Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Theme 10: Breathe Again

Alton's chest rose with an audible intake of breath.


Where was he? He had been so comfortable. So safe. No worries. Somewhere else. It was fading so fast, like a dream. Where was he?

He opened his eyes. Whiteness. Bright. Blinding. Too bright. More pain.

He blinked a few times. Whiteness resolved into a room. There was a man in a white coat sitting in a chair across the room. He was older, maybe in his forties or fifties. He had fallen asleep, slumped in the chair. Alton was in a bed. He was breathing. Why was that strange?

Then he remembered.

Because he was supposed to be dead. That was why. He was dead. Had been dead. He died. How long ago? It felt like life was a long time ago.

He sat up. More pain. Beyond stiffness. Like he had been sleeping for years. He tried to speak, but only a strange croaking sound emerged and devolved into coughing. It was enough to wake the man in the chair.

"Ah," he said. "You're back with us. Good. Try to take it easy. You're going to need to get used to your new condition."

Alton's coughing finally subsided and he found his voice. It was scratchy from disuse. "Why? How?"

The man smiled sadly. "I'm afraid you're not ready for the how just yet. But I will tell you why. You're going to save the world, Alton. And I'm afraid you're going to have to die several more times doing it."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Theme 9: Drive

Quentin sulked in the back seat of the car.

"Come on, Q," said Jesse from the driver's seat. His best friend was grinning.

"Look, I don't expect you to get how important this is to me," snapped Quentin. "But I do expect to be taken seriously. Come on man."

Brigit chimed in from the front passenger's seat. "Ease up, Quentin. Of course we take you seriously."

Quentin rolled his eyes at his twin's comment. "Whatever. Look, it's important that we get this drive out of the hands of Ardcorp."

"Yeah we know, " said Jesse. "End of the world scenario. Well here I am driving you to this shady drop-off thing you've got going. Just don't ask me to take it all that seriously. You know your cloak and dagger stuff just comes off as hilarious sometimes. Especially since we're doing this in broad daylight."

Quentin's frowned deepened. "See that's what I'm talking about. Obviously I'm not gonna do a shady deal at night when there's no one on the road. The important thing here is to blend in."

"Right," said Brigit. "So we're blending. Teenagers laughing is pretty blend-y, Q."

"Yeah," said Quentin. "Well so is teenagers sulking."

Monday, January 09, 2012

Theme 8: Innocence

Harmony surveyed the life-size clay figure stretched out on the table before her. She consulted her diagrams one last time, and then quickly began inscribing several runes in strategic places on the figure's body using her violin's bow. Normally, she would have employed a ceremonial stylus for the task, but this particular operation would require a speedy transition to her other talents. Her music would be required while the runes were still very fresh. Once she was done etching the runes into the figure's body, she picked up her violin. She took a brief second to ensure it was still in tune and then began her song.

Harmony played the Aria of Innocence. It was a song of her own composition, one that she had never played before and yet knew every note and rest of. The music poured from her soul into the violin and then into the clay. The runes began to glow, softly at first then growing brighter.

Harmony was a rarity among rarities. In fact, she had reason to believe she was the only one of her kind alive on the planet at the present time. Willworkers like herself were vanishingly rare to begin with, only a few thousand existed worldwide. And spellcasters were also quite rare, though not as rare as the Enlightened. She was one of the most rare beings in creation: A Willworker who could also cast more "ordinary" magical spells. Her research on the Dreamtime network led her to believe that the phenomenon had happened less than a dozen times total in the whole of recorded human history. This unique combination of talents allowed her to achieve effects unattainable by either magician or Dreamer.

Her Willworker's music mingled with the spellcraft of the runes and the glowing reached a crescendo as she finished her song. As the last note of the aria faded into the air, the glow of the runes likewise diminished. After a few tense moments, the clay figure's chest rose with a sharp intake of breath and the figure sat up.

The clay girl looked at her creator, confusion on her face.

"Welcome to life. My name is Harmony, but I guess you can just call me 'mom.'"

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Theme 7: Heaven

They cast me aside.

