Monday, March 6, 2017
Three short short stories and a short writing update
It has been way too long since I have done anything with this blog. That's my fault. So for those who might be following this blog and those who know I am a writer I say that I have been doing a bunch of writing.
I have one story at Writer's of the Future contest and have another one very close to being ready to send in for this quarter's contest. For those who don't know they have a contest every quarter. You can send in only one story per quarter but depending on how long they take in a quarter to decide on your story it is possible to have three stories in at one time. Usually it works out to be only two for two quarters.
I am almost done with a new novel-The Courier. That is my novel with that title. There is a new novel out with that title but it isn't mine. Mine is steampunk set in our time. No computers so they have couriers to carry important papers and small devices, parts etc. Sometimes cash, gems, gold or silver too. The papers can be ordinary letters, contacts that need to be signed, blueprints, collage exams and thesis. Most anything else you can think of. The job can be dangerous so Couriers are armed. Kara, a young twenty-two year woman, knows self defense and how to shot and some about how to use a knife. She has a couple of steampunk type weapons in secret. One is to stun since she doesn't like actually shooting people even though she will. I just need to finish revising a chapter a short chapter and redesign a couple of long chapters. Than off to a beta reader or two. Hopefully they don't find anything that needs fixing with the plot but that is their job.
I have done a quite a few very short stories inspired by certain sets of pictures on Google + That is where these three stories came from. I will be doing a 22 story anthology with the stories of one of those sets. At least one of these will be included in that anthology.
I have done more writing including finally for an On The Premises contest but this is all for now.
Now to the stories:
The second one is the third tale of an unnamed older mage, I have written. I hope to do two more about him. All shorter stories like this one.
The stories get longer with each tale. The first two are flash and the third is almost 1400 words. So 2,820 words altogether. They are each different; Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and SF. I think the third one might be sort of or almost cyberpunk.
Please enjoy them and if you do like them remember I do have novels for sell. :)
I had been staring down at the bridge that led to the city, Averiburg. The massive stone bridge that traveled over the city proper, had been adorned with wide ribbons as had the narrow castle with its tall towers and battlements and grand archways. The ends of the high stone water courses that fed water to the castle also had been decorated. We stood on a rocky crag that stuck out of the main mountain. Below us is a small valley they built the castle in. A large village had grown around it.
When that thought popped into my head, I spun around to face Qu’loff. Most people don’t realize that the last syllable is pronounced with more of a growl sounding tone. His lightly colored scales reflected my dragon jewel. I wore it over my gold colored armor. which had been polished for this day. I held my dragon spear, with its two 18 inch long blades one at each end, but I was so used to it, handling it so I didn’t stab or slice anyone it had finally become second nature.
I looked up to his solid blue eyes, no one could tell how they saw with no pupils but they did rather well. His breath smelled of heat and only slightly of burnt meat so I could tell he hadn’t eaten for a while, but I knew that anyway.
“Dragons don’t like human celebrations.”
“True,” he stated in a haughty tone, but continued in a normal one, “but this one is special. It is the only one we Flying, Fire People willing participate in.”
They have one word instead of “Flying, fire people”, but that is how my mind translates it.
The wind up here on the crag were we stood picked up, the padding under my armor protected me from cold winds on land or in the air, but my helm was up and my face felt the cold.
He paused for a moment, “I find myself eager for this one.”
Qu’loff stared at me for a moment with his head slightly tilted, so I knew I was the reason he was eager for this celebration. Most partnerships between humans and dragons happened between those of the same gender. You could count the mixed pairings in the last twenty years on both hands. I was one and the rider I liked, Jorume, was another. He had a female dragon, hatched a year before Qu’loff. It made certain behaviors of both beings easier to understand and cope with, but while certain thoughts, feelings, bodily functions were difficult to understand and go through, we understood each other well.
I watched the other dragons, most but not all with riders, fly around the castle or land on various spots. I was off duty but was expected to wear my armor, for the celebration and the show. I nodded sent a mental message of my joy of knowing him and that it was time to go, to my dragon. That had become second nature too.
I climbed up the leg he moved into position for me and settled onto my saddle. He took off with a sudden launch. I was used to that now and someday may even enjoy it.
We headed down to our place in the ceremony that memorialized the first team of a dragon and human pair.
My first thought when I saw her. No, she was made from plastic formed to look like the human body. I could make out the lines of the various stripes and larger panels they had used. Her head looked real: no lines, or plastic shine. I wondered if they had used a human one. If so it was fresh by the look. In my fifty years, thirty-three as a mage I hadn’t seen anything like her.
