Tag Archives: 2011

Some People Never Learn – Part Eleven

<< Part Ten

The creature took a moment to adapt to its freedom and then looked herself up and down. “What the hell?!”
The exclamation was so genuinely human and pissed I almost chuckled. She didn’t seem all that evil. She looked around and sniffed the air.
“Are you the dumbass who summoned me?” Darn, she picked up my scent. “If you explain yourself, there’s a fifty-fifty chance I’ll whoop your ass. If you don’t, it’s a beat down for sure.”
Most people would describe her as ‘abrasive’ but to me, she was a kindred spirit. It could be a trick though; mind-reading wasn’t a popular trick and I hadn’t seen her cast a spell but I couldn’t be sure. Lovecraft’s Old Ones liked mind games, after all.
She took a step in my direction. “In case you haven’t picked up on it, I’m not in a good mood.”
Though it may soon prove to be a tactical error, I chose to uncloak myself. Given her keen sense of smell, she would have pinpointed my location anyway. Better show some good faith while I waited for my opening. Sure, I could run for my life but I’d never get paid if I let this thing loose.
She smiled when I appeared.
“You don’t look as dumb as you are.”
I cocked an eyebrow. “I didn’t summon you so lay off the insults.” I’d know soon enough if we were indeed kindred spirits.
“Who did?”
“No reason I should tell.”
She growled and I reciprocated. No use pretending to be civil if all she wanted was a fight. The energy of the summoning spell had me jonesing for some action anyway. She rushed forward and grabbed my neck with her weird webbed hand. Before I knew it, my back hit the wall and my feet dangled above the floor.
“What year is this?” She shook me as if the answer could fall out of my pockets. My senses enhancers did.
“Violence may incite compliance in some people,” I said with the little breath her grip allowed through. “I’m not one of them.”
I raised my hands over my head, joined them into a fist and slammed it against her elbows. Her yelped and released me. I rolled out of her immediate reach. Unfortunately, that put me in front of the hole she got out of, between her and the fall.
“Fine.” She muttered before turning to me, effectively blocking the only way out that wouldn’t kill me. “Oh darling –” she fluttered her lashes. I couldn’t help but fall into a defensive stance. “– Would you be kind enough to let me know the date?”
A monster-witch hybrid off her rocker. Great.
“September 20th 2011,” I answered, not dropping my guard.
She hit her forehead with her palm. “Twenty years early. As if being half-fish didn’t suck enough.” She dusted herself absentmindedly. “Oh well, they always blamed me for not being flexible enough.” Her crooked smile sent a chill down my back. “Time to advance my timetable.”
Before I could do anything, she shoved me out of her way and jumped in the fall. I couldn’t follow; this jump would kill almost anybody, spelled or not. Yet, she had dived so confidently, she must have known she’d survive.
The only thing I was left with was a nagging ‘twenty years early for what?’.

Next part next Wednesday!

Some People Never Learn – Part Ten

<< Part Nine

It sounded like something big was trying to punch its way through the rock behind the Falls. Not a good sound by any standard.
I squeezed the witch’s throat until she lost consciousness. She wouldn’t mutter another spell tonight or my name wasn’t Bane.
“Cuff the girls,” I said, handing some zip strips to Jordan. I wrapped one around my catch’s hands and slapped a generous strip of muter over her mouth – the spelled jelly was tamper-proof and could only the person who spread it could pull it off.
The banging intensified and I heard a few rocks tumbling down the falls.
“Do not –” I grabbed Jordan’s shoulder and forced him to look at me “– Do not take your eyes off of them.” I dropped my catch next to her little friends.
I kicked off the ground and flew toward the source of the sound, turning my cloak back on, just in case. The Falls power was overwhelming and I couldn’t just fly through to get to the sound. I spun around and returned to the observation platform. Its normal access was part of a tunnel going behind the Falls with a few open ends so tourists could watch water rush down.
Carved in the rocks, the tunnels resonated with the ominous banging. It waved against the walls and the origin was impossible to pinpoint based only on my hearing. Luckily, the path was short and I quickly found the spot where the wall began to chip.
The thing was trying to get in the tunnels, not out of the Falls. The rock shaken loose on the other side were just a side-effect.
Since I didn’t know what the hell I would be facing, I went back around the corner. There was no way to stop a summoning spell and since it applied to something that had been trapped within the Falls, the effect would only dissipate once whatever it called stepped out of its prison. All I could do was wait – which I wasn’t any good at.
I pulled my senses enhancers off my skin to switch off their powers and stuffed them in my pockets. I had to focus on the upcoming fight. I kept the cloaking spell active and contemplated the idea of morphing. I decided against it until I knew what my opponent looked like.
The wall chipped away incredibly fast and in a blast of powdery residue, a frail woman got out of the stone. As she made contact with the water sputtering from the nearby opening, she absorbed it like a sponge and, in the blink of an eye, she wasn’t frail anymore.
She looked like something out of Lovecraft’s brain. An unholy mix between a stripper – because apparently, clothes hadn’t survived the rock prison – and Cthulhu. Not my run-of-the-mill escape con.
“Well… that ought to be the evil witch all the legend’s fuss is about,” I thought.
And of course, with my luck, the way the summoning spell backfired had to make her even more dangerous.

