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Pulp Fiction

Diana In the Dark Chapter 6 ‘Rescue him’ (remurdered edition)

Hey there,

Wasted most of my day making home made marinara sauce and meatballs and then I got a hair cut on my quickly shrinking circle of hair, aint getting old grand.

Mostly been working, I think I found a new job that could make a little more cash and still give enough flexibility to keep writing and I might even get to wear a cool suit haha. In the mean time I finished up the next part of 3 ring. I kinda didn’t get as far into the main plot as I thought I would and I kinda pulled a lot of it outta my ass haha. But it still turned out kinda good, I think. Not amazing, I don’t take it very seriously, just a way to blow off steam between serious projects and I think I might do the second Diana next. See how I’m feeling on friday.

The plot is shaping up pretty nicely, spent most of my time building the world a little bit and adding new characters which was fun. I know people might not like the whole ‘the little girl is the key’ plotline, think I’m ripping off the witcher making it all about Ciri. Well you’re wrong I’m actually ripping off Waterworld haha. Didn’t see that one coming did ya haha?

Nope and you probably haven’t seen waterworld either but I like it haha. I actually like it more than Mad Max in some respects, because Mad Max kind of shit the bed in my opinion. The first one is boring and makes no sense, the second is the best, gets it just right and the third is diesel punk peter pan and the less said about fury road the better.

Waterworld was just a nice one a done movie and I really liked the concept and I’m sort of borrowing the plotline from there with a little bit of total recall thrown in not to give too many spoilers. 

Still enjoying the latest Parker book although they kinda made my favourite character look like a bitch and then killed him off, like wtf but he’s not like dead I guess, I mean it’s just a book he could live but it doesn’t look good. But then again I don’t know when his book series is set, either before or after this and honestly I preferred Handy Mckay to Grofield because I always pictured Handy as just this gristled guy who was just a little less carved out of granite than Parker, who got out but now he’s coming back to inevitably die haha.

Great.

Kinda feel like this is gonna turn into the game of thrones of pulp novels and all my favourite characters are going to be murdered right in front of me haha.

But at least it’s not boring.

See you…

I stepped over the doorman and went inside. The house was dark and smoky; it smelled like weed and burning plastic. Loud music played; like a mix of salsa and dubstep. A mongrel jungle beat getting deep down into my veins and shaking them like a tensile rope bridge over a bottomless gorge.

It was a cramped house; a single corridor connected a series of dimly lit rooms. A bedroom to the left otherwise occupied by people in varying stages of undress and intoxication. Writhing like they were about to be turned into pillars of salt at any minute. A door on the right which probably lead to the front room or the kitchen and two more doors at the end of the hall which were most likely the master bedroom and bathroom.

The house was almost like a living thing, like I was walking on a carpet of raw nerves. There were eyes everywhere in the dark watching and not watching. Some peeling back to view the insides of their skulls. There were literally just people lying on the floor in the hall and I might have stepped on a couple of them.

People talked in varying dialects, crossing English, bad English and Spanish. None of which I could understand over the loud beat drowning out all my senses. It was so loud and thick it was like my head was in a box of trail mix.

All the while it was building and building, shaking the walls of my chest. My heart beating just out of time with the rhythm as we moved closer to the source of the sound. I clung to Paul as he walked in front of me, my hand in his, my face at his back.

I could feel the gun under his jacket; I could smell the strong scent of his cologne. A fresh musky scent, like pine cones and sandalwood. It was oddly comforting, soothing as we waded through this den of iniquity.

We entered the living room, which was out-of-place, lavish and well lit. The room was decked out almost like a small nightclub. A disco ball spun pointlessly from the ceiling, as the light was on so there were just odd dots of dim sparkling orbs around the room.

A large flat screen on the wall displayed one of the Fast and Furious movies, but with no sound. God knew which one, they were pretty much indistinguishable at this point.

There was a large leather couch pointed at it with a glass coffee table laden with a veritable banquet of Chinese takeout going cold. The varying smells drifting and mingling into one greasy mass at the back of my sinus wall.

They had a small kitchenette at the far end converted into what looked like a real granite bar. Complete with a stalwart bartender in a Santa Muerte mask and bowtie, standing with his hands behind his back. The smiling skull face stared out with empty black eyes in a midst a red tribal pattern. Very scary.

Was it like this every night?

The music was coming from two huge speakers connected to an iPhone either side of a fake fireplace under the flat screen.

We entered quietly, trying not to draw too much attention; almost tiptoeing on the hardwood floor. The safest thing to do seemed to be go to the bar at the back of the room. Get a drink and maybe try to gravitate to a dark corner and pretend to watch the movie.

Paul and I crossed the room, as if completely oblivious to the other people in it. A certain shy sheepishness had come over me and I couldn’t raise my head for fear of it being bitten off by a bigger dog.

“Hey,” a hoarse voice fought over the noise of the speakers.

“Who, me?” I froze.

“Yeah, you.” The stranger spat back.

I turned my head like a wooden figurine on a rusty cuckoo clock and looked over at the couch in the general direction of the voice. A moment passed, like charging feet over my grave. Stomping down the dirt flat and dancing and laughing. The little hissing voice inside the stygian well chuckled silently. Spitting into a crescendo of ever-faster beating wings rising from the deep dark murk.

It was him.

No mistaking it.

I wasn’t too surprised, I was in his house after all.

He sat on the leather coach, wearing a pair of baggy jeans and basketball jersey. Sandwiched in between two ethnic looking prostitutes.

Large Hispanic men who were definitely carrying guns or machetes or both under their Hawaiian shirts stood like bookends on either side of the sofa.

His face was young with oily straight features, and he looked very short sitting down, a wispy dark goatee on his chin, his hair slicked back on his head in a wavy pattern. He was very thin with almost puppet like movements, exaggerated and stiff.

I scanned the room again, feeling dumb and drowning in the spotlight. Pointing at myself literally, like ‘who me?’

Paul was at the bar already, ordering some drinks—which seemed like an ocean away with his back turned as I stared intently at Ruiz’s sneakers.

“Yeah, you! Are you deaf or something?” He leaned forward cupping his ear with the same exaggerated stiffness getting a polite chuckle from his ‘bitches’.

My eyes caught his, and he gave me an odd look, almost like he recognized me as he sunk back into the couch. I heard a catatonic purring noise inside.

Ruiz didn’t stand; just stared at me up and down, probing me.

I felt naked, and almost like I’d forgotten how to stand. Every gesture seeming practiced and awkward, how-to-human?

Did he know? Could he see it, could he hear it?

Was this it? Was I about to have a cap popped into my ass and spend the last few minutes of sentience rolled up in a cheap rug?

“Yeah, can you like get out of the way?” He gestured shaking the gold bling hanging off on his boney arm. “We’re trying to watch a movie here.”

“Err…sorry,” said Dumb Dithering Diana smiling like an idiot.

I moved out of the way, my eyes roving up and down to his, then his shoes and the floor, as I watched him watch me go.

He went back to cavorting with the pros and not watching the movie.

Feeling a little exposed and flustered I almost bumped into Paul on his way back from the bar. Two glasses of some indeterminate golden liquid was in square tumblers in his hands. Wrapped in white napkins with little black straws sticking out of them.

The bartender gave a little bow. Have to admit, I was impressed. A little.

“Sex on the beach.” He smirked. “Don’t worry, mine’s a virgin.” The smirk slid into a smartass grin.

“Uh huh.” I took a sip from the black straw, still looking at his mouth. “Let’s hope it stays that way.” That was dumb.

He laughed anyway.

Who said women can’t be funny?

I felt a little shaky, like I needed something to hold on to.

Paul would have to do.

We found our dark corner and sipped our drinks in comfortable silence. It was pretty good; I couldn’t even taste the booze. I wasn’t much of a drinker, and my fast metabolism made it pretty hard for me to get stupid-drunk. I wasn’t worried about vomiting on my potential victims’ Jordans. Or making an ass of myself.

Some time passed of standing and pretending we were having fun; well I was pretending, maybe Paul was, too. He was a lot better at it than me. Here in the lion’s den, he didn’t seem to have a care in the world. But…he caught me looking through the small crowd of people idly dancing around the front of the little bar.

