me. I think she thought so, but she choose power over whatever love she had felt. Maybe that was the problem: she only felt it instead of being love. Whatever the case she took my book from me. So tonight instead of celebrating our love, we will be fighting.
With a smile she beckoned me to her. Before I could even try to resist her, I found myself face to face with my adversary-my love. This close her smile looked even more ferocious and victorious.
A sigh escaped through my nose.
“So you came after all...I’m surprised. I didn’t think you had it in you. But it was a waste of time. I’ve always had more ability than you,” She indicated the book, “and now it’s even more. I was intrigued the first time I saw your book. Strangely I almost didn’t take it but finally decided I deserve it.”
Another sigh, she hadn’t always been this bad--it had taken her months to decide she “deserved it”-but her ego and ambition.
inspired her to take a dark step. Once on that path she traveled
down it far more quickly than I expected. When she left I was surprised she didn’t leave her engagement ring. I shrugged-just a tiny movement. Maybe she wanted to use it or-maybe she still felt something for me.
She may have taken my silence and movement as fear for she said, “Don’t worry I won’t harm you, maybe I’ll use the book to take the rest of your ability from you, to freeze your ability to do Tricks. I have read many pages so have learned more. I should have planned something in case you were stupid enough to come here after it. I know you and you’re weaknesses-what punishment you fear.”
I said, “Oh? In truth you learned that much all ready?”
“That and a lot more...”
She went on to explain what she learned and how she would use the knowledge to take more power from people like me. And to use it to get what she wanted no matter who it hurt. She would find ways to punish those who fought her. While she tormented me I tried to look sad and amazed. It wasn’t hard.
Finally she ran down, but I needed to get her bragging again-I knew her well too, better than she knew me-my special help had arrived.
That close to my book I felt hope. It knew me, so maybe I could tap into it as she was distracted and I wouldn’t need the special help. I felt voids in the “magic” around her place. So would she in a moment. It might take her a moment to figure it out but she would. She would take even longer to stop them as they feasted though.
I pretended to whimper and to try pull away from her. Her smile grew. She didn’t know I had used that fake jerk to reach out to my journal. The Guard would still be there, but I knew it too. If I had time I could get through it. I sent my will to it, I got in.
I almost smiled for I had it, but my will slipped off, I received a jolt for my attempt. At least she misinterpreted the cause of my whiplash.
Damn, I had to try again.
I did. This time I made it through the Guard as she talked about what punishments she would use against those who fought her; punishments inspired by what she learned by reading it.
My knees and arms had grown weak from fighting her and the journal. I let my thoughts drift toward it, but again, my will slipped. She had conquer it and somehow made it hers forever. I didn’t know how. I thought, given time, I could get it back, but I didn’t have that time. She stared at me like she knew but a heart beat later she sensed them, I saw it in her eyes. Durasa looked puzzled as she tried to understand what she felt. Her eyes widened, she hissed in anger, then she glanced down at the book. I kept my eyes on her but I knew it would be partially covered with black and red bugs that looked like cockroaches. They would have hundreds of spots empty of any color. Until they fed on the energy we used to control molecule vibrations...and what stored that power.
Durasa gasped but then turned to look at me with incredulity on her face.
“How? You’re too good...too weak to use them.”
When I took a breath I smelled her sweat and my own. Hers was different than mine and it was layered on top of her perfume.
I shrugged, “It needed to be done-you don’t deserve that book. You’re too egotistical, too weak, too incapable to know what you are doing...”
At the word weak her face darkened, at “too incapable” lightning flashed in her eyes; she snarled-spoke burnt, feral words.
I had expected that reaction, I know her too.
At the snarl I reached for her-she wouldn’t expect a direct physical attack.
It would take only a second to get to my goal but, did I have it? Her hand had started to move to finish her release of power. My hand moved with the speed of a mongoose but...
