Posted by: lordkyler | November 27, 2016

NaNo 2016: Week 4 – Sweet Polar Goodness

Another week, another update. This week, I worked almost exclusively on a sequel to Frostbite, a post-apocalyptic short story from previous years. Spoiler alert – polar bears are involved. There have been a couple of days with low output, but I like how it’s been coming. I also spent one day writing (and completing) a short piece for a class assignment.

This week’s input is 2.6k, bringing the grand total to 12.7k, or about 25% of the overall goal. As I’ve written before, I intend to keep going until I hit the full 50k, however long that takes. At this rate, that will be three more months, but there’s no telling how that will play out.

I hope everybody else participating in NaNoWriMo is having better luck hitting their goals. Keep it up! The end is nigh!

Posted by: lordkyler | November 20, 2016

NaNo 2016: Week 3 – Another One Bites the Proverbial Dust

Another week has passed, not hitting up to par but still taking shots at the goal. And with that mangled sports metaphor out of the way, it’s time to report on this week’s progress.

This week’s total is 3k, half of which happened on one day, my only day off. On that day, I managed to finish a short story as an assignment for my college class, which will appear here once I’ve finished editing it in a few weeks.

I spent the remainder of the week working on a story I started some time ago, a sequel to a previous short story on here. Progress has been slow but good, and I’ve managed to write at least a little every day, even though there were a couple of times I didn’t think I would be able to.

The total thus far is now 10k, which is 20% of the overall goal. My schedule next week is quite different from the usual, so I may be able to write more, but I can’t say for sure. Let’s hope!

Posted by: lordkyler | November 19, 2016

The Thief – Short Story

I’m getting too old for this, Garrett thought, pausing to catch his breath. The bell-tower offered a vital vantage point, but the stairs did little favor for his knees. If he’d had his way, he would have retired years ago, but here he was, about to embark on the most ambitious job of his career.

Only a handful of thieves in the kingdom had the skill to rob Copperhold Keep, the  fortified estate of Altheus Copperhold, one of the most powerful and paranoid men in the city. Garrett still numbered among those few – using ingenuity, experience, and extensive planning to compensate for his lack of vigor – but that didn’t make the task easy, by any means. This job would push him to his limits, even if everything went perfectly.

And things never went perfectly.  Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | November 13, 2016

NaNo 2016: Week 2 – Slow and Steady

Week two of NaNoWriMo. Still not anywhere close to keeping up with the official schedule, but I haven’t quit. As I outlined in previous posts, I’m going to keep writing every day until I hit 50k, even if it takes more than a month, although I’m doing it across a variety of projects.

Most of this week was dedicated to a short story for my college fiction-writing class, which I will likely post here eventually. This week’s total is 3.5k, which brings the grand total to about 7k. That really isn’t a lot, but it’s better than nothing, which is how much I might have written otherwise.

Carrying on!

Posted by: lordkyler | November 6, 2016

NaNo 2016: Week 1 – A Stumbling Start

This is a brief report, just to keep anyone interested updated on my status and to add an extra layer of accountability to the process, which help me a lot.

As I detailed in the previous NaNoWriMo announcement, this year’s participation was a spur-of-the-moment decision, and I knew I would be facing some difficulty. So I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m not off to a stellar start.

But that’s okay. The current total is 3.5k, or what should be a day and a half’s work. However, I have been dealing with work and an incredibly annoying illness, so in some ways it’s surprising I’ve done anything. There were a couple of days I didn’t think I’d be able to write, but I managed it anyway, and that’s the real spirit of NaNoWriMo – sitting down and writing.

Is 3.5k great? No. But it’s more than I probably would have written otherwise, and it gave me the kick I needed to get going and finish some half-done stories, including the one published yesterday. As I get back into the swing of it, I expect that total to increase, until I’m hopefully back where I ought to be.