They broke their promises. They used me until I was no longer convenient and then I was discarded. But I will not be quietly resigned to my fate. I will make them pay.

My life began simply, as a proud samurai warrior serving my lord. When he fell in battle, I thought to join him, but Heaven had other plans. I was approached by a Seraph, a divine arbiter who offered me a choice. I could end my life now, stained as it was with the blood of the innocent and the guilty alike, or I could work for her. Either way, she said, I would die. The only variables were time and how much good I could do for the world first. I took her offer.

I traded my dou-maru for the protection of divine fire, the latent power of my own soul made manifest and amplified by the Seraph's gift. She sent down a pair of Principalities to instruct me in the use of my new-found power and school me in the laws I was now sworn to uphold.

Only the most effective of killers can become a Warden's Hunter. Only a mortal already so bathed in blood as to be beyond ordinary redemption can be offered the chance to turn that deadly instinct to divine purpose and in fulfilling that mandate find salvation. And what a killer was I.

My daisho shattered in the struggle with my first Edict-breaker. I wrenched the pitchfork from the demon's hand and destroyed his mortal shell with his own infernal weapon. And it is that weapon I still wield to this day. It is not the primitive hay fork of human folklore. My weapon is sleek and built for battle. Forged with cunning artifice by the techno-gremlins of the pit. Black steel prongs, carbon-nanotube haft, and a blood red jewel where the prongs meet the haft that glows as it drinks in the life-energy of my foes when they fall. It is a good weapon, a delicious irony when used to slay a demon. And on the rare occasion one of the Celestials breaks an Edict, well. . .it does what it was built to do.

For six hundred years I served my heavenly master. For six hundred years I killed who they told me to kill. For six hundred years, I was their faithful tool.

Until now. After six centuries of loyal service, I am now told my services are no longer required thanks to an "incident" that occurred relatively recently. And the Metatron has reneged on his offer of entry into Heaven.

But the Fallen and the Host are the same basic beings. There is one thing I have been trained to do very well over the past six hundred years. And that is to kill angels.

Tonight, for the first time since the Rebellion, there shall be sorrow in Paradise. And I shall be its author.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Theme 6: Break Away

They chained me. They bound me and left me in darkness to rot. But I am not so easily dealt with. I am no simple problem that can be locked away and forgotten. I am the cards and the cards are me.

I close my eyes. I am the root of the powers of air. I am the knight of swords. I am freedom and wings and chains cannot bind me. I am strength.

I am all these things and more and my chains are nothing. They fall to the ground shattered and rusted.

I am the Cartomancer, and my enemies will soon learn their mistake.

Theme 5: Seeking Solace

I look at your picture through a haze of cigarette smoke and whiskey. My lungs, my liver, my love, all fucked. L just isn't my letter it seems. My whole life I've been looking for something without quite knowing what it is. I thought it was you.

I was wrong.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Theme 4: Dark

Fraze blessed the darkness as he stretched out to the moon with his soul. The dragon of the night responded, sending power cascading into the conduits made by the network of tattoos crisscrossing his body. He became  an incarnation of opposites. The color from his skin and clothing was drained, leaving an inkblot on the face of reality in the shape of a man. The markings on his body were alive with silver fire, shining through his clothing where it covered his skin. His smile and his eyes glittered as his face split into a grin, three points of white in the void that was his face.
"Time to cause a little trouble for the sun-worshippers," he said, launching himself into the night on a trail of moonbeams.

Theme 3: Light

The light washed over and through him, searing his vision despite tightly closed eyelids. He fell to the ground, choking on his own breath.
"That's right, cocksucker," said the woman. "Drink it in. You think that light's all rainbows and happy thoughts?" She kicked him in the ribs. "Think again. My light is glorious and terrible, the stuff of legends and gods."
He choked out a sound that was probably meant to be words. The woman ignored him.
"I'm not going to kill you," she said. "But I am going to hurt you." She punctuated the last with another swift kick to his midsection. "And you're going to limp home to whatever faction thought they could take on this poor defenseless light mage and you're going to tell them how fucking wrong they were."
She kicked once more for good measure. "And if I ever see your face again, mine will be the last thing you ever see."

