Saturday, February 10, 2018

Eternal

As she lay in the tall grass of the field, dying of from her wounds, she looked up at the clear blue skies above and remembered all of her past lives, and deaths.

How many times had she died? Too numerous to count, always the same, they blurred into one another.

She had been a simple famer, a primitive Neanderthal, feudal lord, a beggar, and even a famous general of a vast army in her lifetimes; and in a great battle against her enemy's forces she had met her end, as she had always done, at the hands of her one and true foe; and he at her hands.

They had fought one another throughout the ages; many of their conflicts were written of in the history texts that told of civilization's journey through the millennia, though no one would suspect that they were all just a continuation of the same war.

The eternal war between darkness and the light; renewed each time as she and her enemy were reborn into the world.

From epic battles between military generals, to lone ruffian fights in the back streets of some ancient market city, they always found one another, no matter who they were each time.

Their lives were not their own, but were confined to the unending struggle to keep the balance between what is good and what is evil.

Now, laying a few short paces from her fallen enemy, she held her hand to her stomach where their blade had made its fatal strike. Her other hand however, was held tightly by the hand of her love, kneeling by her side.

Just as each time they died, her enemy was left alone and abandoned by their followers, her love stayed with her until the end.

Looking into her lover's tear-filled eyes she could see the sadness at their departing yet again. If only she could spare them the pain of losing the one they loved over and over; but they too were enslaved to their fate.

A soft breeze blew through the grassy field where the two adversaries had met; samurai warriors this lifetime; ronin that had wandered the lands until finding each other yet again.

The familiar calmness washed over her and she smiled up at her lover for the last time in this life, and they smiled bravely back.

Most deaths blurred into one another, but this one she would remember.

Birds swooped passed, gliding gracefully on the wind as with her last breathes, she spoke soft and sweetly to her love.


"This was my favourite death." She whispered as she closed her eyes for the last time; until the next life time.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Hijack

It was the tiniest of things; a spark in the early hours of mornings dim light that almost went unnoticed, except for the keen eyes that had been watching for it.

Eyes that flashed with the reflection of the pop of light that was visible for only a moment before winking out of existence again. Eyes that then narrowed to slits that nearly vanished into the shadows that surrounded them.

Soon they would be coming and the hidden figures laying wait in the shadows would welcome them, in their own special way.

The sound of a blade sliding out of its sheath whispered in the dark as the glint of the razor sharp steel signalled to their counterparts that they were ready and waiting.

Soon, with the rising light of the sun behind, a coach rumbled along the well-worn dirt road that led to the palace which stood to atop the high-reaching cliffs so that it overlooked the lush forest of the valley.

Its train of horses pulled the coach at a brisk pace along the road as it wound its way through the tall-standing trees, their green leaves heavy with the moisture of the previous night.

The coach's driver sat on its padded roof edge seat as they worked the reigns, steering the horses deftly along the curving roadway. Their high-collared coat and pulled down hat, with its broad brim hid the driver's features to the point that they resembled a phantom driving the midnight-black coach faster to beat dawn's creeping light.

The windowless coach gave no hint of who or what might be riding inside, but it was clear from its lacquered and well-maintained exterior, that it would be a prime target for any daring marauders who might try to highjack it.

As the coach turn a bend, four shadowy figures leapt silently from the surrounding trees and onto its roof behind the unsuspecting driver; their entire bodies cloaked in close-fitting black garments from head to toes, with only their eyes visible from a slit in their face masks.

Nimbly, the four figures moved toward the seated driver as the coach continued to rumble along the forest road at a brisk clip. Steel flashed as they unsheathed their long swords in unison and made ready to attack.

With choreographed precision, the four marauders moved as one, plunging each of their swords into the back of the driver, yet there was no reaction from their victim, no blood spurting out from the swords thrusting all the way through their body. Only, electrical sparks shot out from underneath the driver's cloak as it tore away to reveal the mechanical carapace of an automaton.

The galloping horses flickered for a moment as if they were only a visual illusion, as the coach was well capable of driving itself.

