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Sunday Scribble – “Touch”

Touch
(continuation of Autumn)

Our pay was average, but my “findings” enabled us to splurge a bit on dinner. A rack of beef to share, a fresh loaf of bread, and milk to wash it all down gave us one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. There were even leftover coins in Elsworth’s purse when I returned it to him at Luella’s insistence.

“It’s a shame,” Simon said in our room that evening. “That was a nice coin purse.”

“I’m sure the headman thought so too when he got it.” Luella’s words were accompanied with a soft smack to Simon’s arm.

I smirked at the exchange as I folded up my cloak on one of the room’s chairs. It was still rather lumpy with my daggers, bandages, and liberated items from our travels, but as long as no one sat on it, it was fine.

“You alright there?” I asked Brom, noticing he had been over by the wash basin for longer than usual.

He glanced at me before scrubbing at his shoulder with the available cloth. “Elsworth’s touch was sweaty. Feels like the spot can’t get cleaned.”

Simon’s and Luella’s voices stilled from their bickering at Brom’s response, and Simon was by our warrior’s side with a bound. He glanced at the spot, red from continuous scrubbing, and poked it gently.

“Think I have some aloe paste left,” he said, ignoring Brom’s slight flinch. “Want some?”

“I could freeze something for you to use to numb it,” Luella offered.

“Don’t strain yourself,” Brom told the mage. He did, however, nod to Simon. “I’ll try the aloe.”

“Want it wrapped in bandages?” I asked, unfolding my cloak.

“…Sure. Thanks.”

We moved to wrap up Brom’s shoulder, ensuring the bandages weren’t tight enough to hinder his movement or restrict his blood circulation. He swung his arm in a wide circle to test the bandages, his muscles only making a small tear appear by the armpit.

He ignored it, finding the tear insignificant, and nodded. His gaze anywhere but us, he murmured out another, “Thank you.”

“No problem.” Simon’s response was a loud contrast as he sealed up his small jar of aloe paste.

“If it doesn’t work,” I said, “let me know and I’ll get you some of the finest soaps this village sells.”

“Through legitimate means, of course,” Luella said.

“Considering you made me return the rest of the purse, we’ll have to see—”

“Let’s go to bed.” Brom cut us off, a small smile tugging at his lips as he fell onto one of the mattresses. Being the smallest and least likely to accidentally roll over onto his side after his episode, I took the other side of Brom’s mattress. Luella and Simon claimed the other.

I tossed Simon my extra pillow and he placed it on the floor next to his side. With how much he moved in his sleep, he wasn’t a stranger to his bedmate shoving him away only to have him tumble off the mattress. Being a deep sleeper, he tended not to notice until the morning.

The morning came much sooner than all of us cared for it to.

“It’s still dark out—” Simon’s words strangled themselves as a flash of light and a wave of heat washed into our room.

“Easy enough to see what’s gotten the village up at this hour.” Luella reached the window, hearing the shouts and alarms at the dragon’s appearance.

“Did the sands and troughs help keep the fires from spreading?” I asked.

“Difficult to tell with the smoke,” she answered.

“Are we staying to help,” was my next question, “or are we booking it in case the village feels our work wasn’t worth the payment?”

Luella’s eyes rolled and she grabbed her staff. Brom already had his axe in his hands and Simon shouldered his pack of supplies. I sighed as I put on my cloak and touched the hilt of my daggers.

“Here’s hoping chasing off a dragon is worth more than sanding a field,” I said, leading the way out of the inn and into the fray.

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Posted by on October 8, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Ripple Effect Part Six”

Ripple Effect
Part Six

The simulation was so real that I was coughing from a person’s cigar smoke as I passed him by. He gave me an odd look, which I returned, before he retreated further into his alley. I sighed and kept walking down the street.

So far I had stopped a bank robbery by commanding the electronic, sliding doors to stay shut. One of the would-be robbers tried body slamming the door; he bounced backwards and knocked himself out. His partner surrendered to the police without a fight.

After that, a guy dressed in typical mugger gear (complete with a ski mask) collided with me, dropping a hideous flowered purse. Figuring that the purse didn’t belong to him, I punched him in the nose as he tried to get up.

Yes, I had punched him instead of using my awesome super powers. It had been instinct!

He booked it down the street before I could do anything else to him. I picked up the abandoned purse and gave it a quick look-through before finding an iPhone. A young, feminine voice spoke in my mind while the screen proceeded to load up the GPS application.

Thank you, the iPhone had said. His hands were cold! Do you mind taking me back to my master?

I had complied, obviously, especially since the device had been nice to guide me with a map to its owner’s home. It took me a little while to leave after finding the lady. Simulation or not, she had just baked cookies and insisted on rewarding me with some.

