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Loverman Chapter 9 “Night of the lotus eaters”


Hey there,
Whenever I start one of these I always have no idea what to talk about then I end up waffling for like an hour.
So tomorrow I start Cur 2 I guess, I’m not that psyched for it for some reason which is bad because I really enjoyed writing the plan for it but now it’s time to pay the piper and I’m just dreading it being shit. I dunno, I think I just need to get back on the horse and I’ll feel better, I always feel better when I’m writing. I really just need some feedback, I need someone to believe in me and there aren’t enough of those people around.
What have I been doing in the mean time, surprising yesterday was a pretty busy day, the poem was sort of prepacked honestly but I got this proofread and I managed to clean up a lot of the pitch for Cur and send it to a couple of places that might accept it. But who knows.
In other news my gamepass subscription is almost up but what should pop up within a week or two of it running out but Vampyr, a game I’ve sort of been eyeing for a while but people kept telling me was shitty and full of political nonsense. Which I believed because dontnod is famous for having these really social justicey liberal games like life is strange and life is strange 2 which is hilarious to watch lets plays of because it’s almost as cringe and on the nose as a David Cage game. They’re not subtle.
But honestly this just seems like a good game and I don’t feel like a narrative is being forced down my throat, it just feels like a solid rpg with good mechanics and I’m really enjoying it.
I think I’ll definitely do a review of it and possibly another playthrough, it kinda feels like bloodborne meets the witcher 3, but we’ll see how it pans out.
That’s about it for today I guess, no big rant planned. I think I’ll spend the rest of my day looking for reviews of Cur, maybe find some more publishers
Of course I had no idea what was on the piece of paper only that it seemed to spur Ericcson into a fit of furious action. He drove in almost a trance like state, gripping the wheel so hard I could hear the plastic and leather creaking. I was perturbed to try and wake him from it. I caught a glimpse of the paper and it appeared to be some kind of flyer advertising an event of some sort. I hadn’t the faintest idea what possessed him to kill those men at the gas station. And even less of an idea why a piece of paper they were carrying would cause him to act like this. It made no sense at all, well it made as much sense as it would in a dream. I didn’t want to think about that, I didn’t want to put into any conceptual process to discern whom was the dreamer and whom was the dream.
My reeling thoughts were rudely interrupted by the screeching of the well worn brakes of my mother’s long suffering Crysler. The bag I was in lurched forward and fell into the passenger side foot well.
From there I couldn’t see anything, just hear him getting out of the driver’s side and slamming the door shut behind him. Then more muffled fumblings until he opened the passenger side door and retrieved the bag I was in.
From my low angle it was too dark to make out the shape of the building he was taking me towards. There were no streetlights at all, just the sickly moon hanging half cast in the sky. There were no stars to speak of and the building seemingly had no lights or discernable activity going on outside.
But as Ericcson got closer it started to look familiar and I saw the patches of the burnt sickly pink stucco and I knew he’d taken us back. Back to the accursed place where I had died and he had fallen into this madness.
The pink bird mental institute.
Or what was left of it at least.
The building was a burnt out carcass of it’s former self, funny, I couldn’t recall a fire but it’s charred remains defied my recollection. It all happened so fast.
But why, why had he come back to this wicked place?
Then we both heard it, music, a low bass beat looped over and over.
Investigating the noise lead us around the side of the building. There was a door which seemed blackened from fire.
We approached it cautiously and as we did, the music increased in volume.
Ericcson pushed the door and it swung inward and we were assaulted by the loud bassy music blaring at us from below. Through the door was a darkened concrete stairwell leading down we assumed to the basement or some sublevel I hadn’t been privy to during the tour.
We descended the stairs following the loud ungodly music.
The basement level was fairly unremarkable service level. It housed mainly industrial size washers and driers, which seemed old and in disrepair. But they were not the source of the noise, that was deeper.
We followed a trail of shadeless hanging bulbs swaying in the complete darkness of the basement. They moved with what seemed like sentience, like the lights of an angler fish luring its prey into the crushing depths.
The darkness conjuring up such shapes in my head that would make what I had seen up to now seem like a harmless daydream. The shadows pulsed with the throbbing music, the lights swaying faster as we passed under them. At the end of this semi-dark hallway was a single green door.
There was no doubt that it was the source of the heart pounding music.
Ericcson opened the door but a crack, the music spilling out and assaulting my eardrums. With no hands to cover my ears I had no choice but to allow the din to dull and kill any sense I had until the noise became a ceaseless drone.
Although the music and the damage done to their ear drums didn’t seem to bother the shivering throngs of sallow cow eyed people dancing to it.
By my count there were at least a hundred strangely dressed people, young and old dancing in what seemed to be a large generator room. The lights strobing back and forth in time with the hypnotic drumming of the music.
Ericcson evidently saw something as he began to push his way through the crowd in the direction of the back wall. There was something, a fluttering of wings, black feathers floating to the ground. Coal black eyes looking at me from the far end of the room and then they were gone again.
I looked back at Ericcson and he was being lead through the room like a child by a woman, I could only see the back of her head. Her hair plaited down her back, she was wearing a black backless gown, her skin was pale and freckled. Looking her up and down I could see in her other hand she held a crow mask.
Ericcson was saying something to her but I couldn’t make it out over the music.
She turned and I could immediately see it was Jane, impossible, how could she have survived? But it was her, her glasses gone and her green eyes and red lips. She said something to Ericcson but I couldn’t read her lips. She smiled and turned away to lead him into the centre of the room.
He followed dutifully and I couldn’t fathom why until the crowd parted and I saw a little boy in his pyjamas standing alone in the crowd. He wasn’t crying, his face was placid and expressionless like he was sleep walking. He looked exactly like he did in my hallucination, like he’d been plucked right from it.
Ericcson dropped the duffel bag I was in and picked up his child, that’s when I noticed the strange symbol on the floor. It looked almost like a malformed five pointed star in a circle. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before except maybe through the gaps in my fingers. Or in feverish nightmares at the time I spent at that auspicious university in arkham.
I looked back at Jane, she was smiling and she held up her hand and showed him the ring. For a moment it was a parody postcard of a perfect family. She held his hand and then walked out of the circle leaving his hand to fall by his side. I watched her go, her smile turning it into a grotesque mask, a grin that seemed waxen, then she slipped the crow mask on.
If you want to read the rest of this weird shit, head on over to inkitt. Night of the lotus eaters

Loverman Chapter 8 ‘red right hand’

