Thursday, December 31, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 13-6

While a few conversations continued at the table, over a dozen faces turned myway. I suddenly felt very put on the spot. I forced an awkward smile onto my face.  

“It’s not a special story or anything. Dad died in World War II. My brother died in Korea. Mom lost it and ended up under hospice care. I was left pretty much alone just as I graduated high school. I just tried to make a life for myself after that, so I went to trade school and got a job in the office pool.”

Solomon nodded knowingly. “You are far from the first of us that have lost family before coming to the Survivors’ Club. Some of us lost them to death, others to decisions of theirs or others. But all of us are in a situation where we have no one to welcome on this day or often, any day. Because of this we gather together and find companionship. That brings us all together for this meal, which several of our members graciously prepare every year. And it brings you to us, hopefully for the first of many such visits to our little club.”

I nodded. “I think I would like that.”

Audrey’s hand found my shoulder. “We would all certainly enjoy that as well. You’re one of us already, Meredith. You just didn’t know it until today.”

As I turned to look at her, I saw the scowl on Jolene’s face. She really didn’t like Audrey’s attention towards me, but I wasn’t quite sure why. I wondered if their bond was more than friendship in Jolene’s eyes.

“Thank you,” I told Audrey, trying to ignore Jolene’s look. I turned my attention back to Solomon. “And thank you for being such a gracious host.”

“I am not the host,” Solomon said. “We are all equals in the Survivors’ Club. I just happen to enjoy greeting new members, such as yourself.” He gave me his grin again and I couldn’t help but fall into that smile. Something about his charm drew me in. I could see myself with this man and unlike the men at the agency, I didn’t think I would regret this.

Our conversation turned more casual after that, mostly onto weather and the latest programs on television and radio. Audrey raved for a bit about Some Like It Hot, but I gathered most of her audience already knew about her affection for Marilyn Monroe. I just sat and took it all in, finally happy to feel accepted for a change.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 13-5

Audrey didn’t give me time to ask about what she meant by ‘interesting’. Instead she whisked me back into the crowd where she let me talk to a few more of her friends. Jolene followed us, but was far more quiet than she was. I wasn’t sure if she was angry, but she seemed a bit jealous of the attention Audrey was showing me.

I didn’t apply that much thought to it as I fell into a series of conversations with eligible bachelors, promising young men and a few young women that I suspected might have as much interest in me as either of the other two groups. Audrey was a charmer, able to control any conversation and at her side I quickly found myself comfortable with the ragtag group of men and women that made up the Survivors’ Club.

I didn’t even notice the hours passing until Solomon returned to the rest of the group to declare dinner to be served. A few of the younger members of the club appeared after his announcement with multiple platters and set them up around the punch bowl in the middle of the long table. Chairs came next and I found myself sitting at a feast of ham, ribs and roasted beef. Audrey sat to my left (with Jolene, still not quite happy, to her left) while Solomon took the seat to my right.

He gave me a knowing smile as he exchanged nods with Audrey. “How are you enjoying your first meeting, Meredith?”

“It’s quite lovely, Solomon. I have to say you’ve all been incredibly gracious hosts. It means a lot to find people like myself on days like this.”

“Indeed it is. We all have different reasons for coming here, but we all have a need for love and camaraderie in common. I lost my beloved wife to cancer while I was off fighting in the Pacific. I’ve never felt the need to remarry, but that doesn’t mean I wish to be alone. I’m sure Audrey and Jolene have told you how they don’t feel that societal norms for women fit their lifestyles. I can give you a dozen stories from a dozen different people at this table, my dear. But what I wish to know is why a woman such as yourself is alone on the holidays, Meredith? Please, tell us your reasons for coming here tonight.”

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 13-4

Solomon introduced me to all the guests as we made the rounds. The group was about thirty strong and I certainly couldn’t memorize everyone’s name. But most of the group seemed open and inviting, even if they were a bit wary of a new outsider in their mix. I suspected the Survivors’ Club didn’t get many new members as often as Solomon implied.