My eyes drifted over to the couch and my probable prey and Paul’s face dropped as he followed my quick glance over at Ruiz.

In an instant he was that person again, a quick flash of a harsh blank slate, a vicious mirror. A cold malevolence flowed over him and passed quickly, his smile rolling back over his face. “Just gimme a minute.” He put his drink down on the bar.

“Wait, Paul, you can’t—” I started to feel heavy and dull, like wading through water. As if I was in a dream up to my knees in cotton candy. My head was swimming, a dim chuckle inside and a sudden mugginess. I was light-headed, the lights of the disco ball got brighter, stretching out like little lazer pointers.

He stood in front of the TV, it like I was watching one of the good Tarantino movies. True Romance, that was Tarantino right?

“Can you turn the music down, I wanna talk to you,” Paul barked. He stood straight up and played it tough.

Ruiz pretended not to hear him craning his neck in an exaggerated motion pretending he was trying to see the tv. Shaking his bling at Paul like it was some kind of magic talisman that would get him to move.

What was he doing, he wasn’t John Wayne or John Wick. This wasn’t a movie, was it?

My head spun; I put my hand on my temple, as the music rang in and out, I started to feel nauseous, how much booze was in this?

I looked up; the movie got worse as the doorman limped in, helped by some extras that looked a lot meaner.

He said something in Spanish, but it was drowned out by the music.

I just watched and sipped my drink, waiting for the good bit.

Paul just stood there, waiting.

Waiting for what? For them to make the first move?

My temples throbbed, and I could almost feel my fingers opening and closing. Losing sensation, the glass slowly slipping from my hand. I searched for a place to put my glass down and something strange caught my eye.

Now that most of the golden liquid was gone, I could see the napkin through the glass. There was something written on the underside.

 Do you see?

The drink dropped out of my hand.  Like someone stole the bones from my legs, I followed it down into the dark place.

Just another little sneak peak at the final edition of Diana, you’ll have to buy it when it comes out to get all that goodness but in the mean time you can read the rough cut right here if you can’t wait that long. Rescue him

 

Diana in the Dark Chapter 5 ‘The Magic hour’ (remurdered edition)

Back again with more fill- I mean excellent content haha.
Yeah you’ve seen it before but this time it’s new and improved and you can only see some of it because of copyright reasons I guess haha. Also why I call this Diana in the Dark when the actual title is probably Diana After Dark but I haven’t really decided, I go between either. But I don’t want people just copy pasting my chapters when I’m trying to sell this book if I ever sell this book and it doesn’t just go nowhere and I start giving it away for free like I did with my last book haha. That sucked but I guess people liked it. Not enough to fill my mailing list with thousands of emails but eh, better than some people I know and at least I’m not getting rich off weird werewolf/vampire fetish books because having all that money would suck haha.

So mostly been wrestling with the ending of 3 ring part two and reading this latest Parker book which seems much longer than the previous books. Because a lot has happened already and I’m not even half way through it which is great because what’s happened so far was pretty good and I like the power dynamics at play right now and how all the characters are shaping out.

There was also this great scene where this mob boss who doesn’t know who Parker is calls another mob boss who’s had dealings with him and instantly just tells him to pay nomatter what. It was really satisfying, because when you get down to it the only real power a mob boss has is fear and when you encounter someone like Parker that is incapable of feeling fear he’s unstoppable. And the reason Parker is incapable of feeling fear is he really has nothing to lose. Up until now he had nothing but a fake name, and you never actually get to know his real birth name, but he has no mother, no father, no family or friends at all he wouldn’t abandon in a heartbeat, he has no address or car. He’s a ghost, you can’t take anything from him because he has nothing, he loves nothing and he can be anywhere and nowhere because he doesn’t exist. Which is something I think Westlake is trying to weed out, introducing a love interest in Claire so he has some motivation other than money and some fear of losing her.
But when you encounter someone who has no fixed address or anyway of tracking him or hurting him you have to look at yourself and see all the ways they can find and hurt you, so even if your a mob boss someone like Parker with no real life at all other than the job is terrifying because you have so much to lose and he has literally nothing to lose but his life. Which makes a great dynamic, between real power and imagined power. The power of someone with connections and money versus the power of a boot on your neck right now. I really like that. It’s almost I wanna say ‘faustian’ but I don’t know if that fits, I guess it doesn’t, could delete that but I wont. Like an ancient fantasy, someone going up against a dragon and winning against all odds just from sheer grit and strength and perseverance.

It’s almost like a superhero story in that respect, but good haha.

Was gonna talk about sneaky pete because I’ve been watching more amazon originals that are decent while working out but I’ve spent too much time faffing about with my alt accounts on facebook haha. I’ve just been used to being banned for so long I forgot how much of a timesink facebook is. But I’m unbanned on my main now so I can do something with that now I guess.

But I have to bid you farwell as I have more proofreading to do today.

See you…

He took me back to his place in French Court, about a two minute drive from Starbucks. It was a nice little bungalow that looked like it should have a picket fence but it didn’t. It was small, red brick with white trim and a brick chimney. The small patch of lawn in the front was, of course, neatly manicured.

I suspected the bushes were tested with a spirit level. The house was pristine, it looked brand new, could’ve single handedly raised the property value of the entire neighborhood.

Paul lived directly opposite the elementary school he’d gone to as a kid.

The area wasn’t too bad, well-kept palms, and lawns. It was quality middle-of-the-road Mediterranean style housing; home to some of the best seafood in the OC.

There was a restaurant called Ambrosia he seemed very proud of. It was a beacon in the least shiny part of Orange County. The birds chirping on, resilient in their fortitude for this too, to be a slice of paradise.

Nonetheless they all had wrought iron fences guarding their lawns, except Paul’s house. Just a small white porch with roman style pillars. There was something about it sitting on the corner like that, looking like a model house.

Like a house sitting on a nuclear test site about to be blown up, full of wax fruit bowels and mannequins sitting at dinner tables. It didn’t look lived-in; it looked like it was a trap house begging for someone to step on that carefully trimmed lawn. Teeth gnawing and clicking and tensing against each other. Praying the mailman would plant a foot off the path and then something could be unleashed, some dark righteous fury bottled up just for this moment. But that never came. The birds just chirped on incessantly.

It was Sunday, so the elementary school was quiet and still, which was a welcome change, I imagined.

He parked in the lot behind the house and led the way into his cool house. “Come on in.” Paul smiled.

It was a show house all right. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been here. I didn’t spend a lot of time with Paul; despite us being girlfriend/boyfriend. We didn’t really know what that meant. We appeared places together; we were together at school but when the curtains came down, the actors went back to their trailers and rested. Nothing more.

That was really as far as our interactions went. A pantomime for an audience of slack-jawed watchers, probably begging to be us and having no idea about the truth. We just liked our own space.

He cleared his throat and threw the keys down on a Formica top kitchen counter. “Well?”

I smiled back and took in a lungful of the cool musky air in his house. It didn’t smell bad or like dust, just old leather and new plastic and rubber. “Well what?”

“What was that all about?” he asked, almost stuttering.

I sat at a small functional kitchen table and sighed. “Some weirdo just tried to grab me, it’s nothing.”

“Some guy tries to grab you and that’s nothing?” Paul almost coughed and screeched. His face became a shade redder and his tone was strangled off by some violent shifting of gears in his throat. “How are you—I mean, how is…?”

I arched an eyebrow and massaged my temples. “I’m fine.”

The house was dark even though none of the blinds were drawn, it seemed shaded somehow. It was pleasantly cool, like the underside of a rock. Probably just the position of the house relevant to the sun.

I took out my phone, completely ignoring his concerns; they seemed too banal to even want to press. Why should he care if Voldemort tried to grab me with a boney claw? What could Paul have done to prevent it? He most certainly couldn’t make me un-see the heads with a back rub or a sonnet. I wouldn’t want him to.

Did the posturing and planning make him feel better; should I entertain him just for his own peace of mind?

Wasn’t I the one who’d been through two supposedly traumatic events? Why should I be responsible for setting things right in his world?

Humans, why did I bother?