Bet you didn’t think you’d see this, yeah neither did I.
This is basically me trying to procrastinate so I can finish this shadow book I’m reading that of course is really boring before I start the next Cur. I really hate leaving books unfinished but this book is dragging it’s fucking feet so hard man. I want to just finish it and get back into the Conan stories that are fucking amazing. So I can soak up that lovely Conan badassery and keep it in my head, pass that spirit on to Cur 2.
Because I really feel inspired when I read something like that and it’s just like rocket fuel to my creativity and energy.
So hopefully I’ll finish the boring ass Shadow book and I can get back to Aquilonia like a boss. 
It might be surprising to hear that their are stories so stupid and shitty that I write that even I abandon them. Like sometimes I get halfway through something I think will be fun and interesting to write and then I’m just not feeling it and I drop it for something better.
This coming from a guy that writes weird samurai clown nonsense and that’s the stuff that makes it, even what doesn’t make it, wrap your brain around that. But I figured since I put some of it on inkitt I might as well finish it and I saw how close I was to finishing it, like a chapter and a half, there last chapter is next. So I thought ‘fuck it’ kill some time, get some content and maybe have some fun. I guess I just didn’t really get into the character of Ericcson and I didn’t really care about his struggle and if I can’t care about him how the hell is a reader going to care about him?
So I kinda rushed the ending a little but it’s a an ok ending, it did everything I wanted to do with it. I just wanted to make a fun little lovecraftian super hero revenge story with lots of gore. Maybe some people might enjoy it, who am I kidding no one is going to read this haha.
One can dream.
Ok well that’s pretty much it, gonna make a start on Cur 2 tomorrow unless some unforseen circumstance comes along and a bus hits me or something. Won’t be able get much done over the weekend because I have lots of day job stuff to do but I should have something to show of it the week after hopefully.
See you…
It was getting dark, Ericcson was fully awake as far as I could tell. He slowly planed my mother’s Crysler to a stop near a tight grouping of dying oak. The trees loomed over head bare and exposed as the sky burnt out and blackened like a struck match.
The car creaked under him as he got out and slammed the door in the fashion he had become accustomed. He came around the side and picked up the bag I was currently calling home and placed me on the hood of the car for whatever reason. Maybe he thought I needed to stretch my legs, or get a lungful of fresh air, having neither faculty it seemed like a waste of time.
He went around the back of the car out of sight and I heard the trunk opening and closing.
I couldn’t see much for the trees and the looming darkness, he’d angled the car towards an old broken fence. Through the trees I could see a dilapidated red farmhouse and a barn that looked like it needed a new lick of paint.
The ground was a mix of grey and browns, dry and desolate, the leaves blowing in the wind were grey and floated like ash.
I looked closer at the fence, it was more like a small coral for sheep but with no gate. A few of the planks had given way and the fence had slumped slightly to one side, the wood looking sodden and old. On second viewing the coral seemed too small for animals and then I noticed the pieces of wood propped up at even intervals sticking out of the ground. Some of them stooped with age and decay.
Ericcson without a word came around the front of the Crysler after slamming the trunk. Obviously not content with just mistreating the drivers side door of my mother’s car. In his hand was a shovel and all at once it made sense what I was looking at.
Some folks in the more rural parts of new England preferred to have their own private plots. Or if they were just too poor they could opt to intern their dearly departed on any land they owned and create their own tombstones.
So, not a sheep or pig pen but a small family cemetery.
He started digging as the sun went down and then after it was down by the head lights of my mother’s Crysler, never stopping and never seeming to tire. After a while it almost seemed like he wasn’t breathing at all. As I recall it must have been cold but as I had stopped breathing all together I hadn’t thought that his breath should have been visible also.
I decided to give it no further though. I tried to focus on the sound of shovel carving the cold earth like a butcher chopping thick slices of meat. He sunk the blade of the shovel deep into the ground with what seemed like an icy resentment for it being there.
She wasn’t buried very deep, I know nothing of the actual burial but I know most all of her family were lying beside her already, waiting. I believe I read something about it in the paper, in any regard they weren’t currently living in that farm house. She was most likely interned by the state, otherwise she’d have been filed away on a cold shelf in the morgue.
I heard the shovel hit something hard and the sounds of his effort cease. The still night and the sounds of him scratching and scraping away dirt with the cold shovel blade, then his hands. His black nails scratching at the coffin lid. I imagined for a moment that it was her making those noises from the other side of the lid. For what could surprise me now, after the impossible things I’d seen, the impossible thing I was.
It was hard to make out with the stark light of the headlights but I saw him stand. Then I saw him stab down hard and the crack of the wood as it splintered under his boot. He lowered himself down into the hole where I couldn’t see, gently like the honeymoon in the marital bed.
There was then a low sound like a dog whimpering, mad whispered talking. I suddenly felt dizzy, like I couldn’t tell which way was up and there seemed to be pictures projected on the sky. Then it was around me, a room, a padded room. Lying on a bed, my head attached to a body I didn’t recognise. Silence and then a song whispered in the night and a knock at the door, the door to a cell.
L is for love, baby
O is for only you that I do
V is for loving virtually everything that you are
E is for loving almost everything that you do
R is for rape me
M is for murder me
A is for answering all of my prayers
N is for knowing your loverman’s going to be the answer to all your prayers.
It was a woman’s voice singing but there was no music, sung almost like a nursery rhyme, whispered through the door of the padded room. But at the same time it seemed to be all around me. Me? The me experiencing something close to a memory of Ericcson himself in that damned nut house.
L is for love, baby
O is for oh, yes I do
V is for virtue, so I ain’t gonna hurt you
E is for even if you want me to
R is for render unto me, baby
M is for that which is mine
A is for any old how, darling and
N is for any old time
Like Now!
Suddenly she was there, I had no idea how, but she was on top of me. I couldn’t stop her, couldn’t want to. She was strong and forceful and hateful and my limbs felt numb and heavy and willing. A face I knew somehow but changed, a mask of some obscure emotion covered her face and she tried to be someone else and no one. Her features mashing together in some hideous parody of feminine beauty.
Her lips burning and biting into mine, a hollow sinking feeling, cold heat.
And that ring, she was wearing the ring.
The ring.
“It’s gone”
Ericcson’s voice came from the hole.
“Her wedding ring is missing”.
After that Ericcson was aimless, seemingly inconsolable. Driving through the night with no destination. No goal in mind but a rising foul hatred for everything outside of my mother’s Crysler. Of course he didn’t tell me this, he’d barely said a word to me after we left the asylum. His anger, hopelessness, radiated off of him, I could feel it like heat from a lamp, smell it like second hand smoke.
‘Anger’ was a poor choice of words, there was a seething boiling disdain fomenting inside of him for nothing in particular. It felt like he wanted to tear the sky down like it was some pathetic backdrop in a school play. Pull the stars down from the sky and shatter the moon and let thick cool blackness blanket everything forever.
His restlessness was getting to me so I suggested he get something to eat or drink, anything to calm his nerves and take his mind off whatever it was on. He didn’t answer me but he soon pulled up at a little roadside diner connected on one side with a gas station outside of town.
I’m not sure why I insisted that he try calm himself or why I thought food and drink would suffice to do that. Maybe I hoped some kind of routine would spark something in him. Or if I saw him eat a cheeseburger he’d seem more human and I could feel sorry for him instead of revulsion. It occurred to me that I hadn’t seen him eat or drink anything since we’d met, nor had he really slept. I was starting to wonder if he needed to or if he was even still alive. Was this really Zane Ericcson or something else wearing his face?
Regardless, some part of the man remained, the part that was driving him on, that was fueling his hatred. Why else would he visit his wife’s grave, why would he feel this sucking melancholy pulling him under a writhing tide of black bile hatred? If not love, then what?
An hour of staring at a cold bacon double cheese burger and soaking under halogen lights past by. Ericcson decided to skip the slice of keylime pie and top up of coffee and fill up my mother’s Crysler instead.
The gas station was dimly lit and in disrepair with a dingy mini mart squatting behind the pumps. A dagger eyed Asian man glared at us from behind the counter. The diner across from it, I had assumed was an all night affair but after we left it closed and they turned all the lights off.
The silence didn’t last long, punctured by a loud tire squeal and the vein rattling bass beats of urban music.
I saw them pull up in what looked like a Lincoln town car, square, with box like edges, black with a dent in the rearside fender. All this I could see as through protest I had been elevated from my position in the duffelbag on the seat. To my new lofty position of hanging from the head rest by the handle so I could at least see out of the window. A strange thing lacking a stomach but still suffering from phantom car sickness, it helps to see the horizon as most sufferers know.
They parked the car at a haphazard angle and one of the youths got out in a cloud of smoke. The music louder than ever, an oddly shaped hand rolled cigarette hanging from his mouth. He started pumping the gas as one of his friends got out to go into the mini mart. His movements loose and heavy like he was bouncing, his arms swinging by his side.
The one smoking the cigarette noticed Ericcson and shouted over the music. “Hey what’chu lookin’ at man?”
Ericcson said nothing and made no attempt not to stare at the youth.
A moment of awkwardness past then there was a loud series of pops from the mini mart and the one that had entered jogged out, a pistol hanging from his side.
“Ayyo! I said what’chu lookin at man?”
“Who dis?” The youth with the gun said, gesticulating with the pistol as he spoke not looking at Ericcson but pointing the pistol in his general direction. “This nigga wanna die too?”
“Ayyo, we gonna be late to that party man!” Another voice from inside the car shouted over the music.
“I don’t give a shit, this mufucka can I.d us man”
“Then waste his dumb ass, what you think we can wait around here all night?” A moment past as the one with the gun just stood and sweated as he readjusted the gun in his hand. “Bitch ass” The smoker said as he sucked his gums and pulled out his own gun. I can’t say much for guns, my family had never been big on them so the make and model eludes me. It was silver and rather large and I knew the dangerous end was pointed at Ericcson.
“I said; what you lookin a-“
The youth with the cigarette stopped talking as he noticed the change. He focused on Ericcson who remained constant like a waxwork, but the night was silent. No birds chirped or dogs barked, no cars passed, no wind. The pumps, the cars, the gas station, the road, the diner, the sky, were all gone. All moved away like props on a stage.
The youth gaped and his cigarette fell and hit the ground with no sound as he stared at the endless nothingness. The blank black canvass that surrounded them and then there were sounds. Only the sounds of Ericcson’s shoes as he walked closer to the youth. The tap tap tapping that echoed over the dense writhing darkness sending shocks through his veins. Each footstep like a dentist drill skipping over his teeth. The silence itself becoming thick with a terrifying low hum.
His body deflated, all the muscles in his face sagged and his arms shook at his sides as if they weren’t connected to anything. His posture was that of someone floating shoulder deep in a black pool. He felt light and weak but constantly in a comatose rhythmic somnambulist motion.
Ericcson stopped too close to him and took both his hands smiling like the devil himself. He helped the youth clasp the gun tightly in both hands. Then he forced him to put the gun in his mouth.
Ericcons smiled as he bit down on the barrel of the gun and said “Pull it niggerman!”
The youth flared with a rage that was as sudden as it was flaccid, his trembling fingers pulled the trigger and blew out the back of Ericcson’s head. A thick black brain matter exploded out of the back of his head like the ink of a squid and he fell backwards slowly as if he was sinking and then he stopped.
Ericcson rose to his feet from mid fall with a queer slithering motion and he laughed soundlessly.
There was a loud thunderous bang and suddenly reality bobbed into jarring focus like falling in a dream. Everything was the same but now the gun was in the mouth of the youth.
He pulled the trigger and his eyes rolled back into his head as he covered the car in brain matter.
His friend who had come out of the mini mart froze and then started up again like clockwork firing wildly at Ericcson who hadn’t moved from the pumps. Ericcson grinned and raised his hand, out of his sleeve. A vicious stygian tendril shot out and in a blink of an eye had hold of the youth with guns arm and was wrenching him about like a dog with a chew toy.
The tendril, with an inhuman level of strength whipped the youth through the windscreen of the car. His head imploding against the toughened glass and landing in the drivers seat.
The youth in the back of the car got out the otherside and started firing over the roof. In an instant one of those foul tendrils clutched at his throat, wrapping it’s veiny muscular limbs around his neck. The tentacle yanked him across the roof of the car.
Another tentacle slashed at his wrist, severing the hand completely before the one around his neck twisted his head off slowly. His cries trailing off in a distended vile screech like a dying animal.
His body fell from the roof of the car with a terrible wet thud.
Ericcson’s feet scraped the concrete as he walked over to the dead man’s car and casually turned the radio off. He searched the dead man’s jacket pocket, the deadman closest to the pumps. he pulled what seemed to be a piece of paper out of it and walked back over to my mother’s crysler, staring at it intently.
If for some insane reason you want to read the rest of this chapter or this weird ass story, head on over to inkitt. Red right hand

