In the darkness of the night, close you windows, and bar your door. For I run on two legs, Before I run on four. The moon sings in my blood, and echoes through my soul. There is no difference between Lover, friend, or foe. Oh, Love you are lost to me as elusive as a wolf running free. When the banshee wails through the trees Beware the call of the wild, for the Wild calls to me. Don't say that you love me, Because I don't want to know. When the wild calls to me Fur, Fangs, Flesh and Fury, Are the only things I know. Diana calls me to her pack The Huntress commands my soul And there is no difference between Lover, friend, or foe. Oh, Love you are lost to me as elusive and a wolf running free When the banshee wails through the trees Beware the call of the wild for the Wild is in me. Tell me, is your heart fresh? Tell me, is your heart pure? Tell me, is your blood sweet? Is it as sweet as my dark desire? When the Wild calls to me The Hunt runs in my blood And the moon consumes my soul. In the darkness of the night close your windows, and bar your door. For I run on two legs Before I run on four.
I admit it. I have been neglecting this blog for quite some time. What can I say, life happens and often it sucks, like really really sucks. It was never my intention to disappear from the blogosphere.
The past two years have been harsh in ways that are difficult to speak of. I am not going to go into details here, or ever, but lets just say that I am glad that 2022 is finally over. 2023 is young yet. We are only a month into 2023 and it is already a complete improvement over the past two years.
So here is a few things to look forward here.
- Short Story Sunday. Every Sunday I am going to post a shiny new short story right here on the blog. I stole this idea from WPaD. I still believe that this is a great idea, just because it will get me back into the habit of writing.
- The 300. At some point I am going to restart the 300. I will pick a random writing prompt from somewhere on the net and write a short piece on it. Hopefully I will complete the whole 300 posts without missing a day this time around.
- More Reviews. Once a month I will be reviewing one of the books that I have read. It will be totally random and most likely and indie author, since I read a lot of indie authors these days.
I am looking forward to the rest of the new year and hopefully we will have a ton of fun.
No. 4: The Aspect of the Biome
If you had to choose one of the following biomes to live in, which would you choose, and why: desert, rainforest, deep sea, arctic, mountains, tropics.
Biomes is actually one of the things that I often neglect while I am worldbuilding. They are one of the most influential and necessary ingredients to any fictional world. I tend to get so focussed on plot and character development, that I forget that the world in which my characters travel and live in, is a character in and of itself.
There is so much to unpack when thinking about a biome, from the temperature, to the seasons and it has a huge impact on the lives of the people and creatures that live in it. The biome of the world even determines what obstacles that my protagonist has to over come. I have to thank my hobby of playing Dungeon and Dragons for much of my awareness of what a biome is and of the types of cultures that spring from that type of environment. I also have to thank all of the authors that I read for their wonderful works. If it wasn’t for these two things, I would suck way more than I do when it comes to this aspect of world building.
Now, to answer the question. If I were a character in one of my own stories, I would live in the mountains.
This is because of all of the biomes that are listed above, it is the mountains that offer the most in terms of vegetation, water and wildlife. There are often species located in the mountains that are found in no other place and it is super easy to imagine coming across a creature that no one has seen before. It is just as easy to imagine a hidden valley where a whole civilization exists. What can I say? I am a explorer at heart, living in a world where everything has already been found.
No. 3: No Good Deed…
A character finds an odd looking egg in the woods. When they take it home, they never could have predicted what was inside it.
It was an odd thing. It was smooth to the touch and pulsed when he lay his hand on it. It thrummed under his fingers, and gave him the sense that it was trying to talk to him. He knew that this was the real world, and that this wasn’t a dragon’s egg waiting to hatch and lead him to a great destiny, but it was an egg. He didn’t know what kind of egg or even guess of what kind of creature would lay such a thing, but he was quite sure that it was an egg.
