Sunday, July 26, 2009

Catching up...coming soon (Author's note)

I am in the progress of resolving some computer issues. I should have this resolved in the next two weeks or so. Until the issue is solved, posts will be infrequent and sporadic.

Monday, July 13, 2009

An Unexpected Offer...Part 3

I stood up from leaning on the ledge and turned to face this creature full on. I wanted to be ready for anything at this point. I certainly had no reason to trust him. "So what are you offering?"

The Slayer remained in place, looking out towards the ruined hulk of old Tiger Stadium.

"Let's start with what we want, first."
I nodded. "OK, I'll bite. So what do you want?"

"It is simple, really. We want the one you call El Diablito."

I laughed. "I thought you guys were working with him. What has your little Axis of Evil suffered a little schism?"

The Slayer didn't seem to find any humor in my joke. "If you want your daughter, the one you call Alexa and her mother returned to you without any lasting harm done to them, you might take this discussion a little more seriously."

The prospect of getting Alexa and Naomi back brought my thoughts right into focus. "OK, you have my attention now. How do I know that you have Alexa and Naomi and that you will make good on your promises?"

Now he stood up and faced me in return. "If you agree to this bargain, we will immediately cease all hostilities against you and your allies and I will bring the one you call Naomi to you in your latest hiding spot unharmed. She will be able to relate to you and the others what has happened to them and that this offer is serious. In direct exchange for this gesture, you will return with me and begin the hunt for our mutual enemy."

I had to admit that there was a certain charm in the know, 'The enemy of my enemy is an ally' sort of thing.

I nodded. "I will have to discuss this with the others."

He smiled. "That would be rather unusual of you, human."

I tensed as he reached inside of his jacket pocket but relaxed when he pulled out what appeared to be a cell phone. He tossed it in my direction. I caught it.

"Call 'Home' when you are ready to strike the deal." With that I saw him pull the Shadow about him like a cloak and disappear into the bitterly cold, dark air.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

An Unexpected Offer...Part 2

The Slayer was the most powerful Doppelganger that I had encountered so far. He could conceal his essence from me if he chose to, but approached unshielded from my vision in Shadowland. In that realm, his form was like that of any other Doppelganger. But he had chosen another shape for this meeting.

He had taken the form of a tall, well muscled man with slicked back hair and olive hued skin. He was dressed casually for a warmer climate, wearing only dark jeans, a t-shirt and an unzipped leather jacket. His boots were meant more for the dance floor than for this kind of hard Michigan winter night. He was as unconcerned about the cold as I was.

The Slayer approached the edge of the building next to me and leaned with both forearms on the icy edge, looking out over the half-deserted city and silent, broken ruins of Tiger Stadium. His voice had a thick middle-eastern accent to it when he spoke.

"You and your friends have shown a remarkable resilience."

I leaned with both hands on the same ledge, each of us talking as much to the cold night air as we were to each other. Neither of us had any trouble hearing the words of the other though, despite the whipping winds and the relatively low volume of our voices. This conversation was taking place on multiple levels.

I smiled in response to his comment. "I missed you in Alaska. Had you been there, your masters might have had to send a different emissary."

His smile was equally broad. "If I had been there, human, your daughter and her mother would be dead instead of safe where they are now."

That caught my attention. I turned to face him, fighting hard against the urge to grab him by the jacket and shake the answer out of him. I remembered all too well how my last match with this one had gone.

"Where are they?"

He kept his composure and remained leaning out over the dark void. "As I said, they are safe, for now. They, and that battle that I unfortunately missed, are why I have come to see you tonight."

I settled back down next to him, sensing that this meeting might represent a significant change in the current state of affairs. I didn't want to hamper my negotiating stance by seeming too eager to make a deal.

"Your side did take quite a beating. It can't be an easy thing to replace three Banes and all those Doppelgangers."
He shrugged. "Those that fell in that battle were the weakest amongst us. They fell into a trap that should have been easily avoided."

I wasn't going to let him get off that easily, I knew the losses to his masters had been significant. "But..."