3 Ring Samurai Part 2 Chapter 7 ‘4 Sho Sho’

Bonjour,
Back again with more half assery as it is the season, I couldn’t do a blog on tuesday because I was busy and I cobbled together another haiku from a song I like. I don’t know why, I guess I’m just too lazy to come up with them on my own or maybe I just worry I’ll retread too much material and sometimes I can just find a song that captures everything I feel better than I could on my own. Also the rhythm really helps.
This is probably the last blog I’ll do til january, because I’ll be busy with work and christmas and because I haven’t had time to write on top of editing Diana for the last time. So I’m running low on material.
Although I was spent most of the day spamming mythology pages on fb of which I’m not banned on currently haha. I got some good feedback, I was called an ‘excellent bard’ haha. That pleased me. Probably the best people to drop that on. Especially since Celtic folklore gets so little love from literary folk obsessed with greeks and vikings.
Work has been hell, my personal life isn’t so bad apart from the other stuff, where my heart is heaviest. But I think next year things might really turn around. I’m gonna get a new job and if one of my books gets picked up that’d be great.
Had little time to read but what I’ve read of the second shadow pulp is pretty good. The shadow is at the very least really good filler, which I guess is the meaning of pulp. It’s not great but it’s not bad, like I’m not desperate to see what happens next but it holds my interest enough to want to keep reading. The writing isn’t amazing either, just serviceable. But maybe sometime soon I might write a shadow pulp myself. I do really like the shadow and how he’s written. Every appearance is meant to send a shiver up your spine and it really works. When he shows up everything changes, it’s great.
Still playing red dead 2 and I plan on doing a review, the game is just long and honestly pretty boring. It’s like the story and characters really aren’t very engaging. And it’s a prequel so you basically already know what’s going to happen you just don’t know exactly how. I honestly felt like the story of Assassins creed 3 was more compelling. I’m not kidding, that game had a good story. You knew your goals and motivations, and your villain and it felt personal and real. Red dead is a scattered mess, the story meanders and goes nowhere ultimately. Ha don’t want to spoil my review, but I think it’s one of those games that will be forgotten in a month. And if it hadn’t launched in between the shit storm kicked up by fallout 76 and battlefront v it would have got a lot more flack.
It’s shaping up to be an ok christmas, a little melancholy slipping in for reasons I can’t say but I have enough booze to wash that away this year, here’s hoping for some resolution next year.
To all the one and a half people that read this blog, merry christmas and a happy new year!
See you…
 
BOOM!
 
A cannonball turned the rest of the saloon into confetti showering Canard and Efron with debris.
 
Efron shook her red mop for debris and dust, coughed and looked up at Canard. She handed him the gun “It’s up to you I guess.”
 