The four assailants looked to each other with a moment of confusion before the flash of a steel blade sliced them in half with one blurred slash.

As their bodies fell in pieces from the coach, blood spraying off in gushes that splattered the passing trees before tumbling to be left unceremoniously on the side of the road, a red cloaked figure stood alone atop the still speeding carriage.

Their face hidden as well, save for bright blue eyes staring steely ahead, they cleaned their blade before deftly re-sheathing it and abruptly springing into a back flip off the roof to land on the back rack of the coach, with the grace of a lithe cat.

Catching onto the bar that attached to the back of the carriage for use as a handle on the rare occasions when guards were used, the figure in red made their way around the side of the carriage to unlatch side the door and slip inside.

The interior of the coach was red leather to match the cloaked figure's outfit, which they quickly unfurled to reveal a young woman with auburn hair that fell in curls around her freckled cheeks.

She placed her outfit and sword underneath the plush bench that hid a storage truck within, and took out a white ruffled dress which she thought of as more a disguise than her previous clothes.

Donning her respectable lady's attire and placing her hair up in a more fashionable style, she took her seat on the coach's passenger beach and touched a panel to her right, causing a screen to appear as its display glowed into the image of a well-groomed man in fine livery.

"Yes, my lady?" The groomsman spoke in a hoity drawl. "Has the journey been uneventful as you predicted?"

"Quite, Harrington," the lady replied while nonchalantly pulling on her lace-embroidered gloves. "Very dull indeed; though we will need to do some repairs on the driver; a minor malfunction, still operational, nothing to worry about."

Harrington raised a questioning eyebrow, "As you say, my lady."

"I should be there within the hour," she advised. "Have the east gates opened. I have a few items I've pick up along the way."

"Of course, my lady," Harrington answered dutifully as his image winked out and the display screen sunk back into its hidden panel.

Looking sufficiently proper once again, the young lady looked to the chests sitting on the floor of the coach and lifted one of the lids to reveal the shimmering glow of its contents.

With a wickedly mischievous grin, she scooped up a handful of the gold coins that filled the chest and let them trickled through her fingers to drop back down with their satisfying clinks.

Yes, she thought to herself as the coach rumbled towards the palace, very dull indeed.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Time is Fixed

Time is fixed, he had always said; even if a person could go back in time and tried to change the variables of a specific event in the past, the outcome would always end up being the same.

And even if you did manage to change the outcome of a specific event in time, resulting in a change in the history of events, the future version of the time traveller would then have no need to change events leading up to the event, thus the trip back in time would never have happened to change anything and the outcome would then of course, end up being the same.

He had always said that, that is until the day he had stepped out of the time portal and into past; trying to change the outcome.

All he had to do was to stop himself from leaving the house that day and everything would be fixed. None of the terrible things he had gone through after that day would have to happen and the world would not have to suffer from his mistakes.

It had taken so many years to pinpoint exactly when and where things had gone wrong, obsessively back-tracking events through the timeline until finally, he was certain that this one day, one ordinary moment, would set in motion the chain reaction that would bring about the destruction of the entire world as we know it.

Then there was only the impossible task of creating the ability to open the rift in time and space to be able to go back and undo all that he had done to contribute to the world's end.

Yet, he had done it, almost stumbling upon it, he had uncovered the way to shift the fabric of space-time and open a portal to the past.

Now, after so many lost decades, he was through and standing in front of his old home; looking just as he had remembered it, an unassuming house on the wooded street of an exclusive neighbour in western end of the city.

At that moment, he knew the past version of himself was just making his way down the stairs to the kitchen to make himself breakfast before heading to work at the lab only a few short minutes away down the road.

However, this time, he would make sure he never did.

Looking like a gaunt and ghostly version of himself, he gripped the handle of the pistol tightly to make sure it was still there and started to make his way to end things before they ever began.

As he went to step away from the shimmering portal, a hand grasped his arm from behind and he jerked around to see who had grabbed him. A familiar looking arm was protruding out from the portal and he looked up from it in shock to see a cleaned-shaven and healthier version of himself staring back at him through the portal.