Would that make it a modern Frankenstein? Or more likely a modern golem, not made out of mud or clay, but of manmade materials.
Whatever. I shivered and not just from the cold air in here. I sensed power here even without using my special senses. She had the most but the tall narrow things behind her each had a large dose too.
The room I stood in smelled of a hospital: antiseptic and cleaners, with futuristic looking equipment in the background. I could hear electronic beeps like heart monitors produce.That supported the idea they had used a real head.
Had they tried for a resurrection? Someone died too young by her appearance? Someone who was very old wanted a new start? Either of those never worked out the way the builders thought it would. Surprising, I wasn’t able to see if they had made her complete since she wore a black dress. Shoulderless and sleeveless but still modest. I wasn’t sure what the clear shoulder coverings were for. They looked like shoulder paddings some woman fashions used.
I also wasn’t sure about that round light behind her. Part of her construction? Something wizardry to keep her going? Just coincidence? It produced some energy.
The round clear ball she held, about the width of the lid for a large drink, I did know. I came here for it. She held it between the forefinger and thumb of her left hand while her right hand bent at the wrist under it. Just coincidence or a magical stance? Could be either or neither.
The fact that it projected a larger mostly transparent ball-make that two balls-was of concern for me.
The more I looked at the ball the more I thought she was made to activate it. The real human head-alive probably-might be used to try to fool this wizardry device. For it had to be a human that operated it.
I shook my head. They had to be stopped. If she activated the ball, they would get something very bad. Worse than if this was a nuke or even a futuristic antimatter bomb. It was a potestatem-dunamas. A redunante name but it fit. The thing had skads of power. Therefore it was used for many things. As a wizardry nuke, a method to change a person into another creature, or change a section of the earth. Turn miles shaped like a splatter, into desert or lave lake or maybe even draw the moon to the earth. It might not be able to the last but one ancient wizard wanted one to try it. He was stopped before he could but that story says he destroyed Mu in the process.
A sudden change in the output of the device, caused the outer balls to start spinning.
I had been thinking in the wrong tense. It had already been activated and it neared its release.
I pulled in as much anergy in the room as I could get, she glanced up as the light behind her dimmed. I’m glad they had a lot already ready, for whatever reason.
I sent a Trick to pull the ball out of her hand. Nothing. Damn, as a golem she was immune to Tricks. I used more that I had gathered, created a large lightning to strike at the ball. That should knock it out of her hand. I shielded myself at the same time. I still felt heat and electricity in the air heard the crackle like roar.
However when the light dimmed enough for me to open my eyes, even though the streaks in my vision I saw she still held it. What? The floor had scorched marks and something still wobbled in the corner but not other harm anywhere. The room must have another protection.
For the next three minutes I tried various Tricks, even pulling it with a tractor Trick I invented, but nothing worked. One last thing; maybe a shield around her would keep the damage down to only the building-maybe. I pulled in all of the mystical energy I could. That light dimmed again and she sagged a tiny bit.
I switched targets and hit that light hard. Nothing, so I pulled energy in, as much as I have ever used at one time in my long life as a mage. Hit it so hard in so many ways I lost track of then. She sagged but looked at me. Took a step my way, I slid sideways. The light went out, I hit the ball again with the last I had and this time it went flying. I felt hot, tried and used up, old but I ran, even as weak as I was I was faster than her for I was motivated. I grabbed the ball from the floor took off running for the door. It burned but I turned it off, when it started to disappear I went through the thick metal door, sealed it and welded it. Yes, that part really was that easy. Maybe the switch was a failsafe or maybe the original designer never thought about the switch. I went home and crashed, rested and ate for three days. Glad I stopped them from doing whatever they had planned for it would have been very bad.
She Is the Best:
The smell of soldering filled the air. Sideborg-a name to say that he was on his own side-watched her. She was the best there was at cybernetic repair and related fields, even as young as she looked; twenty-one. He always wondered if she really was the age she appeared to be. Her experience and her knowledge made him think not, but she was a genius after all so maybe. A few of the sparks from the soldering bounced to his face, but he didn’t care. Even though he felt them he didn’t need eye protection, for his arms were not the only manmade devices he was now made form.
Sideborg looked around, Kilner’s place looked like it was filled with junk, but there was more here than most thought. That was one reason she kept the place dark, so no one could see the real stuff, mixed in with the junk. She had proven that she knew where every piece lay.
