Posts Tagged ‘books’

Playground Temporarily Closed :-(

Playground Temporarily Closed 😦 (Photo credit: Adam Arroyo)

Well, it would seem that it is coming close to the time for me to take my traditional annual hiatus from the internet that I just started last year (it’s a tradition now). Though, last year it was for NaNoWriMo, this year I am not participating with NaNo (this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t—unless you’re also too busy with paying projects), and I’m taking off a month early. I mentioned a list of things that I’m trying to get done, ‘the Dark Crystal’ submission, a couple contest submissions, etc, and I’m really trying to squeeze all that in, and so to make that more doable, I must temporarily remove the land of the internet for a bit.

So, much like last time, I’ll be popping in to check mail and such, then popping right back out to never see it again until the next day to check mail, all the while writing ‘til my fingers cramp and arthritis themselves into permanently awkward positions.

But, being as how leaving this place unsupervised for a month last year allowed some of you to wander off and completely forget your way back here altogether, I will at least try to bombard you with reasons for why you hover here to begin with before I go. I have two ‘How I Write’ posts that I will be posting (the POV thing that I promised forever ago, and one about openings), I have at least one flash that I’m going to throw in, plus I have a review that I plan to do for ‘Agents of SHIELD’ (I’m waiting on the second ep before I do a review—plus, since I normally do two reviews for TV stuff, I need to find something else to review… open to suggestions). And, I haven’t done a food post in awhile, I’ll see about throwing something in… not sure what right now, since I haven’t really done anything new lately (though there are a few things I would like to do).

So, yea, next week, I’ll throw all that at you, then you will no longer see me until… dun-dun-dun! December! Assuming that I have the Dark Crystal thing done and ready to submit by then… which I should, but still, that’s my key goal with all this, but finishing my novel for submission on top of everything. So… yep.

Alright, kids, I’ve skipped a couple weeks of posting, and almost skipped this one, but I’m forcing one out just to let you know I’m alive.

I’ve been busy on a couple different projects (I normally am, but I have more actual deadlines to deal with now), combined with me trying to get my flabby ass back in shape (I’m nowhere near overweight, but I’m lacking strength and endurance at a level that bothers me).

To let you follow along in some way in what I’m doing, and possibly giving you an incentive to participate also, this is some of what is going on.

I’ve got an anthology that I’m trying to come up with a submission for called, “the Cogs of Time: A Steampunk Anthology,” published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterflies, hosted by Catherine Stovall (whose books you should be reading). There is no money involved; it’s just something for the sake of notice, for me, it’s pretty much just playing with friends:

I’m working on coming up with a submission (or multiple) for the Quantum Shorts 2013 Flash Fiction Competition, sponsored by Science American and Tor Books. Winner gets $1500:

And I’m trying to work on something for the Dark Crystal Author Quest (the one I would like to get involved with the most, but have the least idea what to do with it). Winner gets a contract for the new Dark Crystal book series:

And for my flabby ass, I’m working on getting myself up to running the Michigan Warrior Dash 2014 with my brother and brother-in-law (and whoever else I would have recruited by then). We’re going to participating with the St. Jude Warriors program. If you’re in an area where the Warrior Dash is still coming up for this year, I advise you try for it, if you missed it, then make this moment the time to get off your ass and get ready for next year. If you run it, let me know how you did:

Outside of all that, I’m trying to crank out a few shorts to submit to magazines for the sake of me being poor, and I’m trying to get time in for ‘Stiym’ in between the cracks of everything. On the plus side, I’m on vacation right now, so I have time to do a bit more (that’s pretty much how I’m finding the chance to write this now). On top of everything, I’m also working on the muti-POV for ‘Natural Selection’ which will also bring the whole thing to a final closer.