He took a great deal of time getting the egg home. He didn’t want to break it, and the egg was heavy. It was far heavier than something its size was supposed to be. He guessed that it had double the density of iron, but he couldn’t be sure. His kids were going to love this. He remembered their disappointment when they had worked so hard to care for a hen’s egg, only for it to fail to hatch. They had even done everything right, from keeping it warm to turning it everyday so that the chick inside wouldn’t stick to the shell.
This was a chance to make it up to them for that disappointment. This wasn’t going to be a chicken. What ever was in that egg was going to be way cooler.
He got it threw the door of the old house and leaned against the wall. He wasn’t a young man anymore. He didn’t like to think of himself as getting older, but sometimes, the world had a way of reminding him. The kids, thankfully, hadn’t come home from school yet. That gave him sometime to get things set up and surprise them.
He tossed the laundry from the good wicker basket. His wife was going to be pissed, but it was going to be worth it. He used the softest foam and lined it with the best rags in the house. To complete this little nest, he dug out the old Hudson’s bay blanket. This blanket hadn’t been used in years, but it was clean and soft and gave the nest a wholesome feel that he liked.
The kids loved the egg, right from the start and the egg loved them. His wife, wasn’t thrilled and left the thing alone. He placed the egg in the courner of the parlor, where it would be out of the way and where the fire would keep it from getting too cold.
The egg’s thrumming grew in volume as the seasons past. It glowed brighter as time went on as well. Sometimes they could see something moving inside when it glowed.
The kids took turns each night to read to the creature inside. They showed it their toys and told it all about their day. They asked him everyday, when it would hatch and he always told him that he didn’t know, because he didn’t know what kind of egg it was. It could be any of a hundred wonderful things. It could be a dinosaur, a dragon, a golden eagle. Guessing what would come out of the egg became a game which they shared.
One day, in the middle of winter, the egg dimmed and lost it’s glow. He placed his hand on the shell and felt something move inside. The egg rocked as the creature within struck the inside of the shell hard beneath his touch. The kids were still in school, it was the last day before the winter break. He hoped that they wouldn’t miss its hatching.
The egg rocked again and their was a resounding crack as the egg split open. Oh my god! It was hatching. This was it. He was going to be the first to see what kind of creature would lay such a egg.
He rushed to the kitchen and scooped his cell off the counter. He fumbled with it until he managed to get it recording video. He had to record this. He didn’t want his kids to miss it just because they had to be at school.
He focused the camera on the shaking egg. The cracks had gotten bigger and pieces of the shell had fallen away. He couldn’t tell what was inside. He stepped closer to get a clear view. The kids wear going to love this.
The egg stilled. The creature inside stilled inside the shell and paused. In one single convulsion, it heaved and the shell shattered and the creature rolled out onto the hardwood floor.
“Holy Fuck” He dropped his phone and scrambled back. It looked like a cross between a centipede and a squid. It squirmed around trailing ooze. Solid black eyes blinked and focused one him. He swallowed. “Um, hello there.”
It jumped from the floor and engulfed him. It pulled him to the ground. Like the egg, the creature was far heavier than it appeared to be and it was massively strong. He couldn’t even scream when it’s teeth found him.
No. 2: Enter the Star-Father
Write about a frail mobster searching for his lost friend in an asteroid.
The lock clicked and a slow hiss echoed through the airlock. He waited for his bodyguards to give the all clear before proceeding. He waved his attendant away. He was old, but he wasn’t stupid. One did not become the head of the family by being stupid.
The airlock opened into a dimly lit corridor. Why would anyone want to live here? He didn’t want to spend any more time on this godforsaken rock than he had to. There was business that needed his attention on Titan, and he didn’t dare send any of the ungrateful brats that called him father. As always there were somethings that one had to do himself, like coming here.
Vinnie flashed the all clear and stepped away from the door. He strolled down the ramp and took in the site. This place was a real shithole. The grey rock seemed to stretch on for forever, and the lights flickered. People actually lived here?
He tapped his comms. “Search this rock. I want him found and I want him alive and unharmed. I want you to treat him with respect.” Good help was hard to find these days. One had to make do with what one got. These were eager to please, and all to often, were more than a little trigger happy.