Sweat dripped into my eyes and fear filled my mouth with bile, I didn’t think I could make it. I commanded my hand to move even faster but it still felt too slow. I could see her hand change its course.
My power was very limited, here she had all the power she needed. If she saw it Durasa would think my hand was aimed at her throat, or face. She would think that my only chance to stop her was to touch her, so my ability to harm her would be stronger. She leaned her head back, which slowed her hand. I stretched my fingers out as far as I could. She changed the motion of her hand, brought it up to swat mine. My fingers brushed her necklace-they wouldn’t go any further. She wouldn’t care that I had touched it, for it belonged to her, another mage would take hours to find a way to bend it to their will.
My skin had touched it though and I didn’t need hours.
I spoke gentler words than hers, even though my speed made them sound harsh...and sent my will through my hand. I thought I misspoke a word in my haste, no time to re-say it. I felt more sweat on my face. Time came back to normal as the back of Durasa’s hand hit mine and swatted it away. She continued the movement. This time the back of her hand hit my face with all her strength. The power her words formed burst forth over me. I flew backwards, through the front wall...she must have felt more anger than I knew. With a speed that shocked me, I hit the ground with a grunt. Lights flashed as my head hit, I blacked out.
After only a second I opened my eyes, surprised; a few bruises which included one large bruise on my cheek but no real harm. I looked at what was in my hand and smiled. Her necklace, it knew me and I knew it, after all I had created it. I had ordered it to unclasp then activated it. It protected me from most of her attack. It may take her a while to notice it was gone. When she did Durasa would know what happened and my secondary purpose for coming here.
I looked up. Her house was filled with flashes of colored
She would think I was too injured to do anything, so she could deal with the Power eaters. I shook my head, she always did underestimate me and my abilities-it never occurred to her that I would destroy the book to keep it out of her hands. She didn’t understood the Power to manipulate vibration energy, or to understand love.
A heat blast blew out more of her wall. Once she calmed she would be able to figure out how kill most of the magic feeders. Not before they ate the book and hopefully some of her power devices, however. If she didn’t they might kill her...I doubted it but it was a chance I decided to take. The fight would also use up much of whatever energy she had saved which would leave her weak for a long time.
I stood and stretched. I felt sad. I had carried out my objectives. Her rage would soon increase-when she realized I had also taken some of her power when I ordered the necklace to activate. It had originally come from me after all. It might be enough to last until I could store up more of the Power, created another journal and storage “battery”. I might separate them this time though.
Sorrow mixed with some depression, not victory, ruled my heart though as I walked away. She is so beautiful, we had something good at one time but...
The end

She’s Beautiful When Angry

I worked to get my feet back under me. The tops of my feet hurt from the way the two men dragged me. They held my arms. Neither cared about my efforts though. I let loose with a couple of loud, rough obscenities I don’t normally use. I flinched at the sound, they ignored my words the same way they did my struggles. Car ran by on the street for the drivers hurried home to get ready. People yelled, “Happy Halloween”.
They would think these two were in costumes. I knew though that they wanted me for something and it didn’t take much to figure it would be bad. These two grabbed me on my way out of my favorite deli. Now I’m glad I ate my dinner inside--their ham tasted good--I had debated whether or not to take it home. I would need the strength to fight them. Now though with the way these two stunk, it smelled worse with each block, I may not be glad I had eaten my meal for very much longer.
For some reason Durasa came to mind, but she couldn’t have
recovered enough from our encounter last year to do this. Whatever the case, I should have watched better. My reaction had been a touch slow because I didn’t see them at first and when I did I thought them a pair of friends dressed up. Only for a second but long enough for them to grab my arms just as I exited the shop. They pulled me along before I could react, somehow they had gotten through my personal wards. I knew at once these two were something beyond men. By their smell I begun to suspect what.
They dragged me for ten blocks, the last two through an area with no people. Even the barking dogs sounded blocks away. The air felt cool which I thought strange. It looked like they headed for a darker than usual field up ahead. I couldn’t see what waited there, but I knew I wouldn’t like it.