Who was that strange metal pincher man? My mind drew back to one of those toy grabbers you got at the beach arcades. I guess that made me a hapless stuffed animal.

Deer in headlights Diana.

Did he really know about me? What was there to know? A naughty search history, a little amateur hack magic…hardly seemed enough to raise the dead. Hardly the most alarming thing to happen to me all week.

I swiped on my phone back to Twitter and I pointed the screen at him. “Do you know this guy?”

Paul took the phone with a curt urgency.

What had my phone done to him?

He turned the screen back to me and pointed. “Is this the guy who grabbed you?”

“He lives around here?” I asked.

“Yeah I know this scumbag, deals dope out of a house in Central City; has these wild parties…” He trailed off.

“How do you know him?” I asked tilting my head to one side.

He tilted the screen back and looked at the picture again. “We went to the same elementary school” The look on his face was hard to decipher, sadness and anger, possibly regret, what do I know? “He dropped out.”

“He dropped out of elementary school? See a future in orange sherbet or something?”

“Or something.” Paul sighed. “He’s a pretty bad dude, heard a lot of—rumours, I guess.” He shook his head and scrunched up his eyes as he said it, as if he really wasn’t sure.

Central City was the unofficial gang hub of Orange County. A veritable hive of scum and villainy. Surely every nice little berg had one. One could get almost anything down there, drugs, unlicensed guns, prostitutes. Maybe even human lives and knock-off Levi’s.

The kind of place someone went when they hadn’t discovered they could get all that stuff on the internet without having to leave their mom’s basement.

“So?” I asked in my best pixie-dream-girl voice.

He held up the phone, then caught himself. “You wanna go there?” He gaped, ruffling that long handsome brow of his.

I nodded and kicked my feet like a kid on a swing set. Trying to hide a rising tide of dark angel trumpets calling me. A shrill laughter in the stygian depths, a shock doing a Mexican wave across the invisible microscopic fine hairs I failed to pluck. I waxed too, hairy pits in California heat? No thanks.

“Tonight?” Paul asked, his voice almost shaking, with something I couldn’t quite fathom.

Was he afraid, or was it something else?

The way he’d said it, it was almost like a challenge.

“Is he having one of the parties tonight?” As soon as I’d said it, I felt dumb again. Getting to be a bad habit today.

He made a hissing sound in his mouth and shook his head. “Every night, these people don’t have jobs to go to, or school.”

It was a school night.

Of course I knew that. I was just awash with some new profound feeling of the unknown and the fact we had school in the morning made it seem twice as delicious to try tonight.

Why would I go there? Just to see him for myself, and then what? ‘Hey Antoine, have you been leaving a trail of body parts for me to follow?’

Was it even him? I didn’t want it to be him; the Twitter activity alone had shattered a lot of the mystique around him.

If he was the one I’d be…deflated. What would he do when he saw me? Would it be ‘off with her head’ or ‘Hi, friend, you got the message, let’s play’?

Either way if I could get Paul to go along, it would be to my advantage, if only to be a distraction in case I needed to run far and fast away.

Was I really that callous? Maybe, maybe not.

“Okay?” I said, rising to this illusory challenge.

He shook his head and let out a breathy laugh. “Sure.”

Cloistered in his mother’s bedroom I got ready. Her room was perfectly preserved from the time she left, or had she died? I forget. All her makeup was neatly arranged, but her clothes were unfortunately a few sizes too big. The whole room was a mute seventies baby sick brown color that was actually quite charming with the blinds drawn. A few slivers of dying light poking through the cracks.

Undressed, standing in a black bra and panties I looked at myself in her long hanging mirror. . It wasn’t particularly glamorous, but I hadn’t been expecting to go to a potential serial killer’s house on a school night.

Pulled my hair back and made a puffy duck face. I was pretty good looking, genetically speaking. Long and lean in the right places, and round in some other places, those places being my boobs and my butt, skipping euphemisms. Wasn’t especially endowed but I had a desirable shape. I kept fit, green smoothies and all that, but mostly it was just luck and genes. Turning to my side I continued to inspect myself.

A stern knock at the door had me jumping away from the mirror.

The knock I imagined imitated his father doing some kind of room inspection. Maybe I should stand at attention in my underwear.

Through a crack in the door I could see Paul’s dull soft face was waiting with a sad lilting smile.

He shied away bashfully.

“Come on, Paul, you’ve seen me naked.” Putting my hands on my hips and doing my best tinkerbell impression.

“Not, recently,” he said with a sigh.

I shrugged it off as I took the stack of clothing he had in his hands “Well it’s just been so hectic with finals and all, you know. Soon.” But where ‘soon’ fell on the calendar was any bodies guess. He looked at the clothes I was trying to take from him. “Err, these are from…you left them the last time you were here.”

Was it really that long ago?

Poor guy.

My boyfriend released the perfect square block of pressed clothes. He’d clearly taken a lot of time and effort to clean and iron them, or maybe it was just a routine he couldn’t shake.

I took them and laid them on the bed, leaving the door open a crack so he could see.

It was nothing too flashy, or too slutty. That’d never really been my style; I was more of a boutique-chic kinda gal. A little like my aunt, but without the mumbo jumbo, none of that Native American head dress feather hippy crap. It was either that or pressed blues for her, nothing else.

The shirt was just a low cut flowing top with some lame skull pattern in black and gold. It was kind of corny; maybe I’d been going through an emo phase I’d forgotten about. Paired with it were a pair of regular tight jeans with rhinestones along the sides and a pair of strappy shoes I didn’t recognize, but fit all the same.

I dolled my hair up the best I could, somewhere between hooker and transvestite hooker. Basically trying to get it as high off my head as possible, which was easy with the pixie cut. Just a little gel and a little elbow grease and my hair could cut glass.

A black choker with a little gem charm completed the look; badass without a clue. I looked in the mirror and sighed. My makeup was okay, but I still looked like I was doing a cameo on an eighties cop show. Too much eye shadow, was I planning to kill this guy or join his harem?  So much of this seemed to be the stumbling’s of a homicidal Hannah Montana, just falling over myself to dissect or be dissected. I pretended I had a plan, told myself what I was going to do, but I really had no idea, and that was half the fun of it. Feeling my pulse rise, thinking about the variables I couldn’t control. All the use careful planning could be, dashed on the rocks of pure impetuous impulse.

Sorry eh-guy, you’re gonna have to buy the book when it comes out to get the full edited chapter haha. But you can read the unedited raw version right here.

The Magic Hour

Cur Chapter 10 ‘Spirit is willing’