Solomon left my side a bit after he introduced me to Audrey and Jolene, two of the women already hard at work on a punch bowl that I suspected held a bit more than juice. They seemed about my age and dressed as if they were regular office workers as well. I watched him return to the elevator to await any more guest arrivals.

Something about the man intrigued me. I was always intrigued by older men and Solomon knew how to groom and present himself. I wasn’t quite sure how the man could be without family at Christmas, but I wanted to know more about him.

Jolene threw an arm around me and leaned in close. “Audrey, it looks like our new friend Meredith here already has eyes on someone.”

I quickly turned my attention back to the two women. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t be modest,” Audrey said. “He’s a handsome man. A bit old for me, but I can see it if you’re into that type.”

“Hush,” I said sternly. “This kind of talk isn’t proper for mixed company.”

Audrey and Jolene both chuckled. Jolene leaned in close to my ear, her breath showing the hint of vodka under the fruity concoction she drank. “Don’t pretend like the men don’t do the same thing all the time. You’re either predator or prey when the hunt begins. Audrey and I just like to find a target that’s the right size for our appetites.”

I felt my cheeks grow red. I wasn’t sure if it was the drink, but Audrey and Jolene certainly were much more forward than any women I had ever met. In the office, the subject occasionally turned to the eligible bachelors of Davis Brothers, but it never grew so colorful.

“Now, Jolene,” Audrey chided. “I think you should settle down with that talk. Meredith clearly isn’t used to being as free and open as we are.” Audrey took my arm and pulled me away from Jolene. “The Survivors’ Club doesn’t really worry about the limits society puts on us. You see all the women here. Most of us are the type that don’t want families, but rather want to make our own way. We can be open about that here in a way we can’t when we’re working ten hours at Yancy’s. Get it?”

I nodded.

“Good. Now let’s get you some punch. And trust me when I say that if you want a shot at Solomon, stick around to later. That’s when the party gets really interesting.”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 13-3

I walked into an empty lobby. Not just empty in the sense that no one was there, but really empty. There were no desks, no chairs, no people. The tan carpet showed dark spots where dirt had been tracked into it again and again.

I wondered for a moment if I was in the right place at all.

“Welcome!” A tall man followed the voice from the back half of the office. I turned around and saw the area behind the elevator was freed with a group of people mingling over a punch bowl and snack table.

My welcomer was in his early fifties, with deep set eyes and a square jaw. He was bald, not from age, but clearly groomed that way.

“My name is Solomon Davis. Welcome to the Survivors’ Christmas Party!”

I looked around, a bit confused. “Survivors?”

Solomon chuckled. “Yes, we’ve survived without family or close friends, even through the holidays. And we think that’s something to celebrate. So our little group gathers every month, at least until we find love or friend elsewhere. It gives us a bit of camaraderie missing from our normal lives. Every holiday we invite anyone alone into our gathering. It’s something of a recruitment drive mixed with commiseration.”

“I see. Well, thanks for having me. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the paper, but I figured anything would be better than sitting alone.”

“Very, very true! The party goes all afternoon and evening. We will have dinner at five and drinks after. You’re welcome to stay as long as you would like. Generally, we run well into the morning hours, ringing in Christmas like some people ring in New Year’s.”

“That—that honestly sounds nice.”

“I hope so. I like to think our Survivor’s Club is a friendly place. We may not be family people, but that doesn’t mean we have no social graces. We just like to find time to find others like ourselves. You never know where things can go from there.”

“Do you have many relationships form in the club? I’m sure you have some success stories.”

Solomon shook his head. “Not really. It rarely is something club members end up wanting. But that’s a topic for some other time. Right now, let me take you around and introduce you to everyone. Don’t worry, we won’t have a quiz on everyone’s name, not until the drinks start at least.”

I laughed as he ushered me away from the elevator and into my first meeting of the Survivors’ Club.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 13-2

The walk to the Lenox Avenue address wasn’t anything unusual for me. I walked Downtown River City five days a week and Lenox was only a few blocks away from the Davis Brothers offices. But as I watched the men, women and children, many in full family units, taking in their final Christmas shopping, I grew more nervous. I wanted that life, but at the same time, I loved my freedom. I loved just being me. And now I was walking into some club that might change all of that.