I’ve been on vacation from the day job this week. For those who bother to care, you noticed I skipped my blog for the week… that wasn’t entirely on purpose. I’ve been busy working on ‘Stiym’ as much as I can (plus a wedding, and getting drunk with southern family members, etc), and next thing I know, it’s Thursday now. So… yea…

On that… i actually have nothing in mind to post on right now… i do have more exercises in mind later, but i’m bum-rushing this entry as it is, so, that will have to wait. For some time in the future though, I will be shitting out some reviews for you people that like to bitch about things they saw, then go around the net and find other people that bitch like you. I haven’t work on any new recipes lately, but I will get around to something… if anyone has any suggestions for stuff they want me to try doing, feel free to share…

So… blah’blah’blah… i wrote a blog this week… yay me… get back to work…

This is a beginning of a short-story in the world of ‘Ravenblood.’ It’s only the beginning because I seriously have no idea where to go from here at all… well… I know how it’s supposed to end, I just don’t know what supposed to happen between it all. Basically, I was writing a short-story for every character in ‘Ravenblood.’ I first wrote Ravenblood’s POV, then I wrote everyone else’s—essentially establishing a full timeline for every single person in the over-all story… which worked fine for everyone except Chirho… which bothers me because he has more insight to earlier portion of the timeline than anyone else.

But, anyway, this should give you a taste of ‘Ravenblood’ without revealing a single thing in all of ‘Ravenblood,’ which works perfectly. Oh, and, though it didn’t get established in the story yet, Chirho is about 3 or 4 in this portion of the timeline—Rangers train as early in life as possible.


the Rangers

English: A European Rabbit afflicted by Myxoma...

English: A European Rabbit afflicted by Myxomatosis in Shropshire, England. Photo by Chris Bayley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rabbit’s heart raced, thumping like a snare-drum. It sniffed the air as the wind blew in a strange breeze that couldn’t seem to choose a direction. The rabbit’s ears twitched, constantly scanning its surroundings, searching for the source of the disturbance that it felt only in its bones.

It was able to convince itself that it was nothing—just the electricity of an oncoming storm—there’s nothing to worry about. So it went back to grazing at a blade of grass, to take in a morning meal before the storm arrived.

Then, just as the rabbit had managed to fully place all of its concerns out of its mind, a sudden whistle in the wind shot through, as if the air was just sliced in half. And—

“How did I miss?” Chirho cursed as he stared at his arrow sticking out of the ground a few yards in front of him, as, what would have been his breakfast, hopped away, “I had it!”

“Did you?” Theteps asked in his annoying way of simultaneously answering.

“Yes, Theteps, I did everything you said to do. I listened for its heart, I watched its reactions to the wind—I did everything seeing through the rabbit’s eyes.”

Theteps smiled and placed a strong hand on Chirho’s hooded head, “Did you, now, cub? Or did you let your imagination trick you, and allowed you to mistake your own eyes for the rabbit’s?”

Chirho thought back. He remembered staring down the point of the arrow, focusing until it became one with the target. He could see the rabbit, and it seemed to be ignoring anything around but the grass in front of it. He breathed in, and out, trying to block out the thudding in his ears. And, when he was certain he had a sure shot, he released. He watched as the arrow soared, and then plunged through the dirt that should have been a rabbit’s heart.

The image in Chirho’s head was interrupted by a tight gurgling in his empty stomach, “I know I did everything right, Theteps.”

Theteps closed his eyes, “From the rabbit’s eyes, I saw a young boy walking through the woods. I watched that boy as he clacked an arrow to his bow, and pointed it in my direction. I listened to his loud breathing, and his heart beating as he drew back on his bow. When I heard him swallow hard, I knew that he was releasing his arrow, and I should run now. And so I ran back towards my hutch and continued finishing my meal while still watching the boy as he yelled at his arrow.

“And now I watch as a man I didn’t notice before appeared out of nowhere, and approach the boy. The man’s sudden appearance alarms me, but his state of calmness tells me he isn’t a threat for now—but I still watch, uncertain.”

“What?” Chirho looked in the direction he saw the rabbit run, where a large clump of ferns grew around a tree and saw, just barely reflecting in the light, a slight glimmer of two eyes staring back at him. He narrowed his eyes at the glimmers and glared in frustration—

“The boy sees me, now,” Theteps continued with his eyes still closed, “His eyes look angry. He’s lifting his bow up, ready to throw it—it’s large enough to hit me without much effort. I should run and hide in my hutch until he’s gone—“

Chirho stood with his bow in hand—with his arm cocked back, frozen with Theteps’ words. He watched the two glimmering eyes as they watched him, and suddenly they moved. The rabbit’s furry body instantly disappeared into a hole beneath the tree.