When they first grabbed me, I didn’t have time to defend myself, now the extreme discomfort of being dragged broke my concentration whenever I tried to come up with a Trick.
I am what many call a mage, I can sense, store and use an energy put out by the basic vibrations that make up every nucleus. It’s not instant magic like many TV shows display. I had to learn how to use the energy. Even though I can store it and gather some from around me, it is possible for us to run out. On top of that we have to be able to concentrate to be able to form images in our minds before we send out the energy, even after years of learning and practice it’s not as easy as it sounds.
I decided I better prepare something even if it meant ignoring my pain. I carried a couple of “weapons” I could activate, but I wanted to save them for whatever situation I found myself in. After what Durasa did to me I decided never to be without some type of back up. I even broke up my power source into three parts. I restarted my journal, which I had to destroy along with some of Durasa power items, but invested only a little of my energy there this time.
The situation with Durasa wasn’t the only bad situation I’ve been in before. I’ve learned how to enter what I call a null state. Once there I don’t feel pain yet I can still operate my powers.
My eyes closed, I called up pic of a certain peaceful river. With the pain in my feet and my arms where they gripped me I found that very hard. I had found a certain rhythm in the way they dragged me. The scene entered my mind as an imaginary picture but as usual it grew and solidified. It took over most of my mind, it looked like I really stood by the river. I smelled it, if I drank some of the water it would be cold and delicious. I could still tell that the two men still pulled on my arms and that my feet dragged on the street, but it felt far away. On the shore I dropped to my belly. I placed my face into the water. I breathed in. Instead of water though I inhaled power.
I wish I could have done this when Durasa had me, it would have saved me some fear and bruises. But it all happened too fast, since then I’ve practiced more so it became easier. Easier didn’t mean not hard though.
The memory of that encounter still filled me with anguish and sadness. At one time she was so beautiful inside and out. I still didn’t understand how she let herself by twisted like that.
With some of my power I lit up two of my surprises and
readied a Power surge. I set up each of the three to go off at
one simple command.
By the time I finished I could feel grass under my feet. Even in my state I could feel the Magical energy. As I suspected the field existed in a magical state. I knew the difference between energy and fae magic. I needed to “wake” myself up so I could be ready for whatever I would face.
When I opened my eyes again I saw something in the distance. A short, wide pile of darker material with a taller skinny object in the middle right at the front.
A little closer and I could see that the pile was made up of individual pieces: large round basketballs-a lot bigger though. No, The orange color didn’t look right for that and it smelled of veggie rot. Oh pumpkins, Jack-O-Lanterns to be exact. Not that I wanted to be exact. Those things look large enough to eat me.
A few more steps--by the “men”, they still dragged me--and I realized why that thought about the Jack-O-Lanterns eating me came to mind. I could see large cat like eyes, long months that took up most of the bottom quarter of the pumpkin. A second glance showed me that both the eyes and mouths moved. I knew what they were.
Pumpkin Imps. They had taken on the image the first wizard who called them projected. Under the right conditions and right Tricks they could be very useful. You had to keep them happy by sacrificing something to them every so often. If you did they could provide you with power, minions and a way of disposing of the garbage. Huge vines grew up from the back of the imps. They framed a full moon.
A shadow moved. We were close enough so I could make out the tall, skinny object. I could-should-have sooner but I had been thinking of what type of garbage the pumpkin Imps might want.
I looked up: my heart cooled until it iced, enough blood drained from my face to make me look vampire-ish—at least that would fit in with the Halloween setting--and as cliche-ish as it sounds, my mouth fell open.
Durasa stood tall and strong-not to mention beautiful-in a black, full, shoulder-less dress. The top was red along with the border of the bottom. The waist had red and black zig zags that separated the top from the bottom half. Very midnight black cloth covered her bosom. Her shoulder length red hair shone brightly. The two things that shook me though. One: how strong and vital she looked. It should have taken her a long time to regain the power I caused her to lose. Yet she appeared more powerful not less.