It was essential that he was found alive. He had given his word a long time ago and he intended to keep it. These kids, they didn’t know the first thing about honor. That is what made a man successful, the value of his word.
“Come back into the ship and let me get you out of that suit boss.” His attendant said. “It isn’t healthy for a man of your years to be out here.”
He shrugged him away. “I am fine.” They were worried about what will happen to the family if he died without a clear heir. That was why he was here. They came without question to this lifeless rock.
It didn’t take more than an hour or so. This wasn’t a big asteroid after all. He was perhaps the last alive who knew the true name of the man that they were escorting. This was a man to whom he owed his life.
“Morgan.” He smiled, offering his hand. Morgan accepted and pressed it to his lips. “It’s been a long time.”
“Yes,” Morgan replied. “That it has.”
“Come. It is time for you to come home.”
Day 1 : Do Brains Taste Like Chicken?
Write about a delighted zombie.
It is light, but it is cold. But I am always cold now. I don’t really understand why. I think that I died, but I didn’t really die. Oh, there is so much that I don’t understand, so very much. I should be worried about the state of things, but I just can’t bring myself to care. I think that I need to sleep, but I am too hungry to sleep. It just smells so good.
Everything seems so fast. Those dogs are lightening fast. How did they get so fast? I try to grab one, but it is just to fast. I want to cry. All I want to do is touch one. It is so cute and fluffy and it smells really good to, not as good as the other thing, but really good all the same. All I want is just a little taste. Come closer doggy. I won’t bite. I promise. I will just take a little nibble, if only you will let me pet you. Why do you have to run so fast.
I wish that I could run that fast.
I remember running fast. It was so long ago. I had two feet then. Yes, I remember, it was Bob. Bob ate my foot. Fuck you Bob. I liked that foot. It was my favorite. Now, my legs don’t work right. I want my foot back.
Someone is shouting. I think that they are shouting at me. I try to say something back but I can’t remember how to talk. The sounds coming out of my mouth don’t make any sense. They are just sounds. I sound like a ghost, like from one of those really old movies.
Others are there. There isn’t going be enough left if I go with them. There are too many. That is okay, because, I can still smell it. They can have the shouting people. It means that I can have the hiding ones all to myself. I am too hungry to share.
They are quiet, but I find them. They did a really good job at hiding. This is like playing hide and seek. Why is it that I am always the seeker? When is it going to be my turn to hid?
Ahh, there they are. They are fast, but not as fast as the dog. People, especially the little ones are so much better than dogs. They smell better, and taste better. Oh, I am so hungry. They can’t get away. One tries to push past me, but I grab him. I like hugs. You won’t mind if I take a nibble will you? I haven’t eaten since, forever.
This is so much better fresh. Leftovers are okay, they will do in a pinch, but nothing beats fresh. The texture is still somewhat mushy, and it smells soo good. It smells better than it tastes. Why do brains always taste like chicken?
How to Pretend to be a Writer and The Bloggers Challenge.
I like to pretend that I am a writer. It is one of my most favorite things even though I do fail miserably at it. I fail because of the thing that writers do, that I don’t do nearly enough of. Writers, well, write. Add this to the huge number of silly challenges that are running around the internet these days. Who hasn’t heard of the Tide challenge, right? So, after being woken up by a book falling on my head, a brilliant idea stuck me.
It was a book of 300 writing prompts, by the way.
In all of the different challenges running around on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, ect. There never seems to be any silly challenges for bloggers. Blogging seems to have become a serious endeavor. It has lost the fun. Oh, there are other challenges for writers out there. NaNoMo is coming up again this year, and completing a novel in 30 days is indeed a challenge, but its not something that really fits in a blog, and while it is an accomplishment, it is very much a sprint. At least, it feels that way to me and I am not much of a sprinter.
So, I propose this challenge, and the rules are going to me simple for those who are willing to join me in this challenge.
This challenge is going to take 300 days, (totally not related to the book that fell on my head, I swear). To complete the challenge, everyday we shall:
- Select a writing prompt.