Bonjourno, did things a little differently today, did my proofreading and spamming in the morning and I’m doing this now, hence it’s later than usual.
No reason, I just like doing stuff like that haha.
So yeah been proofreading, I did this bad boy right here, and I’m working my way back through Diana After Dark and it’s going pretty well. I feel like I’m being really objective like I can step back and look at it as a whole, because I know how it played out so I can see holes and I smooth out rough areas. I think it’s really helping the flow. And I’m looking forward to fixing a few plot holes I may have left open later in the book, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I think after this segment of 3 ring is done I’ll focus on proofreading it full time until it’s done and then start spamming it to agents when I’m near enough done.
Been an ordinary week, writing stupid clown shit and battling depression and possible retardation, nothing new there haha. Just been feeling shit, like I’m enjoying writing 3 ring but it’s also fucking depressing knowing it’s really a waste of time because no one’s gonna read it haha. I know I’m just writing it to stay sharp but I know my time could be spent better and I really think I need a new job so I can turn some of this excess time into money I can use to hire more editors and see the people that mean the most to me, the few of those I have.
Not been reading as much either which is lame, the latest Parker book just hasn’t hooked me, its kinda just a bunch of stuff happening. This is sorta continuation of that lame themepark book and I thought it would redeem that but so far its a little flat but I really haven’t read that much of it. But there aren’t any characters or plot points that jump out at me. It’s kinda just treading water, which sucks because it’s referencing one of the strongest books in the series at the start. Where to get back at this Mafia organisation he gives the green light on a bunch of the people he’s connected to to do a series of coordinated hits on them, punching them straight in the wallet. Basically trying to show the outfit that he has as much power as they do in regards to control of their money. But that was a great book which set up quite a few characters who appeared later in the series and all the little robberies were great but in this it’s just Parker and Grofield doing some really boring robberies for pennies to piss off this guy who they think stole the take from a botched job but he actually has no idea where it is.
So it just feels like it’s running up a hill, spitting in the wind, pick a saying haha.
I’m just not desperate to rip into it like I usually am, I really need a new book series to read haha. Another Dexter would be great, maybe I could just read Dexter again haha.
Anyway about Cur, going over it still, cleaning up a lot of it, it’s rough but it has potential, I think I was a little overconfident with it, maybe overextended but it has something, I just need to keep chipping away at it. There’s something good there, I just need to clear away the shit and pull it together. Because in some respects it feels a little small because it’s really just a piece of an epic story. There’s no way I could do the whole tale justice in one book without doing just a big birds eye view without getting down to the nitty gritty. It would end up just being the mythology not a story. So I needed to get down in the mud a little bit and get creative to craft an origin to this war. And I think I did an ok job. I really only have one person’s opinion on it but he thinks it’s alright haha.
Anyway, gotta go do something else now, eat maybe? I dunno, what do I even do except write and talk shit?
See you…
“Why have we stopped?” Bres called out to the stone coloured sky as he tilted the visor on his helmet back. His armour was gaudy and extravagant, hints of white gold and gold leaf burdened a chestnut mare.
Ogma rode silently at his side aloft his dappled grey, his visor down.
“Sire, a swineherder blocks our path and wishes to speak to our captain.” A young knights errant said, hiking his hauberk up as it seemed a little too big for him.
Bres sighed and made his way to the front of the convoy with Ogmar trailing behind him in a terse canter.
The path they were on was a narrow dipping one lined on both sides with stones separating an embankment of rocky crags. The stones demarked a break in the fields used for grazing from the sacred groves of Newgrange. The village folk liked to have their livestock feast on the grass on those groves. They thought the grasses there imbued with some mystical properties. Producing milk and meat sweeter and heartier and wool hewn softer and stronger.
To turn back they would have to climb the embanked and loop around by crossing open farm land. Adding annoyance and further time to their journey.
Bres beheld the man with raised eyebrow and a sneering condescension as if expecting to witness a pig rolling around in the mud at his feet.
The swindeherder was deshevelled and appeared hobbled with a large white branch cane. Despite his deformities he had the broadback of a farmhand. His dark cloak covering most of his face and body, with one sleeve hanging loose at his side. A placid shaggy dog panting at his feet.
“What is it you want swineherd?” Bres said with the listlessness of a court maid.
The man rolled one stoney eye towards Bres and Bres was taken with a queer feeling as if someone were scything grass to make a grave. He swallowed it down and scoffed as the swineherder took some time to answer.
“Well out with it, I haven’t got all day, you stand before the king of Inish Veil” He said softly, as a light spattering of rain began to fall.
“Is that so?” The swineherder said in an almost mocking colloquial tone, his posture not changing at all.
“What is it you want peasant, speak now or be run down!” Bres said idly, trying not to look at the vagabond.
“I wish to issue a challenge” the old swineherd said his voice low gritted.
Bres sighed “We don’t have time for games or riddles old man and we wouldn’t waste the coin now out of our way!”
“I wish to challenge the strongest amongst ye to single combat” The old man said as if he was asking for a sip of water.
The men all laughed after a moment and Bres too could help but chuckle.
All but Ogma laughed, he instead bristled with a cool anticipation. There was something not quite right. Some drive or pull, some whispering in the back of his head that told him something was padding the earth downwind. Something waiting to see the soft side of a belly to slash. Some great battle lay over the horizon just waiting to cast his legend in bronze, his death in history.
“Do you hear this Ogma?” Bres said still chuckling “This swineherd challenges you to duel, do you accept?” Bres grinned.
Ogma said nothing and dismounted his horse.
He approached the stranger slowly tracing a wide semi-circle. Drawing the steel club from his belt.
“Draw your weapon stranger.” Ogma said cautiously.
“I have no weapon” The old swineheard said.
“A weapon!” Ogma called.
Another steel club was thrown at the swineherd’s feet but he seemed not to notice. Only after a moment stoopping slowly to drag it off the ground leaning over his cane awkwardly to do so. It was revealed he was a cripple. He only had one arm.
“Tis a brave cripple” Bres jested “P’haps he seeks an honourable felling?” Bres laughed, tugging at the reigns of his horse trying to keep her straight.
Ogma gritted his teeth as he felt a low ebb of malice coming from the stranger. An aura of hate kept at bay by a slow flowing of misery and disgrace at his pitiable appearance. His chest nevertheless swelling as he could hear trumpets of battle ringing in his ears but couldn’t explain why. The hair on his arms bristling. He could almost see the blood stained grass swaying as he looked upon the stranger, hear the thunder. He could feel the static air but he dare not make his feelings known.
“Come on Ogma take pity on the poor wretch, his swines have turned fowl!” Bres joked “He wants you to put him out of his misery, but it hardly does your honor any good to thwought such a wretch”. Bres laughed and rested his chin on his gauntlet as if to pounder.
“The knight could tie his good hand” The stranger said at once in a low drawling tone from unseen lips.
“What a good idea!” Bres said, his armor jangling as he slapped his thigh. “Tie your good arm and then fight the swine herd on fair terms and keep your honor, there we’ve settled it.” Bres smiled, pleased with his idea.
Ogma breathed through his teeth as he gripped the haft of his club tightly. Feeling the sweat on his palm then releasing it again, then tightening it again.
One of Ogma’s men tied his arm behind his back and then stood back as Ogma stretched his now only arm with the club extended. He walked slowly crossing one leg over the other circling the swineherd as his men cleared an uneven circle with their bodies and erect pikes.
The stranger did not move or adjust his footing. Only seeming to exhale and rise slightly allowing the bleached branch he was using as a cane to fall on the ground.
Then suddenly a flash and the swineherd threw the club with a ferocious speed and vitriol. It caught the crowd by such surprise they had no reaction whatsoever but stunned silence. Ogma was a skilled warrior and his senses were keen and swift and with his own great strength he met the blow. Ogma deflected it with some difficulty. The force of it lifting him off one of his feet and making his hand ring with energy, sending sharp pains up his arms and down his back.
But he could not rest. The swineherd was relentless and vicious taken by the spirit of a wild boar himself he threw his cloak soon after not stopping for a beat. Never once thinking one attack would fell the champion of the Tuatha de’. The cloak was heavy and sodden with the beast’s sweat hitting heavily and sticking. Ogma tried to bat it away but the cloak wrapped around his head. Without his other arm for support it drove his club back hitting him awkwardly around his shoulder just nicking the bottom of his helmet.
The swineherd was used to having one arm and all his movements compensated for it, never slowing or struggling.
Bres who had been laughing and smiling and geering jovially up to this point had grown silent and constipated. “That face” He whispered to himself as his own face drained of all colour and he took on the appearance of a ghoul. “Not possible” He laughed it off his mind playing tricks.
The man standing before them was not old nor infirmed but a man at his full height erect towered over them all. His face scarred and horrid, head bald, shaven awkwardly with scraps of hair missed dangling like that of a corpses. His skin pale and drawn and wet looking, clothes of mesh and leather, dark and fitted for speed. A sick sadistic smile on his twisted face. Eyes burning like coals with what seemed like a relentless savage rage, a fire that would consume all that touched it.
In an instant he’d picked his club back up and was on Ogma who was still struggling to remove the sodden heavy cloak from him with only one arm.
The swineherd laughed as he hit him in the stomach. Ogma doubling over, another blow sent Ogma’s helmet flying revealing his bonny face as he sprawled on his back like a wingless fly.
The swineherd pinned his other arm with his foot dropping the club carelessly by his head. Cur withdrew his strange blade from his belt, stooped swiftly and stopped to grin at no one. He sliced Ogma’s ear off as if he was cutting himself a piece of cheese. Ogma’s silver tongue wailed out in pain as he writhed under the heavy heel of the stranger.
Cur held the bloody ear in his hand and closed his fingers around it. he stooped again to put back on his cloak as the men around him said nothing. The sounds of their hauberks and plate mail jangling as they stood frozen said it all. Shaking, petrified from fear and shock and rage as they watched their hero, their champion defiled by one so pathetic.
Cur glanced around at them and laughed softly as they encircled him. Their breathing heavy as they tried to muster the courage to draw a blade, even one.
“Let him pass”
They turned to look at Bres as he sat atop his horse tapping nervously on his thigh.
“I said let him pass, would you besmurge your honor to kill a man for winning a duel mutually agreed?” His voice was strained and irritable as if the words tasted foul and burned his tongue. “An ear can mend, honor cannot, I said let him pass damn you!” He spat swatting at the air with his reigns, his mare swaying beneathe him.
Nothing but the sounds of straining jaws and clacking teeth and shaking mail knees and chausses. Fear and rage and a grotesque swallowing of all of it as they cleared a path for the beast before them.
Cur turned to smile at Bres, it could have been an acknowledgement of his nobility, a grateful smile. But it wasn’t, far from it. It was a wicked arrogant grin and it set Bres’s teeth on edge. He clutched angrily at his horse’s mane causing it to whiney and shake it’s head violently as he watched the familiar stranger walk away.
Checkout the rest of the chapter right here.
Spirit is willing