As of now, my new goal is to reach 50k words of total content, even if that extends beyond the month. If I can do that, I’ll have a whole bushel of short stories, and another NaNoWriMo victory, at least in spirit. (Not one I’d put on my resumé, but a triumph nonetheless.)

Stay tuned for next week’s announcement, if I haven’t moved to Canada as a result of Tuesday’s election results. ‘Til then, keep writing, and have fun doing it!

Posted by: lordkyler | November 5, 2016

Torchbearers – Short Story

“Flying is never as easy as it looks in the news, kid. You gotta contend with wind and bugs and all kinds of regulatory nonsense, and it doesn’t come naturally, at least not until you’ve got a few hundred hours of practice in. So stick to jumps at first, alright?”

The old man is practically dragging me down the corridor, making my sneakers squeal against the linoleum with each stumbling step. I tried to note the turns we took and keep track of all the advice he was rattling off, but it was hard to keep everything straight in my head. Had it been the second left or the third? What had he said about using slipstreams? Could I really be talking to Cyclone?

“The other thing you have to watch out for is the media. No, really. You’re gonna be a public figure, right, and the media these days are just itchin’ for a chance to blow something up. You’ll learn about fighting villains and disasters and stuff – we have protocols and years of intel – but if you slip up in front of the cameras, you lose public support and things start to go sour real fast. You remember what happened to Zenith.”

“I- Zenith?”

“Oh, you’d probably know him as Apogee. Sometimes you can pull off a comeback, but you’re better off just being careful in the first- over here, kid! Keep your head down.”

He jerked me to one side, down a corridor that ended in a large window. He didn’t seem interested in the doors on either side. I suddenly developed a bad feeling about the window. Outside, the world was gray and cloudy, treetops straining against a blustery wind. Cyclone twirled a finger, and the dull howling of the wind became a roar. The glass quivered in its frame, and then erupted, filling the air with transparent knives.

I shrieked, trying to throw myself behind my quote-unquote abductor, but Cyclone reversed the direction of the wind with a flick of his wrist, throwing the shards to the impending storm.

“You’ll get the hang of  this soon enough,” Cyclone promised, continuing to drag me toward the end of the hall. His words should have been drowned by the wind, but the air around us was still, tame enough that it didn’t even ruffle my hair, despite the fact that leaves were being plucked from their branches by the handful. I could still hear the wind, but it was in the background, about as loud as the wild thumping of my heart.

As we reached the opening of the former window, I realized I could hear another sound growing closer – the rhythmic thud of helicopters. Lots of them.

Cyclone cocked an eyebrow, bemused. “Faster than I thought,” he said mildly. “That bastard Cherubim must have tipped them off. You’ll want to stay clear of him, by the by. Although you do have to question the decision of sending the Air Force to catch an aerokinetic, eh?”

“The Air Force?” I whispered. This day had started badly and gotten worse every time I thought we had reached a new low. The only redeeming aspect – the thrill of potential super-powers – was becoming less appealing with every passing minute. “Mr., uh… Cyclone, sir. I don’t-”

I trailed off, expecting to be talked over or dragged outside, but to my surprise, Cyclone stopped what he was doing and turned his full attention to me, as though my thoughts were of the highest priority. I almost laughed at the absurdity of the situation. This morning I’d been sitting alone on the bus, feeling invisible, and now a world-famous hero was waiting on my words during the middle of a crisis.

It was too much. Rational thought abandoned me. It was about as much as I could do to keep breathing without hyperventilating.

Cyclone knelt in front of me, taking my shaking hands in his. Even on his knees, he was tall enough that our eyes met at the same level. “I know this is all overwhelming, Isabelle.  I’m throwing you straight into the deep end, and that deep end is full of sharks and toxic waste, but you aren’t going in alone. You’ll have my powers, my resources, and my allies to keep you afloat. Just trust me for the next little while, and I promise everything will be–”

A flash of incandescent light streaked through the window, leaving me half-blind and totally deaf. I was thrown backward by some force, and suddenly the wind was tearing at my hair and clothes, unhindered by Cyclone’s calming influence.