Full with imaginary food, I returned to the streets and was now just wandering around. The street lamps greeted me, and I was having a short conversation with them until a random explosion shook the ground. Dark smoke billowed up on the horizon, and I took off running toward the source. Within a few minutes I was wishing that I had picked super speed as my second ability.

I reached the site eventually and immediately dived behind some wreckage when some crazy chick started blasting ice and snow from her hands. Another girl and a guy were flanking Ice Woman, and I mentally dubbed the second girl Bomber for the little explosives she was throwing everywhere. The guy was Get Away Driver, since he was packing a car’s trunk with bags while the ladies just caused chaos. Diamonds and other jewels fell out of the stuffed bags as he tried to cram them in the vehicle.

I tried to give myself a pep talk to move (Alright, Gigabyte, you’re a hero! Stop the villains!), but it was a bit difficult when exploding snowballs whizzed over my head. After reminding myself several times that it was just a simulation, I mentally stalled the car and promptly learned that this would be rated R as a game due to Get Away Driver’s choice of words.

I peeked around my wreckage shield and was abruptly thrown against a building’s wall. Get Away Driver was renamed to Mental Boy for his telekinetic ability and apparent anger issues. Stiffly, I got up from where I had landed, trying to drive the pain away with logic. Being a simulation, of course, the pain should all be in my head—

“Stupid hero,” Mental Boy said as he raised me in the air again. “What were you thinking–”

I was dropped again when Mental Boy was suddenly blasted away with fire and went down for the count. Ice Woman retaliated and her stream of snow met the fire head-on. Glancing up, I saw that my ally was a floating young man in a deep red costume decorated with flames along the sleeves. I stood up and looked at our last opponent; Bomber was forming a large explosive but, before she could throw it at Fire Man, I lashed out with my own powers.

Electricity crackled around me, and my body felt as if I was getting constant static shocks. I threw my arm toward Bomber and bolts of electricity soared toward her. As my powers made contact with her, Bomber screamed and little sparks sizzled around her even after she fell unconscious to the ground. Sparks danced around my hands and head, and I felt a pleasant tingle surge through me.

A shout and a thump interrupted my thoughts, and I turned to see Ice Woman unconscious, and Fire Man land on the ground. He walked over to me while my electricity dissipated. Despite his mask, I recognized his crooked smile.

“Darrien–”

“Shhh.” His smile grew into a smirk. “You’ll give away my secret identity. I’m Kindle in this get-up. Care to join up, Gigabyte?”

I grinned. “I’d love to.”

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Ripple Effect Part Four”

Ripple Effect
Part Four

“You could stay an extra hour tonight if you want.”

I glanced at the register’s clock as I loaded up my tray with table nineteen’s coffees, muffins, and someone’s omelet, and realized I was only halfway through my shift. My eyes strayed to Betty’s carefully neutral face, but her façade cracked under my raised eyebrow. She knew the you-have-got-to-be-kidding look. She invented it.

“And how much will you pay me to want to stay?” I asked sarcastically before strolling through the restaurant to my table. Plastering on my fake smile, I passed out the patrons’ food, politely asked if they needed anything else, and bit back a groan as someone complained about needing a new fork because theirs had a spot on it. I mentioned that I would be more than happy to get them a clean fork and spun on my heel to return to the hostess’s podium and the kitchen beyond.

“Josh, a customer said you didn’t clean the forks,” I said as I tossed the offending utensil into the sink. The dishwasher glared at it before scrubbing the little spot off and handing it back to me.

“There’s a certain place you could tell her to shove–”

“Before you say anything else, remember that you would have to clean it,” I said before escaping back onto the restaurant floor and nearly running into Betty.

“So, is that a no?” she asked in regards to her earlier question. I returned the fork to the old lady, whom deemed it acceptable before using it on her muffin, and went back to Betty.

“Although I would love to volunteer more of my life to Rise and Shine,” I said, “I actually have plans tonight.”

“What, you close to the boss on one of those games you always play?”

I rolled my eyes before smiling at a young family that entered the restaurant. Betty greeted them and led them to table twelve while I went to the kitchen to see if table seventeen’s orders were ready. It took about fifteen minutes before Betty and I could exchange sentences again.

“I meant I actually have plans with other human beings,” I said. It was her turn to raise an eyebrow and I frowned. “I don’t spend every night on my computer!”

“I’m surprised,” she said dryly. Then she grinned. “Our little Sierra has a date?”

“No,” I said. I grabbed the pitcher of fresh coffee that one of the cooks put on the table by the kitchen entrance and stuffed a fistful of cups of cream into my apron pocket. I took my time going around my tables and making small talk with the customers while I freshened up coffees.

“Then what are your plans?” Betty asked when I returned from cleaning up a table. I glanced at her while pooling the tips that were left behind in the jar hidden in the hostess’s podium.

“Why are you so nosy?” I asked in return.

“Not nosy,” she said, “just curious.”