The second shock hit me when I looked up, I blinked. What I saw amazed and chilled me. Her wings. Giant butterfly wings. Red streaks, black trim, with ovals of yellow at the ends of the streaks. They might be why her chest looked thicker and broader. A corner of my mind said, she would need more muscle to use them.
She stood on the largest of the imps. It’s slanted eyes stared at me, its mouth stood open. My eyes went back up to her face. She looked at me with a mixture of amusement, egomania and-hostility.
I tried to sound unaffected when I said, “Oh, hi. Didn’t expect you to be out so soon-nice costume.”
She smiled in a way that sent chills down my spinal column.
“You like my holiday outfit? I went through great pains to prepare it just for you. You always did appreciate the outfits I choose to wear for you.”
I don’t think I mentioned that we had been engaged at one time. A glance told me that she still wore the ring I gave her. I couldn’t figure out why she kept it. I hoped it was a reminder of what we once had.
With a half smile I inclined my head. She stared at me for a moment before she waved at the two men. They released me and moved over a few steps. Only a few, they could still reach me in two-seconds.
I stumbled and almost fell. My arms hurt where they gripped them, but I still crossed them and tried to look as at ease. That wasn’t easy. I could take care of the two men easy enough but the Pumpkins and Durasa--if she was as strong as I thought--would be next to impossible. I needed to figure this out which meant she needed to talk longer.
“I loved your outfits back then. This one is kinda long and--since we aren’t engaged anymore I can say--it makes you look fat.”
I took a chance with that last line but I figured it would be unexpected and might get her talking about how she got the wings.
She blinked--confused, only for a moment. Her face clouded up. I think I saw lightening in her eyes like last time. In the half darkness though it could have been my imagination.
I waved at her chest. Durasa’s face cleared.
“That’s only temporary. They,” she pointed down, “listen to fairies easier. And I’m stronger with them. I’ll be back to my
svelte size in a day or three. You probably don’t want to hear what I had to do for Someone to get this power.”
I agreed with her, even though I just stood there with an impassive look on my face. She could have done anything from allowing them to use her body, finding some power object, to having sex with Them. I hoped she hadn’t gone as far as that last. As bad and terrible as the other chooses were prostituting herself seemed the worst. I have to admit that I experienced a pang of jealously. Only for a second.
She hissed something and I realized she had kept on talking while those thoughts went through my head. She never did like it when I didn’t pay attention.
The only thing I could think of and I hoped it at least fit partially, “Are you done bragging? That was always one of your less appealing characteristics.”
She looked at me with surprise which, quicker than a frog can snatch a fly, turned to anger. She had always been quick to get angry--I wonder if that had anything to do with her turning.
I smelled something and turned my head slightly, one of the men had moved closer. She waved it back. The pumpkins rumbled and moved. They looked hungry. Very ironic I had eaten lots of pumpkin pie and now I might be scoffed down by pumpkins. For a nanosecond a question crossed my mind. How would these taste in a pie or drink? I grossed myself out at the thought. Anyone who tried would probably get the runs and do a lot of vomiting.
A buzz brought my attention back to Drusas. Her wings were flapping. A second later she lifted off the pumpkin and flew in my direction. She came in slow, her flight jiggled, so she wasn’t steady on her wings yet.
I decided not to say anything about her flying abilities so I said, “So that pair are real, I wondered if they were falsies.”
She looked confused again, I didn’t usually talk like that.
This time however she looked more amused which sent a shiver down my spine to my stomach.
She said, “Oh yes they’re real, I don’t wear anything stuffed-and this is real also.”
She threw her hand out toward me. A trick hit me. Durasa formed it and threw it within the blink of an eye. Before I could even think of reacting my arms were pressed against my side. My throat felt squeezed, I could get very little air in.