Lightning, said some detached part of my brain, but I didn’t see how that was possible. It was stormy enough, to be sure, but the bolt had struck sideways, ignoring the plethora of trees, spires and flagpoles that dotted the campus. Something directed?

As if summoned by my thoughts, a figure appeared at the open window frame, hovering weightlessly in the air. Between the darkness of the storm and my dazzled eyes, it took me a moment to realize who it was. Dynamic.

She wore a suit of armor, styled to look like some sort of futuristic samurai, complete with gadget-enhanced katanas at her side. The battle-worn armor plates were the same gun-metal gray as the clouds overhead, but neon blue lights glowed at the seams, giving her an almost ethereal look. A black cape flapped behind her like a banner, only adding to the ghostly effect, and her ebony hair was wild around her visored face.

The spear in her hands still crackled with the aftermath of the shot she’d fired.

Cyclone was slumped against the wall, skin and clothing blackened where he’d been hit.

He wasn’t getting up.

Dynamic descended toward us, spear still held at the ready, point leveled at Cyclone’s heart. She barely spared a glance for me, but I could sense the disdain she must have felt at Cyclone’s choice of successor. She landed a few feet from him, setting down gently, her electrified weapon still crackling, ready for another attack.

She said something I couldn’t understand, Chinese or Japanese or something, but a synthesized voice translated her words, droning on with none of the passion in her voice. “Somehow I always knew it would come to this, despite all your false promises. I know you’re alive. My sensors-“

Cyclone leapt into action as though he hadn’t been injured at all, extending one hand toward Dynamic and the other toward me. Dynamic was thrown back against the wall, her suit’s flight systems straining against the force of the wind, but the air around her head was twisting, and her face was turning blue. She fell to her knees, clutching at an empty throat. I tried to run, but I was surrounded by a bubble of solid air, like glass, and every time I touched it, the pressure pushed me back.

Cyclone stood, hunched over his wound, and I barely recognized him. The dignified, experienced man with the wise eyes and heroic smile had been replaced by someone who looked more animal than human, teeth bared in a snarl, eyes bloodshot and wild. He spat, leaving a red streak across the floor.

“Yeah,” he said, snarling and slurring at the same time. “I’ve kept a few tricks in reserve. The really scary shit, the kind of stuff that doesn’t play well on TV.”

He began limping toward the suffocating Dynamic, whose face was beginning to bloat. I squeezed my eyes shut and covered my ears, but I could hear perfectly. Cyclone wanted me to hear. “I’ve put up with a lot over the years, played by all the rules, because it was the right thing to do. But when I asked for my one concession, the right to name my own damn successor? Suddenly a lifetime of service goes down the tubes. I’m public enemy number-goddamn-one, even with the likes of Carnivore and Jasmine on the loose. You want to make me into that? Fine.

There was a tearing sound, and Dynamic screamed, her voice torn into ribbons by whatever Cyclone was doing to the air, so that her cries were strangely melodic. That didn’t make them any less awful. I had thought I was overwhelmed before, everything turned upside-down, but now it was all inside-out and backward at the same time. Cyclone was… what was he? What was I?

I was crying, curled into a ball, when I felt two hands placed on top of mine, at either side of my head. They were wrinkled and slick with blood, but they were gentle, which only made them more unsettling.

“Kid, look at me,” Cyclone said. He didn’t sound noble or reassuring or cruel now, just… tired. Weary like a man at the end of a marathon with no finish line and nobody left to cheer him. I opened my eyes a little, trying very hard not to look at the place where Dynamic had been. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

I shook my head no for both questions. Cyclone sighed. “I didn’t– I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. But I’m not about to let my legacy be decided by a bunch of government suits with shady agendas. You shouldn’t let me decide yours, either. I’m out of this, kid, passing the torch. Take it and do what you will. If you want to hold it up like the goddamn Statue of Liberty, or use it to burn the place to the ground, that’s your choice. Don’t let anyone tell you different.”