“I’m going to a friend’s place for dinner,” I said. “That’s all.”

“Dinner?” Betty’s eyes widened and she wore a grin that would have made a fox proud. “What kind of dinner?”

“Not breakfast food,” I muttered, taking the tray of cinnamon rolls that a cook handed me at the kitchen’s threshold. I delivered the rolls to table twenty, and Betty followed me.

“What is wrong with breakfast food?” she asked. With her hands on her hips and a twinkle in her eyes, she was the image of an aunt who appeared stern in front of your parents but gave you candy behind their backs.

Directing my smile at the customers while I handed out their rolls, I said, “Absolutely nothing. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Is there anything else I can get you folks?” After the customers assured Betty and me that they were fine, we returned to the front of the restaurant.

“I think we’re having vegetable lasagna,” I said. “His housemate is rumored to be a good cook.”

“Maybe I’ll hire him,” Betty said. “Wait a minute, you’re going to have dinner with a boy at his place, and this isn’t a date?”

“I assure you it is not a date,” I said, “just a gathering between friends.”

“Uh-huh.”

“You don’t sound as if you believe me.”

“You know me too well.”

I huffed and startled one of the cooks when I snatched a plate of hash browns from her for table eighteen. Betty didn’t try to ask me any other questions (not that I stuck around her enough to let her), but her eyes still held that annoying twinkle. The end of my shift could not have come soon enough, and by the time my relief came, I was ready to grab my share of the tips and run out of there.

The clock read quarter-to-three when I walked into my apartment. I contemplated collapsing on my couch for a bit, but I dragged myself into the shower to get a head-start on getting ready for the dinner. It was discouraging how long it took me to pick out an outfit. Really, it was a casual dinner between friends – I shouldn’t have worried so much about how I looked. I knew it wasn’t a date (honestly, how many people invited their housemates to stick around for a date?), but a dinner at Alex’s place seemed like something of a special occasion.

On the other hand, they’re men. I was probably over thinking the situation.

With a sigh, and a chime of the clock that indicated it was three-thirty, I threw on a pair of my favorite jeans and a blouse. After giving myself one last look-over in the mirror, I grabbed my keys and headed back out of my apartment. I wondered what Alex could have created that was too big for his precious duffel bag. My inner geek started getting excited at the possibilities. Maybe he built a replica of the Batmobile!

It was about five minutes to four when I found the house. It was a modest ranch house, the kind that would be thought of whenever one talked about the perfect life with the perfect significant other and the perfect two-point-five kids. Although it looked nice, it didn’t seem like Alex’s kind of place and I double-checked the address just to be sure. I think I was expecting an automated gate or a robot to greet me.

When I rang the doorbell, I knew it was the right place. The buzzer sounded exactly like the first few notes of the original X-Men cartoon theme song.

I stood on the front steps and, after a few minutes of silence, doubt soon started to creep in again and my anxiety rose. Like déjà vu of our first meeting, I started wondering if I had the right date, time, house—

A slam of a car door made me jump, and I whirled around toward the driveway. A man that was definitely not Alex was gazing at me curiously while taking a few grocery bags out of the passenger seat. He was taller and darker than Alex, with evident muscles along his bare arms. He looked the opposite of the guy I was expecting to see.

“I hope you’re Sierra,” he said when he caught up to me at the front door, “otherwise I’ll have to chase you off.”

A voice in the back of my head reminded me that Alex had a housemate, and I found my voice. “Yeah, I’m Sierra Parker. Uh, can I help you with the bags–”

He actually dropped the bags on the steps, not worried about anything being ruined, as he fished his keys out of his pocket. “I’m experienced enough in carrying them myself,” he said while opening the front door. “Darrien Lukas. C’mon in.”

“Thanks…” The door led to a small mudroom, and I copied Darrien when he kicked off his sneakers before following him down the hallway. We emerged in a small living room with a television, a couch, a bookshelf, and a punching bag in the corner. The bag was patched with duct tape, and the books’ spines were creased and worn from being read so often. I smiled at how comfortable the place seemed. It was homier than my parents’ pristine house.

Darrien had gone to the right to the kitchen and was simultaneously putting groceries away and preparing dinner. “Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked.

He gave me a crooked smile, but shook his head. “Thanks, but no. After Alex burned down half of our last stove, I don’t trust anyone else in here.” His smile widened at my horrified expression before he said, “Speaking of Alex, let me find him. I thought he would have appeared by now.”

I followed Darrien across the living room to a closed door next to the last hallway. “Wait up here,” he said. “There’s no telling what he’s up to down there.”

I smiled at Darrien’s smirk and he went down to the basement. Out of curiosity, I glanced further down the hallway. A washer and dryer were settled in a nook at the very end while a door on either side of the hallway led to what I assumed to be the guys’ bedrooms. Closer to me was the bathroom and I was startled and amused to see duct tape decorating the door around the handle.