“If you had been listening, you would know that I have more power than ever before,” A pause then, “What shall I do with you?”
Durasa turned to me with a glare, “You broke up with me, and you left me to die with those—those bugs. Yecch!”
I said, “No!” but it came out as a mumble.
She said, “What?”
With as deep a breath as I could get I said, “No!” again.
“No? No what?”
“I didn’t leave-you to die-I knew-you could beat them.”
A thoughtful look crossed her face, “You always did support me, and said I could do more than I thought. I appreciated that at the time and it turns out you were right. Those bugs. I had nightmares for a month after they crawled on me.”
Oops, I hadn’t considered that, but it wouldn’t had made a difference even if I had. I looked at her again. She looked full of rage, but somehow beautiful as ever at the same time. That sounded very cliche-ish to me but I felt it. I couldn’t explain it but her anger seemed to bring out her best features.
A slight twist of one hand and the tightness increased. I needed to work hard at getting a breath.
She looked at me and my labor then said, “Don’t worry I’m not going to kill you—not that way. Maybe not at all.”
A shadow moved and her eyes flickered to one side for a brief second. Her eyes opened wider and she looked thoughtful again. This time I knew it meant something bad for me.
She looked at my face again, “I know what to do with you. I could use another assistant, these two won’t last much longer. Don’t worry though you won’t feel a thing—or will you?”
She thought for a moment and continued, “I’ve never done this to a living person so I don’t know if it hurts or how much. Come to think of it I imagine it would hurt.”
Durasa shrugged as if to say it didn’t matter though.
She said, “I think that would be a fitting punishment for taking my power and for breaking up with me.”
In truth she broke up with me when she stole my Journal and the power it had. It was a combination of my lessons and an energy battery. I always kept it with me to write down what I learned, saw or experienced and in case I needed extra energy. Even though it never entered my mind that she might covet it, I knew who had it when I discovered it gone. It was the hardest three days of my life. Then she tried to use it against me. What happened when I went after it was worse.
This could be worse yet. With my hands crushed by my side I couldn’t touch any of my weapons. She would be able to sense if I attempted to gather enough living energy to break lose. I would have to try eventually of course but I might think of something else if she kept talking.
She backed up, made a pulling motion with one hand. Her ring flickered in moonlight. Did she keep it because it still had some of my strength and my energy in it? If so there might be a chance for redemption; a tiny chance, but hope grabs on anything it can. The part of me that kept in touch with reality said, of course it could very well be a different ring.
With a flourish she spun around. When she started to walk away something pulled me. I stumbled but managed to keep my feet up. She pulled me along until we stopped significantly closer to the pumpkins. I could hear them breath, something rumbled like five huge empty stomachs.
So that was what Durasa wanted: to intimidate me. She succeeded. Those things stood as high as my waist, one came up to my chest. A rotten pumpkin stink mixed with old blood rose. Bile filled my mouth, all I could do was spit it out. I should have been more careful at the sandwich shop. A noise alerted me, I looked saw that I should have been more careful where I spit. The largest Pumpkin Imp moved; rocked in a back and forth movement that moved it forward.
Durasa spoke, “I need to prepare myself for the process, as strong as I have become I’m not all powerful.” As she turned I thought I heard her say, “Yet”, my imagination again I hoped.
The pumpkin rocked itself forward, an orange tongue with seeds embedded in it reached out of its mouth. It licked the two spots where my spit landed. Yecch.
I glanced back at Durasa, she hadn’t moved far. Maybe she wanted me to see her prepare. I hoped it was a long ceremony.
A noise made me jerk my head back to the ground. That pumpkin stood nearer, it lean back, looked at me, licked its lips. Oh! Oh! Was this all a fake out just to watch me try to fight the Imp before it ate me? I shook my head, I didn’t think so.
It scooted closer, even closer. It stuck out its tongue but it didn’t quite reach me. It rocked itself closer still. This time when it stuck its tongue out, the tip touched my leg. A shiver ran up my spine and I felt like running, I could easily outdistance it even with my hands and arms useless.