I started to say something, but Cyclone closed his eyes and gripped my hands with the desperate strength of a dying man. “As these powers were vested in me, I gift them to you, Isabelle, and name you the next Cyclone.”

For a second I thought Dynamic had returned and shot me with her spear. Power flooded into me, racing up my nerves like fire, coursing through my veins like pure light. My hair stood on end as the sensation of pins-and-needles rolled over my flesh, like a skin of static electricity. Tremors shook my bones until I thought they would snap from the vibration. The power within me spread, jarring, painful, growing, until I thought I would explode.

And then, just as it permeated every atom in my body with unbearable pressure… it stopped. The conflicting forces found harmony, suddenly working in perfect tandem to strengthen and support one another, every aspect in perfect equilibrium, perfect synchronization. It reminded me of the time my uncle had let me rev the engine of his muscle car. I could feel the purr of the engine humming through my body, inconspicuous but undeniable, ready to roar into life at my command. It was intoxicating.

Then something clicked in my head and the entire universe realigned with it.

I could feel the winds as they raced across the campus, like an extension of my own body, touching everything, everywhere, all at once. I could hear every sound for miles – from the thump of the helicopters to the heartbeats of sparrows in their nests. I could sense the sky above me, churning like my own thoughts, an omnipotent presence. It was unimaginable power, all at my fingertips, begging to be released.

“Be careful, kid,” Cyclone – the former Cyclone – croaked. He was short of breath, weakened without his power. “That power – it’s hard to control. Too much, or too little, and you’re screwed. Play it safe.”

I nodded, still in a daze. Grimacing at the motion, the old man pulled a micro-computer from his wrist and handed it to me. It was splattered with blood, but I took it anyway, giving it a quick rub on my jeans to clear the screen. “You can use that to get the answers you need,” he said. “Follow it to my lair – you’ll be safe there for a while. Don’t trust anyone unless they’re marked blue in the system. Now go!”

Tearing my gaze from his weary and battered face, I stepped to the edge of building and shut my eyes for a moment, trying to understand everything that was happening. The wind was swirling wild, barely kept in check, but the helicopters were approaching quickly, stabilized by some sort of technology. Students around the campus were crying and shouting, running for cover from the chaos. On top of all that, some sixth sense told me that more capes were closing in.

Following an faint impression in the air, I caught sight of an feral figure stalking the rooftops. It was hard to make out any details in the shade of the storm, but there was no mistaking that build and posture. As if to confirm my suspicion, the watch on my wrist buzzed, flashing the name Carnivore. It was marked with black and red tags – as if I needed the warning.

The sooner I was out of here, the better. Steeling my nerves, I took a deep breath, reached for my newly-given powers, and leaped.

•••

Carlos eased back, resting against the wall. He’d become so used to augmenting his breath with his powers that he’d forgotten how old he truly was. And yet, for all the power he’d just given away, the burden he’d just shed from his shoulders was enough to balance things out. He could spend his final moments as Carlos, free of duty.

He was worried about the girl, to be sure, but he’d chosen carefully, given her every advantage he could buy, steal or borrow. It would have to be enough. She’d have a tough time of it, but that wasn’t his problem. He was out of the game. Nothing left to do but die.

Some distance away, the wind howled like a banshee, almost drowning out the sound of the exploding helicopter that followed. The young miss Cyclone was learning just fine. Carlos smiled to himself, pulling a small flask from his belt, taking a long pull and closing his eyes.

When he opened them again, he was not alone. Across the hall stood a man in a luminous white robe, untouched by the grime and gore that covered the hallway. His long, curled hair shone like burnished gold, artfully framing a soft, youthful face. Light shimmered and danced around his person, glimmering in the vague shape of encircling wings. He looked furious.

