Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Novel Demons

National Novel Writing Month is in full swing.  This year I am doing a story based on an idea that has been in my mind for a very long time.  I have even written a few blog posts about it.  This year's book takes place in a world where Demons have emerged and special individuals, Hunters, try and protect humanity.  A number of aspects have changed since I first came up with the idea.  Today's post is an excerpt from the work in progress.

Demon from Hell. You have come unbidden to this Earth. Your presence in this town and on this plane of existence is undesirable. I have come to banish you and end the pain you and your kind have brought forth.”

The Demon just laughs. The sound lacks anything close to mirth as far as SonHunter knows it. The sound of the Demon's joy echoing off the walls of the hall fills SonHunter with dread. The sense of evil in that simple noise is enough to bring most people to their knees. It is a something SonHunter had heard before, but still causes him the same emotional pain as it did the first time.

The ember on the end of the Demon's cigarette glows more brightly as it takes a drag. Then it speaks with a voice that sounds like rocks tumbling in a deep grave. “You silly humans and your rituals. Weekly gatherings where you read from some dusty old tome. Phrases are said and replied to. None of it does any good, really. Candles, robes, all that fancy d├ęcor. And all of it asking for favors from some deity that may or may not be listening.

“Is it really any wonder so many of you follow my kind when we make our offers? You will believe in anything, even if you know it's wrong to do so. Just give you a tempting enough offer from someone in front of you, and you will give up on generations of worship.”

The Omega Demon takes another drag off its cigarette and lift one hand straight out. It snaps its fingers and the shades drawn over the hall's windows all fly up. The room is filled with light. All of the seated shadows are now revealed to be the residents of the town. They all sit still as statues, their eyes tracking the Demon as it strolls back and forth across the stage.

SonHunter can now clearly see the Demon. Its skin is as red as blood. This particular Omega has the body of an athlete and is naked from head to toe and almost six feet tall, minus the horns. Every Omega Demon looks the same, except for the horns. This Demon's horns curve back from high on its forehead. The seem to lay across the beast's bald head. The black horns come to sharp points near the back of its head.

SonHunter grabs two crystals from his pocket. He selects, by touch, two of the larger ones to allow for a quicker capture of the Demon once he gets close enough. He grips the crystals tightly, one in each hand. “Demon, hear me and answer me true. What have you done to these people? Why have you trapped them in this place?”

“I have done nothing to them. They have done it to themselves. I just came to town and made each of them an offer. Those that accepted, now sit here. Those that didn't spread word of my legend to other towns and villages.”

As the Demon speaks, SonHunter gets a closer look at his cigarette. He realizes it isn't a bundle of tobacco wrapped in paper. It is a small, burning bone. He can't tell what part of the body it may be from, or if it is even a human bone. All that is clear is that the Demon is breathing in on one end of a bone as the other end smolders. The Demon takes another drag as he continues to smile and taunt SonHunter.

“These people are just sitting here, waiting for me to make up my mind. I haven't decided if I want to make them kill themselves or go out and kill others as my bloody army. Either way, they are only doing what they chose to do by accepting my deal.”

This is still a very raw first draft.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cereal Killer

Getting ready for this year's National Novel Writing Month kind of threw my timing off.  Starting a new novel caused me to forget that yesterday was due for a new blog post.  With that in mind, I have snagged a recent Reddit writing prompt I responded to.  I hope you enjoy it.

The familiar crinkle of plastic inside cardboard. The shuffle of crispy O's sliding against each other. The signature clink as those hearty circles impact the glass bowl. The tone changing as the bowl fills with round pieces of cereal. The wonderful music that is the start of my day.
Suddenly, the morning symphony is struck by a sour note. A heavier impact into the gathered collection of loops. I suddenly look down and discover an odd red form mixed in with the light brown regular shapes. As I watched, more of them fall from the box into my bowl. The thin slices mixing in with the puffed circles. Their coloring and shape causing me to suddenly realize what I was seeing. Strawberries. Preserved pieces of real strawberries in my morning breakfast.
I am not sure what to think as I pour the creamy white milk into the dry mixture. The liquid slosh signaling the final movement by the orchestra in my bowl. The final note being the metallic ring of my metal spoon hitting the bottom of the bowl. With a small degree of anticipation and some nervousness, I lifted the spoon full of the mixture to my mouth.
The expected flavors hit my tongue. Only now, a new sweetness and texture is present. A softness amid the usual gentle crunch. A fruity hint to the milky smoothness. All told, a pleasant addition to the start of the day.