Next part on next Wednesday!

Some People Never Learn – Part Nine

<< Part Eight

Though the mirror images of me gave an impression of ubiquity, no witch in her right mind would ever attempt to physically be at two places at once. Since the rock sound came from around Jordan’s position, I crossed my fingers and hoped he would investigate it. I moved closer to the river to see where the shushing came from.
At first, I thought the barrel was real but as soon as I focused on it, I saw through the wood. The transparent barrel rushed toward the fall and went over the edge only to crash in the river below.
Then, it reappeared at the top.
So many people died attempting this, I shouldn’t be surprised a ghostly echo manifested from time to time. What was surprising was that no one mentioned it before. The only way that could have happened was if the manifestation was new, fuelled by the power of the full moon, the approaching Shabbat and the uncontrolled emanations of amateurs doing some hocus pocus nearby.
“Ladies.” Jordan’s voice came from the general sector where I had heard the rocks. “I’m sorry to inform you that you are trespassing. No spelling’s allowed near the falls.”
I cursed; hadn’t I asked him to call me for help before any intervention? I flew toward him at full speed.
“Why?” The girl’s tone couldn’t have sounded more falsely innocent than that. She may have surrounded herself with amateurs who leaked magic through every pore but this leader knew what she was doing.
I reached the observation platform and chose to remain out of sight until I could assess the situation properly. The girls stood in a small grotto, a few feet up and away from the platform. They were backlit by what was most likely a bonfire. That they managed to go that far into their ritual told me Jordan had gotten distracted at some point during patrol.
I foresaw a scolding in his future.
“The water element energy emanating from the fall tends to screw spells up unless they are already stabilized in an amulet,” Jordan said with a smug smile. He fingered the amulets hanging around his neck.
I flew past the little group to see what was in the grotto and get an idea of how much trouble I should be for the girls. What I found pissed me off.
“What did you raise?” I yelled, grabbing the leader in a choke hold at the same time I uncloaked myself. The three amateurs jumped and sheepishly pushed themselves against the grotto’s wall.
“Maybe we should try asking nicely first,” Jordan said. I glared at him.
“Because you didn’t pay attention while you were on guard duty, they managed to complete a summoning spell, which, as you so brilliantly mentioned, will blow in our faces.” The witch wiggled in my arms trying to escape. I squeezed a little bit more. “No time for kindness. What did you raise?”
“No way I’m telling you before she gets here.”
“Who is she?” I growled. Her resolved seemed strong so I didn’t expect her to talk. I turned my eyes toward the helpers who shivered when they noticed how wolfy my iris looked.
“She told us it was just for fun.”
“That it would never work.”
“We didn’t know.”
“Who is she?”
The girls froze. Speechless.
The wild banging coming from behind the falls told me I would get an answer soon enough.

Next part coming next Wednesday!

NaNoWriMo – Prisoner

It’s an excerpt from a new story today. As I’ve said yesterday, I got a bit stranded this week and wrote something different from my main WIP.
I’m not giving you any context for this excerpt because it is currently the opening of the story. 😉