Carlos chuckled, the sound fading into a ragged cough. “Somehow I don’t think you’re here to escort me to the pearly gates.”

Cherubim scowled and flared his wings, clearing the hallway of debris in an instant. “Do you even realize what you’ve done?” he asked, his voice strangely flat.

“Trust me, I know as well as anyone,” Carlos said, taking another swig from the flask. It burned going down, the fire spreading to places it shouldn’t. He didn’t have much time left. “But I figure that’s your problem, not mine.”

Another explosion rocked the building, followed by a frenzied roar. Cherubim turned to study the chaos for a moment, letting out a sharp huff of breath. “This isn’t over, Cyclone. The Alliance is fragile enough – this might be enough to break it.”

“I’m not Cyclone anymore,” Carlos wheezed, feeling the strength fade from him. “But if you’re smart, you’ll help the girl. She’s what we need… for a fresh start.”

Cherubim bit his lip, looking from the old man on the floor to the battle raging outside. With another huff of annoyance, he held out his hand. The lights around him leapt to his fingers, coalescing into a halo of pure energy that shone like the sun. Carlos had seen that power in action before. It was enough to bind Isabelle’s attackers… or to kill an unprepared and inexperienced miss Cyclone. Cherubim had never liked him personally, but surely he respected the power he had passed on. Would he really waste so much power to settle a grudge?

He would never know. He could no longer keep his eyes open, and with a sudden surety, he knew that the next breath would be his last. Sorry, kid. I did what I could.

And then power surged through him, nerves set afire, every cell burning with scalding heat. Wounds pulled together, new skin sizzling where the flesh joined. His heart exploded back to life, veins filled to bursting, and his lungs inflated with all the violence of an air-bag, screaming in his chest.

Being healed hurt more than any injury he’d ever felt.

Distantly, he heard Cherubim speaking, but his racing mind could not stop to comprehend the words until much later. “No, old man, you may have given your powers away, but you’re still Cyclone. No rest for the wicked.”

He smiled, a mirthless mockery of warmth, and Carlos realized it that the angel was not here to see him to heaven after all. He was headed for a long stay in purgatory.

Posted by: lordkyler | October 31, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 – To Wri or Not to Wri

It’s almost that magical time of year again, folks, the month filled with the festive signs of the season – the rhythmic tap of fingers on keyboards, desktops decorated with color-strewn outlines and confettied notes, the rich scent of ink and caffeinated beverages in the air. It is a month filled with hymns to the great holiday – carols of complaint, the familiar refrain of moans and groans, the insistent percussion of heads beating against the walls. It is not a tradition kept by the world at large, but for those true believers, it is a time of intense devotion and faith.

I speak, of course, of NaNoWriMo, which sort of snuck up on me all of a sudden. If you’ve been following this blog, you may remember that I have participated in the great-write-a-thon for the past two years. In 2014, I wrote The Legacy of Lions, a Lithra prequel, and although I experienced some difficulties in 2015, NaNoWriMo served to kick-start the writing of Lithra IV, which I finished over the following months.

Logic would dictate moving on to Lithra V for this year’s entry, but logic is for Greek scholars, I say. I do have a general outline for it, but as much as I might like to tackle that project, I don’t think it’s quite ready yet. I’m not sure if I’m ready this year. I’ve been busy at work due to the upcoming non-literary holidays, and I’m also now enrolled in a couple of college classes, which leaves me less time for personal writing.

But why let a perfectly good excuse get in the way of doing something impractical? I was originally going to write this post about being unsure if I should go for it this year or not, but I just made up my mind that I’m going to go for it. Yeah, just like that. Now, I can’t guarantee that I’ll actually beat it this year, but there’s no reason I can’t try, is there? No, you say in an inspiring and resolute fashion, there is not!