Maybe the “Pen o’ Doom” existed after all.

The floor suddenly shook, and I braced myself against the wall to keep from falling. It only lasted for a couple of seconds, causing me to wonder if the tiny earthquake even happened. Darrien returned from the basement, his head shaking. “Sorry about that,” he said, his tone so casual it made me believe the house shook on a regular basis. “Alex will be up in a bit. Make yourself at home.”

I nodded and followed Darrien back through the house and took a seat on the couch while he went back to the kitchen. Instead of staying quiet, he asked me random questions about myself (“So, are you as big a geek as Alex?”) while also telling me little tidbits about his life.

“How did Alex and you become housemates?” I asked.

“We’ve known each other since we were kids.” Darrien glared at a zucchini that didn’t want to be cut up. “We were both the weird ones out, I suppose.”

I frowned. “I’m sorry. Kids can be mean.”

He shrugged, unperturbed, and got a very large knife out of a drawer and killed the stubborn vegetable. “We were fine. He pulled pranks on those that bothered me, and I beat up anyone who bothered him.”

“Sounds like a good system,” I said dryly. He gave me another smirk. “Okay, now I have the ultimate question.”

“The ‘ultimate,’ huh?” Darrien didn’t look up at me as he placed zucchini slices on the bed of noodles.

“Batman or Superman?”

He actually chuckled. “Superman. Alex has yet to convince me otherwise.”

“Why Superman?” I asked.

“He doesn’t appreciate all of Batman’s technology.” Alex finally emerged from his dungeon and gave me a sheepish grin. “Sorry I took so long, Sierra. I was doing some last-minute adjustments on my virtual reality system.”

I sat up straighter and looked at Alex in wonder. “Virtual reality?”

He beamed and his eyes shone with excitement. “Yeah! It’s–”

“You have soot in your hair,” Darrien interrupted. “Go clean yourself up. You can gush about your child during dinner.”

Alex ran a hand through his hair and sneezed when a touch of ash fell onto his nose. “Uh, right. I’ll be back then. Not that either of you may care since you’re getting along so well.”

We shared a grin, it being obvious that Alex was pleased with the development. Darrien’s monotonous tone said, “That’s right, so go away.”

“Okay, okay…!” Within a few minutes, the shower was running and Darrien had joined me on the couch.

“Do you know about his virtual reality system?” I asked excitedly.

“I make it a point to know all about his creations in the event that something knocks the house to the ground,” Darrien said. “I actually tried it out. It’s pretty cool, but I’m sure Alex will want to tell you all about it.”

I conceded to his point, but it was painful to make small talk when the idea of virtual reality was in the front of my mind. No, it wasn’t a new concept, but if Alex could make a laser pen…

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Ripple Effect Part Three”

Ripple Effect
Part Three

Alex and I soon began directly messaging each other instead of joining the chat room, and it was always fascinating to hear what that guy was doing in his lab. There were plenty of small inventions and items he created, such as a thin, transparent paint that made whatever it coated glow-in-the-dark. Alex said his housemate used it on his keys to better find the lock on his car after work. Some others, like a pen that shot lasers, didn’t sound plausible at all to me but I generally humored him.

“So what is this pen called?” I had asked him. “Does it have a name?”

“I suck at naming things,” he had typed back. “My housemate started calling it the Pen o’ Doom after I accidentally shot a hole through the bathroom door.”

Our conversations tended to stick to inventions, comics, and superheroes just like in the old chat room. We had been messaging each other for a few months while only publicly going out, usually to see the latest superhero movie (which ignited conversations about how the movie failed the comics) or browse the science fiction section of our local bookstore together. He even accompanied me to the electronics store to help me pick out a new desktop computer for my games (which ended up being a buying spree for computer parts so he could help me build my own desktop). It was the night I was going through all the basic settings of my new computer that he instant messaged me a bit earlier than when we usually talked.

“Hey,” was how he always greeted me on our messenger.

“Hey yourself,” I said. “I thought you had a shift?”

“I kinda forgot it,” he said. “I was working on something new, and I got too distracted by it to notice the time. My housemate was actually the one who poked his head in my room to say that he got a coworker to cover for me.”

“Now don’t you feel bad for calling your housemate a pain-in-the-ass last night?”

“No,” was the blunt reply. “Last night he was an ass. Besides, I paid for his share of the rent last month, so I owe him nothing.”

I smiled to myself and played with the different resolutions for the monitor before typing, “Out of curiosity, how was he an ass?”

“He hid my sketch journals.”

That threw me for a loop. “You draw?”

“Not really,” he said. “I make rough sketches of inventions. It has more math than drawings in it.”

I responded with a simple, “Ew,” and he typed out a laugh before I said, “Why would he hide your journals?”