GS2 Chaper 21 ‘Some girls are bigger than others’

Hey there,

Not much to say today, mostly been working and being boring haha. Not much writing or wackiness happening right and I haven’t really had time to be bored by the witcher. I watched avengers infinity war yesterday and it was ok I guess. I have no strong feelings about it.

Getting to the end of this Parker book, it’s pretty short but I’m taking my time haha. I dunno I’m not rushing to finish it, as I said before it’s just sort of smaller with less in depth characters than the other books so I’m not like dying to read the next chapters like I usually am. 
It’s pathetic, I look forward to bus journeys and waiting for stuff just so I can read but this one is just a little meh. It’s just not as big in scope, it’s all set in one place and although its an interesting place it just sort of kills the pacing. I kinda thought this one would be like home alone but really bloody but it sort of let me down. His traps were kind of short lived and didn’t do much.

I was hoping the story would actually follow the main villain who I thought Stark had built up quite well and then you’d get to experience the fear of running into Parker’s traps from his perspective a little like the fourth book and how terrified the villain in that book is of Parker *spoilers* so much so he chews a cyanide capsule just seeing his face again.

But they killed off that cool villain character like in the first encounter and then bring in this sort of generic mob boss character who hasn’t been built up at all really and he’s not really doing anything except riding around in a golf cart barking orders at people. I mean yeah it’s realistic that he got killed just by fate but it’s just so anti-climactic because I’d actually grown to like that guy and I wanted to see him and Parker go at in the ring of intelligence and to have him go down at the first hurdle made all that time spent with him seem pointless.

I mean it’s sort of that divide you get between subverted expectations and actually being good. I don’t care if a story is predictable as long as it’s good. I don’t care if my expectations are subverted if I’m disappointed. It’s like last jedi all over again, they spent too much time trying to subvert expectations and do something unexpected than they did actually crafting a decent narrative that made sense and good characters people could identify with.

It’s not a bad book, it’s just not great. Parker, you’re getting soft my old pal, you need to get back in shape, oh yeah also one of my favourite characters gets arrested right at the start so that sucked. Probably never see him again now.

Anyway enough bitching about that, time is getting away from me and it’s too damn hot today, need to attempt some real work today and maybe some spamming since I’m back on facebook, but for how long who knows? I seem to have report snowflakes on my friends list who like to flag me and get me banned for saying only the least edgy things haha.

So we’ll see how that goes.

See you… 

TJ froze making a stupid face. Trying to flip through ten seconds of footage of his pathetic life flashing before his eyes. Lots of him just sitting in his underpants watching anime and jacking it to anime porn. His mom’s smile, and a man he thought he recognised but couldn’t place. A skinny guy with short dark hair in a buttoned shirt with a pocket protector. ‘Who is that guy?’ He said to himself as he stood dumbstruck. Staring into the those glowing spider eyes rolling towards him through the threshing blades.

“TJ!” A faraway voice called out to him and he turned in a dreamy haze before getting knocked hard on his ass. The eyes following him in slow motion as the buzzing of blades moved like a cloud of wasps shredding up the top ice as they passed.

Sunday knocked TJ out of the way. She pushed her bat out in front of her. The force of the movement of this thing wrenching it twisting out of her hands and sending it into the air. It landed with a thudding clink. Lodging a heavy circular saw blade into the ice like it was put there by the lady in the lake herself.

The rolled to a stop and started to come together. A picture was forming as the rounded gauging blades slowed, white hot. Cooling and steaming on the ice. The frame of the thing heaving with unnatural laboured breathing. Which moved mechanically like bellows making a harsh wheezing noise.

It was big, atleast seven foot tall but hunched like it was on all fours. Twelve foot long with a whipping barbed metallic tail. No backlegs, just the tail and the front pronged metallic claws like a birds. It’s head was a squat thing with no neck, some kind of helmet covered in sharp barbed spikes. The entire length of it’s body was covered in these holes with gauged rounded blades like a “Fucking cheesegrater cyborg?” TJ said as he peeled himself over his fat gut to get a good look at that thing. “Seriously?!” He spat as he got to his knee.

For the rest of the chapter head on over to inkitt.

Some girls are bigger than others

Diana After Dark Chapter one ‘Darkly Dreaming’ *remurdered edition.

(posted late because there was a freak storm here that knocked out my internet for a day haha)
Yes I’m this lazy, rather than proof reading and posting another chapter of Cur (of which I have lots of) I’m re-using Diana chapters haha. Ok well they have been fully edited and now I’m going over them again for the final proof read before I submit them so it’s a little different.

This is essentially the final version so it’s a much more polished version than I give the plebs on inkitt haha. And honestly looking at it, it has changed a lot, it’s really grown up with the help of my new editor and I’m really proud of it and really glad I went over it again because some of the formatting was fucking broken from the editing software haha.

I’m just posting the whole chapter because this is not going up on inkitt, this is just a sample. You gotta pay for this haha. Or maybe I’ll give it away for free next year who knows. I really hope I don’t have to.

Feel really shitty today because I missed another day of work and I really really need the money right now. I just fucked up and I feel really fucking frazzled trying to reset my body clock coming back from the holiday. I feel like a zombie only getting the 4/5 hours again so it’ll be a couple of days before it becomes normal again and this fucking heat is not helping. I feel like I’m fucking melting, two fans on me and I feel like a polar bear in an oven.

Maybe I should switch to drinking cold green tea.

Actually fuck it, I’m gonna do that right now brb haha.

*30 minutes later

Well that took longer than I expected.

Not much to report beyond that. I like this Parker book but it’s not really delivering on characters and suspense in the usual way. I like it when Parker is just this unstoppable force like in the first books he’s going against the whole mob and they can’t touch him. Because he’s this one guy who can dissapear and reappear wherever and he has a network of people just like him who’ll help him and the mob is this stalwart force with names and faces and addresses he can find. The third book is when it hits home that really the mob can’t touch him because he’s not a real person with a real name or even a real face by that point he’s already had facial surgery.

Parker basically lives like a ghost and they’re vulnerable because they have houses and families and cars in their names and he can just roll up to their front door and kill them which is exactly what he does. Because nomatter how rich or powerful you are you can still be gotten to if someone knows where you are and wants you bad enough and has the balls to do it.

It’s such a good book, the first three books are so solid. They really inspired me. In regards to Diana and especially LCYE and TOTCB. Just tight tense terse stories with great action.

This one is a little more loose and it’s good but it’s scope is a little small so far and I just feel like Parker is whining and being kind of a bitch. I just feel like he’s getting softer and I don’t like that. I mean in some of the books it’s almost like he’s the bad guy because he’s like this unstoppable monster and most of the books swap to his quarry and they’re fucking terrified of him and you really feel like they’re being stalked by the devil.