For the rest of November I will be working on a new novel.  Future blog posts will probably excerpts of the work in progress.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In The Mind

As much as we may wish, or even need, it to be so, not everything in life is bright and shiny.  There are many dark aspects of the human psyche and condition.  People that wish harm on others and have no fear regarding the consequences of their actions.  They treat others as mere objects because that is their view of existence.  For some reason, the urge to write about the views from the inner mind of a psychopath has risen in me.  I have started a file of notes and a few sentences to clear the clutter from my own mind.

I sit here watching all of these figures passing me by. Going here and there on their usual daily tasks. A man in jeans and a torn shirt yammering away on his phone. A woman in a pantsuit walking quickly in the direction of the business district. A couple strolling hand-in-hand as they enter the coffee shop. A father pushing twins in a double stroller towards the park, glancing between his watch and the sidewalk in front of him. So many going from place to place, living their tiny lives. All of them beneath me. All of them merely fodder for me to use or not as I see fit. Soon I will be choosing which of them live and which will die.

I need to find someone of a type I haven't experienced before. I need to continue expanding my knowledge of the human condition. In order to do that, I need a broader variety of humans on which to perform my tests. I have a good idea on how much pain most people can withstand before passing out. Maybe I should find myself a more athletic type of person. Perhaps the additional muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness may extend their endurance. It is also possible their conditioning has increased the sensitivity of their nervous system, causing them to succumb to the pain more quickly. I do think a number of athletic subjects will be required to test this theory. It will take a number of months to determine if there is any difference between someone that is simply fit and a bulkier bodybuilder type of physique when it comes to pain tolerance.

 Of course, the additional bulk may make disposing of the wastes after my tests are done more difficult. I will keep this in mind as I choose the methods of introducing the pain and how it is administered to the subject's body.  My usual disposal sites still had some room left.  However, I may have to do something to minimize the bulk of the waste in order to keep the sites tucked away.  If my waste sites are eventually discovered, there is nothing in them that would lead any investigators to me.  I just really don't like having to find new places to dispose of the trash after my experiments are done.

I've never tried a mystery or thriller story before.  If I develop this further, I may have each chapter alternate between the killer's point of view and a narrative about the police investigation.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Off The Wall

Nursery rhymes have been around as long as parents have been putting children to bed.  The stories of Mother Goose and the Brothers Grimm to send the little ones off to dreamland.  For the most part, unchanged for generations upon generations.

When I put my sons to bed, I tell them these classic tales.  With a little twist of my own.  The other night I did this very thing with Humpty Dumpty.  This time, he was pushed.  Sort of.

Once upon a time there was a kind and intelligent accountant.  He had a round face and figure.  Some would call his shape a dumpty one.  With his pale complexion, many people thought of him as closely resembling an egg.  This didn't prevent many of them from trying to get him to crack under the pressure of keeping their complicated accounts and transactions straight.

What none of his clients or friends realized, was a secret he kept tucked away in his inner core.  He guarded it like a mother hen guards her young.  He only practiced his dream hobby in the darkness of his basement.  Nobody else could see him.  Nobody else could hear him.  This is how he practiced his dream.  This is where he would rap.  His used his hip-gyrating moves and beat to give himself a nickname, Humpty.

His outer existence as a quiet accountant and his hidden life as a rapper remained utterly separate.  Until he had a few too many free samples as a citywide Oktoberfest beer party.  With such small amounts from each brewer served in the tiny cup, he didn't realize how much he had consumed until he was standing unsteadily on the wall next to the main stage.  A microphone in his hand and every eye of the festival on him.  With all the liquid courage in him, Humpty Dumpty decided to make his private hobby public.

