Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 27-6

“Okay, I can accept Marilyn is some experiment you created. I can accept Cyrus got in your way. But why chain him to the wall? Why bring me here? You could have just taken her and left the rest of us alone. Now you invite the rest of my new friends to come after you.”

“They have no chance. I was easily able to hide us from their view once. Besides, I suspect they have far more trouble ahead of them than little old me. GENESIS still wants you all. And I gave them all the information they needed to trap the rest of your little friends.”

Ian said nothing. It was already clear to him Saul would give him all the information he needed. The man clearly saw himself as far too perfect for subtleties.

“The Composite will rise, but it will be a new life. It will be weak. It needs power. It could take weeks for it to take final form and have the strength to sustain it. But I can easily circumvent that. If The Composite latches onto you, it can steal your ability. The godling is a source of pure energy. One touch with your powers would guarantee our success. The Composite would rise and we would take our leave. The next you would hear of us would be our rise to power.”

“Power?”

“I have bided my time for centuries, Ian. I have watched the world grow too large for its own good. Nations rise and nations fall, but they consume resources needlessly when such things could be better used for greater purposes. The world needs a firm hand. It needs someone to take control. With guidance, this world could become a paradise. I have worked for over a century to guarantee that the man that would bring this about would be me.”

“Other men tried, all with far larger forces than anything I see from you. Hitler, Stalin, Ragnarok. None of them could do it. No amount of power could bring them a victory over every nation in the world. What makes you think you can take control? How do you expect every nation to fall in line so you can rule the world?”

“Because, I will wipe out six and a half billion people to do so.”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 27-5

Saul smirked at Ian. His bemusement and the reason for it were clear to Ian. His memory loss entertained Saul. Ian couldn’t help but think he should know exactly why Saul wanted all of this, but the memory was too elusive. No answers were coming to him. Whatever knowledge might be locked in the recesses of his mind, it would be of no help to him now.

Saul turned and looked down at the floor at Cyrus’s feet. Ian could see his friend was hurt and exhausted. But this was the first time he noticed the strange puddle on the floor. At first glance, it might have looked like some kind of strange oil. The liquid was awash with colors, slowly shifting as it seemed to shift across the floor. But the movements were clearly not just a flow down an imperceptible dip in the floor. The amorphous blob shifted on its own. Ian couldn’t hide his horror as he realized this object before him was alive.

“See someone you recognize, Ian? Your foolish friend and his female companion walked right into my trap. It took only a few seconds for my associates and I to secure them. They didn’t even put up a fight. Now you can finally watch that foolish harlot you’ve had in your midst as she takes her true form.”

Ian turned back to Saul. “You act like you’ve worked everything out, but I’m still lost. Are you saying that thing on the floor is Marilyn?”

“I’m saying it is an amorphous being. I worked hard to create it over sixty years ago, but somewhere along the way the host body failed to receive its gift. Another mind took control over what would have been my most perfect creature. Now I’ve unlocked the true power within the creature, unleashed the minds that were meant to rule over the body. Your dear friend Marilyn was just a figment, a dream. Now there’s only The Composite.”

Ian turned to Sandra. “Seriously, I wish I could remember meeting this guy before. He’s monologuing like a comic book villain. Does he always do this?”

The controller simply smiled and shrugged.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 27-4

Everything around them shook at the impact. Ian could see bits of dirt and dust crumble off the wall. Whatever shook the room had been incredibly powerful and very loud. Ian suspected he knew the source, but it made no sense for him to be here now.

Saul threw open the door to the room. His stoic expression was gone, replaced by abject fury. A figure hung on the far side of the open chamber. It was dim, but Ian saw it was indeed Cyrus. He didn’t know how the young god came to be here. He only knew his friend had put a kink in Saul’s plan.

Saul moved across the room at blinding speed. He wasn’t as fast as Rosa, but he clearly was far faster than any normal human. A moment later, he was next to Cyrus. Saul drove a fist hard into the side of Cyrus’s head. The blow landed with a resounding thud. Cyrus already looked terrible. He slumped forward as the blow was landed.

Ian slowly entered the room after Saul. He had a chance now. With the right move, he could end Saul. He might lose Phoebe if the other man died. He would have to be careful. He creeped up behind Saul as he thought about the power that made him El Sanguijielo in Rosa’s eyes. One touch could drain Saul’s power, but he would have to be careful not to kill the other man. He wasn’t sure he had that control, but it was his only hope.

“I don’t suggest you do anything foolish.”

Just a few steps separated him and Saul, but none of it mattered as both men turned towards the new voice. Sandra stood in the doorway. Ian wasn’t sure how she got here without making a sound or him seeing something. But she wasn’t alone.

Phoebe stood beside her. She still wore the hat she picked up earlier. In fact, she would look perfectly normal if not for her vacant eyes. Sandra’s control was complete, but that didn’t stop Ian.

“Phoebe, are you alright?”

She said nothing. Ian knew he shouldn’t be surprised, but he could already see how this complicated everything. Sandra’s power kept her silent and compliant.

He turned back to the other man. “What is this, Saul? What do you want from me? What do you want from Phoebe and Cyrus?”

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 27-3

The tunnel wasn’t like anything Ian expected. He thought the simple design and furnishings of the previous room would continue even in the new passage. But the walls here looked far older. They seemed to be carved from the very earth itself. Rock walls were moist with groundwater, rough surfaces unevenly formed from some natural or supernatural force. His host seemed used to them, but something about them unsettled Ian. Some ancient power permeated this place.

I have nowhere to run, even if I wanted to. I have to be strong.

He repeated the mantra in his head again and again, once with each step forward. But Ian wanted to panic. He wanted to run. He could feel the impending danger before him. Saul knew him. Saul wanted him for something. The life of him and his friends were in danger until he could uncover the answer. He couldn’t help but think Saul only wanted him here to kill him. Yet if Saul wanted him dead, Sandra could have used her powers to keep him from defending himself.

The tunnel winded around and downward. If they were on the ground level before, they quickly made their way into some kind of catacombs beneath River City. As they passed an offshoot in another direction, Ian wondered how expansive the tunnels were. And how many people had died trying to escape. It was the perfect trap to keep him and Phoebe from escape.

After several long minutes, several more turns and a half dozen forks in the tunnel, Saul turned and lead Ian into a long haul. Here one side of the walls were made of solid cinder blocks, cold and flat outside the four metal doors that broke them into separate cells. Because that is all they could be, some kind of confinement for Saul’s enemies.  

Is this my future?

But Saul offered him no answers. Instead, he pulled a set of keys from his pocket. The ring held over a dozen keys, all ancient skeleton keys unlike anything in regular modern use. He flipped through a few and found the one he wanted. Saul walked to the nearest door, inserted the key and opened the lock. Saul grabbed a heavy iron ring just below the lock and slowly pulled the door open.

Ian felt a surge of power blast from the opening, even as darkness rushed over him.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 27-2

Ian said nothing. He had to listen to the other man, had to play along, but he wouldn’t let his anger fuel his actions. Nor his fear. He wouldn’t let this man goad him into either.

“You don’t have to answer, Ian. I know you don’t recognize me. I also knew you as a name other than Ian, but I suspect someone like you has used many names.”

Someone like me. What does he mean? El Sanguijuelo?

“My name is Saul. Like you I’ve had other names, but it’s been Saul as long as we knew each other. The name only became frustrating in recent years, with that idiot from the drug show.”

Ian didn’t know what he was talking about. But Saul didn’t need to know that. He kept his face impassive. Saul would tell him what he wanted soon enough, but Ian hoped he would slip more and reveal more about Ian’s lost memories.

“You’re quiet, Ian. It’s not like you. I remember you talking a mile a minute. Anytime you were under stress it was yammer, yammer, yammer. Now I can’t even get you to open your mouth. Have you become a mute?”

Ian said nothing.

“If you don’t cooperate, your friend will be tortured. Answer my question.”

“I can talk. I just don’t have much to say to you.”

Saul chuckled. “Of course not, you’ve lost your memory. You don’t even remember me. You don’t remember what I swore I would do. You don’t remember your own threats towards me. I find a delicious irony in that. But perhaps that’s my knowledge and wit showing. Come now. I’ve got something to show you.”

Saul turned and walked towards the hidden door. It opened without his touch. He beckoned Ian to follow. Reluctantly, Ian did so.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 27. Ian

When Sandra was done with him, Ian hated himself just a little bit more. He still didn’t know how he knew the woman, but it was clear her powers were too much for him to resist. No matter how hard he tried, he did everything she asked of him. He couldn’t help himself but to comply.