* * *

It impressed me how living creatures grew used to everything, even a cold and humid prison cell that never saw the light of day – given time. I found myself enjoying the meat I got to eat once a week instead of the stale bread and tasteless soup. It had become my definition of a feast. I knew the best cracks to wedge my fingers in so I could do my chin-ups. If I folded my legs to keep them from hitting the ceiling, I could do push-ups while standing on my hands. The way my body instinctively positioned itself to avoid the sharpest rocks as I lay down to sleep even sparked a smile from time to time – I had adapted so perfectly.
And then I wished they’d had the decency of giving me a bed after my first twenty years of good behaviour.
I suspected the guards couldn’t even remember what I was here for. Much less my name. They switched up an empty tray for a full one three times a day, switched a full bucket for an empty one once a day, and that was the extent of their involvement with me. They didn’t even bother sliding the small shutter aside to see what state I was in through the miniature barred hole in the door.
Not that they would see much in the darkness.
Over the years, my eyes grew accustomed to my situation, just like my body and my mind, which fell into a dull numbing pattern somewhere between philosophy, memories and visions of what was to come. So when a man pulled open the door and shined light on my face, every last part of me was blinded, destabilized.
Nevertheless, most convicts would have jumped on their feet and charged, attempting to escape or, at the very least, get killed. I would have, had I been here by choice. Instead, I sat in my corner and waited.
My destiny sucked.
“Are you Kaerea?” The blurry silhouette had the voice of a twenty-five, maybe thirty year-old male.
It took me a moment to answer. Not that I wanted to be impolite or find a clever retort, I just needed to rediscover how to work my vocal chords.
“I went by that name. Whether I still am has yet to be seen.” I sounded like a grandma who smoked all her life. I hoped I didn’t look like one.
“Don’t play games with me. Are you Kaerea, yes or no?” The authority, the arrogance, the power to open that door; the man must be the new leader – whatever political structure Cli’hin had these days – or very close to it.
“I’ve given you as straight an answer as my years of speaking to myself allows.” I sounded rude, but then who could really blame me? “I’ve been doing that for longer then you’ve breathed.”
An invisible crowd harrumphed and gasped which only reinforced me in my right to be pissed off. After the treatment I had endured, I wasn’t willing to be a cute little zoo animal. The caked dirt should have given my spectators a hint; I wasn’t the cuddly type.
“Sir,” an invisible, much older man said, “we have no use for a vermin-ridden, disrespectful prisoner. Surely, a woman can’t make much of a difference.”
I chuckled and, in the emptiness of my room, it resonated like a threat. I wasn’t sure I meant it to be that way, but I barely remembered society, much less what its expectations could be. I stood, watching the blurry silhouette go from dominating, to equal, to dominated.
“It has started, hasn’t it?” My voice carefully wrapped around my captors and sent shiver down their spine. I could almost hear their knees clacking. I hadn’t lost my touch. “Why else would a young man seek out a legend against the recommendations of his tutors?”
“You said it would start with a plague reaping our children.” The leader’s voice didn’t shake. Good. He would need more of where that came from if he ever was to see his people through this.
“I also said that the only way to prevent it was to do certain things before the children started dying.” I had been imprisoned for suggesting such things. “Your ancestors doomed you.”

Some People Never Learn – Part Eight

<< Part Seven

Chief Montmorency had warned the Falls’ security that I would be the one patrolling tonight so they let me in without problem. The boys were responsible of watching the perimeter but I had to watch the hub, in case something sprouted from the falls itself.
Legend told of an old very powerful evil witch trapped in the rocks behind the curtains of water who would one year manage to free herself during the full moon closest to Mabon.
I had rarely heard more stupid stuff but hey! It paid the bills.
I stuffed some senses enhancers in Jordan’s hands. “Go to the observatory down by the falls and keep an eye out.”
“That’s it? I’m all ninja-geared up!”
I rolled my eyes and tossed him a dry spell. “There. At least you won’t ruin your costume, Superman. Holler if there’s something.”
“I’m a black belt, you know.”
“Yes. But good agents call for back up. If you can kick the ass of whatever’s trying to kick yours before I get here, all the better. But remember to watch mine as well.”
“Thought you’d never ask.”
He winked. I groaned. Good thing I wouldn’t have to actually spend the evening with him. Now I just had to wait for him to screw up so I could justify not taking on the bodyguard gig.
I took a couple of step back and pulled out my own set of spells for the night; a dryer, hearing and sight senses enhancers, mirror images illusions, a cloaker,  a flyer and, obviously, my own personal blend of morphing primer.
The plan was simple; through the fog of the falls, my doubles would look like the complete squadron that should be guarding this place instead of one pissed off bounty hunter and a wannabe helpful felon. If someone came close enough to notice the ungodly resemblance, they still wouldn’t know which one was me and try to avoid them all. The task would focus all their attention on the decoy, leaving them vulnerable to my actual, cloaked, position.
“Good luck,” a chorus of me said to Jordan before I activated the flying spell. I’d have to concentrate if I wanted them to speak separately, somewhat of a feat given that I had to keep my super hearing and sight under control as well.
“As if I needed it,”Jordan yelled to the sky.
I shut upward with the bunch of mes. Once I reached a decent height, we huddled together and I activated the spell that made the real me disappear. Then we broke apart, each illusion flying to their patrol’s starting point.
My spot was straight at the middle of the falls, about ten feet over it. Behind me, The Old Scrow that stuck itself in the river in 1918 was unmoved by the tremendous force rushing around it. Its break on the flow of water produced a rasping sound under the gurgle. I wondered how many years it would take for it to complete its inevitable race toward the bottom of the Falls.
I shrugged the thought off and focused on the task at hand.
I magically shut off the deafening sound of the Horseshoe so I could listen to the night’s songs. Any trespasser would assume the Falls’ noise hid their babble.
It really wouldn’t.
A little before midnight, I heard the shushing of a something small floating close by. And rocks tumbling down in the distance.

To be continued next Wednesday!

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