“You see, cub,” Theteps started as he opened his eyes, “At your age, it can be easy to confuse imagination with empathy. But you can’t just imagine you see through the rabbit’s eyes, you actually have to listen to the spirit of the wind, and the trees, and everything around you, and actually see through the rabbit’s eyes as if you actually were the rabbit.”

This story is essentially a display of me blowing off frustration during a very dark point in my life (those who know me have ideas of the details, but I’ll spare the rest of you). It started off simply with the first image of the story—it ran through my head for almost three days straight, then I finally gave in and wrote it out assuming I would use it for something later… next thing I knew, there was a completed story in front of me. The name is another of my joyful plays with the letter ‘y,’ similar to Syn, it was something that I thought up a bit ago with little idea what it would be used for, but kept it around anyway. In addition, you will also get an extract from the novella version of this (yep, there’s one for this too… it starts with a short-story, then my brain just wants to see where else it can go).

Red Stream, Wet Dirt, and Scars
Red stream

Red stream (Photo credit: Tim Green aka atoach)

I watch as the glistening of a red stream flows, merging into the horizon. I lay in the cold wet dirt—unblinking, hypnotized, I watch the stream of red until it appears as an ocean flowing on forever.

My daze is wavered by the stinging of my eyes—the sweat tainted with my filth pooling and dripping like tears, falling and disappearing into the wet dirt—into the red stream.

My body resists as I command it to rise. Every muscle flames as if to tear through my flesh, but I plant my hands into the wet dirt—into the red stream. I claw my fingers, stabbing deep—so deep, I can feel the squirming life below, crawling and exploring their way through my fingers. I push myself to my knees, my spine ripping with pain through my body. I slip to my elbows, drunken by the sudden erection of my head and the over-flow of endorphins—my body’s own battle to fight against the pain.

I push myself back up. I feel the handle of my blade still beneath my palm pushing against my hand until I am forced to grip my fingers around its leather wrap—a feeling so natural and familiar that I react to it by almost complete reflex. With my sword in hand, I rise to my feet as if powered by the feel of the cold steel as I clench it tighter, turning my knuckles to glow red to white to red.

I raise my eyes and gaze upon the man who stares down to me with such arrogance—as if he believed he had won before his sword was ever drawn. How long was I lying there since his last devastating blow—how long has he been standing there waiting for me to get back up—was he waiting for the sake of honor, or because of his own swelling arrogance.

His bare sun-darkened chest, covered in thousands of scars of random ages and depths—as if he had been fighting endlessly since the beginning of time without a moment of peace. So many battles that he must have won, even if at the edge of his own death, he came out with some deciding trait above his opponents that declared him victor—be it skill, speed, strength, or just constant luck. How many of those faces could he still have in his head—if I fall, will he remember me, or will I just be another unnamed blood-stain splattered on his sword and clothes.

The sun gleams off the steel of my blade forcing me to squint my eyes to focus. Staring my opponent dead in the eye until all I see is him—his every movement, the slight involuntary twitching of a muscle, the slow rise and fall of his chest, the blade of his sword gleaming as if in response to my own—two swords signaling each other with their secret language, screaming for their craving to meet with flesh and blood.

The sweat of my flesh turns to vapor as the noon sun stabs into me. The sensation of the heat tries to make me lazy, and force me to surrender to my wounds. I force away the cloud in my head, and feel the sudden coolness of a breeze that seemed to come out of nowhere, as if sent by the gods themselves as a sign—a sign to begin attack. And so I brace the balls of my feet deep into the wet dirt—into the red stream—and I lung forward in a swift charge.

I hold my sword across me in guard, prepared for any move he could make against me as I charge. He’s not moving—he’s still standing there with the same look of arrogance—is he really so confident in his ability to counter whatever I throw at him that he would just stand there unphased and wait for it to come—have those scars brought such experience; such sense of immortality—or does he wait for my own death dealing strike to end his life of steel, blood, and war.