"I'm sorry about this." His other version said in a sincerely apologetic voice just before he heard the squealing of car tires to his right.

He was barely able to comprehend that the driver of the car was also him, though an even more dishevelled and crazed version then himself, before the car struck him and he flew into the air like a ragdoll.

Screaming like a madman as he swerved the car wildly, he watched as his other self landed with a sickening thud, his neck twisted and broken, onto the pavement in his rear-view mirror.

Looking back ahead, he saw another version of himself standing in the dead center of the road and he yanked hard on the steering wheel to swerved and avoid hitting himself on instinct. The tires skidded out of control on the wet road from the previous night's rain, and the car careened off the road and crashed headlong into an old, unyielding oak tree.

The other version of himself stood calmly in the center of the road and watched the car crumple and explode with the impact, then turned to see the past version of himself coming out of his house to see what all the commotion was about.

As he rushed out of the house in his housecoat, he saw the flames of the wreck in the trees just to the east of his front yard and then scanned back along the road to see himself standing there looking back at him from the middle of the road.

He nodded at himself just as he faded out of existence, as did the other him laying prone on the pavement a few steps away from the first. The noise of the fiery wreck suddenly stopped and looking over at where it had been, he saw only the tall trees standing undisturbed as the birds chirped their morning songs to each other.

Stunned, he went back inside and sat down on one of the kitchen bar stools. After a long while just sitting, thinking about what he had just seen, the toaster on the counter dinged and popped out two well-done pieces of bread, startling him from his thoughts.


What had he been thinking of? He could almost remember, but it slipped away from him. Oh well, he was going to be late for work at the lab if he sat around too long. No time to waste! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Village Dreams

Down in the sleepy village the sun's light was melting away into the western sky as the shade of the mountain branched out along the land to take its place.

Night would soon be upon the little village at the foot of the mountain and its inhabitants were finishing their daily tasks and making their way home to their modest thatched-roof cottages.

They were a good, hard-working folk that helped one another out whenever they could and they led happy, peaceable lives, with their families gathered together in their cozy homes, made warm by the flames alight in the cooking hearths, their lives were fulfilled.

Now that the evening light had faded completely, night had arrived and the villagers readied themselves for bed; for early the next day, the preparations for the winter festival would begin.

Midnight came and all were asleep, slumbering serenely in their warm, straw-laden beds, when a slinking shadow made its way through the empty village street, moving unnaturally against the moon's pale light.

Growing long, the shadow slithered like a serpent and seeped into the window of one of the cottages, where a young child lay sleeping in his bed on the second level loft.

The young boy had no siblings so he enjoyed the privacy of the upper loft to himself as his parents slept soundly on the main floor below.

He had never suffered from bad dreams before, but as the shadow cast its gloom over him, dark and foreboding visions came to him.

Visions of a skewed version of the world he knew; instead of clear blue, the blood red skies of his dream world were the backdrop to high-reaching towers of steel that crowded in on each other and loomed down on tortured figured that toiled and languished in the dirtied and polluted lands below.

None of what the boy saw in his dreams made sense to him, yet the images horrified him beyond anything he had ever witnessed; each more horrifying than the last, until a startling figure came into view above the nightmarish landscape, taking up the entirety of the skies.

The menacing gaze of a black-eyed man with a severe and gaunt face glared down at him within the dream. Yet, those pools of blackness seemed to somehow see through the dream, and gaze at him truly where he lay whimpering in his bed, still asleep.

A sneer slid across the man's face to reveal a mouth full of glinting, razor-sharp teeth that sent a wave of fresh terror through the boy, and then the truly terrifying revelation came to the slumbering child.

Somehow, the loathsome visage staring down at him through his dream was his own grown self; a twisted and blasphemous version of the man he would become.

With a jolt the boy awoke and cried out for his parent; the slinking shadow shrinking back out the window before they arrived to comfort their weeping son.