She was gone now and for that he was grateful. She forced him into a blindfold before dumping him at his current location. As he pulled the cloth from his eyes, he couldn’t help but think he was in an everyday ordinary living room.

Though he saw no doors in the enclosed space, it was decked out with a pair of loveseats, a big screen television, an end table and even a few choice pieces of art. He stared at the large ficus tree on the edge of the room and wondered who wanted to see him so badly as to lure him into this place.

Sandra hinted at another, someone Ian felt he should know. He couldn’t stand his broken mind. It could be the only thing that saved either Phoebe or him. But the information refused to unlock from whatever recess it hid in. Maybe it wasn’t there at all anymore.

A portion of the wall to the left of the television suddenly shifted. It folded back, revealing a hidden door into the room. A man stepped through it.

Ian knew he should recognize the new arrival. The lanky man looked to be in his mid-forties. His head was shaved bald and a goatee framed his face. He wore round glasses over his eyes, the kind Steve Jobs used to wear. Dressed in a black sweater and slacks, he could have passed as a close relation to the late Apple founder. But Ian knew this figure was much older than he appeared. Much older than his lookalike. Something told him, his history with this man was long and quite often deadly.

The stranger smiled as he met Ian’s eyes. It wasn’t a friendly grin, but the knowing look of someone that knew he had his foes where he wanted them. It just served to make him look even more devilish.

“I would ask if you remember me, but I guess we both know that isn’t the case, don’t we?”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

River City History: The Mirror Man

River City History is just that: peaks into the past of the setting of Walking Shadows. Bits and pieces from this feature may very well come to play in future installments of the tale, as the long dark history of River City slowly comes into light.

But Nita Dell wasn’t finished with her attempts to remove Captain Flash as a potential adversary. But she wasn’t yet willing to expose herself or Hannigan to the public yet. She knew River City wasn’t ready to accept a female crime boss, nor that Hannigan could serve as a strong enough figurehead to secure the city.

She turned to dark magic to unleash a threat strong enough to stop Captain Flash. She connected with an interdimensional monster with a name unpronounceable by any human tongue. The monster was dubbed Mirror Man and started a rampage across both River City and Atom City.

Captain Flash had no choice but to confront the weird being, which only vaguely resembled a human in appearance. The monster’s shifting frame and ability to travel from one mirror to the next made him a formidable challenge.

Ultimately the Mirror Man’s own powers backfired against him though. Captain Flash lured the creature into a house of mirrors. The thousand frames overwhelmed Mirror Man’s shifting abilities, fragmenting him into a million pieces.

Captain Flash had saved the city and in the process foiled Nita Dell’s plans again. The city’s secret crime boss now knew she would have to deal with Flash in a more direct manner.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 26-7

She reached out and grabbed him by the arm. He was thick and muscular, which made getting a grip harder with her smaller hands. Pain responded to the touch, though his mind was still in a haze from the nightmare. He blinked repeatedly as he tried to recapture an understanding of his surrounding.

“What is this? What did you do to me, you little bitch!”

“I just made you live your worse nightmare. But I can free you from it. I can help you escape.”

“There’s no escape. You aren’t going to talk your pretty little body out of this one. On a normal day, I’d like to play with you a little. Take a little lovin’. But I don’t got no time for that. I only got time to break you. Then because of your buddy downstairs, I’m going to have to deal with about a hundred cops before I get away. You’ve fouled things up bad for yourself. This could have been quick and easy.”

“It will be quick,” Melinoe said. “But nothing is ever easy, not when mortals are involved. Even those cursed with long life.”

“I don’t understand a word you’re saying, bitch.”

Pain reached out for her throat, but Melinoe turned and ducked under him. He was big, but he wasn’t particularly fast, a saving grace against her abilities. She summoned the magical power into the hand still on his bicep. She felt it surge, even as she put him between her and the support wall.

Then she pushed. Not just with her arms, though she used them too, but with the force she summoned from the nether realms. The energy surged forth.

Pain’s eyes widened in surprise as he was pushed off his feet. He fell back, his body snapping the supports with the force. A moment later, his body seemed suspended over the city. He seemed to hover there, the magical force still pushing him out.

Then he fell. As the wind whipped across her face, Melinoe watched her would be killer—her would be rapist—tumble towards the pavement a thousand feet below. He would survive the fall—in great pain—but not for long. The geas would pass soon enough. Pain would find his death, and only one assassin would be left to eliminate.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 26-6

Her mind was awash with fear. And with that fear came understanding. She saw the horrors in his mind. A horrific car accident. A blonde woman, dead, her head partially severed by the shattered windshield. Blood all over. His own body ripped to shreds. But he wasn’t dead. No matter what, he never died.

The sequences continued to race into her mind. Pain was ripe with fear. Another woman, another death, this time as they both drowned. Stabbings, dismemberments, the horror of living for decades in constant agony.

Pain knew what his name meant. He lived with it every moment of every day. And his fear wasn’t more pain. His fear was never finding an end to the agony.

Fear was only a step away from nightmare.

As she opened her eyes, she unleashed her horror upon him. It was a moment too late.

Pain wrapped a hand around her neck and hefted her off the frame of the floor. Wind whipped through her hair. It obscured her vision in black and white as she fought to find her breath. But she watched Pain’s eyes gloss over. His connection with reality separated as the nightmare took him.

She couldn’t see what he saw. But she knew he was in an endless oblivion. Alone. Forever.

Pain’s grip loosened around her neck. She reached up and grabbed his fingers. She was stronger than a mortal her size and only that allowed her to work her way against his strong hands. She tumbled to the floor, just inches from the weak framed wall of the tower.  

She stared up at Pain. His body seemed to shake. The nightmare consumed him, but it wouldn’t do so for long. This was her chance. Perhaps, her only chance.

While nightmares were her calling, she was not without other abilities. They paled in comparison to her control over fears, her very ability to bring them to life around her foes. But she could still manipulate the energies of the universe to her own needs.

Pain wasn’t like a normal powered human. She could feel the spell place dover him. And while she couldn’t break it, she could manipulate it to her needs.

The geas over him was strong. It formed strange tangles around his soul, but she could loosen a few of them. Retie a few others. Within moments, she had an opening. And a way to finally grant Pain escape from his nightmares.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 26-5

As the elevator ascended, all Melinoe could hear—all she could feel—was her own breath.

Her body was numb. Her mind raced. But each hard, heavy breath filled her lungs with a sense of calm. She may not survive tonight, but she was the goddess of nightmares. She would bring agony to anyone that tried to end her. These assassins were no different.

The elevator dinged. The long sense of calm faded as Melinoe stared out on to the lights of River City. Here, little of the building was finished. A series of metal columns connected to each other, parts of the floor and walls were framed, but not enough to make the room feel anything but open. Wind whipped against her face as she took the first step out of the confined space of the lift.

She looked down through the open spaces in the walls, framed only enough to protect workers from a perilous fall. Melinoe could see cars race by on the freeway, hundreds of tiny lives unaware of the horror in their midst. She could see the flashes of red and blue as the police raced down the streets of the city. They would all close on Wainwright Center soon enough, but until then, she was on her own.

“You’re a hard one to catch, girly. Makes things interesting.”

Melinoe turned to her left. She instantly recognized the male assassin. He wore little more than a pair of leather pants and boots. His body rippled with muscles. He had the perfect skin of a movie star, albeit with a bit more body hair. His long dirty blonde locks framed his face. His average appearance ruined his movie star body, but he tried to hide it behind a full beard a shade darker than his hair. She could do interesting things with that body—if it wasn’t being used to kill her.

“Who are you? Why are you trying to kill me? I don’t even know you.”

“The name’s Pain. You’ve got a lot of enemies, lady. I’ve never been paid close to what I’ve been paid to kill any other stripper whore.”

“Stripper, maybe. Whore, nay. I’ve been many things but I would never dain to let anyone buy my affection, mortal or immortal.”

He grinned. “You talk funny. Guess it won’t be a problem in a minute though, will it?”

Pain started towards her. Melinoe froze in place. She didn’t have any weapons, barely had any clothes. But she was far from defenseless.

She only hoped her mother and stepfather wouldn’t bring down greater punishment upon her as she closed her eyes and reached into this Pain’s mind.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 26-4

“Move! Move!”