- Write a minimum of 500 words on the prompt
- Post the prompt on a blog with the day of the challenge and the prompt in the title. If the prompt is a picture, include the picture.
And there is the most important. No skipping days. If we miss a day, even if it is just one, the challenge has been failed, and we will be set back to Day One.
Now, lets see who will last to Day 300.
This is the Great Reboot.
The Pandemic has short circuited many things over the past couple of years and that includes this blog. Okay, I know that I am using it as an excuse since my last post was way before Covid happened, but it sure didn’t help. Life was happening to me in a very dramatic way and when Covid happened, well that was the final nail in the coffin. It was more like a nuclear bomb than a nail, now that I think on it for a bit.
One the bright side, I have a okay looking garden now. I am not sure of exactly how healthy it is to indulge in my own particular brand of paranoia, probably not healthy at at all, however not being completely dependent on what food is available in the stores seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, who could have guessed that the zombie apocalypse wasn’t really going to happen.
So, since later this week, I am going to be receiving my second shot of the vaccine, so I won’t have to wear a mask anymore, and maybe I will be acquiring my mutant super power, cause everyone knows that you get super powers along with your shot. I have decided to reboot everything, from this blog, to my day job, and even to wear I will exist in the future. I am going to start with this blog.
Over the next week or so, you are going to see me fiddling with the over all look. There is nothing better than a make over. A new colour scheme, a brand new logo, new widgets, which will include a calendar showing when my next post is going to appear so that you don’t miss anything.
I am looking forward to sharing new content with all of you.
Winter Flower by Charles Sheehan Miles
Rating : 5 of 5 Stars
Charles Sheehan Miles is an old Secondlife buddy of mine and he has a super power. He had an uncanny ability for trapping you within the lives of his characters and making you cry right along beside them. I have read many of his books and even when I have reread the same one a couple of times, I still needed a box of tissues. This is true of the Last Hour in particular, but even the Last Hour couldn’t compare to his new release, Winter Flower.
With Winter Flower, I didn’t go through one box of tissue but two. I almost needed a third.
Charles has a wonderful narrative voice and is gifted with capturing the POV of each character and allowing them to tell you their own story. You really get to feel all of the rage, pain, fear, loneliness of the Roberts family as they navigate a series of tragedies that are stunningly real. Some make poor choices, others get trapped in their own grief, and some do whatever it takes to survive a horrible situation.
Unlike Charles’s other books, this is not a romance, or light reading. Winter Flower is an in depth look into the ills of our society and what it means to be human, complete with a flicker of hope at the end.
And as a footnote, before I go. Charles, you made me miss Erie Isle, dammit.
The Long Way Home
It was unfortunate that the coldest time of the night was right before dawn, even in the winter. It was bitterly cold during the warmest part of the day, so when the coldest hit, it became cold enough to freeze hell. Jane stared at the windows for a few minutes longer. She was not looking forward to the walk home, but on the bright side, it wasn’t snowing at least.
She would have killed for enough spare cash to buy a cab ride home, however, she was going to be short on rent as it was. The only good thing about working the midnight shift at the local McDonald’s was that she wasn’t going to starve. This wouldn’t be the first time that she had needed to live off of stale fast food and she doubted that it would be the last.
Jane finished wiping down the tables and slipped back behind the counter. There was still a few things that she needed to take care of before the morning crew started to arrive.
“Hey Babe.” The large man leered at her, and the entertainment of the evening just arrived. A few hours late. On this shift, there was always one. Some drunk bastard from one of the numerous bars down the street would stagger in and demand more than just a greasy burger. They usually showed up shortly after 2 am, right about when the bars closed. Jane didn’t know where this guy was hanging out for the past couple of hours. He was more than a little late. “Why don’t you blow this joint and come home with me eh?”
Jane stepped back. “No. I don’t think so.”
“Awe, come on.” He leaned as close at the counter would let him. “I will show you a really good time.”
“I am afraid that I am going have to ask you to leave.” She replied.
“Why do you have to be such a stuck up bitch?”