It’s too late to change my attack now, it would risk putting me off balance, leaving me open for even the simplest of blows to become deadly—is that his plan, to throw me off, to force me into his game so that he can defeat me as easily as a three year old child. No, I can not falter my own strategy, I must force him into my game if I am to win.

I reach him in range of my blade, and I raise my sword swiping for his exposed neck. It was so sudden—a flash of light, and a split second of a sharp pain that throws me to my side. I look up at him from behind—he never moved, he still stands as he did before. And the sharp pain returns—I look down to see a red stream flowing into the wet dirt—slashed deep across my body from collar bone to my waist, tearing apart the more I twitch in response to the pain as the red stream flows into the wet dirt.

He finally turns and looks down at me, I look up at him and strainfully force out my words that tear at me with each breath, “How… you never moved… how…?”

He holds up his sword against the light of the sun, and a red stream flows from it raining into the wet dirt—as if to respond showing that he must have obviously somehow… moved—moved with the swiftness of the flashing lightning—there was never any thunder to follow but the sharp pain.

I stare into his eyes and see what I thought was arrogance. I stare until his face begins to haze and separate into distorted shapes, “Who… are you…?”

He crouches down, his sword held behind him—his movement so sudden, so fluid… or is it in my head. His lips move, but the words seem to take extra seconds to reach me, “I am the one who has sent you to the next life—you have no use of my name…”

“Your name… as I lye waiting for my end… as it is creeping unto me… please… tell me your name… so I may warn the spirits of my next kin…”

He simply smiles with a smirk of what I thought was arrogance. I see him move his hand to me—I think he laid it on my shoulder, but I can only barely feel the foreign pressure to indicate his touch. His hot breath blows across my ear and my mind slowly translates the vibrations in the air, “The spirits of your kin are soon to be gone from the world, for you are now the last… I am Cÿd… … …” His presents seems to simply fade away… or I never saw his movements.

His words echo in my head, “…the spirits of your kin are soon to be gone from the world…”—my eyes stinging as the sweat tainted with my filth pools and drips like tears, falling and disappearing into the wet dirt—into the red stream, “…for you are now the last…”

I watch as the glistening of the red stream flows, and merges into the horizon, “…I am Cÿd…” I lay in the cold wet dirt—unblinking, hypnotized, I watch the stream of red until it appears as an ocean flowing on forever… … … “…Cÿd…” … … …


Prologue: Red Stream, Wet Dirt, and Scars


Scars (Photo credit: svimes)

I remember it every time I close my eyes. The hot stink of the mid-summer sun burning down, casting gleaming rays through the dark smoke-filled clouds as they blanketed over the sky and burrowed through our farm.

I watched as a stream of the reddest blood I have ever seen flow in front of me, the sun gleamed off it in a way that made it appear somehow infinite—infinitely deep, and flowing on forever like a great red ocean.

I sat there under our table huddled with my knees as tightly to my chest as I could get them as I looked through the legs of a chair like the bars of a cage, and stared out our front doorway. The red stream branched slightly towards me as I watched it creep through the crevasses in the cold ground. I just sat there hypnotized by it, it was the only thing I could see, it’s the only sign of anything since I heard my father’s scream.

I’ve never heard such a sound from any man before. It took me a few seconds to even realize that it was human, then only to somehow recognize it as my father’s voice. The horrifying sound echoed through my head as I watched the red stream flowing through the cold wet dirt.

Where’s Mother—she went out after Father and my brothers… after the yelling and screaming started. Why didn’t she come back—why isn’t she saving me—why isn’t she coming and picking me up before the red stream reaches me?

As I was about to push out the struggling breath to cry out for her, I was instantly silenced by a sudden crash against the outer wall. A brief instant later, I saw a hand before the doorway falling limp—somehow falling with the grace of a dead leaf from an autumn tree. Slowly, I crawled from my sanctuary under the table with the sluggishness of a thousand hands holding me back—but I had to see, I had to see who’s hand lay lifeless before my eyes—I had to know.