In this he’s like a little lost sheep hiding in a barn. It’s different but I like the stories that are about the job, I think this book and the last Stark got a little tired of the same formula and wanted to switch it up but in my opinion if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I want to read a book about a hard as nails master thief planning the ultimate job, it just seems a little bit like Stark is running out of ideas for cool heists so he sets all the book after the heist to get around doing the same things. Which is a good idea to stop the books from getting stale but it’s just a little underwhelming and there isn’t any direct interaction Parker has with another character so there doesn’t really feel like there’s progression or structure or pacing because he’s in this one place the whole book trying to do the same thing.

In the other books he’s moving all over the place talking to different people and doing stuff, this book is just small in it’s scope and I don’t mind that, its fresh for a Parker book but I really hope it goes back to classic Parker in the next book. And the next book is called ‘Plunder squad’ so that sounds promising haha. A cool cast of characters and lots of loot.

It’s literally taken me all day to write this because there was a lovely little storm knocking out my net and power and since I live in the middle of nowhere I just have to wait.

Anyway I’ve waffled enough, must dash.

See you…

My high heels tapped on the wet concrete like anxious teeth clacking. It’s dark, I’m alone. Scared.

It’s a good kind of scared.

A fear of coming waves of something unexplainable, something inevitable.

I’ve felt it building for so long, and now as I walked the street, alone in the dark, it’s all around me like the tropical heat.

I picked up the pace, it’s a neighborhood I didn’t recognize, low slung houses, high fences with glass teeth. Dogs barking in the arid heat of the night. Salsa music played in the distance, muffled shouting in Spanish.

I swam through its want, waded through its need.

It called to me, it’s hunger passed down through what feel like eons. An insatiable hunger. Teeth strain against gums. I tasted blood, and it felt good.

I heard a splash, and it’s my feet hitting a puddle, it watched, and it waited, the hunger growing.

The moon reflected in the puddle, its smile so wide and manic. Those white teeth, sharp and ready, it’s just right. Projected on my back, it filled me with that white pure light. Filled every corner, carried me like I was on strings.

My steps were weightless and without agency, carried by a wave of lustful righteous anger.

His eyes landed on me before I heard his silent voice.

I heard a fluttering of dark angel wings. A leathery tightening inside, as it whispered and laughed, it told me to keep going.

Told me to be patient even though that’s not a word it understands at all.

A cool breeze blew through the little hairs on my neck.

He called to me, and I’m out of it for a second.

A man—but I couldn’t see his face reflected in the glass of a bus stop because of a huge hairline crack down the middle. He walked down the street on my side, toward me.

I saw myself, dressed in my best impression of a hooker from a nineties cop movie in a car window. The fishnets might’ve been a little too on the nose but it seemed to have worked.

 

I caught a big fish after all.

Just the one I wanted.

He called to me again, but I can’t respond now.

My tongue is somewhere far removed, and words seem like pointless frail things.

I kept going with my arms folded like I was cold, when nothing but cool clear clarity and vicious joy washed over me.  Faster now, the puddles and the car windows revealed he was following.

He looked around and kept pace, how far will he go?

I went along a pink stucco wall that seems to stretch on for miles, passing houses all with their curtains drawn tightly, small dirty lawns cluttered with broken children’s toys, dry dying grass.

The shadow inside shifted and wriggled, like a kid in a bean bag chair. So excited, it hissed and tossed, just where it wanted to be, so close.

The man called to me, something crude in Spanish, but I couldn’t react, not yet.

A little further.

My heels clicked louder and faster, almost breaking out into a run, and what do dogs do when someone runs?

They chase of course, and predictably, he’s caught the scent of something he likes.

Me.

I knew him, his name escaped me, and his face seemed familiar but unimportant right now. No eyes, no nose, no mouth, just a blank pale face not unlike the face of the moon.

Maybe I’m giving him too much credit.

Who’s hunting whom after all?

His need is palpable; I’ve watched him. A small petty monster, a dog chasing cars, not sure what he wants until he gets his hands on them. A bottom feeder, a wanton monster with no attempt to hide it, no need. How free he must have felt, not like me at all.

Something inside me called to him but he can’t hear it, he’s just along for the ride.

I moved faster but I’m not out of breath, it’s a humid night with a cool ocean breeze and I felt brisk and tight. I quickly checked in another car window. He still shadowed me.

Good, almost there now. One more block, follow me little rat.

The thing inside shifted like an eel in a glass vial. Happy, tensing and releasing like a balled fist, electric, with terse excitement.

Impending release just over the horizon.

The man is still following, muttering to himself, looking around, he put his hood up..

The streets are dark and desolate, and lined with houses full of people that don’t talk to cops about strange goings on in the dead of night.

That’s why he picked this place, that’s why I picked it too.

A perfect playground for Diana the Dark Dabbler.

The pink stucco wall ended abruptly, and I rounded the corner fast down the back alley of a Chinese restaurant with bars on the windows, breaking line of sight.

Hidden in the shadow of the large smooth square building. The clear black sky overhead.

He made some sort of noise in his throat that somehow I heard.

I kicked off my heels already and tossed them into the open dumpster. It was neatly tucked away, behind a chained metal fence until I came by earlier and freed it.

That dull thudding sound sent the rats circling.

I ducked behind the spot I picked. A pile of cardboard fortune cookie boxes was all I needed.

The odor sent shivers up my spine. Old shell fish, the smell of the ocean, the spray, maggots—refreshing—like smelling salts.

He rounded the corner fast and confused, like he’s the only kid that doesn’t get the magic act at the birthday party.

My lips parted and curved up; my heart beat hard in my chest, can he hear it? Can he hear the wings beating, can he hear the moon’s teeth clacking, feel it’s beaming maniacal smile?

I hope so. He will.

The man looked around, pulled his hood down tighter. All those chemicals rushing, he felt it too, the chase, the thing inside of him that fed on my fear. Got high off that night air, stumbled into my trap.

I took my cellphone out of my purse and dialed the number of the burner I put in the dumpster.

It rang with a mocking eight-bit Mariachi band song.

He heard it, and swung around taking offense at everything.

Stired up that rabbit in head lights feeling. Trapped in a beam of ambivalent bone white moonlight.

It carried me, gave me goose bumps- goose bumps. Teeth chattered, but I’m not cold, not even close, I felt nothing but pure icy potential. The thing inside purred and waited.

He poked open the dumpster with the barrel of a Glock and looked inside.

We waited until he reaches in for the phone. It took the wheel and we fell out of our hiding spot, lithe and ready in a sliver of moonlight. Invisible, invincible, stun gun in hand, as we moved low and slow and sleek toward his back.

I shouldn’t look..

He turned but it’s too late; It pressed the stun gun to his neck and his legs went limp.

We caught him, took the gun out of his hands like a child with a squirt gun. “You’re mine now,” I whispered and heard not my voice but another vibrating just below the surface.

He heard it too, that eternal voice that speaks to both of us.

His heart beat faster but he couldn’t move. I hiked him up and leveraged him into the open dumpster.

The gun held in my hand, my heart sped up, pumped all those good chemicals hard. The Glock bounced and scraped into the gutter from my toss. Can’t risk some little kid picking it up and blowing his face off—that would be tragic.

I climbed into the dumpster.

Diana the Dumpster Diver, c’est moi?

Afraid not.

A dumpster is just a big metal coffin. It can be cleaned and prepped like any other space.  Prepared it I have; it didn’t take that long, a little tape, a little clear plastic. A battery lamp hooked on a loop of duct tape.

Then there was light.

It still didn’t smell great, cramped and hot, with a faint smell of soy sauce. It wasn’t a room at the Cali Hilton but it’d do fine for about the four hours this would take.

Then home and a lot of showers later would let all those good vibrations course through my muscles. Loosening and straightening out all that bad juju that’d been building. Making me tense and not quite myself.

Set up another light, I blocked out a lot of it in that tight space. Made quick work of taping his hands and feet, cutting his clothes away with garden shears. Shaved and buffed out the areas I wanted to work in.

He didn’t know, couldn’t know or feel what was about to happen. What was about to happen?

My tongue touched all of my teeth; I let out a little laugh.

Just had to have gotten the most powerful stun gun they had; he was out like a light, complete reboot.

A quick slap to his face and he made a noise like someone finding a hair in their lingquini and muttered something in Spanish that might’ve have been, “Ten more minutes, Mama.” I suck at Spanish.

