Apr 30 2014

Shredder 42

“The Seeming,” Anibel replied, “You’re serious.”

“I am,” Gerard said, “It’s the best way to be sure if that Shredder was a fluke.”

A resonating slurp turned all eyes on Merinde.  The woman continued sucking on her spoonful of stew for a few seconds longer.  She then smiled at them.  “I’m going to do that, or something equally annoying, every time you assume I know what the hell you’re talking about.” Continue reading

Apr 29 2014

Redhouse II

A crazy man was birthed through the plastic slit in the greenhouse wall.  Lydia stood stupefied at the juxtaposition of realities.  Her serenity was being destroyed by a knife wielding lunatic, but her mind and her motor still seemed to be in disagreement.

“Oh my God, Gerald.  Look at that man,” the woman said, pointing with her manicured finger, “What’s he doing?”

It was the whine of her voice, not the squirming grunts of the maniac, which set Lydia into motion.  The tone and the choice of words summoned a B-movie horror soundtrack to mind and she bolted. Continue reading

Apr 28 2014

Shadow of Hope 33

“A noble conclusion to a notorious life,” Erellia said of the bonfire with a faint smile, “But we must continue to look to the horizon.”

If she noticed the tension within the ranks of the party, the Elven woman gave no outward indication.

“We must depart,” she said, eyeing Thorum’s hasty retreat, “No doubt my efforts will bring undo attention upon us. We ride for the hamlet of Anquilla as soon as possible. Break camp and prepare to head south along the river.” Continue reading

Apr 27 2014

Ritual of Fire

We all have those moments that scar us.  Formative events that leave chalk outline memories.  Some are perfect bliss.  Some are exquisite horror.  Better yet, there are a select few that encompass both extremes.  Abominations of shadow and song that are turnkeys to the primal doorways of our hearts.

One I’m going to share is a spirit known as Lamb’s Navy Rum.  You can’t see the goosebumps from where you are…but they are there just the same.  Trust me.LNR

Now, LNR makes a host of fine products and is actually known as the rum of choice for the English navy.  It’s actually difficult to find in the States, though in all honesty, I haven’t quested for it.  That’s a dragon I’ve sought out and slain enough for one lifetime.

My particular memories take us to the border of Canada and the U.S., where the lair of the 151 proof version of LNR could be acquired at the duty free store.  Eight adults were on a journey into the northern wilds to spend a week fishing for walleye and northern pike.

The stop at a small rest area shortly after the border was ritual, and this ritual was one of fire.  Decades have passed since I last experienced this special event, but I can still visualize the aisles of the duty free store.  Could draw for you a picture of the innocuous rest stop.

We would circle up, and the Lamb’s Navy would make its way around, each taking an initiating swig straight from that hexagonal bottle.  It was a hell of a way to begin, and one I cherish with equal degrees of desire and revulsion.  The LNR served as a kind of penalty beverage during our trip, and it would take those eight adults, all seasoned drinkers, an entire week to finish the single bottle.  The joyful cries that would come forth when that bottle ran dry.

I still don’t care for rum much to this day.  Is it any wonder?

My impression of the English navy rose a couple of notches when those scars were made, and each time I do raise a glass of rum, my mind turns to the stalwart souls who partook of the Lamb.  I am thankful for those crystalline memories but also grateful that such rituals of fire are ashes of the past.

Apr 25 2014

Mireya del Castillo

Mireya del Castillo didn’t mind the term privateer but she was a pirate at heart.  The sole daughter to a brood of children, she inherited the composite female beauty of the family line and the fiery spirit to match.

The del Castillos heralded from a long line of marine merchants, specializing in materials and sculpture designed for ship craft.  Mireya was a talented shipwright that spent the great majority of her life upon the seas.  Her evolution from craftsman to artisan and sailor to pirate came to pass despite her father’s best attempts to steer her clear of such a perilous life.

Such was not to be her fate.  The sea flowed in her veins. Continue reading

Apr 24 2014

Adrift V

Sixty-seven years earlier…

Sail duels were not uncommon.  With a great majority of islanders skilled at navigating the air currents between land masses, mid-air battles were a natural evolution.  Song and legend recount some glorious air engagements where blood rain painted the skies for days at a time.  This particular duel was personal though.  Two single combatants settling a challenge issued in honorable form. Continue reading

Apr 23 2014

Shredder 41

Merinde sat swaddled in her cloak, cross-legged before the fire.  The warm stew bowl was cupped in her hands and contentment resonated from her.  Gerard and Anibel watched her, sharing glances at the evolution of noises coming from their third.

Gerard was sitting as well, propped against a rock with one leg pulled up towards him.  “The basic needs are never truly appreciated, unless they have been absent.  I’m pleased that the stores here were intact.”

“Mmm, what did you call it?” Merinde asked.

“Rockaway Chimney.” Continue reading

Apr 22 2014


A greenhouse wasn’t someplace Lydia associated with murder.  The toasty temperatures.  The fragrant breezes.  The rainbow hues and aisles of natural wonder.  Those were elements of serenity and reflection that engendered a holy atmosphere.  Muted library conversations and dappled sunshine were not cohesive with blood splatters and screams.

She was squatted down over a bed of dahlias envisioning the vibrant starbursts erupting in her own flower boxes.  A splash of liquid on the plastic wall behind her pierced through the sedate hum of the circulating fans.  They weren’t calling for rain, and Lydia turned expecting to see a worker wielding a hose in the next house.

Her mind had difficulty registering the bright crimson runnels on the plastic sheeting. Continue reading

Apr 21 2014

Shadow of Hope 32

At the flaming burst of fire on the field of battle, Thorum got a bit skittish.  “Right.  Well, no sense in keeping you folks,” he said, backing away from Erellia’s blaze, “I’ll just be heading back to check on the morale of the troops and all.  There’re some matters that, uh, need attending.”

The armored man then turned and made quick work of the distance between the camp and the settlement as best he was able with his limp.

Kurn held his place as Zulian approached, coldly confident in the face of her supposed ire and bravado.  Had to admire her spunk, though.  He didn’t hide his appraising glance of her as she approached but experience kept him tactically aware of her shoulders and her hips — he noted she was not tensing to attack. Continue reading

Apr 20 2014

The Nix IV

Another screech of metal.  This one the Nix grating along the top of the Cherokee.  It crunched into the rear door, still open for unpacking the supplies inside.  Screams from the house.  Horror but not terror, but I knew those would switch if my wife made it onto the porch.

Amber sucked in air beneath me, sobbing and doe-eyed.  We rolled to the side and I hauled her up, guiding her toward the porch.  “The house, walk, do not run.” Continue reading