Back down the village street and out into the darkness of the surrounding forest trees, the shadow shrunk back until it became the hunched figure of a cloaked individual, hiding from sight amongst the old oaks.

Their task complete, the figure turned to shamble away further into the wood so that they were totally hidden by the darkness of the cover of the tall trees.

A strange sound came from within the darkness and then dissipated; leaving the sleepy village that lay nestled between the vast forest and the curving river alone and at peace once again.


From high up on the mountain top, a slight rumble sounded the beginning of what was to come.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Beginning

High up on a mountain top, the night wind blows and a portal opens in the air just above the stony ledge with a strange sound.

Out of the portal a dark figure steps down onto the snow-swept stone, and the razor-thin slice in the air closes with another odd sound; leaving the figure alone in the dim moonlight.

The figure lets their cloak loose to flutter in the whipping wind behind them like a cape, revealing their long, slender face in the pale light. The severe looking man seems unaffected by the harsh winds and freezing temperatures as he scans the area with dark eyes, which come to rest upon a small cave bore into the mountain side.

Striding purposefully to the cave, he ducks under the low hanging entrance to stand just inside; sliding into the shadows, just out of sight.

Once again the mountain top seems deserted.

Moments later, a new portal appears near the cave entrance with its distinctive sound and another figure steps out from its void.

The new cloaked figure stoops and twitches like a wary animal, awaiting the pounce of a predator, as they edge their way against the mountain side. Their portal dissipates and leaves them too close to the cliff edge for their liking.

Sliding over to the cave opening, the figure moves to slip inside when the taller hidden figure reveals himself out of the shadows of the opening.

“Have you done as I have asked, retch?” he asks in a harsh, commanding voice as he brings himself up to full height, looming over the cowering and hunched figure, who scrambles back away to a safe distance.

“Oh!” they exclaim with choked terror. “ Y..yes, Master Luvoa! Yes, of course! Hasn’t Grunder always done as you’ve asked?” Grunder grovels as their cowl drops to reveal their disfigured face and sickly yellow eyes. “Grunder only wants to please you, Master Luvoa. For Master Luvoa revealed to Grunder the mysteries of Magi...”

Luvoa moves in on Grunder with a dominate step, “Quit your grovelling!” he growls, his black eyes shining fiercely in the moonlight. “I detest your snivelling voice! I only allow you to work the tiniest of Magics; enough to do my bidding. Otherwise, I would crush you like the insect you are!”

Grunder shields themselves from the threatening raised hand of their master, but Luvoa softens slightly and smirks as he pets Grunder’s head.

“But since you have done as I have asked,” Luvoa soothes, “there will be no need for that; at the moment. Now, come. Let us look upon what we have done.”

The tall man leads the still wary Grunder over to the edge of the maintain ledge, and they peer down at the sleepy lands below.

Luvoa puts a hand on Grunder’s back and the servant flinches as though anticipating being thrown off the mountain top as Luvoa laughs malevolently at his servant’s terror.

“See, my friend?” he invites as he sweeps his other hand over the lands laying far below. “As the land sleeps we have set in motion events that will give us everything we want; everything I deserve!”

Still with terror in their eyes, Grunder gazes down at the tiny village that lies at the foot of the mountain; nestled between the curving river and the snow-tipped trees of the vast forest that stretches into the horizon.

White smoke, barely visible from their high vantage point, puffs out of the chimneys of the thatched roofed cottages as the villagers slumber peacefully in their beds.

It had seemed only a small thing Grunder had done, it had changed nothing that they could see.

“But Grunder doesn’t understand, master.” they stammer timidly. “We only gave that young one a simple dream, how can...”

“Shh.” Luvoa puts his long, slender finger to his tight lips. “Dreams are the most powerful of all Magics. They are the seeds of thoughts. And do you know what thoughts do, my friend?”

Looking up at Luvoa, Grunder shakes their head, dumbfounded.

“Thoughts,” Luvoa continues, “lead to ideas. And ideas lead to actions. And actions lead to the future. And the future leads to me!”