He took it and let it hang at his side as he watched Pookie narrowly dodge a wrecking shot at his feet.
 
Pookie had taken to running along the rooftops for cover. Unfortunately the brothers were a lot more agile than their size had initially suggested.
 
The oldest stayed below from his firing position, arching up like a mortar, the middle brother followed Pookie up on to the rooftops.
 
The middle brother retracted and spat the wrecking ball at Pookie’s feet tearing huge chunks out of the roof of the building. A bemused post nuclear family sat around a scrappy dinner table looking through their new skylight.
 
“Err sorry” Pookie said.
 
But before he could react he heard the chain tighten, the middle brother swinging it by biting down on it and turning his hips and shoulders.
 
The ball slammed into Pookie’s gut and tossed him off the building. Luckily he landed on his head and was totally fine.
 
Pookie rolled onto his back, dazed from the first strike he looked up at the sun which had peaked and was slowly going down, the sky a bruised orange colour. The middle brother smirked and swung the ball over her is shoulder and muttered to himself “For Juan”. With all his abdominal strength he turned and swung the wrecking ball at a downward angle, meaning to crush Pookie like a bug.
 
Meanwhile the oldest brother circled around and was coming at him from the other side. Aiming right at him.
 
Pookie was unable to move, looking up at the sky as the ball eclipsed the sun coming right at him like a comet just coming over the pivot point of the swing.
 
A shot rang out and the chain snapped freeing the wrecking ball which shot off careening towards the eldest brother. The ball lodging itself with some force into the barrel of the cannon just as it was about to fire.
 
There was a deathly pause and then internal indigestion noises. A bead of sweat ran down the eldest brother’s brow right before the cannon backfired and tore him in half like a piñata full of sausage meat. The entire cannon exited his body taking most of his internal organs with it and leaving an exit wound the size of an elephant’s foot.
 
Another silence, the smell of cordite, Canard stood, feet planted holding the gun in his outstretched hand. “Why did I?-oh” He said as he looked at his hand and saw two smaller hands wrapped around it.
 
Efron smirked as she sat curled around Canard’s shoulder.
 
“What if the chamber was empty?”
 
“I would have fired again” She laughed as she climbed down off of Canard.
 
But her laughing was cut short. The moment her feet hit the ground a broken chain wrapped around her leg and yanked her like a tiny side of beef, dragging her through the loose dirt and sand.
 
Pookie groaned as he raised himself onto his side only able to watch as Efron was reeled in like a carp flopping on the ground.
 
The Middle brother slurping on the chain like someone sucking a giant piece of spaghetti with a huge unwilling meatball on the end.
 
It all happened so fast, Canard barely had enough time to react. He went for his staff but before he could even flick the blade out Efron was in the middle brother’s mouth with chain wrapped around her. The middle brother devoured her inch by inch, his jaw stretched wide like an anaconda.
 
Canard was so stunned for a second he forgot he was missing a leg and tripped when he took the staff away as a support falling face first into the dirt. It was like he was wading through custard, like it was all happening in slow motion for some reason.
 
He recomposed himself and tried to get to his feet.
 
The middle brother let out a vicious chuckle which was muffled by the person in his mouth. He put one finger over his left nostril and shot out a couple of giant buggers which hit the ground and exploding into a cloud of smoke.
 
Canard instinctually froze like a deer in headlights until the smoke finally cleared revealing him to be alone with a very sore clown.
 
“What just happened?”
 
“Nothing good” Pookie mumbled.
 
“What do we do, go after him?”
 
Pookie got to his feet groaned and said. “Nah.”
 
 
“Gosh darn it, I’m too late!” The dog faced boy cursed under his breath as he peeped through the little hole in the big top. The one he chastised Margherite for looking through only a couple of chapters ago.
 
The sun was going down, the meeting was emptying out. The heads of the clans going back to their little pieces of turf leaving only the icecream man and the Ringmaster alone in the big top. His icecream van was his home so he didn’t need to go anywhere.
 
When they were alone, he put his feet up on the table and grinned.
 
“So”
 
“So what?”
 
“Want me to ice’im?” He laughed.
 
The Ringmaster said nothing.
 
The icecream man laughed “It’d be poetic, don’t you think?” He chuckled.
 
“He’s more use to me alive” The ringmaster said coldly.
 
“Oh so this was part of your master plan all along?” He smirked a little too wide, his lips were thin and cold looking almost non-existent, two thin bloody streaks on an icicle.
 
“Something like that” The Ringmaster smiled jovially, but not with his eyes, his eyes were fixed and issued a silent threat.
 
The icecream man let out a little breathy laugh and took his feet off the table. “Don’t you forget, you owe me” He stood and looked around the big top. “All this is cos of what I done for you” He leaned forward on the table. “And it can all go away like that”. He clicked his bony fingers.
 
“Are you threatening me?” The Ringmaster asked.
 
He smiled trying to look innocent, shrugging his shoulders “Just reminding is all.” The icecream man laughed and started to walk away. “Now if you’ll excuse me, those kiddies aint gonna get the sweet stuff theyselves”.
 
He climbed into the cab of the icecream truck, the suspension straining under him. That tinkling off key music started up again with the engine as he slowly drove away.
 
The dogfaced boy had no idea what was going on but watched as the Ringmaster sneered and spat on the ground, cursing silently.
 
“What the heck was all that about?” He whispered to himself.
 
 
If you liked this chapter head on over to inkitt to read the rest of it and the previous chapters. 4 sho sho

Loverman Chapter 3 ‘Man of constant sorrow’

The name of this chapter is only a coincidence haha.

Hell of a week, had the worst shift of life at work to date, I almost got down on my knees and prayed to Trump to get me through it haha. And then more unpleasantness followed that was to a point where I wondered if my life was actually a practical joke. The events being so farcical I doubted I was awake. None of which I can really go into, needless to say if I could afford a therapist he would hear about the whole humiliating affair at length.

And I would be way more bummed out about the whole disaster if something great hadn’t happened directly after, well I should say something terrifying and then wonderful. Well I’m not counting all my chickens yet but I’m also not thinking about sticking my head in an oven to make God laugh. So that’s something.

I got a message that the one of the most important people to me was sick and my heart hit the basement until I was told she was ok and I saw her sunshiny face again. So relieved and happy and then something weirder happened, I got swept back up into something I was sure was dead and gone with something as easy as a smile. It only took a smile to shine a light on feelings I was sure were gone. We’re taking it slow for now, for the first time in our history together but I know it’ll be worth it.

That’s all because I’ve been reading bugger all this week but what I did read of the shadow on my way to work I really loved mainly because of the way the story is told. It’s all third person from the perspective of someone who is witnessing the shadow and it makes it delightfully creepy. The shadow is almost some kind of monster and it’s really good, like the main character is the right hand of the devil almost. I really like it, it’s old but still manages to be engaging and creepy and interesting.

Anyway gotta get down to doing some editing or proofreading, it’s not gonna do itself after all haha.

See you…

 

 

I turned in horror and revulsion, could it speak, was it listening to us?

It seemed to shudder for a moment and then a noise like air escaping a tire, a dull low hissing as air came to it’s dry cracked lips and then a voice from far away, like someone talking at the end of a far flung hallway.

“Had to” The voice was strained and it seemed to amount to a strange buzzing as if there were bees caught in his throat, his voice giving off a strange vibration. “Coates”

“What about Coates?”

“He wouldn’t stop”

“Wouldn’t stop?”