Humpty laid down his best rhymes.  He whipped out his best moves.  He let the beats flow like water over Niagara Falls. Everyone at the party watched him in stunned silence.  Finally, as Humpty was catching his breath for a moment, someone else climbed onto the wall.  It took Humpty a minute to recognize the face of the infamously famous King of Hip-Hop.  At the base of the wall we his entourage.  His friends were affectionately called The King's Men, while his bodyguards were called The King's Horses.  Humpty now faced the most elite crew in the country.  It was at that moment The King challenged Humpty to a rap battle.

Words flew back and forth.  Each contestant stepped closer to the other as their rhymes collided over the heads of everyone in the crowd.  Subtle comments and outrageous insults slashed into the ego of each one of them.  The audience cheered when one side or the other dropped a line that cut particularly deep.  They booed and hissed when a verbal attack was so weak it was shrugged off with a grimace.

The competitors finally met in the middle of the wall face-to-face.  Humpty threw some words that hit The King directly.  The King struck back so fiercely that Humpty was physically knocked back.  The King kept flinging phrases that forced Humpty to step further and further back.  The King unleashed one final rhyme that literally knocked Humpty off of his feet.  Humpty fell from the wall.

He landed in a heap on the ground.  His arms bent in an unnatural angle.  His legs bent in ways no human should be capable of bending any of their appendages.  The King's Horses and Men rushed to offer some First Aid.  Unfortunately, none of them knew anything about anatomy or treating wounds.  They were unable to help Humpty with any of his broken bones.  All of them tried, but none of them was able to assist.  Finally, an EMT crew arrived and loaded Humpty Dumpty on a stretcher.

After months of healing and time spent rehabilitating, Humpty went back to work at his accounting firm.  His rap equipment left collecting dust in the basement.  He now spent too much time handling the accounts and transactions for the one and only King of Hip-Hop.  He let the numbers flow and the balances rhyme on the sheets.  He was finally happy with the combination of his public face and formerly private hobby.

I have always wondered one thing about the Humpty Dumpty nursery tale.  Who ever said Humpty was an egg in the first place?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Demons Rising

For an eternity, I've been meaning to write the story about a world in which Demons are hunted and contained.  Ideas for this story crop up at random moments.  During work.  While eating dinner.  Laying down for a quiet evening.  Driving down the highway.  Rarely at a time I have the tools at hand to put words on the page.  Now I think it's time to try to advance the tale a little further.

It's been a decade since the first hole to Hell opened in the farmer's field.  Other portals have appeared in other locations.  All of them on the ground, but not all of them in areas as open as the first.  School children celebrated as their school fell into a chasm, then ran in fear as beasts began to emerge.  City traffic, an entire freeway, had to be diverted when a support for an overpass fell below the surface of the Earth.

In all, 182 gaping portals opened between the Earth and whatever world the Demons came from.  13 gigantic chasms in various locations around the world with 13 smaller holes around each one.  From constant monitoring it was revealed that size did matter.  Smaller demonic imps and figures crawled from the smaller holes, while titanic, horrific, monstrous beasts erupted from the larger holes.

Over the decade that passed, many technologies were lost.  The Demons tore down cell towers in their rampages.  Power plants were irreparably damaged.  Corporate headquarters fell to the ground as the office buildings that housed them were toppled by demonic claws and extreme strength.  Humanity was pushed back nearly to the Iron Age of civilization.

However, at the same time a new "technology" was developed.  It was discovered by accident that the Demons were susceptible to certain minerals placed in a specific lattice structure.  Crystals.  The Demons could be fought and trapped in crystals.  In this aspect, size didn't matter.  A demon of any size could be captured in a crystal small enough to fit in the palm of a person's hand.  All that was required was someone brave and strong enough to get close enough to a Demon to touch them with the crystal.  This was easily accomplished where the smaller imps were concerned.  Trapping one of the larger Demons was much more difficult.  This is how the Hunters came to be.