A rustle indicated that another pumpkin moved, more swishes over grass revealed all of them on the move. I didn’t know if they had teeth but I think I was about to find out even though I didn’t want to.
With a strong determination I struggled against the Trick she held me with. Nothing. When I felt something wet, soft and decayed touch my pants I decided I better try a Trick of my own. A good chance she would feel it even in the middle of her meditation, but I decided to chance it.
I concentrated and drew up energy, I shaped it into what I wanted with my will. I let it go. Nothing. What? I hadn’t felt anything drain the energy nor any backlash. I struggled again-this time I felt the Trick loosen. Just enough to show me why nothing happened. I should have thought of it but my mind had been distracted on something else.
She used a different energy. It worked something like different radio frequencies. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the Trick. I nodded, yeah it looked strange. A second tongue on my pant leg reminded me it would take me longer than I had to figure it out. What to do now? I tried to move over, which was hard. Something grabbed my leg, I almost ignited one of my weapons as well as wet my pants. I wasn’t in the right position to use the weapon, it could do me more harm than them.
When one pulled at my leg I decided to take a chance and call Durasa. I sent a trickle of energy her way. She didn’t flinch. I attempted to use more energy but something hindered me. I slid my feet sideways. I didn’t get far before a jerk caused me to fall, face down into the grass. It didn’t taste good at all, I sneezed some out my nose which felt smashed. I wondered if it bled.
All thoughts along those lines left my mind when I felt myself pulled. My first thought was not again, third time tonight. My second was to try Durasa again. If she really wanted them to eat me she would watch it. However these things were hard to control. They might have me for a meal anyway.
With an effort, I rolled over onto my back. It took three tries but I used my fear to gain strength. A kick at the closest one got one tongue off of my leg. With an effort I didn’t know I could duplicate I threw a trick at one. It slid off, the backlash hit me hard. Oh, that’s right they tend to be Trick, only natural weapons can do them real harm—now I remember that.
A thought hit me though, if I could throw that trick I could send a stronger one toward Durasa. I did, it would feel like one small finger tickling her shoulder. When I felt something wet on one foot, I kicked harder. My foot broke free...for one-second. Something hard clumped onto that foot. I almost yelled.
I had forgotten that Durasa could shout that loud.
“Back off...Now!”
I heard the swish of grass. I looked up and all five rocked as they moved backward. I couldn’t stop a breath of relief.
They made a noise, which must have been words for Durasa said, “You will get a sacrifice. Those two are almost used up.”
More noises.
“What? Yes, I will give you something alive, but not him. I will be right back. Leave! Him! Alone!”
Just before she took off she said, “Sometimes I think they’re not worth what I got.”
She flew off. Somehow I couldn’t help think that she still had a great back even if it did wobble. I scooted back, and worked on a way out. She returned a whole lot faster than I expected. How she managed to carry two full garbage cans I couldn’t see. The trash included bags. Something wiggled inside one-no, not a child. She couldn’t be that far gone.
When Durasa dumped what she carried on top of the pumpkins I five squirrels fell. I let out a breath I didn’t know I held. She let the cans fall too. The munching that followed distracted and sickened me. I heard a soft clang, so they tried to eat one of the cans also but they didn’t seem able to. The noises made me nausea, bile came up and I spat it out again.
Durasa watched for a moment, by the look on her face I think she was disgusted also, but tolerated it. She turned and flew back to her meditation spot. I wondered why she had to prepare so long. It would be a very complicated and extreme trick. I knew a little of what it took to make zombies from dead people, that involved controlling three complicated tricks at the same time, this would be even harder. That didn’t explain how long she took though. It seemed like this trick was beyond her skill set. Yes, different people did have different abilities when it came to using this energy. Hmmm. Speaking of skill sets different beings have different sets. Fairies can’t turn people into zombies: there are plenty of other things they can do to trick, prank or harm someone but not that. She wasn’t full fairy so maybe she could with more effort. I felt surprise that she would just except the limitation but I could see the evidence.