Keith’s words forced her back to reality. They were still in danger. The engines of the assassins’ motorcycles hummed a not distant enough tune. The cop grabbed her by the arm and pulled her out towards his door. She had to awkwardly climb over the cluttered middle console of the police cruiser, but within seconds, she was free of the car.

Keith pulled her towards the finished frame of Wainwright Center, which looked like a massive concrete block carved into the land. Framed by marble columns spanning four stories, the entrance would be majestic if not for the killers after them. He ran her to the front entrance, which was still uncovered by any door. She found herself plunged into darkness. Only the dim lights from the street outside and a single fixture across the room provided any illumination to the massive unfinished lobby.

“Come on. The elevator.”

Keith pulled her towards the light on the far side of the room, which he clearly knew to be the elevator. But he barely reached the halfway point of the room. Still in mid-run, his feet suddenly slipped from beneath him. Melinoe stumbled at his sudden movement. He released his grip on her just a second before he was yanked backward, even as she regained proper footing. Melinoe glanced back to see the female assassin. She held a long whip which seemed to undulate in the darkness like a living thing. Though the assassin didn’t move her arm, the whip tightly wrapped around Keith’s leg and pulled him back towards her.

“Run!” Keith yelled. “Get as high as you can, then disable the elevator. You’ll be safe until the rest of the force arrives!”

Melinoe had her doubts, but his plan was sound enough. More space would give her time to think.

She watched as Keith drew his gun and turned away from her. She heard the first shot as she reached the elevator. As soon as she hit the button, it opened.

She hit the higher buttons on the console wildly. She got the top floors, but she also struck buttons on the panels below. Seventy-two was the low number on the list. It would do as well as any other floor for her to escape their grasp. Even with parts of the building still open to air high above, she needed the space to think.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 26-3

Keith nodded towards a massive structure looming in the distance, the infamous Wainwright Center. It was half built, still more steel frame than actual building, but the eighty-seven story structure was a regular sight in downtown River City. The skyscraper would be the city’s largest upon construction, but delay after delay had slowed the massive structure’s creation.

Massive cranes filled the roof to the buildings next to it, while more equipment lined the streets below. The frame had enough walling to make it easy to disappear into the maze, but she doubted it would save them from the man and woman for long. Still, Melinoe had to admit it was their best chance so far.

She glanced behind them. The twin Ninjas were still on their tale, the hum of the engines a constant presence even as the wind rushed around them. The assassins wouldn’t stop, unless she and Keith at least slowed them until the police could arrive.

“Alright,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve got any other choice.”

Keith said nothing as he powered the car down the road. The Wainwright Center grew larger as they approached, its peak disappearing from view. Melinoe knew they would have to stop suddenly and then move quickly if they hoped to escape into the structure before the assassins ran them down. They would have to take a very sudden stop.

“Hold on and brace yourself. This isn’t going to be a very smooth stop.”

She didn’t say anything as he veered left. The divider offered only a small opening there, but he flashed the police car through it and towards the flat plowed dirt and concrete at the base of the Wainwright Center. Melinoe felt her entire body pulled taut as he slammed on the brakes. The car leapt as they went off the curb and into the packed dirt. It hit the ground hard, the tires and suspension shuttering as Keith spun the wheel.

Melinoe saw why a second later. They pitched towards a front loader, a massive field of red filling their view. Suddenly it wasn’t in front of them, but the Wainwright Center’s frame loomed large before them instead. But their spin turned, even as the car shook as one of the rear tires burst beneath them.

Melinoe gritted her teeth as the car screeched and shuttered. Then it stopped.

And somehow she was still alive.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 26-2

“I wish I knew,” Melinoe said. “They are no one have I ever met. I don’t know why they came after me. I don’t even know why anyone would want me dead. I’ve only been in the city for a couple days.”

“A couple days? And you’re already working at Jacks?”

“He liked my audition. I just came to the town to stay with my brother. I had a falling out with my stepfather.”

Keith shook his head. “You kids these days. Living with your parents until you’re thirty.”

“Are my former living arrangements really a concern? I think we should be more concerned with the murderer and murderess on our tail.”

He glanced up into the rear view mirror. “You’re certainly right about that one, lady.”

“I’m often right. Hopefully I’m not right that we’re going to die tonight.”

“Not if I have anything to say about it.”

Keith put on a brave face, but Melinoe knew it was only that. The motorcyclists could keep up with their pace far longer and far more easily, winding in and out of traffic while Keith was forced to slow for it. It would only be a matter of time before they were close enough to the car to strike. She might not know why they wanted her dead, but either the muscular brute or the whip-carrying dominatrix could easily take them off the road sooner or later and make sure she would visit her father’s kingdom for the last time.

Keith suddenly veered right and Melinoe was forced to catch herself before her head struck the window. He turned from the eight lane freeway onto an exit. A second later, they ran a red onto a four lane road leading back towards downtown.

“We’re never going to outrun them,” Keith said. “My only chance is to bring them to somewhere we might have a chance to stand up to them. And it has to be a place where no more innocents will get drawn into the carnage. And I think I know just the place.”

“The place? What are you thinking? Where do you think we’re going to take this that we won’t get killed by two metahuman psychopaths?”

“Right up there.”

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 26. Melinoe

Rosa’s cop friend certainly knew how to drive. As the lights above their head flashed red and blue, he drove at blinding speed down the winding streets of River City. His speed might be considered dangerous at first glance, but only before one saw the twin Kawasaki Ninjas streaking behind them at even greater speeds. They were little more than yellow and blue streaks endlessly pursuing the police cruiser.

Melinoe knew they had no hope of escape. The two killers seemed unworried about their own safety. The chatter on the car’s radio made it clear police were moving in on the scene from every side. Helicopters were in the air, inbound from the city airport. Within minutes, a perimeter would cut off the entire area from the rest of the city.

But even if it came, it could very well be too late to save her or Keith.

Melinoe wondered who could have sent the killers. Caelus might still have pawns, but the likelihood they would come after a loyal servant like her her seemed slim. The Fates hated her, but they would never act directly or openly. The fools of GENESIS already tried to capture her brother, but they would have called off any police involvement if they wanted her captured. This was someone else, some kind of new threat or some kind of much older threat, one emerged from decades or centuries away.

This bodes ill. I dislike such a lack of control. This is what stepfather’s punishment brings upon me. He should have simply killed me. He has forced me into death by one means or another.

Melinoe silently cursed the god of death once again. She hated Pluto. She hated her mother’s loyalty to the monster. He kidnapped her mother and forced her into marriage. Persephone’s revenge was her, the ultimate cuckoldry. Yet still she stayed with the lord of the underworld, even bore him her fool of a half brother. Persephone should have killed the fool long ago, and taken his place as the true ruler of the dead.

Instead she stood by and left me to this fate.

“Who are these two?”

Melinoe let Keith’s words linger in the car. She had no answer for him. She wished she did. If she knew anything about the male and female assassins, her chances would be far better. She hated direct confrontation, but it seemed clear she would have to face her killers tonight.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Casting Call: Melinoe

Finding my Melinoe was one of the hardest choices I needed to make when thinking about a dream cast for Walking Shadows. I needed a figure slightly older than the rest of the cast, yet one that can blend with them. The healthy dose of evil and the need to look good topless all add up into a difficult casting choice.

After far too long contemplating my choice though, I realized the best answer was appearing on one of my favorite series already, Da Vinci's Demons. English actress Laura Haddock encompasses pretty much everything I need in a Melinoe outside a good dye job: beauty, subtlety, and a penchant for treading the line between evil and good.

Image credit: Wonderland Magazine.



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 25-4

Cyrus spit in the other man’s face. It was the only recourse he could think would get his position across.

The other man slapped him across the face. He drew back from Cyrus and raised his hand to his face. As he wiped away the spittle, Cyrus watched the hand shrink. The nails elongated. In a second it was clearly a female’s hand, even as the transformation started to work over his—or her—arm.

The man looked up at it, stared as his own body changed before him. He smiled as his form seemed to betray him. If what he said was true, he already embraced his own death, subsumed into some new existence with the other personalities Cyrus met. He prayed to his father that Marilyn would not be lost inside them. He wasn’t sure he could bare her loss after everything he’d been through in the months before.

The transformation continued. The thing before him was half man, half woman. All three forms he saw in the last few minutes all mixed into one. The body moved unnaturally, the shifting bone structure causing arms, legs and neck to spasm in ways not quite human.

Then she came.

It was only for the briefest moment. The figure’s hair turned blonde and suddenly Marilyn’s face stared at him. He pulled forward, strained against his chains as they locked eyes.