Alex left me hanging for a few minutes before saying, “He wouldn’t give them back until I ate dinner.”

“Why wouldn’t you eat?” I asked. “Food is awesome.”

I could have guessed that he would respond with, “I got distracted by some things…”

“Ass or not, it’s a good thing your housemate is there to make sure you stay alive,” I said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have anyone to discuss how we can obtain super powers.”

“Glad you’d miss me for my mind and not my good looks,” he said, complete with a winking emoticon. He kept typing instead of letting me respond. “Actually, I’m very excited about what keeps distracting me and I’d really like to show it to you.”

I waited for further explanation, but when none came within a moment, I said, “It must be something deadly since you’re not offering to bring it the next time we see each other.”

“Not deadly,” he typed back quickly. “It’s just really big. I can’t move it out of the house. So I was wondering if you wanted to come over some time… We’ll have food!”

I smirked at Alex trying to bribe me with food but pondered on the invite. True, he hadn’t been a psycho like I had initially been worried about (he was a bit crazy, yes, but not psychotic), but I knew next to nothing about the guy outside of his superhero knowledge and genius eccentricities besides the fact that he had a housemate (whose name I never caught) living with him on the other side of town.

“Would your housemate care?” I asked. While waiting for a reply, I tried to figure out if I was hoping he would or not.

“Not at all,” Alex said. “Actually, he’s wondering what you like to eat. He does the cooking around here.”

“You dump that chore on him? All the time?”

“I do okay creating and buildings things as long as there’s no food involved,” he said. “Otherwise, I’m a disaster.”

I laughed out loud at the image in my head of Alex standing in the middle of a kitchen white from an exploding sack of flour. I took a deep breath to compose myself before responding with, “I’ll come if he’s making something good.”

“He’ll make whatever you want!” Alex said, a grinning emoticon appearing next to the statement. It never ceased to amaze me how excited Alex could get over anything.

“Better make sure of that with him,” I said.

“He’s right here by my side,” Alex said, and I shook my head, curious as to how long the other man had been there.

“Hi, Alex’s housemate!” A simple hello replied to my words before choices for dinner popped up on the screen. We discussed food while I laughed at how differently Alex and his housemate typed. Alex was always proper with grammar and spelling, while his housemate couldn’t be bothered to capitalize the beginning of a sentence.

“So, next Friday night, then?” Alex took control of the keyboard again.

“I’ll be there by 4,” I said. He sent me one last smiling emoticon before we signed off for the night.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Amuse Me Part Two”

So, about two and a half years ago, I had posted the first part of this story on this blog. I hope you enjoy them!

Amuse Me Part Two

Cosmo gaped, unsure as to what he was seeing. There were chunks of rock suddenly floating in the sky, rock that used to form the moon. Would those rocks be pulled to Earth? The rocks looked small in the distance, but how much land would they cover if they crashed into the planet?

“What just…” Cosmo shook his head, wide awake at witnessing the moon being destroyed. He bolted into his house to his television, searching for any news broadcast that would cover this phenomenon. Surely Cosmo was not the only one to witness–

A deep red light flashed outside of his window. Cosmo stared at some sort of forcefield creeping up over the horizon, crawling up into the air until the night sky was completely blocked by the light.

His phone rang, making Cosmo jump and bang his shin on his coffee table. He cursed soundly before answering the call. “Hello?”

“Have you looked outside?!”

“Yes, Murphy,” Cosmo said, his eyes taking in the red light again. “It’s a bit hard to miss–”

“How do you sound so calm?” Murphy asked, his voice nearly shrill in a panic.

“What do you want me to do?” Cosmo retorted. “I don’t have a handy spaceship to fly up there and repair the moon!”

Murphy fell quiet. Cosmo stayed on the line, just listening to his friend’s breathing, and waited. “What’s going to happen now?” Murphy eventually asked.

“I don’t know,” Cosmo said. “I guess the tides will be affected… The nights will be darker–”

“Are you kidding me?” Murphy asked. “That’s what you’re thinking about? We have this alien force field covering the planet, and you’re thinking about the ocean tides?!”

“You think this is because of aliens?” Cosmo deadpanned.

“Of course!” Murphy said. “What else could it be?”

Cosmo rolled his eyes and did not answer. He had no better explanation, but he was not so crazy as to believe aliens. Murphy went on about aliens and why they must be the culprits, and Cosmo allowed him to rant, if only to let his friend calm down a touch from this strange event. Cosmo focused on the outside, noticing that the red force field reminded him of the woman at the restaurant. The red resembled her wine.

“Murphy.”

“–then they’re going to beam up our cows and, what?”

“How well do you think we’d be able to see the damage from Green Park?”

It took a few moments before Murphy swore. “You think that scary lady had something to do with this?” he asked. “She was weird, I know, but how could even she… You know what, never mind. I’ll come pick you up and we’ll figure this out.”