Found the bag I’d stashed there. A small black overnight duffel, and I plan to stay the night. Inside, a sharp fillet knife, a scalpel, a razor and a framing hammer. The gangs all here!

The dumpster was cramped but I could move, as well as lay him out flat. The restaurant it was attached to was closed today. So I’d had all the time I needed to make it ready. Then leave my own trash behind in neatly wrapped packages ready to garnish the local landfill.

We slapped my friend again and his eyes opened wide. I taped his mouth shut.

He couldn’t scream muffled Spanish slurs.

We showed him the knife and his eyes darted back to absorb his surroundings.

He may have well been buried six feet under already.

He had to know he was ours.

The man didn’t seem too impressed with the knife, so the framing hammer was the next item in show and tell day. He didn’t like that, not one bit, his eyes got wider, his pupils shrinking.

It seemed like he was getting it.

We breathed out a cool controlled breath and we watched him shrink, his muscles tightened feebly against the tape, his veins popped, we breathed in his fear.

The pretty girl thing might’ve thrown him at first, or maybe it was a prank.

I heard the mirthless tinny laughter inside and I think he heard it, too.

There was no turning back, one step on the dark path was enough.

There would be blood, a lot of blood.

I could almost hear it rushing inside him, that disgusting hot sticky stuff, waiting to come out.

He was mumbling something; I could feel his panic rising. His longing for release reaching up and touching mine. His eyes were talking, he was drooling, his mouth moving.

There was something really important he had to tell me.

I was hungry for anything. I’d been watching him. What he liked, young girls with wide scared eyes looking up at a knife or a gun or a framing hammer. Feeling him on top of them heaving and sweating, then nothing.

He’d killed four in the last month, and it was nothing to sniff at. Mostly prostitutes, because he was an amateur, no procedure, just pure bare need.

A pathetic creature, but I didn’t hate him.

How could I? We were the same, sort of, but more than that, I loved him; he was a brother.

He sputtered.

His eyes tried frantically to reach inside of me and find some small tear. Like some buried motherly instinct would battle the forces of darkness in the dungeons of my deep dreadfulness. Seeing fit to spare him and maybe take him out to lunch..

I was curious, bad form for a cat.

Didn’t like begging, but was ready to hear anything.

He looked up at me after the tape was ripped off. “Diana, you’re gonna be late for school.”

“School?”

“Yes, school.” I heard my aunt’s indignant voice break through the cozy wall of the pillow over my head.

A dream?

How you tease me. I can still hear the laughing, it’s taunts. Me, Dark Dreamless Diana.

I don’t dream, I never dream, it’s just serene blackness every other night, or I don’t remember. I miss the cool crisp void of sleep, the nothingness. What happened to my nothingness? Bring back the void.

Not to say the dream wasn’t, stimulating.

I moved the pillow off my face and started to rend myself of my sopping sheets. I was drenched in a layer of thick cold sweat.

It isn’t the first time, different people, men, women, different places, times.

It seemed like the dreams were getting more frequent and they always end the same way.

Unsatisfying, they always end just before…

Murderus interruptus.

“Didn’t you say you had a test or something today?”

“There’s always a test or a final or a quiz,” I tell my aunt Mary-anne, a fat girl’s name, but she wasn’t fat, not yet anyway.

A soft and pretty woman, not much older than myself. Kind of a hippy dippy sort but a good soul, raised me from an egg to the velociraptor I picture myself as now.

She had that ‘good hair.’ The type that’s long and straight, a deep chocolatey brown she nevertheless always tied back in a tight ponytail for work. Delicate straight features TV pretty people had, but she never really liked to flaunt it with make-up or fancy clothes; I guess it runs in the family.

I’m Diana, the poor orphan, boohoo. My parents died when I was just an innocent tot. Oh woe is me, the poor child, parents taken so young.

Is this a superheroes backstory? Afraid not.

Were they slain by a wicked murderer or super villain? No, not unless the truck that hit them was a Decepticon. A petty car accident robbed me  of any parental love I was owed and cast me as the martyr in my own passion piece.

“Well, that’s school for ya,” she said, she smiled with her hands on her hips as she waited for me to fully ascend my damp throne.

It’s not that I don’t like school; in fact, I love school. All those plastic minds clinging to some form of identity or another. Forming their own sense of self, all those people pretending to be human hoping the shape would stick. I fit right in.

Maybe I’m not very good at this, I feel like I skipped a step. I’m completely hollow inside. It sounds like teen angst, which is an easy way to pigeon-hole it since I am a senior in high school.

But it’s been this way since before I can remember. Since before I could think, I’ve felt nothing.

My aunt tells me, even as a baby I wouldn’t cry or laugh or smile, nothing. Every emotion I fake is for other people. I’ve been forced to become the perfect mirror of every person I’ve ever known, but I’m good at it.

I’m the best.

I trudged my way to the shower, down the hall from my modest bedroom. It’s hot today, it’s always hot in Cali. That’s why I keep my hair short, easy to clean, easy to dry and it looks cute.

What does anyone else’s opinion matter anyway? Only, that’s a lie people tell themselves on occasion. I don’t, I’m not people. Other people’s opinions are all that matters. It’s the glue that binds this world together. Without it, the world would be the perfect clean chaos of my dreams.

The world where that mocking laughter I hear comes from.

Lies we tell others, and the lies we tell ourselves, are what stops this world from falling apart and it’s what keeps me out of a sanatorium. Are there any sanatoriums in Long Beach? Probably some rich kid day spa with Vicodin vending machines that take hundred dollar bills. So Miley Cyrus can clean up for the next time she needs to squeeze her ass inside a rubber glove.

Rubber gloves, was I even wearing gloves in my dream? Need to write that down.

The things that you remember in the shower. Running water stimulates creativity, or some such other new age nonsense. Massages the chakras or stimulates the karma flow, vibrates the mediclorians. I toweled off and wiped the mirror with my hand. Empty blue-green eyes stared back. I made a toothy fake grin, showed those pearly whites. Such a practiced grin, straight out of the Sears catalogue, 1997.

It’s easier for girls I guess, people don’t look too closely at a girls’ smile. As long as it’s there, it’s good enough, a perfect disguise.

The mirror steamed up again, and I’m gone, poof.

The test was easy, done and gone and I was already forgetting what it was about. The dream was growing stronger and taking up more space in my head. All I could think about was that night and the ripple of the plastic wrap.

I looked outside; it was nice day. Every day was a nice day in California, starts to get boring after a while.

University High was the number one ranked public school in Orange County, go Trojans. It looked like a cross between a prison and a high end motel on the outside. Monstrous palm trees swaying behind sturdy chain-link fences. A backdrop of concrete covered in coral white stucco.

It was a standard mix. An even smattering of Hispanic, caucasian and black kids, the motto, ‘Unity through Diversity,’ as supercilious a statement as the American flag outside.

This wasn’t America, this was some place all new, a fantasy island floating in the clouds where all the beautiful people and one or two monsters lived. Every day, I was rubbing elbows with the future career criminals and politicians of the greater California area. Was there a distinction? I felt blessed walking through the halls. A real rainbow family of love and diversity.

I had no idea how my aunt got the money to put me here on a rookie cop’s salary, but we have a don’t ask don’t tell relationship that seemed to be working for us even better as I got older.

She chose the school because the campus tour video gave off a distinct ‘cult vibe’ and the teachers were nice enough. They really went out of their way to pretend they cared, despite fading into the background in Dark Diana’s World.

I wasn’t bad at school, I was too good at it. It’s amazing the pointless facts and figures you can memorize when you don’t have all that teen angst or hormones or any emotions whatsoever clouding your mind. Pure emptiness to fill with whatever the school board wanted. The perfect clean slate.

I made my way to my locker before I realized I forgot to eat breakfast, a common occurrence. But that’s not to say I’m anorexic. I love to eat, but I could never put on much weight, compliments of a super-fast metabolism, must be genetic, or maybe I was a sleep jogger.

Sleep walking?

I hovered in front of my open locker.

Nah.

As soon as I slammed the door shut

Whom was standing behind it? None other than the notorious Wendy Vargas. How cliché.