He looked at her. The hiss of the special welder filled his ears. Even though the flickering high light and sparks, her goggles looked well used, with burn spots, nicks and faded colors. They were made from a mixture of super tough ceramics and metal, designed to take very high temperatures and were very hard to damage, yet she, or someone else who had them first, had done both. He thought it had been her, maybe her teacher and her.
Kilner looked down. She was pretty and in shape-she would have to be with some of the lifting she had to do and that she needed to run very fast at times down here here where they lived. Her mid length over red-for today-hair was tired back with a heat resistance cloth, but some strands still had scorch marks and the ends lay uneven. Today her work stunk more than usual, for the unique metal they had to use and because it was a very strong alloy, therefore took a very high temperature to fuse together. It needed to be for the use he put it through almost every day.
When she finished repairing the damage she readjusted and recalibrated the computer in his shoulder. The last job he had done had damaged it, but it had been overdue for an overhaul anyway, which, of course, had made the damage worse.
The clicking of the recalibration continued as did the hiss of the torch she used even though she had sit it aside for now. The best models didn’t produce any noise, but here they didn’t have the top line stuff. Much of it wasn’t even third level. Some in fact were throw away junk that had been modified or refixed a number of times. It all worked though. Of course his cybernetics were one of the few exceptions. It had been top stuff, now though it had been repaired so many times it he was surprised it all worked. Plus his reconstruction had been a few years ago so they probably had even more advanced products up top.
He breathed in some of the heat and soldering gas one of his few remaining human functions, when he thought of the last job. His tastebuds still worked and he wanted to spit out the taste all that produced but he held it in since he was in her shop.
Sideborg sighed, last night had been a furball. The guards around that diamond had been some of the best, but he had snuck past them anyway. That was one reason he was popular with certain people. He didn’t just use his strength and augmentations. He could stay in shadows and use distractions as well as the best of them. Sometimes no one knew he had taken anything.
This time was different and so far, as he had heard anyway, no one knew his real job had been to steal the chip with Barney’s safe houses, secret accounts and hiding places for illegally gotten goods. That last was what his costumer had wanted. One of Barney’s men had stolen a very old item that could lead to something valuable, maybe a weapon or a carrying case with a pocket universe in it, Sideborg suspected. He now knew the three places that item could be but decided to give the whole chip to the customer, who had been very happy to get the knowledge. He should be on his way to the second place already-if he hadn’t found what he wanted at the first one. More than likely the customer wouldn’t use the extra info that came with it because he just needed that one bit, and he would be off planet soon.
The rest of what Sideborg found could be worth a lot of extra money, before Barney realized the knowledge had been stolen and redid everything. But that might not happen for a day or week.
One good thing though during the fight with the hidden two guards-both huge and augmented-Sideborg had destroyed the side of the room where the chip had been stored. It hadn’t been planned, but the fight had been messy. The whole room would need restoring; all types of devices and storage drawers and cabinets had been destroyed. Some of it on purpose but much in a death fight. He managed to finally get out with what he wanted but it had been closer than usual. Sideborg shook his head. He had missed that information about the secret guards and had gotten careless in his arrogance. During the fight he had feared discovery or even destruction twice. But he had used his cunning and with a bit of luck, that resulted in the electrocution of that one hulk, he had made it. He had made sure any recording devices, including in the bodies of the guards, had been totally wiped out.
He had barely made it out even after he had what he wanted. Other parts of him had been damaged plus his face and other real skin spots had been badly bruised. But he had left no blood or skin behind to be shifted or analyzed.
Kilmer stepped back and smiled at him. For reasons unknown to him he was one of her favorites. That he paid on time probably helped, as well as the fact that he didn’t call her names or felt the need to show off. He didn’t compliment her much but he did pay extra when he had it. That could be why she fixed him on credit twice, she knew he was good for it eventually. She had other favorites but they were few. Plus she liked doing a job no one else could do, or do as fast and as well as she could. When she smiled like that her work was exceptional.
When she went to get his arm, he smiled, for he would be back to work tomorrow with no one the wiser to the damage done to him. The bruises weren’t matter because he usually had a couple. And with no one being able to take advantage of his “injury”. Or suspect that he had been involved with the break-in. He would take the next few days off, to rest and to see about what else he had, he had made a copy of the chip. Sideborg knew he would have to be very careful who he let in on his knowledge and how he partialed out that data. He knew what people who would be careful with its use and would know how to use the info without letting on they had gotten it from Barney himself. That meant money and favors owed.
He smiled this time.