I didn’t know if I could handle that change.

I stopped in my tracks. A mother with two children almost ran into me from behind. She tsked at me as she ushered the children around me. I wanted to glare angrily at her, but I kept my face passive. It was so ingrained in me not to cause trouble, that I doubted I really could ever do that.

No, fear isn’t the answer. Fear has left me alone this long. It’s time I stand up for myself and take what I want.

With a nod, I powered down the last two blocks to the address.

488 Lenox Avenue wasn’t a building all that different than the office complex that held Davis Brothers. A six story structure, each floor held a business. Three accountants, a law office and an insurance agency filled the other floors. Suite B had nothing next to it. From all appearances, it was empty. I didn’t hesitate. I opened the front door and walked towards the elevator.

No one else was around. The ground floor office was dark, closed for the holidays. I shrugged it off, opened the elevator gate and pressed the button for the second floor.

My worries and fears whirled around in my brain like a vortex of indecision. I didn’t know what I was walking into and as the elevator ascended, I realized for the first time that I might be in danger. I hadn’t considered that I might run into violence, just strange people that made me uncomfortable.

“Stay calm,” I said to myself out loud. “You’re going to be just fine. Everything is going to be alright.”

The elevator slowed and came to a stop. With a deep breath, I reached out and opened the gate and walked out into whatever holiday I would have.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 13. Then

I wasn’t anyone special. I knew that. I mean, no one cared what happened to Meredith Munro. I was already thirty and I hadn’t found a man. My two brothers and father were both dead, killed by two wars without purpose. Mom lived in Maui surrounded by pool boys years younger than me. I was alone in the city with nowhere to go on another Christmas. Sure I had my job at Davis Brothers Advertising,but no one there really cared. Goodness knows I let more than enough of the young ad men there woo me. All I received for my trouble was a few too many ex-boyfriends and an uncomfortable case of crabs.

So as the city bustled with the last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, I was in a deeper funk than ever. I was thirty and alone in a one bedroom flat in the heart of Downtown. It was nearly noon as I stared at my open address book. I could call Vic and at least have company tonight. The younger Davis twin made no secret of the fact that he liked me, even if he did get rough. I walked out of a few too many of our encounters with bruises, but at least he would see me.

No, I’m not doing that to myself again. I might be alone, but I didn’t need my boss to know exactly how desperate I felt.

I rose from my reading chair and padded over to the kitchen. I looked down at the advertisement I circled near the bottom of the classifieds. It was just a few simple words, but when I saw it over my morning coffee it had intrigued me enough to stop and look at it.




I read the words to myself again and again. No phone number, no organization, not even a name. I wondered who else would want to do something like this for a few moments, but as I thought about a series of stranger and stranger characters, I knew it didn’t matter. My decision was already made.

I didn’t want to be alone again on Christmas.

I stopped only long enough to check my hair in the mirror before I put on my peacoat and a sensible pair of shoes. I grabbed my keys and was out onto the busy streets of River City.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

River City History: The Red Hawk

With Yankee Doodle Jones removed from power over the city, the last few months of World War II were not good ones for the city’s leaders. The citizens of River City were none too happy about the mayor and city council giving in to the power-mad ex-hero’s demands. With so much animosity in the air and the disappearance of the city’s heroes, organized crime realized they could make major in-roads into the city. Ultimately they would all fall under the control of one man.

Jacob Redhawk Moore grew up among the Native Americans of South Dakota. Though she was white, his mother married a full blooded Sioux. A mixed breed boy not accepted by either group, he grew up on the reservation where he took to many outdoor activities. An expert hunter by his teens, he moved from his childhood home at eighteen. With limited calling for his skills during the Depression, he fell into petty crime. But his skills quickly came to the attention of one of River City’s crime bosses, Frederico “The Duke” Angelosetti.