“Help me. Stop them, Cyrus. Stop them.”

A second later, she was gone as Solomon’s face mixed with that of the two other women. Cyrus’s rage boiled inside him. It was the rage of his father and uncle, the unrelenting rage only a god could feel. He felt his power surge inside him.

He opened his mouth and that rage washed out from him. It struck the shifting body in front of him. The body that was once Marilyn seemed to explode as the wall of sound struck it. Suddenly liquid it flew back and slammed into the far wall. It stuck like slime in large chunks, several oozing pools slowly making their way back to the floor.

The room shook with it. Stones fell from the walls. Bits of ceiling flaked away. The power shook everything. Cyrus’s chains caused him to reverberate with it.

Then all was silent again but for his deep hard breaths. He was alone again, but Cyrus knew this misery was far from over.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 25-3

“Ah, the lover. I almost forgot about you.”

The voice was nothing like Marilyn’s. It was smooth and calculated, with the careful inflection of someone used to public oration.

He was a handsome man with a clean cut bald head, perfectly groomed van dyke beard and a sweater to make Steve Jobs proud. He looked like a modern millionaire instead of some strange personality once buried deep inside Marilyn.

“Give Marilyn back her body.”

“Marilyn is gone, godling. Or at least she will be soon enough. She was never supposed to exist in the first place. The mistake is being corrected now.”

Cyrus struggled against his bonds, but the metal wouldn’t break. He wasn’t strong enough to free himself. He couldn’t stop this bastard. Even if he could, he knew he didn’t have the ability to bring Marilyn back from inside her own mind.

“You can fight all you want,” the bald man said. “But this is our body now. Even now, I can feel the power welling up. Soon we will overtake it. Audrey, Jolene and I will disappear with your precious girlfriend. In our place, will be something new, a power unlike the world has ever seen. And we will take our place at the side of our king.”

“You’re sick in the head. You’re just some dark corruption. You need to be purged. And I will see you destroyed, one way or another.”

The man laughed. “You will do nothing, godling. Any harm to me would only make it easier for us to take control of your dearest love. We will soon be in control. We will soon have our way. And you will survive to be our plaything. We will learn what makes a god tick when we pull you apart a piece at a time.”

He walked up to Cyrus. His hand caressed Cyrus’s cheek. His flesh was cold and damp. Not quite human.Cyrus tried to pull away, but his bonds held him fast.

“I will have so much fun playing with you. And when I am done you will beg me for the sweet release of death. You will want an end because your continued existence will be naught but agony. And I will deny it until I’ve taken every ounce of fight you possess and broken you down to the pathetic nothing you truly are. I will rule over you as your parents once ruled over this world.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 25-2

The only feature that seemed to stay the same on this new woman was the sneer. Her disdain was as equally apparent as the other.

“It has been far too long,” the woman said. “But at least we will be free. Your friend dies for our glory, godling. You should thank us for the grace we bring the world. We will be the first of a new mankind, new gods for a new era of the human race.”

“What are you doing to Marilyn? Get out of her head!”

The woman chuckled. “Without us, dear Marilyn’s head would be vacant. And your sexy girlfriend would just be a withering ninety year old nothing.”

“What are you talking—?”

Cyrus didn’t have time to finish his question as this woman melted away like the first. The featureless thing in front of him grew broader in the shoulders. The breasts and wide hips vanished as the new form grew taller. It took him a moment to realize Marilyn’s body was taking on a male form, something he had never seen her do before. He hadn’t even considered it.

Now as he looked up at the man forming from Marilyn’s flesh, he wondered if she was even truly female. Perhaps she was something else, some new form of mankind as the previous woman had ranted and raved.

The red hair faded back into the head before him, even as a van dyke beard sprouted from the chin of the formless face. It didn’t stay formless for long though. Ears, eyes, nose and lips formed beneath and around the thick dark hair of his beard. It was the only hair seemingly on his body as his white skin remained barren of even a single follicle.

His eyes were set deep and dark. This was a man with fire and fury inside him. He knew who he was and how he came to be inside Marilyn’s form.

It was clear this was not a simple haunting. This was something far worse, though Cyrus couldn’t begin to grasp at what. It was clear someone had deliberately done this to Marilyn, perhaps long before Alli awoke her in whatever secret dungeon she pulled Marilyn from. They certainly weren’t gods, but clearly they embraced their possession of Marilyn’s body. It seemed clear they were all in battle for control of Marilyn’s body. But their victory might mean death for Marilyn’s psyche and he couldn’t let that happen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book 3 Chapter 25. Cyrus

The undulating mass of flesh in front of him might have sickened Cyrus on a normal day. Knowing that form was Marilyn, somehow being tortured, made him want to break down. But from his youngest days, he was taught to show strength in the face of the worst of horrors. Growing up in Hades made such horrors a nearly daily occurrence.

But he left Hades to find his way in the world of humans. He wanted to be like them. He wanted to feel their pain. And as he watched the undulating mass at his feet, he could feel Marilyn’s agony.

Though he still wasn’t quite sure he loved the strange young woman that found her way into his life and his bed, he knew he couldn’t stand idly by and let her be tortured. Yet nothing he could do would free him from his chains. A sonic blast to his manacles would shatter his own wrists or ankles. And the low vibrations he teased into the walls of the dungeon did little to shake the heavy bolts that held the manacles to the wall.

Face it. I wouldn’t be able to help her even if I could break free. I’m not even really sure what she truly is.

The writhing mass of flesh seemed to grow taller suddenly. Out of it, the form of a woman started to appear, But he quickly realized this woman wasn’t Marilyn at all. This woman was raven haired, an obvious fact even as her full face seemed to form out of the mass. In a matter of seconds, she stood before him, dressed in a red evening gown. She was thinner than Marilyn, almost lanky. She was beautiful, but her demeanor robbed that beauty of any value. She gave him a sneer as she met his eyes.

“More the proof she was a fool, godling. You are supposed to be greater than us, but already we’re something more than your kind could ever be. We are a new god. We are—”

Her lips melted away as the face and form seemed to deform. The evening gown turned into a skirt and blouse, cut like something from Mad Men. The hair grew longer and fell down this woman’s back in gentle auburn curls. Her chest grew out to fill out the blouse. She was curvaceous and attractive, though she had nothing on Marilyn.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A brief hiatus...

Due to ongoing financial issues, I have not had the time to devote to Walking Shadows as of late. Sadly that means we've caught up with our buffer. Currently I'm working on getting the next few chapters up and running.

We will be delayed for two weeks, with Chapter 25. Cyrus kicking off on July 26. See you then and don't forget to check out the GoFundMe!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

River City History: Captain Flash in action

Nita Dell instantly recognized the dangers of a super-powered crimefighter again making River City home. The history of Yankee Doodle Jones still weighed heavily on the minds of the citizenry as well. Nita knew that with the right amount of push she could make them fear Captain Flash in the same way.

She turned to the same thing that created her: magic. Konrad Krueger was a former Atom City scientist that turned to the dark arts in order to get revenge on the men that fired him. With the resources of Dell and Hannigan’s criminal empire behind him, he set out to destroy Atom City’s greatest hero Captain Flash.

Along with a group of thugs, he became the Black Knight. On a rocket-steed and wielding energy blasting lances, they managed to damage Atom City’s fourth reactor before Captain Flash challenged them. But the melding of science and magic was more than a match for the young hero.

Unfortunately for the Black Knight he was less of a match for the wit of Ricky Davis, Captain Flash’s teenage ally. Ricky lead the Atom City scientists in creating a massive electromagnet. The magnet drew in the Black Knight and his men’s armor, capturing them. Still the seeds of doubt were now planted in Captain Flash’s ability to defend Atom City.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 24-4

 Ziya to crack the slightest of smiles. Kaihime knew Alli was getting through to the girl. She wished she could so easily interact. But she only knew the concept of human interaction from the television shows she watched from The Aerie. It seemed such behaviors were harder to emulate in reality than they were on the shows. Empathy clearly was a behavior best mastered through interaction rather than simple viewing.  

“We are here to help you,” Alli said to the young girl.

This close she seemed even younger than she had before. Ziya chewed at her bottom lip as she studied Kaihime and Alli. Kaihime wished she could have any insight into the girl’s mind.