What do you think a side effect of approaching the Demons could be?  Should the Hunters have extra abilities or just be gutsier than an average person?  Comment and let me know.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Dark Beginning

A story that has been stuck in my head for a long time takes place in a world that is battling and capturing demons.  Demons that cause chaos and confusion by possessing people and influencing them for their own foul intentions.  I have posted about this story idea before, although I haven't really worked out much of the tale itself.

Here, today, I have worked on something that could possibly be the emergence of the world in which the story takes place.

The legend had been passed on for generations. Fathers had told it to their children at bed time. Bards had entertained taverns full of drunks with songs based on the tale. Scribes had copied endless books whose pages were filled with the words of the legend. Everyone knew the story of the legend, even if they didn't always agree on the details. The legend continued to live on far longer than anyone that had taken place in the event that inspired it. Still, the story continued to be told and passed from generation to generation.

Like many great stories, big and small, this legend began in a tavern after a few drinks. A group of companions from a distant land had stopped for a hot meal and good night's rest. How many in the group and where they came from varied from telling to telling. They were just finishing their dinner and contemplating climbing the stairs to their rooms when a local farmer burst through the door. His hair was singed and his clothing had oddly shaped burn marks on it. He was coated in sweat despite the cool night air. He uttered one single word before collapsing on the floor. This word remained the same, regardless of who was speaking the legend.


The waitress, who was also the farmer's wife, dropped her tray of tankards and hurried to his limp form on the floor. With patience and a calm that was exceptional at the time, she checked him for injuries and began belting out demands. She ordered a handful of regular customers to their home to check on her children. Two others she sent to the village apothecary for specific herbs to treat her husband's burns.

This wasn't the season for travelers so there were a number of empty rooms in the inn above the tavern. With a look at the building's owner standing behind the bar, the waitress nods upward. Her eyes pleading as her lips contain the fearful screams and mournful groans she wants to release. He gives a nod of acknowledgment. She grabs the hand of the largest man in the tavern and asks him to help her move the unconscious form of her beloved husband. The two of them carefully transport the farmer upstairs to an empty room and lay him down on the bed. There, the wife continues her treatments as the medicines she requested arrive.

The men sent to the farm return to the tavern s the wife finishes her ministrations and collapses in a nearby chair. She waits patiently and watches for any changes in his condition as the rest of the story unfolds in the large room beneath her. The different versions of the legend vary in regards to the exact words used to describe what the group found at the farm. However, they all agree on the general conditions at the farm.

The farmer's plow lay on its side, charred and broken. All that remained of the plow horse was the back half of a smoking skeleton and the foul smell of burned flesh in the air. The front half of the animal had vanished down a deep chasm that dropped far below the turned soil. The pit had opened in front of the farmer as he prepared his land for the planting of his crops.

The walls of the pit glowed with shifting and moving reds and oranges. As though they were made of living flames. The bottom of the pit couldn't be seen. Just more menacing light the further down one looked. One of the villagers tossed a rock into the pit in order to listen for it to hit bottom and gauge its depth. There was no answering crack of stone on stone. Instead, a bestial roar echoed up and caused the villagers to all leap back from the edge of the pit. All of this was relayed by the breathless folks that had been tasked with investigating the farm. Their words mingling as the tale moved from mouth to mouth.
Days passed. The farmer remained in a deep slumber despite his wife's nursing. He neither improved nor weakened. His burns were slow to heal, but showed no signs of infection. The hole in the field was being watched over constantly. There were only two changes in the field. A cloud of smoke began to emerge from the depths of the pit. Over time the smoke thickened and darkened. What, at first, was faint white wisps evolved into a thick column of black so dark it seemed to suck in all the light around. The smoke could be seen at night. Its darkness being so much deeper than a moonless sky.

The other change was a matter of sound. The initial roar that sounded after the rock was tossed in started a reaction. Numerous guttural growls and grumbling roars followed. As the days wore on, the number of voices and volume of each increased. Mixed in with the beastly sounds were occasional words and phrases. Nobody, not even the village scholar, was able to interpret the language being spoken.