So, flying by the seat of my pants here, I’m going to set a goal of 50k by the end of November, but I’m not going to write those 50k words in one story, since I don’t have anything of that length prepared, and I’m going to have to write for my courses as well. Instead, I will attempt to hit that total among a variety of projects, including assignments and short stories. This will make things more difficult in some ways, I’m sure, but easier in others, so it should be an interesting experience. The main point is to sit down and put words to paper, so I can’t fail too badly as long as I do that.

I’ll post updates here and on Twitter as often as I remember to, so stay tuned, and hopefully by the end of this month I’ll have another fat 50k under my authorial belt. See you tomorrow!

Posted by: lordkyler | September 10, 2016

Renders

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I use Sketchup on a fairly regular basis. While these models aren’t really photorealistic, there are programs designed to render them in a more realistic manner. Unfortunately, most of these are quite expensive, but I was able to use their free trials. What follows are my attempts at dabbling with some basic renders. Enjoy.

Voom!

This is one of the nicest renders, depicting a “diamond” fighter, which was actually inspired by a cutout from a paper snowflake, of all things. It’s a bit overly-shiny, but it’s very pretty regardless

Swoosh

Another view of the diamond fighter, this time emerging from a very simplistic hangar bay.

im1354640948

A different spaceship, designed quite some time ago, and now rendered.

im1354642374

A view from the front.

im1354644309

A Knife from the second Lithra book. This was a pain to model and set up, but it turned out nicely.

im1354654971

A close up of the pommel. Since I was using a trial version of the Indigo renderer, I had to do several renders and then stitch them together into a larger image.

The bar can slide up and down.

This is a religious object from the world of Lithra, representing the path of souls between enlightenment and oblivion. The grain in the image is a side-effect of the rendering process.

Posted by: lordkyler | August 27, 2016

The HeroMachine Dilemma

I find myself conflicted about this topic, but I’m going to post it here anyway.

HeroMachine is a free flash application designed for creating characters, sort of like an advanced dress-up game. There have been different versions throughout the years, but the latest, HeroMachine 3, has some pretty advanced features, which can be used to create some pretty amazing artwork. 

I’m not that crazy with it, but I’m still pretty good at it. While I can draw decently when I want to, it’s a time-consuming process, and it doesn’t always pan out the way I want it to. Therefore, if I need a simple character portrait for my own inspiration, I’ll turn to HeroMachine.

My problem is that this is sort of art. I don’t think it’s wrong to use a tool like this, and the end result is still something original, but I’m still wary about sharing it, since it’s not totally mine, either. I still want to share it with you, since I’ve done some good stuff, but just be aware that I can’t take all the credit here.

Now that you’ve made it through the quagmire, it’s time for some pretty pictures! Click for larger views.

Posted by: lordkyler | August 13, 2016

Random Writing Snippets – Part Two

Here are some more of the random snippets I sometimes use to get myself started writing. They’re not connected to anything, but they’re fun to do, totally off the cuff. Previous entry here.


5-20-16

“Heaven waits not for our coming,” said Father. “And hell shall not mind if we tarry a moment longer.”

Flames licked through the gaps in the door, fiery orange tongues seeking something to devour. Devilish black smoke filled the room, obscuring its contents and making me cough until I could scarcely breathe.

“Shepherd guide our souls,” Father prayed, somehow unaffected by the fumes. The axe in his hands trembled from the force of his white-knuckle grip, anxious for use. “Lead us from wild fields to sweet pastures and good water, from wolves to high walls, where none may come with ill intent or evil ambitions…”

He turned toward me, and I could see the madness of cruel sanity upon him, the crazed look of a man with only unthinkable options remaining to him. He raised the axe high overhead, tears cutting through the soot on his cheeks. “Or, good Shepherd, if you will not take a stubborn old ram into your fold, at least watch over a poor lamb.”

Down came the axe, and I could not stop coughing to scream. The fire-weakened floor shattered under the force of his blow, and I fell through, catching only a glimpse of the flames rushing to consume my father before I was plunged into cold water and dark oblivion.