He nodded. "But, the blow was not an insignificant one." He shifted his weight onto his right arm and looked over directly into my eyes. "I will speak frankly now, human. I tire of these mortal word games. You must know by now that the An'girasii are not a unified force. If they were of a single mind and a single purpose, this world would have never stood a chance against their combined might."

Not sure where he was going with this strange twist, I nodded in agreement in order to keep him talking.

"I see no purpose in enlightening you further to the factions at play here, but suffice it to say that I have been tasked with negotiating a deal with you and your allies."

"What sort of deal?"

"A truce, of sorts."

"What the hell does that mean?"

His eyes changed briefly from the brown pupils that had been to the opaque white that the Dopplegangers eyes normally were. Was he losing control over his form? I had my doubts about that...

"That is what we are here to discuss..."

(Part 3 to be revealed next weekend.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

An Unexpected Offer...Part 1

The wind howled and snow flakes swirled around me as I waited the arrival of the South Beach Slayer at the appointed time. The sounds of the wind whistling through the hollowed-out, windowless building made it difficult to hear if anyone was approaching or not, so I kept my eyes open and weapons handy.

I really had no idea of what to expect form this meeting. The last time we had met face to face, the Slayer had left me on my back in the sands of South Beach with an incapacitated crazed killer to take the blame for his crimes and another dead body. He had also left me with a warning that I had a long way to go before I truly threaten him and his masters like my ‘father’ had. He meant Drake of course, the person who had orchestrated my birth into undeath.

Looking out over the edge towards the abandoned husk of Tiger Stadium, it felt strange to be so alone in the heart of a once-bustling and vibrant city. Even the streets below were devoid of traffic, the snow settling softly on the pavement that the city government could no longer afford to salt properly.

I had arrived at this crusty old shell of a building the old fashioned way, partly for the curiosity of being able to explore the once grand rail station on my way up to meeting and partly to conserve power for a hasty exit, should one be required. The base of the building was surrounded by a strong fence, but it was clear that any number of vagrants and other curiosity seekers had found alternative routes into the building. I was able to follow a trail in the fresh snow to a place where a hole had been made in the fence that I was easily able to squeeze through.

The first floor of the massive structure was covered in graffiti and littered with trash, including used needles and empty dime bags. Empty bottles rattled around and potato chip bags and candy wrappers swirled with the whistling winds. I rousted a pair of young men who were about to inject some recently heated heroin into their veins before they had the chance to get their high going. They scattered when I kicked over their portable kerosene stove, cursing me all the way. Neither of them had the courage to back their curses with action. They fled harmlessly into the night in search of their next fix and a quieter place to get it on.

The stairwell leading up to the roof through the more than dozen floors in between reeked of urine and human waste. The trash was piled highest on the first landing, with less and less of it on each successive level. I didn’t waste time on the intervening floors since it was pretty apparent that the place was largely abandoned, except for the druggies I had already evicted. On a warmer night in the spring or the summer, I could see this place as much busier, but not many folks were immune to the freezing weather like I was.

I sensed the arrival of the Slayer as a ripple of disturbance in the surrounding Shadow. I turned to face him.

(Part 2 by Wednesday, July 1, 2009)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Author's Note: Blog Hiatus

Thanks for those who continue to read the blog for all of your support, comments, and your readership.

Due to a number of factors--increased workload in the day job (and overtime requirements), a serious case of writer's block, and a very strong desire to finally finish the first book (and to explore options for a second and third)--have conspired to make it necessary to place this blog on hiatus for a yet to be determined period of time.

If I had to hazard a guess, I think it will be sometime in late spring before I will be able to take up the blogging keyboard again.

I will post announcements, as appropriate, on any publishing details of the book when complete and I will make the occasional post on the humorous blog, Famously Undead--see link in the list of blogs I follow.

Please feel free to post your comments on any past post or on this one. I will be checking in every so often.

Thanks again, especially to the Professor, Ravyn, Cerrydwen and Vexis, for all of your support.