The Duke was a childless but cunning leader. While many bosses fell to the city’s heroes, The Duke kept his profile low enough not to be noticed. As other criminals in the area were arrested and killed, he slowly moved into their territories. Jacob became his chief agent in his forays into other territories. He set out to convince the former lieutenants to come to work for the Duke. Wearing a mockup of Indian garments from movies, he used his own infamy to bring fear to his foes. If someone refused his offer, he killed those who stood in the Duke’s way.

Jacob Redhawk Moore’s criminal past connected to his days in the United States Army Air Force during World War II. He fought valiantly in the Pacific theater, but his mixed heritage often led to enmity with his commanding officers and other pilots. Some historians believe many of his kills were awarded instead to other pilots in the theater. Redhawk may have the most kills of any military-affiliated pilot in the Pacific theater, but his heritage kept him from receiving acknowledgement for that during his time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 12-5

The conversation paused as a server brought Mel her food. It hissed still on the plate from the heat. The smells hit Rosa’s nose and made her contemplate buying a replacement for her own burrito which was nearly gone. If it didn’t mean leaving Mel with Keith, she would have.

“Come now,” Mel said. “I don’t think with a young lady clearly as talented as Rosa here, you need to visit a place like Lumber Jacks to fill your time. But come now, I have doubts you can say you’ve never been inside such a place. Not a red blooded American male like yourself.”


Mel laughed. “As I thought. Nothing to be ashamed of, is it, Rosa?”

“I guess not,” Rosa said. “I don’t know much—”

“Exactly. There’s nothing wrong with young men and young women enjoying each other’s company, nor is there anything wrong with my choice of profession. I think both of you would have a great time. Perhaps you should stop in tonight.”

Keith threw up his hand. “I don’t think that would be—”

“Maybe it would be fun,” Rosa said. “I’ve never been to a place like this Lumber Jacks. We could go together.”

Keith studied her, his eyebrows slightly raised, as if he was studying her response. Rosa wondered if she had overstepped the bounds of their relationship. She wasn’t even sure if it was a relationship really. She liked Keith, but so far most of their contact had been physical. And while he seemed like a nice guy, she wanted more than that in a significant other.

Mel laughed aloud. “You are both far too uptight! I think you need to loosen up! Come out, have a drink and a good time.”

She ripped into the burrito and started to eat. She gave a nodding approval at her simplified version of the dish.

“Well?” Rosa said. “Do you want to? I mean we don’t have to, but it might be a fun date.”

“Yeah, I guess. I have to say that isn’t where I expected to take you out to for our first night out.”

Rosa smiled. “I guess I’m a bit more full of surprises than I look.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Mel interjected as she picked up her burrito. “I think you are both full of surprises. See you tonight.”

Both Rosa and Keith could only watch as the raven haired beauty sauntered out of Rey’s and back onto the street.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 12-4

Rosa found her burrito still waiting for her, a thankful sight after the strange arrival of Mel. After the both sat down, she quickly introduced Mel to Keith before going back to her food. While she wasn’t quite sure what to think about this beautiful woman suddenly inserting herself into the day, she couldn’t quite be sure whether it bothered her or intrigued her.

Mel leaned on both hands as she took in Keith. “So, what do you do for a living, Keith?”

“I’m a police officer, miss. I’m off duty today, but that doesn’t mean I care for trouble like you seemed to be causing.”

“My apologies. I am new to the area and wasn’t really familiar with the local cuisine.”

“Where are you from that doesn’t have burritos? Timbuktu?”

She shrugged. “Close enough. Rhode Island.”

Chewing the food in her mouth quickly, Rosa realized Keith was far from happy with the new arrival. “Rhode Island, huh? I just had some friends come back from there. Very small state, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Mel said. She glanced Rosa’s way, but seemed to clearly not be happy about the interruption of her flirtation. “It is a small state.”

“The smallest,” Keith added. “Tell me what brings you to River City, Mel?”

“I have family here. I had a falling out with my parents and thought it was prudent if I relocated. I just scored a job here, so I’m sure everything will fall into place just fine for me here. I have a way of making sure I get what I want.”