A cracking boom shakes the mountain top and Luvoa looks around with wonder as Grunder cowers.

“You see?” he exclaims in excitedly hushed tones. “It’s happening!”

“What is, Master?” Grunder asks in terror.

Luvoa looks down at Grunder with a terrifyingly gleeful glimmer in his black eyes; sharp, pointed teeth showing as his lips pull back into a wide, malicious smile.

“Why, the Beginning, of course!”

The End



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ring of Power Anthology

Ring of Power

It was a simple ring; nothing extraordinary. Just a plain band with tiny etchings around it, but it had caught her eye and drawn her in immediately.

She had stumbled into an area of the city that she was not familiar with; a dark and shadowy section of the city that seemed to have sinister eyes in its various corners; watching her as she walked hurriedly down the narrow streets.

A chill ran through her as the feeling that the watchful eyes were moving in closer fell upon her, so she had ducked into a little curio shop that, despite having strange odds and ends in its window, had a warm glowing light that seemed to be safer than that of the shadow-casting street lamps outside.

Inside was a clutter of knick-knacks and old curiosities that, although looked as though they were from a time long forgotten, had been cleaned and polished and cared for so that they could have been crafted recently.

Making her way through the maze of strangely carved furniture, statues, and other such items, she found a glass case near the back of the shop which held a variety jewellery set with various gems of all colours and shapes.

Her eyes scanned over the wonderfully shimmering pieces as they caught the light from the multiple crystal chandlers that hung from the shop’s low ceiling, each one casting a rainbow of colours upon her soft-skinned face.

And then, there it was. Amid all the fancy, elegant rings, broaches, and necklaces, a plain and simple, silver ring with its tiny black markings crisscrossing its surface.

A strange smile spread across her pink lips as she gazed down upon the ring. The others were glitzy and glamorous from a bygone age, but this simple, unassuming band seemed to be timeless. And it gave her the sense of warmth and comfort.

A rustling from the doorway leading to the shop’s back rooms startled her as she looked away from the ring to see a little old man coming out to her. He looked as though he too belonged to the shop; an old curiosity, a little stooped over but still in fine working condition.

His smile settled her startled heart and she smiled shyly back. He came to stand behind the jewellery cabinet and looked down at the rings with her. She looked back down at her ring and knew that she had to have it; it called out to her to possess it.

She pointed to it cautiously and the old man’s smile broadened as her cheeks went flush with embarrassment. He opened the case and gingerly took out the ring and laid it on the counter atop a small velvet cloth.
She put out her hand to take it and hesitated for a moment; warmth seemed to radiate from the ring and touch her finger tips with energy.

Slowly, her fingers made their way to touch its smooth surface. Thinking it would somehow be a hefty weight, she was surprised to find it a light as a feather in her palm.

Looking at it closely she could see the etchings are diamond shapes that seem to be endless pools of darkness; the far-reaching eternity of space within each etch.

Fumbling, she nearly dropped it as she slid it onto her middle finger. It fit perfectly.

Immediately, she was filled with a sense of energy; of power. All the fear and uncertainty that had filled her before she had entered the old shop washed away in the wearing of the ring.

She breathed in deeply and looked up at the old man who smiled and looked kindly into her shining blue eyes. She began to ask how much the ring would cost but he held up his hand and shook his head slightly.

Taking her by the hand on which she wore the ring, he kissed it gently and patted it kindly. She blushed once again as the old man nodded gentlemanly and led her back through the shop to the front door.

She opened the door and turned back to him as he waved goodbye and closed the door behind her. She walked slowly away turning back to see the old man still waving from the shop window as he turned the open sign over to indicate the shop was now closed.
She walked along the street, her hand held up in front of her as she regarded it with love and awe.

Even though the light of day had grown dimmer, she felt as though there was now nothing to be afraid of. Not here along the strange streets, not anywhere. Not now that she wore her lovely ring; her ring of power.

Ring Indeed

As she slept, the ring rested peacefully on her bedside table.