Whatever the reason it gave me more time to work on her Trick, realizing that she was part fairy helped. I kept an eye on her, worked on my escape and at the same time tried not to listen to the munching. It seemed to be taking them a long time to chow down on that garbage...a small squeak made me add, and other things.
Too soon she turned and came toward me. I guess she didn’t have to start over at the beginning, which might partially explain why she hadn’t gotten more upset over the delay.
She made that motion with her hand and again I stumbled toward her. Even with the headway I made the binding trick still held. An evil smile showed and her eyes sparkled. Why did it remind me of the Pumpkin Imp faces? Whatever the reason she really was going to enjoy this.
She spoke hard guttural words. An ancient dark version of Latin maybe, or a very old German? It didn’t matter though, I felt my skin start to petrify.
My mind began to turn sluggish, I better think fast or I wouldn’t have the brain power to carry out my plan. I looked at
her, she seemed to be concentrating very hard. For some reason I looked down, noticed her bosom. It seemed larger but it would be. But that gave me an idea, if I could do it in time.
I concentrated, looked at her Trick with my Sight. I had done that without success but this time I felt more motivated. I willed my sight to zoom in. I saw a shimmer, it turned into a wall, another zoom and it turned into a strand. That strand had a frequency, all I had to do was find it-before my mind lost its ability to think.
Fairies worked with—dust, I looked closer. Something shiny covered the strand. I had seen it before but hadn’t realized what it was. Fairy dust? She wasn’t using any now-of course she couldn’t for this trick.
With a silent scream because of the pain, I attempted to get into my river mode. Too much bustle: my mind was active on different events, plus the growing pain, and I kept an eye on her. Not to mention the fight to hinder her Trick.
Maybe I could use the pain. I concentrated and drew more energy into me, that took time and effort. At one point I couldn’t help myself I let out a short scream.
She said, “So you are feeling it after all.”
I imagined a “Good” after that but she didn’t say one, possibly because that sentence had required much effort to speak.
With a force of will I didn’t know I could do I formed a Trick in my mind, to release it I blew out a breath. Some of the dust vanished. Maybe enough. I raised my arms to rip the original Trick. It worked enough for me to move an arm inside my jacket. I touched an armlet I wore around my neck. I spoke one word. It glowed, grew hot, what was left of the original Trick disappeared. She felt that and stepped back confused for a moment, from the backlash and that I could escape it. I formed another Trick, a very simple one I’ve used in other circumstances. I used the energy to grab hold of each side of the top of her dress and pulled my hands apart. The bodice ripped all the way down to her belly button. Not that I have ripped a dress before.
Yeah, I looked for a nanosecond.
She screeched and I said, “That was the ugliest outfit you ever wore, it should be ripped to pieces.”
Durasa looked shocked, her face turned angry. As I waited for her reaction I refused the desire to look down again. She hadn’t worn anything under that dress, one look was enough. It became a battle almost as difficult as the one I had just won. I couldn’t afford to be distracted and it would bring up feelings and memories I wanted to keep buried.
To hurry her up I stuck my tongue out at her. I started to say, “Lazy and incomplete as usual,” but while I was saying lazy she pushed me backwards. It had enough vibration energy to send my through the air. I knew she would react like that so I expected it and had prepared myself. I landed harder than I wanted but not as hard as last time when she sent me through the wall of her house. I managed to roll enough to not get hurt bad. I managed to get to my feet. Durasa stood with her back to me. The backlash from the interrupted major Trick must have hit her hard but not enough to put her out.
A clammy hand clutched my arm. I reacted with my MMA training. I managed to throw Durasa’s bodyguard across the field, at the same time I activated the other weapon. The other man moved my way. A quick spin and I kicked him in the face. He reached both hands my way, I grabbed him, pivoted around three times, faster each spin. I let go. He flew, hit the ground and rolled. I again activated the second weapon. The original men were dead so it didn’t matter what happened to their bodies.