“I’m sure.” Keith glanced towards Rosa. Rosa only shrugged. She didn’t know what else to say.

Turning back to Mel, Keith said, “where is it you’re working, Mel?”

“Oh, it’s right down the street, Keith. You should come stop in some time. I suspect you will like what you see. I’m over at Lumber Jacks down the street.”

“Lumber Jacks? You mean the strip club?”

Rosa coughed and gagged on the water she was sipping. I invited a stripper to a lunch with my boyfriend. Am I a complete idiot?

“Of course,” Melinoe said. “I’ll be starting as a feature there tonight. I’m sure I can get you in if you’re interested, Keith.”

“That’s very generous, Mel, but I don’t generally frequent such places. Unless I get a call for some kind of trouble in the parking lot.”

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 12-3

Rosa walked calmly up the yelling woman. Until she got up close, Rosa hadn’t realized quite how stunning the woman was. As the woman glanced her way, Rosa could not help but feel that this woman had to be a supermodel of some kind. She wasn’t quite sure why a woman this beautiful would even be in River City, let alone eat at an establishment like Rey’s.

“Hello, maybe I can be of some help. It seems you are not too familiar with Mexican cuisine.”

The other woman eyed Rosa up and down. She offered a sly smile, the kind of look that said she knew what she wanted and intended to get it. It sent a shiver down Rosa’s spine. She knew this type all too well.

“I do not know about Mexican cuisine because I do not care to know. I only wish to be served what I requested. It seems simple enough. I have money and I want what I have called for. Why is that so hard for you… people to understand.”

Rosa’s eyebrow twitched at the strange pause before people. She wondered what the woman meant to say instead, but knew now was not the time to ask. “Look, my name is Rosa. I can help you get something. Generally they serve some variety of meat, cheese, bean and rice inside a tortilla. They’ve got a variety of meats, but only serve Mexican cheeses. I’m sure if you don’t want the beans or rice you could pay extra to have them replaced by more meat or cheese. And there’s no wine, but they do have several beers if you want alcohol. If you don’t understand any of the Spanish on the board I can help you translate.”

“I do not—” The woman shook her head. “No, your offer is gracious, mor—Rosa. You may call me Mel and I would greatly appreciate some filet of pork and a large amount of this cheese from Mexico.”

Rosa rattled off the order in Spanish along with an apology to the order taker. “There you go, Mel. I put your order in. Generally, it takes a few minutes for them to make it, but you’ve got a bit of a line ahead of you.”

“Yes, the line. I am not used to waiting.”

Rosa chuckled. “I know the feeling.” She offered a quick shrug at Mel’s quizzical expression. “Perhaps you would like to join my friend and I?”

She pointed to the table Keith sat at. Mel gave her a smile. “Dear girl, it is dangerous to invite another woman to meet your gentleman friend.”

“It’s alright. I’m not the jealous type.”

“Perhaps you should be,” Mel said as she sauntered towards the table and Keith.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 12-2

“Maybe you and your friends should have some kind of memorial for Garrett. It could help you quite a bit. I know when I lost my father, hearing everyone’s thoughts about him really helped me get through it. You should give it a try.”

You’re right that I need to end this, but I’ve already lost too many people to just let things go that easily.

“I will talk to the others when I meet with them. It’s a good idea even if I’m not sure if I’m ready to close things like that.”

“We never are, Rosa. We never are.”

“I guess.”

They fell to silence, the somber conversation subsumed by the need to eat. While she knew some people with a lot on their minds didn’t eat much, Rosa had never been one of those people. Maybe it was because her powers consumed so many calories, but she always wanted her next meal no matter what. It being as good as Rey’s burrito was just a plus.

A female voice boomed over the quiet hum of the other customers at their tables. “I will take your finest meat, your finest cheese and your finest wine!”

Rosa and Keith both turned to look at the new arrival. A dark haired woman stood at the order counter. A thin streak of white hair cut through her dark locks, but it did nothing to detract from her striking features. She was dressed in clothes a size too small, but it only served to accentuate her body, which seemed so perfect as to be sculpted from bronze.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. We have steak and queso, but we don’t normally just serve them separately. We have them as burritos, tacos, salads and such. And we don’t have any wine. We have beer, maybe a Corona—”

The new arrival glowered at the order taker. “You have heard me, woman.”