I reached out my small hand to touch the large fingers covered with sprinkles of blood, and even before I could see around the corner of the frame, I already knew—I knew that gentle but somehow strong hand almost better than I ever knew my own. The hands that I saw throughout every day from my very first day of life—as they cleaned me, clothed me, fed me, and held me.

I crawled to see her face, her eyes still staring, struggling to cling to life. Her gaze suddenly jumped its focus over to me, and almost frightened me enough to fall back, but I resisted, She isn’t gone, she’s still going to get up and save me—I will still have her gentle touch to nurture me—she’s not gone.

I put my small hand into her hand that always seemed so large and gentle—so strong. I could feel the muscles of her hand as they struggled to move, but allowing her fingers to only barely twitch. As I stared into her eyes as they stared into me as I wished for her to take my small hand in hers, I heard myself crying out with partial words through my tears, “Mother, get up, get up! Why aren’t you holding my hand? Get up!” I order her with anger and tears over and over, “Mother, get up! Hold me!”

Her fingers still twitching in timid struggle, her eyes begin to pool with tears, filling until almost her entire eye was blurred with water. Spilling over, across her nose, and down her cheeks and streaming along the detailed lines of her lips until the stream found its way to open air. It fell in glimmering drops that seemed so small, but seemed so very big as they splashed into the cold ground, disappearing as the dirt soaked them in.

I watched her tears as they fell with my own until the ground turned to mud. I watched as her eyes stared into me—I watched as her twitching fingers stopped twitching—her eyes still staring into me, but somehow different… as if there were some candle burning somewhere inside them that was suddenly blown-out by a breeze. I knew… it took time for it to really hit me, for it to tell my mind to react, time that could have been a mere second, or several hours—I couldn’t tell. But still, from the very moment that I saw the light leave her tear filled eyes, I knew that she was gone. My small, frail hand still grasping at her lifeless fingers, pulling and nudging her as if to some how wake her, but I already knew it was useless. They say a child so young can’t possibly understand death, but I know that I somehow understood it in every detail from that very moment.

I sat there on my knees staring into her lifelessness until my tears turned hot—so hot I almost thought they’d burn my face. As my tears burned I clenched my small hands into fists—fists so tight that I could have pushed my fingers through my palms. That’s when I could somehow feel him there—feel his presence as if I could feel the weight of his shadow blanketed over me.

I turned behind me to see in the distance through all the mist of the smoke-filled darkness, the silhouette of a figure clenching a gleaming steal blade. I stared until my eyes focused and the smoke cleared, and I saw a man staring down to me with the coldest dark eyes I have ever seen. His bare sun-darkened chest completely covered in thousands of scars of random ages and depths. His sword and hands dripped with streaming rains of blood.

I saw laying around him, the edges and silhouettes of more bodies that I already knew before I ever checked them were the bodies of my father and brothers—their screams from before still echoing in my head.

If I told you I wasn’t afraid, you’d know I would be lying, but as I stared into those cold dark eyes, my anger rose to completely overshadow any sign of fear. The tears covered my face, burning even more into my soft cheeks, my fists clenched so tight that I could feel small streams of blood trickling off the sides as my nails stabbed into my palms so deep that when I later pried them open I found that I had my own blood-dabbed skin stuck beneath my tiny nails.

I stared into those eyes unblinking, ignoring the dry burning, waiting—waiting for him to come for me and take my life as he did my mother’s. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hopelessly fight him with my rage, with my only weapons being my small infant hands, allowing me to add to his collection of scars with tiny specks. Or if I wanted to simply lye down and let him plunge his blade into me like a skewered pig so that I could be released from this world and see my mother’s light-filled eyes again—feel her gentle hands again.

Just as my anger caused me to loose patience and I was about to yell out to the man covered in scars, a sudden gust of wind blew, bellowing a ball of curtaining smoke so thick that the scarred man became completely engulfed. His silhouette merged and faded into the cloud, and when the wind finally broke it up and blew it to mist, the scarred man was nowhere to be seen.