“Baba and Mama will be worried sick if I leave. They will call the police. They’ll start a manhunt—”

“You can call them after you’re somewhere safe,” Alli said. “But believe me that you don’t want to be here much longer. The police are coming. And our friends in GENESIS didn’t make it on the news when I fought them a week ago. I don’t think the cops will be our friends in this. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe they will take you somewhere safe. But I already know how this town feels about metas. I can only imagine how happy they would be to make you disappear and ship you off with a bunch of paramilitary whackjobs.”

“I—you’re scaring me.”

“Good,” Alli said. “You should be scared, Ziya. Fear will keep you alive. I’m not saying you should run away forever. But I am saying that you need to stay with us. You need to help us. If we’re going to stay free and find my friends, we have to make it clear to GENESIS we will not let them continue to manipulate our lives and make us afraid of our own shadows.”

Ziya stared at Alli and Kaihime. It was clear she was deep in thought. Alli looked to Kaihime. It took Kaihime a few seconds too long to realize she was looking for something else to be said.

“We will do everything we can to get you back to your family,” Kaihime said. “I know how important family is. But right now, we need to move. I have two more names on this list. With or without you, we need to find them. Are you with us or will you stay?”

Ziya looked back to Alli. Alli shrugged. It was clearly a signal, though Kaihime didn’t understand it.

“I’ll come with you,” Ziya said. Her eyes turned cold. “One way or the other, I want to learn why these men attacked me. And I want to make their masters pay.”

Kaihime could only wonder if GENESIS had created a far more dangerous foe than they could have ever imagined.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 24-3

“Need me?” Ziya looked to Alli. “Does all that stuff make her crazy?”

“I—not that I know of.” Alli shrugged. “We haven’t known each other long. But I trust her. She’s proven her knowledge in this more than once. And I’m not going to let anyone take Marilyn, Ian or the others away again. I’m no fighter, Ziya. But sometimes even people like us have to stand up for the greater good. Today’s that day.”

“You keep saying you have a girlfriend. Baba always says women that love other women are the worst kind of infidels. I’m supposed to avoid people like you, lest they corrupt me as well.”

Alli rolled her eyes. “Great, this isn’t what I need.”

Kaihime rested a hand on her Alli’s shoulder. Quietly, she said, “Talk to her. Clearly she understands you better than me.”

Alli nodded, then turned her attention back to Ziya. “I can’t say I haven’t corrupted a few girls in my time, Ziya. But that’s not what we’re here for. I have a girlfriend and you’re a little young to be my type. Also if you’re straight, I’m pretty much out of luck. I don’t know your father, but don’t let outdated bigotry keep you—and him—from safety.”

“I still don’t know. Please, can you just take it away. I don’t want this. I don’t even know how to control it. I can summon the light, but if I get scared, it explodes out of me. I—my house is demolished. How will we ever fix this?”

“Ziya, you need to stay with me.” Alli stepped forward, but the debris shifted beneath her feet. “Please listen to me. Can I come up there? Can we talk more closely? I promise if you want us to leave afterwards, we will.”

Ziya’s skin glowed brighter for a moment. But it faded in just a few short seconds. She nodded.

Alli turned back to Kaihime. “It’s going to be a lot easier if you fly us up the hill. I don’t need to add tetanus to my problems today.”

Kaihime grabbed Alli under the shoulders a moment later. Alli yelped as they came up off the ground. Though their destination was only a few feet away, she acted as though she flew miles up in the air.

Seconds later, Kaihime touched them down on what used to be a hardwood floor. Alli stumbled, clearly a little rattled by the experience of flying.”

“Let’s try not to do that again,” Alli said. She turned back to Ziya. “Like I said, we’re all new at this.”

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 24-2

Kaihime dropped the shield. She offered a hand to Alli, but the Spirit Cop stood on her own.

“Don’t come any closer,” the young woman yelled. “I already killed your friends. I’ll kill you too if you don’t leave.”

She was clearly Ziya Basara, the woman they sought. But until Kaihime could get an idea of the girl’s powers, she knew she would have to wait.

“Ms. Basara—”

“I promise we’re not with them, Ziya.” As she cut off Kaihime’s words, Alli also took a step forward, putting herself between Ziya and Kaihime. “We came to warn you. To help keep you free.”

“What is this?” Fear was evident on the girl’s face. “What did I do? How am I going to explain this to Baba? He won’t understand. He already doesn’t understand these powers. If he sees this—”

“Your father will be safe,” Kaihime said as she stepped back around Alli. “But you must come with us. If you remain, they will come back for you. Then you could be in real danger.”

“I—please, just make this stop.”

Ziya started to cry. She buried her face in her hands.

Kaihime studied the young woman. Though she wore a fairly traditional hijab over her head and chest, outside the vest, she wore simple American clothes: sneakers, jeans and an oversized sweatshirt emblazoned with S-E-R-C in massive letters. Below the letters in much smaller type, it said Southeast River City High School. It was as Kaihime feared. The girl was much younger than they.

“I’m sorry,” Kaihime said. “It cannot stop. They will keep coming until they have you, or we can stand up to GENESIS together. I know this is not a decision to be made with ease. I know your life has changed suddenly and horribly, but you need to come with us.”

“I don’t even know you. How do I know you’re any better than those men with guns?”

“Because we’re like you. Alli and I have faced GENESIS before. Look at me. They turned me into this. They saved my life in the process, but I am still a woman that can never have a normal life. They tried to take Alli’s girlfriend for their experiments as well. We are together, not because of choice, but because of necessity. Alli’s friends are missing again. They could be anywhere. GENESIS could already have them. And I hate to say this to one so young, but if we’re going to beat them, we need you.”

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 24. Kaihime

Kaihime’s cybernetics gave her reflexes just above a normal human. If it wasn’t for that reaction time either she or Alli could have been seriously injured. She quickly threw up a force shield just as the shockwave from the explosion hit them. Her teeth rattled, but she was alive as the billow of dust and smoke surrounded them.

Alli looked up at her, the shock apparent in the other woman’s eyes. She clearly didn’t grasp they were in a war. People would get hurt. GENESIS wouldn’t rest until they had what they wanted.

“What the hell happened?” Alli choked as she delivered the words.

The air was still filled with dirt and soot despite the field around them. Kaihime’s shields were meant to allow oxygen through. Clearly they weren’t perfect for blocking the aftermath of an explosion. Still, the alternative seemed much worse.

The circuits around her neck shifted and formed a rebreather over her mouth, complete with a voice modulator.

“For some reason, the home exploded as we approached. Whether it was GENESIS or the young woman we seek, I cannot answer.”

“GENESIS is already here?” She coughed again, but this time she clearly breathed through it.

The air was clearing as the smoke slowly wafted off the damage from the house. Still the billowing clouds around them made sight almost impossible.

“They could very well have the same information we have. We don’t know how far into the Codex they have accessed. We’re honestly lucky GENESIS’s private army hadn’t went after them as soon as they failed to take your friends.

“Fuck,” Alli said. “We’re already too late.”

“Not necessarily.”

Kaihime pointed through the smoke ahead of them. Though vision was still limited, a single female form seemed to glow from the other side of the damage. She was thin, barely a slip of a woman. As the dust settled and the smoke cleared, they could see she was barely a woman at all. She looked much younger than Kaihime was herself, barely eighteen if even that. Everyone else GENESIS was after had at least reached their twenties. She wasn’t sure what to make of the young woman in front of them.

From here, they could also see the armored men at her feet. Though their flak jackets and helmets were burned and cracked, their uniforms were easily recognizable. Whatever had happened here, GENESIS had indeed beat them to the punch.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

With a little help from my friends... and fans

We interrupt the regular Walking Shadows posts for this announcement. The new chapter will kick off Thursday.

The life of an independent author is not always an easy one. When the profits from your books aren't enough to live on and you find yourself off your other job because of leg injury, things get rough. That's the situation my family and I have found ourselves in for the last couple weeks. With no income coming in, we're in dire straits.

Because of that, I've set up a GoFundMe page. I'm asking fans, friends and family to help us out in our trying times. Even if you can't spare any money (a problem I understand all too well), please consider sharing the campaign and help more people see our troubles. Every little bit will help see us through a few more days.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Casting Call: Peach

Casting Call is a feature where I choose the actor or actress I consider ideal for my character. This isn't a demand to any future producers, but the actors I see in my head when I'm writing.

Peach is actually a hard character to find an actor for as well. Covered in tattoos, I would basically need a Suicide Girl to really make the character work with minimal makeup. But instead of going that route, I decided I would find a natural redhead that has also shown a willingness to sit in a makeup chair for long periods when necessary.