Jane took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “You have to either order something or leave. Only paying customers are allowed to hang out here. Especially at this time of night. You understand.”
It was nights like these that made Jane seriously consider finding a new job.
“But you haven’t given me my burger yet.” He pouted. “You gotta give me my burger.”
“You didn’t order one. What would you like?”
“Babe.” The man took his hat off, used his fingers to brush back hid fading hair. “You know what I want.”
Gods, how she hated people. She really needed a new job. One where she didn’t have to deal with this kind of crap day in and day out. But the truth was, between her three jobs, she just didn’t have the time. She couldn’t afford to take time off of any of them in order to find something better. In short, she was stuck here, working the graveyard shift while being leered at by a man who was more than old enough to know better and was most likely married.
“I have other duties to attend to.” She went on. “If you could tell me what you want, I can get your order under way.”
He winked at her and did as she asked. “Give me a double big Mac.”
Jane gave a sigh of relief. The boss hated it when they had to have a customer removed from the place. If it wasn’t for the fact that the labour board would fine him big time for firing her, she would have been let go along time ago. If Jane didn’t have to toss the man out, she would save herself the trouble of dealing with a cranky boss.
Jane took her time awhile later to finish sweeping out back and running a wet mop through the kitchen. Everything was already done in the front and the drunken creeper was still lurking out there. It was precariously close to the end of her shift and in another half hour or so her shift was about to end. She eyed the man from the back. It was hard to say if he would let her be or if he was going to try and follow her home. That had happened once or twice.
“I got the garbage.” Mitch said, as he came and stood beside her. “After the night you had, I wasn’t comfortable with you taking it out. The natives were restless tonight.”
Jane huffed. “That is the understatement of the year. There must have been something in the air tonight cause there is nothing else to explain it. Can’t even blame it on a full moon this time. And thank you. I wasn’t looking forward to going out there.”
“Its still dark out there.” Mitch offered. “You want a ride home?”
Jane paused. Her gaze fell on the predawn shadows that lay beyond the window, then shook her head. “Nah, I will be fine. I don’t live that far away and I am sure that I can get myself home before the sun comes up.”
Mitch snickered. “I knew it. You are a vampire. You are going to turn into a pile of ash with the first rays of the sun.”
Jane rolled her eyes at him. “No more than you are. I just happen to know that you like to stay late in order to flirt with the new chick. What’s her name again?” Mitch turned a deep red. “And I am tired. I really want a good long nap before I have to get up for work again.”
“I don’t know how you do it.” Mitch looked out the window. “Three jobs. When do you find time to sleep?”
“Mostly I don’t.”
“Well, ff you are sure, the offer is there. Just be safe eh? I would hate to have to break in a new person if something happened to you.”
“I would hate if something happened to me too.” She replied. “There wouldn’t be anyone around to feed my fish.”
“You have a fish?”
Jane grinned at him. “Of course. Fish make the perfect pets. They don’t make any noise and they don’t die from loneliness if you spend every waking moment working. I swear, if I couldn’t nibble while I am working here, I probably wouldn’t eat at all. I am always either going to work, working, or going home after work. What can I say? I have no life.”
“You should get yourself a man.” Mitch advised. “Then he could help you out. Men are useful you know.”
“Why, Mitch,” Jane tilted her head. “Are you offering?”
Mitch threw up his hands and backed away. “No, not me. You are too temperamental for my tastes. I like my bits just as they are.”
Jane laughed. “Your safe. From me at least so you don’t need to worry. Your bits will be intact for Sarah? Is that her name?”
“Close.” He returned her grin and waved her off. “It’s Sonya.”
“Sonya then.” she smiled. “I am almost done here. You mind if I take off a few minutes early? I kinda want to be gone before mega-bitch comes in. I really don’t feel like dealing with her, and there is something that I need to do before I get home.”
Mitch made a show of looking at his watch. “I don’t know.”
A smile slowly crept across his face and he gave her a sidelong glance. “Okay,” he said. “Go. I will cover for you. There is only five minutes before its time for us to sign out anyways.” Mitch made shooing motions with his free hand. “I can take care of the rest.”