“Should we?” Cosmo asked. “I mean, I’m going out on a limb here, but I think the world’s governments are probably all over this–”

“You don’t want to be part of it?” Murphy asked. “C’mon, man. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“We could get beamed up instead of the cows,” Cosmo said.

“Ah-HA! So you do believe in aliens!”

“I do not,” Cosmo said. “I’ll come with you just to prove you wrong.”

“Perfect, I’ll see you in a few.” The line went dead.

Cosmo sighed and changed out of his work uniform for a comfortable pair of jeans and a t-shirt. He donned a light jacket and placed his keys, wallet, and cell phone into his pockets just as his truck pulled up to the side of the street. Murphy waved delightedly as Cosmo caught up to the car.

“Move over,” Cosmo said. “I’m driving my car.”

Murphy pouted but did as he was told. “I didn’t do anything to your baby,” Murphy said indignantly when Cosmo began to check over his truck.

“You did play around with the seat buttons,” Cosmo said, undoing Murphy’s handiwork.

“I can’t help it if I’m shorter than you,” Murphy said. “Hurry up and let’s go to Green Park. Maybe we’ll meet your girlfriend there.”

Cosmo shuddered, but put the car in drive and cruised down the streets. Not too many other vehicles were on the roads, and the few they did pass by had pulled over to the side so the passengers could get out and gawk at the force field.

“Everyone seems to be outside,” Murphy murmured as he stared out the window.

“What else would they all be doing?” Cosmo asked.

“Go and investigate like us.”

“Not everyone is as crazy as us.”

Murphy chuckled dryly, and nothing else was said during the rest of the short trip to the Green Park. Cosmo pulled the car into the lot and hesitated before climbing out of the vehicle. Murphy was out before the car was put into park, and he had bounced toward the path that led to the middle of the park.

“Let’s go,” Murphy said.

“Wait,” Cosmo said, catching up to grab a hold of Murphy’s arm. “Say we find the source of this force field. What are we going to do about it?”

Murphy paused. “Obviously we try to avoid getting beamed up by the aliens. Although that could be kind of cool, actually, as long as we don’t get prodded too much–”

“Will you stop with this alien nonsense?” Cosmo asked. “It can’t be aliens. Aliens don’t exist.”

Murphy gestured to the bright red light in the sky. “What else could it be?”

“I…” Cosmo stared at the lights, having no answer. “I just refuse to believe in aliens.”

“You have no imagination,” Murphy said with a scoff, and began to lead the way down the park’s path. “We cannot be the only life forms in this universe. A couple of other races were in the middle of a battle, of course.”

“Of course,” Cosmo said dryly, following Murphy at a slower pace.

Murphy continued with, “One race accidentally blasted the moon to pieces and, upon realizing what they did to an innocent bystander like us, threw up a force field to protect us from the moon pieces.”

“That’s certainly nice of them.”

Murphy nodded, either missing or ignoring Cosmo’s sarcasm. “Which is why it may be interesting to meet them. They have no problem with us if they’re willing to protect our planet from their intergalactic battle. Not only that, if they have enough power to blow up a moon and create this force field, being nice to them is our best option.”

Cosmo sauntered along, half-listening to Murphy’s ramblings as his friend routinely skipped ahead on the path and returned to Cosmo’s side to walk beside him. All the while, Cosmo’s gaze kept returning to the sky to fixate on the red force field. Beyond the translucent light, chunks of moon rock floated along, having no orbit any longer. Cosmo was so enthralled with the light that he walked into Murphy’s back.

Murphy stopped himself from stumbling forward into the open by clinging to Cosmo’s arm. It was due to Murphy’s grip that kept Cosmo rooted to his spot.

There, in Green Park’s clearing, was the lady in red from the restaurant a couple of hours ago, complete with her long cigarette holder. She was standing as tall as possible, her gaze riveted on where the moon used to be. She wasn’t alone.

“What are those?” Murphy whispered, and Cosmo could only shake his head. The little red and pink lights floating around the lady were odd enough, but after studying them for a few more moments, Cosmo realized that they were not just sparkles.

“They have wings,” Cosmo said. “Those lights have wings. Like, like…”

“Fairies?” Murphy supplied.

Cosmo backed away. “We need to go tell someone about this.”

“Seriously?” Murphy glanced up at him. “Which is more believable? Aliens or fairies?”

Cosmo hesitated. “Maybe if we take a picture with our phones–”

One of the pink fairies suddenly flew at his face, chattering angrily like a squirrel frustrated with a tricky bird feeder. Murphy yelped, the sound making several other fairies turn in their general direction, and both men bolted down one of the park’s pathways.

“We’re running from a fairy,” Murphy said in between pants. “How manly is that?”

“Shut up,” Cosmo said, “and remember that these fairies probably blew up the moon.”