It doesn't hurt Karen Gillan also has a monstrous fan following that would probably love seeing her as a sexy tattooed woman.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

River City History: Atom City

As Dell and Hannigan took control of the city’s mobs, River City started down a new financial path. New mayor Paul O’Halloran worked with the federal government to set up the installation of two atomic power plants near the city. While the project started in late 1951, it wasn’t until nearly three years later that the structures, dubbed “Atom City” were completed.

Keith Spencer was a professor in the area that taught the young college students being brought on site for the new facility. During one test, Spencer was exposed to deadly amounts of radiation, but miraculously survived.

It wasn’t until Spencer returned home from an extensive physical that he discovered he might be alive, but he was changed. With a clap of his hands, he became faster, stronger and tougher. A fan of the mystery men of the 1940s, Spencer made the decision to use his powers for good. He donned a garish red-and-blue costume and named himself Captain Flash. In his very first mission as a costumed crimefighter, he would save the entire city from an atomic bomb dropped by a former Nazi scientist at Atom City. It would instantly make him hugely popular citywide.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 23-7

Sessily immediately dropped to her knees again. Her lips touched the cleft of hair between Rosa’s legs. She gently kissed across Rosa’s pubic bone, even as she brought her fingers up and glanced them gently between the lips of the Latina’s labia. Rosa gasped for air as the smooth easy touch found her clitoris. But it didn’t remain, just moving over it for a moment before Sessily pulled it away to gently run it again outside Rosa’s nether lips, before slipping it back past the edges of her vulva.

“Please,” Rosa moaned.

“Please what?”

“You know what. Please.”

Rosa saw the dancer looking up at her, even as Sessily kissed at the thin dark hair at the cleft of her legs. Sessily stopped long enough to say two simple words: “Say it.”

“Please touch me. Please. I need it. I want you to make me cum.”

Sessily grinned, the joy in her conquest apparent. Rosa didn’t care. She knew what she needed. She was so close. She was putty in the dancer’s hands. She wanted Sessily’s touch like nothing she ever felt before.

But Sessily didn’t move her fingers to the Latina’s clitoris. Sessily shifted her body. Rosa’s eyes widened as she felt the edge of the dancer’s tongue across the sensitive nub. Rosa’s fingers wrapped into the long red hair as Sessily worked across her like no man ever did. She changed from gentle pressure to harder pressure, moving her tongue with a practiced rhythm. The redhead had done this before. Rosa didn’t care with who or why. She just wanted her to bring her over the edge.

Her tongue was bringing Rosa almost to the edge. Sessily wasn’t teasing now. She wanted to bring Rosa to orgasm. It was only a matter of time. Rosa reveled in the delicious waves of pleasure that washed across her. She wanted to feel Sessily’s touch forever. As the dancer slowly worked her index finger deep into Rosa’s vagina, the Latina could no longer hold back. She didn’t want to hold back. She wanted to feel this sensation over and over again.

Every inch of her body suddenly exposed with sensational pleasure. It was far from her first orgasm, but it was stronger than anything she ever felt before. Her legs shook. Her vision blurred. It didn’t seem to stop.

Awash in pleasure, she yearned for the moment to continue on forever and ever.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 23-6

Sessily slipped down to her knees, her eyes locked with Rosa’s. She stopped to hold Rosa’s hips again, her face level with the white underpants Rosa wore. Rosa was slightly embarrassed by them. They weren’t a thong or lace or anything sexy. They weren’t loose, but they were large, something warm for the cool air of the oncoming winter.

But they were damp. Rosa could feel the wetness on the cloth, a wetness she left on them. So could Sessily as the dancer ran her fingers along the moist cotton. She smiled more broadly as Rosa reacted to the feel of her fingers through the cloth. Sessily’s fingers against her labia, even through the cloth, made Rosa’s knees weaken again.

“God, you’re hot.” Sessily’s words broke the hush of the room. Rosa didn’t know how to respond. Those words weren’t what she expected from the gorgeous dancer. She was nothing like Sessily or the woman at Lumber Jacks. Yet somehow Sessily seemed to find her attractive. It didn’t make sense. She opened her mouth, ready to question the redhead. But she never had a chance.

As Sessily lowered her mouth to kiss the growing dampness of the cotton, Rosa could only let out a long slow groan. Sessily’s hands came up to pinch Rosa’s nipples again.

Rosa didn’t know what to do. Her legs were growing weaker. She didn’t think she could stand up much longer. Sessily’s touch was overwhelming her. She never felt anything like this before. She never heard anyone say anything about her appearance with as much meaning as the three words Sessily gave her. And she couldn’t resist the overwhelming wave of lust and emotions racing through her mind and body.

As Sessily finally shifted the damp line of cloth away from her vulva, Rosa could only stare down at her. As the dancer’s fingers slowly moved across the edges of Rosa’s nether lips, her lips ran gently over the patch of hair just above them. Her knees trembled beneath her.

Sessily clearly detected Rosa’s unease. The dancer rose up long enough to wrap her hands around Rosa’s waist.  With surprising ease, the redhead lifted the Latina off her feet. Three steps later, she pushed Rosa down onto her bed. Rosa was initially shocked, but the dancer showed she was far from done.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 23-5

Her worries washed away as Sessily pulled the bra open and down Rosa’s arms. She twisted the bra as she brought it down Rosa’s back. Rosa found her hands suddenly pulled back and restrained. She could do nothing as Sessily leaned in and slowly ran her tongue across her right nipple. Rosa’s heavy breathing turned to a moan as Sessily slowly took the hardening bud into her mouth. Sessily released the restraint as Rosa felt her body react. She could already feel the moisture between her legs, even though Sessily hadn’t even touched her pants.

Rosa’s hands found her way into the dancer’s dark red hair. It was surprisingly smooth despite its disheveled status. Rosa found herself wrapping her fingers around it. She held it fast as Sessily nibbled at the nipple in her mouth. Rosa had always been sensitive there, but no one had ever touched her with the expertise Sessily did.

Her mouth pulled away and Rosa instantly felt a longing for Sessily’s touch. But a second later, it enclosed around her left nipple. Sessily brought her teeth into play and Rosa gasped at the sudden bite against her already sensitive breast. She held Sessily’s hand in place, even as the dancer’s fingers found their way down to Rosa’s hips. Rosa felt Sessily hitch her fingers in her waistline. She opened the snap on the pants with a swish of her hands. A moment later, Sessily was yanking Rosa’s pants to the floor. Rosa thought she should resist, or at least play a little hard to get. But the feel of the dancer’s lips on her nipple and the brush of Sessily’s hands against her skin made Rosa unable to do anything but revel in the pleasure.

Sessily released Rosa’s nipple from her mouth. Rosa looked down at her face as Sessily looked up for the first time in several minutes. The smile on Sessily’s face was that of a person clearly proud of her work. The dancer knew she had Rosa on the hook now. And as much as Rosa yearned for some kind of control in this situation, she knew she truly wouldn’t accept any. She wanted Sessily’s touch. She wanted to let the dancer do anything she wanted with her. She reveled in the pleasure the redhead brought with every touch.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 23-4

Rosa was no prude. She had kissed plenty of boys and men in her life. But something about Sessily’s lips were different. They were soft and full, still bright red from the lip stain she used. They were cool, but as she let herself kiss the other woman back, they seemed to ignite the same flame inside Rosa she saw in Sessily’s eyes.

Rosa felt a tongue slip between her lips. She opened her mouth, let Sessily’s tongue intertwine with her own. She felt her knees go weak. She had kisses before, but never had she met anyone that kissed like Sessily. She felt her body react, but she didn’t know what to do. A man she could control. She could understand how to get pleasure and give it with Keith or one of her lovers back in Mexico. But Sessily was different. She didn’t know how to act or react. Her knees felt weak as she felt Sessily’s hands on her hips. They held her fast, as if the dancer knew Rosa was unsteady on her feet.

Sessily pulled her lips away from Rosa’s mouth. Her head dipped down and suddenly she was kissing and nipping at Rosa’s neck. She could move at several times the speed of sound, resist the pressure of air whipping against her skin, but she couldn’t help but sigh in pleasure now.

The dancer’s hands slipped up to the front of Rosa’s shirt. They found the buttons down the front. Within a matter of seconds, Sessily had popped open the top half of them with a practiced ease. Her lips slipped from Rosa’s neck to her shoulders as her hands continued to open the shirt.

The lips on her shoulders found their way to the front of her chest as Sessilly opened the last button of the blouse. Without pulling an inch away, Sessily yanked the blouse down Rosa’s arms. It dropped to the ground as Sessily’s lips reached the top of Rosa’s bra.

