Friday, August 31, 2012

The Pallbearer: Honeymoon Blues Part 3


I have always been accused as having a lack of proper respect for the important things in life. I think that got started the first time I put my gum in the collection plate. Nobody seemed very amused. I figured Jesus could use some gum. Must suck being stuck on that cross all the time. Y’know, the way I figured it, if his death was stopping us from being in hell, he must be there too. And you know, that only pissed off the priest all the more.

That was fine too though. I quite liked the idea that I wasn’t well liked. Never really felt like polishing the holy pole myself.

But here, here, I think they’d all have to shut their fucking mouths.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Seas of Blood and Fire Part 4


As I stood next to Michael, I couldn’t help but remember the quiet little island where I would sell off all of our captives. The island had a name but I never cared to remember it. I knew all I needed to about it.

It was a clearinghouse for slaves.

Speechless: Part 2 of Hunting Party

In A Blind

Once upon a time, there was a man named Curtis and he liked to play with eyes. It had started when he was little. His third grade teacher brought sheep eyes into class and let them dissect the eyes with little scalpels. It was enough to break little Curtis’ heart. For you see, Curtis had no eyes of his own. That would change though. That would all change when Curtis moved to Chrysalis Falls with his Daddy.

You see, Curtis had already been learning all sorts of things about eyes. He tried telling his mommy once, but she wouldn’t stop screaming. He was telling her about how the dog’s eyes seemed to fit just right when he put them where his eyes were supposed to be. But she wouldn’t stop screaming and waving her hands at the dead dog in the middle of the floor. Well, of course the dog was dead. Didn’t want it to be missing its eyes too. That would’ve been cruel.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wither The Vain: Lost Cities Part 3


There’s always someone trying to jam their fingers into the gears. We had only just begun to discuss how Anubis would be dealt with when this little gem arrived via owl. For a moment, we thought it was going to be good news. Should’ve known better. It’s never good news here.


Danny Corsair trailed his fingers over the surface of his bathwater and shivered (twice) before dropping in the hair dryer. Every nerve grinned and giggled as the wriggling electric worms squirmed through his body. The sweet juice pouring through the hair dryer cord only lasted until the breaker blew but that was long enough for Danny. He slumped back in the tub and smiled a twitchy smile, every muscle still jerking.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rue: Perdido Part 1

Land Of The Dead

People always complain about the smell of wet dog in the car. I doubt ever will again. A dead man on a hot day on real leather is far worse. Rick was fidgeting in the back seat; fumbling with his hat, inspecting his nails, and untying/retying his shoes. He was understandably nervous. We knew that his mayoral nemesis hadn’t tried to have him killed. Instead, things were even worse.

Someone was scavenging bits and pieces of the dead in order to bring to life people like Sgt. Johnson. Johnson was dealt with now at least, having found justice at the fiery fingers of those he stole from. His passing though, hadn’t helped us much. All we knew was that the source of this misery was in Cairo District.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Pallbearer: Honeymoon Blues Part 2

Tunnel of Love

Talking had somehow become a festival of stumbling words and bumbling sentiments. When had I become a tangled mess? When had I become a garbage pile of broken ideas and half-finished thoughts? As Cassie and I made our way down the recently cleared road to the Gray Pack village at the entrance to the tunnel they had come through, we spoke little. I had been fighting for the better part of a year to be with her and now that I had her, I had my tongue cut out?

How goddamned stupid.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Seas of Blood and Fire Part 3


I shrugged off my jacket and tossed it to the ground. My bowtie followed it shortly thereafter. I had already removed my shoes. They didn’t need to be roughed up any further than they already had been.

The Wrecking Crew was scurrying about from underneath my coat, carrying it away across the sand and back to the Wulf brothers for me. Little shouts of “Arr!” burst out from underneath it as they passed the hawk-headed gargoyle manning the gate I had just come out of. He pulled a lever and the gate slammed shut. He nodded to me solemnly and disappeared into the tunnel.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Speechless: Hunting Party Part 1


As it turned out, Nagumo was not so abysmal to travel with as I had expected. We both sucked at conversations so we didn’t bother. Every so often, one of us would laugh softly and the other would notice and start laughing too. It was priceless. It really was.