“Asking about my dreams”

“So what did you do to him?”

“Stopped him”

“Would you mind telling Henry about the night you lost your wife, would that be alright?”

I swallowed waiting for his response, all at once his eyes focused and he looked at me with a pained searching glance that I couldn’t describe.

“Yes”

“Well go ahead.”

“I was- trying- trying to find something.” He swallowed, his voice brimming with that strange buzzing noise scratching at his throat. “My work, it became stale, the spark- died and I was having to dig deeper to find inspiration. Using a form of meditation and salt solution I could induce trance like states to better commune with the great darkness.”

“The great darkness” I asked dreamily.

“A place inside, a dreamstate, source for my inspiration.”

All at once I remembered the paintings in the day room, the strange vistas and odd creatures and remembering in the past his work seemed quite benign. Not post-modern but classical almost, capturing a singular beauty from nature but the market has no great demand for paintings such as those these days and I could recall his style had become quite abstract and strange almost terrifying, beastly in their suggestion. Some far flung horribleness that could only be glimpsed in dreams.

“I knew what I was doing might be- dangerous, but I had little choice, I feared that everything I had built would come crumbling down if I turned back. That if I did not press forward I might have to resort to painting children’s faces on the boardwalk to put food on the table. I feared my wife might leave me if I couldn’t keep her in the life she’d grown accustomed to, so I had no choice – for what we do for love is risk damnation itself.” He let out a pained airless cough. “and I did love her, a fearful terrible quaking love that every fibre of my being feared to lose.-

It started like nothing at all at first, my dreams only having the vaguest hints of the nightmares I later saw. I had thought my dreams were just a result of an elaborate imagination, growing up I had fanciful notions as most children do, of knights and castles and great dragons. But this was so alien it hardly fit into any mainstream folklore at all.

It seemed like every day I spent meditating I could feel myself getting closer to something awesome. And in my dreams I felt even less inhibition and control. As if something were drawing me further down a long a stairway, odd shapes twisting in the distance.

Something I remembered most distinctly were fish. Not unlike our worlds fish but these glowed with a cosmic opulence and danced around my head as if in water, drawing me closer down into the dark waterless ocean.

I felt myself growing lighter and more lurid with each step I took the path behind me a sturdy rushing wall of water.

Each morning I woke feeling unrested, like I’d been walking all night just like my dream, my mind had no retreat and I could feel a strange pull even in my waking hours. I meditated and felt myself slipping away and pulling myself back from the brink with whatever morsel of inspiration I could pluck from the torrent of black madness down there in it’s depths.

I felt as if I was an invisible watcher a voyeur, dis-embodied floating above the strange eon old city under the waves. Nothing could see me or touch me, I had the invulnerability of the watcher and I could glance at the strange structures before me with their haunting shapes and maw-like open doorways, windowless and dark.

I would wake and sketch them as best as I could remember but as time went on I felt myself feeling more and tired and withdrawn like I’d never slept those nights at all and I was just lying there awake.

It got worse as I’d paint, I could swear it, those fish, they’d followed me. I saw them while I was awake, only fleeting glances of them in the corners of my eyes, just enough to tell myself I didn’t see them at all but to give a gnawing feeling of coming darkness. That crushing blackness closing in on me.

I had no idea what I was doing, I was just an aimless wanderer in a world I didn’t understand, glimpsing behind the curtain of night not knowing whether something was looking back at me from the darkness.”

“And was there? Something watching?” I asked almost shaking, without even thinking of my words as I stared into the strange man’s milky eyes.

Man of constant sorrow

Gage Chapter 2 ‘Porterville

Back to blogging I guess sorta, hey wassup it’s your boi, that guy.

I’ve not really had anything attrocious to review yet, I haven’t got my hands on a decent pirate copy of last jedi yet but I feel like I’ve seen it as this point I’ve seen so many vids on youtube trashing it haha. I could probably relay it scene by scene I’ve watched so many.

Been keeping busy, working on a plan for the next Diana book, I’m really stupidly psyched about that, just rereading Dexter books getting into that headspace again. But I just got Kingdom Come Deliverance and I’m probably going to be addicted to that for months now, it’s like a historically accurate rpg about medieval Czechoslovakia. So I started reading the witcher book series too, I’m hoping to stir up inspiration for my own gritty fantasy novel based loosely on my favourite character from the Highlander, the Kurgan. That should be fun as fuck, I can’t wait to play it and get all those creative storytelling juices flowing.

As far as Gage is concerned, still working through it, more proofread chapters will go up soon. 

I emailed my old editor about The One That Came Back about how long it would take her to finish and she gave me some bullshit answer like she was so enthralled by it she read it and forgot to put notes on huge swaths of it. Yeah sure. Why do people feel the need to blow smoke up your ass like that.

Just say you couldn’t be bothered and give my damn money back or say you were too busy with hebrew school or whatever the fuck she’s doing haha. I’m not even mad, she didn’t charge me for the last section but it’s literally been months and I promised non-existent people I would give out free e-copies haha.

Those imaginery people are literally chomping at the imaginary bit to read it.

So that’s happening and also Diana After Dark is going to be getting an edit soon so hopefully I can reach my dream of fame and fortune and someone to love me for me and a golden talking pony made of gumdrops with that.

See you…

Porterville

Now for the sake of brevity and accuracy, I don’t want to put words into his mouth. So I’ll try to relay his story the best I can, it was twenty years ago I heard it after all. Thus trying to repeat his exact words would be impossible. But I’ll do my best to tell the story as I and my comrades remember it, athough their accounts like chinese whispers may differ. I’ll try to tell it as straight as possible sticking as best I can to the bare facts keeping flowery description and interpretation to a minimum.

 

Gage’s story was ordinary enough. He was the firstborn of five to Jesse Eaton Gage and Hannah Trussell Swetland Gage of Grafton County, New Hampshire July 9th in 1823. At the age twenty five he was a strapping healthy young lad who worked construction on the Hudson River Railroad near Cortlandt Town, New York.

 

He was a blasting foreman, a whip cracker, ‘cracker’ for short. Although it was a term that was ceremonial as he did not actually have a whip, nor would he use it if he did. He organized the men to work in tandem with the lugs and of course pitched in as he could. A man who lived a life of hard labor was not afraid to pick up a shovel or a pick and muck in with his men. In fact he relished the chance to roll up his sleeves as that was the look that fit him best.

 

He was overseeing a bunch of luggers cutting through the rocky ridges so they could lay tracks. At the time he was known to be quite capable, efficient and shrewd, never losing his temper, never striking his workers or saying a foul word to anyone. He was a stalwart worker, a man of focused purpose and when he set his mind to a job it would be done come hell.

 

Regardless of these traits he was still a slave, although his chains were not physical but mental. He was subject just as the luggers were to the Cyclon powers of suggestions as we all were I came to learn later, be it at varying degrees.

 

At present he was working on construction of a railroad running through Porterville California through the san Juaqim valley. As he tells it was a damnable place, as empty and wide as the barren floor of an dead ocean. And as hot and arrid as he imagined hell itself without the flames and demons with hot pokers.