There had not been a day that had passed that she was without her little silver ring since she had found it in the curios shop. And there had not been a night when she had not slept soundly knowing that it was laying beside her; watching over her as she slept.

When she wore it upon her slender finger, she felt stronger, more secure, and confident. It was silly to think that the ring could endow her with some sort of magic power. But she still felt as though it was her little ring of power.

Going about her daily routine she would give it very little thought; yet, every so often during breaks in her activities, she would look down at the simple ring and smile.

In the morning, she would put it on even before going to the bathroom, and carefully put it into the little seashell dish she had purchased especially for it by the sink while she showered and did her make-up; donning it quickly again after she was done. And only taking it off again at night when she lay down to sleep; its tiny silver light protecting her in its reflective glow.

And so, it was, as she slept one night, a shadowy figure came creeping into her small apartment, uninvited.

There had been several break-ins in the building over the past few months, but no one had been home at the time. Unfortunately, this was not the case now.

As she slept peacefully, the shadowy figure moved noiselessly though out her darkened apartment. To get to at a stack of DVDs high up on a shelf, the thief pulled a chair from the dinning table across the hardwood floor.

The chair scraped loudly upon the floor's surface and at once she was awake in her bed; a feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach.

She lay frozen for a moment and listened for further noise. She heard the shifting of items on her shelves that lined the living room walls. She sat up and automatically slipped on her ring. Her first thought was to call the police, but reaching for her phone she remembered it was out on the kitchen counter charging.

She would have to slip out there and grab it, unnoticed by whoever was out there ransacking her apartment.

Cautiously, quietly, she moved to her bedroom door and pulled it open as gently as she could. The noises of the intruder became louder without the closed door to muffle their movements.

She was afraid, but felt confident that she could quickly grab the phone from the counter in the kitchen and run back to her room before the thief even heard her.

She waited until it sounded like the thief was at the far end of the living room, then took a deep breath and dashed out of the hallway and around the corner to the narrow kitchen.
Knowing exactly where the phone sat, she grabbed for it and snatched it up quickly.

Having her cell in her hand she made to head back to her room. However, she had forgotten that the power cord was still attached to it.

The cord reached its end and snapped the phone out of her hand. It bounced off the tiled floor loudly and the shadowy figure quickly turned to see her standing surprised in the hall.

Before she had a chance to react, the intruder had made a dash for her, growling in anger at being disrupted so abruptly.

Not thinking, she held out her hands to shield herself from the attack and screamed. A flash of silver light erupted from her right hand and engulfed the darkness in light.

The light quickly faded and she opened her eyes; surprised that had been no attack. There was only her, alone in her moonlit apartment.

She turned the light switch beside her on and saw no one else was with her. She looked to see that the chain lock on her door had been cut and a few items were knocked off the shelves. But there was no intruder.

Looking down at her feet, there were the soldering remains of a black hoodie, black jeans, and a pair of black sneakers.

Her gaze moved from the smoking clothes to the silver ring on her middle finger of her right hand. She held up her hand and marvelled at how the simple ring seemed to glow warmly around her slender finger.

There was warmth radiating from the little ring; warmth that made her smile broadly; her ring of power indeed.

Ringless

She awoke upon the rocks at the bottom of the mountain that she herself had created, a scar blinding her left eye, and her ring of power gone.

The details of the battle that had transpired atop the mountain where veiled in a haze of pain, all she could remember was that he had taken her ring. IT had taken the cursed ring of power.

The ring that had shrouded her heart in malice was gone; the darkness that had crept into her heart had drained away.

What lay in her heart now was not darkness or revenge, but sadness and remorse. She had caused so much destruction. She had caused the world to war with itself; her and her selfish need for attention. And now she had given the demon the means to destroy the world, once and for all.

Her body broken and bleeding, she stumbled back through lands she had been the inspiration to turn into barren wastes; their old beauty torn apart by men's' lust to conquer for her.

Only remnants of civilization now remained, and she was now no different than any of the other poor retched that scrounged the scorched earth just to survive.

How could she have let this happen? She had only wanted to help with the powers the ring had allowed her. But the demon had twisted her dreams into nightmares, and she had let it.