You see, the hate hadn’t subsided in the slightest. With every step down the bare concrete tunnel our torturers had used to escape, it only grew. It grew in Nagumo as well. I could hear his mouth moving as he talked to himself. He was reciting every Far East mantra he could come up with to calm himself and his swords. It made me feel less guilty about how badly my lead pipe wanted to crush his skull.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wither The Vain: Lost Cities Part 2


It was four in the morning and I was bored out of my beak. Wandering through a theme park prison was not what I had in mind when I had been roused from my sleep two hours prior. A Council owl had arrived bearing Wither’s message that he had been inducted to The Council and that he would be another three days as the meeting continued. After the owl had departed, it had taken me a moment to gather exactly why Wither had bothered to wake me at this deathly hour of the bloody morning to tell me he would be gone another three days. Then it occurred to me.

He was gloating.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rue: Dead Heat Part 3

Dead End

I had never liked Sergeant Steve Johnson, even before he stated his intention to shove me headfirst into a crematory furnace. He patted a hefty gloved hand on the chain link conveyor belt.

“So, Rue, are you going to lay down and roll in like a good boy or am I going to have to carry you?”

“I’m afraid you’ll have to carry me Steve. After all, I had intended to get answers today before dying, not after.”

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Pallbearer: Honeymoon Blues Part 1


The walls of my new junkyard district were overrun with refugees. They were rats fleeing a sinking ship for another one that had only begun its descent. Bellmaker’s Errata were almost back to full strength with only two hundred memory chips left to implant into a functioning robot but it wasn’t enough. Even up to the original six thousand they had been before West Worthington’s purges, they had to stop all construction in order to simply monitor the tide of immigrants. Alithea and her mate Nar had their thousands working to try and build shelters for themselves AND the refugees. They too were swamped under our new popularity. That was something to this empire running that I hadn’t considered.

That people would want in.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Seas of Blood and Fire Part 2

Drop Anchor

The Commandant’s men were waiting for us as the E-Rail car approached PelĂ© Station. Their stone faces watched us as we sped past their double-breasted slate gray uniforms. Like most of The Commandant’s Gargoyles, they were all humans modified to look like statuary with rock hides. On a rare occasion, he had his engineers reveal a patched together winged monstrosity to serve as a lieutenant. None had bothered coming today though. The Commandant was underestimating us.

How quaint. I suppose it hadn’t been a bad plan on his part, but woefully lacking in imagination. After all, why would we feel compelled to us the station?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Speechless: Aiming High Part 4


As the skinless man walked across the floor he squished and squelched. Part of me giggled and wondered what vintage the wine beneath his feet would be. A click click click followed him across the floor above my head. His sister was back again. Would the bitch never leave? He’d be a big enough problem without some acid-spitting whore at my back as well.

Things had been going well enough. I should’ve known better. The Baron’s list of targets had all been too… unremarkable. They died too easy, moved too slowly, and lacked any semblance of bizarre abilities. They were normal humans and all too easy to find and kill. I wasn’t needed for this. Nate had known all too well where every one of our targets had been except for the last one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wither The Vain: Lost Cities Part 1


What a sorry sight the members of The Council were. You’d think that they’d be a little better kept. I tossed my hair over my shoulder in annoyance. I was expecting a meeting of gods, not a high school reunion in a lightless, almost windowless tower scavenged from the sunken continent of Mu. Boring.

I put my feet up on the table, mud falling off my boots as I waited. Delilah rolled her eyes and smoothed her skirt next to me. I looked across the creaky banquet table to survey the attendees. Dozens of impish tribal deaths milled about near the buffet line, occasionally snapping off one of their companions’ limbs. Shinigami of various sizes, genders, and pallor stood quietly in another corner of the room. Among their younger members, cartoony features were the order of the day. Each of them would barely have the power to crush a city block. Somehow, that had garnered them a place on The Council. Others wandered about as well. Aboriginal Australian ghosts paced in place as tropical deaths sat near to the bar, drinking mai tais until they burst into flames. It was like the damned U.N. in here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rue: Dead Heat Part 2

Speaking For The Dead

“Morgan, if this is about the eggs, we can always go somewhere else for breakfast. You know that.”

I had Hugo up against the wall of his morgue. I still hadn’t told him why either. The question had really been whether or not he’d figure it out on his own. If the guilt was too great and he buckled, it made my life all the easier.

He honestly had no idea why I’d be here.