•••

7-19-16

“You know the real problem with procrastination, don’t you?”

The woman lecturing me is tall, with short hair dyed a metallic silver. She’s gilded in matching tattoos, elegant curves and spirals twisting around her neck and arms like vines of platinum. On most women it would have seemed flashy, ostentatious. Not on her. She had an aura of success about her, the sort of presence that had no need to bargain or beg – everything she said was simple, undeniable fact, whether it was true or not.

I hated her already.

“What makes procrastination so deadly,” she continued, pacing behind her desk, “is not just the cost of delays and broken deadlines. It’s more than the lazy attitude or lack of foresight.”

She paused, turning to stare out the vast, curved window that formed one wall of her office. Outside, the city smoldered in neon colors, skimmers drifting through the sky like purposeful sparks. The skyscrapers were living up to their names, stabbing upward into the heart of the smoke-black stormclouds, spilling torrents over the eastern sector. It would reach us within the hour.

She was quiet long enough that I felt I could safely interject. “If you don’t like my work, Ms. Hall–”

“No, the real poison is something else entirely,” she continued, as though I hadn’t spoken, “something far more subtle and sinister.” She looked at me for the first time since the meeting began, and flashed a serpent’s grin. “Would you like to know what it is?”

•••

7-22-16

“Are you okay, Trevor?” My mom looked concerned, eyes filled with worry.

“I’m fine,” I said, trying to sound upbeat despite being beat-up. “Just a little tired.”

It was an understatement, not a falsehood, but it felt like one. I was beyond tired, exhausted. I was weary to my bones, sluggish in a way that had nothing to do with lost sleep. Even my thoughts felt weak and muzzy, more like the slow crackle of static than real sparks.

I could move around, work on autopilot, but anything more complicated than tying my shoes was on par with climbing Everest. I just needed a dull, quiet day, and I would be alright. Coast through my classes, ditch practice, and spend the evening with ice cream and mindless video games. I could do that, and tomorrow I could take another stab at killing the wanderghast.

Just one day.

The phone rang.

•••

7-25-16

The thing about skyscrapers is that they’re very tall. Like, way the hell up there, you know? When you’re standing in the middle of one, surrounded by cubicles and potted plants and blinking computer lights, you kind of forget that you’re standing a few hundred feet in the air. You’ve got nice thick windows to keep out the wind and indoor lighting to make you forget the sun and central heating to make sure everything is nice and toasty.

But when you go out on the roof, you don’t have any of that. All of a sudden you’re outside and there are birds flying past and the wind whispers how easy it would be to climb that flimsy metal fence and just fall. You remember that people weren’t meant to be up this high without a nice sturdy mountain underfoot. Maybe not even then. And that’s not even getting into vertigo.

Have I mentioned I don’t like heights?

I’m stupid, so when Matt called and arranged the meeting on top of the CTI tower, I came.

Since I’m exceptionally stupid, I came alone and unarmed.

But apparently I’m even dumber than that, because when things went sour and Matt pushed Lisa off the roof, I jumped after her.

•••

5-6-16

Crash. The gates shuddered in their housing, spilling dust from cracks and crevices that hadn’t been disturbed for generations.

Bang. Ancient wood cracked and bent. Rusted hinges screamed, holding on defiant to the last. Even the stones quaked with the impact, groaning as they ground against each other.

Crack. Timber and iron and stone abandoned their previous forms, becoming so much powder and dust. So it was true. They had claimed the Hammer of Annihilation. If I did not find a way to escape at once, I would soon suffer the same fate. One blow to shake me, two blows to break me, and three blows to utterly end me, mind, body, and soul.

There was only one way to escape from this nightmarish place. Screaming, I turned, leapt, and plunged into a sea of devil’s ink.


Let me know if you found any of this interesting. I’m specifically writing these since they’re not tied to anything I’m working on, but I’d be surprised if any of them didn’t eventually get away from me and become a short story or something.

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