Now it would fashion the world into its own vision of hell, enslaving the remaining humanity for its dark pleasure.

Huddled in a rock hovel, shivering in the cold of the constant rain, she vowed to make things right once again; vowed to rid the world of the demon that had plagued it for so long.

So, a patch over her scared eye and purpose in her heart, she set out across the world to gather up those she could, to band against the evil of the demon.

Though she was without her ring, the passion she had roused in those before remained; having been inside her all along. She found that she did not need the power of the ring to capture the hearts of those she met, but only her own inner strength to convince people to join her in her fight against the demon.

Seeing that they too were guilty in letting their hearts be taken over with darkness, the people of the world came together under one banner to revolt against the ancient evil.
Upon her steed, she galloped, the armies of the world behind her, crying out her return amidst the deafening thunder of hoofs as they charged upon the demon's mountain.

She would get back the world she had helped fall into darkness, and now, she would not use the power of the ring, only the power that had always been hers alone.

Ring Thief

She gritted her teeth in a begrudged smile as he offered his hand to her.

Her one good eye glared with apprehension and embarrassed fury, looking from the scoundrel's outstretched hand, to where her men sat around the flickering camp fire.

If any of them had so much as a smirk on their face, she would have slashed them in half with her blade; yet wisely, they all seemed to be very busy being preoccupied with the pretty maidens and handsome lads that filled the bandits' hideaway.

She looked back to their leader, whose hand was still awaiting hers; The King of Thieves asking her to dance. Ha!

His roguish smile matched the mischievous glint in his green eyes, as he looked down at her where she sat upon one of the felled logs they used for benches.

Raising her hand she started to reach out for his, but changed directions in mid-motion to run her fingers through her short-cropped, auburn hair.

Snapping her eye patch strap as an unconscious habit she had adopted when wary of a situation, she gave a snorting smirk and took his hand roughly, pulling herself up almost before he had a chance to back up.

The villain was quick on his feet however, and swooped gracefully into a deep bow at her acceptance to join him. She bowed slightly in return, keeping her azure blue eye on him.

They began to dance; him with a jovial spring in his step, while she countered his moves with the quick caginess of a jungle cat, stalking around a rival.

The minstrels' music roiled with their lutes, flutes, and drums, on which they fervently played as they twirled and spun around the flames of the fire that danced to its own licking rhythm.

Her men now watched blatant as she let the Thief King lift her into the air with a spin and bring her gracefully down again in one fluid motion.

As they dance and the music played on, she found herself lost in the moment. She felt herself as a young girl again, not the fierce and harden warrior she had become.

Feeling as light as air on her twirling feet, she even thought she heard herself laugh along with the handsome scoundrel whom continued to spin and toss her wildly as the music grew more frantic.

The camp scene spun round and round until she was not sure which way she faced and she made herself stop at once with sudden embarrassment.

Looking around the camp, the music no longer played, only the crackle of the fired could be heard, its pops a stark contrast to the silence that now hung in the night air.

Her men stirred from their log seats as if they had just woken from a deep slumber.

Only her men stirred.

The camp was empty, save them. The band of thieves and their king had vanished into the night.

With a snarl she snatched at the five bejeweled rings she kept hung around her neck on a chain at all times; her ancient and powerful treasures, for which she had quested all those many years ago; had sacrificed so much to find.

Gone.

Letting out a rage-filled roar, she drew her sword and barked at her men to mount their steeds as she ran to her own black war horse that stood lashed to a near by tree.

The stallion reared as she swung herself up with another guttural bellow. She turned to find her men already upon their horses facing her, awaiting her command.

"Find them, all of them. And destroy them! But leave the Thief King to me." She ordered in a dark, dangerous voice and they all galloped off with the speed of a pack of wolves setting out to hunt their prey.

As they all disappeared into the darkness just beyond the fire-lit tree line, she looked down at her left hand that gripped the reins. Still resting upon her finger, her most prized possession glowed fiercely with shared anger; the sixth and most powerful ring of power was hers still. With it she would find the others again.