 

The construction was looked over by a general foreman named Lydia Souchang. She was the child of a rich Cyclon house in the north and the railway project was the first trusted to her by her family. An inconsequential task compared to what she had hoped for but this was the task she was given. She was sure to see it through and make sure even this mere duty was fulfilled above and beyond what was expected. Thus she encouraged Gage to push the luggers to a point he found distasteful. He pointed out that it would do no good to lose workers due to exhaustion and privation in the middle of construction. Only to have to send for more at greater expense and time. They had something of a cordial relationship but had butted heads frequently over little things where she felt they swapped position. Where in he knew better than her. This frustrated her greatly and strained their relationship as she would have to concede to his greater experience and the loyalty the men felt for him.

 

The luggers aside were just labourers only really good for lifting and carrying. They felt no loyalty but to the hand that fed and housed them, doing such tasks as you could train an animal to do. The real work was done by skilled foreman and craftsman like Gage and his second Dram Johansson, a stocky swede with boyish features and light coloured waify hair.

 

He worked closely with Gage and they forged something of a friendship. Although Johansson was of a more soft disposition but also very shrewd if sometime a little wooly headed. He made a good partner for the few conversations that Gage was willing to engage in that didn’t involve work. Needless to say Lugs aren’t much good in that department. Not having much of a grasp of English nor the intellect to engage in a conversation at the level of a human.

 

Many a time Lydia had relented to Gage’s advice. As although she may have been a Cyclon, she was still a woman and felt some twinge of regret and fear of using a control rod to gain the upper hand. Something her male counter parts would not hesitate for a second to do.

 

*Note to the reader, we believe a ‘control rod’ was an alien device used for direct suggestive prompts. It allowed the user to control the directed humanoid with simple verbal prompts.

 

She was better than most in that regard, that she had some misplaced motherly instinct towards the worker. Not having children herself she felt some manner of empathy for them. Despite as I was later to learn her kind commonly look down on humans and deride them as lower beings or such as cattle no different from the luggers.

 

And apparently as Gage described her she wasn’t too bad to look at. Now at the time of hearing this story I didn’t think I’d ever seen a Cyclon as they mostly kept to the cities where they felt most at home melting into a crowd of busy faces. In a place as rural as this they would stand out, they prefer pushing papers to mopping floors or farming so the city is where they belong.

 

I knew they had businesses in town but they were all run by humans so I never saw their hand. I must have seen and heard them on the tubescope but they did a good job to hide their features. Which wasn’t very hard, they looked mostly human, only having slight Asiatic features and names to give them away but also commonly used pseudonyms. They were also notably incapable of growing any facial hair so had long waged a campaign against it trying to link it both with a brutish aspect or the inverse homosexual behaviour. Then also promoting a clean shaven appearance with that of respectability and modernity citing such civilisations as the greeks and romans. Needless to say their love of pederasty was not mentioned. So then men who clung to such practices of facial hair were an oddity or spectacle of a bygone age to be viewed with suspicion into his manhood and his intentions.

 

Cyclon were ususally much smaller than humans and with pale skin that they hid with makeup or tanning or some aspect of racial mixing which was frowned upon in the higher families. As such you could tell a high born by the hue of their skin and if they had the shadow of a beard. In Lydia’s case her face was as white as porcelain and she went to great lengths to protect it with ointments and parasols, athough she wasn’t ashamed of it, why should she be? Her people dominated all aspects of finance and media and the super structure of the government. She hid it purely for the fact it was of course sensitive to harsh sun of the desert. Although Cyclon power was inherently hidden, never being the one in front of the curtain but behind it pulling the strings of everything. The hidden blade is the one that cuts the deepest as they say.

 

Lydia had very delicate features and a pert upturned nose which could have been a product or surgeries of which the Cyclon were somewhat addicted to. To a cyclon having any kind of surgery was as routine as a trip to the dentist. Some vicious anti-cyc propaganda had illustrated their true features as almost rat or beaver like. Picturing them as some kind of rodent offspring, perhaps this was why they were so obsessed with beauty and perfection or the tearing down of it.

 

She looked almost like a doll complete with black motionless eyes and a parasol whenever she was in the sun. Her dresses of the finest quality silk, but usually altered with a whale bone corset that had the sleeves cut away with a shorter dress length. So as not to pick up dust, finished with a high silk collar and a broach with her family crest on it which was a picture of coffee beans and a sword as that was how their family made their fortune. She was very pretty so I’ve heard but it was a caged malicious beauty and her face was always tainted with such scorn and derision that might make a sweet face sour over the years. She undoubtedly resented her position, feeling out of place in the working world. She was prone to rages and as I’ve heard it she was the product of a classical education that involved horse riding and swordsmanship and she was known to carry a duelling small sword at her side. Although it was mainly for decoration and ceremonial purposes but it worked to make the Lugs fear her and maybe Johansson too.

But Gage had never known fear, his parents having never played Peekaboo with him. He was the oldest and was responsible for the others therefore his work was cut out for him. Although he never went into great detail about his family, not at this juncture anyway. Needless to say going into his entire life story would get us lost in the weeds. And as I tell this story to whomever may discover it I don’t intend to outline the ongoings of Gage’s average work day, or picking corn out of his teeth.

 

So I will cut to the chase as he did himself, although his actual wording escapes me. For the story centred around an uncommon day.

 

September 13, 1848. Lydia was surprised by a visit from her brother who was some kind of official from the city come to inspect her progress. Gage by her side as he had all the technical progress data and a good feel for the men.

 

Her brother Count Marcus Souchang was a taller thinner almost perfect copy of his sister. With hauntingly similar features differing only in the pencil thin mustache and hair so lacquered it looked painted on topped off with a pair of large spectacles that made him look like a stick insect. Or this was how he appeared in the papers, his real life appearance was somewhat different.

 

His arrival had noticeably shaken Lydia. For there was some form of rivalry there for certain. She had necessarily taken this visit as a some kind of inposition she had to grit her teeth and bare through. He was the second born but had nevertheless secured his place in the family business operating out of new york in the high rise offices. A positon his sister no doubt coveted above all else. He and he alone was set to take the reigns from his father; Duke Aldridge Souchang. Lydia was destined to always be his second and it struck her as a curse to be born first but as a woman. Unfit to take power from her father and having still to work twice as hard to only achieve half the prestige as her brother. He coming after and getting all served to him on a plate as a necessity of his birth.

 

This had lead her to revile her brother and sort to outdo and shame him at every facet, be it swordmanship or horse riding or in business. But also an unhealthy relationship was formed in which she was taught to respect him as her father and so too a sick need to impress him also developed.

 

The day in question he’d arrived with an escort in a carriage drawn by mechanical motors that had been elegantly decorated to resemble horses. In the city horses were being phased out for more advanced and economic forms of travel but they still liked to herald the old age. In these parts we still used horses as fuel is hard to come by despite the fact this is where it’s farmed from the earth. But it’s taken many a mile and processed somewhere else.

 

Now I thought of just laying this out straight as Gage did but for a long time hearing this story I had it pictured in my head a certain way. Almost like the way he told it made me think of a play like on the tubescope and I couldn’t help playing it out in my head like some little girl pretending her dolls are having a tea party. Although I think if I were to read it out it might make a fool of me I really have no better way of depicting it that makes any sense unless I make a play out of it. So here goes, if someone finds this long after I’m dead, please don’t laugh.

 

The day was as hot and as dry as any in that god forsaken desert of California. The carriage appeared on the horizon as if it was a mirage riding the crest of a wave of heat distortion, coming out of a dream or nightmare on that bright cloudless day. The carriage was crafted in gold and ivory and was large and opulent which contrasted the divine nothingness of it’s surrounding and the small ramshackle coach house it was pulling up at.