Rosa’s passion was replaced with worry as Sessily’s hand found the clip on the front of the brassiere. Her breasts were nothing like Sessily’s or Mel’s. She was barely a B cup, while they were full figured beautiful women. She wasn’t like them. Sessily couldn’t find her as attractive as all those women she worked with at the club. She feared the dancer would stop, leave her in this state like none she felt before.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 23-3

Sessily smiled broadly.

“What? What did I say?”

“You’ve seen pretty much all of me. Without this robe, I’m just a nude dancer that hasn’t managed to get dressed. Not that it matters. Half this city has seen me naked. But one thing I’ve gained in my years at clubs like Jacks is a good eye for beauty. And I’m thinking you would have been smoking hot covered in spandex.”

Rosa felt herself blush. She couldn’t control it anymore. She wasn’t sure she wanted to. Something told her losing control was all she wanted.

Sessily moved close to her. “Do I scare you, Rosa?”

“No. No. Definitely not. I just—I’m confused.”

“What confuses you?” Sessily was maybe two inches away from her. Rosa couldn’t take her eyes off her full lips, still painted red from Lumber Jacks. They were succulent. Beautiful. Enrapturing.

“I-I’m not sure.”

“If you’re not confused, then do what you want to do. There is something you want to do, isn’t there, Rosa?”

“I—”

Sessily’s hand touched her arm. She couldn’t stop the shiver that ran down her spine. Her touch was electric. Rosa felt it race through her body.

Rosa backed away a step. She needed space if she was going to think. “What do you want, Sessily? You came here to hide out, but this doesn’t feel like that.”

“I’m here to stay safe. I didn’t lie about that. I have men that want me dead. They sent those assassins to the club, because they found me and want to finish the job. I thought I was safe, but it’s clear I’m not. But just because I’m hiding out doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun. I like fun. Who doesn’t like fun? But this isn’t about me anymore.” She stepped closer again. “You didn’t answer the question. What do you want to do?”

Rosa stared into Sessily’s eyes. She could see the fire in them. She suspected her own eyes showed a similar gleam.

She reached out and grabbed Sessily by the hand. Rosa pulled the other woman to her. A moment later, her lips touched Sessily’s. Immediately it felt like the only thing in the world.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 23-2

They both fell silent. Rosa looked at her feet, but she felt Sessily’s eyes on her. They seemed to bore into her soul. She knew this woman had seen a lot in her life, but all her fears and worries seemed to fall by the wayside. Her only focus was on Rosa.

She resisted the urge to shiver. She knew if Sessily touched her, she wouldn’t be able to stop it. Something about this woman drew her in. She couldn’t begin to understand how or why, but she knew she needed to break this tension somehow.

“Would you like a tour? It’s not much, but it’s home for me now.”

Sessily smiled as Rosa met her eyes again. “I’d love one.”

As she lead Sessily around the apartment, she realized she really didn’t have much to show. With only a pair of chairs in the living room, a few loose dishes and a table in the kitchen and a rather plain almost unused bathroom, she only had the bedroom left. Even it was nearly empty, with only her bed and an armoire she brought up from Guadalajara.

That wasn’t the problem though. Suddenly she found herself alone with Sessily in the bedroom. Rosa didn’t know how to escape the awkward situation. She didn’t even know if she wanted that. She felt the heat radiate off Sessily as they stood side by side, only a few inches from one another.

“I guess, that’s really it,” Rosa said. “Sorry, it’s not much.”

“It’s lovely,” Sessily said. “Simple. It’s clear you haven’t been in town long.”

“This is true. I moved here only a little over a week ago.”

“Where from? Somewhere in Mexico I’m guessing.”

“Guadalajara. It was my home since I was born. I just—I realized I had no reason to stay there any longer. I decided I wanted to move north of the border. Mi madre was born in Texas and she had me in a hospital just north of the border. So I technically was already a citizen. Made the move easy, even if American immigration are rude as heck.”

“I wouldn’t know. But I can believe it.” She turned towards Rosa. Though she was a foot away, Rosa couldn’t decide if she wanted to push Sessily away or draw her closer. “Do you have any plans here in River City? Any goals?”

“Not really,” Rosa said. “Get a job so I don’t have to live off what little savings I have. Try to figure out what I want to do with my life now that I’m not dressing up in spandex every day.”

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 23. Rosa

Rosa didn’t both to explain the solid block of wood carved into her makeshift door. She just quickly put her keys in the deadbolt and lock to open it. She almost fell into the room with Sessily right behind her.

The dancer hadn’t moved more than a few inches from her since they arrived at the apartment building. She seemed dangerously close. Rosa wasn’t quite sure why it bothered her so much. It felt like heat radiated off Sessily’s skin. It intoxicated Rosa in ways she couldn’t quite comprehend.

Is she using some kind of power over me? Why can’t I seem to draw away from her when I’m this uncomfortable?

Sessily ran a hand through her dyed red locks. It was a wild mess, matted by sweat at the club but cooled by the chill air as Rosa ran them home. She wore only a pair of heels, her torn fishnets and a long t-shirt. Her robe had been lost in their hurried escape from the club. She took a step away from Rosa, but immediately shivered.

She feels like fire to me, but she’s clearly almost freezing from being outside dressed like that.

“Stay here for just a second,” Rosa said. A second later she was in her bedroom. She grabbed up her robe from the hook on the closet door. Another second later, she stood back in front of Sessily.

“When you say just a second, you really mean just a second.”

“I guess so,” Roxi said. She helped Sessily climb into the robe. Sessily pulled it tightly around her.

“Thanks.”

De nada. This kind of thing used to be old habit for me. But the whole hero thing is long behind me. You can spend the night here, but we’ve got to find you some help tomorrow.”

“That’s fair,” Sessily said. “I’m already intruding on your life so much. Your boyfriend and Mel are still out there. I’m sure you’re worried while I’m keeping you here.”

“He’s not my boyfriend.” Rosa couldn’t quite understand why she led with that. “Keith and I are just friends. It’s too new for either of us to call each other boyfriend or girlfriend. But I know he can handle himself. Mel seems tough too. I’m sure they got away alright.”

“Yeah, Mel’s a wily one. With her talents and Keith’s police connections, I’m sure they will mop up Jacks in no time.”

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Casting Call: Doppelganger

Casting Call is a feature where I choose the actor or actress I consider ideal for my character. This isn't a demand to any future producers, but the actors I see in my head when I'm writing.

Doppelganger's basic appearance is chalk white and more alien than man. He's like a blank featureless slate that would need to be accomplished through computer graphics or, preferably, makeup and prosthetic technology. I can think of only one actor willing to wear prostheses that can also do amazing work in this film. A bonus of course will be that much of his work would only be voiceover work from when he has transformed.

His name is Hugo Weaving.


Sadly, he may have to shave his awesome beard though.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 22-4

The woman leaned in close. Her eyes seemed to glow with a dark energy in the dim light of the sedan. “Nothing about this Peach and her powers jogged your memories? You don’t recall anything about the coven or what they tried to do to you.”

Ian grimaced. His head hurt as her words forced him to navigate the broken corners of his mind. He clutched at his forehead, but he could only shake his head in response.

“Answer me with your words, Ian.”

Through gritted teeth, he said, “I don’t remember them at all, mistress.”

“Remember, Ian. What do you remember of the coven?”

“I-I remember Locke. I remember him killing men and women I know. I can’t remember their names anymore, but I remember they were important to me. He murdered them all because he hated me.”

She smirked. “Good. Do you remember the rest of the coven? You and Locke were not the only immortals after all.”

He met her eyes. He stared deep into them. “I remember you, Sandra. You were among them. You used me. You manipulated me into betraying Locke. You caused so many deaths. But I escaped you.”

“You tried, dear boy. You made it last for a few years at a time. But I always found you. You were far too useful to me. Someone of your power under my control makes my life so much easier.”

“But you aren’t in control of your own destiny anymore. There’s someone else now. Someone that can resist your power. Someone that has control over you.” The memories seemed to open in his mind, even though they were still blurred by the haze in his head. “You couldn’t stop him and you couldn’t escape him. I tried, but something brought me back. Someone I can’t quite recall.”

Sandra nodded. “Your memories are better than you thought, Ian. Your mind just needed a bit of prodding I suspect. But you’ve disobeyed me. That cannot happen. What did you just call me a moment ago.”