And as for the King of Thieves, he would pay for his mistake of taking them from her.

She clenched her fist and the ring's massive gem stone seemed to radiate its glow outward, causing the camp fire to extinguish, letting the blackness of the night enshroud the scene; only the light of the ring and the intense blue of the warrior's eye gleaming in the darkness.



Sunday, March 19, 2017

Glitch

She runs desperately down the rain-soaked street; hover cars zooming passed in the dimming light of evening.

The magnetic field beneath each passing car pushes the water that covers the road with its force and causes waves of splashing water to further soak her as she continues running through the chilly autumn rain.

Yet the wet cold of the rain water being dowsed upon her seems not to faze her in her loping search among the rows of identical-looking, compact apartment building units that line the narrow streets; jumbled jigsaw blocks stacked upon each other in order to maximize the ever depleting space in the downtown city core.

All she can think of is the next mind-numbing stab of pain that is undoubtedly coming to pierce her brain like an icy blade in the front of her forehead. The cause of which, she runs in desperation to get to the source of.

As if merely anticipating the coming pain could manifest it, a shooting jolt of white heat sears through her brain and she staggers, almost falling to her knees as she cradles her head in order to balance herself against the wave of dizzying pain that has overcome her.

With a guttural grunt of pain, she steadies herself as the pain subsides again and she looks slowly up at the apartment unit looming in front of her. This must be where it was emanating from, though in her state of mind, she's not quite sure.

Lurching forward, she pushes her way passed an exiting resident of the building through the security entrance and makes her way to the lifts, patting across the concrete floor in her soaking and bare feet.

Reaching the lift door, she slaps the call button as another lightning bolt of pain shocks her mind and this time she does fall to her knees, clutching her head, and moaning in agony.

They were getting more intense, which could only mean she was in the right place. All she needed to do was find the right apartment unit; as long as her brain didn't scramble itself beforehand.

The lift bell dinged its arrival and she got to her feet to stumble in and stab at the fifth floor button. A guess at this point, but it felt like the right one.

Once the lift opened onto the fifth floor, she shambled out into the hallway and used the featureless concrete walls to guide herself along the corridor of numbered doors that no doubt led into tiny, cramped apartment units. In one of which, lived the person she was after.

A high pitched ringing started to grow in her ears as she made her way along the hallway until it was deafening with a pain that filled her entire mind with red, blotching colour.

With a heave, she slammed her shoulder against a door that had a bluish glow emanating from unearth it, and surprisingly, it gave way, even under her slight weight and frame.

Inside the unit, almost hidden amongst the clutter of shelves that lined the walls, filled with knick-knacks and porcelain figurines, a little, old lady sits in front of her computer screen which shows a bright blue screen with a warning pop-up across it.

The woman's glasses magnify her eyes into googly-eyes that fill the entirety of the glass frames, yet she still squints to read the words on the alert message.

The bare-footed girl stumbles haphazardly to where the old woman sits at her tiny wall desk and pushes the surprised senior aside to hit the control-alt-delete buttons and clear the computer screen's message, replacing it with the black reboot screen.

She sighs with relief as the pain in lifted and she stumbles back to lean against on of the trinket-filled shelves.

The elderly woman blinks as she tries to focus her eyes on the young woman in the soaking wet blouse and skirt, her hair dripping and clinging to her damp cheeks.

"Oh, Judy, dear." The old woman greets her with recognition. "I was trying to send you a letter on the computer and that darn message kept coming up again and I forgot what I was supposed to push."

"It's ok, Grandma," Judy replies breathlessly. "But I've told you, you have to reboot the system when it freezes, or it will send out that signal they installed in my Occ-Unit app. I wrote it down for you."

Judy moves over to the wall above the computer and taps the piece of paper that was tacked there, which read: CTRL-ALT-DEL.

"Oh, dear, I forgot." Judy's grandmother said apologetically. "Well, would you like to have a cup of tea? You looked soaked, is it still raining out there?"