 

The carriage stopped and was immediately descended upon by it’s escort. A division of men riding motorized carts that hovered a foot off the ground pulling behind them large trailers.

 

They stopped and descended the small vehicles known as Penny farthings because of the large steam wheel in front and a smaller one in back for direction and breaking. Although it emmitedd a lot of steam, the power source was actually something entirely alien and not seen in any human technology to date. The Cyclon were very covetous of their technology and only shared it with humans who were directly in their employ.

 

The men who were humans, it must be noted that Cyclon were not fighters. They were thinkers and talkers but rarely did they do their own fighting due in part to their size and relative frail physicality but also in part to their numbers. They were small in number and counted their worth as ten times a human, so humans were of course expendable, luggers even more so.

 

This detachement was a particular unit known as Lugtroopers, specialised to work in tandem with lugs. Combining the combat capabilities of a lug and the intelligence and strategic capabilities of a human. Connected as they were by a neural link bored into their skulls. They were permanently linked and if either were to die the other would be of no further use and would most likely die themselves. One of the questions in screening candidates for the program was whether or not they liked dogs as a child because the relationship was not too dissimilar from that. A bond of an emotional and mental nature, trained and engineered to work in tandem.

 

As the penny farthings idled and turned their engines off the crates they were carrying landed with a thud. It opened quickly and a larger much larger than average lugger lurched out and stood to attention like a trained daschund.

 

Not only was it much larger than average no doubt through some kind of genetic manipulation or selective eugenics but it had a number of biomechanical enhancements namely on it’s head centring around the eyes and ears and mouth. It’s teeth seemed to glint as covered in some kind of metal and it’s limbs were actuated with some kind of metal framework.

 

The humans too were wearing some kind of loosely fitting metallic frame around their bodies, going all the way along their arms and legs and heads and they carried advanced weaponry. Some kind of side arm that Gage had never seen before and who knows what else.

 

At present there was only one visible. A lean well built man of average height with a shock of white grey hair although he looked to be no older than in his mid thirties. His face was scarred with what looked like claw marks and he was smoking an electronic cigarrette which were very popular in cities these days. It cut down on the overall air pollution that had reached critical levels in the lower wards. It was so bad that the more wealthy dwellers in the cities had taken to living in helium airships literally living above the smog that engulfed the cities. And if they ever had to go below it they would wear breathing apparatus or filtration systems.

 

Marcus descended the carriage a few moments after it stopped allowing the dust to settle bowing his skeletal frame. He then looked down at the human who was putting out clouds of the vile steam from the little smoking box and he said “Ryan, put that out” He hissed. “It’s obnoxious, you look like an idiot.” He cursed him with an odd gesture and the man slid the box in his pocket, saluted and then whistled. His whistle rallied the other lugtroopers who shambled around the carriage. Although the others were relatively indistinct mostly wearing helmets and ballistic face shields. Their lugs too were uniform in most respects, although it seemed that their outfitting might have been different. Marcus turned away looking unimpressed.

 

Marcus was uncommonly tall for one of his race and there had been rumours of leg lengthening surgeries or stilts or high shoes being worn throughout his childhood. But his form of dressing being long thick coats hid him from all common scrutiny in this matter and gave him an almost comic appearance like a large hunched scarecrow. His movements, rigid and almost mechanical, giving off a distinct whirring which he attributed to a pacemaker he had implanted recently. He would mention it off hand as surgeries were as common for this race as getting a tooth pulled for his people.

 

“Lydia, darling sister” His voice was light and slightly feminine.

 

“Marcus, it’s good to see you brother” She said through a tight jaw.

 

“Yes it is quite isn’t it” He chuckled to himself.

 

Lydia said nothing but propped up a mechanical smile her hands daintily clasped at the folds in her dress. Her dress which was silken deep greens with a floral pattern with a tight reserved bodice with lace on her shoulders.

 

After an uncomfortable silence Marcus for a moment as he neither looked at Gage or acknowledged his presence at Lydia’s side. He just put out his boney hand which was covered in a dark glove and said “Well shall we take a look?”

 

“Ah, yes of course, if you’d be so kind as to follow me”

 

“Naturally” He smiled.

 

Gage awkwardly cut across them to introduce himself nervously “Phineas Gage, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you sir” He said as he outstretched his hand which was covered in a thick work glove encrusted with filth.

 

Marcus looked at the hand and a moment passed when they said nothing.

 

“Oh forgive me” Gage laughed and took the glove off and tucked it under his arm before outstretching his now bare hand again.

 

Again Marcus looked at the hand down his nose and said nothing, a moment passing and then turning to his sister.

 

“Lydia, is there something this creature wants, food perhaps?”

 

Ryan and his men stifled sniggering behind them.

 

She swallowed and almost coughed and said “Erm no, he’s uh, he wants to shake your hand brother”.

 

“Really? Whatever for?” He said looking at Gage like he was an exhibit in a museum of some long dead archaic tribe out of new guinea.

 

“To make your acquantaince”.

 

Marcus had obviously lived a very sheltered life in the city only being around his own kind. Or humans that wouldn’t dare to attempt to touch him or even greet him on the same level above bowing and scraping.

 

“I see” He said narrowing his eyes with an almost mechanical glare at Gage.

 

Lydia cleared her throat and directed him on. “If you’d be so kind brother”.

 

“Yes of course” He sneered, his eyes following Gage as he passed.

 

Gage followed them silently, feeling no great sting to his ego. The lugtroopers pushed passed Gage rudely shoving him out of the way to keep pace with their charge, leaving the lugs to guard the carriage. Gage was a little burnt by this and stayed rigid not letting one pass and the man who was much smaller bounced off Gage’s much larger frame and landed in pile of dust and lug shit. The other lugtroopers laughed as the younger smaller trooper got up and started to dust himself off all his gear clanking as he did so.

 

He stood and pulled off his helmet and threw it down revealing the red face of an angry youth with a shaved head and a tribal tattoo around his right eye. “You wanna go farmboy?” The kid yelled.

 

Gage said nothing looking down at the lad.

 

Ryan was watching a grin in the corner of his mouth. He whistled “Gable, stop rolling around in the dirt with your boyfriend and get over here!” The young lad not taking his eyes off Gage put his helmet back on and fell back in with his regiment.

 

Lydia lead them to where the work was being carried out. Twenty or thirty luggers moving and placing posts and lying the iron tracks while handful of human workers went over and bolted them in place with nmeumatic guns that layed superheated rivets bolting and fusing the metal tracks to the wooden posts set into the ground. The work was fast and tiring and back breaking but it had to be done to for it was essential they said ‘to enter the modern age’.

 

I didn’t know what they meant then but I think I do now. I think I know all too well what that meant.

 

“Would you care for a spot of tea brother?”

 

“I would enjoy that but unfortunately I’m on a tight schedule and I’m here on important business from the capital.”

 

“Oh, what kind of business?” Lydia asked nervously her jaw tightening as she looked at the lugtroopers standing idly just out of ear shot.

 

“It is in regard to your current progress.” There was a sudden change in his demeanor as if he’d been eagerly awaiting his chance to pounce. He took out some sort of device with a screen and cogs moving with wooden keys and looked at it adjusting his glasses with a dial on the side which seemed to move the lenses into place. “By our current calculations you’re over budget and by our current time frame it won’t reach completion until the end of the financial year”

 

Lydia quickly chimed in “But we had to wait on the iron import from England and it’s the best quality. It’ll allow the trains to run much faster and more efficiently.”