With a sigh, Keith started to rise from his seat. Rosa reached out to grab his hand.

“No, I know it’s your job, but let me handle this one. Perhaps I can help her understand the restaurant a bit better. I want to help and this is something within my power.”

Keith lowered back into his seat. “Alright, but if she gets any more belligerent, I’m going to step in. I would rather not have to write up the paperwork on lunch, but I’m not going to have a fight break out here.”

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 12. Rosa

The placed was called Rey’s Burritos which sounded like exactly the kind of place a girl born and raised in Guadalajara wanted to eat north of the border. It was the kind of name that just sounded like America’s weird hodge podge of American cooking and traditional Mexican cooking. But Keith insisted she try the food. She frowned when she saw the neighborhood. Most of the businesses were a bit rundown and a twenty-four strip club was clearly visible a couple blocks down.

But as she looked at the open kitchen and smelled the food, it was clear the place knew what it was doing. It was clear the people at Rey’s knew something about authentic cooking. She smiled as the couple in front of her ordered tacos and did not receive the crunchy abominations that some American invented.

“See,” Keith said. “This isn’t so bad is it? Besides, I’m buying.”

“So far they’re doing well. But I haven’t tried the food yet.”

The line moved quickly. Keith went first ordering a steak burrito (everything seemed like it was steak here) and a large pop. She followed him up and studied the meat choices and was surprised by several choices that reminded her of her childhood. “I’ll take the lengua please,” she said in Spanish.

The order taker smiled and rattled off both orders in Spanish to the two men behind her.

It took less than ten minutes for their food to reach the table. It might have taken longer in Mexico, but speed was something Americans loved in their food, even if it cost them quality regularly. But as she took the first bit of her burrito, it was clear Rey’s was not that kind of place.

Keith smiled as she took a quick second bite after the first. “I told you this place was great.”

She chewed the mix of rice, meat, bean and tortilla filling her mouth. Unable to speak she gave him a nod and smile.

“Look, I really wanted to thank you for coming out with me. I know your mind is on the friend you lost. I just wanted to say that while I think your heart is in the right place, you need to leave this to the right authorities. I know the detectives are hard at work. Homeland Security is assisting. We take bombings really seriously. We will find out who did this.”

“I know. I just need some kind of closure.”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Casting Call: Stomp

Garrett Vos has a limited pool of young actors that can play him. A mixed kid with a crazy afro isn't exactly the most common casting call in Hollywood or anywhere else. But one young actor made a name for himself with that look. And while he spent a bit too much time singing and dancing in High School Musical, Corbin Bleu certainly has some acting chops. He would make a fine addition to the cast of the mythical Walking Shadows movie.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ICONS Character Profile: Peach

Name: Peach

Real Name: unknown

Origin: Transformed

First Appearance: Book One, Chapter Six


Prowess 4

Coordination 5

Strength 2

Intellect 4

Awareness 6

Willpower 6

Stamina 8

Determination 3


Art (tattoo)

Languages (?)



Magic 8

(Extras: Slow Recovery; Limit: Preparation, Source [tattoos], Tiring)

Stunning 5


Connections: ?

Connections: ?

Identity (Secretary)


Enemy (?)

Social (promiscuous reputation)

Weakness (?)


Peach seems to be a woman with no past and no special abilities. She’s a young woman in her early to mid-twenties, heavily tattooed and with a reputation for being easy. She does nothing to assuage people’s belief about her nature as she is more than willing to hide her true nature from those around her.

Peach met Alli Finch nearly ten years ago when both were still high school aged. Peach was a runaway dropout, the bad girl that helped protect Alli as she came to admit her connection with the spirit-world. Their bond remained for years to come, despite Peach’s background still being mostly a mystery. They’ve remained fast friends with Alli knowledgeable about Peach’s mystic prowess, even if she knows never to question Peach about any of it.