Another cliché would be that the most popular girl in the school and I would be bitter rivals.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Morning, bestie,” she crooned in her best vocal fry valley girl as she opened her locker.

It might have something to do with my painfully cringe-inducing habit of flattering everyone. A trait I polished like the turd it is. I say things most people with any sense of dignity wouldn’t dare.

Happily, I lack any of those mortal inhibitions; my gag reflex was never there. When your goal is to blend in and make people like you, lacking any shame is pivotal. So I can tell everyone everything they want to hear and keep a straight face while I do it.

Funny, it’s not even that hard. I can usually tell at first meeting someone what they want to hear. No one even bothers to hide it, they might as well write it on a sign around their necks.

Wendy’s locker being next to mine also tipped the scales of fate. I can’t remember exactly how we met or became friends but I assume proximity is what allowed me to use my powers of butt-kissing to full effect.

Maybe I just complimented her on how she opened her locker. How she applied her lip-gloss in the mirror she had inside the door, or some other banal little detail I’d felt wasn’t worth the storage in my head.

“Looking sexy as always, my love. Wendy Vargas, when will you marry me?” I say in a perfect mocking impression of her voice; she will of course ignore that, and only hear the compliment.

“Thank you, my dear but you know as well as I do, I’m taken and I am a one-woman man,” she said, as she pursed her snake-bitten lips.

She was a beautiful golden goddess one might expect to see in some Spanish soap opera, with a set of expressions just as fake. Heir to a fortune in Cuban sandwich shops. Head of the cheerleading squad, of course, but also a strange passion for ‘nerdy stuff,’ as she called it. Mostly kitsch nerdsploitation, like The Big Bang Theory. Big lens less glasses, wearing comic book superhero T-shirts and pretending to like the new Star Wars movies.

It was all an act so she could rule over a hoard of thirsty geeks in the AV club who’d do whatever she said.

I still have no idea why she likes me. I really could’ve slipped right through the cracks right where I wanted to, if it wasn’t for her.

It might be because I’m the only one in the state that knows she poisoned her stepfather with anti-freeze, and framed her mother.

Did she tell me? Not in so many words. I wasn’t an accomplice or anything, either. Poison’s not my style.

That’s such a ‘girly’ way to kill someone, and I’d never stoop so low as to kill for money. No, a passion is best left free, like all the good things in life.

She didn’t confess to me, but something did. That little voice, that little clawing thing that rolled around deep inside the dark depths of Diana.

It could smell it on her, not her guilt, not her shame, her complete indifference. She had a monster too, a dark secret, but it was a small and covetous thing, a greedy opportunistic monster.

“Where’s that handsome new beau of yours?” I enquired.

Wendy’s new boyfriend was some chad from out of state, what was his name? Bradie? Brodie? Brodo?

She tends to go through them quickly, but this new one had peaked her interest. He was a transplant from Miami, very exotic.

“He’s off collecting that order of red cups and plates for prom.”

“I sense, we’re about get down to business.” I winked.

“You’re senses are keen, as always, my young padawan,” Wendy bowed with her hands pressed together, like she was going to Kung-fu me.

“I learned from the best, master.” I dipped my head.

“I need you to print off some fliers for me.” She smiled, like she was doing me a favor, her arms swaying at her sides, as her voice rose at the end.

Wendy was head of the prom committee, they put on the senior prom every year, and this time it was our turn.

I, Diana, sweetness and light, am on the prom committee, too. All because it would’ve been too strange for me not to, being best friends with the head of the committee. Oh, sweet nepotism.

Part of the practice of being normal was doing things ‘normal’ girls do. I’m not a cheerleader, that was too much for even me to stomach, some things truly are beyond even me. I can’t remember how I got out of that one, must’ve made up something about having one leg longer than the other or something, extreme corns perhaps.

Cheerleading is also surprisingly time consuming, all those pep rallies and practices and incessant parties. Which could prove a problem for my other ‘interests’. I looked around at the fliers already up around the hall. They were on almost every locker, and bulletin board and classroom door. I cast sparring glances at people who don’t need to make conscious efforts to be normal. What blissful cow-like expressions they all had.

“What’s wrong with the old fliers?” I asked in a robotic fashion, but I already knew exactly what she was going to say.

“They’re old,” Wendy shook her head like it was obvious; which it was.

“Okay,” I said without argument, because, what a waste of time and energy that would be.

She sucked her lips like she was tasting her cherry lip gloss and she liked it, then looked over my head. “Oh, there’s a sight for sour eyes.”

I looked over my shoulder, and stage left appeared my stalwart boyfriend Paul.

An ordinary name for an ever so ordinary boyfriend. He was practically perfect in every way, the male Mary Poppins of University high. Tall, but not too tall, smart, but not too smart, conventionally handsome but not too conventionally handsome.

He was into sports, basketball mostly. An army brat through and through, his dad was almost always away on maneuvers.

If I was painfully honest, I mainly liked him for his car, and for the places he was willing to take me in said motor vehicle. I had my license already, but no car of my own.

My aunt was sort of an eco-nut, forcing me to take the bus when possible and if she did buy me a car, with the no money she had saved. It would end up being one just like her work car. One of those terrible eco-bubble little hair dryers powered by happy thoughts and bunny farts.

Did I mention his dad was deployed most of the time? So if I ever did go visit we had the run of the house, and from time to time, his gun cabinet.

His mom was a mystery I didn’t care to explore. Seemed like a sore subject I had no interest in. Sobs stories are no fun, unless they’re your own.

Most of all, I liked him because he was normal. Painfully normal, bone achingly, teeth rattlingly normal. So much so, just being around him made me feel normal by osmosis. Like he absorbed some of my weird into himself and excreted it as a form of non-toxic handsome. He was kryptonite to my superman. Paul is the perfect disguise.

His upbringing, one of strict discipline had forced him to become the perfect gentleman. Thus, his urges were dutifully restrained, not unlike my own.

I really have no interest in sex. I have no hang ups about it either, we’ve had sex.

Honestly didn’t much care for it, a sweaty messy thing, waste of time and sheets. The smell of it was enough to keep him by my side, and to drive me where I wanted to go and do most of anything I wanted.

Being a woman is pretty easy when you have no shame. Anyone that says different is a liar.

Men will put up with almost any shit from a woman if he thinks sex may possibly happen at some point in the near future.

Paul was presentable, neat and clean and always smelled good, never a blond hair out of place, or a blue eye in the wrong direction. A stern solid posture always maintained for some hidden watcher like someone stuck a broom up his ass without any KY and expected him to clean the ceiling.

The perfect scarecrow he was, scaring off all those hangers-on and beta orbiters that like to cling to pretty girls who don’t carry mace on a key chain.

The bell rang, and Wendy looked up, as if to make sure. “Shit, gotta get back to class, see you guys later.” She said as she vocal fried her way down the hall. Swished and swayed spreading a sweet fake scent as she floated away.

“Hey, baby, what’s up?” Paul said.

He speaks! He Leaned in for a hello peck, his arms wrapped around me.

I dutifully resisted, pushed back against him. “Hunger,” I said, without a hint of irony.

Review for “Rigorous MORT” by Author Zak Standridge

Straight off the bat I’m feeling tarantino, a little guy ritchie in my head too. You have a quick and self aware hook at the start and then it leads off into this funny tarantino style conversation akin to the one in reservoir dogs about Like a virgin, It works really well. Honestly though I don’t see why you couldn’t just turn it into a novel, I mean the screenplay works fine but it wouldn’t take too much effort to turn it into a novel. It has a nice flow. The characters are interesting and you splice the scenes together really seamlessly.
I don’t know when you wrote it but I was reading the part when they’re talking about ghostbusters two wishing they were talking about the new ghostbusters haha. Also I don’t get the hate for ghostbusters two haha.
I’m not gonna say the story is some masterpiece but with Tarantino style stories, it’s more about the characters and the style. He’s not trying to tell this epic story. I think you have the characters and the atmosphere down pat.

Overall, I think it’s fun and cool and has a nice vibe, not too pretentious. Well written quirky characters. Doesn’t take itself too seriously, a lot of fun all round I’d say.

Rigorous Mort

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