“Good point.”

Cosmo and Murphy burst through the edge of the pathway and ended up in the backyards of one of the suburban neighborhoods near Green Park. The fairy pursued them, and Cosmo swore that the pink glow was turning crimson.

“Is this how it ends?” Cosmo asked.

“If it is,” Murphy said, “are those going to be your last words?”

“Really?” Cosmo said. “That’s what you’re thinking about right now?”

“Last words are important,” Murphy said, backing away from the advancing fairy. “It’s how we’ll go down in history.”

“If we both die right now,” Cosmo said, “there is no one else to hear our last words. So it doesn’t matter what we say and why am I arguing with you about this–”

Both men screamed when a shotgun rang out and the pink fairy was gone.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Twin Kings Part Two”

Twin Kings
Part Two

Sterling watched as Pearl was spun around in sync with the other couples on the floor by Jett, and Sterling was curious if Jett was aware that he was second-best to their sister. Sterling and Pearl had already had a dance together, and Sterling did not recall seeing Jett have the pleasure of watching the pair.

It mattered not, he supposed. Sterling knew that he had his sister’s support, and that was more important than seeing Jett’s jealousy.

“My lord.”

Sterling turned his gaze from his siblings and onto one of the knights in front of him. “Yes, Sir Galin?”

“I was curious if you have an idea as to where you wish to start your pilgrimage,” Galin said. Galin was a knight of the Southridge division, one where the rough lands bred muscular people born to survive in the wilds. Galin was a surefire choice for Sterling’s band across the land.

“I wish to see the wyvern grounds,” Sterling admitted. “Imagine the glory and honor that we would gain if we tamed and returned home with such creatures. My brother claims to be a master of fire magic. I long to see his expression when I come home riding atop a creature that breathes the flames he says he can control!”

The entourage of knights and soldiers chuckled appreciatively, and Sterling returned his attention to the dance floor. His gaze caught his mother’s, and he inclined his head politely to the queen. She returned the gesture from her throne, but he was sure she would much rather him mingle with the women of the court.

Sterling knew a woman was not how he would earn the throne from his father. He would not need one, not just yet. When he returned home with tales of heroics, women would throw themselves at his feet, and he would merely have to pick his choice from the lot. While Jett worked on wooing the nobles with pretty words, Sterling would actually go out and prove his kinghood with deeds.

Pearl appeared in his line of vision, his beloved sister strolling with all the poise bred in her blood toward him. Her fair hair was pinned up in the style that mimicked their mother’s, and she stopped a foot away from Sterling and his allies to curtsy to the group in her white gown.

Sterling bowed to his sister just as the knights had, but his dark gaze lingered on the faces of the knights. Galin, at the very least, had his eyes on Pearl’s budding curves rather than her fair face, and Sterling moved forward to block the knight’s line of vision while smiling graciously to his sister.

“What can I do for you, Pearl?” Sterling asked.

“I was hoping for another dance with you,” she said, her gaze flickering to the expressions on the soldiers before settling on Sterling’s face. “You’re much lighter on your feet than Jett, I’ll admit. I hope your friends will not mind me stealing you away for a second time.”

“They don’t mind.” Sterling smiled and handed his wine glass to one of the passing servants. “It will be my pleasure, Princess.”

Sterling led his sister onto the dance floor once more, sneaking a look at his brother. Jett looked thoughtful, almost pleased, and Sterling did his best not to show his puzzlement. Surely Jett could not be happy with their sister favoring Sterling with two dances? What did Jett have up his sleeves of his oversized sage robes?

Sterling refocused on his sister, her face alight with delight as the pair danced, and his worries melted away. Nothing mattered at this stage of the game.

“Sterling?” Pearl looked up at him near the end of the waltz. “I’m aware that Jett is more interested in the noblewomen than you are, but may I suggest that you at least dance with Princess Marina?”

“Princess?” Sterling echoed. “Of Leau, correct? I didn’t even know she was here.”

“Jett does,” Pearl said, her tone admonishing Sterling. “She’s one of Father’s favorites for the future queen of the land. She’s the woman in the navy gown over by Mother’s throne with Queen Iris. You see the redhead?”

“Yes,” Sterling said, nodding. “Thank you, Pearl.”

“Twirl me once more in the last stretch of the song,” Pearl said, “and we can end our dance so you can ask her for the next ballad.”

“Very well.” Sterling kissed his sister’s forehead and matched her smile, figuring that he may as well mingle a little with the nobles. He did as Pearl said, ending their dance with a twirl and bowing to each other before he moved over toward his parents’ seats. Whatever discussion that the queens and the princess had been having died when Sterling reached them, and he bowed to the women.

“Forgive me for intruding, ladies,” he said, casting his charming smile at the trio, “but I was hoping that I could have the pleasure of a dance with Princess Marina?”