I looked around everywhere I could see, he couldn’t have possibly left sight completely in that short of time. Even if he was as fast a runner as my brothers, there was nowhere he could have hidden—he was just… gone.

And I was left sitting there, my rage returned to grief as I looked down at my mother’s lifeless eyes. Sitting there in the red stream—in the wet dirt—the image in my head of the man covered with scars.

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Ok, I don’t have time to do a review for anyone right now, but some friends of mine are in need of some pimping still. I will do a review of their work sometime later when I get time to do anything at all (I’m pushing it just for this).

If you look to the links to the side, you will see these people somewhere in all of that, however this post is to help them stand out. Everyone is available on Kindle. They’re all cheap, if not free, so please check them out, follow their blogs, Facebook them, Twitter them, click “buy” and tell your friends what you think of them and help them pay bills while you indulge in their hard work.

First up, we have Robert L. Collins:

He has a collection of Scifi and fantasy, non-fiction, novels, short-stories, and novellas, all available on Kindle:

And for all that is holy, we have some god’damn Sinead MacDughlas:

I’ve mentioned earlier that reviewing her book ‘Learn to Love Me’ is on my to-do list, so quit waiting on me, and get to it yourself. ‘Learn to Love Me’ in short is a mystery story with one of the more believable characters I’ve read in mystery in a long while (nowhere as cliché as Patterson). Go buy her stuff:

Catrina Taylor:

She writes the scifi and the fantasy and, holy-shit balls, Batman, three Kindle books are free:

And if we’re going to pimp her crazy ass, then we have to give a taste of her collaborator, Jason Dodge, who has his own short-story, ‘Memories of Hel’, out for a whole $0.99—you can’t buy shit for $0.99, but finally you now know what to do with all those useless pennies you’ve been collecting, now break open that jar, and get this shit:

Now there’s Cathrine Stovall, who already has a pretty good growing fan-base, so I’m probably just being redundant in pimping her at all, but it’s happening anyway:

You like vampire stories, but don’t like hearing about 200-year-old dudes trying to get in the pants of high-school girls and not being arrested for it? Then you need to look into Cathrine’s ‘Requiem for Humanity’ series:

And then we have some T.R. Stoddard:

She has a debut mystery novel, ‘Sunny with a Chance of Homicide,’ and look at that crazy shit, her site is pimping Cathrine Stovall… holy’crap, you should buy her stuff and see what’s up with that:

And that’s the pimping, kids. Go explore, buy things, pay their bills, have fun. I’ve gotta get back to work now so I can have something to force them to return the favor with.

I’m going to start you off with two of some of the oldest stories of mine I could find (not the oldest I have, the older ones are just in hard-copy and packed away, and I don’t feel like looking for them right now—maybe later). The first was a character test-run (I mentioned I do short-stories for characters, to help me figure the character out, and to see if I can make any use of them—this is one of the first in that exercise). The Raven… I first invented this character a long while ago (I honestly can’t say how long ‘cause he’s been around for a bit). I first drew him with a costume that was a bit like the Batman Beyond consume, but more bird like (but mine came first, they stole it), after that, I tried upgrading his costume a bit so he would look less like Batman, it was basically the same design, but more armor looking… and then ‘Knight Quest’ started and this was when I started to get my first dose of believing I was being watched.

I have notebooks upon notebooks filled with comics drawn with this character and others (don’t ask where any of them are, I can’t find them, and it actually is bugging me). So, time moved on, and after the Raven had been in hibernation, I came across Flash 4 (when Flash was still fresh and new and very few even knew what it was yet, but it was cool), and after seeing Stan Lee and, etc use it to make little web-comic cartoons, I thought I would try my own hand at it. So, I re-invented the Raven one last time. This time, he kinda had a bit of the Crow to him (though I kept re-drawing him to fix that, it just kept happening anyway). In the end, I found out that drawing pictures over and over with stories was harder than they made it look, so I decided to just stick with the stories ‘cause I’m better at those anyway—and I scrapped this character all together after a computer crash happened and caused me to lose his entire Genesis story (it pissed me off).