At midnight of the 6th day, something finally happened. A hand the size of a cart wheel with sharp ebony claws and rippling skin slammed down on the rim of the pit. A second clawed hand quickly appeared next to it. A roar louder than any heard before accompanied the emergence from the smoke of a head that could only be described as demonic. As the rest of the beast's body rose from the cavernous pit, numerous impish figures quickly scampered to the surface around the large figure. The imps chittered to each other as the demon rose to a height more than the largest house in the village. The beast stretched and took in its surroundings.

According to the legends, the injured farmer's eyes opened the same instant the hand slammed against the ground. His wife had been checking his bandages when she saw his eyelids flutter open. She would always insist that the eyes of the man she had fallen in love with were different in that moment. They seemed to glow with a light that defied the darkness outside. A pure light, of the clearest white. A clarity that she never knew could exist.

He sat up, the light from his eyes giving his face a faint glow. Once more, all the tellings of the legend agree on what words he spoke. “The war has begun.”

Where things go from here and how I introduce the rest of the inhabitants of this world will wait until another time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Just Go Away

Reality has been particularly insistent lately.  My time to write and work out ideas has been at a minimum.  Reddit has been a periodic escape and source for stories.  This is one writing prompt that caught my eye and sparked a creative fire.

I had been given many pieces of advice. Different methods and techniques for taking care of my problem. No two of them the same, but many of them similar. Simple words for an issue that was anything but simple. Not a single one of them actually worth my time to try them. Partially because none of those offering advice had truly had the experiences I had. None of them had been experiencing my difficulties for as long as I had, despite each of them pretending to be “experts.”
It all started when I was quite young. My parents both came from money. They were constantly going to charity events, visiting other towns and countries for holiday. I saw my nannies and tutors more than my parents. It was only during my late teen years that I learned the term “trophy child” and how well it applied to me. I had everything a kid could want, except other kids to play with. I had every expensive toy and all of the latest electronic equipment. It was all mine. I didn't have anyone to share any of it with, even if I wanted to.
Then one day Edward appeared. Not Eddie or Ed. It was always to be Edward. He would help me decide what to play with in the mornings after breakfast and early lessons. The two of us would high-five when achieving an accomplishment in one of my video games. We ohhed and ahhhed when we found my father's hidden stash of naked women magazines. Edward helped me fill the silence of the large, empty house when my parents were away and I had outgrown the need for nannies. He knew all my secrets and I had all of his stored away. We were inseparable. He was my best friend and the only person that would listen to me.
He was the only kid I knew from the day he appeared until I was in my late teens. I was at home working on a project with my science tutor when the call came in. My parents were returning from a ski trip in Aspen. A freak weather front knocked their plane out of the sky. I was now a very rich orphan.
Edward was standing behind my chair, supporting me during their funeral. He helped me fill the silence of the He sat patiently in the waiting room while I attended a seemingly endless string of appointments with counselors trying to help me. He comforted me as I hurled endlessly in the toilet after getting into my parents' liquor cabinet. Edward and I discussed it first and we both realized they couldn't punish me for breaking their rules any more.
The two of us kept each other going until I had to start interacting with other people in the outside world. I was nearly 25 before I decided to seek out more people. My tutors had all completed their contracts. The nannies were long gone. Without my parents, there was only Edward and me. Two people were not enough to make a life.
I hit a few nightclubs. I went to a number of youth centers. Indoor rock climbing, miniature golfing, movie release parties. Over time, I started to form a core group of friends. Some of them had known each other their entire lives, but this was all new to me. Edward had started to tell me that this was a mistake. With more than one person, he was correct. For the most part, socializing had improved my life.
There was only one thing I had to do. It was finally time. I had to remove Edward from my life. With friends now, they were doing all of the things that Edward used to do with me. He no longer had a role. It was now the time to take everyone's advice, even if I had to choose my own method to do it.
I stood up and looked Edward right in the eyes. In my strongest voice I said these simple words to him, “You don't exist. Go away.”
With that, Edward was a memory. Just a past figment of my imagination.

Who was your childhood imaginary friend?  Did they just fade out one day or were you forced to banish them?