“I would be honored, my lord.” Marina curtsied in return and allowed herself to be whirled away onto the dance floor. Sterling noticed the pleased expression on their mothers as they resumed their talk when he led the princess away. He imagined the approval from both queens as he returned his attention to the princess in his arms.

Marina was of lean stature with small, but solid, muscles of a swimmer native of the island country. She was attractive, and Sterling could imagine his own son sharing her red hair and blue eyes. Perhaps Sterling would take his father’s preference into account when he was ready to settle down.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2016 in Home, Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Halfling Part 6”

Halfling Part 6

Caden didn’t speak much as Uncle Rand and he continued their travels the next day, only occasionally granting fake smiles to those villagers whom thanked him again for his help as they left Dorgate. The pair walked for about a candle mark before Caden actually spoke up.

“You implied that I wasn’t a normal mage,” he said. “Can we talk about that now?”

Uncle Rand nodded. “Of course,” he said. “All I meant was that you had always been strong. When I had first brought that mage to the house to sense your abilities back when you were younger, he had confessed that he had not sensed such powerful magic before, not even from the professors at the school. It was that Fire Mage that had suggested I make you practice a little every day before you were old enough for the school. He was afraid that such strength would one day overpower you if you did not practice it enough.”

Caden stayed silent, not wanting to interrupt this spiel and listened closely.

“Perhaps it already has,” Rand said, “when it became strong enough to kill a man without your conscious effort.

“I believed that maybe your heritage has something to do with your strength,” Rand continued. “Your mother, gods bless her soul, passed away giving birth to you, and my sister had never revealed to me who your father was. All I had known was that she had met him in Geist.”

“Was my mother a mage?” Caden asked.

“Not a full one, no,” Rand said. “She had a touch of magic in her like all humans, but she hadn’t wished to nourish it. She was a mercenary and had met your father on a mission. I’ve no idea what he did.”

“Do you believe my father was a mage?” was Caden’s next question.

“Perhaps,” Rand said. “I have little belief that you inherited your magical strength from your mother, or anyone on our side of the family, actually. You’ll need to find answers about your father and his life.”

“Hm, I suppose—Hold up.” Caden looked sharply at Uncle Rand. “What do you mean?”

“I mean you should get out a little more,” Rand said, looking at his nephew with a kind smile. “I love having you around, Caden, but you’re young. Go out in the world and learn new things. Discover who you are.”

“So, you want me to just go out alone?” Caden asked, slouching in his saddle.

“You’re a smart and powerful young man,” Rand said. “If going solo is what you wish, then so be it. Otherwise, maybe you can apply to a traveling mercenary guild.” Caden didn’t respond, and Rand added, “Think about it, Caden. Give me an answer once we get back home.”

Caden did as he was told and thought of little else other than the news and stories that had just been revealed to him. He honestly hadn’t thought about what he would do in the future and realized that he had only thought of the present. Did he want to take over his uncle’s business? Become a moneylender and make profits off of debt and interest? What of his magic? What had been the point of going to Akyna’s Mage Academy if he wasn’t going to do anything with his status?

Dahlia was currently a mercenary, having earned her place in a guild. She had enough power and wits about her to climb the ranks, perhaps earning herself a leadership position. The last time Caden had heard about Jaxon, the other Air Mage was well respected in his father’s construction company,  and was currently being groomed to become a manager of one of the company’s divisions. Caden himself didn’t have any long-term goals, but had always been content with his life. Surely there was nothing wrong with that.

However, as Caden and Uncle Rand made it to the yeoman’s lands, Caden realized that Uncle Rand had been right. No, there was not anything wrong with his current life – he was going down a good and safe route, after all – yet Caden knew he wouldn’t be satisfied with it, not when his friends’ letters detailed new places and lands.

Dahlia was a warrior, always had been a fighter and stood up for those whom couldn’t stand on their own. Jaxon was excellent with people and creative with solutions, making him an ideal manager and business owner. Caden, at the moment, was just his uncle’s nephew, standing to the side of the foyer while his uncle bartered back and forth with the yeoman on how to settle a debt. Listening to the yeoman try to offer cattle as payment for the debt, Caden made up his mind.

The day after, the debt was somewhat settled, with Uncle Rand getting the majority of his money and a couple of horses, and the yeoman getting one more month to pay back what he owed before Uncle Rand took more of the yeoman’s livestock as payment. Caden tied the reins of one of the new horses to Pepper’s bridle, and waited until Rand had tied the other horse to the wagon.

“Uncle.” Caden broke the silence as the pair were making their way back home. “Would it be too much trouble to ask for an allowance on my inheritance? Just a bit to help me start my travels to Geist.”

Uncle Rand’s grin was contagious, and the two spent the rest of the journey home discussing plans and strategies for the next part of Caden’s life.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in Scribbles

 

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