“Sandra. That’s your name.”

“Not for you!” The volume of her words caused an echo through the sedan.

“No, mistress. I’m sorry, mistress.”

She lifted one of her heels up in front of her. They were leather. Flashes of memories came to him again. But these were ones that made him shiver.

“You know what to do, Ian. Show me how sorry you are. Serve me.”

Ian sank down off his seat. He sat on his knees in front of her. Though he wanted nothing more than to stand and slink away, he couldn’t control his actions. No matter how hard he fought, he could not stop himself from bending forward. He could not stop himself from taking her shoe in his hand. He tried to pull his head away. To stop himself in anyway. But nothing worked.

Ian hated himself as his mouth opened and he slowly started to lick the leather around her feet.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 22-3

“I’m not going to tell you anything,” Ian said. “I want to talk to your boss. I don’t know exactly what he wants with me or you want me or whatever. I’m sick of everyone and their second cousin chasing after me like I’m a golden fucking snitch.”

This made her laugh. “Always so brash when confronted. I supposed you could try and lunge over here. Suck me dry with that power of yours. You are the leech after all. But you will not. Do you understand?”

Ian nodded. He couldn’t stop himself. Something was very wrong here.

“Now you are going to answer all my questions, aren’t you?”

He nodded.

“Speak every response. I want to hear your words.”

“Yes.”

“Now you know better than that, Ian. I suspect somewhere in that addled little mind of yours, you remember what to call me.”

His head ached, but something about her words—something about the power they carried—made him remember. “Yes, mistress.”

“That’s better.”

She smiled and he could only focus on her face. Her words compelled him somehow. No matter how much he didn’t want to do anything she said, as soon as she spoke, her command was everything.

“I see your resistance,” she said. “You know this will only cause you pain. You will suffer needlessly. You understand you cannot resist me, Ian.”

“Yes, mistress.”

“Better. Much better. Now tell me what you remember.”

Ian told her of his awakening in the hands of Doppelganger and his men, his escape and his subsequent meetings with Stomp, Cyrus and the rest. His limited description of Doppelganger seemed to intrigue her, but not nearly as much as his description of Peach and her abilities. As he started to explain his transfer to the alien world, she cut him off.

“Tell me more about this Peach. What is her full name? Where does she come from?”

“She’s beautiful,” Ian said. “She looks young, but she’s far older than she looks. I didn’t ask where she came from, but she hinted more than once that she was older than she appeared. She was the first person I didn’t feel like a pariah around. She made me feel like a person, while it still felt like the others treated me as a complication in their life.”

“Did she tell you where she came from? Did she ever mention other witches? Or the whereabouts of the coven?”

“I don’t know anything about other witches,” Ian said. “Nothing I can remember.”

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 22-2

The back of the sedan was a bit more spacious than it appeared from the outside. Two rows of seats were inside. With the woman taking up the seats against the wall separating the back from the driver, Ian took a seat directly across from her.

The woman across from him did seem familiar, though older than he remembered. He guessed she was in her early forties. Her blonde hair was pulled into a tight bun. Her blue eyes were framed by designer glasses. She wore a simple skirt and business suit, both in heather gray. Her three inch pumps were the only thing that marked her as anything but a business woman.

She didn’t show any sign of emotion at his presence. He knew her, but she showed no sign of recognition, nor really of interest in his presence. Whoever she worked with—or for—went to great effort to get him here, but she showed no sign of caring about his existence at all. She tapped the dark screen between herself and her driver. Ian felt the sedan move a second later.

 She met his eyes. She seemed to study him now. He couldn’t help but feel it wasn’t out of curiosity about his thoughts or feelings. No, it felt like she looked at him like prey.

“Your memory really is gone,” she said. “I can see it in your eyes. What do you remember about me?

A wisecrack rose in his mind, But those words didn’t escape his lips. Instead he found himself compelled to answer her. “I remember your face. But you were younger. You were possessive. I remember your body. I remember being on my knees before you. I was completely infatuated you. I did anything you asked of me. It’s like I worshipped you, but I don’t know why.”

She smirked. “That’s probably a good thing. I don’t think you would have got in this car with me if you had after all. My skills are a unique specialization, sl—” She stopped short, as if she remembered to not use whatever word she meant. “What is it you call yourself now?”

“Ian. My name is Ian.”

“Of course it is. You were always fascinating to me, Ian.” His name slithered off her lips like a serpent. She clearly knew him as someone else. “But we have a long ride ahead of us and you have a lot of answers to give me.”

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Walking Shadows Book 3 Chapter 22. Ian

Every few minutes, Ian’s cellphone rang. It gave him another path to travel, or another means of transportation to take. After a trip on the city bus, a walk down seventeen blocks next to heavy traffic and a rented bicycle ride down the trails of Reinhold Park, he found himself in a large parking area just on the edge of the park. In daytime, he was sure it was a lovely place. But in the dark of the night, it felt dangerous, as if dark things lurked in the shadows around him.

It was clear the journey had one purpose: to throw off anyone that might have followed Ian. He knew the concept well. His past may still be a mystery, but he knew it wasn’t the first time he took action to lose any potential tail. His earliest memories were of being pursued by Doppelganger’s enforcers. But he knew deep down he spent much more time than that on the run.

When the black sedan pulled in and stopped in front of him, he knew this was a moment of truth for him.

I’m alone. I have no help. I’m not sure I can do this. He could feel his hands shaking. I know I should be worried about the voice on the phone, but I have no idea why. Yet I can feel the foreboding that came with it. I have a history with this person and it seems obvious it isn’t a good one. And even though I want to help Phoebe, all I can feel is dread at the thought of it. Why I am such a coward?

The back passenger side door swung open in front of him. A silky feminine voice simply said, “Get in.”

He stared at the open door. His life could be forfeit if he entered. But he knew this was his only chance to save Phoebe. Besides, if they wanted him dead, they would have killed him a long time ago. This was clearly someone’s plan. If he backed out now, she would be lost. Her life would be lost instead of his. And none of the genetic engineering she experienced in space would save her from a torturous demise.

“Get in,” the voice said again. It was familiar, but like the man on the phone, Ian couldn’t place it. “I won’t repeat myself again.”

With a sigh, he stepped forward and climbed into the sedan.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

River City History: Rise of the Monsters

As summer brought a heatwave to 1954 River City, the gangs under the Red Hawk were still at war. A traveling carnival mystic named Madame Lizette saw a place to make her move. Lizette (no full name nor birth records exist for her) appeared to possess actual magical powers.

Her machinations were slow and deliberate until the arrival of a pair of criminals: Bonita “Nita” Dell and Brett Hannigan. The criminals tried to rob the carnival box office, only to be cornered by the police. They hid in two hollow animal totems owned by Lizette, totems that were destroyed when the police located the pair of would-be thieves and opened fire.

Dell and Hannigan both survived, but Lizette burned with anger at the loss of powerful sources of magic. She used the remains of the totems to cast one last piece of magic on Dell and Hannigan. Inside the prison hospital, the criminals were transformers. Hannigan became a werewolf while Nita kept her human features but gained the fur and tail—as well as the strength and power—of a tiger.

The two monsters go on a rampage that destroys much of city hall, but Lizette’s own greed gets the better of her when she learns of a large reward for the pair: $25,000. When she tries to trap them, she used her dark arts to turn them on one another. When Dell and Hannigan apparently kill each other, the police target Lizette. She runs into her own burning pyre than be killed by the police.

Dell and Hannigan’s bodies were taken into police custody, apparently human again.

Nita Dell and Brett Hannigan were not dead however, nor were they fully human. The pair escaped from the city morgue after they realized they could now transform from human to animal forms at will. Nita seemed to find some kind of enlightenment in her near death experience. She realized that with their powers, they could rise to take the Red Hawk’s place. The pair set out to secure the criminal trade of the city, using their powers to strongarm the gangs of River City.

With a shortage of metahumans in the city, legends of the Werewolf and the Tigerwoman struck fear into the citizenry and the criminals of the city. While the two figures consolidated power through several compatriots, they secured their hold over the city using their animal forms.

Even as they strengthened their hold in the underworld, each use of their powers deepened their transformations. While once Tigerwoman only had a few superficial cat-like features, her body grew more hair with each turn and her claws and legs lengthened and hardened. Within months, Hannigan started to sprout a longer wolf-like nose and sharper, deadly teeth. But with their powers necessary for them to secure their powers, the two figures continued to use them as they continued to bring the individual cartels and mobs under their purview.