Minutes later, Jane was out the door without even a backward glance. Leacherous drunken dude didn’t even look up when she walked past.
The wind hit her as soon as she stepped outside the doors. Jane gasped once, then twice. It was the cold more than relentless movement of air that robbed her of her breath and what little warmth that she could muster.
She only lived a few blocks away. If she walked there right away it would only take her twenty minutes or so to get to the closest that she called an apartment. She took a brisk place
A north wind picked up the newly fallen leaves and made them dance about her feet as she went. It played with her hair with phantom fingers and pulled at her jacket here and there. The streets were always quiet at this time, but tonight they were unusually deserted.
What could she say? Cities as a rule didn’t sleep. As tired as Jane was, there was someone who she wanted to talk to first. That meant that she would have to take the long way home and it was cold. Jame thought it over as she pulled her tattered coat around herself.
This time of year Clive like to hang out in the ally behind the nearest Subway. He liked it there. Apparently there was a vent there that blew warm air when the ovens were going. He told her that it was the best way to stay warm in the winter. She just shook her head at the thought. Clive was a character and a good friend. Jane smiled. He was her only friend, if only because he was the only person who was around when she had a spare bit of time to socialize.
It wouldn’t take her much longer to go around to Clive’s box than it would if she went straight home. Jane really wanted to check on him and see of there was anything that he needed. She worried about him during the winter. The forecast over the radio called for a deep freeze over the next couple of days. She would see if he needed any extra blankets, or even better, maybe she could convince him to sleep on her couch over the next few days.
Jane paused. The ally was just ahead of her and she peered into its depths. She couldn’t see much. The ally stretched beyond the reach of the yellow light of the flickering street lamp and went into a darkness that was so complete that not even shadows dared to exist down there.
Clive had told her more than once that the dark made it a safe place to sleep. You couldn’t see the boxes that the homeless used for shelter from the street and that meant that they could rest relatively undisturbed. Jane could see his point. From this end of the ally the only thing that she could make out were the dumpsters. She pulled the collar of her jacket up to protect the back of her neck.
He isn’t there.
A chill ran down her spine. It was more than just the biting north wind robbing her of what little warmth she possessed. The longer she stood there, on the space where the sidewalk became the ally, the less she wanted to take even a single step down that path.
He isn’t there. There is no one down there that you want to meet. It’s best if you take a different way home. But she really wanted to see him. What did it say about her that she was willing to forgo checking on the only person whom she could call friend?
Jane took one step. Her toe rested right on the edge of the shadow, then she turned. Clive was a career street person. He had told her once that he had spent most of his life on the streets. The man knew ways to survive that she couldn’t even guess at. Clive would be alright. She was more likely to die from the cold out here than he was.
She stepped back, then took another. Without thought she turn back into the light and simply walked. Jane didn’t pay any particular attention to where or how fast. She simply trusted her feet to carry her home.
Her path eventually wound itself around to her favourite short cut home then stopped. Jane paused at the edge of the ally’s mouth and stared into its shadows. She had come this way hundreds of times and this morning was no different, but the fresh memory of the other ally that lead into nothing but darkness, she wasn’t going to attempt to step into another. All of the same shadows were there, all of the same dumpsters and garbage cans. It was all the same rusting fire escapes hanging from the aging brick, but she just couldn’t bring herself to take even the smallest step inside.
Don’t go that way. A thin silvery voice echoed through her mind. It was the same voice that tile her that Clive wasn’t there. It’s not safe to go that way tonight. There is someone waiting in there for you. You do not want him to find you.
Jane shivered from more than the winter wind. She had heard that same voice before in the midst of her own thoughts. It had even saved her a time or two when she listened to it and took heed. Jane would listen to it now. The combination of the mass of cranky customers at work, along with the empty streets and an absent friend, made her inclined to listen.
Jane flipped her collar up against the northern wind and pulled her jacket tight. She stepped back into the newborn light of the dawn and avoided the shadows and took the long way home.