This story doesn’t really get much into a back-story beyond vague hinting, but in general, if you’ve ever seen the new version of ‘the Beauty & the Beast’ on CW, they stole the Raven’s back-story and gave it to the Beast… because they’re watching me.

The Raven:


[working title]

215804_1025101264962_8312_nRunning, leaping from rooftop to rooftop with a gliding finesse. His eyes burning red, hunting for the source of a woman’s screams.

The wind rushes his nose as he moves. The strong smell of exhaust from hundreds of badly neglected cars and trucks, and decomposing garbage haunts the night air. Filtering his senses, he can smell the vague sent of a cheap perfume. He can hear the sound of a couple of men shouting and struggling screams of a woman.

“Ple-s-! Som—dy h—p m—!”

“Wi’ ya’ shu’ dat bitch up!”

“Come’on whore, ya’ know ya’ wan’ it, now jus’ qui’ playin’ har’ta ge’ an’ give I’ up ta’ da’dy!”

The voices are coming from the next alley. He flies across with one last leap. He stands at the roof top of an old five story apartment building that’s in such bad condition that anyone that didn’t live there wouldn’t know if it was abandoned or not. He gazes down into the dark alley below. His eyes adjust almost instantly. His mind analyses the situation in a matter a milliseconds:

Two men. One Woman.

The woman is in about her late teens to early 20’s. Dark brown hair, medium skin tone. She’s wearing a cherry-red dress that appears to have been violently scuffed and torn by the two men.

One man is leaning his weight into the woman trying to restrain her. He appears to be in his early 20’s. He is trying to use his hands to hold the woman’s mouth closed. His hair is dark and greasy. He’s wearing a worn-down, plaid hunting jacket. Judging from his skin tone, his arms probably have more holes than a pin-cuisine from shooting either heroine or at least a close relative. With an intoxicated coordination, the man is trying to pry the woman’s legs apart and pull down his own pants while still holding the woman down at the same time.

The second man is holding a six-inch jackknife switchblade to the woman’s throat, yelling slurred profanities. He looks to be around the same age as his friend, his complexion not nearly as drugged. He’s wearing a black, torn-sleeved tank-top. He has long hair to about the middle of his neck, poorly tied back into a pony tail, with the sides roughly shaved.

207545_1025101184960_7748_nThe Raven steps forward leaving only the back half of the heel of his boots to balance him on the edge of the building. He leaps down, spreading out his arms like they were wings. His long trench-coat catches the wind as he descends into the alley acting almost like a parachute. He lands crouched in between a dim light and a dark shadow, his coat almost covering him completely.217672_1025101224961_8029_n

The two men look over with a stunned expression, not sure what to make of what they’re seeing. The Raven slowly rises with a sinister motion that sends a slight chill through the air. The man with the knife quickly grabs the girl away from his shocked friend and pulls her in front of himself holding the knife as firmly to her throat as his shaking hand can, peeking out from behind her.

“I don’ know who da’ fuck you are or wher’ da’ fuck you came from, bu’ you bes’ start movin’ along before thi’ bitch’s life becomes suddenly shortened… an’ we know you don’ wan’ tha’ on yo’ conscience, now do ya…”

The Raven glares at the man with his eyes of burning blood.

“Hol-ly’shi’! Wha’da’ fuck are you!?”

The Raven’s arm quickly extends slightly towards the man, in the same instant, the gleam of a small throwing-star flies from his hand. The star sticks into the back of the man’s hand causing him to suddenly jump in pain dropping the knife. The girl stumbles and trips into a pile of trash on the side of the alley wall as the man throws her down.

The other man takes out a small .38mm revolver that was stashed in his pants and gets a shot off. The Raven quickly moves his left shoulder slightly back, and the bullet just barely grazes the arm of his coat.

The man fires frantically. The Raven jumps into a forward flip in the air. Right after the man fires in vain his sixth and last shot, the Raven lands directly in front of the man. The man steps back in surprise while in the same motion the Raven smashes his rock solid fist into the man’s face, knocking him back a couple of feet, and landing him unconscious with a broken, bleeding nose.