I let him down into his little black leather circle seat and sat on the counter in front of him.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pallbearer: Wedding Dirge

Wedding Dirge

It has always struck me just how similar the wedding song and the funeral march are. Don’t worry too much about that to death ‘til us part bit; it won’t be that long until you’re both in the ground anyway. Some people say pomp and circumstance is like that too. I don’t know, never heard it. It wouldn’t surprise me though. Between stunted imaginations and the normal tongue-in-cheek crap, it’d be just about par.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Seas of Blood and Fire Part 1

Salt Dreams

The taste of sea salt never leaves your tongue after you’ve married yourself to the waves. I remember so clearly the sun shining down on my stony self as I handed out orders to the crew. They would snap to attention and move on the double. There had been only one attempt at mutiny by a fellow Englishman that thought me a coward. With a single blow, he had been hurled out to greet the lapping waves. The rest of the crew would never question my orders again. Not once had my orders unreasonably jeopardized them, but they now knew that even the burliest among them stood not a chance at sinking The Gentleman aboard his own ship.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Speechless: Aiming High Part 3


I belonged in the position of Magistrate no more than I belonged aloft and flying through the sky. It was not my failure to catch Jack Lorenz that brought me to this conclusion. It was the actions of my fellow Judges that brought me to this conclusion. I sat in the darkness of Sturm’s office, hands folded, waiting for his return. He would return soon, no doubt. He would not be expecting me to be here. Why should he? I would out hunting Jack Lorenz. I would be being a useful tool, a sword that held swords. It is what I should be.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rue: Dead Heat Part 1

Dead Man Knocking

“Morgan honey, there’s a dead man here to see you.”

I flung the rest of the shaving cream on my razor into the sink. One last scrap of my face and the cheap plastic razor followed it in. I wiped off the last remnants of the rank shaving cream and tossed down a couple ProTabs.

A dead man at the door for me? There went my “vacation.”

I stepped out of the bathroom and crossed the kitchen to the door. Amy was waiting there, watching our guest through the peep hole.

“Any guesses hon?”

“Not really. I don’t recognize him as one of the regulars in our building. He looks a little out of place. He might be freshly dead and trying to figure out what’s going on.”

Monday, August 6, 2012

Wither The Vain: Scavenger Hunt Part 8

Time's Up

Being carried into one of The Scavenger’s hidden temples trussed up for a spit-roasting was not really what I had expected when I let Natalie out of her prison. I had stopped bothering to struggle after the third Sleeper in that damned vulture’s service took it as an excuse to punch me in the jaw. Natalie was waving to everyone happily as she meandered through the wooden pews filled with Sleepers, Judges, and the occasional human. They had all heard The Scavenger’s cries at night and had come, seeking the source of their nightmares. They had thrown themselves before the mercy of Boyd and the others.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Pallbearer: War Part 6

Coalition Forces

I have to say I was beginning to become impressed with the way Mr. Anderson had handled everything. None of our creators had understood that we had emotions. That wasn’t supposed to be a product of our artificial intelligence. We were supposed to be reasoning, not feeling. There was a fine line between the two, truthfully. What else would you call the signal relaying damage to my CPU but pain? Honestly, these humanoids were baffling.

All of them except for Mr. Anderson, of course. The fox woman, Alithea, was less than impressed. She had been shouting for most of the last three days about his idiotic methods. I supposed she was shouting mainly because we were all expecting to be destroyed. Even Bellmaker was willing to accept this.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Walkabout Part 5

Full Circle

It’s easy to see why there are so many pyromaniacs in the world with how beautiful fire looks as it springs to life. It slips its thousand tongues around its prey, clutching so tightly. The lovers of the world wish they could cling so tightly to their beloveds. As the fire’s fuel dies, so does its passion, the flames flickering fervently. Its love is fleeting though, as soon it can find another who claims their heart. It leaps to its new prize with all the burning desire it can muster. The cycle continues ever onward until the flame has naught else to love, or until it is bested by those jealous of its passion.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Speechless: Aiming High Part 2


It was almost as boring as playing a video game. Wait. Kill. Repeat. They might hear the bullet coming, but these were ordinary humans in league with The Judges out of fear and survivor’s guilt. A shot, a kill, and I’d move on to my next target. Another level cleared, another thousand points that no one gave a rat’s ass about, another target waiting. They were all just heads to step on as you headed for the boss.

What happens when the game’s beaten though? I turned that thought over in my head as I pulled the trigger on my new rifle. My body shook and my ears bled and I was on the floor squirming in pain, but that wasn’t where my brain was. My brain was waiting for the bonus round.