I hurried to Durasa.
She looked surprised, “Servants to me!”
I pointed behind her, “None of them can help you.”
She spun around and gasped. I’m surprised she hadn’t heard, seen the flickering light, or heard the screams of the Pumpkin Imps. As the first zombie flew through the air I had used a special disk to make him catch on fire. He was almost totally engulfed when he landed on top of the Pumpkins. The second zombie burst in fire as he rolled. He landed up against the largest pumpkin. That one had been only half aflame, but the fire still spread to the dry pumpkin. Now all were burning. She let out a scream and I thought I heard her say, “Not again,” but it must have been my imagination. She turned to me and let loose with a string of obscenities. Bastard was the lightest.
The Imps burned and screamed and produced very red flames. I could barely stand but wWith a heavy sigh I again activated my first weapon. She looked at me because she felt it start to drain her. With a scream of rage she pushed me to one side and took off. Her wings buzzed loudly, but I thought they would fail soon. I still took off the amulet and threw it at her back. It landed between the wings and stuck. She stumbled in midair twice then dropped to the ground. She half turned for a second, threw a Trick my way. I scrounged down but it enveloped me anyway. It started to shrink down to coat me. I didn’t know if it would transform, or squeeze me. I had to get out either way. The substance reflected my Trick back to me, however. That hurt. When I tried to take a deep breath I found that no fresh air could get in. I coughed and attempted again. Still nothing. At least it blocked the stink from the Imps burning.
I still felt weak from her try at transforming me into a zombie. It became hard to draw air in, spots formed in front of my eyes. Scenes from my life popped into my head, That included my first dog, a spelling Bee I won, and college. That last gave me an idea, I plucked my fire disk out of its pocket, grasped of it and threw it like a frisbee. A small one but it still worked. I activated it once it left my hand. The disk burnt through the substance the Trick had formed. It was too close for me to burn the whole thing-the heat would burn me badly--but I could use a hole, it would let some air in.
Now one last Trick. I poked a hand through the hole and muttered Latin and Greek. Nothing. Damn, I knew I still had enough energy. I shouted the words again and this time pointed at the ground a few feet away. A buzz started in the substance, my body tingled, felt like it all burned, then ripped apart. A second later I stumbled along the ground and fell. I flipped over fast when I realized I landed on a hot spot. The grass had burned here. The Trick Durasa threw at me shrink more before it disappeared in a weird display of colored lights. I didn’t know if it was supposed do that, or only did it because its victim had vanished.
After a moment I stood and made my way over to where I had last seen her. No sign at all, but when I looked down I saw the amulet. It glowed, as full as it could get. Hey, some of the energy would be related to Fairy magic. That could come in handy. Further on I found bits of some type of web-or butterfly wings?
I found no evidence of where or how she had escaped. Once more I had left her mostly powerless. I would have to be on guard. She was going to be mad next time I saw her. I sighed; she really had been beautiful in her rage.
With a sad frown I turned back to look at the remains of the pumpkins. I could see a few lumps here and there but everything else looked like black ash. It stunk too. Man, did it smell. I needed to make sure they were gone, even with that stink. Not destroyed, I didn’t know how to do that but with their bodies gone they would have been sent back to their home. When I got closer I could make out the two trash cans, blackened, and dented but still whole.
The area didn‘t feel right. Maybe the imps still hovered around, or something. I brought out the amulet and fire disk I had picked up on the way back. I laid one on the other and activated the fire. I stumbled back. The fire was Hot! In seconds it consumed everything left even the tin cans looked melted.
After I made sure it was out I turned and headed home. I made sure my hands were clean wiped something wet out of one eye, must be from the heat and ash. That would not be the last I saw of Durasa, as gorgeous as always, but now too full of anger and the need for power.

The end

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