207557_1025101624971_888_nThe man with the tank-top finally managed to painfully pry the razor star from his hand. He quickly picks up his knife from the alley ground and charges at the Raven ready try stabbing him in the kidney or the around the ribs. the Raven quickly turns, blocking and grabbing the man’s arm, and using the man’s motion to redirect the knife into the man’s solar-plexus. The man gives out a short gasp with a look up disbelief of what had just happened. The Raven throws the man down as he dies.

206661_1025101104958_7200_nThe Raven walks over to the woman still lying in the alley waste shocked and frightened. The Raven looks at her face. She reminds him so much of Amber. He bends down to her offering his hand. The girl jumps back slipping and tumbling through papers, boxes and broken bottles as she tries to get away.

“Don’t be afraid, I’m not going to hurt you. Are you OK…?” The Raven’s eyes readjust, slowly fading back to their natural color of sky-blue.

The woman calms down a little, and nods.

The sound of approaching police sirens begin flood the air. Someone must have reported the gunfire, not because they were afraid something was wrong, but most likely because it was keeping them awake.

The woman looks down the alley as one of the police units pull up. She looks back to see old newspapers blow by, and empty air.

— — —

215292_1025101704973_1479_nFrom the roof above the alley, the Raven perches. Hidden in the shadows looking down, and watching as more police arrive and begin to investigate the area. He watches the girl as she gets interrogated and escorted to the back of an ambulance.

“Do you feel better now, yushi…?” a voice from behind him says.

The Raven glares from the corner of his eye at Kuro’Tori, “I’ve told you to stop calling me that…”

“You are avoiding the question. Did saving that girl from torture make you feel like you were saving your Amber Hane…? Did killing those toxic infestations passing themselves off as human beings make you feel like you were battling the H.A.W.K.  soldiers…? Did it make you feel better…?”

“Fuck you, Freud—I saved the girl’s life because she was in trouble and I was able to do something about it… Why can’t you just leave it at that…”

“Because you know that you cannot…”

Without looking the Raven knows that Kuro’Tori had left. He thinks to himself, “God, I hate that guy…” He stares down to the alley, “…why does he always have to be right…”

(to be continued… )

No… it will never be continued. But don’t worry, I scrapped and recycled his character and inserted him largely into other characters you’ll be seeing later.

Next is a character that I created and wrote a story for entirely as a joke—the Ice-cream Man. He was a villain, basically the story of his creation is: I was working on building the webpage for my webcomic for a good portion of the day, then I noticed my girl-friend at the time sign on, so I decided to take a break and IM with her a bit (AOL used to be cool once too). While we were BSing about whatever and I was telling about what I was doing, the ice-cream truck started going down her street, and she typed at me, “The Ice-cream Man!” This merged with my already comic-book drowned mind and the Ice-cream Man was born. I used to have a bitmap drawing of him that I did on MS-Paint, but I’ve somehow lost track of it (it’s unfortunately, it was pretty cool—bloody ice-cream scoopers and cones—I liked that guy). I was going to let him be one of the Raven’s villains at some point, even had the first few frames for his flash-comic done for him (nope, don’t have it anymore), but he died with the Raven, and no part of him remains.

The Ice-cream Man:

Genesis of

the Ice-cream Man

Once, a mild mannered ice-cream vendor… But one day, while driving his ice-cream truck down the suburb streets, humming along with the grinding high-pitched tune of Turkey in the Straw, the unsuspecting ice-cream man stopped for a group of innocent looking children.

He went to the back of the truck to receive the children’s orders, but the children were ordering too much… too fast. The ice-cream man couldn’t keep up. The children started becoming restless, and out of control.

The poor ice-cream man tried to withstand them… but they were just too much. The children started rocking the truck until it eventually started to flip as the ice-cream man is thrown into an open freezer and the door slammed shut… … …

Hours later…

The ice-cream man managed to pry the freezer door open. All around him, ice-cream everywhere… flames and destruction… chaos…

“They must pay… they must all pay!”

The ice-cream man swore vengeance against all children and the parents that raised them…

“I will destroy them all as… Ice-cream Man!”