Theme 2: Love

"I don't understand," said Lisa.
"I really didn't expect you too," responded Carter.
There were tears in her eyes as she looked at him, but to her credit she blinked them away and did not let them fall. "I thought that things were good between us. What happened? Don't you love me anymore?"
Carter's gaze remained hard, unyielding, lifeless and cold like a painted portrait of a king. "I do love you," he said. "I love you more and more with every moment we spend together. But that's why I have to go. As long as you're with me, you're in terrible danger. Danger you can never understand and that I can never keep you safe from."
Her sorrow turned to anger. "Coward," she hissed, voice barely more than a whisper. "True love doesn't run. True love doesn't care what problems are before it. True love struggles and fights and overcomes."
Carter just shook his head and turned his back on her. "Don't follow me, Lisa. Hate me if you have to, but don't follow me."
He walked away, vanishing into the deepening night.
She didn't follow.

Theme 1: Introduction

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome! Welcome to our wonderful circus of the strange, our bazaar of the bizarre. I will be your host this evening. I have many names, yet none are mine. You may call me what you wish, for I am but a humble guide. But you did not come here to hear me prattle on. Please, get comfortable in your seats. Relax and enjoy the show."

100 Theme Challege

Been out of the world for a spell, I'd like to walk it again.

Gonna do some short prose vignettes corresponding to each of the 100 themes found on this post. I'll be going in order, from 1 to 100.

-The Drewcifer

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Muncie Blues

Okay, this is really hard for me to do, but here goes.

I started this song by singing it on my porch in the last couple of weeks before I left for China. Originally, it was just a chord progression I was doing to practice playing an F chord on my mandolin. It had different words every time.

While on the plane over to China, I managed to codify some lyrics that I think I can live with for the time being. The song may well go through another version or two, but I think it's pretty good.

Update: Added a few more lines and I think it's finished now.

For those of you interested in singing along, I'll include the chords for the first couple of patterns. After that, you can figure it out yourself.
So here goes. This is helping me to get over her.

Muncie Blues

So I'll write another story and sing another sad song
About some girl who's never gonna love me
What's worst is I got no right to miss her
Cuz Lord knows, I never even kissed her

And I'm finding myself at a crossroads, at a junction
Tryin' to figure out my form and my function
But listen kiddo, don't you worry about me
You worry enough as it is already

F                                                    C
Oh what the Hell am I supposed to do
With you and your Muncie blues?
No one compares to you.

F                                                    C
Oh, you know I got something to prove
And I just don't think that I can move
'Till I see it in those Muncie blues.

So I'll find another lover and sing another sad song
About a girl who's never gonna love me
While the new one sits beside me
With no idea of the pain inside me

Oh how I wish she was you
with your Muncie blues
Muncie blues

Oh and I feel my heart starting to bruise
But I think I've got nothin' to lose
When I'm staring at those Muncie blues

So I take another hit and sing another sad song
About the girl who said she'd never love me
And tell myself the drugs'll make it better
But all they do is make her eyes wetter

Oh I can tell that you don't approve
I can see it in your Muncie blues
But you don't get to choose

Oh and my heart it hasn't got a clue
Cuz if it knew what to do
It wouldn't be in love with you

And I die a little bit whenever I sing a sad song
About that girl who never did love me
And she never did love me
No she never did love me

Oh how I wish that I could tell you I'm through
That I've finally gotten over you
But that just wouldn't be true

Oh and I know the problem isn't with you
But it seems no matter what I do
I just can't forget about you

So I'll drain another glass and sing another sad song
Cuz all along I knew you'd never love me
I look for answers in this bottle of whisky
All the while wishing you were here with me

Oh it was nothing that I chose to do
but you see when I saw those Muncie blues
I knew I'd finally found my muse

But it's another empty round while I'm drowing my sorrows
Trying not think about all of the tomorrows
That you and I will never have

And the truth is now I'm more often drunk than I'm sober
Cuz at the start it was already over
Oh but ain't that the way it goes.