 

He moved closer to her, the odd sounds under his coat increasing and getting faster, almost like a chugging or a pumping of pistons. “You were not asked to procure the iron from England” He said raising a long gloved finger in front of her face. “You were supposed to source ore locally from the United states, the quality is not our prerequisite, the budget and time frame are.” He dropped his hand and turned away from her to walk a little. He placed his hands clasped behind his back awkwardly under the large hard looking hunch that made his back and sighed. “You’ll never get ahead in business if you don’t understand that following orders is key.” His voice was low and shrill and condescending.

 

“I’m sorry, I was just trying to, father would-?”

 

“This is why Father sent me here. He’s very disappointed in you and he expects you to complete the project within the next quarter. Or all your funding will be cut and I will be forced to take over construction do you understand?” He’d turned now and was looking down at her with a shielded sort of smile, hiding his glee at her failure behind a mask of businesslike indifference. He was undoubtedly enjoying this. Lydia on the other hand had almost shrunk entirely into her own footfalls, her shoulders knotted and her head hung.

 

“It’s my fault” Gage said awkwardly bounding into the conversation.

 

“Excuse me? I don’t believe I was addressing you” Marcus said coldly looking at him with a sideways glance as if staring at a bug crawling into a picnic basket.

 

Gage cleared his throat and approached Lydia’s side putting his hand gently on her back and said “It was my idea to import the iron from England. I’d heard about a new formula that they were using that was much stronger than any we could produce here, it’ll prove a great investment, I assure you.”

 

“Oh you assure me?” Marcus nodded and turned his head to look at Lydia. “Is this true?”

 

“…”

 

“Is it true that this ‘man’ was responsible for ordering the iron?”

 

“Yes but”

 

“Yes but what?”

 

“Yes but I validated it”

 

“So whom is responsible is it you or this ‘man’” he looked at Gage and there was something in voice in the way he said ‘Man’ as if he was trying to say ‘dung beetle’. His men stood at the side on a dusty outcropping next to a bank of grass and dry weeds watching silently.

 

Lydia bit her lip and her dark doll eyes got glassy and she couldn’t speak her voice choked in her throat.

 

“I see” Marcus tutted.

 

“I accept full responsibility sir, I promise you we will complete the project, we just ask for an extension of one month.” Gage sputtered,

 

“Do you always allow this creature to do the talking for you Sister?” He looked her up and down. “Perhaps I need to tell father a great many other things that may have been going on here.” His voice got sly and cool and he said “I think there might be a great deal he’d like to hear about”.

 

“No please, you can’t!” “Oh I can’t why can’t I?”

 

“Please, I beg mercy.”

 

“You have no control over your men and I sense some fraternisation is going on, this creature is running the endeavour and I suspect has been in your bed.” Lydia let out a shocked gasp and there was a harsh chuckle given by Marcus’s men. “You’ve allowed it to go above the orders of the ceo of this company our father and it cannot stand.” He turned to walk back to his carriage, his hands clasped in front of him as a whirring noise could be heard under his coat. The sound of a chain moving and then a tiny metallic claw came out from under his collar and poked out a small pencil. He took as if he was about to jot something down immediately “I’ll have to send him a telegraph directly and-“

 

“Wait!”

 

“Yes?” He said turning with a smile that had sharp corners as he held the pencil out.

 

Lydia breathed in harshly, her face halfway between tears and bitter shouting rage, she fought them back. “I can control them”

 

“Show me.” He said his eyes staying hard and unmoving.

 

She swallowed hard.

 

“Lydia, I’m sor-“ Gage sighed.

 

“Silence!” She screeched.

 

Gage stopped talking almost instantly, as if it was an autonomic reaction, he was frozen.

 

She breathed heavily the control rod twisting in her hand, she raised it to her mouth and just breathed.

 

“Is that it?” Marcus said. “You’re not going to punish him?”

 

“Punish him?” She asked.

 

Ryan and his men watched on snickering.

 

“Yes, it was him that made that order wasn’t it?”

 

She closed her eyes and tightened her jaw as if a tear might come out but nothing did and she spoke with the device pressed to her throat.

 

“Phineas” She said, her voice laden with a strange buzzing tone.

 He stood up to attention his eyes dull and hollow and empty looking, his mouth slack and wordless.

 

“Yes mistress” He said in a dull harmonic tone as if reading it from a card.

 

“Pick up the rivet gun”

 

“Yes mistress” He said again, moving over to the construction bowing almost without looking as he picked up a large rivet gun with one muscular veined and hairy hand.

 

She swallowed again.

 

“Well” Marcus said. “I don’t have all day”.

 

She gritted her teeth almost hissing as she said “Place the hot end under your chin.”

 

“Yes mistress” Without hesitation with both hands he lumbered the hot end of the device under his chin. The sweat from his brow hitting the precipice, hissing as the droplets hit the steaming barrel.

 

Lydia sucked her lip, her eyes glazed not looking at anything, a far away voice that sounded like her own said “Now fire the device.”

 

“Yes mis-“ His voice was cut off by the hissing mneumatic pumping noise and then a vile hot searing gargling noise as the hot rivet was driven into his skull. The smell of his flesh burning and his brains boiling was instant.

 

Marcus walked over to look over Lydia’s shoulder and said “I would have thought a good hiding or a strong talking to would have done it, but that seems quite effective.” He sighed looking at Gage’s lifeless body on the ground and almost winced at the damage it had done to his face. “You could have just had him shoot his hand.” There was a brief moment of silence and then he let out a brief tinny laugh and said “Well you were always one to jump to extremes, I’ll see you have your extra month.”

 

He turned and patted her on her head with his large skeletal gloved black hand and said. “It was good seeing you again sister, I wish you good day.” He left her there as she stood staring off into the distance with her mouth agape.

 

His men trailing after him smiling like jackals as they returned to accompany the carriage.

Review of Cinderella’s Revenge By Ben Jones Jr

I did a little review for this twist on a classic fairy tale, like long kiss goodnight meets happily ever after.

“Fairytale with overtones of the count of monte christo. I found this really enjoyable. I’m a big fan of murder mystery and crime thrillers, you caught me in the middle of reading the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay back to back, I just finished the sixth book. I mention that because I imagine I had the same look on my face reading that as I did reading this.
I often criticise stories for having very uneventful first chapters, lots of people like to play it close to the chest the first chapter. Failing to realise that the first chapter is the first impression and is almost a synopsis of what someone can expect from the entire story. This first chapter did not fail my expectations.
Great start, sticking with the fairy tale elements, gradual subtle foreshadowing, a crawling sense of dread and just uneasiness creeping in as if happily ever after is moment to moment. Tragedy just around the corner turning a comedy into a tragedy. As this was all unfurling and I could tell it was, I could feel a grin creeping up the corners of my mouth. The end of the first chapter is a little clichéd but I almost feel like that works to it’s advantage by incorporating those revenge tropes in a fairytale story and creating the standard cliffhanger ending.
Frankly it’s a deliciously evil story, the writing style is very competent, the plot has all those great elements of intrigue and as a revenge story I find it very interesting and will undoubtedly keep a close eye on it in the future.”

If you like the sound of it head on over to inkitt to read it for yourself. Cinderella’s Revenge.

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